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University of West Georgia Campus Plan Update 2020

Institutional Mission and Student Body Profile

The University of West Georgia, a charter member of the University System of Georgia, is a comprehensive, residential institution providing selectively focused undergraduate and graduate education primarily the West Georgia region. The University is also committed to regional outreach through a collaborative network of external degree centers, course offerings at off-campus sites, and an extensive program of continuing education for personal and professional development. Opportunities for intellectual and personal development are provided through quality teaching, scholarly inquiry, creative endeavor, and service for the public good.

The University of West Georgia has 92 active programs of study, including 45 at the bachelor’s level, 30 at the master’s and specialist levels, 5 at the doctoral level, and 12 at the advanced certificate level. The university conferred 2,697 degrees and awards in fiscal year 2019. This is a 1.4% increase over the number awarded in fiscal year 2018 (2,659) and a 26% increase over the number awarded in fiscal year 2012 (2,136), which is the baseline year for the Complete College Georgia initiative.

There were 13,238 students enrolled in Fall 2019: 10,411 at the undergraduate level and 2,827 at the graduate level. Overall enrollment at UWG has grown 15% since the Fall 2009 semester. UWG has a diverse student population: 50.9% Caucasian, 34.4% African-American/Black American, 6.9% Hispanic, 3.5% two or more races, 1.1% Asian, 1.9% did not declare any race, 0.2% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.  The student body is 67.1% female and 32.9% male.

Ninety-two percent of the student body was from Georgia and represented 148 different counties. Carroll, Gwinnett, Coweta, Douglas, and Cobb were the five counties with the largest numbers of students at UWG. There were 701 out-of-state students representing 35 of the 49 remaining states. Alabama, Florida, California, Tennessee and South Carolina were the top states sending students to UWG. Additionally, there were 302 students from 68 countries. Nigeria, Jamaica, Ghana, China, Mexico, and India were the countries sending the largest number of students to UWG.

The University of West Georgia has long been committed to providing access to college for students in the western region of the state, as well as students from across the state of Georgia and the nation. Our Mission and our Strategic Plan both point to our commitment to student success. In particular, the first Strategic Imperative – Student Success: Enhanced Learning, Access, Progression, and Development – focuses on the importance of retention, progression, and graduation (RPG); access; and student engagement.  The second imperative focuses on Academic Success:  Academic Programming and Faculty Support.  The commitment to our Strategic Plan has helped the university identify and implement high impact strategies aligned to USG Momentum to help our students successfully obtain a degree. These student success strategies are described in the following report.

Improvement Practices

One of the first actions implemented by President Kelly in March 2020 when he arrived at UWG was to create a Strategic Enrollment and Student Success Committee. The committee meets every week and includes the President, Vice-Presidents, and other cross-divisional leaders to discuss enrollment trends and student success strategies, examine data to inform decision-making, and identify and resolve barriers to student success. The committee not only engages in high-level strategic planning but also addresses and resolves specific barriers to student success. For example, this summer and fall, the committee worked to revise fee payment deadlines and extend withdrawal deadlines to support students.

UWG developed a Momentum dashboard in Argos to track data specifically aligned to Momentum initiatives and planning. It includes data on credit hour completion, completion of core English and Math, corequisite learning support, academic focus areas, high impact practices, among others data points. 

UWG established a new Momentum Center, a one-stop location where students can meet with and receive concierge-level support from a variety of campus units (bursar, financial aid, registrar, advising, academic success, etc.). The Center emerged out of UWG’s 2020 Momentum planning and opened in F20. See Section 3.2.

A major component of UWG’s 2020 Momentum plan involved centralizing all advising units across campus under an Executive Director of Advising and Student Success. The Center for Academic Success and the University Writing Center were also moved into this unit which is now housed in University College. See Section 3.2.

UWG’s First-Year Math faculty received the 2019-2020 USG Momentum Award for their work on core Math redesign, including work on embedding academic mindset practices in core Math courses.

