First Year Experience

Retention Initiatives

The Office of Retention Initiatives focuses on the development of the student experience at Western Illinois University to enhance student success. Through programmatic development, process review and creation, and data analyzation, the Office of Retention Initiatives endeavors to positively impact student retention and success at Western Illinois University. 

Click on the tabs below to learn more about Retention Initiatives.

Initiatives and Support

Building Connections Mentorship Program

The Building Connections Mentorship program focuses on assisting students in their transition to Western Illinois University. Students are paired with faculty and staff members who facilitate individual meetings to discuss campus connections, resources, and more. 

Leatherneck Success Team

The Leatherneck Success Team (LST) is a peer-to-peer resource and mentoring for students. The team consists of a group of Western Illinois University students who have a passion for mentoring fellow students.

Connections Mapping Program

The Connections Mapping Program focused on connecting students to valuable campus resources during critical times throughout the semester.

Staff and Teams

Executive Director of Retention Initiatives

Justin Schuch
Sherman Hall 121 

Director of Transition and Academic Skills Center

Dr. Michelle Janisz
Memorial Hall 008 

Director of First Year Advising Center

Michelle Yager
Memorial Hall 033

Director of Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement

Audrey Adamson
QC Complex C 1416

Retention Associate

Jackie Miller
Sherman Hall 121

Graduate Assistants and Support

Angelique Herrera
Graduate Assistant

Quentin Wilson
Graduate Assistant 

Angel Harris
Student Assistant


University Retention Initiative Team

The University Retention Initiative Team was established by the Office of Retention Initiatives to focus on data analyzation and response to meet student needs. The Retention Initiatives Team reviews retention and completion data from IRP, including information relating to subpopulations of students, as well as data provided by IPEDS and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).  

First Name Last Name Representing  
Audrey Adamson Quad Cities Director, Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement
Lori Baker-Sperry First Year Experience, Provost's Office Professor, Liberal Arts and Sciences
Angela Bonifas President's Area Director, Institutional Research and Planning
Jackie Miller Enrollment Management Retention Associate
Stacy Dorsett College of Education and Human Services Academic Advisor
Carl Ervin Student Services Coordinator, Multicultural Center
Tammy Killian College of Fine Arts and Communication Chair, Theatre and Dance
Samantha Klingler Student Services Director, Student Development and Success
Anneliese Land College of Fine Arts and Communication School of Music Recruitment, Retention and Admissions Coordinator
Sarah Lawson Provost's Office Supervisor, Registrar's Office
Sara Lytle College of Business and Technology Director, Business and Computer Science Advising
Sue Martinelli-Fernandez College of Arts & Sciences Dean
Mark Mossman Provost's Office Associate Provost
Lorette Oden Honors College Interim Dean
Jeremy Robinett College of Education and Human Services Assistant Professor
James Schmidt College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean
Justin Schuch Enrollment Management Executive Director
Michelle Howe College of Business and Technology Instructor
Gary Swegan Enrollment Management Interim Associate Vice President