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Office of the Provost

Conference Agenda

Please click on the session titles below to access the respective presentation. 

9:15 am - 10:00 am
Gottesman Room
Check-in and Continental Breakfast
10:00 am - 10:15 am
Gottesman Room
Welcome remarks and framing the day:
Nira Herrmann, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Sue Maxam, Assistant Vice President for Student Success
10:15 am - 11:30 am
Gottesman Room
Keynote Presentation by Pace President Krislov
followed by Q&A with President Krislov and President Baston, Rockland Community College 
11:30 am - 11:45 am Networking break
Workshop Session I (select 1 out of 4)
11:45 am - 12:30 pm
David Johnston, Dr. Chaka Felder-McEntire
Dr. Danielle Insalaco-Egan, Dr. Daniel Ambrose
Alexandra Yanovski
Dr. Maren Westphal, Dr. Sophie Revillard Kaufman
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch and remarks:
Vanya Quiñones, Incoming Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (PPTX)
Workshop Session II (Select 1 out of 4)
1:45 pm - 2:30 pm
Dr. Delores Sarfo-Darko
Dr. Kimberly Collica-Cox, Eleni Demestihas, Dr. Brian R. Evans, Dr. Sue Maxam, Dr. Anna Shostya
Bernard Gantt, Octavio Melendez, Melanie Robles, Ben Levine, Anyikem Asong
The Impact of Gender on Student Success and Persistence to Graduation
Jennifer Steadman, Elizabeth Kendall, Jessica Zolciak, Ren Brockmeyer, Tami Devine Fagan,  Bret Boudreaux, Amy Barzach
2:30 pm - 2:45 pm Networking break
Roundtable discussions (select 1 out of 7)
2:45 pm - 3:15pm
Righting Students’ Paths:  Retention, Academic Success, and Campus-wide Writing Culture
Michael Turner, Dr. Robert Mundy
The Role of the Academic Library in Student Retention and Persistence
Katelyn Angell
Leila Valoura
Effectively Engaging and Supporting Our Veteran Students
Dr. Darren Hayes, Vanessa Herman, Bonita Rodriguez, Jacob Conner, Timothy Tenney, Robert Diaz
Dr. Edward Callen
Alan Kramer
Dr. Adelia Williams
3:15 pm - 4:00pm
Gottesman Room
Concluding remarks, closing reception, and raffle 


Session Abstracts

Retention: Stitching Together all the Factors
David Johnston, Director; Dr. Chaka Felder-McEntire, Executive Director of Higher Heights Retention, Center for Higher Education Retention Excellence

Retention – success in higher education to graduation and beyond – is a major goal for all of us in higher education. But who “controls” the process, the pathway? Really, only the students and their capacity to persevere. However, there are many ingredients to retention and they stretch from the K-12 experience to the summer after high school graduation to first year and onward to that “final goal.” What are those pieces? What silos do they inhabit? This workshop will outline the “continuum” of retention factors and provide a summary of things that if “we” (all silos) did well, nearly everyone would graduate. For example, “seamless counseling/support,” generally provided by community-based agencies, has proven to increase retention in those communities with such programs.

Supporting the Invisible Student: The Lessons Learned from a Case Study on Institutional Interventions that Support Low-Income Student Undergraduate Degree Attainment
Ron Wiafe, Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Gettysburg College

This session is a great opportunity to learn more about some institutional solutions that support low-income student success. Supporting low-income student success is a complex job that is often isolated to specific offices or non-existent in an institution’s priorities. An overview of the pertinent information for low-income student success will be presented and participants will engage in an exercise to create institutional solutions. Engaging in this activity will magnify the complexities of low-income students and allow the participants to reflect on the comprehensive task of supporting this population. The session will conclude with a discussion on the findings from a case study about the institutional interventions that support low-income student undergraduate degree attainment. Ultimately, this session will allow professionals to reflect on the challenges of low-income students and present some intriguing practices to improve the graduation outcomes for this population.

Moving Forward: Lessons Learned from the Last 10 Years of Risk Modeling
Alexandra Yanovski, Assistant Director for Undergraduate Strategic Initiatives, Temple University

Since the fall of 2007, offices of Undergraduate Studies, Institutional Research and a group of advising representatives from Temple University's 12 schools and colleges, Honors Program, Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Housing, Financial Aid and Care Team have been working together to develop and implement an experimental program designed to target students at risk of leaving Temple prior to their sophomore year. This presentation is a synopsis of what we have learned in the last ten years and the summary of interviews we have conducted with academic advising directors who were supervising those tasked with reaching out to students on the risk list.

The Role of Campus-Based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs to Increase Resilience to Stress and Promote Retention
Dr. Maren Westphal, Assistant Professor of Psychology; Dr. Sophie Revillard Kaufman, Assistant Dean for Grants and Strategic Initiatives, Adjunct Associate Professor, Pace University

Research has revealed increasing rates of depression and anxiety among college students. Untreated mental health problems can negatively affect retention by contributing to social isolation and poor academic performance. Yet relatively few students with mental health problems seek treatment from university counseling services, in part owing to mental health stigma, which disproportionally affects students from first generation, ethnic minority, or socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Embedding campus-based stress-reduction interventions in an academic course and experiential workshops offered in residence halls and other key units within the institution can provide a non-stigmatizing avenue to promoting emotional well-being and resilience. This workshop introduces Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a preventative program found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression in diverse populations. We will present data on the prevalence of mental health issues in college students, summarize scientific support for MBSR, describe program components that are particularly relevant for retention efforts, and demonstrate selected mindfulness practices.

Supporting Low-Income, First-Generation Students: Five Strategies for Increasing their Success to Graduation
Dr. Delores Sarfo-Darko, Academic Advisor/Retention Specialist, University of Saint Joseph

The purpose of this study was to discover the perceptions of the effects that mentoring programs have on the graduation rates of low-income, first-generation undergraduate college students who participate in such programming. While mentoring is considered to be a critical and enriching retention tool for all students, and especially for underserved and disadvantaged minority students, there is scant research that compares the significant common denominators of the effectiveness of several mentoring programs. The research question is: How do mentoring programs influence Low-Income, First-Generation completion rates? Utilizing a qualitative, grounded theory design to address this critical issue and question, this study explored the perception of 12 expert participants throughout the United States who are program coordinators or directors, and former participants of mentoring programs.

The Pace Path to Retention Success: Student-Faculty Engagement Outside of the Classroom
Dr. Kimberly Collica-Cox, Associate Professor; Eleni Demestihas, Law Student; Dr. Brian R. Evans, Professor; Dr. Sue Maxam, Assistant Vice President; Dr. Anna Shostya, Associate Professor, Pace University

Faculty-driven activities outside of the traditional classroom, designed to enhance learning and create a sense of community, ultimately serve to increase student engagement, satisfaction, retention, and persistence to graduation. This panel presentation consists of faculty who effectively utilize experiential learning opportunities including real-world classroom applications, academic competition teams, student-faculty research, student conference travel, education abroad trips, civic engagement, and innovation funds to foster students' extracurricular involvement. Best practices around the nation on student-faculty engagement outside the classroom will also be presented along with data on the retention impact of such activities. Participants will leave this presentation with adaptable ideas for their own institutions!

