Forum Executive Committee
Representing each WICHE state
The Western Academic Leadership Forum (Forum) is governed by an executive committee of 16 individuals, with one selected from the members’ official representatives in each WICHE state and territory. This group has oversight responsibility for Forum activities. It meets face-to-face twice per year and otherwise by conference call as needed.
The committee is governed by a chair with overall leadership responsibility for activities of the Forum. The vice chair usually assumes the position of chair at the conclusion of that meeting.
WICHE serves as fiscal agent for the Forum.
Forum Executive Committee, University of Alaska Anchorage
Denise Runge, Ph.D., has served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Alaska Anchorage since 2020. She leads programming across five campuses and collaborates closely with the other campuses in the Alaska system. Previously, she held similar positions in Montana and Georgia. Denise received her B.A. in political science from Washington and Jefferson College, an M.A. from Jacksonville State University, and Ph.D. in policy and administration from the University of Alabama.
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Operations, Northern Arizona University
John Georgas is the senior vice provost for academic operations and a professor of computer science and software engineering at Northern Arizona University. He oversees academic policies and fees and the offices of University Advising, Registrar, Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, NAU Online, Academic Affairs Business Analysts, and the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs. Previously, he served as interim dean and associate dean for the College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences, associate director for the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, associate director for the Informatics and Computing program, and the associate Chair for the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. John received his B.S. in computer science from California State Polytechnic University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in information and computer science from University of California, Irvine.
Karyn Scissum Gunn
Provost and Senior Vice President, California State University, Long Beach
Karyn Scissum Gunn, Ph.D., is provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Long Beach. She oversees nine academic colleges, including the College of Professional and Continuing Education and the University Library. She is responsible for directing nearly 4,000 faculty and academic staff members in the largest unit within the university. She has a passion for student success and is dedicated to bolstering inclusive excellence and equitable outcomes for all students. Dr. Scissum Gunn earned both her bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in cell biology from Tuskegee University and her doctorate in molecular genetics from Auburn University.
Marie T. Mora
Provost Ad Interim, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Dr. Marie T. Mora is Provost Ad Interim and Professor of Economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. A labor economist, she has been invited to share her research expertise on labor market and other socioeconomic outcomes of Hispanics/Latinos with institutions and agencies across the country, including the White House and the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors. Among her numerous recognitions is the 2020 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from the White House. Dr. Mora is a founding member and former President of the American Society of Hispanic Economists, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Economics from Texas A&M University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics from the University of New Mexico.
Anita Borja Enriquez
Forum Executive Committee, University of Guam
Anita Borja Enriquez is senior vice president of academics and provost at the University of Guam. A staunch advocate for developing economies and building social mobility, she founded the Student Success Initiative Team and the College Affordability Initiative and secured over $1.6 million for multiple economic initiatives. A CHamoru Pacific Islander, she co-chairs the Island Wisdom Group and founded the Inadahi yan Inagofli’e’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. She holds a D.B.A. degree in international business (marketing) from Alliant International University, a M.B.A. degree from University of Guam, and B.S. degree in management from University of Maryland, University College.
Forum Executive Committee, University of Hawai‘i System
Debora Halbert is the associate vice president for academic programs and policy at the University of Hawai‘i System where she works on student success and transfer related issues. Prior to her current position, she was the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Western Washington University and her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Prior to returning to Hawai‘i where she was a professor in the political science department teaching law, policy and also futures studies, she taught for 12 years at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.
Chief Academic Officer, Idaho State Board of Education
TJ Bliss, Ph.D., is the chief academic officer of the Idaho State Board of Education. He oversees policies, initiatives, and funding in the areas of instruction, research, and student affairs, engaging with educational leaders to improve the quality of higher education throughout Idaho. Previously, Bliss was the chief advancement officer for the Wiki Education Foundation, an education program officer for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the director of assessment for the Idaho State Department of Education. Bliss received a B.S. in microbiology and Ph.D. in educational inquiry, measurement, and evaluation from Brigham Young University, as well as an M.S. in biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Forum Executive Committee, Montana University System
Joe Thiel has over a decade of experience in Montana higher education, where he has served as a member of the Montana Board of Regents for higher education, chair of the Board’s two-year and community college education committee, and as the Montana University System’s director of academic policy and research. Thiel holds a B.S. in chemical engineering and a B.A. in liberal studies from Montana State University and master’s degrees in public policy and higher education from the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Thiel is pursuing his doctorate in education policy from the University of Oxford, with a focus on transfer.
