Speakers and sessions

We are pleased to present our forward thinking plenary speakers and workshop presenters for the 2020 National Student Success Conference!

photo of Shaun R. Harper, Ph.D., Provost Professor in the Rossier School of Education and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California

Shaun R. Harper. Ph.D. is a Provost Professor in the Rossier School of Education and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He also is the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership, founder and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center, president-elect of the American Educational Research Association, and a past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Dr. Harper’s research focuses primarily on race, gender, and other dimensions of equity in an array of organizational contexts, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporations. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications. Review of Research in Education, Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Review of Higher Education are some journals in which his research is published. Johns Hopkins University Press is publishing his thirteenth book Race Matters in College. His research has been cited in nearly 12,000 published studies.

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and several thousand other news outlets have quoted Professor Harper and featured his research. He has interviewed on CNN, ESPN, and NPR. He has testified to the U.S. House of Representatives, and presented his research at various White House and U.S. Department of Education convenings. He was appointed to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper advisory council in 2015, and recognized in Education Week as one of the 10 most influential professors in the field of education in 2017.


photo of Tricia Wang, PhD Global Tech Ethnographer and Co-founder of Sudden Compass

All over the world, organizations are embracing digital transformation. They are adopting data platforms and analytics, integrating dashboards, and hiring data scientists. Yet, organizations are often struggling to move from analytics to impact.  Worse off, they end up becoming even more distanced from their stakeholders. Most organizations treat digital transformation as a technology shift, when in fact, it is a culture shift. Tricia will share her insights on how to transition from doing digital, a technology first approach, to being digital, a human first approach. Organizations that embrace the latter are able to make the most impact in their digital transformation journeys.

Global technology ethnographer Tricia Wang, Ph.D. helps companies innovate and grow by integrating big data — all that you know about your customers and your market — with thick data, the human element that is invisible to quantitative data analysis. Tricia is the cofounder of Sudden Compass, a firm that helps companies leverage data to move at the speed of their customers. Past clients they have worked with include Fortune 500 companies to tech start-ups such as Proctor and Gamble to Spotify. She also co-founded Magpie Kingdom, a consultancy that advises companies on how to build off of cultural innovation in China and publishing their popular newsletter on youth and internet culture. She is a recognized leading authority on digital transformation, operationalizing data science, customer experience, and ethics of personal data usage in artificial intelligence. In addition to her work in industry, Tricia has spent decades researching youth culture, social media, and Chinese internet culture. Her TED talk on big data and human insights has more than 1.6 million viewers.


moderated panel graphic

Far from blank slates, students on our campuses carry complex histories and experiences into the classroom that shape their likelihood to perform well academically, persist and graduate from our institutions. These complex histories often include factors such as mental health concerns, experiences with trauma, substance use and are compounded by well-being challenges such as poor sleep hygiene, stress and anxiety, diet and exercise. The data is clear: to support student success, as institutions we must also support student well-being. But, too often these efforts are siloed on campuses, reducing our ability to effectively support students. During this session, panelists will share strategies for breaking down these silos and building powerful synergies between student success and health promotion and mental health and violence prevention professionals, and building institutional cultures of well-being where all students thrive.

[Moderator] Holly Rider-Milkovich, Senior Director of Prevention Education, EVERFI

Holly Rider-Milkovich’s work at EVERFI supports students and administrators in fostering safe and healthy campuses by addressing topics incuding sexual and gender based discrimination, harassment, and violence. Previously, Rider-Milkovich directed the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center at the University of Michigan. She provided expertise to President Obama’s White House Task Force on best practices for campus-based sexual and intimate partner violence prevention and response efforts, and represented four-year colleges and universities in the federal negotiated rule-making committee for the 2013 Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. She brings over two decades of experience in violence prevention and response and in higher education to her role at EVERFI. 

Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, PhD, Vice President for Student-Affairs and Dean of Students, Union College

Fran’Cee Brown-McClure has oversight of Student Activities, Dining, Campus Safety, Accommodative Services, Student Conduct, the Kenney Community Center, the Becker Career Center, Minerva Programs, First Year Deans Office, Residence Life, the Counseling Center, and Health Services. Prior to joining Union College, Brown-McClure served as Dean of Students at Spelman College and Associate Dean of Residential Education at Stanford University. She received a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin in Educational Administration, a Masters of Social Work from Boston University in 2006, and Bachelor of Science in psychology from Jackson State University in 2004.

Angela L. Chong, J.D., Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Florida State University

Since July 2018, Angela Chong leads the health and wellness portfolio of the division of student affairs at Florida State University, which includes 300 full time professional staff in the campus recreation, dean of students, university counseling center, and university health services departments. She brings a wealth of higher education experience to her work, including student success, diversity and inclusion, student development, legal compliance, crisis management, policy development, threat assessment and care teams, health and wellness administration and programs, grant writing, athletics administration, and institutional governance. Prior to appointment as the Associate Vice President, Chong served as the chief student affairs officer at The College of New Jersey. She earned a bachelor of science degree in communications from Southeast Missouri State University, a master of science in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University, followed by a JD in Higher Education Law and Policy from Stetson University College of Law.

Mary Jo Desprez, Director, Wolverine Wellness, University Health Service, University of Michigan

Mary Jo Desprez has worked in the field of college health and wellness for more than 30 years. She currently leads a team of public health and higher education professionals that provide leadership for student wellness initiatives that focus on personal and community well-being. Desprez serves as the Co-Chair for the Health and Wellness Collect Impact initiative and she serves on the strategic lead team for the Student Life Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. She is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, Leadershape, and has completed Resilience training at the Mayo Clinic. Desprez is an adjunct instructor at Eastern Michigan University where she teaches in the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance. She also conducts trainings and facilitates workshops on Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Resilience.

