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University of West Georgia Campus Plan Update 2021


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 in 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 91 active programs of study, including 45 at the bachelor’s level, 29 at the master’s and specialist levels, 5 at the doctoral level, and 12 at the advanced certificate level. The university conferred 2,978 degrees and awards in fiscal year 2020. This is a 10.4% increase over the number awarded in fiscal year 2019 (2,697) and a 39.4% increase over the number awarded in fiscal year 2012 (2,136), which is the baseline year for the Complete College Georgia initiative.[*]

There were 13,419 students enrolled in Fall 2020: 10,331 at the undergraduate level and 3,088 at the graduate level. Overall enrollment at UWG has grown 16% since the Fall 2009 semester. UWG has a diverse student population: 50.8% Caucasian, 34.3% African-American/Black American, 7.2% Hispanic, 3.7% two or more races, 1.2% Asian, 2% did not declare any race, 0.1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.  The student body is 68.2% female and 31.8% male.

Ninety-four (94.5) percent of the student body was from Georgia and represented 150 different counties. Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Cobb and Gwinnett were the five counties with the largest numbers of students at UWG. There were 618 out-of-state students representing 35 of the 49 remaining states. Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee (SC, NC, CA all came next with 10 each) were the top states sending students to UWG. Additionally, there were 120 students from 41 countries. Nigeria, 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. Student success is at the center of UWG’s 2021 Strategic Plan. This new strategic plan advances UWG’s Momentum work by prioritizing essential elements in developing student success: growth mindset focused on a stronger sense of purpose and belonging through engaged mentoring and extra-curricular involvement; experiential / applied learning through High Impact Practices (HIPs) and co-curricular experiences that are connected to students’ future personal aspiration and professional goals; stronger alignment and coordination of student support--inside and outside of the classroom--to strengthen recruitment, retention, and graduation  Through the strategic planning process, the university has identified and is now implementing 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. 

Current USG Sector, Peer & Aspirant Institutions

The University System of Georgia (USG) Research and Policy Analysis (RPA), in cooperation with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), devised the methodology and established parameters for clustering IPEDS data for the selection of comparator Peer Institutions for all USG institutions. As a result of this process, UWG identified fifteen (15) peer institutions, as required, and five (5) aspirant institutions. The initial list of institutions was further refined by the UWG Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Team. The selections were reviewed and approved by the UWG President, Research and Policy Analysis at the University System of Georgia (USG) Office, and subsequently approved by the USG Board of Regents in May 2017. An updated list of UWG peer and aspirant institutions appears in alphabetical order below. The institutions are used to benchmark select Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as UWG works to achieve the goals set forth in its strategic plan.

USG Sector Institutions


City & State     

Georgia Southern University


Statesboro, GA

Kennesaw State University


Kennesaw, GA

Valdosta State University


Valdosta, GA

Peer Institutions

Central Connecticut State University


New Britain, CT

Florida Gulf Coast University


Fort Myers, FL

Indiana State University


Terre Haute, IN

Kean University 


Union, NJ

Sam Houston State University


Huntsville, TX

Southern Connecticut State University


New Haven, CT

Stephen F Austin State University


Nacogdoches, TX

University of Central Arkansas


Conway, AR

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs


Colorado Springs, CO

University of Nebraska at Omaha


Omaha, NE

University of North Florida


Jacksonville, FL

Western Illinois University


Macomb, IL

Aspirant Institutions

Montclair State University


Montclair, NJ

Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus


Indiana, PA

San Francisco State University


San Francisco, CA

California State University - Fresno


Fresno, CA

Ball State University


Muncie, IN


Comprehensive Analysis of Programs (CAP)

The Comprehensive Analysis of Programs was initiated by the Provost in summer 2021. One of the goals in the CAP was to fulfill UWG’s Big Idea in its Momentum Plan, which focused on coordinating and embedding student success and student support efforts within all academic units. Every academic program and unit across campus is engaged in fall 2021in this strategic process to more fully align and integrate Momentum planning across campus. Details on the CAP are included in UWG’s Big Idea update in Section 3 below.

Momentum Center

UWG opened its signature Momentum Center (MC) in the heart of campus in September 2020 to ensure that students have one central location to visit in order to get the help they need to be successful. The center’s development and operation are directly related to UWG’s work on Momentum planning and implementation and is designed around UWG’s commitment to eliminating barriers that impact student success by providing centralized access to student support services. Campus-wide assessments revealed that students were often 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 academic support were located. The Momentum Center emerged in response to these barriers. At the MC, the service expectation is that UWG staff take ownership of the student’s problem and create a hardwired service culture on campus. In the Momentum Center, students can access support services 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. Representatives from Career Services, Experiential Learning, and other units will be added in the future. The center also has flex spaces so that offices can be added to the Momentum Center during peak times for their services.  There are many ways that students, faculty, staff, and community partners can connect with the MC: phone, in-person, and live chat from the website. There have been over 3400 visitors to the MC since it opened last fall.

