Developing a Comprehensive Retention Plan

Developing a Comprehensive Retention Plan

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Take a strategic look at your student success efforts, and develop a retention plan that connects your data, institutional mission, and available resources. 

This conference will help you develop a campus-wide retention plan that ties mission, data, and programming together in a unified approach. Whether you have a retention plan already in place or are just getting started, you will leave this event with an outlined plan built from the practical tips and small-group coaching from our expert instructors.

You will leave this conference better able to approach retention in a holistic manner by:

  • Beginning before students arrive on campus
  • Tying your retention data, programming, and goals together
  • Auditing the existing programs you have, and determining what is working and what can be improved
  • Prioritizing which retention programs to cut and which to keep


Pre-Conference Workshop: Data for Retention and Student Success Professionals

This workshop is designed for non-IR professionals who want to learn techniques for asking research questions, collecting, and analyzing data, as well as explaining and using the results.


Who Should Attend

This event is designed for higher education professionals and committees charged with improving retention or student success. This may include enrollment managers, student and academic affairs leaders, and assessment coordinators or committee members. Leadership and frontline staff alike will gain value from this conference. Bring your team and save over 15% when you register three or more colleagues.

“An extremely organized and succinct way to present information, strategies and tools to make retention efforts on my campus easier. Thanks, Academic Impressions!”

- Anne Chapdelaine, Dean of Students and Director of Persistence, Bay Path University

“As a newly appointed retention professional, this conference was an amazing way to jump start my development path!”

- Shay Jolly, Director, First Year Experience and Retention, Saint Mary's College

“This was by far the most valuable ‘retention’ conference I've attended. Facilitators were professional, knowledgeable and friendly; I'm so glad our staff attended.”

- Erin Price, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, Belhaven University

“The conference helped me look at retention as a whole, not just focusing on a certain population, but the entire campus and who the key players are.”

- LeToy Harrison, Counselor, Dine College

“This conference will help you understand what questions to ask, how to develop next steps, and will cheer you on as you move from the impossible to the possible.”

- Kimberly J. Alexander-Brown, Assistant Dean and Director of Access and Achievement Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Day 1


Pre-Conference Workshop—Data Simplified: Working with Institutional Data for Retention Purposes

Institutional research data is a powerful tool for understanding attrition, planning programs, and predicting enrollment. Student affairs and enrollment professionals are often “afraid” of data and struggle with understanding the information, using it effectively, and working with IR departments to ask the right questions.

This workshop is designed for non-IR professionals who want to learn the basics of data analysis and are seeking ways to manage, extract, and explain results to campus leaders. By participating in this pre-conference, attendees will be able to identify and explain techniques of the following:

  • Defining factors associated with retention
  • Recognizing patterns and correlations
  • Communicating with IR teams to effectively examine data



Registration & Opening Remarks



Introductions and Setting the Stage for Retention: Defining a Comprehensive Approach

This opening session will help you understand core components of a comprehensive approach to retention planning: data, programming, assessment, and buy-in. Participants will be able to broadly identify the steps that faculty took at their campuses to embrace a comprehensive approach to retention.



Start at the Beginning: The Role of Admissions in the Comprehensive Plan

Effective retention programming begins before freshman year. You need to understand the profile of the entering class before you create programming. During this hour, you will be able to define and begin to apply the admissions application data that is important to retention programming on your specific campus, including: demographics, academic preparation, financial aid eligibility, and other indicators of student success.



Assessing Your Current Retention Plan

Participants will meet with similar institutions to discuss current retention plans, initiatives, and challenges to building a comprehensive approach. Members of our speaker panel will join the group discussions to lend their guidance and counsel.



Data, Programming, and Goal Setting

Professionals charged with improving retention rates know that data is important; however, they often need guidance to understand patterns, tie data to programming goals, and set realistic goals for improvement. You will be able to analyze your own data and interpret how it fits with your institutional priorities and how you can start the planning process and involve other stakeholders. You will review several case studies that provide examples of how to get started in isolating your institutional data patterns and begin the goal-setting process for optimal results.


