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Presented By

Dr. Jamie Caridi, President & Dr. Scott Swail, President

Terra Firma Consulting Services in Gahanna, OH;Educational Policy Institute in Virginia Beach, VA

Summary

This session will discuss trends and tensions regarding student retention amid the changing postsecondary climate, including demographic shifts, increasing diversity issues, and pandemic effects that have exacerbated and accelerated certain challenges. The session will also review best practices with discussion of special considerations postsecondary leaders must be mindful of operating in a turbulent and disrupted postsecondary environment.

Presenter Bio

For the past 25 years, Dr. Jamie Caridi has served as both a higher education and corporate executive. He is a trusted leader with a broad record in cabinet-level leadership, executive management, governance, finance, revenue generation, P&L management, strategic planning, educational administration, corporate relations, enrollment, marketing, intellectual property, program development, student success, fundraising, and athletics. He holds two degrees in higher education including a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Higher Education and has served on the cabinet of two faith-based institutions. Caridi is a Certified Turnaround Analyst with the Turnaround Management Association and Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. Jamie is President of Terra Firma Consulting Services, LLC, a higher education consulting firm specializing in helping small, private, faith-based institutions to be economically stable, competitive, and attractive to the marketplace. DR. WATSON SCOTT SWAIL is the Founding President and Senior Research Scientist of the Educational Policy Institute and Principal at SwailLandis, a higher education consulting firm. Since 2002, EPI has conducted over 100 research and policy studies on issues across the education spectrum, from early childhood reading to college preparation and access programs to postsecondary completion and workforce development. Dr. Swail has served as a middle school teacher, curriculum developer, teacher trainer, graduate school instructor, policy analyst, program evaluator, and entrepreneur. He is noted for developing the Swail Geometric Framework for Student Retention, a model that describes the interaction between students and institutions with the aim of improving persistence and graduation rates. The model is used at institutions around the world in their strategic planning Dr. Swail earned his Doctor of Education from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, a Master of Science in Education from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, VA, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, MB. He is a dual Canadian and US citizen, an accomplished singer/songwriter, a much less accomplished golfer and tennis player, and an avid follower of the Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals.

Presented By

Dr. Jim Black, President and CEO

SEM Works in Greensboro, NC

Summary

Five keys to student retention will be described: (1) student goal setting, (2) current student communications, (3) systematic retention management, (4) prescribed solutions for student risk factors, and (5) success transitions. Each will be presented in relation to the current student lifecycle and viewed through three retention lenses—prevention, intervention, and recovery. Session participants will learn how to apply this model at their institution.

Presenter Bio

The president and CEO of SEM Works, Dr. Jim Black, is an internationally recognized expert in enrollment management as well as in student retention. He has published a monograph titled, Navigating Change in the New Millennium: Strategies for Enrollment Leaders, and five books, The Strategic Enrollment Management Revolution, considered to be a groundbreaking publication for the enrollment management profession, Gen Xers Return to College, Essentials of Enrollment Management: Cases in the Field, Managing the Student Enrollment Obsession, and Strategic Enrollment Intelligence. Among his other published works are numerous articles and book chapters including a feature article in College & University, Creating Customer Delight; a chapter, Creating a Student-Centered Culture, for a book on best practices in student services published by SCUP and sponsored by IBM; a chapter on enrollment management in a Jossey-Bass book on student academic services; as well as a bimonthly feature in The Greentree Gazette. Dr. Black is the founder of the Community College Enrollment Management and Student Marketing Symposium and the National Conference on Student Retention in Small Colleges as well as the cofounder of the National Small College Admissions Conference and the National Small College Enrollment Conference. He formerly served as the director of AACRAO’s Strategic Enrollment Management Conference. Black was honored as the recipient of the 2005 AACRAO Distinguished Service Award and was selected as the 2012 Alumnus of the Year by his graduate program at the University of South Carolina. He has been interviewed by publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, Converge Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Lawlor Review. Black also was featured in an international teleconference on enrollment management sponsored by The Center for the Freshman Year Experience at the University of South Carolina, and a PBS broadcast on “Blending High Tech and High Touch Student Services.” In 1999, Jim Black was named an IBM Best Practices Partner, one of only twenty-three in the world. He was invited by The College Board to Heidelberg, Germany, to evaluate the APIEL Exam and was invited to lead conferences on enrollment management and student services in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

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

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

AdventHealth University in Orlando, FL

Why you should attend

NSCEC is by far one of the best national conferences related to enrollment and retention, and this session will show how developing students’ metacognitive critical thinking skills can enhance any college or university’s retention initiative.

Summary

Students’ decisions to stay in school and graduate are related to several academic and non-academic factors. When students are encouraged to think critically about their process and goals, some of the reasons for withdrawal are eliminated, thereby creating a pathway for persistence. The purpose of this session is to offer a two-part initiative, that supports the idea that fostering critical thinking at the beginning and throughout the first year of the student journey, aids in retention and greatly enhances the student experience. The presenter will share examples of a few critical thinking activities, and will offer data to further demonstrate the success of this type of initiative for both graduate and undergraduate students.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Ndala Gooding Booker holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Adventist University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in Education with a concentration in Curriculum Development and Instruction from Tennessee State University. She is currently the Director for the Center for Academic Achievement at AdventHealth University (formerly known as Florida Hospital’s University) in Orlando, Florida. Ndala is dedicated to helping individuals achieve success both in academia and the business world, as they learn to manage their space by developing their critical thinking skills. From primary and secondary schools, to colleges, universities, and organizations, Ndala has lectured and presented seminars and workshops for students, faculty, and staff both nationally and internationally.

Presented By

Dr. Richard J. Dittus, Instructor of Mathematics and Faculty Mentor

Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, FL

Summary

In order to increase their financial viability and stability, many small colleges and universities must improve their enrollment management practices by increasing student retention and graduation rates. Student interaction with faculty and peer mentors is a strong predictor of retention, persistence, engagement, and academic success. Small colleges and universities should consider ways to encourage student interaction with their professors and peer mentors.
During this session, participants will receive practical guidelines for implementing a successful Learning Community that can support first-year and transfer students in their college transition. Discussion will include the benefits of implementing a Learning Community as well as the challenges faced in leading a Learning Community within an online learning environment during COVID-19.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Richard J. Dittus currently serves as a mathematics instructor and faculty mentor at Ave Maria University in southwest Florida. During his 16 years at Ave Maria, Dr. Dittus led in the development of Ave Maria’s first Admissions department as well as a Student Success Program. During 2015-2017, Dr. Dittus served as the Director of the Sophomore Success Program and mentored more than 80 sophomores per year while utilizing StrengthsQuest to guide these students in considering how their talents could be utilized in confirming their academic direction while exploring career opportunities.

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

Does your campus know how to perform a retention audit? In this session, we will discuss several important factors to consider that contribute to an institution’s retention and graduation rates and walk you through one way to review your campus’s retention strengths and weaknesses. We’ll also briefly mention some successful strategies we have implemented at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC to bring retention rates from the low 70s to the mid 80s and graduation rates from the upper 40s to mid 60s. Participants will have opportunities to share successes they have seen or implemented at their own institutions.

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.