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Phone: 405-325-2158
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updated: 09/29/15

National Symposium on Student Retention


Blue sky New Orleans Skyline

Just one of the historic and scenic venues of New Orleans.

The Ninth Annual National Symposium on Student Retention
will be held in San Diego, California, November 4-6, 2013.

Below is information related to our 2012 conference for your review as you consider attending in the future.

Conference Details

Eighth Annual
National Symposium on Student Retention

Was Held on
October 29 - 31, 2012
New Orleans, LA


  • Dr. George D. Kuh was our special guest speaker
  • Optional Pre-conference Workshops
  • Two Full Days with your choice of fifty concurrent sessions with researchers in the field
  • Peer reviewed research that focuses on what works in student retention and success
  • Best Practices Luncheon included
  • Published Proceedings of the 8th Annual National Symposium on Student Retention which includes all accepted peer reviewed papers ($198 value) included in conference bag
  • Optional Group Trips and Activities!


About the Concurrent Sessions presented at the National Symposium on Student Retention

Brief Overview of Call for Proposals Process.

CSRDE is particularly interested in proposals for papers, panels, tutorials, and posters which address current, evidence based research that advances knowledge in the student retention and success fields. Proposals may be submitted to address audience participants at introductory, intermediate, or advanced levels of experience. However, authors should be aware that while we will have a few participants that are interested in introductory information, many of our participants are seeking more advanced levels of understanding.

The National Symposium on Student Retention is distinguished from other conferences in that all papers presented at the symposium have gone through a multiple stage peer-review process and have been published in the conference proceedings. Authors submit abstracts on proposed papers, panels, tutorials. etc. Those abstracts are reviewed for the appropriateness of the topic, the method of information dissemination, and the proposed treatment of the research. If the abstract is accepted, the first author is contacted and invited to submit a paper for peer review. The peer review process is multi-staged and only those papers which score sufficiently high in this process are accepted for publication. The authors are then invited to present.

The Call for Proposals is closed.

Questions?  Call 405-325-2158.


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.


Keynotes & Invited Speakers

Picture of Dr. KuhDr. George D. Kuh will be our special guest speaker this year. Kuh is Adjunct Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Illinois and Chancellor's Professor of Higher Education Emeritus at Indiana University Bloomington. He currently directs the National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment co-located at Indiana University and the University of Illinois, and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). Founding director of the widely-used National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Kuh has written extensively about student engagement, assessment, institutional improvement, and college and university cultures, as well as consulted with more than 350 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to High-Impact Practices (2008) produced as part of the AAC&U LEAP initiative, his two most recent books are Student Success in College: Creating Conditions That Matter (2005, 2010) and Piecing Together the Student Success Puzzle: Research, Propositions, and Recommendations (2007). In 2001, he received Indiana University's prestigious Tracy Sonneborn Award for distinguished career of teaching and research. Kuh earned the B.A. at Luther College, M.S. at St. Cloud State University, and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa.


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 and strategies and best practices of four-year and two-year institutions.
  • Promote opportunities for dialog, networking, and shared understanding between colleagues who are working on issues related to student retention and success.
  • Identify useful research and resources for supporting student success through the entire retention life cycle, from enrollment through graduation. 


Conference Schedule

Download the full Schedule as of October 15, 2012.

The National Symposium on Student Retention begins with an optional Group Activity on the afternoon of Sunday, October 28, 2012. The "Swamp Tour" requires separate, pre-reserved tickets for participation. 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 venue.

Monday, October 29, 2012 is filled with pre-conference workshops. Half-day and full-day pre-conference workshops require separate registration. Because of the wide variety of eateries in close proximity to the conference hotel, participants attending pre-conference workshops will eat meals on their own. The Welcome Reception will be Monday evening.

Tuesday, October 30 and Wednesday, October 31, 2012 will mark two full days of conference programming. During each concurrent session period, the participants will have the choice of one of several presentations being presented in different conference meeting rooms within the Astor Crown Plaza Hotel.

Sunday, October 28, 2012   Tuesday, October 30, 2012
10:00 am-12:00 pm On site Registration   7:00 am - 5:00 pm Registration
1:00 pm- 5:00 pm Swamp Tour!
Optional Group Event.
Pre-paid/Pre-registration required.
  8:15 am - 9:30 am Morning Plenary Session
6:00 pm- 8:00 pm

On site Registration

  9:40 am - 5:00 pm Concurrent Sessions, including Poster Session in the afternoon
Monday, October 29, 2012   11:45 am - 1:10 pm Best Practices Luncheon (included w/ registration)
Sponsored by Starfish Retention Solutions
7:00 am - 4:30 pm Registration   Wednesday, October 31, 2012
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Pre-conference Workshops (Optional. Additional Registration required)

  7:00 am -
12:00 pm
5:00 pm-6:00 pm Welcome Reception and Poster Preview   8:15 am -
9:30 am
Plenary Address - Dr. George Kuh
    9:40 am - 3:55 pm Concurrent Sessions
      Adjourn Safe journeys home!


