Panther Academic Scholarship

Why this program and this population?
The number of entering freshman who go on academic probation after their first term has nearly doubled in recent years, from a campus low of around 12% in 2016 to almost 20% in 2022. Almost every student who enters probation leaves the university: They either transfer away, drop out, or are academically dismissed. Our six-year graduation rate for students with less than a 2.00 after their first semester hovers at 4%-6%, with upwards of 70% neither enrolled nor graduated from any institution of higher ed.

Why are we doing this now?
Our data has shown that students with lower high school GPAs are at the highest risk for probation, and therefore for leaving UWM without a degree. We also know these students tend not to “do optional,” are less engaged with campus life, and tend to have lower rates of belongingness. This is our institutional effort to more purposefully engage and track this student population.

Are you asking us to do more for these students than others?
In a word, yes. We know you have high demands on your time and attention, and that caseloads/workloads can vary widely between our Schools, Colleges, and advising units. Proactive approaches to advising are meant to address these issues by focusing interventions and outreach where it will have the greatest impact. These students who enter UWM with less than a “B” average in high school can benefit greatly if we can model/teach the academic behaviors we need them to engage in. We can’t and won’t save everyone — there are individual behaviors that will get in the way of our efforts with some of these students – but if we can prevent students from entering probation, we will absolutely see more students continuing to earn degrees than we do now.

Is this another pilot program?
This is not a program, but a data-informed intervention with a population that needs our support. The Panther Academic Scholarship is one lever, focusing on student/family motivations and dependent on institutional funding. The student support side is another lever, underscoring but also separate from the scholarship effort.

We recommend following advising and coaching approaches shown to be effective with students with high support needs, such as those covered in this NACADA article on Inquisitive Advising for Student Success or these Best Practices for Effective Student Outreach from EAB.

Please complete summary reports thoroughly and include relevant notes/email copies in Navigate on these students. Here are some tips on entering meeting notes in Navigate:

  1. Notes should indicate the students concerns and what steps were taken to address those concerns, including your recommendations and any necessary follow-up
  2. Notes should describe your interaction but not evaluate or “diagnose” the student
  3. We recommend these Advising Note Guidelines from Missouri State, or this Shared Advising Notes page from UC-Berkeley

We also covered suggestions for Notes during the Summit in ’20, slides 6-8 here: Navigate User Summit 7.30.20.pptx