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2011 Retention 101 CANADA Workshop, March 20-22, 2011, Banff, Alberta


Click on the following links to learn more about EPI Student Retention 101 CANADA Workshop in Alberta:

Conference Faculty


Hotel Information



If you are interesting in:

Then you need to attend Retention 101 CANADA this March!


The Educational Policy Institute invites leaders and practitioners from postsecondary institutions who are uniquely interested in finding solutions to increasing the success of students. With beautiful Banff, Alberta 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) and Dr. Peter Dietsche (University of Toronto, OISE), 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.


An educator and administrator for over 30 years, Dr. Peter Dietsche has established an exceptional reputation by dedicating himself to improving the educational experience for first-year students at two-year institutions. Dr. Dietsche is a passionate advocate of learning-centred environments where students’ needs and demographics are critical components of the programming process, and has proven himself as a popular faculty member in both the college and university environment. His enthusiasm for students and student learning is infectious and one of the reasons that staff members are the backbone of Canada’s colleges and institutes of excellence.



The retreat will start at 1pm on March 20 and conclude at 11:30am on March 22. 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



Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel a National Historical Site is located in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With such a unique setting, the Banff hotel offers stunning vistas, Fairmont Gold,  world renowned skiing within minutes, championship golf courses, exceptional cuisine and the award winning Willow Stream, the spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs.

The Fairmont Banff Springs is just steps away from the Town of Banff. An authentic mountain town offering a great diversity of year round shopping, dining, and night life in addition to art and cultural events. Visit the Banff Lake Louise event calendar for all the events happening in Banff.  


For our attendees, rooms are available at the discounted rate of $169 (+$10 fees). This rate is on a first come, first served basis and in order to receive the Group rate, reservations must be made no later than March 1, 2011. This price does include the Wi-Fi Internet.

Please call the Reservations Department at 403-762-6866 or the Global Reservations Centre at 1-800-441-1414 in order to place your reservation. The group rate is held under the names of the “Educational Policy Institute” and “Retention 101.

The Fairmont Banff Springs is also the perfect starting-point for one of Canada's most scenic drives: The Icefields Parkway, which also connects you to The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

Leave the fast-paced lifestyle behind you after the workshop for the spectacular mountain paradise.  Enjoy onsite outdoor skating or curling or if you prefer to stay indoors sign up for fitness classes, or enjoy a swim in one of the pools. For the ultimate in skier convenience, the hotel has front door ski shuttle service direct to Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Mountain Resort, Ski Banff at Norquay. 





until Jan. 31
Feb 1 - Mar 15
Mar 16 on


Registration includes welcome reception, lunch, breakfasts, and coffee breaks.

* 20% discount for groups of 4 or more people from the same institution. Contact Emma Puydupin at to be given the promotional code necessary for registering groups.

** includes R101 registration + 1 year EPI Premier Individual Membership.