Office of the Provost

Wilson Hall, Suite 3000
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-2190

Past Conferences

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.

2022 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

Resilience in Higher Education: Success of Students and Staff

This year’s conference reflects on how higher education was nimble and altered the traditional approach of service and instruction delivery to primarily offering all virtual, with some onsite, options. While approaches shifted, workloads and expectations were impacted for everyone involved. This year the conference aims to focus on the innovative, creative and engaging practices whether inside or outside of the classroom, that nurtured students' passion for learning, sense of belonging, and inclusive practices. The conference also seeks best practices that showcase care and compassion for higher education professionals and what institutions are doing to retain their top talent. 

2021 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

Student Success in a Pandemic: Lessons Learned

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in  immense change, expeditious innovation, dramatic shifts in policies and practice, and an outpouring of care and compassion for  students. This year’s conference will highlight exemplary strategies and practices that higher education institutions employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. From deploying unique teaching methods and virtual support services to leveraging social media and ensuring that students had access to the materials needed to be successful, to higher education professionals who exhibited resilience, grit and innovation during a very challenging time.

2020 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

Asset-minded Practice: Reframing Student Success

The 2020 GLRSSC focused on student’s strengths, opportunities, and what they bring to our institutions in addition to the responsibilities that institutions have with reframing structures and systems that inhibit student success. Using asset-minded practices as a tool to better support equity, institutions can ensure that every student is valued and has the opportunity to build upon the assets they already possess.  

It’s time to reframe student success to meet the needs of all students, aiming to showcase their potential in and outside the classroom, using a holistic approach. This can be accomplished throughout all aspects of our institutions: from various teaching methods, opportunities for experiential learning, and course offerings to the numerous student organizations and connections at campus events that can enrich our students’ college experience--all of which add to creating a sense of belonging to the students on our campuses. 

2019 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

Promoting Persistence and Practice

The field of higher education continues to experience great change in how we engage with students, how we use ever-changing technologies for our daily practices and services, and how we strive to connect in meaningful ways with our students in and outside of the classroom. Not only  are higher education professionals continuing to advance in “how” we do things, we are also continuing to share and reiterate the “why” higher education is critical for cultivating skills and knowledge relevant in the new global economy by providing credentials of purpose and value.

This year’s conference brings experts and practitioners focused on persistence and practice through various lenses, ranging from engagement and technology to resiliency and student success initiatives.

2018 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

Closing the Gap

Closing the gap between college access and college completion for all students is the number one priority of higher education for this decade. Post-secondary institutions are facing significant challenges to achieving this goal. Colleges are enrolling a larger and more diverse population that is less prepared. The diversity of our student populations has increased with underrepresented minorities, first generation students, students with disabilities, and immigrant students seeking college degrees at higher rates but completing with less success.  

Many of these students come from backgrounds that make college more challenging on many levels and completion is less successful. The demand for college education to compete in current and future labor markets has spread to all segments of our society while public budgetary support for higher education has declined.  

This conference brought together experts and practitioners who focused on how we can close the gap and provide all students with the opportunity for social mobility through education.

2017 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference

Putting It All Together: Campus Strategy for Access, Retention, and Completion

Successful college completion is essential to the future of the students we serve and to the society they inhabit. As demographics in the Midwest change and high school graduates decline, retaining and graduating the students who enroll in higher education institutions has become more and more important for both students and institutions. It is imperative that we share best practices and innovative strategies for access, retention and completion.

For the four years prior to the 2017 conference, Oakland University hosted and The Kresge Foundation sponsored an annual statewide student success conference with keynotes by major practitioners in the field and a forum for discussion and sharing of best practices. In 2017, the conference went regional and featured major keynote speakers such as Vincent Tinto as well as workshops by award winning universities and community colleges that have demonstrated success in student persistence and completion. 

2016 Michigan Student Success Conference

Collaborating for Student Success

This year's focus on collaboration incorporates innovative practices that resulted from a variety of partnerships, whether they are student affairs and academic affairs, within specific units, or institutions collaborating with communities.

Student success has been a salient topic at institutions of higher education for decades. How success is measured by various stakeholders will have lasting impact on the face of higher education. More importantly, the work done in this realm is essential to the students served and broader social contexts in today’s society. The relevance of higher education may well be measured by improvements in the areas of persistence and graduation rates; therefore there is an urgent call to action. 

2015 Michigan Student Success Conference

Future Student, Future Priorities: Overcoming the Odds

Over the next decade, college enrollment growth is expected to slow from three to one percent. National projections show that the numbers of high school graduates will continue to decline until 2020. Only by expanding access to a more diverse student population will institutions be able to keep pace. Higher education institutions need to focus on how to make this future generation of transfer students, first generation and underrepresented students successful. Such changes require that institutions of higher education reconsider their approach to preparing students for the future and their varied needs. There is an urgent call to action. Student success has been a salient topic at institutions of higher education for decades. How success is measured by various stake holders will have lasting impact on the face of higher education. More importantly,  the work done in this realm is essential to the students served and the broader social contexts of today’s society.

This year's conference featured a keynote presentation by Freeman Hrabowski, one of Time magazine’s top ten university presidents, and a pre-conference workshop by one of 2014’s most popular presenters, Paul Hernandez. In addition, the conference featured a variety of panel and individual presentations that focused on research, programs, and services shown to improve student completion rates. The goal of the conference was to share best practices that explore the university as a community and how working towards common goals can foster student retention.

2014 Michigan Student Success Conference

High-Impact Practices: Creating a Culture of Completion

Keeping students actively engaged in the learning process, kindling and nurturing their passion for discovery, creating meaningful support relationships and rewarding student success are critical to the future of our students and our institution. At the same time, we’ll need to continue seeking ways to overcome financial barriers, student readiness issues and more.

The diverse gathering of faculty, academic administrators and student affairs representatives that this conference welcomes will provide the state with a tremendous array of strategic, intellectual and collaborative engagement resources. Pooling these resources and harnessing our most sound and innovative approaches to raising student retention will unquestionably broaden individual opportunity, but it will enhance economic vitality and quality of life across Michigan.

2013 Michigan Student Success Conference

Completing College: What it Takes, What's at Stake? 

Through the keynote presentations, workshops and informal conversations, this conference will inspire and engage you in conversations  about student success and the importance of retaining students in post-secondary institutions. Topics range from Financial Literacy, academic advising theory, structured learning assistance, and retaining student veterans to moving retention efforts, creating a culture of success, first year STEM, institutional data, and more. All sessions and keynotes are focused on assisting our students with completing college.