How UWM stops stop-outs

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sought to improve its advising to help its diverse student population

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) has scaled its advising services with the help of EAB's Student Success Collaborative (SSC), writes the university's assistant provost for institutional effectiveness in an article for The EvoLLLution

Learn more about the Student Success Collaborative

Gesele Durham explains that UWM's decentralized advising structure was confusing for students who often had to meet with numerous advisors in different departments, each with their own policies and procedures. But with an increasingly diverse population of lower-income, first-generation, and less academically prepared students, UWM needed a way to make advising more accessible. 

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"This lack of consistency in the student experience complicates understanding and, potentially, progress towards a degree," Durham writes.

UWM partnered with SSC in 2014, and in 2015 it created a working group—SSC-SWAT—to ensure the institution used SSC's tools and services to their full potential. The SSC-SWAT team includes representatives from each college on campus and is supported by a leadership team that includes an experienced advisor who serves as chair, a technical lead, and Durham herself.

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Durham says the team's most innovative and successful projects have been the campus-wide campaigns that SSC helped them design, particularly one focused on stop-out students. SSC-SWAT focused on students in good academic standing with at least 90 credits who were not enrolled for an upcoming term: stop-outs. Durham says the institution has seen such good results retaining these students that they've now expanded the campaign to support students with financial holds.

Durham says UWM recently expanded their partnership with SSC and predicts that the institution will only continue to improve student outcomes.

"With the implementation of the SSC-Campus tool within the last month, we are looking forward to greater participation and the evolution of the coordinated care network students need today—bringing together the efforts of advisors and student support offices such as tutoring, financial aid, mentoring, career services, and instructors," Durham writes (Durham, EvoLLLution, 8/17). 

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