Workshop Presentations

A Holistic Approach to Student Retention and Success
Presenter: Ayaz Ahmed, Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

One of the main challenges being faced by institutions of higher learning in today’s economic environment is to retain and graduate students. Intense efforts are being made to challenge all stakeholders to come up with creative ways to achieve these goals. Looking at this challenge from a macro level, there are two approaches that could be adopted. One is to lower academic standards and student expectations and the other is to adopt a holistic approach by engaging incoming freshmen and nurturing the entire person throughout their academic carrier by building a support network around them. During this presentation we will discuss that the faculty should play a central role in developing and maintaining this support network. By adopting a multifaceted approach, a faculty mentor should clearly understand the student goals and objectives as well as industry expectations and work diligently to match them. This requires a fresh approach to faculty mentoring and the utilization of student support services that the university has to offer.


Access to Success: Increasing Completion by Narrowing Achievement Gaps
As a means to increase completion, The Tennessee Board of Regents system committed to narrow the achievement gaps for low-income and underrepresented minority students. This session will discuss national and state level trends for these student populations and describe the system’s efforts to improve the success rates of these students groups.


Addressing Deficiencies in the Use of Technology among Adult Students
Presenters: Dr. Carol Swayze, Director, Experiential Learning, Middle Tennessee State University
Dr. Michele Wollert, Counselor, Chattanooga State Community College

This workshop will focus on strategies to identify, assess and improve the technological proficiency of adult learners as a means to support retention and persistence of this student population.


Building Bridges of Cultural Pedagogy: Enhancing Student Self-Efficacy for Academic Empowerment
Presenters: Dr. Rena D. Rochester, Director of Bridges to Belmont, Belmont University
Dr. Annita Kerr D'Amico, Associate Director of Bridges to Belmont, Belmont University

The inaugural year of the Bridges to Belmont college program has incorporated theoretical initiatives to build academic and personal resilience among at-risk youth. This involves: examining student needs for improving psychological health, nurturing relationships with caring adults, and maintaining community role models. A second dimension helps students develop human, social, cultural and economic capital needed for educational and career success.


Building an Engine of Change
Presenter: Joshua Rigsby, President of MT Lambda, Middle Tennessee State University

How students & student organizations can effectively engage their colleges and universities to accomplish the goals pertinent to their organization.


Connection Point Presenter:
Dr. Danny Kelley, Assistant VP of Student Affairs, Middle TN State University

We all know that student's academic studies are the reason they came to college but it is also important that every freshman get "connected" to out-of-class activities on campus. Students who are involved with campus life tend to perform better academically and are more likely to graduate than those that don't. The session will explore the format of the “Connection Points”, how participants both nontraditional and traditional were engaged prior to the events, and the follow-up process. The session will also focus on the prescription/method used to; Connect every freshmen to at least 6 activities during the first 6 weeks of the fall semester, the connection card and swipe-in method, and the Follow up Process for students that had not attended any connection point events.


Critical Mass
This interactive presentation will explain the premise of Critical Mass theory, its macro scale benefits to Institutes of Higher Education, as well as model process of its practical implementation on the micro scale level within the context of the classroom. With hands-on and small-group instruction this presentation will demonstrate the implications of the findings of a study conducted exploring racial perceptions of minority students.


Enhancing Student Engagement and Success through Service Learning
Presenter: Carol Swayze, Director, Experiential Learning, Middle Tennessee State University

Participants will learn how a recent Quality Enhancement Plan at Middle Tennessee State University was used to combine service learning and academic programs into a national model that is both sustainable and replicable.


Enhancing Student Retention with Veterans
The passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill provided the most significant increase in educational benefits for service members since the original GI Bill of 1944. Students who have served in the armed forces and subsequently enroll in college bring with them unique needs and challenges. If institutions of higher education do not clearly identify and respond to these needs, the Veteran student is likely to transfer or disengage from their educational pursuits. This workshop will help identify both characteristics of the Veteran and the potential specific needs they have as students. Additionally, recommendations will be made to help enhance or solidify student retention efforts for this population.


Flipped Session: Building a highly effective coaching and mentoring program
Presenters: Tiffany Russ, Student Coach, InsideTrack; Lynise Harris, Program and Training Director, Inside Track;
Josh Williams, Associate Vice President for Program Development, InsideTrack

The effectiveness of success coaching for students is well documented in higher education literature – increased enrollment, enhanced student outcomes, better student satisfaction. The challenge is developing a coaching and mentoring program that can support a broad range of prospective and enrolled students, cost-effectively at scale. This innovative “flipped session” (materials in advance, facilitated discussion during session) will engage participants in a strategic discussion of key aspects of coaching program development – from hiring and training, to pedagogy refinement, to the effective application of Big Data analytics and technology. Attendees will also discuss the various “buy versus build” decisions involved in getting an effective program up and running quickly.


