2015 Conference



Over the next decade college enrollment growth is expected to slow from 3%  to 1%. National projections show that the numbers of high school graduates will continue to decline until 2020.   Only by expanding access to a more diverse student population will institutions be able to keep pace.  Higher education institutions need to focus on how to make this future generation of transfer students, first generation and underrepresented students successful. Such changes require that institutions of higher education reconsider their approach to preparing students for the future and their varied needs.  There is an urgent call to action.  Student success has been a salient topic at institutions of higher education for decades.  How success is measured by various stake holders will have lasting impact on the face of higher education.  More importantly the work done in this realm is essential to the students served and the broader social contexts of today’s society. This conference pulls together faculty, student affairs personnel and administrators to explore and examine research and best practices supporting student success in classroom, curriculum, and the campus community.

This year's conference features a keynote presentation by Freeman Hrabowski, one of Time magazine’s top ten university presidents, and a pre-conference workshop by one of last year’s most popular presenters, Paul Hernandez.  In addition, the conference will feature a variety of panel and individual presentations that focus on research, programs, and services shown to improve student completion rates. The goal of the conference is to share best practices that explore the university as a community and how working towards common goals, can foster student retention. 

Schedule at a Glance

View a preliminary draft of the conference program by clicking here .

Wednesday, february 11
TimeEvent Venue 
12:00 – 5:00 p.m.RegistrationRegistration Desk
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.Pre-Conference WorkshopsBreakout Rooms

Thursday, february 12
TimeEvent Venue 
7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.RegistrationRegistration Desk 
7:30 – 8:30 a.m.BreakfastPeninsula Grand Ballroom 
8:30 – 8:45 a.m.WelcomePeninsula Grand Ballroom 
8:45 – 9:45 a.m.Keynote - Freeman HrabowskiPeninsula Grand Ballroom
9:45 – 10:00 a.m.Transition TimePre-Function Area 
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.Concurrent Sessions 1Breakout Rooms 
11:00 – 11:15 a.m.Transition TimesPre-Functions Area 
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.Concurrent Sessions 2Breakout Rooms
12:15 – 2:00 p.m. Lunch & Keynote - Drew KochPeninsula Grand Ballroom 
2:15 – 3:15 p.m.Concurrent Sessions 3Breakout Rooms
3:15 – 3:30 p.m.Transition TimePre-Function Area 
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.Concurrent Sessions 4Breakout Rooms
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.Showcase/ReceptionPeninsula Grand Ballroom

Friday, February 13
TimeEvent Venue 
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.RegistrationRegistration Desk 
8:00 – 8:45 a.m.BreakfastPeninsula Grand Ballroom 
8:45 – 9:45 a.m.Concurrent Sessions 5Breakout Rooms
9:45 – 10:00 a.m.Break/Transition TimePre-Function Area 
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.Concurrent Sessions 6Breakout Rooms 
11:00 – 11:15 a.m.Break/Transition TimePre-Function Area 
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.Concurrent Sessions 7Breakout Rooms 
12:30 – 1:15 p.m.Lunch and RemarksPeninsula Grand Ballroom
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.Keynote - Terrell StrayhornPeninsula Grand Ballroom 
2:15 – 2:30 p.m.Closing RemarksPeninsula Grand Ballroom 
Freeman Hrabowski
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He also was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

In 2008, he was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC the nation’s #1 “Up and Coming” university the past five years (2009-13). During this period, U.S. News also consistently ranked UMBC among the nation’s leading institutions for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” – in 2013, other universities on the list included Duke, Cal-Berkeley, Princeton, and Brown. TIME magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents in 2009, and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012. In 2011, he received both the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award, recognized by many as the nation’s highest awards among higher education leaders. Also in 2011, he was named one of seven Top American Leaders by The Washington Post and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. In 2012, he received the Heinz Award for his contributions to improving the “Human Condition” and was among the inaugural inductees into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Leadership Hall of Fame.

He serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and universities and school systems nationally. He also serves on the boards of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation (Chair), T. Rowe Price Group, The Urban Institute, McCormick & Company, and the Baltimore Equitable Society. He served previously on the boards of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Maryland Humanities Council (member and Chair).

Examples of other honors include election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; receiving the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education, the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, the Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service, the GE African American Forum ICON Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Educational Research Association’s Distinguished Public Service Award, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) William D. Carey Award; being named a Fellow of the AAAS, Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) by the BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference, Educator of the Year by the World Affairs Council of Washington, DC, and Marylander of the Year by the editors of the Baltimore Sun; and being listed among Fast Company magazine’s first Fast 50 Champions of Innovation in business and technology, and receiving the Technology Council of Maryland’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He also holds honorary degrees from more than 20 institutions – from Harvard, Princeton, and Duke to the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, Haverford College, and Harvey Mudd College.

With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing underrepresented minorities in these fields. The program is recognized as a national model, and based on program outcomes, Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds (Oxford University Press), focusing on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science. He and UMBC were recently featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes, attracting national attention for the campus’s achievements involving innovation and inclusive excellence.

A child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, Four Little Girls, on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, Hrabowski graduated at 19 from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received his M.A. (mathematics) and four years later his Ph.D. (higher education administration/statistics) at age 24.

Paul Hernandez

Dr. Paul Hernande z  is an educator and social activist who believes at-risk students can get into and succeed in college if only we change the way that we work with them and relate to them. Before he was a college professor, and before he succeeded in community college and eventually graduate school, Hernandez was himself an “at-risk student” raised in the gang community of Los Angeles. Using his personal story as inspiration, Hernandez has become involved in and created a suite of initiatives designed to increase college access for at-risk students and to better support them when they arrive at college. From his highly acclaimed book The Pedagogy of Real Talk based on his pedagogical approach,  his nationally awarded “College 101” curriculum, and his involvement in the College Positive Volunteerism movement (CPV), Hernandez passionately conveys the importance of meeting students on their level, valuing them and helping them recognize their own strengths. Hernandez recently left his faculty position at Central Michigan University to work with the Universities, community colleges, non-profit organizations, and K-12 schools around the country to empower them to address their specific yet diverse educational needs. Dr. Hernandez is also currently working on his second book and other academic publications as well.

Conference planners are pleased to offer a pre-conference workshop facilitated by Dr. Hernandez:

Beating the Odds: Creating Pedagogies that Reach Students

The focus of this workshop is to share the creation of engaging alternative lessons or lectures that are used to engage and generate an interest with students in the classroom. A step-by-step guide will be presented on how to create alternative lessons and lectures that can be applied in any classroom. Participants will have the opportunity to create outlines for alternative lessons or lectures relevant to their respective fields for use in their classrooms.  (Additional Fee Required)

Terrell Strayhorn
Terrell Strayhorn, Ph.D., is Professor of Higher Education at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he also serves as Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE), Senior Research Associate in the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, and Faculty Affiliate in the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male and the Criminal Justice Research Center. He also served as founding director of the Center for Inclusion, Diversity & Academic Success (iDEAS) within the College of Education and Human Ecology. Prior to joining the faculty at OSU, Strayhorn served as Special Assistant to the Provost at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and founding director of the UTK Center for Higher Education Research & Policy (CHERP).

An acclaimed student success scholar and respected expert on issues of diversity, Professor Strayhorn is author of 8 books, including The Evolving Challenges of Black College Students (2010), College Students’ Sense of Belonging (2012), Living at the Intersections (2013), and Theoretical Frameworks in College Student Research (2013), to name a few. He has published more than 100 refereed journal article & book chapters and more than 150 papers at international and national conferences. Named "one of the most highly visible scholars in his field," by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Strayhorn has won numerous awards and in 2011, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named him one of the nation’s “Top Emerging Scholars.”

Dr. Strayhorn received a bachelor’s degree (BA) from the University of Virginia (UVA), a masters degree (MEd) in educational policy from the Curry School of Education at UVA, and doctorate (PhD) in higher education from Virginia Tech. He’s currently completing a law degree at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Drew Koch
Dr. Koch has been with the Gardner Institute since 2010. He currently serves as the Institute’s executive vice president. From 1998-2010, Dr. Koch held a variety of student persistence and completion-related roles at Purdue University including serving as the founding director of the nationally acclaimed Department of Student Access, Transition, and Success Programs. During his tenure at Purdue, the University increased first-to-second year retention rates by over 8 percentage points and six-year graduation rates by more than 6 percentage points. Before working at Purdue, Dr. Koch served as the Director of Freshman Advancement and Associate Dean at Hofstra University, and he also served as Assistant to the Dean of Summer College at the University of Richmond.

Dr. Koch holds a BA in history and German and an MA in European history from the University of Richmond, an MA in higher education from the University of South Carolina, and a PhD in American Studies from Purdue University. His research interests include student success, the role of colleges and universities in shaping democracy and culture in the United States, and the role of sport in U.S. culture and society.

During his twenty-year career, Koch has garnered substantive experience with undergraduate education administration, strategic planning, fund raising, reaffirmation of accreditation, and enrollment management. His work includes extensive grant writing and fund raising with support coming from sources such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Coca Cola, Lilly Endowment, Inc., Lumina Foundation for Education, the National Science Foundation, and Target Corporation. To date, Dr. Koch’s fund raising and grant totals exceed $11 million.

Dr. Koch is the author of an array of publications pertaining to student success, including the second, third, and fourth editions of The First-Year Experience in American Higher Education: An Annotated Bibliography, published by the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience. He has served on several boards and commissions, including the Indiana College Access and Success Network; the Directorate Board for the American College Personnel Association Commission on Admissions, Orientation, and the First-Year Experience; the Military Family Research Institute; the Higher Learning Commission’s Think Tank on Persistence and Completion; the National Advisory Board for the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition; and the editorial review board of the Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.


Dr. Koch's 2015 Conference Presentation