University College was created in January 2019 and initially focused on centralizing and coordinating UWG’s student success units (Advising, Center for Academic Success, Academic Transition Programs, Learning Support, etc.). Effective July 1, 2020, University College under the leadership of a new full-time dean expanded to focus on General Education. Core English and Math faculty transitioned into University College along with a new Program Director for General Education. Several other academic departments and programs (Interdisciplinary Studies, Political Science, Criminology, the University Writing Center, and the Center for Civic Engagement) also transitioned into University College. The mission of University College emerged out of UWG’s early Momentum work where the focus was three-fold: 1) improving student learning and success in general education courses; 2) improving coordination among student success units that provide academic support; 3) removing institutional barriers associated with general education and academic support units.

In this section, describe the areas in which the data indicate you have done well and those where you want to focus an improvement plan in the year ahead. In addition to aggregate successes, what areas of your work do the data indicate you are closing equity gaps and for which areas do these gaps persist?

In FY20, UWG experienced its highest four year graduation rate in the history of the institution, 25.43%. The rate was an improvement of nearly 4% over the previous year. UWG’s most recent six year graduation rate of 44.35% was slightly down from the FY19 rate of 45.22%, which was the highest six year graduation rate in UWG history.

While retention rates dropped below 70% to 68.84% in FY18 and saw a slight increase from FY18 to FY19 (69.07%), UWG—through targeted strategic action—increased its retention rate to 72.82% for F20, a significant increase over the previous two years and the highest since FY13 (74.11%). This increase is the result of collaboration across campus on Momentum-related initiatives to improve student retention and success. In particular, efforts to align the coordination of advising across units on campus directly contributed to this improvement. See Advising, Section 3.2.

UWG has experienced both increases and decreases in percentages of students eligible for the Pell grants over the last five years. In F15, the number of students who were Pell eligible was 5,626 which was 51.9% of the students enrolled. The percentage of Pell eligible students decreased slightly to 50.4% in F16. Yet, in F17, the percentage increased slightly to 51.6% and in the F18 the percentage increased again to 53.6%. The percentage of all undergraduate students eligible for the Pell grant in F19 (47.6%) decreased from the previous fall term. 

See Appendix Tables 1 through 5 for additional data related to improvement practices. 

Momentum Update: Observations and Next Steps

Section 3.1 Existing Momentum Work

 Purposeful Choice 

Strategy or activity 

Attempt 30 Credit Hours in First Year

Summary of Activities 

For many years, UWG advised FTFT students only to take 12-13 hours per semester in the first year. A major reason was a shortage of core seats, but faculty and advising staff also believed that fewer credit hours helped FTFT students, especially those who were not adequately prepared for college. It has taken some time to shift this institutional mindset, but the reorganization of advising on campus and work on communicating a clear and consistent expectation about “15 to Finish” has helped, so it is now the norm, and the data bears out significant improvement (see data below). Work completed this year on Advanced Scheduling—along with other Momentum-aligned work in learning support and academic success support—should contribute to continuing improvement in the future.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

The number of students completing 30 hours or more credit hours almost doubled from F18 to F19.


IPEDS Cohort





Less than 30 Hours Earned at End of Summer




30 or More Hours Earned at End of Summer




Many of UWG’s Momentum initiatives (new advising and scheduling procedures to assure students enroll in 15 hours) and additional student success efforts (advising, tutoring, coaching) contribute to this improvement.

Strategy or activity 

Early Alert  (EA) & Academic Success Interventions

Summary of Activities 

UWG utilizes a system through EAB that allows faculty to submit “alerts” for students in their classes who are experiencing academic difficulty. Faculty can submit alerts for a number of reasons—ranging from excessive absences and lack of engagement in the class to performance on course assignments. When an alert is submitted, staff from different student support units—the Center for Academic Success, the University Advising Center, UWG Online, or even the Counseling Center—reach out to students, depending on the nature of the alert. Faculty engagement in EA was relatively low prior to 2018, and the Provost made it an institutional priority to increase the rate of response as part of UWG’s Momentum Plan. These efforts resulted in a significant increase in the number of faculty submitting early alerts and also resulted in an increase in the number of students utilizing support services in the Center for Academic Success. UWG continues to see evidence that students who take advantage of services in the Center for Academic Success (tutoring, supplemental instruction, coaching, etc.) perform better academically and are retained at a higher rate. The Center for Academic Success has engaged in an active campaign to reach out to students and encourage them to take advantage of instructional support.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Fall 2018 - 83% of faculty responded to the Early Alert campaign

Spring 2019 - 92% of faculty responded to the Early Alert campaign

Fall 2019 - 80% of faculty responded to the Early Alert campaign

Spring 2020 - 77% of faculty responded to the Early Alert campaign

NOTE: The decline in S20 is the result COVID-19 disruptions.

