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Priority 4

Priority 4

Enhance opportunities for student success

WVU must improve student outcomes, including retention, persistence and graduation rates and career readiness.

Members of several committees focused on areas of student success will work to improve outcomes for undergraduate students at West Virginia University. The committees will review academic policies, academic support programs, and the allocation of resources with the goal of improving the retention and graduation outcomes for undergraduate students. The committees will also specifically address the needs of under-represented, minoritized and Pell-recipient students.

Results to Date

  • Implemented course scheduling software to improve course scheduling and course data collection, add waitlists and enhance New Student Orientation block scheduling.
  • Improved process for 4- and 12- week student interventions to be implemented in Fall 2021.
  • Fully implemented fair and transparent suspension policy in May 2021.
  • Launched central WVU Tutoring website.
  • Provided tutoring centers’ staff training in Navigate, WVU’s student success management system, to improve student access and link student tutoring to course outcomes. Sixteen of 17 tutoring centers will use Navigate starting in Fall 2021.
  • Completed implementation of Guided Major Pathways, eliminating 30 pre-majors, for full implementation in Fall 2021.
  • Partnered with EAB to conduct full audit of undergraduate advising across Morgantown campus; reviewed findings in Spring 2021.
  • Recommended transition to professional advising across the main campus for undergraduate students. 
  • Initiated search for Director of University Advising position to oversee the evaluation, training, and effectiveness of all undergraduate professional advisors.
  • Revised and finalized grade forgiveness policy to encourage struggling students to shift majors and coursework earlier; policy set to be implemented Fall 2022.
  • Hired and on-boarded first director of university advising.
  • With the assistance of the Provost’s Office, the main campus academic units hired 12 professional advisors for AY 22-23 with three still pending.
  • Launched the “Ask Morgan” AI-powered chatbot on select websites to address student questions (advising, tutoring, registrar).
  • Partnered with the Office of Graduate Education and Life to increase the minimum graduate assistantship stipends from $13,500 to $15,000 (to be rolled out over a two-year period) and approved an increase for partial graduate assistant minimum stipends.
  • Partnered with WVU Carruth Center to hire counseling specialist focused on outreach interventions and initiatives for graduate students.
  • Oriented new professional advisers to WVU systems and practices.
  • Partnered with the Office of Graduate Education and Life and the Carruth Center to strengthen mental health resources for the graduate student population.
  • Developed and implemented new “modification of duties” policy for graduate assistants to support work-life balance.
  • Secured private funding from the Maier Foundation for two-year pilot of new program to provide small “completion grants” to students at risk of not graduating due to unmet financial need.

Next Steps

  • Standardize best practices in advising across campus and provide training opportunities for academic advisers.
  • Engage in targeted efforts to recruit more transfer students and to improve the transfer student experience.
  • Support the implementation of a unit focused on improving foundational STEM instruction.
  • Develop and launch pilot of new Mountaineer Completion Grants program to begin in Fall 2023 to be launched in Fall 2023.
  • Develop targeted retention program aimed at Pell-eligible and first-generation students.
  • Partner with groups on campus to identify ways to strengthen, support and enhance career-readiness programs, activities and curricular initiatives.
  • Launch effort to hire an ombudsperson who will provide confidential, impartial, informal, and independent conflict resolution and problem-solving assistance to all for graduate students.
  • Establish Graduate and Professional Student Advisory Board and Wellness Committee to advocate for policies and practices that promote the mental health, resilience, and empowerment of WVU grad students in the face of evolving academic, personal and social changes.
  • Pilot a peer-to-peer mentorship program to help with retention and to promote a community among graduate students.
  • Develop a professional development program that provides graduate students with the skills necessary to be effectively mentored and to serve as mentors.
  • Conduct an anonymous survey of graduate students to gauge satisfaction with mentor/mentee relationships in their program.

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