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Western Kentucky University

Retention and Student Services

Retention is Everyone's Business at WKU

During President Ransdell's 2012 Convocation, he emphasized seven key points regarding institutional initiatives and priorities, and the importance of a university-wide focus on retention was a major highlight. The President voiced his concerns with our current retention rate and the financial implications is has for both the students and the university. He empowered the WKU community – including faculty, staff, and students – to be an essential part of ensuring that students persist and graduate.

As the Assistant Vice President for Retention and Student Services, I have the primary responsibility for assessing the campus community to take inventory of our current retention practices and coordinating efforts to ensure these activities are being leveraged to meet our 78% retention rate goal for 2018. Over the past few months, I have been meeting various campus stakeholders in both academic and student affairs units to learn more about how retention has been perceived and conceptualized in their respective units and to share the overall vision of retention by the university.

Retention is a high priority for Western Kentucky University. Since 2011, strategic approaches - such as the establishment of the Retention Task Force (RTF) – have been employed to intentionally evaluate the impact of current retention practices on the success of our potentially at-risk student, and, as necessary recommend policy and other programs that can strengthen our activity in this critical area. The RTF made tremendous strides in its first year by recommending a number of policy changes to the Provost for approval. These recommendations have resulted in positive changes such as support for full-time academic advising professional in our academic colleges and a focus on the change of major policy.

As we approach the 2013-2014 academic year, The Division of Enrollment Management is encouraging the entire campus community to take strides in making retention "everyone's business". It will be critical to communicate, collaborate and coordinate our individual and collective efforts through pre-college programs, recruitment and orientation, academic advising, student activities and academic support. This institutional-wide approach to student success and retention is sure to aid us in reaching our 78% first to second year retention as well as increase graduation rates as well.
I look forward to working with each of you in achieving these attainable goals.

-Dr. Joelle Davis Carter


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 Last Modified 9/25/14