K. Brandon Stokes, M.Ed.
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.
K. Brandon Stokes, M.Ed.
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, M.Ed.
Wendell, North Carolina
- 10+ years higher education experience in multiple areas of campus (athletics, fundraising, student affairs, enrollment, academics, analytics)
- SAS Certified Data Scientist
- Experience with evaluating academic programs using Gray Associates’ Program Evaluation System
- Strong familiarity with enrollment optimization strategies both as an enrollment leader and consultant
- Natural speaker, strong written communicator, and empathetic listener
- Consensus builder through strong relationships
- Build trust among faculty by prioritizing student success
- Humble, teachable, owns mistakes and learns from them
- Well-connected in higher ed industry through conference presentations and consulting
Education and Certifications
- SAS® Academy for Data Science | 2018
- 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
NC State University | 2017 ST 511, Experimental Statistics in Biological Sciences I ST 512, Experimental Statistics in Biological Sciences II
Meredith College | 2017 MAT 220, Linear Algebra
NC State University | 2011 Master of Education in Higher Education Administration Specialization: Student Affairs
NC State University | 2009 Bachelor of Science in Sport Management
Higher Education Experience
July 2014 – presentDirector of Retention and Student Success | Meredith College | Raleigh, NC
- Created the Office of Retention and Student Success (2014) and have overseen an increase in the College’s retention rates from the low 70s to mid 80s and graduation rates from upper 40s to mid 60s, setting records not seen since the 1990s.
- Utilizing experience as an academic adviser and now as an enrollment leader, gained trust of faculty and buy-in from academic departments on several student success initiatives such as transition from in-person placement testing to online, overhaul of freshman advising and registration process, and adoption of an innovative academic standing policy. Recently laid groundwork for a potential change to course withdrawal policy.
- Develop proactive and reactive retention strategies, including, but not limited to, survey administration, financial aid management, intervention and case management, tracking and data management, policy-shaping, predictive analytics/machine learning, collaboration among faculty, staff, and administrators, and more.
- Served as campus administrator of retention software programs until we decided to build our own. Helped build homegrown notes/referrals system, risk assessment models, case management practice, and system for tracking student data/behaviors and predicting individual student retention. Supplemented predictions using SAS Enterprise Miner to assist in the college’s budget planning process.
- Member of Enrollment Leadership Council, Provost’s Council, and Administrative Management Council (led by the president)
- Serve in countless additional roles including First Year Experience instructor (since 2011), adviser for the Class of 2016, search committees, strategic planning task force, administrator of The Meredith Promise Scholarship, Staff Affairs Committee, internal program evaluator, Academic Appeals Committee, and many more.
September 2019 – presentConsultant | Dutcher, LLC | Wendell, NC
- Work with clients as a team of trusted advisors, drawing on deep and diverse experiences in higher education to help colleges and universities assess issues and opportunities intelligently and move forward strategically
- Currently (2020 – present) helping a private university in Ohio restructure their merit and need award matrices in order to increase net-tuition revenue while also maintaining strong headcount.
- Serve as the resident retention and student success expert for a team consisting of current and former presidents and vice presidents (among others)
September 2012 – June 2014Assistant Director, Academic Advising | Meredith College | Raleigh, NC
- 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
- Working closely with deans and department heads, 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
July 2010 – September 2012Meredith Fund Program Coordinator | Meredith College | Raleigh, NC
- Oversaw the student Phonathon, consisting of up to three dozen student callers and supervisors, and continuously surpassed annual fundraising goals
- Developed an internal assessment model that was used for both aggregate planning and assessment as well as individual performance evaluations and goal-setting
- 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
January 2009 – July 2010Graduate Assistant for Game Operations | NC State University Athletics | Raleigh, NC
Articles and Presentations
(Tentative) July 2021 | National Small College Enrollment Conference | Presentation
Is It Time for a Retention Audit?
November 2019 | National Symposium on Student Retention | Pre-Conference Workshop
How One Google Sheet Can Save (the Retention Director’s) World
October 2019 | Meredith.edu | meredith.edu/news/meredith-celebrates-student-success
Meredith Celebrates Student Success
April 2019 | LinkedIn | linkedin.com/pulse/three-ways-stretch-your-retention-analytics-budgets-further-stokes/
Three Ways to Stretch Your Retention and Analytics Budget Further
November 2018 | National Symposium on Student Retention | Roundtable Discussion
Exploring the Effects of Academic Policies on Student Behavior
May 2018 | Meredith.edu | meredith.edu/admissions-blog/how-to-assess-your-fit-for-a-college
How to Assess Your “Fit” for a College
January 2018 | University Business universitybusiness.com/what-college-freshman-retention-rates-miss-when-measuring-student-success/
What College Freshman Retention Rates Miss When Measuring Student Success