STEM Institute for Student Success and Retention

STEM Institute for Student Success and Retention

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Learn practical, holistic solutions for STEM student success from experts in the field.


Many institutions struggle to attract and retain STEM students, especially from within historically marginalized populations. Colleges and universities find themselves underprepared to support the success of students who come to them from a variety of pathways and levels of preparation with many students consequently opting to find new degree paths or leaving the institution entirely. Creative improvements to curriculum and student support systems tailored specifically to the STEM disciplines can significantly help to retain students. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on student retention—compounded by the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on communities of color—this content is more relevant than ever.

Join us for a comprehensive program that offers practical solutions to the unique challenges facing STEM students. Our expert instructors will share innovative solutions including:

  • Tailored student support systems
  • Inclusive teaching and learning experiences
  • Holistic approaches to recruit and retain underrepresented students


Optional Post-Conference Workshop | Space Matters: Designing STEM Learning Environments that Foster Inclusion and Student Success

Contemporary pedagogies, curricula, and cultures that promote inclusion and student success in STEM require consideration of the physical environments that support them. In this session, you and your peers will examine the elements of 21st century STEM learning environments and the strategies employed to bring key stakeholders and resources together to successfully execute a STEM facilities project. Both new construction and renovation projects will be considered. Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, where physical distancing protocols added new constraints to the utilization of STEM learning spaces, will be shared.


Who Should Attend

STEM academic administrators will benefit from strategies presented on developing and implementing initiatives that promote student success. This conference will also be valuable for faculty and student success staff who interact directly with STEM students and who aim to improve student persistence and success.

We encourage you to attend as teams to benefit from the shared training experience.


Limited Attendance

In order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, we have intentionally designed this Virtual Training to have a limited number of total attendees. To ensure access from both paying participants and also from those who have an All-Inclusive membership, when the membership cap is reached, only paying participants can register after that point (while spaces are still available). If you have questions about whether this program is right for you, please contact us.


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


Day One | June 9, 2021

Eastern TIme


Optional Meet & Greet
11:30 a.m.—12:00 p.m. Eastern



Welcome and Introductions
12:00 —12:15 p.m. Eastern



Turning Retention Opportunities into Programs
12:15—12:45 p.m. Eastern
Our faculty will share examples of new program models to help align current and new retention efforts.

WORKBOOK REFLECTION: Through a series of reflection questions and chats, you will take steps to turn your data results into a well-thought-out program plan.



12:45 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern



Redesigning Curriculum to Address Bottleneck Courses
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern
One of the biggest challenges in STEM retention is helping students succeed through first- and second-year bottleneck courses like math and chemistry. We’ll explore innovative models for redesigning STEM curriculum to remove the challenging course sequences that cause retention setbacks.

ACTIVITY: Through the interactive “Uncork Your Bottleneck” activity you will identify some of the causes of one troublesome course bottleneck on your campus and propose potential solutions.



2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern



Proactively Preparing Incoming Students
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern
Underprepared students entering the rigor of post-secondary STEM education pose challenges for faculty, deans, and all student support staff. We will examine new approaches to secondary intervention and bridge programs to better prepare incoming STEM students.

ACTIVITY AND CHAT: How can you leverage your first-year curriculum and faculty talent in the preparation and recruitment of incoming high school students?



3:30 – 3:45 p.m. Eastern



Inclusive Learning Pedagogies for Student Success in STEM
3:45 – 4:45 p.m. Eastern
The success of all STEM students, particularly those underrepresented in STEM fields, depends on classroom and laboratory experiences that are engaging and inclusive.

TEAM CHALLENGE: You will explore the ways in which SCALE-UP and other “active learning” pedagogies promote inclusive and effective learning in STEM classes through data, example, and a “Cereal Science” team challenge. The ways in which a modified SCALE-UP approach overcame the challenges of physical distancing protocols in STEM labs will be shared.



