MapWorks results focus on retention rates


WKU students might have noticed MAP-Works fliers and signs peppering campus, and have probably received more than one email encouraging them to complete the survey. 

Nearly 25 percent of enrolled WKU students participated in these surveys last semester, the highest percentage ever recorded since MAP-Works began being used. 

With the results from last semester, the Office of Enrollment and Retention helped hundreds of students and anticipates helping many more after this semester’s survey results are collected. 

The program, in its third year being used on campus, provides a more seamless transition between departments and students identified as needing assistance, Lindsey Gilmore, coordinator for Retention Applications and Outreach, said at the last Board of Regents meeting. 

“For some students, it’s intimidating to cross that threshold into a faculty member’s office,” she said. “By sitting behind a computer or talking through the Internet, it makes it a lot easier for students.”

Joelle Davis-Carter, assistant vice president for Retention and Student Services, said the surveys also allow for transparency from department to department. 

“We want to make sure the left and right hands and the feet know what’s going on,” she said. 

Fall 2013 MAP-Works reports showed students struggle with a variety of issues and those issues varied depending on grade level. 

Of the students who participated, nearly half of the freshmen cited homesickness as their biggest problem in college. Sophomores and seniors cited test anxieties, while most juniors reported studying only five hours or less per week for class

The web-based survey covers a variety of questions ands its self-reporting system allows students to be frank about their college experiences. 

“It enhances a communication that we otherwise might not have,” Carter said. 

The surveys also dispelled generalizations regarding why students chose to leave WKU.

“When we first started using it, we saw how great it was with the robust information it provided, but we just didn’t quite know how to utilize it,” Gilmore said.

According to MAP-Works, finances aren’t the only reason students leave the university. The survey showed combinations of lacking peer connections, homesickness, and general uncertainties also greatly impacted a student’s willingness to stay.