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University of West Georgia Campus Plan Update 2015


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 to the people of West Georgia. 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 86 active programs of study, including 43 at the bachelor’s level, 29 at the master’s and specialist levels, four at the doctoral level, and 10 at the advanced certificate level.  The university awarded 2,358 degrees and awards in fiscal year 2014.  The number conferred has risen since fiscal year 2009 when the university awarded 1,895 degrees.  This represents an increase of 24%.

There were 12,206 students enrolled in the Fall 2014 semester:  10,249 at the undergraduate level and 1,957 at the graduate level.  The overall enrollment at the university has grown 19% since the Fall 2008 semester.  UWG has a diverse student population: 54.4% are Caucasian, 35.3% of the students are African-American/Black American, 4.1% are Hispanic, 2.9% are of mixed race, 1.6% are Asian, 1.3% did not declare any race, 0.1% are American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 0.1% declared as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. 

Ninety-five percent of the student body was from Georgia and represented 44 different counties.  Carroll, Cobb, Coweta, Douglas, and Fulton were the five counties with the largest numbers of students at UWG.  There were 492 out-of-state students representing 44 of the 49 remaining states.  Alabama, Florida, California, New York North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee were the top states sending students to UWG.  Additionally, there are 172 students from 75 countries Canada, China, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago were the top countries sending students to UWG.

The number of students eligible for the Pell grant has steadily increased in the past five years.  In the Fall 2009 semester, 44.66% of the undergraduate population was Pell eligible.  The fall semester of 2010 saw an increase when 52.16% of UWG students were Pell eligible.  The percentage held at 52% in the 2011 and 2012 fall semesters.  In Fall 2013, the percentage of students who were Pell eligible rose to 55.24%.  For the Fall 2014 semester, the percentage of the undergraduate population who were Pell eligible fell back down to 53.6%.

The University of West Georgia has 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.  Given the makeup of our student population and demographic trends in our region and in response to the Complete College Georgia (CCG) imperatives, the university is taking a more directed approach to helping our students with course progression and degree attainment.  This commitment to progression and attainment has helped the university identify five key priorities to help our students be successful in obtaining a degree. Those five are discussed in Part 2: Institutional Completion Goals, High-Impact Strategies and Activities.


This update addresses the five most prominent strategies targeted by the University of West Georgia as the campus engaged in its completion efforts, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of undergraduate students who earn a bachelor’s degree. The five strategies emerged from the nine College Completion goals and strategies explicitly provided by the University System of Georgia.

With regard to the overarching, mandatory Goal 1, Increase the number of undergraduate academic degrees, all of our completion efforts are designed to help UWG undergraduate students earn their bachelor’s degrees in a timely manner. Our institution has achieved steady, incremental improvement with Goal 1 since the implementation of Complete College Georgia, as evidenced by the following:

  • Measure of Progress. First year retention rates for the Fall 2013 entering freshman cohort are 74.18%, up almost 4% from 70.76% for the Fall 2012 cohort (see Appendix Table 4).
  • Measures of Success
    • The number of bachelor’s degrees conferred has increased steadily each year for the past five years, with 1,660 degrees awarded in Fall 2014 (see Appendix Table 12, which shows successive Fall term data since 2010).
    • The number of bachelor’s degrees conferred by STEM fields has increased steadily each year for the past five years, with 200 degrees awarded in FY14 (See Appendix Table 16, which shows successive fiscal year data since FY10).

The remainder of Part 2 (Institutional Completion Goals and High-Impact Strategies and Activities) addresses UWG’s five most prominent strategies for the 2014-2015 academic year. Each begins with a high-impact strategy and is followed by the aligned CCG goal. Implementation activities undertaken this past year are described with links to measures of progress and success, and lastly, each section concludes with lessons learned.

High Impact Strategy 1

Intrusive Academic Advising


USG Goal 4: Provide intrusive advising to keep students on track to graduate


Three major activities supported Intrusive Academic Advising this past year. They are: (1) Advising with Targeted Tier Populations, (2) Encouragement to enroll in 15 semester credit hours, and (3) the Educational Advisory Board’s Student Success Collaborative (EAB-SSC) pilot project, which was designed to precede the campus-wide implementation of the new advising platform that will begin in Fall 2015.

