The Alliance 2015 Annual Meeting | Speakers


Leaders Facing Change:
Asking the Right Questions

April 8-10, 2015
Rapid City, SD



Photo of Jeremy AugerJeremy Auger has been an entrepreneur and technology executive for 20 years. He has been a founder, board member, advisor, COO, CTO, and currently serves as the chief strategy officer and one of the co-founders of D2L Inc. a global company helping transform the way the world learns through innovative technology solutions. Prior to joining D2L, Jeremy came from a strong technical and business background, worked with numerous high-tech companies throughout North America, and has been actively involved with eLearning and technology companies for over twenty years, building his first fully online course in 1996. Jeremy has an Honors Bachelor of math in computer science from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of science in management from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Photo of Michele BatesMichele Bates assumed the responsibilities of institutional research officer, New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) in July 2014. She graduated in 2009 from the New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Leadership Management and Human Resources.  Her first assignment at NMMI was special projects analyst for the chief academic officer/academic dean.  She developed an Assurance Database to assess support services that links to the strategic plan.  In 2013 she was awarded the NMMI Meritorious Service Medal for her efforts in restructuring internal accreditation documentation resulting in a superior finding by the AdvancEd accreditation team.

Photo of Paul BowersPaul Bowers, strategic consultant for Learning Strategies with Pearson Higher Education, has worked at the forefront of educational technology and distance learning for 32 years and has been involved in the emergence of new teaching and learning environments since the early 1980’s. Paul has served on the Board of the Instructional Management System (IMS, now IMS-Global), the Board of Advisors for the Monterey Institute NROC open courseware project, and on the Iowa Educational Telecommunications Committee, the educational oversight body for the Iowa Telecommunications Network, one of the largest distance learning networks in the world. Bowers has served in a variety of roles at public and private higher education institutions, including 22 years as a faculty member as well as serving as director, dean, and vice president for online and adult learning at several institutions, including Buena Vista University, Cleveland State University, and Hiram College. Bowers also has worked extensively with community colleges and universities as a consultant for educational technology in private practice, with Blackboard, Inc., and currently with Pearson.

Photo of Kevin BrockbankKevin Brockbank currently serves as the dean of the school of applied technologies and professional development at Salt Lake Community College. He assumed this position in 2013 after a 17-year career in the Montana University System working at two-year colleges as a faculty member and administrator. He focuses on providing innovative approaches to addressing workforce training needs and creating effective learning environments for adults. Brockbank received his B.A. in business education technology education and Master’s Degree in curricular studies from the University of Montana. He is currently working on his Doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Montana.

Photo of Mary BurgessMary Burgess has been director, Open Education at BCcampus since 2012. In addition to leading the BC Open Textbook Project, Burgess leads other open educational resource initiatives as well as the development and delivery of faculty professional learning and communities of practice. Previously, Burgess was the director of the Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies at Royal Roads University in Canada. Burgess has a B.A. in liberal arts and a graduate certificate in the applied management of information technologies from the University of Victoria, and an M.A. in educational technology from the University of British Columbia.

Photo of Julie CarnahanJulie Carnahan is a senior associate at the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) which she joined in May 2010. Her position at SHEEO includes coordinating the Peer Consultation Networks, and working on academic policy and planning issues, such as accreditation, Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO), and higher education’s involvement in the Common Core Standards and Assessment initiatives. Prior to joining SHEEO, Carnahan was the chief academic officer for the Colorado Department of Higher Education and was assistant vice-chancellor for planning and information management at the University of Colorado Denver. Carnahan holds a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in sociology and B.A. in psychology from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Photo of Kris ClerkinKris Clerkin is executive director of College for America (CfA) at Southern New Hampshire University. She leads its mission-driven team of professionals committed to providing greater access and quality in higher education through low-cost competency-based education. CfA has ambitious goals to serve thousands of students with its innovative model of personalized learning at scale. Clerkin has many years of experience in the higher education industry including roles as president of Houghton Mifflin’s Higher Education Division and general manager of Wolters Kluwer Legal Education. She has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Photo of Bitsy CohnBitsy Cohn has been with the Colorado Community College System as the director of credit for prior learning and coordinator of developmental education since 2012. Her work includes developing and implementing policies with college constituents and training and programmatic support for TAACCCT grants from the U. S. Department of Labor. Previously, she spent 22 years at Front Range Community College as the director of learning opportunity services and as an adjunct faculty member. Cohn received her B.A. in English/Linguistics from Keene State College and an M.S. in organizational leadership, online teaching and learning from Colorado State University Global.

