Leadership in Times of Crisis Program to Expand Participation for Community

leadership class discussion

West Michigan community members and students from WMU-Cooley Law School discuss President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon during the Leadership in Times of Crisis course in September. Registrations are being accepted for the winter 2017 class, which is jointly offered by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, WMU-Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University.

Earlier this year, WMU-Cooley Law School launched “Leadership in Times of Crisis,” a course developed to educate and inspire individuals to adopt the ethical leadership standards exhibited by President Gerald R. Ford throughout his life. The program, a collaboration between WMU-Cooley, Western Michigan University, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (GRFPM), has expanded enrollment to allow increased public participation in the sessions offered during the first three months of 2017. The course is taught at the GRFPM in the DeVos Learning Center, located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Led by WMU and WMU-Cooley faculty, and various community leaders, the class evaluates the rights and duties of major stakeholders when making decisions,” said WMU-Cooley Professor Victoria Vuletich, who teaches legal ethics courses and served as the State Bar of Michigan’s deputy director of the Professional Standard’s Division.  “Those participating in the class will learn how to distinguish between legal, ethical and moral obligations and to identify true leadership in times of crisis.”

The program uses several of President Ford’s difficult and controversial decisions as vehicles for exploring leadership with integrity. During the fall program, topics discussed included President Ford’s handling of the New York City bankruptcy and its relevance today, leadership lessons from the fall of Saigon and the Helsinki Accords, and Ford’s pardon of former President Richard Nixon.

“This class truly helps us fulfill our mission and President Ford’s vision for the museum,” said Barbara McGregor, GRFPM education specialist. “It’s a wonderful collaboration and good fit for all partners. We’re thrilled with it and have high expectations as we move forward.”

WMU-Cooley student Matt Levin said the course and what he has learned about Ford’s leadership skills during some of the nation’s toughest times has inspired him.

“I loved this class,” noted Levin. “It really was a life-changing experience.  I found myself emotionally moved and inspired on several occasions.

The class, which consists of three Saturday sessions, approximately three to four hours each, is being offered as a non-credit course for any individual. Students enrolled at WMU and WMU-Cooley will have an opportunity to earn credits toward completion of their various degrees. Participants who successfully complete the program receive a certificate from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum reflecting their participation in the program. The program has also received the support of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. The foundation has provided students with a copy of the DVD, Gerald R. Ford, A Test of Character, which was commissioned by the Peter F. Secchia Family. 

Individuals Interested in participating in the winter 2017 session, should contact Vuletich at WMU-Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus, 616-301-6800, ext. 6960, vuleticv@cooley.edu.


About Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School: Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and the law school continue to operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.



Course is collaboration between WMU-Cooley, Western Michigan University, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Program is designed to educate and inspire

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