WCU_Student_Retention_Study_Final_Report_07

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					Evaluation of Student Retention Services
   Western Carolina University

              Final Report

              July 13, 2007
                       Prepared by:
Table of Contents
                                                                                       PAGE

 Chapter   1: Introduction.....................................................................2
 Chapter   2: Situational Analysis......................................................... 11
 Chapter   3: Assessment of Office of Admissions Marketing Materials ... 48
 Chapter   4: Assessment of the Advising Center .................................. 74
 Chapter   5: Assessment of the Orientation Office and Program ........... 86
 Chapter   6: Findings from Interviews and Focus Groups ..................... 91
 Chapter   7: Survey Results ............................................................. 103
 Chapter   8: Peer Institution & Best Practices Analysis....................... 140
 Chapter   9: Recommendations........................................................ 193
 Chapter   10: Analysis of Resources Available .................................... 235

 Appendices
 Appendix A: Survey of Former Students .......................................... 253
 Appendix B: List of Focus Groups and Interviews ............................. 255
 Appendix C: Survey of Current Students.......................................... 257
 Appendix D: Peer Institution IPEDS Data ......................................... 279
 Appendix E: List of Peer Institution Interviewees ............................. 286
                                                                                                   1
                    Chapter 1.0
                   Introduction

This chapter presents a brief introduction to the objectives of
Western Carolina University‟s Evaluation of Student Retention
                       Services study.
    Background
•    Western Carolina University (WCU) strives to be a national model for student learning and engagement that
     embraces its responsibilities as an economically–engaged university. As such, WCU is committed to increasing
     student retention and graduation rates as part of achieving its vision. Also, as a residential public university within
     the University of North Carolina system, WCU is being prompted by the System office to increase student retention
     and graduation rates.

•    In fall 2005, WCU‟s enrollment consisted of 8,861 full- and part-time students, including 7,051 undergraduates, 1,715
     graduate students, and 95 other students. The University‟s 120 undergraduate majors and concentrations and/or
     minors and more than 30 graduate-level programs of study are housed in four distinct colleges:
               • College of Applied Sciences;
               • College of Arts and Sciences;
               • College of Business; and
               • College of Education and Allied Professions.

•    Boasting a student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to 1, WCU offers a high-quality education through small class sizes and
     expert faculty. The majority of classes (78%) have fewer than 30 students and the average freshman class size is 23
     students. WCU has 433 full-time faculty members, approximately 73 percent of whom hold doctoral or terminal
     degrees.

•    The WCU faculty and staff are dedicated to the mission of the institution, which is to create engaged learning
     opportunities that incorporate teaching, research, and service through residential and distance education and
     international experiences. The University focuses its academic programs, educational outreach, research and creative
     activities, and cultural opportunities to improve individual lives and enhance economic and community development
     in the region, state, and nation. Approved in June 2006, WCU‟s 2006-2011 Strategic Plan emphasizes the institution‟s
     commitment to diversity and the facilitation of a global understanding through faculty, staff, student recruitment and
     retention strategies, and academic/co-curricular planning.
                                                                                                                               3
Background
Western Carolina University - Educational Mission
A member of the University of North Carolina, Western Carolina University offers courses in the arts, sciences,
technologies, humanities, and professions. Students can elect degree programs at the bachelor's or master's level,
or doctoral level study in educational leadership. As a regional comprehensive institution, it serves the people of
North Carolina from its residential campus at Cullowhee and through off-campus instruction in Asheville and other
locations.
Teaching and learning constitute the central mission of Western Carolina University. The University seeks to create
a community of scholarship in which the activities of its members are consistent with the highest standards of
knowledge and practice in their disciplines. The commitment of the community to service, research, and creative
activities complements the central mission and extends the benefits of its scholarship to society. As a major public
resource for western North Carolina, the university assists individuals and agencies in the region through the
expertise of its faculty, its staff, and its students. Western Carolina University seeks to provide an environment in
which students, faculty, and staff jointly assume responsibility for learning, where free exchange of ideas,
intellectual challenge, and high standards of scholarship prevail.


Western Carolina University Leadership Goals for Improving Student Retention and Graduation
   Rates
•    In consultation with the General Administration, WCU shall:
      –    Establish goals for increasing retention and graduation rates and for monitoring the time that full- and part-
           time students take to graduate.
      –    Offer programs that enhance students‟ college experience.
      –    Provide student-focused services that assist students in obtaining a bachelor‟s degree in a timely manner.



                                                                                                                            4
Background
University of North Carolina System – Policy Guidelines for Improving Retention and Graduation Rates

•   Improving Retention and Graduation Rates

     –   Introduction:
            • The policies adopted by the Board of Governors encourage constituent institutions to decrease the
               average length of time students take to complete their degrees while maintaining the quality of
               undergraduate education and the integrity of the baccalaureate degree. In addition, students must
               be expected to assume responsibility in planning their academic schedules so as to complete their
               degrees in a timely manner.

     –   Plan to Improve Retention and Graduation Rates in The University of North Carolina System:
            • UNC‟s plan to improve retention and graduation rates has two elements: (1) University wide policies
               and goals that may decrease the average time taken for completion of degrees, including the
               requirement that each institution perform institutional studies, based on factors that have been
               identified as causing students to take longer to complete degree requirements, or drop out, and
               develop an institutional plan to encourage retention and shorter average time to graduation; and
               (2) campus and University-wide measures to assess the effectiveness of the policies and goals
               adopted.
            • The goal is to move the time taken for completion of the baccalaureate degree toward a four-year
               period for students enrolled full-time and continuously throughout their academic careers, or
               toward the equivalent of eight full-time semesters for part-time students or students who interrupt
               their enrollment for valid reasons.

                                                                                                                     5
Background
President’s Action Committee on Efficiency & Effectiveness (PACE)

University of North Carolina (UNC) President, Erskine Bowles, has committed to be a vocal champion on behalf of
the campuses of the University System. As he makes the case for resources, however, he also must assure the
state's legislature and taxpayers that the significant resources already dedicated to the University are utilized as
efficiently and effectively as possible.

To assist in that effort, he commissioned a blue-ribbon President's Advisory Committee on Efficiency & Effectiveness
(PACE) of state and business leaders to review the university's activities and to provide findings and possible
recommendations.

The goals   of PACE included:
      –      Develop a snapshot of where UNC funds are allocated/spent.
      –      Examine non-academic administrative functions in particular.
      –      Develop answers to any problems uncovered in this process.
      –      Use the findings in conversations with the General Assembly and donors.




                                                                                                                       6
    Goals and Scope of the Study
In January 2007, Western Carolina University (WCU) contracted with MGT of America, Inc. to conduct an evaluation
     of student retention services. The emphasis of this evaluation centers on the following:

•    Assess current retention policies and procedures.
•    Identify barriers to student retention (people, policy, process) at Western Carolina University and assess the
     adequacy of the staff to implement the retention plan.
•    Evaluate service/responsiveness of all student services in and outside of One-Stop.
•    Assess current students' perceptions of experience at Western Carolina University (freshmen, transfers,
     minority students).
•    Assess other stakeholders (faculty, administration, staff).
•    Review: Sophomore and Senior UNC Survey results, and NSSE results.
•    Suggest surveys that should be done on a regular basis.
•    Assess current organizational structures/systems' ability to positively impact retention.
•    Assess student pre-college characteristics and their impact on retention activities planning.
•    Assess admissions marketing.
•    Assess Orientation program, links with Freshman Seminars, and follow-up orientation activities during regular
     year.
•    Assess Freshman Seminars and analyze how this model might be used over the course of student's next three
     years, including examining the value of a senior capstone experience incorporating curricular and life skills
     transition issues.
•    Assess sophomore retention issues, identification of best practices, and determination of value of implementing
     University College model.
•    Establish short term and long term funding priorities related to improving retention.
•    Develop a communication plan to obtain buy-in from the entire campus on student retention.
                                                                                                                       7
    Methodology
•    MGT‟s study methodology includes four major components:

      –   Situational Analysis – Reviewed data, policies, and procedures.

      –   Focus Groups & Interviews – Collected information from administrators, faculty, staff, and students.

      –   Surveys of Current and Former Students – Collected information from current and former students.

      –   Peer Institution & Best Practices Analysis – Data analysis and interviews with senior administrators
          responsible for student retention at six peer institutions and reviewed best practices in student
          retention.



•    This methodology allows for:

      –   Input from all constituent groups regarding their perceptions about existing issues, problems, and
          opportunities.

      –   Identifies WCU‟s strengths, weaknesses, and desired improvements.

      –   Utilizes information from peer institutions and national best practices when making recommendations for
          changes and/or enhancements.




                                                                                                                    8
    Overview of Chapters
In addition to Chapter 1.0 (Introduction), this report includes the following seven chapters:

•    Chapter 2.0: Situational Analysis – This chapter includes an analysis of findings and an overview of Western
     Carolina University‟s data and statistics pertaining to:
      – Enrollment Patterns
      – Retention Rates
      – Graduation Rates
      – Students Who Leave
      – Students Who Transfer to WCU
      – Transfer-Out Rates
      – Common Characteristics of Students


•    Chapter 3.0: Assessment of the Office of Admissions‟ Marketing Materials - This analysis of the Office of
     Admissions‟ marketing materials includes an analysis of findings; discussion of the functions and structure of
     WCU‟s Office of Admissions; data analysis of applications, acceptances, and enrollments; an assessment of
     marketing materials; and the student survey results related to Admissions.

•    Chapter 4.0: Assessment of the Advising Center - This analysis of the Advising Center includes an analysis of
     findings; discussion of the functions and structure of WCU‟s Advising Center; and an assessment of the
     Advising Center .

•    Chapter 5.0: Assessment of the Orientation Office and Program - This analysis of the Orientation Office
     includes an analysis of findings; discussion of the functions and structure of WCU‟s Orientation Office; and an
     assessment of the Orientation Office.


                                                                                                                       9
    Overview of Chapters (cont.)
•    Chapter 6.0: Findings from Interviews and Focus Groups – This chapter presents findings from focus groups and
     interviews conducted with WCU faculty, staff, and students. The purpose of the interviews and focus groups was
     to assess the strengths and weaknesses of current retention policies and practices.

•    Chapter 7.0: Student Survey Results - This chapter presents findings from the online survey of WCU students. The
     purpose of the survey was to assess the goals of students upon enrollment at WCU, their experience with the
     admissions process, and their evaluation of their college experiences both in and out of the classroom.

•    Chapter 8.0: Peer Institution & Best Practices Analysis - This chapter compares WCU to six peer institutions, using
     IPEDS data and information collected during interviews with senior administrators at peer universities. WCU also is
     compared to National Best Practices in student retention.

•    Chapter 9.0: Recommendations - This chapter presents a summary of findings and offers recommendations,
     including resource requirements to implement recommendations, for Western Carolina University‟s consideration.
     All recommendations consider efficient and effective use of resources and are based on national best practices.

•    Chapter 10.0: Financial and Staffing Considerations - This chapter analyzes WCU‟s and peer institutions‟ financial
     and staffing data with regard to student retention efforts. Financial considerations are presented for Western
     Carolina University‟s review.

•    The   following five appendices to accompany the report to provide additional detail:
      –      Appendix A: Survey of Current Students.
      –      Appendix B: Survey of Former Students.
      –      Appendix C: List of Focus Groups and Interviews.
      –      Appendix D: Peer Institution IPEDS Data.
      –      Appendix E: List of Peer Institution Interviewees.


                                                                                                                           10
                 Chapter 2.0
             Situational Analysis
This chapter includes an analysis of findings and an overview of
Western Carolina University‟s data and statistics pertaining to:

       Enrollment Patterns
       Retention Rates
       Graduation Rates
       Students Who Leave
       Students Who Transfer to WCU
       Transfer-Out Rates
       Common Characteristics of Students
Situational Analysis – Analysis of Findings
•   WCU‟s student population has increased over the past six years by nearly 1,300 students, resulting in a 29.1%
    change between 2001 and 2006. Increases in student population require that current resources be used
    efficiently and effectively to continue to meet the needs of students.

•   Retention Rates – Freshman to sophomore retention rates have been stable over the last six years (71%), even
    though total student enrollment has increased, suggesting that WCU is using their resources efficiently and
    effectively. WCU wishes to capitalize on this momentum and increase student retention rates. A review of the
    data shows that of the students who leave WCU, most do so after the first year. A smaller percentage of
    students (compared to freshman) leave after their sophomore year. Students who continue through their junior
    year at WCU tend to remain through graduation.

•   Graduation Rates – Six-year graduation rates have been stable over the last six years (47%). In comparing the
    relationship of SAT scores and first semester GPAs, GPA is a stronger predictor of graduation. As WCU aims to
    increase the institution‟s average SAT score, the data reveal that restricting enrollment to those students who
    are higher academic achievers in high school will not substantially improve retention rates alone. While those
    with the strongest high school academic records do tend to graduate at higher rates (on average), this group of
    students also has slightly lower retention rates compared to other groups of students, for example:

     –   Students entering WCU with SAT scores below 1000 are often retained to their sophomore year at rates
         similar to those scoring between 1001 and 1100 on the SAT.
     –   Students with the lowest SAT scores (below 1000) have approximately the same four- and six-year
         graduation rates as mid-range counterparts (between 1001 and 1100).
     –   For three of the last six years, retention rates for regular admits and Summer Success Program students
         were similar.
                                                                                                                      12
    Situational Analysis – Analysis of Findings (cont.)
•    The findings from the situational analysis suggest that the study needs to identify the reasons that students are
     departing WCU and offer recommendations on programs and services to address the needs of students who are
     “likely to leave” as well as “likely to stay.”

•    WCU's goal is to increase student retention and graduation rates as well as contribute to the System‟s overall
     retention and graduation rates. A review of WCU‟s pipeline of students (see WCU Pipeline on page 15) will
     illuminate WCU's student retention and graduation issues.

•    As shown in WCU‟s pipeline, for every 100 first-time, full-time freshmen, 71 students return to WCU for their
     sophomore year, while 29 leave after their freshman year. 60 students return for their junior year, while 11 do not.
     Finally, of the original 100 students, 47 students will graduate within six years, and another 13 students do not
     graduate between their junior year and sixth year. A total of 53 students leave WCU over a six-year period of time.

•    Of the 53 students who do not graduate within six years:

       –   24 dropout or are unable to be found through available tracking means. These students may attend an
           institution out-of-state, dropout from college, etc.

       –   26 students transfer to a two-year college in North Carolina (6 students), four-year public institution in
           North Carolina (17 students), or four-year private institution in North Carolina (3 students).

       –   3 of the 53 students graduate within 6.5 to 10 years from WCU. This group of students may have attended
           school part-time, switched majors, and/or taken a semester or more off from college.

•    After identifying where students go, the next step in the analysis is to examine what can be done to encourage
     students to remain in the pipeline to graduation, thereby reducing the number of students who leave (currently 53
     students for every 100 freshmen).


                                                                                                                            13
    Situational Analysis – Analysis of Findings (cont.)
There are 7 points in this pipeline at which WCU can attempt to intervene to retain more students from year to year
and graduate more students within six years (see WCU pipeline on page 15).
        1.   Recruitment & Admissions – Efforts that focus on recruiting, admitting, and enrolling students who want
             to graduate from WCU.
        2.   Freshman Focused Programs & Services – This includes efforts that exclusively target freshman students.
        3.   Sophomore Focused Programs & Services – This includes efforts that exclusively target sophomore
             students.
        4.   Junior/Senior Focused Programs & Services – This includes efforts that exclusively target upperclassmen.
        5.   At-Risk and Other Programs & Services – This includes programs and services to assist populations
             typically at-risk of dropping out or who have a decreased chance for graduation.
        6.   Increased Engagement Programs & Services – This population of students leaves WCU to attend other
             institutions, which suggests that these students were not sufficiently engaged at WCU. Therefore, these
             programs and services help students form stronger connections with other students and the campus.
        7.   Time-to-Degree Efforts – This includes efforts to reduce the time it takes to complete a bachelor‟s
             degree, such as ensuring that courses taken are needed for the intended degree. Also, programs with a
             large number of required credit hours can impede a student‟s chance for graduation within six years.

•    An assessment of WCU‟s current programs and services shows that there is a strong focus on admissions,
     Freshmen, and at-risk students (impact points 1, 2, and 3).

•    Therefore, there are opportunities for enhancements or new programs and services in impact points 2 through 7
     (Sophomores, Juniors/Seniors, Transfer (Out), and Time-to-Degree (Extended)).

                                                                                                                        14
               WCU PIPELINE                                   1. Recruitment
                                                              and Admissions
                      For every   100 Freshmen
                                                                   2. Freshman Focused
                                                                   Programs & Services
                                               Return
      29     Leave                        71Sophomore Yr.
                                                                      3. Sophomore
                                                                      Focused Programs
                                                     Return           & Services
53            11     Leave                 60       Junior Yr.

                                                                          4. Junior & Senior
                                                                          Focused Programs
                     13      Leave             47       Graduate          & Services


             5. At-Risk and Other                6. Increased                            7. Time-to-
             Programs and                        Engagement                              Degree
             Services                            Programs & Services                     Efforts


24 Other &
   Dropout
                             26      Transfer to
                                     2 or 4 yr. Inst.
                                                                      3   Graduate in
                                                                          6.5-10 years
                                                                                                   15
Situational Analysis – Analysis of Findings (cont.)
•   When examining students who leave, the majority (26 students of 53 leavers) attend another institution within
    North Carolina. This suggests that many students who leave WCU have the ability and motivation to be
    academically successful; they simply achieve their successes elsewhere.

     –   For three of the last five years, students with the highest first semester GPAs (above 3.0) leave at or
         above the rate of the lowest achieving students (first semester GPA below 2.0).

     –   WCU has the highest transfer-out bachelor‟s degree graduation rate of all four-year institutions in the
         UNC system (24%).


•   This group of transfer-out students may be leaving for a variety of reasons, some of which are beyond the
    control of WCU, for example:

     –   This group of transfer-out students may be students for whom WCU is not a good fit from the beginning.
         They may have enrolled at WCU with the intention of building a solid collegiate record in an effort to
         eventually transfer into their first choice school.

     –   Students within this group may change their major during their freshman or sophomore year and find
         that WCU does not offer their new desired major. As most incoming freshmen are often unsure about
         the path their academic lives will take, many may discover that WCU is not a good fit for them only after
         their first or second year of college.

     –   This group of transfer-out students may need more social connection to the university, a stronger sense
         of belonging. Stronger targeting of these students with activities for engagement may provide them with
         reasons to stay.



                                                                                                                     16
Situational Analysis – Analysis of Findings (cont.)
•   As a university within the North Carolina System, WCU contributes toward the System‟s mission by providing
    access, which includes students classified as low-socioeconomic status, who traditionally have lower retention
    and graduation rates. The data suggest that eliminating the lowest achieving high school students from the
    freshman class will not necessarily increase retention rates. Instead, providing those students with strong
    academic support could greatly improve their chances of collegiate success. Further, assisting these students
    in developing social connections with both peers and faculty may increase their allegiance to WCU and
    ultimately improve retention rates.

     –   Approximately 13% of freshmen are first generation college students, typically very motivated learners,
         but a group of students who may need more support to be successful since there will be less familiarity
         with the college experience from relatives. Programs that target this group and promote the pride that
         they and their families feel about their achievements may encourage a strong sense of loyalty to WCU, as
         WCU is the only institution of higher education in their family‟s history. Promoting this emerging legacy of
         commitment to WCU may have ripple effects with students for generations.




                                                                                                                        17
Enrollment Patterns
•      Between 2001 and 2006, total enrollment steadily increased, resulting in a 29.1% change over the six-year period.
•      Undergraduate enrollment increased by 26.9% during the 2001 to 2006 time period. This included growth of 26.5%
       increase in full-time undergraduate enrollment (1,287 students) and 29.8% growth in part-time undergraduate
       enrollment (207 students). Total graduate enrollment increased by 43.2% during the same time period (517
       students).
•      Undergraduate students comprise approximately 80% of the total student population.


                                              EXHIBIT 2-1:
                FALL ENROLLMENTS BY STATUS, CLASSIFICATION, AND LEVEL, 2001 THROUGH 2006
                                                                                       ENROLLMENT - FALL
                                      FULL-TIME                                            PART-TIME                                           TOTAL
       CLASS     2001       2002     2003     2004    2005    2006     2001    2002      2003      2004    2005    2006    2001    2002    2003     2004    2005    2006
UNDERGRADUATE
  Freshmen         1,627     1,637   1,869    2,076   2,085    2,108      58      36         52       35      34      60   1,685   1,673   1,921    2,111   2,119   2,168
  Sophomores       1,134     1,191   1,181    1,317   1,391    1,414      51      56         70       80      82     114   1,185   1,247   1,251    1,397   1,473   1,528
  Juniors            970       962   1,046    1,135   1,195    1,267     235     193        222      243     345     253   1,205   1,155   1,268    1,378   1,540   1,520
  Seniors          1,132     1,143   1,188    1,255   1,315    1,361     350     363        358      509     442     474   1,482   1,506   1,546    1,764   1,757   1,835
Subtotal           4,863     4,933   5,284    5,783   5,986   6,150      694     648        702      867     903     901   5,557   5,581   5,986    6,650   6,889   7,051
OTHER
 Other                  9      14        8       19      29      28       99      70         93      116      62      67     108      84     101      135      91      95
Subtotal                9      14        8       19      29      28       99      70         93      116      62      67     108      84     101      135      91      95
GRADUATE
 Graduate            393       440     452      505     522     525      805     928       1,022   1,106   1,163   1,190   1,198   1,368   1,474    1,611   1,685   1,715
Subtotal             393       440     452      505     522     525      805     928       1,022   1,106   1,163   1,190   1,198   1,368   1,474    1,611   1,685   1,715
TOTAL              5,265     5,387   5,744    6,307   6,537   6,703    1,598   1,646       1,817   2,089   2,128   2,158   6,863   7,033   7,561    8,396   8,665   8,861

Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.




                                                                                                                                                                            18
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-2 illustrates the 26.9% growth in undergraduate enrollment during the six-year period from 2001 to 2006.
•   Between 2001 and 2006, enrollment grew between 0.4% and 11.1% annually.
•   Undergraduate enrollment rose by 2.4% from Fall 2005 to Fall 2006, an increase of 162 students.




                                           EXHIBIT 2-2:
                  FALL UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT ENROLLMENT TREND, 2001 THROUGH 2006




                                                                                                            7,051
          8,000




                                                                                                   6,889
                                                                                   6,650
          7,000


                                                                5,986
                         5,557




                                            5,581




          6,000

          5,000

          4,000

          3,000

          2,000

          1,000
                        2001               2002                2003               2004            2005     2006



      Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.




                                                                                                                         19
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-3 shows WCU‟s undergraduate enrollment by classification for Fall 2006.
•   Concentrations among undergraduate students were heaviest at the beginning and end of the college
    experience, with 56.7% of the total undergraduate student body classified as either a freshman or a senior.


                                        EXHIBIT 2-3:
                         UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT ENROLLMENT, FALL 2006




                                          Seniors
                                          26.0%                                Freshmen
                                                                                30.7%




                                                                               Sophomores
                                           Juniors
                                                                                 20.2%
                                           21.6%




                            Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional
                            Research and Planning, 2007.
                                                                                                                  20
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
•   Full-time undergraduate enrollment increased steadily from 2001 to 2006, resulting in a total increase of
    1,287 full-time students (26.5%).
•   Part-time undergraduate enrollments fluctuated slightly during the same six-year period, but overall rose by
    29.8% or 207 part-time students.


                                                   EXHIBIT 2-4:
                    FALL UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT TREND BY ENROLLMENT STATUS, 2001 THROUGH 2006

                    7,000       Full-Time
                                                                                                              6,150
                                Part-Time                                        5,783          5,986
                    6,000
                                                            5,284
                            4,863           4,933
                    5,000
      ENROLLMENTS




                    4,000


                    3,000


                    2,000

                                                                                         867            903           901
                    1,000           694             648             702


                       0
                                2001            2002            2003                 2004           2005          2006


    Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.




                                                                                                                            21
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
•     Male student enrollment increased by 26% between 2001 and 2006 with an addition of 700 male students over
      the six-year period.
•     During the same period, female enrollments rose by 794 students, an increase of 27.7%.



                                                         EXHIBIT 2-5:
                               FALL UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT TREND BY GENDER, 2001 THROUGH 2006


                                 Male




                                                                                                                                                                 3663
                                                                                                                                           3,588
                       4,000




                                                                                                                    3,469




                                                                                                                                                   3388
                                 Female




                                                                                                                            3,301
                                                                                                     3,181
                                                                                             3,080
                                                                              2,906
                                                                      2,866
                                               2,869




                                                       2,715
                                2,688




                       3,000
         ENROLLMENTS




                       2,000




                       1,000




                          0
                                        2001                   2002                   2003                   2004                   2005                  2006



    Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.




                                                                                                                                                                        22
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
• Exhibit 2-6 illustrates Fall undergraduate enrollment from 2001 to 2006 by geographical origin. During this time,
  North Carolina resident enrollment increased by 32.1% (1,592 students).
• Out-of-state student enrollment decreased by 16.2% (98 students) over the six-year period.
• The proportion of North Carolina residents to non-residents enrolled at WCU increased, as in-state enrollment
  rose by 3.7% over the six-year period.

                                         EXHIBIT 2-6:
              FALL UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT BY STUDENT ORIGIN, 2001 THROUGH 2006

                                                                                                                 CHANGE
                  ORIGIN                 2001         2002        2003       2004        2005       2006
                                                                                                             Num ber Percent
       North Carolina Resident               4952      5,041       5,425       6,023      6,260      6,544     1,592    32.1%
       Non-North Carolina Resident              605      540         561        627         629       507        (98)   -16.2%
       TOTAL                                5,557      5,581       5,986      6,650       6,889     7,051      1,494    26.8%

                                                                                                             % Point
                  ORIGIN                 2001         2002        2003       2004        2005       2006
                                                                                                             Change
       North Carolina Resident              89.1%      90.3%       90.6%       90.6%      90.9%      92.8%      3.7%
      Non-North Carolina Resident           10.9%          9.7%        9.4%       9.4%       9.1%     7.2%      -3.7%
      TOTAL                                  100%       100.0%       100.0%     100.0%     100.0%   100.0%      0.0%
      Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.




                                                                                                                                 23
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
                                                           EXHIBIT 2-7:
  •   Exhibit 2-7 illustrates Fall 2006        UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY,
      undergraduate enrollment by ethnicity.                 FALL 2006

  •   White students constitute the
      overwhelming majority (90.4%) of all                                           Native
      undergraduate students at WCU.                                Black           American          Asian
                                                                    5.7%             1.4%             1.0%
  •   African Americans are the largest
      minority group among undergraduate                                                            Hispanic
      students, constituting 5.7% of the                                                             1.5%

      population.




                                                                                                       White
                                                                                                       90.4%




                                                Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional
                                                Research and Planning, 2007.



                                                                                                               24
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-8 indicates the percentage of first-year students who identified themselves as first-generation college
    students at WCU and within the entire UNC system in 2000 and in 2005.
•   Between 2000 and 2005, the system-wide percentage of first-generation college students rose by 1%.
•   The percentage of first-generation college students at WCU decreased by 3.3% in the same time period.


                                      EXHIBIT 2-8:
            FRESHMAN FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS, WCU AND SYSTEM-WIDE
                                   FALL 2000 AND 2005

                                                                                          WCU
                           20.0%                                                          Total UNC




                           15.0%            16.5%                                 16.3%
                                                     15.3%

                                                                         13.2%
                           10.0%




                            5.0%




                            0.0%
                                              2000                         2005


                        Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and
                        Planning, 2007.                                                                                 25
Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
•   The percentage of students applying only to WCU has increased from 23.6% in Fall 2000 to 27.2% in Fall
    2005 (an increase of 3.6%). Conversely, the system-wide percentage of students applying to only one
    institution decreased by 2.7%.
•   During the same six-year period, the percentage of WCU students who applied to only one or two schools
    other than WCU increased by 0.9% and 0.8% respectively.
•   Additionally, the percentages of WCU students who applied to four and five or more institutions decreased
    by 2.1% and 3.2% respectively, in that time period. This trend is also in contrast to the system-wide
    increase in the percentage of students applying to four or more institutions (3.8% increase between 2000
    and 2005).

                                                                                                                        2000
                                           30.0%
                                                                                                                        2001
EXHIBIT 2-9:                               25.0%                                                                        2002
NUMBER OF COLLEGES TO WHICH                                                                                             2003
WCU INCOMING CLASS APPLIED                 20.0%
                                                                                                                        2004
FALL 2000 THROUGH FALL 2005                                                                                             2005
                                           15.0%

                                           10.0%

                                             5.0%

                                             0.0%
                                                         1              2              3              4          5 or more

                                                                              Number of Colleges


                                           Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.
                                                                                                                                       26
 Enrollment Patterns (cont.)
 •   The percentage of students who lived in rural communities prior to attending WCU increased by 2.4% from 2000 to
     2005. The percentage of students coming from moderate-size cities also increased (1.3%).
 •   The percentage of WCU students from small towns, large cities, and urban areas decreased during the same time
     period, by 0.9%, 1.4% and 1.6% respectively.




                                      40%                        37.8%
                                                                         36.9%                                                                   2000
EXHIBIT 2-10:                                                                                                                                    2005
                                      35%
HIGH SCHOOL AREA OF
RESIDENCY FOR INCOMING                30%
WCU FRESHMAN CLASS
                                                                                       22.8% 24.1%
FALL 2000 AND FALL 2005               25%

                                      20%             18.4%
                                              16.0%
                                      15%
                                                                                                                                     12.5%
                                                                                                               11.0%                           10.9%
                                                                                                                        9.6%
                                      10%

                                       5%

                                       0%
                                                  Rural       Small To wn (<20,000)   M o derate-Size City   Large City (60,001-   Urban A rea (>100,000)
                                                                                        (20,001-60,000)           100,000)

                                   Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.


                                                                                                                                                            27
Retention Rates
•    Exhibit 2-11 displays the retention rates for each freshman student cohort from 2000-01 through 2005-06.
•    Of the students who leave WCU, most do so after the first year (26% to 30%).
•    A number of other students (11% to 14%) leave after their sophomore year.
•    Students who continue through their junior year at WCU tend to stay through graduation.




                                                                                                               Freshman to Sophmore
                                              100%                                                             Freshman to Junior
                                               90%                                                             Freshman to Senior
    EXHIBIT 2-11:                              80%
    OVERALL RETENTION RATES                    70%
    2000-01 THROUGH 2005-06                    60%
                                               50%
                                               40%
                                               30%
                                               20%
                                               10%
                                                0%
                                                       2000-01      2001-02       2002-03      2003-04      2004-05       2005-06

                                                                                    Incoming Cohort


                                            Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.

                                                                                                                                        28
Retention Rates (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-12 displays the freshman to sophomore retention rates by SAT score from Fall 2000 through Fall 2005.
•   Students admitted with SAT scores higher than 1100 (72.8% in Fall 2005) are retained at a slightly higher rate
    than those with scores below 1100 (71.7% for students with less than 1000, and 68.8% for students with 1001
    to 1100).
•   In Fall 2000 and every year since Fall 2003, students with the lowest scores (below 1000) have been retained at
    a rate equal to or above that of students with mid-range scores (1000 to 1100).




                                              90.0%
EXHIBIT 2-12:                                                                                                              <1000
RETENTION RATES BY SAT                                                                                                     1001-1100
SCORE, FRESHMAN-SOPHOMORE                                                                                                  >1100
2000 THROUGH 2005
                                              80.0%




                                              70.0%




                                              60.0%
                                                        Fall 2000    Fall 2001    Fall 2002    Fall 2003    Fall 2004    Fall 2005
                                                                                   Incoming Cohort

                                             Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.   29
Retention Rates (cont.)
•     Exhibit 2-13 displays the freshman to sophomore retention rates by high school GPA from Fall 2001 through Fall 2005.
•     Exhibit 2-14 displays the freshman to junior retention rates by high school GPA for the same group of students from
      Fall 2001 through Fall 2004.
•     As expected, students with a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher were retained at a consistently higher rate than those
      with lower high school GPAs.


                      EXHIBIT 2-13:                                                                     EXHIBIT 2-14:
           RETENTION RATES BY HIGH SCHOOL GPA                                                RETENTION RATES BY HIGH SCHOOL GPA
                FRESHMAN TO SOPHOMORE                                                               FRESHMAN TO JUNIOR
                   2000 THROUGH 2005                                                                 2000 THROUGH 2005
                                                                                                 2.0-2.49
     90%                                                                              90%
                                                                                                 2.5-2.99
     80%                                                                              80%        3.0-3.49
                                                                                                 3.5-4.0
     70%                                                                              70%


     60%                                                                              60%


     50%      2.0-2.49                                                                50%
              2.5-2.99
     40%                                                                              40%
              3.0-3.49

              3.5-4.0
     30%                                                                              30%
           Fall 2000     Fall 2001   Fall 2002    Fall 2003   Fall 2004   Fall 2005         Fall 2000       Fall 2001      Fall 2002      Fall 2003   Fall 2004
                                        Incoming Cohort                                                                 Incoming Cohort

    Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.


                                                                                                                                                                  30
Retention Rates (cont.)
•    Exhibit 2-15 displays the freshman to sophomore retention rates for Honors, Regular Admit, and Summer Success
     Program students from Fall 2000 through Fall 2005.
•    Exhibit 2-16 displays the freshman to junior retention rates for the same students from Fall 2000 through Fall 2004.
•    Honors students were retained at a consistently higher rate than other student groups.
•    In 2000, 2002, 2003, freshman to sophomore retention rates were very similar for SSP students and regular admit
     students.
•    Exhibit 15 shows a declining rate of retention for SSP students since Fall 2003.

                  EXHIBIT 2-15:                                                                         EXHIBIT 2-16:
                RETENTION RATES                                                                       RETENTION RATES
    HONORS, REGULAR ADMIT, AND SSP STUDENTS,                                              HONORS, REGULAR ADMIT, AND SSP STUDENTS,
            FRESHMAN TO SOPHOMORE                                                                   FRESHMAN TO JUNIOR
               2000 THROUGH 2005                                                                     2000 THROUGH 2004
     100%                                                                       Honors    100%                                                                 Honors
                                                                                Regular                                                                        Regular
      90%                                                                       SSP        90%                                                                 SSP


      80%                                                                                  80%


      70%                                                                                  70%


      60%                                                                                  60%


      50%                                                                                  50%


      40%                                                                                  40%
            Fall 2000   Fall 2001   Fall 2002      Fall 2003   Fall 2004   Fall 2005             Fall 2000   Fall 2001      Fall 2002      Fall 2003   Fall 2004
                                        Incoming Cohort                                                                  Incoming Cohort


    Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.
                                                                                                                                                                         31
Retention Rates (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-17 displays the freshman to sophomore retention rates by first-semester GPA from Fall 2001 through
    Fall 2005.
•   Students with mid-range GPAs (2.1 to 3.0) after their first semester were most likely to remain at WCU.
•   Students with a first-semester GPA of 3.0 or higher were retained at the lowest rate for three of the five years
    (2001, 2003, 2004).




                                         100%                                                                                <=2.0
                                                                                                                             2.1 to 3.0
EXHIBIT 2-17:                                                                                                                >3.0
RETENTION RATES FOR                       90%
ENTERING FRESHMAN COHORT
BY FIRST-SEMESTER GPA                     80%
FRESHMAN-SOPHOMORE, 2000
THROUGH 2005
                                          70%


                                          60%


                                          50%
                                                     Fall 2001        Fall 2002         Fall 2003        Fall 2004        Fall 2005
                                                                                    Incoming Cohort

                                        Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.
                                                                                                                                          32
Retention Rates (cont.)
•    Exhibit 2-18 displays the retention rates for both full-time and part-time transfer students from their entry year
     through the following fall for 2000 through 2005.
•    Full-time transfer student retention rates were typically higher than those of their part-time counterparts and were
     more consistent over the examined time period.




                                         100%                                                                         New Full-Time Transfer
    EXHIBIT 2-18:
    RETENTION RATES OF                    90%
                                                                                                                      New Part-Time Transfer

    FULL- AND PART-TIME
    TRANSFER STUDENTS                     80%
    FROM ENTRY YEAR TO THE
    FOLLOWING FALL, 2000                  70%
    THROUGH 2005
                                          60%


                                          50%


                                          40%
                                                    Fall 2000      Fall 2001       Fall 2002     Fall 2003        Fall 2004       Fall 2005
                                                                                       Incoming Cohort

                                         Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.



                                                                                                                                               33
Retention Rates (cont.)
•     Exhibits 2-19 and 2-20 display the freshman to sophomore and freshman to junior retention rates for first-time,
      full-time students by housing status for Fall 2001 through 2005.
•     Retention rates for students living on campus have been at or above those of their off campus counterparts for
      five of the six examined years.
•     The number of students living off campus typically is low and many of those students may be living with a
      relative.

                   EXHIBIT 2-19:                                                                 EXHIBIT 2-20:
      RETENTION RATES OF FIRST-TIME FULL-TIME                                       RETENTION RATES OF FIRST-TIME FULL-TIME
           STUDENTS BY HOUSING STATUS,                                                   STUDENTS BY HOUSING STATUS,
             FRESHMAN TO SOPHOMORE                                                           FRESHMAN TO JUNIOR
                2000 THROUGH 2005                                                             2000 THROUGH 2004
    80%                                                                                                                                   Off Campus
                                                                                    80%
                                                                                                                                          On Campus
    70%
                                                                                    70%

    60%
                                                                       Off Campus   60%

    50%                                                                On Campus
                                                                                    50%

    40%
                                                                                    40%

    30%
                                                                                    30%
           Fall 2000   Fall 2001   Fall 2002   Fall 2003   Fall 2004   Fall 2005
                                                                                          Fall 2000   Fall 2001   Fall 2002   Fall 2003   Fall 2004
                                     Incoming Cohort

    Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.
                                                                                                                                                       34
Retention Rates (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-21 displays the entry year to following fall retention rates for full-time transfer students by housing
    status.
•   Entry to second year retention rates for transfer students living on campus closely approximates those of off-
    campus students for the entire period.



                                           EXHIBIT 2-21:
                RETENTION RATES FOR FULL-TIME TRANSFER STUDENTS BY HOUSING STATUS
                         ENTRY YEAR TO FOLLOWING FALL, 2000 THROUGH 2005

                            80%


                            70%


                            60%

                                                                                               Off Campus
                            50%
                                                                                               On Campus
                            40%


                            30%
                                   Fall 2000   Fall 2001   Fall 2002   Fall 2003   Fall 2004    Fall 2005
                                                             Incoming Cohort

                           Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and
                           Planning, 2007.

                                                                                                                        35
Retention Rates – UNC System
•   Exhibit 2-22 displays the retention rates for the first-time full-time freshman cohort entering in 2004-2005 for
    each of the 16 institutions within the University of North Carolina System for 2004-2005.

•   While the UNC institutions do not all share the same mission and can be expected to have different retention
    rates, the chart does illustrate that WCU faces an opportunity for improvement.

•   WCU ranked 15th within the UNC System, with the next closest institution‟s retention rate (UNC-Pembroke) only
    one percentage-point away.



                                           100%      96%

                                            90%              86% 86%
                                                                                83%
                                                                                         79% 77%
                                            80%                                                  76% 76% 76% 75% 75% 75%
EXHIBIT 2-22:                                                                                                            73% 72% 71%

FIRST-TIME FULL-TIME                        70%
                                                                                                                                                                           57%
RETENTION RATES FOR THE                     60%

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH                         50%
CAROLINA INSTITUTIONS,                      40%
2004-2005                                   30%

                                            20%
                                            10%

                                             0%


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                                         Source: IPEDS Graduation Survey, and Enrollment Survey, 2005.
                                                                                                                                                                                 36
Graduation Rates
 •     Exhibit 2-23 displays the four-year graduation rates by SAT score. Students with mid-range SAT scores (1001 to
       1100) and those with scores below 1000 had a more similar four-year graduation rate than those with SAT scores
       higher than 1100. For the 2000 cohort, the students with the lowest SAT scores graduated at a 3.8% higher rate
       than their mid-range score counterparts.
 •     Exhibit 2-24 displays the four-year graduation rates by first-semester GPA. Students with first-semester GPAs of
       3.0 or higher graduated within four years at a consistently higher rate than those with lower GPAs.
 •     In comparing the relationship of SAT scores and first semester GPAs, GPA is a stronger predictor of graduation
       (Exhibit 2-23 and Exhibit 2-24).

                   EXHIBIT 2-23:                                                               EXHIBIT 2-24:
     FOUR-YEAR GRADUATION RATES FOR ENTERING                                     FOUR-YEAR GRADUATION RATES FOR ENTERING
                FRESHMAN COHORT                                                             FRESHMAN COHORT
                   BY SAT SCORE                                                           BY FIRST-SEMESTER GPA
                1996 THROUGH 2001                                                           1996 THROUGH 2001
60%                                                          <1000                                                                                   <=2.0
                                                                               60%
                                                             1001-1100                                                                               2.1 to 2.9
50%                                                          >1100             50%                                                                   >3.0
40%                                                                            40%

30%                                                                            30%

20%                                                                            20%

10%                                                                            10%

  0%                                                                            0%
        Fall 1996 Fall 1997 Fall 1998 Fall 1999 Fall 2000 Fall 2001                   Fall 1996   Fall 1997   Fall 1998   Fall 1999   Fall 2000   Fall 2001
                              Incoming Cohort                                                                   Incoming Cohort

Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.                                                                     37
 Graduation Rates (cont.)
  •    Consistent with the analysis of four-year graduation rates, first semester GPA is a stronger indicator of graduation
       rates (Exhibit 2-25 and Exhibit 2-26).
  •    As seen in Exhibit 2-25, students with mid-range SAT scores (1001 to 1100) and those with scores below 1000 had
       approximately the same six-year graduation rate. For the 1999 entering freshman cohort, the students with the
       lowest SAT scores graduated at a 2.2% higher rate than their mid-range score counterparts.
  •    Exhibit 2-26 shows the six-year graduation rates for the entering freshman cohorts for Fall 1996 through Fall 1999
       by first semester GPA. Students with higher first-semester GPAs (2.1 to 2.9 and 3.0 or higher) graduated within six
       years at a consistently higher rate than those with lower first-semester GPAs.


                    EXHIBIT 2-25:                                                                 EXHIBIT 2-26:
      SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATES FOR ENTERING                                        SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATES FOR ENTERING
           FRESHMAN COHORT BY SAT SCORE                                             FRESHMAN COHORT BY FIRST-SEMESTER GPA
                 1996 THROUGH 1999                                                             1996 THROUGH 1999
                                                                <1000
80%                                                                           80%
                                                                1001-1100
70%                                                             >1100         70%
60%                                                                           60%
50%                                                                           50%
40%                                                                           40%
30%                                                                           30%
20%                                                                           20%
                                                                                                                                     <=2.0
10%                                                                           10%                                                    2.1 to 2.9
                                                                                                                                     >3.0
 0%                                                                            0%
          Fall 1996        Fall 1997         Fall 1998       Fall 1999                  Fall 1996   Fall 1997        Fall 1998   Fall 1999
                                 Incoming Cohort                                                         Incom ing Cohort


Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.                                                         38
Graduation Rates (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-27 displays six-year graduation rates for the 1998 cohort by ethnicity.
•   Asian and Non-Resident Alien students tended to graduate at a higher rate than other student groups (63% and
    71%, respectively), while Hispanic students graduated at a rate lower than the institutional average (30%).
•   Black, American Indian, and White students graduated at approximately the same rate as the institutional
    average of 46%.


                                             EXHIBIT 2-27:
                                SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATES BY ETHNICITY
                          1998 ENTERING FRESHMAN COHORT GRADUATING IN 2004


              100%
               90%
               80%
               70%
               60%
                                                                                                                        Institution
               50%                                                                                                         Wide
               40%                                                                                                         Rate
               30%                                                                                                         46%
               20%
               10%
                0%
                          Black          Hispanic         Asian      American Indian      White          Non-Resident
                                                                                                             Alien


             Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.                                39
Graduation Rates – UNC System
•   Exhibit 2-28 shows the six-year graduation rates for each of the 16 institutions within the University of North
    Carolina System for 2004-2005.

•   WCU‟s six-year graduation rate in 2004-2005 was 47 percent, which was below the rates of 11 of its state peers.

•   WCU ranks higher on six-year bachelor‟s degree graduation rates (Exhibit 2-28) compared to retention rates for
    each of the 16 institutions within the University of North Carolina System (Exhibit 2-22).



    EXHIBIT 2-28:                              90%    84%
    SIX-YEAR BACHELOR’S DEGREE                 80%
                                                             71%
    GRADUATION RATES FOR THE                   70%                      64% 63%
    UNIVERSITY OF NORTH                        60%                                  56% 54%
                                                                                            53% 51%
    CAROLINA INSTITUTIONS,                                                                          49% 49% 48% 47%
                                               50%                                                                  45%
    2004-2005                                                                                                                      42% 40%
                                               40%                                                                                           35%

                                               30%

                                               20%
                                               10%

                                               0%

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                                             Sources: IPEDS Graduation Survey, and Enrollment Survey, 2005.
                                                                                                                                                   40
Students Who Leave

•   WCU provided MGT with a list of 1,726 former                                  EXHIBIT 2-29:
    students of WCU for a telephone survey. [The                         PERCENTAGE OF FORMER STUDENTS
    survey of former students is available in Appendix                         BY CONTACT RESULT
    A.]
                                                           35.0%

                                                                    29.3%
•   Telephone contact information was available for 99     30.0%

    students.                                              25.0%
                                                                               24.2%


                                                                                          19.2%
                                                           20.0%
•   Of the available numbers, 72.7% had been
    disconnected, wrong, or led to an answering            15.0%
                                                                                                     14.1%

    machine. Students with answering machines were                                                              8.1%
    called three times.                                    10.0%


                                                           5.0%                                                              4.0%
                                                                                                                                          1.0%
•   Contact was made with 9.1% of former students,         0.0%
    with 8.1% completing the interview.                            Answering    Wrong Disconnected No Answer Completed      Did Not      Refused
                                                                    Machine    Number    Number               Interview     Accept       Interview
                                                                                                                          Unidentified
•   Students who completed the interview stated that                                                                         Calls

    their reasons for attending and leaving WCU were
                                                         Sources: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and
    primarily personal and were beyond WCU‟s control
                                                         Planning, 2007, and MGT analysis, 2007.
    (e.g., wanted to be closer to family; wanted to be
    farther from family or friends in the Cullowhee
    area; WCU did not have the major the student
    wanted).
                                                                                                                                                     41
Students Who Leave (cont.)
•   Exhibit 2-30 displays the percentage of students who transferred to another UNC campus, by institution for a six-year
    period. WCU is consistently above the System average on this measure for students who transferred (as a percentage
    of undergraduate enrollments) to a two- or four-year institution, between 2000 and 2005.
•   WCU had the highest percentage of students who transferred to a four-year institution in the UNC System (as a
    percentage of undergraduate enrollments) for three years between Fall 2000 and Fall 2005.
•   During that same six-year period, there was only one year (2001) in which WCU had the highest percentage of
    students who transferred to a two-year institution in the UNC System (as a percentage of undergraduate enrollments).