Photo of Adriana DallasAdriana A. Dallas is the clinical coordinator for the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at Texas Southmost College. Dallas has a Masters Degree in Radiologic Sciences-Education and currently holds credentials in radiology and sonography (general and Vascular). Dallas has 8 years experience teaching in higher education and 10 years as a registered sonographer. She was faculty champion at Texas Southmost College and her duties included teaching all faculty the Pearson Learning Studio. Dallas has presented for Texas Southmost College convocation, Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees, and Health Care Career and Technical Education Divisional faculty meeting on the benefits of combining Pearson Learning Studio in the classroom and students success.

Photo of Jose FierroJose Fierro is the vice president of academic affairs at Laramie county Community College. Prior to joining Laramie County Community College, Fierro served as an academic dean, associate dean of liberal arts and sciences, and professor of biological sciences at Florida State College. During his time at Florida State College, Fierro was involved in college-wide assessment initiatives, accreditation, and chaired the Center for Teaching and Learning. He has developed several online and hybrid courses in the natural sciences; authored a number of journal articles; and presented at multiple educational conferences on the topic of faculty development for online teaching and the institutional strategies necessary for online programs to succeed. Fierro’s research interests include improving student retention in developmental education, social learning, and the effective use of emerging technologies in the classroom.

Photo of Lisa Helmin FossLisa Helmin Foss is the associate vice president and associate provost for strategy, planning and effectiveness at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in mass communication and Master’s in business administration from St. Cloud State University and a Ph.D. in educational policy and administration – higher education from the University of Minnesota. She completed the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Management and Leadership in Higher Education institute. She presents frequently at the local, national and international level on change management and data analytics in higher education.

Photo of Nancy GoldNancy Gold has worked with education related organizations for over 25 years. She has been an elementary teacher, transitioning into the technology industry where she worked in marketing support, consulting services, and sales, before moving into college publishing. In 2013, Nancy seized an opportunity to join D2L as an account manager where she partners with her clients to help them achieve their desired goals.

Photo of John HeemstraJohn Heemstra is the outreach coordinator at Mitchell Technical Institute (MTI) in Mitchell, SD serving in a variety of positions for nearly 20 years. In his current position, he is responsible for the management of three federal grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program. He received his undergraduate and M.Ed. degrees from South Dakota State University where he was also commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant through the Army ROTC program. He served on active duty until his retirement as a major in 1995.

Photo of Linda HowdyshellLinda Howdyshell has served as college provost and senior vice president for academics and student success at Broward College (FL) from October 2010 until the current time. During her tenure, Broward College was named one of the Top Ten Community Colleges by the Aspen Institute, was reaccredited by SACS COC for ten additional years without any recommendations, was noted for implementing competency-based programming, and added both local and international centers. Prior to joining Broward College, Howdyshell served as vice president of instruction and chief administrative officer, Chino campus, at Chaffey College, CA. At Riverside Community College as dean of instruction and vice president, she led the accreditation process for the Norco Campus to become Norco College. Howdyshell began her career as a teacher and has taught at all levels. Howdyshell received her Ph.D. with an emphasis in organizational development from Michigan State University.

Photo of Mark JenkinsMark Jenkins is director of eLearning & open education at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, where he has worked since 2013. Previously he served as associate vice provost for online learning services in Portland State University’s School of Extended Studies, where his team provided production, consulting and training services to faculty. From 1999 to 2006 he held leadership roles in web-based learning and instructional technology at Marylhurst University near Portland, Oregon. Mark received his Ph.D. in literature from UCSD in 1996 and holds B.A. & M.A. degrees in English from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Photo of Stacey Ludwig JohnsonStacey Ludwig Johnson has been with Western Governors University for seventeen years and has been responsible for guiding the development of the systems, policies, and procedures that created the foundation for the competency-based university. She is currently responsible for the academic services of the university that include the Office of the Registrar, career and professional development services, alumni relations, term break and withdraw recovery teams, orientation and student success teams, field placement for the Teachers College and College of Health Professions, and other cross-departmental initiatives that impact the student experience. She has a passion for delivering student services that support on-time progress to graduation, retention, and overall student satisfaction.

