The Alliance 2015 Annual Meeting | Program


Leaders Facing Change:
Asking the Right Questions

April 8-10, 2015
Rapid City, SD




Pre-Meeting Activities

Location: Hotel Alex Johnson

1:00-4:30 pm

Alliance Executive Committee Meeting (executive committee members only)

5:15-6:15 pm

Welcome Reception
Unwind from the busy day as you catch up with old friends and make new ones!

6:30 pm

Networking Dinners
Join your colleagues for some lively conversation about a topic that concerns you. We will reserve tables for dinner at several nearby restaurants to be hosted by members of the Alliance Executive Committee. You can sign up for your preference when you register. Attendees are responsible for the cost of their dinner.

  • The Biggest Problem I have is ... Maria Harper-Marinick, Maricopa Community Colleges, AZ
  • External Forces Bringing Change: Are They Real, Gimmicks, or Smokescreens. Pete Pinney, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Tricks and Traps of Consortia. Susan Jones, Montana University System
  • K-12 Relationships: How Close Should the Ties Be? Douglas Murray, New Mexico Military Institute
  • Networking Potpourri. Mike McFarlane, Great Basin College, NV
  • Mental Health Counseling for Online Students: How Are These Students Served? Nancy Szofran, Community Colleges of Spokane

Meeting Program


7:15-5:00 am

Registration Open

7:15-8:15 AM


8:30-8:45 AM

The Alliance 4th Annual Meeting: Call to Order
Michael Cartney, President, Lake Area Technical Institute and Alliance Chair

Welcome to South Dakota
The Honorable Dennis Daugaard, Governor, State of South Dakota 

8:45-9:45 AM

How a Culture of Inquiry Can Help Your College Move the Needle on Student Success
In the past decade, colleges around the country have significantly evolved the availability of data on their campuses, often in response to accountability and/or accreditation concerns. What hasn't always followed is a parallel evolution of actually using the data to create insight and eventually take action to improve student outcomes. More recently, a national movement has emerged toward evolving a culture of inquiry & action on campuses - with the result of creating significant improvement in the key student outcomes we all are passionate about. Colleges are at different places on the evolutionary continuum toward this culture, with nearly everybody yearning to take the next steps. This session will explore the concept of how to evolve such a culture - but far more importantly, we will explore whether we are asking the right questions to really move the needle on student success. Come ready for an interactive, engaging exploration that will access your subject matter expertise as we collectively explore important student success issues and start brainstorming how to continue to move forward on improving student outcomes.

Introducer: Peter Quigley, University of Hawai‘i System
Speaker: Rob Johnstone, National Center for Inquiry & Improvement

9:45-10:00 AM


10:00-10:45 AM

Bombs and Breakthroughs
Join your colleagues in a lively discussion about experiences asking some of the right and wrong questions and some of the lessons learned. Each roundtable will focus on a different topic with a host kicking off the conversation by relating a question he/she asked and what it led to … a bomb, a breakthrough, or a bomb that resulted in a breakthrough! Then jump in with your own experiences.

Roundtable Topics and Hosts:

  • Open Educational Resources: Key Questions to Ask. JoAnna Schilling, Cerritos College, CA
  • Opportunity Knocks: Should You Answer? Diane Stiles, Lake Area Technical Institute, SD
  • From Faculty to Administrator: Things I Wish I Knew Beforehand, Suzette Robinson, University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges
  • Hiring Staff: Questions I Ask or Wish I Had. Jim Minkler, Spokane Falls Community College (WA)
  • The Role of Chief Academic Leaders: What Do You Do and Why, and What Should You Do? LeBaron Woodyard, California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office
  • Be Careful What You Ask For. Nancy Szofran, Community Colleges of Spokane
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea t the Time. Todd Schwarz, College of Southern Idaho
  • Will the System Produce the Outcomes Expected? Tiffany Sanderson, South Dakota Department of Education

10:45-11:00 AM


11:00-11:45 AM

Analytics for Action!
Many of us are data rich, and information poor. We may be swimming in data, but frequently seem to lack what we really need or want to know. How do you know what data you need and what it means? Find out how these panelists have used data analytics to make important differences for their institutions.

