The Alliance 2013 Annual Meeting | Speakers


Photo of Barbara BenoBarbara Beno has served as president of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), since 2001. Prior to her appointment, she served as commissioner for both the ACCJC and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, WASC. Previously, she served as president of Berkeley City College (formerly Vista Community College) for 12 years, assistant chancellor of the San Mateo Community College District, research and planning director for the Peralta Community College District, and a university faculty member in sociology. She was chair of the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions from 2006 to 2009. Beno received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in history (B.A.) and sociology from Stony Brook University.

Photo of Cheryl BlancoCheryl Blanco is vice president for Special Projects at the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), overseeing special policy initiatives on college readiness and college completions, with emphasis on connections between postsecondary and K-12 education. Previously, Blanco was vice president for National College Access Programs and Executive Director of the Pathways to College Network at TERI and held senior positions at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and the Florida Postsecondary Education Planning Commission. Blanco was a tenured associate professor in the University of Puerto Rico system. She earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Florida State University.

Photo of Brian BosworthBrian Bosworth is the president of FutureWorks, a consulting and policy R&D firm based in Seattle and focused on regional economic and workforce development and postsecondary education. Bosworth's experience includes more than a decade of international development assistance work and 12 years of running state-based economic growth programs in the U.S. He also worked for several years as an independent consultant with many state and regional economic development groups. FutureWorks is now partnering with national and state-based organizations to develop and implement strategies that will increase postsecondary completion and strengthen labor market success for low-income youth and working adults.

Photo of Linda CollinsLinda Collins is executive director of the Career Ladders Project, founded in 2003 under the sponsorship of the Foundation for California Community Colleges (CCC) to foster educational and career advancement for Californians through research, policy, and strategic support to community colleges. She is also the executive director of LearningWorks, a new center linking knowledge, policy, and practice to improve student completion. Previously, Collins taught at Los Medanos College and served as president of the Academic Senate for CCC. Collins received her B. A. in psychology from University of Colorado and an M. A. in sociology from University of California, Berkeley.

Photo of Lara CouturierLara Couturier leads research and publications for Jobs for the Future’s Postsecondary State Policy Team, and provides technical support to the state policy teams in Achieving the Dream, the Student Success Center Network, and Completion by Design. Previously, Couturier conducted research and evaluations as an independent consultant and served as the interim principal investigator for the Futures Project: Policy for Higher Education in a Changing World, a higher education think tank at Brown University. Couturier has a Ph.D. in history from Brown University, a master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a bachelor’s from the University of Richmond

Photo of Bernadine Chuck FongBernadine Chuck Fong is senior managing partner for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and president emerita of Foothill College. She directs the foundation’s developmental mathematics initiative for 30 community colleges and universities in eight states and leads its national expansion. Through this initiative the foundation is building a networked improvement community to increase students’ success through advances in the practice of teaching. She is a fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley and the American Council on Education, and she was named a “Phenomenal Woman,” an award given by Chicago’s Harold Washington College Chapter of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges. Her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. are from Stanford University.

Photo of Emmy GlancyEmmy Glancy is the Academic Policy Officer - P20 Alignment for the Colorado Department of Higher Education. She manages the engagement of higher education stakeholders in Colorado’s reform efforts aimed at ensuring more high school graduates are college and career ready. Glancy oversees postsecondary participation and alignment with recent K12 reforms, including the common core state standards and aligned assessments. Previously, Glancy was a Program Manager for the Colorado Department of Education. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa, earned a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Colorado, and was recently selected for the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship Program.

Photo of Alberto GonzalezAlfredo Gonzalez is senior associate with Excelencia in Education, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that works with a broad range of other organizations to increase Latino college graduation rates. He is dean and professor emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles. For over 20 years, Gonzalez served as dean of undergraduate studies, responsible for areas that included the university academic advisement, tutorial and writing centers, general education, and the introduction to higher education courses for first-time freshmen and transfer students. He received his B.S. from Cal Poly Pomona and his M.S.W. and D.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Photo of Sherrie GuerreroSherrie Guerrero currently serves as the associate superintendent of instruction and student services for Chaffey College. While at Chaffey she has also served as dean of instructional support and dean of language arts. Prior to Chaffey College, Guerrero earned tenure at San Bernardino Valley College as a speech instructor. While at San Bernardino Valley College, Guerrero also served as department chair for speech and performing arts, senator, curriculum chair, and dean of humanities. Guerrero holds an associate of arts degree in liberal arts from San Bernardino Valley College; a bachelor of arts degree in communication studies from California State University, San Bernardino; a master of arts degree in speech communication from California State University, Fullerton; and an educational doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Southern California.

Photo of Jason Taksony HewittJason Taksony Hewitt is the recently appointed director of the Office of Instructional Enhancement at the University of California, Los Angeles, Extension. This office includes units dedicated to distance learning, instructional development, and online collaborative programs. He has previously served as an information architect and knowledge manager at and in several academic administration positions. Taksony Hewitt received a B.A. Religious Studies from Pomona College, an M.A. Interdisciplinary Studies: Semiotic Ecology from Naropa University, and a Postgraduate Certificate Ecological Theology from the University of Wales, Lampeter. He will graduate from UCLA in spring 2014 with an M.L.I.S. Informatics, an M.A. American Indian Studies: Semiotic Sustainability, and a Ph.D. Information Studies.

Photo of Sunny Lee

Sunny Lee is the project lead of Open Badges. In this role she talks to people tirelessly about badges and the potential for open badges as an alternative system for credentialing; strategizes partnerships that would grow and advance the ecosystem; and works to promote badges as a viable and evidence-based way to evaluate candidates for career and educational opportunities. Lee has a master of information management and systems degree from U.C. Berkeley with an emphasis in education and technology. In another lifetime she used to develop TV shows in Los Angeles.

Photo of Kay McClenney

Kay McClenney is director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement and a faculty member in the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. The center conducts the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and the Survey of Entering Student Engagement; it has surveyed nearly 2 million community college students at over 800 colleges in 50 states. McClenney also directs the center's Initiative on Student Success, a long-term student focus group research initiative supported by the MetLife Foundation and Houston Endowment.

Photo of Ruth Olmstead

Ruth Olmsted is associate executive director of the Center for Educational Measurement at Excelsior College, a pioneer in prior-learning assessment, especially credit by exam. Her primary role is to oversee the development of credit-by-exam offerings – Excelsior College examinations and UExcel – along with their supporting documentation and learning resources. Olmsted has also overseen Excelsior's electronic and paper-based portfolio assessment programs. She holds master’s and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and nourishes a lifelong love of puzzles.

Photo of Hilary PenningtonHilary Pennington is an independent consultant working on postsecondary education, transitions from high school, and intergenerational change. She also leads The Bridges Initiative, a project funded by national foundations to develop effective responses to the challenges and opportunities of the dramatic demographic shifts occurring in the U.S. From 2006 to 2012, she served as director of education, postsecondary success, and special initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led the postsecondary education initiative. Before joining the foundation, Pennington served as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, and as president and CEO of Jobs for the Future (JFF), a research and policy development organization she cofounded. Pennington is a graduate of the Yale School of Management and Yale College. She holds a graduate degree in social anthropology from Oxford University and a master’s of theological studies from the Episcopal Divinity School. She was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2000.

Photo of Peter QuigleyPeter Quigley is the University of Hawai‘i System community colleges’ associate vice president for academic affairs. He is responsible for academic program planning, evaluation, and assessment; course and program articulation; regional accreditation; federal higher education and workforce development issues, and collaboration with external agencies. He also has served as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and chancellor at Leeward Community College. Prior to coming to Hawaii, Quigley served as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Minnesota State University and as dean of academics/chief academic officer at Embry Riddle University.

Photo of Gary RodwellGary Rodwell is the architect and lead programmer for the STAR Academic Journey. He and an outstanding team have developed a revolutionary, enterprisewide software platform that adds business intelligence to the University of Hawai’i (UH) system. The platform has been the subject of multiple awards, newspaper articles, and recent grants. Rodwell believes that students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni should rightfully expect to receive significant educational and business value from their investment in information technology. Evidence of the sustainable success of STAR is fairly widespread through the UH campuses, with average usage of 1,000 to 10,000 students a day. Rodwell’s educational background is in electrical engineering. Prior to working at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, he worked with British Telecom and Chubb Australia on engineering projects.

