Parent Page: Symposium id: 32961 Active Page: Call for Proposalsid:33482


The Call for Proposals Process

Professionals in Higher Education are invited to submit a proposal for the National Symposium on Student Retention. This is an opportunity to share your programs, research, and new ideas with a diverse group of your peers. NSSR is distinguished from other conferences in that all papers presented at the symposium have gone through a multiple stage review process and have been published in the conference proceedings.

  • Authors submit proposals for papers, panels, tutorials, coffee talks, pre-conference workshops, facilitated discussions, and posters.
  • Proposals are reviewed for appropriateness of topic, method of information dissemination, and proposed treatment of research.
  • If the proposal is accepted, authors of papers and panels are contacted and invited to submit a paper for peer review. All other presentation types do not require a paper.
  • Papers that score sufficiently high in this process are accepted for publication and presentation at conference.

Submitting Your Proposal

Begin by Reviewing the Call for Proposals Document

We are particularly interested in proposals that address current, evidence-based research advancing knowledge in student retention and success. Proposals are submitted to address audience participants at introductory, intermediate, or advanced levels of experience.

Presentation Tracks

Academic Advising

The focus of this track will be the role of academic advising in student development and success. Techniques and proven models and practices are examples of the topics to be included.

Beyond the First Year Retention

CSRDE data indicates that the overall percentage of freshmen who do not continue after the second year and subsequent years is often equal to the percentage of students that do not continue after the freshman year. Proposals in this track will discuss what is being done to sustain institutional retention initiatives beyond the first year, research on students that do not persist during or after the second year and beyond to better understand this phenomenon, and retention interventions for these students.

Data, Technology, and Methods

Proposals in this track will provide presenters with an opportunity to share analytical methods, statistical applications, or technology that is useful in the study of student retention issues. Specific topics of interest could include assessment methodologies for identifying at risk populations, data mining techniques, and evaluation of retention initiatives.

Faculty: Teaching Excellence, Learning Engagement, and Retention

The quality of student engagement in academic endeavors as well as the relationships they develop with faculty play a critical role in the success of students. Proposals are sought which highlight the importance of faculty-student interactions in retention. Examples might include the redesign of “gate keeping” courses which improve learning in order to increase the numbers of completers. Models of faculty mentorship, faculty-student research collaborations and other faculty led activities which have been demonstrated to improve student retention and completion are sought. Evaluation of new learning modalities intended to improve learning and student retention would also be welcome.

First-Year Student Success

This track will focus on strategies and programs that have been proven to help first-year students succeed. Examples might include first-year experience, orientation, and summer bridge programs.

Graduate Student Retention

This track will address issues related to the success of graduate students. Topics might include: tracking graduate student retention and graduation data; what strategies keep these students enrolled; what impedes their completion; and what are the special needs of this population.

Online and Distance Students

Proposals in this track will address topics impacting or relating to the retention and completion of online and distance students. Topics may include: identification of characteristics of online/distance students at risk for drop-out; patterns of course taking and their relation to retention and completion; variables related to the successful retention and program completion with online students; methodologies for capturing retention and completion rates of online students; or policy changes or curriculum modifications that have favorably impacted online student retention and graduation.

Programs and Initiatives

Proposals in this track will discuss innovative programs and institutional initiatives at either 4-year or 2-year institutions which have been demonstrated to improve student retention and success. Papers that include a clear evaluation component which measures the effectiveness of the initiatives/interventions in improving retention and completions are preferred. Papers on new promising programs with preliminary findings will be considered. In some cases, papers on initial implementations will be invited to present as a poster or within a panel. General topics in this category might include: institution-wide, multi-faceted initiatives; early alert programs; intervention programs (for poor math or English skills); or learning communities.

Retention and Special Populations

The focus of this track will be to address the status of diverse student populations and retention efforts directed toward these groups, including but not limited to: minority students, military students, science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors (STEM) or other academic majors of concern, community college transfers, non-traditional and remedial.

Theoretical Models of Student Retention and Success

This track focuses on concepts, principles, or relationships between concepts and principles, which affect the student retention life cycle. Examples might include research on theories of engagement; student perception; prediction of retention and graduation; and the influence of student, institutional or external variables (e.g. economy) on retention.

Transfers and Retention

Proposals in this track will explore a variety of issues related to transfer student retention, at community colleges and/or four year institutions. Topics may include but are not limited to: orientation, preparation, and integration of transfers into campus life; compare and contrast approaches to first-time freshman and the transfer population; examining institutional retention/graduation rates of transfers; and data collection issues.

Best Practices Awards

All accepted papers are considered for the following, which are given to the winners’ institutions: Best Practices in Student Retention Award (trophy), Institutional Research Leadership in Student Retention Award (plaque), and the Director’s Award (plaque). In addition, poster submissions will be judged onsite for the Best Poster Award (plaque). See our blog to read about the winners from NSSR 2023.

Important Dates
4/5/24 Proposal submission deadline
4/19/24 Notification of acceptance
5/24/24 Paper submission deadline
6/5/24 - 6/12/24 Paper review and decision process
7/18/24 Notification of paper acceptance
9/1/24 Deadline for presenters to register

“Presentations are well selected and accurate to the description. They showcase best practices at various stages of development too.”