SOURCE: EducationDynamics


November 23, 2009 11:09 ET

EducationDynamics Webinar Answers Question: How Can Campuses Create a Culture of Empowered Learners to Increase Student Persistence?

Student Success Expert Dr. Skip Downing Reveals Best Practices for Leveraging Student Empowerment and Learner-Centered Experiences to Boost Retention

HOBOKEN, NJ--(Marketwire - November 23, 2009) - Nearly one third (26 percent) of higher education administrators polled during Thursday's EducationDynamics webinar, "Empowering Students: A Key to Retention Success," said they hope to increase their student retention rate by more than 10 percent in the next three to five years. This finding raises two important questions: Why are attrition rates so high and how can higher education administrators increase retention? Dr. Skip Downing, the webinar keynote speaker, encourages institutions to consider an unlikely partner to increase student persistence: at-risk students.

Dr. Downing offered insight into his unique approach to student success, one which empowers students to serve as active, accountable partners in achieving greater academic success and boosting student retention rates. "Traditionally," Dr. Downing explained, "higher education has promoted retention from the 'outside in.'" These interventions include efforts such as revising course content, instructing students in study skills, and offering information about campus resources. "Despite these efforts," Dr. Downing said, "even academically capable students continue to make bad choices that get them off course." That's why he advocates the addition of an "inside out" approach: empowering learners so they consistently make wise choices.

"Student success administrators often place too much weight on academic ability and then wonder why many seemingly academically capable students sink while less academically capable students swim," explains Downing. "This puzzling situation demonstrates that academic persistence is affected by many factors besides academic ability. Students who have developed inner qualities such as personal responsibility, self-motivation, self-management, interdependence, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, self-esteem and a propensity for life-long learning are much more likely to be successful in college and beyond."

During the program, educators from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Brevard Community College in Florida shared their successful applications of Dr. Downing's approach. To listen to the entire webinar, you can access a complimentary recording on EducationDynamics' website at Additionally, education professionals will have rare access to Dr. Downing on EducationDynamics' Higher Ed Dialog blog, wherein readers are invited to pose questions and engage in discussion among peers about the opportunities and challenges associated with cultivating active student participation in institutional retention initiatives.

"Empowering Students: A Key to Retention Success" is the third in the ongoing series of the National Dialog on Student Retention Webinars. Recent installments have featured noted speakers including Dr. George Kuh, director of the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University, former deputy secretary of education at the U.S. Department of Education William Hansen and Scott Fleming, formerly the lead higher education policy staff member for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Future events will feature esteemed experts who will address retention dynamics specific to the varying facets of higher education, including for-profit and not-for-profit institutions interested in recruiting undergraduate or graduate students to on-campus or online programs.

About EducationDynamics

EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is higher education's leading marketing services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including,,,, and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of Web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition. Through its Market Research and Advisory Services division, the company brings a decade of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence, and best practice insights to its clients. For more information, visit