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.

Webinar Cost
  • CSRDE members:
    One to six webinars are included with membership, depending on level
  • Add'l webinars for members:
    $129 each
    $79 each for blocks of 3 or more
  • Non-CSRDE members:
    $229 each

2017 - 2018 Webinar Series

Candice Powell, Cynthia Demetriou, Terrell Morton, & A.T. Panter of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Racial disparities in retention and graduation rates are a top concern across institutions of higher education, yet scholars and practitioners rarely look to racism to explain these disparities (Harper, 2012). Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an epistemological and methodological framework designed to reveal and challenge power and oppression dynamics between racialized groups (Harper, 2009; Lynn & Dixson, 2013). CRT can provide insight about how racism serves to maintain and reinforce educational policies, practices, and access to resources and opportunities. Increasing awareness of systemic racial inequities creates opportunity for people in power positions to engage in socially conscious action and decision-making within higher education (Ladson-Billings, 1998; Patton, 2015; Robbins & Quaye, 2014). This webinar will provide a conceptual introduction to CRT for retention practitioners and considers how the CRT framework can elucidate minoritized student retention at predominantly white institutions. Strategies for using CRT to guide institutional decision-making are also offered.

Robert Terry, Mélie Lewis, & Nicole Judice Campbell of The University of Oklahoma

While academic factors such as high school GPA and ACT and SAT scores significantly contribute to higher education success, there are often significant gaps in their ability to predict college retention. Research suggests a number of social and psychological factors can be used to improve the predictive ability of purely academic model. The present study will examine the contribution of five psychosocial factors in predicting first-to-second year college retention: financial concerns, academic engagement, institutional commitment, grit, and growth mindset. This study examined data from the 2014 New Student Survey, a survey distributed to all incoming freshmen at the University of Oklahoma. Factor analytic techniques were used to organize survey questions into valid measures of the factors of interest. Finally, these constructs were explored in a regression model to study the extent to which they are predictive of retention, both singularly and among other well-known academic predictors. Results of a logistic regression suggest that students with higher academic engagement and lower financial concerns had a significantly higher probability of retention when taking into account academic factors.

Sofia Hiort Wright & Daphne Rankin of Virginia Commonwealth University

In an effort to provide an engaging academic experience for incoming first-year students, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) developed a 5-week program called Summer Scholars in 2015. In light of the fact that one-third of VCU’s first year class consists of first-generation students, the initial program invitation was targeted towards high achieving first-generation students, student-athletes, and out-of-state students. The goal of the program is to extend an additional opportunity for high-achievers to get a head start on their path to graduation, develop relationships with faculty and peers, and engage in rigorous academic and social immersion. The students take one small class and one large class in order to become familiar with the academic experience. The program also provides opportunities to interact in the community and explore through an academic lens the cultural and natural aspects of Richmond. Summer Scholars was developed by a task force with representatives from student affairs, academic affairs, and strategic enrollment management.

Sandra Walker & Laura Clark of Paul D. Camp Community College

Students Transitioning through Education Programs Successfully (S.T.E.P.S.) was developed by Paul D. Camp Community College (PDCCC) in September 2012, in response to the Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS), Chancellor’s College Success Coach Initiative (CCSCI). The purpose of this initiative is to increase the number of students that graduate, transfer, or earn non-credit credentials. Students are selected based upon meeting one or more of the following three criteria: First–generation, ethnic minority, Pell grant eligible and earned 14 or fewer college credits. The VCCS defines the aforementioned students as underserved. Low retention rates among underserved students are typically attributed to lack of academic preparedness, limited financial resources, family obligations, and/or social incongruence. Coaches assist students with college survival skills, goal setting, life skills development, and on/off campus resource linkages. To date, the program has served 513 students. Data reveal significant outcomes as follows: (a) 70% of students maintained a 2.0 or above GPA; (b) 134 degrees, diplomas, certificates, or other credentials have been earned; (c) over $235,000 in scholarships awarded; and (d) 3-year average retentions rates: fall to spring (77.86%) and fall to fall (49.46%), which consistently exceed the VCCS and PDCCC by 7% to 18%.

