An Easy, Cost-Effective Way To Remain Current With Student Success

Twelve presentations are selected from the top rated sessions at our National Symposium on Student Retention each year for live presentation as webinars.

All webinars take place from 1:00 – 2:00 pm Central Time on the designated date, during which time participants may ask questions and provide feedback. An unlimited number of colleagues may attend at one site with a single login credential. CSRDE members and non-members are invited to participate. Each registration includes 30 days of access to the recorded podcast.

Podcast Cost
  • CSRDE members:
    $40 per podcast
    $400 per series (12 podcasts)
  • Non-CSRDE members:
    $50 per podcast
    $500 per series (12 podcasts)

2018 - 2019 Webinar Series

Sally J. McMillan & Serena Matsunaga of the University of Tennessee

At the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UT), nearly 30% of undergraduate students qualify for Pell grants. In 2010, UT adopted a strategic plan that committed to improving graduation outcomes. While UT raised six-year rates by nearly 10 points over five years, Pell-eligible students trailed university averages. These students were often invisible because they spanned race, ethnicity, and gender categories. Students were also reluctant to voice challenges. To better understand this population, UT conducted a “stayers study” to supplement a previous “leavers study” which surveyed students who were not retained to understand drivers for attrition. The stayers study focused on what keeps students at UT—particularly those who considered leaving but decided to stay—to identify success drivers and student perceptions of programs. Research engaged 700+ seniors in a survey that allowed comparison of Pell and non-Pell students. The research helped UT to understand the story of students with financial need, including challenges and success attributes. This webinar reviews stayer study results related to Pell students. It also addresses how the stayers study, paired with existing data, allowed UT to target coordinated action among advising, enrollment management, and student life.

Alan Bearman & Sean Bird of Washburn University, & Elaine Lewis of Virginia Tech

Washburn University, a publically funded open admissions university in Topeka, Kansas, exhibits how a commitment to good data analytics and evidence-based student success practices can improve retention without a significant financial investment. With less than a $100,000 investment, first-time, full-time retention increased 10-percentage points in just five years. The authors discuss calculated risks, grounded in research and data analytics, taken to re-allocate portions of a university’s undergraduate libraries budget to create a student success unit and develop new initiatives to improve retention and on-time graduation. This webinar highlights three initiatives that aided in this retention success story: the creation of the Center for Student Success and Retention (CSSR), linking first-year student success initiatives to the University Student Learning Outcome (USLO) of Information Literacy and Technology, and a strong partnership with Institutional Research. These three elements formed the backbone of a replicable model that allowed Washburn University to focus its resources in ways that maximized their impact on student success.

Michael Morsches of Moraine Valley Community College & Grant J. Matthews of Lane Community College

Student engagement can encompass many different levels of interaction. Whether it be between student and instructor, among students themselves, with the actual subject matter, or with the various resources and departments on campus—getting and keeping students engaged is a challenging proposition. Frequently, students say they fear speaking in public, being called upon in class, going to the whiteboard, and being singled out by an instructor. Collectively, these fears could be conceptualized as a wish or need for anonymity. Faculty have cited student actions such as participation, question asking, volunteering, office hour visits, and favorable body language as preferred behaviors. These preferences could be conceptualized as a wish or need for engagement. “East is East and West is West, and never the twain…” (Kipling, 1929, p. 75). This webinar will outline the authors' Elicitation Model and theoretical Student Engagement Constructs to explore psychological factors that prohibit engagement. The webinar also presents many practical, proven examples of classroom techniques, gestures, and considerations for using the Elicitation Model that can help produce healthy student engagement in all academic spheres of interaction.

