Bridging the Equity Gap in Higher Education

Bridging the Equity Gap in Higher Education


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Build equity on your campus by focusing on retention and completion for historically marginalized students.


Students of color, first-generation students, and low-income students typically encounter the most barriers to retention and graduation at institutions. Research shows that low-income students are less likely to return to campus after the summer, first-generation students are less likely to graduate on time, and that Black and Latinx students are more likely to enroll part-time in college or take time away from their degrees. As universities navigate increased diversity in admissions, faculty and staff must focus on new efforts to retain and graduate undergraduate students from historically marginalized populations. Equity gaps in retention and completion often show that current practices are not enough to create an environment of support for historically marginalized and first-generation students.

Join us for this two-day virtual conference to discuss best practices for closing the equity gap in higher education. You will have the opportunity to hear from experts on how to break down siloes, how to use pre-college programs, and how to educate faculty and staff across campus to drive student success. You will also be able to network and plan with other faculty and staff initiating or continuing efforts to retain and complete students from historically marginalized groups on their campuses.


Who Should Attend

This event is designed for higher-education professionals and committees charged with improving retention or student success, which may include enrollment managers, student and academic affairs leaders, and assessment coordinators. Additionally, any faculty or staff interested in initiating or continuing efforts to close the equity gap at their institutions will benefit, as well. The conference will provide valuable content for leadership and frontline staff alike.


Follow Through With Success Coaching

Have you ever gone to a training only to find that you came back with great ideas but don’t have the time, support, or skills needed to make the changes?

Academic Impressions has produced thousands of trainings and we have learned that utilizing a coach after attending a conference helps provide accountability and bridges the training with the on-the-ground work of getting the job done.

As a result, we are now offering success coaching on select conferences.

  • Purchase this training + 3 one hour follow up success coaching calls
  • Work with an assigned coach who has extensive experience in higher ed.
  • Get individualized support to help you follow through on what you’ve learned.
  • Workshop your plans, run your ideas by someone and get additional help/practice.

To get success coaching, simply purchase the Conference and add Success Coaching during registration.

Learn More About Success Coaching

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts

See What Our Attendees are Saying

“The virtual design of this conference coupled with the amazing work of our program manager promoted a high level of engagement and sense of community among attendees. The speakers were knowledgeable and enthusiastic to share their experiences. It was a refreshing shift from long days of traditional meetings on Zoom!”

“This is the first time I’ve ever attended a virtual conference, and to be honest, I had low expectations. Well, I was wrong. I am very impressed with the platform used and the quality of the content shared. Oftentimes, these conferences only talk about ideas and what could work, but at this event, actual pathways and practical next steps were shared. Academic Impressions did a great job featuring quality speakers who were willing to share what they know.”

“Although the workshop was online, it felt as if the presenters were right there with us. All presenters were knowledgeable and really related the content to real work experiences. They were so willing to answer questions and offer assistance—I learned so much that I can apply.”

“Many conferences leave you with learning but not always sure how to turn that into action for your organization. There were actionable tips shared throughout the two days and tools provided to help move the learning into action. I am always impressed with Academic Impressions conferences and this virtual one did not disappoint.”

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


Optional Pre-Conference Discussion (Register at link below)

June 1, 2022 (All Times Eastern)


3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET
You are welcome to join us before the virtual conference for a one-hour discussion on supporting students’ emergency needs through on and off-campus partnerships. Although it is not necessary to attend this discussion in order to attend the conference, we recommend that you do so in order to make the most of the experience. Our expert Kristin Daiber will share how Western Carolina University has developed an off-campus partnership to help provide necessary services for students. We will also include time for attendees to brainstorm ways to make connections on their own campuses or in their local communities.


Day 1

July 11, 2022 (All Times Eastern)


Welcome & Introductions

11:00 – 11:15 a.m. ET



Identifying the Gaps in Retention and Completion on Your Campus

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
The opening session will help you figure out who the students are on your campus who face barriers to retention and graduation. You’ll learn where to find data and what data to look for in order to dig deeper into the student population. You’ll also gain understanding on why it is important to connect your data directly to individual student experience.



Developing Community Partnerships to Support Your Work

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. ET
Our expert speaker will focus on the importance of developing resources outside the institution to assist you with equitably managing student retention and completion. Institutions have limited resources and staff, so working with a community partner can help to guide and enhance your efforts. You’ll learn some examples of partnerships that other institutions have developed, and how those have worked to support their overall retention efforts, as well as the needs of individual students.




12:45 – 1:15 p.m. ET



Educating Faculty & Staff Across Campus

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. ET
Faculty and staff across campus are often connected with different groups of students, and they may be the first (or only) people on campus a student feels comfortable sharing with. Ensuring your frontline faculty and staff share the same messages and know what resources are available to students is essential to making sure students don’t get lost in the bureaucracy of your institution. In this session, you’ll examine how to educate faculty and staff on sharing the same messages and resources across the institution.




2:15 – 2:30 p.m. ET



Pre-College Programs and Student Success

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Now that you understand how to identify the students on your campus who might face barriers to graduation and retention, as well as some ways to fund new initiatives and who to educate on the equity gap, you should now begin to apply best practices before and during college to close the equity gap. Our expert speaker will discuss how pre-college programs can be used to successfully orient students to campus, as well as helping them to create meaningful connections before the academic year starts. You’ll take away useful ideas about how to start small and then expand your programs to encompass a more diverse range of students.



