SEM 2022

We are excited to come together for the SEM 2022 Convening at the Sheraton Music City on June 9, 2022. 

Registration for the conference has closed. Please reach out to for any questions. 

Campus Teams


TBR will fund the travel of 5 team members per community college and  2 team members per TCAT. Those who have been invited to speak at a breakout session will be counted in addition to the campus team. Presidents are encouraged to attend and will also be counted in addition to the campus team.

Those traveling over 120 miles one way will be added to the hotel direct bill for an overnight stay on the evening of June 8. 

Conference Details


Date: June 9, 2022

Time: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm CT

Location: Sheraton Music City

               777 McGavock Pk
               Nashville, TN 37214
**Please utilize the self-park option at the hotel. We will provide vouchers to have your self-park ticket applied to our master bill on the day of the conference.

Travel Information


All institutions are eligible for mileage reimbursement.

  • Community College teams will be reimbursed for up to 2 vehicles 
  • TCAT teams will be reimbursed for one vehicle. 


Attendees traveling from institutions over 120 miles one way from the Sheraton Music City will be added to the hotel direct bill that will be covered by TBR (if eligible, please indicate on your registration if you will need a hotel room). Hotel confirmations will be provided in late May/early June prior to the conference. 

The hotel has provided a discounted rate for self-parking at the hotel. TBR will provide vouchers to have your self-park ticket applied to our master bill on the day of the conference. 


Breakfast and lunch will be provided on the conference day. Please utilize the TBR travel policy when filing reimbursement. TBR cannot reimburse meals that are provided at the conference. Only attendees who stay overnight are eligible for per diem reimbursement at the travel day rate. 

Reimbursement Submission: 

Please follow your standard campus procedure to receive travel reimbursement. Your campus business office should submit 1 invoice on behalf of all attendees to no later than June 15, 2022, to receive reimbursement. We will be closing out the Gates grant at the end of this fiscal year - any reimbursements received after this date are unable to be funded by TBR.

Time Session Description Presenter(s) Sheraton Room Location Keynote Session Link *Same for each keynote
7:45 am - 8:30 am CT                                                         Check-In/Breakfast        
8:30 - 9:30 am CT Opening Keynote: Complete College America 2.0: Who We Left Behind    Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston, CCA Hermitage ABC

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+1 629-401-2817,,93786830#   United States, Nashville

Phone Conference ID: 937 868 30#
9:30 - 9:45 am CT Break        
9:45 - 10:45 am CT Keynote Session: A National Perspective on Community College Branding and Enrollment Management   Dr. Chauncy Lennon, Lumina Hermitage ABC

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10:45 - 11:00 am CT Break        
11:00 - 12:00 pm CT Keynote Session: Supporting Low-Income Students   Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab Hermitage ABC

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12:00 - 12:20 pm CT Lunch Buffet        
12:20 - 1:20 pm CT Lunch Keynote Session: Beyond Free College   Dr. Stephen Handel, ECMC Hermitage ABC

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1:20 - 1:30 pm CT Break/Transition        
1:30 - 2:20 pm CT Recruitment Breakout Sessions        
  Supporting the Equity Agenda through Perkins In this session we will 1) identify marginalized populations and some barriers they face, 2) share the recent utilization of Perkins funds by TN colleges for students, 3) discuss how TN colleges can better allocate Perkins to close equity gaps, and finally, 4) discuss how you, from an individual (or institutional) perspective, can decide how best to utilize funds. TBR Perkins Team Belmont  
  Innovations in Communications Reaching prospective students is paramount to achieve enrollment targets and strategic communications are essential to reach student populations. This session will share best practices on communication strategies from four community colleges and explore how videos and communication audits can be used to effectively communicate with prospective students and targeted special populations. Sarah Self & Christa Martin, Columbia State; Laura Moran, Nashville State, Melanie Redding, Walters State, & Christina Davis, TCAT Hartsville Cheekwood  
  Partnering with High Schools to Sell the TBR Experience This session will focus on ways colleges can partner with high schools to sell the TBR experience. During this session, presenters will discuss Early Postsecondary Opportunities, the GEAR UP TN initiative, and experiential learning opportunities through SkillsUSA. Shania Willyard & Zachary Adams, TBR & Troy Grant, THEC Oaklands  
  Communicating the Value of a Community College Credential A recent report by the Community College Research Center said, “To build back enrollment over the longer term, colleges must ensure that all programs lead to outcomes that make them worth the investment of time and money by students and their families.” This session will focus on how colleges can promote and communicate the value of community college credentials. During this session, presenters will share data about labor market demand and workforce outcomes for community college students, emphasizing employment rates and wage returns from community college associate degrees and certificates. In addition to exploring workforce data, participants will engage in an interactive activity to brainstorm ways to communicate the value of earning a community college credential. Dr. Russ Deaton & Dr. Amy Moreland, TBR Evergreen  
2:20 - 2:30 pm CT Break/Transition        
2:30 - 3:20 pm CT Retention Breakout Sessions        
  Pipeline Partnerships This session will highlight how Nashville State has partnered with local government, a non-profit agency, and industry to provide wrap around supports to Davidson County students to improve retention and success. Nashville GRAD and Nashville FLEX provide targeted financial assistance and intensive academic supports to students, clearing their path to economic prosperity, helping them graduate with the skills they need to obtain higher wage, high-demand jobs in our growing local economy. This session will also cover the partnership between Roane State and TCATs Oneida and Harriman designed to help students continue their educational endeavors through a seamless transition from TCAT to community college. Dr. Julie Williams and Dr. Justina Rogers, Nashville State ; Jamie Stringer and Diane Ward, Roane State; Amy West, TCAT Oneida & Chris Ayers, TCAT Harriman Cheekwood  
  Wrap Around Supports Post-HEERF HEERF provided funding that many institutions utilized to increase or enhance low-income student support and wrap-around services. As this funding opportunity comes to a close, institutions are left to determine how to best address the continued needs of students in new and creative ways. In this session, we explore current supports in practice and hear from institutions that work to address low-income student supports.  through Cleveland State’s work with the Hope Center, Nashville State’s poverty training for faculty and staff, Pellissippi State’s Student Care and Advocacy Program, and Volunteer State’s collaborative campus-wide approach integrating services through intentional programming. Kristina Krau Waymire, TBR; Michael Stokes, Cleveland State; Mia Sneed, Nashville State; Drema Bowers, Pellissippi State; Tiffany Zwart, Volunteer State. Evergreen  
  Supporting Students on Academic Probation After the 1st Term

The Re-Charge program is designed to assist students who fall below a 2.0 GPA, and find themselves in jeopardy of losing eligibility for financial aid.  The inaugural target group for this program will focus those students who need to file a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) appeal, and need extra support and resources to achieve academic success; The presentation features PERSIST; a relational, high-touch coaching program piloted in fall 2021, and a review of its processes and preliminary results. PERSIST is a product of a reimagined student experience at Pellissippi State Community College, which involves holistic, and integrated student support.

Chiquita Bullock & Meredeth McCoy, Columbia State; Dr. Berry Shumpert, Pellissippi State Oaklands  
  A discussion of the impact of Covid-19 on Latino students and best practices to meet their needs to improve recruitment, retention, and completion   Roxanne Garza, UnidosUS; Michael Tinsely, TBR Belmont  
3:30 - 4:30 pm CT Regional Networking/Planning Time        


Keynote Presentations


Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston, Complete College America

Dr. Chauncy Lennon, Lumina Foundation

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, The Hope Center

Dr. Stephen Handel, ECMC Foundation


Breakout Sessions


Recruitment Breakout Sessions

Supporting the Equity Agenda through Perkins

  • Presentation Slides

Innovations in Communications

Partnering with High Schools to Sell the TBR Experience

Communicating the Value of a Community College Credential 

Retention Breakout Sessions

Pipeline Partnerships

Wrap Around Supports Post-HEERF

Supporting Students on Academic Probation After the 1st Term

A discussion of the impact of Covid-19 on Latino students and best practices to meet their needs to improve recruitment, retention, and completion

  • Presentation Slides


Guest Speakers

Sara Goldrick-Rab

Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology & Medicine at Temple University and President and Founder of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia. She is also the Chief Strategy Officer for Emergency Aid at Edquity, a student financial success and emergency aid company, and founded Believe in Students, a nonprofit distributing emergency aid.

Goldrick-Rab’s innovative research on college students’ basic needs sparked the national #RealCollege movement and legislation to address food and housing insecurity. Ranked in the Top 10 among education scholars according to Education Week, she is also a Carnegie Fellow. In 2016 POLITICO magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics. Goldrick-Rab’s book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream, was featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and awarded the $100,000 Grawemeyer prize, which she donated to student emergency aid.

The Chronicle of Higher Education calls Goldrick-Rab “a defender of impoverished students and a scholar of their struggles,” an accurate description of her life’s work. A sought-after speaker, she has given talks for the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, United States Student Association, National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, TEDx Philadelphia, SXSWedu, and for colleges, legislators, philanthropists, and business leaders across the country.

