Keynote Speakers

Proving and Improving Student Success -
Dr. Randy Swing
Thursday, November 7, 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Imperial Ballroom, Mezzanine Level

It is not enough to just declare that we are student centered or to just follow our instincts about how to help students succeed. In fact, a good deal of common wisdom turns out not be supported by existing research data. This presentation will highlight effective practices for assessing student learning and success to inform program improvement and prove learning gains. Even if you are not a devoted number cruncher, a model for robust assessment will be presented with the aim of teaching how to build and evaluate your own assessment efforts. Some myths will be challenged while we explore how using data can powerfully focus student success initiatives. The mantra of "right intervention at the right time for the right students" will be a recurring theme in the presentation and will acknowledge that most campuses face resource limitations that make big, loosely focused programs too expensive to initiate.


Randy L. Swing is the Executive Director of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), a professional association of more than 4,200 institutional researchers, planners, assessment officers, and decision makers representing over 1,500 higher education institutions around the world. The Association is the premier source for IR professional development including: an annual conference attended by over 1,600 professionals, online courses (Data and Decisions® Academy), scholarly publications, and a monthly newsletter with 6,000 subscribers. AIR workshops train nearly 1,000 individuals in reporting and using federal data on higher education each year.

Randy has worked with numerous research teams in Japan, and has served as an advisor to the Quality Assurance Agency of Scotland. He has authored articles, chapters, monographs, and books, including Higher Education

Assessments: Leadership Matters (2010), Achieving and Sustaining Excellence in the First College Year (2006), and Proving and Improving: Tools and Techniques for Assessing the First College Year (2004). He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on institutional change, assessment, retention, and undergraduate student success. He serves as a reviewer for the Journal of General Education, The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching and Innovative Higher Education.

Prior to joining AIR, Randy served as Co-Director and Senior Scholar at the Policy Center on the First Year of College and as a fellow in the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina. Earlier, he held leadership positions at Appalachian State University in assessment, advising, Upward Bound, and Freshman Seminar.

He holds a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Georgia, M.A. and Ed.S. in counseling from Appalachian State University, and a B.A. in psychology from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Randy began postsecondary education as a first - generation college student at Davidson County Community College in Lexington, NC.

Making Hope Happen -
Dr. Shane Lopez
Saturday, November 9, 9:45 am – 10:45 am
Imperial Ballroom, Mezzanine Level

Have you ever washed a rental car? No. You don¹t own it; washing it does not make your priority list. For many students, graduating from school is just like washing a rental car. They don¹t own the goal. Maybe getting a job and making money rank higher than getting a degree. The goals most salient to young people are the same that captivate us. Specifically, they want a good job and a happy family. By chasing these goals, students learn that investing in your future pays off today. This is the secret of millions of hopeful people. They know that when they are excited about tomorrow, today is easier.


Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., author of Making Hope Happen, is the world's leading researcher on hope. His mission is to teach people that investing in their future pays off today. Dr. Lopez is also one of the most vocal advocates of the psychological reform of America's education system. He helps schools function less like impersonal factories and more like dynamic human development centers that enable students to achieve the meaningful futures they say they really want, including a good job and a happy family.

Dr. Lopez is a Gallup Senior Scientist and Research Director of the Clifton Strengths Institute. He is chief architect of the Gallup Student Poll, a measure of hope, engagement, and wellbeing that taps into the hearts and minds of U.S. public school students to determine what drives achievement. It is available at no cost to public schools or districts interested in using it to start a hope conversation in their community. More than 1 million students have participated since its inception.

Dr. Lopez researches the links between hope, strengths development, academic success, and overall wellbeing and collaborates with scholars around the world on these issues. He specializes in hope and strengths enhancement for students from preschool through college graduation, advocating a whole-school strengths model that also builds the strengths expertise of educators, parents, and youth development organizations. He is coauthor of the statistical reports for the Clifton StrengthsFinder and the Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer.

A prolific author, Dr. Lopez has published more than 100 articles and chapters and 10 books. These include Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths, winner of the SAGE Press Book of the Year Award (with C.R. Snyder and Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti); The Handbook of Positive Psychology (with C.R. Snyder); Positive Psychological Assessment: A Handbook of Models and Measures (with C.R. Snyder); Positive Psychology: Exploring the Best in People; The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology; and The Psychology of Courage: Modern Research on an Ancient Virtue (with Cynthia Pury).

Dr. Lopez is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. A professor of education for a decade, he is now professor of business at the University of Kansas.

One Book, One Conference

Making Hope Happen

Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others, (2013). Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., Atria Books, New York, NY.

Do your students have dreams and goals for their future? Do you? Join me at the 2013 CRLA conference to discuss HOPE – What is it? How can you get it? How can you share it with your students? In his book Dr. Lopez distinguishes between wishing or optimism and hoping for the future. He describes four core beliefs shared by hopeful people:

  • The future will be better than the present.
  • I have the power to make it so.
  • There are many paths to my goal.
  • None of them is free of obstacles.

In the last section of his book, Creating a Network of Hope, he states, "Followers – students, employees, citizens – all need hope." Using information gathered through thousands of interviews by Gallup researchers, Dr. Lopez identified three key tactics a hopeful leader (also teacher/professor) practices and transmits to others:

  • Excitement about the future
  • Able to recognize obstacles and develop strategies to overcome them
  • Ability to reestablish goals when needed

Shane Lopez is a Gallup Senior Scientist and a leading authority on the psychology of hope. AND – he will be one of the keynote speakers at the CRLA 2013 conference.

This is a well-researched book with copious notes and suggestions for further reading. It is very readable, enjoyable and uplifting and is immediately applicable to our personal and professional lives.

Join me in Boston for a facilitated discussion that is sure to impact your life and your teaching.

Arden B. Hamer
Indiana University of Pennsylvania