University College

Now in its second year, University College (UC) emerged as another organizational innovation (along with the Momentum Center) to advance UWG’s Momentum planning over successive years. University College houses many of the academic and student support units that are central to UWG’s Momentum infrastructure, including First-Year (core) English and Mathematics (where corequisite learning support and the new statistics pathway are housed), Interdisciplinary Studies (which works extensively with transfer students and students who have not declared a major), Academic Transition Programs (which includes First-Year Cornerstone courses and Living / Learning Communities), Academic Advising, the Center for Academic Success, and Academic Testing Services. The integration of these academic and student support units has facilitated both development and improvement of UWG’s core Momentum strategies, especially those connected to student success in the first and second year.

Academic Advising

As part of Momentum Planning in 2019-2020, UWG consolidated all advising units across campus into one unit under an executive director. This unit is now housed in University College and also includes the Center for Academic Success as part of the new Department for Student Success. Since these organizational changes occurred last year during the COVID pandemic, many of the organizational transitions were not completed until this past year (2020-2021). Reorganization of Advising--which was guided by NCADA recommendations--resulted in several student-oriented improvements: hiring additional academic advisors to reduce advising workloads and to provide advising staff with more time and opportunity to work with and mentor students; improving consistency among advising processes across campus; and developing more effective and consistent hiring, training, and mentoring processes for advisors. 

UWG Online

Quality online offerings and support remain critical factors in student success and in degree completion. Despite returning to on-campus post-pandemic learning, the credit hours offered online in Fall 2021 remained high at nearly 50% (versus pre-pandemic rates averaging 30% Fall and Spring semesters).  Further, online credit hours earned went up from 52% during Fall 2020 to 59% Fall 2021. As a result, UWG Online continued expanded support services, including the high-touch UWG Online REACH Intervention Initiative (Reach out Encourage Advise Collaborate Help), a mentor program, texting outreach, the online searchable Knowledgebase, and expanded hours of operation (until 8pm) via phone, web, live chat, Google Voice, and screen share sessions. Smarthinking virtual tutoring and writing center service hours continued to be offered to all students (not just those in online classes); the campus-wide Grammarly Premium license was promoted; a Bot was purchased that will be added to existing GeckoLiveChat channels across the university so that students can get answers quickly after-hours with implementation scheduled in December 2021); UWG Online is collaborating with UWG Information Technology Services to extract data analytics pertinent to providing data key to informing student success, in addition to the successful DayOne collaboration with the UWG Bookstore (saving students nearly $500K since start-up last year) and other data analytics projects underway with the College of Education (TK-20) and Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment (XITRACS integration). These Success Tools are summarized in KnowledgeBase. Despite the sustained jump in online enrollment and demand on help desk, survey responders still rate UWG Online’s service with an average of 9.9 (out of a possible 10). Further, UWG Online staff averaged among the best response time across all campus live chat teams, averaging 1.09 minutes to respond to more than 2600 inquiries and over 3100 hours of support delivered, over the last 12 months.

CircleIn - A Collaborative Student Success Initiative (NEW)

Academic Affairs, UWG Online, and ITS are collaborating in fall 2021 to test, promote, support and integrate the CircleIn student collaboration application within CourseDen, UWG’s learning management system. CircleIn is free to UWG students and helps them study remotely, collaborate with peers, access tutors, ask questions, and stay productive. CircleIn transforms the class into a community and creates the space for students to brainstorm together, just like they would in a coffee shop or a library. CircleIn offers a mobile app that can be used on any mobile device and a web version that can be used on our laptop or computer. Students earn points by sharing helpful resources, collaborating with classmates, and studying within the app. Those points can be redeemed for gift cards and other rewards. Though this project is still in the pilot stage, the results and feedback have been promising. Since this trial began in early September, 24 instructors have included CircleIn within 43 courses. Four hundred and fourteen students have opted to use the tool to create and share study materials with no direct course-related incentives provided by the instructors: 596 flashcard sets have been created; 519 tasks created, with 236 of those tasks completed and 141 tasks progressed; 214 notes uploaded; 80 links shared. As far as social interaction related to the use of CircleIn: 52 flashcard sets have been studied by other classmates; 93 posts viewed; and 38 appreciations posted. After the pilot evaluation concludes in fall 2021, UWG plans to expand CircleIn to all courses within CourseDen in spring 2022, thereby providing the tool to all UWG courses and students.

