2017 Strategic Enrollment Planning Initiatives

In the article "Behind the Scenes: New Recruitment and Retention Efforts," Provost Madonne Miner explained how and why the university contracted the services of consulting firm Ruffalo Noel-Levitz.

The purpose of hiring Ruffalo was to develop more effective recruitment and retention strategies to attract and retain students. A Strategic Enrollment Plan (SEP) was developed, and several strategies, or initiatives, have been endorsed by President’s Council.

Some of these efforts will go into effect now for fall semester 2018, and some will come in future years. The strategies can be broken into two broad categories: recruitment and retention.

Endorsed Recruitment Strategies

  1. Increase the enrollment of new freshman and transfer non-resident students, focusing on the Western States
  2. Increase the enrollment of concurrent enrollment students by expanding scholarship offerings to all students completing 12 hours of concurrent college credit irrespective of institution
  3. Decrease the “melt” of admitted students from the time of admission to first day of class
  4. Implement a comprehensive tuition-discounting (scholarship) plan that includes offering awards at the point of recruitment, multi-year awards and additional tuition discounts for living in on-campus housing
  5. Expand underdeveloped markets that include students who “stopped out” within the last three years, concurrent enrollment students who did not initially enroll at WSU, students who submitted federal aid forms (FAFSA) but who did not enroll, and local area residents
  6. Expand into new international markets using agents, webinars and targeted travel
  7. Develop new 2+2 Partner Programs where international students complete the first two years in their home country and the final two years at WSU
  8. Increase international student recruitment from community colleges and local high schools who cater to foreign students
  9. Revamp the international new student orientation/tracking, so we do not inadvertently lose students due to SEVIS/Department of Homeland Security issues
  10. Implement Ellucian’s CRM Recruit software for better recruitment, tracking and communication with potential international students  

Endorsed Retention Strategies

  1. Hire eight new academic advisors for help in campus-wide retention efforts, such as contacting all new first-time students, implementing Starfish initiatives, contacting drop-outs and stop-outs, helping with orientation and resolving holds
  2. Improve student persistence by incentivizing key events for students to complete during their first year of attendance, such as meeting with their academic advisor, taking math in their first year, enrolling in 30 credit hours in 3 semesters (30-in-3) and completing classes in their major
  3. Improve communication and training for faculty/staff as it relates to student retention and persistence
  4. Provide additional resources to strengthen New Student Orientation by hiring a full-time coordinator, increasing the operating budget and developing a robust parent component
  5. Monitor course demand by waitlisting all “waitlistable” courses
  6. Improve student persistence by identifying and eliminating the bottlenecks associated with course high failure rates and those with too few sections offered
  7. Encourage faculty to respond to Starfish surveys that will identify at-risk and well-performing students
  8. Encourage faculty to use Canvas for attendance and basic grade records

Possible Future Retention Strategies

These initiatives have been reviewed, and there is interest in implementing them. However, the associated costs, feasibility, return on investment and impact on student retention and graduation have not been fully vetted.

These strategies, and perhaps others not yet identified, will be evaluated for possible implementation in the next 2-4 years.

  1. Improve persistence and graduation by encouraging students to submit complete Graduation MAPS using the CatTracks planning tool and visual schedule builder each semester in the registration process
  2. Revise faculty rank, tenure and promotion standards to encourage and reward student advising and participation in high-impact student activities
  3. Expand UNIV 1105 (Foundations of College Success) offerings to provide information and skills for student’s academic success
  4. Establish cohorts and learning communities
  5. Create a peer-mentoring program for incoming students
  6. Determine whether or not web chat functionality will be effective for student recruitment and retention
  7. Reduce the cost of course materials