Summary of College Retention Plans

College of Arts and Sciences

  • College will appoint an recruitment and retention facilitator
  • Efforts will be made to improve advising through the office of the Director of Advising.
  • The College will endeavor to eliminate bottleneck courses with initial efforts directed at Chemistry and Math courses with particular focus on Engineering students and issues.
  • Senior professors will be invited to teach first and second year courses-logic being that these professors are among our best teachers and researchers.
  • The College will endeavor to be more student-friendly. Chairs and directors will be encouraged to regularly communicate to all personnel the importance of conveying a positive attitude.
  • Efforts will be made to communicate the good news about student achievement
  • The College will expand student research opportunities with faculty.
  • College will sponsor events targeted at student retention. For example, an event entitled “Major Excitement” will occur during Homecoming week and is designed as an academic fair and information session with faculty members.
  • Faculty and staff will engage in “Walkouts” or visits with students in informal sessions-get better acquainted and promote programs.
  • Faculty will go the “extra mile” to improve student classroom success.

College of Aviation

  • The College has established a freshman to sophomore retention goal of 86%, which represents a 12% increase from present figure.  A budget for its programs has been established.
  • The College proposes an approach to retaining students that emphasizes becoming an elite school recognized nationally and offering its student genuine value.
  • The College proposes a multi-dimensional Customer Relationship Management plan that includes specific measures for creating and retaining a diverse student body.
  • The College distributed exit survey to June graduates.
  • The College has developed an approach to retention with initiatives in four specific areas: academics, student living experience, social/personal experiences, and finances.

Haworth College of Business

  • There will be an extensive effort toward enhancing student “belongingness”. Currently there are over 20 registered student organizations in HCOB but no single HCOB student government. Students have formed a Student Leadership. Advisory Board which will coordinate student related programs and activities.
  • The College will implement a student cohort concept that is intended to stimulate/foster student networking, academic work on team projects, and peer-peer learning networks.
  • The HCOB student group presidents have pledged to increase their efforts toward recruiting freshmen and sophomores into their various groups.
  • With WMU Career Services, HCOB will develop a self-funded Career Services Center within HCOB to facilitate internships, job interviews, etc.
  • All faculty members who teach 1000-level course have been asked to identify and contact students who appear to be having academic problems. Faculty members are also encouraged to report the information to advising staff.
  • Faculty members are being encouraged to provide mid-term grades.
  • The dean is meeting with BUS 1750 classes early in semester to encourage interest in business and foster a sense of belonging.
  • The College is sponsoring a HCOB logo contest open to students-logic is to develop further the sense of belonging and ownership.
  • A reformulated Recruitment and Retention Committee is being established to assist in all related activities.

College of Education and Human Development

  • The College has established specific and measurable retention goals for the current and next year. They aspire to increase retention of students in all graduate and undergraduate programs to 90% by Fall 2007. Further, they wish to reduce time to degree completion for all graduate students and teacher education undergrads with a target for undergraduates of 4.5 years, assuming no changes in majors/minors and enrollment in at least 15 semester hours each fall and spring semester.
  • The College proposed that in September 2006 it was to begin collecting and distribute retention data within specific programs.
  • The College will survey advisors and students beginning Fall 2006 on why students leave programs and determine where they go.  Data will be presented to chairs in January 2007 and at the start of subsequent terms.
  • The College will begin to collect data on time to degree completion and compare to national and regional averages.
  • The College is currently pursuing through the curriculum process a non-teaching degree option in education to assist students who elect not to continue to a teaching degree. The rationale is that this will improve retention in those students who perform poorly in the clinical practice sites.
  • Collect data on time-to-completion.
  • Streamline curriculum for MA level candidates in EL-ED (underway)
  • Implement a career exploration course for freshmen to help them in choosing gen-ed courses for their major. It is hoped that a career exploration course will facilitate the declaration of a major early.
  • Proceed with MA in Teaching program in high need areas (math and science).

