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Retention 2017 Schedule (Tentative)


May 22

8:30AM — 9:00AM


9:00AM — 9:45AM

Why Student Retention Still Matters. Dr. Watson Scott Swail, Educational Policy Institute.

9:45AM — 11:00AM

The Market Imperative—How and Why Student Persistence Organizes the Undergraduate Market. Dr. Robert Zemsky, University of Pennsylvania. Why knowing the territory is the key to understanding what is--and is not--possible if the goal increasing student success in an age of stratified markets.  The key is understanding the roles geography, college readiness, and market smarts play in determining who is likely to graduate.

11:00AM — 11:15AM


11:15AM — 12:30PM

A Primer for Institutional Retention. Mr. Jay Goff, Saint Louis University. This session provides an opportunity to review the fundamental underpinnings of student retention from a practitioner perspective.   The session is designed for institutions starting, or re-evaluating, their student persistence plans.  Core retention benchmarks and assessment activities will be covered.

12:30PM — 1:30PM


1:30PM — 2:00PM

Higher Ed Version 2.017:  State and Federal Higher Education Trends in a New Era.Ms. Zora Mulligan, Missouri Commissioner of Higher Education. Colleges, universities, state and federal policy-makers, and foundations coalesced around the “Big Goal” announced by then-President Barrack Obama and reiterated in states including Missouri.  The completion agenda continues – but it now does so in a space where our elected officials are asking new questions about higher education.  This session will outline the Trump and Greitens administrations’ statements on higher education and discuss how to keep completion front and center.

2:30PM — 2:45PM

Partnering for Student Financial Success. Mr. Jonathan Sparling, American Student Assistance. While school personnel understand the necessity for financial education—and many have a desire to provide information and tools to their students—campuses often need a more structured roadmap to successfully gain cross-departmental buy-in and implement a financial literacy program. This session outlines a comprehensive approach to financial education on campus—highlighting “pain points” for many campus offices, best practices for collaborating across campus units, and ideas for creative partnerships.

2:45PM — 3:00PM


3:00PM — 3:45PM

Academic Customer Service is Key to Student Retention. Dr. Neal Raisman, NRaisman & Associates. Studies show that up to 76% of attrition is due to weak or poor academic customer service. Academic, not retail customer service. But then what is academic customer service and how can I apply it to retain more students in an environment in which some feel students are not customers? The session will answer that and provide techniques everyone will agree upon.

3:45PM — 4:45PM

Trends in Big Data in Recruitment. Mr. Christopher Shaffer, Shawnee State University. This session will focus on big data sets you can review to determine how you are analyzing your market. Should you offer a new program? Are there enough jobs for your students? If so, where are they? Are you running out of traditionally aged college students? In this session Mr. Shaffer will show you how to find and analyze data to meet your institutional goals.

4:45PM — 5:00PM

Presidential Welcome

5:00PM — 7:00pm





May 23

8:30AM — 9:00AM


9:00AM — 10:15AM

Advancing a Framework for Student  Success. Dr. Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, Center for Postsecondary Research and NSSE Institute. We know a lot from research about what facilitates student success, and can rely on a range of empirically-tested approaches and time-honored practices about what to do. Yet, the implementation of what works is at best uneven across institutions and among students.  This calls for greater consideration about what to do and how this must occur. This session offers a quick review of what we know about what supports student success, advances emerging propositions from the field, and presents a framework to organize our efforts to increase student success. 

10:15AM — 10:45AM

Fostering and Tracking Graduate Student Success. Dr. Anne Edmunds, St. Mary’s University. Graduate student enrollment issues receive less attention than those at the undergraduate level.  This session will share one institution’s efforts to foster graduate student success by providing a robust orientation, seminars to support research and writing, and a collaborative learning space exclusively for graduate students.   Additionally, the session will describe efforts to track master’s degree completion by developing a rubric for cohorting students.

10:45AM — 11:00AM


11:00AM — 12:00PM

Applying NSSE Findings to Create Environments for Student Success. Dr. Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, Center for Postsecondary Research and NSSE Institute, What latest lessons can we draw from National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) results and findings about the learning environment for student success? This session will focus on recent NSSE findings about student engagement factors that most influence retention and graduation and the importance of learning support in the first college year.

12:00PM — 1:00PM


1:00PM — 2:00PM

A Case Study for Retention. Mr. Jay Goff, Saint Louis University. The featured case study model is structured to provide a review of fundamental strategies and tactics that need to be incorporated into most retention plan's assessments, programs and policies. This session will cover a sample model for developing a campus retention philosophy, committee structures and operational plans.

2:00PM — 2:30PM

Improving Student Success and Retention through a Comprehensive Faculty Advisement Initiative. Mr. Edward Goodman, City University of New York. Over the past several years, the Business & Technology Department of LaGuardia Community College - CUNY, in conjunction with a College-wide retention initiative, has developed and implemented a multi-layered faculty advisement plan to support the success and retention of its business majors. This presentation will detail the various elements of this plan and its  implementation, and share what the Department has learned regarding improving students success and retention through such a comprehensive faculty advisement plan.

2:30PM — 2:45PM


2:45PM — 3:45PM

How We Used This Conference to Make Change. Mr. Christopher Shaffer, Shawnee State University. Five years ago Chris attended this conference for the first time. His home institution slowly implemented many of the things that he learned here. This session is a case study in theory and practice in how Shawnee State University implemented the changes and how the University was impacted. Participants will leave with a framework to implement the strategies discussed.

3:45PM — 3:50PM

SYMPOSIUM SUMMARY. Dr. Watson Scott Swail, Educational Policy Institute.