UWM’s 2030 Implementation Team Final Report emphasized UWM’s need to focus efforts on becoming a student-centric university. Here we describe how we define success and delineate the specific things we’re doing to drive more success.

Defining Success

As discussed in our May 2021 update, establishing key metrics by which we will judge progress was a critical early step. Our list of metrics includes national standards (first-year retention, four- and six-year graduation rates) and some metrics more specific to UWM (experiential learning). Please see Table 1 below, which includes our metrics for fall 2021.

Table 1 shows that we have much to be proud of, in that our students continued to make good progress despite the pandemic. That progress is a real tribute to the hard work of our faculty and staff. There are also some areas for concern, in that we are continuing to see success gaps for underrepresented minority (URM) students, and as a result, the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research (OAIR) is working to disaggregate the data so that we can do a deeper analysis.

Table 1: click table to enlarge
Table with Student Metrics

What We’re Doing

To continue improving on student success, we have launched a number of initiatives (e.g., Moon Shot for Equity and MCubed) and internal strategic plans (e.g., 2030, DEI Framework). To ensure progress and accountability, we brought all of these efforts into a coordinated model, organized by the 2030 work, that will allow us to combine efforts across units, to clearly define administrative sponsors and project leads, and to identify a strategic framework that expresses UWM’s commitment to becoming a student-centric campus.

UWM’s current and planned student success initiatives can be summarized using three statements about UWM’s commitments:

  • Commitment to an Inclusive and Supportive Panther Community
  • Commitment to Students’ Academic Journey
  • Commitment to Students’ Personal Growth & Financial Security

Each of these commitments is associated with several strategies, each of which is further broken down into specific, measurable steps. You can view the complete set of strategies and steps below as well as download them here.

Commitment to an Inclusive and Supportive Panther Community

  • Create more equitable and inclusive practices that reflect our commitment to anti-racism, justice, and inclusion (Leads: Kelly Haag and Chia Vang)
    • Engage the student voice and create spaces, opportunities, services, and programming that celebrate the diverse identities of UWM students and are responsive to their needs and interests
    • Foster student belongingness; Build authentic relationships so that students feel that they belong
    • Develop a strong first-year experience and expand Fall Welcome
    • Engage with our students more meaningfully through graduation; Develop pathways of student engagement from point of entry through graduation
  • Create a student-centric experience with coordinated messaging (Lead: Kelly Haag)
    • Create clear coordination of messaging…among UWM’s admissions office, University Relations, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and systems related to enrollment management (student success)
    • Develop and communicate comprehensive data picture that informs improvements to student experiences and outcomes
  • Equip Faculty/Staff/Leaders to cultivate and sustain a Student Centric Campus (Lead: Dave Clark)
    • Bring MPS, MATC and UWM faculty together to improve teaching practices, better understand our students, grow capacity across multiple modes of learning and address institutional racism (other actions: DEI, messaging, other in progress)
    • Train leaders in effective change management
    • Provide equity-focused professional development
    • Conduct campus climate assessments
  • Enhance and build collaborative prospective student support networks with family and community (Leads: Dave Clark and Phyllis King)
    • Empower families to support their children’s success through the M3 Parent Institute and other resources
    • Build enhanced relationships with community-based organizations

Commitment to Students’ Academic Journey

  • Establish a network of support and ensure equitable access to high-quality student services (Leads: Dave Clark and Kelly Haag)
    • Provide fundamental services (basic needs) to students, especially those in crisis
    • Improve access to high-quality health and well-being resources that are respectful and responsive to the needs of a diverse student body
    • Create a relational model for advising that includes many points of contact for students to engage with support services as a network of support across their UWM experience
    • Leverage technology for proactive advising
    • Use Proactive Advising; Improving advising and student support to increase success
  • Eliminate institutional barriers to student success (Lead: Kay Eilers)
    • Audit registration holds and revise policies
    • Audit matriculation processes (placement testing, residency checks, etc)
    • Provide automatic admission to UWM for Milwaukee high school graduates
  • Create undergraduate academic degree maps that chart a path from matriculation to graduation and career, integrate a revised GE program, and seamlessly integrate with transfer pathways (Leads: Dave Clark and Phyllis King)
    • Create undergraduate academic degree maps; Create Academic Maps & Milestones; Building and supporting individual academic and career plans for every student
    • Leverage meta-majors to ease student pathways; Implement Meta Majors
    • Assess and align math requirements; Implement and Refine Math Pathways
    • 15 To Finish/Stay on Track
  • Improve access for MPS first generation and diverse populations to attract and retain high achieving students from surrounding region (Lead: Dave Clark)
    • Offer college-level gateway courses: remedial math/English
    • Create curricular pathways K-16
    • Expand programs/outreach for K-12 students; Expand community-based partnerships; Collaborate to create a cohesive pathway to UWM; Connecting MPS students through experiences and programs at MPS, MATC and UWM that support transition to college
    • Expand M3 College Connections and in school dual enrollment courses with MATC and UWM so students can earn college credits prior to graduation
  • Create innovative credentialling pathways partnering with business and industry (Leads: Phyllis King and Laura Pedrick)
    • Create micro-credentials and badges to meet employee development needs through partnerships with WI businesses.
    • Develop curriculum packages to bundle into stackable degrees.
  • Develop Pathways and Supports for Adult Learners (Lead: Dave Clark)
    • Offer second chances for adult learners (e.g., degree completion) and reentry strategy
    • Recognize prior learning, skills, and knowledge with multiple mechanisms for awarding credit
  • Develop a coordinated series of transfer pathways between UWM and other state institutions (Leads: Dave Clark and Phyllis King)
    • Create MATC transfer pathways for multiple program areas: Health Sciences, Business, Education, IT, and Nursing

Commitment to Students’ Personal Growth & Financial Security

  • Create a campus-wide, comprehensive scholarship, grant and financial aid strategy (Lead: Kay Eilers)
    • Create a need-based funding team that will coordinate efforts for a robust funding campaign
    • Enhance the effectiveness of the scholarship portal
    • Ensure all funds from the Wisconsin Tuition Grant are awarded annually
    • Optimize emergency grant fund operations
    • Offer retention grants for in-need students; Institutionalize the retention grant to support the continuous enrollment of students who do not reenroll due to outstanding balances at UWM
    • Increase FAFSA (financial aid) completion, financial aid and scholarships so more students can access college; Promote FAFSA completion and financial wellness
  • Advance a comprehensive Student Experiential Learning Framework (Lead: Kay Eilers)
    • Expand and require experiential learning; Creating opportunities for work-based and experiential learning including internships
    • Provide a range of opportunities for skill development and transformational learning