Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Greg Gerfen

Second Advisor

Teresa Greenlees

Third Advisor

JoAnn Atkin


In the Fall semester of 2020, the WMU Essential Studies (WES) Program officially launched. This new program replaces the previous WMU General Education curriculum which was over 30 years old with curriculum concepts over 100 years old. While the WES program was not allocated any financial or human resources by Western Michigan University as its inception, it required assistance in creating messaging and content to help educate multiple audiences including current and prospective students, WMU faculty, WMU staff, and local community members. Catherine Lemus stepped in the role of WES Strategy and Marketing Assistant with the guidance of Prof. Greg Gerfen as Advisor and over 12 months they developed a marketing strategy and promotional materials for the WES program.

This work explains the history of the WMU Essential Studies Program and overall general education curriculum updates. Once the background has been established, the program best practices are described as well as the marketing strategy approach which includes the target audiences, core benefits, and chosen content mediums. The work concludes with the presentation of all four resources that were created to support the WES program: strategic program overview, online orientation module, program graphic, and program video. All content created throughout this thesis were then transferred to the Director of the WMU Essential Studies program and strategic documents are to be shared with a future honors student to continue the promotional work for the WES program.

The presented resources will continue to live on at WMU to be utilized by all WMU colleges to promote the new WMU Essential Studies Program. All content was created during the COVID-19 pandemic and adjustments were made to the original strategy to accommodate for new social distancing and safety standards. This project was made possible through the support of the Lee Honors College Research and Creative Studies Grant.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

FINAL WES GRAPHIC _ Choose Your Future.pdf (80 kB)
WES Graphic

WES Reflection - Lemus.pdf (125 kB)
WES Reflection

WMU Essential Studies (9907 kB)
WES Video

Included in

Marketing Commons