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At the November WICHE Commission meeting in Laie, Hawaii, the commission named a new chair, Bonnie Jean Beesley, vice chair of the Utah Board of Regents, and vice chair, Leah Bornstein, president of Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Ariz. Joe Garcia, Colorado lieutenant governor and executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, becomes the commission’s immediate past chair.
Mental Health Wins New Grant
WICHE has been awarded funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration Network Development Planning Grant to develop a rural psychology internship consortium in Hawaii. Hawaii’s universities train doctoral-level psychologists, who help address the state’s behavioral health workforce needs; an internship year is a required part of the doctoral program, but there are only a limited number of internships in the state. The internship consortium will include Maui Youth and Family Services, a private nonprofit behavioral health agency, and two divisions of the state’s Department of Health: the Adult Mental Health Division and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division. The internship consortium will increase the number of professionals available to provide services, reducing the significant unmet need in the state and ensuring that psychologists receive training that meets the unique needs of the population of Hawaii.
At its 23rd annual conference in Denver in October, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) gave awards to three institutions for exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions that address a specific area of need—solutions that can be replicated or adapted for use by others and that cut across higher education institutions of all sizes and from all sectors. The three WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award recipients were:
Century College and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for GPS LifePlan, which helps students achieve their educational, career, and personal goals by putting them in charge of creating intentional connections with their campus and making their own plans for tapping into a host of campus resources.
Kansas State University for its University Life Café, the first interactive college website promoting the mental wellness and academic success of college students.
Regis University for its Passport to Course Development, which provides creative training and support for faculty (often adjuncts) who are new to the online environment. Faculty get their “passport” stamped as they traverse a colorful interactive world map representing various design and development destinations.
In addition, Michael J. Offerman, president emeritus of Capella University, received WCET’s Richard Jonsen award, given annually to a WCET member whose career has been committed to improving postsecondary educational programs and services through innovative uses of technology and exceptional service to WCET. Offerman was honored for promoting access, quality, accountability, and consumer information for adult working students. Capella’s pioneering work in learning outcomes and data analytics set the stage for the Transparency by Design initiative and College Choices for Adults website, managed by WCET.
New Learner Progress Metric
Earlier this fall WCET’s Transparency by Design project, which produces the College Choices for Adults website, released a new metric: learner progress. This metric aims to provide adult learners with a more accurate view of how students like themselves are progressing and completing their education. It also expands the IPEDS Graduation Rate Survey and retention measures to include part-time and transfer students. For more information visit the College Choices site or contact Cali Morrison (email@example.com, 303-541-0234).
In December a new issue of WICHE’s Western Policy Exchanges will highlight college access work in seven states: Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. These states, all part of the College Access Challenge Grant Network, use their federal grants—which are designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education—in different ways. But for the past several years they have collaborated to share their successes and work cooperatively to overcome barriers. The brief will highlight several exciting components of state work, including FAFSA completion programs, new peer-mentoring efforts, effective subgranting procedures, and common strategies for sustaining these efforts in the face of uncertain future funding.
Upcoming Meetings & Events
On December 8 the Adult College Completion Network (ACCN) will host a webinar highlighting the work of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) initiative LearningCounts.org: an online prior-learning assessment service through which potential students can earn credit at partner institutions for knowledge and skills they already possess. The webinar, which is free and open to all, will take place from 12:00-1:30 pm EST. Patrick Lane, WICHE project coordinator, will moderate; and speakers will include Pam Tate, president and CEO of CAEL, and Cathy Brigham, CAEL’s director of academic programs and dean of the faculty. Register for the webinar at www.regonline.com/accnPLA. Additional information will be posted on ACCN’s site.
The Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance) will hold its first annual membership meeting, themed “Change by Design @ EDU,” this April 17-18 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix. The Alliance’s members are the chief academic officers of community colleges and technical schools located in the 15 WICHE states, along with their associated system and state agencies. These academic leaders share perspectives on current issues, work together on regional projects that are beyond the scope of a single institution or state, and contribute resources and expertise to build a stronger future for higher education in the West. The meeting is open to nonmembers. For more information visit the Alliance site.
The members of the Western Academic Leadership Forum (the Forum) will hold their annual meeting, themed “Academic Leadership in the West: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Innovation,” this April 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix. Forum members are provosts of the four-year institutions and the chief academic officers of the related system and state agencies in the WICHE region. Plenary speakers include Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University; José Cruz from The Education Trust; Terry Hartle from the American Council on Education; and Diana Natalicio, president of the University of Texas El Paso. Henry Eyring, author of the recently published The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out, will discuss his book. The meeting is open to nonmembers as well. For more information visit the Forum site.
WICHE, partnering with Lumina Foundation, convened a second meeting of the Adult College Completion Network in Denver on October 19-21, bringing together state policymakers, nonprofit organizations, chambers of commerce, and employer/industry-focused groups to collaborate on strategies to reenroll adults with prior college credits so they can complete their degrees and to help address future workforce needs by targeting these nontraditional learners. Read about strategies for adult college completion on the ACCN website.
WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee held its annual meeting—themed “New Directions in Higher Education: Where Do We Go from Here?”— in Seattle on September 13-14. The LAC works to strengthen state policymaking in higher education in the West by engaging legislators who are appointed by the WICHE Commission in the discussion of higher education issues and by seeking their input on strategies for interstate collaboration. Seventeen legislators from 11 states participated (the best participation rate to date), and a number of high-profile speakers were also in attendance. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College, Alan Drimmer from the University of Phoenix, and Jean Floten, the new chancellor of Western Governors University-Washington, spoke about nontraditional institutions. Mark Campbell and Amy Sherman from the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning talked about prior-learning assessment. WICHE Commissioner Cam Preus, commissioner of the Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, discussed community colleges. Washington Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, also a WICHE commissioner, provided insight on changing higher education governance in the West. And Joe Willhoft from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Ryan Reyna from the National Governors Association spoke about the Common Core State Standards.
WCET’s 23rd Annual Conference, held in Denver on October 26-29, brought together nearly 400 higher education leaders and innovators involved with technology-enhanced education. The opening keynote was by Jeff Borden from Pearson and Mark Sarver from Edukan. Other sessions included a panel of accreditors discussing the changing accreditation scene; attorney Michael Goldstein, who spoke on Department of Education regulations that institutions need to be aware of; and a closing panel of e-learning innovators, who focused on the thoughtful adoption of technology in pursuit of education excellence. View general sessions on the WCET conference page. The 2012 conference will take place in San Antonio on October 31-November 3.
WICHE’s Policy staff facilitated a meeting with staff from the North Dakota University System (NDUS), key higher education leaders in the state, and members of the Adult Learners Council that focused on how North Dakota can identify and bring its "ready adults"—those who have previously earned a significant number of college credits but who have not yet returned to campus—back to postsecondary education to complete their credentials. The meeting, part of the Non-traditional No More project, was held in Bismarck on September 20 and attracted about 75 participants from around the state. NDUS is developing an action plan that will address issues related to data, academic affairs, student services, financing/financial aid, and communications/marketing to target and better serve this population.