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

2015 - 2016 Webinar Series

Amber R. Smith, University of Arkansas-Little Rock

Mia D. M. Phillips, University of Arkansas-Little Rock

Practitioners at a metropolitan, four-year university have created student success programming that resulted in a 90 percent semester-to-semester retention rate of African American female students enrolled in the program. The primary goal of the program is to retain and graduate minority students. The program subscribes to the Strategy, Unique Approach, Relationship, and Fun (SURF) model, an original programming approach found effective for retaining and graduating minority students, which fuses academic success strategies, relationship building, and fun using creative and inexpensive ways to improve student success programming with tools that are already at a university’s disposal. Even with limited resources, a dynamic student success programming initiative can be developed to yield optimal retention and graduation results.

Melissa Brocato, Louisiana State University

The Center for Academic Success (CAS) at Louisiana State University has partnered with campus units to create an award-winning metacognitive learning strategies program for first-year students on warning or probation (earning < 2.0 GPA). The program is designed to help first-year students acquire the skills required to successfully complete college-level coursework and increase their retention from first to second year. Research shows that learning strategies education is directly correlated to improving student performance, persistence, and timely graduation at the university level (Cook, Kennedy, & McGuire, 2013; Hodges, Simpson, & Stahl, 2012; Kitsantas, et. al., 2008; Ley & Young, 1998; Peirce, 2003; Wischusen & Wischusen, 2007; Zhao, Wardeska, McGuire, & Cook, 2014). CAS metacognitive learning strategies foster both intellectual and personal development by promoting self-awareness in students in order for them to utilize appropriate cognitive-science, research-based strategies for achievement (Kim, 2010; Lovett, 2008). This presentation will discuss the five-year journey of this program in order to assist others who are developing interventions for at-risk-students. Data analysis and detailed information on program design will be presented, in addition to ways in which the data and program evaluations are shaping the program for future years. Information on logistics, such as locations, budget, and developing campus partnerships will also be highlighted.

Cynthia Demetriou, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Candice Powell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The primary theoretical tradition in the study of college retention has been sociological. An appreciation of development among traditional-age college students suggests that a developmental perspective on the retention of youth in college may have more to offer than the dominant sociological paradigm. This presentation argues that a key question in examining undergraduate retention should be: are colleges and universities meeting the developmental needs of the youth enrolled in their institutions? The Positive Youth Development (PYD) perspective is proposed as a more beneficial paradigm than the current models used to examine college student retention. Opportunities and resources to support features of positive developmental settings in the college context are explored and examples of the PYD approach in practice are offered. Potential limitations and directions for future research are also discussed. The conclusion discusses the overall benefits of using a developmental and strengths-based approach to supporting undergraduate student success.

Linda Refsland, William Paterson University

The Academic Development Department of William Paterson University was charged with rethinking how incoming students were assessed and how developmental material was delivered with an understanding that improving developmental education would improve overall retention. This developmental model included comprehensive assessment, small group and supplemental instruction, tutoring support, and online programming that prepared students to test out of any initial developmental placements; all at no cost to students. Summer refreshers and workshops were designed to include mastery and individualized instruction using skills diagnostics, high levels of feedback and support, small workshop sizes, and tutoring prior to students matriculating in the fall. Program evaluation was built into the model and included measures of short term gains: completion rates and pass rates, and long term outcomes: success in college level coursework, longitudinal tracking of retention and timely degree completion. The program has reduced the number of students with developmental requirements from 68% to 25% and students in the program show improved time to degree, four year graduation rates and retention when compared to non-participants.

Marguerite Weber, Cabrini College

The University of Baltimore (UB) created a first and second year experience initiative based on proven best practices. Although UB has experienced success in first to second year retention, college completion rates for our new population of native students are disappointing, given the investments in doing the right things for students’ early college experiences. This presentation provides a brief history of the program, the characteristics of the students, and the program outcomes, and then this work identifies “next step” approaches. The purpose of the work is to provide a case study for implementation of high impact practices and to encourage reflections on what counts and what matters in the college completion agenda. It is likely that universities with access missions need new measures of student success.

Allyson Straker-Banks, Montclair State University

Michele Campagna, Montclair State University

James Davison, Montclair State University

Daniel Jean, Montclair State University

Tara Morlando Zurlo, Montclair State University

College persistence studies continue to underscore the importance of implementing excellent retention practices to successfully engage and guide college students through their undergraduate experience. When a university seeks to improve the overall effectiveness of its retention services on several student success measures, a strategic plan is put in place to sharply increase the systematic use of data findings in order to achieve this goal. The significant benefits of working collectively through cross-divisional campus partnerships in the analysis and utilization of retention data will be shared. Specific examples of how the data helped to improve the delivery of services to students will be given. Future implications for the refinement of data management processes and the maintenance of a system of ongoing assessment and data review will also be discussed.

Desireé A. Butler-McCullough, University of Tennessee at Martin

Johanna van Zyl, University of Tennessee at Martin

Probability models were developed to determine the probability of graduation for University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM) students through the use of their ACT Composite, ACT Sub Scores and High School Grade Point Average (HSGPA). Graduation status for each student was coded in binary form and binary logistic regression was used to develop models for the university and for each college, department and major. This presentation will discuss selected models from the results. This study not only benefits the University of Tennessee at Martin for recruitment purposes but also current students at the university. Current students can use this to determine whether their scholastic strengths have led to success in graduating with a certain major from previous students with similar scholastic strengths. On a secondary basis, the study can serve as a guideline for other educational institutions who would like to conduct a similar investigation themselves.

