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updated: 10/22/15

National Symposium on Student Retention Logo

The National Symposium on Student Retention is focused on sharing current research and evidence-based strategies which support student success from enrollment through graduation. Building bridges and promoting an institutional culture that encourages student success is important. This conference provides opportunities for dialogue, networking, and shared understanding with colleagues who are working on issues related to student retention and success. It showcases successful, effective programs and strategies and best practices of four-year and two-year institutions.

Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando, Photo courtesy of Visit Orlando

Orlando is a city which celebrates diversity, a vibrant mix of ethnicities, cultures and religions. When we think of Orlando, the first thing that comes to mind is theme parks, but it also has an ambitious public arts program, a vibrant downtown and more than 300 days of sunshine each year.

Eleventh Annual
National Symposium on Student Retention

November 2-4, 2015

Orlando, FL


Online Conference Registration
is now closed

Walk-in registration will be available beginning Sunday, November 1 at 5:00 EST at the conference hotel

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Conference Details

The Schedule at a Glance and the detailed NSSR Schedule, which includes abstracts and authors for all presentations, are now both available for download

Who Should Attend

The National Symposium on Student Retention offers participants a complete educational experience, with opportunities for collaboration and networking among leaders and peers working to understand and improve student success. Informative sessions are coupled with a collegial atmosphere to facilitate networking and interaction among participants. Institutions often send several representatives to the conference in order to take advantage of the many sessions offered.

Executives, administrators, institutional researchers, faculty and staff from the academic and student support areas will find this symposium useful and informative. These charts offer a snapshot of the professionals who attended last year's Symposium.


Keynote Speaker

Picture of Terrell Strayhorn Terrell L. Strayhorn, PhD is Professor of Higher Education at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he also serves as Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE), Senior Research Associate in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, and Faculty Affiliate in the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male and the Criminal Justice Research Center. Prior to joining the faculty at OSU, Strayhorn served as Special Assistant to the Provost at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and founding director of the UTK Center for Higher Education Research & Policy (CHERP).

An acclaimed student success scholar and respected expert on issues of diversity, Professor Strayhorn is author of 8 books, including The Evolving Challenges of Black College Students (2010), College Students’ Sense of Belonging (2012), Living at the Intersections (2013), and Theoretical Frameworks in College Student Research (2013), to name a few. He has published more than 100 refereed journal article & book chapters and more than 150 papers at international and national conferences. External grants totaling over $2.5 million from agencies such as the US Department of Education, National Science Foundation (NSF), and American College Personnel Association (ACPA) support his research program. Named "one of the most highly visible scholars in his field," by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Strayhorn has won numerous awards and in 2011, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named him one of the nation’s “Top Emerging Scholars.”

Dr. Strayhorn received a bachelor’s degree (BA) from the University of Virginia (UVA), a master’s degree (MEd) in educational policy from the Curry School of Education at UVA, and doctorate (PhD) in higher education from Virginia Tech. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia.


Conference Schedule

The PDF Schedule at a Glance and Detailed Schedule are now available.

The National Symposium on Student Retention begins Sunday, November 1, with an optional trip to the Kennedy Space Center. It is our tradition to identify an optional, unique activity for participants to attend that helps them to meet others in a fun and relaxed setting and we hope you will join us. This event requires a separate, pre-paid reservation for participation.

Monday, November 2 will be filled with half-day and full-day pre-conference workshops which require separate registration. A reception will be held Monday evening to welcome all attendees, providing an excellent opportunity to mingle with colleagues in an informal setting while enjoying an eclectic assortment of tempting hors d'oeuvres.

Tuesday, November 3 will begin two full days of conference programming, all within the conference hotel. During each concurrent session period, the participants will hear from presenters whose papers have been selected through our peer review process.

Wednesday, November 4 paper presentations will continue and our poster session will offer another great opportunity for networking and informal discussion about ongoing retention and success programs. Prizes for Best Practices in Student Retention, Institutional Research Leadership in Student Retention, Director's and Best Poster awards will be given at the Best Practices Luncheon.

