Dear WVU Faculty:
In the recent State of the University Address, President Gee highlighted the progress we have made over the last five years and reminded us all of “the power of purpose” as a land-grant institution. I was honored to join him for that address and to share our collective vision for WVU’s future.Much like our President, I, too, am a firm believer in strategic action over lengthy planning. Along those lines, my office has outlined a number of efforts we are undertaking this year that reflect one of our greatest purposes at WVU – to ensure our students’ ultimate success. As such, one of our primary focuses will be on undergraduate student retention.
We had a big win earlier this semester, with reports of an increased retention rate reaching almost 80 percent. This success can be attributed to many factors, including the University community’s embrace of a more student-centered approach to academic advising. Through intensive scheduling outreach, midterm grade reporting, a clearly defined suspension policy and curricular changes, we have enabled our students to be more successful.
Over the next several months, my office will be ramping up additional efforts to improve undergraduate retention and persistence. These efforts include:
- Implementing major “pathways” for incoming Fall 2020 students who are either not directly admitted to a major or are undecided. These students will be admitted into a “pathway” – such as Healthcare, Business and Communication or Engineering and Technology – giving them exposure to a variety of majors. CLASS advisors will guide students through their decision-making process, helping them align their skills and interests with their academic pursuits.
- Implementing scheduling reform to foster student success and increase student satisfaction. This will begin by allowing STEM faculty (Biology, Chemistry, Math and Physics) to schedule their courses first to ensure that students are able to enroll in the courses they need to progress in their majors. The ultimate goal is to create a more cohesive and coordinated process that will better serve students’ needs.
- Dedicating resources to improving DFW rates by providing additional support sections for gatekeeping courses, such as Math 124 and 126. In addition, we will be creating a Provost-level committee to address DFW rates across campus.
As I’ve said before, student retention isn’t just the smart thing to do in terms of our bottom line – it’s the right thing to do. After all, what greater purpose do we serve than that of our students’ success?
I will look to each of you for continued support and engagement in these efforts as we tackle our responsibilities head-on and work toward transforming WVU for a better, brighter future.