Pre-Conference Workshops
Monday, October 29, 2012. Lunch will be on your own.

Retention for Rookies
Half day: 8:00 – 11:30 am

Tim Culver, Vice-President of Consulting Services at 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 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.


Change and Student Success: Creating Real Change on your Campus
Half day: 8:00 – 11:30 am

Loralyn Taylor, Director of Institutional Research and Registrar at Paul Smith's College
Phil Taylor, Dean of Commercial, Applied and Liberal Arts at Paul Smith's College
Jaye Hilton, Executive Vice President of Weber Shandwick

A great idea does not guarantee great results.  We have all been there—a great idea, a daring initiative that flops because people do not make the changes necessary for success.  Change is difficult and changing your campus culture is even more difficult.  This hands-on workshop will show you how to plan for change using change management theory—the study of how people react, resist or embrace change—to plan a successful implementation.
Using Kotter’s Eight Stages for Creating Change as a framework, you will develop strategies to promote successful change while learning to anticipate and overcome common obstacles.  Your implementation plan will include: 

  • generating a sense of urgency
  • understanding of the need to change
  • forming a powerful change leadership team
  • developing a clear vision and strategy
  • using the power of stories to convey your vision
  • empowering people to action
  • motivating them with short-term wins

Appropriate for individuals or teams, this hands-on interactive workshop will give you the tools and motivation needed to tackle the student success challenges faced on your campus!

First-Time Freshmen and Transfer Students: Enhancing Their First-Year Experience at Your Institution
Full-day: 8:30 am – 4:30  pm

Bernadette Jungblut, Director of Assessment and Retention at West Virginia University
Charlene Stinard, Director of Transfer and Transition Services at the University of Central Florida

This workshop focuses on the transition to college or university of first-time freshmen (FTF) and students transferring from other institutions.  The facilitators emphasize the importance and value of working with students both prior to enrollment and during the first year with their new college or university community.  Workshop participants will have opportunities to:

  • Examine strategies for working with all FTF and transfer students prior to enrollment and during their first year
  • Design, implement, and assess pre-enrollment and first-year programs to promote all new students’ learning, engagement, and persistence
  • Identify at-risk students both prior to enrollment and during their first year
  • Create targeted interventions to promote academic integration and social engagement of at-risk students
  • Assess the impact of those interventions – both quantitatively and qualitatively
  • Maximize the impact of student support initiatives

We will focus on the following questions:

  • What do your retention, progression, and graduation data tell you?
  • How well are your admissions and enrollment processes connected to your student success initiatives?
  • What is the current role of your campus community in promoting student success initiatives?
  • What do (and don’t) you know about your existing student success initiatives?
  • What can you do to enhance existing and/or implement new student success initiatives?


Benchmarking Retention Data
Full-day: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Gerald McLaughlin, Associate Vice President, Enrollment Management and Marketing at DePaul University
Josetta McLaughlin, Associate Professor of Management at Roosevelt University
Richard Howard, Consultant

Being accountable for student success can be evaluated using benchmarking, but first one needs to develop a peer group. In this workshop seven steps for the development of successful benchmarking studies will be identified. Those steps will then be applied to a data set containing IPEDS and CSRDE retention data. Participants will follow the steps and will be provided an Excel based peer selection tool to conduct a proximity analysis called the Nearest Neighbor.

Understanding Students' Path to Graduation and Developing Action Plans to Address Persistence
Half-day: 1:00 – 4:30 pm

Catherine Andersen, Special Assistant to Provost for Student Success at Gallaudet University
JerriLyn Dorminy, Coordinator of Assessment, Curriculum & Retention at Gallaudet University

Regardless of the size, type or geographic location of an institution of higher education, or whether a students in a first-time freshman or  transfer student, one measure of effectiveness is the percentage of students who begin and subsequently graduate. When one understands the unique input variables students bring to an institution and understand and track their specific paths, intervention plans based on sound assessment data that lead to real improvements, can be developed.  This session will review the most current student retention data, and address the multitude of variables that become barriers for student success and identify and design interventions along students’ unique paths to graduation.  In addition, participants will do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) for their own institutions and develop a preliminary action plan to address their institutions’ retention issues.

Astins I-E-O Model will be used as the basis for the concept of a Path to Graduation.  Participants will learn about retention theory and how to translate this into practice. They will understand the importance of using data to make targeted interventions for students knowing that the underlying concept of the different paths students take is defined by both their entering characteristic and the experiences along the path to graduation.