Photo of Rob JohnstoneRob Johnstone is the founder and president of the National Center for Inquiry & Improvement, which he founded in 2013 to continue his improvement and inquiry work with colleges and on national improvement projects in higher education. Previously, he was a dean and provost in the California Community College system for over a decade as well as an industry strategic consultant. Johnstone received his B.A. in psychology from Stanford University, his M.A. in experimental psychology from San Jose State University, and his Ph.D. in social psychology / psychology and the law from the University of Oregon..

Photo of Ed MenardEd Menard is a park ranger with the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. He began his career in electronics through trade school and Massachusetts Bay Community College. He then joined the Air Force and started a career in avionics working on an F-106 Interceptor and the new B-1B bomber. Menard's career with the Air Force lasted for 24-years. During that time, he earned three college degrees in management, business, and history. After leaving the USAF, Menard started a new career with the National Park Service.

Photo of Jim Minkler

Jim Minkler, the vice president of learning for Spokane Falls Community College, serves as the chief academic officer and accreditation liaison officer. He works with K-12 partners and area universities to assure seamless transfer for both incoming and outgoing students and leads accreditation efforts. Minkler serves as co-chair to the state’s Joint Transfer Council and transfer committee chair to the state’s Instruction Commission. Previously, he served as the district academic services officer. A former instructor of philosophy, Minkler received his B.A. in history and philosophy, M.A. in philosophy, and Ph.D. in education from the University of Idaho.

Photo of Steve Mintz

Steven Mintz, a pioneer in the application of new technologies to teaching and research, is executive director of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning, which is charged with leveraging new technologies to make a high quality education more affordable, accessible, and successful. A prize-winning teacher and author, his 14 books include, most recently, The Prime of Life: A History of Modern Adulthood (Harvard). His Digital History website has been named one of the Top 5 websites for U.S. history. He has been a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, president of H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online and the Society for the History of Children and Youth, and chair of the Council on Contemporary Families.

Photo of Douglas Murray

Brigadier General Douglas J. Murray, United States Air Force (Retired), assumed the responsibilities of dean of academics and chief academic officer, New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) in 2007. Murray’s distinguished 42-year Air Force career in education, administration, leadership and management began with his graduation from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a B.S. in Foreign Service. He received his M.A. degree from the University of Texas’ Institute of Latin American Studies. He completed a Ph.D in international relations, comparative politics, and defense policy at University of Texas at Austin.

Photo of Kelly Oehlerking

Kelly Oehlerking has worked for Western Dakota Technical Institute (WDT) in South Dakora for 25 years. She currently is the dean of academics, overseeing all academic programs and faculty. Oehlerking received her B.S. in business administration from Black Hills State University and her M.S. in administrative studies with an emphasis in human resources from the University of South Dakota. Prior to her administrative position, she taught in both the general education and business programs at WDT.

Photo of Brenda Perea

Brenda M. Perea serves as the instructional design project manager for Colorado Community College System's TAACCCT grants. She is currently providing regional and national leadership in the use of, and publication to, Open Educational Resources in blended/online courses. She has spent the last 15 years in the instructional design arena, with projects spanning academia, corporate and government/military. With her post-masters work in adult learning, and the experience she has gained as a Quality Matters Peer reviewer and a Merlot Peer Reviewer, she ensures CCCS’s grant course development projects are both collaborative and OPEN while benefiting post-secondary and workforce partnerships.

Photo of Peter Quigley

Peter Quigley is the University of Hawai'i System Community Colleges' associate vice president for academic affairs and co-chair of the Interstate Passport Initiative. 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 Hawai'i, 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. Quigley has held tenured professorships in Europe and the US. He has been awarded two Fulbright awards to the University of Bergen in Norway. In addition to his administrative position, Quigley holds a tenured full professor position at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa.

Photo of Suzette RobinsonSuzette Robinson has served the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges for over 36 years. Since 2010, she has been the director of Academic Programs for the UHCC system office. In this position, she works in collaboration with the vice chancellors of academic affairs for the seven community colleges on UHCC-system efforts such as online tutoring, job placement services, and early alert program. Prior to her work at the UHCC system level, her professional experience was with the University of Hawai‘i Maui College where she served as vice chancellor for academic affairs, assistant dean of instruction, director of continuing education, chair of the Language Arts Division, and director of the Learning Center. Robinson received her B.Ed. and M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa.

Photo of Tiffany SandersonTiffany Sanderson serves as the director for career & technical education at the South Dakota Department of Education. She leads efforts to ensure students are prepared for college, careers and life through activities such as career exploration, business engagement, technical coursework and postsecondary education. Sanderson’s career has been devoted to student development and success. She has been at the department since 2009. Before working for the state, Tiffany worked for the National FFA Organization and Vivayic, Inc.