                                            EXHIBIT 2-30:
                        PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS WHO TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER
                       UNC CAMPUS, BY INSTITUTION, FALL 2000 THROUGH FALL 2005
                                              Four-Year Institutions: Transfers                        Two-Year Institutions: Transfers
                                       as a Percentage of Undergraduate Enrollments            as a Percentage of Undergraduate Enrollments
          INSTITUTION                     2000     2001     2002     2003     2004     2005     2000     2001     2002     2003     2004     2005
          WCU                           1.52%    2.29%    1.86%    1.79%    1.49%    2.21%    0.80%    0.79%    0.69%    0.72%    0.67%    0.74%
          ASU                           1.47%    1.43%    1.56%    1.68%    1.39%    1.60%    0.75%    0.70%    0.47%    0.58%    0.65%    0.58%
          ECU                           1.27%    1.02%    1.10%    1.18%    1.02%    1.09%    0.71%    0.77%    0.82%    0.85%    0.74%    0.69%
          ECSU                          0.92%    1.43%    1.24%    1.04%    1.27%    1.35%    0.50%    0.56%    0.53%    0.64%    0.69%    0.55%
          FSU                           1.17%    1.51%    1.04%    0.96%    1.22%    1.16%    0.41%    0.59%    0.57%    0.87%    0.60%    0.56%
          NCAT                          1.17%    1.42%    1.25%    1.07%    1.29%    1.10%    0.26%    0.54%    0.72%    0.67%    0.74%    0.60%
          NCCU                          1.11%    1.31%    0.97%    0.85%    0.97%    1.11%    0.23%    0.46%    0.38%    0.34%    0.30%    0.22%
          NCSA                          0.77%    1.39%    1.35%    1.76%    1.32%    0.82%    0.64%    0.55%    0.41%    0.25%    0.53%    0.41%
          NC St.                        1.60%    1.90%    1.69%    1.80%    1.87%    1.80%    0.39%    0.32%    0.45%    0.46%    0.38%    0.42%
          UNC-A                         1.73%    1.51%    1.50%    1.26%    1.31%    1.53%    0.31%    0.28%    0.33%    0.27%    0.30%    0.24%
          UNC-CH                        0.51%    0.70%    0.79%    0.61%    0.59%    0.59%    0.11%    0.08%    0.13%    0.13%    0.16%    0.18%
          UNC-C                         0.79%    0.75%    0.91%    0.95%    0.94%    0.97%    0.42%    0.33%    0.35%    0.38%    0.52%    0.48%
          UNC-G                         1.73%    1.63%    1.58%    1.66%    1.82%    1.58%    0.67%    0.68%    0.72%    0.80%    1.26%    1.10%
          UNC-P                         1.51%    1.61%    1.33%    1.78%    1.24%    1.36%    0.85%    0.78%    0.85%    0.76%    0.81%    0.88%
          UNC-W                         1.23%    1.32%    1.62%    1.28%    1.24%    1.61%    0.53%    0.58%    0.63%    0.59%    0.54%    0.43%
          WSSU                          1.00%    1.21%    1.48%    1.01%    1.08%    1.43%    0.46%    0.50%    0.28%    0.55%    0.39%    0.34%
          System Average with WCU       1.22%    1.35%    1.32%    1.30%    1.27%    1.34%    0.47%    0.49%    0.51%    0.54%    0.57%    0.53%
          System Average without WCU    1.21%    1.31%    1.30%    1.28%    1.26%    1.30%    0.46%    0.48%    0.50%    0.54%    0.57%    0.52%

          Sources: University of North Carolina, Statistical Abstracts 1999-00 through 2005-06 and IPEDS Enrollment
                                                                                                                                                    42
          Surveys, 2000 through 2005. Note: Yellow highlighting indicates value is above WCU‟s percentage for that year.
Students Who Transferred to WCU
•   Exhibit 2-31 shows the percentage of students who transferred from another UNC campus to WCU, by institution, for a
    six-year period. WCU is consistently below the System average on this measure for students who transferred (as a
    percentage of undergraduate enrollments) from a two- or four-year institution to WCU, during this period of time.
•   Of the students who transferred to WCU from another UNC campus between 2000 and 2005, more transferred from a
    two-year institution rather than from a four-year institution.
•   WCU ranks high in the percentage of students who transfer from a two-year institution within the UNC System. For
    three of those six years, WCU ranked fourth or higher among UNC schools.


                                         EXHIBIT 2-31:
             PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS THAT TRANSFERRED FROM ANOTHER UNC CAMPUS,
                         BY INSTITUTION, FALL 2000 THROUGH FALL 2005
                                                  From Four-Year Institutions: Transfers                From Two-Year Institutions: Transfers
                                             as a Percentage of Undergraduate Enrollments          as a Percentage of Undergraduate Enrollments
                INSTITUTION                    2000     2001     2002     2003     2004     2005     2000     2001     2002     2003     2004     2005
                WCU                          0.81%    0.71%    0.96%    0.90%    0.77%    0.78%    3.49%    4.19%    4.08%    4.69%    5.12%    4.69%
                ASU                          0.84%    0.94%    0.88%    0.76%    0.86%    0.78%    2.75%    2.88%    2.67%    2.68%    3.30%    3.21%
                ECU                          0.91%    1.20%    1.10%    0.97%    1.00%    1.14%    3.41%    3.50%    3.80%    4.23%    4.41%    4.25%
                ECSU                         0.32%    0.35%    1.02%    0.92%    0.73%    0.91%    2.71%    3.12%    4.21%    3.05%    4.12%    3.10%
                FSU                          0.78%    0.92%    1.43%    1.15%    0.77%    2.03%    2.19%    3.35%    3.57%    3.90%    4.02%    5.87%
                NCAT                         0.69%    1.08%    0.82%    0.89%    0.73%    0.82%    1.70%    1.89%    2.31%    2.08%    1.78%    1.78%
                NCCU                         1.60%    1.56%    1.83%    1.22%    1.17%    1.15%    2.28%    2.51%    2.92%    2.71%    2.53%    2.21%
                NCSA                         0.77%    0.97%    1.22%    1.63%    1.19%    1.09%    0.90%    1.11%    1.35%    1.38%    0.79%    1.63%
                NC St.                       1.56%    1.49%    1.68%    1.55%    1.63%    1.26%    1.50%    1.59%    1.72%    1.75%    1.59%    1.47%
                UNC-A                        1.29%    1.51%    1.70%    1.21%    0.76%    0.87%    2.91%    3.72%    4.29%    2.74%    2.71%    3.25%
                UNC-CH                       1.04%    1.14%    0.91%    1.23%    1.32%    1.39%    0.69%    0.88%    0.73%    1.02%    1.18%    0.95%
                UNC-C                        1.76%    1.79%    1.59%    1.58%    1.70%    1.88%    4.31%    4.39%    4.57%    4.74%    4.71%    5.11%
                UNC-G                        1.66%    1.98%    1.74%    1.88%    1.56%    2.64%    4.01%    4.14%    4.07%    3.70%    3.96%    4.01%
                UNC-P                        1.14%    1.28%    0.97%    1.18%    1.16%    0.80%    6.31%    6.51%    6.89%    5.91%    5.87%    5.57%
                UNC-W                        1.32%    1.52%    1.44%    1.71%    1.43%    1.36%    5.15%    5.01%    5.28%    6.29%    6.60%    6.49%
                WSSU                         1.41%    1.59%    1.65%    1.52%    2.05%    1.29%    3.53%    3.56%    5.38%    3.73%    5.01%    4.51%
                System Average with WCU      1.22%    1.35%    1.32%    1.30%    1.27%    1.34%    2.81%    3.05%    3.24%    3.30%    3.46%    3.45%
                System Average without WCU   1.24%    1.38%    1.33%    1.32%    1.29%    1.36%    2.78%    3.00%    3.21%    3.24%    3.39%    3.39%
                Sources: University of North Carolina, Statistical Abstracts 1999-00 through 2005-06 and IPEDS Enrollment
                Surveys, 2000 through 2005. Note: Yellow highlighting indicates value is above WCU‟s percentage for that year.                           43
Transfer-Out Rates – UNC System
•   Exhibit 2-32 shows the percentage of transfer-out students at each UNC institution.
•   A transfer-out student is a first-time full-time freshman student who has not completed or graduated from the
    institution in which he or she first enrolled, but who has subsequently enrolled at another eligible institution.
•   WCU‟s transfer-out rate was the highest among the University of North Carolina institutions in 2004-2005. This
    suggests that WCU has room to impact its student retention rates as well as graduation rates as this group of
    students is transferring to another institution to complete their degree.




                                               30%


                                               25%    24%
EXHIBIT 2-32:                                                 23%
                                                                       21%
TRANSFER-OUT BACHELOR’S                                                         20%      20%
                                               20%
DEGREE GRADUATION RATES
FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF                          15%
                                                                                                      15%       15%          15%    15%
                                                                                                                                          14%   14%   14%   14%
NORTH CAROLINA
INSTITUTIONS, 2004-2005                        10%                                                                                                                9%

                                                                                                                                                                         6%
                                                5%                                                                                                                                   4%



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                                             Sources: Source: IPEDS Graduation Survey, and Enrollment Survey, 2005.                                                                       44
Common Characteristics of Students
•   Examining data of students who do and do not return for their sophomore year at WCU provides an opportunity to
    identify common characteristics of students who are retained and those who are not. This information serves as an
    early warning for faculty and staff of students who may benefit from enhanced programs and services to increase
    their chance of returning for their sophomore year, thus increasing WCU‟s retention rate.

•   In spring 2007, the Office of Institutional Research (OIRP) undertook an analysis of first to second year retention for
    new freshman (23,893 students included in dataset from 1988-2006). OIRP utilized as many possible variables as
    were readily available within Banner. This includes data from students‟ high school transcripts through last term
    attended at WCU. The variables included in the analysis of first to second year retention are shown in Exhibit 2-33.
                                           EXHIBIT 2-33:
                 VARIABLES INCLUDED IN ANALYSIS OF FIRST TO SECOND YEAR RETENTION
           Age                                                                   North Carolina resident (0=no, 1=yes)
           Attended full-time or part-time (0=no, 1=yes)                         Number of AP credits the student has earned
           Declared a major upon matriculating (0=no, 1=yes)                     Number of attempted hours during first term
           ENGL101 grade                                                         Number of courses failed during first term
           ENGL102 grade                                                         Number of courses failed during first-year
           Enrolled in the Honor’s Program (0=no, 1=yes)                         Number of courses withdrawn during first term
           Enrolled in the summer prior to their first term here (0=no, 1=yes)   Number of courses withdrawn during first-year
           Ethnicity (0=white, 1=non-white)                                      Number of hours earned during first-year
           Expected family contribution                                          Pell grant recipient (0=no, 1=yes)
           Financial need                                                        SAT math score
           First-term GPA                                                        SAT verbal score
           Freshman seminar grade                                                Second-term attempted hours
           Gender (0=male, 1=female)                                             Second-term GPA
           High school class rank                                                Student was an athletics participant (0=no, 1=yes)
           High school unweighted GPA                                            Total award amount received
           High school weighted GPA                                              University Experience Course (USI130) grade
           Lived in on-campus housing during their first term (0=no, 1=yes)
          Note: For those with ACT scores instead of SAT scores, the following ACT to SAT conversion tables were used:
          http://www.regents.state.la.us/pdfs/Planning/MP%20SAT%20to%20ACT%20Concordance%20Table%20for%20Math.pdf
          http://www.regents.state.la.us/pdfs/Planning/MP%20SAT%20to%20ACT%20Concordance%20Table%20for%20English.pdf
                                                                                                                                      45
          Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.
Common Characteristics of Students (cont.)
•   The results of the analysis show that freshmen who are most likely to be retained to their sophomore year:
        – Have higher high school GPAs.
        – Have higher first-term GPAs.
        – Have higher second-term GPAs.
        – Take ENG 102 in their second term.
        – Enroll as full-time students at WCU.


•   The results of the analysis show that freshmen most likely to leave WCU prior to their second term:
        – Withdrew from four or more courses in their first term.
        – Failed four or more courses in the first term.


•   The results of the analysis show that freshmen who are most likely to leave WCU prior to their sophomore year:
        – Have high school GPAs lower than 3.25.
        – Enter WCU with less than 1.5 AP credits.
        – Have first-tem GPAs lower than 2.0.
        – Have second-term GPAs lower than 2.0.
        – Enroll as part-time students.


•   In short, performance is the strongest predictor of retention at WCU. Those who perform better in high school will
    perform better at the university, and those who perform well at the university will be retained longer.
Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.
                                                                                                                         46
Further Analysis
Analysis of data provides important information about student retention and graduation rates. However, in order to
offer a comprehensive analysis of student retention and graduation issues at WCU, information from four additional
sources are needed. Additional research activities for this project include:


    Interviews and Focus Groups – The purpose of interviews and focus groups is to gain insight from currently
    enrolled students, faculty, and staff on key student retention issues to identify strengths and weaknesses of
    current retention policies and practices.


    Survey of Current Students – The purpose of a survey of current students is to gather quantitative information
    about students‟ use of and experience with advising and campus programming activities involving athletic,
    enrichment and social opportunities, as well as students‟ perception of academic experiences in the classroom.


    Peer Institutions Analysis and Assessment – The purpose of an analysis and assessment of select peer
    institutions‟ student retention efforts is to compare WCU‟s student retention efforts to that of its peers as well as
    identify any practices, programs, and services that could be adapted at WCU.


    Analysis of Student Retention National Best Practices – The purpose of this research activity is to analyze
    and compare WCU‟s student retention efforts to national best practices in student retention, suggesting ways in
    which current programs and services can be utilized more effectively as well as identify any practices, programs,
    and services that are not currently is use, but would be beneficial for WCU.




                                                                                                                            47
               Chapter 3.0
           Assessment of the
          Office of Admissions’
          Marketing Materials
This analysis of the Office of Admissions‟ marketing materials is
divided into the following sections:

         Analysis of Findings
         Functions and Structure of WCU‟s Office of
          Admissions
         Applications, Acceptances, and Enrollments
         Assessment of Marketing Materials
         Student Survey
Analysis of Findings
Every department and campus community member (faculty, staff, and students) contributes toward WCU‟s
student retention and graduation rates. The Office of Admissions plays a unique role in undergraduate enrollment
as it is responsible for recruiting an incoming class of students who possess the academic ability to meet WCU‟s
expectations and intend to graduate with a bachelor‟s degree from WCU.

Efforts to retain and graduate students begin long before students enroll at the institution. The Office of
Admissions‟ recruitment efforts play a vital role in providing the institution with the cohort of students with whom
faculty and staff work with to achieve institutional goals.

 •   The results of our analysis of the Office of Admissions‟ marketing materials suggest that timing is critical in
     recruiting a class of students that meet the institution‟s goals; this applies to face-to-face recruiting efforts,
     distribution of publications, and offers of admission. We identified two main observations when assessing the
     Office of Admissions‟ marketing materials:

        – Enrollment Management Plan (Note: This refers to recruiting and admitting students into WCU.)

        – Communication with Prospective Students




                                                                                                                          49
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Enrollment Management Plan

   While WCU sets total student enrollment goals, it is not clear how the numbers for the goals are derived. The
    University would benefit from a written marketing and recruitment plan that identifies trends in enrollment and
    projected enrollment based upon a detailed analysis of data on key geographic areas and target student
    populations.

      – Since WCU is interested in increasing diversity on campus, which includes recruiting, admitting, and enrolling
        more underrepresented students, it should set goals for each group of targeted students (e.g., freshmen,
        transfers, honors).

   Five of the six peer institutions enroll a larger percentage of applicants than WCU, which often translates into
    higher retention and graduation rates. It is thus imperative that WCU have a strong enrollment plan so as to
    increase student retention and graduation rates.




                                                                                                                         50
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Enrollment Management Plan

   WCU should consider offering the option of an Early Action admissions decision to applicants. As defined by the
    National Association of College Admissions Counselors, Early Action is a process whereby students submit an
    application to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the institution‟s regular
    response date. Students who are admitted under Early Action are not obligated to accept the institution‟s offer of
    admission or to submit a deposit prior to May 1.

      – In its 2006 State of College Admissions, the National Association of College Admissions Counselors found
        that between 2001 and 2004, the percentage of students applying using Early Action had increased by 8%
        and the percentage admitted using Early Action had increased by 20%. This suggests that there are
        prospective students who are interested in an Early Action option, which is becoming more popular.

   By offering Early Action, WCU may see an increase in applications and enrollments, as well as in the quality of
    students it attracts. Specifically:


      – High-achieving students tend to utilize Early Action options. WCU would have the opportunity to be the
        first institution to make an offer of admission to a student, increase the average SAT score, and increase
        the average high school GPA of its student body.
      – Students admitted using Early Action are likely to share the good news of their acceptance with family and
        friends.
      – Mailings and/or functions could target Early Action applicants. This would allow WCU to efficiently and
        effectively target resources and efforts to a group of students who have a strong interest in WCU and are
        likely to be high achievers.
                                                                                                                         51
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Communication with Prospective Students

•   Communicating with prospective students at key points during their search for a college is critical. Ideally,
    WCU would be one of the first institutions to send a student information and would also follow-up
    systematically to remind the prospective student that WCU would like him or her to join its campus
    community.

•   The concept of an Admissions Pipeline and the processes by which the Office of Admissions recruits students
    could be shared so that this function would be better understood by the campus community.

•   The following definitions are in reference to the Admissions Pipeline (next page):

      –    Suspect – A potential student in whom the University is interested, but who has not expressed an
           interest in the University.

      –    Prospect – A potential student who has expressed an interest in the University.

      –    Applicant – A potential student who has submitted an application to the University.

      –    Admit – A potential student who has been offered admission to the University.

      –    Matriculant – An admitted student who has enrolled (made a deposit to the university).

•   The following diagram of the Admissions Pipeline shows the flow of the Office of Admissions‟ interactions
    with prospective students. In the progression from suspect to matriculant, the number of students in each
    category becomes smaller.




                                                                                                                    52
                                                 WCU “casts the net” by purchasing names
                                             1   of students who have indicated an interest in
Admissions Pipeline           Suspect            WCU or whose academic record and
                                                 location appear to be congruent with WCU.

    Not interested.                              “WCU Informational Promotion” publication
   Student does not                          2   is sent to suspects to encourage interest in
 send back reply card.                           the University. (Students can enter the
                              Prospect           pipeline at the prospect stage by requesting
                                                 information from WCU on their own.)


    Not interested.                              Suspects become prospects when they
Student does not apply.                      3   return their “WCU Informational Promotion”
                                                 reply card. WCU then sends them detailed
                                                 information about open houses, high school
                             Applicant
                                                 visits, information sessions, etc., to
                                                 encourage them to apply.
 Denied admission
     to WCU.
                                             4   Acceptance letters are mailed to students
                                                 who meet admissions criteria, along with a
                                                 WCU license plate as a welcome gift. Other
                          Admitted Student       students are deferred or denied admittance.
  Student does not
   accept offer of
     admission.
                                             5   Admitted students are sent mailings about
                                                 orientation and housing.

  Student does not
                            Matriculant
begin classes at WCU.                            Mailings should be sent to students who
                                             6   have paid their deposit to strengthen their
                                                 sense of connection to WCU.                 53
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Communication with Prospective Students (cont.)
•    The timeline below is an example of a calendar for the Office of Admissions‟ recruiting activities. Since
     enrollments are dependent upon multiple offices working together, this timeline includes mailings from other WCU
     departments. (Note: All University-wide communications and mailings to students are not shown.)
•    Each event or mailing is associated with one of the action points from the Admissions Pipeline (on the previous
     page).


              February       February        May
January/                                                                   December through
               through       through       through       December                                       December
February                                                                        March
                 April         May        November                                                    through August



  Acquire    Mail “WCU     Prospects Mail detailed       Begin Early        Continue Send out      Students Mailings to
  contact   Informational return “WCU information to       Action            mailing  orientation   make      enrolled
information Promotion” Informational prospects            decision         admissions     and     deposit for students
     for     publication   Promotion”   about open        mailings.         decision   housing        fall       to
 suspects. to suspects. reply cards. houses, high
                                                                             letters.  mailings. enrollment. maintain
                                       school visits,                                                         contact.
                                        information
                                      sessions, etc.

    1            2                           3                         4                 5                             6


                                                                                                                           54
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Communication with Prospective Students (cont.)

•   University marketing materials are a form of communication and are often prospective students‟ first
    impression of the institution. As such, they can greatly impact their level of interest. Therefore, it is
    important that the publications or letters sent to prospective students:

      –    Show consistent use of WCU‟s name, logo, and institutional information.
      –    Contain clear information.
      –    Are aesthetically/visually appealing.
      –    Use a positive tone and wording.


•   Current students identified guidance counselors (high school or community college) and the WCU Website as
    their primary and secondary sources of information about WCU.

      –    WCU should continue to form and strengthen relationships with guidance counselors and make high
           school and community college visits. It is unreasonable to visit every high school in North Carolina;
           therefore, high schools visited should include those from which the institution is trying to recruit more
           students and/or those that have a high probability to yield applicants that will be admitted.

      –    WCU‟s admissions Website is a critical recruitment tool and should continue to provide accurate and
           up-to-date information to prospective students. By updating its Website regularly, the Office of
           Admissions will encourage prospective students to log on often.

                                                                                                                       55
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Communication with Prospective Students (cont.)
•   It is important that the marketing materials contain information that students want to know at their particular
    stage in the decision-making process. The most common types of information that WCU students said they
    would have liked to have when making their decision to attend WCU included:
      –       Information related to majors, such as:
          •      A list of majors and their requirements.
          •      A list of minors.
          •      Available internships.
          •      Whether a program was accredited.
          •      When (what semester) required courses would be offered.
      –       Information on residence hall/student life, such as:
          •      Parking options.
          •      What the residence halls were like.
          •      Public transportation options.
          •      Community activities available.
          •      Descriptions of clubs and organizations.
      –       Information on the transfer process and what classes would and would not transfer.
      –       Additional information on scholarships, including criteria for eligibility, award amounts, and options for
              renewal.                                                                                                     56
Functions and Structure of WCU‟s
Office of Admissions
•   Reporting to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Office of Admissions serves WCU by
    initiating, managing, and supporting strategies that enable WCU to attract and enroll the desired quantity,
    quality, and diversity of new and returning undergraduate students each semester.

•   The responsibilities of the Office of Admissions can be divided into three main areas:
         1. Recruit Students
         2. Target Specialized Audiences
         3. Build and Maintain Relationships with Constituencies

•   Recruit Students: The Office of Admissions is responsible for the recruitment of four groups of students:
    Freshman, Transfer, Readmission, and Nondegree Seeking.

•   Target Specialized Audiences: The Office of Admissions also targets specialized audiences, including
    Scholarship and Honors College candidates, Special Talent audiences, Diversity audiences, Targeted Academic
    Interest audiences, International students, and Distance Learning students.

•   Build and Maintain Relationships with Constituencies: The Office of Admissions is responsible for
    building and maintaining relationships and connections with the following groups: high school and community
    college counselors, teachers and other educators, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, current students, churches
    and civic organizations, and professional affiliations.



                                                                                                                    57
Functions and Structure of WCU‟s
Office of Admissions
•   The Office of Admissions maintains these ongoing responsibilities through its staff members (26 full-time and
    one part-time) and its Web site, which includes forms and information related to admissions, special
    programs, and scholarships for prospective students.

•   The current organizational structure of the Office of Admissions is presented in Exhibit 3-1 (on the next
    page).

•   The Office of Admissions is currently undergoing significant changes:
     –    New staff, including a new Director of Admissions
     –    Recruitment in Fall 2007 (for incoming 2008 class) includes a new strategic approach, such as
          targeting specific groups based on PSAT and SAT scores and geographic region
     –    Relocation to the Camp Building




                                                                                                                    58
Functions and Structure of WCU‟s
Office of Admissions                                                             Provost

                                                                      Senior Vice Chancellor for
                                                                          Academic Affairs


                                                                          Director of Admissions
EXHIBIT 3-1:
OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS                                                                                                                 Director, Community College Relations

ORGANIZATIONAL CHART                                                     Senior Associate Director
                                                                                                                                           Enrollment Services Officer I

                                                                                              Technology Support Technician
                                                                                                                                                Regional Recruiter


                                                                                              Technology Support Technician




           Enrollment Services Officer II   Enrollment Services Officer II                  Enrollment Services Officer II            Associate Director of Operations


                                                 Enrollment Services Officer I                       Enrollment Services Officer I
                                                                                                                                             Student Services Assistant IV

                                                 Enrollment Services Officer I                       Enrollment Services Officer I
                                                                                                                                             Student Services Assistant IV

                                                 Enrollment Services Officer I                       Enrollment Services Officer I
                                                                                                                                             Student Services Assistant IV

                                                          Ed Recruiter                                    Regional Recruiter
                                                                                                                                             Student Services Assistant IV


                                                                                                                                             Student Services Assistant IV


                                                                                                                                             Student Services Assistant IV


                                                                                                                                            Technology Support Technician



         Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Admissions, 2007.                                                                    Part-time Processing Assistant
                                                                                                                                                                              59
Applications, Acceptances, and Enrollments
 •   Exhibit 3-2 shows the number of admissions applications received; acceptances awarded as a percentage of
     applications; and enrollments as a percentage of acceptances for Fall 2001 through Fall 2006.
 •   The number of applications to WCU has rose steadily during this period, with the exception of a decline in Fall
     2005, resulting in a 21.6% increase over six years.
 •   Acceptances as a percentage of total applications rose slightly from 73% (2,903 students ) in 2001 to 76.7%
     (3,705 students) in 2006.
 •   Despite a rise in the number of applications and an increase in the percentage of acceptances offered, the
     percentage of enrolled students each Fall remained relatively stable, between 41% (1,180 students) and 44%
     (1,495 students). In Fall 2006, 42.3% of acceptances enrolled (1,568)


                                              Applications
EXHIBIT 3-2:                                  Acceptances
                                                                                                                               4830
APPLICATIONS,                                 Enrolled Students
                                                                                        4606
                                                                                                    4905          4790

ACCEPTANCES, AND                               5000                      4121
ENROLLED STUDENTS                              4500
                                                          3971

FALL 2001 THROUGH                              4000
FALL 2006                                      3500
                                               3000                                                                              76.7%
                                                                                         73.6%        76.2%         75.6%
                                               2500
                                                             73.0%         71.8%
                                               2000
                                               1500
                                               1000                                      44.1%         42.2%                       42.3%
                                                             40.6%         41.4%                                     42.0%
                                                500
                                                  0
                                                      Fall 2001      Fall 2002     Fall 2003     Fall 2004     Fall 2005     Fall 2006


                                          Source: Western Carolina University, Office of Institutional Research and Planning, 2007.        60
Peer Institutions - Admissions
     WCU admitted about 76% of applicants, as compared to an average of about 71% among peers. About 32%
      of applicants ultimately enrolled at WCU, as opposed to an average of about 29% among peers.
     Tennessee Tech and Murray State enrolled the highest percentage of admitted students (57% and 55%,
      respectively). Only Sonoma State enrolled a smaller percentage of students than WCU (12%).



                                                                                                                % Admitted/Applied                                % Enrolled/Admitted
                                                                                                                Peer Average                                      Peer Average
                                                        90%


    EXHIBIT 3-3:
                                                        80%


    PERCENTAGE OF APPLICANTS                            70%

                                                                                                                                                                                        Peer
    ADMITTED AND PERCENTAGE                             60%
                                                                                                                                                                                        Aver
                                           Percentage



    OF ADMITTED STUDENTS                                50%

    ENROLLED                                            40%   76%
                                                                                                                                  84%
                                                                                                                                                                    75%                 Peer
    BY PEER INSTITUTION                                 30%
                                                                           68%
                                                                                               63%              66%
                                                                                                                                          55%
                                                                                                                                                  68%
                                                                                                                                                                            57%
                                                                                                                                                                                        Aver


    ENTERING FRESHMEN 2005                              20%                          38%                                 38%
                                                                    32%                                 35%
                                                        10%                                                                                               18%

                                                        0%
                                                              University




                                                                                                James Madison
                                                                            State University




                                                                                                                                                                     Technological
                                                                                                                                   Murray State




                                                                                                                                                   Sonoma State
                                                                                                                 Morehead State
                                                              Carolina
                                                               Western




                                                                                                                                    University
                                                                             Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                                      Tennessee
                                                                                                                                                     University




                                                                                                                                                                       University
                                                                                                  University




                                                                                                                   University

                                          Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary
                                          Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005, Institutional Characteristics data.

                                                                                                                                                                                               61
Assessment of Marketing Materials
Strengths: Overall Impressions of the Office of Admissions Materials



•   The Office of Admissions uses technology with its marketing materials to contribute toward the President‟s
    Action Committee on Efficiency and Effectiveness (PACE), which aims to improve efficiency and effectiveness of
    resources on campus. Such efforts include:

     –   Undergraduate Catalog on CD-ROM – Paper used to print the document is saved, as are costs for mailing.

     –   “Save Time – Register On-Line” – Marketing publications advertise to students that they can save time by
         registering for an Open House event online. This effort reduces the amount of incoming mail, and data
         entry, and improves accuracy of student information since the student is entering the information.

•   WCU hosts events for prospective students in hotels around the state in an effort to reach those who want
    more information about WCU or may need to be encouraged to visit WCU‟s campus. These events are an
    excellent way for prospective students to meet WCU‟s admissions staff and obtain marketing materials.

   WCU appeals to students‟ preferred means of communication by offering important admissions information on
    the Office of Admissions Web site and through the Undergraduate Catalog on CD-ROM, where students can
    learn more about WCU, including detailed information about academics, programs, and student services.

   Accepted students receive a WCU license plate for their car, which serves to welcome and connect new WCU
    students to campus.




                                                                                                                     62
Assessment of Marketing Materials (cont.)
Strengths: Overall Impressions of the Office of Admissions Marketing Materials



   Inside the Viewbook is a recommended timeline for submitting college applications, as well as anticipated dates
    by which students can expect to receive information from WCU. The timeline serves as a helpful source,
    informing students of important deadlines and when WCU will be making contact with them. Students are likely
    to refer back to the Viewbook‟s timeline and perhaps reread the other information in the publication and find
    answers to common questions. This reduces the number of phone calls for basic information and allows WCU
    staff to assist students with more complicated questions, thereby increasing efficiency.

   Marketing materials that are classy, informative, and offer ample information are attractive to students and
    encourage them to learn more about the institution (e.g., Honors and You‟re Invited brochures).

   The Office of Admissions Web site is user friendly and contains links to a wealth of information for prospective
    students and their parents on such topics as financial aid, the Honors Program, academic majors and minors,
    dates and deadlines for the application process, new student orientation and registration, and individual and
    office email addresses for anyone with specific questions that were not answered by a perusal of the online
    information.

•   Unique to WCU is the “WCU Bloggers,” a link on the Office of Admissions Web site where current students
    share their Web logs about life at WCU so that prospective students can get a feel for WCU. Prospective
    students and their parents have the opportunity to email a current WCU student with comments and
    questions.

•   The admissions application is easily accessible online and includes clear instructions.


                                                                                                                       63
Assessment of Marketing Materials (cont.)
Weakness: Inconsistent Use of Institution Name, Logos, and Information – Consistency improves visibility,
   name recognition, and sense of belonging among prospective students

•   The University is inconsistently referred to as WCU, Western, or Western Carolina University throughout its
    marketing materials. For students who are unfamiliar with the institution, “WCU” or “Western” may not
    resonate.

   The location of WCU is also inconsistently referenced. Marketing materials refer to the “Smokies” as well as the
    “Smokey Mountains” and “mountains.”

•   WCU proudly identifies itself as part of the University of North Carolina System in its marketing materials, but
    utilizes a variety of different wordings to do so. The University is variously described in brochures and posters
    as:
      – A University of North Carolina Campus
      – A campus of the University of North Carolina System
      – The western most campus of the University of North Carolina System
      – A mountain campus of the University of North Carolina System

•   Inconsistent information in marketing materials can be confusing to prospective students. For example, there
    are different enrollment numbers on the Open House flyer and College Fair brochure from the same year
    (8,700 and 8,900, respectively).

•   WCU‟s name and logo are not prominently placed on all admissions marketing materials (College Fair, You‟re
    Invited, WCU on Tour brochures). Other organization or product logos that appear on admissions marketing
    materials detract from WCU‟s image (e.g., a student wearing a Gatorade lanyard on the College Fair brochure).

                                                                                                                        64
Assessment of Marketing Materials (cont.)
Weakness: Need for Improved Aesthetics – It is important that each marketing publication be aesthetically
   appealing to encourage students and their parents to read the information inside and refer back to the publication.

•    Colors used in publications vary across marketing materials; this is especially problematic with the color purple.
      – Undergraduate Catalog on CD-ROM is royal blue but the CD-ROM case is purple.
      – Posters given to guidance counselors utilizes blue, not purple.
      – Varying shades of purple.

•    Marketing materials can appear to be old or outdated when faded colors are used (e.g., Scholarships brochure).

•    Photos used in marketing materials do not always reflect the content discussed. For example, there are no
     academic photos on the Scaling the Library Shelves poster, whose goal is to highlight WCU‟s academic programs
     and services.

•    Letters sent to applicants by the Office of Admissions lack professionalism and attention to detail.
      – Courier has been selected as the font for these letters, giving them a typewriten appearance.
      – Extra spaces before “Chancellor John Bardo,” “Western Carolina University,” and “your personal and academic
           goals” in the first paragraph of several letters leave the impression that this is a mail merge form letter and
           that these inserts change yearly.
      – The transfer acceptance letter mentions the freshman on-campus residency requirement, but the regular
           acceptance letter does not.
      – Typographical errors are present in many letters (e.g., the SSP acceptance letter should read: “Your
           admission is contingent upon completion of coursework with grades comparable to or higher than those
           already submitted).
      – The letter to students who have not submitted an application fee is still sent by Phil Cauley.                     65
Assessment of Marketing Materials (cont.)
Weakness: Unclear Information – Clear, concise, and consistent information prevents confusion, as well as
   entices students into finding out more about the institution.

•   WCU proudly offers 120 majors and concentrations and/or minors, which are conveniently listed on one
    sheet by degree type. However, this document lacks a title and could include academic photos (Open House
    packet, College Fair brochure).

•   The criteria for being eligible for a scholarship are not clearly defined. Students may be more likely to apply
    to WCU and/or submit the supplemental scholarship application if detailed scholarship information (criteria,
    award amount, renewal requirements) were clearly provided (Scholarships brochure).

   As part of the University of North Carolina System, WCU offers a high-quality education for an affordable
    price. Currently, the Viewbook provides the total costs for North Carolina residents and out-of-state
    residents, but does not breakdown those fees. As a result, prospective students and their parents are
    unable to compare specific costs for tuition, room, board, and fees with that of other institutions.




                                                                                                                      66
Assessment of Marketing Materials (cont.)
Weakness: Negative Tone or Wording – Marketing materials portray an image of the institution. It is important
   that each publication contain a positive tone and wording to excite prospective students, leaving them with a
   positive image of Western Carolina University.

   The Experience Western brochure uses wording that may offend some students, describing this event as
    designed for “students from populations with historically low rates of admission to colleges.” More sensitive
    wording and familiar terminology could be used when materials are being sent to diverse audiences.

   Marketing materials that refer to students as “kids” implies that the institution will tolerate immature behavior,
    rather than setting an expectation that WCU‟s students are adults (Scaling the Library Shelves poster).

•   Emphasizing some programs but not others with bold wording and/or color, in marketing materials suggests that
    certain programs have a lower priority than others (e.g., “service-learning” and “living on-campus” in the Open
    House brochure).

•   Emails from admissions counselors directly to students in anticipation of a high school visit are poorly worded.
     – The letter uses informal language, like “I would love to meet you.” and “I am both lucky and excited... .”
          While it may sound friendly to a young high school student, it does not project an image of professionalism
          and collegiate excellence.
     – The statement in one email “And, of course, I can tell you what it‟s like to be a student here” is not really
          an accurate unless the counselor actually is a WCU alum.




                                                                                                                         67
Assessment of Marketing Materials (cont.)
Weakness: Strategic Planning – It is important to develop a marketing and recruitment plan that is based on
   detailed research and projections which will results in achievable goals and is congruent with the institution‟s
   mission and vision. The marketing and recruitment plan must be shared with the entire campus community,
   especially offices and staff that have responsibilities relating to admissions.

    While WCU sets total student enrollment goals, it is not clear how the numbers for the goals are derived.
     Currently, a written marketing and recruitment plan that identifies trends in enrollment and projected
     enrollment based upon a detailed analysis of data of key geographic areas and target student populations does
     not exist.

    In past years, WCU admissions effort focused on traveling to every county in North Carolina. In Fall 2006,
     recruiting efforts were concentrated to 40 key counties with the greatest likelihood to yield applications,
     admissions, and enrollees. Based upon interviews with the Office of Admissions, we understand that future
     recruiting efforts (beginning in Fall 2007) will be concentrated further, targeting specific high schools within
     counties in North Carolina and other target states. The new recruitment strategy is congruent with the PACE
     initiative, which maximizes the effectiveness and efficiency of resources by strategically focusing on locations
     that have a high probability of yielding students who will apply, be admitted, and will enroll.

    Traditional recruiting, such as high school visits and college fairs take place in the early fall so that prospective
     students can obtain information and can submit their applications (typically between October through
     December). In past years, WCU admissions staff have began their travel later than typical, which results in
     completing targeted high school visits later than normal (February). This schedule limits WCU admissions staff
     in their recruitment efforts as they may have missed meeting with some students who have already submitted
     their applications for admission. Based upon interviews with the Office of Admissions, we understand that
     future recruiting efforts (beginning in Fall 2007) will include visits to high schools in early Fall, which will allow
     WCU admissions staff to meet with students who have yet to make a final decision about college applications
     and consider WCU among their top choice.                                                                                 68
Student Survey - Deciding Which College to Attend
•   WCU was the first choice college for the majority of all respondents during their application process (58%
    overall).
•   Sixty percent of senior respondents indicated that WCU was their first choice, compared to only 53% of the
    most recently admitted students (freshmen).




                                               100%
                                                90%
                                                80%        42%                         41%                       40%
    EXHIBIT 3-4:                                                         47%                           44%
                                                70%
    WAS WCU YOUR FIRST
                                                60%
    CHOICE WHEN APPLYING
    TO COLLEGE?                                 50%
                                                40%
                                                30%        58%                         59%             56%       60%
                                                                         53%
                                                20%
                                                10%
                                                 0%
                                                          Overall     Freshman       Sophomore         Junior   Senior
                                                          (n=687)      (n=162)        (n=123)         (n=188)   (n=205)


                                                                               Yes               No
                                           Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                                          69
Student Survey - Deciding Which College to
Attend (cont.)
 •   Among the 42% who indicated that WCU was not their first choice, 81% (235/290) said that they had
     considered another University of North Carolina campus. The five most popular alternate state institutions
     were:

      –   Appalachian State University (26% = 60/235).
      –   North Carolina State University (21% = 49/235).
      –   University of North Carolina at Charlotte (15% = 36/235).
      –   University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (14% = 32/235).
      –   University of North Carolina at Greensboro (9% = 21/235).

 •   Approximately 30% (86/290) indicated that they had also considered a private institution in North Carolina.
     The most common alternate private institutions were:

      –   Elon University (10% = 9/86).
      –   Meredith College (8% = 7/86).
      –   Davidson College (7% = 6/86).
      –   Lenoir-Rhyne College (7% = 6/86).
      –   Gardner-Webb University (6% = 5/86).

 •   Approximately 34% (100/290) indicated that they had considered an out-of-state school. These responses
     varied widely. A total of 74 different out-of-state institutions were named. The most common response was
     Clemson, given by 6 of the 100 respondents.

                                                                                                                   70
Student Survey - Deciding Which College to
Attend (cont.)
 •   Two factors were important to approximately half of all respondents in making their decision to attend
     WCU: affordability (53%) and class size (47%).
 •   The reputation of the university was cited as a deciding factor by only 2% of respondents.
 •   Responses in the “Other” category included marching band, athletic program, and not accepted to first
     choice school.



                                                                           Affordable cost                                          53%
 EXHIBIT 3-5:                                                             Size of classes                                     47%
 WHICH OF THE                                                    Location close to home                           24%
                                                                     Quality of education                        23%
 FOLLOWING FACTORS                           WCU offers the academic program I want                             21%
 WAS THE MOST                              Comfortable with the campus atmosphere                             16%
 IMPORTANT IN YOUR                         Location is scenic Western NC mountains                          16%
 DECISION TO ATTEND                                                           Size of WCU                   13%
                                                                                   Friends                11%
 WCU?                                                  Scholarship/financial aid package                 10%
                                          Student life, campus activities/opportunities                 9%
                                   After visiting, I felt that WCU could meet my needs                  9%
                                                                 Location far from home               6%
                                                                Faculty/staff were friendly           6%
                                                 Faculty/staff expressed interest in me             4%
                                              Relative currently attends/attended WCU              2%
                                                                               Reputation          2%
                                                                                      Other            8%

                                                                                              0%     10%    20%   30%   40%   50%    60%


                                 Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                                                           71
Student Survey - Student Experience with the
Admissions Process
•      Seventy percent of all respondents entered as freshmen and 28% entered as transfer students.
•      Respondent satisfaction with the amount of information provided during the application and enrollment process is
       displayed in Exhibit 3-6. The overwhelming majority of freshmen (73%) indicated that they had ample
       information about WCU during the application and enrollment process. Only 2% indicated that they did not have
       enough information to make their decision.
•      Among transfer students, slightly more respondents reported a significant lack of information during the
       application process (11%).
•      Exhibit 3-7 displays transfer students‟ satisfaction with the transfer credit evaluation process. Most respondents
       indicated that this evaluation occurred within a time frame that allowed them to make an informed decision about
       attending WCU (75%).

                          EXHIBIT 3-6:                                                                  EXHIBIT 3-7:
                      EXPERIENCE APPLYING                                                        TRANSFER CREDIT EVALUATION

    100%                                                                                   Did you receive your transfer credit evaluation in a timely
     90%                                                                                    manner to make your decision about enrolling at WCU?
     80%                                                     53%
                                                                                                                    (n=190)
     70%
                           73%                                                                                                                       No, 25%
     60%
     50%
     40%
     30%                                                     37%

     20%                   25%
     10%                                                     11%
                                      2%
      0%
            Entered as Freshmen (n=456)         Transfer Students (n=190)
    I had ample information about the application and enrollment process.

                                                                                      Yes, 75%
    I had some information about the application and enrollment process, but could
    have used more information to make my decision.

    I did not have enough information about the application and enrollment process,
    and could have used more information to make my decision.
                                                                                                                                                               72
Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
Student Survey - Student Experience with the
Admission Process (cont.)           EXHIBIT 3-8:
                            HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT WCU?
How students heard about WCU

•   The primary sources of initial information about    High school guidance counselor/teacher                                                 34%

    WCU were:                                                                I live close to WCU                                         29%


      – High school guidance counselor/teacher
                                                                            Parents or relatives                                       26%

                                                                                                                                  23%
         (34%).
                                                               Direct mailing from the university

                                                                        Website/w eb searches                                    22%
      – Hometown proximity to WCU (29%).                                                  Friend                          15%
      – Parents or relatives (26%).                                      WCU outreach efforts             3%

•   WCU outreach efforts included college fairs,                                           Band          2%

    recruiter visits to high schools, and radio ads.                                       Other               6%


•   Responses in the “Other” category included           n=688                                      0%    5%    10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%

    alumni and athletic programs.
                                                                       EXHIBIT 3-9:
How students obtained additional information           HOW DID YOU OBTAIN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?
•   The overwhelming majority of students gained
    additional information about WCU through its
                                                            WCU w ebsite                                                                             73%


    website (73%).                                            Open house                                                        48%

•   Open houses were another common source of             WCU brochures                                                    44%
    additional information (48%). WCU brochures
    and campus tours were utilized by 44% of                 Campus tour                                                   44%

    respondents to learn more about the institution;    Admissions Office                                             40%
    the Admissions Office, by 40%.
•   Responses in the “Other” category included
                                                                    Other                11%


    sources such as friends, WCU representatives,         n=688             0%      10%        20%        30%       40%     50%        60%     70%     80%

    and alumni.                                                                                                                                              73
                                                       Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
               Chapter 4.0
            Assessment of the
             Advising Center

This analysis of the Advising Center is divided into the
following sections:
         Analysis of Findings
         Functions and Structure of WCU‟s Advising Center
         Assessment of the Advising Center
Analysis of Findings
The Advising Center makes a unique contribution to student enrollment, retention, and graduation as it is one of the
few offices that initiates contact with every student prior to enrollment and maintains communication with students
throughout their college experience at WCU. Therefore, the services that the Advising Center staff provide are critical
to increasing student retention and graduation rates.


Our analysis indicates that students perceive the advising process as confusing. As critical function in student
retention, the Advising Center, is in need of immediate attention. We analyzed two aspects of the Advising Center:

      •   WCU‟s Advising Model and processes.

      •   The number of advising staff.




                                                                                                                          75
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
WCU’s Advising Model and the advising process is unclear to students, faculty, and staff.
•   From the student‟s point of view, the advising process is different for undeclared and declared students. (See
    graphic on next page.)
•   The advising process for students with an undeclared major is relatively smooth. These students are the
    responsibility of the Advising Center until they officially select a major and are assigned a faculty advisor in their
    chosen department (usually during their sophomore year). Approximately 30% of WCU students enter as
    undeclared students.
•   In contrast, the experience of the majority (70%) of students who enroll with a declared major is perceived as
    confusing and frustrating.
     –    A declared student has an full-time professional advisor in the Advising Center who:
             •   Created his/her first semester schedule based on core requirements and student preferences.
             •   Initiates contact prior to orientation.
             •   Meets with him/her during orientation.
     –    Additionally, the declared student has a faculty advisor within their department who:
             •   May have limited knowledge about course requirements outside of his/her academic area.
             •   Did not create the student‟s first semester schedule or know the reasons behind it.
             •   May have met the student during orientation, but has limited opportunity to establish a relationship with
                 him/her until the student takes a course from the faculty member and/or seeks advice.
•   Declared students, therefore, tend to perceive that they are bounced back and forth between their faculty advisor
    (who is the primary advisor with knowledge mainly about courses in his/her academic department) and their
    Advising Center advisor (who can give them informed general advice about course selection, especially for required
    general education courses).
                                                                                                                             76
    Analysis of Findings (cont.)
  Undeclared Major
                                                                                                                                Sophomore Year
        Summer                                   Orientation                              First Year                              and Beyond
• The advisor in the Advising Center    • The advisor in the Advising Center        • The advisor in the Advising          • A faculty advisor is assigned
  creates the student‟s schedule          meets with the student to explain the       Center continues to assist the         once the student selects a
  based on required core courses,         schedule, answer questions, and             undeclared student with course         major. (A student must
  outside activities, and other           make any necessary changes.                 changes and selection of major.        choose a major before
  student preferences.                                                                                                       obtaining 45 credit hours.)
• The advisor in the Advising Center                                                                                       • Advising Center staff remain
  contacts the student several times                                                                                         available to provide assistance
  over the summer to establish a                                                                                             with course scheduling and
  relationship.                                                                                                              change of major.