Developing a Graduation Habit: Supporting Transfer Students
Dr. Danielle Insalaco-Egan, Assistant Dean of Student Support; Dr. Daniel Ambrose, Director of Mentoring and Student Success, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

With more than eighty percent of Guttman Community College graduates transferring to senior colleges each year, transfer planning is introduced in the freshman seminar, and is the substance of the advising curriculum beyond the first-year experience. The college has woven a narrative of transferring to a bachelor’s Program — developing a “graduation habit”—into courses, co-curricular programming, and degree planning. At the same time, faculty and staff are engaging in rigorous conversation about community college students’ preparation for their senior college experience. Guttman’s intentional approach provides a structured advising and mentoring curriculum in the second year that scaffolds planning and decision-making around transfer. This session will explore Guttman’s innovations around teaching and learning about transfer, such as ePortfolio planning modules, a Transfer Bridge Program, and a virtual learning community, that help promote a successful transition to a four-year college.

The Relationship Between Academic Advising and Student Retention
Bernard Gantt, Dean of Academic Services; Octavio Melendez, Director of Academic Success Center; Melanie Robles, Associate Director of ASAP; Martha Charles-Glenn, Success Coach; Anyikem Asong, Academic Success Coach, Bronx Community College

Advisors are instrumental in making the student’s educational experience personal by: Connecting a student’s personal goals to departmental curricula; providing an outline of the degree requirements for graduation; providing relevant information about career options and opportunities connected to the student’s degree choice; and assisting the student in creating an academic and financial plan for his/her degree program. In this session, the Dean of Academic Success and key members of the Academic Success Center will discuss strategies used by BCC Success Coaches to engage faculty, staff and students towards meeting specific goals: Academic success, retention and graduation. The presenters will highlight foundational research findings as well as benchmarks obtained since the implementation of the Success Coach Model.

The Impact of Gender on Student Success and Persistence to Graduation
Jennifer Steadman, Executive Director, Aurora Women and Girls Foundation; Elizabeth Kendall; Jessica Zolciak, Women in STEM program, Manchester Community College; Ren Brockmeyer, Director of Women and Girls’ Programs, YWCA Hartford; Tami Devine Fagan, Assistant Provost for Student Success and Retention, Bret Boudreaux, Director, Career Development and Employer Relations, University of St. Joseph; Amy Barzach, Executive Director, The Women’s Advancement Initiative, University of Hartford

This workshop will showcase an innovative partnership between a small foundation and several local colleges to develop and fund effective programs for female students’ persistence to graduation. The Aurora Women and Girls Foundation has focused its grantmaking on the goal of increasing the number of women in Greater Hartford successfully completing associate and bachelor’s degrees. This workshop will showcase the programs they have funded at area higher education institutions and the strategies and best practices these programs have implemented to address the gender specific needs of young women college students in Hartford.

Righting Students’ Paths: Retention, Academic Success, and Campus-wide Writing Culture
Michael Turner, Writing Center Coordinator; Dr. Robert Mundy, Writing Program Director, Assistant Professor, Department of English and Modern Language Studies, Pace University

This roundtable seeks to engage faculty in a dialogue about campus-wide writing instruction and the role that writing supports—or both instructors and students—play in that process. The session will focus primarily on how writing centers support student retention, academic success, and graduation rates; data from research at Pace’s Pleasantville Campus (PLV) and from other institutions will undergird this discussion. We will review the writing program at Pace PLV and recent revisions made to the core writing curriculum, writing center outreach and implementation of writing workshops in developmental classes, and the hiring of a Writing Enhanced Course Coordinator. Participants will then share their departmental and institutional objectives with regard to writing to begin to build a more robust network of writing support at Pace. The aim of our workshop is twofold: 1) begin a dialogue about writing instruction/support; and 2) commit to sustaining such talk to improve and further define the culture of writing we would like to offer here at Pace.

The Role of the Academic Library in Student Retention and Persistence
Katelyn Angell, Assistant Professor and First Year Success Librarian, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus

There is a growing body of scholarship demonstrating a positive relationship between library use and retention among college students. Academic librarians can make many contributions to student academic achievement and engagement, essential components of the important institutional goal of retaining students. In addition to teaching students information literacy skills needed to succeed as college level writers and researchers, librarians can help in increasing persistence, including fruitful partnerships with other departments, such as the writing center, career center, or first year programs. Librarians can also provide user-friendly and welcoming community spaces, creating dedicated first and/or second year librarian positions, building diverse collections reflecting student interests, and providing students with employment opportunities. Its centrality to the student academic and social experience exemplifies the significance of the campus library in retention and persistence discussions and initiatives.

