Skip to main content


Our nation, and our campus, is experiencing a critical and dynamic historical moment. 

Social and political issues that pose questions of social equity and moral responsibility are magnified on our campus and impact our students in significant ways. This moment also affects the faculty and staff positioned to support students on their path to thriving in college. Like so many other institutions, all of us at Carolina have the opportunity to decide how we will respond, bearing in mind that our collective priority is to ensure the well-being and success of every student at our university.

This day-long conference will bring students, faculty, and staff together to acknowledge and validate the diverse experiences of our community during this time, and to collaboratively identify tangible strategies to effectively support student persistence, resilience, and thriving. We will also discuss strategies for professionals to effectively listen to and support one another in ways that increase opportunities for collaboration and problem-solving across difference. The goal of this day is for every attendee to leave with more tools, resources, and support to help students thrive at Carolina during times of social change and challenge.

Through facilitated discussion, working groups, and product-bearing activities, attendees will explore the following questions:

  • How are students affected by this year’s events (including but not limited to the events surrounding confederate monuments, the #MeToo movement, national weather disasters and mass shootings)?
  • What are evidence-based strategies to support students through crisis?
  • What are examples of successful ways that students, faculty, and staff are supporting each other’s success on our campus and beyond
  • What can we do to prepare ourselves to readily address the needs of our students?


Jim Leloudis
Jim Leloudis
Allison Schlobohm
Allison Schlobohm
Chloe Russell
Chloe Russell
Dawna Jones
Dawna Jones

Carmen Huerta
Dawn Henderson
Dawn Henderson
Dawn Osborne-Adams
Dawn Osborne-Adams
Picture of Omar Simpson
Omar Simpson



ORDER OF ACTIVITIES (Conference materials included as links)


8:15 a.m. Check In
8:45 a.m. Welcome
9:00 a.m. Contextualizing Meaning During This Time of Challenge and Change: A Historical Perspective (PDF)

Jim Leloudis, Professor of History, Peter T. Grauer Associate Dean for Honors Carolina, and Director, The James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences

10:00 a.m. Casting Back and Hoping Forward: A Reflection on Realities (Word doc)

Lee Roberts, Student Organizations Program Coordinator, Student Life and Leadership

Charla Blumell, Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Prevention, Student Wellness


Collaborating Across Difference (Google Slides)

Allison Schlobohm, Clinical Assistant Professor, Kenan Flagler Business School

In this session we will engage in goal-setting, personal awareness, and effective communication as key strategies for successfully navigating contentious situations. Through small-group discussion and role-playing practice, participants will build a strong foundation for remaining confident during tense moments while providing generous space for dialogue with others. Participants will leave feeling more prepared to work with people (students, faculty, and other community members) whose perspectives and identities vary significantly from their own.

Brave Leadership Through Change and Challenge (PDF)

Brave Leadership Through Change and Challenge Handout (PDF)

Chloē Russell, Assistant Dean, Hardin Hub for Career & Academic Advising, Academic Advising Program

Dawna Jones, Assistant Dean of Students, Office of the Dean of Students

Combining lessons from Dr. Brené Brown’s empirical, evidence-based approach to organizational leadership in her best-selling book, Dare to Lead, and other research on best-practices in change leadership, this session will guide participants in understanding core principles for successfully leading teams of people under challenging circumstances and shifting landscapes. Participants will discuss definitions and descriptions of brave leadership, disrupt popular myths about effective leadership in practice, and engage in exercises to reflect on their team needs and construct new ways of engaging toward more creative, innovative, healthy and collaborative work cultures.

Practicing Micro-affirmations To Influence Progress (PowerPoint)

Carmen Huerta, Carolina Firsts Program Director

Microaffirmations are intentional practices that appreciate the social context, relationships, and individual characteristics such as social capital, ethnicity, accessibility, and sense of belonging that influence individual perspectives, behaviors, and choices in an environment. More than general kindness, awareness, or appreciation, microaffirmations can be used to increase sense of belonging, disrupt dominant and marginalizing narratives on student success, and invest in others in college. Dr. Huerta will lead participants in this session to consider the power of microaffirmations for helping others move forward under challenging circumstances and develop strategic implementation plans for microaffirmations in their daily work.

Promoting a Sense of Community through Times of Challenge and Change (PowerPoint)

Dawn X. Henderson, Research Associate for the Center for Faculty Excellence

The core of student success may be the capacity of their community to provide the resources and social support needed to navigate times of challenge and change. This session will guide participants through a facilitated dialogue on the tenets of a sense of community; how to model belonging, mattering (influence), integration, and a shared emotional connection in university spaces. Dialogue will conclude with a shared commitment towards building a sense of community for students across Carolina

12:00 p.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. Moving Through Change and Challenge: Mindsets to Action (PowerPoint)

Recipe for Change (PDF)

Dawn Osborne-Adams, University Ombuds and Director of the University Ombuds Office

1:45 p.m. What Do We Do Now? Planning and Constructing Commitment (PowerPoint)

Omar Simpson, Transition Course Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Retention

2:30 p.m. Springing Forward (Together): A Creative Statement of Collective Commitment

Interactive Art Project led by Henderson Beck, Undergraduate Student, Class of 2019

3:00 p.m. Acknowledgements and Closing

Alison Spannaus, Associate Director, New Student and Family Programs


We hope to see you February 27, 2019!

At this time, registration is full. Please contact Candice Powell with any questions. 

This conference is made possible with the generous support of Student Affairs and the Summer School in collaboration with Undergraduate Retention.




Student-centeredness is a central concept in higher education practice and scholarship. At Carolina, the concept of student-centeredness is frequently evoked across academic and student affairs and influences strategic objectives for enhancing student success. While ideas of student-centeredness have increased in popularity and importance, several definitions of student-centeredness exist. Research suggests several different views on what student-centeredness means in philosophy and practice. Diverging opinions also exist regarding the implications of student-centeredness for faculty and staff and for student outcomes.

This daylong conference critically explored the following questions:

  • What does it mean for a public research university to be student-centered, and how does this student-centeredness matter to student success?
  • How has this concept been applied to undergraduate student success broadly and at Carolina?
  • What are the benefits of a student-centered approach to working with today’s undergraduates?
  • How can faculty and staff at Carolina apply concepts and strategies of student-centeredness to their current work with undergraduate students?


  1. Enhance participant knowledge of student-centeredness, including:
    1. Theories of student-centeredness
    2. Research related to student-centered approaches to student success
    3. Practical applications of student-centeredness in higher education within academic advising, student transitions and development, pedagogy, as well as within department operations and individual interactions with students.
    4. Carolina’s conceptualization of student-centeredness through the Chancellor’s strategic plan, the definition of student success, and Excellence in Action.
    5. Our current student population; considering how professionals may (re)center our work on a new generation of Tar Heels.
  2. Share insight from administrators, faculty, students and staff on student-centeredness, student-centered practice and research, and implications for student success and professional fulfillment. (We are so glad to welcome students as partners and full participants in our conference this year and hereafter!)
  3. Provide guidance for faculty and staff to design and implement student-centered strategies for their work.
  4. Provide opportunity for collaboration on tangible strategies for student-centered approaches to student success.
Conference Materials

Time  Activity  
8:30am   Check-In
9:00am  Welcome
9:15am  Overview and Reflections on Student-Centeredness
with Krista Prince and Erica Wallace

10:30am  Break 
10:45am  Breakout Sessions:

12:00pm  Lunch
1:15pm  Panel Discussion
2:15pm  Break 
2:30pm  Summer School Grant-competition Announcement
2:45pm  Practical Applications of Student-Centeredness in Your Work
3:15pm   Close


Reference and Additional Information
Taylor, J. (2013). What is student-centredness and is it enough? The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 4(2), 39-48.

Student-Centeredness: A Collection of Relevant Literature, Articles and Information developed by Cait Kennedy, Carolina Academic Library Associate | Instruction – House Undergraduate Library

The Annual Student Success Conference is made possible by the coordinated partnership of
Undergraduate Education, the Office of Undergraduate Retention, Student Affairs, and the Summer School.

The 8th Annual Student Success Conference: A Coordinated Culture of Care for Student Success

March 6, 2017
William and Ida Friday Conference Center

See conference program here.

“[Student success] efforts are often described in terms of programs and strategies. While such initiatives contribute to the success and persistence of students, alone they possess marginal power to impact retention outcomes. The true power any institution has to affect academic performance and enrollment behavior is the campus culture.”
-Black (2010) Creating a Retention Culture

We envision a coordinated culture of care as a culture where every member of the Carolina community is called upon to support and facilitate student success. It is a culture where undergraduates are seen as the heart of this university and it is everyone’s job to care for students. This means that every interaction a student has on this campus is a learning opportunity and has the potential to influence success. All employees – faculty, staff, administrators, healthcare providers, service workers – must be a part of this culture dedicated to care and education even if one’s functional job responsibilities are not education focused. To cultivate a culture of care, each person within our community must possess cultural competence and create safe spaces for students to explore academically and personally.

– Cynthia Demetriou (2017), Associate Dean for Undergraduate Retention

This year’s conference:

  • Described an ethos of care in higher education and explore why a culture of care increases student outcomes.
  • Explored tangible strategies for coordinating and collaborating across departments, schools and units to cultivate a culture of care.
  • Provided space for cross-departmental synergy and collaboration toward innovative ideas for everyday work inspiring a coordinated culture of care at Carolina.


Timothy L. Hall
President of Mercy College

Brett Carter
Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students within the Division of Student Affairs at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Desirée Rieckenberg
Senior Associate Dean of Students & Director, Office of the Dean of Students, University of North Carolina

Amy Locklear Hertel
Director of the American Indian Center and Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


8:30 a.m. Check-In
9:00 a.m. Welcome
9:15 a.m. Cynthia Demetriou––Conceptualizing a Coordinated Culture of Care
9:30 a.m. Keynote––Tim Hall: A Revolutionary Culture of Coordinated Care for Student Success (Video)
10:45 a.m. Plenary Speaker––Brett Carter: UNCG Cares (Video)
11:30 a.m. Collaborative Discussion
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Desirée Rieckenberg: The Circle of Care: A Coordinated Approach to Student Success and Resiliency (Video)
1:45 p.m. Collaborative Discussion
2:30 p.m. Plenary––Amy Locklear Hertel: Informed by Culture, Created by Design: Indigeneity in the Academy (Video)
3:15 p.m. Closing

Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Retention and the Division of Student Affairs at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) partner with colleagues from across campus to provide a day-long conference for faculty and staff on current issues in undergraduate student success.The 8th Annual Student Success Conference – A Coordinated Culture of Care for Student Success (2017) – was made possible by the coordinated partnership of Undergraduate Education, the Office of Undergraduate Retention, Student Affairs, Summer School, and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

The 2016 Student Success Conference: Growth Mindset

Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Retention and the Division of Student Affairs at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) partner with colleagues from across campus to provide a day-long conference for faculty and staff on current issues in undergraduate student success.Growth mindset (Dweck, 2006), the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, is a theoretical framework applied to student success initiatives across the education pipeline. While individuals with a fixed mindset believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are unchangeable fixed traits, people with a growth mindset believe that intelligence is malleable and individuals have significant capacity to change. Research suggests that developing a growth mindset may result in positive educational outcomes.This day-long conference explored the following questions: What is growth mindset? How can growth mindset be applied to undergraduate student success? How can faculty and staff at UNC-CH apply growth mindset to their current work with undergraduates?This conference was a gathering of faculty and staff at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that enhanced our understanding of how mindset (of students, faculty, and professionals) can impact student success. The 2016 Conference was hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Retention, with generous support by the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Summer School.


  • Enhance participant knowledge of mindset theory as applied to undergraduate student’s success, including:
    • Understanding the distinction between growth and fixed mindsets.
    • Examining the research related to mindset theory and its application to college students.
    • Learning how to integrate theory and research related to mindset in order to develop principles for practice.
    • Developing at least one strategy for promoting a growth mindset in their students.
    • Becoming aware of specific feedback techniques that promote a growth mindset.
    • Applying growth mindset approaches with relevant case studies.
  • Identify campus experiences that contribute to increasing growth mindset.
  • Provide an opportunity for departments to collaborate on potential strategies for promoting growth mindset in college.


Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties.American psychologist55(5), 469.

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

Sriram, R. (2014). Rethinking intelligence: The role of mindset in promoting success for academically high-risk studentsJournal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice15(4), 515-536.

Yeager, D. S. and Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational Psychologist47, 302–314.

Questions for Continuing the Conversation


Attendees were invited to apply for grant funding to enhance growth mindset amongst UNC-Chapel Hill students over the summer. View the grant winners and their projects here.


Conference Program

Presentations:Keynote Speaker – Dr. Martha Casazza
Mindset: Its Powerful Impact on Achievement

Plenary Speaker – Dr. Jeffery Greene
Mindsets, Myths, and Messages: How We Promote (and Undermine) Growth

Applying Mindset to Teaching & Learning: Dr. Jeannie Loeb, Dr. Cheryl Moy, Dr. Jennifer Park
There are many opportunities to encourage students’ growth mindset in academic courses. This session will explore cross-disciplinary strategies that can help students understand and apply mindset concepts to academic tasks and thriving in the classroom. The presenters will include specific examples of strategies they have used in their courses, the outcomes of their efforts and considerations for additional strategies. Attendees will also discuss ideas for incorporating mindset concepts in their own courses and teaching approaches.

Part 1 – Dr. Loeb
Part 2 – Dr. Moy
Part 3 – Dr. Park

Meaning Making Tools to Enhance Student Mindsets through Student Services: Gregory Bocchino
How can staff in student support services encourage students to develop a mindset for success in college? This session will focus on creative activities that can increase students’ self-awareness, embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and capitalize on their strengths. The activities discussed will be particularly applicable to orientation and transition programs, career and course selection discussions, admissions programs, and programs related to student health, academic performance, behavior and discipline. In particular, attendees will explore how they can use tools such as the a values clarification card sort, force field analysis activity, StrengthsFinder assessment, and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator within these contexts and how to provide students with feedback and guidance to “stretch” and “grow.”

Meaning Making Tools to Enhance Student Mindsets through Student Services – Part 1
Meaning Making Tools to Enhance Student Mindsets through Student Services – Part 2

Encouraging Growth Mindset in Student Leaders & Co-Curricular Experiences – A Brainstorming Session: Bobby Kunstman & Kate Kryder
Developing undergraduate students to become the next great generation of scholars and leaders is a top priority at Carolina. This priority is evidenced by the dozens of formal leadership programs and courses across our campus. This session will be a highly collaborative time for conference participants to exchange ideas about ways to infuse growth mindset concepts into student leader training and cohort experiences.

Coaching to Growth: Partners from the Learning Center & the Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill
This session invites attendees to experience and experiment with the kind of academic coaching students receive when they visit the Writing Center or Learning Center. With writing and time management as our starting points, staff members and attendees will work in small groups to sample coaching skills and learn how our academic coach approach helps students grow.

Writing Center Flyer
Learning Center Flyer


Partnering Together for Student Success, The College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill


On March 3, 2015, colleagues from across the university gathered for “Thriving in College.”  Thriving in college is defined as optimal functioning in three key areas that contribute to student success and persistence: a) academic engagement and performance, b) interpersonal relationships, and c) psychological wellbeing (Schreiner, 2010). Thriving college students are engaged academically, socially, and emotionally. Thriving students experience a sense of community and a level of psychological well-being that contributes to their persistence toward graduation and allows them to gain maximum benefit from being in college (Schreiner, Pothoven, Nelson, & McIntosh, 2009).

Conference Guide by Ryan Comfort, Academic Advisor



Registered Guests


  • Schreiner, L. A. (2010). The “Thriving Quotient”: A new vision for student success. About Campus, 15(2), 2-10.
  • Schreiner, L. A., Pothoven, S., Nelson, D., & McIntosh, E. (2009, November). College student thriving: Predictors of success and retention. Paper presented at the Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Conference, Vancouver, B.C.


The 2015 Student Success Conference was possible through the partnership of the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Division of Student Affairs with support from the UNC School of Education and Starfish Retention Solutions.


On February 7, 2014, colleagues from across the University came together for “High Impact Carolina.” This interactive working day focused on recommendations from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) monograph, High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. The conference featured talks from national experts, including Tia Brown McNair, Senior Director for Student Success in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at AAC&U, and Betsy O. Barefoot, Vice President for the John N. Gardner Institute. 

Conference Guide



Registered Guests

Additional Resources

On January 27, 2012, faculty, staff and students from across campus came together to explore the habits, perspectives and behaviors of successful male students of color. The day was designed to be a dynamic, productive gathering focused on better understanding the success and the obstacles to success for undergraduate men of color. Additionally, this day provided an opportunity to reflect on current and best practices and consider areas for enhancement. An expert on minority male student success and University of Pennsylvania professor, Dr. Shaun Harper, provided insight on the larger, national perspective and led us through conversations specific to Carolina.


Next Steps Activity

Additional Resources


social_facebook social_twitter social_facebook social_facebook