UWG Online REACH Intervention Initiative (Reach out Encourage Advise Collaborate Help)

In 2021, UWG Online continued the Early Alerts REACH Intervention Initiative but concentrated efforts to proactively reach out specifically to only learners enrolled in online classes (versus all students). Staff 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 the UWG Online Learner/ Mentor Program. Students identified as at-risk or struggling through this process are referred to the Center for Academic Success and/or other departments for follow-up. In this way, UWG Online facilitates campus-wide collaboration aimed at student success. Since January 2021 UWG Online staff have sent 70556 emails to registered students, welcoming the student to online learning and providing tips for success. 5056 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 (2739 phone calls). Additionally, 13 staff and faculty volunteers provided ongoing mentorship and guidance to 121 students (up from 30 in 2020) who have self-selected to participate in UWG Online Learner/ Mentor Program.  Additionally, all 70 available check-out laptops are in use by in-need online students, via the related EQUIP collaboration with the UWG Library and ITS.

Reorganization of Student Orientation

To give incoming UWG students a personalized experience and create a feeling of belonging, New Student Orientation transitioned this past year from a two-day program where students met in groups to a two-hour program customized for each individual student. This allowed the Orientation Leaders (OLs) to personalize the experience to each student's needs. At these sessions, each student meets one-on-one with their academic advisor, a financial aid representative, and any other needed enrollment related service or office. First, students fill out an academic advising survey while registering for Orientation. This survey assists academic advisors with pre-making each schedule with 15 credit hours and meeting the student's preferences. Academic advisors create folders with the students’ schedules and program maps to ensure students have the necessary information to progress each term. Next, Financial Aid targets messaging around three different categories. The red category means students have not filled out a FAFSA. The yellow category means students have filled out a FAFSA but still have outstanding documents. The green category means students have taken all necessary steps to complete the financial aid process. A colored-coded sheet with Financial Aid information is placed in each student’s personalized Orientation folder that is received at Orientation check-in. Finally, students visit offices (i.e., Parking and Transportation, Student ID, Housing and Residence Life, and Auxiliary Services) to complete the enrollment steps for the upcoming term. These steps were all done in two hours while the incoming student and their guests were escorted by their very own OL. Each family received their own OL to assist with various questions along the route and took the student to any other necessary offices. After assessing New Student Orientation attendees, the program received a 98% overall satisfaction rate and showed that this is a sustainable model to continue.

Post-Graduation Outcomes Taskforce

President Kelly charged the Provost and the Vice President for Student Affairs with forming a task force to create a work readiness framework for UWG. The group had 45 days to develop this framework and report back to senior leadership. This 14-member team represented SAEM, Academic Affairs, Athletics, Business and Financial Services, Advancement, Alumni, and Students. Five meetings were held in the 45-day window. The final framework saw professional development as the umbrella motivation that supported internships, volunteering, employment, and coursework. The main collaborative tasks in the framework were documenting student experiences in resumes, co-curricular program maps, and earning badges/certificates. The career readiness outcomes identified documents (i.e., resume, cover letter, and ePortfolio if applicable) and access to activities (i.e., job fairs, networking opportunities, and interviews).

Mental Health Focus at USG/UWG

In 2021, the University System of Georgia (USG) focused many efforts on awareness of and resources for mental health challenges for students. In Spring 2021 through grant funding, UWG partnered with Christie Campus Health to provide online resources to students free of charge. Through grant funding, UWG also began training the trainer in Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). The goal was to have at least one trainer in each division and everyone (faculty, staff, and students) ultimately trained at UWG. The QPR and MHFA trainings to campus began in Fall 2021.  


The Comprehensive Analysis of Programs (CAP) was initiated by the Provost in summer 2021. One of the goals in the CAP process was to fulfill UWG’s Big Idea in the Momentum Plan, which focused on coordinating and embedding student success and student support efforts within every academic unit. In order to enhance momentum in academic affairs, the provost’s office initiated a comprehensive analysis of all degree programs from both an organizational and student perspective. 

Across all academic units, faculty and administrators are engaging in a process to first establish the history and current status of their respective program/s by reviewing credit-hour production, faculty workload (SCH/faculty member), department faculty composition (i.e., part-time vs. full-time faculty), DFWI rates by course, and degrees conferred. Following this initial review, the data collected will be used to compare these metrics to other peer institutions for purposes of benchmarking. These comparisons will allow each program to understand its performance in the context of expectations (peer institutions) and aspirations (aspirational institutions).  Moreover, to provide narrative context to these data, each academic unit has begun collecting stories from a diverse pool of students that will holistically speak to their academic experiences and personal journeys in and out of the classroom. The first round of data collection and reporting will conclude in November 2021.

