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November 1-3, 2022

A CULTURE OF CARE: Empathy, Advocacy, and Non-Traditional Student Success
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A CULTURE OF CARE: Empathy, Advocacy, and Non-Traditional Student Success


While flexible course scheduling and degree pathways, reduced costs, or institutional student engagement programs give working adults, traditionally underserved populations, or first-generation college students clear opportunities to enter college, they alone cannot mitigate the tension between life demands and academic work that pervade the non-traditional student’s college experience. Higher-education institutions have evolved to encourage non-traditional student enrollment. But, given that non-traditional student populations tend to “experience greater challenges in achieving certificates and degrees and realizing their economic benefits” (Post-Secondary Value Commission, 2018), how are institutions ensuring their continued access to learning? A recent long-term study by the University of Southern California (2019) on how to promote “at-promise” student success suggests, “A validating approach among faculty, staff, other institutional agents, and peers affirming students’ capabilities for success was more important than specific programmatic elements.” In other words, for college students who face unique external demands, how the institution treats them could be more important than what programs they give them. Empathy and advocacy could be keys not only to non-traditional student success but also to resolving a gap in equity in access to higher education.

Post-Secondary Value Commission. (2018).

Promoting At-Promise Student Success. (2019). University of Southern California.

How to Attend TLC via the Whova App
Keynote Presenters
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Dr. Sarah Steinberg

As Provost and Senior Vice President, Dr. Steinberg is a senior strategic leadership advisor/mentor with a focus in a variety of areas related to the transformation of adult education, including organizational development, innovation in retention and degree completion, workforce development, national and international academic programming, and the intersection of technology and education at the forefront of online and onsite adult education. Learn more about Dr. Steinberg here.


Dr. Steinberg founded a nationally recognized higher education consulting firm, Frogstone Strategies, specializing in advising leaders of adult and online education. She has been an advisor to university presidents and other senior leaders on strategic planning issues related to the rapidly expanding field of professional and continuing education online and onsite. Join us for this session on November 1 at 9 a.m. PT. Register here!

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Dr. Adrianna Kezar

Adrianna Kezar is a national expert on student success, equity and diversity, the changing faculty, change, governance, and leadership in higher education. Dr. Kezar is well published with 20 books/monographs, over 100 journal articles, and over a hundred book chapters and reports. Learn more about Dr. Kezar here.


This session will focus on the results of a five-year study of what supports at-promise student success and look at a new educational approach called ecological validation. This approach uses proactive, holistic, validating, tailored, and identity-conscious values in interacting with students and collaborative and reflective approaches to working with colleagues. Join us for this session on November 2 at 9 a.m. PT. Register here!

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Clint Smith

The 2022 UAGC Teaching and Learning conference is pleased to welcome Clint Smith as a keynote speaker. Clint's work is an incredible resource to further understand the non-traditional student. Join us for this engaging fireside chat on November 3 at 9 a.m. PT. Register here!


Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Learn more about Clint Smith here.

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