Scott Strader, PhD, Director of the Counseling Center, University of South Florida

Scott Strader joined the staff of USF-Tampa in July 2017 after serving 12 years as Director of Counseling & Disability Support Services at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Strader oversees a staff of more than 35 mental health professionals who support the emotional and developmental needs of nearly 44,000 students.  Strader is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD), and serves on the Elements of Excellence Task Force of AUCCCD. His interests include outcome measurements in psychotherapy, supporting LBGTQ+ and other underserved students, and counseling center administration.



WORKSHOP SESSION A: 10:30 - 11:30 AM

Increasing Degree Attainment through Local College Access Networks

Paul Perrault, Vice President of Research & Evaluation, Helios Education Foundation
Kathy McDonald, Assistant Director for Network Partnerships, Florida College Access Network (FCAN)
Grace MasedaVice President of Marketing and Communications, Helios Education Foundation

One of the most successful strategies implemented in Florida to drive degree attainment is the formation of a statewide network focused on college and career readiness, access, and success along with supporting the development of local college access networks (LCANs) that coordinate and align efforts to boost education attainment in the communities they serve. Each LCAN is comprised of community partners representing both public and private enterprise. Given this cross-sector influence each LCAN is unique and has its own set of needs and goals that reflect their community. Because LCANs can represent counties or regions, their needs are not homogenous. As a result, each LCAN, with support from FCAN, identifies its workforce needs, explores gaps and barriers to student success, implements its own set of strategies to address those gaps and barriers, leverages local strengths and sets its own postsecondary goal. The LCANs’ purpose is to remove barriers to student success, especially for student groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education (such as lower-income students, students of color, first generation college students, and returning adults), thereby creating a thriving Florida economy.

Leveraging Analytics and Data to Promote Faculty Engagement in Student Success Partnerships

Nicole GlenosDirector of Advising Technology, NC State University
Carrie ZelnaAssociate Vice Chancellor, NC State University

As higher education institutions increasingly rely upon analytics to drive student success and assessment initiatives, the need to cultivate strong partnerships with faculty and academic programs becomes even more critical to the success of these initiatives. NC State University has seen many advancements with their student success and analytics platform with respect to leveraging advising services and workflow functionalities. However, gaining broader usage of the analytics and reporting features available within the system, particularly among faculty, remains a challenge. As a result, the Office of Assessment and the University College designed an innovative partnership to offer competitive mini-grants with the goal of encouraging faculty-led, institutional research that supports data-informed decision making using analytics and additional institutional data as needed from the Office of Assessment. This session highlights how our offices leveraged data to develop strong relationships with faculty and campus units. We will discuss proposal requirements and provide an overview of the mini-grant process, including setting selection criteria and rubrics, initial project and analytics consultations, and requirements for the final reports. Lastly, the session will highlight some of the key findings, how results were shared, and the changes made as a result of the findings.

Using Student and Parent/Family Insights to Improve Retention

Sally McMillan, Director, School of Advertising & Public Relations, University of Tennessee
Serena Matsunaga, Principal, TorchStar Education, Inc.
Emily Parker, Principal, TorchStar Education, Inc.

Improving retention and graduation is a priority for many universities, but progress is often difficult despite investments in analytics and high-impact programs. While many universities collect data on why students leave, few engage successful students for insights on their experience. While many universities acknowledge that parents and families are increasingly involved in their students’ experience, few engage this group to build proactive partnerships. This presentation will profile how the University of Tennessee has paired data with student and parent insights to improve retention. We will introduce two tools UT used to gain deeper insight and develop action plans. The STAY tool is designed to understand why students stay, why they contemplate leaving, what programs impact their success, and how the student experience differs for specific populations. The PIE tool focuses on parents and families and explores ways that family involvement, communication patterns, and support strategies can impact retention. Presenters will share insights on how UT has built a campus-wide focus on student success, developed a roadmap for action, and tracked results. This interactive presentation will engage audience members in small-group discussions about their own successes and challenges in using student and family insights to design effective retention strategies.

Hi, I'm “Bot”: Centering First-Generation Student Success with ChatBot Technology

Cynthia Alvarez, Assistant Director of Student Success, California State University
Mitzy Gonzalez, University Innovation Alliance Fellow, Center for Higher Education Innovation, University of Central Florida

Our new generations of entering students have grown up with technology by their side. As they, and in particular, first-generation students, enter our universities, they are faced with the challenge of learning the institution and successfully navigating it. Chat bot technology can be leveraged by universities to meet the needs of students, provide the information necessary to succeed, and do it in a way that is familiar and comfortable for students. We propose a session articulating the process of developing and launching a chat bot campus-wide, and particularly focus on the key factors needed to engage with chat bot vendors, potential pitfalls, strategies needed to create a chat bot that serves as a navigational tool for first-gen and transfer undergraduates. Attendees will leave the session with an understanding of the type of needs a chat bot can address, as well as a clear outline of the steps needed to launch a chat bot on their campus from start to finish.

