Earlier in April, ACHE MidAtlantic held their 2017 Spring Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia titled “Degree Completion and Retention: Stopping the Revolving Door.” Attendees and presenters explored best practices and strategies in encouraging degree completion and improving student retention. Concurrent session and workshop topics included a first-semester course designed to help adult students be successful, international student participation, supporting veterans, student success coaching, career pathways, peer-review writing workshops, strategies for resolving student loan issues, and faculty coaching.
Dr. Kristie Crumley, Senior Director of Student Engagement and Completion at Carroll Community College in Westminster, MD, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Crumley shared her retention and completion success stories from her work at Carroll, as well as from her prior experience teaching high school and college math. During the keynote, Dr. Crumley spoke about four main points within the road to degree completion including connection, entry, progress, and completion. Focusing on progress within a student’s journey, she explained the importance of providing impactful co-curricular experiences to engage adult students. As adult students already have social networks and responsibilities outside of school, these experiences need to present a professional opportunity in order to be successful.
Another highlight of the conference was a panel discussion titled “Voices of Experience: From the History Books” involving a discussion of success stories from the trenches of higher education, as well as candid comments about programs and practices that were not as effective. Panelists included Dr. Regis Gilman, Executive Director, Office of Continuing Studies, East Carolina University, Dr. Linda Osoinach, Sr. Business Administrator, Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, University of Delaware, and Dr. Joseph “Joe” Segilia, Director of Outreach, Continuing Education, Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus.