Student Success Summit


Student Success summit

success & you @ WMU | Spring 2018


During spring break, Broncos FIRST hosted over 140 faculty, staff, and administrators for important discourse on a multitude of avenues leading to student success. Four panelists, including Betsy Barefoot of the John Garnder Institute, Robert Simmons- a scholar of black male student retention, Margaret Price - a leading voice in the inclusion of disabled students, and Phaedra White Abbott a leader of the Discovery Scholars program at UT Austin, came together to facilitate a dialogue around the multifaceted approaches to supporting student persistence to graduation. A highlight of these proceedings was the support of the campus launch of one of WMU's Transformational Initiatives, Success @ WMU

Broncos FIRST Invites you to engage in the discussions around student success and enjoy the video footage of the 2018 Student Success Summit below!

Opening remarks were provided by Dr. Sue Stapleton, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as introduced by Introductions were made by Dr. Ceceilia Parnther, Senior Researcher for Broncos FIRST and Monica Liggins-Abrams, Associate Director of CRICPE.

Betsy Barefoot, of the John Gardner Institute, touched on first-year experience programs and the work the Institute does around success, including Foundations of Excellence--a yearlong planning and improvement process. 

Margaret Price did her talk on student disabilities, specifically mental disabilities and accommodations that will help bolster success of these students.  She dissects the difference between "diversity" and "inclusion" when it comes to students with mental disabilities in the classroom. 

Phaedra White Abbott spoke about the Discovery Scholars Program at University of Texas at Austin, which utilizes data-driven metrics to determine a student's likelihood of graduating in four years and what support programs the students will go into. 

Robert Simmons' talk focused on the retention of black male students, specifically supporting and nurturing these students who are traditionally under-served. This energetic dialogue encourages the usage of finding data to support students' needs. 

Closing statements were made by Dr. Edward Montgomery, President of Western Michigan University. 


Meet our panelists: 

Betsy Barefoot 

Senior Fellow, John Gardner Institute

Betsy Barefoot specializes in evaluative instrumentation for student success programs, traveling across the United States to conduct seminars to share her wealth of information. Currently working with the Gardner Institute, Barefoot assists colleges and universities in implementing high-quality first-year experience programs. 
Learn more about her work at the Gardner Institute!




Phaedra White Abbott

Director, Discovery Scholars Program, University of Texas at Austin

Phaedra White Abbott provides senior leadership to the Discovery Scholars program, one of several learning communities at The University of Texas Austin. This community is a part of an Association of Public Land Grant University (APLU) nominated framework of peer mentorship for student retention. Her passion for improvement of the student experience is evident in her work and is what brings her to WMU for the Student Success Summit. 
Learn more about Phaedra and the Discovery Scholars Program!



Robert Simmons III

President, Service Year Alliance

Formerly Vice President of Strategy & Innovation for the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Simmons is a nationally recognized scholar on issues of diversity and equity in higher education and K-12 and proud WMU alum. He brings decades of research and practice in both STEM education and Black male student retention. 
Learn about Simmons and his work!





Margaret Price

Program Director & Associate Professor, Disability Studies & English, The Ohio State University

Price's research interests, rhetoric and composition, include discourse analysis, disability studies, and digital composition.  Her book Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life (University of Michigan Press, 2011) won the 2013 Outstanding Book Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Price is known for her unique approach to looking at student disability services. 
Learn more about Margaret's approach!





This event was sponsored by Success@WMU and Broncos FIRST, a grant administered by the Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education (CRICPE). If you have any questions please e-mail the Broncos FIRST team by clicking here or give us a call at (269) 387-1707.