SRU Professional Development Day to focus on student success


Professional Development Day, open to all University faculty and staff, will be 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Oct. 10 at the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

Oct. 3, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Each year when Slippery Rock University hosts its Professional Development Day for faculty and staff, there are typically a dozen or so breakout sessions led by SRU colleagues who present about a topic related to a theme. This year, that number has swelled to a record 36 sessions.

"We've never had this many proposals, it's good to see that there is so much interest," said Nancy Cruikshank, director of grants, grants, research and sponsored programs, who serves as the administrative co-chair of the Professional Development Committee.

The Professional Development Day, open to all University faculty and staff, will be 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Oct. 10 at the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

But when considering this year's theme, "Advancing Student Success at Slippery Rock University," it's easy to see why so many jumped at the chance to participate.

"The goal is to make more people aware of advancing student success and to get some best practices for what other people have used to promote student success," Cruikshank added.

During the day, there will be six, 45-minute periods, each with six concurrent sessions for attendees to choose from, ranging from technology in the advising process to service-learning strategies.

Kathleen Ross   

The day will begin with an address from keynote speaker Kathleen Ross, the founding president (emerita) of Heritage University and the school's current director of the institute for student identity and success. Ross' speech, "Getting Students to the Finish Line: New Insights for the Today's New Students," will focus on creating equity in university outcomes, particularly for students from low-income or first-generation-to-college backgrounds. Because these students now outnumber other student groups, they are referred to as the "new majority," but they aren't finishing college at a rate compared to others.

"I am very excited about Dr. Ross' visit to SRU," said David Wilmes, associate provost for student success. "Her work, and the work of the Institute at Heritage, focuses on strategies to ensure the success of new majority students. In order to effectively teach these students and ensure their success in higher education, we must understand the perspectives and world views of this growing majority.

"The strategies that she advocates for create opportunities to more effectively engage students from these backgrounds. Faculty and staff will learn specific techniques they can use in the classroom and outside of it to assist students from all backgrounds in becoming successful in college."

To view a complete schedule and/or register, click here.

For more information about Professional Development Day, contact Cruikshank at: 724.738.4831 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |