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updated: 09/29/15

National Symposium on Student Retention

Fifth Annual
National Symposium on Student Retention

September 30 - October 2, 2009
Buffalo, New York

REGISTER NOW and receive a VIP Post-Conference Pass to review all presentations via streaming media. Details


See information about the 2008 symposium here.

Important Conference Links



Can't Attend the Conference Because of Budget/Travel Restrictions?

Check out the Virtual Conference Option!

Conference Details

Who Should Attend

The National Symposium on Student Retention offers attendees a complete educational experience, with opportunities for collaboration and networking among leaders and peers working to understand and improve student success. The symposium focuses on research and evidence based strategies that impact student retention and completion. Informative sessions are coupled with a collegial atmosphere to facilitate networking and interaction among participants. Executives, administrators, institutional researchers, faculty and staff from the academic and student support areas will find this symposium useful and informative.


Conference Objectives

The focus of the National Symposium on Student Retention is not merely on retaining students from the first-year through the second year of their academic program. This conference is interested in sharing current research and strategies which support student success throughout the entire Student Retention Lifecycle supporting student success from enrollment, through year to year retention, to completing a course of study that leads to graduation.

  • Highlight emerging research in higher education that can inform retention efforts at four-year and two-year institutions.
  • Showcase successful, effective programs, retention strategies and best practices of two-year and four-year institutions.
  • Promote opportunities for dialog, networking, and shared understanding between colleagues.
  • Identify useful research and resources for addressing the entire retention life cycle from developing strategic plans and performance indicators, through funding, implementing, and evaluating retention efforts at the program and institutional levels. 


Keynotes & Invited Speakers

The symposium’s informative line up of speakers and invited presentations enables attendees to hear from leaders and researchers who can speak with authenticity about current student retention issues and who will share their observations about opportunities and challenges facing higher education.

This year our confirmed guest speakers include:


Randy Swing, Ph.D.

Dr. Randy L. Swing is the Executive Director of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR). AIR is a professional association of more than 4,200 institutional researchers, planners, and decision makers representing over 1,500 higher education institutions around the world. Prior to joining AIR, Swing served as Co- Director & Senior Scholar at the Policy Center on the First Year of College and as a fellow in the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina. He has worked with numerous research teams in Japan, and served as an advisor to the Quality Assurance Agency of Scotland.

Dr. Swing has authored articles, chapters, monographs, and books, including Achieving and Sustaining Excellence in the First College Year (2006) and Proving and Improving: Tools and Techniques for Assessing the First College Year (2004). He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on institutional change, assessment, retention, and undergraduate student success. He serves on the editorial/review boards for the Journal of General Education, The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, and Innovative Higher Education. For two decades prior to 1999, he held various leadership positions at Appalachian State University in assessment, advising, Upward Bound, and Freshman Seminar. He holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Georgia, MA and ED.S from Appalachian State University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Randy began postsecondary education as a first-generation college student at Davidson County Community College in Lexington, NC.


Nevin Brown

Nevin Brown is Director of Postsecondary Initiatives at Achieve, an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization created in 1996 by the nation’s governors and corporate leaders to help make college and career readiness a national priority.

Before joining Achieve, Brown was president of the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership (IPSL), a New York-based organization that provided academic and community service study-abroad opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to that, Brown was for eleven years a principal partner with the Education Trust; he worked closely with community-based school-university collaborative initiatives through the Trust’s K-16 and Community Compacts for Student Success initiatives, directed for six years the Trust’s annual national conferences, and was the communications officer for the Quality in Undergraduate Education initiative. From 1980-1991, Brown headed the Division of Urban Affairs of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC). He also has held previous appointments with the District of Columbia Public Schools, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the University of Houston, and the Southern Regional Council’s Southern Governmental Monitoring Project.

Mr. Brown has been a member of the governing boards of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the National History Education Network, and the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC). He has also served as a review panelist for the National Science Foundation, Innovations in American Government Awards, and National History Day, and as a member of the editorial boards of several professional journals. He also co-chaired the European Links Committee for UAA from 1995-2003, through which he was involved in the creation of the European Urban Research Association (EURA).

Brown received a B.A. with highest honors in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1972 and an M.A. in history from the University of Virginia the following year. In 2001 he received the Urban Hero Award of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.


Carl Dalstrom

Carl C. Dalstrom has nearly four decades of experience in financial aid for higher education. Prior to becoming president and chief executive officer of USA Funds® in 2000, he worked in a number of capacities at USA Funds and its former parent company, USA Group.

Dalstrom joined USA Funds in 1989 and subsequently directed a variety of initiatives and participated in industry-wide collaborative efforts that dramatically improved the delivery of student loan services. Immediately prior to becoming USA Funds’ CEO, he managed education loan operations as executive vice president of USA Group.

As USA Funds CEO, Dalstrom oversees an organization that since 1960 has guaranteed nearly $171 billion in education loans to help 19.7 million students and families across the nation pay for higher education.

Dalstrom has spearheaded a variety of efforts that encourage involvement of the business community in supporting higher education, with USA Funds in 2008 providing more than $15 million for programs that promote preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Included in that figure is $8.4 million in scholarships.

Before joining USA Funds, he directed Student Need Analysis Services at ACT and served as a campus financial aid administrator at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He holds a master’s degree in education from Loyola University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University.

He currently serves on the board of USA Funds and chairs the boards of its affiliates, SMS Hawaii® and Northwest Education Loan Association®. He also is a member of the board of Indiana Dollars for Scholars.



Conference Schedule and Conference Agenda

CSRDE wants to thank Hobsons for sponsoring the poster session and underwriting this year's Best Practices Awards.

Download current conference agenda as of September 21, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009   Thursday, October 1, 2009 (cont.)
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm Registration   9:40 am - 11:40 am Concurrent Sessions
      11:50 am - 1:30 pm Luncheon:
Wednesday, September 30, 2009     CSRDE Awards Presentation
      1:40 pm - 4:40 pm Concurrent Sessions
7:00 am - 6:30 pm Registration    
8:30 am - 4:30 pm Pre-conference Workshops   Friday, October 2, 2009
5:00 pm - 5:30 pm Welcome Address      
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm Keynote Address:   7:00 am - 12:00 pm Registration
  Dr. Randy Swing   7:00 am - 8:00 am Opening Refreshments
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm Reception   8:00 am - 9:15 am Plenary Address:
        Carl Dalstrom
Thursday, October 1, 2009   9:30 am - 11:30 am Concurrent Sessions
    11:40 am - 12:00 pm Closing Remarks:
7:00 am - 5:00 pm Registration     Dr. Rosemary Hayes
7:00 am - 8:00 am Opening Refreshments   Approx. 1:00 pm - Day Excursion to Niagara
8:15 am - 9:30 am Morning Plenary Address:   7:00 pm Falls
  Nevin Brown      


Pre-Conference Workshops

Several full-day and half-day pre-conference workshops will be offered during the day of September 30th. Workshops provide attendees an opportunity to explore more deeply topics that may be of interest to them and their institutions. Attendees come away with specific, practical knowledge that they can put to work when they return to their institutions. Classes include:

Data and Decisions to Support Student Success
Full Day, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Presented by:
Gerald McLaughlin, DePaul University
Richard Howard, University of Minnesota
Josetta McLaughlin, Roosevelt University

Increasingly, college and university leaders base strategic decisions on data. The ability to access, analyze, and convert data into strategic information is critical for institutions to remain competitive with other institutions. This full day workshop will focus on ways to identify peer and competitive institutions, define key institutional performance measures related to retention and compare relative positions on these measures with other institutions. A team approach will be used in this workshop, so senior management and their institutional researchers are encouraged to sign up together for this workshop for maximum benefit.

Retention For Rookies
Half Day, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm

Presented by:
Tim Culver, Noel-Levitz

You've just been named coordinator of student retention at your institution-now what? Retention for Rookies is intended to give you a solid orientation about the retention field. Learn basic retention concepts. Identify resources that can help you evaluate the current state of affairs at your institution. Discover retention strategies that get results at two-year and four-year institutions and learn the best ways to plan for programs by laying the groundwork for success and gaining faculty support. A good starter course for those of you who have recently been told that "retention and student success" have been added to your responsibilities.