Stacie Grisham, Elizabeth Johnson, & Yancy Freeman of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Transfer students create a unique challenge for institutions during the orientation and enrollment process. Although transfer students make up approximately 30% of our incoming class enrollment at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), they were experiencing a more difficult transition than our first-time college students. Transfer students were not able to get into the courses they needed to become full-time students or make timely progression to graduation. Students were frustrated with the multitude of closed classes, course waitlists, and course registration errors during orientation registration. This critical issue peaked during the summer of 2015 when over 100 students completed an orientation session without registering for any credit hours. UTC resolved to take a proactive step in solving this roadblock for future transfers. Having successfully preregistered first-time freshmen for five years, the decision was made to expand the process to transfer students. Revisions had to be made to accommodate the unique needs of transfer students, and a significant amount of time was devoted to encourage faculty and staff buy-in to the process. This presentation will explain the development of the transfer preregistration process, the results from our pilot year, and provide an update on our current process.

Anique Falconer & Sue Adragna of Keiser University

More than 50% of doctoral students drop out of their doctoral programs (Gardner & Gopaul, 2012). The purposes of the current mixed-methods sequential explanatory study were to examine the relationship between doctoral student personality types and persistence and to explore doctoral students’ perceptions of the impact of personality types on their persistence. The theoretical framework of educational psychology and retention guided the study. The overarching research questions were used to determine whether a significant correlation existed between doctoral students’ personality types and their persistence, and to determine how doctoral students’ perceptions of personality types influenced their academic persistence. A mixed methods sequential explanatory study was conducted using the correlational and multiple case study designs. In the first stage, 47 participants completed the college persistence questionnaire and the 5-factor model. In the second stage, 11 participants completed semi-structured interviews. The statistical tests included the cross-tabulation with associated chi-square, independent samples t test, and analysis of variance. The thematic analysis was used to uncover themes from the interviews. Results indicated a statistically significant relationship between neuroticism and academic persistence. Within-case analysis showed themes in the personality traits extroversion and conscientiousness. Cross-case analysis themes included cognitive load, finances, dissertation chairs, committee, professors, and institutional and peer support.

Rory McElwee, Sean Hendricks, Penny McPherson-Myers, & Alison Novak of Rowan University

Affordability is a major determinant of retention and completion, and institutions can bolster affordability through their practices.  In light of national data and best practices research, the presenters will describe the work of Rowan University's Affordability Task Force, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, who have engaged in campus study and the development and promotion of affordability-related programs and services. Since its launch in 2016, the Task Force has engaged in multiple studies of affordability-related programs, services, and student experiences on campus. We then launched a campus food pantry and resource center; implemented programming for National Financial Literacy Month and created a financial literacy course; created a program to support faculty efforts to create lower-cost or free course materials; and used numerous strategies to raise awareness among students and employees regarding available resources. This webinar will describe the Task Force's use of data to create specific deliverables and effective advocacy to impact campus affordability. Discussion will address strategies that participants can use to improve campus mindset and programs that boost affordability​ at their institutions.

Jared Tippets & Eric Kirby, Southern Utah University

In recent years there has been a movement in higher education to shift the role and responsibilities of academic advisors (McClellan and Moser, 2011). Gone are the days of a singular focus of serving as course schedulers. Advisors are now being asked to serve as academic experts, life coaches, career counselors, and so much more. But how does a campus go about shifting the culture of advising on their campus? Attempting to shift the organizational culture can feel like an insurmountable task. This webinar, grounded in the theory of organizational change, as written about by Kotter (1996), highlights how one public, regional campus successfully shifted their campus culture from a transactional academic advising approach to a transformational holistic student success coaching model. As a result of this change, the number of advising appointments grew 100%, student satisfaction improved significantly, and the number of students who visited other campus support services doubled. All these efforts were made with the overarching goal of reversing a five-year slide in first-to-second year retention rates. The result? The campus successfully stopped the slide in student persistence, reversed the trend, and ended up with a 7% bump in retention rates.

