Retention Sessions

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Presented By

Dr. Ndala M. G. Booker, Director for the Center for Academic Achievement

AdventHealth University in Orlando, FL

Summary

This session will provide quantitative and qualitative data, along with anecdotal evidence supporting the retention benefits of introducing critical thinking and critical reasoning skills early in a student’s college experience. Current critical thinking research suggests that students who are introduced to critical thinking skills are much more likely to be successful and complete their degree. This session will introduce a metacognitive critical thinking pedagogy that will help participants enhance the retention strategies at their respective institutions.

Presenter Bio

This session will provide quantitative and qualitative data, along with anecdotal evidence supporting the retention benefits of introducing critical thinking and critical reasoning skills early in a student’s college experience. Current critical thinking research suggests that students who are introduced to critical thinking skills are much more likely to be successful and complete their degree. This session will introduce a metacognitive critical thinking pedagogy that will help participants enhance the retention strategies at their respective institutions.

Presented By

Dr. Tim Culver, Vice President Student Success

Ruffalo Noel Levitz in Denver, CO

Why you should attend

Participants will learn the art and science of benchmarking for retention and completion.

Summary

Every other year RNL conducts national research on effective retention practices and outcomes which are achieved. This session will review the results of the 2019 Effective Practices for Student Success, Retention, and Completion Report along with the 2020 Student Success and Retention Benchmarks research. Participants will learn how their persistence, progression and retention outcomes compare to their peers and leave with a deeper understanding of the frequency of use of practices and which strategies are considered more or less effective.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Tim Culver leads the retention consulting services of RNL, offering counsel to help institutions develop, implement, and evaluate plans for improving enrollment, student success, persistence, retention, and degree completion rates. He has expertise in a wide range of areas of enrollment management, including but not limited to retention planning, Title III and Title V grants, enrollment planning, developmental education, and institutional assessments.

Presented By

Dr. Jim Black, President and CEO

SEM Works in Greensboro, NC

Summary

Students and research suggest that financial pressures represent the number one reason individuals discontinue college enrollment. Yet few institutions have a comprehensive strategy for addressing financial attrition causation. This session will explore the environmental factors that have contributed to the financial struggles students face paying for college and living while they earn their degrees. Most importantly, practices for overcoming these financial barriers will be presented. Some of these practices require paradigm shifts in thinking, while others are simple to implement. Come and discover the art of the possible.

Presenter Bio

The president and CEO of SEM Works, Dr. Jim Black, is an internationally recognized expert in enrollment management as well as in change management. Dr. Black has published five books and numerous articles and book chapters and has consulted with companies such as Microsoft, Blackboard, and the SAS Institute. Higher education consulting clients have included over 500 two-year, four-year, public, and private institutions.

Presented By

Nichole Buckner, Director of Financial Aid

Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, NC

Why you should attend

This session will address the importance of why financial aid and financial literacy are vital to retention efforts

Summary

This session will talk about the correlation between early financial aid decisions and retention. We will also address the importance of financial literacy in retention and how to use financial aid leveraging in helping students retain at your institution.

Presenter Bio

Nichole Buckner, Director of Financial Aid at Mars Hill University has worked in Financial Aid for 14 years and has been the Director for 8 years. She has worked on several committees pertaining to both admissions efforts and retention efforts. Nichole enjoys advocating for her students and enjoys their successes throughout their college career.

Presented By

Brandon Stokes, Director of Retention and Student Success & Dr. Matthew Poslusny, Senior Vice President and Provost,

Meredith College in Raleigh, NC

Why you should attend

Learn more about Meredith College's retention journey and revelations regarding student enrollment tracking and prediction.

Summary

Data science is all the rage these days, and understandably so. With sophisticated tools like SAS, SPSS, and others, we can use statistics and machine learning to forecast all kinds of outcomes, like fall-to-fall retention, with great accuracy. But, for small colleges, sometimes the most basic of solutions can be the smartest, most accurate, and least expensive path forward. At Meredith, we utilize both strategies to predict second-year continuation rates for first-time freshmen: (1) an ensemble of statistical models using SAS Enterprise Miner and dozens of variables and engineered features, and (2) an educated guess “model” for every student in the cohort based on conversations, emails, referrals, grades, surveys, and anything else the director of retention is able to find out from his colleagues and the students themselves. For the 2018 freshman cohort, both models’ predictions were within one student of the final retention rate - proving for us that it doesn’t take a data scientist to predict retention.

Presenter Bio

Brandon Stokes is the director of retention and student success at Meredith College (since 2014) and is a consultant for Dutcher LLC (since 2019). He regularly presents at national conferences on topics designed to support retention professionals, particularly at small colleges and universities, and ranging from academic policies to data organization to retention prediction. In 2018, he earned the credential of SAS Certified Data Scientist.

Presented By

Edwina Rozelle, Director of Persistence and Student Success Coach & Dr. Carmen Butler, Dean of Student Success

Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC

Why you should attend

At small colleges we all know every student counts…so, while larger institutional budgets are not as concerned about that 10-15% attrition, we are fighting for every one of them to stay!

Summary

Learn how to help the 10 to 15% that struggle to maintain good grades, attend regularly, fund their education, sustain motivation, fight homesickness, create self-management skills, etc. Ways to boost retention of at-risk students.

Presenter Bio

Ms. Edwina Rozelle, M.S. has been a higher education professional for 26 years at small private religiously affiliated institutions. Her bachelor’s degree is in Clinical Psychology, and master’s degree is in Higher Education Administration. Her niche has always been working with at-risk populations and finding ways to help them achieve their educational goals. For the past six years, Edwina has been working at Gardner-Webb University in Western North Carolina and was previously employed at Marywood University (her Alma Mata) for just over 20 years.

Presented By

Cindy Peterson, Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment

Piedmont College in Demorest, GA

Summary

Are you maximizing student retention and completion on your campus? Are there barriers to college completion, starting from day one? Come join other enrollment professionals as we explore the solutions one small college put in place to move the needle on student success, retention and persistence to graduation.

Presenter Bio

With nearly 30 years of higher education experience, Cindy Peterson began her career as faculty at Agnes Scott College, a private women’s college in Decatur, Georgia. Currently in her 19th year at Piedmont College, Cindy and her team have achieved record freshman classes over the past 7 years. In her efforts to balance work and life, Cindy enjoys hiking, cycling and backpacking. Cindy received her Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University and her Master of Education degree from Auburn University.