Activity 1

Advising with Targeted Tier Populations


USG Strategy 4.3: Use Degree works to track student progress

Summary of Activities

The Advising Center employs professional advisors who serve seven majors during their freshman and sophomore years: Biology, Mass Communications, Criminology, Pre-Nursing, Psychology, Sociology, and those students who have not yet declared a major (i.e., Undecided). The advisor reviews each student’s history and degree progress to place him/her into one of four tiers and to determine the best level of service for that individual. This Targeted Tier Populations model applies specific service plans to best meet students’ needs, while simultaneously making efficient use of institutional resources. The four tiers and a summary of their service plans follows:

  • Tier 1 ‘Action’ Students are those whose overall hours earned indicate they will graduate in 5 or 6 years. Advisors pursue these students via intrusive methods to schedule face-to-face meetings, teach them how to use advising resources effectively (e.g., DegreeWorks/WolfWatch, Class Bulletin, websites), review current schedules for appropriateness of major and enrollment in 15 credit hours, email encouragement for progress and desire to accelerate progress, and follow-up with resource referrals. Research indicates that these ‘murky middle’ students perform well when advising is more intrusive than not; thus, advising holds are placed on these students’ records. The holds require them to meet with their advisor.
  • Tier 2 Students are ‘Action-New’ Students. The service plan for these students is similar to that of Tier 1 students, with exceptions that tailor interactions to address the needs of students who are new to the institution. These students are required to meet with their advisor.
  • Tier 3 Students are ‘Star’ Students. These are returning students whose overall hours earned indicate they are on track to graduate within four years. Services are similar to those of Tier 1 students, except that they are advised upon request.
  • Tier 4 ‘No Action’ Students are those whose overall hours earned indicate that they will not graduate within 6 years. Most are on Academic Warning or Probation and receive Academic Coaching through the Center for Academic Success. Tier 4 Students are strongly encouraged to see an academic advisor for help in determining appropriateness of the major and how best to progress more quickly toward graduation; however, scarce resources have been directed to those students who will make best use of meetings with their advisors (Tiers 1-3).

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. Usage data for each of the four tiers (Number of students served through Advising Center) (Appendix Table 40)
  2. Number of students who meet 30-60 hour benchmarks (Appendix Table 10)

Measures of Success

  1. Number of students who meet 90 hour benchmarks (Appendix Table 10)
  2. Freshman retention rates (Appendix Table 4)
  3. Number of hours attempted and earned each term and at graduation (Appendix Tables 22, 28, 30)

Activity 2

Emphasis on Enrollment in 15 Credit Hours per Term


USG Strategy 2.1: Change institutional culture to emphasize taking full-time course loads (15 or more credits per semester) to earn degrees ‘on-time.’

Summary of Activities

Professional Advisors in the UWG Advising Center serve first year (and often second year) students in seven majors, as noted above (Intrusive Academic Advising, Activity 1). In Fall 2014, a number of Advising Center advisors encouraged their students to register for 15+ credits in Spring 2015. The tactic was successful, as the percentage of students enrolled in 15+ hours increased almost 7%, from 20.3% in Fall 2014 to 27.0% in Spring 2015. Six of the seven majors experienced this increase.

Additionally, professional advisors in the College of Education, Richards College of Business, and Tanner Health System School of Nursing also encouraged students to enroll in 15+ hours per term. Results over the past four years confirm a steady, incremental increase in the percentage of students taking a full schedule, with 35.2% enrolled in 15+ credit hours in Fall 2014 compared to 33.5% in Fall 2013 and 30.0% in Fall 2012 (see Appendix Table 20). Because these activities produced welcome results, similar efforts will continue in the 2015-2016 academic year with many advisors having set performance evaluation goals connected to this initiative.

Interim Measures of Progress

  • Percentage of students who enroll in 15+ credit hours each term (Appendix Table 20)
  • Number of students who meet 30-60 hour benchmarks (Appendix Table 10)

Measures of Success

  • 1st and 2nd year retention rates (Appendix Table 4)
  • Four and six year graduation rates (Appendix Table 18)

Activity 3

EAB-Student Success Collaborative (SSC) Pilot Project


USG Strategy 4.2. Use predictive analytics (EAB, D2L, or Ellucian) to help identify students who are off track and to help students understand their likelihood of success in particular programs

Summary of Activities

UWG partnered with the Education Advisory Board – Student Success Collaborative (EAB-SSC) to implement a technology-driven, intrusive advising model that is grounded in predictive analytics. In Fall 2014, the EAB-SSC technical team completed the development of an advising algorithm using 10 years of UWG student data to produce an institution-specific advising platform and predictive workbooks for each major. Faculty identified ‘Success Markers’ for each major in early January, 2015, which set the stage for the pilot project that was implemented in the latter part of the Spring 2015 term. The purpose of the pilot was to test the accuracy and effectiveness of the advising platform and predictive workbooks with three groups of professional advisors: Pre-Nursing, Business, and the Advising Center.

