Office of Academic Innovation Caps Academic Year with Highly Successful Student Success Summit

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 28, 2024) — The Office of Academic Innovation (OAI), housed in the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences, ended the 2024 Academic Year with its first ever Student Success Summit. The event was designed to create a forum where faculty could gather in a collaborative and celebratory setting to share their most effective practices for engaging students and facilitating their academic success.

Student Success Summit 2024The half-day event, held at the KSU Center, saw a robust attendance of more than 100 faculty including 39 featured faculty presenters. The summit was organized as a series of roundtable sessions where attendees moved from one presentation table to another – 10 tables in total – in four 30-minute sessions. The sessions were broken up with 15-minute breaks in between each time block. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs - Curricular Innovation and Enrollment Management, Kris DuRocher, Ph.D., said of the summit, “One objective with this inaugural event was to provide an opportunity for faculty members to connect across disciplines with the common goal of improving student outcomes.” 

Faculty shared valuable content ranging from student-focused topics including, Success from the Students’ Perspective, (In)Flexible Assignment Deadlines: Implications for Student Success, and Understanding Our Students, to technology focused sessions such as, Fostering Student Success Online, CHAT-GPT As a Writing Revision Tool in Foreign Language Education, and Using Flip to Foster Student Interaction in Online Asynchronous Classes. Sessions also covered topics that addressed available resources for faculty, actionable strategies for engaging students, and more. 

Attendees at the Student Success Summit 2024Beyond the skills and knowledge-building goals of the event, it also created an environment that cultivated peer-to-peer relationships, breaking down some of the silos that naturally develop as faculty become deeply engaged in supporting their own students and curriculum. As one post event survey respondent said, “I’ve felt so isolated for the past several semesters. It’s so inspiring to be around other engaged faculty from across the college. So much validation that others are also working to improve their teaching in this new environment.” 

It is this perspective that underscores the intent of the event published in the Student Success Summit conference guide, which said among its key goals were to: “Encourage collaboration by providing an opportunity for faculty members to connect across disciplines, facilitating a culture of mutual learning and support with the aim of improving student outcomes.” 

Attendees at the Student Success SummitBy all accounts, the Summit achieved its intended goals. Attendees commented in the anonymous survey feedback such as: “It was a really great event. One of my favorite events at KSU so far.” and “I wish there were a good way to measure how much the needle moves, because I'm confident that just having this one event will have a definite positive impact on DFWI and graduation rates.  I say this because I believe the conference did two important things: 1) amongst participants who are already invested in research-proven student success strategies, it a) dialed up their enthusiasm and b) equipped them with new tools to expand their toolbox, and 2) amongst those attendees who, up until now, weren't fully sold on student success initiatives, it offered them enough credible, first-hand accounts of this stuff working and demonstrated exactly HOW it works so they'll be more likely to try at least some things.” 

The Student Success Summit is already in the planning stages for next year. Led by Associate Dean Kris DuRocher, there is full commitment to continue this level of faculty support.  Coming fresh off the success of this first summit, DuRocher said, “With over 100 faculty presenters and participants, this event exceeded our expectations, and we hope that this event has created a foundation for ongoing collaboration discussions and initiatives beyond the event itself, which we hope to support with future summits. Mark your calendar as we are already excited for the second Radow College Student Success Summit on May 12, 2025!