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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

Picture of Carson Williams, Retention Advisor.


Carson Williams

Retention Advisor
1st Floor Killian Annex Cullowhee, NC 28723

Carson is a long-time catamount, earning both his B.S.Ed. and B.M. in Music Education and M.Ed. in Higher Education Student Affairs from Western Carolina University. Before joining WCU as a Retention Advisor, Carson served as an Academic Advisor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In Chicago, he supported his students’ success through instruction, interventive outreach, and academic coaching. Carson is dedicated to promoting accessible spaces for students to grow and develop, having previously worked in WCU’s Office of Accessibility Resources and Southwestern Community College’s Student Disability Services. Carson has also facilitated workshops for students to develop skills related to time management, studying, and exploring majors and career pathways. Carson hopes to assist his students in finding their most fulfilling pathway to achieve their academic and life goals.

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