A Flexible and Comprehensive Approach to Retention

Last updated on: October 10, 2023

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Utica University

Challenge: Student Retention

The Wiley University Services and Utica University partnership began in 2004 with a traditional revenue share-model relationship. As the needs of students evolved over the past decade, so did the services, solutions, and financial models required to support them.

As a result, Utica expanded its partnership with Wiley in 2014 to take advantage of its unbundled Professional Services. To achieve specific goals, various services were applied to different programs, including Wiley’s proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) implementation, instructional design support, and expanded Enrollment Services support.

The Strategy

Utica and Wiley have long worked together to ensure successful student outcomes. In doing so, they have built a relationship grounded in innovation, solid communication, trust, and a shared understanding that evolving together is fundamental to success. This foundation supported additions to the relationship that were fundamental to the improvement of retention rates.

The specific services that were added include:

  1. Recruitment Support: Integration of the Contact Center with Behavioral Analytics Platform. When they first request information for a program, prospective students speak immediately with an admissions representative in the Wiley Contact Center, which uses behavioral analytics to monitor calls. Using linguistic analysis, behavioral analytics categorizes each prospective student’s communication style within seconds of the call. This contributes to the retention rate by ensuring representatives steer the “right” students to the right program.
  2. Enrollment Management: Support. Once the prospective student has decided to apply to a specific program, they are assigned to an Enrollment Coordinator to help them through the application and enrollment process. Building a strong rapport with students from the beginning cultivates trust between the student and the institution.
  3. Enrollment Management: Access. Once accepted into a program, students are assigned to a Student Service Coordinator (SSC) who works with them through graduation. The trust established in the Utica-Wiley partnership led to Utica agreeing to give Wiley’s SSCs the same access to Utica’s Student Information System (SIS) as campus-based employees. This expanded access means that SSCs can now have conversations with students that involve future course planning and assistance in registering for courses. It also supports clearer and more streamlined communication with campus personnel.
  4. Student Retention Services. The relationship between the SSC and student allows for proactive monitoring and outreach to identify and address any potential problems or issues early. In addition, the SSC-student relationship is built into various steps in the student journey. For example, if an online student attempts to withdraw through the registrar, they are directed to their SSC prior to being able to do so. This allows for a conversation to get to the root of the problem, whether that is help with paying a fee or figuring out childcare.

The Results

The flexibility in the partnership model between Utica and Wiley resulted in a 10 percent increase in term-to-term retention, when compared year over year.

These results are based on deliberate actions by Utica and Wiley. The focus and intention on increasing the number of students retained year over year ultimately led to the increase in graduation rates. With Wiley offering unbundled Professional Services, Utica University was able to achieve its retention goal.

Looking Ahead

Today, the Utica and Wiley partnership spans 16 programs and has resulted in the graduation of more than 3,500 students. The evolution of solutions and services provided by Wiley has equipped Utica with the appropriate flexible models to better support students throughout their journey, persist in their programs, and ultimately successfully graduate from those programs. As student needs change in the future, Utica and Wiley will be able to continue to adapt to them.

Wiley University Services Offerings

Wiley is responsible for these services in the Utica partnership:

Market Assessment

Program Design and Development

Marketing and Brand Management


Enrollment Management

Student Retention Services

24×7 Help Desk

Institution’s Roles and Responsibilities

Utica handles the following areas:

Curriculum and Content




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