Spring 2019

1834 students marked at risk

Term GPA for students marked at risk and used no support services = 1.82

Term GPA for students marked at risk and used all three of our support services = 2.32

Term GPA for students marked at risk and completed 2 - 5 visits to support services = 2.18

Term GPA for students marked at risk and completed 10 - 14 visits to support services = 2.65 15+ visits = 2.82

Fall 2019

1268 students marked at risk

Term GPA for students marked at risk and used no support services = 1.59

Term GPA for students marked at risk and used all three of our support services = 2.21

Term GPA for students marked at risk and completed 2 - 5 visits to support services = 2.18

Term GPA for students marked at risk and completed 6+ visits to support services = 2.39

Spring 2020

1242 students marked at risk

Term GPA for students marked at risk and used no support services = 1.83

Term GPA for students marked at risk and used all three of our support services = 2.72

Term GPA for students marked at risk and completed 2 - 5 visits to support services = 2.26

Term GPA for students marked at risk and completed 6+ visits = 2.55

Strategy or activity 

Academic Focus Areas  

Summary of Activities 

As part of its initial Momentum Plan in 2018, UWG created Academic Focus Areas for FTFT students who enter UWG without a declared major. Collaboration between colleges and departments in Academic Affairs and student success units in Student Affairs & Enrollment Management led to the creation of nine academic focus areas, which were approved by the faculty senate in 2018: Arts, Business, Education, Health Professions, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM: Science Focus, STEM: Technology Focus, and Wellness and Sports. Focus areas have been used in the admissions, advising, and orientation process since summer 2018. All entering students who have not declared a major are advised and placed into a focus area. Every focus area includes three common courses that students complete in the first year and that count toward general education requirements. UWG is now able to track the progression of students in focus areas, including their progress in the focus area courses. Program maps have been created for all academic focus areas.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

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While some of the data sets above are too small to draw significant inferences, the overall conclusion is that students in focus areas continue to be retained at a lower rate than students who have declared a major. On the one hand, this is to be expected since students who are undeclared and who are uncertain about their academic pathway or career choice are less likely to remain in school. Focus areas are designed to help this student population. While UWG’s focus areas are helping some students, improvement needs to continue to make focus areas useful for all students who have not declared a major.  UWG is still in progress toward that goal. 

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Among the initiatives identified under Purposeful Choice, UWG’s priority will be on improvement of Academic Focus Areas. This was identified as a priority in the 2020 Momentum Plan. The following strategies have been identified: 1) in addition to the courses aligned with each focus area, develop other opportunities to help students explore purposeful choice of major / career; 2) more targeted communication to students and parents about focus areas (what they are and why they matter) beginning as early as the admissions process and continuing through orientation and the first year; 3) targeted communication to faculty and staff about academic focus areas so that they can offer / provide support to students; 4) determine if the current aligned courses in each focus area are appropriate and are helping students make a purposeful choice; 5) initiate discussions across all colleges regarding existing focus areas to determine if changes in focus areas are needed.  

Changes because of COVID-19 

Which initiatives need to be adjusted? No COVID-19 adjustments needed.

What alternative arrangements can be implemented? UWG student support units (Advising, Academic Success, etc.) have done excellent work supporting students in virtual settings, but virtual learning has negatively impacted some of the most vulnerable students, especially in the classroom. Working to provide students multiple options in classes and in instructional support (virtual and face-to-face) continues to be a priority in planning for S21 and beyond.

What technology would be needed to implement alternative arrangements? Current technology needs are sufficient. 

