Student Success

Supporting Student Success

The Kresge Foundation gifts grant to student success conference.

An OUWB student talks with a group of people

Kresge Foundation’s Education Program

icon of a calendarNovember 20, 2019

icon of a pencilBy Jennifer Hogan

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Engaging with students in an ever-changing world means keeping up with the pace of progress. That is why Oakland University, with generous support from The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program, is leading the way with the annual Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference. The conference convenes thought leaders and innovators around the issues of cultivating skills and knowledge for the purpose of helping students succeed in the world of higher education. 

The Kresge Foundation, based in metro-Detroit and committed to expanding opportunities in American cities, is the main sponsor of the conference. A $225,000 grant is helping to fund the initiative for years 2019 through 2021. As a result of this support, the conference has evolved from a statewide gathering to a regional event, attracting more than 500 participants in 2019 from 73 institutions throughout the Great Lakes region. 

In 2019, experts and practitioners at the conference focused on persistence and practice through various lenses, ranging from engagement and technology to resiliency and student success initiatives.

Dawn Aubry, James P Lentini, Glenn McIntosh and Krista H. Malley pose for a photo
Left to right: Dawn Aubry, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Enrollment Management, James P. Lentini, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, Academic Affairs, Glenn McIntosh, Vice President Student Affairs & Chief Diversity Officer, Student Affairs & Diversity, Krista H. Malley, Director for Student Success, Student Success.

“Maintaining the quality of the conference is critical,” says Krista Malley, Ph.D., director of student success and coordinator for the conference. “Our partnership with The Kresge Foundation allows us to attract nationally renowned speakers and offer innovative programming to a growing audience. As a result, it is one of the leading student success events in the country.”

Support from Kresge also funds institutional learning communities which provides an opportunity for higher education professionals to meet and explore key issues in student success. Additionally, webinars with student success topics such as metacognition and student engagement have encouraged more high-impact practices both in and outside of the classroom.

“With the recent addition of an advisory board, the Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference has shaped programming that reflects emerging questions and common challenges that professionals face day in and day out,” says Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director of the Kresge Foundation Education Program. “By creating opportunities for dialogue, the conference and ongoing learning communities help lay the groundwork for coalitions of institutions to partner in their efforts to improve degree completion for students throughout the region.” 

The conference and institutional learning communities parallel the Kresge Foundation Education Program’s focus on aligning and strengthening urban higher education ecosystems, building the capacity of institutions focused on low-income and underrepresented students and strengthening pathways to and through college. OU is proud to partner with Kresge in helping to fulfill this important mission.

“The Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference has become one of the most important gatherings of college access and success professionals committed to increasing graduation rates for under-represented students, first-generation students and transfer students,” says Bill Moses, managing director of Kresge’s Education Program. 

“Through careful stewardship and design, Oakland University’s Office of Student Success has transformed what was once a small meeting among Michigan institutions into a robust program attracting professionals from throughout the Great Lakes region, and across the nation,” he continues. “It attracts some of the country’s best-known student success experts and is replete with opportunities for meaningful dialogue about practices that help more students cross the degree-completion finish line.”

Special thanks to conference sponsors Civitas Learning, InfoReady, CARROT, Gardner Institute, MIACADA and ATS Printing.

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