Gettin' Above Your Raisin'
Presenter: Tara L. Perrin, Middle Tennessee State University

Exploring the contexts, feelings, and impact of familial support and limited support experiences of first-generation college students has received scant attention. Utilizing a qualitative narrative design, first-generation college students were interviewed about these experiences. The results indicate that there are three primary contexts of support resulting in four feeling themes, and four primary contexts of limited support, also resulting in four feeling themes. Additionally, the students identify four areas of impact that receiving support influences. Due to increasing first-generation college student enrollments, a comprehensive viewpoint of this population is needed to best aid success and retention efforts.


Implementation of a Peer Mentoring Program to Foster Social and Academic Engagement for Minority Students as a Predominately White Institution
The Office of Minority Affairs at Tennessee Technological University is currently implementing a minority peer and faculty mentoring program that focuses on providing minority students from diverse socioeconomic status and family histories with tools appropriate for academic and social success. These initiatives were made possible by a two-year grant funded by the Tennessee Board of Regents whose focus is on improving social engagement and academic achievement among minority students. This session will discuss the implementation of these initiatives, including some of the findings that we have gathered to date related to effective practices aimed at retention and persistence to graduation for minority students.


Incorporating Technology into Instruction to Enhance Student Success
Dr. Linda M. Clark, Middle Tennessee State University
Dr. Joan M. Raines, Middle Tennessee State University

In this session the presenters will discuss methods of incorporating different technologies, including pen-casts and videos, into the teaching of mathematics to enhance learning and increase student success for both adult and traditional learners. Although the presenters will focus on mathematics, the technologies discussed can be applied to other disciplines. Attendees will see examples of these technologies and explore ways to incorporate them into their courses.


Increasing Persistence for First Generation and Low-Income Students: The TRIO Program Model
Using the TRIO Student Support Service program at Columbia State Community College as a model, this session will explore best practices to help students overcome social, financial and academic barriers to college success.


Internships: Connections to Careers, Community, and Capital
Presenter: Peggy Quinn, the University of Memphis, Director of Fashion Merchandising and Internships

The interactive workshop will demonstrate the value of internships through research, testimonials, guidelines, and shared experiences. Participants will engage in dialogue to share and develop best practices for profitable internship investments.


Koinonia: More than a big word
This session provides the attendees with a realistic view at how inclusion or a sense of belonging impacts student success. In short, just because a student is in a community does not mean that he or she is part of the community. Thus, this session marries both the aims of student affairs and academic affairs. Particular attention will be given to practical and proven ways to create community.


Leaders BUILD Relationships In College and Out
Presenter: Derrick Hayes, W.O.E. Enterprises and Tennessee State University Alumnus

The purpose is to show students and their support staff that â Leaders BUILD Relationships In College and Out." I will use the acronym BUILD to share 5 strategies through the use of ideas, tips, and exercises that will empower students to understand that Leaders BUILD Relationships In College and Out."


Poverty Simulation
Presenter: Dr. Tamikia Lott, Director of Juvenile Justice Training & Curriculum, Tennessee Department of Children Services

This Very Interactive, Poverty Simulation is a moving experience, profoundly. It moves people to think about the harsh realities of poverty and to talk about how communities can address the problem. Most importantly, it moves people to make a difference. The simulation was designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families, as well as to create a broader awareness of the realities of poverty among policymakers, community leaders, and others.


Practices to Help Online Students Succeed
Presenters: Dr. Dianna Rust, Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University
Rodney Robbins, Manager Distance Learning Student Services, Middle Tennessee State University

In this session an administrator and faculty member will share techniques used to prepare and engage students for success in their online courses. Retention of students has been noted as a concern for online courses and online degree programs. The Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Distance Learning Student Services (DLSS) office has implemented several processes, tools, and services to support online student success. These have contributed to a decrease in the withdrawal rate of MTSU students from online courses. Additionally tools and techniques that faculty members can use to engage students in online classes will also be discussed.