Transparent Pathways 

Strategy or activity

Corequisite Learning Support (ENGL 0999, MATH 0996, MATH 0997, and MATH 0999)

Summary of Activities 

AY20 was UWG’s first year offering corequisite learning support courses: ENGL 0999, MATH 0997, and MATH 0999.  In designing learning support courses, UWG followed the USG best practices criteria. UWG corequisite learning support courses are 1 credit hour but 2 contact hours per week. The 1 credit hour ensures that learning support does not negatively impact students financially, while the 2 contact hours provide students with the instructional time they need to support learning in the core course. The core section and the corequisite learning support section are taught by the same instructor. English and Math faculty worked on the design of the learning support courses, following USG guidelines, while professional staff in Admissions, Advising, Registrar, Academic Success, and the Provost’s Office developed processes for advisement and placement of students in learning support. UWG appointed a Learning Support Coordinator and has sent implementation teams consisting of Math and English faculty and professional support staff to each of the USG Learning Support Academies. The Provost’s office provided professional development funding for English and Math faculty to design the corequisite learning support courses in alignment with ENGL 1101, MATH 1001, and MATH 1111 respectively.  ENGL 0999, MATH 0997, and MATH 0999 were first offered in F19 and S20. UWG is also participating in the Statistics Pathway pilot to offer MATH 1401 (Elementary Statistics) in Area A2. MATH 1401 and MATH 0996 are being offered for the first time in F20.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Data from F19 and S20 Corequisite Learning Support is below:

Fall 2019

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Spring 2020

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In F19 English learning support demonstrated remarkable success, with pass rates for students in ENGL 0999 virtually at the same level as students who did not require learning support (83.3%) and higher than the system average for ENGL 0999. While the number of students taking ENGL 0999 in S20 was smaller, the pass rate remained virtually unchanged, and was substantially higher than the pass rate for students who were not required to take ENGL 0999. Many students who do not pass ENGL 1101 in the spring repeat the course from the fall, and lessons learned from ENGL 0999 will be valuable in helping faculty develop new strategies for supporting students who repeat ENGL 1101.

In Math learning support (MATH 0997 and MATH 0999), there was an increase in the number of students taking the learning support courses from fall to spring and from fall to fall, which indicates that UWG has continuously improved its processes for advising and enrolling students in learning support. While pass rates in F19 did not meet institutional targets and were below the system pass rate average, S20 sections showed significant improvement. Although this was the first year of learning support implementation and data—and the impact of the shift to fully online courses last spring in response the pandemic is a factor—this provides UWG with some markers of success and some goals for further improvement. One significant element in the work on Math learning support and on core Math overall has been the engagement of first-year Math faculty in Academic Mindset intervention. The work on mindset earned UWG’s First-Year Mathematics Program the system-wide Momentum award in 2019-2020.

Strategy or activity 

Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) and Low Cost / No Cost Textbook Options  

Summary of Activities 

UWG faculty increasingly recognize that accessibility to affordable course materials—both no cost and low cost—is a major factor in academic success and that affordability is a critical equity issue for many students. In their analysis of data in core Math courses, Math faculty recognized that accessibility to textbooks, which were often too expensive, impacted student success, and they worked to develop and adopt new course materials that would be free for students to use. As a result, virtually all core Math courses now feature no cost course materials. This work was included as part of the USG Momentum Award that the First-Year Math Program received in 2019. In addition, UWG has increased the number of faculty applying for and receiving ALG grants, resulting in significant cost savings to students.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

AY18-19: UWG had no funded ALG grants.

AY 19-20: UWG received funding for one grant in the amount of $15,800 with total cost savings to students of $132,707.

AY20-21: UWG received funding so far for 6 grants in the amount of $70,600 with total cost savings to students of $414,633.50.

