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Academic Support & Advocacy Center (ASA)

The Academic Support & Advocacy Center (ASA) is intended to help support student persistence by centralizing student success professionals and incorporating differentiated and proactive care to students. Throughout this site we provide information on why ASA is being established, what its goals are, and how we are progressing toward these goals.

Why has the university created the ASA?

Like most universities today, WCU is struggling to retain students. This is because of a pandemic-related lack of preparation of incoming students, and increasing complications in student lives related to resource scarcity and emotional challenges, among other things. Feedback from faculty, staff and students has driven the university’s commitment to invest additional resources and strategies to support student success. The following provides an overview of the data and feedback that inform the need to strategically grow student support services.

Evolving Student Support Opportunities

The university assumes the responsibility of ensuring the supports and services we offer align with the needs of our student community. This requires us to assess and reimagine our support services and pivot them to meet student needs.

National data shows there are changes in student preparation profiles impacting all students, not just WCU students.

Data from our EAB partners indicates that students have unfinished K-12 learning that will impact higher education preparation for years to come.

unfinished k-12 learning for math
unfinished k-12 learing for reading

In addition to national preparedness challenges, WCU recognizes that student expectations and needs continually evolve and we need to be proactive in adjusting to meet their needs. Student have experienced changes associated with behavior, connectedness, expectations, engagement, housing, inflation, etc. that all impact how they engage in school and what supports they need. The Academic Support & Advocacy Center is aimed at strategically coordinating resources and supports in a way that aligns with students’ evolving needs.

More personnel needed to support high-touch care strategies

WCU faculty and staff continue to provide incredible supports to students in and out of the classroom. However, we recognize additional personnel are needed to proactively connect students with high-touch supports. This work cannot simply be absorbed within the existing supports provided by faculty and staff. Therefore, the University is committed to providing more personnel resources via the Academic Support & Advocacy team.

Data from WCU’s new Navigate Student Engagement platform provides visibility into the opportunities the university has to connect students with support services. Information provided via cases and alerts in Navigate indicates where additional hands can better support student success.

During Spring 2023, WCU was able to provide more supports to responding to navigate cases/alerts by reinstating the Student Success & Engagement Team (SSET). This team comprised of faculty & staff engaged in direct student outreach to ensure more Navigate cases resulted in student support. From this, we see strategically incorporating additional personnel into this work has a direct impact on student engagement with support services. The following data provides a snapshot of how engagement grew with the onboarding of SSET.

Fall 2022 Spring 2023 (Data as of April 2023)
3,445 Kudos 1,856 kudos
5,620 Cases 4,196 Cases
18% closed with support 60% closed with support

Moving forward, the University is committed to further aligning personnel resources to directly connect students with support services, and ensure more Navigate cases/alerts result in student support.

The University is committed to building a more proactive approach to student support

The implementation of Navigate, WCU’s student engagement platform, provides the technology and data necessarily to understand the supports students may most benefit from. This technology provides the university an opportunity to pivot from a reactionary care model toward a more proactive support. The predictive data helps the university identify ways in which we can better support students, breakdown roadblocks, and champion their engagement and support. Instead of connecting students with greater supports after they encounter academic difficulty, the university aims to connect students with supports from day one as a more preventative approach.

Navigate provides predictive analytics that inform how the university can better support students, it provides progress report data to monitor how students are doing during the semester, and allows support teams such as that ASA advocates and SSET easy ways to identify students who may most benefit from support.

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