Retreat on Student Success


January 30-31, 2014
Location TBD

The success of all students is now a national imperative. This interactive retreat will address gathering and analyzing data regarding student success, making meaning of the findings and developing strategies to improve student success. The retreat, designed for institutions across all sectors of higher education, will also address how to make improving student success an institution-wide effort.

Facilitators Daryl G. Smith and Alma R. Clayton-Pedersen will lead this two-day workshop to support institutions in enhancing their student success efforts. The format blends brief presentations with interactive team exercises, inter-team discussions and individual team mentoring to engage each participant fully in the work. Participants will be guided through a series of topics and exercises that can be applied to their particular institutional context, culture and student population. There will also be lots of time for teams to work on their campus-specific projects.

Areas of discussion include:

Gathering Student Success Data 

  • establishing a rationale for data collection and linking it to institutional mission
  • considering the purposes of monitoring student progression and completion
  • agreeing on the indicators of student success
  • getting the data you need
  • understanding types and sources of data
  • exploring various methods for accessing and disaggregating data
  • keeping data collection and analysis manageable
  • acknowledging the promises and limitations of data

Making Meaning of Student Success Data

  • linking student success to accreditation and program review processes
  • engaging various campus constituencies in the processes of gathering, interpreting and using data
  • understanding disaggregated data
  • communicating the findings to engage people at different organizational levels and motivate them to action
  • addressing the politics of the good and bad news in the findings
  • exploring how to use data to enhance decision-making and practice
  • avoiding “deficit” approaches

Enhancing Student Success

  • linking data to student success improvement efforts
  • strategies for improving student success
  • designing strategies to support specific populations
  • framing communication strategies to build a culture of success
  • engaging current students and alumni in success efforts
  • developing an institutional culture of student success 

After registering, teams will be asked to submit information about the challenges they face, the strategies they are currently using, and the action plan they will focus on at the workshop. This will help teams to get the most benefit from the retreat and help mentors more effectively guide their work.

Teams will attend a variety of plenary and break-out sessions where they can share information, examples and experiences with other workshop participants. Teams will also receive one-on-one mentoring, receive peer feedback on their work, and return to their institution with an action plan for improving their student success efforts.

This workshop is designed for 4 year colleges and universities; it is not recommended for 2 year institutions.

Registration fee includes the workshop, Thursday lunch, Friday breakfast and lunch  Please note that Thursday dinner is not included.

Registration fees: $485/per team member.  After registration deadline, if space is available, late registration fee will be $500 per team member.

Deadline to register: January 9, 2014  

   Click here to register.

Click here for a draft of the Student Success workshop schedule 

Click here to review Frequently Asked Questions - Retreat on Student Success


This educational program is offered as a service to WASC member institutions and others who wish to learn about good practices applicable to all institutions. It is entirely optional. Upon request, facilitators will refer participants to WASC staff who can answer questions related to WASC accreditation expectations.