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WIG (Wildly Important Goal)

Respond to Student Stresses WIG

Introduction to WIG

It all began when Provost Robertson read a book - The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals - and then invited many of her direct reports to read the book. The book concepts in a nutshell are to

  • Focus on the Wildly Important - prioritize above the "whirlwind"
  • Act on Lead Measures - the most high-impact things that will help reach the goal
  • Keep a Compelling Scoreboard - people play differently when they are keeping score
  • Create a Cadence of Accountability - hold regular and frequent short meetings

The Provost and the newly formed team then met in December 2017 to choose a Wildly Important Goal (WIG) that would be beneficial to the College. The WIG they chose was to increase the first-year first-time-to-college student to second-year student retention rate from 86% to 88% by October 2019. 

The WIG Team then expanded to include others outside Academic Affairs, and, in 2020, morphed the Wildly Important Goal to focus on three areas to ensure that every student has a comprehensive and individualized transition to college: 1) the comprehensive new student experience, 2) the coordination of care through EAB Navigate, and 3) the solving of obstacles.  

In 2021, the WIG morphed again to respond to students’ COVID-19-related stresses. Major projects include 1) continue the development and implementation of New Student Connections and Success, 2) develop rejuvenation and wellness programming, and 3) respond to Navigate alerts.

The WIG Team continues to meet weekly on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. to work together on achieving the WIG.

Respond to Students' COVID-19-related Stresses

Project 1: Continue the development and implementation of New Student Connections and Success

Members: Krissie Barsema, Joe Cope, Tracy Gagnier, Corey Ha, Jessie Lombardo, Chip Matthews, Paul Schacht, Ashley Scott

Goal: Solidification of the content of the New Student Connections and Success Canvas course.

Action Items:

  1. Assemble a series of short informational resources by people who serve as supports for first-year students (library of videos and other resources)
  2. Review the COVID-era changes in the handoff from admissions to new student programs during the late spring/early summer
  3. Plug alumni, faculty, and Presidential Scholars into the program
    1. Develop framework - when, where, key talking points
    2. Identify presenters
  4. Develop the Canvas site and consider ways to connect with other digital initiatives and strategies for asynchronous engagement
  5. Integrate assessment tools and strategies into the program.

Project 2: Develop rejuvenation and wellness programming

Members: Melanie Blood, Sarah Frank, Glenn Geiser-Getz, Ronna Gillam, Dave Parfitt, Meg Reitz, Laura Swanson

Goal: Develop rejuvenation days and wellness programming

Action Items:

  1. Revamp Rejuvenation Days
    1. Identify main challenges with these days from the fall
    2. Set up new goals for what we want to accomplish through these days
    3. Lay out a new plan for the days that address the challenges
  2. Develop Campus Definition of Wellbeing
    1. Conduct research and benchmarking, looking at other institutions and documents, and our own mission, vision, and values
    2. Write a definition for "wellbeing" for the campus
  3. Create a Wellbeing Action Plan
    1. Use definition to build and connect ideas for creating wellness for all members of the campus community
    2. Consider ideas that connect to rejuvenation days around self-care, but also change mindsets

Project 3: Respond to Navigate alerts

Members: Anne Baldwin, Celia Easton, Laurie Fox, Chris Popovici, Julie Rao, Keely Soltow

Goal: Implement a system to follow up on attendance alerts with a personal intervention where feasible

Action Items:

  1. Extract weekly a list of students with alerts
  2. Identify and train GPS Guides to contact students

Project 4: Resume communications

Members: Sue Chichester, Kathy McIntyre

Goal: Strategize and implement communications to greater campus community

Action Items:

  1. Resume communications to campus
    1. Update the WIG web page
    2. Restart the WIG memo
  2. Explore communications to students and parents
  3. Define an appropriate scoreboard

Photo Album

January 27, 2021 WIG Retreat

Photo of Zoom Class

WIG Team Members

  • Anne Baldwin, Director of Sponsored Research
  • Krissie Barsema, Assistant Director of Student Life for Cocurricular Involvement and Townhouses
  • Melanie Blood, Interim Associate Provost for Assessment and Curriculum
  • Sue Chichester, Chief Information Officer & Director of CIT
  • Joe Cope, Interim Associate Provost for Student Success
  • Celia Easton, Dean of Academic Planning and Advisement
  • Laurie Fox, Director of Educational Technology
  • Sarah Frank, Director of Residence Life
  • Tracy Gagnier, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
  • Glenn Geiser-Getz, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Ronna Gillam, Director of Campus Relations
  • Corey Ha, Interim Milne Library Director
  • Jessie Lombardo, Director of Career Services
  • Chip Matthews, Director of Student Life
  • Kathy McIntyre, Senior Assistant to the Provost
  • David Parfitt, Director of Teaching & Learning Center
  • Chris Popovici, Head Track & Field Coach
  • Julie Rao, Director of Institutional Research
  • Meg Reitz, Associate Director of Residence Life for Educational Initiatives
  • Stacey Robertson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Paul Schacht, Professor of English and Assistant to the Provost for Digital Learning and Scholarship
  • Ashley Scott, Admissions Counselor
  • Keely Soltow, Registrar
  • Laura Swanson, Staff Counselor

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