 Declared Major
                                                                                                                                   Sophomore Year
         Summer                                  Orientation                                 First Year                              and Beyond
                                       • The advisor in the Advising Center
• The advisor in the Advising Center     meets with the student to explain the     • The faculty advisor serves as the
                                                                                                                            • Advising Center staff remain
  creates the student‟s schedule         schedule, answer questions, and make        primary advisor for the declared
                                                                                                                              available to provide
  based on core courses, outside         any necessary changes.                      student as long as he/she remains
                                                                                                                              assistance with course
  activities, and other student        • If the student attends a 2-day              in the original major.
                                                                                                                              scheduling and change of
  preferences.                           orientation, he/she may meet with a       • Problems with course scheduling
                                                                                                                              major.
• The advisor in the Advising Center     “faculty representative,” not necessarily   and transition from one major to
                                                                                                                            • The faculty advisor serves as
  contacts the student several times     the faculty advisor.                        another are usually referred to the
                                                                                                                              the primary advisor for the
  over the summer to establish a       • Problems are sometimes handled by the       Advising Center.
                                                                                                                              declared student as long as
  relationship.                          faculty member who did not create the                                                he/she remains in the original
• The faculty advisor may contact        original schedule. More often, though,                                               major.
  the student as well.                   problems are referred back to the
                                                                                                                                                         77
                                         Advising Center.
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
WCU’s Advising Model and the advising process is unclear to students, faculty, and staff. (cont.)


• Results from this study‟s student survey show that a majority of students view advising from faculty and the Advising
  Center as important or very important, and majority indicated that they were satisfied with advising from their faculty
  advisor and the Advising Center.

• In contrast, during interviews and open ended questions on the survey, students stated that they were not satisfied
  with the Advising Center. The reasons students gave for their dissatisfaction included the following:
                    – The staff is not helpful.
                    – The center is disorganized.
                    – The staff provides incorrect information.
                    – There is no single contact for information on a specific area.

• Students also expressed frustration with faculty advising, which included:
                   – It takes too long to get an appointment with the faculty advisor.
                   – There is confusion about which courses to take to satisfy general education courses, and then
                      students are referred to the Advising Center.




                                                                                                                            78
    Analysis of Findings (cont.)
WCU’s Advising Model and the advising process is unclear to students, faculty, and staff. (cont.)


•    Institutions predominantly utilize one of the following four models for advising:
      –    Faculty Only Model – In this model, each entering student is assigned to a specific faculty advisor. Under most
           circumstances this assignment is in the student‟s major field.
      –    Dual Intake Advising Model – This model is characterized by shared responsibility for advising each student.
           Faculty members provide advisement directly related to the students‟ major, and the advising office is
           responsible for advising each student on requirements for general education and institutional academic policies
           and procedures.
      –    Total Intake Model – The total intake model for advising vests initial advising responsibility in an advising office.
           All students are advised by a staff member in the advising office until a specific action takes place or a
           predetermined period of time has elapsed.
      –    Self-Contained Model – In the self-contained model, all advising takes place in a centralized unit from the point
           of matriculation to the point of graduation.
•    When comparing WCU to peer institutions, one “best” model is not apparent as each institution tailors its advising
     process to its particular student body. (Detailed information from interviews with administrators at peer institutions is
     available in Chapter 8: Peer Institutions & Best Practices Analysis.)
•    Full-time professional advisor job descriptions were available from three peer institutions (Appalachian State
     University, James Madison University, and Tennessee Technological University). WCU‟s full-time professional advisor
     job description is similar to those of its peers in a number of ways. All position descriptions mention:
      –    Providing advising to students from enrollment through graduation.
      –    Assisting undeclared students with selecting a major that matches their interests.

                                                                                                                                   79
    Analysis of Findings (cont.)
WCU’s Advising Model and the advising process is unclear to students, faculty, and staff. (cont.)


•    There are two primary differences between WCU‟s full-time professional advising job description and those of its
     peers.


      –   Two peer job descriptions (Appalachian State University‟s and Tennessee Technological University‟s) specifically
          state that advisors provide referrals to students who may be in need of professional counseling. Appalachian
          State University specifies that referrals are to be made for information on “counseling, career planning, financial
          aid, student activities, and other student support services.”

      –   Tennessee Technological University‟s and James Madison University‟s job descriptions mention providing “career
          information and career counseling” as part of the position.

             •   Full-time professional advisors at Tennessee Technological University are assigned to individual
                 departments/divisions. They are expected to have both experience with counseling/advising young adults
                 and a background in the field of their respective department (e.g., among candidates for the position of
                 advisor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, preference is given to those with elementary
                 teaching experience). Advisors at Tennessee Technological University, thus, have firsthand knowledge of
                 the career options available to the students they advise.

             •   Full-time professional advisors at James Madison University are housed in the Career and Academic
                 Planning Office and are called Academic and Career Advisors. These individuals are expected to provide
                 career counseling and planning assistance by teaching classes on career and life planning, leading
                 workshops, and through individual meetings with students. Their professional background, experience,
                 and training reflects this day-to-day expectation.


                                                                                                                                80
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
WCU’s Advising Model and the advising process is unclear to students, faculty, and staff. (cont.)

•       Undergraduate advising data were available for three of the peer institutions (Appalachian State University,
        James Madison University, and Tennessee Technological University).

          –     All three institutions utilize full-time faculty that also have academic advising responsibilities. Their
                advisor to student ratios were 1:15 (ASU) 1:25 (TTU) and 1:60 (JMU).1 Typically, WCU faculty advisors
                are responsible for between 20 and 33 students.

          –     All three peer institutions also employ full-time professional academic advisors. Their professional
                advisor to student ratios were 1:466 (ASU) and 1:500 (JMU).2 At WCU, full-time professional academic
                advisors are officially responsible for approximately 180 undeclared students. Since declared students
                also use the Advising Center, the advisor to student ratio is actually 1:600, which is higher than that of
                any other peer institution.

          –     Two of the institutions have full-time staff members who serve as part-time academic advisors. TTU
                reports one person serving in that capacity, with a ratio of 1:140. At ASU, 13 staff members serve as
                full-time professional advisors, with a ratio of 1:80. WCU does not currently utilize full-time staff in a
                part-time advisor capacity.




    1 James  Madison University noted in its survey that the faculty advising ratio range from 1:20 to 1:60.
    2 James  Madison University noted in its survey that full-time professional academic advisor to student ratio ranged
    from a low of 1:60 in the Office of Career and Academic Planning to a high of 1:500 in the College of Business.          81
Analysis of Findings (cont.)
•   Number of advising staff.
     – An assessment of peer institutions‟ staffing and available financial data (detailed in Chapter 10) shows that
       WCU is below the peer average for “Other Professional Staff,” which includes advising staff.
     – The current WCU Dual Intake Advising Model is confusing to many students. The Total Intake Model (as
       previously defined) is closely related to the Dual Advising Model and may clarify the advising process for
       students.
           •    The Total Intake Model regards advising as a dynamic relationship between student and advisor. At
                its center is a shared responsibility for a coherent educational plan that incorporates personal,
                social, academic, and career considerations. Advising focuses on helping students identify life
                goals, acquire skills and attitudes that promote intellectual growth, and become academically
                successful. This model appears to mirror WCU‟s goals more closely than the Dual Advising Model.
           •    It is important to note that, if the Total Intake Model were employed, additional advisors beyond
                those recommended in Chapter 9 would be required. The Total Intake Model places greater
                responsibility on the Advising Center for advising and retaining students. We estimate that an
                additional four to six additional advisors would be needed with the Total Intake Model.




                                                                                                                       82
Functions and Structure of WCU‟s Advising Center
•   The Director of Advising, OneStop, and Student Success oversees the Advising Center. The Advising Center serves
    WCU by offering comprehensive advising to all undeclared undergraduate students.
     •    Along with university colleagues in other units, advisors work to increase the yield and quality of the
          entering students, decrease time to graduation, and advance rates of completion.
     •    The Advising Center provides a holistic approach to advising by addressing students‟ academic and social
          needs. Advisors help students to select proper courses, to choose careers and appropriate majors, to
          understand university academic policies and procedures, and to cope with the transition to college.
     •    Essentially, the Advising Center supports the development of the whole student.

•   The responsibilities of the Advising Center can be divided into four main areas:
         1.   Provide Academic and Personal Advising – Advisors serve as the first enrollment advisor for all
              incoming students (freshman, transfer, and re-entering) as well as providing continued advising support
              through graduation for all students.
         2.   Assist in Recruitment of New Students – The Advising Center staff assist in the recruitment of new
              students by preparing for and participating in orientation and other University recruitment events (e.g.,
              Open Houses).
         3.   Educate Faculty, Staff, and Students About Advising – Advisors facilitate communication between
              the Advising Center and faculty, staff, and students by serving as a liaison to colleges, teaching the
              University Experience Course, providing advising information and support to the WCU community, and
              publishing a semester newsletter on MyCat that contains helpful tips and reminders regarding advising.
•   The Advising Center carries out these responsibilities through its 13 staff members (11 of whom are full-time
    professional advisors) and its Web site, which includes advising forms and information for prospective and current
    students.

                                                                                                                          83
Assessment of the Advising Center
Provide Academic and Personal Advising
•   Advising models vary across colleges and universities. While there is no one “best” model, colleges and universities
    use the model that best meets the needs of their students and contributes towards the institution‟s goals.
•   WCU currently utilizes a Dual Intake Advising Model where students have two advisors (one full-time professional
    advisor and one faculty advisor once a major is chosen). This process is confusing from the student‟s point of view
    as contact with the student is initiated by the full-time professional advisor and then the relationship changes
    when the student chooses a major and is assigned a faculty advisor and the student works through their faculty
    advisor for their advising needs (e.g., obtaining the pin number to register for classes). Approximately 70% of
    freshmen have the experience of meeting with a full-time professional advisor from the Advising Center for their
    initial schedule and then seeking guidance from their faculty advisor if they have questions or problems during the
    first semester. In many cases, the student may not have met his/her faculty advisor during orientation.
•   Students at WCU have the option of declaring their major upon entry to the University. Students entering with an
    undeclared major must select a major before obtaining 45 credit hours. However, regardless of the number of
    credit hours a student has earned, all WCU students are welcome to talk with an advisor at the Advising Center for
    academic, career, and personal advising. This provides students with the option of consulting an advisor even if
    their faculty advisor is unavailable when an immediate need arises. This is very convenient and comforting for
    students and provides a strong support system for a broad range of issues that students face.
•   Advising Center staff have a higher volume of students beyond their list of students that have not yet declared a
    major. In spring 2007, of the 11,000 student contacts in the Advising Center, 12% (1,320 students) were
    undeclared. Thus, the Advising Center predominantly serves students who have declared their major. This may be
    due to the convenience of the Center, which is centrally located and always has staff members available. Students
    may find the Advising Center‟s staff helpful, and they may have formed a connection with an Advising Center staff
    member. Students may value utilizing the knowledge of both their faculty and Advising Center advisors to
    maximize their college experience. As such, it is likely that both declared and undeclared students will continue to
    regularly utilize the Advising Center‟s services despite the type of advising model the University employs.

                                                                                                                           84
Assessment of the Advising Center (cont.)
Assist in Recruitment of New Students
•   Advising Center staff play an extensive role in preparing for and participating in orientation.
•   Each advisor is assigned a group of new students for which he/she is responsible. This includes making phone
    calls and sending e-mails to remind the students that in order to enroll they must make a deposit and register
    for orientation. This is the beginning of the connection between advisor and student.
•   The assigned advisor creates students‟ class schedules prior to orientation, then meets with students during
    orientation to answer any questions.
•   Advisors also represent the Advising Center at other WCU recruitment functions (e.g., Open Houses).


Educate Faculty, Staff, and Students About Advising
•   Each advisor serves as a liaison to a college to answer questions for associated faculty and staff, provide
    training and workshop sessions when requested, and develop expertise about their assigned college.
•   Each advisor is required to teach a section of the University Experience Course (USI 130) every fall semester.
    This is an opportunity for advisors to give students helpful advice on maximizing their college experience and to
    inform them about the services and resources available to them at WCU.
•   Advisors also provide advising information and support for the WCU community, as needed.




                                                                                                                        85
               Chapter 5.0
            Assessment of the
            Orientation Office

This analysis of the Orientation Office is divided into the
following sections:
         Analysis of Findings
         Functions and Structure of WCU‟s Orientation Office
         Assessment of the Orientation Office and Program
    Analysis of Findings
•    The Orientation Program serves WCU by assisting new students in their transition to university life as well as
     addressing the concerns of the students‟ immediate family support groups such as parents, guardians, spouses,
     significant others, and children.
•    The Orientation Office plays an important role in student enrollment and retention as it is responsible for coordinating
     events and providing new students with information that assists them in getting off to the right start during their first
     semester at WCU.
•    Nationally, orientation events have evolved beyond their original purpose, which was to prepare the incoming class of
     students with information they needed for a successful first semester and college experience. Many students now use
     orientation as an opportunity to learn more about the institution when making their final decision about college. As a
     result, orientation offices across the country find that they are responsible for contributing toward student enrollment
     while simultaneously preparing incoming students.
•    Our analysis indicates that the WCU Orientation Office is very effective in contributing toward the
     University’s student retention and graduation goals and does so within budget. This suggests that the
     Office makes the most efficient use possible of current financial resources.
•    WCU‟s Orientation Program is of equal or superior quality to those of its peers (see Chapter 8: Peer Institutions & Best
     Practices Analysis).
•    Given the excellent service that the Orientation Office provides, as evidenced by internal surveys and the survey
     results from this study, our suggestions for enhancement are limited to the following observations:
      •   Publication Materials: WCU‟s official colors and fonts are not used consistently in publication materials. (As noted
          in other portions of this report, this appears to be an issue throughout the University.) For example, some
          publications feature a much brighter (almost neon) shade of purple and a tanner shade of yellow than others.
          Another example is the WCU 101: Intro to College flyer, which changes fonts three times and also changes
          alignment for no apparent reason. This makes the publication look disjointed, though the information provided is
          not.
      •   Summer Book Reading Selection, Convocation, and Convocation Speaker: Complete responsibility, including
          logistical and financial, for securing the Summer Book and Convocation speaker became part of Orientation
          Office because the former director had this responsibility in their former position.                                   87
Functions and Structure of WCU‟s
Orientation Program
•   Reporting to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the responsibilities of the Orientation Program can
    be divided into three main areas:
         1.   Orientation Sessions for Freshmen and Transfer Students – Offers a formal introduction to
              WCU‟s campus and an opportunity to meet faculty, staff, and students. WCU offers six freshmen
              orientation sessions (five in June and one early-bird session in April). Freshmen can choose from one of
              two one-day sessions and four two-day sessions. [One-day orientation sessions are designed for
              students who have made prior visits to campus, local students, and special circumstances students.
              These intensive sessions require participation from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.] Transfer students can choose one
              of three one-day orientation sessions (one in June, one in July, and one in August).
         2.   Selection of Summer Book and Convocation Speaker – A committee chaired by the Director of
              Orientation selects a book for freshmen to read over the summer. The purpose of this program is to set
              the academic tone for new students and to enhance the intellectual climate at Western. Also, students
              are provided with a common intellectual experience, a basis for academic discussion, and an enhanced
              sense of community, which contributes toward engagement and student retention. Students receive a
              copy of the book at Orientation. The author of the book is also the Convocation speaker.
         3.   Convocation – The Director of Orientation coordinates all logistics for WCU‟s Convocation, including
              budget for the speaker.


•   The Orientation Program fulfills these responsibilities through its staff members (one professional staff; one
    support staff; two student staff, 27 student staff for orientation, and one summer intern) and its Web site, which
    includes orientation forms and information for prospective students.



                                                                                                                         88
Assessment of the Orientation Program
Orientation Sessions
•   WCU tries to appeal to the needs of incoming students by offering two different formats for orientation – a
    one-day session or a two-day session. One-day sessions are more popular and fill up before two-day sessions.
•   Approximately 2,200 students and 3,300 parents (5,500 total) attend WCU‟s orientation each year, with
    approximately 275 students at each session.
•   WCU invites parents to participate in orientation events and has special “parents-only” sessions that assist
    parents in understanding WCU better and to engage parents in their child‟s college experience. Parents have
    given the orientation program high ratings (based upon results from internal surveys), suggesting that parents
    enjoy and value the opportunity to participate.
•   The Orientation Office has only been offering one-day sessions for two years. This option appeals to students,
    but it is unclear if a one-day session is as effective as a two-day session. The content is the same for both
    formats, except that the two-day session offers a chance to meet with a department representative and to
    interact with other students in the evening.
•   One-day orientation sessions appear to be most effective when the student has been on campus previously and
    is already familiar with WCU. The Orientation Office does its best to help students (and their parents) choose
    the most appropriate orientation format if asked.
•   Publication Materials – Overall, the materials appears professional, informative, and easy to understand.
      – The Orientation Schedule brochure includes easy to follow "student," "parent," and "student and parent"
           schedules.
      – The orientation handout distributed at Open Houses has a peel-off credit card-sized list of orientation
           dates that makes it user friendly.
      – Students can register and pay for Orientation online, which is convenient for students as they can
           immediately see which sessions still have openings. This system makes efficient use of time and
           resources as staff do not need to enter data manually. Approximately 95% of Orientation registrations
           are completed online.

                                                                                                                     89
Assessment of the Orientation Program (cont.)
Orientation Sessions
•   Orientation Counselors are student staff that are hired to assist with orientation.
      – There are a limited number of new openings each year. These are highly competitive, as approximately
          one-third of Orientation Counselors return to be a Counselor the following year.
      – New Orientation Counselors are required to take a one credit-hour course in the spring as part of their
          training.
      – All Orientation Counselors receive compensation, housing, meals, and a uniform in exchange for their
          work.
      – Orientation Counselors contribute to the Early Alert System as they are assigned approximately 50
          students to check in with three times during the first semester (during Welcome Week, at the end of the
          fifth week of classes, and at the end of the semester).

Summer Book Reading Selection, Convocation, and Convocation Speaker
•  The Director of Orientation leads a committee to select the book that will be given to freshmen during
   orientation as their summer reading assignment. Any book that the committee recommends is considered as a
   finalist. In an effort to build engagement and form connections, WCU invites the author of the book to be the
   Convocation speaker. If the author is available and affordable, the book is eligible for consideration. However, if
   the speaker‟s honorarium and travel expenses exceed the amount in the Orientation budget, the book is
   eliminated from consideration.




                                                                                                                         90
          Chapter 6.0
Findings from Focus Groups and
Interviews with Key Stakeholders
     This chapter presents findings from focus groups and
 interviews conducted with WCU faculty, staff, and students.
    The purpose of the interviews and focus groups was to
  assess the strengths and weaknesses of current retention
                     policies and practices.
Overview
 Perceived strengths and weaknesses of current student retention efforts were identified from focus groups and
 interviews with key WCU stakeholders including administrators, faculty, and staff from Academic Affairs,
 Administration and Finance, the Chancellor‟s Office, and Student Affairs, as well as undergraduate students. A list
 of interviewees can be found in the Appendix B.


The summary is divided into six themes that emerged from the focus groups and interviews:

         1.   Institutional Identity/Institutional Image
         2.   Student Social Engagement
         3.   Student Academic Success
         4.   Effective Campus Communications
         5.   Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives
         6.   Campus Community Engaged in a Common Cause




                                                                                                                       92
Findings
Institutional Identity/Institutional Image – An institutional identity/image is an important element of a
     university as it is serves to unify the entire campus community, keep alumni connected, and attract
     prospective students.


Strengths
      –     WCU‟s unique location offers a beautiful setting in the mountains, as well as ecological and outdoor
            opportunities, such as whitewater rafting and hiking, unparalleled at other institutions.
      –     Many employees and students expressed a high degree of loyalty to and pride in WCU. They want the
            University to be valued for the education and services it provides.
      –     WCU, as part of the University of North Carolina system, offers an affordable cost of attendance to its
            students.
      –     WCU is perceived by the campus community to offer a “private-like education for a public-like price.”
      –     Many faculty, staff, and students proudly display their “Purple-Pride” regularly throughout campus.




                                                                                                                      93
Findings
Institutional Identity/Institutional Image – An institutional identity/image is an important element of a
     university as it is serves to unify the entire campus community, keep alumni connected, and attract
     prospective students.


Weaknesses
      –   There is a perception that WCU‟s lack of a strong institutional identity/image hinders its recruitment
          efforts because many prospective students are not aware of the University‟s strengths.
      –   There is concern that WCU‟s lack of a strong institutional identity/image negatively affects the existing
          campus community members‟ connection and loyalty to the University, as well as their sense of fitting
          in at WCU.
      –   There is insufficient expression of “Purple-Pride” campus wide. Some campus community members
          are often seen wearing attire from other institutions.
      –   High turnover of faculty, staff, and students encourages others to leave.
      –   Interviewees expressed that marketing materials (in hardcopy and on the Web site) lack consistency
          across campus, which contributes to the absence of a shared identity or image.
      –   Interviewees stated that, in recent years, the logo/theme of WCU has changed nearly every year or
          every couple of years making it difficult to establish an institutional identity/institutional image.
      –   Concern was expressed that WCU is admitting some students who lack the necessary academic
          preparation for college and therefore may not have a reasonable chance of graduating.




                                                                                                                      94
Findings            (cont.)
Student Social Engagement – The greater a student‟s involvement in university life and interaction with
    faculty, staff, and other students, the more connected the student feels to the institution, increasing the
    probability for persistence and graduation.


Strengths
      –     Numerous and diverse opportunities exist for students to become engaged with the campus
            community. Examples include Valley Bally Hoo (a campus event that promotes student engagement
            by showcasing WCU‟s academic and social clubs and organizations), and varsity and intramural sports,
            etc.
      –     Students expressed interest in staying on campus during weekends if more entertainment
            opportunities (bar/sports bar, bowling alley, concerts, comedians, prominent speakers, etc.) were
            available.
      –     Many students are currently active in campus activities, clubs, organizations, and sports, and
            encourage other students to become involved.
      –     Many students who live on campus or nearby perceive WCU as their new “home.”




                                                                                                                   95
Findings            (cont.)
Student Social Engagement – The greater a student‟s involvement in university life and interaction with
    faculty, staff, and other students, the more connected the student feels to the institution, increasing the
    probability for persistence and graduation.


Weaknesses
      –    There is a perception that information about upcoming events is not widely advertised or publicized
           with sufficient advance notice.
      –    Students expressed that they receive too much junk mail in their mailboxes, which lessens the impact
           of advertisements and announcements.
      –    There is a perception that newer faculty/staff who are unfamiliar with WCU policies and procedures
           are asked to serve as advisors for student groups without receiving adequate preparation to do so
           effectively.
      –    The perception exists that too few entertainment options are available to encourage students to stay
           on campus on the weekends.
      –    The “suitcase campus” perception is widespread and negatively affects students‟ level of social
           engagement.




                                                                                                                  96
Findings            (cont.)
Student Academic Success – The academic success of students is critical to any university. Completing
    courses successfully enable students to meet program and university requirements for graduation, as well
    as giving them a sense of accomplishment and fitting in.


Strengths
      –     WCU offers its students small classes and personalized attention, which the campus community
            values.
      –     Faculty demonstrate interest in and concern for students and their success by building relationships
            with them prior to their enrollment at WCU, during their academic career, and after graduation.
      –     There is interest in and excitement about interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty, staff, and
            students, as evidenced by efforts to enhance current course offerings and build connections between
            these groups.
      –     Faculty and staff expressed interest in spending more time with students (and vice versa), especially
            at critical decision-making points in students‟ academic careers.
      –     Students stated that they use and value campus services that assist and support them in their
            academic endeavors.
      –     For a growing number of students, WCU was their first choice institution.




                                                                                                                    97
Findings           (cont.)
Student Academic Success – The academic success of students is critical to any University. Completing
    courses successfully enable students to meet program and university requirements for graduation, as well
    as giving them a sense of accomplishment and fitting in.


Weaknesses
      –   Freshman courses are intended to help students establish a strong connection with faculty early in
          their academic career at WCU. However, students indicated that this purpose was not clear and that
          they did not see the value of freshman courses.
      –   It was shared that scheduling required courses can be challenging when they are offered only once
          per year and/or at the same time as another required course. If a critical required course is not
          available, the student falls behind in his or her program of study.
      –   The perception exists that some majors require a large number of credits to complete the program,
          making it difficult to graduate in four years.
      –   There is a perception that students are pressured to select a major as soon as possible without having
          ample opportunity to explore a variety of majors through liberal arts coursework.
      –   Concern was expressed that support systems are not adequate to assist those students who arrive on
          campus unprepared to handle the academic challenges of college and responsibilities of being an
          adult.
      –   The perception exists that academic mentoring services are underutilized by low-achieving students,
          the target population. Among students and their family members, a stigma is associated with use of
          academic mentoring.
      –   There is a perception that some students utilize WCU as a “stepping-stone” institution; they attend
          WCU until they can transfer to their first-choice institution.
      –   There is interest in increasing the racial diversity of faculty to increase minority student recruitment
          efforts, as well as retention and graduation rates.

                                                                                                                     98
Findings            (cont.)
Effective Campus Communication – Maintaining effective campus-wide lines of communication is important
     for improving students‟ overall experience at WCU and providing students with the information they need to
     make progress toward their degree. This includes two-way communication among administrators, faculty,
     staff, and students.


Strengths
      –     Faculty expressed interest in receiving student retention and graduation data for their respective
            departments so that each department could be more aware of how it contributes to university efforts.
      –     Faculty, staff, and students value making new connections with others and living in a “community.”
      –     The campus community appreciates guidance from senior administrators on important student
            retention and graduation issues and would welcome additional leadership in this area.
      –     There is interest in recognizing faculty and staff for outstanding contributions to student retention and
            graduation.




                                                                                                                        99
Findings           (cont.)
Effective Campus Communication – Maintaining effective campus-wide lines of communication is important
     for improving students‟ overall experience at WCU and providing students with the information they need to
     make progress toward their degree. This includes two-way communication among administrators, faculty,
     staff, and students.


Weaknesses
      –   It is perceived that there is an insufficient level of communication across departments and divisions.
          Faculty and staff expressed a desire to communicate important campus programs, policies, and
          procedures to other departments and divisions so as to enhance students‟ overall experience at WCU.
      –   Often, committees work to form recommendations and suggestions, which are forwarded to
          leadership for consideration or action. It was expressed that committees typically do not receive
          feedback on decisions or actions taken based on their recommendations.
      –   There is a perception that students can receive multiple answers to the same question about
          academic or student services issues from different campus authorities, making it difficult for them to
          choose which course of action to take.
      –   There is concern that new on-campus policies and procedures are too wordy and thus difficult to
          understand and interpret.




                                                                                                                   100
Findings            (cont.)
Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives – It is important to introduce new initiatives
    that will enhance the overall student experience as well as increase student retention and graduation rates.
    New initiatives take time to develop, implement, and assess and therefore require sustainable leadership
    and leadership support.


Strengths
      –     WCU strives to adopt best practices and programs in student retention and graduation as they
            become available.
      –     WCU is currently providing a variety of programs and services that enhance students‟ overall
            experience and contribute towards increasing student retention and graduation rates.


Weaknesses
      –     It is perceived that some programs and services are at risk of being reduced or eliminated if they do
            not appear to have proven results in a short period of time (1-2 years). It was expressed that more
            time is needed to demonstrate outcomes.
      –     Some departments/programs perceive that they do not have the resources (staff and financial) to
            accomplish the work that they have been charged to perform.
      –     There is concern that faculty and staff are made responsible for implementing programs or services,
            but lack authority to determine the implementation plan or make changes to existing programs or
            services.
      –     Concerns were raised about the tradeoffs of increasing enrollment at the perceived cost in quality of
            students admitted.



                                                                                                                    101
Findings            (cont.)
Campus Community Engaged in a Common Cause – Institutions that are successful in implementing
   change and meeting the goals set forth by senior leadership, such as increasing student retention and
   graduation rates, do so with the involvement of the entire campus community.


Strengths
      –     Faculty, staff, and students recognize the importance of retention and graduation rates and are
            interested in playing a role in improving WCU‟s rates.
      –     Students, faculty, and staff expressed interest in being part of future conversations about creating an
            implementation plan for increasing student retention and graduation rates at the department and
            University levels.
      –     Interest was expressed in having leadership established obtainable student retention and graduation
            goals each year and the WCU community working together to reach those goals.


Weaknesses
      –     There is concern that all employees do not have a “Students-First” mentality. It was stated that some
            people/departments make independent decisions without putting students‟ needs first.
      –     It is perceived that faculty, staff, and students lack a sense of unity and are not engaged in a common
            cause.




                                                                                                                      102
                  Chapter 7.0
                 Survey Results

 This chapter presents findings from the online survey of WCU
students. The purpose of the survey was to assess the goals of
  students upon enrollment at WCU, their experience with the
    admissions process, and their evaluation of their college
         experiences both in and out of the classroom.
Student Survey – Analysis of Findings
WCU Student Survey

•   MGT conducted an online survey to collect data about WCU students and their goals, expectations, levels of
    satisfaction, and experiences, as well as suggestions for improving student retention. [The survey of current
    students can be found in the Appendix C.]

•   On Thursday, March 8, 2007, a survey link and participation instructions were e-mailed to undergraduate
    students enrolled at WCU (Cullowhee campus only) for the Spring 2007 term. The deadline for participation was
    Friday, March 23, 2007, allowing students 15 days to complete the survey.

•   A total of 690 WCU students accessed the survey, yielding a 12.4% response rate.

•   The survey results are consistent with comments made during student focus groups. Students perceive that WCU
    students would be encouraged to complete their bachelor‟s degree at WCU when:

     –   WCU‟s recruiting efforts highlight its unique characteristics and attract students who are interested in WCU.

     –   Services that students deem important are enhanced or improved.




                                                                                                                         104
Student Survey – Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Tailoring Outreach Efforts

•   “Tailoring Outreach Efforts” involves capitalizing on the qualities that respondents identified as having
    influenced their decision to enroll at WCU, notably affordability and small class size. Location and quality of
    education were the next most common reasons for choosing WCU. In terms of location, the majority of
    students whose first choice was not WCU said that they had considered other schools in the state.

•   Clearly, most students who enroll at WCU are already inclined to attend school in North Carolina; the key is for
    the University to show prospective students what it specifically has to offer, as some of the same qualities that
    attract applicants to WCU in the first place are primary sources of satisfaction once those students are enrolled.

      –   For example, more than 90% of respondents reported that they were very satisfied or satisfied with the
          quality of teaching at WCU and the faculty‟s knowledge and expertise, factors that respondents
          unanimously ranked as important.

•   It should be noted that the University‟s online presence is integral to outreach efforts, as 73% of respondents
    reported consulting the WCU Web site prior to enrollment.




                                                                                                                         105
    Student Survey Findings – Analysis (cont.)
Tailoring Outreach Efforts (cont.)
•    Many students who are leaving WCU may not perceive the institution as the “best” fit for them.
      –    Only 66% of freshmen planned to graduate from WCU when they initially enrolled.

      –    While 88% of student respondents indicated that they would recommend WCU to friends and family, only 78%
           would choose it again for themselves.
•    Students who enroll at WCU with the intention of transferring within the first two years may be difficult to retain, but
     data indicate that WCU has had some success here.
      –    Some students have changed their minds as a result of their enrollment and exposure to the WCU community,
           since 73% of freshman respondents indicated that they were currently planning to graduate from WCU (up from
           66% at initial enrollment).
•    Greater engagement with the campus community at both the individual and group level may improve student
     commitment to WCU and retention.
      –    While 88% of the respondents indicated that involvement in organizations contributed to their satisfaction at the
           institution, 18% were not involved in any student group.
      –    Approximately 24% of respondents went home almost every weekend. Thirty-four percent of these students
           indicated that they would stay on campus over the weekend for social events.
      –    Although 73% of freshmen indicated that they were planning to graduate from WCU, an additional 20% indicated
           that they might graduate from WCU. These students may be influenced and retained if they are given reasons to
           stay.
      –    USI 130 and the Freshman Seminar were rated as very low in importance and satisfaction among survey
           respondents. Students called these courses “a waste of time,” “busy work,” and “not useful.” These courses, if
           filled with rich content relevant to student experiences and presented in an engaging way, may provide students
           with a solid academic and social foundation.
                                                                                                                                106
Student Survey – Analysis of Findings (cont.)
Improving Services

•   “Improving Services” contributes to increasing retention. As the University‟s clientele, students are the most
    valuable source of information on ways to increase retention. It is essential that WCU consider student input
    and respond appropriately to their needs. Potentially, the greatest value may be realized by responding to
    areas that received both high importance and low satisfaction ratings: food services, availability of required
    courses, and electronic access to course content. More than 90% of respondents rated these areas as
    important, and between 26% and 43% reported dissatisfaction with them.

•   Other common sources of dissatisfaction were lack of parking/transportation and advising. The latter is of
    particular note, since students who are not properly advised may perceive less relevancy in this coursework and
    may take longer to obtain their degree. This may lead to frustration with the time and money invested in their
    education, prompting them to transfer to an institution through which they can progress more smoothly.

•   Lack of availability of required courses can have a similar effect. Moreover, factors that lengthen the time for a
    student to earn a degree can affect graduation rates even when the student chooses to stay at WCU. When
    students take more than six years to complete their degrees, their efforts do not contribute to the University‟s
    overall graduation rates measure.




                                                                                                                         107
Respondent Characteristics                                          EXHIBIT 7-1:
                                                             RESPONDENT CHARACTERISTICS
•   As illustrated in Exhibit 7-1, seniors represented the           Respondent Characteristics
    largest percentage of respondents (29.8%), followed                      (n=687)
                                                                  Classification
    by juniors (27.4%) and freshmen (23.6%).                      Freshman                  23.6%
    Sophomores had the lowest response rate (17.9%).              Sophomore                 17.9%
                                                                  Junior                    27.4%
•   Over 69% of all respondents were 21 years old or              Senior                    29.8%

    younger.                                                      Other                      1.3%
                                                                  Status
                                                                  Part-time                  6.1%
•   The majority of survey respondents were full-time             Full-time                 93.9%
    students (93.9%), White/Caucasian (91.1%), and                Age
    female (62.8%).                                               Under 18                   0.3%
                                                                  18-19                     31.6%
                                                                  20-21                     37.3%
                                                                  22-23                     15.8%
                                                                  24 or Older               15.1%
                                                                  Gender
                                                                  Female                    62.8%
                                                                  Male                      37.2%
                                                                  Ethnicity
                                                                  Asian/Pacific Islander     2.0%
                                                                  Black/African-American     3.1%
                                                                  Hispanic                   0.9%
                                                                  Native American or
                                                                  Alaskan Native             1.2%

                                                                  White/Caucasian           91.1%
                                                                  Biracial/Multiracial       0.9%
                                                                  Other                      0.9%
                                                                  Overall GPA
                                                                  Higher than 3.0           68.7%
                                                                  2.0 to 3.0                29.0%
                                                                  Less than 2.0              2.3%

                                                                                                         108
                                                               Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
Respondent Characteristics (cont.)
Other Respondent Characteristics

•   Respondents were dispersed across four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences (29%), the College of
    Applied Science (28%), the College of Education & Allied Professions (23%), and the College of Business
    (14%). The remaining 5% of respondents indicated that they had not yet declared a major.
•   Approximately 35% of all survey respondents had been attending WCU for 1 year. Another 24% had been
    attending for 2 years, and one-fifth had been attending for 3 years.
•   A majority (58%) of respondents indicated they were currently living on campus, while 23% indicated they
    used to live on campus; 19% had never lived on campus.
•   Fifty-six percent of respondents‟ permanent addresses were more than 60 miles away from the campus; 11.2%
    had permanent addresses within 1 mile.
•   Seventy-two percent of all survey respondents were from North Carolina.
     –   Of those North Carolina residents who responded, the highest percentages were from Buncombe County
         (8.2%), Jackson County (7.8%), Haywood County (7.4%), Macon County (6.3%), and Wake County
         (5.3%).




                                                                                                                109
    Paying for Educational Expenses
•    Fifty-one percent of survey respondents indicated that they were responsible for their own educational expenses.
     Another 45% indicated that their “parents or relatives” had primary financial responsibility for their educational
     expenses at WCU.

•    The means by which students were financing their education are depicted in Exhibit 7-2; the three most common
     were parents (56%), student loans (54%), and a part-time job (36%).

•    Only 16% of respondents indicated that they still had very significant financial need after taking all financial aid into
     consideration.



    EXHIBIT 7-2:                                                              Parents                                                56%
    WAYS SURVEY                                                         Student loans                                               54%
    RESPONDENTS WERE                                                     Part-time job                                  36%
    FINANCING THEIR                                           University scholarships                                  32%
    EDUCATION                                                                 Savings                           23%
                                                                                Other                     15%
                                                                 Work/Study program                  9%
                                                                          Full-time job             7%
                                       Spouse, family (other than parents), or partner              7%
                                                                   Veterans' benefits          3%
                                                    Federal program (TRA, TAA, ITA)            2%
                                                                    Employer benefits          1%
                                                                      Military benefits        1%

                                                                                          0%        10%   20%    30%   40%    50%   60%


                                                                                                                                           110
                                     Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
Goals and Expectations
•     The overwhelming majority of respondents enrolled at WCU with the intention of completing their bachelor‟s
      degree (94% overall).

•     Current freshmen, however, were more likely to respond with uncertainty than their upper-class
      counterparts. Nine percent of freshmen reported that they were uncertain about their goal of obtaining a
      bachelor‟s degree when they started, as compared to 4% of sophomores and just 3% of juniors and seniors.




    EXHIBIT 7-3:                         100%
                                                    5%          9%             4%          3%    3%
    DID YOU ENTER COLLEGE                 90%       1%                         2%          0%    1%
    WITH THE GOAL OF                      80%
                                                                2%

    OBTAINING A BACHELOR’S                70%
    DEGREE?                               60%
                                          50%      94%                         94%     97%       95%
                                                                89%
                                          40%
                                          30%
                                          20%
                                          10%
                                           0%
                                                   Overall    Freshman   Sophomore     Junior    Senior
                                                  (n=685)      (n=161)    (n=123)     (n=187)   (n=205)

                                            Yes          No     Uncertain when I started
                                     Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.


                                                                                                                   111
Goals and Expectations (cont.)
•     Freshmen respondents were less likely than their upper-class counterparts to indicate that their original
      intention upon entering WCU was to graduate with a bachelor‟s degree from WCU. Of freshmen
      respondents, 66% indicated that they intended to graduate from WCU, as compared to 84% of sophomores,
      91% of juniors, and 88% of seniors.
•     Most of those who did not intend to graduate from WCU when they initially enrolled indicated that they
      planned to stay one or two years and then transfer (8%) or to start college and see what happened (5%).
      This trend was more pronounced among freshman respondents (14% and 12%, respectively).



    EXHIBIT 7-4:                              0%
                                   Senior      2%
    WHAT WAS YOUR                  (n=205)
                                               2%
                                                 6%
    ORIGINAL                                                                                      88%        Other
    INTENT BY                       Junior
                                              0%
                                               2%
                                               2%
    ENROLLING AT                   (n=187)       6%
                                                                                                  91%
                                                                                                             Stay until I figure out what to
    WCU?                                          2%
                                                                                                             do next
                               Sophomore          2%                                                         Start college and see what
                                                   3%
                                (n=123)                 9%                                                   happens
                                                                                                84%
                                              1%                         Transfer                            Stay for one or two years
                                Freshman            6% 12%                                                   and then transfer
                                 (n=161)                 14%
                                                                                    66%                      Graduate from WCU
                                              1%                            Graduate from WCU
                                   Overall      3%
                                                 5%
                                   (n=685)         8%
                                                                                            83%

                                             0%              20%   40%      60%           80%         100%

                            Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                                                               112
Goals and Expectations (cont.)
                                                                          EXHIBIT 7-5:
                                                               DO YOU CURRENTLY PLAN TO COMPLETE
                                                                YOUR BACHELOR’S DEGREE AT WCU?
•   When asked about their current
    intentions, 89% of respondents indicated
    that they intended to complete their              100%
                                                                 3%                               2%            1%
                                                                                         4%
    bachelor‟s degree at WCU. However,                 90%
                                                                 8%
                                                                            7%
                                                                                        11%       3%             1%
    freshmen were much less likely to                  80%
                                                                            20%
    respond this way than upperclassmen
                                                       70%
    (73%).
                                                       60%

•   Approximately 27% of freshmen indicated            50%                                        96%           98%
                                                                89%
    that they did not plan to, or might not,           40%
                                                                            73%
                                                                                        85%

    graduate from WCU. Fifteen percent of              30%
    sophomores, 5% of juniors, and just 2%             20%
    of seniors indicated that they did not plan        10%
    to, or might not, graduate from WCU.                0%
                                                                Overall   Freshman   Sophomore    Junior        Senior
•   Of the 161 freshmen respondents, 66%                       (n=685)     (n=161)    (n=123)    (n=187)       (n=205)
    planned to graduate from WCU when they                                                              Yes   Maybe      No
    originally enrolled (exhibit 10), but 73%
                                                  Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
    now intend to complete their bachelor‟s
    degree from WCU.




                                                                                                                              113
Reasons for Staying at WCU                                           EXHIBIT 7-6:
                                                       WHAT REASONS HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR
                                                        STAYING AT WCU? (AMONG THOSE PLANNING
•   The most common reason that student               (n=609) AND MAYBE PLANNING TO STAY (n=53))
    respondents offered for staying at WCU was that                  Reasons for Staying at WCU
                                                            (Among Those Planning or Maybe Planning to                  %
    they planned to complete their college degree                                  Stay)                            (n=662)    n
    (50%).                                              1. Plan to complete a college degree                          50%     328
                                                        2. Atmosphere from students (peers)                           42%     281
                                                        3. Atmosphere from teaching faculty                           41%     273
•   Other common responses were:                        4. Location of WCU                                            41%     273
                                                        5. Meets my educational goals                                 36%     236
     – Atmosphere from students/peers (42%).            6. Adequate financial aid or money to continue
                                                        attending
                                                                                                                     33%      217

                                                        7. WCU offers a major that matches my academic
     – Atmosphere from teaching faculty (41%).
                                                                                                                     33%      216
                                                        interests
                                                        8. Investment of much time and money                         23%      153
                                                        9. Feel part of this college community                       21%      140
     – Location of WCU (41%).                           10. Meets my personal needs                                  14%      95
                                                        11. Want to be close to family                               13%      87
     – Meets my educational goals (36%).                12. Want to be closer to boyfriend/girlfriend and/or
                                                                                                                     13%      83
                                                        friends who attend WCU
                                                        13. Too much effort to transfer                              12%      77
•   The least common responses were:                    14. Quality of instruction                                   10%      65
                                                        15. Meets my expectations                                     7%      47

     – Variety and frequency of activities/events       16. Atmosphere from academic support staff
                                                        17. Variety and frequency of activities/events on
                                                                                                                      5%      36

       outside of the university community (1%).
                                                                                                                      5%      36
                                                        campus
                                                        18. Parents wanted me to stay                                 5%      35
                                                        19. Other                                                     5%      34
     – Quality of the facilities (2%).                  20. Classes are challenging for me                            4%      24
                                                        21. Residential living environment on campus                  3%      23
     – Atmosphere from student services staff           22. Want to be far from family
                                                        23. Services provided to students are excellent
                                                                                                                      3%
                                                                                                                      3%
                                                                                                                              22
                                                                                                                              19
       (2%).                                            24. Atmosphere from student services staff                    2%      15
                                                        25. Quality of facilities                                     2%      14

     – Changed marital status (2%).                     26. Changed marital status
                                                        27. Variety and frequency of activities/events outside of
                                                                                                                      2%      13
                                                                                                                      1%      7
                                                        the university community

                                                        Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                                                    114
    Reasons for Considering Leaving
                                                                          EXHIBIT 7-7:
•   The most common reason respondents gave for
                                                             WHY ARE YOU CONSIDERING LEAVING WCU
    considering leaving WCU was that they were planning        BEFORE COMPLETING YOUR DEGREE?
    to transfer to another school. Approximately 34% of
                                                                                                                            May     Do not Plan
    those considering leaving and 61% of those who                                                                        Complete to Complete
    definitely did not plan to graduate from WCU indicated                                                                Degree at Degree at
                                                                      Reasons Considering Leaving WCU                    WCU (n=53) WCU (n=23)
    that they intended to transfer to another school.        1. Planning to transfer to another school                      34%        61%
                                                             2. Location of WCU                                             26%        48%
•   Other common responses among those considering           3. Want to be closer to boyfriend/girlfriend and/or
                                                                                                                            19%         13%
    leaving were:                                            friends who attend another school
                                                             4. Does not meet my personal needs                             17%         26%
      – Location of WCU (26%).                               5. Does not meets my expectations                              17%         35%
                                                             6. Want to be close to family                                  17%         17%
      – Want to be closer to boyfriend/girlfriend and/or     7. Atmosphere from students (peers)                            15%         4%
                                                             8. Don't feel part of this college community                   15%         22%
          friends who attend another school (19%).           9. Does not meet my educational goals                          15%         17%

      – Does not meet my personal needs (17%).               10. Limited variety and frequency of activities/events on
                                                             campus
                                                                                                                            11%         13%

      – Does not meet my expectations (17%).                 11. Atmosphere from teaching faculty
                                                             12. Not enough financial aid or money to continue
                                                                                                                            9%          4%
                                                                                                                            9%          4%
      – Want to be close to family (17%).                    attending
                                                             13. Residential living environment on campus                   9%          4%
•   Other common responses among those who definitely        14. Limited variety and frequency of activities/events
                                                                                                                            8%          13%
                                                             outside of the university community
    did not plan to stay were:                               15. Quality of instruction                                     8%          4%
                                                             16. Quality of facilities                                      6%          4%
      – Location of WCU (48%).                               17. WCU does not offer a major that matches my
                                                                                                                            6%          13%
      – Does not meet my expectations (35%).
                                                             academic interests
                                                             18. Classes are challenging for me                             4%          0%
      – Does not meet my personal needs (26%).               19. Investment of much time and money
                                                             20. Parents wanted me to leave
                                                                                                                            4%
                                                                                                                            4%
                                                                                                                                        4%
                                                                                                                                        0%
      – Don‟t feel a part of this college community (22%).   21. Want to be far from family
                                                             22. Atmosphere from academic support staff
                                                                                                                            4%
                                                                                                                            2%
                                                                                                                                        0%
                                                                                                                                        0%
•   The most popular schools to which respondents were       23. Atmosphere from student services staff                     2%          0%
                                                             24. No longer plan to pursue a college degree                  2%          0%
    considering transferring were UNC at Chapel Hill         25. Too much effort to stay                                    2%          4%
    (n=10), UNC at Greensboro (n=10), UNC at Wilmington      26. Other
                                                             27. Changed marital status
                                                                                                                            6%
                                                                                                                            0%
                                                                                                                                        22%
                                                                                                                                        0%
    (n=9), NC State (n=6), Appalachian State University      Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
    (n=5), and UNC Charlotte (n=5).
                                                                                                                                                  115
Reasons Why Fellow Students Left WCU
•   The most common reason respondents gave for other students‟ leaving WCU was that these students had
    transferred to another college (38%).