What Does Cultural Intelligence Have to Do With Performance and Retention?
Leila Valoura, Faculty, Bristol Community College and Ed.D. Candidate at Northeastern University

Numerous studies show various positive outcomes from diversity, such as increased self-esteem, and greater academic achievement. In this context, cultural diversity has become the motto of colleges and universities in the United States. However, how can we truly achieve the benefits from diversity on campus? One method is creating an environment where different groups feel safe and empowered to interact in a meaningful way. Colleges and universities need to encourage and educate students to engage intelligently with different groups. This can be done through the development of cultural intelligence, i.e., “an individual’s capability to function and manage effectively in culturally diverse settings.” In this session, we will discuss the practice of cultural intelligence in the classroom to grow students’ feelings of validation, as well as the impact it has on their success and persistence to graduate.

Effectively Engaging and Supporting Our Veteran Students
Dr. Darren Hayes, Assistant Professor; Vanessa Herman, AVP Government & Community Relations; Bonita Rodriguez, Pace SVA President; Jacob Conner, Timothy, Tenney and Robert Diaz, student veterans, Pace University

Veteran undergraduates make up roughly 4 percent of the national student body and Pace University serves more than 300 student veterans. Dr. Darren Hayes, Pace Student Veterans Advisor, will discuss how our military veteran students have distinctive needs and sometimes a different perspective with regards to academic qualifications and career services. This discussion will also debunk many of the myths surrounding veterans in universities nationwide, and will involve both current enrolled veterans and Pace alumni, who will share their experiences about their education, career aspirations and successes. Ways in which we can increase enrollment and maintain strong rates of retention and graduation will be discussed. We will also provide an overview of UNV 101 for Veterans, a unique class that Pace offers to all incoming student veterans which will include a review of the fall 2017 syllabus and a discussion about the issues our student veterans are facing and how they are addressed.

Academic Advisement Strategies to Improve Retention and Progression
Dr. Edward Callen, Professor and Chair, University of South Carolina Aiken

This roundtable will share the strategic academic advisement-related recommendations for improved retention and progression at the University of South Carolina Aiken. The four categories of recommendations include: Organization Items, Programmatic/Process Items, Reporting/Communication Items, and Other Pertinent Recommendations. Initial successes and challenges will be discussed.

We Don’t Have to Do this Alone!
Alan Kramer, Co-Director, Center for Higher Education Retention Excellence (CHERE)

A group of educators from New York and Connecticut are in the process of creating a regional network to support student success and persistence initiatives, including college faculty and staff, K-12 public and private school leaders, state agency representatives, grant funders, community organizations supporting student success, etc. This session is devoted to exploring ways that we can collaborate to help with this work and need to expand in the future: Sharing ideas and program models, coordinating training to include multiple campuses, planning conferences that meet shared needs and even developing multi-college grant applications.

A Conversation about Faculty Role in Student Success
Dr. Adelia Williams, Professor, Modern Languages and Cultures, Pace University

According to Alexander Astin, UCLA HERI, “Student-faculty interaction has a stronger relationship to student satisfaction... than any other involvement variable, or indeed, any other student or institutional characteristic.” Using the 63 steps proposed in The Role of Faculty in Student Retention (prepared by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Academic Conference) as a point of departure, faculty will share strategies and methods they have used effectively in helping to improve their students’ success. These simple and accessible actions are not burdensome to faculty and provide impactful results. Topics will include faculty-student interaction, classroom management, and both student-and faculty- initiated activities. In a spirit of collaboration, we will discuss these practices within an effective and psychological framework, and will leave the session with a “Toolbox” of techniques.