Measure of Progress for the Pre-Nursing Spring 2015 Pilot. Early outcomes from the Pre-Nursing pilot project, a joint effort between the School of Nursing and Advising Center, indicate that ‘Success Markers’ made more of an impact on advising conversations with students than did GPA trends, which had been the standard of practice. Success Markers are specific milestones identified by Nursing faculty as critical points for predicting future success in the program. For example, Nursing faculty selected a ‘grade of B or better in Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 2021) that must be completed between 30-45 credit hours earned’ as one of seven Success Markers for their program.

Measure of Progress for the Business Spring 2015 Pilot. Professional Advisors in the Richards College of Business conducted a ‘campaign’ through their pilot project, whereby advisors identified business students who were above a 3.0 GPA for the Spring Semester. Advisors sent congratulatory emails to these students. Early outcomes indicate that students responded positively to the encouragement. For example, K.E., a female business major posted a facebook comment on May 18, 2015, in response to her advisor’s contact that read: “Awesome when you open your email and see that your hard work does not go unrecognized!!! Happy Monday!!! – feeling proud.”

Scale-up for 2015-2016. Training for all advisors (both professional and faculty advisors who did not participate in the pilot project) is scheduled for September, 2015, to prepare for full-scale implementation of the EAB-Student Success Collaborative model to advise for the Spring 2016 term.

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. The technical implementation is moving forward as expected. This has been accomplished. The advising algorithm has been built and validity testing is complete.
  2. The pilot project is completed and potential problems are resolved. The three pilot projects (i.e., Advising Center, Business, and Nursing professional advisors) were completed at the end of the Spring 2015 without difficulty.
  3. The scale-up for campus-wide training to use the advising platform is in the planning stages. Training for faculty advisors and the remaining professional advisors has been scheduled for September 8-9, 2015, with plans for the entire campus to use the EAB-SSC advising platform for Spring 2016 registration.

Measures of Success

  • Number of students who meet 30-60-90 hour benchmarks (Appendix Table 10)
  • 1st year, 2nd year, and 3rd year retention rates (Appendix Table 4)
  • Number of hours attempted and earned at graduation (Appendix Table 28, 30)
  • Four and six year graduation rates (Appendix Table 18)

Lessons Learned

Early during the implementation of the EAB-SSC pilot project, the Advising Center learned that advisors must be assigned directly to individual students in order to most effectively use the advising platform. UWG has not used the direct assignment of advisors in the past, but will do so in the near future because of lessons learned from this project.

High Impact Strategy 2

Dual Enrollment


USG Goal 6. Shorten time to degree completion through programs that allow students to earn college credit while still in high school and by awarding credit for prior learning that is verified by appropriate assessment.

USG Strategy 6.1. Participate in dual enrollment or joint enrollment programs for high school students.

Summary of Activities

In Fall 2014, President Kyle Marrero convened key stakeholders from our region to discuss and commit to an ongoing partnership to improve long-term educational and economic outcomes. The partnership formalized itself as the Carrollton City and Carroll County Education Collaborative (CCEC), with membership representing the University of West Georgia, West Georgia Technical College, Chamber of Commerce, Carrollton City and Carroll County PK-12 School Systems, and Oak Mountain Academy (local private PK-12 school). Dual enrollment is one of the major initiatives supported by this partnership.