Best Practices for Developing Career-Ready Leaders on Campus and in the Community

Matthew Ohlson, Director and Associate Professor - Taylor Leadership Institute, University of North Florida
Karine Stukes, Assistant Director - Curricular Engagement, University of North Florida

The Collegiate Achievement Mentoring Program (CAMP) is a replicable model of student leadership development at the University of North Florida that empowers college students to not only learn leadership skills but put them into action by serving as a "Leadership Coach." Leadership is the #1 skill employers are looking for in recent graduates and the CAMP program immerses college students in leadership development training focused on time management, goal setting, grit and the ability to work with others. The UNF students then apply these college and career success skills by coaching their "apprentice" from area high-needs K12 schools in Jacksonville, Palatka and Crescent City. 
The program outcomes for collegiate leadership coaches include increased GPA, public speaking ability, confidence and leadership acumen. The program has received awards including the NPR American Graduate Champion, the FCAN Innovator Award, the Jefferson Awards for Public Service and the United Way. The findings from the program have been presented at AERA, National Mentoring Summit, FCAN & the National Society for Experiential Education. Participants attending the session will learn about the program design, implementation and outcomes and engage in an active dialogue examining ways to replicate this model at their own institution.

The Last Strategy to Start the Semester: Combatting Drop for Non-Pay

Jacob Bonne, Director - Data and Success Initiatives, University of Central Florida
Kelly D’Agostino, University Bursar, University of Central Florida
Karemah Manselle, Associate Director - Student Financial Assistance, University of Central Florida
Alicia Keaton, Director - Student Financial Assistance, University of Central Florida

UCF's Retention Intervention Team takes a collaborative approach at addressing student success issues for first-year students at UCF. Efforts to assist students are a year-round process, culminating with final efforts to support students as they begin their second year. While existing informally for years, efforts to collaboratively combat first-year student retention “melt” by addressing students’ inability to meet their financial obligations officially launched in Fall 2018. In Fall 2018, failing to retain all students originally at-risk of being dropped from their courses for nonpayment would have resulted in a 1.4% decrease in retention. By intentionally working with students, some of which were able to resolve their financial challenges, others were offered continuation grants to prevent their withdrawal from courses. A revised workflow for Fall 2019 will provide enhanced support for students who need assistance while again providing coaching and referrals to students. This interactive session will include an overview of retention efforts at UCF, how each office collaborates throughout "Drop for Non-Pay" to assist students, attrition/exit survey data, and an engaging dialogue on practices and principles that can guide efforts to support students at risk of not being able to continue their academic journey. 



Talk to the Chatbot: The Potential of AI for Student Success

Kirk Daulerio, Co-Founder, AdmitHub
Amy Smith, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Georgia Southern University
Dan Robb, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, University of South Carolina Aiken

Every year, as many as 20 percent of admitted students who plan to attend college never make it to the first day of class. So-called “summer melt” can reach as high as 40% for low-income students. To address this challenge, universities are tapping the power of AI to personalize communication at scale, using chatbots to provide real-time support and guidance for students as they navigate their way to and through college. Research suggests that the outcomes of these new tools can be transformative: according to research from the Brookings Institution, Georgia State’s chatbot helped the institution reduce summer melt by more than 30 percent. Now, a growing number of college and university leaders are implementing chatbots for not just enrollment and admissions -- but also ongoing support to help break down barriers to persistence and success. At this panel, join Dan Robb of USC Aiken and Amy Smith of Georgia Southern University to discuss the opportunities and challenges of AI for student success.

Four Year and Community College Partnership That Works

Crystal Smith, Director - Student Academic Planning and Career Readiness, Prince George's Community College
Alexander Pianim, University of Maryland Pre-Transfer Advisor, Prince George's Community College

In an effort to ease the obstacles faced by many community college graduates upon transfer, these Maryland schools teamed up to work together to improve the transfer experience for students. With the intention of easing the obstacles that so many of our community college graduates face upon transfer, Prince George's Community College and The University of Maryland created a space at the community college for the four-year partner to meet with potential transfer students to assess their “transfer readiness” and provide recommendations for students. Knowing that The University of Maryland is one of the top three transfer schools for Prince George's Community College students allowed us to negotiate for a permanent office space for the Maryland partner. The collaboration allows the transfer representative to attend meetings, provide transfer updates, assist with articulation agreement discussions and ensure that information shared with students is accurate and timely. This partnership has increased the transfer rate to The University of Maryland by 57% over the past two years since we established this relationship. The success of this partnership allowed us to increase four year partner schools on site and we now have all three top transfer institutions on campus in our advising area working with students. This partnership has truly benefited our students.

Using Financial Aid Incentives for Student Success

Dawn Medley, Vice President of Enrollment, Wayne State University
Lua Hancock, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Success, Stetson University
Chris Silberman, Director of Student Success Partnerships, RaiseMe

Wayne State University has partnered with RaiseMe on a student success initiative that leverages behavioral economics and financial incentives. RaiseMe is a social enterprise based in San Francisco invented micro-scholarships to help keep high school students engaged and on track to successfully pursue their college ambitions, and has served over 2,000,000 students, 40,000 high schools, and 350 college partners. Based on the impact of micro-scholarships on high school students’ motivation and engagement, RaiseMe and their college partners decided to see if they could be leveraged to drive persistence for college students. There are a lot of student success tools that address academic risk or engagement risk, but too many students continue falling off track because of financial risk. RaiseMe’s new student success platform allows existing college students to earn additional financial aid from the college they are attending for pursuing high impact activities aligned with student success. In Summer of 2019, RaiseMe partnered with Wayne State and Stetson University to test this concept with 500 deposited students that were at risk for summer melt. In Fall 2019, RaiseMe launched the first ever student success micro-scholarship program with Wayne State, with Ben Castleman as the research advisor.