Forum Executive Committee, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Kate Hausbeck Korgan, Ph.D., is the senior vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After more than 16 years of progressive leadership experiences, Korgan took on this new role leading the Office of Academic Affairs in 2022. Korgan is responsible for academic and student support units including: undergraduate and graduate education, the Academic Success Center, the Division of Educational Outreach, Online Education, Academic Effectiveness (programs, assessment, accreditation), Global Education Initiatives, Career Services, Workforce Development, the Registrar’s Office, Educational Compliance, Recruitment and Admissions, and Financial Aid. A graduate of the University at Buffalo, Korgan holds a faculty appointment in sociology.
Forum Executive Committee, University of New Mexico
James Paul Holloway is the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Mexico (UNM), and a professor in nuclear engineering in the UNM School of Engineering. Previously, he served as associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Engineering and as the vice provost for global engagement & interdisciplinary academic affairs at the University of Michigan. He is also Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus and professor emeritus of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences at the University of Michigan. After receiving the M.S. in nuclear engineering at the University of Illinois, he completed a C.A.S. in mathematics at Cambridge University and a doctorate in engineering physics at the University of Virginia.
Forum Executive Committee, University of North Dakota
Eric Carl Link serves as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Dakota. Prior to that, Link served as provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs the University of Houston Downtown, and before that as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Purdue University Fort Wayne, and associate dean and department chair at the University of Memphis. Link holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Purdue University, is widely published in his field, and is a two-time Fulbright Senior Scholar, with appointments in Fribourg, Switzerland, and Lutsk, Ukraine.
Forum Executive Committee, State of Oregon: Higher Education Coordinating Commission
Veronica Dujon, Ph.D., is the director for Academic Policy and Authorization at Oregon Higher Education Coordination Commission. She leads the Commission’s efforts to coordinate academic programs, degree pathways, and student success initiatives among Oregon’s public universities. Dujon also oversees degree authorization for private schools, and licensing and compliance for private career schools. Prior to joining the HECC she was an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Portland State University. Dujon did her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an environmental sociologist by training. Dujon’s research and publications focus on conflicts over declining natural resources; the role of women in the global economy; and the tensions between national development strategies and forces of globalization.
Forum Executive Committee, South Dakota Board of Regents
Pamela Carriveau is the associate vice president for academic programming for the South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR). She manages academic program development, facilitates collaborative efforts between student success and academics across the regental system, and provides leadership in implementing high-impact educational practices. Prior to starting with the SDBOR in August 2022, she was the interim provost at Black Hills State University (BHSU). Previously, Carriveau served as the assistant provost, the director of program review and assessment, and as an associate professor of political science at BHSU. She received her B.A. in political science from the University of Wyoming and her M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University.
Forum Executive Committee, Utah Valley University
David R. Connelly is the associate provost for academic programs at Utah Valley University. He is a former faculty senate president and chair of the History and Political Science Department. His primary teaching interests are in public administration. Connelly previously worked for the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) and taught at Western Illinois University. He has also worked developing and implementing information technology policy at the local, state and federal level while at the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University at Albany. Connelly has a Ph.D. from the University at Albany while his M.P.A. is from Brigham Young University.
Forum Executive Committee, Washington State University Vancouver
Renny Christopher has served as vice chancellor for academic affairs at Washington State University Vancouver since 2013. Her research interests focus on issues of race, class and gender in U.S. literature and culture. Her memoir, A Carpenter’s Daughter: A Working-Class Woman in Higher Education (Sense Publishers, 2009), addresses her experiences as the first in her family to attend college. She has taught at several universities in California and was a Fulbright scholar in Spain in 2000. Before earning her doctorate, Christopher worked as a printing press operator, typesetter, carpenter and horse wrangler.
Forum Executive Committee, University of Wyoming
Kevin Carman is the provost and senior vice president at the University of Wyoming. He served for eight years as executive vice president and provost at the University of Nevada, Reno and for nine years as dean of the College of Science at Louisiana State University. At both UNR and LSU, Carman led the implementation of academic boot camps for incoming freshmen that have received recognitions from APLU, NWCCU, and WICHE for their positive impact on student success. Carman received his B.A. in biology from McPherson College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in biological oceanography from Florida State University.