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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition


Learn more about the nationally renowned experts scheduled to speak at the upcoming Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience.

Opening Speaker

McNair Headshot

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact practices, and student success. McNair directs AAC&U’s Summer Institutes on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, and TRHT Campus Centers and serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives. She is the lead author of From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (January 2020) and Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016). In March 2020, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education named McNair one of thirty-five outstanding women who have tackled some of higher education’s toughest challenges and made a positive difference in their communities.


Plenary Speaker

Friedman headshot

Dr. Dan Friedman is the Executive Director of University 101 Programs at the University of South Carolina, where he provides leadership for four academic courses, including over 240 sections of the first-year seminar (UNIV 101), a research/inquiry course (UNIV 201), a residentially-based special topics seminar (UNIV 290), and a capstone seminar (UNIV 401). His major responsibilities include the recruitment, selection, training, and support of 200+ instructors and 220 peer/graduate leaders; providing high quality faculty development to support excellence in teaching; developing and assessing course content; supervising a professional and graduate staff of ten people; strategic planning; and representing the program to multiple constituencies. Dan is also an associated faculty member in the Higher Education Program in the Department of Education Leadership and Policies, where he teaches courses, advises students, and serves on Master’s theses.


Closing Speaker

Schreiner headshot

Laurie Schreiner, Ph.D. is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University in southern California, having spent 35 years in higher education as a psychology professor and associate academic dean after receiving her PhD in Psychology from the University of Tennessee. Co-author of The Student Satisfaction Inventory that is used on over 1600 campuses across the US and Canada, Dr. Schreiner is co-author of Helping Sophomores Succeed (2009), and Investigating Sophomore Success (2015), the latest research monograph on sophomore success. She also is co-editor-in-chief of the journal Christian Higher Education and serves on the editorial board of About Campus. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on positive psychology, engaged learning, sophomore success, retention, faculty development, strengths-based teaching, and academic advising. She also has consulted with over 150 colleges and universities on student success, retention, academic advising, student satisfaction, and effective teaching strategies.  She has been principal investigator on two federal grants to promote student success and retention and has directed national projects on retention and student satisfaction.  An award-winning teacher and researcher, her work on college student thriving has studied over 30,000 students from 150 universities across the U.S., Canada, and Australia and has led to numerous publications as well as the edited book entitled Thriving in Transitions: A Research-Based Approach to Student Success. 

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