Day 2


Turning Data into Programs

Now that you understand your retention patterns, your current programs, and your goals for improvement, you must begin selecting programming options that will serve your comprehensive student retention plan. After faculty share examples of new programs that they implemented based on their data analysis, you will then begin to design customized retention programs that meet your unique institutional retention goals.



Working Session: Self-Audit of Programs

We will help you understand which retention efforts or programs you already have in place, which ones are working effectively, and which ones could be improved. After this session, you will be able to begin developing a retention road map for your institution that identifies retention priorities based on enrollment goals, student data, attrition factors, and institutional resources.



Resource, Outsource, and Budgetary Considerations

Not all institutions have the resources needed to impact specific retention rates. This hour will feature a discussion of no-cost and low-cost strategies that you can use to assist with assessment and programming efforts. Participants will be able to identify at least two no-cost or low-cost strategies for their programming efforts while making the case for how these strategies will improve a campus’ return on their investment.



Working Session: Crafting Your Retention Plan

During this session, participants will begin working with your teams to craft an initial comprehensive retention plan. You will receive guided feedback from faculty on the feasibility of your planning models.



Knowing When and How to Eliminate Programs

Successful retention programming requires constant monitoring of outcomes and the ability to make ongoing decisions about programs and resources. Participants will be able to analyze their current programs and understand how staff, campus culture, control of programs, and consequences for decisions will all play a role when it is time to revise and update retention efforts and programs.


Day 3


Setting the Stage for Retention

Knowing how to identify priorities, strategies to involve stakeholders, and make data-based decisions will influence how your campus sets the stage for quality retention efforts. During this session, participants will discuss a) key conversations to have when they return to campus, b) initial funding sources to consider, and c) identify their highest-needs/quickest wins in terms of retention.



Working Session: Deciding Your First Action Steps

Based on the collective information and resources gained from this conference, participants will be ready to identify key action steps for their return to campus. Participants will identify and write down their 3-5 action steps when they get back to campus.



Final Q&A & Conference Wrap-Up


W Kent Barnds square

W. Kent Barnds

Executive Vice President and Vice President of Enrollment, Communication, and Planning, Augustana College

Since his arrival at Augustana in 2005, Kent has overseen the largest enrollment in the college’s history. He oversees the offices of admissions, financial assistance, and marketing, and he serves a critical role on the comprehensive retention committee.

Read Kent's full bio here.


Veronica Hipolito

Vice President of Student Affairs, Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Veronica has over 20 years of experience in higher education in both university and community college settings. Prior to her work in the Maricopa Community College District, Veronica worked at Coconino Community College (CCC) and served on the leadership team that created the CCC2NAU program, a nationally recognized partnership with Northern Arizona University.

Read Veronica's full bio here.

Bernadette Jungblut

Bernadette Jungblut

Associate Provost for Accreditation, Academic Planning, and Assessment at Central Washington University

In her current role, Bernadette M.E. Jungblut, Ph.D., is responsible for university-wide strategic planning, regional and specialized accreditation, comprehensive retention planning and assessment, and Academic Affairs and Student Life new program development, assessment, and evaluation.

Read Bernadette's full bio here.

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Margot Saltonstall

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Northern Arizona University

Dr. Margot Saltonstall oversees Analytics & Assessment and Enrollment & Student Services at Northern Arizona University. She provides leadership and coordination for enrollment initiatives across campus locations, modalities, and undergraduate/graduate populations and is responsible for divisional data analyses underlying those and retention/persistence initiatives. She has worked in higher education for over twenty years and holds a PhD in educational psychology and MA in cultural anthropology.

Read Margot's full bio here.

Can't Attend? Buy the Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?


Rabia Khan Harvey
Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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