Tackling Misperceptions Among Youth Looking at College and Careers

Chris LaneyWorkforce Education Director, CareerSource Suncoast

Leveraging the 2020 State of Students Report, the presenter will focus on students’ perceptions of college and careers. Attendees will tackle complex conversations about what students are seeing as their biggest barriers to employment and will explore what communities can do to help prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce. The presenter will connect the conversation to educational preparation and provide insights on how to serve students across the socioeconomic landscape.

Clicks, Context and Koicha—Why Higher Education Needs Thick Data

Pete Smith, Chief Analytics Officer and Professor, University of Texas Arlington  

The University of Texas at Arlington continues a multi-year build-out of its analytics capability, featuring development and rollout of an analytical data warehouse and advanced modeling services. However, no amount of “big data” can provide fully insightful models of students’ journeys and student success without the context provided by qualitative or “thick data.” This talk will overview the process of building capacity within a campus analytics infrastructure for operationalizing the collection and analysis of unstructured (language) data. The presentation will also outline practical tools and NLP techniques utilized to analyze one ongoing qualitative dataset project and its incorporation into student success modeling.

Retaining African-American Males in College: Hands Up! Stop, Wait. Do I Belong Here?

Carlton Goode, Program Coordinator for the Office of Multicultural, Virginia Commonwealth University

Many of our young men of color may view themselves as being marginalized and counterproductive at our Predominantly White Institutions (PWI). As a result of this presentation, educators will gain knowledge and the understanding of different interventions as it pertains to retaining men of color at PWI. The audience will become familiar with best practices for retaining Men of Color. And how community, social capital, and campus resources play a role in keeping and insuring our men of color graduate and become productive citizens after college. The audience will be able to identify the importance of mentoring and summarize different strategize regarding the influence of alumni engagement and the understanding of the whole student and his development. Participants will leave with a blueprint on how to engage men of color in and outside the classroom. The presentation will present ways to assist men of color in understanding their sense of self better, aiding him in developing their grit, and how to overcome stereotype threats. The audience will be able to express an understanding of the critical role that higher education plays in preparing men of color for opportunities while in college and beyond.


University GPS: Dynamic Degree Planning at UC Riverside

Joey MavitySpecial Projects Manager, University of California at Riverside
Victor MoreiraAcademic Advisor, University of California at Riverside

Technology promises much but delivers little because it often attempts to replace, rather than supplement, advisor expertise. At UC Riverside, developmental academic advising has long been a cornerstone of the campus’ success at eliminating gaps in graduation rates. However, as constraints on campus resources and a state mandate to increase transfer student acceptance rates, time for meaningful 1-on-1 engagement started to lag. Over half of advising time was being spent to re-plan a student’s path to completion. Discover how one campus partnered with a technology vendor to deliver a dynamic degree planning tool that integrated advisor wisdom to significantly reduce time spent on repetitive replanning efforts and instead expanded the opportunity to engage in meaningful developmental academic advising. 


Turning the Utah Pledge into Action: A Holistic Approach to Improving Retention

Amy Bergerson, Associate Dean - Office of Undergraduate Studies and Director - Office of Student Success and Empowerment, University of Utah
Rachel Hayes-Harb, Director - Office of Undergraduate Research and Capstone Programs, University of Utah
Marissa Diener, Director - LEAP Learning Communities, University of Utah
Beth Howard, Director - Academic Advising Center, University of Utah

In 2011, the University of Utah was called upon to focus on student success in ways it had not before. Since then, we have produced significant improvements in retention and completion rates, moving from 86% to 90% retention and from 55% to 70% 6-year graduation rate. These advancements have been produced by campus-wide attention to student success. We bundle our best practices for retention and completion in what we call the Utah Pledge, which begins with the powerful experience of a first-year learning community, builds on support from advisors, Student Success Advocates and peer mentors, is guided by a plan to finish developed in first- and second-year milestone advising, and includes deeply engaged learning (High Impact Practices, or HIPS) that transform students’ understandings about themselves and their position in the world. We work to graduate students who have an impact. The Utah Pledge, which states, “We pledge to help you graduate with the support of learning communities, mentors and advisors, a plan to finish, and deeply engaged learning experiences,” represents our strategic approach to retention and completion, an approach based on best practices, which has, importantly, delivered results. In this panel we will share the specific strategies utilized by four programs that exemplify our university’s campus-wide coordinated efforts.

Sustaining Student Success with Positive Preceptions of Change

Monica Brockmeyer, Senior Associate Provost for Student Success, Wayne State University
Patricia Sobecky, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs,The University of Alabama
Moderator: Paul Dosal, Vice President for Student Success, University of South Florida

While the goal of student success initiatives is to ensure higher student retention and degree completion rates, sustaining the efforts and momentum as institutional metrics begin to change also requires a longer-term institutional strategy. Without longer-term intentional planning, most efforts will fade as collective institutional behavior returns to its initial state. This session will present two institutional approaches as examples of (their) efforts to serve as champion of change agents to promote a culture of positive change at their institutions. Presenters will highlight approaches and strategies such as how identifying and empowering individuals and teams who possess attributes reflecting a positive perception of change contribute to bringing about sustainable institutional changes in support of student success.

Graduation Help Desks: A System-wide Approach to Success

Cassandre Alvarado, Executive Director - Student Success, The University of Texas at Austin
Kathy Uitvlugt, Director - Graduation Help Desk, The University of Texas at Austin
Soyla Santos, Associate Director - Graduation Help Desk, The University of Texas at Austin

Graduation Help Desks enhance student success by providing advocacy and problem-solving to complex administrative barriers that delay timely graduation. This presentation will share highlights of an advocacy-based model for promoting student success that has been implemented throughout the University of Texas System.

