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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

UWyo Magazine

January 2015 | Vol. 16 No. 2

Stepping Up

The new STEP Success Center aims to increase student retention and degree attainment.

By Micaela Myers

Tutoring isn’t just for struggling students. In fact, 54 percent of college students seek tutoring by mid-year—many of them successful students who want to stay on track. For the 2014–15 school year, expanded tutoring became one of the new services offered through the innovative STEP Success Center. STEP stands for Student success, Tutoring, Engagement and Personal growth, and the center’s goals include improving student retention and graduation rates by coordinating academic, financial and mentoring services.

“STEP is part of a larger retention initiative, and it’s a partnership between academic affairs and student affairs,” says Jo Chytka, director of the UW Center for Advising and Career Services, who leads STEP with April Heaney, director of UW’s Learning Resource Network (LeaRN). “We have a goal to increase our first- to second-year retention rate to at least 80 percent by 2020, but our overarching goal is to increase retention and degree attainment.”

Last academic year, STEP launched an early alert program. “Faculty members have the opportunity to tell us if a student isn’t performing, isn’t coming to class or hasn’t logged into WyoCourses so that we can connect with that student to see what’s going on early in the semester,” Chytka says. “This year we rolled out expanded tutoring on campus and increased supplemental instruction offerings. We offer consistent tutoring Sunday through Thursday nights from 6–10 p.m. in Coe Library. We know there are a certain number of courses that have high D and F rates, so we’re really targeting those courses and working with faculty to get students referred to free tutoring.”

“I think STEP will reach a wide variety of students because of easy accessibility in Coe Library, as well as having tutors for specific courses,” says Olivia Lim of Englewood, Colo., who is a senior double majoring in mechanical and energy systems engineering. As an experienced tutor, Lim helps train and manage the STEP tutors. “STEP Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction Coordinator Jess Willford and I are working together to cater the STEP tutoring to be helpful to all students by concentrating on techniques and tactics that can help anyone become a better student. We want our tutors to be able to reinforce and elaborate on concepts learned in the classroom in addition to teaching students new topics, time management, successful study habits and what it takes to become a college student who excels in their academic endeavors. I think that UW has great resources for aiding students such as Student Success Services delivered by Student Educational Opportunity, the Math Lab and Writing Center, and the Oral Communication Center, but what separates STEP from those entities is our convenience of accessibility.”

Heaney says, “We’ve been able to partner with most of the other tutoring centers, so if they’re not open in the evenings, they’ll contribute tutors to STEP. Our hope is to change the culture so that all students believe that tutoring is what successful students do.

“We’re hoping through STEP to be able to give data to faculty and departments about how their courses fit into a bigger picture of student progress and how we can help students do better in some of the larger lecture classes,” Heaney says.

STEP will continue to grow in the coming years, adding services such as degree plans and progression evaluations, additional support for off-track students, increased learning community options, improved transition support, enhanced academic and career advising, and more opportunities for engagement through research, work, study abroad and internships.

To learn more, visit uwyo.edu/studentaff/step.

Stepping Up

Photo of students learning together in the library
The new STEP Success Center’s goals include improving student retention and graduation rates by coordinating academic, financial and mentoring services.

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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming


About UWyo

Advertise

Subscribe

UWyo Archives

Contact Us

UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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