Prior Learning Assessment as an Incentive to Graduation
Presenter: William Ikard, Director Prior Learning Assessment Middle Tennessee State University

A panel consisting of the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program coordinator and two former MTSU students who have participated in the PLA) program at MTSU and graduated with one of the Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCP) online majors will discuss their experiences with the ADCP and PLA programs to include:

  • Program strengths
  • Program challenges
  • Program effects on academic success
  • Program effects on professional success
  • Ideal characteristics of an adult degree completion program


Recruitment, Retention, Responsibility: a "Seat at the Table" for Veteran Learners
Presenters: Jeffrey C. Johnson, Providence Campus, University of Rhode Island, Director of Veterans Affairs
Alice B. Royer, Senior Instructor, English and Women's Studies, Penn State Mont Alto

Academic institutions actively recruit veteran adult learners and strive to retain them but do we as educators, administrators, and staff members actively and enthusiastically help to nurture this valued campus group? Do they have a "seat at the table" in policy-making, or policy-changing, groups that can enrich our campuses? The goal of this interactive discussion session is to assess representative and current practices of integrating veteran adult learners' experiences within the traditional collegiate realm and to seek and discuss active ways for them to contribute their rich experiences to the academic, professional, and social atmosphere of that which they are an integral part.


Right to Fail
Presenter: Lance Alexis, Director of Disabled Student Services, Middle Tennessee State University

Every student deserves an equal opportunity to access an educational setting. Once equitable access is attained, it is appropriate to assume that a student has the competency to control his/her fate. While significant strides have been made in the area of equal environmental access for students with disabilities, many remained trapped in antiquated notions of incompetency and inherent need when working with students with disabilities. The presentation will focus on this dynamic and how reframing this mindset benefits all parties involved in the educational process. The most outstanding obstacle to disability rights is the lack of conversation on the topic. With that in mind, the presentation is intended to be an opportunity to get a conversation started. The presenter will serve the role of facilitator and promote dialogue among the participants.


Selection of Technology to Enhance Student Success
Presenters: Lisa Green Nancy McCormick, Scott McDaniel, Ginger Rowell, Jeremy Strayer, Middle Tennessee State University

General education math is a stumbling block for many students. The Modules for Teaching Statistics with Pedagogy using Active Learning (MTStatPAL) research group is designing learning modules for Applied Statistics that will improve student success by disseminating best teaching practices across the many sections of this course. Each module contains an in-class activity guiding students to discover important topics and a pre- or post-class activity that students complete independently. This presentation will focus on the decision making and creation process behind the pre- or post-class activities. When is technology helpful for students, and which kind of technology should be used?


Synchronous Distance Education, MOOCS , Lion , Tigers and Bears
Presenter: Greg Sedrick, Associate Professor ET & MSPS Programs, Middle Tennessee State University

Much has been written on the effectiveness of On-line Distance Education and Massive Open On-line Courses (MOOCS) for non-traditional and adult learners. Both have been touted as a highly flexible and convenient for this group juggling career and social calendars. Organizations such as Sloan C and Merlot have sponsored evaluation studies. This presentation provides a demonstration of a Synchronous Distance Education Platform used in a MOOC that has achieved the highest rating on delivering teaching objectives. This interactive presentation will include a demonstration of systems used by the presenter to deliver Synchronous and Asynchronous Distance Education for both traditional and non-credit courses. Antidotal comparison of Synchronous and Asynchronous methods will be discussed. Recommendations of additional tools and use of course management platforms that best support each type of delivery method and category of course will be shared. Equipment lists with current pricing will be shared.


Mapping Millennials for Student Success
Millennial students born between 1982 - 2000 are quickly becoming the dominate traditional and non-traditional population of students. They are plugged in, gaming, cell phone-thumb proficient. YouTube fans, post-Facebook, wireless, and digital natives. How do they learn and how do they respond to the classroom and to college as a vehicle for their lives? Join us as we try to profile and understand the post-grunge, postmodern, gen Y students.


The Effects of Peer Mentoring on Near-Completer Students
Presenters: Andrew Swan, Western Kentucky University, Projects Coordinator
Dr. Joelle Carter, Assistant Vice President for Retention and Student Services, Western Kentucky University

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has tasked institutions of higher education to raise their six-year graduation rates of baccalaureate students to 53%. While examining the cohort of students who enrolled at Western Kentucky University in 2008, an interesting population of 505 student’s dubbed near-completers was discovered. These students had completed 90 or more credit hours and were often in good academic standing, with an average GPA of 3.0; however, a majority had not applied to a WKU degree program. The Student Success Coach program was created to give these students one-on-one peer mentoring focused on academic and career advising.