Day 1 Wrap-Up and Q&A
4:45 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern


Day Two | June 10, 2021

Eastern TIme


Recap and Review
12:00 – 12:15 p.m. Eastern
We will open the second day with an opportunity to share your insights and answer any remaining questions from the day before.



Student Support Services for Underrepresented Populations
12:15 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern
This session is designed to provide ideas for partnering with other institutions and industries and providing resources to increase retention in STEM areas for underrepresented students.

CASE STUDY: You'll hear how one institution developed a program that provides financial assistance, mentoring, field trips to 4-year institutions, site visits to engineering companies, and access to additional resources aimed at supporting retention efforts for engineering students from underrepresented populations.



1:00 – 1:15 p.m. Eastern



Fostering Institutional Change in STEM through Empowering Faculty
1:15 – 2:00 p.m. 2:15 p.m. Eastern
Even with strong support from leadership and administration, crucial work of improving student success and equity in STEM resides with the faculty who—too often—are regarded with the same deficit mindset that we aim to eliminate in our perceptions of students.

CASE STUDY: In this session, you will learn how to move beyond faculty development toward faculty empowerment using evidence-based approaches to bring about lasting pedagogical, curricular, and cultural changes. Examples including work funded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Initiative and a teaching laboratory community of practice that banded together to overcome pandemic challenges will be shared.



2:00 2:15 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern



Promoting Student Success through Building Community in STEM
2:30 – 3:15 p.m. Eastern
A key element of successful, inclusive STEM programs is a strong sense of STEM community cultivated within and beyond the classroom.

WORKBOOK REFLECTION AND CHAT: Through a series of reflections and chats, you will explore how to foster environments where students find support systems and cultivate STEM identities that foster resilience and persistence.



3:15 – 3:45 p.m. Eastern



Rethinking 2-year/4-year Partnerships
3:45 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern
Both 2-year and 4-year institutions benefit when they have strong support systems in place for transferring students. By closely partnering with nearby institutions, STEM programs can develop tightly aligned articulation agreements as well as provide social/emotional support for transferring students.

WORKBOOK REFLECTION AND CHAT: In this discussion, you will have the chance to explore how to build a STEM partnership between 2-year and 4-year institutions, mutually benefiting enrollment and completion rates.



Working Session and Coaching Time
4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern
We will give you the opportunity to revisit your goals from Day 1 and integrate your takeaways from Day 2 while receiving coaching from our expert faculty.


Day Three | June 11, 2021

Eastern TIme


Recap and Review
12:00 – 12:15 p.m. Eastern
We will open the third day with an opportunity to share insights and answer any remaining questions from the previous two days.



Models for Recruiting Underrepresented Students
12:15 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern
One of the key factors in getting students to enroll in STEM programs is making certain that they can see themselves being academically and socially successful in these fields. This includes having faculty and peer-mentors from diverse backgrounds so that students feel connected to the program.

DISCUSSION: You will hear several models of how institutions have impacted recruiting and enrollment for underrepresented groups in STEM fields and have a chance to share your own institution’s accomplishments.



1:00 – 1:15 p.m. Eastern



Evaluating Programmatic Success
1:15 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern
This final conference session will focus on strategies for using data to help you evaluate the success of your current STEM retention programs.

WORKBOOK REFLECTION AND CHAT: Through a series of guided worksheets and discussions, you will identify strategic next steps in your assessment strategy to make decisions about which programs to scale up, adjust, downsize, or cut altogether.



Final Q&A, Wrap Up, and Evaluation
2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern



Break for Post-Conference Attendees
2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern


Optional Post-Conference Workshop*


Post-Conference Workshop: Space Matters: Designing STEM Learning Environments that Foster Inclusion and Student Success
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern
Contemporary pedagogies, curricula, and cultures that promote inclusion and student success in STEM require consideration of the built environments that support them. We will examine the elements that characterize 21st century STEM learning environments and the strategies employed to bring key stakeholders and resources together to successfully execute a STEM facilities project. Both new construction and renovation projects will be considered. Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, where physical distancing protocols added new constraints to the utilization of STEM learning spaces, will be shared.

DESIGN CHALLENGE: Through a series of creative activities and discussions, you will explore how your STEM facility project might improve student learning, retention, and success.


*If you would like to attend the conference and post-conference workshop, please make sure to select one of the Virtual Conference + Post-Conference Workshop bundles in the pricing area below.


Melissa Dagley

Melissa Dagley

Executive Director, Center for Initiatives in STEM, University of Central Florida

Dr. Melissa Dagley serves as PI of the NSF-funded STEP 1b program “Convincing Outstanding-Math-Potential Admits to Succeed in STEM (COMPASS),” and Director for the formerly NSF-funded “EXCEL:UCF-STEP Pathways to STEM: From Promise to Prominence.” She is a Co-PI for the Girls EXCELling in Math and Science (GEMS) and WISE@UCF industry funded women’s mentoring initiatives.

Read Melissa's Full Bio.

portrait of Steven P. Girardot

Steven P. Girardot

Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Girardot has extensive background in student transition, retention, and success. Steven’s experience includes serving as the founding director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Academic Success and co-chairing Georgia Tech’s Complete College Georgia Steering Committee. He also served as the Director of the Office of Success Programs; Assistant Director for TA and Graduate Student Programs at Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL); and Program Coordinator at Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).

Read Steven's Full Bio.

portrait of Nate Klingbeil

Nathan Klingbeil

Professor, Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Wright State University

Dr. Nathan Klingbeil is the lead investigator for Wright State’s National Model for Engineering Mathematics education, which has been supported by over $5.0M in grants from the National Science Foundation. He held the university title of Robert J. Kegerreis Distinguished Professor of Teaching from 2005-2008, and served as the college’s Director of Student Retention and Success from 2007-2009. He has received numerous awards for his work in engineering and STEM education, and was named the 2005 Ohio Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Read Nathan's Full Bio.

Alycia Marshall

Dr. Alycia Marshall

Interim Vice President for Learning, Anne Arundel Community College

Dr. Alycia Marshall holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Maryland College Park, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Bowie State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her teaching experience includes three years of high school mathematics and 18 years of college-level mathematics. She also spent five years as the Department Chair of Mathematics at AACC, supervising up to 30 full-time and 90 part-time mathematics faculty.

Read Alycia's Full Bio.

Erin Pitts

Erin Pitts

Bridges to Baccalaureate & S-STEM Grants, Front Range Community College

Erin has worked for access and success in higher education for 15 years. She has experience with GEAR UP, TRiO, former foster youth, and degree mapping for completion. Erin currently serves as the Success Coach for Bridges to Baccalaureate (B2B) at Front Range Community College (FRCC) in Fort Collins, CO. She is also the Co-Principal Investigator for the S-STEM Grant called Wolves to Rams Scholars.

Read Erin's Full Bio.

Jill Sible

Jill Sible

Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Virginia Tech

In dual roles as a faculty member and administrator, Jill introduced her campus to the SCALE-UP concept and spearheaded the design and construction of SCALE-UP classrooms and adoption of the associated pedagogy at Virginia Tech. She has led over $10M in sponsored research projects including $8M in STEM education grants. Jill is currently the lead investigator for Jill is currently the lead investigator for a $1M Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Grant and is a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences.

Read Jill's Full Bio.



Can't attend the conference? Buy the binder.

Questions About the Event?

Jess Landis

Jess Landis
Learning & Development Manager

*There are limited spots available for All-Inclusive Members to register for Virtual Conferences for free in 2020. Each virtual conference has a registration cap in order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, personalized attention, networking and interactivity. If the cap has been met, All-Inclusive Members can register with a $250 discount if space is available.

Please note the member discount is not applicable on conference binders or success coaching.