Criss-crossing the country to learn and share insights at spring conferences

Find out where the quest for up-to-the-minute knowledge has taken InsideTrack staff, virtually or in person, over the first several months of 2022 — and what we’ve learned at each event along the way.

The spring of 2022 has brought higher ed and workforce conferences back with a bang! After two+ years of Covid-curtailed (or canceled) activities, several dynamic educational conferences that InsideTrack has traditionally presented at and/or attended were back on the schedule. Participating in these engaging and edifying events was as informative as it was enjoyable, and we’re eager to share a few of our takeaways with you.

Rural Student Success unConference

March 3-4 * Athens, Georgia

This year’s unConference focused on three core areas: rural student identity, policy impacting rural students, and inclusive curricular and co-curricular pedagogy for the rural student community in higher education. There were keynote addresses by national experts on those areas of focus as well as opportunities for participants to go deeper in breakout discussion sessions.

InsideTrack Take Away:

“It’s imperative to understand the culture of different student populations, including the nuances of students’ lived experiences and understand what that means for their matriculation — whether the student is first-generation, rural, adult learner or so on. We have to take the time to know their story and what it means for them to be in school and what they will need to succeed. To guess or make assumptions is counterproductive to student success.”

— Malika Clinkscales, Associate Vice President, Partner Success

“Rural learners have different needs than other populations and their non-rural institutions may struggle to meet those needs. Some students who identify as rural want to embrace that rural upbringing and support their families there. Not everyone wants to get away.”

— Jessica Hector, Associate Vice President, Partner Success

 

American Council on Education Annual Conference (ACE)

March 5-7 * San Diego, California

Dubbed “higher education’s biggest reunion,” ACE 2022 brought together curated panels of engaging speakers and knowledgeable experts to explore practical solutions for current issues, analyze the year’s biggest trends, and discuss sustainable strategies for the future. Attendees learned the latest about every facet of higher education along with data-driven insights to bring back to campus.

InsideTrack Take Away:

“The reality of today’s world is that most learners are working learners, and we need to think in terms of practical steps that can create both near term economic wins for individuals, while also providing longer-term pathways for continued economic and social advancement. I was happy to see that this is no longer a matter of debate. Pretty much everyone seems to be rowing in the same positive direction, with equity and being serious about equity at the forefront of our minds.”

— Kai Drekmeier, Founder and Chief Development Officer

 

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Annual Conference (NASPA)

March 19-23 * Baltimore, Maryland

The 2022 NASPA Annual Conference, a premier student affairs professional development event, featured speakers who engaged participants in thoughtful reflection on the field, hundreds of educational sessions presented by over 1,000 student affairs educators, and networking opportunities that made it possible to interact with and learn from colleagues.

InsideTrack Presentation: Investing in a Student-Ready Framework

The topic of InsideTrack’s presentation is near and dear to our hearts and mission. We took attendees through what being a ‘student-ready’ campus means: “More than ensuring that students understand the resources available to them at the institution it means preparing, supporting, and investing in the staff and faculty who are responsible for the student experience. We must evaluate our institutions to ensure that we are fostering conditions in which everyone can thrive.”

The presentation also covered how coaching can illuminate systemic barriers in institutions’ policies and practices that impede rather than support student success: “Obstacles, motivations, goals, and so much more are uncovered through coaching conversations. Coaching is not only transformational for the student but the insights are also transformative for the institution.”

 

Education Finance Council Annual Conference

March 31-April 11 * Tucson, Arizona

The Education Finance Council’s 2022 Annual Membership Meeting brought together higher education advocates, policymakers, and financial industry participants to discuss market activity and outlook, regulatory issues, pertinent legislation, and relevant issues in higher education.

InsideTrack Presentation: Addressing Inequities in Postsecondary Education Access: Disruptors and Changemakers

During our panel, InsideTrack presenter Steve Ast, Senior Vice President, Partner Success, discussed how holistic, student-centered coaching can be viewed as insurance on a student loan investment — as students who are coached with an equitable approach are more likely to complete their programs and, in turn, find a job to help them address their loans.

InsideTrack Take Away:

“From 2012 to 2022, the average student loan debt burden has gone from roughly $24,700 to $36,800. The new interest rate environment, pandemic-related disruption in higher education, and speculation about student loan forgiveness have all affected student loan finance. It’s clear that these member organizations must come together and address existing education inequities, improve affordability, and help nontraditional students get the training and education needed for in-demand fields.”

— Wakashan West, Associate Vice President, Partner Success

 

Texas Association of College Technical Educators Annual Conference

April 6-8 * Austin, Texas

The Texas Association of College Technical Educators is a professional organization serving workforce education in Texas community and technical colleges. The annual conferences were designed to support, promote and advance learning and discussions around sound and effective education.

InsideTrack Session: Behind the Numbers: How Focusing on the Individual Student Helps Colleges Reach CTE & Perkins Goals

The InsideTrack-led session showcased the North Central Texas College experience — from funding coach training through implementing coaching into student services, instruction, and leadership. Creating this coaching culture has given students, faculty, and staff a common language and approach to student success, resulting in a cohesive student experience across the institution. Panelists from North Central Texas College also discussed how using insights from their COVID-19 response, results from their Perkins Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment, and their ongoing partnership with InsideTrack helped them expand student support from early career exploration through the start of their careers.

InsideTrack Take Away:

“One of the most impactful sessions was the last panel discussion with three community college presidents. They talked about the need for community college staff and faculty to not accept the status quo. They had a lot of calls to action to improve outcomes for students. It was inspiring!”

— Mo McKenna, Director, Partnership Solutions

 

University Professional and Continuing Education Association Annual Conference (UPCEA)

April 11-14 * Orlando, Florida

The 2022 UPCEA Annual Conference convened deans and other senior university leaders, key staff, and teams responsible for the management, administration, and growth of professional, continuing, and online education programs. Attendees enjoyed targeted sessions spanning the top areas of practice in the field (aligned with UPCEA’s eight professional networks), led by higher education experts and colleagues.

InsideTrack Take Away:

“In a session about ‘Coordinating PCO in a Decentralized University,’ the speaker said something directed to people in leadership that really stuck with me. He said that if you’ve already made a decision, don’t bring everybody into a conversation to voice their opinions and act like you’re listening to them if what they have to say doesn’t matter. Treat people better than that.”

— Chris Anderson, Director, Partner Success

 

American Association of Community Colleges Annual Conference (AACC)

April 30-May 5 * New York, New York

One of the largest gatherings of community college professionals, the AACC annual conference offers engaging speakers, relevant professional development, and unsurpassed networking opportunities. This year’s event presented a chance to discuss and find solutions for today’s priority challenges while identifying opportunities to support the country’s community college students. The programming focused on innovation and evidence-based strategies designed to improve student outcomes.

InsideTrack Session: Enhancing Student Success Through a Holistic Coaching Methodology

Our session shared the successful roadmap Onondaga Community College (OCC), an InsideTrack partner, has followed to transform their advising function. Over three years, coaching became embedded into a new orientation of advising that moved from silos to an integration of advising, academics, career counseling, and transfer. One outcome of this approach is the increased level of individual support staff can provide to students. Rather than referring students to other departments, OCC staff are now able to better support student requests directly, providing a much more student-ready experience.

InsideTrack Take Away:

“I’m still thinking about a conversation we had with an attendee after our session.  She was interested in learning how to bring a similar program to her campus. The presenters validated the strong start she had already made in bringing coaching to a particular STEM program. They advised her that it’s best to do a pilot first and let the positive results increase acceptance and excitement more broadly on campus. They also encouraged her to build a coalition of supporters and to use the principles of change management we have reviewed as guideposts for the journey. It was energizing to see the passion she had for her students and for adding coaching as support to meet key needs.”

— Cheryl Marshall-Petricoff, Vice President of Marketing

 


Looking for more insights on student success and support? We’ve created a handy tip sheet to help you discover the steps that students, staff and leadership can take to achieve better outcomes.

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