University Planning

Academy for Student Persistence and Completion

Through our Higher Values in Higher Education Strategic Plan, Western Illinois University is committed to increasing student persistence and completion rates through the provision of an educational environment that values academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth, and social responsibility.

The videos shown on this page show Western Illinois University "Success Stories" They illustrate the importance of our mission-driven commitment to provide student-centered undergraduate and graduate programs characterized by innovative teaching, research, and service, grounded in interdisciplinary, regional and global perspectives.


Because we are a professional, diverse, and accomplished faculty and staff who collaborate with alumni and community partners, we encourage you to get involved with our Persistence and Completion Academy by watching the videos featured on the page, sending ideas or volunteering for committees, and reading the information featured on this site. Together we make a difference in the lives of students that we serve.

The Higher Learning Commission has initiated resources for institutions to improve through participation in the Academy for Student Persistence and Completion. This academy provides a four-year sequence of activities designed to build institutional capacity to improve persistence and completion of its students. During the Academy, institutions focus on

  • Effective collection of data and other information to identify student persistence and completion patterns
  • Evaluation and improvement of current persistence and completion strategies
  • Development of new student persistence and completion strategies for specific cohorts of students

More information on the Academy for Student Persistence and Completion PDF File

Data Determination, and Decisions: A Branch Campus Project for HLC Persistence and Completion Academy

Data Determination, and Decisions: A Branch Campus Project for HLC Persistence and Completion Academy PDF File

A Pilot LA program in Calculus and Physics in Support of Engineering at WIU-QC

A Pilot LA program in Calculus and Physics in Support of Engineering at WIU-QC PDF File

WIU-Quad Cities Learning Assistants Proposal PDF File

Debbie Kepple-Mamros served as the Chairperson for the University’s 11-member Steering Team in the Persistence and Completion Academy, which is now completing its fourth and final year in 2017-2018.

The 5-member Data Facilitation Team continued to add variables to the retention analysis tool in the data warehouse. The tool now includes sixteen freshman and transfer fall cohorts, 80 filters that allow the user to filter on financial aid status, demographics, academic information such as major and course placement, and 29 measures including course deficiencies, retention and graduation. The team also achieved the goal of making the tool more intuitive, which in turn allowed them to roll out the reporting interface to an even wider internal audience.

The 17-member Macomb Team advocated for the hiring of an academic success coach to deliver developmental coaching to students who are on academic warning or probation. After just one year, this has been so successful that they are looking to hire an additional 1/2 time person in this same role. They also developed an early at-risk predictive model that allows them to have a list of at-risk students at 10th day rather than waiting until early warning or mid-term. Finally, they implemented a second Building Connections student/mentor meeting to talk about mid-term grades, semester progress, and planning ahead for spring semester registration.

The 13-member Quad Cities Team launched the first year of a three-year pilot of a Learning Assistants Program meant to increase the persistence and completion of engineering students. The team has also been active in assessing the program. Finally, the team has begun to lay the groundwork for completing an application for a TRIO Student Support Services Grant in the next grant cycle.

The 16-member Distance Learning Team conducted a follow-up survey to the two student surveys they deployed the year before. This time they surveyed fully online faculty. As a result improved online training was developed. They also discovered that faculty expectations of time spent on course content was aligned with that of students taking the online courses.