Goldrick-Rab is widely published in venues such as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Sociology of Education, Review of Educational Research, and Teachers College Record, and co-edited a Harvard Education Press volume, Reinventing Financial Aid: Charting a New Course to College Affordability. The American Educational Research Association bestowed its 2017 award for best research article on her study of financial aid and college employment.

Dhanfu E. Elston, Ph.D.

Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston (pronounced: dah-nee-foo) serves as Complete College America’s Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President for Strategy where he utilizes his national policy and campus expertise for practical application, implementation, and scaling of CCA strategies at institutions throughout the United States. He provides oversight of national external partnerships and has led CCA’s pathways initiatives, the Purpose First career alignment strategy, 15 To Finish national campaign, technology Seal of Approval, and scaling standards to close achievement gaps. Elston has also coordinated relationships with Governor’s Offices, higher education state-wide systems, and national partners in their college completion efforts. Recently, he launched a national initiative with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to amplify completion efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and minority-serving institutions. Over twenty-five years of his higher education career in academic and student affairs, Elston has created and implemented comprehensive success and retention programs that have garnered national attention. He has been recognized as a champion of college completion policy initiatives at institutions that educate highly diverse and underrepresented student populations.

Prior to his current role with CCA, Dr. Elston held the position of Executive Director of Student Success and Transition at Purdue University Calumet. Under Elston’s leadership, Purdue Calumet (now Purdue Northwest) experienced exponential gains in first-year retention, graduation rates, and enrolled credit hours. In addition, enhancements made to campus-wide academic advisement processes led to the receipt of the EAB’s inaugural Data-Driven Impact Award for utilization of predictive analytics.

Dr. Elston earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University where he conducted research in student retention, intercultural relations, learning communities, leadership development, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He earned both an M.A. in Educational Leadership and B.S. in Biology from Clark Atlanta University.


Chauncy Lennon, Ph.D.

Chauncy Lennon, Ph.D., is the New York-based vice president for learning and work at Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all.  He leads Lumina’s community college strategy to equitably expand access to high-quality short-term credentials and associate degrees.

He came to Lumina in 2018 after nearly five years as the managing director for workforce strategy at JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he drove the firm’s $350 million investment in philanthropic initiatives. He previously managed portfolios at the Ford Foundation related to economic advancement and workforce development.

He serves on the New York City Workforce Development Board, providing oversight of the city’s policies and services for youths, adults, job seekers, and employers.  He is also on the board of Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, a leading provider of innovative financial coaching services for workers. He is a board observer of two education technology firms: Edquity, a student emergency aid delivery platform, and Noodle, the nation’s fastest-growing online higher education network.

Lennon is a graduate of Williams College and holds a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University. He taught urban studies at Barnard College and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Stephen J. Handel, Ph.D.

Stephen J. Handel, Ph.D., oversees a portfolio of special opportunity grants at ECMC Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as the College Board’s Senior Strategist for Strategic Higher Education Assessment Use and Opportunity. In this capacity, he consulted with college and university enrollment leaders in the application of fair and effective higher education admission assessments and other resources that benefit students seeking success in postsecondary education, especially students from underserved groups. Steve also served as chief admission officer for the University of California (UC) system, providing leadership on freshman and community college transfer policy and practice for the nine UC undergraduate campuses. With over 23 years of service at the UC, Steve served in a variety of leadership roles in such areas as undergraduate admissions, enrollment management, outreach and student services.

Steve is the co-author of books and monographs on higher education, including Beyond Free College: Making Higher Education Work for 21st Century Students with Eileen L. Strempel (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021) and the two-volume series, Transition and Transformation (also with Strempel, 2016, 2018), The Promise of the Transfer Pathway: Opportunity and Challenge for Community College Students Seeking the Baccalaureate Degree (with Ronald Williams, 2012) and the Community College Sourcebook: Strategies for Advising Transfer Students from Experienced Community College Counselors (2009). Articles and essays include Fairness and Fate in Elite College Admissions, Reigniting the Promise of the Transfer Pathway, College Admission: Now and Then Again, Under Match and the Community College StudentReimagining Remediation (with Ronald Williams), Strengthening the Nation by Narrowing the Gap (with James Montoya) and Second Chance, Not Second Class: A Blueprint for Community College Transfer.

Steve earned his PhD and MA degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, a BA from California State University, Sacramento, and an AA from Cosumnes River Community College (Sacramento, CA).