Todd Brann & Craig Rudick of The University of Kentucky

Using predictive modeling techniques, we have found that unmet financial need is among the best pre-matriculation variables in our data for predicting 2nd fall retention of first-time undergraduates. Once students are enrolled, their earned GPA dominates in predicting 2nd fall retention, although unmet need retains a strong and significant effect at all levels of academic achievement. A substantial increase in enrolled students with high unmet need is holding down our institutional retention rate by as much as 1.6%. In order to address this issue, we have implemented the Provost Persistence Grant program to provide financial assistance to students in acute financial stress. Although historically our financial aid programs have been almost exclusively merit-based, we are currently exploring options for a comprehensive need-based aid program to improve student persistence. The goal is to combine dedicated funds for students self-identifying with financial difficulties and leveraging strategies to optimize institutional spending and maximize retention impact.

Michael Latham, Randall Stiles, & Kaitlin Wilcox of Grinnell College

Grinnell College is working to promote a holistic approach to student retention and thriving. This presentation will highlight findings from a 2016 conference on “Thriving at the Liberal Arts College” held at Grinnell and centered on the following themes: 1) “An Appreciative Inquiry Perspective: Why Most Students Thrive at Small, Private, Residential Campuses,” 2) “ The Mental Health Support Challenge for Colleges and Universities,” 3) “Emerging Predictive Modeling in Higher Education,” and 4) “Student Success is Everybody’s Business: Bridging the Work of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.” Conference participants included faculty and staff from a dozen highly-selective liberal arts colleges, the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), the University of Iowa, Civitas Learning, and the RAND Corporation. Thriving students are engaged in the learning process, invest effort to reach important educational goals, manage their time and commitments effectively, connect in healthy ways to other people, are optimistic about their future and positive about their present choices, and are committed to making a meaningful difference in the world around them. This presentation will focus on reasons why many students at liberal arts colleges thrive, the strategies used to identify and support them, and several key challenges we encounter in providing support.

Tracey Childs of Spring Hill College

Southeast College is a small, liberal arts, religious-based college committed to student success. In 2014, the college designed and implemented an early alert system to identify first-year students who struggle with the transition from high school to college. Students who are identified within the system are connected to campus resources in an effort to correct behaviors that will jeopardize their college careers. By the nature of their contact with students, faculty have an important role in the early alert process. They are often the initiators of alerts for first-year students. As part of a dissertation in practice, an exploratory case study was conducted to determine how faculty attitudes and perceptions affected their participation in the early alert process at Southeast College. The 2015 cohort of faculty (n=94) was surveyed to assess their attitudes and perceptions about the early alert process as well as give them an opportunity to volunteer to participate in in-depth interviews. Four faculty participated in in-depth interviews to provide a deeper understanding of the survey data. This presentation will share the results of the case study as well as strategies that may help to increase faculty participation in the early alert process.

Courtney Walters & Ki Byung Chae of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke

The Striving Toward Academic Recovery (STAR) Program is a noncognitive and counseling-based program for academic at-risk college students. Interventions are individualized and counseling-based with a focus on noncognitive factors, measured by the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) and College Self-Efficacy Inventory (CSEI). This study, which began during the Fall 2015 semester, investigated the effect of the STAR Program on academically at-risk college students’ grade point average (GPA), self-efficacy, and awareness of study habits and academic mindsets. The results indicate that the intervention group’s GPA increased significantly along with CSEI total and subscale scores and LASSI scale scores. The results suggest that the STAR Program is an effective intervention on successful student retention and performance.

