Introducing the 2019 NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education

Student success is difficult to define and is one of the most important, yet challenging, issues facing colleges and universities. As stated by Educause, “just 56 percent of bachelor’s degree students graduate in six years and only 29 percent of associate’s degree students graduate in three years.” According to a recent landscape analysis conducted by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, “first-generation students make up a third of all college students, but only 27% will attain their degree in four years.” How then can institutions better support students of color, first-generation students, and low-income students to improve measurements of persistence and completion, as well as career readiness?

NASPA seeks to address these issues and advance the equity agenda by convening higher education professionals from across the academy for the inaugural NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education. This new initiative will co-locate four distinct conferences (Assessment, Persistence, and Data Analytics; Closing the Achievement Gap; First-generation Student Success; and Student Financial Wellness) with intersectional outcomes as a unique opportunity for participants to learn, network, and engage. This event will lead the numerous higher education practitioners and scholars working towards student success, as evidenced by a recent Inside Higher Ed article compilation, in a critical examination of the systemic and institutional barriers impeding success for today’s college students. 

Through educational sessions, research symposia, thought leader gatherings, and networking, participants will explore how current systems, policies, and practices create environments where students, particularly from underrepresented backgrounds, struggle to persist and the responsibility institutions have in evoking networked approaches for support. Participants will share evidence-based practices for improving institutional response; trends and tools in data, assessment, and persistence for informed decision-making; and opportunities for collaborative partnerships and approaches as mechanisms for change.Co-locating these four events with distinct identities, intersectional topics, and commitment to improving success for students, will enable participants to build a network of dedicated colleagues, engage in a diversity of thought, extend themselves outside their current roles and disciplines, and gain a renewed perspective on how data-driven approaches and collaborations can create new opportunities for improved outcomes.

Registered attendees have access to programming across all four conferences. With a diverse schedule of dynamic keynotes, thought-provoking scholarly paper presentations and workshops, and engaging networking opportunities, the NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education is a unique opportunity to take a cross-functional approach to student success. We encourage you to consider joining us for this exciting event taking place June 16-18, 2019 in beautiful Orlando, Florida.

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