•   Other common reasons given were:
     – Poor grades (37%).
     – Difficulty adjusting to college (28%).
     – Did not feel comfortable or connected to WCU (28%).
     – Not enough money to continue attending (19%).



                                                  Transferred to another college
EXHIBIT 7-8:
CONSIDERING                                                          Poor grades

STUDENTS YOU                                        Difficulty adjusting to college
KNOW WHO LEFT                      Did not feel comfortable or connected to WCU
WCU RECENTLY,                           Not enough money to continue attending
WHY DO YOU THINK
                               Desired an academic program not offered at WCU
THEY LEFT?
                            Personal issues that prohibited continued attendance

                             Wanted to be closer to family or boyfriend-girlfriend

                                                      Found full-time employment

                           Medical issues that prohibited continued attendenance

                                              Too few city amenities/no night life

                                                                            Other

                                                                                  0%   5%   10%   15%   20%   25%   30%   35%   40%


                         Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.                                                                      116
Student Suggestions for Encouraging Their Peers
to Stay
   •   Many respondents suggested that lowering the cost of tuition by offering more financial aid and
       scholarships would encourage students to stay.

   •   Many respondents expressed a desire for more off-campus restaurants.

   •   Other respondents suggested that changes to academic programs would encourage students to stay.
       Among their suggestions were to:

        –   Design classes that focus less on the theoretical and more on applications to the real world.

        –   Add programs (e.g., automotive, textiles), and add pharmacy and veterinary schools.

        –   Improve the distance education opportunities and the nursing program.




                                                                                                            117
    Students‟ Sense of Connection to the Campus
•   Student respondents indicated involvement in                      EXHIBIT 7-9:
                                                       ORGANIZATIONS STUDENTS HAVE PARTICIPATED
    a variety of on-campus organizations. The
                                                              IN SINCE ENROLLING AT WCU
    most commonly cited were:
                                                                                                            %
     – Honors Program (26%).
                                                        Organizations Participated in While at WCU      (n=672)    n
     – Intramurals (26%).                          1. Honors program                                      26%     178
     – Academic and Professional Groups (25%).     2. Intramurals                                         26%     176
     – Religious and Spiritual Groups (21%).       3. Academic and professional groups                    25%     167
                                                   4. Religous/spiritual groups                           21%     140
                                                   5. I am not part of any club/organization/sport        18%     120
•   The least commonly mentioned groups were:
                                                   6. Honors organizations                                17%     111
     – Social Advocacy Groups (1%).                7. Fraternity or sorority                              16%     109
                                                   8. Marching Band                                       10%     66
     – Student Government (3%).
                                                   9. Service learning                                     9%     58
     – Student Media (4%).                         10. Leadership and programming                          8%     53
     – Political Organizations (4%).               11. Last Minute Productions (LMT)                       7%     50
                                                   12. Arts, design, and art education organizations       7%     49
•   Eighteen percent of respondents indicated      13. Cultural and advocacy organizations                 6%     37
                                                   14. Resident Student Association or Residence Hall
    that they had not been involved in a                                                                  6%      37
                                                   Council
    club/organization or sport (120 students).     15. Game clubs                                         5%      34
                                                   16. Varsity sport                                      5%      31
                                                   17. Political organizations                            4%      27
                                                   18. Student media                                      4%      27
                                                   19. Student Government Association                     3%      23
                                                   20. Social advocacy groups                             1%       9
                                                   Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.


                                                                                                                        118
Students‟ Sense of Connection to the Campus (cont.)
•   Over 88% of respondents indicated that participation in a student organization contributed at least
    somewhat to their overall satisfaction at WCU. Over 41% indicated that such participation had greatly
    affected their level of satisfaction.




                                       EXHIBIT 7-10:
                 EXTENT TO WHICH PARTICIPATION IN A STUDENT ORGANIZATION
                   CONTRIBUTED TO OVERALL STUDENT SATISFACTION AT WCU


                   To a great                                   Not at all, 11.4%
                  extent, 46.1%




                                                                               Somewhat,
                                                                                 42.5%


                       n=508


                Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                            119
Students‟ Sense of Connection to the Campus (cont.)
 •       Exhibit 7-11 displays the reported amounts of time spent in various activities by the survey respondents.
 •       Eighty-five percent of respondents reported attending classes for more than 10 hours per week, and 10%
         reported spending over 20 hours each week in class.
 •       Most students (60%) reported socializing with friends for between 1 and 10 hours each week.
 •       Similarly, the majority of respondents (68%) indicated that they spent between 1 and 10 hours each week
         studying outside of class.
 •       Sixty percent of respondents spent no time volunteering; however, 36% spent between 1 and 5 hours per
         week volunteering.
 •       While about half of respondents reported working not at all or less than 5 hours a week, 33% worked
         between 6 and 20 hours a week, and 17% worked more than 20. Of the students who spend 16 hours or
         more each week working, 22% indicate that they still have significant financial needs, compared with 14%
         of those who work less than 16 hours each week.

                                               EXHIBIT 7-11:
                                TIME SPENT EACH WEEK ON VARIOUS ACTIVITIES
                                     Participating              Studying/Doing
                                                   Socializing                   Volunteering     Working at a
                           Attending       in                   Homework or
       Time Spent per                                 with                      for Community     Full- or Part-
                           Classes Club/Activity/               Team Projects
           Week                                     Friends                         Service         time Job
                            (n=685)     Sport                  Outside of Class
                                                    (n=681)                         (n=675)          (n=682)
                                       (n=679)                     (n=679)
               0 hours        0%               33%     3%            1%               60%             41%
             1-5 hours        5%               41%    35%            29%              36%              9%
            6-10 hours        9%               14%    25%            39%               3%             14%
           11-15 hours        42%               6%    16%            19%               1%              9%
           16-20 hours        34%               3%     9%            9%                0%             10%
      21 Hours or more        10%               3%    12%            3%                0%             17%
     Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                                     120
Students‟ Sense of Connection to the Campus (cont.)
•   Exhibit 7-12 displays answers to the question “Would you recommend WCU to friends and family?” by
    student organization membership.
•   The majority of students in every category responded that they would recommend WCU to friends or family.
    This suggests that they have a positive image of the university as a whole.
•   Marching Band members had the most positive responses to this question (94%).




EXHIBIT 7-12:                 100%                                            6%         9%
                                          12%         13%         11%                               13%          12%           12%
WOULD YOU                      90%
RECOMMEND WCU TO               80%
FRIENDS OR FAMILY?             70%
                               60%
                               50%                                            94%       91%
                                          88%         87%         89%                               87%          88%            88%
                               40%
                               30%
                               20%
                               10%
                                0%
                                           All      Acad. and Religious /   Marching    Honors   Intramural   Involved in   Not part of
                                         (n=681)   professional spiritual    Band      Program     (n=176)     any group    any group
                                                      groups    groups       (n=66)    (n=177)                  (n=494)      (n=120)
                                                     (n=166)    (n=140)
                                                                                          Yes                 No
                           Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.

                                                                                                                                      121
Students‟ Sense of Connection to the Campus (cont.)
•     Exhibit 7-13 displays answers to the question “If you were starting college again, would you choose to attend
      WCU?” by student organization membership.
•     The majority of students in every category responded that they would choose WCU again.
•     Religious/spiritual group members had the most positive responses to this question (84%).
•     Interestingly, fewer respondents in each category responded positively to this question than the previous one
      (Exhibit 7-12). The largest difference was among members of the Marching Band (12%), and the smallest
      was among members of religious/spiritual organizations (5%). This suggests that while respondents have a
      positive image of the university as a whole, some do not feel that WCU is the best match for them personally.



    EXHIBIT 7-13:                   100%
                                                                   16%          18%     19%
    IF YOU WERE                      90%       22%       23%                                          19%        22%          21%

    STARTING COLLEGE,                80%
    WOULD YOU CHOOSE                 70%
    TO ATTEND WCU?                   60%
                                     50%
                                     40%       78%                  84%         82%     81%           81%         78%        79%
                                                          77%
                                     30%
                                     20%
                                     10%
                                      0%
                                                All    Acad. and Religious, Marching   Honors      Intramural Involved in Not part of
                                              (n=679) professional spiritual Band      Program       (n=176) any group any group
                                                         groups    groups    (n=66)    (n=177)                  (n=493)    (n=119)
                                                        (n=166)    (n=140)
                                                                          Yes                 No
                                                                                                                                        122
                                 Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
Weekends at WCU                                                    EXHIBIT 7-14:
                                                    HOW MANY WEEKENDS A SEMESTER DO YOU GO HOME?
•   Thirty-seven percent of respondents indicated
    that they rarely go home on weekends (0 or 1-     Almost every w eekend                                                           24%

    2 weekends per semester).                                 6-7 w eekends                     6%

•   Approximately 24% reported that they went                 5-6 w eekends                            9%
    home almost every weekend.
                                                              3-4 w eekends                                                           24%
•   Social activities were cited by 52% of
    respondents as events that would encourage                1-2 w eekends                                                                  26%

    them to stay on campus during weekends.
                                                                0 w eekends                                  11%

•   Thirty-nine percent indicated that athletic
                                                                              0%          5%           10%         15%        20%     25%          30%
    events would help keep them on campus.             n=686


•   Other common responses were:                                    EXHIBIT 7-15:
                                                     WHAT EVENTS WOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO STAY ON
     –    Intramural sports events (19%).
                                                              CAMPUS DURING WEEKENDS?
     –    Religious/spiritual events (17%).
                                                                                   Social activities                                              52%
     –    Academic and professional events (17%).                                         Athletics
                                                                         Intamural sports activities                    19%
                                                                                                                                     39%

                                                                                 Religious/Spiritual                  17%
     –    Arts, design, and art education events                       Academic and professional                       17%
          (16%).                                                    Arts, design and art education                   16%
                                                                            Cultural and advocacy              10%

•   Students who responded “Other” gave
                                                                                    Marching Band              10%
                                                                     Leadership and programming              7%
    suggestions such as dining options, concerts,                                 Service learning         5%

    and work opportunities.
                                                                                  Social advocacy          4%
                                                                                             Other        3%
                                                         Not applicable (commuter/distance learn)        2%
                                                                                           Nothing      1%

                                                                                                   0%        10%     20%      30%   40%     50%     60%
                                                          n=686

                                                      Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.                                                             123
Weekends at WCU (cont.)
•   Among respondents reporting that they went home almost every weekend, social activities and events (34%)
    and athletic events (22%) were the most commonly cited activities that would encourage these respondents
    to remain on campus over weekends.
•   Among this group of respondents, those who selected “Other” also offered suggestions including dining
    options, concerts, and work opportunities.


                                     EXHIBIT 7-16:
                  AMONG RESPONDENTS WHO GO HOME ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND,
                   WHAT EVENTS WOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO STAY ON CAMPUS
                                  DURING WEEKENDS?

                                                  Social activities                                   34%
                                                         Athletics                              22%
                                     Academic and professional                            19%
                                                Religious/spiritual                     16%
                                       Intamural sports activities                       16%
                                 Arts, design, and art education                  11%
                                           Cultural and advocacy             7%
                       Not Applicable (commuter/distance learn)             7%
                                                          Nothing         5%
                                                   Marching Band          5%
                                   Leadership and programming             5%
                                                 Social advocacy        4%
                                                 Service learning      2%
                                                            Other                       15%

                                                                  0%   5%   10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
                           n=161

                      Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                               124
  Satisfaction with Student Activities and Community
• Students reported the most satisfaction
  (very or somewhat satisfied) with the:
                                                                     EXHIBIT 7-17:
      – Friendliness of other students           SATISFACTION WITH STUDENT ACTIVITIES AND COMMUNITY
        (94%).
                                                                                              Very     Somewhat Not Too Not at All
      – Ability to become involved in             Student Activities and Community
                                                                                             Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied
        student organizations and clubs              Sense of belonging to WCU (n=616)        53%        38%       6%        3%
        (94%).                                     Friendliness of other students (n=613)     49%        45%       4%        1%
      – Out-of-class experiences (92%).             Ability to become involved in student
                                                                                              48%        46%       5%        1%
                                                             organizations/clubs (n=609)
• Students reported the least satisfaction             Out-of-class experiences (hearing
  (not too or not at all satisfied) with:        speakers, informal student discussions,      45%        47%       6%        1%
      – Their sense of belonging to                               attending plays) (n=607)
        Cullowhee and Sylva (15%).            Sense of belonging to Cullowhee and Sylva
                                                                                              45%        40%      11%        4%
                                                                                     (n=610)
      – The new student services phone
                                                 Safety and security on campus (n=614)        44%        46%       7%        2%
        system (14%).
                                                   Organized extracurricular experiences
                                              (student club, intramural sports, cultural or   44%        50%       5%        2%
                                                                  social activities) (n=602)
                                                            Orientation activities (n=608)    33%        54%       8%        4%
                                               New student services phone system (227-
                                                                                              30%        56%       9%        5%
                                                                             7170) (n=595)
                                             Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.




                                                                                                                                125
Use of Selected University Services
•   Services used daily or weekly by most respondents were the WCU Website (80%), MyCAT (78%), WebCT
    (73%), and WCU e-mail (59%).
•   The least frequently used services (rarely or never) were Career Placement and Planning services (88%),
    Student Success Center tutoring (79%), and TV 62 (77%).


                                     EXHIBIT 7-18:
              HOW FREQUENTLY DO YOU USE THE FOLLOWING UNIVERSITY SERVICES?
                                                                                             Several
                               Services                          Daily   Weekly   Monthly   Times per   Rarely   Never
                                                                                            Semester
                                        WCU website (n=620)      49%      31%       8%         7%         4%      2%
                                           WCU email (n=620)     44%      15%       5%         8%        11%     17%
                                               Web CT (n=621)    44%      29%       6%         7%         9%      5%
                                                MyCat (n=620)    43%      35%       9%         8%         4%      1%
              Walk through the University Center to check out
                                                                 16%      20%       8%        16%        22%     19%
                                     upcoming events (n=618)
                    Talk with faculty outside of class (n=621)   13%      34%      18%        18%        15%      3%
                                         WWCU 90.5 (n=620)        7%      11%       7%        10%        24%     41%
             Study or meet with other students in my classes
                                                                  6%      30%      17%        23%        16%      8%
                                                       (n=620)
                          Student Accounts services (n=618)       2%      6%       10%        27%        39%     17%
                                                 TV 62 (n=616)    2%      5%        6%        11%        29%     48%
                  One-Stop for help (in Killian Annex) (n=622)    1%      8%       27%        40%        21%      3%
                                Financial Aid services (n=613)    1%      3%        9%        39%        26%     22%
          Academic Advising Center services (in Killian Annex)
                                                                  0%      2%        7%        25%        42%     24%
                                                       (n=620)
                                    Registrar services (n=617)    0%      2%        8%        29%        48%     12%
                                   Student newspaper (n=617)      0%      5%       18%        13%        29%     35%
            Student Success Center tutoring services (n=618)      0%      4%        5%        11%        34%     45%
             Career Placement and Planning services (n=620)       0%      1%        2%         9%        43%     45%
          Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                                         126
   Aspects of the Academic Experience
• Students were asked to rate the
  importance of each of the academic                                       EXHIBIT 7-19:
  services shown in Exhibit 7-19.                             PERCEIVED IMPORTANCE OF ASPECTS OF THE
                                                                       ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE
• Virtually every respondent indicated that                                                                  Very                   Not     Not at all
  some services were important or very                           Academic Service
                                                                                                           Important
                                                                                                                     Important
                                                                                                                                 Important important
  important. Those items with a 100%                                           Quality of teaching (n=653)   87%       12%          0%         0%
  importance rating were:                        Faculty's knowledge and expertise that teach courses
                                                                                                   (n=661)
                                                                                                             85%       15%          0%         0%

      – Quality of teaching.                        Availability of courses to make progress toward my
                                                                           degree each semester (n=663)
                                                                                                             84%       16%          0%         0%
      – Faculty‟s knowledge and expertise.                          Quality of academic courses (n=659)      81%       19%          0%         0%
      – Availability of courses to make           Availability of academic majors or areas of study that
                                                                                                             80%       20%          0%         0%
                                                                             are of interest to me (n=664)
        progress each semester toward                      Number of times required courses are offered
        respondent‟s degree.                                                  throughout the year (n=662)
                                                                                                             71%       27%          2%         1%

      – Quality of academic majors or areas                                Friendliness of faculty (n=652)   69%       29%          2%         0%
                                                      Interesting and appropriate teaching and learning
        of study of interest to respondent.                            methods are used in class (n=661)
                                                                                                             66%       33%          1%         0%

                                                                               Academic advising (n=665)     66%       31%          3%         0%
• Services that were cited as least important         Time that courses are offered throughout the day
                                                                                                             65%       30%          4%         1%
  (not important or not at all important)                                                          (n=660)
                                                               Quality of classroom/lab facilities (n=658)   59%       35%          6%         1%
  were:                                                  Opportunites to meet with faculty outside of the
                                                                                                             58%       34%          6%         2%
                                                                                        classroom (n=662)
      – Freshman seminar (65%).                    Ability to electronically access essential information
                                                                                                             57%       35%          7%         1%
                                                                     and content if I miss a class (n=664)
      – USI 130 course (62%).                             Use of technology in classes/courses (n=651)       43%       43%         12%          3%
                                                                   Formal academic experiences (n=661)       36%       46%         16%          2%
• It is possible that some students may have                             Senior Capstone Course (n=634)      36%       39%         15%         10%
  rated an academic service as „not                                   Freshman seminar courses (n=647)       12%       24%         36%         29%
  important‟ or „not at all important‟ because                                    USI 130 course (n=614)     10%       28%         25%         37%

  they have not used the service.                Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                                                                                                                     127
 Aspects of the Academic Experience (cont.)
                    EXHIBIT 7-20:                                                                      •   Respondents reported the highest levels
SATISFACTION WITH ASPECTS OF THE ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE                                                       of satisfaction (very or somewhat
                                                               Very    Somewhat Not Too Not at All
                                                                                                           satisfied) with the quality of teaching at
                  Academic Service
                                                             Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied       WCU (95%).
                           Friendliness of faculty (n=632)     62%       32%        5%        0%       •   Other highly rated services were:
         Opportunites to meet with faculty outside of the
                                        classroom (n=640)
                                                               59%       33%        7%        1%
                                                                                                              – Friendliness of faculty (94%).
  Availability of academic majors or areas of study that
                             are of interest to me (n=646)
                                                               56%       37%        6%        1%              – Formal academic experiences
 Faculty's knowledge and expertise that teach courses
                                                               51%       42%        6%        1%
                                                                                                                (94%).
                                                   (n=643)
                               Quality of teaching (n=629)     44%       51%        4%        1%              – Availability of academic majors or
                    Quality of academic courses (n=639)        43%       49%        5%        2%                areas of study of interest to the
          Use of technology in classes/courses (n=629)         42%       48%        8%        2%                respondent (93%).
                   Formal academic experiences (n=636)         39%       55%        6%        1%
                               Academic advising (n=647)       38%       43%        14%       5%              – Faculty‟s knowledge and expertise
               Quality of classroom/lab facilities (n=635)     37%       49%        11%       2%
                                                                                                                (93%).
      Interesting and appropriate teaching and learning
                                                               35%       55%        8%        2%
                       methods are used in class (n=639)                                                      – Opportunities to meet with faculty
    Availability of courses to make progress toward my
                           degree each semester (n=645)
                                                               35%       45%        15%       5%                outside of the classroom (92%).
                      Freshman seminar courses (n=616)         32%       41%        15%      12%              – Quality of academic courses
      Time that courses are offered throughout the day
                                                   (n=640)
                                                               30%       51%        15%       3%                (92%).
   Ability to electronically access essential information
                                                               29%       45%        18%       8%       •   The item with the lowest level of
                     and content if I miss a class (n=640)
                         Senior Capstone Course (n=578)        27%       56%        11%      6%            reported satisfaction (not too or not at
                                  USI 130 course (n=567)       25%       46%        15%      14%           all satisfied) was the number of times
           Number of times required courses are offered
                                                               19%       46%        28%       8%           required courses were offered
                              throughout the year (n=639)
                                                                                                           throughout the year (36%).
Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.

                                                                                                                                                        128
Aspects of the Academic Experience (cont.)
 •   Some students were not very satisfied with the University Experience Course (USI 130). The most common
     reasons students gave for not being satisfied with the USI 130 Course were:
      −   It   was   a waste of time.
      −   It   was   mostly “busy work.”
      −   It   was   not useful.
      −   It   was   pointless.

 •   Students dissatisfied with the Freshmen Seminar Course cited the same reasons given above for USI 130
     Course.

 •   Most students did not know what the Senior Capstone Course was. Those who explained why they were
     dissatisfied about it noted that it was not useful.




                                                                                                              129
   Aspects of the Academic Experience (cont.)
                                                                                             EXHIBIT 7-21:
                                                                                  EFFICIENCY OF ACADEMIC RESOURCES
                                                                                              Important                                            Not Important

• Exhibit 7-21 displays the academic services                                                                            1                                                   2
  which were rated either very high or very                           Friendliness of faculty--VI/I=98% VS/S=95%

  low in both importance and satisfaction.                            Quality of teaching--VI/I=100% VS/S=95%

• Services in Quadrant 1 are those that                               Availability of academic majors or areas of study that are
  students believed to be important and with
                                                                                                                                                       None
                                                                      of interest to me --VI/I=100% VS/S=93%

  which they were satisfied. These services




                                                      Satisfied
                                                                      Faculty's knowledge and expertise that teach courses --
  should continue to be supported.                                    VI/I=100% VS/S=93%


• Quadrant 2 would display any services                               Quality of academic courses --VI/I=100% VS/S=93%

  deemed not important by respondents but                             Opportunites to meet with faculty outside of the

  with which they were highly satisfied. No                           classroom --VI/I=92% VS/S=92%


  academic services fell into this category.                          Interesting and appropriate teaching and learning methods
                                                                      are used in class --VI/I=99% VS/S=91%
• In Quadrant 3 are services that students
  deemed highly important but with which
  they were dissatisfied. These services                                                                                 3                                                   4
  should be the focus of change, as related                           Number of times required courses are offered throughout
  improvements may result in greater retention                        the year --VI/I=98% DS=36%
                                                                                                                                   USI 130 Course--NI=62% DS=30%
                                                      Not Satisfied




  rates.
                                                                      Ability to electronically access essential information and
• Finally, Quadrant 4 identifies services with                        content if I miss a class --VI/I=92% DS=26%
                                                                                                                                   Freshman Seminar Course --NI=64% DS=27%

  which students are relatively dissatisfied, but
  which they do not see as important. As
  these are courses, steps might be taken to
  improve their relevance to incoming
  students.                                         Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
                                                    Note: VI/I = very important/important, NI= not important, VS/S = very
                                                    satisfied/satisfied, DS = Not too satisfied/not at all satisfied.                                                            130
   Student Services
• Students were asked to rate the importance of each
  of the student services shown in Exhibit 7-22.
• WCU‟s library is perceived by students as the most                            EXHIBIT 7-22:
  important student service. Ninety-seven percent of              PERCEIVED IMPORTANCE OF STUDENT SERVICES
  respondents rated it as important or very important.
                                                                                                                    Very                     Not       Not at All
• Other services rated as highly important were:                          Student Service
                                                                                                                  Important
                                                                                                                              Important
                                                                                                                                          Important   Important
    – Student Health Center (94%).                                                              Library (n=623)
                                                                                         Financial Aid (n=625)
                                                                                                                    74%
                                                                                                                    73%
                                                                                                                                23%
                                                                                                                                18%
                                                                                                                                             2%
                                                                                                                                             5%
                                                                                                                                                         1%
                                                                                                                                                         4%
    – One-Stop Center (94%).                                                 University Food Services (n=624)       68%         23%          6%          3%
                                                                             Student Health Services (n=617)        65%         29%          4%          3%
    – Computer Services (93%).                                                       One-Stop Center (n=625)        59%         35%          4%          2%
                                                                                      Advising Center (n=632)       56%         34%          7%          3%
    – Financial Aid (91%).                                                         Computer Services (n=624)        54%         39%          4%          3%
                                                                                    Residential Living (n=615)      54%         29%          5%          11%
    – University Food Services (91%).                                                University Center (n=614)      54%         37%          6%          3%
    – University Center (91%).                                                         Fitness Center (n=618)
                                                                                              Registrar (n=618)
                                                                                                                    49%
                                                                                                                    47%
                                                                                                                                37%
                                                                                                                                42%
                                                                                                                                             8%
                                                                                                                                             7%
                                                                                                                                                         6%
                                                                                                                                                         4%
• Services rated as very low in importance (rated as not                            Student Accounts (n=600)        46%         41%          8%          5%
                                                                      Career Placement and Planning (n=613)         44%         43%          8%          5%
  important or not at all important by 39% of                      Student Success Center (Tutoring) (n=605)        43%         35%         13%          9%
  respondents) were:                                                                        Bookstore (n=633)       42%         47%          9%          1%
                                                                                   Disability Services (n=606)      38%         28%         17%          17%
    – Intramurals.                                                                   Women's Center (n=599)         33%         35%         14%          18%
                                                               Counseling and Psychological Services (n=606)        32%         38%         18%          11%
    – CatTran Bus.                                                                    Ramsey Center (n=610)         30%         39%         19%          11%
    – Multicultural Affairs.                                                        Services Learning (n=598)
                                                                                           Intramurals (n=609)
                                                                                                                    29%
                                                                                                                    29%
                                                                                                                                40%
                                                                                                                                32%
                                                                                                                                            18%
                                                                                                                                            23%
                                                                                                                                                         12%
                                                                                                                                                         16%
• Other services rated as low in importance were:                                         CatTran Bus (n=620)       28%         34%         24%          15%
                                                                              Student Judicial Affairs (n=605)      28%         41%         20%          12%
    – Disability Services (34%).                                                        CatCard Office (n=622)      27%         50%         17%          6%
                                                                                  Multicultural Affairs (n=610)     23%         39%         25%          14%
    – Women‟s Center (32%).                                Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
    – Student Judicial Affairs (26%).
• It is possible that some students may have rated an
  academic service as „not important‟ or „not at all
                                                                                                                                                           131
  important‟ because they have not used the service.
Student Services (cont.)
                          EXHIBIT 7-23:                                                            • Ninety-six percent of respondents
               SATISFACTION WITH STUDENT SERVICES                                                    reported that they were very or
                                                                                                     somewhat satisfied with the
                                                                                                     following WCU student services:
                                                           Very    Somewhat Not Too Not at All
                 Student Service
                                                         Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied Satisfied
                                       Library (n=596)     70%       26%        3%       1%            − Library
                                   Bookstore (n=606)
                             Ramsey Center (n=547)
                                                           58%
                                                           56%
                                                                     36%
                                                                     39%
                                                                                5%
                                                                                3%
                                                                                         1%
                                                                                         1%
                                                                                                       − Disability Services
                            University Center (n=574)      53%       41%        4%       1%            − Women‟s Center
                          Disability Services (n=537)      53%       43%        2%       2%
                            One-Stop Center (n=591)        53%       36%        7%       4%            − Student Success Center
                              Fitness Center (n=576)       52%       41%        5%       3%
                            Women's Center (n=530)         51%       45%        2%       1%            − Intramurals
                               CatCard Office (n=580)
          Student Success Center (Tutoring) (n=542)
                                                           50%
                                                           49%
                                                                     44%
                                                                     47%
                                                                                4%
                                                                                3%
                                                                                         2%
                                                                                         1%
                                                                                                       − Student Accounts
      Counseling and Psychological Services (n=545)        48%       47%        3%       3%            − Service Learning
                                  Intramurals (n=539)      48%       48%        3%       1%
                           Student Accounts (n=545)        46%       50%        2%       2%
                          Computer Services (n=593)        46%       43%        7%       4%
                           Services Learning (n=520)       45%       51%        3%       1%        • University Food Services received
                         Multicultural Affairs (n=534)     44%       51%        4%       1%          the lowest satisfaction ratings (44%
                                     Registrar (n=573)
                                Financial Aid (n=580)
                                                           44%
                                                           43%
                                                                     47%
                                                                     43%
                                                                                6%
                                                                                10%
                                                                                         2%
                                                                                         4%
                                                                                                     not too or not at all satisfied).
                    Student Health Services (n=573)        42%       43%        8%       6%          Reasons given included poor quality,
                             Advising Center (n=601)       41%       48%        7%       5%          lack of healthy food options, and
             Career Placement and Planning (n=570)         38%       53%        6%       2%
                                 CatTran Bus (n=578)       37%       45%        11%      7%          high prices.
                     Student Judicial Affairs (n=536)      37%       53%        5%       5%
                           Residential Living (n=558)      34%       47%        11%      8%
                    University Food Services (n=588)       15%       41%        27%      16%
 Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.



                                                                                                                                            132
Student Services (cont.)
  • Respondents also were not very satisfied with the Advising Center. The reasons students gave for their
    dissatisfaction included the following:
          –   The staff is not helpful.
          –   The center is disorganized.
          –   The staff provides incorrect information.
          –   There is no single contact for information on a specific area.

  • Some students were not very satisfied with the CatTran Bus. Common reasons students gave for their
    dissatisfaction included:
          – Unreliable schedule.
          – Limited evening hours.
          – Infrequent stops.

  • Students also expressed dissatisfaction with the availability of parking on campus.




                                                                                                             133
    Student Services (cont.)                                                          EXHIBIT 7-24:
                                                                       EFFICIENCY OF STUDENT SERVICES RESOURCES
                                                                                          Important                                   Not Important
•    Exhibit 7-24 details the student services
                                                                                                               1                                                   2
     which were rated either very high or                          Library--VI/I=98% VS=97%
                                                                                                                   Counseling and Psychological Services--NI=29%

     very low in both importance and                                                                               VS=95%


     satisfaction.                                                 Disability Services--VI/I=67% VS=96%            Intramurals--NI=40% VS=96%


•    Services in Quadrant 1 are those that                                                                         Services Learning--NI=30% VS=96%

     students believed to be important and




                                                   Satisfied
     with which they were satisfied. These                                                                         Student Judicial Affairs--NI=31% VS=90%

     services should continue to be                                                                                Multicultural Affairs--NI=39% VS=95%
     supported.
•    Quadrant 2 displays services deemed
     not important by respondents but with
     which they were highly satisfied.
•    In Quadrant 3 displays services that
     students deemed highly important but                                                                      3                                                   4

     with which they were dissatisfied.                            University Food Services--VI/I=91% DS=43%
     These services should be the focus of
                                                   Not Satisfied




     change, as related improvements may                                                                                                   None
     result in greater retention rates.
•    Finally, Quadrant 4 identifies services
     with which students are relatively
     dissatisfied, but which they do not see
     as important. No services fell into this    Source: WCU Student Survey, March 2007.
     quadrant.                                   Note: VI/I = very important/important, NI= not important, VS/S = very
                                                 satisfied/satisfied,
                                                 DS = Not too satisfied/not at all satisfied.                                                                          134
Student Suggestions for Changing Academic or
Student Services
•   Respondents most commonly identified academics as an area in need of change. Among their suggestions were to:

     –   Provide more elective courses.

     –   Add majors such as geology, physics, economics, middle grade education, and dance and offer a greater
         variety of health field and language majors.

     –   Integrate academic programs with work study opportunities or vocational clubs.

     –   Redesign the Criminal Justice program to create different concentrations for different career paths.

     –   Improve the Computer Information Systems program.

•   The next most commonly reported area of concern was advising. Students complained that the “Degree Audit” was
    confusing, that their advisor did not always know all the requirements, and that information about transferring
    credits was often unclear. One student summarized his/her concerns as follows:
                 …I think advising needs to be done within a student's academic major and
                 concentration. While I had a wonderful advisor, she was not familiar with the
                 education sequence because it was not her area of expertise. I know that other
                 students have had difficulties with the classes they had/didn't have to register for
                 because their advisors were not familiar with the requirements for specific
                 majors/concentrations. Something should be implemented or designed so that
                 advisors are familiar with the requirements and sequence of courses for the students
                 they advise…
    −    As of Spring 2007, improvements have been made to the Degree Audit system which should be a good
         instrument for advising.
                                                                                                                      135
Student Suggestions for Changing Academic or
Student Services (cont.)
 •   Several students suggested that required classes be offered more frequently.

 •   Non-traditional students suggested creating initiatives that nurture a sense of belonging among adult students
     and military veterans.

 •   On-campus dining services were another frequent subject of complaint. Suggested improvements included:

      –   Better food.

      –   Reduced cost meal plan.

      –   More nutritious food options.

      –   More food variety.

      –   Declining balance cards.

 •   Students also were concerned about transportation services. The most common suggestion was to add more
     parking spaces. Other suggestions included:

      –   Posting a CAT Tran Schedule at each stop.

      –   Offering bus or shuttle service to Sylva, Dillsboro, and Waynesville.

      –   Creating a commuter ride board.




                                                                                                                      136
Student Satisfaction with Their Experience at WCU
•       The majority of respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the professors at WCU. Students noted
        that professors were friendly, knowledgeable, approachable, and interested in students‟ well-being.


•       Numerous respondents also were satisfied with the small class sizes, various student activities, and the quality
        of their education.


•       Many respondents expressed their general satisfaction with the atmosphere and sense of community at WCU.
        For instance, one student stated:
                 I love how the campus is small and when you walk around you know or have seen most of
                the people before either in classes or just around campus. I feel comfortable going to the
                UC and hanging out and I feel that this campus has a good community feel to it and that
                people feel comfortable around campus. I love how people in nice weather play outside in
                the yards. My advisor is great and I think that the classes here at Western are the perfect
                size. I feel that I can talk to my professors and they are always glad to meet with me
                outside of the classroom.

    •   Many students also expressed their satisfaction with the location of the campus and its small size. One
        student said:


                Smaller campus and smaller class sizes help to make me more comfortable here. In a smaller
               class, it's easier to feel like a part of the class.

                                                                                                                           137
Student Dissatisfaction with Their Experience at WCU
  •   Respondents expressed the most dissatisfaction with on-campus food services. They complained about the
      poor quality, the unhealthy food options, the high cost, and the limited hours. Suggestions included offering
      more fruits and vegetables, a baked potato bar, and a fresh fruit bar.



  •   Lack of parking and transportation were the second most common reason for dissatisfaction. Many students
      noted that there was not enough parking. Students also commented about CatTran and public transportation.
      They complained that CatTran did not run often enough, that Cat Tran did not run late enough on Friday and
      that public transportation to Sylva was limited. They also expressed disappointment about the elimination of
      Jackson County transit.



  •   Several students expressed dissatisfaction with the advising they received. Reasons for dissatisfaction included
      the following: unhelpful advising, being misadvised, apathetic advisors, insufficient information about
      transferring credits, and problems with transferring credits. Suggestions for improvement included promoting
      better organization to prevent mistakes.



  •   Some students were dissatisfied with their professors. One common reason given was that professors
      appeared uninterested in teaching. Other comments were specific to individual professors.




                                                                                                                         138
Students‟ Suggestions for How WCU Can Better
Assist Them
 Most suggestions that students provided were related to four general areas:
 1.   With regard to food services, students suggested that WCU provide better food, healthier food, more food
      options, and more affordable options.
 2.   Parking-related suggestions included providing more parking spaces and reserving some parking spots for
      commuters.
 3.   Respondents‟ suggestions for improving communication included:
       –    Listening to students and being more responsive to their needs.
       –    Providing better and more information to students and advisors about program requirements. For
            instance, one student suggested that freshmen be informed about advising appointments. Another
            student noted that “professors that have advising responsibilities need to be better trained.”
       –    Providing students with housing and admission information sooner.
       –    Systematically distributing information about upcoming on-campus events and essential topics such as
            financial aid and on-campus room selection.
 4.   Suggestions for additional activities included:
       –    Providing more on-campus entertainment, such as multiple evenings with on-campus movies, wall
            climbing, bowling, socials, and premium cable channels in residence halls.
       –    Promoting more outdoor activities, such as by offering discounted snow-boarding passes to students.
       –    Holding residence hall socials.
       –    Increasing access to city amenities such as restaurants and night clubs.                               139
            Chapter 8.0
 Peer Institutions & Best Practices:
       Comparative Analysis
This chapter compares WCU to six peer institutions, using IPEDS
  data and information collected during interviews with senior
  administrators at peer universities. WCU also is compared to
          National Best Practices in student retention.
Peer Institutions & Best Practices– Analysis of
Findings
•   MGT conducted a comparative analysis and assessment of student retention programs and services at six peer
    institutions and of national best practices. This included an analysis of information and data as well as interviews
    with senior leadership at peer institutions.
     –    Appendix D contains detailed IPEDS data for peer institutions and peer averages.
     –    Appendix E contains the list of interviewees at peer institutions.
•   When WCU is compared to the six selected peers and national best practices for student retention programs and
    services, it is clear that WCU is offering programs and services considered to be best practices and offered by peer
    institutions. There are a few specific programs and services that peer institutions have identified as very important
    to their student retention successes. WCU has not experienced similar successes, which suggests a need for
    change in those programs (i.e., Learning Communities and University Experience Course).
•   WCU ranks lower than most of its peers in entering ACT and SAT scores and both retention and graduation rates.
•   There is opportunity for improvement through what we learned from peer institutions.
     –    For example, peer institutions with higher retention and graduation rates:

            •   Divide the responsibilities that are currently overseen by the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for
                advising among two to four administrators, allowing for more focused attention on retention efforts.
            •   Have a team (e.g., Cabinet, Task Force, or Committee) comprised of leadership from departments and
                colleges across campus for addressing enrollment management issues and a separate team for student
                retention issues, each with substantial authority.
            •   Engage undergraduate students in student retention activities such as serving as peer mentors in
                freshman seminars. This affords students the opportunity to contribute toward student retention rates.

                                                                                                                            141
Peer Institutions & Best Practices– Analysis of
Findings (cont.)
•   The results from the analyses suggest three main areas in which peers may realize benefits to their retention
    efforts:

      –   Expanded and Enhanced Programs and Services that Foster Engagement
      –   Increased Campus Awareness of Programs and Services
      –   Comprehensive Advising Services


Expanded and Enhanced Programs and Services that Foster Engagement
      –   Institutions achieve success with first-year experience courses such as the University Experience
          Course (USI 130) when they are incorporated into a holistic Freshman Year Experience with Learning
          Communities and, when possible, a residential component. Also, peer institutions cite use of peer
          mentors (upperclass students) in first-year experience courses as contributing toward their student
          retention successes.
      –   Several very successful programs at WCU could greatly impact retention if they were expanded and
          offered to more students. For example, students who participate in Learning Communities or are
          engaged in Undergraduate Research projects tend to have stronger ties to the university and are
          typically retained at higher rates.




                                                                                                                    142
Peer Institutions & Best Practices– Analysis of
Findings (cont.)
Increased Campus Awareness of Programs and Services
•   WCU offers its students a wide variety and plethora of programs and services to enhance students‟ overall college
    experiences and increase student retention efforts. However, there is no comprehensive communication plan to
    make the campus community aware of the many efforts currently in place.
•   Some services might receive more use by faculty, staff, and students if the campus community were aware of
    programs and services available as well as their intended target population. For example, efforts to increase
    awareness that the Academic Success Center offers assistance to students in all subject areas and of all academic
    abilities would increase utilization and retention. The Early Warning System might be utilized by more faculty and
    staff if there was a clearer understanding of the System and follow-up to let him/her know the outcome (when
    possible).

Comprehensive Advising Services
•   Advising differs at WCU from three peer institutions (Appalachian State University, James Madison University,
    Morehead State University, and Tennessee Technological University).
      –      All three peer institutions1 also employ full-time professional academic advisors. Their professional advisor
             to student ratios were 1:466 (ASU) and 1:500 (JMU). WCU advisors exceed this range, being responsible
             for approximately 600 students, 180 of whom are undeclared.
      –      At the four peer institutions, personal and financial aid issues are specifically referred to the appropriate
             professionals outside of the Advising Center. At the universities where career counseling is an expected
             duty of the advisor, candidates for advising positions are sought with a background in career planning, and
             staff are provided with ongoing training in this area. Full-time professional advisors at WCU are expected to
             be knowledgeable in personal, financial, and academic issues that students face over the course of their
             college experience. The WCU advisors require constant training in order to remain current in multiple and
             critical areas.
      1   Morehead did not respond to this question item in the questionnaire.
                                                                                                                             143
    Peer Institutions - Selection
•    In conjunction with WCU‟s Project Officers, MGT developed a list of six peer institutions for analysis:

      –    Appalachian State University – Boone, North Carolina
      –    James Madison University – Harrisonburg, Virginia
      –    Morehead State University – Morehead, Kentucky
      –    Murray State University – Murray, Kentucky
      –    Sonoma State University – Rohnert Park, California
      –    Tennessee Technological University – Cookeville, Tennessee




                                                                                                               144
Peer Institutions
Appalachian State University
•   Appalachian State University is a regional campus within the University of
    North Carolina system and enrolls approximately 15,000 students in a variety
    of bachelor‟s and master‟s programs, as well as a doctoral program in
    education. The campus is located in Boone, North Carolina, a tourist
    destination for outdoor recreational activities, which is just over an hour west
    of Winston-Salem.

James Madison University
•  James Madison University enrolls approximately 17,000 students in a range of
   baccalaureate and master‟s programs as well as doctoral programs in social
   sciences and education. The university is located about two hours west of
   Washington, D.C., in the City of Harrisonburg, Virginia, which is home to about
   40,000 people.

Morehead State University
•   Morehead State University was founded in 1887 and is located on the edge of
    the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, midway between Lexington,
    Kentucky and Huntington, West Virginia. It enrolls over 9,000 students in an
    array of undergraduate and master‟s programs.




                                                                                       145
  Peer Institutions (cont.)
Murray State University
•   Murray State University is located in the southeast corner of Kentucky. Though a
    rural campus, it is within about 200 miles of major population centers such as St.
    Louis, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; and Memphis,
    Tennessee. It enrolls over 10,000 students in assorted baccalaureate and master‟s
    programs.

Sonoma State University
•   Sonoma State University is located in Rohnert Park, California, about an hour north
    of San Francisco. Founded in 1960, it is situated on a 269-acre campus at the foot
    of the Sonoma hills in Northern California‟s wine country. The institution enrolls just
    under 8,000 students in a variety of undergraduate and master‟s programs.

Tennessee Technological University
•   Tennessee Tech is located in the small Town of Cookeville, Tennessee, which lies
    about an hour east of Nashville. The institution enrolls about 9,000 students in a
    variety of bachelor‟s and master‟s programs, with a strong emphasis in the areas of
    science and technology.




                                                                                              146
    Peer Institutions (cont.)
•    A detailed comparative analysis demonstrates similarities and differences between WCU and the six selected
     peer institutions. The measures for comparison include:


      –   Locale.
      –   Carnegie Classification (using 2000 and 2005 definitions).
      –   Admissions Standards.
      –   Enrollment.
      –   Graduation and Transfer Rates.
      –   Operating Expenditures.
      –   Tuition and Fees as Proportion of Total Revenues.
      –   Total Expenditures per Student Headcount.
      –   Student to Faculty Ratios.
      –   Student to Staff Ratios.
      –   Headcount Enrollment.




                                                                                                                  147
     Peer Institutions - Locale
•     Located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, Western Carolina University lies in an area defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as
      a “rural fringe” – an outlying, less-populated part of the Asheville, North Carolina MSA.
•     Similarly, three of WCU‟s six peer institutions are located in what the U.S. Census Bureau defines as “remote towns” -
      areas located at least 35 miles outside of an urbanized area. One other is in “distant town,” defined as a small
      population center located between 10 and 35 miles of an urbanized area.
•     The remaining peers are located in somewhat more populous areas, specifically a “large suburb” (a region within the
      urbanized area, but outside the limits of a city with 250,000 or more residents) and a “small city” (home to fewer than
      100,000 residents).
•     None of the peer institutions lie within the bounds of a major city, and four of the six lie in rural areas. Each of these
      institutions is, however, located within reasonable proximity of a more substantial population center. Some commonality
      exists between WCU and its peers in terms of population-correlated aspects of these communities (commerce, activity,
      entertainment, etc.).

                                                                      EXHIBIT 8-1:
                                                           LOCALE DESCRIPTION, BY INSTITUTION
      Western Carolina           Appalachian State           Jam es Madison            Morehead State                Murray State               Sonom a State                Tennessee
        University                  University                 University                University                   University                  University                Technological
                                                                                                                                                                              University
          Cullow hee                   Boone                  Harrisonburg                 Morehead                     Murray                  Rohnert Park                 Cookeville
              NC                        NC                         VA                         KY                         KY                         CA                            TN

           Rural: Fringe                Tow n: Distant            City: Small             Tow n: Remote               Tow n: Remote              Suburb: Large                Tow n: Remote
      Census-defined rural        Territory inside an urban   Territory inside an   Territory inside an urban   Territory inside an urban      Territory outside a      Territory inside an urban
    territory that is less than cluster that is more than urbanized area and inside cluster that is more than   cluster that is more than   principal city and inside   cluster that is more than
     or equal to 5 miles from 10 miles and less than or      a principal city w ith 35 miles of an urbanized    35 miles of an urbanized    an urbanized area w ith     35 miles of an urbanized
      an urbanized area, as       equal to 35 miles from an  population less than              area.                       area.            population of 250,000 or               area.
    w ell as rural territory that      urbanized area.             100,000.                                                                           more.
     is less than or equal to
     2.5 miles from an urban
              cluster.
    Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Institutional Characteristics data. 148
    Peer Institutions - Carnegie Classification
•    All of the peers are defined by the Carnegie Foundation as among the larger master‟s colleges and universities
     (details provided in Appendix D).
•    WCU and each of its six peers offer a mix of professional and arts and sciences programs at the undergraduate
     level, along with some graduate programs.
•    WCU and Appalachian State University‟s academic programs include master‟s and doctoral programs in education.
     Three of the other peers offer comprehensive arrays of master‟s programs and at least one professional program.
•    Tennessee Technological University‟s graduate offerings emphasize doctoral programs in the STEM (science,
     technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, while James Madison University belongs to a class of institutions
     characterized by their doctoral programs in humanities and social sciences.
•    WCU and three of its peers are classified as “selective” institutions and thus have a high number of transfer
     students. One peer institution (Morehead State University) is classified as “inclusive,” while two others
     (Appalachian State University and James Madison University) are classified as “more selective” (though these two
     institutions differ in the proportion of transfer students that they enroll).
•    WCU and four of its six peers are classified as primarily residential, medium-sized institutions. Though the
     remaining peers (Appalachian State University and James Madison University) are also classified as primarily
     residential, they are classified as “larger” institutions due to FTE (full-time equivalent) enrollments in excess of
     10,000 students.




