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Retention 101, December 6-8, 2010, Grapevine, TX



Click on the following links to learn more about EPI Student Retention Workshop inTexas:

Conference Faculty


Hotel Information



If you are interesting in:

Then you need to attend Retention 101 this December!


The Educational Policy Institute, in association with AVID and AACRAO, invites leaders and practitioners from postsecondary institutions who are uniquely interested in finding solutions to increasing the success of students. With beautiful Grapevine as a backdrop, affording the opportunity to simultaneously relax and focus, institutional teams and other individuals will spend 2.5 days learning about student retention and designing plans to improve the success of students at their campuses.

Led by internationally-recognized experts Dr. Watson Scott Swail (Educational Policy Institute), Mr. Jay Goff (Missouri University of Science & Technology), and Mr. Jamie Caridi (Ohio Dominican University), this retreat is designed for institutions who are either at the initial stages of planning for student retention or need to enhance an existing program.

During the retreat, teams will:

The Retention Retreat is designed for institutional teams and individuals from two-year, four-year, and proprietary institutions seriously interested in changing how students are served. It offers professionals an opportunity to get away from the campus in order to focus exclusively on creating tangible plans for success. When participants return to their campuses, they will be equipped with the tools necessary to begin implementing an effective retention program.

Our annual workshop focuses on student services, financial aid, academic services, recruitment and admissions, and institutional leadership, providing participants with important information about student retention and success and the fundamentals of building an institutional plan for success.

PLEASE NOTE that institutions that send teams of 4 or more people consistantly get more out of the workshop than other. However, the faculty work to ensure that ALL participants leave satisfied.

Themes that will be discussed during regular sessions and special affinity group sessions:


Dr. Swail is recognized internationally for his research on retention of under-represented students in higher education and has published extensively in national journals and publications. Prior to establishing EPI, Dr. Swail served as the Founding Director of The Pell Institute and Vice President of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, DC. He previously served as senior policy analyst with SRI International and associate director for policy analysis with the College Board. While with the Board, Dr. Swail co-directed the Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports released in the U.S. each fall. He earned an Ed.D. in Educational Policy at the George Washington University, an M.S. at Old Dominion University, and a B.Ed. from the University of Manitoba.

With over 20 years experience in university enrollment, strategic planning and communication programs, Goff believes in building a team oriented and data driven workplace that stresses service focused student success plans. His mission centric approach has achieved record enrollments, retention and graduation rates. He has written articles and presented workshops at many regional and national programs, mostly focusing the values of team building and training, quality student-service systems and data-driven planning.  Goff completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in communication studies with a focus on organizational communication from Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Kansas, respectively.  His doctoral work will focus on leadership development in higher education.

As vice president for student development, Caridi oversees Athletics, Campus Ministry, Student Activities, Counseling and Health Services, Multicultural Affairs, International Affairs, Student Leadership and Success, Career Services, and Residence Life. Since 1998, Caridi has held a series of positions in student development at St. Vincent College (PA), most recently serving as Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students where his responsibilities included managing all Student Affairs areas and functions, strategic planning, residence hall construction and rehabilitation, Student Leadership, Service Learning and Student Housing. Caridi holds a bachelor's degree in Biology from St. Vincent College and a master's degree in Higher Education from Geneva College. He is currently working on his doctoral degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


The retreat will start at 1pm on December 6 and conclude at 11:30am on December 8. The following schedule is preliminary and does not include all aspects of the tracks.


12:00am – 1:00pm Registration

1:00pm – 2:30pm Introduction to Student Retention
The introductory session will look at the impact of student dropout on campuses, the cost of dropout to the individual, institution, and society, and how addressing this issue is an important part of institutional change and continuous improvement.

2:30pm – 3:00pm Refreshment Break

3:00pm – 4:30pm A Framework for Student Success
How do we envision the retention process? What is it that matters most to students and institutions? This session will introduce an evidence-based framework for understanding the dynamics of student retention and persistence. Based on a decade worth of research, Swail’s geometric model of student retention outlines a process for institutions to perceive and conceptualize the planning process.

