The Program (2021)

Western CUNA Management School Going Virtual in 2021


The 61st session of Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) is scheduled to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While our commitment to the safety of our students has forced us to explore a new approach for instruction, the school’s commitment to providing MBA-level education, passion for the credit union mission and rich opportunities for student-to-student interaction remains central to the 2021 WCMS session.

Instead of the usual two-week in-person program at Pomona College, WCMS faculty will hold live—but virtual—classes with students two days a week from July 7 through July 29. These live classes will be highly interactive and include numerous student breakout groups to interact with the class material and peers.  To prepare students for the live class days, students will be required to watch pre-recorded on-demand faculty lectures where they introduce the concepts that will be explored further in the live sessions.

Live classes will be at 10:30AM -12:30PM PDT and 2:00PM – 4:00PM PDT on Wednesdays and Thursdays in July (7/8, 14/15, 21/22, 28/29).  Between classes each day there will be scheduled events including the Richard Myles Johnson Colloquium in Credit Union Philosophy, class events, and opportunities for students to network outside of their class interactions. The combined student commitment to live classes, pre-recorded on-demand faculty lectures and required student team project and interaction events is twenty hours a week during the four weeks in July the school is in session.

Identical to the usual in-person program, students will have the opportunity to earn honors through testing on the session’s content. Testing will be conducted online on Thursday July 29 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM PDT, followed by the Graduation Ceremony at 6:30PM PDT.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) Why isn’t WCMS’s virtual 2021 program two straight weeks, like the in-person program?

Learning in a remote environment is different than learning face-to-face. It provides some new opportunities, but online learning can also be extremely fatiguing to remain engaged. WCMS was redesigned for 2021 utilizing best practices from remote MBA education experiences and league virtual education events. The four-week schedule permits students to be fully engaged during live class time (Wednesday and Thursday), and to have flexibility scheduling their watching of the on-demand lectures, participating in team projects, class events and networking opportunities.  All together students should expect to invest twenty hours a week during these four weeks in their WCMS education. It is likely no single schedule would be preferred by all students and credit unions, but this structure was selected to maximize student learning and opportunities to effectively interact with your peers.

2) Will WCMS’s 2022 session also be virtual?

WCMS plans to return to in-person instruction on the Pomona College campus when the health crisis is abated.  Let us all hope that is before summer 2022.

3) Will WCMS’s virtual 2021 session still qualify for American Council on Education's College Recommendation Service (ACE Credit) recommendation for college and MBA credit?

Yes. Given the structure, hours and faculty and student interaction planned for the remote WCMS session, ACE Credit’s recommendation for completion of the WCMS program will remain unchanged. For more information visit ACE Credit’s website by clicking here.

5) Will students have opportunities to interact outside of live class times?

A WCMS education has led to professional networks, and indeed lifelong friendships, for most, if not all, of our alumni. Student to student interaction is critical to the educational experience at the school. Our remote 2021 session will include numerous structured and unstructured, required and optional opportunities for student interaction.

6) What if these dates don’t work for me? Can I postpone to the 2022 session?

There are many reasons why a student may not be able to return for a summer to WCMS. The school has not changed our policy in this area; students may postpone attending WCMS for one year without redoing their Project, however longer absences usually require students to recomplete their Project before they may attend again.

7) How will live class differ from on-demand lectures? Why can’t all classes be recorded?

Students will attend all WCMS live class and co-curricular events with their cameras on.  WCMS faculty will use breakout groups, team assignments and other teaching techniques that will provide interaction opportunities for students during their live class sessions. The on-demand lectures provide the foundational concepts that the faculty member will use to motivate the live class learning and team assignments.