 Incremental Impact: Using Existing Resources to Improve Student Success

Carrie Zelna, Associate Vice Chancellor, NC State University

We all want to know that our work has an impact on student success. Many believe that the way to demonstrate impact is through the measurement of retention and graduation rates for the students that use their services or programs. While we know our work impacts individual success, it is not often that we are able to see the impact in valid measures of retention or graduation. That does not mean that the unit has no impact on those numbers, it is just difficult to demonstrate the relationship. This issue, along with mountains of unused data, resulted in the creation of the Retention Foundation Assessment (RFA) program. The purpose of RFA is to systematically identify, measure, and improve the underlying variables that impact student success. By identifying appropriate constructs and using primarily existing data and student led focus groups, units across the division are able to make incremental alterations to their existing work. The AVC for Academic Success and the Office of Assessment work together with faculty and staff in the division to determine the constructs, define them, identify appropriate data, and share it in small unit-level sessions that include a problem solving component with unit staff. This session will describe how we accomplish our goals with no new resources and will engage the audience as they brainstorm ways to meet similar goals on their campus.

Digital Dissonance - Learning to Embrace Change and Enhance the Student Experience

Eric Stoller, Vice President of Digital Strategy, GeckoEngage

It's time to challenge conventional thinking on the future of higher education in terms of digital transformation and organizational change. At institutions that 'get' digital, there's a holistic approach to digital engagement that spans the entire organization. For institutions without intentional and authentic digital leadership, the student experience is scattered and lacks direction. This runs counter to the expectations of students and 'digital champions.' In this featured presentation, Eric Stoller will share best practice examples of digital engagement and provide an organizational push for ongoing digital transformation as it relates to teaching, learning, and student success.

Increasing Student Completion: Examining Causal Effects of Re-enrollment Strategies

Paul Perrault, Vice President of Research and Evaluation, Helios
Justin Ortagus, Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration & Policy, University of Florida

With support from the Helios Education Foundation, the University of Florida’s Institute of Higher Education conducted a multi-phase re-enrollment campaign designed to foster re-enrollment among previously successful former students from five high-enrollment community colleges. The resulting study, which employs a randomized controlled trial and includes over 27,000 former students, offers insights related to the efficacy of two types of re-enrollment campaigns. First, we consider an “information-only” text messaging campaign that includes a series of text messages and custom website intended to streamline the re-enrollment process. Second, we consider an “information + one-course waiver” campaign that includes the same information and custom website in addition to a one-course tuition waiver. For community colleges seeking to foster re-enrollment through a variety of campaigns, we offer clear evidence that low-cost nudges including pertinent information and a one-course tuition waiver have a positive impact on the probability of former students returning to college.

Emergency Aid: A Critical Component of a Holistic Student Success Model

Francisco Valines, Director - Financial Aid, Florida International University

The concept of Emergency Aid (EA) is simple – leverage existing funds or identify new funds to provide students with assistance to help them through an emergency. The rationale behind EA is that if we can help students overcome these emergencies, they will be able to continue their path to graduation. However, operationalizing an EA program takes coordination and commitment. FIU has implemented a successful EA program built on this collaborative spirit. The purpose of this panel is to review the process that FIU went through to establish this program, including: how to identify existing funds on campus, recruit Emergency Aid champions across various units, develop/amend policies and procedures, and implement a comprehensive strategy. The FIU team will share implementation successes and challenges; best practices developed as part of our participation in a national Emergency Aid Lab project; and a discussion of how to measure results.


Success in the City: Connecting First Year Seminar Students With Wrap-Around Support

Geoff Thames, Director of Ace - Excel Center Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
Justin Wier, Director - Recruitment & Engagement, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

This session will highlight a recent cross-divisional collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) and a Student Affairs program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The partnership between LAS First Year Seminar and Student Affairs (Ace, an Excel Center Program) featured an integrated model of academic support based upon modeling strategies through staff and student levels (Demetriou & Schmmitz-Sciborski, 2011). In this format, LAS instructors delivered First Year Seminar course content to help students connect with UIC and the campus community. Ace staff members supplemented the course content with workshops on study skills and time management. Students were also connected with Peer Success Coaches through Ace.

Partnering Research and Practice to Promote Student Success

Sue Farruggia, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago
Elizabeth Houlihan, Director of the Office of First-Year Initiatives, University of Illinois at Chicago

Two initiatives reflecting the partnership between the Office of Research on Student Success (ORSS) and the Office of First-Year Initiatives (OFYI) are presented. The first initiative, noncognitive assets in advising, stems from an ongoing ORSS research project conducted on the role of noncognitive assets (e.g., time management, sense of belonging, help-seeking) in student retention. Advisors and coaches use individual assessments of students’ strengths and growth areas to facilitate holistic advising for first year students. The second initiative, the Flames Leadership Network (FLN), provides holistic support to incoming first year students who have been identified as the most at-risk for not-being retained. ORSS staff use predictive analytics of admissions data to identify. OFYI invites students to participate in FLN in the summer prior to college. FLN provides intensive success coaching, a small scholarship, academic success workshops, engagement with career services, and on-campus employment. The directors describe their work and partnership to promote success. The ORSS Director will discuss both the development of the noncognitive assets tools and the analytic process to identify the FLN students. The OFYI Director will discuss how her staff utilize the noncognitive assets tools and the FLN program that increased retention from 50% to 70% for students in the program.

