Effective Strategies for Student Persistence to Graduation

This workshop was held on Friday, February 17th.

About this workshop:

Enrolling in college is only the first step on campus toward earning a degree. For many low-income, first-generation students and students of color, new challenges arise once they start postsecondary work. What can we do to support student persistence?

This workshop will focus on recent research by the St. Louis Graduates Higher Education Recognition Task Force which identified Missouri and Illinois higher education institutions effectively supporting and graduating underrepresented minorities, Pell students and first-generation students. The workshop will focus on transferrable lessons learned that will benefit students currently making postsecondary plans, as well as those enrolled in other institutions.

What lessons have these colleges and universities learned that can shape how we advise students in high schools and community organizations? What resources should students connect with on campus? What can higher education institutions do to best support persistence and help students avoid significant debt?


  • Janet Holt, Ph.D., Executive Director, Illinois Education Research Council
  • Elizabeth Stroble, Ph.D., President, Webster University
  • Rachelle Darabi, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Student Development and Public Affairs, Missouri State University
  • Jennifer L. McCluskey, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Success, Maryville University of Saint Louis
  • Trent T. Ball, Associate Dean of Students & Director of Student Retention, Academic Support Centers, Southeast Missouri State University
  • Angela Karlin, Director of Student Financial Assistance, University of Central Missouri
  • Basiyr Rodney, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Educational Technology, Webster University
  • Greg Laposa, Vice President-Education Strategies, St. Louis Regional Chamber, and Co-chair, St. Louis Graduates Higher Education Recognition Task Force
  • Amy Murphy, Director of Scholarships and Donor Services, St. Louis Community Foundation, and Co-chair, St. Louis Graduates Higher Education Recognition Task Force

St. Louis Graduates Professional Development Institute is made possible thanks to support from the Norman J. Stupp Foundation, Commerce Bank trustee. Professional Development Institute is presented in partnership with EducationPlus.