Keynote Presenters

Frank Shushok Jr., Ph.D.

Frank Shushok Jr., Ph.D., serves as senior associate vice president for student affairs and associate professor of higher education at Virginia Tech, where leads a staff of more than 2,000 full- and part-time employees, working closely with faculty to champion the seamless integration of academic and student life.

Shushok is a frequent contributor to higher education literature. His writing and research interests focus on student learning and engagement, positive psychology and its influence on student growth and development, honors programs, residential colleges, and approaches to reorganizing colleges and universities to bolster student engagement and learning. In 2014, Shushok was recognized by the American College Personnel Association—International as a Diamond Honoree for outstanding and sustained contributions to higher education and to student affairs.

Shushok holds a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. In his more than 20-year career in higher education, Shushok has worked at a broad range of institutions, including three large research universities, a comprehensive state university, and a private faith-based university.

Laurie Schreiner, Ph.D.

Laurie Schreiner, Ph.D., is currently professor and chair of the department of higher education at Azusa Pacific University, having spent 30 years in higher education as a psychology professor and associate academic dean after receiving her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee.

Co-author of The Student Satisfaction Inventory, used on more than 1,600 campuses across the United States and Canada, Schreiner is also co-author of Helping Sophomores Succeed (2009) and has served on the board of the National Resource Center for First-Year Students and Students in Transition. She has published numerous journal articles and has consulted over 100 colleges and universities on issues of student success, strengths-based education, 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 most recent work on college student thriving focused on studying more than 20,000 students from 150 universities across the U.S., Canada, and Australia and has led to numerous publications in About Campus as well as, most recently, the edited book entitled Thriving in Transitions: A Research-Based Approach to Student Success. Schreiner has been at APU since 2002.

Joretta Nelson, Ph.D.

Joretta Nelson, Ph.D., serves as vice president and owner at Credo, a higher education consulting firm focused on holistic assessment and action, and leads the area of student success. She has been active in higher education since 1983, previously serving on the senior teams at Brevard College and Union College, and as a faculty member at Hope International University. Nelson completed a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and graduate coursework at California State University at Fullerton before earning her Ph.D. from Azusa Pacific University. Her dissertation and area of research revolve around student motivation and the role of psychosocial factors in improving conditions for student success.