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The Educational Policy Institute’s

Retention 101 Summer Workshop

June 9-11, 2019 — Beaver Creek, CO


The Educational Policy Institute’s Retention 101 Summer Workshop is designed for higher education leaders and practitioners interested in learning more about student retention and persistence issues, strategies, and solutions. JOIN US in beautiful Beaver Creek, Colorado in June 2019.

The 16-hour certification program provides an exclusive resource-rich environment for groups and individuals from institutions of higher education to work with experts in their field to design solutions around their institution’s current issues in the areas of college access, retention, and preparation for the workforce.

EPI’s Retention 101 is an integrated learning process led by internationally-recognized higher education expert Dr. Watson Scott Swail, developer of the geometric framework for student retention (Swail, Perna, and Redd, 2003). The interactive workshop allows participants to engage in an intimate environment discovering current resources of knowledge, people, and networks connected to evolving best practices. Participants will learn the building blocks for preparing their own strategic plan for student success from this series, including data collection and use, strategies for engaging students, curriculum and instruction, student services, and financial aid, among others.

Why Attend?

If you and your institution want to rise to the next level, EPI's Retention 101 provides a forum to make that happen. In Banff this summer, we'll discuss critical issues in higher education that impact student success, including financial aid, educational quality, and the nexus of college admissions and student success. Participants will hear from some of the foremost thinkers and practitioners in higher education and engage in dialogue to propel their thoughts and strategies about how they can improve persistence and graduation rates at their institution and/or system. If you want to learn more about best practices in student services, recruitment and admissions, financial aid, academic services, data, evaluation, continuous improvement processes, and institutional leadership, you need to be at EPI's Retention 101.

Who Should Attend?

Retention 101 is designed for decision-makers and practitioners at all levels of higher education, including public, private, and proprietary sectors and traditional and online education. While individuals are encouraged to attend, we have found that institutions that bring a team to the event tend to get more out of the experience. Individuals on the team may include VPs, Deans, Provosts, Chancellors, Presidents, faculty members, and staff. By coming together at EPI’s Retention 101, teams can have quality time to discuss and plan for institutional change geared toward not only higher student graduation rates, but a higher-level of learning and engagement of students, faculty, and staff. Participation in Retention 101 makes it possible that everyone can win at your campus.


What is Included in the EPI Certification?

Participants who complete the above in good standing will be awarded the EPI Certificate of Completion for the Retention Workshop.



WATSON SCOTT SWAIL is President & CEO of the Educational Policy Institute, is recognized internationally for his research on retention of under-represented students in higher education and has published extensively in national journals and publications. He is considered an expert in the areas of college access, financial aid, and college student retention and persistence. He is well published in these areas, including 2003’s Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education (Jossey-Bass) and his new book, Finding Superman: Debating the Future of Public Education in America, released in June 2012 by Teachers College Press. He is currently working on his next retention book and also another higher education book, The Higher Education Arms Race. Prior to establishing EPI, Dr. Swail served as the Founding Director of The Pell Institute and Vice President of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, DC. He previously served as senior policy analyst with SRI International and associate director for policy analysis with the College Board. While with the Board, Dr. Swail co-directed the Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports released in the U.S. each fall. He earned an Ed.D. in Educational Policy at the George Washington University, an M.S. at Old Dominion University, and a B.Ed. from the University of Manitoba. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards for AVID for Higher Education, the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Research, and Student Resource Services (St. Louis).

JAY GOFF is a consultant with the Educational Policy Institute and former Vice President for Enrollment and Retention Management at Saint Louis University. As SLU's chief enrollment officer, Goff oversaw Undergraduate and Graduate Admission, Summer Studies, Student Financial Services, Student Educational Services, TRiO programs, International Services, Enrollment Outreach and Territory Development, Pre-College and Access Programs, and the Office of the University Registrar.

With more than 20 years of experience in university enrollment, strategic planning and communication programs, his mission-centric approach has achieved record enrollment, retention, diversity and graduation rates. Goff has focused on building a team-oriented and data-driven division that stresses service-focused student success plans. Mr. Goff is an active member in the global enrollment management community.  As an active member of the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) in Washington D.C., he has served as the coordinator of AACRAO's Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) conference for four-year colleges and universities since 2008. The Missouri AACRAO chapter honored his leadership and contributions to the field with a professional service award in 2008. Mr. Goff has served as the Missouri representative to the ACT testing services board of directors since 2004 and was a member of ACT's national education advisory board. He is also on the advisory boards of the National Student Clearinghouse and the Educational Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Mr. Goff is frequently asked to share his expertise at national and international forums focused on strategic planning and student success. In 2011, he delivered the keynote address on using data to improve enrollments at UK universities for the University and Colleges Admissions Service Conference in London, England.

PETER SMITH is currently the Orkand Chair and Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education, University of Maryland University College. He joined UMUC after retiring from Kaplan University as the Founding President of Open College @ Kaplan University. Smith also served as Kaplan Higher Education Group's Senior Vice President for Academic Strategies and Development. 

In 1970, he became the Founding President of the Community College of Vermont. where he served for 8 years. In 1991, he became the Dean of George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development for several years before founding California State University—Monterey Bay in 1995, where he served as Founding President for a decade. He has served as the Executive Director of the US Commission on Responsibilities for Funding Post-Secondary Education. In 2005, Smith began his post as the Assistant Director General for Education of UNESCO. 

In 1981, Smith was elected to serve as a Vermont State Senator. A year later, he was elected the Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, where he served a pair of two-year terms. Smith was elected to Congress in 1988.

Smith has authored a number of books focused on higher education. Your Hidden Credentials: The Value of Personal Learning Outside of College was published in 1986. In 2004, The Quiet Crisis: How Higher Education is Failing America hit the shelves. In 2010, Harnessing America’s Wasted Talent: A New Ecology of Learning was published by Jossey-Bass. 

KIMBERLY LANDIS is Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at The Educational Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Prior to joining EPI, Ms. Landis served as Executive Director of ACCESS, a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to helping low-income and other disadvantaged youth prepare for, access, and succeed in higher education. ACCESS also served as a GEAR UP site for six years. Ms. Landis is an expert in pre-college programs, community partnerships, K-12 initiatives, and grant writing for philanthropic and federal programs.



Presentations and dialogue will be clustered around the following topics during the event:



The retreat will start on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 1pm and concludes on Friday, June 21 at 12:00 noon. The following schedule is preliminary and does not include all aspects of the tracks.

SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 2019



2:30pm — Brief Review of Webinar/Introduction to Student Retention.
The introductory session will look at the impact of student dropout on campuses, the cost of dropout to the individual, institution, and society, and how addressing this issue is an important part of institutional change and continuous improvement.

4:00pm — Creating a Campus Student Profile: Identifying Student Characteristics for Retention and Success. The foundation of improved retention begins with knowing the, who, when, and why of attrition on each college campus. This session will present and discuss a research methodology that can highlight the unique set of factors, both student and institutional, that influence college student retention and success.

5:30pm — Reception. The evening reception will provide an opportunity for participants to get to know one another and share their experiences over heavy hors d’oeuvres.


MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2019

8:00am — Retention Primer and Case Study: Building A Roadmap for Meeting Institutional Retention Goals. 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.

9:30am — Best Practices: Understanding Your Campus to Identify What Works. We all know there is no retention 'silver bullet', but what can colleges do to wisely invest scarce dollars and achieve the largest impact? The answer is to not only look for best practices in the research literature but to also examine what is taking place on their own campus. This session will focus on where to look.

10:45am — Break

11:00pm — The Campus Audit: Setting and Meeting Retention Goals. This session provides an opportunity for institutional leaders to discuss how data collection and coordination between offices is fundamental in analyzing institution-specific retention issues. The session is designed for institutions starting, or re-evaluating, their student persistence plans. Core retention benchmarks and assessment activities will be covered.

12:00pm — Lunch

1:00pm — The Campus Audit: Setting and Meeting Retention Goals. This session provides an opportunity for institutional leaders to discuss how data collection and coordination between offices is fundamental in analyzing institution-specific retention issues. The session is designed for institutions starting, or re-evaluating, their student persistence plans. Core retention benchmarks and assessment activities will be covered.

2:30pm — Building An Institutional Plan for Student Success. In tandem with the dialogue about campus change and leadership, putting the plan together is important for future success. Dr. Swail will provide a model for student success that can be used to help guide institutional planning.

3:30pm — Independent Work Session

Evening On Your Own


TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2019

8:00am — Discussion of Goals and Objectives.
Teams and individuals will present their goals and objectives with discussion for all.

9:15am — Campus Change, Institutional Leadership, and other Important Factors.
Without the buy in of campus leadership, reform is difficult if not unlikely at any postsecondary institution. This session will discuss the importance of campus leadership and how to gain their interest and total support in developing a campus-based retention initiative. As well, leadership only counts if there are those to be led. The involvement and buy-in of faculty and departments will also be discussed.

10:00am — Monitoring Student and Program Outcomes Progress.
The capstone session to our conference will discuss the importance of monitoring student success and institutional progress. The ability of institutions to benchmark and continuously collect and review data is paramount to the success of any large-scale initiative.

10:30am — Pulling It All Together.
This last session will pull all the information together from the past two and a half days. Participants will be given instructions on how to proceed in the planning and implementation process.

11:30am — Final Thoughts & Adjournment


Hotel Information

THE PINES LODGE in Beaver Creek will serve as the meeting place for Retention 101. Located amidst the whispering aspen groves overlooking Beaver Creek Village, The Pines has come to define intimate, on-mountain lodging. Sixty cozy guest rooms feature rich pine touches, oversized beds and luxurious linens that set the bar for the ideal Rocky Mountain meeting event. This cozy 60-room lodge features a AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant, outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and fitness center. Guests enjoy spacious rooms, luxurious marble baths and balconies with stunning alpine views.

The Pines gives you a breathtaking, indoor, front-row seat to Rocky Mountain grandeur. Our lodgings range from luxurious single rooms to expansive multi-room penthouse condominiums and townhomes. Our environmentally friendly design offers you a connection to nature with posh, comfortable surroundings. 

Each of our lodging selections is roomy and provides the following amenities:

When you book your Colorado meeting, choose an Oversized Standard room or a Deluxe guest room that offers exceptional resort views through a distinctive bay window. For larger parties, including institutional teams, choose one of our premiere townhouses or condominiums.

Valley to table. | The Grouse Mountain Grill, our AAA Four Diamond Award winning restaurant is a diner’s delight. Our chef is passionate about serving local meats and produce from family farms and ranches in the valley, culinarily connecting our guests to the mountain in a new way entirely.

Come, sit, stay. | Dog-friendly only begins to describe our attitude toward your four-legged family members. At the Pines, dogs are given a welcome basket, including homemade treats, and their very own dog bed for the duration of their stay.

Extra legroom. | Wanting to enjoy the luxurious service and amenities of a RockResort, but need more space than our guest rooms provide? Check into one of our luxurious three-bedroom condominiums complete with gourmet kitchens, Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces to make you feel right at home.


Beaver Creek is serviced by both the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) and Denver International Airport (DEN).

Eagle County Regional Airport 

Located 30 minutes from Beaver Creek, Eagle County Regional Airport provides non-stop flights from 14 cities in the winter and 2 year-round, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Denver. In addition, one-stop connections are available from over 250 cities worldwide, making EGE the most seamless airport when flying to and from Beaver Creek. For more information and current flight schedules, visit

Denver International Airport

Located two hours from Beaver Creek, Denver International Airport offers over 750 daily flights to 180 destinations, including 20 international destinations. Learn more about navigating DIA at



Coffee breaks, an evening reception, and one lunch will be provide with workshop registration. Embassy Suites provides complimentary breakfast for all attendees who are registered at the hotel.





until February 15, 2019