The Great Perspective Shift
This Workshop Presentation will focus on choosing a campus wide disability model that will foster inclusion, retention, and student success. How your campus culture views disability and disability-related issues can directly and indirectly affect student success and retention. This presentation will discuss and describe the two primary models of disability within postsecondary education and will provide tips on making your campus a more inclusive environment. Participants will assess their campus culture based on components and indicators of each model, while also learning practical ways to implement a positive disability perspective shift.


Tracking and Improving Retention of Undergraduates in All Class Levels
Presenters: Jeff E. Hoyt, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Research, Middle Tennessee State University
Chris Brewer, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Research, Middle Tennessee State University

This conference session will help you understand the impact of the new funding formula in Tennessee, which rewards institutions for students who earn 24, 48 and 72 credit hours; and then graduate. This presentation summarizes qualitative open-ended responses from 727 undergraduates who dropped or stopped out. Similarities and significant differences between freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors as well as transfer students, regarding their reasons for withdrawal, will be presented, along with differences in predictive models. Interventions aimed at the whole student (the academic and non-academic aspects of their lives) and the benefits of tracking students in all class levels year-to-year in a retention dashboard will also be discussed.


Trading Places: Shifting Learning Responsibility
Presenters: Jette Halladay, Middle TN State University
Virginia Donnell, Middle Tennessee State University

Student engagement can be enhanced by shifting from what we teach to what students learn. Presenters will discuss implementing self-directed learning practices.


What Makes Adult Learners Unique? Andragogy, Assumptions and Learning Styles
Presenters: Dr. Laura Clark, Middle Tennessee State University Department of Educational Leadership
Eman Alharbi, Doctoral Student, Tennessee State University

Adult learners are much different than child learners! How we teach adults known as andragogy - and how we teach children known as pedagogy - are different. Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in adult education research, proposed the concept of Five Assumptions, identifying the unique characteristics found in adult learners, but not in child learners. This presentation examines these characteristics and offers appropriate strategies for teachers who recognize these characteristics. Various models of learning styles are also related to the Five Assumptions, and can inform adult education. Tools for assessment of learning styles assessment will also be provided.


Poster Sessions (1:40 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.)

Comparing Flipped Classroom Model to Others
Presenter: Amy Sayward, Middle Tennessee State University

Compares student success & retention in General Education History surveys by same instructor across three instructional models--flipped classroom with discussion section, auditorium-style lecture with discussion section, and traditional classroom model. Will draw some preliminary conclusions and compare them to current literature on instructional models.


Ensuring Student Success through the One-Stop Service Center
Presenters: Jacki Lancaster, Enrollment Counselor, Middle Tennessee State University
John Davis, Enrollment Counselor, Middle Tennessee State University

This Poster Presentation will show you the journey of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) before and during the transition into offering an effective One-Stop Shop. This presentation will also show the after effects at other colleges and universities that MTSU hopes to experience and surpass to become a model university for One-Stop Shopping. Let us show you how student services are being transformed to better serve the students!


Experimental Vehicles Program Promotes Retention and Mentoring via Undergraduate Research
Presenters: Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, Middle Tennessee State University, Associate Dean and Professor
Ryan Miller, Middle Tennessee State University

The Experimental Vehicles Program (EVP) is an umbrella program designed to foster undergraduate student research and development through the conceptualization of five different experimental vehicles. Peer-led teams with the help of faculty and student mentors design and construct the vehicles. The use of cutting-edge technology inspires the development of innovative ideas and hands on skills. Through collaboration the EVP encourages the participation of students from all academic backgrounds and cultures. Throughout the creation of the vehicle the relationships forged between the mentors and their teams reassures retention within the program. This program is the most proven in regards to recruiting, retention, and graduation rates.


Factors in Successful Transitioning from Military
This work presents findings from a study of veterans who are transitioning from deployment to college with emphasis on those factors that have been found to provide success in their college experiences.


Faculty Perceptions of the Adult Learner - A Consortium Survey
Presenters: Echell Eady. Adult Student Coordinator, Middle Tennessee State University
Dr. Thomas Brinthaupt, Middle Tennessee State University, Professor and Director of Faculty Development

Graduate Tennessee was created using Lumina Foundation funds awarded through the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to the Middle Tennessee consortium of MTSU, Motlow College, and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Murfreesboro. As part of an effort to increase credential completion for adult learners, Graduate TN surveyed faculty at each institution regarding experience with and perceptions of the target population. This presentation examines the results of those surveys.


