The Engaging and Retaining Students summit examined how campus professionals can enhance student engagement and improve student retention and college completion. Participants interacted with colleagues across the System to share promising practices and discuss experiences and issues related to initiatives that advance equity, foster belongingness, and promote student learning and development. Particular focus was made on engaging first-year students and re-engaging sophomores within the “new normal” of our institutions.

When: October 19-20, 2021, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM (two half days)
The summit was held virtually via ZOOM.

  • Engaging and Retaining Students – Day 1
    • 8:30 – 10:00 AM: Opening Remarks and Keynote Speaker- Link
    • 10:10 – 11:10 AM: It is in the Syllabus… Or is it? – Link
    • 10:10 – 11:10 AM: Engagement and Retention of Second Year Students – Link
    • 11:10 AM – 12:30 PM: Panel Discussion – Link
  • Engaging and Retaining Students – Day 2
    • 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Day 2 Sessions – Link

8:30 AM: Welcome 

8:35 AM: Opening Remarks - UW System Regent Amy Bogost

8:45 AM: Recovering Equilibrium for Student Engagement, Learning and Success - Dr. Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, Center for Postsecondary Research and the NSSE Institute, Indiana University School of Education

  • Description: As we continue to operate in a disrupted undergraduate experience, what should colleges and universities have front of mind to foster equitable student learning and success? Decades of research affirms that learning mindsets, such as sense of belonging, purpose and expectations for success and support, can increase students’ likelihood of retention and success. In addition, students’ experiences in collaborative learning, High-Impact Practices (HIPs) and advising can enhance learning. These factors are perhaps more critical than ever as we seek to ensure success for all students. This session draws on recent data from the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) regarding students entering college in 2021 and findings from the 2021 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to highlight vital student success practices. The importance of disaggregated data to explore quality and differences by student subpopulations will also be discussed.

10:00 AM: Break

10:10 AM: Consecutive Sessions

  • Session 1: It Is in the Syllabus … or Is It?: First Year Seminars and the Importance of Transparency - Tim Dale, First-Year Seminar Coordinator and Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, UW-La Crosse and Vince Lowery, Director of Student Success and Engagement, Director of Gateways to Phoenix Success, and Associate Professor of Humanities and History, UW-Green Bay
    • Description: This session will discuss student success lessons gained from the development and implementation of first-year seminars. This session will explore first-year seminars as curricular vehicles for helping new students adjust to college life, with special attention paid to student transitions, faculty development, course design, and other elements of a first-year seminar that lead to student success.
  • Session 2: Engagement and Retention of Second Year Students - Mark Kueppers, Assistant Dean/Director for the Center for Leadership & Involvement, UW-Madison; Karen McLeer, Executive Director of Retention and Academic Support, UW-Platteville; Alicia Stuedemann, Coordinator of New Student & Family Programs, UW-Oshkosh
    • Description: How do we support sophomores when their first year was not a typical year? This session will explore student success strategies for engaging and retaining second year students. You will hear from three campus representatives who will be sharing campus specific examples, insights, and lessons learned. Participants will also have an opportunities to engage in Q&A with the presenters.

11:15 AM: Panel Discussion: Addressing Enrollment and Retention

  • Description: The panel will address questions and topics submitted by participants and there will be an opportunity for Q&A at the end. 
  • Panel Facilitator: Harry Anderson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UW-Superior
  • Panel Members: Jackie Briggs, Director of Admissions, UW-Whitewater; Kay Eilers, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, UW-Milwaukee; Corey King, Vice Chancellor for Inclusivity and Student Affairs, UW-Green Bay; and Tammy McGuckin, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, UW-Parkside

8:30 AM: Welcome 

8:35 AM: Reimagining Sense of Belonging as Process and Product in the First-Year Experience Jennifer Keup, Executive Director, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

  • Description: Helping students create a sense of belonging is a critical goal for institutional efforts in the first year of college and supporting students throughout their undergraduate trajectory. This session will introduce Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP) theory as a way to reimagine the first year as a community of practice and as a tool to advance student success and equity. This session will also explore how LPP is especially useful as new and continuing students have had to adapt to virtual learning and the loss of social experiences for students in the midst of a global pandemic.

9:35 AM: Campus Spotlight - UW-Milwaukee

  • Campus Cares: Returning to a Trauma Informed Campus - Scott Gronert, Dean of the College of Letters and Science and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Adam Jussel, Dean of Students; Laura Pedrick, Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director of UWM Online; and Dimitri Topitzes, Professor of Social Work
  • Description: The start of the 2021-2022 school year is hardly a return to “normal.” Recently highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a team at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has taken a trauma-informed approach to crafting the start to this new academic year - an approach that honors the last year of pandemic learning and life. This session will focus on what this team has learned about their own community’s COVID experiences and how their research has informed their reopening plans for students, staff, and faculty and how they want to embed a human centric approach into campus culture going forward.

10:45 AM: Break

10:50 AM: Roundtable Overview (Angie Kellogg, UW System Administration, Billy Felz, Interim Vice Chancellor-Enrollment Management & Kim O’ Kelly Director of Enrollment Management, UW-Eau Claire)

11:05 AM: Roundtable Discussions (The subtopics are examples of what groups may discuss)

  • Breakout Group 1: Cultivating Academic Success, facilitated by Sandy Grunwald, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UW-La Crosse
    • Learning Communities 
    • Academic Intervention Strategies
    • Curriculum for First Year Students
  • Breakout Group 2: Providing Holistic Support, facilitated by Jamie Zamjahn, Assistant Chancellor for Student Success, UW-River Falls
    • Mental Health and Wellbeing
    • Basic Student Needs (Finances, Food Insecurity, etc.)
    • Academic Support
  • Breakout Group 3: Engaging and Supporting Diverse Communities, facilitated by Warren Anderson, System Senior Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Officer, UW System
    • Recruitment (Students of Color, Low Income Students, LGBTQ+ Students, Returning Adults, Transfer Students, etc.) 
    • Reducing Equity Gaps in Student Outcomes
    • Equity Minded Approaches to FYE
  • Breakout Group 4: Building Strong Structures to Support Student Success, facilitated by Gretel Stock, Dean of University College, UW-Stevens Point
    • Policies
    • Capacity and Resources
    • Data-Informed Decision-Making
  • Breakout Group 5: Addressing Enrollment, facilitated by Jen Jones, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, UW-Green Bay
    • Supporting Student Transitions (Orientation, etc.)
    • Recruitment and Re-enrollment Campaigns
    • Reducing Summer Melt
  • Breakout Group 6: Fostering Connections and Community, facilitated by Beth John, Director of First Year Experience, UW-Whitewater
    • Student Involvement and Student Employment
    • Sense of Belongingness
    • Engaging Virtually

12:00 PM: Takeaways and Systemwide Strategies

  • Description: Groups will have an opportunity to share takeaways from the breakout groups, systemwide strategies or what support campuses need to achieve a strategy/goal.

The following resource library includes the summit agenda and  session handouts/documents.