The Dual Enrollment Committee (subsequently formed as a subcommittee of the CCEC) defined strategies to promote dual enrollment as a viable and beneficial option for local high school students. The collaborative venture worked with UWG, e-Core, West Georgia Technical College, and local high schools throughout 2014-2015. Results of their work include the following:

  • Additional options for high school students, particularly those who live in Coweta County, will be available in Fall 2015 at the new Newnan Center facility (the community’s ‘old hospital’), slated to open in August 2015. The Dual Enrollment Committee worked closely with the Newnan Center staff throughout Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 in anticipation of this grand opening.
  • The Dual Enrollment Committee – in collaboration with local superintendents, high school principals, curriculum directors, and secondary guidance counselors – identified tactics to help high school students take advantage of dual enrollment opportunities. These tactics included (1) scheduling options (morning or afternoon class schedules), (2) early planning by UWG and WGTC to provide listings of course offerings for the coming academic year, and (3) identifying a single point of contact on the college campus to help with admissions, financial aid, and advising. UWG provided this single point person through hiring a Pre-College Program Coordinator, which is a new position for our institution.
  • UWG partnered with the USG e-Core to promote online options for high school students. eCore benefits those students whose complicated schedules do not allow them to take advantage of face-to-face college courses; it is also an attractive option for students without transportation.

As of July 24, 2015, Fall 2015 applications for Dual Enrollment (exclusive of the Advanced Academy) are up 97% over Fall 2014 (353 compared to 179 last year). Early enrollment numbers for Fall 2015 are also ahead. 

Interim Measures of Progress

  • Number of students enrolled in dual enrollment each term at Carrollton, Newnan, and through eCore (Appendix Tables 8, 32).

Measures of Success

  • Number of credit hours earned through dual enrollment each term (Appendix Tables 8, 32)
  • Success rate of students enrolled in dual enrollment each term (i.e., grades of A, B, and C) (Appendix Table 36)

Lessons Learned

The Dual Enrollment Committee listened to local superintendents, high school principals, curriculum directors, and secondary guidance counselors in an attempt to identify and remove barriers to dual enrollment. The Committee learned that barriers revolved around scheduling, transportation, and communication. Listening with a desire to understand and then acting on what was learned led directly to our growing success with the dual enrollment program.

High Impact Strategy 3

Block Scheduling For Freshmen


USG Goal 2. Increase the number of degrees that are earned ‘on-time’ (bachelor’s degrees in four years).

USG Goal 3. Decrease excess credits earned on the path to getting a degree.

Activity 1

ACCESS (Accelerated Core Curriculum: Expanding Student Success)


USG Strategy 2.1: Change institutional culture to emphasize taking full-time course loads (15 or more credits per semester) to earn degrees ‘on-time.’

USG Strategy 3.4. Offer block schedules for students in meta-majors or majors for the first semester or first year.

Summary of Activities

The ACCESS Pilot Project received funding for 2014-2015 as part of the USG CCG Innovation Grants program (Incubate category). The program places students in a structured schedule format that enables them to increase the average number of credit hours they take in their freshman year, thus putting them on track to graduate in four years. Students in the B.A. program earn 30 hours their first two semesters, and students in the B.F.A. program earn 36.

The project’s original objectives were to 1) increase hours earned and retention of students in a structured scheduling cohort from their first to second year, 2) to support faculty and administrators in collaborative planning for structured scheduling instruction and research on effectiveness, and 3) to scale up structured scheduling at UWG.

Faculty indicated that they were able to make cross-disciplinary connections that enriched their teaching of writing and critical thinking skills. They also felt that students matured more quickly with this approach and that both (students and faculty) benefitted from close, collegial relationships with advisors throughout the project.

The long-term impact of this project on students is still unknown, as this pilot year was one of creative exploration and implementation. Nevertheless, early outcomes are encouraging. For example:

  • There is growing interest among faculty and departments to create more block options for students. For instance, in Fall 2015 we will have a full schedule of blocked courses for Theatre majors and the Art Department has blocked pairs of Area F courses for students to re-gain ground that they might have lost if they transferred majors. 
  • The new Interim Dean of the College of Science and Math (COSM) recently engaged the Math Department in discussions about the possibility of creating blocked Math courses.
  • The Richards College of Business (RCOB) faculty are discussing ways to adapt the block format to support business majors.
  • A presentation at the UWG Innovations in Pedagogy Conference on campus (April 2015) drew attendees from a variety of departments and colleges on campus, and there were very specific questions and requests for advice and guidance on developing similar approaches for various majors and levels.

Modified blocks (i.e., schedules that include a blocked set of classes with non-blocked classes) may be effective options for students who need this type of scheduling flexibility.

