THEC Tennessee Reconnect + Complete Kickoff Meeting

September 22, 2015



SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 9:00AM ‐3:00PM CST


      I.      Registration & Breakfast                                                                 

     II.     Welcome & Overview of TN Reconnect + Complete                      

Speakers will discuss Drive to 55, the TN Reconnect initiatives, and the expectations for the day. Topics will include the significance of adults to the Drive to 55 initiative, history and timeline of the Reconnect + Complete effort, how to use the data provided to institutions and the interconnectedness of all TN Reconnect initiatives and how they can be leveraged. 

  1. Dr. Russ Deaton [Interim Executive Director, THEC]
  2. Mike Krause [Executive Director, Tennessee Promise & Drive to 55, Governor’s Office]
  3. Jessica Gibson [Assistant Executive Director of Policy, Planning, & Research , THEC]


III.       Understanding the TN Adult Learner Population                          

Subject Matter Experts will share feedback from and research about adult Tennesseans and their attitudes toward returning to higher education or starting for the first time, misconceptions, concerns, motivating factors and how to use this information in developing institutional outreach plans. 

  1. Kate Derrick [Director of External Relations, THEC]
  2. Mary Hutchens [PhD Candidate, Higher Ed. Leadership & Policy, Vanderbilt University]
Tables from College Choice among Nontraditional Students by Mary Hutchens


IV.       Learning from Peer TN Institutions         

Institutional representatives will discuss their own experiences in pursuing adult outreach efforts, challenges, wins, what worked, what didn’t and key recommendations for success. Topics will include how to personalize outreach, create compelling offers, eliminate barriers and build retention strategies. 

  1. Dr. Foster Chason [Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Athletics, WSCC] 
  2. Dr. David Gotcher  [Interim Dean of University College, MTSU]  
  3. Dr. Richard Irwin  [Vice Provost, Academic Innovation & Support Services , UofM]
  4. Question & Answer Session


V.       Developing Your Outreach Strategies for Reconnect + Complete

A CAEL representative will talk about developing an outreach plan and introduce the afternoon’s strategic planning activity. Topics will include how to develop a customized institutional strategy, who needs to be involved at the institution and possible obstacles to a successful outreach strategy. 

a. Beth Doyle [Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications, CAEL]

VI.      Institutional Strategy Session

Institutions will break into their respective teams to develop a preliminary strategic plan for outreach and the reception of potential/prospective adult learners. They will use the worksheets provided in the guidebook to direct and facilitate discussion. The goal is the use the information provided in the morning session to tailor strategies to the institutions’ specific goals, their adult learner population of non‐ completers and prepare next steps to launch outreach in 2016.

VII.      Sharing Session & Next Steps

After concluding individual institutional strategy sessions, institutions will have the opportunity to share the outcomes of their conversations with the larger group, share preliminary ideas of outreach strategies, barriers or obstacles they identified and ask any lingering questions. Additionally, institutions will receive guidance on the next steps in the Reconnect + Complete initiative. 

Additional Resources

TN Reconnect + Complete Guidebook

THEC 2014-15 Adult Student Fact Book

Public Agenda TN Adults Talk Completion One Pager

Public Agenda TN Focus Group Report

Walker and Associates Adult Learners Research Report

Walker and Associates Adult Learners Research Report Powerpoint