UMass Systemwide Congress on Student Success: Improving Retention


UMass Systemwide Congress on Student Success: Improving Retention
September 29, 2022, 8:30am-3:00pm
UMass Amherst Student Union Ballroom

Please note: The location for this event has been changed from Old Chapel to the Student Union Ballroom.

Please join us for a day-long system-wide congress on student success with an emphasis on retention. Chancellor Subbaswamy will open the gathering in the Student Union Ballroom at 8:30 am on Thursday, September 29 and we will enjoy a stimulating day of panels and presentations that we hope will galvanize even more attention to retention than we already muster! We invited all of the Chancellors, Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs, Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts, as well as a host of colleagues from Institutional Research, student affairs, and the list goes on.  We hope this will be an opportunity for all of us to gather together on a lovely fall day in Western Massachusetts. 

Lunch will be served. Parking is available at the Campus Center Garage.

The agenda is available below.

Register Now!
UMass Systemwide Congress on Student Success:
Improving Retention

September 29, 2022, 8:30am-3:00pm
UMass Amherst Student Union Ballroom

Keynote Speaker

Francesca Purcell, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Francesa PurcellFrancesca Purcell is Faculty Director of the Higher Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was the program director for education and the development of knowledge at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences overseeing educational policy and research activity including a multi-year, national study entitled The Future of Undergraduate Education, The Future of America. She formerly served as provost/chief academic officer at Massachusetts Bay Community College providing leadership across three campuses enrolling over 8,000 students. Dr. Purcell also served as associate commissioner for Academic and P-16 Policy for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education where she engineered public policy on college completion, student transfer, developmental education, and performance-based student financial aid and oversaw the review of new academic programs and newly-established colleges and universities. She is the recipient of the Governor's Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance in recognition of her contributions to public higher education. She has held adjunct faculty positions at Boston College, Suffolk University, and Roxbury Community College and has co-authored works on international women’s colleges and universities. She has consulted for the World Bank and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation National Fellowship Foundation. Purcell holds a B.A. from Amherst College, a M.S. from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. from Boston College.


  • 8:30-8:45am - Arrival, Coffee/Pastries
  • 8:45-8:52am - Welcome
    Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • 8:52-9:25am - Opening Keynote: Why Retention Matters
    Francesca Purcell, Faculty Director of the Higher Education Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • 9:25- 10:05am - Panel 1: Improving Pedagogy to Increase STEM Retention
    Moderator: Joe Hartman, Provost UMass Lowell
    • The COVID calculus example
      Adena Calden, UMass Amherst
    • Initiative to Enhance Student Success through Mathematics (IESSM)
      Andrew Perumal, Associate Provost and Liya Escalera, Vice Provost for Academic Support Services, UMass Boston
    • MAGIC Program
      Khalilah Reddie, UMass Lowell
  • 10:05-11:00am - Panel 2: Proactive Interventions
    Moderator: Joe Berger, Provost, UMass Boston
    • Eliminating the undeclared: Amherst exploratory major program
      Farshid Hajir, Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, UMass Amherst
    • Directions for Student Potential Program (DSP)
      Lorena Fuentes, Director, Pathways and Multilingual Programs, UMass Boston
    • UMass Lowell's Academic Success Alerts
      Kerry Donohoe, Dean, Academic Services, UMass Lowell
    • Early College: Effects on Enrollment and Retention
      Pierre Lucien, Policy Analyst, Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
  • 11:00-11:15am - Morning coffee break
  • 11:15am-12:00pm - Panel 3: 1st Gen, Low Income, and Students of Color
    Moderator: Nefertiti Walker, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UMass Amherst
    • Guest Speaker: Lessons from City University of New York ACE (Accelerate, Complete, and Engage)
      Christine Brongniart, University Executive Director for CUNY ASAP | ACE
    • Improving Belonging on Campus
      Brandi Hephner LaBanc, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Campus Life, UMass Amherst
    • Student Support Services Program (SSS)/Success Boston
      Danielle Wheeler, Success Boston Initiative Program Coordinator, UMass Boston
    • Improving the Experience of Commuter Students
      Kimberly M. Scott, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, UMass Dartmouth
      Elizabeth Connor, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Natural Science, UMass Amherst
  • 12:00-12:10pm
    The Retention Imperative Across UMass

    President Marty Meehan, University of Massachusetts
  • 12:10-12:30pm
    Box Lunch
  • 12:30-1:00pm
    Moderator: Tricia Serio, Provost, UMass Amherst

    • Speaker: The Science of Diversity: Lessons from Social Psychology
      Buju Dasgupta, Director, Institute of Diversity Sciences
  • 1:00-1:40pm - Panel 4: Financial Aid Strategies for Improving Retention
    Moderator: John Drew, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, UMass Boston
    • Mini-Keynote: What role can financial aid play in improving retention?
      Jim Anderson, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, UMass Dartmouth
    • Curing Debt: Supporting Financial Wellness
      Kerri Johnston, Dean of Enrollment Management, UMass Lowell
    • Senior Completion Committee
      Jim Roche, Vice Provost of Enrollment Management, UMass Amherst
  • 1:40-2:30pm - Panel 5: Student Employment as a Source of Engagement
    Moderator: Hanchen Huang, Provost, UMass Dartmouth
    • Presentation: Employment Opportunities as a Retention Tool:  Evidence from System Wide on Campus Employment Data
      Ismael Carreras, Chief Data Strategist and Director of Institutional Research at the UMass President’s Office & Victor Owusu-Nantwi, Senior Economic Data Analyst, Institutional Research at the UMass President’s Office
    • PACE program
      Monique Cooper, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic and Career Advising, UMass Boston
    • Co-op program
      Gregory Denon, Associate Dean Career Development, UMass Lowell
    • Amherst paid undergraduate summer research opportunity, LeeSIP (William Lee Science Impact Program)
      Linda Ziegenbein, Academic & Diversity Advisor, CNS, UMass Amherst
    • DELL program
      Peggy Dias, Executive Director, Computer and Information Technology Services, UMass Dartmouth
  • 2:30-3:00pm - Panel 6: Modes of Delivery: Does this Matter for Retention?
    Moderator: Ricardo Poza, Assistant Dean for Curriculum Innovation, UMCMS
    • Guest speaker: Online delivery as a tool for retention.
      Don Kilburn, CEO, UMass Online
    • Hybrid Delivery: Amherst’s Flex Program (Learn from Anywhere)
      John Wells, Senior Vice Provost for Online Education, UMass Amherst
    • Changing Contours of Demand for Online Classes
      Steve Tello, Vice Provost Graduate, Online Professional Studies, UMass Lowell
  • 3:00pm

Questions about the event?

If you have any questions about the event, please reach out to Candyce Carragher at or 617-287-5329.