Georgeanna Robinson, Kaitlin Wilcox, & Randall Stiles of Grinnell College

Institutional decision making is typically informed by quantitative data. However, the factors that promote student success are many and varied, and have complex relationships that may not be understood quantitatively or be meaningfully quantifiable. While student behaviors may be measurable, the motivations underlying their actions are often inaccessible via quantitative data. This paper describes one approach taken by Grinnell College to understand student success holistically. Researchers noticed students dramatically improving their recent term GPA compared to their cumulative GPA, but were unable to determine the causes of this improvement from the quantitative data. In-depth qualitative interviews, lasting approximately an hour, uncovered the complex factors contributing to students’ improved academic performance, as well as the barriers they had previously experienced. Barriers that became facilitators of academic success included class choices, faculty, study behaviors and attitudes, and help seeking. Other barriers included adjustment to the Grinnell environment and suboptimal mental health. Use of resources, self-care, organization, extra-curricular activities, and friendships acted as facilitators. The presentation closes with a brief review of how the greater understanding of student motivations underlying their behaviors are being used by faculty and staff in various roles at Grinnell College to inform practice, program development, and decision making.

Kate E. Meudt and Elizabeth Machado of Cardinal Stritch University

In 2013, the Leadership, Development, Reflection, and Service (LDRS) Initiative learning community was created to increase retention of low-income students, students of color, and first-generation students at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest. Initial results were promising. While retention of students from these historically underrepresented populations at the University was 64% in 2012, retention at the beginning of the fall semester of 2015 for students who participated in the program was 73%. Given the dramatic increase in retention, a phenomenological study was completed in fall of 2015 to determine participants’ perceived impact of the components of the program on retention. The study found that the essential component of the program was relationships students were able to build with peers, staff, and faculty, and that each element of the program was impactful in providing opportunity to develop these relationships. Since this study, the program has supported two more classes of incoming freshmen and witnessed its first graduates. Four-year graduation rates for the students in the program are 8% higher than previous rates of students from these populations, and 25% higher than previous five-year graduation rates for the same population.

Amanda Phillips & Dana Saunders of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

This webinar has been cancelled.

Sherry Cox, Jeremiah McKinley, & Glenn Hansen of the University of Oklahoma

Increasing student retention and graduation rates is a top priority in higher education. Early identification of at risk students for intervention programs or redirection into other degree paths improves retention and graduation rates. Likewise, given the increasing teacher shortage, identifying strong candidates for Teacher Certification programs and graduating prepared future teachers is crucial. The use of predictive analytics provides a promising method in the quest to increase student success at universities and colleges. Our current predictive analytic model utilizes a machine learning algorithm, extreme gradient boosted machine, to identify strong candidates for Teacher Certification programs as well as predicting graduation and program completion. The prediction model, built on historical data, is being applied as a retention and recruitment tool. A strategic graduation and retention action plan, based on the model, is in use by academic advisors and college administrators with current students identified by the model as at-risk for not graduating. This webinar covers the current model and features, application and analysis with active students, the strategic graduation and retention action plan and its implementation and use by academic advisors and college administrators to assist at-risk students, and future directions.

Michelle Ashcraft, Jessica Ramsey, Taylor Brodner, & Hao Zhu of Purdue University

Purdue University has narrowed the graduation gap for low-income Indiana 21st Century Scholars eligible to enroll in an access and support program called Purdue Promise. The program combines full financial need assistance with four years of student success coaching. Purdue Promise is designed to graduate students on-time and debt-free, and assist students in strengthening self-efficacy, self-advocacy, help-seeking skills, and grit. Cohort-based programming designed on best practices did not lead to increased retention and graduation rates from 2009 to 2012. However, the implementation of an individualized coaching program in fall 2013 led to a more than 18% increase in four-year graduations rates by fall 2017. The Purdue Promise four-year coaching model—including individual meetings, online modules, freshman and senior seminar classes, and at-risk data mining—has contributed to the increased retention and graduation of low-income Purdue Promise students, with more than half the population being first-generation and up to 40% identifying as underrepresented minorities (URM).


You may purchase a single podcast or the entire years’ webinar series. Email us to let us know which podcast(s) and the year(s) you would like to obtain.