2018 Presentations

Keynote Speakers

Keynote I | From Theory to Results: Sense of Belonging as an Innovative Strategy for Student Success

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, Interim Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs and Professor of Urban Education, LeMoyne-Owen College

In an era of data analytics and disruptive innovations, what’s really needed are theory-based models for framing college student success as a function of key factors and experiences. Prior research has shown the limits of traditional “box and arrow” models that oversimplify the nuances of student lives. Since 2008, Dr. Strayhorn has been studying sense of belonging in college contexts and posited his model for student success. In this keynote, he will (re)present the model, based on his newest 2018 book, frame belonging as an innovative, disruptive innovation that provides evidence-based strategies for easing student adjustment, nurturing their efficacy, and ensuring their success in 2- and 4-year colleges. Come to learn; leave inspired and ready to move the needle!


Keynote II | A Community of Care: Disrupting the Traditional Student Success Model

Dr. Tonjua Williams, President of St. Petersburg College

Dr. Williams, president of St. Petersburg College will share her experience growing up and how many mentors “stood in the gap” to help her succeed – not only her academic journey, but also shaping her vision and values to work hard to overcome barriers. Helping students achieve upward economic mobility and a livable wage should be at the core of all we do. The path to get there is different for each student and our traditional support systems need to be disrupted in order to meet students where they are at. Dr. Williams will describe how supporting today’s student requires new approaches, new partnerships and new ways of thinking.

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Keynote III: Why and How Community Colleges are Building on the Completion Agenda

Josh Wyner, College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute

Students attend college to complete a degree because doing so will prepare them for a more fulfilling life and career.  Excellent community colleges enable students to achieve their goals by improving what happens within the college with students long-term goals in mind.  That requires moving beyond traditional measures of access, retention, and completion to also include students’ post-graduation success.  And, it requires that community colleges cultivate strong partnerships with multiple community-based partners, including K-12, universities, employers, and community-based organizations (CBOs) – partnerships essential to ensuring that students move from high school and underemployment to good jobs and bachelor’s degrees, having the supports they need to complete their credentials along the way.  During his keynote address, Josh Wyner, Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of Aspen’s College Excellence Program, will share best practices that community colleges are using to meet this goal with a special emphasis on the role of CBO partners


Keynote IV: Completion Reconsidered: The Future of Student Success in a World of Disruptive Innovation

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, President of Amarillo College

Amarillo College (AC) learned and verified poverty as the greatest barrier to student success in higher education. AC created a social service intervention for the 72% of AC students who struggle with at least one poverty hurdle. This poverty focus, the institutional reformation it created, and the dramatic increases in student success brought national attention to the Texas Panhandle. The Atlantic (June 2018) featured AC’s systemic approach to poverty and the power of intentional leadership for improvement. The Hope Lab, with Dr. Goldrick-Rab, released a full case study (June 2018) verifying the veracity of the systems change and how AC reimagined and redesigned the institution to love the students it has, rather than the students it thought, or wished it had. This address will detail the theory of change and call us all to reimagine higher education.


Concurrent Sessions

Session 1-1 | The Plight of the Adult Learner: Righteous Leadership is a Must

Presenter: Kirk Smith

We will explore character traits that successful instructors and leaders have in common that transcend institutions of higher learning, businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and institutions of all types. When righteous leaders lead they bring out the best in others; helping them reach their full potential. My goal is to encourage faculty and staff to be intentional leaders of hope and change.

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Session 1-2 | The Changing Role of the Department Chair

Presenters: Ann Tate, Kevin Morris, Dawn Eaton, and Kim Delauro

At San Jacinto College, the role of the department chair has changed significantly from the traditional model. A twelve-month position in which chairs receive additional compensation and incentives for performing this assignment; the new department chair structure allows for efficient communication, enhanced supervision, long-range planning, proactive problem-solving, data driven decisions, faculty development, and innovative projects. Participants will learn how this new structure was developed, costs involved, and its implementation.

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Session 1-3 | Titans Preventing Violence, One Green Dot at a Time

Presenters: Dr. Laura Sidoran and Barbara Kennedy

This interactive presentation describes the experience with the partnership between Eastern Florida State College (EFSC), the Brevard County Women’s Center, and the Green Dot Initiative. The nationwide initiative was conceived in the college setting, and supported by the Department of Education, to help prevent power-based personal violence such as stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, and bullying. It relies on the premise that if everyone does their small part and commits to individual responsibility, the combined effect is a safe campus culture that is intolerant of violence.