Innovative Financial Models to Address Completion

Courtney McBethSpecial Assistant to the President, University of Utah
Jason Taylor, Associate Professor - College of Education, University of Utah
Alison GriffinSenior Vice President, Whiteboard Advisors

Rising student loan debt, college affordability, and degree completion dominate national discourse and demand new approaches to financing higher education. Featuring perspectives from a national foundation and higher education leaders, this session will discuss income share agreement (ISA) models and the unique approaches being used by multiple universities. Specifically, learn how the University of Utah is using impact capital to design, develop, and implement - Invest in U - a student-friendly, completion-focused, ISA program to fill funding gaps and help more students complete college degrees.

Optimizing Degree Plans for Student Success Curricular Analytics

Hayden Free, Associate Research Scientist - Department of Computer Science, University of Kentucky
Kyna Betancourt, Assistant Dean of General Education, Assessment and Academics - Undergraduate Studies, University of South Florida
Paul Atchley, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Associate Vice President of Student Success, University of South Florida
Gregory Heileman, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Administration and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Arizona

For a given curriculum associated with a particular undergraduate academic program, many different degree plans can be constructed for students to complete the courses in the curriculum. For instance, in many STEM disciplines, students follow different pathways to their degrees depending upon the background preparations they have in math and science. That is, these students often require different starting points in their math and science courses, and those advising these students often develop “customized” degree plans that take into account particular student needs. This logically leads to the question: “Are some degree plans better than others at meeting the needs of particular student populations?” In this paper we describe a study involving the undergraduate academic programs at the University of South Florida. We first describe a number of criteria that can be used to characterize the quality of degree programs, including how balanced the credit hours are across the terms in the plan, how closely spaced prerequisites courses are from the courses that require them, and how often “toxic” combinations of courses are scheduled in the same term. We compare the degree plans provided by programs at USF to those constructed according to these criteria, with a particular focus on how they may address the particular needs of different student populations.

Aligning Study Abroad with Campus-wide Student Success Initiatives

Opal Leeman Bartzis, Executive Director of Education Abroad, Michigan State University
Chris Haynes, Assistant Director of Student Services - Education Abroad, University of South Florida

Study abroad has been designated (Kuh, 2009) as a “high impact educational practice” (HIP) (AAC&U), and research has linked undergraduate participation in study abroad to student engagement, retention, and on-time graduation (Barclay Hamir, 2015). These connections have caused varied campus units and study abroad offices to collaborate on the development of student-focused strategies and the joint goal of undergraduate student success. This session will discuss these connections and examine creative efforts undertaken by the study abroad offices of Michigan State University and the University of South Florida to support campus wide student success initiatives and to increase access to and diversify participation in study abroad. Because the benefits of study abroad are so many and this unique kind of learning experience can be transformative (Stone, 2014), it is important to enable as many students as possible to take part and intentionally address underrepresented groups. Attendees will be invited to share their experiences as these ideas are engaged, and they will leave the session with resources for continued discussion at their institutions.

What to Do About the Exploding Need for Mental Health Services?

Michelle Relyea, Senior Vice President - Enrollment and Success, The New School
Ann Marie Klotz, Vice President for Student Success, The New School

Given the ever-changing health needs of college students, it is incumbent upon each of our institutions to recalibrate our health care offerings on a regular basis for the students of our 21st-century institutions. In May 2018, we set out to do just that. As an urban institution in New York City, with a plethora of mental health providers close to our campus, we hoped to engage these providers to support our students. However, we quickly realized that would not be feasible for a number of reasons. Therefore, we had to undertake a comprehensive review to maximize our on-campus capacity for the rising changes in our needs for mental health services for students. First, we considered the question: What is our ethical and retention-focused responsibility to our students with respect to care on campus versus off campus? In other words, which services should we reasonably offer in house and for which services should we facilitate referrals to experts in our community? And how should we do that in such a way that communicates to students that we care about them and their health and well-being? It is important to note that there was no end game in this project other than the reduction of our counseling waitlist to zero. Everything was on the table, so to speak. Expansive and creative approaches were encouraged and, in fact, were considered crucial to the success of this undertaking.

TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2020 /

Harnessing the Power of Peers to Foster Student Success

George Kuh, Chancellor's Professor of Higher Education and Founding Director, Indiana University
William Hudson, Vice President for Student Affairs, Florida A&M University
Angela Lindner, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, University of Florida
Samyr Qureshi, CEO and Co-Founder, Knack

Most campuses are trying to improve student success metrics including degree completion and desired 21st century outcomes. They also have a largely untapped pool of instructional and student support resources in the form of talented, strong performing undergraduates. Indeed, decades of research show that one’s peers have considerable influence on students’ attitudes and behavior. More specifically, the effects of peer tutoring are uniformly positive for both those receiving tutoring and tutors. Indeed, the evidence is compelling enough to examine whether certain types of peer-to-peer interactions qualify as a high-impact practice (HIP). However, institutions rarely employ large-scale efforts to facilitate such educationally purposeful interactions. This session will briefly review the documented influence of peers on desired collegiate outcomes and illustrate ways to use technology-enhanced peer tutoring and mentoring. One promising effort is Knack, an education technology platform that assists institutions in staffing, implementing and scaling peer tutoring, mentoring, coaching, and advising. Presenters will outline what their institution is doing with technology to scale peer influence to help students acquire 21st-century proficiencies. Those in attendance will be encourage to share other effective approaches to leveraging peer interactions to foster student success.