Sunday, November, 1, 2015 Central Park fountain in the nearby city of Winter Park, Photo courtesy of Visit Orlando
9:00 am - 4:00 pm Kennedy Space Center
(Additional pre-registration and payment required)
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm On-site Registration
Monday, November 2, 2015
7:00 am - 4:30 pm On-site Registration
7:15 am - 8:30 am Continental Breakfast
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Pre-conference Workshops
(Additional registration required)

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Welcome Reception
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
7:00 am - 4:30 pm On-site Registration
7:15 am - 8:15 am Continental Breakfast
8:15 am - 9:30 am Morning Plenary Session
9:45 am - 11:50 am Concurrent Sessions
11:50 am - 1:30 pm Lunch on your own
1:30 pm - 6:00 pm Concurrent Sessions
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
7:00 am - 12:30 pm On-site Registration
7:15 am - 8:30 am Continental Breakfast
7:45 am - 9:00 am Poster Session
9:15 am - 12:25 pm Concurrent Sessions
12:35 pm - 1:55 pm Best Practices Awards Luncheon
(Included with registration)
2:10 pm - 4:05 pm Concurrent Sessions


Pre-Conference Workshops

Monday, November 2, 2015
Lunch will be on your own

Morning WorkshopsDiscover territory that remains unaltered by man in the wilderness of the Central Florida Everglades. Photo credit: Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
8:00 - 11:30 am

Completion: Retention Initiatives at Later Stages of the Student Lifecycle
Rory McElwee, Rowan University
Sean Hendricks, Rowan University

From Prospects to Active Alumni: Improving the Retention of an “At-Risk” Population
Daniel Jean, Montclair State University
Allyson Straker-Banks, Montclair State University
Bertha Diggs, Montclair State University
Jim Davison, Montclair State University

Retention for Rookies
Tim Culver, Ruffalo Noel-Levitz



The Orlando Eye at I-Drive 360. Photo courtesy of Merlin EntertainmentsAfternoon Workshops
1:00 - 4:30 pm

Driving Student Success at Your School: Developing a Collaborative Consulting Approach
Jeffrey Anderson, Saint Leo University
Linda Moran, University of Hartford

Retention Pedagogy: Teaching Strategies With Purpose
Jacqueline Carroll, Truckee Meadows Community College




Universal Studios. Photo courtesy of Visit Orlando.

Full-day Workshops
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Collaborative Student Success Programming: Institutional Research, Student Life, and Academic Affairs Partnerships
Bernadette M. Jungblut, West Virginia University
Regan Bruni, West Virginia University
Donielle R. Maust, West Virginia University

Designing, Implementing, and Assessment of Comprehensive Student Success Programs
Loralyn Taylor, Ohio University
Virginia McAleese, Paul Smith’s College

Understanding Students’ Path to Graduation and Developing Action Plans to Address Persistence
Catherine Andersen, University of Baltimore
Marguerite Weber, Cabrini College
Jerri Lyn Dorminy, Gallaudet University
Patricia Hulsebosch, Gallaudet University

Researched-based Training for Intergroup Skills that Support Retention
Kathleen Wong(Lau), The University of Oklahoma



Space shuttle take-off, Kennedy Space Center. Photo courtesy of Visit Orlando.Optional Group Event –
Kennedy Space Center

Sunday, November 1, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

We are planning an unforgettable visit to the world's most authentic space attraction and working spaceflight facility. Aboard our chartered bus, you’ll have the opportunity to meet (or catch up with) your fellow Symposium goers on the way to the Kennedy Space Center. Once there, you can choose from a variety of ways to explore the space program - the sky’s the limit!

Numerous Shows and Exhibits are included at the Visitors Center: the Space Shuttle Atlantis℠; the world’s most realistic simulation of a space shuttle launch, the Shuttle Launch Experience®; the Rocket Garden; the Astronaut Hall of Fame®*; Astronaut Encounter, where you can meet a veteran NASA astronaut in person.

