WKU shakes up M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan 'for a new generation of Hilltoppers'
- WKU News
- Thursday, July 26th, 2018
M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan, WKU’s transition program for all new undergraduate students, is shaking things up for about 2,300 members of the Class of 2022 who will arrive on campus next month.
“Last year M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan celebrated its 25th year and we thought this would be a perfect time for us to pull up, reconsider M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan and determine whether or not we thought the program was meeting the needs of our students,” said Blair Jensen, Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life and M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Coordinator. “We wanted to think about ways we could shake up the program for a new generation of Hilltoppers.”
Entering its 26th year, M.A.S.T.E.R. (Making Academic and Social Transitions Educationally Rewarding) Plan is adjusting its schedule, educational programming and activities in an effort to improve student success and retention. (More: About M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan)
The M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan committee decided to retain the program’s five-day schedule but to shift the program dates to close the gap between the conclusion of M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan and the first day of classes.
Students will move into residence halls on Monday and Tuesday (Aug. 20-21) with M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan educational sessions, special events and social activities Wednesday through Saturday (Aug. 22-25). Fall semester classes will begin on Aug. 27.
“By shifting the program two days later we are shortening that gap and we are really building on momentum and excitement of M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan week to propel students into their first week of classes on the Hill,” Jensen said.
M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan participants will be assigned move-in dates and times with designated residence halls open for move-in each day. On move-in day, students will be required to first check-in at the Knicely Conference Center (2355 Nashville Road) before moving into their residence halls.
The change also means members of campus and community organizations who have spent their weekends helping students move into residence halls will now be helping students move in on a Monday and Tuesday. Jensen encourages campus and community groups interested in assisting with move-in to visit https://www.wku.edu/masterplan/getinvolved/movein.php
On Wednesday-Friday (Aug. 22-24), participants will attend educational sessions facilitated by current WKU faculty, staff and administrators designed to equip them with information and resources to ensure their success during their first semester on-campus.
“I think M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan plays an important role in the overall success of our students and in their overall retention at WKU,” Jensen said.
M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Convocation is moving from an opening event to a closing ceremony on Friday night (Aug. 24) to help get students excited for the first day of classes.
TopperU on Wednesday night (Aug. 22) has been reimagined as a WKU Traditions night that is “all about educating the incoming class about the history and traditions that make WKU such as special place,” she said.
M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan’s special events (including the Class of 2022 photo and a teambuilding exercise by Playfair on Tuesday night, the WK&U festival for clubs and organizations on Thursday night, the Big Red’s Blitz community service event on Saturday) and social activities (including a glow-in-the-dark paint party, hypnotist, ghost story tour, Meijer Mania, carnival and fireworks) also help students make connections on campus and in the community.
“I really think of M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan as an important link in the chain of retention at WKU,” Jensen said. “We know that students who participate in M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan persist from their first to second year at a higher rate than students who don’t participate in the program. We also know that students who participate in M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan are retained and graduate within four years at a higher rate than students who don’t. I really think the reason for that is because students who participate in M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan form a strong connection.”
About 50 current WKU students will serve as peer mentors for small groups of incoming students, to share what they know about WKU and to share their strategies for success. The M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentors also will serve as an ongoing connection for students during the first year.
“We want to keep our students just as excited as we are,” said Shelby Cable, a senior from Custer who will serve as chair of Big Red’s Blitz and will help train M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan Mentors. “I think a lot of M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan is showing them what it means to be a student of Western Kentucky University and instilling the spirit we have in them.”
To learn more about M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan, visit www.wku.edu/masterplan or call (270) 745-2037.
M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan 2018 highlights
- Move-in dates: Monday-Tuesday (Aug. 20-21). Participants will have assigned dates and times for move-in; visit https://www.wku.edu/masterplan/schedule/movein.php for details. Campus and community organizations that want to assist with move-in can visit https://www.wku.edu/masterplan/getinvolved/movein.php or call (270) 745-2037.
- Educational sessions: Wednesday-Friday (Aug. 22-24). To learn more, visit https://www.wku.edu/masterplan/about/index.php
- Special events: Class of 2022 photo/Playfair team building event, Tuesday (Aug. 21); TopperU (WKU Traditions night), Wednesday (Aug. 22); WK&U (showcase of clubs and organizations), Thursday (Aug. 23); Convocation/Closing Ceremony, Friday (Aug. 24); Big Red’s Blitz (community service projects), Saturday (Aug. 25)
- Social events: Hilltoppers at Night (featuring glow zone and fireworks), Wednesday (Aug. 22); Meijer Mania, hypnotist and campus ghost tours, Thursday (Aug. 23); Carnival, Friday (Aug. 24)
- How to help: To find out how you can get involved with M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan (assist with move-in, sponsor events, become a mentor/facilitator and more), visit https://www.wku.edu/masterplan/getinvolved/index.php or call (270) 745-2037
- Student registration: Members of WKU’s Class of 2022 can register for M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan at https://www.wku.edu/masterplan/register/index.php
- For information: Visit the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan website or call (270) 745-2037
Contact: M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan at (270) 745-2037.