Educational Programming

NWCCU Webinars: Successful practices in increasing student retention

March 20th, 2019, 12pm (Pacific)

Dr. Jared Tippets
Dr. Eric Kirby

In 2015, the presenters inherited a campus that had experienced eight years of stagnant or declining retention rates and were charged with turning things around. The good people on our campus had been trying everything outlined in the literature but just hadn’t seen the results and benefits of these best practices. So, our retention team went back to the drawing board and started over from scratch. From this exercise we developed and implemented our homegrown and cost-efficient ‘ASCEND’ model (Affordability; Support; Culture; Engagement; Nudges, Data). The result? Not only did we reverse the sliding trend but saw a 9% bump in retention rates. In this webinar we will highlight our experience of developing the ASCEND model and will walk participants through creative, innovative, and cost-effective strategies to immediately improve their retention rates. We will outline how each campus can ASCEND to higher retention rates by focusing on affordability, support, culture, engagement, nudges, and data.



Dr. Jared Tippets has worked in higher education for nearly two decades and currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs at Southern Utah University. His professional career has been focused on retention, completion, and student success efforts on both the academic affairs and student affairs side of the academy. Prior to SUU he worked at Purdue University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Utah Valley University. Dr. Tippets holds a B.S. in Management Information Systems (Utah State University), a M.A. in Higher Education Administration (University of Missouri-Columbia), and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Leadership (University of Kentucky). His research and professional interests are in retention and completion efforts along with leadership and organizational change strategies in higher education.

 Dr. Eric Kirby currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (Completion and Student Success) at Southern Utah University. In this role, he leads important campus retention, completion, and student success initiatives, as well as directly oversees the following offices: Academic Advising, Career and Professional Development, Orientation and First-Year Experience, Student Connection and Completion, Parent and Family Services, Student Support Services, Completion and Student Success, and the ACES (peer-mentoring). Dr. Kirby holds a B.A. in Political Science (Southern Utah University), a M.S. in Administration (University of Denver), J.D. in Law (University of Denver), and a Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Academic Administration (Indiana Tech). Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Kirby practiced law for nearly a decade. He is fluent in Spanish and received a diploma in business from the Universidad de Alcala. His research interests are focused on innovative and unique retention and completion practices, student leadership development, and the success of marginalized student populations (with a focus on Native American students). Dr. Kirby also teaches a wide-array of university courses, including classes focusing on constitutional law, political science, criminal justice, college success, and leadership/professional development.