                                                                                                                            149
                Peer Institutions - Admissions Standards
                •         WCU falls slightly below its peers in terms of the average aptitude test scores of entering students. Twenty-fifth
                          (25th) and 75th percentile SAT scores at WCU were 930 and 1120, respectively, as compared to averages of about
                          970 and 1190 among its peers.
                •         The 25th and 75th percentile composite ACT scores for WCU were 18 and 22, respectively, compared to averages
                          of about 20 and 24 among its peers.

                                  EXHIBIT 8-2:                                                                                                                                    EXHIBIT 8-3:
                     AVERAGE SAT SCORE BY PEER INSTITUTION                                                                                                           AVERAGE ACT SCORE BY PEER INSTITUTION
                           ENTERING FRESHMEN, 2005                                                                                                                         ENTERING FRESHMEN, 2005
                1400                                                                                                                                                 25
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Peer Average 22

                1200                                                                  Peer Average 1080
                                                                                                                                                                     20

                1000
SAT Midpoint*




                                                                                                                                                     ACT Midpoint*
                                                                                                                                                                     15
                    800

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   22             22              23
                    600                                               1160                                                                                                                     22
                                                   1125                                                                               1110                           10       20
                                1025                                                  960                             1045                                                                                                        19

                    400

                                                                                                                                                                     5
                    200

                                                                                                          0
                     0                                                                                                                                               0
                                                                      James Madison
                                                   State University




                                                                                                                                     Technological
                                                                                                       Murray State




                                                                                                                      Sonoma State




                                                                                                                                                                                                                James Madison
                                                                                                                                                                                             State University
                                Western Carolina




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Technological
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Murray State




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sonoma State
                                                                                      Morehead State




                                                                                                                                                                          Western Carolina




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Morehead State
                                                                                                        University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  University
                                                    Appalachian




                                                                                                                                      Tennessee
                                                                                                                        University




                                                                                                                                       University




                                                                                                                                                                                              Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tennessee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 University
                                                                        University




                                                                                        University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                  University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  University
                                   University




                                                                                                                                                                             University




* Represents the midpoint between the sums of the 25th percentile math and verbal and 75th percentile math and verbal scores on the respective
aptitude tests.
Note: Murray State University did not submit SAT score information to IPEDS in 2005.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Institutional Characteristics data. 150
Peer Institutions - Enrollment
•   WCU enrolled about 8,700 students in Fall 2005. The average enrollment among peers in Fall 2005 was
    approximately 11,300, ranging from a low of 7,700 (Sonoma State University) to a high of 16,900 (James Madison
    University).
•   About 75% of WCU‟s students were enrolled on a full-time basis, as compared to an average of 80% across peer
    institutions.
•   Slightly fewer than 20% of WCU‟s enrollments were graduate students. This compares with an average proportion
    of about 15% across peer institutions.



    EXHIBIT 8-4:
    TOTAL ENROLLMENT
    BY PEER INSTITUTION
    FALL 2005




                                        Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education
                                        Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2005 Enrollment data.                                        151
Peer Institutions - Retention
•   Exhibit 8-5 displays the retention rates for first-time, full-time freshmen at WCU and each of the six peer
    institutions for the 2004 entering cohort.
•   With a 71% retention rate, WCU ranked sixth among the group of seven institutions, 7% below the overall
    average. Only Morehead State University had a lower retention rate (66%) for the 2004 cohort.




                                                           100%

                                                           90%
                                                                                                                        Peer Average 78%

EXHIBIT 8-5:                                               80%

RETENTION RATES                                            70%

FIRST-TIME FULL-TIME FRESHMAN
                                          Retention Rate




                                                           60%
2004 ENTERING COHORT
                                                           50%
                                                                                                        91%
                                                                                     86%
                                                           40%                                                                                             80%
                                                                  71%                                                                       74%                             72%
                                                                                                                           66%
                                                           30%

                                                           20%

                                                           10%

                                                            0%
                                                                                                        James Madison
                                                                                     State University




                                                                                                                                                                          Technological
                                                                                                                                            Murray State




                                                                                                                                                           Sonoma State
                                                                  Western Carolina




                                                                                                                           Morehead State




                                                                                                                                             University
                                                                                      Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                                           Tennessee
                                                                                                                                                             University




                                                                                                                                                                            University
                                                                                                          University




                                                                                                                             University
                                                                     University




                                         Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data
                                                                                                                                                                                          152
                                         System (IPEDS), Fall 2005 Enrollment data.
                                           Peer Institutions – Graduation and Transfer Rates
                                           •        About 47% of WCU‟s entering students graduate from the university within six years, compared to an average of
                                                    about 54% across peer institutions.
                                           •        In terms of bachelor‟s degree cohorts, WCU has a 23% graduation rate after four years and a 47% graduation
                                                    rate after six years. This compares with peer averages of 29% over four years and 56% over six years.
                                           •        The rate at which students transfer out of WCU is similar to the peer average (24%).


                                                         EXHIBIT 8-6:                                                                                                                                                 EXHIBIT 8-7:
                                           SIX-YEAR BACHELOR'S DEGREE GRADUATION                                                                                                                               TRANSFER-OUT RATES BY PEER
                                               RATES BY PEER INSTITUTION, 2005                                                                                                                                     INSTITUTION, 2005
                                           90%                                                                                                                                                      50%
6-Year Bachelor's Degree Graduation Rate




                                           80%                                                                                                                                                      45%


                                           70%                                                                                                                                                      40%
                                                                                                               Peer Average 56%
                                                                                                                                                                                                    35%
                                           60%



                                                                                                                                                                                Transfer-Out Rate
                                                                                                                                                                                                    30%                                         Peer Average 24%
                                           50%
                                                                                                                                                                                                    25%
                                           40%                                                 80%                                                                                                                                                                                                45%
                                                                                                                                                                                                    20%
                                                                            64%
                                           30%                                                                                    57%
                                                                                                                                                                                                    15%
                                                         47%                                                                                     48%              45%
                                           20%                                                                   42%                                                                                      24%                                                                                                      24%
                                                                                                                                                                                                    10%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             15%
                                           10%                                                                                                                                                      5%                                            10%

                                               0%                                                                                                                                                   0%
                                                                                               James Madison
                                                                            State University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  James Madison
                                                                                                                                                                Technological




                                                                                                                                                                                                                             State University
                                                                                                                                  Murray State




                                                                                                                                                 Sonoma State




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Technological
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Murray State




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sonoma State
                                                         Western Carolina




                                                                                                                                                                                                          Western Carolina
                                                                                                                 Morehead State




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Morehead State
                                                                                                                                   University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    University
                                                                             Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Appalachian
                                                                                                                                                                 Tennessee




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tennessee
                                                                                                                                                   University




                                                                                                                                                                  University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   University
                                                                                                 University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    University
                                                                                                                   University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    University
                                                            University




                                                                                                                                                                                                             University




Note: Murray State University did not submit SAT score information to IPEDS in 2005.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Graduation Rate data.                                                                                                                                                                                             153
                                    Peer Institutions – Expenditures
                                          Consistent with its size, WCU expends fewer total dollars than its peers, on average. In 2004-05, WCU incurred
                                           about $127 million in operating expenses, as compared to an average of about $163 million across its peers.




               EXHIBIT 8-8:                                                                                                                                                                                      EXHIBIT 8-9:
OPERATING EXPENDITURES BY PEER INSTITUTION                                                                                                                                                        TOTAL EXPENDITURES PER HEADCOUNT STUDENT
                2004-2005                                                                                                                                                                                         FALL 2005

                                    $300                                                                                                                                                          $20,000

                                                                                                                                                                                                  $18,000
                                    $250                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Peer Average $14,198
                                                                                                                                                                                                  $16,000
Operating Expenditures (Millions)




                                                                                                                                                                       Expenditures per Student
                                                                                                                                                                                                  $14,000
                                    $200
                                                                                                      Peer Average $163 Million
                                                                                                                                                                                                  $12,000

                                    $150                                                                                                                                                          $10,000
                                                                                      $254                                                                                                                                                                                                               $17,798
                                                                   $225                                                                                                                            $8,000   $15,330             $15,671             $16,027
                                    $100
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         $13,182
                                                                                                                                                                                                   $6,000                                                             $12,280                                            $11,821
                                                $127                                                                     $132           $137
                                                                                                        $113                                            $108                                       $4,000
                                    $50

                                                                                                                                                                                                   $2,000
                                     $0
                                                                                                                                                                                                      $0
                                                                                      James Madison
                                                                   State University




                                                                                                                                                       Technological
                                                                                                                         Murray State




                                                                                                                                        Sonoma State
                                                Western Carolina




                                                                                                        Morehead State




                                                                                                                          University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     James Madison
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 State University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Technological
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Murray State




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sonoma State
                                                                    Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                        Tennessee




                                                                                                                                                                                                             Western Carolina
                                                                                                                                          University




                                                                                                                                                         University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Morehead State
                                                                                        University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           University
                                                                                                          University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tennessee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           University
                                                   University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       University




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          University
                                                                                                                                                                                                                University




Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated                                                                                                           Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated
Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2004-05 Finance                                                                                                           Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2004-05 Finance and
data.                                                                                                                                                                  Fall 2004 Enrollment data.                                                                                                                                        154
Peer Institutions – Revenues
 •   WCU relies on tuition and fees to account for just over 17% of its total revenues. It falls at the low end of the
     spectrum, compared with the peer average of just over 21%, which ranges from a low of about 16% (Sonoma
     State University) to a high of over 27% (James Madison University).




                                                                                 30.0%



                                         Tuition & Fees as % of Total Revenues   25.0%   Peer Average 22.1%
EXHIBIT 8-10:
TUITION AND FEES AS A                                                            20.0%
PROPORTION OF
TOTAL REVENUES, 2004-2005
                                                                                 15.0%
                                                                                                                                 27.1%
                                                                                                                                                                  23.5%
                                                                                                                                                                                                 21.8%
                                                                                 10.0%                        20.3%
                                                                                                                                                 19.0%
                                                                                           17.4%
                                                                                                                                                                                 16.3%

                                                                                 5.0%



                                                                                 0.0%

                                                                                                                                 James Madison
                                                                                                              State University




                                                                                                                                                                                                Technological
                                                                                                                                                                  Murray State




                                                                                                                                                                                 Sonoma State
                                                                                           Western Carolina




                                                                                                                                                 Morehead State




                                                                                                                                                                   University
                                                                                                               Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                                                                 Tennessee
                                                                                                                                                                                   University




                                                                                                                                                                                                  University
                                                                                                                                   University




                                                                                                                                                   University
                                                                                              University




                                        Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data
                                        System (IPEDS), 2004-05 Finance data.                                                                                                                                   155
Peer Institutions - Ratios
•   In terms of faculty, WCU employs one full-time faculty member for every 20.8 students.                                                                                         Peer institutions
    average one faculty member per 23.3 students.
•   WCU‟s student to faculty ratio is tied with Appalachian State‟s as the lowest of the seven institutions.




                                                                                  35.0


                                                                                  30.0
                                             Student-to-Full-Time-Faculty Ratio
                                                                                                                    Peer Average 23.3

                                                                                  25.0


                                                                                  20.0
EXHIBIT 8-11:
STUDENT TO FACULTY RATIO                                                          15.0                                                                                         29.5

FALL 2005
                                                                                                                                                                26.1
                                                                                                                                               23.8                                             24.5
                                                                                  10.0   20.8               20.8               21.3



                                                                                   5.0


                                                                                   0.0

                                                                                                                               James Madison
                                                                                                            State University




                                                                                                                                                                                              Technological
                                                                                                                                                                Murray State




                                                                                                                                                                               Sonoma State
                                                                                         Western Carolina




                                                                                                                                               Morehead State




                                                                                                                                                                 University
                                                                                                             Appalachian




                                                                                                                                                                                               Tennessee
                                                                                                                                                                                 University




                                                                                                                                                                                                University
                                                                                                                                 University




                                                                                                                                                 University
                                                                                            University




                                            Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data
                                            System (IPEDS), Fall 2005 Staffing and Enrollment data.                                                                                                           156
Peer Institutions - Ratios - (cont.)
•   Exhibit 8-12 displays the student to full-time staff ratios among public Master‟s colleges and universities that
    enroll between 5,000 and 20,000 students (total of 238 institutions).
•   WCU employed over 1,200 full-time staff in 2004, as compared to a peer average of slightly fewer than 1,500.
•   At 5.5 to 1, the ratio of students to full-time staff at WCU is fairly similar to the peer average of 5.7 to 1.
•   WCU employs a slightly larger percentage of full-time employees (79%) than the peer average of 74%.


                                                                         50.0

                                                                         45.0

EXHIBIT 8-12:                                                            40.0                    Average (n=238)
STUDENT TO STAFF RATIOS                            Student/Staff Ratio
                                                                         35.0
                                                                                                 10.2 Students per
AMONG MASTER'S COLLEGES                                                                           Full-Time Staff
                                                                                                      Member
AND UNIVERSITIES                                                         30.0                                            WCU

ENROLLING BETWEEN 5,000                                                  25.0                                            Peers

AND 20,000 STUDENTS
                                                                         20.0
FALL 2005
                                                                         15.0

                                                                         10.0

                                                                          5.0

                                                                          0.0
                                                                            5,000   8,000   11,000         14,000    17,000      20,000
                                                                                                Enrollment


                                                 Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education
                                                 Data System (IPEDS), Fall 2005 Staffing and Enrollment data.                             157
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts
Appalachian State University (ASU)
•   Student Retention Goals and Issues: Student retention and graduation rates are of great concern to ASU as the
    University of North Carolina General Assembly is requiring all 16 of its four-year colleges and universities to
    increase their retention and graduation rates.
•   Leadership of Student Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation Efforts:
     –   Student Achievement Team – Chaired by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, this 30-member
         team is divided into three subgroups:
            •   Research – Chaired by the Director of Institutional Research
            •   Best Practices – Chaired by the Director of Advising
            •   Communication – Chaired by Residential Life
            •   The team identifies issues that ASU needs to address, and then each subgroup decides how it will
                contribute to those efforts. Information from each subgroup is shared with the entire team, and then
                team members share the information with their respective departments and other committees.


     –   Enrollment Services Team – Chaired by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services, the team
         consists of directors from departments that have direct responsibilities for student enrollment (Admissions,
         Registrar, Financial Aid, Advising, Learning Communities, Residential Life, etc.). The purpose of the group is
         to share information across departments and divisions as the departments involved in recruitment and
         enrollment do not fall under one division. Team members share information from the group with their
         respective departments and other committees.


                                                                                                                          158
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)
Appalachian State University (ASU)
•   Communication of Information:
     –   Committees – The large number of committees on campus makes it possible for employees to serve on a
         committee, exchange information, and share new information with others within their department. While
         serving on too many committees may burden staff, ASU feels that its current system contributes to its
         ability to keep the campus informed.
     –   Open Door and Open Phone Lines Policies – ASU encourages faculty and staff to communicate directly
         with the person who has the answer so as to avoid making a mistake. Senior leadership, therefore,
         promote Open Door and Open Phone Lines Policies, which invite employees to ask questions first and
         encourage them to contact senior leadership directly for an answer.
•   Measurement and Evaluation of Student Retention Efforts:
     –   ASU is moving toward learning-based outcomes assessment. This includes requiring academic degree
         programs to create assessment plans.
     –   ASU uses the following national assessments:
            •   National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE) – annually
            •   Educational Benchmarking Inc. (EBI) assessment tools – every two to three years
            •   Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Assessment (SDTLA) – developed by ASU and used
                annually
     –   ASU assesses at the program level as it is difficult to determine the outcome of a course.


                                                                                                                 159
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)
Appalachian State University (ASU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students:
     –   Learning Communities – ASU has been operating Freshman Learning Communities for some time and cites
         this as a successful component of its student retention efforts. Freshman Learning Communities provide
         small groups of students (15-25) who share similar academic interests or career aspirations the
         opportunity to take two or three classes together during the first semester of their freshman year. Many
         learning communities include the Freshman Seminar as one of the courses. This allows students to more
         easily form study groups and integrate class material while making friends, exploring majors, and
         discovering potential career choices. ASU offers three different types of learning communities:
            • Core curriculum learning communities are designed for any first-semester freshman.
            • Major-specific Freshman Learning Communities are designed for those students who have tentatively
                chosen a major and want to explore that major with some degree of commitment.
            • Special topic Freshman Learning Communities are designed for those students wanting to explore a
                particular interest at a deeper level of learning.

•   ASU is currently trying to proliferate learning communities in residence halls and elsewhere across campus and
    to offer learning communities that are open to all students at any level (i.e., not only freshmen).




                                                                                                                     160
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)
Appalachian State University (ASU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     –   Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) – ACT is Appalachian State University‟s clearinghouse for
         community service, service learning, and community-based research opportunities within the NC High
         Country area. ACT offers diverse opportunities for individuals and student groups to get involved in human
         services and environmental advocacy, and also assists faculty members and community partners with
         integrating community service projects into their academic courses and local agencies.

     –   Office of Student Research (OSR) - OSR was established in 2005 to expand the opportunities for
         undergraduate and graduate students to engage in research and mentored scholarship at Appalachian
         State University. OSR supports and promotes learning through mentored research experiences with
         Appalachian State faculty and other national and international scholars and professionals. ASU believes
         that these special collaborative relationships are among the most rewarding experiences for both faculty
         members and students. The OSR has a variety of resources, including financial support, to help research
         become a distinctive feature of the undergraduate and graduate experience at ASU. Students present their
         research during a campus-wide Research Day, which is an annual event.




                                                                                                                      161
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)
Appalachian State University (ASU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     –   Freshmen Seminar - This three-semester-hour, graded orientation course is designed for first-semester
         freshmen. It helps students make a successful transition to college, discover the resources offered by ASU,
         strengthen skills, broaden individual horizons, and move toward intellectual and individual independence.
         Freshman Seminar supports academic success by actively involving students in the learning process,
         developing academic strategies, building active learning communities, and encouraging responsible
         adjustment to college life. Students learn new classroom and computing skills, practice time management,
         discover their preferred learning styles, explore university support services, participate in campus cultural
         life, and search for what it means to be an educated person. It aims to help first-year students master the
         new challenges and unique opportunities of college. Approximately 60% of students enroll in Freshmen
         Seminar.
            •   ASU is moving toward an academic model for the Freshmen Seminar, which is proposed as an
                interdisciplinary, academic/thematic course taught by full-time faculty in a Freshman Learning
                Community.
     –   Sophomore Focused Programs – Members of the Student Achievement Team are currently evaluating the
         possibility of introducing a sophomore writing course.
     –   Senior Capstone Course – Currently, approximately 50% of majors offer a senior capstone course. ASU
         would like for all departments to offer a capstone course in the future.




                                                                                                                         162
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)
Appalachian State University (ASU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     –   Two-Phase Orientation – ASU conducts its orientation program in two phases:
            •   Phase I is a two-day period, when all freshmen and their parents are invited to campus for an
                introduction to Appalachian State University. For students, it is a time to meet with their advisors,
                take assessment tests, plan courses, register for fall classes, and become comfortable with the
                campus. For parents, Phase I offers the chance to meet the faculty and administration and to ask
                some basic questions about academics, financial aid, residence life, and anything else they might be
                curious about. Students pre-register for courses online which makes the advising sessions more
                productive.
            •   Phase II takes place just prior to the fall semester and provides students with an introduction to
                involvement in ASU‟s many clubs and organizations, out-of-class learning experiences, and programs
                designed to enhance cultural, intellectual, leadership, personal, and professional development.
                Being on campus several days before classes begin allows students to get a head start on their
                college career. Appalachian Orientation Leaders, known on campus as Appol Corps Leaders, can
                guide students through Phase II and the first few days of college life. Their sole purpose during
                orientation is to make new students feel at home at ASU, to answer questions, and to take care of
                any problems students may encounter. By the beginning of classes, students are not only familiar
                with the campus, but also have made friends with at least one upperclass student (Appol Corps
                Leader).
•   Other Items of Interest:
     –   Appalachian Access - This new initiative by the Chancellor offers scholarships to students who are below
         the poverty line so that they can graduate from college debt free.
                                                                                                                        163
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)

James Madison University (JMU)
•   Student Retention Goals and Issues: Student retention and graduation rates are a low priority for JMU at this time
    because its rates are well above the national average and have remained stable over time. The State of Virginia
    requires that student retention and graduation rates fluctuate by no more then two percentage points.
     –   The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, in cooperation with public two- and four-year institutions,
         developed institutional performance standards to address state wide priorities: access, affordability,
         academic offerings, academic standards, student progress and success, economic development, research,
         and k-12 education. Institutions that meet these performance standards are granted greater management,
         curricular, and fiscal autonomy. JMU addresses student retention issues that are congruent with state goals.
•   Leadership of Student Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation Efforts:
     –   University Diversity Council – This group includes campus-wide representation and seeks to increase
         diversity on campus. The Council is charged with identifying high priority goals. While the Council has been
         in place for only two to three years, JMU is already beginning to see results. Four new positions have been
         established (2004):
            • An academic recruitment specialist to coordinate recruitment strategies with deans and department
               heads to expand applicant pools for faculty.
            • A staff recruitment specialist to coordinate efforts with assistant vice presidents and directors to
               expand applicant pools for classified and administrative and professional staff.
            • A Richmond based admission recruiter responsible for increasing the student applicant pools from
               central and eastern Virginia.
            • A student retention specialist to coordinate efforts and develop programs to enhance student
               retention.
                                                                                                                          164
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)
James Madison University (JMU)
•   Communication of Information:
     –    Key information is highlighted on faculty/staff electronic bulletin boards.
•   Measurement and Evaluation of Student Retention Efforts:
     –    The National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE) is conducted every two years.
     –    JMU has a strong graduate program in assessment and evaluation and thus JMU has the expertise on
          campus to develop assessment instruments to examine its student retention efforts.


•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students:
     – Portal Project - A portal is a complex Web-based system that creates a single personalized and customizable
         entry point for an individual user‟s Web experience with a institution‟s Web presence. It combines many
         pieces of content into an integrated, consistent experience for the end-user. The ultimate goal is to allow
         individual users of the portal to customize certain portions of their Web experience within the portal.
            • In the university‟s current Web structure, important advising information is found in multiple
                departments, programs, offices, and divisions across the university, making if difficult for students and
                advisers to locate all of the information needed to make important academic decisions. The portal
                addresses this problem by directing information to students and advisers based upon their individual
                roles and attributes, such as a student‟s major, minor, academic progress, or career interests. In this
                way, advising information can be tailored to individual students and advisers in a more unified and
                consistent manner.
            • A university task force has been identified to design the advising portal, and feedback has been
                collected from students and faculty about important features of an advising portal.
                                                                                                                            165
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts (cont.)

James Madison University (JMU)
•  Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
      –   Increasing Student Involvement – As a new initiative, JMU sent an e-mail to all faculty and staff asking,
          “In what ways can you get students involved”? Staff were offered an incentive grant ($250) to encourage
          participation. This has encouraged faculty and staff who would not otherwise to engage with students.
          For example, the Director of Institutional Research has an interest in photography. An e-mail was sent to
          students who share that interest. The group meets once a month to discuss the pictures they take
          focusing on “the most important picture in college.” Members will end the year with a book of the group‟s
          work. The experience helps them form connections with each other and the institution.


•   Other Items of Interest:
      –   Centennial Scholars Program – This scholarship program targets students of low socioeconomic status who
          have the potential to succeed. Approximately 25 scholarships are given per year. Centennial Scholars
          meet regularly with a mentor at the level of dean, associate vice president, or higher. Students in this
          program have a 90% retention rate.




                                                                                                                      166
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts
(cont.)
Morehead State University (MSU)
•   Student Retention Goals and Issues: Student retention and graduation rates are a high priority at MSU as the
    service region is economically depressed and more than 50% of students at MSU are first-generation college
    students. The Council on Postsecondary Education (Kentucky‟s state coordinating board for postsecondary and
    adult education) has changed the way in which institutions are measured with regard to student retention and
    graduation rates. Whereas the Council focused on headcount in the past, it is now focusing on how students
    graduate (e.g., number of credit hours, time to degree).
•   Leadership of Student Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation Efforts:
     –   Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services - The Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services
         provides leadership for the coordinated programs of the Office of Enrollment Services and the continued
         creation of a one-stop, integrated student services unit. The Assistant Vice President is a member of the
         Student Life leadership team and interacts on a daily basis with other administrators, faculty, staff, alumni,
         and the general public, including prospective students and their families.
     –   Strategic Enrollment Task Force – Consisting of 12 invited faculty and staff, this task force was established
         one year ago and is still developing. The group is currently narrowing its focus to the most critical issues at
         MSU.
     –   Retention Task Force – This voluntary committee consists of 45 members, including two representatives
         from each college and staff members from major student service areas. The task force is divided into three
         subgroups based upon student retention issues that need to be addressed.
•   Measurement and Evaluation of Student Retention Efforts:
     –   MSU conducts the National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Cooperative Institutional Research
         Program (CIRP) on a biennial basis.
                                                                                                                           167
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts
(cont.)
Morehead State University (MSU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students:
      –   Discovery College – Beginning in Fall 2007, MSU will reorganize some of its programs and services.
          Discovery College is a student success unit dedicated to the academic success, retention, and graduation
          of academically underprepared and undeclared students (approximately 500 students). A dean will
          oversee the efforts of Discovery College which will include:
            •   Leading and assessing university-wide retention and academic support services for all students,
                especially those who are academically underprepared and undecided.
            •   Collaborating closely with faculty, staff, administration, and students in planning, developing, and
                implementing programs and services to retain and graduate students.
            •   Overseeing academic advising and support services for undeclared, Provisional Studies,
                developmental education, and non-degree seeking students as well as coordinating academic
                advising with academic departments.
            •   Overseeing first-year programs including MSU 101, freshman orientation, Summer Orientation and
                Registration, and other freshman-year retention efforts.
            •   In cooperation with academic departments, coordinating the delivery and assessment of
                developmental education curricula in mathematics, writing, and reading and professional
                development of faculty teaching developmental education.
            •   Overseeing academic support services including tutoring, supplemental instruction, Learning Lab,
                Success Academy, support for students with disabilities and multicultural students, and guidance and
                counseling of students who are on academic probation or have been dismissed.
            •   Overseeing career services and placement for all students.
                                                                                                                       168
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts
(cont.)
Morehead State University (MSU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
      –   Three-Step Orientation – MSU emphasizes to new students that orientation is a three-step process:
             •   Student Orientation, Advisement, and Registration – New students participate in orientation,
                 advising, and registration activities prior to the beginning of the semester.
             •   New Student Days Weekend – New students arrive the weekend before classes begin to participate
                 in activities that help them get to know MSU and its programs and services better.
             •   Discovering University Life – This required one-credit course is designed to assist entering students
                 in making the academic, personal, and social adjustments needed for a successful university
                 experience. MSU offers major- and theme-specific sections so that students can begin forming
                 relationships with other students who have similar interests. Instructors of this course receive $700
                 for teaching approximately 25 students.
      –   Senior Capstone – All academic departments have senior capstone courses, but the content varies.




                                                                                                                         169
Peer Institutions – Student Retention Efforts
(cont.)
Morehead State University (MSU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
      –   The Office of First Year Programs and Student Retention – This office creates an atmosphere that
          encourages university-wide persistence, academic progression, retention, and graduation through focused
          support and utilization of resources. It coordinates Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration
          (SOAR), the Discovering University Life course, and peer advisors.
             •   Role of Peer Advisors:
                    – Provide guidance and support rather than counseling. The peer advisor does not take the
                        place of the professional or faculty advisor or other professional support staff.
                    – Assist with New Student Days in August. They help students get acclimated to Morehead
                        State University and assist orientation staff in providing a quality orientation program.
                    – Assist MSU 101 instructors with teaching the course. They often conduct in-class activities,
                        and assist in scheduling guest speakers and activities. Peer advisors conduct two outside
                        individual meetings with each student.
•   Other Items of Interest:
      –   MSU provides prospective students with a comprehensive scholarship booklet that describes each
          scholarship‟s requirements for award. Submission of an application to MSU automatically places the
          student into the scholarship applicant pool.




                                                                                                                     170
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Sonoma State University (SSU)
•   Student Retention Goals and Issues: Student retention and graduation rates have been a high priority for all
    institutions in the California System since 1993, particularly at urban institutions. Recently, the System has
    emphasized “Access to Excellence” in response to the Legislature‟s concerns about return on investment of a
    college education. Institutions in California receive money for growth. The interviewee stated that Sonoma has the
    third best retention rate in the California University System.
•   Leadership of Student Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation Efforts:
     –   Programs and services relating to student retention reside in Student Affairs; therefore, there is a perception
         across campus that student retention is Student Affairs‟ responsibility. SSU is using its strategic plan to
         address this issue. SSU offers a variety of programs and services that contribute toward student retention
         and graduation, but no one person coordinates all of the efforts.
     –   Los Angeles Initiative – Senior leadership at SSU work with community organizations and churches to
         sponsor students, providing some financial assistance, to attend SSU. The close working relationship
         between SSU leadership and the organization is extended to include the sponsored student while attending
         the university.
•   Communication of Information:
     –   The interviewee stated that more information needs to be communicated across campus.
•   Measurement and Evaluation of Student Retention Efforts:
     –   Currently, SSU utilizes the services and surveys of Noel Levitz.



                                                                                                                           171
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Sonoma State University (SSU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students:
      –   Leadership Development Program – This program serves to develop leadership skills in interested students
          who wish to take on leadership positions at SSU. In order to apply for most leadership positions, such as
          residential advisor or orientation leader, students must take a three-credit course called “Foundations of
          Leadership.” This course is a vital part of the overall leadership development program for students at
          Sonoma State University.
            •   This program is an example of efficient use of resources at SSU as each department/office does not
                need to train students in basic leadership skills during employee training. Instead, offices can
                require that students take “Foundations of Leadership” and then focus their employee training on
                specific information for the position. Also, once a student receives core leadership information, he or
                she is prepared for multiple positions across campus.
            •   As a result of this program, greater numbers of students of color have taken on leadership positions
                across campus, which contributes toward SSU‟s goal of increasing diversity.
            •   The program was reviewed by the Business Department at SSU, which concluded that the program
                was “very rigorous.”




                                                                                                                          172
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Sonoma State University (SSU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     –   Four-Year Plan – Every academic department must implement a four-year plan to demonstrate how
         students can graduate within four years (assuming full-time status). This effort (commonly referred to as
         course mapping) ensures that academic departments offer courses on a timely basis (e.g., every semester
         or annually), and not in conflict with each other (i.e., two required courses offered at the same time).
     –   Freshman Seminar – SSU has revamped its Freshman Seminar course to focus on learning outcomes. The
         Freshman Seminar is a unique transition course designed to facilitate students‟ integration into the
         learning community of the university. The course enhances students‟ skills for academic success, develops
         students‟ understanding of university culture, provides individualized academic advising, and fosters
         students‟ meaningful educational engagement. The course also encourages students to participate actively
         in the university and to reflect upon their experiences. Although not required, this course is strongly
         recommended for all incoming first-time freshmen.
            •   Courses are taught by two people - one faculty or professional staff member and one peer mentor.
                Peer mentors receive $975 for approximately 6 hours of work per week.




                                                                                                                     173
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Sonoma State University (SSU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     –   Freshmen Interest Groups (FIG) - The FIG program is designed to bring what is learned in the classroom
         to life. Based on different academic interests, the FIG program intentionally creates a learning
         environment that recognizes how some of the most powerful learning in college takes place outside the
         classroom. Seminars and study groups in the residential community, faculty presence in the village, and
         specially trained peer advisors help integrate the academic and social experience of SSU students. Each
         FIG has an academic block consisting of two or three core classes that all students are enrolled in
         together. These classes relate to the theme of the FIG and often fulfill requirements of the major with the
         discipline. The classes are integrated into the programs and activities offered in the residential community.
         Stronger faculty/student interaction and easily accessible study groups are two obvious benefits of the FIG
         program. Students within the FIG program live together in four-person apartments. And, therefore, are
         able to study together and help each other with assignments and group projects. The program serves
         approximately 700 students.
     –   Summer Bridge Program - Summer Bridge is designed to smooth the way for low-income and first-
         generation college students from high school to the university setting. The primary focus of the program is
         to give the students a taste of university life while creating supportive relationships between them and
         other Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students and advisors. Summer Bridge provides an
         introduction to campus life, student services, and the surrounding community. It also provides participants
         with an orientation to the university, academic advising, and registration for Fall classes. Participants learn
         college survival skills including handling needs such as housing, financial aid, budgeting, and career and
         major planning.



                                                                                                                           174
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Sonoma State University (SSU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     – EOP Academy - All first-semester EOP freshmen will take part in the EOP Academy. A major component of
         the Academy is the development of a learning community where students attend a block of classes with
         the same group of EOP students. Students taking classes together in a learning community tend to adapt
         quicker to the challenges of college, and in turn, become more successful students during their first year.
         The goals for the Academy are to provide academic and social support for incoming EOP freshmen,
         increasing their academic success and retention. Academy classes include Freshman Seminar, English, and
         either a course in American multicultural studies or support classes in reading and writing. The instructor
         for the Freshman Seminar class is also the students‟ EOP Advisor. The program consists of ten small
         groups of ten students for one week. Students who participate in the EOP Academy have higher retention
         and graduation rates, as well as higher GPAs than the average SSU student.
     – Celebration for Successful Students – To recognize students who had a successful fall semester (high
         GPA), SSU holds a celebration in their honor, which includes attendance by senior leadership.




                                                                                                                       175
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Tennessee Technological University (TTU)
•   Student Retention Goals and Issues: Student retention and graduation rates are a serious issue at TTU as a
    portion of the university‟s funding is tied to these measures.
•   Leadership of Student Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation Efforts:
     –   TTU does not have one person coordinating student retention efforts. The institution relies on
         communication of administrators, faculty, and staff among departments and divisions.
     –   Retention Roundtable – This group is comprised of administrators, faculty, and staff who work directly with
         student retention-related departments, programs, or services. Chaired by the Vice President for Student
         Affairs, this group meets every two to three weeks to work on student retention issues of implementation
         and new programs.
     –   Leadership for enrollment management and student retention is divided between Academic Affairs and
         Student Affairs. TTU is currently searching for an Executive Director of Enrollment Management (reports to
         Provost). Essential functions of this position include: assists the President and Provost in accomplishing the
         goals of the university‟s central enrollment division; oversees and works effectively with the offices of
         Admissions, Records and Registration, Financial Aid, International Student Affairs, Scholarships, and Transfer
         Coordination; leads the continuing development and implementation of a strategic enrollment management
         plan; adopts and administers effective means of recruiting undergraduate and, in collaboration with the
         Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, graduate students; oversees the execution of
         reports, surveys, and compliance to regulatory organizations; collaborates with the Division of Student Affairs
         to enhance the TTU experience for first-year students; serves as Executive Officer for the Admissions and
         Credits Committee, assisting with the review of student problems concerning admission, readmission,
         academic credit, suspension, academic fresh start, and exceptions to requirements; serves as a member of
         the Deans‟ Council; and collaborates with other administrators to ensure that all areas of enrollment
         management effectively communicate and support the university‟s goals.
                                                                                                                           176
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Tennessee Technological University (TTU)
•   Communication of Information:
     –   The Institutional Research office offers a user-friendly Website to access student retention data by
         department/unit, which is available on-demand.
     –   TTU has a planning Website, which is maintained by TTU‟s Planning Officer. Each unit at TTU is required
         to update their objectives twice a year. The information is then reviewed and synthesized by the Planning
         Officer who makes recommendations to senior leadership as necessary.
     –   Communication of campus programs and services is shared at the Dean‟s Council meetings and then
         channeled back to staff within each department.
•   Measurement and Evaluation of Student Retention Efforts:
     –   TTU monitors all efforts regarding student retention because the System office requires that institutions do
         so and funding is dependent upon performance in Tennessee. TTU analyzes data, conducts surveys, and
         evaluates student evaluations of courses.
     –   National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE) – All universities in the Tennessee System are required to
         conduct this survey annually.




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Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Tennessee Technological University (TTU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students:
      –   University 1020 – This is a required one-hour, one-credit course for freshmen offered in the fall. The goal
          of the course is for students to form connections with the campus and the community through activities.
          Sections of the course are arranged by major. Students must attend fine arts and multi-cultural events on
          campus. A unique feature of this program is the use of “E-Notes” (by Goal Quest), a series of e-mail
          messages with links that are sent to students and parents who are interested in participating. The e-mail
          messages (approximately 2-3 pages in length with links for additional information) cover issues and topics
          of concern to students such as choosing a major, mental health, stress, and the transition to college.
          Instructors can choose the “E-Notes” message that will be e-mailed to students and participating parents
          and integrate the topic into class discussions. Parents feel connected to their child because they know the
          topics being discussed in University 1020, and it encourages conversation. Consistency of sections is
          achieved by providing instructors with sample syllabi and a workshop on intended goals and outcomes of
          the course. Instructors have the opportunity to tailor the course to a major or topic, if applicable. There
          are 90 sections of this course. Instructors can choose to use an undergraduate mentor (similar to a
          teaching assistant) to assist with the course. Instructors receive $1,800 compensation and have up to
          $200 available for activities. Undergraduate mentors receive $10 per hour for 5 hours per week. The
          coordinator of General Education also coordinates this course.
      –   Intrusive Advising Centers - Full-time professional academic advisors are assigned to a college within the
          university to provide students with logistical information (e.g., selecting courses for each semester,
          policies, procedures for the department). Advisors contact every freshman during the first month of the
          semester as well as those students with low GPAs. Faculty also have advisees; however their role is to be
          more of a mentor/counselor (e.g., helping students decide which track to take in a major).


                                                                                                                        178
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Tennessee Technological University (TTU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     –   Learning Communities – Freshmen are invited to participate in a year-long learning community comprised
         of 25 students who are in two general education classes together. Learning communities are required to
         have activities in the fall. Examples include the Culture Crawl, a walking tour of the cultural opportunities
         and activities within walking distance of the campus. The faculty of the courses teach their class
         independently, but agree to keep in contact with each other to complement the topics and assignments in
         the other course, when applicable. TTU is able to accommodate up to three learning community cohorts at
         this time. While the program is voluntary, this past year freshmen were assigned to the learning
         community and TTU received no negative feedback about this. This program receives funding support
         from a student activities fee for general education and cultural studies. Fifteen years ago, the general
         education program was reviewed and was cited for its lack of cultural involvement. The Board allowed for
         a $20 “Student Success Fee” to be charged. TTU is currently exploring a sophomore learning community.
         The Dean of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences oversees the Learning Communities program, calling teaching
         faculty together two times per semester to discuss issues and upcoming plans for next semester.
     –   Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) – In an effort to create a sense of community
         among new students (freshmen and transfers), this program provides students with the opportunity to
         learn about academics, student life, and other campus resources. TTU offers an orientation program (ten
         sessions beginning in April), which aims to cover topics that may become a concern to students and
         parents later on (e.g., choosing a major, illness, difficulty with classes). Parents are invited to a parents
         only session in an effort to make them feel more connected to the institution. “Week of Welcome” kicks off
         the first week of the semester with a wide variety of activities and events. This program provides students
         with information about getting involved in campus life as well as programs and services that they can
         utilize throughout the semester.
                                                                                                                         179
Peer Institutions – Student Retention
Efforts (cont.)
Tennessee Technological University (TTU)
•   Unique Student Retention Strategies and Programs for Current Students (cont.):
     –   Minority Student Peer Mentor Program – TTU offers a peer mentoring program focused on minority
         students. Top minority students (approximately eight) are selected to meet and talk to other minority
         students on campus. Peer mentors are compensated $8 per hour for approximately 10 hours per week.
     –   Capstone Courses – The majority of departments at TTU offer capstone courses, which are not restricted
         to major students.
•   Other Items of Interest:
     –   TTU and other public institutions within the Tennessee System utilize an internal retention and graduation
         rate measure. The measure differs from traditional calculation rates in that each institution receives credit
         for students who began at their institution and graduate within six years, so long as the student remains
         at a Tennessee institution within the system; this includes students who transfer.
     –   In an effort to simplify and centralize the scholarship program, TTU has created a new position,
         coordinator of scholarships. Students can apply for multiple scholarships without touching a piece of paper.
         Applicants must have their information submitted by December 15, and receive award decisions by
         February 15, allowing them to make informed decisions about college.
     –   Students in the College of Education have the highest retention and graduation rates on campus, while
         students who are undeclared have average retention and graduation rates lower than that of the
         university as a whole.




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National Best Practices in Student Retention
•   “Best practices” are those that constitute excellence in college services. These practices represent the most
    effective actions institutions take to facilitate student success.

•   This section outlines 11 best practices that could be implemented or enhanced at WCU as part of a campus-
    wide student retention effort. In each case, this includes:


     –    A description of the best practice.
     –    One or more institutions that exemplify this best practice.
     –    An assessment of WCU‟s efforts in this area.
     –    Recommended changes to existing programs or components to be included in a new program.
     –    The expected outcome for WCU upon implementing the suggested changes.
     –    The suggested measure(s) of programmatic success.
     –    A priority level – the likelihood of increasing student retention. (High, Medium, and Low)
     –    Anticipated costs of program implementation. (High = more than $10,000, Medium = $1,001 to $9,999,
          and Low = less than $1,000)
     –    The theme(s) that the best practice addresses.




