Wade Leuwerke is an associate professor of counseling at Drake University. Wade’s research focuses on the assessment and development of student and employee noncognitive skills. He also studies the factors that predict college retention, the impact of computer-assisted career guidance systems on academic planning and career exploration behaviors, and the role of technology in career development processes. Wade is the author of Connections: Empowering College and Career Success with Paul Gore and A.J. Metz.
Tell us about one initiative you are currently working on that you are really excited about.
I am working on a proactive advising project that infuses noncognitive assessment data into efforts to proactively reach out to students before any problems arise as they start college. This program seeks to help students build critical college success skills through goal setting and action planning. Students are also encouraged to apply their skills in their initial college classes and make use of the range of available campus resources.
What motivates you to work in college success?
I entered college academically prepared but woefully underprepared with respect to study skills, problem solving strategies, and discipline. I nearly ended up on probation after my first term and spent the next three years digging my GPA out of the hole I created the first term. I am motivated to help students avoid this stressful start to college.
What advice would you have given to your younger self as you embarked on your first year in college?
Make use of campus resources! Go talk to your professors and adviser. Stick around after class and get to know your first-year experience instructor.
What are some trends and developments you are currently seeing in the college success/FYE course?
I think there is even more emphasis on looking at data and connecting the efforts of FYE/student success to tangible outcomes. Budgets are tight and the focus on retention is increasing and I think FYE is uniquely positioned to be a great ROI and impact retention. Collecting data to make this link continues to be a trend in the field.
What did you enjoy the most about writing Connections?
My favorite parts of the text are the Voices of Experience and the multiple features in the book that explicitly draw the link (or connection) between content in the book and the skills/strategies that students will need in the world of work. My hope is that once students understand, as clearly as possible, that the skills they learn in this course are the same skills they will need at work, they will be more motivated and engaged in class.
On a personal note…
What book has influenced you the most?
Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol
What is something you want to learn in the next year (related to higher education or otherwise)?
I want to learn how to use Google docs and the related suite of products.
If you hadn’t pursued your current career, what do you think you would have done?
Building contractor or economist
What is your ideal vacation?
Any beach in a tropical location
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people may know.
I survived a very large tornado during my last semester of college. It sounded just like a train running past the house!