OU hosts Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

OU hosts Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference
More than 600 higher education professionals from 64 higher education institutions and eight non-profit organizations from throughout the United States and Canada gathered for the 2018 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference.

More than 600 higher education professionals from 64 higher education institutions and eight non-profit organizations from throughout the United States and Canada gathered at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center earlier this month for the 2018 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference, hosted by Oakland University and sponsored by The Kresge Foundation.

This year’s event, “Closing the Gap,” focused on closing the gap between college access and college completion for all students. The conference brought together experts and practitioners who focused on how to close that gap and provide all students with the opportunity for social mobility through education.

“This year we wanted to focus on the significant challenges facing colleges who are enrolling a larger and more diverse population that is less prepared,” said Krista Malley, director of the Office of Student Success at OU. “The good news is the diversity of our student populations has increased with underrepresented minorities, first generation students, students with disabilities, and immigrant students seeking college degrees. The bad news is they are not completing their degrees at a high rate and we need to move that statistic in the right direction.”

The conference was headlined by keynote speakers Tim Renick, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, vice provost, and professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University; Sanford (Sandy) Sugart, president of Valencia College in Orlando, Fla. and Saundra Yancy McGuire, director Emerita of the Louisiana State University Center for Academic Success and retired assistant vice chancellor and professor of chemistry.

Attendees heard welcoming remarks from Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and then had the choice of participating in seven of the more than 50 breakout sessions during the conference. Topics for discussion ranged from serving students with mental health concerns to holistic advising, and from understanding the cultural difference among international students to making sure students understand the link between college majors and career opportunities.  One session looked at student success by racial subgroup in Michigan colleges while another used a case specific example of student success at Indiana University Kokomo. Throughout the conference, there was also time allotted for networking and best practice discussions for the participants.

Oakland University founded the student success conference to create a forum for Michigan's universities and community colleges to come together to share strategies and innovations to improve student success and college completion.  Due to its overwhelming success, the conference went regional in 2017 and continued to grow its reach again this year.

Malley added, “We already have a date of March 21 and 22 for the 2019 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference back in Detroit and hope you will mark your calendars now to be in attendance.”  

About the Office of Student Success and Experiential Learning

The Office of Student Success promotes campus-wide initiatives for all OU students with an emphasis on academic engagement and community involvement that encourages student persistence to graduation. By integrating academic work, learning in the community and collaboration across campus, the office helps guide students throughout their academic journey. The office supports student retention by helping students make the most of their second academic year, aiding those short on credits, guiding displaced workers through the workforce development system, providing assistance to those falling behind in a course, and assisting in an overall effort to help student complete their degree.

Find out how you can get plugged into the Office of Student Success by visiting the office at 157 North Foundation Hall, calling (248) 370-4480 or emailing studentsuccess@oakland.edu.

President Pescovitz made opening remarks
Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz made opening remarks.
Tim Renick was a keynote speaker
Tim Renick was a keynote speaker at this year's Student Success Conference. He spoke about Creating a Student-Centered University Through Data and Analytics.
Sanford Shugart
Sanford "Sandy" Shugart was the lunch keynote speaker at this year's Student Success Conference.
Saundra McGuire was a keynote speaker
Saundra McGuire was a keynote speaker at this year's Student Success Conference. She spoke about Metacogntion: The Key to Closing the Gap!
conference organizers
From left, Susan Awbrey conference founder, Glenn McIntosh conference closer, and Krista Malley and Anne Hitt conference organizers.