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. Number of students completing 15 (B.A.) or 18 (B.F.A.) semester credit hours during first term. (Appendix Table 22)
  2. Number of students completing 30 (BA) or 36 (BFA) semester credit hours during first year (Appendix Table 22)

Measures of Success

  1. Number of students achieving the 30 hours benchmark in first year. (Appendix Table 22)
  2. 1st year retention rates (Appendix Table 4)
  3. 2nd year retention rates
  4. 3rd year retention rates
  5. Four and six year graduation rates (Appendix Table 18)

Lessons Learned

A number of items from the original grant proposal were not implemented as planned.   The timeline for developing the Faculty Learning Community (FLC), for example, was too ambitious. It seems obvious in retrospect, but at the beginning of this project, it simply did not occur to anyone that blocked classes, because they are faster and take up more time, do not allow much time for faculty to participate in the kind of reflection and research that a FLC requires.  We do plan to create a formal FLC, but it will likely occur during the 2015-2016 academic year instead.

Key challenges from this project include the following:

  • Developing a sustainable approach to continuing and expanding the program remains a challenge, as we still struggle with all of the moving parts (schedule creation, registration, recruitment, identifying classes, reserving seats, etc.).
  • Last minute changes in faculty assignments resulted in some faculty not having participated from the very beginning during planning discussions.
  • One associate dean coordinated the program for the pilot year, but that is not a sustainable model, particularly if the program expands beyond one college.
  • Students may need additional information during the summer orientation to get a better sense of how quickly the blocks move.
  • While there are faculty who are interested in creating more blocked courses, a number of departments and faculty remain skeptical.

Activity 2

UWISE (University of West Georgia Institutional STEM Excellence)

Summary of Activities

Funded by the Georgia Board of Regents STEM II Initiative, the goal of the University of West Georgia Institutional STEM Excellence (UWise) program is to create a nurturing environment for students who are interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). UWise provides support to STEM majors through a Summer Bridge program, a freshman Learning Community that schedules UWISE students together in courses during their first year, and opportunities to participate in undergraduate research. UWise supports faculty by providing mini-grants for projects that focus on improving instruction and enhancing the success of students in STEM courses, most particularly those taken by students during their freshman year.

Activity 2 first describes the ways that UWise supports students. The second part of Activity 2 reports one of the more impressive outcomes of the UWise faculty mini-grants that funded pedagogical research to improve student learning.

UWise Student Support

The Summer Bridge Program, a four-week term that allows students to earn 6 semester credit hours toward the core, is the strongest component of the UWise program. During the month of July – prior to their first fall term as entering freshmen – the students (1) get to know the faculty and campus, (2) make lasting friendships with like-minded, STEM focused students, (3) learn to support one another emotionally and academically through self-formed study groups, (4) improve their time management skills, and (5) gain confidence that they can, indeed, be successful as STEM majors. The summer program can be summarized as follows:

  • Each year, the UWise summer program enrolls approximately 30 new freshman students who have declared an interest in majoring in a STEM discipline.
  • Students live on campus throughout the July term (4 weeks) with room and board paid for through the grant. Students are responsible for paying all tuition and fees.
  • Students enroll in two courses that are designed to give them a head-start for their academic STEM career. Those courses are College Algebra (MATH 1111) and an intensive writing course (XIDS 2100); instructors have designed the curriculum for both with an integrated STEM focus.
  • Structured tutoring support is provided during evening study halls.
  • Week-end excursions supplement and complement content within the math and writing courses.
  • Students complete career interest inventories to help them explore the wide array of opportunities for careers that are supported through the various STEM majors.

Student performance data are examined annually as part of the UWISE program evaluation. Evaluators use a consistent research design to compare UWise students with non-UWise students on key performance indicators (Freshman GPA, 1st Year Retention, and final course grades for their freshman year). The UWise cohort is matched with non-UWise students (both groups are STEM majors) to create a ‘treatment group (UWise)’ and equivalent ‘comparison group (non-UWise).’ Matching variables include SAT scores and high school GPA (UWG Freshman Index).

UWise students typically outperform their non-UWise, matched comparison group peers on most of their freshman courses, with the exception of the second term of freshman chemistry, CHEM 1212 (see Appendix Table 37). This course seems to present ongoing challenges for UWise students, although causes remain unclear. Additionally, UWise participants tend to graduate on time (4 or 6 years) at rates higher than their matched peers (see Appendix Table 38).

