Keynote Speakers


Vincent Tinto, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Professor

Professor Tinto is Distinguished University Professor at Syracuse University and until recently Chair of the Higher Education Program. He has carried out research and has written extensively on higher education, particularly on student success and the impact of learning communities on student growth and attainment. His most recent book, Leaving College, published by the University of Chicago Press, lays out a theory and policy perspective on student success that is considered the benchmark by which work on these issues are judged.

He has consulted widely with Federal and State agencies, with independent research firms, foundations, and with two and four-year institutions of higher education on a broad range of higher educational issues, not the least of which concern the success of students in higher education in particular those of low-income and underserved backgrounds. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals and with various organizations and professional associations concerned with higher education. He chaired the national panel responsible for awarding $5 million to establish the first national center for research on teaching and learning in higher education and served as Associate Director of the $6 million National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment funded by the U.S. Office of Education.
He works with the Council for Opportunity in Education, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, and the United Negro College Fund's Institute for Capacity Building on issues pertaining to student success in higher education. He has consulted with the European Access Network and the Dutch Ministry of Education to develop programs to promote access to higher education for disadvantaged youth in Europe. His current research, funded by grants from the Lumina Foundation for Education and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, focuses on the impact of learning communities on the academic achievements of under-prepared college students in urban two and four-year colleges.

Dr. Tinto has received numerous recognitions and awards. Most recently he was awarded the Council of Independent Colleges 2008 Academic Leadership Award, the National Institute for Staff Development International 2008 Leadership Award and was named Distinguished Fellow in the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations.



Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist in Residence


Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., Senior Scientist in Residence, is an architect of the Gallup Student Poll. A measure of hope, engagement, and wellbeing, the Student Poll taps into the hearts and minds of American students to determine what drives achievement. Dr. Lopez is the director of the annual Gallup Wellbeing Forum, which convenes scholars, leaders, and decision makers to discuss healthcare and global wellbeing. He also serves as the Research Director for the Clifton Strengths School.
Dr. Lopez leads research on 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. Dr. Lopez has provided strengths mentoring to thousands of college students, including academic, career, and life planning, and he advises schools, colleges, and universities on these issues. He is the coauthor of the statistical reports for the Clifton StrengthsFinder and the Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer.

Dr. Lopez has published more than 100 articles and chapters and seven books, including Positive Psychology: Exploring the Best in People and The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology. With C.R. Snyder, he published Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths, which won the Sage Press Book of the Year Award; Positive Psychological Assessment: A Handbook of Models and Measures; and The Handbook of Positive Psychology. With Cynthia Pury, he edited the book Courage, released in 2009.

Dr. Lopez is the past associate editor of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, an editorial board member of the Journal of Positive Psychology, and an ad-hoc reviewer for many psychology journals. He is a licensed psychologist, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and educational advisor for Discovery Television.