From: Richard J. Helldobler, PhD, President

To: William Paterson University Community

Date: December 6, 2018

Subject: Reorganization of Academic Development Unit

I am pleased to share news of a reorganization that will improve the William Paterson experience for our students.  As we have discussed over the last three months, the Board of Trustees has made student retention the number one priority for William Paterson University. In order to achieve the desired rise in retention rates—to a level on par with similar New Jersey peers and for public comprehensive institutions like William Paterson—we must take more focused and aggressive steps to closely align our services with the needs of our students.

Since my arrival in July, I have been discussing new approaches to retention. There has been general agreement among the Cabinet, with deans, and during my listening tours with faculty and staff that a more seamless and intrusive process, from matriculation, course sequencing, and advisement, is key to improving student persistence. The Academic Development unit has made substantial strides over the years that have resulted in upward trends in graduation outcomes. The increased coordination with enrollment management functions that accompanies this reorganization is designed to yield positive results with retention and non-returning student rates overall.

In order to maximize the staff resources and use their expertise to our students' best advantage, I have approved a realignment of our academic development areas. Effective January 1, 2019, the entire function of the Academic Development unit will move under the Division of Enrollment Management, reporting to Vice President Reginald Ross. The Academic Development unit will no longer report to the Office of the Provost.

Associate Provost Danielle Liautaud-Watkins will continue in her current title and lead our academic development efforts. The staff in that area, under the leadership of Executive Directors Carmen Ortiz and Linda Refsland, will also functionally move to Enrollment Management. These offices include: the Academic Success Center, Academic Progress, Advisement Center, EOF, First-Year Foundations, New Student Experience, Sophomore/Junior Experience, Student Transitions, Testing, and Transfer Student Experience, along with the Student Success Workshop formerly known as the Pioneer Success Seminar.

To coordinate the advisement of students between 0-30 credits, professional staff advisors will remain in the five colleges for spring 2019, then move  to a common space in late summer or early fall 2019. To ensure a smooth transition, professional staff advisors will report to the college deans for spring 2019 and will meet biweekly with Danielle Liautaud-Watkins and Carmen Ortiz. Beginning in the fall of 2019, these same advisors will report to Carmen Ortiz with an advisory relationship to the college deans. As plans are finalized, we will announce the physical space that has been designated for the professional advisors.

I want to thank Danielle Liautaud-Watkins and all of the members of the Academic Development unit for their good counsel as we have quietly discussed the move and the implications for the University. We look forward to their excellent contributions going forward. We will be communicating regularly with the University community throughout the spring 2019 semester as these plans are more fully developed and implemented.

I believe this realignment will be a major step forward for William Paterson University, and I hope all members of the community will fully support VP Ross in his newly expanded duties.

Thank you.