Strategy or activity 

UWG Online Student Interventions and Support

Summary of Activities 

UWG Online: Quality online offerings and support are critical factors in student success and in degree completion. Credit hours generated via online classes typically account for around 30% of UWG’s total credit hours, each Fall and Spring (and closer to 70% during most Summer sessions). However, due to COVID restrictions, the campus moved to nearly all online mid-Spring 2020 and Summer 2020, with few exceptions. Further, Fall 2020 online credit hours account for nearly 57% of all credit hours versus 29% in F19.  To meet this increase in demand, UWG Online expanded support services, adding a high-touch intervention initiative, a learner/mentor program, more efficient texting processes, a new online searchable knowledgebase, and web conferencing sessions, to complement already expanded hours of operation (until 8pm) and support via phone, web, live chat, Google Voice, and screen share sessions. Additionally, Smarthinking virtual tutoring and writing center service hours were offered to all students (not just those in online classes), to augment the many other tools and services available through UWG Online and campus partners. Together these Success Tools were summarized on this newly created UWG Knowledgebase site: 

UWG Online REACH Intervention Initiative (Reach out Encourage Advise Collaborate Help): While Early Alerts are triggered by instructor or staff observations and apply to all modalities of learning, UWG Online began a concerted effort to use data to proactively reach out to online learners; encourage learners who do not log in to their classes within a prescribed amount of days; advise students on steps for success and the wide array of student services available to them; consistently communicate and collaborate with online students via email, text, and phone calls, throughout the semester, including through a new UWG Online Learner/ Mentor Program; and generally help in any way needed. Students identified as at-risk or struggling through this process are referred to the Center for Academic Success and other applicable departments for follow-up. In this way, UWG Online facilitates campus-wide collaboration aimed at student success.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

UWG Online: Due to the sudden jump in online enrollment, the UWG Online student and faculty services team averaged an additional 300 help desk calls each month. However, help desk survey responders still rated UWG Online’s service with an average of 9.9 (out of a possible 10) since the campus shutdown in March 2020 and through October 2020.

UWG Online REACH Intervention Initiative: Since April 1st, UWG Online staff have sent 53279 emails before the 1st day of Summer and Fall classes to registered students, welcoming the student to online learning and providing tips for success. 3630 students who were identified as not having logged on to the learning management system by a prescribed date were identified as “at-risk” and sent targeted emails and text messages. Following those messages, students who still had not logged on within 1-2 days were contacted by phone (2926 phone calls). Of those 3630 students identified as at-risk, UWG directly consulted with 81-96%, depending on the semester or session. Additionally, 7 full-time staff and faculty volunteer their time to provide ongoing mentorship and guidance to 30 students who have self-selected in the UWG Online Learner/ Mentor Program.  Going forward, we will look at other ways to measure the success of this initiative and continuously improve.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

As described above, work needs to continue toward improving learning support, especially in math. Math faculty will continue to work on the incremental redesign of learning support courses to support student success in core math courses.

UWG has made strong progress with ALG grants, but this progress needs to continue, and the Office of Sponsored Operations (ORSP) is actively working to promote and support ALG grant applications.

Changes because of COVID-19 

Which initiatives need to be adjusted? As described above, work on improving online / virtual delivery of learning support courses needs to continue.

What alternative arrangements can be implemented? Work on the spring schedule is focused on reducing the number of virtual core and learning support courses. UWG Online has been done extraordinary work in helping to support students in online courses and in face-to-face courses that utilize the learning management system.  

What technology would be needed to implement alternative arrangements? Technology is sufficient.

Academic Mindset  

Strategy or activity I

First Year Seminar  

Summary of Activities 

First-Year Seminar (FYS) was one of the first initiatives UWG developed as part of Momentum in 2017 to support student success and transition to college in the first year. From its inception, FYS has focused on multiple strategies to improve academic mindset. These seminars, each with a unique academic focus, are aligned with the USG Momentum Approach and are designed to help students develop the academic and growth mindset necessary for college success. In the first year (F17), UWG piloted 28 sections of FYS. In F19, there were 75 sections (approximately 1,300 or 75% first-year students enrolled). In addition to the focus on an engaging academic topic, each seminar incorporates academic success experiences—many in the form of online exploration modules embedded in CouseDen—that include career exploration, writing, and peer mentoring/tutoring. UWG utilizes its first-year seminar to encourage students to complete the USG academic mindset survey. Faculty and credential staff from across campus have been actively involved in the development and teaching of FYS, and they participate in a summer course design workshop on teaching FYS that includes information on academic mindset. Students who take first-year seminar are retained at a higher percentage across most demographic categories, including first-generation and pell-eligible students.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Data from last year’s fall cohort (2019-2020) of FYS students indicates the course has a positive impact on student retention. Students who took FYS were retained 91% fall to spring (compared to 87.1% with no FYS), a difference of nearly 4%. Students who took FYS were retained 74.6% fall to fall (compared to 68.4% with no FYS), a difference of 6.2%.