Twin 3D IMAX® Theaters with 5-story screens feature the films Journey to Space and Hubble, each showing actual footage filmed by astronauts and breathtaking celestial images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour puts you on a NASA bus for a drive-by view of a launch pad on the way to the Apollo/Saturn V Center to experience the historic Apollo 8 launch and marvel at the massive 363-foot-long Saturn V moon rocket.

Dining Options at the Kennedy Space Center for lunch on your own.


*If you want more time on your own to get the full experience, a FREE second day of admission for the U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® is included for use within seven days.



Conference Registration Fees

Online registration is now closed. On-site registration will be available beginning Sunday, November 1 at 5:00 EST at the conference hotel.

Is your institution a member of the Consortium? If so, you are eligible for a discount. Check our members’ list. Here's more information on Institutional and Individual membership.

Amount Through
September 1st
Amount After
September 1st

CSRDE Member Institutions and Individual Members

Non-CSRDE Members
Each conference registration includes one conference bag with printed program, list of conference attendees and one electronic copy of The Proceedings of the 11th Annual National Symposium on Student Retention. Also included are the Monday Welcome Reception, continental breakfasts Monday-Wednesday and the Best Practices Luncheon on Wednesday.
Pre-Conference Workshop Registration - Monday, November 2

Completion: Retention Initiatives at Later Stages of the Student Lifecycle
8:00 – 11:30 am


From Prospects to Active Alumni: Improving the Retention of an “At-Risk” Population 8:00 – 11:30 am


Retention for Rookies 8:00 – 11:30 am


Driving Student Success at Your School: Developing a Collaborative Consulting Approach 1:00 – 4:30 pm


Retention Pedagogy: Teaching Strategies With Purpose 1:00 – 4:30 pm


Collaborative Student Success Programming: Institutional Research, Student Life, and Academic Affairs Partnerships 8:30 am – 4:30 pm


Designing, Implementing, and Assessment of Comprehensive Student Success Programs 8:30 am – 4:30 pm


Understanding Students’ Path to Graduation and Developing Action Plans to Address Persistence 8:30 am – 4:30 pm


Researched-based Training for Intergroup Skills that Support Retention
8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Group Event - Sunday, November 1
Kennedy Space Center
Transportation included. Pre-Registration and Advance Payment Required $65.00

Extra Copy of the Conference Proceedings

The Proceedings are published in a searchable electronic PDF format and contain the peer reviewed papers from all paper presentations as well as briefs from panels and tutorials
Purchased by November 4, 2015
Purchased after the conference



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 advanced written cancellation by October 1, 2015.

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


Conference Hotel & Location

The DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld – Make your reservations here

Near the Lagoon Pool at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

The DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld is a leading hotel for meetings, as well as the consummate vacation resort. The peaceful surroundings offer a relaxing retreat at the end of a busy conference day. Designed as a luxurious tropical paradise, guests will find its 28 acres include lush tropical landscaping, three pools, a kids lounge with game area and supervised activities, a miniature golf course, a putting green, a fitness center and a luxurious spa. This PDF map of the hotel grounds shows more of the resort's features.

The special NSSR group rate of $129 per night is no longer available. However, you may use this special NSSR link to reserve your room. Reservations are based on availability at the hotel’s prevailing rates. Self-parking charges for attendees will be reduced from the normal rate of $17.00 per day to $8.00 per day at the hotel.

ALERT: We have been advised of a possible scam involving our attendees’ hotel reservations. If you are contacted by any agency offering you a lower room rate than the one listed above, or offering to make your reservations for you, please note that NSSR has not authorized any such offers. Hotel reservations should be made using the link provided above. If you have already made your hotel reservation and did not use the link, we advise that you contact the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld at 407-352-1100 to ensure that your reservation is secure.


All conference activities will take place at the DoubleTree which is conveniently located adjacent to SeaWorld® and Aquatica. It is minutes away from the Orlando Eye, Universal Orlando® Resort, Walt Disney World® Resort, Fun Spot and other theme parks as well as the Orange County Convention Center.

