Keynote Speakers


Timothy Renick

Timothy M. Renick

Since 2008, Dr. Timothy Renick has led strategies, initiatives and programs that have established Georgia State as an internationally recognized leader in student success and enrollment efforts. Under Dr. Renick’s leadership, Georgia State has produced one of the fastest growing graduation rates in the nation and has eliminated achievement gaps based on students’ race, ethnicity and income levels.

Dr. Renick has testified on strategies for helping university students succeed before the U. S. Senate and has twice been invited to speak at the White House. His work has been cited by President Barack Obama and has been covered by national news media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time and CNN.

Dr. Renick was named one of 2016’s Most Innovative People in Higher Education by Washington Monthly, was the recipient of the 2015-16 Award for National Leadership in Student Success Innovation and was awarded the 2018 McGraw Prize in Higher Education. Dr. Renick is principal investigator for a $9 million U.S. Department of Education grant to study the impact of predictive-analytics-based advisement on 10,000 low-income and first-generation students nationally.

He has previously served as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Director of the Honors Program.

A summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Dr. Renick holds master’s and doctor’s degrees in religion from Princeton University.


James Purcell

James E. Purcell 

James E. Purcell, Ed.D., was named the State Higher Education Executive Officer (SHEEO) of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in April, 2017, having served previously as the SHEEO in Rhode Island, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Dr. Purcell is a strong advocate for institutional research and planning as a means to implement policies and programs related to higher education. This organized approach provides a blueprint for expanding access to higher education and improving student attainment. The transparency across the higher education system will be essential in responding to workforce needs in Alabama. During his career, he has secured grant funding from state, federal and private philanthropic organizations to support these goals, particularly for adult degree completions.

Dr. Purcell is a past president of the Southern Association for Institutional Research and a former member of the executive council of SHEEO.

The Alabama native holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama, a M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Montevallo and a B.S. in Public Administration from Auburn University.

Dr. Purcell has spent the past thirty years advocating for students and institutions of higher education to maximize their potential.