The number of FTFT students enrolled in FYS increased in F19 over previous years, even though the number of sections decreased in F20 due to the overall decline in FTFT enrollment. This increase reflects the institutional commitment to FYS as one of the student success foundations in the first year and allows UWG to offer FYS to more students.

Disaggregated data across different student populations demonstrates a consistent, measurable impact on retention.

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The impact of the course on retention is even more significant when the data is disaggregated for categories such as first-generation and PELL-eligible. While this data related to retention has been consistent over several years, the structure of the course has continued to be revised based on faculty and student assessment of its effectiveness. While every FYS section focuses on a unique academic topic, the course also includes significant student support components, including learning modules with assignments built into CourseDen that focus on academic success resources (tutoring, academic coaching, supplemental instruction, writing center, library, career exploration, and academic mindset). Instructor assignments for FYS sections are based on applications and are competitive, which allows UWG to place the most committed and engaged faculty as teachers / mentors in classrooms with first-year students. 

Strategy or activity

USG Mindset Survey

Summary of Activities 

UWG has worked to improve the communication process and student response rate to the USG Academic Mindset Survey. Communication to students took place during Pack Premiere, UWG’s three day campus orientation program, prior to the start of fall classes and was reiterated via electronic communication in the first three weeks of classes. First-Year Seminars and Learning Communities were also used to coordinate and reinforce student access and response to the mindset survey.

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

UWG improved its student participation rate on the USG Mindset Survey from 148 in F19 to 293 (currently) in F20. While this is a positive trend, more coordinated work needs to occur to increase the participation rate. UWG will explore more structured opportunities for students to complete the survey as part of its fall return to campus orientation and in first-year seminar.

Strategy or activity

Faculty & Staff Professional Development to Support Academic Mindset

Summary of Activities 

Work continued across campus in 2019-2020 to bring more attention to the importance of academic mindset among faculty and staff. New Faculty Orientation—developed and led by the Center for Teaching and Learning—included presentations on academic mindset that introduced the concept to new faculty and outlined faculty roles in creating a purposeful academic mindset for students. The First-Year Math faculty received the system Regents Momentum award for work on integrating mindset practices in core math courses. The Center for Teaching and Learning facilitated reading and discussion groups on academic mindset, including several that are part of the Chancellor’s Learning Scholars Program. In 2019, UWG had six Chancellor’s Learning Scholars and over 50 faculty involved in FLCs, several of which focused on growth mindset and high impact practices. Four new Chancellor’s Learning Scholars and FLCs were started in F20. The Center for Teaching and Learning also organizes an annual Innovations in Pedagogy Conference for UWG faculty in May (held virtually in 2020) that features presentations on purposeful mindset. Over the summer, 40 core faculty participated in a summer mini-course on Inclusive Teaching Practices, sponsored by the Gardner Institute. First-Year Seminar summer workshops include mindset training as well.   

Outcomes/Measures of progress 

Faculty and staff participation in the professional development opportunities described above have increased the number of faculty and staff who have received training on mindset and who are implementing mindset practices in the classroom.

Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future 

Work needs to continue on improving student participation in the USG Mindset Survey. Work will focus on improving communication to students in early fall semester welcome and orientation events, along with First-Year Seminar and Learning Communities.  

Changes because of COVID-19 

Which initiatives need to be adjusted? No adjustments because of COVID-19.

What alternative arrangements can be implemented? As a result of COVID-19, many FYS sections were moved online. Some students struggle with the online learning environment, especially in FYS which is focused on highly interactive student engagement and mentoring.

