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Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - OU leaders gain new insight on nurturing student success
From left, Scott Crabill, interim vice provost for undergraduate education; Nancy Schmitz, assistant vice president for student affairs and interim dean of students; Krista Malley, senior academic adviser; Glenn McIntosh, interim vice president for student affairs and enrollment management; conference organizer John Gardner; Susan Awbrey, senior associate provost for academic affairs; Sara Webb, director of the First Year Advising Center; Omar Brown-El, director of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives; and Kevin Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; participated in a broad array of discussions at this year's Academic and Student Affairs Leaders’ Institute.
The OAKLAND 8 – a team of talented and dedicated Academic Affairs and Student Affairs professionals – recently accepted an invitation to the Academic and Student Affairs Leaders’ Institute: Partnerships for Promising Practices in Student Success.

Organized by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence, this two-day conference in Orlando, Fla., encouraged university leaders and academic experts from across the country to engage in conversations focusing on timely and relevant objectives including:
  • building and enhancing partnerships to improve student retention and degree completion;
  • sharing collaborative strategies and practices that facilitate student success;
  • promoting use of the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Student Success Partnerships,” and;
  • building a national community of institutions committed to nurturing academic affairs/student affairs partnerships.
“Building effective partnerships between Academic and Student Affairs is key to creating an environment in which everyone is committed to student retention and completion at OU,” said Dr. Susan Awbrey, OU’s senior associate provost for academic affairs and a conference participant.

“Understanding that learning takes place wherever students, faculty and staff engage is important to supporting the whole student and ensuring student success.”

The January conference was not the first collaborative effort between OU leaders and the John. N. Gardner Institute for Excellence.

Awbrey said Oakland also had been selected to participate in the Foundations of Excellence institutional self-study, which fostered numerous initiatives that have improved OU’s first-year student environment.

The OAKLAND 8 are now ready to build on the success of those efforts, however.

“The team is excited to get started on a retention initiative related to gateway courses that will allow faculty and staff to be more intentional about creating and maintaining partnerships that help students succeed,” Awbrey said.

Glenn McIntosh, interim vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, agreed that the Academic and Student Affairs Leaders’ Institute helped inspire and motivate the OU team to enhance these partnerships.

“It was a unique opportunity for us to discuss, understand and appreciate the work of colleagues from both divisions,” he said.

“I believe the experience will foster synergistic partnerships, problem solving and a unity spirit toward the mission of enhancing the Oakland experience for students.”

A broader array of OU academic and student affairs leaders will soon have an opportunity to learn more about and engage in strategies the OAKLAND 8 focused on during the institute.

John Gardner will be among presenters at OU’s annual statewide retention conference, “High Impact Practices: Creating a Culture of Completion,” on Feb. 5 and 6 at the Troy Marriott.

To learn more, view the conference program or contact Scott Crabill at (248) 370-3247 or