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Faculty Conference to Focus on Student Success


JONESBORO – Fall Faculty Conference, which brings members of the academic community together to start the year at Arkansas State University, will feature presentations by Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, who will discuss his outlook for the year, and a guest speaker whose ideas on championing student success have been nationally recognized.

The conference program, hosted by the Division of Academic Affairs and Research, starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, in Centennial Hall of the Reng Student Union.

"Now more than ever, our fall conference sets the tone for the academic year, and I am excited about the message that our guest speaker will bring to the campus," stated Dr. Lynita Cooksey, provost.  “Understanding our students, putting aside our preconceived notions, and being open to new ways to convey knowledge is critical to our future success.”

Guest speaker Dr. David Laude, professor of chemistry at the University of Texas, teaches general chemistry, one of the largest and most popular courses at the Austin campus. As a leader in program reform at the undergraduate level, he chaired a committee that created the teacher preparation program, UTeach, and served as the inaugural director.  During his tenure as student dean in the College of Natural sciences, the four-year graduation rate almost doubled, from 27 to 49 percent.

In 2012, Laude joined the Provost’s Office, where he used predictive analytical tools to identify 2,000 incoming freshmen who were historically least likely to graduate.  UT assigned them to freshman-year success programs, resulting in immediate improvement in their freshman-year persistence from 83 to 93 percent.

Among this and other efforts he initiated, UT's four-year graduation rate has risen by 15 percentage points and the 2,000 students targeted for success interventions achieved a 54 percent increase in graduation rates.

Laude was recognized in 2016 by Washington Monthly as one of 16 "Most innovative people in higher education."  His work also has been recognized by the New York Times Magazine, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

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David Laude
David Laude