Boasting 49 majors, concentrations and pre-professional programs, Albion College prepares students for successful careers based on a strong liberal arts foundation. In addition, Albion’s well-established institutes and centers enhance the students’ undergraduate education through specialized programs and academic offerings, including internships, research and other co-curricular experiences.
Many students take advantage of the opportunities available through the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, the Lisa and James Wilson Institute for Medicine, the Center for Sustainability and the Environment, the Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Development and the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program.
Albion is ranked in a wide range of national publications, including Washington Monthly magazine, which rates liberal arts colleges for their contributions to the public good in social mobility, research and promoting public service. The college’s three institutes and two centers are at the core of these charges.
“The institutes and centers set students up for success in grad school, in their careers and in their communities,” says John Perney, chief communications and marketing officer for Albion.
Perney says the institutes and centers have helped shape, over decades, countlessalumni who have gone on to make an impact around the world. (The Gerstacker Institute dates to 1973; the Ford Institute was established by President Ford in 1977.)
Mark Schauer, an Albion alumnus who participated in the Ford Institute,served in Congress and was Michigan’s Democratic nominee for governor in 2014. David Camp also was in the House of Representatives, from 1991 to 2015 as part of Michigan’s delegation, even serving as chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. And there are many alums whohave established impactful careers in key, behind-the-scenes roles in government as well as in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.
Successful alumni of the Gerstacker Instituteand Albion’seconomics program include Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines; Allison Maki, CFO of the Detroit Lions; and Martin Nesbitt, who heads up the Barack Obama Foundation.
While the institutes and centers are proud of the past, the leadership continues to strive for the best possible education for current and future students. The Wilson Institute for Medicine received a $5.1 million giftin 2018 from alumni Lisa and James Wilson, and with it Perney says Albion is focused on revamping the pre-medicine program in a big way. “
Faculty across departments are developing new courses and teaching methods,”he says.
Connections with alumni and friends of the College who are associated with influential employers, both large and small, create opportunities for students to participate in internships and job shadowing, Perney adds.“The staff a t our institutes and centers help students create those meaningful connections.”
Albion also helps students connect to the surrounding community. Through the Boundary Crossingsprogram, students pursuing educationcan begin classroom instruction the second semester of their junior year, collaborating with teachers in the Marshall School District, located near Albion College.
“Albion students in the Boundary Crossings course will plan, over the semester, a unit they will actually teach at semester’s end. It really jump-starts the senior-year student-teaching experience and helps them get ready for daily life in the classroom,” Perney says. “There is also a community showcase event back at Albion where the students can demonstrate theirexperience of teaching their first lesson plans inK-to-12 classrooms.”
Beyond preparing future teachers, Albion College iscreatinglasting connections withtheAlbion communityin a variety of ways, providing more opportunities for students to become involvedoutside the classroom.
“Three years ago, the college renovated a building in downtown Albion, the Ludington Center, which had been vacant for some time. It’s a community and college collaboration hub. There are two floors, 20,000 square feetwith flexible furnishings,and it’sideally located,” Perney says. “The Ludington Center has classrooms and can also serve as a presentation space or reception space.”
Additionally, accounting students volunteer to offer income tax assistance for area residents free of charge, he adds.The College teams up with the community each year for the Big Read, which encourages reading and discussion among area youth. College and community members also work together in a vibrant Sister City relationship with two villages in France. And the Whitehouse Nature Center, which has 140 acres of land and trails, is used by biology, environmental sciences and even English classes, but it’sopen to the publicas well.
“These are just a few examples of the college and the community working together for the benefit of each other to thrive,” Perney says. “For students,that meansthere area lot of waysto make an impactbeyond our many on-campus organizations—great ways to get involved.”
Albion College was founded in 1835 and continues to grow—in 2019 it is offeringnew majorsin computer science, integrated marketing communications and marketing management. Approximately half of its 1,500 students participate or expressed an initial interest in intercollegiate athletics. In addition, the college features a healthy Greek life system among its more than 100 student clubs and organizations.
For more information about the education at Albion College, as well as the institutes and centers, visit the Albion College website.
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