Potter College News
Recruitment and Retention
- Thursday, September 30th, 2021
Last weekend, we celebrated Parent and Family Weekend on the Hill, which remains one of my favorite times of the year. This event gives us an opportunity to show how we support our students. Our families are integral to our university’s retention efforts, and I appreciate our colleges and units across campus engaging them - from their first semester to their last. As demonstrated by the record-breaking attendance, families want to feel connected to their student’s university (especially those of first-year students). It is vital to student success that we cultivate and sustain these relationships.
This week also marks the end of the first five weeks of class, and our students should have their initial performance assessments back to judge how they are doing in their coursework. This is a crucial point in the semester, especially for those enrolled for the first time. The student success literature demonstrates that direct faculty engagement with struggling students increases the likelihood of them improving their performance in classes. For some, the thought of visiting a faculty member during office hours is frightening - and doubly so if they are underperforming in a class. Please ensure our students understand the importance of that time for their development and consider encouraging them to visit with you if they need the additional attention and support.
By December, we typically have admitted most of the students who will enroll at WKU next fall, which makes the next two months our prime recruitment season. This month, I spent considerable time meeting with high school counselors, principals, superintendents and other administrators throughout our region and beyond, including Nashville and middle Tennessee. I shared with them our commitment to increasing access to the WKU Experience through individualized financial aid packages and our mission to help every student succeed as evidenced by our increased focus on LLCs and other interventions. High school administrators play a crucial role in the college selection process. We must engage them and repeatedly highlight what differentiates WKU from other institutions in their students’ choice sets, including our hands-on, applied learning opportunities and our new scholarship model that makes a college degree at WKU more accessible and affordable.
Several times this past weekend, parents and family members stopped me to say “thank you.” They recognize our efforts and our collective commitment to the safety and success of their students. We each play a role in fulfilling the promise that we make to families during the recruitment process. Their feedback confirms that we are meeting our institutional mission of transforming lives on our Hill, one Hilltopper at a time.
Timothy C. Caboni