College of Engineering

  • The College has established two goals for their retention initiatives: The freshman to sophomore retention rate will grow over the next four years to 75% retained within the college and 85% retained in the university; and six-year graduation rate will grow to 50%.
  • Place students in the correct initial math course. Offer math, chemistry and physics sequences that assure students are competent in the needed math knowledge for them to be successful in the subsequent engineering science and engineering courses.
  • Offer a cohort model for freshmen course scheduling. Provide every cohort group of freshman students a direct faculty mentor.
  • Provide proactive intervention with at risk, first semester students at three-week intervals. Collect freshman mid-term grades with academic advising intervention for students who are not performing satisfactory.
  • Provide residence hall floors dedicated to CEAS students where tutoring and study hall facilities are available.
  • Offer a statics, dynamics, and mechanic of materials engineering science sequence that assures students are competent in the needed knowledge for them to be successful in the subsequent engineering courses.
  • Provide a cadre of professional academic advisors centralized in the CEAS Advising Office that will advise all freshman and sophomore students while they are in their pre-engineering, technology and applied science programs.
  • Advise and counsel students who do not have the interest in, and possibly not the math preparation for, engineering to pursue other CEAS or WMU academic programs where their potential for student success is much greater.
  • With Haenicke Institute, hold international student functions to make our international students feel more at home.
  • Meet with student chapter leaders six times a year to ascertain problems and opportunities to improve student life and learning.
  • Expanding co-op and intern career opportunities to maximize experiential learning and maximize student motivation.
  • Expanding student organization activities to provide career motivation and increase inter-student relationships.
  • Focusing on four college cornerstones (engagement, globalization, leadership, innovation) to enhance the students’ learning experience.
  • Working with the Haenicke Institute to provide students with international study tours in 2007 to China, Korea, and Germany.
  • Working with the Haenicke Institute to provide students with expanded study abroad opportunities.
  • The Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical has proposed a five-year B.S./M.S. degrees program focusing on challenging our top students to accelerate through their B.S. and M.S. programs.
  • Teaming with the Lee Honors College to sponsor two freshman cohort groups of CEAS/Lee Honors College students.

Extended University Programs

  • While each EUP campus has developed specific tactical plans for retention the following represents a composite of proposed initiatives across EUP.
  • EUP proposes to increase its student retention rate by 10%.
  • EUP will be distinguished by its superior customer service and academic quality.
  • EUP will diversify its program and course offerings to meet targeted educational markets and local educational needs.
  • EUP will align its educational and student services processes with the changing needs, wants, and expectations of its students. 

College of Fine Arts

  • The College has established a retention goal of 90% for its College.
  • It has developed a five-step method and budget for retaining students. The method includes identifying and intervening with students illustrating signs of high risk for departure.
  • For students who do depart, a tracking system will be developed to ascertain reasons for departure.
  • All of the College’s initiatives are intended to start within the first three weeks of the semester. Initiatives vary from department to department so they itemized below.
  • The School of Art proposes that all first-year students will be assigned an upper-level buddy at the beginning of the school year. There will be an open house in the SOA for all first year students to inform them of the programs in the School. Weekly exhibits of advanced undergraduate student artwork are installed and receptions held for each exhibition. Various socials within the SOA are planned for students.
  • The Dance Department sent welcome and welcome-back letter to students during July. Orchesis, the dance student group, sends a letter in summer outlining the year’s activities and inviting students to become active in organization. .  An orientation meeting, followed by a social event, is held on the first day of each semester.
  • The School of Music presents its freshmen with a SOM Handbook during the Opening Convocation. All students attend an Area Program meeting within the first three weeks of the semester. All students meet with their applied music instructor to schedule lessons and get pertinent information. The SOM Band Marching Camp takes place one week before semester begins. Choral and Gold Company retreats are designed to build community, set goals, and learn music. The SOM convenes a first-year experience convocation on a specific topic especially for new students, but open to all.
  • The Theatre Department presents an orientation experience for all students on the first day of each semester during which departmental and university expectations are conveyed. The orientation is a mix of business and social activities designed to establish an appropriate atmosphere with in the College. All students are required to participate in the department’s production program. All incoming students are assigned a student mentor for the first year and academic advising is available at all times during the first week of classes. The department advisor and chair assist students directly.

