John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Featured Speakers

Plenary Speakers

The following keynote speakers will take part in the Annual Gateway Course Experience Conference. These speakers have been selected due to their deep knowledge and keen expertise with leading and shaping change in student and institutional success with gateway courses

Dr. David Laude, Senior Vice Provost for Enrollment and Graduation Management, University of Texas at Austin

imageDr. Susan Ambrose, Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Experiential Learning, Northeastern University

Featured Sessions

Lessons Learned from Gateways to Completion Schools:  Year 2
Sara Stein Koch, Institute Fellow, Gardner Institute
Martine Rife, Professor, Lansing Community College
Tony Scinta, Vice Provost, Academic Innovation and Student Success, Nevada State College
Monica Varner, Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Academic Advising:  The Key to Student Persistence
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director, NACADA

Engaging students as partners in course design
Peter Felten, Assistant Provost, Elon University
Desiree Porter, Elon University Student

Building Guided Pathways Through Gateway Courses to Programs of Study
Henry Fernandez, Vice President, Complete College America

Session Topics

Endorsing Organizations

North Carolina Community Colleges

North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities

The Reinvention Center

University of South Carolina


When: April 12-14, 2015

Where: The Renaissance Suites, Charlotte, NC

Registration: Please Click Here

The Gardner Institute is pleased to announce the 2015 Annual Gateway Course Experience Conference.

Last year over 300 faculty, staff and other interested parties came together to focus on improving institutional and student performance in gateway courses – courses that launch students on majors or programs of study. Many of these courses have high failure rates and thus close the door to student progression toward degree.

Purposes for attending the conference include:

  • To engage in cross functional discussions about excellence  in teaching, faculty development, and curriculum redesign for high enrollment, high risk gateway courses
  • To inform institution leaders, faculty, and staff about the latest promising practices related to gateway course success.
  • To explore the opportunities to utilize technology such as analytics, early warning systems, academic help labs, and other tools and/or approaches to improve gateway course success
  • To participate in discussions about pre-enrollment placement and preparation strategies for gateway course success
  • To develop further understanding of the body of knowledge about gateway courses and completion

Who Should Attend:

  • Institutional leaders interested in learning more about the role of gateway courses in student success and completion
  • Faculty who teach, coordinate and/or develop curriculum for high enrollment courses and/or high risk gateway courses
  • Student success staff actively involved with supporting student achievement in high enrollment and/or high risk gateway courses
  • Information technology staff involved in the development and application of learner analytics to improve institutional and student performance in gateway courses
  • Institutional research and/or institutional effectiveness staff interested in learning about the application of data to improve teaching and learning in gateway courses


Sunday, April 12, 2015

  • Exhibit Hall: 12:00 – 6:30
  • Pre-Conference Workshop (Registration and separate fee required): 7:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • Registration: 12:00 – 3:30 pm
  • Plenary from Dr. David Laude :  3:30 – 5:00 pm
  • Reception:  5:15 – 6:30 pm

Monday, April 13, 2015

  • Exhibit Hall: 7:15 am – 4:30 pm
  • Breakfast Buffet: 7:00 – 8:00 am
  • Exhibitor Sessions:  8:00 – 8:45 am
  • Concurrent Sessions: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
  • Lunch w/ Plenary Talk from Susan Ambrose : 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • Concurrent Sessions: 2:15 – 4:30 pm
  • Featured Sessions:  4:45 – 5:45 pm

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

  • Exhibit Hall: 7:00 am – 10:45 am
  • Breakfast Buffet:  7:00 – 8:00 am
  • Concurrent Sessions:  8:00 – 10:15 am
  • Morning Break – 10:15 – 10:30
  • Featured Sessions:  10:30 – 11:30 am
  • Closing Session:  11:45 – 12:15 pm
  • Adjournment: 12:15 pm


Register Now:  Click here to register. 

Where: Renaissance Charlotte Suites, 2800 Coliseum Centre Drive, Charlotte, NC 28217

Fee: $600 per individual; Group registrations for 3 or more attendees from one institution is $550 per person. Please use the group registration link for the discount. Free registration for Chief Academic Officer (no surrogates allowed) if 4 other registrants attend from one institution. Please email Angie Whiteside at to get this when the 4 people are registered.

Fee for Pre-Conference Workshops from 8 – 12 (Continental Breakfast from 7:30 – 8:00):  $175

Refund Policy: Cancellations on or before March 1st will have the registration fee refunded minus a $50 administrative fee. A written request for refunds is required. Cancellations on or before April 1st will have the 1/2 of the registration fee refunded. Absolutely no refunds will be issued after April 1st. We cannot accept refund requests resulting from cancelled flights and/or Acts of God.

Room rates: $159 a night includes wireless in guest rooms. Click here to make hotel reservations or call 877-212-5752 and mention Gardner Institute. Room block expires March 26, 2015.

Free Hotel Shuttle from Charlotte Airport: Call 704-357-1414 when you retrieve your luggage and they will pick you up from the airport free of charge. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes.


There are 4 Preconference Workshops to choose from and they will all be going on simultaneously. Each Workshop is $175 each and will start with a breakfast at 7:30 am and then be held from 8 am – 12 pm. Please select the preconference you would like when you register for the conference on your registration form.

1) Using Analytics to Improve Student Success: A primer on leveraging data to enhance student performance
Dr. Matthew Pistilli, Director of Assessment and Planning, Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis

Bichsel (2012) defines analytics as “the use of data, statistical analysis, and explanatory and predictive models to gain insights and act on complex issues” (p. 6). Many institutions around the country, and indeed, the world, have begun exploring the use of analytics as a means of increasing student success. This session will provide an overview of analytics and how other institutions have successfully leveraged analytics. In addition, participants will leave with an understanding of underlying theoretical approaches to the application of analytics and a set of guiding questions and considerations for implementing analytics initiatives on their own campuses.

2) Supplemental Instruction (SI): A Model of Successful Academic Support & Retention
Dr. Marion Stone, Director, Academic Support and Mentoring, International Center for Supplemental Instruction, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Developed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1973, Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic support program that targets historically difficult courses. SI utilizes a non-remedial, collaborative approach to learning that increases student performance & retention by offering peer-led, out-of-class review sessions. Forty years of research has shown that SI enhances student learning, improves grades, & bolsters retention rates. Come learn about this world renowned program in this interactive workshop.

Objectives: basic tenets of the SI model; SI research; specific learning strategies; tangible resources for future reference, including how to acquire the necessary training to run a successful SI program.

3) Academic Innovation and Systems of Student Success
Dr. Marguerite Weber, Director of Student Academic Affairs and Academic Initiatives, University of Baltimore

The most important redesign effort in academic innovation is the redesign of student effort.  For students to succeed in redesigned gateway courses, they need to have robust support systems in and out the classroom to support their resilience and persistence behaviors.  This workshop introduces design thinking for academic innovation, explores the impact of academic innovation on the student experience, and recommends complementary support structures.  Participants will create a map of learning experiences that support the kinds learning transformations needed to make the most of academic innovation and course redesign.

4) Moving Beyond The Borders of the Classroom: Designing a Service Learning Component which Promotes Student Learning and Provides Meaningful Engagement Between Students and the Community
Dr. Monica Varner,  Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Service Learning is an active learning pedagogy that produces positive student learning outcomes.  Students who participate in service learning activities demonstrate a greater ability to link course content to real life experiences (Levesque-Bristol, Knapp, & Fisher, 2010), and show an increase in motivation for learning (Soslau and Yost, 2007).  Active learning research reveals that service learning pedagogy positively impacts retention rates with first year or Gateway college students (Bringle, Hatcher, & Muthiah, 2010).  Moving Beyond The Borders of the Classroom workshop will address service learning models (course embedded, service learning course, and consulting model), student reflection journals and reflection evaluation rubrics, and service learning outcome assessment measures (civic attitude survey, linguistic analysis tool, and community and student evaluation forms).  Participants will have the opportunity to design service learning components with “real life” service examples and will be provided a Service Learning Manual which includes service learning resources, activities, and assessment tools.  Course specific service learning component examples will be provided including speech, English, nursing, history, psychology, accounting, biology, and engineering to name a few.

Call for Proposals

Click here to submit your proposal

Higher education professionals and educators are invited to submit proposals for the Annual Gateway Course Experience Conference. Innovative concurrent session proposals are invited on topics addressing the research, challenges and practices related to gateway courses and student success. Gateway courses are defined as those undergraduate courses with high failure rates.

Proposal Deadline is January 30, 2015.

For questions about proposal submissions, please contact Sara Stein Koch at


Conference Exhibitors





Exhibit Hours

Sunday, April 12, 2015

  • Exhibitor Set-Up:  9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Exhibit Hours: 12:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Monday, April 13, 2015

  • Exhibit Hours: 7:15 am – 5:00 pm
  • Exhibitor Sessions:  8:00 – 8:45 am

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

  • Exhibit Hours: 7:00 – 10:45 am
  • Exhibitor Break Down:  10:45 am – 2:00 pm

Exhibitor Form

Advertising Specifications

Refund Policy

Cancellations on or before January 17, 2015 will have the registration fee refunded less a 10% administrative fee. A written request for refunds is required. Absolutely no refunds will be made after January 17, 2015.

Right to Refusal

The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education reserves the right to refuse requests for any and all exhibit booth space and/or advertisement space in event program book for Institute sponsored events that are not consistent with the John N. Gardner Institute’s mission and goals.