These data will then be used to inform a more in-depth analysis of each program, which will potentially include co-curricular and curricular redesigns. To guide this process, the Provost developed prompts, focused specifically on students’ paths through the program and what barriers might slow students’ momentum within the curriculum, including bottleneck areas, gateway courses, and extensive and restrictive course sequencing/prerequisite chains. Moreover, they require programs to analyze their expectations, curriculum, and materials through a student-centered lens. 

This analysis is ostensibly multilevel and processual, requiring faculty and administrators to consider the inputs and outputs of each academic program regarding faculty’s professional development (research, presentations, consulting, etc.) and its relationship and integration within the curriculum and each respective faculty members’ course assignments. Moreover, these prompts require reflection on the experiential learning and high-impact practices incorporated within the program, including service learning, internships, research, guest speakers, and other co-curricular activities. Upon a systematic review of these inputs, faculty and administrators must also assess the programs’ outputs, including retention and graduation rates, as well as long-term success of its alumni. Examples of analysis points related to student success in the CAP are provided below:

  1. Provide a program map showing which courses to take each semester to complete the program in a timeline manner.  This map should include evidence of pre-requisites.  What changes / clarifications are needed to make this program map easier to follow and drive students towards timely graduation?
  2. Provide a multi-year projected schedule showing which courses are offered each semester into the future, indicating the expected day/time when the courses will be offered, and the modalities offered.  What changes need to be made, offering courses more or less frequently based upon demand and to enable timely degree progression?
  3. Pressure Testing: Are #1 and #2 above aligned such that the program maps can be followed given the schedule of course offerings?  What changes need to be made to ensure they’re aligned?
  4. What is the total number of credit hours required for the program, and if this exceeds 120 (for undergraduate), 30 (for masters), or 60 (for doctorate), is there justification for going over the standard?  Can this be reduced to accelerate students’ time to graduation?
  5. What is the critical pathway of prerequisites for the program?  Which courses must be completed and how many, showing the longest prerequisite chain?  Can this be shortened to allow for more flexibility?
  6. What are the critical milestone courses, and do they create a bottleneck for the program?  I.e., is there one or two courses that all students must take that inhibit their progression to later courses?  Are there alternative courses that could be added as another option and taken to allow for more options/flexibility?
  7. What experiential learning opportunities do students have in the program?  This could include internships, project-based courses tied to external industry/partners, etc.  Are these required or elective?  Are the prerequisites for participation accessible such that as many students as possible can engage in these opportunities?
  8. What co-curricular activities are provided outside of the class to enhance the student experience, specifically activities unique to UWG that might not be offered elsewhere?  When do students engage in these activities, and is there a progression of engagement from first-year to graduating students?  Do these activities position a student to distinguish themselves from others outside of UWG who are competing for jobs/career so that they may launch their careers before graduation?
  9. Do you have a co-curricular map aligned to semesters/terms, akin to the program map in #1, such that students are aware of expectations of co-curricular engagement as they progress towards their degree completion?  For example, attending extracurricular academic events (invited speakers, performances, etc.); joining disciplinary student organizations; securing outside internships, job shadowing, or laboratory work; submitting scholarly or creative work for presentation or publication; and participating in job skills workshops (resume writing, job and academic application mentoring, etc.).
  10. Do the DWF rates in courses indicate the need to modify courses to improve student success?   Which courses have the highest DFW rates, and are there particular reasons for these that can be addressed?  What learning support or other assistance/modifications can help more students be more successful in these high DFW course(s)?

The collaborative work on the CAP embeds and aligns key elements of UWG’s Momentum Planning (program maps--pressure tested with co-curricular option--purposeful pathways, academic mindset, experiential learning, etc.) throughout academic units across campus and provides a common framework to measure and analyze success on implementation.  See the  Comprehensive Analysis of Programs for additional details.


UWG 2021-2022 Momentum Plan

Section 4.1.1. Academic Focus Areas

UWG created seven academic focus areas for students who enroll without declaring a major. Focus areas include Sciences / STEM, Business, Health Professions, Education, Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities. Each focus area is aligned with three core courses that help students progress in the first year toward making a purposeful choice. Processes in Academic Advising have also been revised to help guide and mentor students in focus areas, and communication has been developed to help students more clearly understand what focus areas are and how to utilize the support they offer. Since focus areas have been in place for three years, UWG is engaged this year in an analysis of data collected on focus areas (See Appendix B & C). Data includes the pathway progression of students who initially declared a focus area--did the student choose a major within the focus area or in another area--as well as retention rates by each focus area. The data in Appendix B shows that a large number of first-time full-time freshmen in each focus area were not enrolled by their third year, most notably within STEM, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Moreover, Business, Humanities, and Health Professions had the largest proportions of students who were in a related major by their third year. Appendix C shows the specific distribution of majors for still-enrolled students by their third year within the three largest focus areas (STEM, Health Professions, and Business). Over half of the students remained in their original focus area or a related discipline; however, other patterns emerged, which will require further analysis. For instance, psychology was the major of choice for 6.25% of health professions majors, which may demonstrate that students within the health professions focus area have interests in both physical and mental wellbeing. This work is connected to the broader program and unit analysis involved in CAP. The goal is to have recommendations in place for any necessary revisions to focus areas for implementation in next year’s Momentum Plan.