What technology would be needed to implement alternative arrangements? Current available technology is sufficient.

Section 3.2 Follow up from Momentum Summit III - “Campus-Wide” Momentum Approach Activities (Beyond the Classroom)


Priority Work

UWG Momentum Center  

Description of Activities

One of the major goals in UWG’s 2020 Momentum Plan was to remove institutional barriers to student success. Some of this work has involved reviewing and revising or eliminating institutional policies and practices that negatively impact student success. However, student feedback and other institutional data suggested that students were often uncertain where to go for help and support, and they were often frustrated when they were sent to multiple locations to receive the information or support they needed. To resolve this, UWG created the Momentum Center to provide students with concierge-style support.

Activity status and plans for 2020

Opened in September 2020, the Momentum Center is designed around UWG’s commitment to eliminating barriers that impact student success and providing centralized access to student support services. Operational assessments revealed that students were frequently frustrated by having to navigate multiple offices across campus to resolve financial, academic, and student support issues, or they were confused about where offices offering support were located. The Momentum Center emerged in response to these challenges. Centrally located on the UWG campus in a 8293 square foot building, the $710,000 renovation project transformed the former UWG Health Services building into an open, accessible, high-flex space for responding to students’ needs.  In the Momentum Center, students can access support services from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and Business and Financial Services, all under one roof.  Representatives from UWG’s Academic Transition Program, Center for Academic Success, Advising (including the Academic Advisor of the Day), Registrar, Bursar, Financial Aid, and Enrollment Services are now available to meet with students in the Momentum Center. Representatives from Career Services, Experiential Learning, and other units will be added in the near future. The center also has flex spaces so that offices can be added to the Momentum Center during peak times for their services.

Lessons Learned

Since this is the center’s inaugural year, no data on its effectiveness is available, but an assessment plan is in place, and the expectation is that the center will contribute to improvements in retention, progression, academic achievement, and career development. Efforts in F20 are focusing on communication to students and to campus partners about the Momentum Center and its services.



Priority Work

Advanced Scheduling  

Description of Activities

Prior to 2020, FTFT students entering UWG selected fall courses during summer orientation. One of the intended outcomes for this process was to help students learn how to navigate the course registration system. However, students typically did not have sufficient time during orientation to adequately learn about the process, and they often struggled to complete their course registration, even with the intensive help and support provided by the advising and orientation staff. This impacted purposeful mindset since students often left orientation without a complete schedule and uncertain that the courses that they registered for would count toward their degree. This resulted in additional work for advising staff when students arrived on campus in August. Equally important, these logistical challenges also resulted in many students not enrolling in 15 credit hours in the fall.

UWG included advanced scheduling in its 2020 Momentum Plan. In Spring 2020, the advanced scheduling process was changed so that students were provided with pre-made schedules in advance of orientation. Schedules were created by university advisors based on information forms submitted by students as part of registration for orientation. This change was fortuitous since its early development in the spring facilitated transitioning to virtual orientation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, going forward, it will also help UWG achieve its Momentum goal of having more students enrolled in 15 hours or more credit hours. It also means that time during orientation can be spent helping students understand their course schedule and prepare them for classes in the fall. These changes also help UWG more effectively manage its seat allocations for the fall and make sure that students who need required courses (like learning support) are properly enrolled. To help students learn how to navigate enrolling in classes, a new online module was created in First-Year Seminar on course registration, and the Advising Center is offering workshops and individual student support in advance of spring registration.

Activity status and plans for 2020

The process has been successfully implemented. One change that is anticipated for next summer is embedding the student information / preference form into Visual Zen to streamline the process.

Work will continue on communication to students and parents about this process—why UWG utilizes advanced scheduling and why it is important—and on strategies to help students learn about the registration process in the fall so that they can become more self-directed, which informs a growth mindset.

Lessons Learned

This initiative was implemented quickly and successfully in S20 with strong collaboration between many campus units (Orientation, Admissions, Advising, Academic Departments, and the Provost’s Office). It helped everyone to see evidence of how working together creates a better process for students, even when there are differences in how to accomplish the goal.

