First Year Experience

Retention Initiatives

The Retention Initiatives Area, housed in the Division of Enrollment Management, focuses on the development of the student experience at Western Illinois University to enhance student success. The Retention Initiatives Area is comprised of the Office of Retention Initiatives, the Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement, the First Year Advising Center, and the Transition and Academic Skills Center.

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

Initiatives and Support

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.

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.

Offices in Retention Area

Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement
The Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement focuses on career development for both the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses, as well as online students. Offering traditional resources like resume review, interview preparation, career navigation and more, the Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement will also focus on the enhancement of employer relations and engagement with our students to create increased experiential learning opportunities. Career development resources had previously been housed in the Office of Transitional Programs. The Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement is found in the lower level of Memorial Hall on the Macomb campus, as well as in QC Complex C on the Quad Cities campus, and led by Audrey Adamson. More can be learned about the Center for Career Preparation and Employer Engagement at  wiu.edu/careers .

First Year Advising Center
Incoming first-year students are advised via an outstanding advising team in the First Year Advising Center who support incoming students through their first year with multiple meetings and touch points. The First Year Advising Center also serves students in the Reach program, as well as students who are undecided in their field of study. The First Year Advising Center also supports current high school students who are dually enrolled at Western Illinois University. The First Year Advising Center is located in the lower level of Memorial Hall, led by Michelle Yager. More can be learned about the First Year Advising Center at  wiu.edu/FYadvising .

Transition and Academic Skills Center
Leatherneck Launch (new student orientation in fall, spring, summer) and Camp Leatherneck are two key programs coordinated from the center to focus on the first steps students take as Leathernecks. The Transition and Academic Skills Center also focus on all students' transition to their academic college life by focusing on academic skill development resources like Rocky's Resources, the Academic Success Coaching Program, academic skill workshops and other tutoring support. The Transition and Academic Skills Center is located in the lower level of Memorial Hall under the leadership of Michelle Janisz. More can be learned about the Transition and Academic Skills Center at  wiu.edu/tasc .

Office of Retention Initiatives
The Office of Retention Initiatives will continue to provide mentorship programming resources and early intervention initiatives for students located in Sherman Hall. The Office of Retention Initiatives works closely with the Provost's Office on the implementation of the First Year Experience program, as well as the Division of Student Services to ensure processes are in place to support students. More can be learned about the Office of Retention Initiatives at  wiu.edu/retention .

Retention 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 

 

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