Improving Student Performance and Satisfaction through an Education Intervention
Presenter: Mark Abolins, Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

Beginning in Fall 2012, the University adopted an education intervention approach to helping students in my introductory Earth science general studies course at Middle Tennessee State University. Exam scores and other performance data to identify students who need extra help, and from that data students are provided with extra credit for participating in coaching and for answering study questions in advance of exams and the final exam. In addition to improving student performance, the education intervention approach is probably largely responsible for course evaluations which improved by a greater percentage than did evaluations for the Geosciences Department and the university.


Leading Students to a More Successful Dietetic Internship Match
Presenter: Lisa Sheehan-Smith, Assoc. Prof., Dir. Didactic Program in Dietetics, Middle Tennessee State University

The path to become a registered dietitian is long and often filled with detours. The journey requires completion of a bachelor’s degree from a university that offers an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics, matching with and completing an accredited Dietetic Internship (DI) Program, and passing the credentialing exam. The major detour occurs when students do not match with a DI. While the national match rate during spring 2013 was only 50%, Middle Tennessee State University had a 67% match rate due to an intensive process that begins with a freshman career orientation course and finishes with multiple coaching sessions facilitated by the program’s director.


Outstanding Student Program
Presenter: Tachaka Hollins, Special Projects, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology
Tacoya James, Practical Nursing Student, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology

The Outstanding Student of the Year is a program targeted at the non-traditional students or adult learners at each of the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT) as a method of retaining and motivating this student population.


Predicting College Students First Year Success: Should Soft Skills Be Taken Into Consideration?
This is a dissertational study that will hopefully turn into a longitudinal study where these students will be followed for four years to see who does and does not end up earning a college degree. The intent is to more strongly validate the importance of soft skills and their predictive power of eventual college degrees. The presentation format is a power point presentation to visually display the literature review supporting the value of the constructs (responsibility, motivation, study habits and skills, and coping with stress) and their individual influences on college success in addition to ACT and high school GPA. The presentation also displays the graphs and tables showing the results of all the statistical analyses done.


Supporting the Whole Student in an Undergraduate Geoscience Course
Presenters: Melissa Lobegeier, Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University
Mark Abolins, Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

Introductory courses play an important role in drawing students into a major or university or driving them away. The most successful models for addressing the problem of supporting diverse students in science courses are multifaceted and address engagement and knowledge acquisition. The introductory geoscience class is being redesigned to focus on community building and active learning strategies.


The Advantages of the Flipped Class Course Redesign
Presenters: Steve Decker, Middle Tennessee State University
Dr. Tom Brinthaupt, Middle Tennessee State University

This Poster Session will provide a demonstration on how to create one-take lecture videos for students to watch and record notes from outside the classroom and will outline the different roles that the students play in the group collaborative learning exercises that we conduct in class instead of the traditional lecture system.


The Apprentice: Using the Apprenticeship Model to Increase Student Engagement
Presenter: Dr. Doug Bielmeier, MTSU Department of Recording Industry

Poor retention rates in American higher education negatively impact students and universities. According to current literature, lack of student engagement affects these retention rates (Sanchez-Leguelinel, 2008; Tobolowsky, 2008; Vuong, Brown-Welty, Tracz, 2010). This paper explores the use of the recording industry apprenticeship model (RIAM) as a means to increase student engagement in the Department of Recording Industry (DORI) at Middle Tennessee State University. This model and the subsequent one-on-one student-teacher lessons taught by Assistant Professors John Merchant and Dr. Doug Bielmeier sought to improve learning. Students completed an open-ended survey based on Tinto’s (1993) factors of student engagement to measure the effectiveness of these lessons. A purposeful coding method used to analyze the student’s responses indicated an increase in learning and student engagement. The conclusion is that this RIAM could be applied to other DORI course and even applied to other disciplines.


The Organizational Communication (ORCO) Peer Mentoring Program at MTSU
Presenter: Dr. Janet McCormick, Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

Peer mentoring programs help build community in mid-size to large universities where a new student may feel a bit lost compared to life at a small college. Mentors help the new students with scheduling, prepare them for advising sessions with faculty, help them find information on internships and applied projects opportunities, and invite the students to participate in social groups, events and activities.


The Use of a Critical Thinking Workbook in an Auditing Course
Presenter: Rebekah Heath, Assistant Professor of Accounting, Middle Tennessee State University

The presentation will describe Richard Paul's critical thinking framework of elements, standards, and intellectual traits as well as a learning exercise that I utilized in the classroom over two semesters. I focus on the eight elements of thought; whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and consequences. We use concepts, ideas and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences (i.e., information) in order to make inferences, answer questions, solve problems and resolve issues." Students read an open-ended case as it relates to auditing and then identify the eight elements of thought. They next formulate a response to the case and reflect on their thinking process