Section 4.1.2. Career Inventory & Purposeful Mindset

UWG’s Cornerstone course (First-Year Seminar) was one of the first initiatives UWG developed as part of Momentum in 2017 to support student success and to help students in their transition to college in the first year. It is also the first High Impact Practice that UWG developed and built to scale, drawing on broad, collaborative partnerships from across campus. From its inception, the Cornerstone course 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 the Cornerstone Course. In fall 2021 there were 58 sections (approximately 1,200 or 80% or FTFT first-year students enrolled). In addition to the focus on an engaging academic topic, each seminar incorporates academic success experiences—in the form of online exploration modules and course presentations—that include career exploration, growth mindset, academic advising, writing, and peer mentoring/tutoring. Faculty and credential staff from across campus have been actively involved in developing and teaching the course, and they participate in a summer course design workshop 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.

As part of UWG’s First-Year Seminar (Cornerstone) course, first-year students now complete a career inventory assessment through YouScience. Students also have an opportunity to complete the Focus2 Career Inventory as part of the admissions process. The inventory in the Cornerstone course includes a follow-up assignment administered by the Academic Transitions staff where students reflect on potential majors and careers / jobs connected to different majors. Staff from Career Services also meet with students to process the career inventory. So far this fall, 475 students have completed the career inventory process. While this career inventory is valuable for all students, it is particularly targeted toward students in academic focus areas (who have not declared a major) and students who have declared a major but might transition to another major during the first year. The career inventory data is shared with support staff (including career services and academic advising) so that students are supported in developing a purposeful pathway. In the Cornerstone course, first-year students also complete a Growth Mindset Assessment, in addition to the Mindset Survey administered through the USG. So far this fall, 458 students have completed the assessment. As with the Career Inventory, the results of the assessment are shared with each student and with student support staff so they can help.

Section 4.1.3. Program Maps

UWG also included revisions to program maps as part of its Momentum planning that has focused on consistency of design, pressure-testing, inclusion of co-curricular options, and high impact practices, and accessibility. Revisions to program maps to meet these benchmarks have been included in the CAP criteria described in Section 3. 

Linked below are examples of revised co-curricular program maps that will be used as a template for other programs. These revised maps focus on providing students with an aesthetic branded map to guide them through the courses they should take each semester on a four-year plan. For co-curricular options, these were designed with less rigidity: instead of by semester on a four-year plan, we have provided suggestions for first year, middle years, and last year. This design allows for all students—from first-time freshmen to adult-learners who transferred midway in their college career to follow the guide for co-curriculars suggestions for six action-focused areas: Crush your Coursework (narrative recommendations for course order and foci), Find your Place (extracurriculars on campus including student groups and research), Broaden your Perspective (diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, and belonging), Connect Off-Campus (work, internships, volunteering, connecting with professionals in the field), Take Care of Yourself (recommendations for physical and mental wellbeing), and Pave your Path (career-centered recommendations).

Drafted Examples of UWG’s Revised Programs Maps:

Section 4.1.4. Development of Statistics Pathway

UWG was an institutional partner in the USG Statistics Pathway Initiative. As a result of that work, UWG now has in place a Statistics Pathway that includes a statistics course in Area A that is aligned to a corequisite learning support course. The Statistics Pathway consists of MATH 1401 (Elementary Statistics) in Core Area A and DATA 1501 (Introduction to Data Science) in Core Area D. MATH 1401 is currently offered as a course in both Area A and D. DATA 1501 is currently in the curriculum approval process with the goal of offering the course for the first time in fall 2022. In addition, since MATH 1401 is now in Area A, a corequisite learning support course, MATH 0996 (Support for Elementary Statistics), was developed and offered for the first time in fall 2021. Currently, there are 6 students registered for MATH 0996.

Based on a campus survey in spring 2021, the following majors have indicated they will recommend the Statistics Pathway on program maps for students: Anthropology, Criminology, History, Mass Communications, Psychology, and Sociology. Philosophy includes the statistics pathway on its program map along with the other optional math pathways. All of these correspond with the disciplines’ RAC recommendations. This fall, 51 students  have been identified who have taken MATH 1401 and who are in the identified majors, but have not taken another math (in Area A or D) and potentially may be interested in pursuing the statistics pathway. University College is developing a system to identify students who enter the statistics pathway.

