MTSU Student Success leaders contribute to national publication

Dec 04, 2023 at 10:20 pm by WGNS News

Vincent Windrow, right, a former associate vice provost in the MiTSU Office of Student Success, and Brian Hinote, a sociology professor and vice provost for Faculty and Strategic Initiatives in Academic Affairs

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Longtime Middle Tennessee State University faculty and academic administrators Brian Hinote and Vincent Windrow are contributors to a student success book published earlier this year.

Current administrator Hinote and Windrow, who retired from MTSU in May 2022 after 14 years as an adjunct faculty member teaching graduate courses and an administrator, have seen their work published in “Radical Reimagining for Student Success in Higher Education.” It was released by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group and available in paperback, hardback and eBook for purchase online.


The work was an outcome of a national (40-plus institutions over a three-year period) effort — reimagining the first-year experience — led by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said Windrow, a higher education consultant, who, along with Hinote, have been a part of MTSU’s emergence as a national leader after the launch of the Office of Student Success in 2013.

The book helped identify and test programs, strategies and tools aimed at improving retention rates for first-year students. The book makes a provocative set of arguments about what is possible if campuses radically reimagine their culture, practices, structures and rules with the primary purpose of helping students succeed in college and beyond.

The 194-page book’s foreword mentions “how leaders motivate teams; manage change, engage faculty, staff and students; how to close equity gaps and increase attainment of credentials and degrees. The essays illustrate the importance of foregrounding equity and inclusion, creating a student-first campus culture, learning from and acting on the data, transforming pedagogies (teaching methods) and creating engaged communities of practice.”

Hinote, a sociology professor and vice provost for MTSU Faculty and Strategic Initiatives, said “this book is an important contribution, and it advances the idea that universities have an ethical obligation to do all that we can to help students achieve success on our campuses.

“It promotes rapid and timely responses to a number of challenges facing us in American higher education. All institutions say that they support student success, but far fewer actively support the structures and practices that demonstrably promote that success. As I and other colleagues note, we don’t have an ‘idea’ problem (where we don’t know what works); we have an ‘implementation’ problem (where we don’t put things into practice). In short, we as institutions and leaders are often slow to adapt, and that’s on us.” 

Hinote, a nationally recognized expert in higher education data analytics and author and speaker across various Academic Affairs domains, said he was happy “… to share the insights and lessons learned from our very successful collaborative work at MTSU in recent years. We’re very proud of that work, and it’s among the highlights of my career to have been a part of it.”

MTSU’s point person in the three-year project, Windrow said he “was thrilled to be included in a smaller group of 10 higher education professionals that continued meeting under AASCU's leadership following the end of the initiative. During those meetings, next steps were discussed regarding how more campuses could benefit from what was learned from our time together. This book was one of the outcomes of those convenings.”

Windrow is part of Cornucopia Consulting Group, working with clients in the areas of higher education, K-12 education, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), mental health awareness and leadership development.

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