Gina Beyer, Arizona State University

James Lewis, Arizona State University

Ken Miller, Arizona State University

Ginny Saiki, Arizona State University

Probationary students nationally have extremely low retentions rates. These students are often resistant, lacking focus, and facing emotional challenges that make retention efforts particularly difficult. At Arizona State University, all probationary students are required to pass a 1-credit course designed to improve their academic trajectory and improve retention rates. This paper discusses the extremely positive data that Arizona State has collected – both quantitative and qualitative – and it discusses the proven techniques for overcoming the challenges of working with probationary students. Firmly grounded in psychological research and application in higher education, these techniques are facilitated by devoted faculty committed to working closely with probationary students both in and out of the classroom. The pedagogical strategies and techniques discussed are also relevant and beneficial for academic advisors and other university professionals working with probationary students and will provide helpful techniques for dealing with resistant students.

Kyle Ellis, Travis Hitchcock, & Jennifer Phillips of University of Mississippi

Academic advisors are often the front line professionals in institutions' freshmen retention efforts. Academic advisors have the ability to support freshmen through a variety of transition issues related to student success, satisfaction, and persistence. At The University of Mississippi, the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience (CSSFYE) utilizes professional advisors to provide guidance and support to the freshman cohort. The University's retention for first-time, full-time freshmen in 2009 was 81%. Based on a recommendation by the University's Retention Steering Committee, professional advisors began working with more freshmen. The 2012 freshman cohort had a fall-to-fall retention rate of 85.6%, thus demonstrating the significant role that academic advising can play in student persistence. Each year the number of advisees in the CSSFYE has grown to approximately 80% of the freshman cohort. The CSSFYE's administrators and advisors are excited to offer key insights on the roles and responsibilities advisors play in freshman retention initiatives. Join us as we discuss our journey, successful cross-campus collaborations, and current initiatives that have helped us promote academic advisors' roles in retention to the campus community.

Alexandra Yanovski, Temple University

Sophomore year is a critical time for many students. As the excitement of first year of college subsides and students begin to delve deeper into their major coursework, some may experience a sense of uncertainty even if they have already declared a major. This period of “sophomore slump” is marked by second-guessing curricular choices, reviewing of ambitions and sometimes accessing major personal life decisions. During this time students should begin to think about internships, employment and housing, and to visualize how their potential career paths may unfold. Ideally students should be developing new skills and professional competencies, building meaningful interpersonal relationships, developing emotional intelligence skills and establishing a firm sense of identity. Although most universities support first year and sometimes transfer students through transition courses, few offer sophomore seminars to their student population. Temple University's University Seminar 2001, Sophomore Seminar: Planning for Success is a 1-credit academic course introduced in the fall of 2008 that provides sophomores opportunities to work on professional planning and development. Course topics include individual strengths exploration, academic majors, potential career paths, internship preparation, research opportunities, campus involvement, graduate school preparation, and career transition preparation. An essential component of the course is a close relationship with the career center.

Jebediah Gorham, Victor Velazquez, & Aaron Rock of Southern Vermont College

Colleges that serve vulnerable students are familiar with issues surrounding student attrition. Astin (1985), Pascarella (1985) and Tinto (1993) theorize on the student change and withdraw process. These theories and others linked to impact models show commonality in factors perceived as affecting persistence and achievement. The student experience is ultimately the construct of cognitive, social and institutional factors. Hoffman, et al (2005) defined peak experiences linked to certain engagement-themed conditions. Uhl (2010) described practices that enliven the classroom and create real learning versus just “covering the material”. Slingerland (2014) suggests that spontaneity, specifically “trying not to try” can support effectiveness without forcing outcomes. This is similar to the psychological concept of “flow”. The current study seeks to understand student perceptions of a retention-focused curriculum. The Business Administration curriculum offers opportunities for student-centered learning, self-directed teamwork, community partnerships and risk-taking. Quantitative and qualitative evidence from this study indicated that the curriculum supported the ‘peak student experience’ and therefore retention through faculty involvement strategies, high level engagement, social development and community collaboration.

April Chatham-Carpenter, Deirdre Heistad, Michael Licari, Kristin Moser, & Kristin Woods of University of Northern Iowa

Freshmen who enrolled in a first-year only section of a general education course their first semester at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012 were retained at a rate of 85.6% into their second year of college, in comparison to 79.6% of those who did not take a first-year only section. One key aspect of these freshmen-only sections is the mentoring relationship between host instructors, course-embedded peer mentors, and first-year students. The peer mentors in these classes are 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year students who work with the host instructors to effectively address students’ first-year transition issues. A faculty/staff leadership team and host instructors guide peer mentors in the use of best practices for engaging students, while the peer mentors then model this similar behavior with first-year students. Our data show the presence of these mentoring relationships creates a learning community for all involved, making a difference in the classroom and students’ lives. This presentation will present the research we have done illustrating why this classroom-based faculty-peer mentoring program works, using survey and retention data. This model has worked well across disciplines and existing general education courses at the university, and therefore can serve as a model for other campuses.


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.