To increase student success in MATH 1401 through targeted mindset interventions, math faculty are incorporating assignments and projects into the course that demonstrate the relevance of statistics for diverse majors and professions. Examples of such mindset activities include the following: Social Science majors explore data visualization tools and examples found on Gapminder. For the purpose of illustrating current uses of data visualization in social science and relate it to the basic visualizations, the course aligns this with descriptive statistics. Computer Science majors learn how to use conditional probability and Bayes Theorem to see how those items could be leveraged in machine learning algorithms and AI. Nursing majors investigate examples of how these probabilities and algorithms can play a role in medical diagnosis. In addition, most faculty teaching MATH 1401 are posting supplemental materials and videos online for students.

Section 4.1.5. High Impact Practices (HIPs)

West Georgia remains actively involved in work to develop and expand opportunities for students to engage in High Impact Practices (HIPs) and continues to serve as an engaged institutional partner in HIPs initiatives with the University System of Georgia. UWG campus leaders (faculty and administrators) have served in leadership roles in USG planning and implementation around HIPs, including active leadership in LEAP State Georgia, a consortium of USG and private institutions that have worked with the USG to facilitate the expansion of HIPs. UWG has had a campus-wide HIPs Steering Committee in place since 2016, and work on HIPs / experiential learning has been integrated into UWG’s new strategic plan. Among the results of this work has been UWG’s signature First-Year Seminar (Cornerstone) courses that are aligned to HIPs First-Year Experience criteria. The Faculty Senate also approved criteria for Service-Learning in 2016.

In spring 2021, six UWG faculty served as faculty liaisons to the USG in work on assigning HIPs attributes for courses in Banner. Four of those faculty are continuing to serve as liaisons to the USG in 2021-2022 and have assumed leadership roles related to HIPs implementation work on campus. These faculty--in collaboration with UWG’s Campus HIPs Committee--drafted recommendations that were approved by the Provost and submitted to the USG.

Campus planning around HIPs was prominently included in UWG’s Momentum Plan in spring 2021 and focused on developing a campus process and criteria for Banner course attributes. The HIPs Campus Steering Committee drafted a HIPs Attributes Guide that was widely shared with faculty and staff in the early stages of this work during the summer and early fall. A process for developing and approving criteria for HIPs was approved by the Faculty Senate in September 2021 (HIPs Process Proposal). Criteria documents for attributes are now being drafted, beginning with the four HIPs prioritized by the USG: First-Year Experience, Service-Learning, Undergraduate Research, and Work-Based Learning. Criteria for First-Year Seminar have already been approved. Service-Learning criteria is being revised to meet the new USG guidelines. An Undergraduate Research Criteria Proposal has been sent to the Faculty Senate for approval. A link has been provided to the UR document, since all criteria templates follow a common framework. This will allow UWG to begin assigning HIPs attributes to courses in the spring. Faculty and academic programs will be responsible for submitting course proposals and syllabi aligned with the approved HIPs criteria to receive course attributes. Work in the next stage of implementation will focus on Capstones, Global & Diversity Learning (including Study Abroad / Away), Writing Intensive courses and ePortfolio.

The Provost has allocated funding to support faculty in this work (see Section 4.3.4.)  The Center for Teaching and Learning also worked with faculty fellows over the summer to design a course for faculty that focuses on aligning courses with HIPs criteria (see Section 4.3.3.). Campus efforts to expand student access to HIPs has also involved staff and student support units across campus, most notably with the work that has been done in a number of units (Auxiliary Services, Ingram Library, etc.) to align student employment with HIPs criteria, so that work-based learning on campus includes active mentoring, alignment with professional goals, and reflective learning (see Section 4.1.6). All of these were included in our spring Momentum Plan, and each has either been achieved or is making significant progress toward its identified outcomes.

Section 4.1.6. Alignment of Campus Student Employment with HIPs Criteria

Learn, Live, Work West: Over the past year, West Georgia has worked to create more meaningful employment experiences for students working on campus through aligning student employment with HIPs criteria (opportunities to reflect on learning, authentic mentoring experiences, public demonstrations of competence, connections to future professional careers and goals). While this work is occurring across campus, UWG Auxiliary Services has been an exemplary leader in developing and implementing strategic models for supporting students through meaningful employment. Auxiliary Services was featured in the spring as part of the USG presentation on work-based learning.

