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Strategies to Improve Student Retention at Windward Community College, Hawaii

Windward Community College's (Windward) goals for the student success initiative include increasing retention and graduation by reducing the number of students on unsatisfactory academic progress (UAP), as well as increasing successful student transition from high school to college. To achieve these goals, Windward's success counselor created a two-tiered plan, passive intervention and aggressive intervention, each taking place over the course of one semester. Each plan includes prevention, as well as intervention.

Passive Intervention: Fall 2006

The passive intervention plan included proposing changes to the official college academic policy to remove the credit criteria and cumulative grade point average requirement for students on probation. Passive intervention also included academic advising workshops, letters mailed to all students on UAP advising them of their status and asking that they come in to see the counselor, as well as the creation of a student success Web site, which is a one-stop shop for information regarding academic policy, campus resources, time management, and self help. The site offers a quiz that students can take on time management and provides students information about protecting their academic record. The Web site has had a total of 4,024 hits since its inception. You may visit the Web site at http://www.wcc.hawaii.edu/success.

Aggressive Intervention: Spring 2007

Windward's peer mentoring program provided another venue to make direct contact with students on UAP. The college also implemented mandatory student orientation as a preventive measure to further reduce the number of students on UAP; 300 students attended over the initial semester. In addition, Windward offered student success workshops to provide students with strategies for achieving academic success and ways to keep track of their academic progress. Twenty-eight students attended the workshops. Windward followed up with telephone calls to students to see how they were doing. The results of the aggressive intervention coupled with the strategies already in place from the previous semester suggest that the number of students on UAP standing decreased.

Windward plans to continue to evaluate its efforts to increase retention and graduation and revise strategies as appropriate. Initial statistics indicate a positive trend. While 24 percent of students demonstrated UAP in spring 2006, the number declined to 22 percent in spring 2007. At the same time, the percent of students placed on academic warning declined from 14 percent to 11 percent, and the overall satisfactory standing of the academic population increased from 76 percent to 78 percent.

Contact: Denice Kretz
Title III Project Coordinator
University of Hawaii - Windward Community College
45-720 Keaahala Road
Kaneohe, HI 96744-3598
E-mail: Kretz@hawaii.edu
Telephone: 808-235-7388

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Last Modified: 03/09/2011