Student Life

Office of the Manager for Student Success

The Manager for Student Success role at the University of Washington was developed following the 2014 Retention Study. The purpose was to create an office dedicated to the support of individual students while simultaneously collaborating with campus partners to advance policy improvements and further initiatives aimed at increasing the ability for undergraduates to achieve their academic goals. The office receives guidance and direction from the UW Retention Task Force.

Common challenges and related processes

We often find that the hurdles students face fall into one of the following areas. Hurdles can often be co-occurring, which complicates how they are resolved. To assist in finding solutions, individual consultation is available for any student who is interested via the Manager of Student Success.

Withdrawal from a previous quarter

Former Quarter Drop (previously Hardship Withdrawal) has been revamped to put the student and their experience at the center of the process. Students can request to drop one or all of their classes from a previous quarter. Both the need to do this and the justification for why it is needed can vary widely. Learn more about the policy and the process.

Insufficient financial aid

Financial aid is not a one-size-fits-all resource, even if it is sometimes presented that way, and it can be confusing to navigate. The UW Office of Student Financial Aid is able to work with students to create a customized cost of attendance based on the need of the individual which can adjust how much aid is made available. Or, if you have a challenging relationship with family that impacts your ability to get aid, UW Financial Aid can work with you to explore alternatives.  If you need more financial support, don’t hesitate to ask.

Study habits and academic support

Being a student and learner is an ongoing process.  The study habits or approaches to projects and tests that work for one student may not work for another, and the strategies that led to past success may not be sufficient going forward. Academic Support Programs offers critical and personalized support in the form of CLUE tutoring in a variety of subjects and peer-to-peer Academic Success Coaching.

Exploring majors or finding a new one

There is no doubt that finding a major that fits your interests and supports your career development is a key priority. For some students this might mean finding an alternative major(s) if they don’t get into their first choice. There is no one place to start with major exploration. Some students like to meet with an adviser, while others prefer self-exploration of majors and looking into common alternatives (this resource is built for transfer students but great for all undergraduates). Still other students prefer to take a career-centered approach and find meeting with a career coach, exploring their purpose through a career lens, or even taking a career/major DIY approach to be helpful. The point is, there are lots of ways to approach it. Choosing a major can be like walking a mile, you start walking and take it one step at a time.

Resolving a debt to the UW

College can be expensive and occasionally students accumulate a debt to the institution. While this can be frustrating and feel insurmountable, it does not need to prevent students from registering for classes and receiving financial aid. There are a few means to address debt and the first step is to contact Student Fiscal Services and establish a plan to pay it down. From there, students have options of refunds or tuition forfeiture requests, short term loans, and other emergency aid. While financial aid cannot be used to pay past debt, it can assist in addressing cash flow issues for students while they pay down their balances.

Key resources

Student Success initiatives

The 2nd Year Student Experience - Return to Campus

As University Leadership plans the return to campus the experience of our 2nd year students who have not taken in-person classes is front of mind. As details come together we will actively communicate the various opportunities to welcome and get this unique group connected to campus and to one another. The following communication channels may be helpful to follow to stay up to date on the latest information. 

All plans for the return to campus will be guided by the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest information is available on the UW Corona Virus website.

Individualized Student Support

University processes can be complicated to navigate. Student Success works with students to streamline the process, connect students with the right people, and co-create pathways forward to meet student needs.

Planned Exit

Taking time away from school is normal, but it can create hurdles for students when they return. Starting in 2018, Student Success implemented a non-enrolled student survey to identify why students leave and to offer support to those who intend to return. Targeted outreach is conducted each quarter to students who asked for support. While this is helpful, a survey is not enough. Student Success is collaborating with colleagues across the UW tri-campus system to create a permanent and integrated means for students to communicate their intention to take time off and smooth their return. As of autumn 2020, this program is in a pilot phase.

If you are going to take a quarter or more off (not including summer) please fill out visit our webpage on Planned Time Off for more information and fill out the Exit Survey so we can help you return smoothly.

Reentry Support

Reentry to campus after taking time off can be easy if a student only takes one quarter off, but can become more complicated if they take two or more consecutive quarters away, or if they are dismissed for low scholarship. Returning after multiple quarters can often require a student to address a number of hurdles related to registration, financial aid, and holds that may be on their account. Reentry can be complicated when students have been dismissed for low scholarship. Student Success has worked with the Office of the University Registrar to smooth reentry by clarifying Returning Student Re-enrollment and the creation of the Readmission Checklist to aid students in their return to campus. In partnership with Undergraduate Academic Affairs and the College of Arts & Sciences, students who are readmitted after a low scholarship dismissal are to meet with an Academic Success Coach to help address pressing needs and plan their path forward.

Retention Analytics

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UW piloted the Retention Analytics Database (RAD). The purpose was to identify students who were struggling during remote learning and provide a targeted intervention before their academic performance was negatively impacted. The system utilizes data generated through Canvas and provides an indicator of if students are engaged in their classes, submitting their assignments, and performing in their courses. Through RAD, Student Success and campus partners are able to identify and provide outreach to individual students who show signs of academic disruption early in the quarter. The system allows us to focus resources and efforts to those most in need. Analysis of the RAD system after spring quarter demonstrates it is effective at early identification of students who ultimately receive non-passing GPAs, and a significant correlation between RAD indicators and student GPA and % of credits earned. The system and related intervention has moved through the pilot phase and is now being implemented quarterly.

Staff

Sean Ferris serves as the Manager for Student Success, working directly with students to address challenging administrative hurdles and with colleagues to further policy change and program development to improve each student’s ability to achieve their academic goals. Sean has been at the UW since 2007, first as a student activities adviser then as part of the staff in the Office for the Vice President for Student Life.

Contact Sean at ferris3@uw.edu, 206-221-8958, or via text message at 206-558-5597.