Walt Disney World®, the Universal Orlando® Resort, and Seaworld® have each created a special webpage offering several special admissions prices for NSSR attendees, their guests and family members. If you are interested in these opportunities, use the links given for more information. Please note that the discounts are only valid for tickets purchased at these online sites and that the Disney page closes Sunday, October 31 at 9 p.m.


The I-Ride Trolley, courtesy of I-Ride

Need help planning transportation? We put together an interactive pdf to help you get from Orlando International Airport to the conference hotel.

Need help planning dinner? We put together an interactive pdf with the location, website and phone numbers of some of the Area Restaurants.

The I-Ride Trolley provides one cost-effective way to get around the area. Stop #24 is just outside our hotel's main entrance on Westwood Blvd. Arrival times and live maps are available online, through mobile devices at or by SMS texting the Trolley stop code found at each stop. The mobile app includes options for dining, shopping and attractions as well as maps and listings of what is near each trolley stop.

The area is also served by LYNX, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority. LYNX bus stops next to the hotel offer service around the area, to the airport and downtown. LYMMO, the fare-free downtown service, is available through LYNX.

See this PDF map for the bus stops next to the hotel which are served by I-Ride and LYNX.


Exhibitor and Sponsor Information

Sponsoring Exhibitors

Copley Logo
Copley Retention Systems
Sponsor of the Best Practices Awards Luncheon


IBM Analytics Logo
IBM Analytics
Sponsor of the Welcome Reception


Sponsor of a Continental Breakfast


Rafter, Inc.

Sponsor of a Networking Break


Other Exhibitors

AspirEDU, Inc.

Campus Labs




Pharos Resources

Pink Leopard Software

Skyfactor (formerly EBI Mapworks)

Link to Website
Unicon, Inc.

Registration is now closed for exhibitors Cinderellas Castle  Photo by Paul Mannix

Are You Interested in Sponsoring or Exhibiting?

Exhibit opportunities are closed for this year's National Symposium on Student Retention. If, however, you are interested in receiving information for the 2016 Symposium when it becomes available, please email Brittnee Morton at

These 2014 Symposium Participant Charts offer a snapshot of the professionals who attended last year's Symposium.

Download the Exhibitor and Sponsor Information packet.

Past Vendors


The Call for Proposals Process - We are no longer accepting new proposals

The National Symposium on Student Retention is distinguished from other conferences in that all papers presented at the symposium have gone through an eight month multiple stage review process and have been published in the conference proceedings.

  • Authors submit abstracts on proposed papers, panels, posters, workshops and tutorials
  • Abstracts are reviewed for appropriateness of topic, method of information dissemination, and proposed treatment of research
  • If abstract is accepted, authors are contacted and invited to submit paper for peer review
  • Only papers which score sufficiently high in this process are accepted for publication and presentation at conference.

CSRDE accepted proposals for this year’s symposium via online submission through April 3, 2015. We are particularly interested in papers, panels, tutorials, and posters which address current, evidence-based research that advances knowledge in student retention and success. Proposals are submitted to address audience participants at introductory, intermediate, or advanced levels of experience.

Below are the presentation tracks. The Call for Proposals provides details about each track and the entire process.

  • Transfers and Retention
  • Retention and Special Populations
  • First-Year Student Success
  • Beyond the First Year Retention
  • Academic Advising
  • Faculty: Teaching Excellence, Learning Engagement and Retention
  • Online and Distance Students
  • Data, Technology, and Methods
  • Theoretical Models of Student Retention and Success
  • Graduate Student Retention
  • Programs and Initiatives

All accepted papers are considered for the following annual prizes, which are awarded to the winners' institutions: Best Practices in Student Retention Award ($2,000); Institutional Research Leadership in Student Retention Award ($1,000); and the Director's Award ($750). In addition, poster submissions will be judged on-site for the Best Poster Award ($500). Please see our News page for the press release on last year's winners.


Past Symposiums

New to our annual conference? Check out some of our previous symposiums.

Here's a list of outstanding speakers from previous National Symposium of Student Retention events.



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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