New directory consolidates WMU's student success resources

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Picture of the cover of the Student Success Programs and Services Directory.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A recently-created directory pulls together a wealth of programs and services related to all aspects of student success at Western Michigan University.

The Student Success Programs and Services Directory allows WMU faculty and staff to quickly locate material needed to navigate students into programs and toward services that help them flourish at the University.

The 56-page, full-color directory provides overviews of more than 80 relevant programs and services and is available online at wmich.edu/directories/studentservices. Each overview includes the location, phone number and website for the program or service being described.

The comprehensive document grew out of work by Broncos FIRST, a WMU research initiative funded by a $3.2 million grant from the Department of Education's First in the World program. WMU was the only entity in Michigan to be awarded a grant through that program.

The goal of Broncos FIRST is to increase access and completion for underrepresented, underprepared or low-income students in postsecondary education and as such, to make student retention and success the linchpin of WMU's organizational efforts.

Creating the directory

Photo of a WMU employee and student interacting.

A team headed by Monica Liggins-Abrams, Broncos FIRST associate director, spent months preparing a directory to consolidate the scores of resources at WMU dedicated to helping students have a successful experience.

It was precipitated by responses to a 2015 faculty and staff survey done by Broncos FIRST that identified areas of the University that may impact students' persistence toward graduation. During the survey process, faculty and staff from across campus had submitted information to be included in a programs and services directory.

Meanwhile, Sue Ellen Christian, professor of communication and this year's Broncos FIRST faculty fellow, had conducted interviews with individual faculty across campus about their successes and challenges in supporting student achievement at the University.

"Faculty expressed a sincere desire to meet students where they are at and to support them in their progress at WMU," Christian says. "But a frequent refrain was that they weren't sure where to go to get help for students, particularly in non-academic situations."

When Christian reported that concern, Liggins-Abrams and her team had the directory ready to give faculty an appropriate place to find the information they need.

Using the directory

The directory is available for download as a PDF document. To access the document, visit wmich.edu/directories and click the Student Services link on the left side of the page.

Down the center of the Student Services page is a full list of the programs and services covered in the directory. Clicking an item in this list takes users to the item's home page. To get to the directory, click on the icon located on the right side of the page.

Christian notes that the Student Success Programs and Services Directory is organized in two ways to make finding a specific item easier for those using it.

First, all 80-plus items are organized alphabetically from A to Z—literally from the Academic Resource Center to the Zhang Career Center.

Second, the items are grouped alphabetically based on four population-related categories: Academic Services and Programs for All Students, Academic Services and Programs for Specific Student Groups, non-academic Services and Programs for All Students, and non-academic Services and Programs for Specific Student Groups.

The directory will be updated annually in August to ensure it contains current information at the start of each academic year.

Additional information

The Student Success Programs and Services Directory may be downloaded by visiting wmich.edu/directories/studentservices. For more information about Broncos FIRST, visit wmich.edu/broncosfirst.

Direct questions to Christian at sueellen.christian@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3145 or Liggins-Abrams at monica.abrams@wmich.edu or (269) 387-1719.