Apply Visit Deposit Give


Director for Undergraduate Student Success

The Director for Undergraduate Student Success (DUSS) is dedicated to helping undergraduate students succeed academically and persist to graduation. The DUSS, Dr. Mary Railing, can be reached at 304-243-2172 or

First Year Seminar

The Director for Undergraduate Student Success is the coordinator for the First Year Seminar. FYS is a one-credit course designed to help students transition from high school to college, strengthen the basic skills they will need to succeed, and create bonds with others in the campus community. There are thirteen sections of FYS with approximately 15-20 students in each section. All sections are co-taught by a peer instructor, along with a faculty member or an administrator.

Early Intervention

The Director for Undergraduate Student Success coordinates an early intervention system for students exhibiting at-risk behaviors, such as missing class, failing to hand in assignments, or doing poorly on exams. Once faculty notify the DUSS about these behaviors, the DUSS attempts to reach out to the at-risk students and intervene before the damage is irreparable. Sending emails of concern, meeting with students, advising students, referring students to the appropriate resources, and helping students create Academic Success Plans are some of the ways the DUSS attempts to help struggling students. 

The DUSS is also a member of the Student Outreach Retention Team (SORT), a committee that comprises members from various areas of campus who come together to help students in need. For example, if a student has a death in the family, the DUSS can notify the students’ professors, and a member of Campus Ministry can send condolences. Or if a student is not attending class, the DUSS can inform someone from residence life or the athletic department who will then follow up with the student.

Academic Success Plan
If students fall behind, it may help them to get back on track by meeting with the Director for Undergraduate Student Success and creating an Academic Success Plan.

FERPA Release Form
By federal law, university officials are not allowed to discuss a student’s grades with his or her parents unless the student has given permission. Students who would like university officials to be able to talk to their parents should sign the FERPA release and submit it to the Registrar or to the Director for Undergraduate Student Success.

Withdrawal Form
In spite of the University’s best efforts, students sometimes choose to withdraw or transfer to another university. Students who do not plan to return to WU need to complete a withdrawal form and meet with the Director for Student Success to begin the withdrawal process.

For Parents

Parents of new college students are often just as nervous as the new students themselves. Things are so different from the way they were in high school, leaving parents wondering how to deal with things such as their child experiencing academic difficulty or roommate problems. One of the hardest realizations is that as much as parents want to manage things, it is best to allow the student to be the one to handle these problems. For more specific advice, please read How to Help Your Child Succeed.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am concerned about my son’s grades. How can I find out how he/she is doing?

Most (not all) professors use Canvas and post grades regularly for the students. If this is the case, students should usually have a good idea of their grade in a class. After the fifth week of classes, professors turn in advisory grades, and students have access to those grades on Academus, unless there is a hold on the student’s account. These early advisory grades give a student ample time to improve before the end of the semester. Because of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), professors will not talk to you about your student’s grades. I have FERPA release forms in my office. If you would like to talk to me, just have your son or daughter stop by to sign the form and I will be happy to return your call or email.

FERPA Release Form
By law, university officials may not discuss a student’s grades without the student’s signature on the FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) release. He or she may print the release form here or get it from the Registrar’s site.

What is a hold?

A hold is placed most often because the student owes money on his/her account, but many holds also result from students not submitting required medical records. A hold will prevent a student from being able to access grades or register for classes. Students can log into their Academus site to see if there are holds on their account.