Session 1-4 | Restructuring the Academic Course Schedule to Promote Enrollment and Retention

Presenters: Dr. Chad Crumbaker and Jeremy Starkey

The presentation will instruct institutions on how to effectively review and create the academic course schedule and the impacts it has on enrollment and retention.  The schedule needs to be student focused and prepared so they are able to take the courses needed to progress in their academic maps.  Also, another benefit of the restructure of the course schedule allows for cost savings for the institution.

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Session 1-5 | Stories of Equity and Empathy Building at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Presenters: Dr. Kelly Ball and Mohammed I.T. Bey

NWTC Welcomes Everyone.  Creating an equity-minded environment means dismantling barriers facing diverse populations by investing in policies, practices, behaviors leading to success for all. But what are these barriers? How well do we know what our students are experiencing? In what ways are these experiences affecting their ability to learn? NWTC, 2018 AACC Advancing Diversity Award Finalist, shares intentional strategies and the best practices learned from listening to 2,800+ student voices collected from an in-house climate survey.


Session 2-1 | Your Students Expect A Personalized Journey – Texting Is Not Enough

Presenters: Jim Chase, Trace Johnson, and Keith Renneker

Can data really be intelligent enough to alter behavior and optimize a student’s journey? Data is everywhere today. It’s easily accessible, mostly relevant, occasionally contextual and normally delivered on time. Every department on campus “knows” their students in the context of the department’s role, workflows and processes, and can be successful in helping students solve problems. But what happens to students who don’t know where to turn or don’t even realize they need help until it’s too late?

 How can you prevent the “too late” scenario? How can you satisfy ever-changing expectations? How do you combine the data sitting in silos with individual, personal indicators, to understand students and their likelihood to enroll, persist and succeed? How do you turn data points into an information network of relationships and guidance? Can Artificial Intelligence have an attitude?

 Attend this session presented by Microsoft, Discourse Analytics and Campus Management and learn how you can combine data, behavioral indicators and ‘Attitudinal AI’ to benefit your students. Discover how you can create individual action plans for students that adapt to their evolving needs through automation, AI, predictive analytics, machine learning, and more.


Session 2-2| Giving Online Diverse and Underserved Students a Leg Up on Student Success

Presenter: Cindy Hewitt and Nicole Scott

Indiana Tech’s online programs are a successful draw throughout the United States. Many of their students’ represent diverse and under-served constituencies such as African American, Hispanics and females.  Indiana Tech has configured a comprehensive integrated support system for first year, under 30 credit students, who are most vulnerable to a lack of success from the moment of enrollment through their first courses.  Key to the program’s success are enabling technologies that help to deliver and track a human connection to the student in the form of coaches, tutors, advisers, etc.  Indiana Tech tracks and measures the impact of this program and attendees will learn of the program’s elements and the success generated from this integrated effort.

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Session 2-3| Student Affairs Assessment Academy at Columbus State Community College

Presenter: Julio Moreno and Dr. Desiree Polk-Bland

Nationally, as Colleges develop and implement more student success strategies and make decisions about activities to focus on, it is critical to our work that Student Affairs departments develop capacity for assessment/research in their areas so that we can continue to develop effective practices, make data-based decisions about where our resources should be concentrated, and share outcomes with the campus community and beyond.  The Columbus State Assessment Academy was designed to meet this need; creating a culture of data-driven decision making and building assessment skills in student affairs. Participants will learn how the ins and outs of creating an Academy and walk away with an outline of what this might look like on their campus.

Session 2-4 | Using Public Health Tools to Address Student Needs

Presenter: Will Baldwin

How can community and state colleges combat the paradox of serving populations who need services the most in spite of not having the same access to resources as the universities? The purpose of this session is to explore various public health tools that are available to colleges for addressing health, wellness, and basic needs security. These tools include the ACHA’s National College Health Assessment, Healthy Campus initiative, HOPE lab’s Guide to Assessing Basic Needs Insecurity, and the MAPP planning process.

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Session 2-5 | Gradguru – How the Right Message at the Right Time Can Transform A Student’s Path

Presenter: Catalina Ruiz-Healy

Today’s students are under constant pressure to keep up with the newest information and advances, all while trying to stay on track and achieve goals. Now imagine a first generation student or one who is working 30 hours a week. How do they balance constant deadlines, events, and course selection to ensure they graduate? Mobile applications can be the answer. This session explains how mobile nudges and notifications increase student persistence and retention. Participants will learn how advisors, faculty, administrators and students work together to improve a student’s trajectory. See how GradGuru is partnering with Community Colleges to deliver mobile advising right to students’ phones.


Session 3-1 | Reimagining Collaborations with K-12: Reach Out. Review. Revise. Report. Repeat

Presenters: Dr. Kelly Hogan and Lauren Jones

A recent publication (May 2018) by Zinth and Barnett on Promising Practices from the Education Commission of the States made the case for reaching more students in dual credit programs by expanding access to middle-achieving students and by providing more college readiness opportunities to lower-achieving and middle-achieving students while in high school.  Offering a how-to discussion on building connections to reach this broader audience is the natural next step for those of us who want to ready the great number of young people who may question their abilities, options, and aspirations.

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Session 3-2 | SPC Fostering Achievement Program – Helping Foster Care Alumni Achieve their Post-secondary Educational Goals

Presenters: Cheryl Kerr, Deborah Eldridge, and Todd Smith

St. Petersburg College’s Fostering Achievement Program is in its development stages as a formalized program, however, much work has been done to support students who have experienced foster care and their goals of pursuing higher education. Individuals from different areas of SPC will share how they became involved in this effort and how SPC plans to grow and expand their program. Partnerships and collaboration are the key to success and we will share how we have partnered with DCF, our local community-based care agencies, the Positive Pathways Network, Florida Reach and other organizations across the state to support this student population as they pursue independence and a successful transition into adulthood.

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Session 3-3 | Ask Pete!: Using Chatbot / Artificial Intelligence to Deliver Immediate Student Services and Social Service Information

Presenters: Max Shure, Michael Bennett, Lee Ann Wolfenden

St. Petersburg College is implementing an artificial intelligence chatbot for ALL Student Services to provide immediate feedback and social services information to students. SPC is also pursuing partnership opportunities with community agencies to leverage their expertise and expand our “Community of Care.”

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Session 3-4 | Strategies for Increasing Educational Attainment Among Underserved Populations

Presenters: Stephanie Leland and Dr. Carrie Henderson

During this session, participants will receive a broad overview of strategies that higher education leaders can use to launch, strengthen and deepen local, regional and statewide attainment efforts including making the case for educational attainment, tracking progress through data and developing local work plans. Following this overview, participants will learn about specific strategies that Florida College System institutions have established to overcome the underrepresentation of minorities in college completion.

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Session 3-5 | Leveraging Social Capital to Support Access and Completion of Underserved Populations

Presenter: Kerin Hilker-Balkissoon

This presentation will challenge participants to look beyond narrow classifications and data sets to more effectively identify and support high-need students at their institutions. The concept of Social Capital (defined as the depth and breadth of student social support networks, obligations and expectations, information channels, and norms and effective sanctions) will be introduced and presented as a frequently overlooked factor in successful post-secondary transition, retention, transfer, completion, and post-baccalaureate career attainment. Participants will review and discuss real-world student scenarios, and identify innovative opportunities and strategies to engineer purposeful and meaningful connections both inside and outside of the classroom. Participants will review replicable interventions and strategies that 1) holistically engage students and key stakeholder groups, 2) broadly and inclusively clarify student expectations and enhance access to information and resources, and 3) in practice have demonstrated strong, positive outcomes across measures of college access, success, retention, and credential completion for high need populations.


Session 4-1 | Assisting Students Experiencing Homelessness and Financial Distress

Presenter: Angela Newland Williams

Student homelessness on college campuses is a growing problem across the nation. The University of Central Florida has cultivated a multi-disciplinary approach to help best serve the needs of students, including utilizing case management, community and campus partnerships, and funding resources. Participants will learn about case management of homeless students from start to finish including: the student of concern process, financial aid and student account procedures, key partnerships on campus, and how support is built for this population. Theories behind the importance of addressing these students’ needs will be reviewed.

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Session 4-2 | Math Can Be An Opportunity and Not A 4-Letter Word

Presenters: Jimmy Chang, Lisa Borzewski, and Paula Ralph

This panel discussion will address issues students have about math anxiety and phobias, as well as student strategies to overcome them. Also included in the discussion will be promising careers which incorporate the use of mathematics.

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Session 4-3 | Addressing College Food Insecurity – The Magic Food Bus Project

Presenter: Trenton Wright

More than 2,051 students (over half of 4,101 annual unduplicated head count) at Middlesex Community College(MxCC) face food insecurity challenges and about 902 (22%) said they had gone hungry due to lack of money, based upon a recent national survey of community college students. Faculty and staff periodically, contact the Magic Food Bus (MFB) Coordinator, outside of normal operational hours, to address severe and immediate issues of student food need. This is occurring in the richest state based upon per capita income. Our solution was the establishment of a renovated school bus as a food pantry, and opened on September 16, 2016.

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Session 4-4 | Enrollment Development 2.0; A Look Into How Pathways Beings at the Point of Inquiry

Presenters: Tierra Smith and Trimeka Benjamin

Enrollment Development 2.0 explores how top institutions leverage career and academic pathways as the resource for prospect engagement and communication to increase enrollment conversions and retention.

During this session, there will be a platform for dialogue on lessons learned and high-impact practices for coaching recruitment, admissions and financial aid teams to think and engage with students contextually. You will leave this session with clear examples of how this philosophy is leveraged on various scales across the community college industry.


Session 4-5 | Eagan Warming Centers- A Community Partnership

Presenter: Brian Kelly

Lane Community College partners with the Egan Warming Center a program administered by St. Vincent DePaul Society Of Lane County, Oregon The Egan Warming Center is a coalition of community members representing service providers, religious congregations, nonprofit support agencies, social activist communities and local government who have come together to ensure that homeless people in Lane County have a warm and safe place to sleep when temperatures drop below 30 degrees between November 15th and March 31st.

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Session 5-1 | Year Up Student Services “High Support High Expectations”

Presenters: Charmaine Peart-Hosang, Extriara Gates, and Stephanie Jackson

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. The Opportunity Divide is the vast gap that exists between young adults from underserved neighborhoods, who are motivated to succeed but lack access to the resources that will enable them to do so, and Fortune 1000 companies who have sizable human capital needs and lack access to a viable pool of motivated and diverse talent.

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Session 5-2 | Empathy & Enlightenment: Encouraging Compassion for Success

Presenter: Christian Moriarty

The need for empathy in our society is as vital as ever. Our students face many obstacles in their lives getting to class and succeeding there, including transportation difficulties, family responsibilities, financial ability to pay for school, and a myriad of work schedules and obligations. One thing we as educators often miss considering and acknowledging is the effect these complications weigh on our students’ minds. Using a combination of quantitative-based research and applied classroom experience, this session will delve into the demographics, background, and the full picture of the students we all serve, strategies for communicating effectively with all stakeholders, and how applied empathy can lead to academic and economic success.

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Session 5-3 | Hunger & Homelessness: A 10-Point Plan Approach to Address Barriers in Education

Presenters: Erin Leduc and Karla Moore

As a community college, we find the challenges our students face outside the classroom are as important, if not more so, than inside the classroom. After participating in a national study on homelessness and hunger (Wisconsin HOPE Lab), we were shocked to find that 80% of our students struggle with one or more of these issues. In an intensive 10-point plan, we address many of the barriers to student success with committed, tangible, college-wide action.  Through a well-organized and thoughtful series of steps, we are bringing together the college community, non-profit organizations and area businesses to eradicate hunger and homelessness among our student body.

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Session 5-4 | Supporting Career Development Through Engaged Student Employment

Presenters: Christina Ingrassia and Dr. Ruthann Atchley

The University of South Florida, a leader in the student success space, has recently turned its attention to the development of career readiness competencies among its undergraduate student population. Using the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Career Readiness Competencies as a foundation, the university is moving all of its student employment opportunities from simple entry-level position types to more purposeful and meaningful employment experiences. Starting with Federal Work Study (FWS) positions, the university has designed an Engaged Student Employment model that essentially pays its students to learn and refine the essential skills that employers are looking for in interns and recent college graduate employees.

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Session 5-5 | All in! Engaging Faculty, Students, and Community in Building Student Support

Presenters: Nancy Silvestro and Dr. Dawn Norman

At Passaic County Community College (PCCC), we are implementing Guided Pathways using an institution-wide, faculty-supported approach, based on the Loss/Momentum Framework.  Working groups in each of the areas of the Framework include cross-institutional representation with faculty, staff, students and administrators working collaboratively to design and implement technology-based and person-to-person supports. Accomplishments so far include a new pathway advisement model that incorporates technology, promotes student autonomy and makes more efficient use of faculty expertise. The model also includes revised policies and practices that provide proactive student support for at-risk students.