Valeria Garcia, Charlene Herreid, & Michelle Bombaugh of The University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) is a public metropolitan research institution enrolling 4,000+ first-year students each summer/fall. Historically, USF has maintained a rigorous focus on performance accountability and monitoring, with student success metrics being at the core. This level of monitoring has been enhanced with the emphasis on performance-based funding across Florida. To streamline the accountability work around student success metrics (e.g., retention, graduation rates), the university organized a Retention Committee to unify and incorporate a variety of strategies, including the use of predictive analytics (in-house, off-the shelf), a case-management approach to students, and cross-unit efforts to efficiently increase retention while maximizing resources. USF’s first-year retention rate has hovered at 89% and in order to improve the rate, the university has understood the need to focus heavily on coordinating the various retention and student success efforts already underway. The Retention Committee utilizes a pre-enrollment predictive model that identifies the top-tier of students identified as potentially not being retained and deploys an array of interventions. In tandem, a list of first-year students and persistence probability scores are securely provided to committee members for feedback on individual student cases. Through these efforts, the university is able to provide targeted interventions for students.

Sri Sitharaman, Tina Butcher, & Kimberly McElveen of Columbus State University

Columbus State University developed initiatives to improve student “access to” and “graduation from” our institution. These initiatives allow students to earn quality degrees in a timely manner. Institutional plans include: 15-to-Finish, consolidation of advising services, consolidation of tutorial services, and enriched services and programs for special populations. CSU embraces the value of inclusion and provides a pathway to success for diverse populations including: military and veterans, students with disabilities, African American males, Pell Grant recipients, and adult learners. Presenters will highlight these initiatives and results from data analysis based on first year students. Research includes these initiatives and the results from our data analysis based on first year first time students. The data will reflect information based on the following criteria: major, gender, ethnicity, Pell eligibility, HOPE eligibility, and special populations. Further incorporated is data for first time first year students who enrolled in 15-To-Finish and students who enrolled in less than 15 credits per term. Comparison data will reflect major, GPA, retention, qualitative data from students on why they didn’t take 15 credit hours. The culmination of the research provided will reflect best practices for first year first time students, and CSU’s dedicated resources for supporting student success.

Kelly Carter Merrill of Randolph-Macon College

This webinar shares the design, curriculum, and evaluation results of an academic transition success initiative at a small private liberal arts college. Launch was a pre-Welcome Week adventure retreat, in August of 2015 and again 2016, aimed at student populations who have traditionally experienced lower retention rates at our college. Through Launch, we sought to provide social and academic strategies for these students, with the hope of improving their retention to their second year. This webinar describes the theory-based design of the retreat, implementation logistics, and the retention and evaluation results.

Sami Nassim, Barbara LoMonaco, Jim Fowler, & Frederick Promades of Salve Regina University

By the end of 2012-2013, a liberal arts university faced the challenge of declining retention in first-year students, especially students of color. In comparison to the previous year, the overall first-year retention declined by nearly 3% and the first- to second-year retention of students of color declined by more than 15%. In response to this troubling data, a new and innovative model for retention and student success was created and implemented for the next two cohorts. The model identified seven major demographic factors that would likely contribute to student attrition. The model examined the combined effect of these factors on retention rather than focusing on each factor in isolation as suggested by previous researchers. Based on the insights provided by the new model, students at risk of dropping out were identified early in the year and appropriate interventions and support mechanisms were put into place. Utilization of this model has produced dramatic results with first- to second-year retention increasing by 7% and retention of students of color increasing by 23% in two years. The model is currently being implemented for the third year.


CSRDE institutional members sign up for webinars using their membership registration forms. The number of webinars depends on the level of membership. If your institution is a CSRDE member and you would like to participate in a webinar, email csrde@ou.edu and we will put you in contact with the CSRDE representative on your campus. If you are an individual member, your membership includes one webinar. If neither you nor your institution are CSRDE members, you may use this form to register for a webinar.

If you are interested in purchasing podcasts from previous years’ presentations, please review the information using the dropdown box above for each year.

Accessing the Webinar

For each webinar, CSRDE will send the following emails:

  1. One week before webinar – Confirmation of your registration plus instructions to test your computer for compatibility. You may test your system now.
  2. One day before webinar – Login information and instructions for accessing the webinar
  3. Within two days after the webinar – Details for how to access the podcast site and supplemental materials. Registrants will have 30 days in which to access and review the podcast, schedule a group showing or coordinate with colleagues at your institution to allow them to view the podcast.