Student Success

Graduated WSU student in cap and gown

Preamble: Students are our top priority, and we provide them with the tools and experiences that they need to learn and succeed. Academic excellence, innovative pedagogies, collaborative and interdisciplinary research, career preparation, global experiences, and deep engagement in cultural diversity within a dynamic urban environment all create a "Distinctively Wayne State" student experience within the context of (1) our connection with the city of Detroit; (2) our commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence; (3) the translation of research excellence into the student experience; (4) a commitment to address urban challenges; and (5) our innovative and entrepreneurial perspectives.

Goal 1: Cultivate a Culture of Student Success

We believe that students should be treated as individuals, with their own distinctive life circumstances, attitudes, and beliefs about learning. We strive to ensure that every student feels valued and supported. We recognize the importance of supportive relationships on student learning and, ultimately, student success. These include instructional experiences in a setting where students' needs are understood and proactive, engaged academic advising that helps students understand how to succeed in college and in their careers. Our culture also promotes the "Distinctively Wayne State" student experience, which results in our campus being a hub of wide-ranging diverse, cultural, intellectual, learning, and athletic activities. Our campus is deeply linked to our urban community.


  • Promote relationships between students and other members of the campus community who support student learning and success
  • Tailor our educational support systems to the differentiated needs of our diverse students
  • Use strength-based approaches to recognize the learning potential of all students
  • Create a "Distinctively Wayne State" experience that leverages our Detroit location, diversity, and academic and research excellence to better prepare students for success
  • Enhance the vibrant campus environment, building upon and increasing diverse cultural, intellectual, entertainment, and athletic activities
  • Increase student residential housing options, on-campus study facilities, and other infrastructure designed to enhance student success

Goal 2: Create Clear Academic Pathways That Support Progressive Student Success

By "progressive student success," we mean that students gain knowledge and intellectual skills that build upon previous learning, apply knowledge and skills in new and challenging contexts, and progress through academic and developmental milestones, leading to timely degree attainment. We support all of our diverse students (first-time, part-time, transfers, graduate, professional, underrepresented, domestic, and international) through the creation of appropriate pathways.


  • Restructure the general education program, gateway, and first-year courses to ensure student learning outcomes and success
  • Develop clear curricular pathways and learning outcomes leading to timely degree attainment
  • Ensure the participation and accountability of advisors in assisting students with the implementation of their academic roadmaps
  • Develop curricula aligned with the "Distinctively Wayne State" student experience
  • Provide materials for each program and major combining curricular plans with institutional support mechanisms, student engagement, and co-curricular development opportunities, all leading to timely degree attainment
  • Improve and implement data-based alert systems that trigger advising interventions and other appropriate, coordinated institutional responses to risk factors identified for individual students

Goal 3: Increase Retention, Progress to Degree, and Graduation Rates for All Students

We believe that better retention, improved learning outcomes, greater academic progress, timely degree attainment, and successful career placement will result from our focus on student success and ensuring a "Distinctively Wayne State" student experience. We are committed to enabling every student to succeed and to eliminating the academic achievement gaps that too often challenge students from underrepresented populations.


  • Assess programs to determine their relevance to: (1) student success; (2) the "Distinctively Wayne State" experience; (3) 21st century workforce demands; (4) enhancing learning outcomes, retention, and graduation rates
  • Develop a "Student Success Pipeline" – an institutional monitoring practice that focuses on student retention and degree attainment, academic progress, milestone attainment, reasons for student attrition, and career placement. The Pipeline will permit monitoring by subgroups such as: college, demographic subpopulations, and key educational groupings, such as STEM.
  • Eliminate achievement gaps for underrepresented students
  • Remove course-scheduling barriers, which impede expeditious degree attainment
  • Tailor financial aid options to maximize student retention and degree attainment

Goal 4: Enhance Academic and Career Training for All Graduate Students

Graduate education requires intensive student learning in a well-defined discipline guided by close interactions with an advisor. Students in our graduate programs are also committed to generating new knowledge through original research. We are dedicated to fostering an environment in which students will be positioned for a wide variety of research and professional careers.


  • Support curricular development and innovation to ensure robust program options for graduate students
  • Establish increased communication between students and faculty to improve mentoring and guidance
  • Provide funding programs, including fellowships and scholarships, to enable student success by reducing the financial burdens
  • Expand career development resources to increase opportunities for graduate students to acquire the skills and competencies necessary for professional success