Incorporating "Intentional Touchpoints” to Promote Retention of First Year Students

Gregory Kline, Associate Dean - Health Careers & Sciences, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)
Pamela Regrut, Instructional Designer - Center for Learning Excellence, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)

Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Metropolitan Campus opened in 1969 and is located near downtown Cleveland in the Campus District. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Tri-C Metro used predictive persistence Civitas data to enhance existing retention strategies for first-year students. This presentation will discuss how retention teams comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators used Civitas data to promote social connectedness, student involvement, student support services, and learning experiences for students. The participants of this program will become familiar with the process in which the retention teams were established in various departments at Tri-C Metro in fall 2018. In addition, the speakers will provide an overview of “intentional touchpoints” used by retention teams to make connections with students throughout the academic year. The purpose of incorporating intentional touchpoints was to promote ways to assist students with accessing various support systems at the college (counseling, coaching services, student organizations, etc.). The presenters plan to discuss the overall impact that the retention teams made on the persistence of students from the beginning to the end of the academic year. Also, several challenges and recommendations related to the establishment of retention teams will be discussed.

The APP Tool: Can We Promote Student Success Through Student Self-Determination?

Joseph Madaus, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs - Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Lyman Dukes, Professor - College of Education, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
Michael Faggell-Luby, Associate Professor of Special Education and Director of the Alice Neeley Special Education Research and Service (ANSERS) Institute,Texas Christian University

College students with disabilities (SWD) make up nearly 20% of all college students (U.S. DOE, 2018), however most SWD do not self-disclose to their institution or receive disability related accommodations. Existing literature points to the importance of self-determination skills to help SWD navigate the college environment, both academic and non-academic, as higher levels of self-determination result in increases in self-advocacy skills and increases in executive functioning skills. Clearly, all personnel working in higher education will interact with SWD, regardless of if they self-disclose to the institution’s disability services office, and thus it is important for all professionals to be aware of ways to promote student self-determination. This presentation will provide an overview of the key components of self-determination, and of research that describes its importance to students. It will then present an easy to implement APP Tool, that asks participants to interactively review the Activities, Programs, and Policies (APP) on their campus, and to reflect on how these can be aligned to promote student self-determination. Participants will learn about how to use the six-step process of the APP Tool in partnership with other members of their postsecondary student and academic affairs community. Data from a multi-step piloting process of the APP tool will also be presented.

 Academic Advocacy: An Emerging Solution for Turning Information into Action

Leslie Tod, Director - Office of Academic Advocacy, University of South Florida
Kim Williams, Administrative Officer - Office of Academic Advocacy, University of South Florida
Delana Gregg, Director of Assessment and Analysis, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Amanda Knapp, Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Dean, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Katharine Cole, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, University of Maryland Baltimore County

As performance-based funding and other models become the new normal for institutional funding, universities are focused on meeting and exceeding prescribed student success metrics. For those universities that have already made substantial gains in metrics by implementing changes addressing large populations of students, moving the needle to attain critical benchmarks becomes more difficult. Therefore, an organized approach that identifies, addresses, and resolves individual student cases in a timely and efficient manner is critical in making the incremental gains to reach the desired metrics. The academic advocacy model illustrates how higher education institutions can provide the appropriate care for their students. This session will address the emerging trend of applying an academic advocacy model to higher education to meet the needs of students with various levels of academic concern. The presenters will discuss the processes involved in creating an Academic Advocacy unit utilizing data, technology, and a case management model. This will include information on the various means used to identify students in need, such as pre-enrollment data, predictive analytics, and current student data, as well as information on developing collaborative partnerships. They will demonstrate how application of the model at the University of South Florida has contributed to significant gain.

Student Voices are Missing in the Student Success Conversation

Joshua Smith, Dean - Education, Loyola University Maryland  

The focus on student success and away from retention and persistence is a positive step forward in higher education. The movement has concentrated the conversation toward student learning and less on numeric outcomes. Of course, retention is important and colleges strive to increase graduation rates for many good reasons. Strategic planning and initiatives often exclude students, particularly transfer, first-generation, and students of color. With the exception of NSSE data and internal program-level assessment, few colleges consistently engage with students around the challenges they face. The use of undergraduate and graduate students who are closer in terms of student lived experience can be a powerful tool. The session will share a methodology to identify pain points from students at three types of colleges. The process and results led the three colleges to use the data to better serve students, particularly first-generation and low-income students. We will share ways to identify undergraduate and graduate students who can be credible interviewers and co-creators of interview and focus group protocols. The over-arching question was, “what are the pain points at this college and how did you successfully navigate them?” It was clear from candid responses of students, that students felt heard and this methodology is transferrable to other campuses.

Supporting Foster Care Youth in College Success

Susan Mangold, Assistant Dean of Students, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Lynnsae Powers, PROFS Success Coach - Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

It is widely accepted that college education is the pathway to a more sustainable life through higher lifetime earnings, lower unemployment, stable pensions and health insurance. Former foster care students, however, enroll in and graduate from college at much lower rates than the general population, suggesting that former foster youth are not sufficiently supported to attain a college degree. These youth often face challenges of emotional and physical trauma from a history of abuse, education gaps from frequent moves, and a lack of skills often learned from parental figures. Colleges can support these students through academic resources, counselors to support emotional/mental health, and knowledgeable staff and faculty to help them acclimate to college life. To this end, Kutztown University created PROFS (Providing Resources and Opportunities for Future Standouts), a support and retention program for youth who have experienced foster care in obtaining a college degree. PROFS works to identify the invisible foster care population on campus, connect them to resources, and encourage further opportunities to expand their worldview. Presenters will focus on how to identify the former foster youth population on campus, the common obstacles to success for former foster youth, and the practices used by PROFS to encourage academic and personal success of this student population.

