Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success at Wayne State University, has been named the recipient of the Michigan Academic Advising Association (MIACADA)’s 2019 Pacesetter Award. The annual award recognizes one leader in higher education who exemplifies commitment to academic advising and student success.
She will be recognized at the National Academic Advising Association’s regional conference in Detroit on March 14. Brockmeyer is the first WSU recipient of MIACADA’s highest honor.
“Monica's work on student success and her university leadership are what this award was designed to recognized. She has truly made WSU not only a better place, but a national model for others to aspire to in the area of innovative student success initiatives," said WSU Provost Keith Whitfield. "I am very proud of her and applaud her for this award."
Brockmeyer joined Wayne State in 1999 as a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science, where she is an associate professor in addition to her role with the Office of the Provost. Among her many responsibilities, Brockmeyer has led the implementation of the Student Success Initiative approved by the Board of Governors in 2011, which was designed to improve graduation and retention rates.
As part of the Student Success Initiative, Brockmeyer worked collaboratively to foster a culture of support on campus, connecting students with resources and emphasizing the importance of academic advising. Wayne State has approximately 100 academic advisors, who serve more than 27,000 students across 350 different degree and certificate programs.
More than 45 new academic advisors were hired as part of the Student Success Initiative and placed within school/college academic departments. This shift allowed all undergraduate students to have a primary advisor in their department, while aligning WSU with the national standard ratio of 350 advisees to one advisor.
Brockmeyer also led the development of supplemental advising and support programs, including the innovative Warrior VIP, for students in need of additional support. The Student Success Initiative also included the development and launch of technology-based tools, including those that help with major exploration and declaration, degree planning and auditing, advisor scheduling and a real-time advising alert system.
“Under her leadership, we created a culture within the advising community of being proactive, developmental and comprehensive, and we shifted away from transactional to relationship building with our students,” said Cheryl Kollin, senior director of university advising. “Dr. Brockmeyer has helped to create an environment where students feel supported and have a sense of belonging. She has done the same for all of us — academic advisors are valued, their opinions matter and she provides a space where we can help make a difference.”
Additionally, the Advisor Training Academy (ATA) was launched in 2014 to provide free professional development and support to all advisors on campus. The ATA offers WSU-based advisor training curriculum — which can lead to certification levels — and monthly webinars, lunch and learn sessions and themed training.
“With Dr. Brockmeyer’s complete and unwavering support, the ATA is able to ensure that WSU’s professional academic advisors are at the leading edge of campus information and have access to trending approaches, theories and research in the profession,” said Kate Bernas, associate director of the ATA. “This — along with the commitment and support of Dr. Brockmeyer and Provost Whitfield — has led to a true sense of community among the advising staff – one where advisors continually learn from each other, collaborate creatively, and network professionally.”
Increased support for advising has contributed to a dramatic increase in student success. To date, WSU’s six-year graduate rate has nearly doubled in six years, increasing from 26 to 47 percent — the largest rate of improvement in the nation for public universities with more than 10,000 students. The four-year graduation rate has nearly doubled in just two years. These dramatic improvements helped WSU earn the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ 2018 Project Degree Completion Award, which honors institutions using innovative strategies to increase retention and graduation outcomes and decrease achievement gaps.
“Frankly, WSU has been the fastest-improving in the nation because we’ve been the kind of place where everyone — faculty, staff, and students — can do the best work of our life and our work is student success," said Brockmeyer. "With continued collaboration, innovation, and care, we truly are on track to be the nation’s premier urban student success university.”