Faculty Mini-Grant to Improve Student Success in Algebra and Pre-Calculus

One of the most impressive faculty mini-grants was conducted by a faculty member in her fourth year of researching ways to support student success in algebra and pre-calculus. She has used a pre-test at the beginning of her courses to place students into various categories (high risk for failure or withdrawing, moderate risk, low risk), and then has worked with students at high or moderate risk to get help through either supplemental instruction or intervention tutoring. Results indicate students who are at a moderate risk of failure improve significantly with supplemental instruction.  Course averages for these students are 81 when attending 10-19 Supplemental Instruction sessions and 91 when attending 20 or more sessions. High-risk students get a greater benefit from intervention tutoring, earning an average course score of 85 when they attend at least 10 intervention tutoring sessions. 

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. Number of students completing 30 credit hours during first year (Appendix Table 22)
  2. Final course grades in freshman STEM courses and ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102 (Appendix Table 37)
  3. Freshman GPA (Appendix Table 37)

Measures of Success

  1. Percentage of students retained in the STEM major (Appendix Table 38)
  2. 1st year retention rates (Appendix Table 4)
  3. 2nd year retention rates
  4. 3rd year retention rates
  5. Four and six year graduation rates in STEM disciplines (Appendix Table 16)

Lessons Learned

  • The UWise program is effective in supporting STEM majors’ success in the freshman year. Because of its demonstrated success, permanent funding to support the summer program (or the most productive parts of the program) is worthy of consideration when special initiative funds are no longer available.
  • The faculty mini-grants produced inconsistent outcomes from project to project. Some faculty member’s projects resulted in promising ideas, pedagogies, and tactics. Also, the most successful projects were those that worked closely with the Center for Teaching and Learning throughout the year of the mini-grant’s implementation. Thus, a recommendation would be to structure similar, future funding with purposeful support and oversight through the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • The STEM intensive writing course (XIDS 2100) has produced consistent, demonstrable results that are linked to improved student performance in the subsequent course taken in the Fall term (English Composition I, ENGL 1101). This STEM to STEAM model offers promise for integrating major content in writing courses for all students.
  • The work done through UWise to support first year math programming is impressive, both through the successes of the Summer Bridge program and also the faculty mini-grant’s success noted above in College Algebra and Pre-calculus. These projects confirm that first year math students can perform at higher levels and with less anxiety than what has been the norm. Additionally, we should note that the supplemental instruction model that has been so successful for these math courses has also been shown to support student learning in physics courses – another one of the successful UWise faculty mini-grants. Supplemental instruction is a high-impact strategy that appears to be serving our students well.

High Impact Strategy 4

Supplemental Instruction (Si)


USG Goal 8. Restructure instructional delivery to support educational excellence and student success.

Strategy 8.2. Implement alternative delivery models, such as hybrid instruction, flipped classrooms, and emporium-model instruction.

Summary of Activities

The Center for Academic Success (CAS) provides free tutoring using the peer-tutoring Supplementary Instruction model for most core courses. Supplemental Instruction is in high demand by students who are enrolled in ‘high-risk’ core courses, meaning those that usually have DFW rates at or above 30% (See Appendix Figure 1). SI Leaders (peer tutors) participate in required, ongoing training that follows the International Supplemental Instruction guidelines. Each SI Leader has previously taken the course that he or she tutors, earned an A in that course, and facilitates 2-3 collaborative, peer study sessions each week. 

A total of 61 course sections had SI sessions during the 2014-2015 academic year; of those SI offerings, eight of the top ten most requested courses for tutoring support are STEM courses (first year math, biology, and chemistry). Students who attended more SI sessions during the semester tended to earn a higher grade in the course (about one letter grade).

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. Number of course sections with Supplemental Instruction in FY15
  2. DFW rates in SI courses over time (Appendix Table 41)
  3. Success rates (final course grades/GPAs) of students using tutoring/supplemental instruction compared to those who do not participate  

Measures of Success

  1. Number of students who meet 30-60 hour benchmarks (Appendix Table 10)
  2. 1st year retention rates (Appendix Table 4)
  3. 2nd year retention rates

Lessons Learned

The most successful SI models occur when faculty select their own SI Peer Leader from a pool of former students that they have taught themselves, such that the Faculty-Peer SI Leader relationship is well-established. These SI Leaders attend every class session and work closely with the instructor to ensure consistency between content taught during class and content that is reinforced in the SI tutoring sessions. UWG is expanding its alignment with this best-practices model.

High Impact Strategy 5

Alternative Delivery Methods (Online Offerings)


USG Goal 8. Restructure instructional delivery to support educational excellence and student success.

