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Office of Student Retention

Established in July of 2020, the Office of Student Retention implements targeted advising interventions for students in need of additional support to be successful. Through collaboration with cross-campus partners, the office identifies these students and provides academic case management, advising students and connecting them with campus resources.

The office also collaborates across campus to coordinate and measure existing initiatives to support student retention and persistence, with a focus on retention efforts beyond the first year.

Appeal of Academic Suspension or dismissal

Statement of Academic Intent

Collaboration with Faculty and Staff

The Office of Student Retention welcomes any opportunity to collaborate with faculty and staff to support students as we identify those in need of additional advising or resources and recruit students to initiatives designed to increase retention. One current such initiative is the Academic Success Coaching initiative, a virtual coaching program to help students adapt to and prepare for changing instructional modalities necessitated by COVID-19, funded by a UNC System grant.

Student with an advisor


How to Refer a Student

Faculty or staff who have identified a student needing additional outreach from Office of Student Retention advisors should submit an Issue Alert about the student within the Navigate system (previously GradesFirst) and select “Retention Outreach” as the issue alert reason, in addition to any other applicable reasons for the alert. 

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Student recieving her diploma


Academic Success Coaching initiative

The Office of Student Retention is coordinating WCU’s Academic Success Coaching initiative. This initiative supports students in need of additional resources to be successful in online learning environments necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Student recieving her diploma


Academic Standing and Other Policies

In response to the UNC Board of Governors' Fostering Student Success initiative, WCU will update policies pertaining to academic standing, course withdrawal, and grade replacement. The changes are meant to create policies that keep students moving forward to the successful completion of their degrees.

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About Our Staff


Portrait of Diamond Brown


Diamond Brown

Retention Advisor
1st Floor Killian Annex Cullowhee, NC 28723

Diamond joins WCU from Salisbury University in Maryland, where she earned her M.A. in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution and her B.A. in Sociology. Diamond brings experience advising students through supplemental instruction, tutoring programs, and peer support programs with Salisbury University’s Center for Student Achievement. Diamond is dedicated to inclusive excellence, having served on the Salisbury University President’s Diversity Taskforce, where she advised the president on the formation of the new Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Diamond has also worked to create and lead workshops supporting diverse student groups, including students who identify as LGBT and students from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups.


Portrait of Christopher Foster


Christopher Foster

Retention Advisor
1st Floor Killian Annex Cullowhee, NC 28723

Christopher joins WCU from the University of West Georgia, where he earned his M.Ed. in Professional Counseling: College Student Affairs and his B.S. in Sociology. Christopher brings experience advising students with UWG’s African American Male Initiative, where he also planned and coordinated programming for student groups affiliated with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Through his work, Christopher has demonstrated his passion for inclusive excellence, having contributed to an increase in student participation with UWG’s African American Male Initiative and collaborated on special projects with UWG’s interim Chief Diversity Officer and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.


Waleed Kahlil


Waleed Kahlil

Student Assistant

Waleed is senior at Western Carolina University majoring in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and minoring in Computer Information Systems. Waleed is a lifelong resident of Western North Carolina, coming to WCU from Swannanoa, NC. Through his education, Waleed is working to become an advocate for diversity and inclusion within his community and beyond. He is the president of WCU’s Public Relations Student Society of America to promote professional development opportunities on campus. As a student worker in the Office of Student Retention, Waleed hopes to help students reach their potential as learners and enrich their academic experience. Waleed looks forward to working in nonprofits after graduation to promote cultural preservation and community development. His goal is to attain a Master’s in Public Affairs and eventually work with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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