Southeast Region Symposium

Symposium Details and Materials


Password: Gold801Pine
PDF icon Symposium Brochure

Presenter materials will be made available after all sessions have ended. Please check back!



When: October 26, 2018, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Where: The Westin Chattanooga 

Room Rate: $179 + tax *The group rate is available until Monday, October 8th

Registration Cost: $60.00

Sponsored by: The College System of TN and NASPA Region III

This one day symposium for community and technical college student affairs staff will focus on three critical areas affecting student service staff at community and technical colleges today: 1) assessment of student learning outside the classroom and partnerships with academic affairs; 2)supporting low-income and first generation students, and 3) strategic enrollment management. The symposium will pay particular attention to the role of assessment of student learning outcomes across the co-curriculum and how student service staff are vital partners with their academic colleagues in providing skill development opportunities that will prepare them for the workforce. The day long symposium will provide networking opportunities with student service staff within the Southeast Region, giving practitioners the opportunity to learn from similar institutions across state boundaries.

Registration for the subcouncil and symposium has closed. If you still need to register, please contact


Keynote Speakers

Nicole McDonald, Ph.D., works as a strategy officer at Lumina Foundation and is responsible for developing strategic approaches to increase the educational attainment of college students. Her portfolio includes initiatives to help institutions plan and implement policies, partnerships, and practices to increase student success, and the creation of quality credential systems and pathways to increase attainment. Previously, she served as the system director for transfer and retention with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). There she developed systemwide strategies to facilitate postsecondary student transition and success; also, she managed the development of KCTCS’ systemwide dual and articulated credit initiatives which supported the postsecondary preparation and transition of secondary students.  Her background includes education policy as well as academic and student affairs administration—including work as an associate in academic affairs at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education; and work in various capacities at Vanderbilt and Emory Universities, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Nicole earned a Ph.D. in leadership and policy studies from Vanderbilt University as well as a M.Ed. in higher education administration from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt. She studied abroad at the University of Cambridge as part of an international summer exchange program between Peabody and Homerton Colleges. She earned a B.A. in political science at Wright State University.


Tom Green, Ph.D., is AACRAO’s Associate Executive Director, Consulting and SEM. During Tom’s more than 30-year career as an enrollment manager, he has led enrollment management efforts for seven universities and collaborated with both public and private institutions to reach their goals. He has proven best-practice expertise in developing effective SEM plans, improving recruitment strategies, enhancing and streamlining financial aid processes, maximizing institutional aid, identifying customer service/CRM strategies, and implementing and evaluating comprehensive service systems for colleges and universities.


Breakout Session Speakers

Kimberly M. Lowry, Ph.D. currently serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Engagement and Success at Houston Community College. Dr. Lowry’s professional background includes administrative experiences across various functional areas including Advising, Dual Credit, Veteran Services, Registrar, Disability Services, TRIO programs and Enrollment Management. Prior to this role, she served as the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Success, the Executive Dean of Student and Enrollment Services and the Director of Advising and Assessment at Eastfield College. During her time at Eastfield College, she was responsible for all aspects of Student Services and launched the College’s first strategic enrollment management plan as well as a Division wide assessment plan for student services. She has years of higher education experience, spanning across various institutional types which include Wilberforce University, The University of North Texas at Dallas and Eastfield College.

Dr. Lowry received her Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of North Texas and both her M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis on Student Development in Higher Education and her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. Her research focuses on community college choice, high achieving African American students and student athletes. Finally, Dr. Lowry stays involved in numerous professional associations and serves as the Director of the Community College Division for NASPA as well as a board member for the National Council for Instructional Administrators.


Shasta Buchanan, Ph.D., currently serves as Associate Vice President of College and High School Relations for Austin Community College. In this role, she oversees high school and industry educational partnerships for 7,000 dual credit students and an additional 12,000 high school students participating in articulated credit programs. She has 20 years of higher education experience, spanning across many institutions in Texas, which include Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Tech University, University of North Texas at Dallas and as an administrator at Portland Community College (Portland, Oregon). Dr. Buchanan is known for her work in enrollment management and recruitment, and has been recognized by Ruffalo Noel Levitz for her successful development of the Century Scholar Program at Texas A&M University (which also was recognized by the Department of Education / Office of Civil Rights). She continues to work as a consultant with colleges to assist with developing strategic recruitment/enrollment plans to support increased student enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. Additionally, Dr. Buchanan works statewide to promote the benefits of dual credit and its positive impact on access and enrollment, opportunities for reaching degree completion goals, and innovative opportunities to align dual credit with workforce and industry partnerships. She strives to increase educational opportunities with the 21st century high school student in mind.


Laura Horne, Director of Programs, Active Minds. Prior to Active Minds, Laura led public health initiatives at the National Association of County and City Health Officials and at Tulane University. She studied communications at Loyola University New Orleans and earned her Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University. She also has certification as a Health Education Specialist by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. She enjoys running, reading, finding adventure with her husband and two girls, and following the Washington Nationals. Laura works from New Orleans.


 Charles Miller, Ph.D, serves as South Louisiana Community College’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Institutional Effectiveness.  In his ten years at SLCC Dr. Miller’s duties have focused primarily on institutional research, planning, assessment and regional accreditation.  His service to the college has also included an interim appointment as SLCC’s Registrar and Director of Admissions.

Prior to joining SLCC Dr. Miller was a management consultant specializing in the design, implementation and analysis of research to direct management practice.  He is co-author of the book Customer Power - How To Grow Sales And Profits In A Customer-Driven Marketplace which details the use of the principles of Customer-Perceived Value to guide organizational management.  Dr. Miller also previously held a faculty appointment as an assistant professor in The Ohio State University College of Agriculture where he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in research and statistics, teacher supervision, and teacher education.  His research at Ohio State focused on teaching for critical thinking.

Dr. Miller is the current president of the Louisiana Association of Institutional Research and chair of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Institutional Research Group. 


Laura Avitabile Wankel, Ed.D, is the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives to the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Experiential Learning at Northeastern University, where she previously served as Vice President for Student Affairs. Prior to Northeastern University, Dr. Wankel was at Seton Hall University where she served as Vice President for Student Affairs beginning in 1995. She has been an active member in NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education at both the regional and national level in a number of leadership positions including Regional Vice President, Executive Committee and Chair of the NASPA Board. Dr. Wankel has served in a consulting capacity to a number of education-related projects, including, Learn and Serve America and the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), NASPA, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and has worked on the Lumina Foundation Funded Comprehensive Student Record Project. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American History from SUNY Oneonta where she graduated magna cum laude, an M.Ed. from the University of South Carolina and an Ed.D. in higher education administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.


Gianina Baker, Ph.D., is currently the Assistant Director at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. As Assistant Director, Dr. Baker researches, writes, and presents on all topics related to assessment of student learning outcomes on college and university campuses. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Organization & Leadership with a Higher Education concentration from the University of Illinois, a M.A. in Human Development Counseling from Saint Louis University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University. Prior to this position, she served in roles of Counselor, Director of Institutional Research, and Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning.


Sean Chism, Ed.D., serves as Director of Advising and First Year Initiatives at TBR - The College System of TN. His role is to provide overall leadership for the development, implementation, communication, and monitoring of system-wide programs and activities related to advising and rst year student initiatives. He also specializes in focusing on long-range strategic planning and facilitation of processes which insure that Student Success and Academic A airs are working collaboratively to identify services, programs, and curricular interventions in the first year of college. Originally from Jackson, TN, Sean earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and an M.E.d. in Adult and higher Education from the University of Missouri - St. Louis. He also has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga.


Our Sponsors