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National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Academic Success Center
•   Description: The Academic Success Center (ASC) is a collection of services and programs designed to help
    students succeed academically and reach their academic goals. The ASC offers both individualized and small group
    experiences, and both course-specific and general academic assistance.
•   Exemplified by: Kean University and Iowa State University
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: The four academic tutoring centers (Writing, Math, Technology Assistance, and
    Catamount Tutoring Center) exist to provide academic support to WCU students. These resources are currently
    under-utilized by students in general and academically at-risk students in particular.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Strengthen
    collaboration with faculty members to help disseminate information about the existing resources and services to
    students. Request that faculty members add information about the tutoring centers to course syllabi. Solicit ASC
    referrals from faculty members, particularly those who teach gateway courses. Work with advisors to effectively
    reach at-risk students by utilizing the early warning system. Recognize outstanding staff/student tutors.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Focus on this area will increase the utilization rates of academic support services by
    academically at-risk students. WCU should reshape the image of these services among students through a
    publicity campaign and heightened outreach efforts by staff members.
•   Measure(s) of success: Monthly data review
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): High
•   Anticipated cost: Medium - Between $1,001 and $9,999
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
       –    Student Academic Success
       –    Effective Campus Communications


                                                                                                                       182
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
One-Stop Student Services
•   Description: One-Stop is a student-centered philosophy and practice in which all administrative services are
    organized in one location for greater quality and efficiency. Both a physical space and virtual services are provided,
    and virtual services are considered a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, face-to-face interaction.
•   Exemplified by: University of Minnesota and Pepperdine University
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: The One-Stop student service center at WCU is solid as a concept, but has
    opportunities for enhancement. Currently, the advising process does not flow smoothly, the responsibility of
    different units is not clearly delineated, and students perceive that the information provided is often inaccurate or
    incomplete.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Strong leadership
    and employee buy-in are needed to create a student-centered culture in student advising and support. For this
    service to be effective, advisors in this area must be well trained and knowledgeable in all areas that advising
    services are required. The need for enhanced communication, collaboration, and cooperation among all units and
    all members of this operation is critical.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Focus on this area will increase the accuracy and complete information provided to
    students, as well as guidance to make informed decisions about their academics and college experience. This will
    increase student satisfaction and student retention rates, and ultimately the number of students graduating within
    six years.
•   Measure(s) of success: Semester focus groups and annual survey
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): High
•   Anticipated cost: High - Over $10,000
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     –    Student Academic Success
     –    Effective Campus Communications
                                                                                                                            183
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Freshman Interest Groups
•   Description: A Freshman Interest Group (FIG) is a unique academic experience in which groups of first semester
    freshmen take classes together and live together in the same residence hall. Students take two or three courses,
    plus a one-credit FIG Seminar with a group of fellow freshmen. Typically, each FIG is based on a theme.
•   Exemplified by: Indiana University and University of Oregon
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: The USI 130, Freshman Seminars, and Learning Communities reflect certain
    characteristics of FIGs, but could go further to create a real sense of engagement among the first-year students
    at WCU.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Systematically and
    intentionally assign first-year students with similar academic and career interests to the same courses and
    residence halls to maximize the level of academic and social integration occasioned by existing programs such as
    USI 130, Freshman Seminars, and Learning Communities.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Further development of this area into a comprehensive Freshman Year Experience
    program at WCU will help first-year students connect with each other and enrich both their academic and social
    experiences. Students who are more academically and socially engaged are likely to be retained at higher rates.
•   Measure(s) of success: Semester survey
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): High
•   Anticipated cost: High - Over $10,000
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     –    Institutional Identity/Institutional Image
     –    Student Social Engagement
     –    Student Academic Success
     –    Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives
                                                                                                                       184
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Residential Programming
•   Description: Strategically planned residential programs and activities designed to encourage students in
    campus life improve the quality of the college experience.
•   Exemplified by: Indiana University and University of Michigan
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: Currently, freshmen are assigned rooms and floors only after returning students
    have made their selections. The Division of Student Affairs is the process of developing and implementing a
    new program in Scott Hall to focus on student retention, which includes focuses on freshmen students‟
    transitional experience to increase the likelihood of a successful college experience at WCU.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Designate
    residential living space specifically for freshmen within halls. Create living-learning opportunities within the
    halls by clustering students according to academic interests.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: A true Freshman Year Experience with designated halls/floors for first-year
    students would serve the same purpose as a student interest group, allowing participants to develop both
    social and academic connections.
•   Measure(s) of success: Annual focus groups
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): High
•   Anticipated cost: Low - Under $1,000
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     –    Student Social Engagement
     –    Student Academic Success



                                                                                                                       185
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Early Warning System
•   Description: The Early Warning System provides faculty and staff a means to report any concerns about students,
    academic or otherwise. Advisors follow through on early warnings by contacting the referred student, discussing
    the situation, and developing strategies to deal with problems.
•   Exemplified by: George Mason University and Fayetteville State University
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: The Early Warning System provides a convenient online means to report concerns
    about WCU students. The existing learning contract and progress reporting appear to be the follow-up to early
    warning. Any WCU employee (administrator, faculty, or staff) can complete an Early Warning form online.
    Information is sent directly to the Advising Center and then routed to the student‟s assigned advisor. The advisor
    follows up on the information submitted as appropriate (e.g., contact the student for information/ express concern
    and offer assistance, contact faculty advisor, coach, or other WCU employee who might have regular contact with
    the student).
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Increase awareness
    of this service throughout the campus community, particularly among faculty and staff. Implementation of an
    accountability/reward system will encourage advisors to take prompt action. It is important that the early warning
    system be used by faculty, staff, and advisors, as intervention at the onset of a problem is critical for assisting the
    student with his/her problem and increasing the likelihood of student success.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Effective use of this system will allow WCU to identify at-risk students early and
    provide them with the support they need to achieve academic success.
•   Measure(s) of success: Semi-semester data review
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): Medium
•   Anticipated cost: Low - Under $1,000
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     –    Student Academic Success
     –    Effective Campus Communications                                                                                     186
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Reconstructing Gateway Courses
•   Description: Identify challenging courses that are taught in one semester and break them down into two-
    semester sequences.
•   Exemplified by: Indiana University
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: WCU has began evaluating gateway courses in Biology using multi-level
    modeling statistical techniques, which helps faculty understand why some students are successful and others
    are not. This information provides an opportunity to develop strategies that assist students in being successful
    in a course that they may have had a low probability for success.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Use the same or
    similar analysis for reviewing Biology courses in other majors to identify gateway courses across the curriculum.
    Once gateway courses and the reasons why students find the courses difficult are identified, explore
    opportunities for improvement so that more students are successful in the course. For example, WCU could
    consider making grant funds available to faculty that improve student success in gateway courses. This includes
    development of an innovative practice, exploration of the relationship between Gateway courses and courses in
    majors, student learning measurement, or dissemination of best practices in Gateway courses.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Increasing the pass rates of students in these gateway courses will improve GPAs
    and student success, translating into higher retention.
•   Measure(s) of success: Semi-semester data review
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): Medium
•   Anticipated cost: Low - Under $1,000
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     –    Student Academic Success

                                                                                                                        187
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Leadership Institute
•   Description: A Leadership Institute offers undergraduate students, particularly freshmen, the opportunity to
    engage in leadership development activities through on-campus courses and workshops and in the off-campus
    community.
•   Exemplified by: WCU and Florida State University
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: Students who currently are taking part in the Freshman Leadership Institute and
    Sophomore Leadership Institute at WCU are very satisfied with the experience, which has, in turn, enhanced
    their overall satisfaction with WCU. Students in the Sophomore Leadership Institute also mentor students in the
    Freshmen Leadership Institute.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: The Freshman
    Leadership Institute is selective and has limited capacity. Broadening its scope would increase its contribution
    to student persistence and success.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Increasing participation in the Leadership Institute, which is a very effective
    program at WCU, will improve student engagement at the University.
•   Measure(s) of success: Annual focus groups
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): Medium
•   Anticipated cost: High - Over $10,000
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     –    Student Social Engagement
     –    Student Academic Success



                                                                                                                       188
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Undergraduate Research Program
•   Description: A strong undergraduate research program provides opportunities for students to engage in
    research and creative activities in collaboration with a faculty mentor.
•   Exemplified by: UNC-Asheville and University of Michigan
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: Students at WCU, particularly honors students, currently have the opportunity to
    participate in undergraduate research. By engaging more students in this practice, the University may be able
    to decrease the number of students who choose to transfer elsewhere.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Provide
    incentives to participating students and to faculty members who serve as mentors to undergraduate
    researchers. Consider “involving undergraduates in research and creative activities” as a factor in faculty
    evaluations. Encourage and facilitate applications for outside grants from organizations such as the National
    Science Foundation.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Substantially increase the opportunities for academically prepared students to
    participate in research and scholarly activities will improve student engagement.
•   Measure(s) of success: Annual data review
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): Medium
•   Anticipated cost: Low - $1,000
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     –    Student Academic Success




                                                                                                                    189
National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Campus-Based Student Activities
•   Description: Large-scale organized campus events and activities enable students to become engaged in and
    connect to their campus community and to develop a sense of identification with their university.
•   Exemplified by: Alverno College and Indiana University South Bend
•   Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: While WCU has a number and variety of campus events and activities,
    particularly over weekends, students perceive that there is little to do on-campus, which has created a
    “suitcase” image for WCU and sense of disengagement among students. This disconnect may be due to
    inadequate or limited advertising of events.
•   Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: Consider the
    strengths and weaknesses of the WCU campus location to design suitable student activities and social/cultural
    events, particularly over weekends.
•   Expected outcome for WCU: Large-scale programs that become important traditions for the school increase
    camaraderie and sense of belonging and purpose among students. Student activities enrich students‟ social
    experiences on campus; recreational programming, dance competitions, even a rock-climbing tournament that
    might tap into the appeal of WCU‟s mountain locale, could serve this purpose.
•   Measure(s) of success: Annual focus groups
•   Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): Medium
•   Anticipated cost: Medium - Between $1,001 and $9,999
•   Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
     – Institutional Identity/Institutional Image
     – Student Social Engagement
     – Campus Community Engaged in a Common Cause
                                                                                                                    190
    National Best Practices in Student Retention (cont.)
Counseling
•    Description: Provide appropriate psychological, social, and other types of counseling to help students deal with
     various issues they may face in college and allow them to focus on academic and social activities of educational value.
•    Exemplified by: Florida State University and Indiana University
•    Assessment of WCU‟s efforts: WCU offers an array of counseling services. A unique program at WCU is the new Case
     Management Model (CMM) in the Division of Student Affairs.
       – The CMM contains key elements for increasing student retention and graduation rates, such as a Senior
           Retention Specialist, who will orchestrate the CMM in Residential Living while utilizing other available campus
           resources, programs, and services. The CMM plan clearly assigns responsibility and contains a time line for each
           major function for implementation, which contributes towards accountability and will ensure timeliness. While
           the model is ambitious, given the dedication and commitment of WCU staff it is anticipated that implementation
           of the CMM will have positive results assuming adequate resources for the new position and a modest
           programming budget are available.
•    Recommended changes to existing program or components to be included in a new program: More students require
     psychological and social counseling than ever, so provision of counseling services is critical. However, offering
     counseling is not enough; WCU must seek out those who need it through the Early Warning System. Since the CMM is
     currently intended for on-campus students, it is suggested that after the model has been successfully implemented in
     residence halls (1-2 years), a similar program be constructed and implemented for commuter students (with
     appropriate modifications), who comprised 58.3% of the student population in Fall 2006.
•    Expected outcome for WCU: Identifying at-risk students early to offer needed support should provide these students
     with the tools they need to remain successful socially and academically, improving retention.
•    Measure(s) of success: Annual data review
•    Priority level (likelihood of increasing student retention): Medium
•    Anticipated cost: Medium - Between $1,001 and $9,999
•    Which theme(s) does this best practice address?
      –    Student Social Engagement                                                                                       191
   National Best Practices in Student Retention -
   Summary               EXHIBIT 8-13:
                       SUMMARY COMPARISON OF WCU’S EFFORTS AND NATIONAL BEST PRACTICES
                            Curently in
      Best Practice         Practice at                                               Assessment of WCU's Efforts
                               WCU
                                          The four academic tutoring centers (Writing, Math, Technology Assistance, and Catamount Tutoring Center) exist to
Academic Success Center        Yes        provide academic support to WCU students. These resources are currently under-utilized by students in general and
                                          academically at-risk students in particular.
                                          The One-Stop student service center at WCU is solid as a concept, but has some problems with implementation.
                                          Currently, the advising process does not flow smoothly, the responsibility of different units is not clearly delineated,
One-Stop Student Services      Yes
                                          and the information provided is often inaccurate, incomplete, and of questionable use to students. Overall, morale
                                          among the center staff is low.
                                          The USI 130, Freshman Seminars, and Learning Communities reflect certain characteristics of FIGs, but do not go far
Freshman Interest Groups       Yes
                                          enough to create a real sense of engagement among the first-year students at WCU.
Residential Programming        Yes        Currently, freshmen are assigned rooms and floors only after returning students have made their selections.

                                          The Early Warning System provides a convenient online means to report concerns about WCU students. The
Early Warning System           Yes        existing learning contract and progress reporting appear to be the follow-up to early warning. Effective and consistent
                                          use of this service by the faculty, staff, and advisors is key.
                                          WCU has began evaluating gateway courses in Biology using multi-level modeling statistical techniques, which helps
Restructuring Gateway                     faculty understand why some students are successful and others are not. This information provides an opportunity for
                               Yes
Courses                                   to develop strategies that assist students in being successful in a course that they may have had a low probability for
                                          success. Courses in other majors should be analyzed as well.
                                          Students who currently are taking part in the Freshman Leadership Institute at WCU are very satisfied with the
Leadership institute           Yes
                                          experience, which has, in turn, enhanced their overall satisfaction with WCU.
                                          Students at WCU, particularly honors students, currently have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate
Undergraduate Research
                               Yes        research. By engaging more high achievers in this practice, the University might be able to decrease the number of
Program
                                          students who choose to transfer elsewhere.
Campus-Based Student                      Consider the strengths and weaknesses of the WCU campus location to design suitable student activities and
                               Yes
Activities                                social/cultural events, particularly over weekends.
Counseling                     Yes        WCU offers an array of counseling services.
                                                                                                                                                                     192
                  Chapter 9.0
               Recommendations
      This chapter presents a summary of findings and offers
 recommendations, including resource requirements to implement
recommendations, for Western Carolina University‟s consideration.
    All recommendations consider efficient and effective use of
         resources and are based on national best practices.
    Recommendations – Overview
•     The recommendations are based on eight issues that emerged in this study:
       –   Institutional Identity/Institutional Image
       –   Student Social Engagement
       –   Student Academic Success
       –   Effective Campus Communication
       –   Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives
       –   Campus Community Engaged in a Common Cause
       –   Organizational Structure and Staffing
       –   Recognition for Contributing Toward System Goals


•     This chapter includes 14 recommendations that address these issue areas by:
       –   Enhancing existing programs and services.
       –   Changing the organizational structure and realigning staff responsibilities.
       –   Developing an enrollment management plan and a student retention plan focused on achieving goals.
       –   Approaching the UNC System to include additional graduation rate measures.


•     On the next four pages, the eight issue areas and 14 recommendations are listed for concise consideration. Each
      issue area and recommendation is then fully developed in the remaining pages of the chapter.



                                                                                                                        194
Recommendations – Overview (cont.)
This section outlines 14 recommendations to consider for implementation at WCU as part of a campus-wide student
retention effort. In each case this includes a description of:

  •    Issue: Identifies and describes the issue that pertains to the recommendation.
  •    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: Provides an assessment of WCU‟s current efforts.
  •    Recommendation: Provides the recommendation, which is based upon best practices.


        –   PACE Impact: Describes how the recommendation addresses issues of efficiency and effectiveness (High,
            Medium, and Low).
        –   Implementation Priority: Includes a recommended priority level for implementation related to the
            likelihood of increasing student retention (High, Medium, and Low).
        –   Position/Office Responsible: Includes position(s) responsible (or his/her designee) for implementing the
            recommendation, if action is taken.
        –   Estimated Cost: Describes the estimate cost (high, medium, and low) of the recommendation (High =
            more than $25,000, Medium = $5,001 to $25,000 and Low = less than $5,000).
        –   Impact Point(s): Identifies the impact point(s) on the pipeline chart that the recommendation addresses
            (See page 15).
        –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Describes the anticipated results if the recommendation is implemented.
        –   Measurement of Outcome: Identifies methods to measure the success of the implemented
            recommendation.



                                                                                                                       195
Recommendations – Overview (cont.)
List of Issue Areas and Recommendations:
•    Institutional Identity/Institutional Image:
       – Recommendation #1: Identify WCU‟s brand or image and integrate that image throughout the campus
            and its publications. This includes consistent use of images/logos, colors, and messages and wording.
            Efforts should be made to invite campus-wide comments on formalizing WCU‟s institutional
            identity/institutional image. Possible identity/image themes may emphasize WCU‟s location in the
            mountains or the new millennium campus.

•   Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs:
      – Recommendation #2: Make enhancements to Advising. The role of the full-time professional advisor
         within the Advising Center should be clearly defined by revising the job description. The revised job
         descriptions must be communicated to other offices. In order for the advisors to provide a comprehensive
         array of advising services in a way that will substantially improve retention rates, the full-time
         professional advisor job description should be revised to include the additional responsibilities beyond
         academic advising that are performed by advisors and are not currently reflected in the job descriptions.
         This includes a clear delineation of responsibilities of advisors and when it is appropriate to refer a
         student to another office. Therefore, WCU should add four additional advisors to meet the current
         expectations and workload. WCU should consider using the Total Intake Advising Model which supports a
         joint advising relationship between the Advising Center and faculty advisors, with the Advising Center
         taking on the majority of advising responsibilities until the student begins taking courses in the major
         (approximately 45 hours). Under this Model, the student still has access and is encouraged to meet and
         talk with their faculty advisor to build a relationship for future academic and other support service
         advising. In addition, the expectations for the effective performance of this activity should be consistent
         with the time recommended by the Council on Advising Standards. Additionally, the online degree audit
         system that allows students to determine the course map for their planned course of study should be
         used in conjunction with advisement provided by full-time professional advisors.                              196
  Recommendations – Overview (cont.)
List of Issue Areas and Recommendations (cont.):
•    Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.):
      –   Recommendation #3: Reinstitute, enhance, and expand the Learning Communities program. Designate a
          coordinator to oversee program implementation and administration as part of his/her responsibilities
          (director/coordinator level). In addition, offer the Freshman Seminar, First-Year Composition, and University
          Experience Course (USI 130) through theme-based Learning Communities. Include activities to integrate
          academic and social development. Offer the option of year-long (Fall and Spring) Learning Communities to
          interested students. Incorporate non-cohort based Learning Communities and make them available throughout
          campus rather than exclusively for first-year students. For example, offer a learning community for seniors, which
          would include a capstone course in the major combined with the Senior Year Experience. The Senior Year
          Experience includes the following programs and seminars and coordinating office/division: transitions to work
          place (Career Services), transitions to graduate school (Graduate School), and life skills support (Student Affairs).
      –   Recommendation #4: Make enhancements and changes to the University Experience Course. While each
          course section can vary by instructor, all sections should include activities where the student must interact with
          other students as well as administrators, faculty, and staff on campus. Other institutions utilize peer mentors in
          each course section to connect students to an upperclass student. The peer mentors traditionally assist the
          instructor in teaching the course and meet with each student one to two times per semester. Students may value
          this course more if the course content were closely connected to career goals (perhaps using service learning) or
          integrated into Learning Communities. WCU should combine the content of the University Experience and
          Freshman Seminar courses, thereby creating meaningful connections for students in the same class with similar
          interests or who share the same major.
      –   Recommendation #5: Enhance and expand undergraduate research opportunities. A coordinated effort at the
          university level should be implemented to increase research opportunities available to undergraduates and to
          match faculty and students with common interests. Currently, faculty are encouraged to invite students to
          participate in undergraduate research opportunities. It is recommended that this effort be expanded to include an
          opportunity for students to express interest in research opportunities and then to pair students and faculty based
          upon interest.                                                                                                    197
  Recommendations – Overview (cont.)
List of Issue Areas and Recommendations (cont.):
•    Effective Campus Communication:
       – Recommendation #6: Revitalize the Strategic Enrollment Management Steering Committee (comprised of
           administrators, faculty, and staff) to include active sub-committees. A team devoted exclusively to new student
           issues will allow for focus on key enrollment management issues.
       – Recommendation #7: Reestablish a Cabinet to address first- and second-year student issues and to focus on
           student retention (comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, and students). Identify representatives across
           campus (in all divisions) with connections to student retention efforts to serve on the Cabinet. The Cabinet should
           contribute to the development and implementation of the Student Retention Plan.
       – Recommendation #8: WCU leadership should continue to provide the campus community with an annual
           update on important student retention and graduation issues, as well as setting achievable goals for the upcoming
           year. In addition, student retention and graduation rates by academic department should be easily accessible by
           persons in each academic department.
•    Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives:
       – Recommendation #9: Allow ample time for new initiatives (programs or services) to be in place before
           assessing their value to student retention and graduation rates. Delegate authority to a specific office or individual
           to be responsible for the program so that there is continuity from year to year, while allowing
           administrators/coordinators of the programs or services to take an active role in the development, implementation,
           and measurement of effectiveness of the initiative.
       – Recommendation #10: Develop a Student Retention Plan (university and college/department levels) to
           strategically retain and graduate students enrolled at WCU. The Plan would include: Goals, Strategies, Measures,
           Processes, and Implementation. Require that colleges and departments integrate student retention and graduation
           goals into their strategic plans, specifically identifying the impact point that each program and service addresses.
           Strategic plans for each college and department should be reviewed to ensure alignment with University goals as
           well as ensure that each of the seven impact points receive ample attention University wide (rather than efforts
           exclusively focusing on one or two points).
                                                                                                                              198
    Recommendations – Overview (cont.)
Recommendations (cont.):
•   Organizational Structure and Staffing:
      –   Recommendation #11: Reevaluate duties formerly held by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment
          Management, who was responsible for Admissions, Registrar, and Financial Aid, to house these functions under
          one person (separate from student retention functions). The administrator (perhaps at the level of Dean)
          overseeing these three offices would be responsible for the development of an Enrollment Management Plan, to
          strategically recruit, admit, and enroll students who are interested in WCU‟s institutional characteristics (i.e.,
          location, program offerings, small class sizes, personalized attention, affordable cost, etc.) and have the
          academic preparation to be successful at WCU. A Plan would include: Goals, Strategies, Measures, Processes
          and Implementation, Monitoring, and Processes for Improvement.
      –   Recommendation #12: Administratively house the Advising Center, One-Stop, Orientation, Student Support
          Services, Advising and Student Success, and Commencement as one unit under the direction of the Senior
          Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, reporting to the Provost.
      –   Recommendation #13: Create a University College comprised of Liberal Studies and the University
          Experience Course. Assign all undeclared students (freshman and sophomores) to the University College. Once
          students declare a major, they will then be assigned to the corresponding academic college. Delegate
          responsibility of the University College to a new position of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate
          Education, reporting to the Provost. Assign responsibility for developing, implementing, and overseeing WCU‟s
          student retention plan to Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. Development of a student
          retention plan should include input from the First-Year Cabinet.
•    Recognition for Contributing Toward System Goals:
      –   Recommendation #14: Approach the UNC System to consider development of an additional measure to
          assess each institution‟s contribution toward UNC‟s System graduation rate. This additional measure would
          recognize the contributions of institutions for students who began at their institution and graduate within six
          years from a different institution in the System.
                                                                                                                               199
  Recommendations – Institutional Identity/Image
Issue: Institutional Identity/Institutional Image - An institutional identity/image is an important element of a university
    as it is serves to unify the entire campus community, keep alumni connected, and attract prospective students.
•   Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: While WCU has many strengths, the institution does not sufficiently capitalize on
    those strengths to form a comprehensive institutional identity. Rather, silos of identities exist throughout the campus. As a
    result, one shared identity/image is not achieved, which makes it difficult for prospective and new students, as well as
    current administrators, faculty, staff, and students, to understand where they fit in.
•   Recommendation #1: Identify WCU‟s brand or image and integrate that image throughout the campus and its
    publications. This includes consistent use of images/logos, colors, and messages and wording. Efforts should be made to
    invite campus-wide comments on formalizing WCU‟s institutional identity/institutional image. Possible identity/image
    themes may emphasize WCU‟s location in the mountains or the new millennium campus.
      – PACE Impact: High – A strong institutional identity/image that the campus community can share will increase the
            efficiency and effectiveness of all other campus marketing efforts. For example, this report identified publications
            that used inconsistent University images and logos. Consistent use of WCU‟s identity/image on publications
            increases the efficiency of producing publications and effectiveness in marketing and recruitment.
      – Implementation Priority: High – A clear identity that faculty, staff, and students are able to understand and
            articulate enhances the ability of all campus community members to be connected and serves as a consistent
            message to prospective students.
      – Position/Office Responsible: Chancellor
      – Estimated Cost: High – Outside design consultants may be needed to assist with image development. Time will
            need to be invested by representative members of the university community to agree upon a consistent institutional
            identity. Beyond the current contract with the identity consultant and the ongoing costs of printing materials, no
            further costs are projected.
      – Impact Point(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
      – Expected Outcome for WCU: When the institutional identity is consistent and widely recognized, recruiting
            prospective students and retaining students will become more efficient and effective.
      – Measurement of Outcome: Annual analysis of prospective student interest, applications, and enrollments.
                                                                                                                             200
Recommendations - Engagement
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs - The greater a student‟s involvement in university
    life and interaction with faculty, staff, and other students, the more connected the student feels to the institution,
    increasing the probability for persistence and graduation. Completing courses successfully enable students to
    meet program and university requirements for graduation, as well as giving them a sense of accomplishment and
    fitting in.

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: As demonstrated from the current retention efforts in place at WCU, the
     University is providing many programs and services that research has shown improve student retention. Yet, the
     retention and graduation rates at WCU are not at desirable levels. The design and/or delivery of some programs
     and services are not having the desired impact.

•    Recommendation #2 through #5:
      – Enhance existing WCU programs:
           • Advising (Recommendation #2)
           • Learning Communities (Recommendation #3)
           • University Experience (USI 130) (Recommendation #4)
           • Undergraduate Research Opportunities (Recommendation #5)




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    Recommendations – Advising
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)

•    Description of Advising: Advising provides students with a professional advisor to guide them through the degree
     earning process, providing direction for the appropriate courses required in their chosen major, the order in which
     courses should be taken, and ways to enhance the overall college experience. Ideally, advising should allow students
     to progress seamlessly through the course selection process and attain their degree within a reasonable time frame,
     while maximizing opportunities in college.
•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: Currently, students perceive advising as a confusing process as it varies for
     undeclared and declared. Students who enter WCU as undeclared are assigned an advisor from the Advising Center
     who serves as their advisor until the student chooses a major. Students who declare their major upon entry to WCU
     are assigned a faculty advisor who offers advice on general education courses and major courses. Declared students
     frequently utilize the Advising Center services to obtain answers to their questions. Students that have declared their
     major feel that they receive inconsistent information from faculty and the Advising Center regarding general
     questions, which adds to students‟ frustration. For example, students may be receiving inconsistent information
     regarding general education courses because the faculty advisor may not have the most up-to-date policies and
     procedures.
     Additionally, full-time professional advisors have substantial and expanding responsibilities, resulting in a potential
     imbalance between responsibilities and staff resources, for example:
      –    WCU‟s written full-time professional advisor job description differs substantially from the full-time professional
           advisors‟ actual day-to-day responsibilities.
      –    Currently, advisors in the Advising Center provide academic, career, financial aid, and personal counseling to
           students as part of the comprehensive array of services offered to students. It is expected that advisors assist
           students with these issues and refer only the most serious situations to the appropriate office.
      –    WCU employs a comprehensive advising model which is intended to provide students with knowledgeable
           advisors in the Advising Center to answer a variety of questions to meet students‟ needs and offer advice to
           maximize the college experience.                                                                                     202
Recommendations – Advising                                             (cont.)
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)

•   Recommendation #2: Make enhancements to Advising. The role of the full-time professional advisor within
    the Advising Center should be clearly defined by revising the job description. The revised job descriptions must
    be communicated to other offices. In order for the advisors to provide a comprehensive array of advising
    services in a way that will substantially improve retention rates, the full-time professional advisor job description
    should be revised to include the additional responsibilities beyond academic advising that are performed by
    advisors and are not currently reflected in the job descriptions. This includes a clear delineation of
    responsibilities of advisors and when it is appropriate to refer a student to another office. Therefore, WCU
    should add four additional advisors to meet the current expectations and workload. WCU should consider using
    the Total Intake Advising Model which supports a joint advising relationship between the Advising Center and
    faculty advisors, with the Advising Center taking on the majority of advising responsibilities until the student
    begins taking courses in the major (approximately 45 hours). Under this Model, the student still has access and
    is encouraged to meet and talk with their faculty advisor to build a relationship for future academic and other
    support service advising. In addition, the expectations for the effective performance of this activity should be
    consistent with the time recommended by the Council on Advising Standards. Additionally, the online degree
    audit system that allows students to determine the course map for their planned course of study should be used
    in conjunction with advisement provided by full-time professional advisors.




                                                                                                                            203
Recommendations – Advising                                            (cont.)
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)
     –   PACE Impact: High – When students are able to build a relationship with their advisor(s), they begin to feel
         connected and engaged with the institution. An advising model that offers students the opportunity to have
         their general advising and detailed major-specific questions answered by the most appropriate persons
         increases students‟ satisfaction and reduces their frustration. When students are properly advised to take the
         courses that they need in the most efficient way possible, the number of excess hours taken will be reduced
         as will student frustration. Students who might otherwise take more than six years to graduate can complete
         their degree in a more timely fashion. Additionally, restructuring enrollment, through improved advisement, in
         certain courses for students who do not need to be enrolled opens those seats to students for whom the
         course is required.
     –   Implementation Priority: High – Improved access to and quality of advising will enable students to complete
         their degree in the shortest time possible, decreasing their financial burden as well as frustration level.
         Efficiency in this area will improve students‟ overall experience at the institution.
     –   Position/Office Responsible: Director of Advising Center, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
     –   Estimated Cost: High – Additional advising staff are needed, which may include up to $200,000 for 3.0 FTE.
     –   Impact Point(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
     –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Once the responsibilities and resources for full-time professional advisors are
         realigned, students will have greater access to and improved quality of advising and can better focus on their
         academic success and take advantage of opportunities to maximize their college experience.
     –   Measurement of Outcome: Annual internal analysis of advising, which may include student focus groups and
         surveys, and evaluation of processes/procedures to identify opportunities for increased efficiency and
         effectiveness.

                                                                                                                          204
    Recommendations – Learning Communities
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)

•    Description of Learning Communities:

      –   Learning Communities provide opportunities for students to connect with other students, as well as faculty
          and staff, enriching both students‟ academic and social experiences.

      –   Student course schedules are coordinated so that a cohort of students are enrolled in two to three courses
          together (with a common interest/theme), increasing the opportunities for engagement.

      –   While the courses operate autonomously, faculty coordinate with one another in order to complement both
          content themes and each other‟s syllabi.

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: Learning Communities at WCU have been successful, as evidenced by
     student satisfaction and higher retention rates among students participating in Learning Communities. WCU has
     been unable to continue the Learning Communities this year due to problems within Banner. Learning Communities
     are scheduled to return in Fall 2008.




                                                                                                                       205
    Recommendations - Learning Communities                                                               (cont.)
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)
•   Recommendation #3: Reinstitute, enhance, and expand the Learning Communities program. Designate a coordinator
    to oversee program implementation and administration as part of his/her responsibilities (director/coordinator level). In
    addition, offer the Freshman Seminar, First-Year Composition, and University Experience Course (USI 130) through
    theme-based Learning Communities. Include activities to integrate academic and social development. Offer the option of
    year-long (Fall and Spring) Learning Communities to interested students. Incorporate non-cohort based Learning
    Communities and make them available throughout campus rather than exclusively for first-year students. For example,
    offer a learning community for seniors, which would include a capstone course in the major combined with the Senior
    Year Experience. The Senior Year Experience includes the following programs and seminars and coordinating
    office/division: transitions to work place (Career Services), transitions to graduate school (Graduate School), and life
    skills support (Student Affairs).
      – PACE Impact: High – Learning Communities integrate students‟ social and academic lives in an active way, which
            is likely to enrich students‟ academic and social experiences and increase both retention and graduation rates.
            Therefore, the expansion of the Learning Communities concept will be a highly efficient use of resources. For
            example, combining USI 130 and Freshman Seminar in ways that are meaningful for students where academics
            are integrated into one course will change student perceptions about those courses and generate more favorable
            responses when students are asked about the importance or value of the course(s).
      – Implementation Priority: High – This program has had a positive impact in the past at WCU and is identified by
            peer institutions as a best practice and one of their most effective programs.
      – Position/Office Responsible: Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
      – Estimated Cost: Low – Less than $50,000 will be needed for a part-time position and related expenses. A
            coordination of effort is needed.
      – Impact Point(s): 1, 2, and 3
      – Expected Outcome for WCU: Further development of this area into a comprehensive Freshman Year Experience
            program at WCU will help first-year students connect with each other and enrich both their academic and social
            experiences. Students who are more academically and socially engaged should be retained at higher rates.
      – Measurement of Outcome: Analysis of course evaluations from student responses who did and did not
                                                                                                                              206
            participate in a Learning Community.
    Recommendations – University Experience Course
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)

•    Description of the University Experience Course: The course provides freshman with the opportunity to form
     relationships with other first-year students who are sharing a similar transition experience within the context of an
     academic environment as well as to learn more about liberal studies, advising, WCU‟s support systems, and making
     the most of their college experience.

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: The University Experience Course (USI 130) was rated low on both
     satisfaction and importance by student survey respondents. This may be because students do not see the relevance of
     the material presented in the class to their lives and academic success. This course is often confused with Freshman
     Seminar. Students do not understand the difference between USI 130 and Freshmen Seminar when registering for
     courses; the course titles are synonymous to them, yet they are very different courses. WCU is not achieving
     maximum efficiency and effectiveness with USI 130 and Freshmen Seminar.




                                                                                                                             207
    Recommendations – University Experience Course
    (cont.)
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)


•     Recommendation #4: Make enhancements and changes to the University Experience Course. While each course
      section can vary by instructor, all sections should include activities where the student must interact with other
      students as well as administrators, faculty, and staff on campus. Other institutions utilize peer mentors in each course
      section to connect students to an upperclass student. The peer mentors traditionally assist the instructor in teaching
      the course and meet with each student one to two times per semester. Students may value this course more if the
      course content were closely connected to career goals (perhaps using service learning) or integrated into Learning
      Communities. WCU should combine the content of the University Experience and Freshman Seminar courses, thereby
      creating meaningful connections for students in the same class with similar interests or who share the same major.

       –    PACE Impact: High – Increasing retention rates by combining the University Experience course with Freshmen
            Seminars is an efficient use of resources. This course provides students with key information needed to
            maximize their college experience at WCU and complete their degree. For the University, no return on
            investment is achieved when students leave. For example, when students have had an opportunity to form
            connections with other students and faculty who share similar interests, the likelihood for retention increases as
            the student becomes a part of the WCU community. This is most effective when students have the opportunity
            to apply common issues/problems (i.e., writing, effective communication) that freshman have to their academic
            area of interest. This method has been recognized by peer institutions as a key component to their student
            retention efforts. Additionally, students maintain focused on academics while applying newly learned skills.




                                                                                                                             208
Recommendations – University Experience Course
(cont.)
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)

     –   Implementation Priority: High – The course has the potential to highly impact student success if facilitated
         appropriately. It is cited by peer institutions as a best practice and one of their most effective programs.
     –   Position/Office Responsible: Coordinator of the University Experience Course.
     –   Estimated Cost: Medium – Instructional materials and common teaching methods should be reviewed by a
         team which will include faculty who teach USI 130. Suggestions for innovative teaching activities and improved
         content should be provided to all future instructors through an annual training session.
     –   Impact Point(s): 1 and 2
     –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Improvements to the course will have dual benefits. First, through the course,
         students will be provided with tools for their academic and personal success. Second, students will view the
         course as a helpful and necessary aspect of their college experience prompting more students to enroll.
     –   Measurement of Outcome: Analysis of course evaluations from student responses who did and did not enroll in
         USI 130.




                                                                                                                          209
    Recommendations – Undergraduate Research
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)

•    Purpose of Undergraduate Research Opportunities: A strong undergraduate research program provides
     undergraduates with opportunity to form meaningful relationships with other faculty/staff while being exposed to
     research in their areas of academic interest.

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: Currently, faculty are encouraged to ask students to participate in
     undergraduate research. Many students value faculty‟s knowledge and interaction with faculty. Therefore, there
     is likely to be heightened interest if more opportunities were available. Showcasing research conducted by
     faculty and undergraduate students in a campus-wide event (such as WCU‟s Undergraduate Expo),
     acknowledges the importance placed on such activities by senior administrators.




                                                                                                                        210
    Recommendations – Undergraduate Research (cont.)
Issue: Student Social Engagement and Academic Programs (cont.)
•    Recommendation #5: Enhance and expand undergraduate research opportunities. A coordinated effort at the
     university level should be implemented to increase research opportunities available to undergraduates and to match
     faculty and students with common interests. Currently, faculty are encouraged to invite students to participate in
     undergraduate research opportunities. It is recommended that this effort be expanded to include an opportunity for
     students to express interest in research opportunities and then to pair students and faculty based upon interest.
       – PACE Impact: High – Undergraduate research is an efficient use of WCU financial and personnel resources since
            institutional funds are used to educate and improve the success of students. For example, research on retention
            and graduation rates has shown that retention efforts are most effective when institutions provide students with
            an opportunity to engage in learning and develop new skills in areas that are of interest to the student, such as
            the student‟s major.
       – Implementation Priority: High – Investing in high performing students that are interested in forming
            partnerships with faculty through research will improve student engagement. These improvements will result in
            a larger percentage of students retained each year and subsequent increases in graduation rates.
      –    Position/Office Responsible: Assistant Vice Chancellor for Operations and Research and College Deans
      –    Estimated Cost: Medium – Less than $25,000 will be needed for a part-time position. This also may require
           faculty and staff time to discuss and implement changes.
      –    Impact Point(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
      –    Expected Outcome for WCU: Substantially increasing the opportunities for academically prepared students to
           participate in research and scholarly activities will improve student engagement and subsequent improvements
           to retention. This effort is expected to be particularly effective for sophomore to junior year retention.
           Undergraduate research programs that target student in early years (e.g., University of Michigan) have found
           positive effects on student persistence. It is likely to be the case for WCU as well as many students that transfer
           from WCU to another institution, suggesting that those students have interest in earning a bachelor‟s degree.
      –    Measurement of Outcome: Increase in percentage of high achieving students (first semester GPA greater than
           3.0) that remain at WCU and not transfer to another institution.                                                  211
Recommendations - Engagement
Issue: Effective Campus Communications - Maintaining effective campus-wide lines of communication is
    important for improving students‟ overall experience at WCU and providing students with the information they
    need to make progress toward their degree. This includes two-way communication among administrators, faculty,
    staff, and students.
•   Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts:
      – Currently, the Strategic Enrollment Management Steering Committee, is comprised of administrators,
           faculty, and staff and includes four sub-committees (New Student Enrollment, Marketing, Student Retention
           and Success, and Processes and Procedures Training). The Enrollment Management Steering Committee
           has met and made progress, however, the use of the sub-committees has not yet been implemented. The
           entire Committee provides suggestions which are then integrated into the Chancellor‟s Enrollment
           Management Committee.
      – There is a wide variety of student retention efforts in place across campus, but currently no comprehensive
           communication plan or mechanism exists to make others aware of those efforts. A First-Year Cabinet has
           been in existence in the past, which was an effective way to share information across departments and
           divisions regarding student retention programs and services.
      – University leadership has made substantial efforts to involve and raise campus community awareness of
           WCU‟s current retention and graduation rates; however, interest in knowing retention and graduation rates
           by academic department was expressed by faculty. Currently, this information can be provided to
           department chairs, if requested. Data available on-demand would reduce the requests made for special
           reports.
•   Recommendations #6 through #8:
      – Revitalize the Strategic Enrollment Management Steering Committee (Recommendation #6)
      – Reestablish a Cabinet to include first- and second-year student issues (Recommendation #7)
      – Continue to provide an annual update on important student retention and graduation issues
           (Recommendation #8)

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    Recommendations – Enrollment Management
    Committee
Issue: Effective Campus Communications (cont.)

•    Recommendation #6: Revitalize the Strategic Enrollment Management Steering Committee (comprised of
     administrators, faculty, and staff) to include active sub-committees. A team devoted exclusively to new student issues
     will allow for focus on key enrollment management issues.
      –    PACE Impact: High – The campus will be able to use resources more efficiently and effectively when recruiting
           students if key offices communicate with each other. For example, when Admissions is organizing Open Houses,
           it is important that the entire campus community come together to showcase WCU. Key recruitment events, such
           as Open Houses or Orientations, could benefit if there was more communication with the WCU community.
      –    Implementation Priority: High – Increased coordination of student recruitment and enrollment efforts ensures
           that all aspects of enrollment management are addressed.
      –    Position/Office Responsible: Chair of the Strategic Enrollment Management Team.
      –    Estimated Cost: Low – This committee is already in place. No significant additional cost is projected.
      –    Impact Point(s): 1
      –    Expected Outcome for WCU: Increase in the number of students who accept an offer of admissions and enroll in
           WCU.
      –    Measurement of Outcome: Change in enrollments as a percentage of offers of admission.




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Recommendations – Student Retention Cabinet
Issue: Effective Campus Communications (cont.)
•   Recommendation #7: Reestablish a Cabinet to address first- and second-year student issues and to focus on
    student retention (comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, and students). Identify representatives across
    campus (in all divisions) with connections to student retention efforts to serve on the Cabinet. The Cabinet
    should contribute to the development and implementation of the Student Retention Plan.
      –   PACE Impact: High – WCU will be able to more effectively use resources to retain students when key
          offices communicate with each other and minimize duplication and maximize coordination of efforts. For
          example, when there is a change in a policy or procedure, offices that are likely to be impacted or are
          knowledgeable on the topic should be contacted for input.
      –   Implementation Priority: High – Reinstituting a Cabinet to focus on student retention efforts will provide a
          an opportunity for faculty and staff to exchange information and ideas across the University to maximize
          the impact and coordination of all efforts.
      –   Position/Office Responsible: Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
      –   Estimated Cost: Low – Programs and faculty/staff already exist on the campus. No significant additional
          cost is projected.
      –   Impact Point(s): 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
      –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Increased communication about student retention efforts, as evidenced by
          increase in student retention.
      –   Measurement of Outcome: Annual analysis of retention rates. Conduct focus groups to include faculty and
          staff regarding student retention communication efforts and opportunities for improvement.




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   Recommendations – Information to Departments
Issue: Effective Campus Communications (cont.)
•   Recommendation #8: WCU leadership should continue to provide the campus community with an annual update on
    important student retention and graduation issues, as well as setting achievable goals for the upcoming year. In
    addition, student retention and graduation rates by academic department should be easily accessible by persons in each
    academic department.
      – PACE Impact: High – Faculty will be able to assess their department level efforts and make adjustments as
          necessary to increase student retention and graduation rates, thus contributing to the University‟s goals. Regular
          assessment throughout the year to assess progress toward the department‟s and the University‟s goals will allow
          for ongoing opportunities to change current efforts and increase retention and graduation rates before the
          academic year has ended. When efforts are assessed only at the end of the year, faculty must wait an entire year
          to see if changes to efforts will increase retention and graduation rates.
      –    Implementation Priority: High – Faculty need to able to assess how their departments can impact the university
           retention goals by measuring how well students in their area are retained, how this rate compares to the
           university overall, and how the rate changes over time as programmatic changes are implemented.
      –    Position/Office Responsible: Director, Institutional Research
      –    Estimated Cost: Medium to High – In addition to temporary re-deployment of an existing position, approximately
           $30,000 will be needed for a new position to create (0.5 FTE) and maintain a data-on-demand database. A
           determination must be made as to the most efficient and effective way to provide data to academic departments.
           The information provided should be up-to-date, easily accessible by all faculty and staff, and should compare
           individual department rates with the university as a whole and over time. This may require on-line access to the
           data.
      –    Impact Point(s): 2, 3, 5 and 6
      –    Expected Outcome for WCU: When academic departments know the impact that their area has on the university‟s
           student retention rate, they can better assess and determine how to improve retention rates among the students
           within their discipline. These targeted efforts should result in improvements to WCU‟s overall retention rate.
      –    Measurement of Outcome: Analysis of annual retention rates by department.                                          215
Recommendations – Time to Implement &
Assess Programs
Issue: Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives - It is important to introduce new
    initiatives that will enhance the overall student experience as well as increase student retention and graduation
    rates. New initiatives take time to develop, implement, and assess, and therefore, require sustainable leadership
    and leadership support.

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: WCU strives to offer its students programs and services that are
     identified as best practices. While this is commendable, it was reported that some programs and services are
     discontinued before adequate time has elapsed to determine the value to the student experience.




                                                                                                                        216
    Recommendations – Time to Implement &
    Assess Programs (cont.)
Issue: Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives (cont.)

•    Recommendation #9: Allow ample time for new initiatives (programs or services) to be in place before
     assessing their value to student retention and graduation rates. Delegate authority to a specific office or
     individual to be responsible for the program so that there is continuity from year to year, while allowing
     administrators/coordinators of the programs or services to take an active role in the development,
     implementation, and measurement of effectiveness of the initiative.

      –    PACE Impact: High – WCU will use resources more effectively when programs and services are assessed
           after adequate time has passed (in some cases two to three years), before terminating efforts on a
           particular program. Regular assessment throughout the year to assess the contribution a program or
           service makes towards student retention and graduation rates is important. The purpose of changes in a
           program or service need to be clearly communicated to its users. The campus community may not
           understand the reasons for significant changes and may assume that leadership is changing direction
           when that is not the case. When the WCU community understands the intended purpose changes they can
           see that change was necessary to reach the University‟s goals.




                                                                                                                    217
 Recommendations – Time to Implement &
 Assess Programs (cont.)
Issue: Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives (cont.)


      –   Implementation Priority: High – The impact of potentially highly effective programs is lost if the program is
          not given time to develop and assess its effectiveness. Allowing for sufficient time to pass before
          substantially changing or eliminating programs aimed at improving retention should enhance the
          university‟s ability to identify those that truly will have a positive impact.

      –   Position/Office Responsible: Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

      –   Estimated Cost: Low – No significant additional cost is projected.

      –   Impact Point(s): 2, 3, and 6

      –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Some programs may be effective if given the time to become an established
          part of the WCU culture. A plan for effectiveness measurement should exist prior to implementation. A
          more evidence-based approach to student retention initiatives rather than a perceived randomness of
          program implementation and elimination may result in a more efficient use of resources.

      –   Measurement of Outcome: Annual assessment of new and continuing programs.




                                                                                                                          218
Recommendations – Strategic Plan for
Student Retention
Issue: Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives (cont.)


•   Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: WCU has included goals for student retention and graduation rates into its
    plans at the University level. While colleges and departments work to support the goals of WCU, each
    college/department does not have student retention and graduation rate goals.


•   Recommendation #10: Develop a Student Retention Plan (university and college/department levels) to
    strategically retain and graduate students enrolled at WCU. The Plan would include: Goals, Strategies, Measures,
    Processes, and Implementation. Require that colleges and departments integrate student retention and graduation
    goals into their strategic plans, specifically identifying the impact point that each program and service addresses.
    Strategic plans for each college and department should be reviewed to ensure alignment with University goals as well
    as ensure that each of the seven impact points receive ample attention University wide (rather than efforts
    exclusively focusing on one or two points).




                                                                                                                      219
Recommendations – Strategic Plan for
Student Retention (cont.)
Issue: Sustainable Initiatives and Leadership Support of Initiatives (cont.)

      –   PACE Impact: High – WCU will be able to more effectively use resources when each college and department
          has clear goals that contribute towards University goals. When the task of increasing student retention and
          graduation rates is specifically broken down by college and department, each unit will have a better
          understanding of their part in contributing toward the university‟s goals and a better understanding of
          needs of students that may vary by college department. Rather than operating as silos, each college and
          department will work collectively to achieve the University‟s goals and meet the needs of students specific
          to their college/department.

      –   Implementation Priority: High – Departments will have a clearer understanding of how retention in their
          area affects the rate of the university as a whole and will have goals for retention for their own students.
          This knowledge also will serve to hold departments accountable for their own efforts.

      –   Position/Office Responsible: Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (for coordination), Vice
          Chancellor for Student Affairs, Deans of Colleges, and Directors of Departments.

      –   Estimated Cost: Medium – Less than $25,000 will be needed for a part-time position. Investment of faculty
          and staff time to develop goals and efforts to achieve them will be the primary resource needed.

      –   Impact Point(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

      –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Each member of the WCU academic community will begin to see retention as
          part of his/her responsibility. Colleges/departments will be better informed about the retention needs
          specific to their students.

      –   Measurement of Outcome: Annual assessment of each department‟s retention goals and their level of
          attainment.                                                                                                    220
Recommendations – Strategic Plan for
Student Retention (cont.)
This chart shows an example of how a college or division can evaluate on which of the seven impact points their
programs and services primarily focus. This information would then be submitted for all colleges and departments
for review to ensure that university efforts were not saturated on one impact point, while deficient in another. This
approach enables the university to review student retention and graduation efforts from a university-wide and
college or department level.

             EXHIBIT 9-1: COLLEGE OR DIVISION STUDENT RETENTION EFFORTS BY IMPACT
                                        POINTS (EXAMPLE)
                                                               Juniors/             Transfers Time-to-
                          Admissions Freshmen Sophomores                  At-Risk
                                                               Seniors                (Out)   Degree     TOTAL
                                   1      2           3           4         5           6        7
     Department 1
        Program 1                  √                                                   √                   2
        Program 2                                     √                     √                    √         3
        Service 1                  √      √                       √                    √                   4
        Service 2                  √      √           √                                                    3
     Department 2
        Program 1                  √                                                   √                   2
        Program 2                                     √                     √                    √         3
        Service 1                  √      √                       √                    √                   4
        Service 2                  √      √           √                                                    3
     Department 3
        Program 1                  √                                                   √                   2
        Program 2                                     √                     √                    √         3
        Service 1                  √      √                       √                    √                   4
        Service 2                  √      √           √                                                    3
     TOTAL                         9      6           6           3         3          6         3        36
     Source: MGT Analysis, 2007.                                                                                        221
Recommendations – Enrollment Management
Issue: Organizational Structure and Staffing – The organizational structure and staffing of a University
    contributes toward an institution‟s efforts to retain and graduate students. Sufficient staff as well as
    leadership to guide the staff must be present to ensure success.

