University Planning

Educational Opportunity - Graphical Representation
Fiscal Year 2010 Performance Report - December 18, 2009 Update

We invite you to take advantage of our interactive dashboard presentation. The charts below represent how well we are achieving the progress desired in each of the  performance indicators associated with the category of Educational Opportunity.

Links are also provided to enable you to see a tabular representation of the data where you can sort the information by various attributes to enable you to further explore the data.

And remember, you can use the "breadcrumbs" near the top of this section to retrace your steps or you can use the navigation menu to the left to explore features other than our Educational Opportunity indicators.


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Retention and Graduation Rate Progress

Western Illinois University values educational opportunity and welcomes those who show promise and a willingness to work toward achieving shared educational goals. In Macomb, first year (fall-to-fall) retention rates of all students, minority students, and Pell grant recipients all increased. Furthermore, the six-year graduation rate for Pell grant recipients increased and the graduation rate of all students is at a historic peak for the institution. However, six-year graduation rates for minority students did decline.

graph of Freshman Retention Rates graph of Macomb Graduation Rates


In the Quad Cities, graduation rates of minority students improved. However, graduation rates for all students and Pell Grant recipients are down from the previous year’s comparison and have returned to a level consistent with previous cohorts. (For the Quad Cities campus, four-year graduation rates are reported. Since the Quad Cities admits undergraduate students as juniors, four years is the 150 percent measure of the normal time-to-degree.)

graph of Quad Cities Graduation Rates

A President’s Retention Task Force has been established on the Macomb Campus to identify strategies to increase retention and graduation rates. A task force will be formed on the Quad Cities Campus and charged with similar functions. Benchmark comparisons show that Western is ranked 12th (of 16) with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on the first-year retention rate, the Macomb Campus’ graduation rate ranks ninth, and the Quad Cities Campus’ graduation rate ranks third (of seven).

U.S. News and World Report uses the following methodology for the information in the table below. The graduation rate indicates the average proportion of a graduating class who earned a degree in six years or less; we consider freshman classes that started from 1998 through 2001. Freshman retention indicates the average proportion of freshmen who entered the school in the fall of 2003 through fall 2006 and returned the following fall.

graph of Peer Freshman Retention

graph of Peer Macomb Graduation Rate graph of Peer Quad Cities Graduation Rate



Student Engagement Progress

To further understand trends in student retention and graduation, Western participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), as student involvement and satisfaction with the educational process are correlates of academic achievement. NSSE provides comparative data for second-semester freshmen and second-semester seniors at Western compared to all other participating master’s granting comprehensive universities in five areas:

  • Academic challenge or the degree to which students perceive the importance of academic effort and setting high performance standards.
  • Academic and collaborative learning or measures of how intensely students were involved in their educational process and whether they applied what they have learned to different settings.
  • Student-faculty interactions or the degree to which students interacted with faculty inside and outside the classroom.
  • Opportunities for enriching educational experiences or the degree to which students engaged in curricular and co-curricular activities beyond classroom instruction. It also measures the extent to which students report exposure to different ideals and cultures other than their own.
  • Supportive campus environment or the extent to which students perceive that the University’s academic programs and co-curricular services are committed to student success inside and outside the classroom.

Comparative NSSE data for 2009 will be included in a future monthly strategic plan update. The data through 2008 (reported below) serve as baseline for the implementation of Higher Values in Higher Education 2008-2018. Values at or above 100 percent show that reported student satisfaction is higher at Western than peer institutions.

In 2008, Western freshmen and seniors reported higher levels of engagement in student-faculty interactions than students at peer institutions. This includes discussing grades or assignments with an instructor, talking about career plans with a faculty member or advisor, and working with faculty members on activities other than coursework (committees, orientation, student life activities, etc.)

Western freshmen and seniors also reported higher levels of engagement in a supportive campus environment than students at peer institutions. Western students rate the quality of relationships with students, faculty, and offices and the institutional environment promoting student academic and social success at levels higher than students at peer institutions.

graph of Freshmen NSSE Results graph of Senior NSSE Results



Courses, Class Size, and Student-Faculty Ratio Progress

Individual attention and educational opportunities characterize Western’s educational environment. Both Macomb and the Quad Cities experienced increases in the number of course sections and the percent of classes with enrollments under 30.

graph of Percent of Classes Under 30 Students graph of Student Faculty Ratio


While Western is providing more sections and small class sizes, the University maintained its commitment to historically low student-to-faculty ratios on both campuses. Among benchmark institutions, the Macomb Campus ranks second (of 16) and the Quad Cities Campus ranks third (of 10) for the lowest student-to-faculty ratios.

graph of Macomb Peer Student Faculty Ratio graph of Quad Cities Peer Student Faculty Ratio



Alumni Involvement Progress

The University also reports on the percent of alumni donating to the University as a proxy for student satisfaction with the educational experience. Because Western reports one value for the percent of alumni donations, data for the Macomb and Quad Cities benchmark institutions are combined. Western ranks sixth (of 20) in the percent of alumni donating to the University.

U.S. News and World Report uses the following methodology for the information in the table below. The alumni giving rate reflects the average percentage of living alumni with bachelor's degrees who gave to their school during academic years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, which is an indirect measure of student satisfaction.

graph of Peer Alumni Donations


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