K. Brandon Stokes

Brandon’s work in retention and student success has been featured in University Business and presented at the National Symposium on Student Retention. His accomplishments in improving registration systems, academic advising, and early alert systems are supplemented and enhanced with four SAS certifications.

brandon@dutcher.llc

brandon@dutcher.llc

K. Brandon Stokes

I enjoy understanding people’s likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and fears. I recognize the inherent risks in opening up to others but fundamentally believe the more we share with each other, the more we risk together. The more we risk together, the more we can create trust and illustrate to each other that we genuinely care. I’ve learned to lean into my core-strength as a relationship builder, identified through the CliftonStrengths assessment.

I anticipate and look forward to unforeseen challenges and changes. Where others see roadblocks, I see opportunities. Often times, our greatest moves forward as institutions come from capitalizing on a mistake, failure, or unplanned intervention. I enjoy finding the positives in those unplanned opportunities and adapting appropriately.

Every campus has the answers to its challenges within its own ecosystem. There are plenty of high-impact student success practices that work almost universally. But implementation must be based on each institution’s unique culture and student profile. By working with people to recognize their strengths, I help colleagues and students understand the assets they bring to team projects, institutional progress, and personal growth.

I have been married to my beautiful wife Meredith since 2011, and we have a young son, Graham, of whom we are extremely proud.


K. Brandon Stokes

506 Samara Street

Apex, NC 27502

(252) 315-6985


Consulting Topics

  • Retention data collection and organization
  • Creating a retention data warehouse in Google Sheets
  • Using retention data warehouse for interactive and visual reports
  • Predicting retention using both advanced and simple methods
  • Using Google Sheets for university-wide registration reporting and analyzing
  • Using academic probation/suspension policies to enhance student success
  • Deregistration process and relationship with accounting holds
  • Enrolling first-year students
  • Minimizing retention expenses (in-house vs third-party)
  • Student survey development and incentives
  • Using withdrawal policies to enhance student success
  • Boosting summer school enrollment using Pell Grant


Education and Certifications

SAS® Academy for Data Science     2018     Cary, NC

SAS Certified Data Scientist Using SAS 9 

SAS Certified Analytics Professional Using SAS 9 

SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9 

SAS Certified Predictive Modeler Using SAS Enterprise Miner 14

North Carolina State University     2017     Raleigh, NC

ST 511, Experimental Statistics in Biological Sciences I

ST 512, Experimental Statistics in Biological Sciences II

Meredith College     2017     Raleigh, NC

MAT 220, Linear Algebra

North Carolina State University     2011     Raleigh, NC

Master of Education in Higher Education Administration
Specialization: Student Affairs

North Carolina State University     2009     Raleigh, NC

Bachelor of Science in Sport Management

Professional Experience

Meredith College:  Retention & Student Success     Raleigh, NC     July 2014 – Present      

Director of Retention and Student Success

  • Created in 2014, lead the college’s new Office of Retention and Student Success and oversee all retention initiatives in order to maximize fall-to-fall retention among first-year students as well as, ultimately, four and six-year graduation rates.
  • Achieved significant growth in retention (low 70s to nearly 80% for four of the past five years), reaching highs not seen this century. As a result, four-year graduation rates are now at their highest since 1992-93.
  • Develop proactive and reactive retention strategies, including, but not limited to, survey administration, financial aid management, intervention and relationship management, tracking and data management, policy-shaping, predictive analytics/machine learning, collaboration among faculty, staff, and administrators, and more.
  • Build a campus culture of collaboration and effective intervention for students at risk of performing poorly and/or not continuing to graduation
  • Develop communication and marketing plans in order to promote positive trends, statistics, and student experiences at developmentally-appropriate stages in the student cycle
  • Write articles and consult for and both internal and external audiences based on student development theory, best practices, and responsible administration of retention and higher education policies/practices

Meredith College:  Academic & Career Planning     Raleigh, NC     September 2012 – June 2014 

