Office of Student Success

OU to host Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference Feb. 27-28

The event brings together professionals from higher education institutions and non-profit organizations throughout the United States and Canada who are focused on sharing and building upon best practices for student success

icon of a calendarFebruary 14, 2020

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OU hosts Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference
Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

Oakland University will host the eighth annual Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference on February 27 and 28.   

Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

OU will host the annual Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference on Feb. 27 and 28.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Asset-minded Practice: Reframing Student Success,” which focuses on students’ strengths and opportunities, and what they bring to higher education institutions, in addition to the responsibilities institutions have with reframing structures and systems that inhibit student success.  

The conference features three keynote speakers, all visionary leaders in supporting student achievement in higher education:

  • Cia Verschelden is the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Malcolm X College. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of Institutional Assessment at University of Central Oklahoma. At UCO, she taught in sociology and in the first-year program. At Kansas State University, where she was on the faculty for 21 years, she taught social welfare and social policy, women’s studies, and nonviolence studies. Dr. Verschelden has a B.S. in psychology from Kansas State University, an M.S.W. from The University of Connecticut, and an Ed.D. from Harvard University. Her book, “Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization,” was published in 2017.

  • Russell Lowery-Hart currently serves as President for Amarillo College, a Leader College for Achieving the Dream. His leadership is focused on improving student success through systemic and cultural change. In his career, he created several institution-wide initiatives targeting a systemic approach to poverty, curricular reform, instructional improvement, and partnership development across campus “silos.” He was selected into the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a rigorous executive leadership program led by the Aspen Institute and the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative. Dr. Lowery-Hart served as the chair for the Amarillo “No Limits/No Excuses” Partners for Postsecondary Success Collective Impact – a 21 organization collaborative focused on education certificate and degree completion leading to living wage employment. He served as the chair for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee charged with evaluating and redesigning the state of Texas general education requirements. Dr. Lowery-Hart previously served as Vice-President of Academic Affairs for Amarillo College. He was named the National Council of Instructional Administrators Academic Leader of the Year for 2014.  
  • Jillian Kinzie is Associate Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute at the Indiana University School of Education. She conducts research and leads project activities on effective use of student engagement data to improve educational quality and issues of teaching and learning, and serves as senior scholar with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) project. She is co-author of “Assessment in Student Affairs” (2016); “Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education” (2015); and “Student Success in College” (2005/2010). She is co-editor of New Directions in Higher Education and serves on the boards of the Washington Internship Institute, and the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. In addition, she is a peer reviewer for several accreditors and regularly consults with colleges and universities about assessment, effective educational practice, inclusive excellence, and support for student success.

This year’s Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference is sponsored by The Kresge Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, InfoReady, College Scheduler by Civitas Learning, Meemic-Pino Insurance Agency, Student Services by Blackboard and the Gardner Institute

Established in 2013, the Michigan Student Success Conference was created to bring together like-minded educators to address the importance of retention in higher education. The turnout was overwhelmingly positive, leading just three years later to the conference stretching beyond southeast Michigan to the entire Great Lakes region. Now, the Great Lakes Student Success Conference hosts universities throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Ontario and beyond.

For more information, visit the conference website at or call the GLRSS Conference Coordinator/Advisory Board Chair, Dr. Krista Malley at (248) 370-4482.

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