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Get ready for a great professional development opportunity – the annual Student Success Summit happening at the West Houston Institute from April 24 – 25, 2023!  Join HCC administrators, faculty, and staff for a day and a half of opportunities to connect, collaborate, and learn about best practices that drive student success.


  • Dates and Times: 

    • April 24 | 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

    • April 25 | 8:30 am - 1 pm

  • Location: West Houston Institution @ HCC Alief Campus (2811 Hayes Rd, Houston, TX 77082)


This year's theme "Serving Every Student” builds on our work with Achieving the Dream, Texas Pathways and Houston Guided Pathways to Success Equity Initiative. The lineup includes expert keynotes, data-driven presentations led by institutional leaders, and Student Voice Spotlights that highlight the incredible journeys of our students.

You'll hear updates about HCC's student success metrics and learn about the institution’s ongoing initiatives to improve equitable outcomes. In addition, you'll gain valuable insight to help shape your approach to serving and supporting all students.

But that's not all! In the spirit of student success, we will make room to celebrate students and institutional milestones.

  • Attendees will participate as judges in the second annual DEI Art and Design Contest and student winners will be announced at the event.
  • On the second day (April 25), we'll be celebrating a huge milestone for the institution – winning Texas Pathway's 2022 RODEO Award in Recognition of Dedication to Educational Outcomes. So, dust off your western/rodeo gear and get ready to two-step with us in celebration on April 25!

Learn more about what to expect from our conference chair, Dr. Betty Fortune, who appeared on HCC TV's podcast, Up to the Minute. 



Register now for the 2023 Student Success Summit and join us in taking steps to scale our impact on student success! 

If you have any questions, please email and


Start: April 24, 2023
End: April 25, 2023

West Houston Institute, Hayes Road, Houston, TX, USA

Hayes Road 2811
77082 Houston TX
United States

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston

Senior Vice President for Strategy & Chief of Staff
Complete College America
Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston
  • Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston

    Dr. Dhanfu E. Elston (pronounced: dah-NEE-foo) has served a 28-year career in postsecondary education that spans a range of executive leadership, federal and state policy, not-for-profit operations, and academic officer positions. He is Complete College America’s Senior Vice President for Strategy and Chief of Staff, where he utilizes his national policy and campus expertise for practical application, implementation, and scaling of high impact strategies across a 51-member Alliance network of states and institutional consortia throughout the United States. He provides oversight of national external partnerships and has led CCA’s guided pathways initiatives, Purpose First career alignment strategy, 15 To Finish national campaign, and standards to close equity and institutional performance gaps. Elston has also coordinated relationships with Governors’ Offices, higher education state-wide systems, and national partners in their college completion efforts. He launched a national initiative with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to amplify completion efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and minority-serving institutions. Over his higher education career in academic and student affairs, Elston has created and implemented comprehensive success and retention programs that have garnered national attention. He has been recognized as a champion of college completion policy initiatives at institutions that educate highly diverse and minoritized student populations.

    Prior to his current role with CCA, Dr. Elston held the position of Executive Director of Student Success and Transition at Purdue University Calumet (now Purdue Northwest). Under Elston’s leadership, Purdue Calumet experienced exponential gains in first-year retention, graduation rates, and enrolled credit hours. As the Faculty Assistant Director for Undergraduate Studies, he also provided leadership to Georgia State University, which is nationally recognized as a model for collegiate academic success. Earlier in his career, Elston held positions in student affairs and enrollment management at Georgia State and Clark Atlanta University, where he led student activities and leadership development functional areas.

    In addition to having authored numerous research articles and publications in the areas of college completion, intercultural relations, leadership development, and HBCUs, Dr. Elston was a featured author in the nationally recognized book, “Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Inclusive Policy and Practice for Higher Education.” He has been awarded the Georgia State University Martin Luther King, Jr. Torch of Peace Award and EAB’s inaugural Data-Driven Impact Award for utilization of student success technology. A sought-after speaker, Elston has received notable media attention outlets, including Forbes, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and National Public Radio. He is a frequent presenter and contributor to the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

    Dr. Elston earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University. He earned both an M.A. in Educational Leadership and B.S. in Biology from Clark Atlanta University.

    Elston is a member of and has held leadership roles in numerous professional associations, including The Howard University Center for HBCU Research, Leadership, & Policy (Advisory Council Member), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Pathways Collaborative (Advisory Committee), Credentials As You Go (Advisory Committee), Credential Engine (Advisory Committee), Kentucky Student Success Collaborative (Advisory Committee), NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (past Chairperson of the African American Knowledge Community), Southern Center for Broadening Participation in STEM (Board Member), Association of Fraternal & Leadership Values (Board Member), NACADA: The Global Advising Community, LeaderShape, Inc., American Educational Research Association, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. He is an active Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Dr. Ruth M. López

Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
University of Houston
Dr. Ruth M. López
  • Dr. Ruth M. López

    Ruth M. López, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Houston (UH). She earned B.A.s in Mexican American Studies & Spanish at The University of Texas at Austin, and her PhD in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder where she was an Ofelia Miramontes Scholar and a recipient of the AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship. She was previously a Senior Research Associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Most recently, she was the recipient of the 2021 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award and 2023 Texas TRIO Achiever Award. In her research, Dr. López addresses the social and political contexts that students of color navigate across K-12 schools and their access to higher education. Her research examines: 1) the intersections of education and immigration policies, 2) culturally responsive education and family engagement, and 3) college access for Latinx and immigrant students. Dr. López is proud of her multiple identities as the daughter of immigrants from El Salvador and Mexico, first-generation college student/graduate, and mother scholar to name a few. These identities inform her commitment to educational equity and college access.

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