Moderator: Barbara Grover, Salt Lake City Community College
Speakers: Lisa Foss, St. Cloud State University; Linda Howdyshell, Broward County Community College; John Stanley, University of Hawai‘i

11:45-12:00 PM


12:00-1:00 PM

Awards Luncheon
Join us in congratulating the winner of the Third Annual Academic Leaders Tool of the Year Award!

Presenter: Jose Fierro, vice chair, Academic Leaders Toolkit

Recipient: John Heemstra, Mitchell Technical Institute

1:00-2:15 PM 

Innovation Circles
Here’s a great opportunity to learn from your colleagues and our sponsors about some of the recent innovations they’ve put in place. Choose three topics of interest below. Every twenty minutes a bell will ring and attendees will move to a new topic.

  • Prior Learning Assessment: Creating an Inclusive, Validated System - The Colorado Community College System recently developed policy and procedures that created an inclusive, validated system of Prior Learning Assessment in Colorado's community colleges. The methods used to gather stakeholders, open the conversation, challenge and change damaging mis-perceptions and practices, reduce institutional barriers, create a state-wide PLA Handbook and our ongoing efforts to validate our assessment practices will be discussed.
    Bitsy Cohn, The Colorado Community College System
  • Linking Learning Outcomes Assessment and Program Evaluation - New Mexico Military Institute has developed a comprehensive system that integrates the assessment of learning outcomes with the evaluation of programs which are linked with the strategic plan goals and objectives and accreditation criteria. An internal assurance system was developed which is based upon evidentiary documents, both quantitative evidence with benchmarks and mission documents with the evidence being the nucleus for the database. This system integrates the planning, learning, assessment and feedback loop all together.
    Douglas Murray, New Mexico Military Institute; Michele Bates, New Mexico Military Institute
  • The Redesign of Developmental Education: A Success Story - From 2011 to 2014, the thirteen community colleges in Colorado implemented a comprehensive redesign of the developmental education system in math, English and reading that reduced the time required for remediation, mainstreamed students into college level courses, and provided pathways for success. The result was more students successfully completed their college level courses in math and composition. Our student success data and the experiences of the faculty will tell Colorado’s success story.
    Marilyn Smith, Colorado Community College System
  • Reaping the Benefits of Open Educational Resources - Open educational resources (OER) are changing the landscape of course development into a more transparent and open process which fosters collaboration across departments and educational institutions. In the spirit of that process, Colorado Community College System has published 200+ courses into OER; enabling content sharing between 13 system colleges and three independent colleges. This mini-session gives attendees a taste of how beneficial OER can be to their instructors, students and the quality of their programs. 
    Brenda Perea, Colorado Community College System
  • Achieving the Goal: Student Retention - Retention is top priority for Western Dakota Tech. With very few answers to why we were losing students, WDT's president invested money in a Student Success Center with three Student Success Coaches. Learn how the center was created and what services the center has brought to the school including how it has brought various departments together across campus to work toward one common goal - student retention.
    Kelly Oehlerking, Western Dakota Technical Institute
  • The Texas Southmost Direct Access Story - Texas Southmost College has launched an operationally independent institution in fall of 2013 with an almost 100 percent digital solution to compliment its face-to-face instruction.  President Tercero’s vision for TSC is built on a foundation of student success leading to employment and accountability for all and TSC partnered with Pearson to help them reach this goal.  Pearson is delivering a service which includes content, technology and custom curriculum services.  Direct access to affordable learning materials on day one positively impacted student success.  During this session we will discuss how Texas Southmost College implemented a direct access solutions and we will discuss the impact it has had on their student success. 
    Adriana Dallas, Texas Southmost College
  • Toolkit Winner: Technical Education at a Distance (TED) Model – In 2012, Mitchell Technical Institute was awarded a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant through the U.S. Department of Labor with the goal of developing a model for delivering technical education at a distance (TED). With this funding, MTI developed a hybrid program/model for hands-on, technical training, incorporating internet, videoconferencing and mobile device technologies into highly engaging coursework and hands-on skills training.  The use of this model was piloted with a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant program.  The components of this model and lessons learned will be discussed.
    John Heemstra, Mitchell Technical Institute and the 2015 Academic Leaders Tool of the Year Award
  • Partnering to Achieve Your Goals: Laramie County Community College has been responsive to their student and faculty needs when designing their courses in Brightspace.  Their instructional design team wanted to push the innovation boundaries in their course design to optimize the student experience. With the flexibility of the Brightspace Integrated Learning Platform, D2L and Laramie County Community College together, were able to achieve the desired outcome. 
    Nancy Gold, Brightspace by D2L; Jose Fierro, Laramie County Community College