While there was some initial resistance to adopting advanced scheduling, the positive results have helped to persuade campus partners that it was the right decision.


Priority Work

Centralized Advising

Description of Activities

In 2020, UWG transitioned to a centralized campus advising structure. Prior to 2020, UWG employed a hybrid advising structure with a University Advising Center and separate advising units in some academic colleges and schools (Education, Business, and Nursing). While most of the advising units were highly effective, challenges with communication and coordination sometimes negatively impacted students, especially students transitioning between programs in different colleges or schools. Communication among advising units on campus was also affected. Advising loads varied significantly across units, and processes for advisor training and professional development differed as well. The reorganization followed recommendations from UWG’s NACADA site visit and was preceded by campus research on advising models at other USG system institutions. The NACADA report recommended the following: 1) Establish a leadership position to direct academic advising initiatives across the institution; 2) Convene an academic advising leadership council to formalize collaboration on advising issues; 3) Create a director of training and professional development position; 4) House all academic advising under one administrative unit; and 5) Allocate additional resources for academic advising that comes from central funding sources.

As a result of this organizational change, all advising units on campus were reorganized under an Advising Executive Director who also oversees the Center for Academic Success. The reorganization also created cost-efficiencies that allowed University Advising to hire four new academic advisors, eliminating excessively high advising loads in some academic units. As part of the reorganization, an Advising Training Coordinator position was created to develop processes for onboarding new advisors and professional development for existing advisors. This helps with the knowledge base and consistency across professional advisors. A campus advisory committee was established to assess the progress of the new advising structure and make recommendations to the Executive Director. Future goals include development of a mentoring and training program for faculty advisors. While this new organizational structure did not become effective until July 1, 2020, there are already indications of success such as the coordinated work that campus advisors have done in improving F20 retention rates. 

Activity status and plans for 2020

The reorganization of advising has now been fully implemented. This reorganization has created stronger communication and coordination across advising units on campus.

Lessons Learned

During the spring and summer months academic advisors identified all students who were enrolled during the previous semester and who had not yet registered for F20.  Individual academic advisors were responsible for outreach to these students via email, text or personal phone call.  Students were encouraged to work with their advisor and complete a schedule for the upcoming term.  With the implementation of the Advisor Tracker document, this "at a glance" document allows each advisor as well as administrative staff to see the status of the student without having to dive into other software products.  Notes are available regarding the student’s status.  Weekly review of the tracker document looking for percentages of advised/enrolled identified students who required additional outreach to support enrollment. While many advising units on campus had engaged in outreach over the previous semester, coordinated efforts like this with specific strategies to communicate with students had not occurred. This process is now built into the advising process / calendar. Each semester advisors identify potential drop-out / stop-out students who could be encouraged to continue enrollment, address their barriers / concerns, and provide enrollment options.  This process—supported by new initiatives in advisor training—focuses on personalized outreach to students to better understand and diagnose why they have not registered, identify barriers they may be facing, or provide encouragement to continue with their education that they have invested in.  This allows students and advisors to create a plan or curriculum map for degree completion.

Student Success and Completion Team

Below is the list of UWG administration, staff, and faculty who attended the 2020 Momentum Summit with some replacements / additions that reflect leadership changes since February 2020.

Brendan Kelly


David Jenks

Interim Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs

Andre Fortune

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Justin Barlow

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Jennifer Jordan

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Stacy Boyd

Associate Dean, University College

C.J. Ivory

Assistant Professor & Instruction Librarian

Meg Pearson

Dean, University College

Scott Sykes

Director, Freshman Math & Associate Professor of Mathematics

April Wood Stewart

Director, New Student Programs

Brett Reichert

Director, International Student Admissions and Programs

Carrie Ziglar

Executive Director, Center for Academic Success & University Advising

Ryan Bronkema

Director, Academic Transitions Programs

Monica Smith

Assistant Dean, Richards College of Business

Clint Samples

Associate Dean, College of Arts, Culture, and Scientific Inquiry

Laura Smith

Associate Dean, College of Education

Rod McRae

Director, Center for Teaching & Learning

David Newton

Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs