Texas professor to share student success and retention strategies

A chemistry professor whose success helping low-income and minority students succeed in the classroom has drawn national acclaim will share his secrets during an April 24 visit to UCCS.

David Laude
David Laude

David Laude, senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management, University of Texas at Austin, will present a lecture series highlighting how campus culture can positively affect student development and retention in University Center 116.

Laude, 56, moved into his role as “graduation czar” at UT Austin after university officials set a goal to improve its graduation rate from roughly 52 percent to 70 percent by 2016.

While many called the jump aspirational, Laude refocused the UT Student Success team to gather data to guide admissions and enhance new student orientation, modernize degree pathways and create financial aid programs that provide incentives for four-year graduation.

Initial reports indicate that the new measures are working. The UT Austin class of 2017, the first students to benefit the initiatives designed to increase four-year graduation rates, reported the highest one-year retention rate in the university’s history for returning freshmen at 94.6 percent.

According to Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Laude’s visit is a resource for UCCS faculty and staff.

“While the University of Texas is different than UCCS in many ways, we share a goal of helping students – many of whom are the first in their families to go to college – be successful,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “I hope that faculty, particularly those who teach freshman and sophomore level courses, are able to attend these sessions and gain ideas about creating a high-standard, high-scaffolding approach to higher education.”

Space is limited. Please respond with your attendance to the lectures by April 17 to chancellor@uccs.edu.

A schedule of events follows. 

  • “Creating a Campus Culture where Every Student Graduates” – 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in UC 116
     This is a general talk given on how the 21st century college campus is necessarily evolving to be more student-centered.  The presentation is broadly themed and intentionally provocative.  It touches on the roles that administrators, faculty and students play on a higher education landscape impacted by changes in technology, pedagogy and higher education funding models.

  • “Everyone gets an A:  How the modern classroom is escaping the bell curve” – 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in UC 116
    This talk draws on years of teaching a large gateway chemistry course that now embraces a hybrid model for content delivery that permits the instructor to focus in the classroom on building community and managing student mindset for a challenging technical course. The impact of this reconsidered classroom environment in the context of improved graduation rates is discussed.

  • “Dos and Don’ts of Creating Successful Student Success Programs” – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in UC 116
    Laude engages the audience in a workshop environment with what he has learned about what to do and what not to do in creating and implementing programs to increase student persistence and achievement. Talking points are drawn from a broad range of successful programs developed over the last 20 years at UT Austin, including traditional academic success programs, incentivized financial aid programs, teacher certification programs, and experiential and service learning programs.
  • “Student Mindset: Building Communities where Every Student Thrives” – 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in UC 116
    Laude explores the college experience from the perspective of a student’s sense of belonging both in the classroom and as part of the university community. The potentially fragile mindset of at-risk students is explored in the context of common university practices that can unintentionally discourage persistence. Interventions designed to promote a positive mindset in the formative first year of college are presented.

 Prior to joining the UT Austin Executive Vice President and Provost’s Office, Laude was associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Natural Sciences from 1997 to 2010. In 2010, he was named senior associate dean for academic affairs until he was appointed interim dean in 2011. In 2012 he became Senior Vice Provost.

He is still on faculty in the college as a professor of chemistry.

Laude earned a Ph.D. from University of California–Riverside, a master’s degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a bachelor’s degree from the Sewanee: The University of the South.

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