2:15-2:30 PM


2:30-3:30 PM 

Reinventing the Ideal Adult Learning Model through Competency-Based Education
The emerging popularity of competency-based education programs shows an attempt by institutions to address the needs and desires of the adult learner. When properly developed and implemented this model can simultaneously provide students with flexibility in scheduling, recognition of prior learning, lower cost of attendance, shorten time to completion and a meaningful representation of a student’s learned skills and abilities. Our panel will describe the similarities and differences in their approaches and lessons learned.

Moderator: Lita Burns, North Idaho College
Speakers: Kevin Brockbank, Salt Lake City Community College; Kristine Clerkin, Southern New Hampshire University; Stacey Ludwig Johnson, Western Governors University

3:30-3:45 PM


3:45-4:30 PM 

Open Educational Resources: Making Free Textbooks a Reality
Student survey data tell us many students don’t purchase required textbooks for their courses, leaving them without the necessary learning resources to truly succeed. Several initiatives are underway to provide a collection of open educational resources for use in high enrollment courses and others. Are they making a difference for students? What is the business model that ensures continued development and updates?

Moderator: Charlotte Palacios-Reyes Cepeda, Northern Marianas College
Speakers: Mary Burgess, BCcampus; Mark Jenkins, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges; Kim Thanos, Lumen Learning

4:45 PM

Buses begin loading. Buses leave from the front of the hotel promptly at 5:05 p.m.

5:00-6:00 PM

Travel to Mount Rushmore

6:30-7:00 PM

Reception and Welcome to Mount Rushmore


Mount Rushmore Presentation by the National Park Service

Speaker: Ed MenardMount Rushmore National Monument

7:15-8:15 PM

Dinner and Address: Peering Into the Future of Education: What's Just Around the Corner and On the Horizon?
New technologies and innovations are pushing us to transform the way we teach and students learn. Indeed, the public and policymakers are demanding that we do so. What are some of the most promising innovations being implemented today? What's ahead that few see coming?

Introducer: Mike Cartney, Lake Area Technical College
Speaker: Steven Mintz, Institute for Transformational Learning, The University of Texas System

8:30-9:30 PM

Return to Hotel


7:30-8:30 AM

Breakfast and Alliance Membership Meeting

8:30-9:45 AM

For the Love of Learning: New Media Environments
Technologies have created new ways to engage and support student learning. Find out how some of these personalized and customized environments are making a real difference for students.

Moderator: Jerry Migler, Colorado Community College System (invited)
Speakers: Vernon Smith, University of the Pacific; Paul Bowers, Pearson; Jeremy Auger, Brightspace by D2L

9:45-10:00 AM


10:00-11:15 AM

Looking at Learning across Institutions: A Focus on Quality, Symmetry, and Transportability
Two initiatives – the Interstate Passport Initiative, and the Multistate Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC) –are working to do this. Why? What is the role of assessment in these efforts? Will these efforts ensure quality? Can transfer students benefit? How could your institution get involved?

Moderator: Jan Yoshiwara, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Speakers: Peter Quigley, University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges & Interstate Passport Initiative; Julie Carnahan, State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO)

11:15-11:45 AM

Reflections and Anticipations
Join our keynote speaker as he reflects on some of the key questions threaded through the conference discussions that resulted in or will result in significant changes for the academy. But he won’t stop there. He’ll engage you in forming a few new questions that promise to challenge and excite your thinking as you return to your leadership posts in these most interesting of times!

Introducer: Maria Harper-Marinick, Maricopa Community Colleges
Speaker: Rob Johnstone, National Center for Inquiry & Improvement


Wrap-up and Adjournment