Early Alert and Warning Programs: An Intentional Approach to Ensuring Student Success and Persistence
Half Day, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm

Presented by:
Brandon Miller, Baylor University

This workshop will provide essential information to administrators, enrollment managers, faculty and professional advisors for designing and implementing a comprehensive and collaborative early alert and intervention program for their own respective campuses. Specific topics that will be addressed in this presentation include: description of key components of an early warning system, overview of relevant literature as well as existing early alert/intervention programs, methods for recruiting, training, maintaining communications with key stakeholders, techniques for engaging students in the process of grade recovery and planning for future success, as well as a discussion of assessment models that identify students most likely to depart prior to degree completion.

Targeted Intervention for At-Risk First-Time College Students and Transfers
Half Day, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Presented by:
DeLaine Priest, University of Central Florida
Charlene Stinard, University of Central Florida
Bernadette Jungblut, University of Central Florida

How does the academy focus on identifying and utilizing targeted intervention programming for at-risk First Time in College students (FTICs) and transfer students confronting retention failure? This data-driven session examines in detail the retention challenges for specific sub-groups of FTICs and transfer students; the results of programs designed to address those challenges; and the transferability of these identification and programming experiences to other colleges and universities. We envision a three-dimensional mapping of data and findings with reference to at-risk students, program options, and institutional contexts that will provide workshop participants with at least three strategies for implementation in their respective campus communities.


Day Excursion to Niagara Falls (optional)
Passport Required

Trip to Niagara Falls:

  • Optional Off-Site Special Event
  • Additional Registration Required
  • *$25.00 per person (U.S. Dollars)
  • Friday, October 2, 2009 (board buses at approx. 12:45pm and be back at approx. 7:00pm)

Registrants will…

Enjoy exploring the magnificent Niagara Falls on both the Canadian and U.S. side. You will have time (about 2 hours on the Canadian side and about an hour on the US side) to see some of the sites on your own. Some attractions include:

We hope you will come join us on this exciting excursion.

* Meals and attractions are not included, so be sure to bring extra money (U.S. Dollars). Also, be sure to bring your passport for traveling to the Canadian side of the Falls.


VIP Post-Conference Pass
Share the knowledge with those who can't travel!

  • View all plenary and concurrent session presentations after the conference
  • Streaming videos will be available from Oct. 16, 2009 to Nov. 20, 2009 for unlimited viewing
  • Each pass provides one access point for viewing alone or with colleagues
  • This is now included in your conference registration if registration occurs before the conference

If you have questions, please contact us at (405) 325-2158 or email us at


Conference Registration

Conference Registration Fees
Amount Before Aug. 1st
Amount After Aug. 1st

Registrants from CSRDE Member Institutions
(Click here to see if your institution is a member)

$525.00 (Now $498.00)*
* Membership fees must be up to date to receive discount    
Registrants from non-CSRDE Member Institutions
$625.00 (Now $598.00)
Items Included with your Registration    
Conference Bag on Check-In
Included ($35 value)
Included ($35 value)
Welcome Goodies on Check-In
Opening Plenary with Randy Swing from AIR on Wednesday Evening
Welcome Reception-Beverages and Light Appetizers
Thursday Morning Plenary with Nevin Brown from Achieve
Thursday Luncheon
Friday Morning Plenary with Carl Dalstrom from USA Funds
Choice of Many Concurrent Sessions, Panels, Posters, and Tutorials
Copy of the Proceeding of the 5th Annual National Symposium on Student Retention (CD).
Includes peer reviewed papers from all paper presentations as well as briefs from panelists and tutorials.
Included ($198 value)
Included ($198 value)
VIP Post-conference Pass
Included** ($200 value)
Included** ($200 value)
Pre-Conference Workshop Registration Fees
Workshop I: Data and Decisions to Support Student Success
Wednesday, September 30, 2009   Full day - 9am - 4pm *(includes bag lunch)