WORKSHOP SESSION F: 10:15 - 11:15 AM

Infusing Career Thinking into the Curriculum: Spelman's Career Pathways Initiative

Tinaz Pavri, Division Chair - Social Sciences and Director of Career Pathways Initiative, Spelman College

Spelman College is at the mid-point of a sweeping recalibrating of how career and life knowledge is infused into the curriculum. Recognizing that career development was siloed and not integrated into academic affairs, the Career Pathways Initiative deliberately infuses career thought into the classroom, through faculty counselors, new courses, new foci on data science and technology infusion into existing courses. In addition, our new QEP will validate this on-going endeavor. We will share insights from our journey in this presentation.

How A Coalition Effort Is Shaping Public Policy for Today’s Students

Emily Bouck West, Deputy Executive Director, Higher Learning Advocates
Ernest Ezeugo, Policy Director, National Campus Leadership Council
Kermit Kaleba, Managing Director Policy, National Skills Coalition

Today’s students are older, engage in postsecondary education part-time, work, balance school and family. However, many outsiders to postsecondary education are outraged when they learn how out-of-sync today’s federal policies have become against the needs of today’s students. What will it take to realign federal policies to ensure that the needs and experiences of today’s students are being addressed? Learn more about the emerging Today’s Students Coalition - a national effort focused solely on elevating policy reforms on behalf of the nation’s most diverse student body in decades. Hear directly from steering committee member organizations who will bring to light real-world examples and experiences of students - and the policy reforms needed to ensure all students are successful in their postsecondary program.

Looking to the Future: Supporting Student & Institutional Success Today & Tomorrow

Brian Hinote, Professor & Associate Vice Provost for Data Analytics & Student Success, Middle Tennessee State University
Richard Sluder, Vice Provost for Student Success & Dean, University College, Middle Tennessee State University

Given the current higher education climate, student success is arguably the most pressing concern for many colleges and universities today. For many reasons and across many types of institutions, we are now tasked with producing more positive student and institutional outcomes with fewer resources. In this session, presenters will introduce a dynamic student success portfolio from a large, comprehensive, regional university in the southeast. The best practices embedded in this strategic approach have generated record gains in persistence, retention, and graduation over the past few years, and have significantly increased revenues over the same time period. This session will also explore the future of student success, what a successful portfolio will likely need to include over the next 5-10 years, and how institutions can generate sustainable results through innovation and a forward-looking approach to student success. This session will help attendees visualize what the student success work of tomorrow will look like.

Experiential Learning in an Artificially Intelligent Age

Andrew Potter, Director - Office of University Experiential learning, Office of Instruction, University of Georgia

Biomedical innovation, genetics, advanced robotics and nano-technology are reshaping the present and signaling the artificially intelligent future. And this future will be different—requiring different skills, behaviors and mindsets. As educators, we are preparing students to thrive in a world in which the majority of them will be working in careers that do not currently exist. Additionally, socio-economic, ethical, demographic and geo-political forces will require our students to compete, collaborate and create on a global level that is expected to present both incredible challenges and opportunities. Explore this emerging sea-change and how the University of Georgia’s Experiential Learning Initiative is charting a bold new approach to undergraduate teaching, learning, and advising that is designed to connect today’s classroom to tomorrow’s world.


DABA: A First Year Student’s Post-Orientation, Online Summer Activities

Deborah Korth, Director of Fulbright Student Success and Associate Professor, University of Arkansas
Jackson Jennings, Clinical Assistant Professor, Assistant Director of STEAM Student Success, University of Arkansas
Takama Statton-Brooks, Director for Residence Education, University of Arkansas
Lisa Summerford, Assistant Dean for Academic Services - Fulbright College, University of Arkansas

This presentation focuses on Destination Arkansas Blackboard Activities (DABA), as piloted for first-year students in Fall 2018, and introduces the revised components for the first-year students in Fall 2019 at the University of Arkansas. DABA is a component of the Destination Arkansas Initiative, a two-part program developed in collaboration with student affairs and academic affairs professionals with important input and support from students. The two parts of DABA are: (1) the online Blackboard component introduced in July, and (2) “A-Week” activities during the week before classes start. The new components of DABA, which all align with A-Week themes and activities, include Welcome, Tradition of Success, Wellness, Diversity, Engagement, and Community. The goal of DABA is to give students a digital platform to explore the university and examine success strategies before setting foot on campus, and to provide a low stress opportunity to become familiar with using Blackboard, which is an important part of most classes taught at the U of A. In Fall 2018, 99% of students enrolled in DABA accessed the materials; 87% completed at least one assignment, and 61% completed all assignments.

Leverage Parent Engagement and Technology to Improve Student Success

Chris Walters, Senior Coordinator for Student Success, Penn State Abington
Dave Becker, Chief Executive Officer, CampusESP

Involvement of parents and family members in higher education is no longer just the “helicopter” model. It’s here to stay, and is a vitally important piece of students’ experience that student affairs professionals should strive to understand and utilize (Wartman and Savage, 2008). There are many advantages to keeping parents and family members involved in the collegiate experience. The literature finds that if institutional philosophy is clearly articulated, messages vary by student and family characteristics, student privacy is balanced with parental expectations, and there is a clear point of entry, parents can be helpful (Shoup, Gonyea, & Kuh, 2009). Reports also indicate that students with more actively engaged parents earn higher grades and report being more satisfied with college. Additionally, students with “involved parents” report greater gains in personal competence, personal and social development, and general education outcomes (Shoup, Gonyea, & Kuh, 2009). This presentation will include relevant research, screen captures to demonstrate how Penn State Abington uses their parent and family portal, and audience discussion about the role of parents and potential benefits of parent engagement. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions and share challenges and successes of their current communication model.