The STEP program flags first-year, returning sophomores, and first-time transfer students of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) who underperform in critical STEM courses with a grade lower than C, in both fall and spring semesters. Approximately 100-150 students respond to our invitation to meet with STEP program staff for a one-on-one diagnosis of academic difficulty and a personalized recommendation for academic habit and strategy change.
The STEP program staff outline an academic plan for each student during the meeting based on the students’ academic needs. The STEP program director follows up with all students who completed meetings to see how the plan is working, if grades are improving, and to check if students need additional help or resources.
In addition to early intervention, the CEAS Advising Office also flags students for mandatory intervention. Students flagged for mandatory intervention are in danger of failing out of WMU. A hold is placed on the students’ account and they are unable to register for classes for the following semester until they schedule a one-on-one meeting. STEP staff partners with the advising office staff to conduct some of these meetings.
WMU encourages faculty and staff for engineering courses including math, physics, and chemistry, to report students who miss two or more of their classes in a semester. The STEP program director receives the reports on CEAS students and attempts to contact each student to direct them to campus resources as needed, including personalized academic counseling, referral to the STEP Student Success Centers (SSCs), Sindecuse Mental Health Services, faculty office hours, academic advising, etc.
For students with extended absences from courses of one week or more, the STEP program partners with programs already in place through WMU Residence Life where residence hall directors and staff will check on students who live on campus to try to re-engage students who are missing courses. The two programs work together to diagnose students’ needs and to direct them to campus services.
Other WMU support programs
The TRiO Student Success program is a learning community funded by the U.S. Department of Education that helps first-generation, income eligible and students with disabilities complete their baccalaureate degrees. Since 1984, TRiO has been a vibrant part of the Western Michigan University campus community.
The Michigan–Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation is a partnership between University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. The primary mission of the MI-LSAMP program is to significantly increase the number of minority students earning baccalaureate degrees each year in science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields from the participating universities of the alliance and prepare them for entry into graduate programs.
The Office of Admissions admits students to the Alpha Program who show academic promise but do not meet the criteria for regular admission to WMU, either because of high school grades, ACT or SAT scores that are lower than regular admission requirements.
military and veterans affairs
The Office of Military and Veterans Affairs provides veterans, service members, and family members of veterans with guidance and mentorship in a variety of areas including but not limited to, academic support, benefit support and answers to questions regarding WMU and the Veterans Administration.
Broncos FIRST is a federally funded grant program that promotes the successful completion of higher education of all students, particularly income eligible student populations, at Western Michigan University. At WMU, we strive to put students first in everything we do. We want to meet students where they are and help them discover their path to success.
seita scholars program
The Seita Scholars program is part of a larger initiative to change the college going paradigm of youth in the foster care system. According to Casey Family programs (2010), only two to four percent of youth from the foster care system will earn a college degree.
The program has four main components:
1. Create transitions that lead to success in college and career for WMU students from foster care ages 18 to 25.
2. Develop a community of scholars among WMU students who experienced foster care, and create a safe community to deconstruct and reconstruct identity.
3. Educate WMU students from foster care and their support network to enhance professional skill set.
4. Transform WMU students from foster care by integrating experiences of one’s past to build opportunities for the future.
The Seita Program provides full tuition scholarships to undergraduate students who experienced foster care and are attending Western Michigan University. It also supports students in accessing additional financial resources and scholarships specific to youth who have experienced foster care, allowing students to maximize their potential to graduate from college with little to no debt and assists students in arranging year-round housing on campus to ensure a stable living environment.