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Student Success Center, Office of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Retention Initiatives to Open June 1 on WIU-Macomb Campus; LGBT*QA Resource Center Moves to Multicultural Center

April 17, 2019

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MACOMB, IL -- To ensure student success at Western Illinois University, the Division of Student Services will consolidate several student support offices beginning June 1.

According to Vice President for Student Services Ron Williams, Student Development, the Disability Support Center, the Career Development Center and the Health and Wellness division in Beu Health Center will become the Student Development and Success Center. Following the upcoming retirements of personnel, the new center, which will be housed on the first floor of Memorial Hall, adjacent to the University Counseling Center, will be led by Samantha Klingler, program director at Beu Health Center.

In addition, the Office of Student Judicial Programs, Building Connections and the Leatherneck Success Team program will transition to the Office of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Retention Initiatives, led by Justin Schuch, director of Judicial Programs. The office is located in Seal Hall.

"We have recently seen a marked increase in the University's retention rates, and we want to continue to build upon those services we provide our students so they continue to be successful at Western," Williams noted. "With the upcoming retirements of two directors, and other staffing changes, it made sense to begin looking at the student support center and the office both in terms of one-stop shops to provide greater, and more convenient, access to our students. We will also experience significant cost savings with one director overseeing the center and one director overseeing the Office of Student Rights."

WIU's Fall 2018-to-Spring 2019 retention for new full-time freshmen has increased to 86.3 percent compared to Fall 2017-to-Spring 2018 (82.5 percent), and WIU's total undergraduate retention (Fall to Spring) has increased to 89.7 percent, compared to last year (88.9 percent).

"The implications of retention are great for an institution," he said. "If our fall-to-spring has increased, we are optimistic about fall-to-fall retention, as spring retention is a fairly strong indicator. However, we must continue to have strong support services in place to ensure our students succeed and finish their degree at WIU."

The new Student Development and Success Center will provide assistance with job searches and career preparation, host career fairs, ensure inclusion and accessibility, as well as the necessary accommodations for students with disabilities, provide health and wellness outreach programming and services, assist with personal development and serve students in crisis. The University Advising and Academic Support Center, along with academic success coaches, are also located in Memorial Hall, which is an added benefit to the new center's location, Williams added.

The Office of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Retention Initiatives will continue to coordinate and facilitate the student conduct process, with an enhanced focus on students' roles as Leathernecks and their role in the campus community, as well as the rights students have as members of the WIU community, Williams noted. The office will also coordinate multiple services and events focused on enhancing student retention, including faculty, staff and peer mentorship programs.

Klingler has served as a program director/health education specialist at Beu Health Center since August 2017. Previously, she was a medical technologist at Beu. Klingler has also served as an adjunct instructor at Carl Sandburg College in Carthage. Before joining Western's Division of Student Services, she was employed at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL. Klingler received her bachelor's and master's degrees from WIU.

Schuch has served as the director of Student Judicial Programs since September 2018. Previously, he was the assistant director of residence life for leadership and development in University Housing and Dining Services. Schuch has also served as coordinator of residential leadership and engagement and as a hall director at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale before joining the Leatherneck family. Schuch received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Eastern Illinois University.

In addition, the LGBT*QA Resource Center, which is currently located in the University Union, will move to the Multicultural Center (MCC) this summer, and be fully operational by August. The move, Williams added, provides increased visibility and space for the center, as well as for the LGTB*QA student organization, Unity.

"The addition of the LGBT*QA Resource Center to the Multicultural Center could not come at a better time as August marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the MCC. The central campus location allows these student centers to enhance their goals of providing educational, social and cultural programs, and raise awareness and appreciation for racial, ethnic and gender diversity," Williams added.

The center joins Casa Latina Cultural Center (led by Rocio Ayard Ochoa), the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center (led by Michael Williams) and the Women's Center (led by Stephanie Hovsepian) within the MCC.

"The overall goal of the MCC is to be inclusively inviting and intentionally recognizing. We welcome students of all racial, ethnic and gender identities, and the addition of the LGBT*QA Resource Center amplifies our goal. We welcome the resource center to the MCC," Ochoa, Williams and Hovsepian added. "We encourage students who are connected to the LGBT*QA Resource Center to visit the MCC, meet the other students and staff who call the MCC home, and make the MCC a place of their own."

The MCC will host an open house during the Fall 2019 semester.

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