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: WCU no longer has a position that oversees enrollment management
     efforts which included Admissions, Registrar, and Financial Aid. WCU does not have an enrollment
     management plan, which would be one of the responsibilities of an administrator who oversees Admissions,
     Registrar, and Financial Aid.


•    Recommendation #11: Reevaluate duties formerly held by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment
     Management, who was responsible for Admissions, Registrar, and Financial Aid, to house these functions
     under one person (separate from student retention functions). The administrator (perhaps at the level of
     Dean) overseeing these three offices would be responsible for the development of an Enrollment
     Management Plan, to strategically recruit, admit, and enroll students who are interested in WCU‟s institutional
     characteristics (i.e., location, program offerings, small class sizes, personalized attention, affordable cost,
     etc.) and have the academic preparation to be successful at WCU. A Plan would include: Goals, Strategies,
     Measures, Processes and Implementation, Monitoring, and Processes for Improvement.




                                                                                                                       222
Recommendations – Enrollment Management (cont.)
Issue: Organizational Structure and Staffing (cont.)


      –   PACE Impact: High – High level leadership that is assigned to focus exclusively on recruitment of students
          will concentrate efforts on attracting students that are well matched with WCU‟s characteristics, thus
          increasing student retention and graduation rates. Essentially, this position serves as a strategic plan for
          enrollment management, whereas the Director of Admissions provides leadership for enacting and
          carrying out the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.
      –   Implementation Priority: High – A leader who can see both the details of the enrollment management
          efforts, as well as the big picture of the vision and goals of WCU, will strengthen services provided to
          students, resulting in increased retention.
      –   Position/Office Responsible: Provost
      –   Estimated Cost: High – In addition to temporary re-deployment of an existing position to address
          immediate needs, approximately $50,000 will be needed for a position (0.75 FTE).
      –   Impact Point(s): 1 and 6
      –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Improved student satisfaction with services provided through enrollment
          management will result in increased retention. Recruitment and enrollment of students whose interests
          and abilities are well matched to WCU characteristics will contribute to improved retention rates.
      –   Measurement of Outcome: Annual survey of satisfaction with services in admissions, financial aid, and
          registrar. Annual review of percent change in applications, offers of admission, and matriculants.




                                                                                                                         223
Recommendations – Student Retention
Issue: Organizational Structure and Staffing
•   Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: Currently, the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
    oversees nine departments/functions (Admissions, Advising Center, Financial Aid, One-Stop, Orientation,
    Registrar, Student Support Services, Advising and Student Success, and Commencement). At peer institutions,
    these areas are led by two to four persons. Assuming that the prior recommendation of reestablishing of an
    Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, the remaining six areas should remain as one unit.

•   Recommendation #12: Administratively house the Advising Center, One-Stop, Orientation, Student Support
    Services, Advising and Student Success, and Commencement as one unit under the direction of the Senior
    Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, reporting to the Provost.
     – PACE Impact: High – Senior leadership that is assigned to focus on retention of students will concentrate
          their efforts, thus increasing retention and graduation rates.
     – Implementation Priority: High – Grouping key student retention functions will enable leadership to focus
          on needed improvements and coordination of efforts for this critical area.
      –   Position/Office Responsible: Provost
      –   Estimated Cost: Low – The cost of this recommendation lies primarily in the successful implementation of
          the previous recommendation, the hiring of an administrator to oversee Admissions, Registrar, and
          Financial Aid.
      –   Impact Point(s): 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7
      –   Expected Outcome for WCU: By having fewer areas of responsibility, the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor
          for Academic Affairs will be able to dedicate additional time toward coordinating the efforts of each office
          under his/her responsibility.
      –   Measurement of Outcome: Annual survey of satisfaction of student retention services and review of
          retention rates.
                                                                                                                         224
    Recommendations – University College
Issue: Organizational Structure and Staffing (cont.)

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts: WCU offers a breadth of Liberal Studies courses, as well as a wide array
     of programs and services that contribute toward student retention. However, no one person coordinates the
     efforts so as to realize efficiency and effectiveness.


•    Recommendation #13: Create a University College comprised of Liberal Studies and the University Experience
     Course. Assign all undeclared students (freshman and sophomores) to the University College. Once students
     declare a major, they will then be assigned to the corresponding academic college. Delegate responsibility of the
     University College to a new position of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, reporting to the
     Provost. Assign responsibility for developing, implementing, and overseeing WCU‟s student retention plan to
     Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education. Development of a student retention plan should include
     input from the First-Year Cabinet.




                                                                                                                         225
 Recommendations – University College (cont.)
Issue: Organizational Structure and Staffing (cont.)

      –   PACE Impact: High – Creation of a University College will enable WCU to realize efficiencies as strategic
          planning efforts will be centralized, and undeclared students will have an academic “home.” The new position
          of Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education provides the leadership for developing a Strategic
          Student Retention Plan, and the offices that provide programs and services that contribute toward student
          retention and overall college experience provide leadership to their staff for enacting and carrying out the
          Strategic Student Retention Plan.

      –   Implementation Priority: High – Development of a student retention plan will focus University efforts on key
          areas that can impact student retention. Also, grouping Liberal Studies and the University Experience Course
          will enable leadership to focus on coordinating efforts for these critical areas.

      –   Position/Office Responsible: Provost and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education

      –   Estimated Cost: High – Approximately $80,000 will be needed to create a new position of Assistant Vice
          Chancellor for Undergraduate Education.

      –   Impact Point(s): 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7

      –   Expected Outcome for WCU: Students who have yet to determine their major will achieve a greater sense of
          engagement by being part of the University College, rather than being labeled as “undeclared.” Also,
          centralized strategic planning for student retention will lead to increased student retention rates.

      –   Measurement of Outcome: Student retention rates for undeclared students, departments, and University.




                                                                                                                         226
Recommendations – Additional Measure for
System Graduation Rate
Issue: Recognition for Contributing Toward System Goals – UNC System student retention and graduation
    rates include the institutional percentage of full-time first-time freshmen that are retained from freshman to
    sophomore year and graduate within six years, respectively. This measure does not include students who
    transfer in or out of an institution; thus a number of students that graduate within six years are not counted by
    any institution, reducing the actual successes of individual institutions and the collective success of the System
    and the State.

•    Summary Assessment of WCU‟s Efforts:

      –    WCU had the highest percentage of students who transferred to a four-year institution in the UNC System
           (as a percentage of undergraduate enrollments) for three years between Fall 2000 and Fall 2005.

      –    During that same six-year period, there was only one year (2001) in which WCU had the highest
           percentage of students who transferred to a two-year institution in the UNC System (as a percentage of
           undergraduate enrollments).

      –    WCU plays an important role in preparing those students for continued success at another institution;
           however, the University does not receive recognition for students who began at WCU and graduate from
           another institution within six years by any current System measure. This is true for all institutions within
           the UNC System.




                                                                                                                          227
Recommendations – Additional Measure for
System Graduation Rate (cont.)
Issue: Recognition for Contributing Toward System Goals (cont.)
•   Recommendation #14: Approach the UNC System to consider development of an additional measure to assess
    each institution‟s contribution toward UNC‟s System graduation rate. This additional measure would recognize the
    contributions of institutions for students who began at their institution and graduate within six years from a
    different institution in the System.
      – PACE Impact: High – This additional measure would allow all successful students to contribute in the
           measure of graduation rates for the System. As a result, the actual impact of the System and University
           resources is better realized. The System office evaluates effective and efficient use of resources at the
           university level and aggregate information to the system level. The current method of evaluation does not
           sufficiently reflect the use of and return on resources. To fully understand how campus resources have
           been used in contributing toward System goals, all students, including those who transfer, must be included
           in an analysis of effective and efficient use of resources. [A similar measure exists in Tennessee.]
      – Implementation Priority: High – WCU‟s contribution toward System goals for increasing graduation rates
           currently is not recognized.
     –    Position/Office Responsible: Chancellor
     –    Estimated Cost: Medium – No significant additional cost is projected, however, staff time may be required
          for preparing supporting documentation.
     –    Impact Point(s): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
     –    Expected Outcome for WCU: Additional graduation rate measure that recognizes institutions for successful
          students who transfer in as well as transfer out.
     –    Measurement of Outcome: Additional graduation rate measure(s) that evaluates WCU‟s contribution toward
          System graduation rate goals.
                                                                                                                         228
Recommendations – Summary
                                              EXHIBIT 9-2:
                               SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS BY IMPACT POINT
                                                                       Juniors/         Transfers Time-to-
                                      Admissions Freshmen Sophomores            At-Risk
   #          Recommendation                                           Seniors            (Out)   Degree TOTAL
                                          1        2          3           4        5        6        7
   1   Institutional Identity/Image       √        √          √           √        √        √        √     7
       Engagement
   2      Advising                        √        √          √          √       √       √        √       7
   3      Learning Communities            √        √          √                                           3
   4      University Experience           √        √                                                      2
          Undergraduate Research
   5                                      √        √          √          √       √       √        √       7
          Office
       Enrollment Management
   6                                      √                                                               1
       Committee
   7   Student Retention Cabinet                   √          √          √       √       √                5

   8   Information to Departments                  √          √          √               √                4

       Time to Implement & Assess
   9                                               √          √                  √       √                4
       Programs
       Strategic Plans for Student
  10                                      √        √          √          √       √       √        √       7
       Retention
       Enrollment Management
  11                                      √                                              √                2
       (position)
  12   Student Retention (Position)                √          √          √       √       √        √       6

  13   University College                          √          √                  √       √                4
       Additional Graduation Rate
  14                                               √          √          √       √       √                5
       Measure
                TOTAL                     8        12        11          8       9       10       6      64
 Source: MGT Analysis, 2007.                                                                                     229
Resource Requirements to Implement
Recommendations
•   MGT has offered 14 recommendations that we believe, if implemented effectively, will have a positive impact on
    student retention at Western Carolina University. Although in many situations recommendations can come with
    high costs, our recommendations can be implemented at a relatively modest cost.
•   In Exhibit 9-3, we list each of the 14 recommendations and indicate whether they will require a significant
    reassignment of current personnel or will involve the creation of new positions. Also, any significant out-of-pocket
    expense that is likely to be incurred is indicated.
•   We believe that recommendations 6, 7, 9 and 14 can be implemented as part of the ongoing responsibilities of
    current faculty members, administrators and staff as part of their regular duties. As such, no significant resource
    requirements are listed for these four recommendations. Also, recommendation 1 – related to institutional identity
    and image – essentially endorses an effort that is already underway and funded. No further commitments are
    anticipated.
•   One recommendation (number 4) may be accomplished with changes in duties for current personnel. If the
    current duties of these individuals can be postponed or shared with others, this recommendation also can be
    accomplished at little additional cost.
•   Seven of the recommendations envision the establishment of new positions. Two of the recommendations come
    with quite modest increases in staffing of 0.25 FTE each. The most expensive recommendation to implement is
    related to adding 3.00 FTE positions for advisors in the Advising Center.
•   Overall, implementation of our recommendations are projected to require 6.25 new positions. Assuming an
    average salary rate of $50,000 and allowing 25% for fringe benefits, the total annual cost of the new positions is
    approximately $400,000. [The Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education‟s salary is estimated at $80,000.]
•   If the recommendations are successful in leading to higher levels of student retention, the proposed $400,000
    annual investment will be quickly recovered. Assuming each student brings at least $10,000 to the University in
    terms to state appropriations and tuition, fewer than 40 additionally retained students would be sufficient to offset
    the increased costs.
                                                                                                                            230
Resource Requirements to Implement
Recommendations (cont.)
                                                                     Different Utilzation of         Allocation of New
                                                                    Existing Personnel and         Positions and Related
                                                                      Related Resources                  Resources
                                                                       FTE
                                                                   Assignment       Out-of-          New            Out-of-
                                                                    of Current      Pocket         Positions        Pocket
EXHIBIT 9-3:                          Recommendation                Positions      Expense          (FTE)          Expense
SUMMARY OF EXPECTED      1 Institutional Identity/ Image                      -   Contract in                  -              -
RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS                                                               place
TO IMPLEMENT             2 Advising                                           -                -        3.00                  -
RECOMMENDATIONS TO
                         3 Learning Communities                               -                -        0.50           5,000
IMPROVE STUDENT
RETENTION                4 University Experience                         1.00                  -               -              -
                         5 Undergraduate Research Office                      -                -        0.25                  -
                         6 Enrollment Management Committee                    -                -               -              -
                         7 Student Retention Cabinet                          -                -               -              -
                         8 Information to Departments                    0.25                  -        0.50                  -
                         9 Time to Implement & Assess Programs                -                -               -              -
                        10 Strategic Plans for Student Retention              -                -        0.25                  -
                        11 Enrollment Management (position)              0.25                  -        0.75                  -
                        12 Student Retention (Position)                  1.00                  -               -              -
                        13 University College                                 -                -        1.00                  -
                        14 Additional Student Retention Measure               -                -               -              -
                           (at the System Level)

                        Source: MGT Analysis, 2007.                                                                               231
Recommendations - Conclusions
•   Based upon information collected through peer assessment, internal user surveys, and extensive discussion
    and interviews with WCU administrators, faculty, staff and students, the following summary and conclusions
    are offered to improve student retention and graduation rates.

•   Programs & Services

     –    WCU is offering a number of programs and services that are considered best practices and offered by
          peers and that contribute toward increasing student retention and graduation rates. In order to ensure
          that all impact/intervention points are covered, there are recommendations for enhancements to
          existing programs and services.

•   Organizational Structure & Staffing

     –    This study identified a need for an Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management.

     –    Similarly, there appears to be a need for additional full-time professional advisors (and/or re-definition
          of duties).

     –    We recommend the re-establishment of Enrollment Management and Student Retention Committees,
          which are consistent with committees that are credited with contributions to student retention
          successes at peer institutions.

     –    Faculty and staff expressed interest in developing the implementation plan for change and
          enhancements.




                                                                                                                       232
Recommendations – Conclusions (cont.)
•   Strategic Planning
     –    An Enrollment Management Plan and Student Retention Plan are needed to define processes for
          monitoring, coordinating, and implementing efforts to enhance student success.
     –    Finally, this study examined retention and graduation rates at the university level. The next appropriate step
          to increasing retention and graduation rates should include examining student retention and graduation
          efforts at the college and department level to ensure each of the seven impact points are being addressed.
•   Recognition for Contributing Toward System Goals
     –    WCU utilizes resources that contribute toward System retention and graduation goals and should be
          recognized for this valuable contribution.




                                                                                                                           233
    Recommendations – Conclusions (cont.)
                                                                        EXHIBIT 9-4:
•   Exhibit 9-4 is a crosswalk of the 15              CROSSWALK OF 15 POINTS AND CHAPTERS OF THE STUDY
                                                                                                                                       CHAPTER
    points that guided the study and each                                        WCU ITEM
                                                                                                                                 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    chapter included in the report, providing    1 Assess current retention policies and procedures.                               √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √
    a quick reference where each point has         Identify barriers to student retention (people, policy, process) at Western
    been addressed in the study.                 2 Carolina University and assess the adequacy of the staff to implement the       √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √
                                                   retention plan.
                                                   Evaluate service/responsiveness of all student services in and outside of
The following is a listing of chapter titles:    3
                                                   One-Stop.
                                                                                                                                   √ √ √       √ √ √ √ √
                                                   Assess current students' perceptions of experience at Western Carolina
                                                 4                                                                                     √ √ √ √ √ √ √
– Chapter 1: Introduction                          University. (Freshmen, Transfers, Minority students)
                                                 5 Assess other stakeholders (faculty, administration, staff).                             √ √ √       √ √
– Chapter 2: Situational Analysis
                                                 6 Review: Sophomore and Senior UNC Survey results, and NSSE results.              √
– Chapter 3: Assessment of Office of
                                                 7 Suggest surveys that should be done on a regular basis.                                             √
  Admissions Marketing Materials                   Assess current organizational structures/systems' ability to positively
                                                 8                                                                                 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √
– Chapter 4: Assessment of the Advising            impact retention.
                                                   Assess student pre-college characteristics and their impact on retention
  Center                                         9
                                                   activities planning.
                                                                                                                                   √                   √

– Chapter 5: Assessment of the                  10 Assess admissions marketing.                                                        √               √
                                                   Assess Orientation program, links with Freshman Seminars, and follow-
  Orientation Office and Program                11
                                                   up orientation activities during regular year.
                                                                                                                                       √     √ √ √ √ √

– Chapter 6: Findings from Interviews and          Assess Freshman Seminars and analyze how this model might be used
                                                   over the course of student's next three years, including examining the
  Focus Groups                                  12
                                                   value of a senior capstone experience incorporating curricular and life
                                                                                                                                       √           √ √ √

– Chapter 7: Survey Results                        skills transition issues.
                                                   Assess sophomore retention issues, identification of best practices, and
                                                13                                                                                 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √
– Chapter 8: Peer Institution & Best               determination of value of implementing University College model.
  Practices Analysis                            14
                                                   Establish short term and long term funding priorities related to improving
                                                                                                                                                       √ √
                                                   retention.
– Chapter 9: Recommendations                                                                                                     Campus-wide presentation
                                                     Develop a communication plan to obtain buy in from the entire campus on
– Chapter 10: Analysis of Resources             15
                                                     student retention.
                                                                                                                                  of recommendations on
                                                                                                                                        April 17, 2007
  Available
                                                Source: MGT Analysis, 2007.                                                                                234
         Chapter 10.0
Analysis of Resources Available
 for Student Retention Efforts
This chapter analyzes WCU‟s and peer institutions‟ financial
 and staffing data with regard to student retention efforts.
Financial considerations are presented for Western Carolina
                     University‟s review.
     Introduction
    To gain a better understanding of how patterns of resource allocations at WCU might be impacting student retention, we
    conducted several comparative analyses:

•      A peer comparison of how expenditures are distributed by major functional area (e.g., the proportions spent on
       instruction, plant operations, etc.).

•      A peer comparison of how personnel resources are distributed by major occupational category (e.g., the proportion of
       employees classified as faculty, clerical, etc.).

•      A trend analysis of how the allocations of student service resources by department at WCU have shifted over recent
       years.

•      To develop the peer comparisons, we relied on data submitted by WCU and the peer universities to the National
       Center for Education Statistics through the IPEDS program. The peer universities selected for this comparison were:

            –   Appalachian State University

            –   James Madison University

            –   Morehead State University

            –   Murray State University

            –   Sonoma State University

            –   Tennessee Technological University

•      Data for the longitudinal analysis were provided to us by WCU officials.

                                                                                                                             236
Peer Comparison of Expenditures
•   To gain an understanding of how WCU allocated its financial resources across operating units as compared to
    its peer universities, we compiled IPEDS Finance data for the 2004-05 fiscal year (the latest available from
    NCES). In particular, we examined the pattern of expenditures across the seven accounting “functions:”


     − Instruction
     − Research
     − Public Service
     − Academic Support
     − Student Services
     − Institutional Support
     − Operation and Maintenance of Plant


•   These seven areas represent the primary units that receive allocations form unrestricted state appropriations
    and student tuition and fees. Expenditures for FY2005 for these functional areas for WCU and its peer
    universities are shown in Exhibit 10-1.




                                                                                                                    237
    Peer Comparison of Expenditures (cont.)
•   For WCU and each of its peers, the Instruction function is, predictably, the area with the greatest volume of
    expenditures. WCU spent a somewhat larger proportion of its budget in this category than the average of its peers
    (46.7% vs. 45.8%)
•   The area most directly related to student retention efforts, Student Services, represented a much smaller share of
    spending at WCU than the average of the six peer universities (4.6% vs. 7.4%). A similar pattern also holds for the
    Academic Support function, a category which can include academic counseling as well as other academic resources. For
    Academic Support, WCU spent 8.4% of its budget compared to an average of 11.7% for the peers.
•   Note: Expenditures for Student Affairs programs and services are imbedded in multiple categories. Exhibit 10-1 shows
    the most detailed data available by institution. Detailed definitions of categories are on the following pages.

                                             EXHIBIT 10-1
                       DISTRIBUTION OF EXPENDITURES ACROSS SELECTED FUNCTIONS
               WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY AND SIX PEER INSTITUTIONS, FISCAL YEAR 2004-05

                                                                                                                                 Operation & Sum of Seven
                                                                           Public      Academic       Student      Institutional Maintenance   Selected
                Institution Name             Instruction    Research       Service      Support       Services       Support       of Plant   Functions

     Western Carolina University             43,201,589     2,104,121    10,560,403     7,782,810     4,296,769    12,798,337    11,781,739     92,525,768
              % Distribution                      46.7%          2.3%         11.4%          8.4%          4.6%         13.8%         12.7%         100.0%

     Appalachian State University            74,250,596     1,053,774     6,019,764    27,189,784     5,697,905    15,267,093    21,521,304    151,000,220
     James Madison University                81,778,715     5,030,508    10,358,294    22,551,221     7,899,551    14,669,492    16,175,207    158,462,988
     Morehead State University               40,397,806     1,577,469     9,699,827     9,769,554     8,199,004    11,213,543     6,246,177     87,103,380
     Murray State University                 47,040,216     2,647,825     5,803,477     7,040,101    11,201,585    10,918,645    17,439,073    102,090,922
     Sonoma State University                 34,932,195           -      33,776,960     9,391,527    10,066,521    13,741,221    12,935,286    114,843,710
     Tennessee Technological University      44,045,220     7,329,743     4,212,659     6,391,710     9,190,962     8,744,371    10,190,122     90,104,787

     Average of Six Peer Universities        53,740,791     2,939,887    11,645,164    13,722,316     8,709,255    12,425,728    14,084,528    117,267,668
                % Distribution                    45.8%          2.5%          9.9%         11.7%          7.4%         10.6%         12.0%         100.0%
                                                                                                                                                              238
     Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Finance Survey, and MGT Analysis, 2007.
Peer Comparison of Expenditures (cont.)
The following IPEDS definitions pertain to Exhibit 10-1.
•   Instructional Expenditures - functional expense category that includes expenses of the colleges, schools,
    departments, and other instructional divisions of the institution and expenses for departmental research and
    public service that are not separately budgeted. Includes general academic instruction, occupational and
    vocational instruction, community education, preparatory and adult basic education, and regular, special, and
    extension sessions. Also includes expenses for both credit and non-credit activities. Excludes expenses for
    academic administration where the primary function is administration (e.g., academic deans). Information
    technology expenses related to instructional activities if the institution separately budgets and expenses
    information technology resources are included (otherwise these expenses are included in academic support).


•   Research Expenditures - A functional expense category that includes expenses for activities specifically organized
    to produce research outcomes and commissioned by an agency either external to the institution or separately
    budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution. The category includes institutes and research centers,
    and individual and project research. This function does not include nonresearch sponsored programs (e.g., training
    programs). Also included are information technology expenses related to research activities if the institution
    separately budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these expenses are included in
    academic support.)


•   Public Service - functional expense category that includes expenses for activities established primarily to provide
    non-instructional services beneficial to individuals and groups external to the institution. Examples are
    conferences, institutes, general advisory service, reference bureaus, and similar services provided to particular
    sectors of the community. This function includes expenses for community services, cooperative extension services,
    and public broadcasting services. Also includes information technology expenses related to the public service
    activities if the institution separately budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these
    expenses are included in academic support).

                                                                                                                          239
Peer Comparison of Expenditures (cont.)
The following IPEDS definitions pertain to Exhibit 10-1 (cont.).
•   Academic Support Expenditures - A functional expense category that includes expenses of activities and services
    that support the institution's primary missions of instruction, research, and public service. It includes the retention,
    preservation, and display of educational materials (for example, libraries, museums, and galleries); organized
    activities that provide support services to the academic functions of the institution (such as a demonstration school
    associated with a college of education or veterinary and dental clinics if their primary purpose is to support the
    instructional program); media such as audiovisual services; academic administration (including academic deans but
    not department chairpersons); and formally organized and separately budgeted academic personnel development
    and course and curriculum development expenses. Also included are information technology expenses related to
    academic support activities; if an institution does not separately budget and expense information technology
    resources, the costs associated with the three primary programs will be applied to this function and the remainder to
    institutional support.


•   Student Services Expenditures - A functional expense category that includes expenses for admissions, registrar
    activities, and activities whose primary purpose is to contribute to students emotional and physical well - being and
    to their intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of the formal instructional program.
    Examples include student activities, cultural events, student newspapers, intramural athletics, student organizations,
    supplemental instruction outside the normal administration, and student records. Intercollegiate athletics and
    student health services may also be included except when operated as self - supporting auxiliary enterprises. Also
    may include information technology expenses related to student service activities if the institution separately
    budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these expenses are included in institutional
    support.)




                                                                                                                               240
Peer Comparison of Expenditures (cont.)
The following IPEDS definitions pertain to Exhibit 10-1 (cont.).
•   Institutional Support Expenditures - A functional expense category that includes expenses for the day-to-day
    operational support of the institution. Includes expenses for general administrative services, central executive-level
    activities concerned with management and long range planning, legal and fiscal operations, space management,
    employee personnel and records, logistical services such as purchasing and printing, and public relations and
    development. Also includes information technology expenses related to institutional support activities. If an institution
    does not separately budget and expense information technology resources, the costs associated with student services
    and operation and maintenance of plant will also be applied to this function.


•   Operation & Maintenance of Plant Expenditures - A functional expense category that includes expenses for operations
    established to provide service and maintenance related to campus grounds and facilities used for educational and
    general purposes. Specific expenses include utilities, fire protection, property insurance, and similar items. This
    function does not include amounts charged to auxiliary enterprises, hospitals, and independent operations. Also
    includes information technology expenses related to operation and maintenance of plant activities if the institution
    separately budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these expenses are included in
    institutional support). Institutions may, as an option, distribute depreciation expense to this function.




                                                                                                                            241
Peer Comparison of Expenditures (cont.)
•   To help minimize differences in how expenditures are classified by function at different universities, we further
    analyzed expenditure patterns across aggregate categories. As seen in Exhibit 10-2, the original seven functions
    were consolidated into three groupings:


       −   Primary academic functions
       −   Functions related to student retention
       −   Other support functions


•   As seen in the Exhibit 10-2, WCU spent a smaller portion of its budget on those functions related to student
    retention than any of the six peer universities at 13.1%. Spending on this category at the other six universities
    ranged from a high of 21.8% (at Appalachian State University) to a low 17.3% (Tennessee Technological
    University).


•   It is important to note that both the Student Services and the Academic Support functional categories include
    many activities that do not relate as directly to student retention as the advising and financial aid administration
    activities that also are included in these areas. Given the magnitude of the disparity, however, it seems likely that
    student retention efforts are under-funded at WCU as compared to its peers.




                                                                                                                            242
Peer Comparison of Expenditures (cont.)
                               EXHIBIT 10-2
      BUDGETARY EMPHASIS ON FUNCTIONS SUPPORTING STUDENT RETENTION
          WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY AND SIX PEER INSTITUTIONS
                           FISCAL YEAR 2004-05
                                                Primary        Student                         Sum of All
                                               Academic       Retention      Other Support      Selected
                  Institution Name             Functions      Functions        Functions       Functions

        Western Carolina University           55,866,113       12,079,579       24,580,076       92,525,768
                 % Distribution                    60.4%            13.1%            26.6%           100.0%

        Appalachian State University          81,324,134       32,887,689       36,788,397     151,000,220
                  % Distribution                   53.9%            21.8%            24.4%          100.0%
        James Madison University              97,167,517       30,450,772       30,844,699     158,462,988
                  % Distribution                   61.3%            19.2%            19.5%          100.0%
        Morehead State University             51,675,102       17,968,558       17,459,720      87,103,380
                  % Distribution                   59.3%            20.6%            20.0%          100.0%
        Murray State University               55,491,518       18,241,686       28,357,718     102,090,922
                  % Distribution                   54.4%            17.9%            27.8%          100.0%
        Sonoma State University               68,709,155       19,458,048       26,676,507     114,843,710
                  % Distribution                   59.8%            16.9%            23.2%          100.0%
        Tennessee Technological University    55,587,622       15,582,672       18,934,493      90,104,787
                  % Distribution                   61.7%            17.3%            21.0%          100.0%

        Average of Six Peer Universities      68,325,841       22,431,571       26,510,256     117,267,668
                   % Distribution                  58.3%            19.1%            22.6%          100.0%
        Notes: Primary academic functions are defined as instruction, research and public service. Student
        retention functions are defined as academic support and student services. Other support functions
        are defined as institutional support and operation and maintenance of plant.
        Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
                                                                                                              243
        (IPEDS), 2005 Finance Survey, and MGT Analysis, 2007.
Peer Comparison of Distribution of Positions
•   Exhibit 10-3 shows the number of estimated FTE positions for WCU and each peer university by occupational
    category.1 Positions are not reported to NCES in the same functional categories as the expenditure data above, so
    we were unable to compare academic support or student services positions across the universities. However, we
    were able to compare “other professional” positions – the category where various types of academic advisers,
    financial aid counselors, and recruiters would be reported.

•   “Other professional” is defined by NCES as “A primary function or occupational activity category used to classify
    persons employed for the primary purpose of performing academic support, student service, and institutional
    support, whose assignments would require either a baccalaureate degree or higher or experience of such kind and
    amount as to provide a comparable background.”

•   As seen in the Exhibit 10-3, the 232.0 FTE positions in the Other Professional category at WCU is the second
    lowest observation, with only 4.7 more positions than Tennessee Technological University, the lowest observation.
    The highest observation, at James Madison University, is 401 positions more than WCU and most of the other peer
    universities reported at least 100 more positions than WCU in the Other Professional category.

    1   Estimated FTE positions are the sum of full-time positions and one-third of part-time positions.




                                                                                                                        244
Peer Comparison of Distribution of Positions (cont.)
                                       EXHIBIT 10-3
               ESTIMATED NUMBER OF FTE POSITIONS BY OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY
                  WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY AND ITS PEER UNIVERSITIES
                                        2004-2005
                                Western      Appalachian    James       Morehead      Murray      Sonoma      Tennessee
       FTE Positions by          Carolina       State      Madison       State         State        State    Technological
     Occupational Category      University    University   University   University   University   University   University

   Total                           1,352.3       2,282.3      2,648.3      1,272.7      1,441.0      1,115.3        1,229.3

   Faculty                           522.3         828.7        955.3        463.7        500.3        344.0          530.0
   Staff                             830.0       1,453.7      1,693.0        809.0        940.7        771.3          699.3

   Executive/Admininistrative         62.0          94.3         96.0         57.0         56.7         82.7           41.3
   Other Professional                232.0         385.3        633.7        359.7        262.3        363.7          227.3
   Technical/Paraprofessional         99.3         232.0        221.7         62.0         72.0         77.7           31.0
   Clerical/Secretarial              186.3         261.7        345.0        154.3        251.7        128.3          208.7
   Skilled Crafts                     69.0          62.0        145.3         55.0         65.0         41.0           62.0
   Service/Maintenance               181.3         418.3        251.3        121.0        233.0         78.0          129.0
   Subtotal, Staff Categories        830.0       1,453.7      1,693.0        809.0        940.7        771.3          699.3
   Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Staffing
   Survey, and MGT Analysis, 2007.




                                                                                                                              245
Peer Comparison of Distribution of Positions (cont.)
•   Since the total numbers of positions across the universities vary by more than a two-to-one ratio, comparisons on
    a unitary basis are needed to provide more meaningful findings. Exhibit 10-4 compares the positions distributions
    on four unitary bases:

       −    Positions by occupational category per 100 positions.

       −    Positions by occupational category per 1000 students.

       −    Positions by occupational category per $1 million expenditures.

       −    Positions by occupational category per $1 million of salaries and wages expenditures.



•   Across all four measures, WCU is below average in the Other Professional Category. In comparison, WCU is above
    the peer average for all four measures in five of the other six occupational categories. In the remaining category
    (Clerical and Secretarial), WCU is above the peer average for three of the four measures.




                                                                                                                         246
     Peer Comparison of Distribution of Positions (cont.)
                                                      EXHIBIT 10-4
                              COMPARISON OF STAFFING RATIOS PER SELECTED UNITARY MEASURES
                                  WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY AND PEER INSTITUTIONS
                                           All Staff                                                Technical and        Clerical and                             Service and
                         All Faculty     (non-faculty)     Executive/Admin    Other Professionals  Paraprofessional      Secretarial         Skilled Crafts      Maintanence
                           Peer WCU         Peer WCU           Peer WCU             Peer WCU           Peer WCU            Peer WCU             Peer WCU            Peer WCU
                                                                                                  WCU                 WCU                  WCU                 WCU
      Measure       WCU Mean is… WCU Mean            is… WCU Mean is… WCU Mean is…                     Mean is…            Mean is…             Mean is…           Mean is…
FTE Positions by     38.6 36.2 Above 61.4    63.8 Below    4.6   4.5 Above 17.2 23.1 Below         7.3   6.3 Above 13.8 13.8 Above          5.1    4.3 Above 13.4 11.8 Above
Category per 100                   peer              peer               peer                peer                peer                 peer                peer                peer
Total FTE Positions              average           average            average             average             average              average             average             average

FTE Positions by       60.3   52.4 Above     95.8   92.5 Above     7.2   6.5 Above     26.8   33.4 Below     11.5   9.4 Above     21.5   19.8 Above     8.0   6.2 Above     20.9   17.2 Above
Category per 1000                    peer                  peer                peer                  peer                 peer                  peer                peer                  peer
Students                           average               average             average               average              average               average             average               average

FTE Positions by        4.1    3.7 Above      6.4    6.5 Below     0.5   0.4 Above      1.8    2.3 Below      0.8   0.6 Above      1.4    1.4 Above     0.5   0.4 Above      1.4    1.2 Above
Category per $1                      peer                  peer                peer                  peer                 peer                  peer                peer                  peer
Million Expenditures               average               average             average               average              average               average             average               average

FTE by Category         8.3    7.9 Above     13.2   13.9 Below     1.0   1.0 Above      3.7    5.1 Below      1.6   1.4 Above      3.0    3.0 Below     1.1   1.0 Above      2.9    2.6 Above
per $1 Million                       peer                  peer                peer                  peer                 peer                  peer                peer                  peer
Spending for                       average               average             average               average              average               average             average               average
Salaries and Wages
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Staffing Survey, and MGT Analysis,
2007.




                                                                                                                                                                                           247
Peer Comparison of Distribution of Positions (cont.)
•   To fully understand the significance of the differences in position distributions, Exhibit 10-5 shows the number of
    positions that would need to be redistributed for WCU to be at the peer average on the first measure – the
    number of positions by category per 100 total positions. On this measure, WCU has relatively more positions than
    its peers in six of the seven occupational categories. If the 1,352.3 FTE positions at WCU were distributed at the
    average rate of its six peers, approximately 70 positions in the Other Professional category would need to be
    established through reductions in the remaining categories.


•   Recognizing the problems inherent with peer comparisons, we do not specifically recommend that 70 new Other
    Professional positions be created by reductions in other categories in the short term. However, we do believe that
    the evidence across all four measures is sufficient to support placing a priority when allocating any newly available
    resources to establishing new Other Professional positions. Many of these positions could become available for
    the student retention effort.




                                                                                                                            248
Peer Comparison of Distribution of Positions (cont.)
                                EXHIBIT 10-5
         REDISTRIBUTION OF WCU POSITIONS TO MATCH PEER DISTRIBUTION
                      BY MAJOR OCCUPATIONAL CATEGORY

                                          Peer                                         Change in
                                                                Actual     WCU @
                                        University                                     Positions
                                                              Distribution  Peer
         Occupational Category           Average Distribution                         Required To
                                                               of WCU      Average
                                        Number of                                     Be At Peer
                                                               Positions Distribution
                                        Positions                                     Distribution


      Total                                1,664.8        100.0%        1,352.3       1,352.3             -

      Faculty                                603.7         36.3%          522.3         490.4           (32.0)
      Staff                                1,061.2         63.7%          830.0         862.0            32.0

      Executive/Admininistrative              71.3          4.3%           62.0          57.9            (4.1)
      Other Professional                     372.0         22.3%          232.0         302.2            70.2
      Technical/Paraprofessional             116.1          7.0%           99.3          94.3            (5.1)
      Clerical/Secretarial                   224.9         13.5%          186.3         182.7            (3.6)
      Skilled Crafts                          71.7          4.3%           69.0          58.3           (10.7)
      Service/Maintenance                    205.1         12.3%          181.3         166.6           (14.7)
      Subtotal, Staff Categories           1,061.2         63.7%          830.0         862.0            32.0
      Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS),
      2005 Staffing Survey, and MGT Analysis, 2007.



                                                                                                                  249
Trend Analysis of Allocation of WCU Student
Service Resources
•   During the past several years, the University has experienced a significant growth in enrollment. As a result, WCU
    created new positions to provide services for the increased numbers of students. In Exhibit 10-6, we examine
    trends in the number of positions and salary dollars that have been allocated to student service functions over the
    past three years.


•   Between FY05 and FY07, 14 new positions were created in the selected student services units in Killian Annex,
    representing a 19% growth. A slightly higher proportion of the new slots were established as positions in the EPA
    pay plan, where the “Other Professional” staff would be classified, than in the SPA plan (26% v. 16%). The salary
    budget for these units increased by an overall rate of 35%, or when adjusted for the increased number of
    positions by 14%.


•   Within the units identified in Exhibit 10-6, some units work directly on issues and concerns related to student
    retention, compared to other units. Importantly, the numbers of staff in those units (e.g., One-Stop, Advising, and
    Student Success Centers, Financial Aid and Orientation) have grown more rapidly than the overall rate. Clearly,
    efforts have been made by WCU decision-makers to provide more resources to units that can contribute to
    increased student retention.




                                                                                                                          250
Trend Analysis of Allocation of WCU Student
Service Resources
                                                                                                       Salaries,
                                                            Fiscal      EPA       SPA       Total    Benefits and      Average
                                    Department/Office        Year     Positions Positions Positions Student Wages    Compensation


(cont.)
                              One-Stop                     2006-07         4.00      2.00      6.00 $     276,000    $     46,000
                                                           2005-06         4.00      2.00      6.00 $     267,720    $     44,620
                                                           2004-05         1.00      2.00      3.00 $     102,500    $     34,167
                              Advising Center              2006-07       12.00       2.00    14.00 $      640,500    $     45,750
                                                           2005-06       12.00       2.00    14.00 $      621,285    $     44,378
                                                           2004-05         9.00      2.00    11.00 $      412,500    $     37,500
                              Student Success Centers 1    2006-07         3.00      1.00      4.00 $     233,000    $     58,250
EXHIBIT 10-6                                               2005-06         3.00      1.00      4.00 $     227,510    $     56,878
TREND ANALYSIS OF STAFFING                                 2004-05         3.00       -        3.00 $     206,700    $     68,900
AND SALARIES, STUDENT         One-Stop, Advising Center,   2006-07         1.00       -        1.00 $       90,000   $     90,000
                              Student Success Centers      2005-06         1.00       -        1.00 $       87,300   $     87,300
SERVICE UNITS IN KILLIAN                                   2004-05         1.00       -        1.00 $       87,300   $     87,300
ANNEX, FISCAL YEARS 2004-05   Financial Aid Office         2006-07         1.00      9.00    10.00 $      441,936    $     44,194
THROUGH 2006-07                                            2005-06         1.00      8.00      9.00 $     385,120    $     42,791
                                                           2004-05         1.00      8.00      9.00 $     357,145    $     39,683
                              Career Placement/Planning    2006-07         1.00      4.00      5.00 $     252,051    $     50,410
                                                           2005-06         1.00      4.00      5.00 $     243,892    $     48,778
                                                           2004-05         1.00      4.00      5.00 $     227,508    $     45,502
                              Student Support Services     2006-07         1.00      4.00      5.00 $     246,102    $     49,220
                                                           2005-06         1.00      4.00      5.00 $     240,269    $     48,054
                                                           2004-05         1.00      4.00      5.00 $     232,732    $     46,546
                              Admissions                   2006-07         3.00    22.00     25.00 $ 1,180,173       $     47,207
                                                           2005-06         3.00    18.00     21.00 $      802,457    $     38,212
                                                           2004-05         3.00    18.00     21.00 $      802,457    $     38,212
                              Orientation                  2006-07         1.00      1.00      2.00 $     144,171    $     72,086
                                                           2005-06         1.00       -        1.00 $     104,218    $    104,218
                                                           2004-05         1.00       -        1.00 $       94,091   $     94,091
                              Registrar                    2006-07         2.00    13.50     15.50 $      648,000    $     41,806
                                                           2005-06         2.00    12.50     14.50 $      577,025    $     39,795
                                                           2004-05         2.00    12.50     14.50 $      542,063    $     37,384
                              Total, All Units             2006-07       29.00     58.50     87.50 $ 4,151,933       $     47,451
                                                           2005-06       29.00     51.50     80.50 $ 3,556,796       $     44,184
                                                           2004-05       23.00     50.50     73.50 $ 3,064,996       $     41,701
                               3-Year Change in Positions & Dollars        26%       16%       19%             35%            14%
                              Source: Western Carolina University, Provost‟s Office, 2007, and MGT Analysis, 2007.
                              1Salary dollars for 2004-05 estimated for this unit since original source omitted this data.          251
                    Appendices
The following appendices are included:

       Appendix A: Survey of Former Students
       Appendix B: List of Focus Groups and Interviewees
       Appendix C: Survey of Current Students
       Appendix D: Peer Institution IPEDS Data
       Appendix E: List of Peer Institution Interviewees
     APPENDIX A:
Survey of Former Students




                            253
              Phone Interview Questions for Former WCU Students


My name is _______________, I‟m working with Western Carolina University. We‟re contacting
students who used to attend WCU to find out about your experiences at WCU.

     1.    What were your reasons for choosing WCU to begin your college experience?

     2.    What were your reasons for leaving WCU to begin your college experience?
           a.  (If student states that he/she transferred to another institution, ask “Which
               school did you transfer to?”)

     3.    Is there anything that WCU could have done to encourage you to stay?

     4.    In your opinion, in what ways could WCU improve their academic and student services
           that would encourage students to remain at the university.



Thank you for your time. Have a good evening.




                                                                                                 254
     APPENDIX B:
List of Focus Groups and
        Interviews




                           255
 List of Focus Groups and Interviews

                   FOCUS GROUPS                                                    INTERVIEWS

Advising Center - Advisors (8 participants)                  Academic Success Center - Directors
Faculty (22 participants)                                    Admissions - Director and Associate Director
                                                             Advancement and External Affairs - Vice Chancellor
Freshman (8 participants)                                    Advising Center - Director and Associate Director
Honors Students (9 participants)                             Assessment Office - Director
                                                             Athletics - Coaches
Instructors (USI, First Year Seminar, Liberal Studies, and   Career Services - Director
HR courses in Leadership) (20 participants)                  Chancellor's Office - Chancellor
                                                             Educational Outreach - Dean
Open Forum (for faculty, staff, and students who were        Financial Aid - Director
unable to attend another session) (40 participants)          Fitness - Director
                                                             Honors College - Dean
Residential Living - Resident Directors and Resident         Institutional Research - Director
Assistants (14 Resident Directors, 15 Resident Assistant     Intramurals - Director
participants)                                                Orientation Office - Director
                                                             Provost's Office - Provost, Senior Associate VC for
Student Entourage (8 participants)                           Academic Affairs
                                                             Registrar - Director
Upperclass students (Sophomores, Juniors, and                Residential Living - Associate Director
Seniors) (13 participants)                                   Senior Assoc. VC for Academic Affairs
                                                             Student Affairs - Vice Chancellor, Assistant Vice Chancellor
                                                             Student Support Services - Director and Advisors
                                                             University Center/Ramsey Center - Director
                                                                                                                            256
     APPENDIX C:
Survey of Current Students




                             257
                                             STUDENT SURVEY
                                                      March 2007

                                               WIN One of 6 IPODS!
INSTRUCTIONS
       Western Carolina University is currently examining student satisfaction with academic and student services, as well
as the overall college experience. With the help of MGT of America, Inc., a national higher education planning firm, we are
conducting a survey of current WCU students regarding their experiences, needs, and preferences. This online survey should
take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your responses to the following questions are greatly appreciated and will provide
valuable insight for the planning of future academic and student services for students like you.

        Please indicate your answers by choosing the appropriate response or entering your comments in the spaces provided.
Then click on the “SUBMIT” button at the end of each section. If you need to stop before reaching the end of the survey, click
on the “Submit” button at the end of the section you are in, and the information you have entered up to that point will be
available when you return to the survey. Your answers will be saved only if you submit them before leaving the
survey. The survey contains four sections:

            A.    About You
            B.    Goals and Expectations
            C.    Your Satisfaction and Experiences
            D.    Suggestions for Improvement

                                        Your response to each section is critical.

                                            All responses will be anonymous.

                             Please complete and submit this survey no later than March 23rd.



                                            Thank you for your participation.
 Please click on the “SUBMIT” button at the end of each section to send your survey. The information you have submitted
         will be saved and may be accessed at a later time if you are unable to complete the survey in one sitting.


                                                                                                                                 258
                                             A. About You

A1. Are you currently a: <Choose one>
    <1> Freshman        <2> Sophomore              <3> Junior
    <4> Senior          <5> Graduate Student       <6> Other <Text>


A2. Did you enter WCU as a: <If answer “transfer student” ask A2a and A2b>
    <1> Freshman (First time in College)
    <2> Transfer Student (Attended another college prior to WCU)
    <3> Other <Text>

    A2a.    Which of the following describes your experience when applying to WCU?
            <1> I did not have enough information about the application and enrollment process, and could have
            used more information to make my decision.
            <2> I had some information about the application and enrollment process, but could have used more
            information to make my decision.
            <3> I had ample information about the application and enrollment process.

    A2b.    Did you receive your transfer credit evaluation in a timely manner to make your decision
            about enrolling at WCU?
            <1> Yes
            <2> No


A3. Are you attending classes:
    <1> Part-time
    <2> Full-time


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A4. In what College is your academic department? <Choose one>
    <1> College of Applied Science
    <2> College of Arts and Science
    <3> College of Business
    <4> College of Education & Allied Professions
    <5> Undeclared Major


A5. How many years have you been attending WCU? <Choose one>
    <1> 1 <2> 2 <3> 3 <4> 4 <5> 5 <6> 6 <7> More than 6


A6. Have you lived on campus at any time while attending WCU, including the current
    semester? <Choose one>
    <1> Yes, I am currently living in a university residence hall.
    <2> Yes, I used to live in a university residence hall.
    <3> No, I have never lived on campus at WCU.