Data consistently show that students who live and work on campus at UWG are much more successful in GPA and retention. Auxiliary Services employs hundreds of students on campus across 38 different Auxiliary Operations. This provides many opportunities to positively impact student performance, retention, and career success. To improve student support, Auxiliary Services designed a 40-hour basic training school (LeadWest Academy) to teach frontline managers and supervisors how to best onboard, train, and develop student assistants. From the 2020 LeadWest Academy, a 30-60-90-day training packet was developed to be used across all units in Auxiliary Services for all new student assistants. In addition to basic training (safety, equipment, etc.) and cross training in other units, the mentoring program focuses on helping students with professional goals and identifying student employment within the organization that aligns with their future careers. The 2021 LeadWest Academy’s project has been to develop a guide to supplement the 30-60-90 training program and is designed to help new supervisors become familiar and successful with the mentoring program.

LeadWest is proving to be highly successful for students. Historically, the retention rate for student assistants as employees has been between 60-67%. In fall 2020, as the focus on retention increased through attendance in the LeadWest Academy, retention increased to 80%. And in spring 2021, after full deployment of the program, student-assistant retention across all Auxiliary units increased to 92%.

Moving forward, in addition to developing the new guide this fall, Auxiliary ITS, working with Human Resources, Payroll, and the USG, has developed a mobile timecard so that student assistants can move from one Auxiliary operation to another, throughout the day/week/month, so that students can depend upon consistent work/pay, and the peaks and valleys in service and product demand across Auxiliary units are reduced, thus allowing students who use these services to be better served. Finally, Auxiliary Services has established an Employee Enrichment Center. A full-time employee oversees the center and monitors the 30-60-90 program, identifies positive trends that are leading to student assistant success, and reports on negative trends that the leadership team needs to explore and correct.


Section 4.3.1. UWG Strategic Plan Implementation

Last fall, under the leadership of President Brendan Kelly, the UWG community—campus leaders, faculty, staff, students, and community partners—began work on UWG’s new Strategic Plan. The plan was completed in February 2021. In the first stage of the process—Stakeholder Engagement—UWG hosted nearly 100 Discovery Sessions and fielded a survey that garnered more than 900 responses. The institution gathered input from cohesive, far-reaching, and collective voices to guide what the university will become. In the second stage—Strategic Planning Prioritization—the process engaged members of the university’s executive team, President’s Cabinet, Provost’s Council, Faculty Senate, Staff Council leadership, and Strategic Planning Steering Team to validate and prioritize the themes that emerged during Stakeholder Engagement. The three institutional priorities in the strategic plan align with UWG’s Momentum initiatives and center student success at the heart of UWG’s institutional mission in the following cornerstone areas:

Relevance: UWG will continue to evolve to be more relevant to students’ needs (both inside and outside the classroom), as well as adapt to a changing world and economy. This commitment includes updating existing programs and developing new programs to engage students in 21st-century learning experiences based upon continuous market analysis; launching or advancing each students’ career before graduation by ensuring they work on at least one meaningful project (experiential learning) that takes a semester or more to complete; elevating ALL students’ professional, cultural, and global competencies via co-curricular experiences; and defining pathways to post-graduation through an institutional commitment to elevating and advancing internships, experiential learning, intentional mentorship, and professional and community-based networking for all students.

Competitiveness: UWG curates its operations around higher end-user expectations in order to emerge as the first choice for students, employees, employers, and supporters. This will be achieved, in part, through embedding excellence in service—creating remarkable experiences through proactive service excellence--so that everyone feels expected.

Placemaking: A public university is a unique institution in the United States that has the capacity to provide a holistic sense of place. UWG will live up to that expectation all the time through strengthening the sense of belonging and connectedness at UWG by intentionally nurturing relationships and bonds among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and communities.

The new strategic plan will help to advance UWG’s Momentum work by prioritizing essential elements in developing student success: growth mindset through a stronger sense of purpose and belonging through engaged mentoring and extra-curricular involvement; experiential / applied learning through High Impact Practices (HIPs) and co-curricular experiences that are connected to students’ future personal aspiration and professional goals; stronger alignment and coordination of student support--inside and outside of the classroom--to strengthen recruitment, retention, and graduation. UWG’s 2021 Strategic Plan.

Section 4.3.2. HIPs Communication

The Provost has actively supported communication around HIPs Implementation. One entire day of the two-day UWG Summer Institute on General Education Redesign focused on the relationship between HIPs and General Education. A presentation on the USG HIPs Attributes Project and UWG’s plans for implementation was featured at the opening General Faculty Meeting in August. Updates on the campus implementation work has been included as part of the monthly Provost’s Council and the Provost’s Weekly Announcements to the campus. Members of the campus steering committee on HIPs--which includes representatives from every academic college / school--also update their units on HIPs implementation progress. A HIPs website is also in development and will go active before the end of the fall semester. In the spring, the communication processes described above will continue. In addition, in the spring, the Provost is providing funding to support Provost Faculty Fellows throughout each academic college / school to assist individual academic units with the next stages of implementation work, facilitate communication, and coordinate faculty development around HIPs (see Section 4.3.4).

