Strategy #3 - Enhance Student Success Through:
Improved Recruitment, Retention, and Completion

UVU champions a university experience that empowers students to realize their educational, professional, and personal aspirations, whether this is the completion of a post-secondary credential or preparation for graduate or professional school.

As reflected in UVU’s Completion Plan 3.0, we are reducing barriers to completion in our curricula, administrative processes, and student services while improving academic quality and rigor.

Each of the ACHIEVE priority initiatives supports the institutional goal of reaching a 50% completion rate by 2030.

Priority Initiatives

UVU Graduation Celebration


Student completion is a journey. Often, students discover interests they never knew they had. This journey must allow for discovery but also ensure that students’ efforts count toward meaningful experiences and credentials. This means designing curricula that are broad and exploratory initially and then narrow to specific degrees. One way this is done is through “stackable” credentials. This means that credits leading to a certificate also count toward an associate degree and, finally, a bachelor’s degree, recognizing that this may not be a simple four-year journey. Students move in and out of higher education and between educational institutions. In addition, students who have work experience may already possess many of the skills and much of the knowledge that a course intends to teach. Recognizing these trends, we will improve processes and practices to make these transitions smoother and help students receive credit for work they have already completed.

Redesign Curricula with a Focus on Stackable Credentials and Pathways

UVU is continuously assessing and redesigning curricula to ensure a “stackable” approach from certificate through associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. A lack of coherence in the curricula between these degree types is a common challenge in higher education. UVU is committed to making educational pathways transparent to students through advising, marketing materials, and clear program planning guides.

  • UVU will continue to assess and redesign curricula to ensure that students can realistically earn associate degrees and general education certificates in the first 60 hours of UVU coursework.
    • UVU students (including high school concurrent enrollment students) can earn General Education Certificates of Completion, signifying completion of general education courses and supporting seamless general education transfer to other USHE institutions.
    • UVU students can now pursue an Associate of Science in humanities and social sciences, fulfilling the first two years of coursework for over 5,000 students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
    • Similar programs of study are being implemented in all schools and colleges.

Strengthen Concurrent Enrollment Course Alignment, Offerings, and Participation

UVU is working to align all concurrent enrollment (CE) course offerings with degree pathways at both MTECH and UVU to reduce students’ time to completion upon matriculation at UVU and to enhance student exposure to career opportunities. Complete College America, a national advocate for increasing college completion rates and closing the equity gap, has identified the completion of college-level English and mathematics in the first year of a college student’s enrollment as a successful retention and completion strategy. Utah can increase completion significantly by supporting high school juniors and seniors in designing course schedules that facilitate their completion of English 1010 and the required quantitative literacy classes for their chosen pathways.

With this goal in mind, UVU supports efforts to offer English 1010 and quantitative literacy CE courses in every high school in its service region. This strategy will also increase the value of the senior year, ensuring that students are actively engaged in a defined educational pathway. The K-16 Alliance, composed of seven school districts, MTech, and UVU, is focused on increasing underrepresented student enrollment in CE courses to improve confidence for college success and influence subsequent college attendance.

Design First-Semester Certificates Around Concurrent Enrollment Offerings

UVU is currently implementing first-semester certificates aimed at concurrent enrollment students within the service region. These certificates equate to approximately 15 credits, or a semester of college, and stack into predesigned pathways. Students who take advantage of this initiative will save time, money, and frustration while opening doors to high-demand, high-yield jobs for students still in high school.

This initiative provides increased access to college classes and potential career pathways for a variety of students, many of whom are first-generation and from underrepresented populations. This also supports UVU’s open-enrollment mission and ensures that credit earned through concurrent enrollment meets the requirements of students’ anticipated college majors.

Expand Meaningful Transfer-Credit Articulation for Students Entering and Exiting UVU

UVU is working to ensure that transfer students receive the maximum transfer credits possible toward academic program requirements — not just elective credits, as is often the case. For students transferring to other institutions, UVU is working toward stronger articulation pathways that reduce the credit loss and financial burden often associated with transferring. This is consistent with our community college mission.

  • UVU supports the Board Policy R473 Standards for Granting Academic Credit for CTE Course Work Completed in Non-Credit Instructional Formats, which may allow any qualified Utah Technical College (UTECH) student to transfer an approved and completed 900-hour noncredit program as the equivalent of 30 credit hours toward an AAS two-year degree in technology, thereby decreasing the potential for credit loss when transferring between systems.
  • UVU has 13 course-to-course articulations with Mountainland Technical College. Additional articulations are in development that will increase the value of Career and Technical Education (CTE) competencies gained through USHE technical colleges.
  • UVU has partnered with Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) to ensure seamless transfer options between the two institutions. UVU currently offers two university transfer programs at SLCC (biotechnology and construction management). UVU is also exploring additional transfer pathways and delivery options with Snow College and others.