A7. How far is your permanent residence from the WCU campus?
    <1> Less than 1 mile
    <2> 1-5 miles
    <3> 6-20 miles
    <4> 21-60 miles
    <5> More than 60 miles


                                                                                      260
A8.   Are you an international student?
      <1> Yes (skip A8b and A8c)    <2> No (skip A8a)

      A8a. What is your country of citizenship? <Short Text Box>

      A8b. In what state is your permanent address? <Drop down list of states>
           (If North Carolina then ask A8c)

      A8c. In what North Carolina county is your permanent address? <Drop down list
           of North Carolina counties>


A9.   What is your current age? <Choose one>
      <1> Under 18      <4> 22-23
      <2> 18-19         <5> 24 or Older
      <3> 20-21


A10. What is your gender? <Choose one>
     <1> Female       <2> Male


A11. What is your overall GPA? <Choose one>
     <1> Less than 2.0
     <2> 2.0 to 3.0
     <3> Higher than 3.0
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A12. What is your race/ethnicity? (Select one.)
     <1> Asian or Pacific Islander        <5> White/Caucasian
     <2> Black/African-American           <6> Biracial/Multiracial
     <3> Hispanic                         <7> Other (please specify): ___________________________
     <4> Native American or Alaska Native


A13. Please indicate how you are currently financing your education and related expenses while
     obtaining your degree. (Select all that apply.)
     <1> Parents (including PLUS loans)   <8> Spouse, family (other than parents), or partner
     <2> Student loans                    <9> Veteran‟s benefits
     <3> Part-time job                    <10> Military benefits
     <4> Full-time job                    <11> Employer (benefits)
     <5> Savings                          <12> Federal Program (e.g., Transitional Readjustment Assistance
     <6> Work-Study program                     (TRA); Traditional Adjustment Assistance (TAA); Dislocated
     <7> University scholarships                Workers‟ Program; Workforce Investment Act)
                                          <13> Other (please specify): <Text Box>


A14. Who is primarily responsible for paying your educational expenses while you attend WCU?
     <Choose One>
     <1> Myself (include income from scholarships, veteran‟s benefits, grants, loans, jobs, assistantships,
         savings, work-study programs, etc.)
     <2> Parents or relatives
     <3> Spouse
     <4> Other (please specify): <Text Box>

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A15. After all financial aid is taken into consideration, do you still have unmet financial needs that
     make pursuit of your degree difficult?
     <1> No, I am able to meet all of my financial obligations.
     <2> I have some financial needs, but not enough to prevent me from continuing my
         education.
     <3> Yes, I still have very significant financial needs.



A16. How many hours each week do you generally spend in the following activities?
     <Choose One for Each>


                                            0      1-5     6-10   11-15    16-20     21 Hours or
                 Activity
                                          Hours   Hours   Hours   Hours    Hours        More
   Attending Classes                       <1>     <2>     <3>     <4>      <5>          <6>
   Participating in club/activity/sport    <1>     <2>     <3>     <4>      <5>          <6>
   Socializing with friends                <1>     <2>     <3>     <4>      <5>          <6>
   Studying/doing homework or team         <1>     <2>     <3>     <4>      <5>          <6>
   projects outside of class
   Volunteering for community service     <1>     <2>     <3>     <4>       <5>           <6>
   Working at a full- or part-time job    <1>     <2>     <3>     <4>       <5>           <6>




                                                                                                         263
A17. How did you hear about WCU?
     <1> High School Guidance Counselor/Teacher
     <2> Parents or relatives
     <3> I live close to WCU
     <4> Direct Mailing from the University
     <5> Website/Web searches
     <6> Other (please specify): <Text Box>

A18. In what ways did you obtain more information about WCU?
     <1> Admissions Office
     <2> Campus Tour
     <3> Open House
     <4> WCU Brochures
     <5> WCU Web site
     <6> Other (please specify): <Text Box>

A19. Was there any information that you didn’t receive but you would like to have had when
     making your decision to attend WCU?

      <Open Text Box>

A20. Was WCU your first choice when applying to college? <If “No”, answer next question>
     <1> Yes
     <2> No

                                                                                             264
A21. What other institutions did you consider? (Check all that apply)
     <1> Another state college/university in North Carolina
          Name: <Text Box>
     <2> Private college/university in North Carolina
          Name: <Text Box>
     <3> Out of state college/university
          Name: <Text Box>

A22. Which of the following factors was the most important in your decision to attend WCU?
     Choose up to three responses. <Choose up to 3>
<1> Quality of Education                             <10> Location close to home
     <2> Size of classes                             <11> Location far from home
<3> Student life/campus activities opportunities     <12> Location is scenic Western North Carolina
<4> Affordable cost                                  mountains
     <5> After visiting, I felt that the WCU could   <13> Scholarship/Financial Aid package
           meet my needs.                            <14> Size of WCU
<6> Comfortable with the campus atmosphere.          <15> Relative currently attends/attended WCU.
<7> Faculty/staff were friendly.                     <16> Reputation
     <8> Faculty/staff expressed interest in me.     <17> WCU offers the academic program I want.
     <9> Friends                                     <18> Other <Text box>




                                                                                                      265
                                  B. Goals and Expectations

B1.   Did you enter college with the goal of obtaining a bachelor’s degree?
      <1> Yes
      <2> No
      <3> Uncertain when I started

B2.  What was your original intent by enrolling at WCU: <Choose One>
     <1> Graduate from WCU
     <2> Stay for one or two years and then transfer
<3> Start college and see what happens
<4> Stay until I figured out what to do next
<5> Other (please specify): <Text Box>

B3.   Do you currently plan to complete your bachelor’s degree at WCU? <Choose One. If “Yes” ask B3a.
      If answer “Maybe,” ask B3a through B3d. If answer “No,” ask B3b through B3d>>

      <1> Yes
      <2> Maybe
      <3> No




                                                                                                        266
B3a. What reason(s) have contributed to your staying at WCU? Choose up to 5. <Choose five>

<1> Adequate financial aid or money to           <16> Quality of instruction
           continue attending                    <17> Quality of facilities
<2> Atmosphere from students (peers)             <18> Residential living environment on campus
<3> Atmosphere from teaching faculty             <19> Services provided to students are excellent
<4> Atmosphere from academic support staff       <20> Too much effort to transfer
<5> Atmosphere from student services staff       <21> Variety and frequency of activities/events on campus
     <6> Change in marital status                <22> Variety and frequency of activities/events outside the
     <7> Classes are challenging for me               university community
<8> Feel part of this college community          <23> Want to be far from my family
     <9> Investment of much time and money       <24> Want to be close to my family
     <10> Location of WCU                        <25> Want to be closer to boyfriend/girlfriend and/or
<11> Meets my educational goals                       friends who attend WCU
     <12> Meets my personal needs                <26> WCU offers a major that matches my academic
<13> Meets my expectations                            interests
<14> Parents wanted me to stay                   <27> Other <Open text box>
     <15> Plan to complete a college degree




                                                                                                               267
B3b. Why are you considering leaving WCU before completing your bachelor’s degree?
     Choose up to 5. <Choose up to 5. If answer >

     <1>  Atmosphere from students (peers)            <15> No longer plan to pursue a college degree
     <2>  Atmosphere from teaching faculty            <16> Not enough financial aid or money to
     <3>  Atmosphere from academic support staff           continue attending
     <4>  Atmosphere from student services staff      <17> Quality of instruction
     <5>  Change in marital status                    <18> Quality of facilities
     <6>  Classes are not challenging for me          <19> Planning to transfer to another school
     <7>  Don‟t feel part of this college community   <20> Parents wanted me to leave
     <8>  Does not meet my educational goals          <21> Residential living environment on campus
     <9>  Does not meet my personal needs             <22> Too much effort to stay
     <10> Does not meet my expectations               <23> Want to be far from my family
     <11> Investment of much time and money           <24> Want to be close to my family
     <12> Limited variety and frequency of            <25> Want to be closer to boyfriend/girlfriend
          activities/events on campus                      and/or friends who attend another school
     <13> Limited variety and frequency of            <26> WCU does not offer a major that matches
          activities/events outside the university         my academic interests
          community                                   <27> Other <Open text box>
     <14> Location of WCU

B3c. To what college(s) are you considering transferring?
<Open text box>
B3d. What could WCU do to encourage you to stay?
<Open text box>
                                                                                                       268
B4.  If you know of anyone who has left WCU recently, why do you think they left? Choose up to 3.
     <Choose three>
     <1> Desired an academic program not offered at WCU
<2> Did not feel comfortable or connected to WCU.
<3> Difficulty adjusting to college
<4> Found full-time employment
     <5> Medical problems or issues that prohibited continued attendance
<6> Not enough money to continue attending
<7> Personal problems or issues that prohibited continued attendance
     <8> Poor grades
<9> Transferred to another college
<10> Wanted to be closer to family or boyfriend/girlfriend
<11> Other <Open text box>


B5.   How many weekends a semester do you go home? <Choose One. If “Almost Every Weekend”
      ask B5a.>

     <1> 0             <4> 5-6
     <2> 1-2           <5> 6-7
<3> 3-4    <6> Almost every weekend




                                                                                                    269
    B5a.   What events would make you want to stay on campus during weekends? Choose up to 4.
           <Choose up to 4>
           <1> Academic & Professional (e.g., Science & Health, Math & Computer Science, Humanities & Social
           Sciences, etc.)
    <2> Athletics
    <3> Arts, Design & Art Education
    <4> Cultural & Advocacy
           <5> Intramural
    <6> Leadership and Programming
           <7> Marching Band
    <8> Religious/Spiritual
    <9> Service Learning
    <10> Social Advocacy
    <11> Social
    <12> Other <text>

B6. If you were starting college again, would you choose to attend WCU? <Choose One>
    <1> Yes
    <2> No

B7. Would you recommend WCU to friends or family? <Choose One>
    <1> Yes
    <2> No


                                                                                                               270
                                                                 C. Your Satisfaction

C1. Based upon your interactions with offices and staff that provide academic services:
    <Answer C1a for responses “Not Too Satisfied” or “Not at All Satisfied”>

            First, indicate how important that aspect of your college experience is to you.
            Second, indicate your level of satisfaction with that aspect of your college experience.

                                                                                             Very                     Not      Not at All
                                                                                                                                            Satisfaction
                                                                                           Important   Important   Important   Important
                       Academics & Academic Services
                                                                                                                                            <Drop down box
    Academic Advising (from faculty or academic department)                                  <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>        with 4 options 1)
                                                                                                                                             Very Satisfied
    Availability of academic majors or areas of study that are of interest                   <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>         2) Somewhat
                                                                                                                                                Satisfied
    Availability of courses to make progress toward my degree each semester                  <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>           3) Not Too
                                                                                                                                            Satisfied 4) Not
    Ability to electronically access essential information and content if I miss a class     <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>        at All Satisfied>
    Faculty’s knowledge and expertise that teach courses                                     <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Interesting and appropriate teaching and learning methods are used in classes            <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Formal academic experiences                                                              <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Freshman Seminar Courses                                                                 <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Friendliness of faculty                                                                  <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Opportunities to meet with faculty outside of the classroom                              <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Quality of academic courses                                                              <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Quality of classroom/lab facilities                                                      <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Quality of teaching                                                                      <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Senior Capstone Course (incorporating curricular and life skills transition issues)      <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Time that courses are offered throughout the day                                         <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Number of times required courses are offered throughout the year (i.e., fall and
    spring semesters)
                                                                                             <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    USI 130 Course                                                                           <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Use of technology in classes/courses                                                     <1>         <2>         <3>         <4>
    Other <<text box>>                                                                       <1>         <2>         <4>         <5>
    Other <<text box>>                                                                       <1>         <2>         <4>         <5>
    Other <<text box>>                                                                       <1>         <2>         <4>         <5>
                                                                                                                                                                271
    C1a. You have indicated that you are “Not Too Satisfied” or “Not At All Satisfied” with the
    following Academics & Academic Services:

        Item 1
        Item 2
        Item 3

    Please describe your dissatisfaction with the items above (e.g., accessibility, quality of
    information/services provided, friendliness of staff) <Open Text Box>



C2. Based upon your interactions with offices and staff that provide student services:
    <Answer C2a for responses “Not Too Satisfied” or “Not at All Satisfied”>

        First, indicate how important that aspect of your college experience is to you.
        Second, indicate your level of satisfaction with that aspect of your college experience.




                                                                                                    272
                                        Very                                  Not at All
                                                                                            Satisfaction
                                      Important   Important   Not Important   Important
                  Student Services
Advising Center                         <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>       <Drop down box
Bookstore                               <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>        with 4 options
Career Placement and Planning           <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>       1) Very Satisfied
                                                                                             2) Somewhat
CatCard Office                          <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>           Satisfied
CatTran Bus                             <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>          3) Not Too
Computer Services                       <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>       Satisfied 4) Not
Counseling & Psychological Services     <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>       at All Satisfied>
Disability Services                     <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Financial Aid                           <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Fitness Center                          <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Intramurals                             <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Library                                 <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Multicultural Affairs                   <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
One-Stop Center                         <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Ramsey Center                           <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Registrar                               <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Residential Living                      <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Service Learning                        <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Student Accounts                        <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Student Health Services                 <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Student Judicial Affairs                <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Student Success Center (Tutoring)       <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
University Center                       <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
University Food Services                <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Women’s Center                          <1>         <2>           <3>            <4>
Other <<text box>>                      <1>         <2>           <4>            <5>
Other <<text box>>                      <1>         <2>           <4>            <5>
Other <<text box>>                      <1>         <2>           <4>            <5>


                                                                                                               273
    C2a. You have indicated that you are “Not Too Satisfied” or “Not at All Satisfied” with the
    following Students Services:

          Item 1
          Item 2
          Item 3

    Please describe your dissatisfaction (i.e. accessibility, quality of information/services provided,
    friendliness of staff, etc.) <Open Text Box>

C3. Based upon your experiences at WCU please indicate your satisfaction with each of the following:

                                                           Very      Somewhat     Not Too     Not At All
                                                         Satisfied    Satisfied   Satisfied   Satisfied
         Ability to become involved in student
         organizations/clubs
                                                           <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         Friendliness of other students                    <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         New student services phone system (227-
         7170)                                             <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         Organized extracurricular experiences
         (student club, intramural sports, cultural or     <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         social activities)
         Orientation activities                            <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         Out-of-class experiences (hearing
         speakers, informal student discussions,           <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         attending plays)
         Safety and security on campus                     <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         Sense of belonging to WCU                         <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>
         Sense of belonging to Cullowhee and Sylva         <1>          <2>         <3>          <4>


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C4. How often do you do or use the following? <<select only one response for each>>


                                                                             Several Times
                                                  Daily   Weekly   Monthly                   Rarely   Never
                                                                             per Semester
Academic Advising Center services (in Killian
                                                  <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Annex)
Career Placement & Planning services              <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Financial Aid services                            <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
MyCat                                             <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
One-Stop for help (in Killian Annex)              <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Registrar services                                <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Student Accounts services                         <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Student Newspaper                                 <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Student Success Center tutoring services          <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Study or meet with other students in my classes   <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Talk with faculty outside of class                <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
TV 62                                             <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Walk through the University Center to check out
                                                  <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
upcoming events
WCU Email                                         <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
WCU Website                                       <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
WWCU 90.5                                         <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Web CT                                            <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Other <Text>                                      <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>
Other <Text>                                      <1>      <2>      <3>          <4>          <5>     <6>




                                                                                                              275
C5. What organizations have you participated in since enrolling at WCU? Choose up to 5.
    <Choose up to five. If answer 1 through 16 then answer C5a.>

    <1> Academic & Professional Groups (e.g., Science & Health, Math & Computer Science, Humanities &
    Social Sciences, etc.)
    <2> Arts, Design & Art Education Organizations
    <3> Cultural & Advocacy Organizations
    <4> Fraternity or Sorority
    <5> Game Clubs
    <6> Honors Organizations
    <7> Honors Program
    <8> Intramurals
    <9> Leadership and Programming
    <10> Marching Band
    <11> Political Organizations
    <12> Religious/ Spiritual Groups
    <13> Service Learning
    <14> Social Advocacy Groups
    <15> Student Government Association
    <16> Resident Student Association or Residence Hall Council
    <17> Last Minute Productions (LMP)
    <18> Student Media
    <19> Varsity Sport
    <20> I am not part of any club /organization/sport


                                                                                                        276
    C5a.   To what extent has your participation in a student organization contributed to your overall
           satisfaction at WCU? <Choose One>
           <1> Not at all
           <2> Somewhat
           <3> To a great extent



                         D. SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

D1. Are there any academic or student services or programs that should be implemented or changed
    to better meet your needs?

    <<open-ended>>

D2. In what ways have you been satisfied with your experiences at WCU? (Please be specific.)

    <<open-ended>>

D3. In what ways have you been dissatisfied with your experiences at WCU? (Please be specific.)

    <<open-ended>>

D4. In your opinion, in what ways can WCU better assist students?

    <<open-ended>>


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*** SURVEY COMPLETE ***
 Thank you for completing the survey.

Your participation is greatly appreciated.




        Please click the EXIT button.




                                             278
      APPENDIX D:
Peer Institution IPEDS Data




                              279
                                                                  EXHIBIT D-1:
                                                     CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION, BY INSTITUTION
     Institution:     Western Carolina           Appalachian State         Jam es Madison          Morehead State              Murray State             Sonom a State              Tennessee
                        University                  University               University              University                 University                University              Technological
                                                                                                                                                                                    University
           City:          Cullow hee                    Boone               Harrisonburg              Morehead                     Murray               Rohnert Park               Cookeville
          State:              NC                         NC                      VA                      KY                         KY                      CA                          TN
 CC: Basic
                Master's Colleges and   Master's Colleges and            Master's Colleges and   Master's Colleges and      Master's Colleges and    Master's Colleges and    Master's Colleges and
                  Universities (larger    Universities (larger            Universities (larger    Universities (larger       Universities (larger     Universities (larger     Universities (larger
                       programs)              programs)                       programs)               programs)                  programs)                programs)                programs)
 CC: Undergraduate Instructional Program
               Professions plus arts & Professions plus arts &           Arts & sciences plus         Balanced arts &      Professions plus arts &   Arts & sciences plus     Professions plus arts &
                    sciences, some         sciences, some                  professions, some     sciences/professions,         sciences, some          professions, some          sciences, some
                graduate coexistence    graduate coexistence             graduate coexistence         some graduate         graduate coexistence     graduate coexistence      graduate coexistence
                                                                                                        coexistence
                     Prof+A&S/SGC: 60–79         Prof+A&S/SGC: 60–79 A&S+Prof/SGC: 60–79          Bal/SGC: Bachelor’s       Prof+A&S/SGC: 60–79 A&S+Prof/SGC: 60–79 Prof+A&S/SGC: 60–79
                      percent of bachelor’s       percent of bachelor’s   percent of bachelor’s   degree majors w ere        percent of bachelor’s   percent of bachelor’s   percent of bachelor’s
                     degree majors w ere in      degree majors w ere in degree majors w ere in      relatively balanced     degree majors w ere in degree majors w ere in degree majors w ere in
                    professional fields, and    professional fields, and the arts and sciences,      betw een arts and     professional fields, and the arts and sciences, professional fields, and
                    graduate degrees w ere      graduate degrees w ere and graduate degrees            sciences and        graduate degrees w ere and graduate degrees graduate degrees w ere
                    observed in some of the     observed in some of the w ere observed in some      professional fields    observed in some of the w ere observed in some observed in some of the
                     fields corresponding to     fields corresponding to       of the fields         (41–59 percent in      fields corresponding to       of the fields     fields corresponding to
                      undergraduate majors        undergraduate majors      corresponding to      each), and graduate        undergraduate majors      corresponding to      undergraduate majors
                        (but less than half).       (but less than half). undergraduate majors degrees w ere observed          (but less than half). undergraduate majors      (but less than half).
                                                                           (but less than half).  in some of the fields                               (but less than half).
                                                                                                     corresponding to
                                                                                                 undergraduate majors
                                                                                                   (but less than half).

 CC: Graduate Instructional Program
                    Single doctoral                 Single doctoral           Doctoral,           Postbaccalaureate        Postbaccalaureate        Postbaccalaureate            STEM dominant
                      (education)                     (education)        humanities/social          comprehensive            comprehensive            comprehensive
                                                                        sciences dominant
                   S-Doc/Ed: Based on the S-Doc/Ed: Based on the Doc/HSS: According to              Postbac-Comp:            Postbac-Comp:            Postbac-Comp:        Doc/STEM: According to
                      degree data, these       degree data, these    the degree data, these According to the degree According to the degree According to the degree the degree data, these
                       institutions aw ard      institutions aw ard     institutions aw ard     data, these institutions data, these institutions data, these institutions     institutions aw ard
                     doctoral degrees in      doctoral degrees in     doctoral degrees in a         aw ard master’s          aw ard master’s          aw ard master’s        doctoral degrees in a
                     education but do not     education but do not  range of fields, w ith the       degrees in the           degrees in the           degrees in the      range of fields, w ith the
                           offer other              offer other            plurality in the        humanities, social       humanities, social       humanities, social      plurality in the STEM*
                    graduate/professional    graduate/professional     humanities or social      sciences, and STEM*      sciences, and STEM*      sciences, and STEM*       fields. They may also
                            education.               education.        sciences. They may       fields, and degrees in   fields, and degrees in   fields, and degrees in       offer professional
                                                                     also offer professional          one or more              one or more              one or more             education at the
                                                                         education at the         professional fields.     professional fields.     professional fields.   doctoral level or in fields
                                                                    doctoral level or in fields                                                                                  such as law or
                                                                          such as law or                                                                                            medicine.
                                                                             medicine.
 * STEM: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Institutional
Characteristics Survey.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         280
                                                                                    EXHIBIT D-1 (cont.):
                                                                          CARNEGIE CLASSIFICATION, BY INSTITUTION
 Institution: Western Carolina University           Appalachian State University          Jam es Madison University           Morehead State University               Murray State University           Sonom a State University           Tennessee Technological
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 University
       City:             Cullow hee                             Boone                             Harrisonburg                            Morehead                             Murray                          Rohnert Park                      Cookeville
      State:                  NC                                  NC                                    VA                                     KY                               KY                                 CA                                TN
 CC: Undergraduate Profile
               Full-time four-year, selective,        Full-time four-year, more             Full-time four-year, more           Full-time four-year, inclusive       Full-time four-year, selective,    Full-time four-year, selective,    Full-time four-year, selective,
                      higher transfer-in            selective, higher transfer-in         selective, low er transfer-in                                                     higher transfer-in                 higher transfer-in                 higher transfer-in
              FT4/S/HTI: Fall enrollment data    FT4/MS/HTI: Fall enrollment data FT4/MS/LTI: Fall enrollment data FT4/I: Fall enrollment data show                 FT4/S/HTI: Fall enrollment data    FT4/S/HTI: Fall enrollment data    FT4/S/HTI: Fall enrollment data
                show at least 80 percent of         show at least 80 percent of           show at least 80 percent of               at least 80 percent of            show at least 80 percent of        show at least 80 percent of        show at least 80 percent of
             undergraduates enrolled full-time undergraduates enrolled full-time undergraduates enrolled full-time undergraduates enrolled full-time               undergraduates enrolled full-time undergraduates enrolled full-time undergraduates enrolled full-time
                 at these bachelor’s degree          at these bachelor’s degree           at these bachelor’s degree             at these bachelor’s degree            at these bachelor’s degree         at these bachelor’s degree         at these bachelor’s degree
             granting institutions. Score data   granting institutions. Score data granting institutions. Score data             granting institutions. These      granting institutions. Score data granting institutions. Score data granting institutions. Score data
              for first-year students indicate    for first-year students indicate      for first-year students indicate      institutions either did not report    for first-year students indicate   for first-year students indicate   for first-year students indicate
                  that these institutions are     that these institutions are more      that these institutions are more       test score data or the scores            that these institutions are        that these institutions are        that these institutions are
                selective in admissions (our        selective in admissions (our          selective in admissions (our            indicate that they extend           selective in admissions (our       selective in admissions (our       selective in admissions (our
              analysis of first-year students’    analysis of first-year students’      analysis of first-year students’ educational opportunity to a w ide         analysis of first-year students’   analysis of first-year students’   analysis of first-year students’
                  test scores places these            test scores places these              test scores places these        range of students w ith respect to          test scores places these           test scores places these           test scores places these
             institutions in roughly the middle institutions in roughly the top fifth institutions in roughly the top fifth      academic preparation and          institutions in roughly the middle institutions in roughly the middle institutions in roughly the middle
                tw o-fifths of baccalaureate     of baccalaureate institutions). At      of baccalaureate institutions).                 achievement.                 tw o-fifths of baccalaureate       tw o-fifths of baccalaureate       tw o-fifths of baccalaureate
             institutions). At least 20 percent     least 20 percent of entering           Few er than 20 percent of                                               institutions). At least 20 percent institutions). At least 20 percent institutions). At least 20 percent
              of entering undergraduates are       undergraduates are transfer           entering undergraduates are                                                of entering undergraduates are     of entering undergraduates are     of entering undergraduates are
                      transfer students.                      students.                         transfer students.                                                          transfer students.                 transfer students.                 transfer students.

 CC: Enrollm t Profile                                                 0                                     0                                 0                                      0                                 0                                 0
                          High undergraduate             Very high undergraduate               Very high undergraduate           Very high undergraduate                   High undergraduate                High undergraduate                High undergraduate
                   HU: Fall enrollment data show     VHU: Fall enrollment data show        VHU: Fall enrollment data show     VHU: Fall enrollment data show         HU: Fall enrollment data show     HU: Fall enrollment data show     HU: Fall enrollment data show
                       both undergraduate and            both undergraduate and                both undergraduate and             both undergraduate and                 both undergraduate and            both undergraduate and            both undergraduate and
                  graduate/professional students, graduate/professional students, graduate/professional students,            graduate/professional students,        graduate/professional students, graduate/professional students, graduate/professional students,
                  w ith the latter group accounting w ith the latter group accounting w ith the latter group accounting      w ith the latter group accounting      w ith the latter group accounting w ith the latter group accounting w ith the latter group accounting
                 for at least 10–24 percent of FTE for less than 10 percent of FTE* for less than 10 percent of FTE*         for less than 10 percent of FTE*      for at least 10–24 percent of FTE for at least 10–24 percent of FTE for at least 10–24 percent of FTE
                                enrollment.                       enrollment.                           enrollment.                      enrollment.                            enrollment.                       enrollment.                       enrollment.
 CC: Size + Setting
                     Medium four-year, primarily        Large four-year, primarily            Large four-year, primarily         Medium four-year, primarily     Medium four-year, primarily      Medium four-year, primarily      Medium four-year, primarily
                                residential                       residential                           residential                         residential                     residential                      residential                      residential
                  M4/R: Fall enrollment data show    L4/R: Fall enrollment data show       L4/R: Fall enrollment data show    M4/R: Fall enrollment data show  M4/R: Fall enrollment data show  M4/R: Fall enrollment data show  M4/R: Fall enrollment data show
                   FTE enrollment of 3,000–9,999    FTE enrollment of at least 10,000 FTE enrollment of at least 10,000        FTE enrollment of 3,000–9,999   FTE enrollment of 3,000–9,999    FTE enrollment of 3,000–9,999    FTE enrollment of 3,000–9,999
                degree-seeking students at these degree-seeking students at these degree-seeking students at these           degree-seeking students at these degree-seeking students at these degree-seeking students at these degree-seeking students at these
                      bachelor’s degree granting        bachelor’s degree granting            bachelor’s degree granting          bachelor’s degree granting      bachelor’s degree granting       bachelor’s degree granting       bachelor’s degree granting
                    institutions. 25-49 percent of    institutions. 25-49 percent of        institutions. 25-49 percent of      institutions. 25-49 percent of  institutions. 25-49 percent of   institutions. 25-49 percent of   institutions. 25-49 percent of
                  degree-seeking undergraduates degree-seeking undergraduates degree-seeking undergraduates                   degree-seeking undergraduates degree-seeking undergraduates degree-seeking undergraduates degree-seeking undergraduates
                             live on campus.                   live on campus.                       live on campus.                     live on campus.                 live on campus.                  live on campus.                  live on campus.
 * FTE: Full-time equivalent enrollment w as calculated as full-time plus one-third part-time.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Institutional Characteristics Survey.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    281
                                          EXHIBIT D-2:
   APTITUDE TEST STATISTICS, ADMISSIONS STATISTICS, ENROLLMENT STATISTICS, AND GRADUATE AND
                                 TRANSFER RATES, BY INSTITUTION
                                                                                                                                                                       Tennessee         PEER
                                                        Western Carolina      Appalachian       James Madison      Morehead State     Murray State     Sonoma State   Technological    AVERAGE
                                           Institution:    University        State University     University         University        University        University     University  (if applicable)
2004-05 APTITUDE TEST STATISTICS
ACT Composite 25th Percentile                                   18                  20                  22                17                 19                 19          20             20
ACT Composite Midpoint*                                         20                  22                  24                19                 22                 22          23             22
ACT Composite 75th Percentile                                   22                  24                  26                21                 25                 24          26             24
SAT Composite 25th Percentile                                   930               1,030               1,070              830                                   950         990            974
SAT Composite Midpoint*                                       1025                1,125               1,160              960                 n/a             1,045        1,110          1,080
SAT Composite 75th Percentile                                 1120                1,220               1,250             1,090                                1,140        1,230          1,186
* Represents the midpoint between the sums of the 25th percentile math and verbal and 75th percentile math and verbal scores on the respective aptitude tests.
  2004-05 ADMISSIONS STATISTICS
  Applicants                                                 4,905                9,683              15,013             5,194              2,833             9,283        3,292          7,550
  Admissions                                                 3,738                6,553               9,472             3,422              2,382             6,313        2,475          5,103
  Enrolled                                                   1,578                2,516               3,285             1,284              1,313             1,121        1,423          1,824
  Admissions as % of Applicants                              76.2%                67.7%               63.1%             65.9%             84.1%              68.0%        75.2%          70.7%
  Enrolled as % of Admissions                                32.2%                38.4%               34.7%             37.5%             55.1%              17.8%        57.5%          40.2%
  FALL 2005 ENROLLMENT
  Grand Total                                                8,665                14,653             16,938             9,003             10,266             7,749        9,313          11,320
  Full-Time Undergraduate                                    6,015                12,043             14,885             5,964              7,155             5,687        6,453           8,698
  Full-Time Graduate                                           522                 695                 689               283                538                610         592             568
    Subtotal, Full-Time                                      6,537                12,738             15,574             6,247              7,693             6,297        7,045           9,266
  Part-Time Undergraduate                                      965                 943                 733              1,528              1,422               987         802            1,069
  Part-Time Graduate                                         1,163                 972                 631              1,228              1,151               465        1,466            986
    Subtotal, Part-Time                                      2,128                1,915               1,364             2,756              2,573             1,452        2,268           2,055
  Full-Time as % of Total                                    75.4%                86.9%               91.9%             69.4%             74.9%              81.3%        75.6%          80.0%
  Undergraduate as % of Total                                80.6%                88.6%               92.2%             83.2%             83.5%              86.1%        77.9%          85.3%
  GRADUATE AND TRANSFER RATES 2005
  Total Cohort Graduation Rate                                47%                  64%                 80%               36%                50%                48%         45%            54%
  4-Year Bachelor's Degree Graduation Rate                    23%                  35%                 62%               16%                38%                19%         6%             29%
  6-Year Bachelor's Degree Graduation Rate                    47%                  64%                 80%               42%                57%                48%         45%            56%
  Total Transfer-Out Rate                                     24%                  15%                 10%                                                     45%         24%            24%
  Transfer-Out Rate, Bachelor's Cohort                        24%                  15%                 10%                                                     45%         24%            24%
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Enrollment Survey.




                                                                                                                                                                                                  282
                                                                EXHIBIT D-3:
                                                  REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES, BY INSTITUTION
                                                                                                                                                            Tennessee         PEER
                                                      Western Carolina    Appalachian       James Madison   Morehead State   Murray State   Sonoma State   Technological    AVERAGE
                                         Institution:    University      State University     University      University      University      University     University  (if applicable)
 2004-05 FINANCE DATA - REVENUES
 Tuition and Fees                                      $26,662,394         $54,990,282       $82,010,796      $22,553,579    $32,351,507     $24,378,399   $24,230,768     $40,085,889
 Tuition and Fees as % of Total Revenues                  17.4%               20.3%             27.1%            19.0%          23.5%           16.3%          21.8%           21.3%
 Federal Operating Grants & Contracts                  $7,135,394           $549,527         $14,749,536      $20,868,400    $12,463,138     $23,439,243    $5,650,551     $12,953,399
 State Operating Grants & Contracts                    $2,781,998          $1,412,717         $6,822,323      $10,318,105     $7,421,792     $13,109,969    $2,036,146      $6,853,509
 Local and Private Operating Grants & Contracts        $1,198,727           $463,537          $3,336,876       $900,476        $245,580      $2,628,689      $551,125       $1,354,381
 Auxiliary                                             $18,042,567         $44,916,423       $90,297,115      $11,356,312    $17,993,122     $16,908,657    $8,538,857     $31,668,414
 Hospital                                                  $0                  $0                 $0              $0              $0             $0             $0              $0
 Independent Operations                                $1,882,446          $9,755,615             $0              $0              $0             $0             $0          $1,625,936
 Other Operating Revenues                              $3,685,323           $939,115           $787,947       $4,043,333      $5,140,180     $3,149,223     $3,793,980      $2,975,630
    Subtotal Operating Revenues                        $61,388,849        $113,027,216       $198,004,593     $70,040,205    $75,615,319     $83,614,180   $44,801,427     $97,517,157
 Federal Appropriations                                    $0                  $0                 $0              $0              $0             $0             $0              $0
 State Appropriations                                  $59,294,421         $91,557,691       $63,532,170      $42,678,310    $49,366,100     $53,403,811   $47,869,300     $58,067,897
 Local Appropriations                                      $0                  $0                 $0              $0              $0             $0             $0              $0
 Federal Nonoperating Grants & Contracts               $4,873,508          $9,378,050             $0              $0          $1,747,094         $0         $5,924,285      $2,841,572
 State Nonoperating Grants & Contracts                   $50,916           $4,811,693             $0              $0          $2,805,482         $0         $7,210,983      $2,471,360
 Local Nonoperating Grants & Contracts                     $0              $1,968,600             $0              $0          $1,220,515         $0             $0           $531,519
 Gifts                                                 $2,411,066          $5,627,388          $567,539           $0           $578,337      $1,814,877      $748,872       $1,556,169
 Investment Income                                     $3,422,638          $3,541,885         $1,326,288      $1,497,157      $2,464,474      $587,093       $754,649       $1,695,258
 Other Nonoperating Income                                 $0              $1,745,608             $0              $0           $646,417      $1,387,925         $0           $629,992
    Subtotal Nonoperating Income                       $70,052,549        $118,630,915       $65,425,997      $44,175,467    $58,828,419     $57,193,706   $62,508,089     $67,793,766
 Capital Appropriations                                $1,226,900          $1,497,400        $34,231,477      $4,482,779      $1,274,783      $242,000      $2,476,631      $7,367,512
 Capital Grants and Gifts                              $20,432,820         $37,579,847        $4,693,523          $0          $1,865,986     $8,878,807     $1,183,098      $9,033,544
 Additions to Endowment                                 $206,991               $0                 $0              $0              $0             $0           $17,520         $2,920
 Other Revenues                                            $0                  $0                 $0              $0           $121,763          $0             $0            $20,294
    Subtotal Other Revenues                            $21,866,711         $39,077,247       $38,925,000      $4,482,779      $3,262,532     $9,120,807     $3,677,249     $16,424,269
 Grand Total Revenues                                 $153,308,109        $270,735,378       $302,355,590    $118,698,451    $137,706,270   $149,928,693   $110,986,765    $181,735,191
 2004-05 FINANCE DATA - EXPENDITURES
 Instruction                                           $43,201,589         $74,250,596       $81,778,715      $40,397,806    $47,040,216     $34,932,195   $44,045,220     $53,740,791
 Research                                              $2,104,121          $1,053,774         $5,030,508      $1,577,469      $2,647,825         $0         $7,329,743      $2,939,887
 Public Service                                        $10,560,403         $6,019,764        $10,358,294      $9,699,827      $5,803,477     $33,776,960    $4,212,659     $11,645,164
 Academic Support                                      $7,782,810          $27,189,784       $22,551,221      $9,769,554      $7,040,101     $9,391,527     $6,391,710     $13,722,316
 Student Services                                      $4,296,769          $5,697,905         $7,899,551      $8,199,004     $11,201,585     $10,066,521    $9,190,962      $8,709,255
 Institutional Support                                 $12,798,337         $15,267,093       $14,669,492      $11,213,543    $10,918,645     $13,741,221    $8,744,371     $12,425,728
 Plant Operation and Maintenance                       $11,781,739         $21,521,304       $16,175,207      $6,246,177     $17,439,073     $12,935,286   $10,190,122     $14,084,528
 Depreciation                                          $3,827,434          $11,097,494       $16,651,977      $4,635,467      $6,527,977     $7,110,567     $4,054,125      $8,346,268
 Scholarships and Fellowships                          $4,815,090          $8,812,920         $4,721,143      $10,434,550     $6,973,072     $5,185,093     $8,262,782      $7,398,260
 Auxiliary                                             $23,926,931         $42,626,633       $73,937,527      $10,591,621    $16,099,228     $9,889,423     $5,792,635     $26,489,511
 Hospital                                                  $0                  $0                 $0              $0              $0             $0             $0              $0
 Independent Operations                                $1,773,402          $11,265,102            $0              $0              $0             $0             $0          $1,877,517
 Other                                                     $0                  $0                 $0            $78,089           $0             $0             $0            $13,015
    Subtotal Operating Expenditures                   $126,868,625        $224,802,369       $253,773,635    $112,843,107    $131,691,199   $137,028,793   $108,214,329    $161,392,239
 Interest                                              $1,431,865          $4,613,598         $3,424,474      $1,091,191      $1,503,252     $4,947,551      $555,544       $2,689,268
 Other Nonoperating Expenditures                        $411,001            $206,167           $961,657           $0           $207,331          $0          $180,351        $259,251
    Subtotal Nonoperating Expenditures                 $1,842,866          $4,819,765         $4,386,131      $1,091,191      $1,710,583     $4,947,551      $735,895       $2,948,519
 Grand Total Expenditures                             $128,711,491        $229,622,134       $258,159,766    $113,934,298    $133,401,782   $141,976,344   $108,950,224    $164,340,758
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Finance Survey.
                                                                                                                                                                                           283
                                                EXHIBIT D-4:
                            REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES PER STUDENT, BY INSTITUTION
                                                                                                                                                   Tennessee           PEER
                                                Western Carolina Appalachian State James Madison   Morehead State   Murray State   Sonoma State   Technological      AVERAGE
                                   Institution:   University        University       University      University      University     University      University    (if applicable)
2004-05 FINANCE DATA - REVENUES PER STUDENT
Tuition and Fees                                   $3,176            $3,753           $5,091           $2,431          $3,197         $3,056         $2,629          $3,359
Federal Operating Grants & Contracts                $850               $38             $916            $2,249          $1,232         $2,938          $613           $1,331
State Operating Grants & Contracts                  $331               $96             $424            $1,112           $733          $1,643          $221            $705
Local and Private Operating Grants & Contracts      $143               $32             $207              $97            $24            $330            $60            $125
Auxiliary                                          $2,149            $3,065           $5,606           $1,224          $1,778         $2,120          $926           $2,453
Hospital                                              $0                $0               $0               $0             $0              $0             $0              $0
Independent Operations                              $224              $666               $0               $0             $0              $0             $0            $111
Other Operating Revenues                            $439               $64              $49             $436            $508           $395           $412            $311
  Subtotal Operating Revenues                      $7,312            $7,714          $12,292           $7,549          $7,472        $10,482         $4,861          $8,395
Federal Appropriations                                $0                $0               $0               $0             $0              $0             $0              $0
State Appropriations                               $7,062            $6,248           $3,944           $4,600          $4,878         $6,695         $5,194          $5,260
Local Appropriations                                  $0                $0               $0               $0             $0              $0             $0              $0
Federal Nonoperating Grants & Contracts             $580              $640               $0               $0            $173             $0           $643            $243
State Nonoperating Grants & Contracts                 $6              $328               $0               $0            $277             $0           $782            $231
Local Nonoperating Grants & Contracts                 $0              $134               $0               $0            $121             $0             $0             $42
Gifts                                               $287              $384              $35               $0            $57            $228            $81            $131
Investment Income                                   $408              $242              $82             $161            $244            $74            $82            $147
Other Nonoperating Income                             $0              $119               $0               $0            $64            $174             $0             $59
  Subtotal Nonoperating Incom e                    $8,344            $8,096           $4,062           $4,761          $5,813         $7,170         $6,782          $6,114
Capital Appropriations                              $146              $102            $2,125            $483            $126            $30           $269            $523
Capital Grants and Gifts                           $2,434            $2,565            $291               $0            $184          $1,113          $128            $714
Additions to Endow ment                              $25                $0               $0               $0             $0              $0             $2              $0
Other Revenues                                        $0                $0               $0               $0            $12              $0             $0              $2
  Subtotal Other Revenues                          $2,604            $2,667           $2,417            $483            $322          $1,143          $399           $1,239
Grand Total Revenues                              $18,260           $18,476          $18,771          $12,794         $13,607        $18,795        $12,042         $15,747
2004-05 FINANCE DATA - EXPENDITURES PER STUDENT
Instruction                                        $5,145            $5,067           $5,077           $4,354          $4,648         $4,379         $4,779          $4,717
Research                                            $251               $72             $312             $170            $262            $0            $795            $269
Public Service                                     $1,258             $411             $643            $1,045           $573          $4,234          $457           $1,227
Academic Support                                    $927             $1,856           $1,400           $1,053           $696          $1,177          $693           $1,146
Student Services                                    $512              $389             $490             $884           $1,107         $1,262          $997            $855
Institutional Support                              $1,524            $1,042            $911            $1,209          $1,079         $1,723          $949           $1,152
Plant Operation and Maintenance                    $1,403            $1,469           $1,004            $673           $1,723         $1,622         $1,106          $1,266
Depreciation                                        $456              $757            $1,034            $500            $645           $891           $440            $711
Scholarships and Fellow ships                       $573              $601             $293            $1,125           $689           $650           $896            $709
Auxiliary                                          $2,850            $2,909           $4,590           $1,142          $1,591         $1,240          $628           $2,017
Hospital                                              $0                $0               $0              $0              $0             $0              $0              $0
Independent Operations                              $211              $769               $0              $0              $0             $0              $0            $128
Other                                                 $0                $0               $0              $8              $0             $0              $0              $1
  Subtotal Operating Expenditures                 $15,111           $15,342          $15,755          $12,162         $13,013        $17,178        $11,741         $14,198
Interest                                            $171              $315             $213             $118            $149           $620            $60            $246
Other Nonoperating Expenditures                      $49               $14              $60              $0             $20             $0             $20             $19
  Subtotal Nonoperating Expenditures                $219              $329             $272             $118            $169           $620            $80            $265
Grand Total Expenditures                          $15,330           $15,671          $16,027          $12,280         $13,182        $17,798        $11,821         $14,463
                                                                                                                                                                                    284
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Finance Survey.
                                                              EXHIBIT D-5:
                                          STAFFING LEVELS AND FACULTY SALARIES, BY INSTITUTION
                                                                                                                                                             Tennessee           PEER
                                                          Western Carolina Appalachian State James Madison   Morehead State   Murray State   Sonoma State   Technological      AVERAGE
                                             Institution:   University        University       University      University      University     University      University    (if applicable)
 FALL 2005 STAFFING LEVELS
 Full time, Faculty (instruction/research/public service)     416              703              796              378             394            263             380             486
 Student/Full-Time Faculty Ratio                              20.8             20.8             21.3             23.8            26.1           29.5            24.5            24.3
   Full time, Faculty less than 9/10-month contract
   Full time, Faculty on 9/10-month contract                  386               683              716             378              336            255            365             456
   Full time, Faculty on 11/12-month contract                  30                20               80                               58              8             15              36
 Full time, Executive/administrative and managerial            62                94               96               57              56             82             41              71
 Full time, Other professionals                               231               381              513              335             257            345            226             343
 Full time, Technical and paraprofessionals                    99               229              203               42              71             75             27             108
 Full time, Clerical and secretarial                          183               253              297              148             249            122            204             212
 Full time, Skilled crafts                                     69                62              142               55              65             41             62              71
 Full time, Service/maintenance                               181               411              232              113             232             78            129             199
   Full time total                                           1,241             2,133            2,279            1,128           1,324          1,006          1,069           1,490
 Part time, Faculty (instruction/research/public service)      28                19              293              156             151            222            180             170
 Part time, Instruction/research assistants                   291               358              185              101             168             21            270             184
 Part time, Executive/administrative and managerial                               1                                                2               2             1               2
 Part time, Other professionals                                3                 13             362               74               16             56             4               88
 Part time, Technical and paraprofessionals                    1                  9              56               60               3               8             12              25
 Part time, Clerical and secretarial                          10                 26             144               19               8              19             14              38
 Part time, Skilled crafts                                                                       10                                                                              10
 Part time, Service/maintenance                                1                 22              58                24             3                                              27
   Part time total                                            334               448            1,108              434            351             328            481             525
 Total Staff                                                 1,575             2,581           3,387             1,562          1,675           1,334          1,550           2,015
 Student/Staff Ratio                                          5.5               5.7             5.0               5.8            6.1             5.8            6.0             5.7
 Full-Time as % of Total                                     78.8%             82.6%           67.3%             72.2%          79.0%           75.4%          69.0%           74.3%
 FALL 2005 FACULTY SALARIES
 All Ranks 9-Month                                          $57,339           $60,808         $60,628           $52,224        $57,714         $68,343        $60,557         $60,046
 Full Professor 9-Month                                     $73,685           $74,313         $77,372           $71,612        $76,251         $83,027        $72,555         $75,855
 Associate Professor 9-Month                                $60,707           $62,068         $62,371           $56,261        $61,069         $64,841        $61,706         $61,386
 Assistant Professor 9-Month                                $52,598           $53,527         $51,017           $49,198        $50,951         $54,652        $49,115         $51,410
 Instructor 9-Month                                                           $45,348         $42,856           $34,782        $37,426                        $36,502         $39,383
 Lecturer 9-Month                                           $37,750           $39,527                                          $39,817         $57,659                        $45,668
 No Rank 9-Month                                            $47,408           $45,304                                                                                         $45,304
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2005 Finance and Staffing Surveys.




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    APPENDIX E:
List of Peer Institution
     Interviewees




                           286
List of Peer Institution Interviewees

              Institution                                                       Title
Appalachian State University                Associate Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs
James Madison University                    Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Morehead State University                   Staff Regent and Director of First Year Program and Retention
Sonoma State University                     Director of Student Development
                                            Provost
                                            Director of Instituional Research
Tennessee Technological
                                            Dean, College of Arts & Science
University
                                            Vice President for Student Affairs
                                            Coordintor, University 1020
Note: Murray State University was unavailable to participate in an interview.




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