Organizing an Integrative First Year Experience
Half-day: 1:00 – 4:30 pm

Michele Cuomo, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Queensborough Community College
Susan Curtis, Director of New Student Enrollment Services at Queensborough Community College
Victor Fichera, Principal Investigator for the Freshman Academy Assessment at Queensborough Community College

The presenters were instrumental in launching The Freshman Academies, a full scale initiative at Queensborough Community College. The Academies’  design and implementation represented  a strengthening of the College's commitment to student success with a focus on:

  • Providing a more coordinated student services and academic undergraduate experience;
  • Improving retention and graduation rates; and
  • Building students' commitment to their future education and lifelong careers.


























































Conference Registration Fees

Amount Before
September 1st
Amount After
September 1st

Registrants from CSRDE Member Institutions
(Click here to see if your institution is a member)
* Membership fees must be up to date to receive discount

Registrants from non-CSRDE Member Institutions
Contact the CSRDE office at to find out how your institution can join the 500 other colleges and universities in the consortium.

Items Included with your Registration    
Conference Bag on Check-In
Welcome Goodies on Check-In
Monday Welcome Reception
Tuesday Morning Plenary
Tuesday Best Practices Luncheon
Wednesday Morning Plenary
Choice of Many Concurrent Sessions, Panels, Posters, and Tutorials
Copy of the Proceeding of the 8th 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)
Pre-Conference Workshop Registration Fees
WorkShop I: Retention for Rookies (half-day) 8:00 – 11:30 am

Workshop II: Change and Student Success: Creating Real Change on your Campus (half-day) 8:00 – 11:30 am

Workshop III: First-Time Freshmen and Transfer Students: Enhancing Their First-Year Experience at Your Institution (full-day) 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Workshop IV: Benchmarking Retention Data (full-day ) 8:30 am – 4:30 pm


Workshop V: Understanding Students' Path to Graduation and Developing Action Plans to Address Persistence (half-day) 1:00 – 4:30 pm $75.00 $100.00
Workshop VI: Organizing an Integrative First Year Experience
(half-day) 1:00 – 4:30 pm
$75.00 $100.00
Additional Optional Items or Events    
Sunday Group Activity: Swamp Tour!
(Optional. Pre-paid/Pre-registration required)
$45.00 $45.00
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
* Must be purchased before or during conference. After conference the cost is $198.

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 October 1, 2012.

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

Please note that the conference bags will include a Participant List of all conference attendees.


Optional Group Event: Swamp Tour!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
$45.00 Pre-registration required

We'll be picked-up at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1:00 pm. We'll take an approximately 45 minute ride to the tour site, and then enjoy a 1.5 hour Swamp Tour. We'll then return to the hotel, arriving about 5:00 pm.

Will we see Cypress Trees and Alligators?
Yes, they are smack in the middle of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary (swamp country) that contains wetland suitable for the Bald Cypress and the Great Cypress. They conduct their tours on private property where there is no hunting allowed so expect to see alligators.

What makes this tour better than the rest?
This tour company conducts tours on private property and has been doing so for 12 years. This means no competition in the area, less boat traffic to scare the animals, and they can provide the most private tours possible. All of their Captains are born and raised on the Bayou and they travel through natural wetlands, swamp, and bayous throughout the tour.


Conference Hotel
Astor Crowne Plaza-New Orleans

The Astor Crowne Plaza located at the Gateway to the French Quarter where Canal Street meets Bourbon Street, is one of the most popular New Orleans hotels. The excitement of the French Quarter awaits you right outside the door of the Astor, unmatched among Bourbon Street hotels. Whether you are looking for world-renowned dining or the intoxicating sounds of New Orleans' Jazz or Blues – you are in the heart of it all. Few New Orleans Hotels offer easy access to nearby attractions like Harrahs Casino, the Aquarium of the Americas, Jackson Square, Morial Convention Center, Riverwalk Shopping, the New Orleans Sports Arena and the Superdome. This 693-room, AAA 4-Diamond, Bourbon Street hotel is the “Place to Meet” for business or pleasure. Check out the Astor Crowne Plaza - New Orleans website.

TO RESERVE YOUR HOTEL ROOM : Online Hotel Reservation link for the Astor Crowne Plaza - New Orleans, the Conference Hotel for the National Symposium on Student Retention. The special code is already included in the link. The special conference rate of $189/night is available until September 28, 2012 or until the block of rooms is full.

We cannot guarantee the special rate once the deadline has passed or when the block is full. If you want to stay in the conference hotel at the special rate, please register early!! If you have problems while reserving your hotel room, please call the Astor Crowne Royal Plaza Hotel directly at 504-962-0500 and ask for Reservations. Be sure to mention that you are with our symposium.


Transportation and New Orleans Information

A pdf map with details about New Orleans transportation, restaurants, museums, and more can be found by clicking here.


Vendor 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 attend the Eighth Annual National Symposium on Student Retention as an Exhibitor, Vendor or Sponsor. 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.

Download Vendor Information and Application. (pdf)

Download Exhibitor Rules and Regulations. (pdf)

Download Shipping Instructions. (pdf)

If you have any other questions, contact Sandra Whalen at 405-325-2158.


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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