Photo of Eva SchiorringEva Schiorring’s background combines 15 years of community college research and evaluation experience with hands-on CTE project design and coordination. As senior researcher, she has led a dozen RP Group projects over the past decade, including two multi-year studies of transfer. One of these is a comprehensive study of how to facilitate and increase transfer to high-demand career majors; the other was grounded in site visits to colleges with high transfer rates. Ms. Schiorring recently led a three-year evaluation of Reading Apprenticeship in California community colleges, and participated in the RP Group’s collaboration with UC Berkeley to conduct an observational study of basic skills in community college classrooms. She co-authored a publication on effective diversity practices in the community colleges and designed and implemented several evaluative studies on nursing and other health occupation programs and initiatives.

Photo of Sebastian ThrunSebastian Thrun is CEO of Udacity, a start-up focused on democratizing higher education. He is also a part-time Google Fellow and a research professor at Stanford University. Thrun is known for his work at Google X, home of the Google self-driving car. He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering at age 39 and started and sold two companies after winning the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand Challenge, a historical robot race. Fast Company magazine named him the fifth most creative person in business in 2011. He's on Vanity Fair's new establishment list; his work has been featured among the best 50 inventions by Time magazine; and one of his robots was named the top robot of all time by Wired magazine.

Andrea Venezia serves as associate professor of public policy and associate director of the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at California State University, Sacramento (Sac State). Venezia’s work is focused on improving student readiness for, and success in, some form of postsecondary education, with a particular focus on students who are traditionally underserved. Prior to joining Sac State, Venezia was senior research associate and project director at WestEd; prior to that, she was senior policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Before that, she directed Stanford University's Bridge Project, the first large-scale national study that documented state policy barriers that inhibit student progression from high school to college. She received a B.A. in English from Pomona College, an M.A. in administration and policy analysis in higher education from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in public policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Photo of Mary Visher

Mary Visher is a senior associate at MDRC, a nonprofit public policy research organization. At MDRC she designs and leads large, multisite, national evaluations of interventions designed to promote student success in both the K-12 and postsecondary sectors. Among these was a randomized, controlled trial of learning communities in six community colleges, in which nearly 7,000 students participated. She has held similar positions at MPR Associates, SRI, Berkeley Planning Associates, and Abt Associates in the last 25 years. Visher holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Photo of Debra VolzerDebra Volzer is the vice president and national director for institutional partnership for Pearson Higher Education. She focuses on large-scale, complex initiatives at the state, consortia, system, or foundation-sponsored level, in an effort to collaboratively identify models and solutions that increase student success and streamline pathways to completion. In this role she works to identify and align a shared vision and promotes collaboration of next-generation education solutions. Prior to joining Pearson, Volzer held numerous academic and teaching positions, including the Ohio State University, University College and honors director for the Fisher College of Business; distance-learning specialist for the Ohio Learning Network for the Ohio Board of Regents; director for the Community College Alliance Program at Franklin University; director of instructional technology and e-learning for Ohio Dominican; and director of academics for Rasmussen College. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, her master’s from Yale University, and her doctorate from Ohio State.

Photo of Joshua Wyner

Joshua Wyner is the executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, which aims to strengthen practice and develop leadership to substantially improve college student success. Started in early 2011, the program's first two initiatives are the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which strives to reward and shine a spotlight on community colleges that deliver exceptional student results and stimulate replication of successful campus practices; and the New College Leadership Project, which works to strengthen efforts to recruit and train college presidents who are driven by – and capable of – substantially improving student success. He has a B.A. in history from Vassar College, holds a master's in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and is a cum laude graduate of New York University School of Law.

Photo of Holly Zanville

Holly Zanville is a Strategy Director at Lumina Foundation where she leads the development of strategies to help create new systems of quality credentials and credits defined by learning and competencies, clear and transparent pathways to students, and alignment with workforce needs and trends.  Her portfolio includes a focus on improving outcomes of developmental education, increasing degree completion for returning adults with prior college/no credential, and statewide approaches to reverse-transfer degrees through the national Credit When It’s Due initiative. Zanville’s work experience spans the educational pipeline with service in K-12, community colleges, universities, and higher education governance systems. Most recently, Zanville served as Coordinator of Oregon’s Joint Boards K-20 Redesign Initiative; Senior Academic Officer, Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board; and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Oregon University System. Zanville received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Minnesota; MA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and BA in English and Biology from Lindenwood University.