Assistant Director, Academic Advising

  • Advised students of all academic abilities and led workshops on academic and life planning, including major selection/declaration, academic difficulty, goal-setting, four-year planning, time management, study skills, resume and cover letter building, and more
  • Led and coordinated the selection, advisee assignment, training, and evaluation of freshman faculty advisers
  • Oversaw planning, implementation, and evaluation of the campus-wide summer enrollment events for all incoming freshmen
  • Coordinated the Early Warning system for students in academic distress, responding to referrals from faculty and staff and personally following up with students to determine the best route going forward
  • Directed the transition of placement testing for new students from in-person and on-campus to remote and online, saving valuable time for faculty and staff and improving the student experience at their summer advising and registration event
  • Created a new six-page academic probation action plan to replace former worksheet in order to enhance students’ understanding of the process, self-reflection, goal-setting, and interactions with their professional and faculty advisers

Meredith College:  Office of Institutional Advancement     Raleigh, NC      July 2010 – September 2012     

Meredith Fund Program Coordinator

  • Oversaw the student Phonathon with the primary responsibility of raising unrestricted annual funds for The Meredith Fund
  • Continuously surpassed annual fundraising goals and developed an internal assessment model that was used for both aggregate planning and assessment as well as individual performance evaluations and goal-setting
  • Recruited, directed, and trained a roster of up to three dozen student callers and supervisors 
  • Led both the renovation of the call center and the development of an internal, budget-neutral software program used to manage calls responses, funds raised, and provide data sets for assessment

North Carolina State University Athletics:  Game Operations     Raleigh, NC      January 2009 – July 2010

Graduate Assistant

  • Served as the assistant game day manager for men’s and women’s basketball and football; served as the game day manager for seven other varsity sports by supervising event staff, police officers, fire marshals, paramedics, and scorers/clock operators 
  • Prioritized issues as they arose during events without delay or panic in order to maximize fan experience
  • Participated on the following committees:  Athletics Safety Committee, Athletics Minority and Equity Issues Advisory Committee, Disability Compliance Advisory Team, and the volleyball head coach search committee 
  • Edited the Athletics Department Administration and Operations Manual Version 2.0, NC State Athletics football fan guide, Olympic sports’ visiting team guide, and football visiting team guide

Notable Projects and Success Strategies

Achieved significant growth and stability in fall-to-fall freshman retention rates, reaching highs not seen this century. Four-year graduation rates are, subsequently, now at their highest since 1992-93.

Working closely with the registrar, academic deans, dean of students, financial assistance, faculty, and other support staff, led the overhaul the college’s academic standing policy. Result was a new comprehensive policy that better identified students in academic difficulty, virtually eliminated the issue of students falling through the cracks, and increased our academic standards.

Published three articles: “What college freshman retention rates miss when measuring student success” (https://www.universitybusiness.com/article/what-freshman-retention-rates-miss-when-measuring-student-success), “How to Assess Your Fit for a College” (https://www.meredith.edu/admissions-blog/how-to-assess-your-fit-for-a-college), and “Three Ways to Stretch Your Retention and Analytics Budget Further” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/three-ways-stretch-your-retention-analytics-budgets-further-stokes/). 

Working closely with directors of admissions and financial assistance, developed a new scholarship opportunity, The Meredith Promise Scholarship, specifically designed to retain deserving students and provide financial support from their second year through graduation. Results are higher retention of high-need+high-achieving students which will have a positive impact on upcoming graduation rates.

Presented at the 2018 National Symposium on Student Retention in Salt Lake City, UT on the topic, “Exploring the Effects of Academic Policies on Student Behavior.” Will be presenting at the 2019 National Symposium on Student Retention in New Orleans, LA on the topic, “How One Google Sheet Can Change the (Retention Director’s) World.”

Working closely with faculty, department heads, deans, support staff, IT, and the provost, led overhaul of freshman course advising and registration process. Results were a greatly improved event experience, higher schedule satisfaction and customization, lower course withdrawal rates, and greater likelihood of students being successful in their first semester.

Working closely with faculty, IT, and support staff, led digitization of the college’s placement testing process in order to enhance significantly the summer registration event experience for new students. Results were online tests within our Learning Management System that students took before attending the summer advising and registration event… thus, improving the event experience.

Greatly enhanced culture and morale of student Phonathon by renovating the space, changing hiring and management practices, and instituting transparency in evaluation process. Result was a happier, open, and more productive work environment.

Working closely with IT, led digitization of Phonathon program by co-creating and administering a unique in-house CRM that became the envy of peer institutions. Program costs the college zero dollars while maximizes potential revenue in fundraising phone calls through more efficient calling and student-worker management.