Texas Tech University

Committee for Advising, Retention, & Student Success

What is CARS?

High-quality academic advising and support resources are major contributors to the success of students at Texas Tech University.  Continually improving the institution's student success requires deliberate investment in these important elements.

The Committee for Advising, Retention, and Success (CARS) provides a consistent opportunity for representatives from academic and support units to invest in matters that affect academic advising, campus success resources, re-enrollment and retention, persistence and progress-toward-degree, campus engagement, and college transfer.

CARS meetings encourage communication, foster collaboration, and facilitate the development of creative solutions to important campus challenges, particularly those with many stakeholders but no singular 'owner.'  Through its various workgroups, CARS explores, considers, and recommends a wide variety of improvements to policies, procedures, and priorities.  Reporting back to the larger team, workgroups see their contributions refined and put into action as each CARS member returns to their own particular responsibilities.  Keeping in mind the university's vision and strategic commitments, CARS plays an important part in improving the University's work to support positive student outcomes.  As appropriate, CARS involves and supports all academic and support units in its work.

CARS Workgroups

Administration & Executive Steering Group

The Executive Steering Group Facilitates conversation and implementation of activities to improve advising, retention, and student success through open communication and leadership development.

  • Patrick Hughes
  • Cathy Duran
  • Rachel Jackson - Liaison to Assessment Workgroup
  • Ryan Scheckel - Liaison to Success Workgroup
  • Ashlee Brown - Liaison to Advising Workgroup
  • Cathe Nutter - Liaison to Retention Workgroup
  • Joshua Barron - Liaison to Communication Workgroup


The Assessment Workgroup will work to establish best practices related to the timely and meaningful evaluation/assessment of advising and student success strategies. Ideally, this group's work will include informing the institution's efforts to identify/define/articulate the core characteristics of our students, as well as meaningful and useful measures of their success.

Possible projects include the collection of current campus evaluations and other assessments in effort to create a toolkit and the creation of an assessment forum in which advisors and/or staff can learn about and improve upon assessment practices.

  • Connie Watson – (chair)
  • John Thomas – Information Technology
  • Crystal Garcia – Engineering
  • Brenda Martinez – Registrar
  • Rachel Jackson – Liaison

Student Success

The Student Success Workgroup will support the Texas Tech community through the research and presentation of best practices, representation of student success initiatives occurring on any of our campus locations, identification of collaboration opportunities for community members in all roles, and generation of recommendations relevant to student success.

Possible projects and priorities include the creation of student success models, a tool-kit webpage, close involvement with existing campus events and initiatives, and a student success recognition program/process.

  • VACANT (Chair)
  • Jay Killough – University Career Center
  • Zach Manning – Transition & Engagement
  • Brandi Schreiber – Student Disability Services
  • Debra Crosby – MVP
  • Lori Rodriguez – College of Architecture
  • Ryan Scheckel – PPHC (liaison)


The Retention Workgroup consides innovations and processes that may improve student retention across campus. that will likely include academic advising but are not necessarily to be housed in academic advising settings only or rely upon academic advisors as the main source of activity.

Possible projects and priorities include exploring the expansion of the retention calling campaign to include non-advising offices to assist with student contacts, the retention role of call centers, what the larger TTU community could do to help with student enrollment, and the retention role of events like RRO, registration fairs, etc.

  • Michelle Kiser – Chair
  • Jackie Manz – Arts & Sciences 
  • Stephanie Legako - CASNR
  • Sarah Schwintz – University Programs
  • Adrienne Carnes – Rawls
  • Catherine Nutter - Liaison


The Advising Workgroup is focused on the professionalization and professionalism of academic advising.

In particular, the group will create a forum of active dialogue and decision-making that seeks to align policies and objectives of academic advising centers across campus with the strategic plan of the university.

  • DaNay Phelps, Community College and Transfer Relations - Co-Chair
  • Sarah Hatley - Co-Chair
  • Erin Justyna - CALUE
  • Rodney Lackey, Athletics
  • Kacey Marshall, National Wind Institute
  • Julia Heard, CMoC
  • Ashlee W Brown, Human Sciences - Liaison


logo image for CARS Communication WorkgroupThe CARS Communication workgroup facilitates the committee's internal and external communications, maintains administrative aspects of the CARS committee, promotes improvements in related campus communications and marketing efforts, provides project management and reporting coordination for the committee, and promotes the celebration of Texas Tech's accomplishments in the realms of advising, retention, and student success.

  • Erika Bowles, University Student Housing: Chair
  • Kathy Nordstrom, VPA
  • Savannah Chambers, CASNR
  • Laura Heinz, University Libraries
  • Joshua Barron, Student Success & Retention: Steering Liaison

What has CARS done for Red Raider Success?

What is CARS working on now?

Where can I learn more about CARS and how to get involved?

Come to a meeting!  If you're interested, please email success@ttu.edu.