Improving Mississippi’s Persistence and Completion Together

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Sponsored by the Woodward Hines Education Foundation

About the convening

The Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) designed the IMPACT grant so that Mississippi’s public 4-year institutions could increase college persistence and completion for underserved students.  The purpose of IMPACT is to create a state-specific, facilitated community of practice for the exchange of findings, insights and ideas, as well as providing coordinated access to high-quality professional development opportunities for institutional faculty/staff, innovations in institutional data collection/usage and platforms for peer learning.

This convening will support IMPACT program implementation by providing an opportunity for grantees to share emerging challenges and opportunities on campus projects.  Participants will review data collected, communicate meaningful insights and address how COVID and virtual environments have affected their projects and institutional approaches.




Ensure attendance of a diverse group of practitioners and executives representing each institution, for rich context and discussion.


Connect campus professionals with experienced peers and experts to share best practices in the field and receive technical assistance in program evaluation.


Use data investigation techniques to promote innovative ideas and solutions for improving persistence and completion for underserved students and equitable outcomes for institutions.


Identify ways in which institutions can work collectively to contribute to Mississippi’s postsecondary attainment goals.

Michael Sorrell

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Michael Sorrell
President, Paul Quinn College

Ranked with the likes of Tim Cook and Bill and Melinda Gates on Fortune’s 2018 list of the world’s greatest leaders, Michael Sorrell transformed struggling Paul Quinn College in Dallas into one of the most innovative colleges in America. An attorney and former White House staffer, Sorrell brought a bold new vision to Paul Quinn, focusing on academic rigor, experiential learning and entrepreneurship. He also pioneered what he named the “urban work college model,” based on Paul Quinn’s dramatic success. Inspiring, straight-talking, and with a compelling and hopeful story to tell, Sorrell received a standing ovation at SXSW Education for his dynamic delivery and groundbreaking approaches to reinventing the future of American higher education.

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Participating Institutions

  • Delta State University
  • Mississippi State University
  • Mississippi University for Women
  • Mississippi Valley State University
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Southern Mississippi