Day 1 Wrap-Up

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET
As we conclude our first day together, you will have an opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and connect with other attendees around shared challenges and opportunities.


Day 2

July 12, 2022 (All Times Eastern)


Optional Networking Session

11:00 – 11:15 a.m. ET
You’ll have the opportunity to meet with the speakers and other attendees of the conference and share your ideas about how to move forward.



Day 2 Opening Remarks

11:15 – 11:30 a.m. ET



Working Session: Planning for Pre-College and Education Interventions

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
We'll focus on the interventions shared on day one of the conference. This session will be geared toward helping you plan your next step for educating others on your campus about the equity gap. We’ll also include time for you to identify one thing you can do before the academic year starts in order to connect with students who may face additional barriers. You’ll work in groups to discuss and refine your next steps.



Building a Network of High-Touch Student Support

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. ET
Ensuring that students are supported proactively is one of the most effective ways to minimize the impact of barriers and create a sense of belonging for students on your campus. Students from historically marginalized or first-generation backgrounds may not feel comfortable reaching out to ask questions—or they may not know who to reach out to. Our expert speaker will discuss how creating a high-touch network of student support, including advising, success coaching, and demystifying offices, is key to students’ developing connections on campus. You’ll also learn ways to create that high-touch network with limited staffing resources.




12:45 – 1:15 p.m. ET



Interventions in Direct Student Support

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. ET
While all students can encounter financial pressures and emergencies in college, students from historically marginalized communities are less likely to have family support to fall back on in those circumstances. Small financial or basic-needs interventions, like micro grants or food pantries on campus, are vital in helping students persist at your institution. In this session, you’ll learn how institutions can creatively deploy resources intermittently to the students who need aid.



Working Session: Planning for Interventions During College

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. ET
During this working session, we’ll focus on creating next steps for the interventions shared on day two of the conference. In small groups, you’ll work to identify what you can first do to create or expand high-touch student support at your institution. You’ll also have the opportunity to brainstorm ways to directly intervene in a student’s journey throughout the year with financial or other resources. Finally, you’ll have a chance to share any community partnerships you have developed at your institution as a preview for the closing session of the conference.




2:45 – 3:00 p.m. ET



Securing Funding Opportunities for New Initiatives

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. ET
While there are many interventions that all faculty and staff can participate in to close the equity gap, some best practices require institutions to devote financial or staffing resources. During this session, you’ll be able to find some options available to seek funding from organizations outside your institution. You’ll also brainstorm where existing resources may be available on campus to assist you in creating new initiatives.



Conference Wrap-Up & Evaluations

3:45 – 4:00 p.m. ET



Optional Post-Conference Training (Register at link below)

July 21, 2022 (All Times Eastern)


1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET


Join us after the virtual conference for an optional training on using proactive advising techniques to focus on improving students’ motivation and academic success. As you will learn in the conference, a key to equitably increasing retention is focusing your attention on the students who encounter the most barriers to success. Our expert Joseph Connell will share tips for how to increase student retention and completion rates through improving interdepartmental communication and creating a better understanding of which students to prioritize at certain points during the year. We’ll also discuss how to empower students to be an active part of the advising process. While this training is not required, we strongly recommend attending to maximize your learning.


Portrait of DeWayne Frazier

DeWayne Frazier

University Provost, Iowa Wesleyan University

DeWayne currently serves as the University Provost at Iowa Wesleyan University. Dr. Frazier’s portfolio includes the Adult and Graduate Programs, library services, academic support, international education, Registrar Office, Office of Student Development, career services, community service office, campus ministries and the university academic divisions (Business, Education, Humanities, Nursing, and Sciences). Dr. Frazier serves on the President’s Cabinet and is also a full professor in the Division of Business Social Science.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Monica F. Jacobe

Monica F. Jacobe

Assistant Dean, Academic Advising and Support

Monica Jacobe is currently the Assistant Dean, Academic Advising and Support at Moravian University. She has spent over 20 years in higher education focused on faculty development and student success, as well as assessment and management of student learning in a variety of leadership roles serving domestic, international, and multilingual learners. Her focus has always been on questions of equity in and access to education for diverse students, leading data-informed decision making and seeking to "educate educators" on contemporary student realities.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

portrait of LaTonya Rease Miles

La’Tonya Rease Miles

Partner and Director of Scale & Support, Career Launch

La’Tonya “LT” Rease Miles specializes in student development among diverse and underrepresented populations. Her established programs for first-generation college students—at UCLA and at Loyola Marymount University—were national Best Practices models, transforming both universities into First-Gen Forward institutions. A popular strategist and speaker, she also started and manages the dynamic Facebook group, “Empowering First Generation Students.” A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Miles earned a Ph.D. in American Literature from UCLA and always looks for the next community to build and the next narrative to share.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

The recording for this virtual conference will not be shared. Please only register if you are planning to attend the live sessions.

Questions About the Event?

Niecie Washington, Senior Meeting Planner

Sarah Adams
Learning & Development Manager,
Academic Impressions

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