Increase Stackable Pathways from MTECH

UVU and Mountainland Technical College are jointly designing stackable pathways within the region. These pathways ensure that students can articulate competencies learned at MTECH with specific degree programs at UVU, thus reducing students’ time to completion and supporting workforce preparation. Additionally, UVU is committed to partnering further with UTECH to reduce program duplication and increase the availability of transfer pathways between institutions.

These efforts will create a seamless flow between certificates and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, despite the life changes and challenges that many students face.

Increase Credits Students Receive for Prior Learning

A significant barrier to student degree completion is not getting credit for knowledge, skills, and abilities that students have already learned or experienced in their professional lives. One way to accelerate completion is to make sure that students get maximum credit for prior learning. UVU is actively reviewing processes and policies to ensure students receive appropriate credit for prior learning.


UVU strives to be a national leader in teaching excellence. To achieve this, we recruit highly effective teacher-scholars. We promote excellence in teaching by providing resources through the Higher Education Academy and the Office of Teaching and Learning. These programs provide innovative methodologies designed to enhance the overall student experience.

Improve the Ability to Attract and Retain Highly Effective Faculty

At the core of UVU’s mission is its highly capable faculty. In an increasingly competitive environment for the best teachers and scholars, UVU must take steps to recruit, support, and retain quality faculty capable of providing the best educational experiences for our students.

Increase Faculty Support for Student Success

UVU is a teaching institution. Our primary concern is student success, and we know this begins with excellence in teaching and curricular development. To this end, UVU supports faculty through a series of teaching certifications, covering topics such as team-based learning, undergraduate research, writing enriched curricula, service learning, first-year seminars, evidence-based teaching, and large classroom teaching. This work is carried out through the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL).

Increase Participation in the Higher Education Academy

UVU is also a member of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). The HEA is an international nonprofit organization that promotes teaching excellence in higher education. HEA is a subsidiary of UK-based Advance HE. There are more than 150,000 HEA fellows in the world. UVU is the first American institution to be accredited by the HEA.

Improve Online Course Development and Delivery

UVU currently offers 40 fully online degrees and is on track to offer more. Our online programs and courses are developed through a certified program, whereby faculty review their colleagues’ work against national standards. Faculty teaching these courses are also fully certified. UVU has integrated its online offerings into the normal curricular offerings for students so they can take a mix of face-to-face and online courses during a semester. This ability to mix delivery modalities allows students who are leading complex lives to get the classes they need and complete degrees in a timely manner. Students taking a mix of delivery modalities persist at rates almost 10% higher than students taking solely face-to-face or online-only courses. The faculty and staff commitment to making this complex system work is one of the advantages UVU offers all students to support their success.


UVU’s invitation to “come as you are” requires proactive, personalized services and programs delivered by excellent and caring staff. UVU embraces a philosophy of continuous improvement and invests in the professional development and well-being of employees.

Improve the Transition From K-12 to Higher Education

UVU will continue to work with K-16 Alliance partners to increase the number of students who enroll in higher education during or immediately after high school. UVU will improve connections through:

  • A greater focus on the high school to college transition during the K-16 Alliance Counselor Conference hosted each fall semester
  • Increased connection and outreach from UVU academic departments and high school concurrent enrollment faculty
  • Clear communication about pathway requirements that can be achieved while in high school

Create Seamless Processes and Comprehensive Services for a Diverse Student Body

UVU will build on the success of previous completion efforts by focusing on the following:

  • Course scheduling — Student-centric processes and offerings designed for timely completion
  • Student communication — Policies, guidelines, and practices that improve student access to just-in-time information, events, and resources, leveraging our mobile app
  • First-year focus — Programs, courses, and services designed for more effective new-student onboarding and first-year success
  • Finances — More students applying for and receiving aid and enhanced financial literacy
  • Data-informed outreach and support — Increased utilization of predictive analytics for outreach, support, and the removal of completion barriers
  • Academic advising — Development and implementation of a strategic plan to improve the student and advisor experience
  • Adult learner support — Strategies and resources to promote enrollment and completion of adult learners
  • Transfer initiative — Improved onboarding, prior learning assessment, and completion of transfer students

Invest in the Recruitment, Onboarding, and Professional Development of Staff to Increase Quality and Effectiveness

  • Support departments across campus to attract qualified candidates through standardized, yet compelling, job posting language across the university. Increase recruiting efforts through social media. Implement a recruitment referral bonus program.
  • Create a healthy workplace culture through better onboarding for new employees.
  • Grow tomorrow’s leaders today by increasing internal professional development offerings for staff through UVU Lead, UVU Develop, and UVSELF.