USG Strategy 8.1. Expand completely online opportunities.

Summary of Activities

UWG administers the USG eCore® program. As an eCore® affiliate, UWG eCore® course offerings are included in those that are offered across the affiliate institutions as part of the system-wide collaborative program. To further the goals of CCG, UWG’s eCore® Administrative Services office expanded its offering of short term courses. Restructuring course delivery, thus shortening time to degree completion, is in direct response to the UWG-Complete College Georgia plan.

While the number of fully online courses has tapered off from the 41% increase we saw last year (down 12% from 258 in FY14 to 227 in FY15), the number of online course sections available to students has grown by 5-6% for online (non-eCore) and by 31% for online eCore offerings.  Combined undergraduate enrollment in fully online and partially online courses also grew by 8.6% from 20,241 in FY14 to 21,980 in FY15.

In FY15, UWG offered a wide array of upper-level undergraduate courses online, an online B.S. in Criminology, and also added a second fully online bachelor’s program in Sociology in Spring 2015. Annual enrollment numbers in UWG’S online B.S. with a major in Criminology program grew by 12.5% from 1,966 students in FY14 to 2,211 in FY15. The B.S with a major in Sociology enrollments will be shared in the FY16 CCG Status Update. 

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. Number of credits successfully completed in Fall 2014 for courses offered completely online (Appendix Table 36)
  2. Number of credits attempted in Fall 2014 for courses offered completely online (Appendix Table 36)
  3. Number of unique partially online courses, undergraduate only (Appendix Table 39)
  4. Number of unique fully online courses, undergraduate only (Appendix Table 39)

Measures of Success

Number of 100% online undergraduate degrees (Appendix Table 39)


UWG is experiencing success with our intentional approach to intrusive advising, tiered advising, aggressive recruiting for dual enrollment, supplemental instruction for high DFW courses, block scheduling for freshmen (pilot basis), and online offerings of high-quality programming. Further, we anticipate that the scaled up, campus-wide implementation of the EAB-Student Success Collaborative advising model will significantly improve the quality of academic advising, such that we will see direct results with progression toward degree completion.

In addition, our new Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), formed in November, 2013, continues to expand its offerings to provide faculty with high quality professional development and information about innovative techniques, research, and pedagogy. The role of the CTL in supporting faculty throughout the implementation of their mini-grants (as described above) should be noted. For example, the center formed a special Faculty Learning Community (FLC) to support faculty who were experimenting with new/different pedagogies to strengthen student learning in introductory math and science courses. It was within this FLC that faculty learned to engage with the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), a faculty development model that is producing positive campus-wide results.

Lastly, although certainly not least, UWG is thoughtfully expanding programming to meet the needs of adult learners and is doing so in ways that draw on the expertise and commitment of the faculty to help this under-served population return to college. The Faculty Senate’s unanimous ‘Yes’ vote to support UWG’s participation as a member of the Adult Learning Consortium was followed by a full year (2014-2015) of extensive planning by the College of Social Sciences’ Adult Learning Steering Committee. The committee:

  • developed policies and procedures to support Prior Learning Assessment (also called Credit for Prior Learning, CPL),
  • built a web-site to support adult learners,
  • planned a marketing campaign that will be launched in Fall 2015 in collaboration with the leadership and expertise of UWG’s Communications and Marketing department, and
  • carried out a pilot project to test our new Credit for Prior Learning model through a Summer 2015 course that taught students how to develop a portfolio to demonstrate their college-level learning that occurred outside a college classroom.

Students who participated in the Summer 2015 pilot will submit their portfolios for evaluation next month. We anticipate that these students’ portfolios will be evaluated and marked ‘successful’ by our trained assessors. With successful evaluations, the students will be awarded academic credit for college-level learning that will accelerate the completion of their bachelor’s degrees. The successful conclusion of the Summer 2015 CPL pilot project has paved the way for next steps, which are to expand CPL options for adult learners within the College of Social Sciences and invite other UWG colleges to participate.

The University of West Georgia will refresh our Complete College Georgia Campus Plan during the next academic year (2015-2016). Our new Provost, Dr. Micheal Crafton, arrived on campus in June, 2014. He spent his first year gaining familiarity with our CCG goals and institutional context. He is now ready to lead the identification, selection, and implementation of new completion initiatives that will naturally evolve from our accomplishments to date. Our FY16 CCG Status Update will reflect these coming changes.