The Graduate College

  • The Graduate Center for Research and Retention, under the direction of Dr. Marianne Di Pierro represents an integrated approach to retention, participates in national research initiatives in graduate education that ensure best practices, and implements programmatic interventions to enhance opportunities for graduate degree completion:
  • The Graduate Center is partnered with the Department of Statistics to provide one-on-one statistical consultation to doctoral students conducting dissertation research; with ATIS (Academic Technical and Instructional Services) to provide comprehensive technical support to doctoral students incorporating on-line modalities of dissertation research; and with Waldo Library to provide a series of workshops that prepares students to meet the research demands of preparing the monograph: RefWorks citation management, discipline-specific library orientation for graduate students, discipline-specific literature review search workshops.
  • In September, the Center sponsored workshops in writing the dissertation, another in professional grant writing, and two statistics workshops.  In November 2006, the Graduate Center conducted a successful pilot workshop designed to assist doctoral students in writing articles for scholarly publication. The workshop shall be repeated several times in early 2007. 
  • The Graduate Center compiles the WMU Profiles, research on doctoral completers that measures time to degree, attrition, and other variables.  It also participates in the CGS Ph.D. Completion Project, as well as administers CGS Exit Surveys to doctoral completers. 
  • It will soon pilot a new retention initiative to contact graduate students whose name disappears from the enrollment records after one semester of study.
  • Results of retention initiatives will be measured and evaluated.
  • Three dissertation-formatting workshops were conducted in October and November 2006
  • Graduate students were informed about upcoming competitions for research and travel awards, which feature enhancement for international travel.
  • AGEP student seminars (fall and winter) deal with research opportunities, effective teaching, and diversity issues.

Haenicke Institute

  • The Institute proposes focus groups with students to identify factors that may lead to premature departure from the campus.
  • If data warrants, the Institute will increase its efforts to prepare international students for the adjustment to American higher education and meeting the cultural challenges of living abroad.
  • The Institute will reassign one of its advising staff (half-time) to review academic records, liaise with college advisors, contact students on academic probation, and meet with students to assist them in fulfilling academic requirements and social adjustment goals.
  • The Institute will continue its orientation program that provides international students with extensive information about WMU, Kalamazoo, and living in the U.S. 
  • The Institute plans greater outreach of services to and engagement with students in our transnational education programs in India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Kenya.

College of Health and Human Services

  • The College has established a goal to increase freshman and sophomore retention by 10% every year in each college unit until at least an 85% overall retention rate is reached.
  • The focus of the plan for the College is directed at promoting customer service and a friendly environment. 
  • The College will develop ten golden rules for customer service.
  • The College proposes a multifaceted staff recognition plan that acknowledges customer service.
  • The college’s retention strategy is multifaceted and includes:
    • Direct and frequent contact with students through email, registration reminders, birthday emails, and ac college monthly newsletter.
    • The promotion of a student-centered, friendly environment and a staff recognition plan to support this.
    • Recognizing student accomplishments and achievements including midterm letters from dean to students who are performing well.
    • Connecting students with existing academic support resources to increase their chances of success including mandatory advising for all freshmen, mid-term meetings regarding academic performance, and information regarding the Bachelor’s degree in IHS.
    • Establishing a feeling of belonging for students in pre-professional programs that includes continuing the HHS student residence hall community at Garneau Hall and encouraging students to live there; initiating a series of lunches and dinners for students, faculty members, chairs, and dean; developing program plans for HHS freshmen that include enrolling in at least two HHS course during their first year; clustering HHS students in the same sections of certain general education courses; strengthening current HHS student organizations
    • NEW: establish a student organization for pre-professional students that involves Leadership, Community service, and Social activities
    • A holistic approach to student success, which includes a focus on Scholarship, Leadership, Health and Wellness, Citizenship and Volunteerism, Social development, and Family involvement
    • Taking a holistic approach to student development including publishing quarterly parent newsletter; initiating a system by which students allow parents to review their academic progress; and starting a parents’ day celebration to take place twice per academic year.
    • Begin a series of seminars and experiential activities conducted by CHHS faculty designed to promote scholarship, leadership, citizenship, social development, and health and wellness.

Lee Honors College

  • The College has established a goal of 95% retention for the 2006 freshman class into their sophomore year. The current figure is 92%
  • The College will provide mandatory academic advising for freshmen in both semesters and actively pursue truants.
  • The College is working to increase student participation in Honors Student Association. To date, it has doubled over the past year.
  • The College is sponsoring a number of college-wide activities targeted especially toward freshmen.
  • The College regularly sponsors Lunch with the Deans and Dinner with the Deans.
  • Participation in Alpha Lambda Delta, the national honors society, has increased by 154% over the last year.
  • The College has partnered with the FYE program and is seeking to broaden the use of LHC First Year Experience class to include more Freshmen next year.
  • The development of a mentor advising program for freshmen using upper-class honors students is underway.
  • Three deans have held regular individual meetings with members of freshmen class to explore concerns, and encourage the pursuit of scholarships.




Interim Campaign for Student Success
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5204 USA
(269) 387-2380