Section 4.3.3. HIPs Faculty Development Course & Faculty Course Design Institute

In spring semester 2021, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) consulted with UWG’s HIPs Implementation Committee to develop a course design institute for June 2021.  The purpose of the institute was to develop the framework and content for an asynchronous, self-paced course for faculty that focuses on instructional strategies and practices for incorporating AAC&U’s Eight Key Elements (EKEs) of HIPs into face-to-face and online teaching.  An application process resulted in identifying six faculty members from a variety of disciplines and ranks to participate in the institute. 

At the end of the three-week institute, the group had collected a variety of disciplinary examples of EKEs in action.  In July, the CTL team built out much of the structure for the online course, which is housed in UWG’s instance of Brightspace D2L.  Participants also sought additional disciplinary examples from their departmental colleagues to add to the range of content in the course.

Originally, the faculty course was scheduled to open in fall 2021. However, when UWG learned that the USG was designing a HIPs short course in MomentumU@USG that would open in the spring, the opening of UWG’s course was postponed. The faculty course on HIPs’ EKEs aims to be a companion to the upcoming HIPs short course in MomentumU@USG, focusing on examples, contributions, and feedback from UWG faculty. The six-week course is asynchronous in design with deadlines to encourage collaboration.

This course outline provides a current draft overview of the faculty course.  With each iteration of the course, the CTL will gather feedback from participants as part of a continuous improvement cycle.  Additionally, each round of participants will be asked to contribute their own EKEs examples, along with video reflections and narrated PowerPoints as appropriate.

Section 4.3.4. HIPs Provost’s Fellows

The Provost has designated funding to support a new UWG HIPs Provost’s Fellows Program. In its initial year, HIPs fellows will be used to help coordinate, communicate, and support UWG’s work on designating courses with HIPs attributes. In the fall, faculty will be nominated by their departments to serve as HIPs Fellows. Faculty fellows will receive training to support their work (introduction to the USG HIPs attributes criteria and process, completion of the HIPs Faculty Development course, and participation on the campus HIPs Steering Committee). In the spring, faculty fellows will serve as department and program liaisons, facilitate communication about HIPs implementation, and assist faculty with submitting their courses to receive HIPs attributes. Responsibilities will parallel the work currently assigned to USG HIPs faculty at the system level. Once the institutional apparatus for assigning HIPs attributes to courses in Banweb is in place by the end of the spring semester, the focus of the HIPs Fellows Program will shift in subsequent years to specific proposals from faculty to develop new courses or redesign existing courses that embed HIPs or to work on other HIPs related projects such as developing co-curricular options for students in programs and embedding them in program maps.

Section 4.3.5. Data Plan--Institutional Scorecards Aligned to UWG Strategic Plan

As part of UWG’s Strategic Plan, President Kelly implemented institutional scorecards as part of UWG’s Summer Institutional Improvement Institute. The scorecards--updated and assessed every quarter--are aligned to the student success metrics in UWG’s Strategic Plan and UWG’s Momentum work. Metrics include enrollment, retention, and graduation goals, student experience goals, and service excellence goals, among others.



COVID emerged just as work on implementing UWG’s Momentum Plan began in 2020. Despite those interruptions, UWG achieved virtually all of its Momentum goals for 2020-2021 and continues to make strong, evidence-based progress toward its 2021-2022 goals as well, supported by a new executive leadership team and a new strategic plan. While the challenges created by COVID often have felt overwhelming, dedicated faculty and staff have approached it as an opportunity to learn and adopt new skills and discover new ways to support students. As a result, more faculty than ever are knowledgeable and better equipped to teach in dynamic ways that support students. Support services offered by staff have done similar work in the formation of the Momentum Center and in organizational changes in Advising, Academic Success, Orientation, and New Student Programs to better support student success. Finally, but certainly not least, UWG celebrates our students who have shown remarkable resiliency and dedication to learning during these unprecedented challenges. They have helped us learn how to continue to be an institution that values learning and embraces community during challenging times. 

Many academic and student support units, administrative leaders, faculty, and staff at UWG contributed to this report, either in writing specific sections or providing data as supporting evidence. Members of the committee who drafted the final report were Jill Drake, Jennifer Jordan, Carrie Ziglar, Vanessa Woodward Griffin, and David Newton.


[*] Counts of programs are per the USG DMA Sept. 2020 for Fall 2020 (may have changed for Fall 2021

[†] Geographic counts are by STATE of Origin and Country of Origin (if not USA) in each student's banner record.  This 'origin' information may differ from their current residence, mailing address or any other location information.