ACCESS TO SUCCESS is a campus-wide commitment to help students achieve greater success, especially during their first year. A number of services and actions have been put in place to enhance retention and academic success for all students and to eliminate the retention gaps currently in place between freshmen of color and white freshmen and between freshmen ready for college-level math and composition and those that place in developmental courses. We know that academic performance and retention improves for first year students engaging in these activities and that the gaps narrow with such participation. For complete information on Access to Success Data, please visit this website.

Everyone in the UWM community has a stake in student success, and everyone can help students succeed. There is no more important role than that of the faculty, whether in curriculum design, student mentoring, program development and - of course – classroom instruction. Whether or not UWM faculty teach first year students, their contribution is critical to our students' success.

Year after year our senior surveys indicate that a solid connection with a faculty or staff member was the student's best experience at UWM. Be that source of information, exploration, and encouragement. Below are some ways that faculty and staff can "connect" to Access to Success for all UWM students.


  • Connect with Your Students.
  • Recognize and be open to differences in students' backgrounds, self-assurance, ability and ways of learning. Consider how your course design might help the diversity of students in your class engage with your material.
  • Clarify what your students need to do to succeed.
  • Make time for students and provide them with meaningful feedback.

Participate in UWM's Web-Based Early Warning System
. If you have freshmen enrolled in your course(s), you are asked to assess their progress by the end of the fourth week of classes and let them and their academic advisors know, via a web report on PAWS, if their performance is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Specific information and step-by-step detailed instructions are here. These comments and the invitation to meet with you and/or their advisor can have a very positive impact on student success.

Offer a Supplemental Instruction Component to Your Course. Supplemental instruction (SI) is offered to help students in courses that may seem difficult, including large, introductory-level lecture courses. SI sections meet two or three times per week and are directed by advanced students who were previously enrolled in the course and did well. These students plan the SI sections with the course instructor and offer sections to review, reinforce, and clarify course content and provide students with personal attention. Students who were able to enroll in SI sections have done very well in their first year at UWM. For information about tutoring and supplemental instruction, please visit Panther Academic Support Services (pass.uwm.edu).

Consider Teaching a Freshman Seminar. Freshman seminars are small classes on interesting topics that introduce students to researching, writing, thinking, and (sometimes) using technology and count toward their general education requirements. Freshmen who take these courses have higher retention rates than those who do not . If interested, please contact Jeff Merrick, Associate Dean of Letters and Sciences, at (414) 229-5891 or jmerrick@uwm.edu.

Consider Teaching in a First Year Learning Community.
Learning communities link students in a variety of ways. Some learning communities enroll students in linked courses, such as a composition course and a sociology course. Others link students living in a residential facility with coursework and others activities focused on a discipline or topic Talk to your department chair or academic dean about participating in these first-year seminars or learning communities. More information about the Living Learning Community program can be found at llc.uwm.edu or contact Keri Duce, Student Success Program Coordinator, at 414-229-5385 or klduce@uwm.edu.

Use the Center for Instruction and Professional Development. Located in the Golda Meir Library, Room E178, the staff of UWM's Center for Instructional and Professional Development can help you find strategies for enhancing student success through forums that explore identity, teaching styles, course design, and pedagogies that welcome, recognize and value diversity. The staff will also work closely with individual faculty and teaching academic staff on a variety of teaching and learning concerns. They provide one-on-one consultations as well as workshops to enhance excellence in teaching and attention to student learning.

Refer Students to the First Year Center of UWM's Student Success Center. Located in Bolton 120, the First Year Center. is the one stop where students can find all the information about valuable resources on campus. The mission of the First Year Center is to provide quality comprehensive services to enhance student success for new first year freshmen and transfer students enrolled at UWM. The FYC Center is also home base to the Campus Ambassadors/Mentors who meet one-on-one and maintain communication with their first-year students and assist in the development of targeted first year programming.

Become a Mentor. Many students request a faculty or staff member to help them get answers to their questions and learn more about UWM and college life. Faculty and staff mentors are matched with students who share interests. Interested faculty members can send an email to the First Year Center at fyc@uwm.edu.
Encourage Students to Meet at Least Annually with their Academic Advisor. Advisors are excellent sources of information and encouragement. Academic advising information can be found here.

Seek Out Enhanced Learning/Research Opportunities for Both Your Students and Yourself. From the Honors College to Business Scholars to the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, and the McNair Summer Internship course, UWM provides a range of experiences that will help you connect with students and participate firsthand in the University's research mission. As an example, UROP teams faculty and students based on shared interests and gives students the opportunity to work side-by-side with you on research projects.

Encourage Tutoring. There are many tutoring services available to students on the UWM Campus -- from Panther Academic Support Services and programs across campus that coordinate tutoring with PASS to the UWM Writing Center. New freshman participating in tutoring had a first year retention rate 9% higher than those without tutoring.

The enclosed tutoring postcard indicates the many tutoring services available on the UWM campus. Please keep close by and encourage your students to use these services. Remind students that tutoring is not just for students who need help - it is an individualized academic coaching service available to all students.

Encourage Students to Seek Major Field/Career Planning Assistance
. Students are often quite concerned about planning an appropriate career path. A satisfying, meaningful, and well paying career is the objective of many students and the motivation keeping a student in school. Helping students choose majors and career directions as well as making successful transitions from UWM to careers is the goal of the UWM Career Planning & Resource Center (uwm.edu/careerplan). This Center also helps students find full-time employment, part-time employment, internships, and volunteer work. Freshmen have also benefited greatly by enrolling in the first-year transition course "Foundations for Academic Success: Planning Your Major and/or Career". This course focuses on identifying majors and careers that are right for each student.

Encourage Students to Utilize Go to the Multicultural Support Services.
Designed to facilitate student success, Multicultural Support Services are located on the first floor of Bolton Hall and the Ground floor of the Union and include African American Student Academic Services, Black Cultural Center, American Indian Student Services, LGBT Resource Center, Roberto Hernandez Center, and Southeast Asian Student Academic Services.

Encourage Students to get involved in Student Organizations and Events. Students who are involved in at least one student organization are more successful than their peers. With over 300 students organizations to chose from, the Office of Student Activities  can help connect students to an organization they are passionate about.

Schedule a University 101 presentation in Your Classroom. The divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, in conjunction with the ACN, have compiled a list of classroom presentations regarding campus resources, student academic development and student personal development entitled the University 101 Menu. All of these presentations can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your classroom and students. If you are interested in scheduling any of the presentations, please contact the scheduling person as indicated in the presentation description. If you have any general questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ericca Rolland, Director of the First Year Center, at pollacke@uwm.edu or 229-6760. http://www4.uwm.edu/access_success/first_year_center/facstaff/upload/Microsoft-Word-University-101-Menu-2010-11.pdf
There are many other student resources and support services available to students on the UWM campus. These include financial assistance, personal assistance, and numerous student activities and student organizations.