Workshop II: Retention for Rookies
Wednesday, September 30, 2009   Half day - 8:30am - 12pm

Workshop III: Early Alert and Warning Programs: An Intentional Approach to Ensuring Student Success and Persistence
Wednesday, September 30, 2009    Half day - 8:30am - 12pm
Workshop IV: Targeted Intervention for At-Risk First-Time College Students and Transfers
Wednesday, September 30, 2009    Half day - 1pm - 4:30pm


Additional Items or Events    
Day Excursion to Niagara Falls
Friday, October 2, 2009  Approx. 1 pm
Thursday Luncheon Guest Pass
Thursday, October 1, 2009  11:50 am
Extra Conference Bag
Extra Copy of the Conference Proceedings on CD
Contains copies of the reviewed papers, as well as briefs from panels and tutorials
VIP Post-Conference Pass CSRDE Members
Included if registration occurs before the conference
$175.00 (Now Included**)
$175.00 (Now Included**)
VIP Post-Conference Pass CSRDE Non-Members
Included if registration occurs before the conference
$200.00 (Now Included**)
$200.00 (Now Included**)
* Must be purchased before or during conference. After conference the cost is $198.
** Included with each conference registration if registration occurs before the conference.

Online Registration:
Register for the conference by clicking here.
You'll be given the opportunity to register for the conference, Pre-Conference Workshops, and optional Day Excursion. Please be sure to include your email address with your registration.

Cancellation/Refund Policy: Prepaid registrants who find they are unable to attend may send a delegate in their place without penalty. Refunds (less a 20% processing charge per registration) will be made on any prepaid registration for which we receive an advance written cancellation by September 11, 2009.

No Show: Those who pre-registered and do not attend the conference without written notification of cancellation will be charged the full conference fee.

If you have any questions about the registration process, call (405) 325-1316.


Conference Hotel - Adam's Mark Hotel, Buffalo, New York

Adam's Mark Hotel
Address: 120 Church St.
Buffalo, New York

The Adam's Mark Hotel in Buffalo NY provides more of the comfort, amenities and entertainment choices you desire. This remarkable Buffalo hotel has 486 deluxe guest rooms, including a variety of luxurious suites. It offers an extensive list of amenities and services that ensure every guest will experience absolute comfort and pleasure.

The Adam’s Mark is located at the Waterfront in the heart of the Buffalo downtown business district within walking distance of the Niagara Convention Center, theatre, and major sports complexes. You can get from the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to the Adam’s Mark Buffalo-Niagara hotel in 15 minutes. Favorite attractions such as Niagara Falls and Casino Niagara are only 20 minutes from the hotel.

The special conference rate ($92/night) has been extended until September 20th, 2009. Click here to make your reservation online. After September 20th, or if you need assistance with your reservation, please call the hotel at 1-800-444-2326.


Exhibitor and Sponsor Information

  • Do you want to build relationships and network with executive decision makers from a wide variety of institutions?
  • Do you want to gain broader exposure for your new products and services?
  • Do you want to position your company as a market leader?

If your answer is yes, then you should become an exhibitor or sponsor at our 5th annual National Symposium on Student Retention. We are now accepting application for exhibitors and sponsors for this year's symposium. There are a number of options for participating in this year's program and interacting with participants. If you are interested in being an exhibitor or sponsor, download the pdf documents below for more information on this exciting opportunity.

If you have any other questions or would like to be an exhibitor/sponsor, contact Dr. Rosemary Hayes at 405-325-2158.


Transportation to and from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport

Click here for details on transportation to and from the airport.


Information Before you Come to the Conference

Here is a document with some information about things you should know before heading to the Conference in Buffalo (ie. transportaion information, weather, attractions, pharmacies, and grocery stores)

Before you go Document


The Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange at the University of Oklahoma is a consortium of two-year and four-year institutions dedicated to achieving the highest levels of student success through collaboratively sharing data, knowledge, and innovation.

CSRDE is a sponsored activity of the Center for Institutional Data Exchange and Analysis at

The University of Oklahoma Outreach
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