The framework focuses on student cognitive and social outcomes, as they related to five areas of campus services:

• Financial Aid
• Student Services
• Academic Services
• Teaching and Learning
• Recruitment & Admissions

6:00pm – 8:00pm Reception
The evening reception will provide an opportunity for participants to get to know one another and share their experiences over heavy hors d’oeuvres.



7:30am – 8:30am Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:30am – 10:30am The Campus Audit
This session will focus on the importance of understanding your campus and collecting detailed information about practices, strategies, and programs on campus. Institutions must audit their efforts in order to find value in what has been done, while also setting benchmarks for future efforts. In this session, participants will learn:

• What should we look for on campus?
• How do we measure success?
• What data are important to collect?
• What do we do with all this information?
• How do we work toward a meaningful campus-wide plan for retention?

10:30am – 11:00pm Break

11:00am – 12:15pm Effective Practices in Student Retention (Part I)
The remainder of the day will focus on discussion revolving the various institutional inputs for student retention, including Recruitment and Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Services, Academic Services, and Curriculum & Instruction. Our conference faculty will present information on proven strategies currently used in institutions around the US and Canada, and invite participants to share their experiences and hindsight.

Using the retention framework as a guide, the information presented on Day Two will begin to layout a menu of strategies that can be considered for your retention plan.

12:15pm – 1:45pm Lunch (included in registration fee)

1:45pm – 3:15pm Effective Practices (Part II)

3:15pm Teams will work independently on their plans for the remainder of the day.



7:30am – 8:30am Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:30am – 9:15am Discussion of Goals and Objectives
Teams and individuals will present their goals and objectives with discussion for all.

9:15am – 10:00am Campus Change, Institutional Leadership, and other Important Factors
Without the buy in of campus leadership, reform is difficult if not unlikely at any postsecondary institution. This session will discuss the importance of campus leadership and how to gain their interest and total support in developing a campus-based retention initiative. As well, leadership only counts if there are those to be led. The involvement and buy-in of faculty and departments will also be discussed.

10:00am – 10:15am Break

10:15am – 11:00am Monitoring Student and Program Outcomes Progress
The capstone session to our conference will discuss the importance of monitoring student success and institutional progress. The ability of institutions to benchmark and continuously collect and review data is paramount to the success of any large-scale initiative. Issues include:

• determining what data to collect
• how and when to collect information
• using data in a progressive manner
• understanding how data can change your plan
• incorporating a continuous-improvement cycle as a model for institutional change

11:00am – 11:40am Pulling It All Together
This last session will pull all the information together from the past two and a half days. Participants will be given instructions on how to proceed in the planning and implementation process.

11:40pm – 12:15pm Final Thoughts & Adjournment



Embassy Suites Dallas - DFW Airport North Outdoor World

The Embassy Suites Dallas is a 4-diamond hotel located near Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and a vast number of great Dallas, Fort Worth and Grapevine attractions, including the Dallas Zoo & Aquarium, the Cowboys Stadium, the Lake Grapevine, the Wineries of Grapevine, Six Flags and many more...

Enjoy the fitness center and indoor swimming pool that the Embassy Suite Dallas offers as well as their 24h shuttle between the hotel, the airport and the Grapevine Mills Mall.

When making room reservation, please do tell you are coming for Education Policy Institute, Student Retention Workshop in order to receive the discounted price of $159 per room. This price includes complimentary full cooked to order breakfast buffet every morning and complimentary Manager’s Reception each evening from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.


Click HERE for more information.



Registration includes lunch and a welcome reception.

* 20% discount for groups of 4+.

Contact Emma Puydupin at to be given the promotional code.

** includes R101 registration + 1 year EPI Premier Membership. Excludes membership for institution wide.


To register, click HERE