Photo of JoAnne SchillingJoAnna Schilling currently serves as vice president of academic affairs at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA. In addition to serving as a faculty member at University of California, Irvine, Riverside Community College, and in the professional conservatory at South Coast Repertory Theatre, she has also served as dean of arts and cultural programs at Rio Hondo College. She is the author of recent journal publications in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Community College Enterprise, and Management Learning. Schilling has a Ph.D. in education from Oregon State University, an M.F.A. in playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. in English from Smith College.

Photo of Todd SchwarzTodd Schwarz has served as the executive vice president and chief academic officer of the College of Southern Idaho since January 2014. Schwarz attended the College of Southern Idaho where he completed an associate’s degree in drafting. Following several years of industry experience, he returned to CSI in 1988 to teach that program, continued his education, and began to advance through various promotions to instructional dean in 2007. During this time he completed baccalaureate and graduate degrees in education and leadership from the University of Idaho and Boise State University. In 2012 the State Board of Education appointed Schwarz as the state administrator of the Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education where he oversaw all technical secondary and postsecondary education in Idaho, including workforce training and Adult Basic Education.

Photo of Marilyn SmithMarilyn Smith has been the developmental education coordinator for Colorado Community College System (CCCS) for two years. She works with all fifteen community colleges in Colorado as they implement the new model for developmental education. Previously, she was an instructional dean for five years and the dean of student services for two years at Red Rocks Community College (RRCC). Before taking on these administrative roles, Smith was an English instructor at several Colorado community colleges, including 20 years at RRCC. Smith has a B.A. from the University of Colorado and a M.A. from the University of Washington, both in English.

Photo of Vernon SmithVernon C. Smith is vice provost for distributed learning at the University of the Pacific. He is formerly chief academic officer at MyCollege Foundation, creating a college from scratch: Portmont College at Mount St. Mary’s (now MSMC Online). He served over 20 years as faculty, faculty chair, dean, and vice president of academic affairs at Rio Salado College, a Maricopa Community College, where he was recognized for outstanding teaching, innovation, and leadership. His B.A. and Master of organizational behavior degrees are from Brigham Young University; his Ph.D. in higher education organization and administration is from the University of Arizona.

Photo of John StanleyJohn Stanley is the associate director of institutional effectiveness at the University of Hawaii - West Oahu, where he is responsible for assessment and institutional research functions. His previous positions include serving as institutional researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Honolulu Community College. He is a frequent presenter and workshop instructor at the Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum. Stanley was awarded best presenter at the 2012 California Association for Institutional Research Conference. He received his B.A. in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and M.Ed. in higher education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Photo of Diane StilesDiane Stiles is the vice president at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, South Dakota. She is responsible for innovation and continuous improvement. Previously, she served as the assistant vice president of academics at Northwest Kansas Technical College and the executive director of Norton County Economic Development. Stiles earned her M.A. in education from Ottawa University and her B.A. in political science from Fort Hays State University.

Photo of Nancy SzofranNancy Szofran is the provost for the Community Colleges of Spokane. In the two and a half years she has been at CCS, she has worked with faculty and staff on major initiatives that include the American Honors College, expanding online degree programs, supporting two faculty teams with National Science Foundation grants, growing the international student population, and enhancing relationships with K-12 partners. Prior to working for CCS, her background includes administrative positions at colleges, universities and state government in Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon.

Photo of Kim ThanosKim Thanos is the co-founder and CEO of Lumen Learning. She works with institutions to improve student learning results using open educational resources, learning analytics, and personalized delivery approaches. Previously, she acted as program manager for Kaleidoscope, a Next Generation Learning Challenges-funded project to improve success of at-risk students through the use of open educational resources. Thanos received her B.A. in international relations and an M.B.A from Boston University.

Photo of LeBaron WoodyardLeBaron Woodyard is currently the dean of academic affairs for the Chancellor’s Office, California Community Colleges. He is responsible for: distance education, library and learning resources programs, faculty and staff minimum qualifications, flexible calendar, noncredit, basic skills, English as a second language (ESL) and open educational resources. He has 45 years of experience in higher education, and has served in the California State University system, the Claremont Colleges, and the California Community Colleges system. Thirty-five years have been in the California Community Colleges system, ten years at Laney College in Oakland and 25 years in the system’s chancellor’s office.