Select Page

View the 2022 ASRR conference agenda!

On behalf of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, welcome to Adult Student Recruitment and Retention! We have persevered through unique challenges the past few years, and it is good to be in-person. As advocates for adult learners, we hope you enjoy the variety of speakers, who bring personal experiences and engaging perspectives from the ever-evolving environment in which we work. Our goal is for you to return to work invigorated, enthused, and prepared to share innovative strategies for engaging nontraditional student populations in your community!

Conference tracks include:

  1. Recruitment and Retention
  2. Policy and Instruction

Select the sessions that best meet your personal and professional interests. Participating with a group? Split up and compare notes. Take advantage of opportunities to share ideas and network throughout the conference.


Monday, November 7, 2022

9:30-10:45 a.m. Welcome and Keynote Presentation

Opportunities for Expansion: Make Room!
Presented by: Chrissy Davis Jones, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Harrisburg Area Community College, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
In spring 2020, the landscape of higher education changed, possibly forever. Like most industries across the world, higher education was impacted by the global pandemic resulting in an early glimpse of the impending enrollment cliff of 2025. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment across all institutional types declined by 2.7% fall 2021 and 4.1% spring 2022 respectively. And through disaggregation of the data, it became evident that some student types – namely first-generation, low-income, minoritized, and post-traditional (adult learners) students were adversely affected by the pandemic.

The long-term impact of the pandemic is unknown. However, it is evident that the pandemic created in some cases and accelerated in others the opportunity for expansion. In her keynote, Davis Jones will discuss the opportunities for expansion through building relationships, leveraging networks, creating holistic learning experiences, and normalizing ‘help-seeking’ culture for all students, but especially those who have been historically underrepresented and underserved in higher education. In preparation for the impending enrollment cliff of 2025, now is the time for higher education to make room for all students to succeed!

10:45-11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m.-Noon Sectional Presentations

1. Standardize the Process – Personalize the Experience (Track 1)
Presented by: Chrissy Davis Jones, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Harrisburg Area Community College, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
As higher education institutions (HEIs) continue to recover from the pandemic and prepare for the impending enrollment cliff, now is the time to (re)assess policies, procedures, and practices for equitable onboarding and outcomes for all students with an emphasis on historically underserved (post-traditional, Pell eligible, first-generation, and minoritized) students. By assessing the current state, members of the HEI community can engage in the creation of a desired future state that is intentional and personalized for whole life advising. An intentional and personalized experience shows students, in particular historically underserved students that they are seen and valued learners at their institutions. And as valued learners, the institution is invested in each student persisting to graduation because of their personalized experiences. Think – Schlossberg’s (1989) Theory of Marginality and Mattering!

This presentation is designed to engage participants in discussions with thought questions based on lessons learned from the pandemic, research-informed practices to advance student success, as well as mattering to reimagine the student experience at their institutions.

2. Grow with Micro-Credentials: What Students Want and Industry Needs (Track 2)
Presented by: Julie Kiehne, Business Outreach Coordinator, Winona State University
Employees and adult learners are seeking micro-credentials to demonstrate competencies and skills for entry into the workforce as well as career advancement. Industry partners are seeking individuals to hire for entry-level positions and upskilling incumbent workers to improve business productivity and profitability. Students are seeking purposeful employment that aligns with their skills and supports their growth. The development of course-bundles, digital badges, and certificates has provided what students want and what industry needs.

This presentation will outline the process and approaches to engage diverse adult student populations, community service organizations, and industry partners to identify the needs and preferences of these communities. Examples of business outreach connections with faculty to develop micro-credentials (credit and non-credit) to meet the needs of adult learners, and ways to adapt content in leadership and multicultural education will be shared.

Noon-1:00 p.m. Networking Lunch

1:00-2:00 p.m. Sectional Presentations

3. Student Concierge Connection: It’s all about access and belonging! (Track 1)
Presented by: Jeanine Gangeness, Associate Vice President, and Trenten Dernbach, Student Success and Career Advisor, Winona State University
As the world changes, so do our students. There was a time when students came to a specific building and office to access services during a specific time. That may still be true; however, there are tools and approaches for students to have an individualized, accessible experience that meets their needs from prospect to program completion. The Concierge is a single point of connection for adult learners to contact for their needs. The Concierge Connection approach is comprehensive and responsive for fast mover students and re-engages those with many life-priorities. Students on the move need to be able to call, email, or video chat (in addition to stopping by) throughout their education journey. This approach engages students and supports students for retention and completion.

4. Forging ahead: Advising, teaching, and retaining adult student cohorts during a pandemic (Track 2)
Presented by: Scott Gabbert, Program Manager, and Arieahn Matamonasa Bennett, Associate Professor, DePaul University School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Higher education confronted unprecedented challenges in 2020. Social distancing, the introduction of work-from-home policies, institutionally-mandated vaccine requirements, and the move to fully online course delivery challenged an extremely successful cohort partnership DePaul University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies has had ongoing since Fall 2016 with the Chicago Police Department and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

Yet during the last two years, this unique cohort program continued to flourish. The Spring 2022 term saw the matriculation of cohort #11 and as of Winter 2022, 81 students have earned bachelor’s degrees and another 114 remain active students. The impact of multiple on-the-spot adjustments to the program to ensure continuity and continued student and program success continue to this day with some interventions demonstrating improvements on the original model.

At the 2019 ASRR Conference, this cohort program was introduced to participants where recruitment strategies, initial experiences, and discussion of the value of adult student cohorts was discussed. This year’s breakout session will review the various pivot points encountered during the past two years, review the actions taken, discuss their impact and consequences, and evaluate the lessons learned along the way to allow the program to continue to be successful.

2:00-2:15 p.m. Break

2:15-3:15 p.m. Sectional Presentations

5. Learn for Life Webinars: A strategy to recruit, retain, and provide professional development for adult students (Track 1)
Presented by: Patrizia Acerra, Assistant Director of Academic Advising, Shirley Bono, Assistant Dean of Academic and Enrollment Services, and Sandy Rodriguez, Marketing Communications Specialist, DePaul University
In January 2021, DePaul University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) launched the “Learn for Life Webinar Series.” This series of monthly, virtual webinars was originally designed to build awareness about SCPS, with the benefit of adding to the prospective student pipeline. The targeted webinars deliver faculty-led content intended to specifically promote one or more of the college’s non-credit certificate programs and workshops, undergraduate degrees or graduate degree programs. Webinars are facilitated by DePaul faculty or experts in the topic being presented.

Based on experience with the initial webinar offerings, it became clear the events are designed to serve a variety of audiences: prospective students, admitted students not yet enrolled, continuing students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the college. And, depending on the topic and the social media “reach” of the presenter, there is potential to extend the invitation even wider and draw in allied constituents. We found that the webinars also serve many purposes – beyond the original goals of building awareness and adding to the prospective student pipeline. They are also a potential anti-melt strategy, a retention tool, a student engagement platform, and a professional development opportunity. As the “Learn for Life” tagline implies, we continue to learn from the experience of planning, delivering, and assessing each webinar.

6. Classroom Connections: Using WhatsApp in the Adult ELL Classroom (Track 2)
Presented by: Alyssa Hedenstrom, English Language Learning Instructor, Chippewa Valley Technical College
With online teaching modalities stronger than ever, and classroom email communication becoming a thing of the past, it’s time to get creative in how we connect with our students. In the Wisconsin Technical College System alone, since 2017, we have served an average of over 6,500 Adult English language learners per year. That’s a lot of students we can either engage with or that could fall through the cracks.

Hedenstrom has had great success in connecting with her adult students through WhatsApp (one of the most popular free international messaging apps), in order to foster a close-knit, student-centered environment, while maximizing its educational potential. In this session, you will learn the basics of WhatsApp, some practical tips in getting started, and educational activities you can implement on WhatsApp to create a more connected class.

3:15-3:30 p.m. Break

3:30-4:30 p.m. Sectional Presentations

7. Leveraging Partnerships to Recruit and Support Students (Track 1)
Presented by: Katie Asfeld, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions, and Wendy Assal, Associate Director–Graduate and Degree Completion/DSO, Augsburg University
Building partnerships sounds like a lot of extra work on top of the everyday responsibilities we have. But what if the organizations, institutions, and students with whom we currently work are already our partners and all we have to do is formalize the relationship? Creating avenues for students to continue their education without the financial burden and helping organizations see the gain of collaboration with additional financial benefit is a win-win-win for the student, your institution, and the organization from which they come. Learn how our partnerships with various organizations from businesses to other institutions generates inquiries and applications as well as benefits all involved.

8. Supporting Students Remotely (Track 2)
Presented by: Amanda Allers, Senior Manager, Walden University
The pandemic has shifted the way traditional universities support students. At Walden, we have been providing distance learning for over 50 years. Supporting students remotely requires different interpersonal skills as well as different management tools for your staff. Come learn how Walden has provided great support for students and advisors through the pandemic.

The presenter will go over long held practices and updates created by COVID for staff and students. We will discuss how technology and interpersonal skills were used to support students who were working and doing school remotely. We will also talk about how staff and team members were supported and engaged through the pandemic with weekly check-ins, virtual events (Halloween in July!) and more honest discussions about needs in the workplace and home life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

8:15-9:15 a.m. Sectional Presentations

9. An accelerated launch: The creation of the College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies at Morgan State University (Track 1)
Presented by: Nicholas Vaught, Interim Assistant Dean, and Crystol Sills, Interim Assistant Dean, Morgan State University College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies
In 2017, Morgan State, a publicly funded Historically Black College or University in Baltimore, Maryland, launched its first interdisciplinary degree program aimed at enrolling adult learners by providing a flexible pathway for working professionals to earn their degree. Based on the success of this singular program, the University proposed eighteen new programs to support adult learners at the undergraduate and graduate level in September 2021. Instead of retrofitting or revising existing degree programs, these new interdisciplinary programs were built “from the ground up” to support students re-entering higher education. All eighteen proposed programs were approved by the Board of Regents and the State of Maryland. By November 2021, the Board of Regents approved the formation of a new College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies to house continuing education and the new degree programs. Two months later, the College enrolled its first cohort of students. For Fall 2022, administrators in the college are anticipating nearly 200 enrolled students.

This presentation will cover the development of the new degree programs to support adult learners at all levels. The presenters will examine the process, policies, and challenges faced in the creation of a new college designed specifically to support students who are returning to higher education. Throughout the presentation, participants will learn about the support systems that have worked at Morgan State to recruit, retain, and ultimately graduate adult students. Finally, the presenters will detail partnerships, systems and structures the college has implemented to grow enrollment and student services. The College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies may serve as a blueprint for how other colleges and universities may navigate structures and systems to create new degree completion programs.

10. The ABCs of OPMs: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Track 2)
Presented by: Christine Martin, Director of Adult and Online Admission and Institutional Partnerships, and Tracey Marx, Director of Adult and Online Studies, Marian University
Why do colleges and universities seek out online program management (OPM) systems? The obvious incentive is enrollment growth and the new revenue it generates. To do this, institutions give up a percentage of revenue through either direct per-service fees or revenue share agreements. Additionally, the institution will cede some autonomy over managing the admission process and overall academic advising.

Marian University has entered into three different contracts with separate OPMs. Two of the three contracts were revenue share agreements. As such, these OPMs were incentivized to assist in student retention, in addition to admission. Their retention efforts varied from registration reminders to academic success coaching. The third contract was a direct fee based-model. This company was compensated via a fee schedule for each student’s application, and a second fee schedule for each student’s admission.

This presentation will discuss the pros and cons of working with an OPM. Discussion will focus on Marian University’s experiences partnering with three different OPM models. We will discuss the importance of proactively defining the correct scope of work, and the impact of implementation on admission and academics. These relationships come with a variety of benefits and challenges. This presentation seeks to inform other institutions of the overall landscape of OPM partnerships in order that they may make informed, proactive decisions.

9:15-9:30 a.m. Break

9:30-10:30 a.m. Sectional Presentations

11. Military-Connected Support and Engagement Practices Within the Wisconsin Technical College System (Track 1)
Presented by: Steve Pepper, Student Veteran Specialist, Moraine Park Technical College, Samantha Moen, Veteran Resource Services Advisor, Madison College, and Colleen Larsen, Education Director–Student Success, Wisconsin Technical College System
Many colleges and universities claim to be military-friendly, and there is no question that student veterans are a vital asset to college campuses. However, what is being done to ensure our military connect population’s successful attendance and completion? Additionally, student veterans are more likely than traditional students to enroll in hybrid or entirely online degree programs. Yet, little research has been conducted, and few practitioners have assessed how best to engage these students. Session facilitators will present current practices within their institutions and provide information on programming and support services offered by many of the technical colleges within Wisconsin. They will also discuss the benefits of increased engagement of student veterans enrolled in both traditional and online degree programs and identify corresponding challenges.

12. Old Dogs and New Tricks: How the pandemic changed some of the ways we do business (Track 2)
Presented by: Anthony Hooker, Advisor, Adult and Returning Student Services, Parkland College
The pandemic forced us to look at different ways of meeting with and advising students. We will discuss how those changes have impacted Parkland College’s Office of Admissions and Records and their goals of recruitment and retention in 2022.

We found that technologies such as Teams, Zoom and our CRM software, Slate, were instrumental in helping us meet with our students and contribute to achieving our recruitment goals. Included will be a review of the statistical data behind the success rates of the different meeting formats, texting and email campaigns.

10:30-10:45 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m.-Noon Keynote Presentation and Closing

Building a Culture of Collaboration
Presented by: Sarah Carroll, Strategic & Organizational Development Partner, University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Human Resources
An adult student’s college career is a huge investment of energy – economically, emotionally, intellectually, physically, psychologically, socially, vocationally, and often familially – none of which occurs in a vacuum. The same can be said of the work of anyone who supports adult students as they begin, engage in, and end their college careers. Successful service requires collaboration among many other higher education professionals. Yet culturally, we have been trained to function as individuals in silos, not as collaborative partners.

In this session, we will explore collaboration through the lens of two frameworks: project management and design thinking. We will also examine behaviors relevant to successful collaboration—in service to creating higher satisfaction all around, both among the students you serve as well as among you and your colleagues in higher education.