Message from the Chair

Renny Christopher

Forum Executive Committee, Washington State University Vancouver


As chair of the Western Academic Leadership Forum, I want to welcome you to our annual meeting in beautiful downtown Vancouver, Washington. With the theme “Breaking Through the Noise: Messaging for Maximum Impact,” our program looks to the present and future of higher education and how we can better tell our story to multiple audiences (students, legislators, faculty) through multiple channels ranging from face-to-face, to social media, to online education platforms, to new channels yet to come. How do we focus and enhance our message in this “noisy’ environment? These questions are of great importance in higher education right now. I hope you enjoyed our recommended advance readings and will have the opportunity to actively engage in conversations with two of the authors during this meeting. This program provides an ideal mix of expert commentary on our topics and opportunities for meaningful interactions with colleagues in small group discussions. I believe we will all leave with new ideas and perspectives that will be reinvigorating. But, before you go, be sure to thank our generous sponsors. Without their benevolent support, this meeting would not be possible.



Location: Hilton Vancouver Washington Hotel

9:00 am – noon
2017 Academy

Noon – 1:00 pm
Lunch – for Academy Cohort and Executive Committee

5:30 – 6:30
Opening Reception

1:00 – 4:30 pm
Forum Executive Committee Meeting (executive committee members only)

Claude Steele

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Stanford University

6:30 – 8:30 pm
Welcome Dinner and Keynote – Stereotype Threat and Identity Threat: The Science of a Diverse Community
Drawing on stereotype threat and social identity threat research, this talk will address the why, what and how of diverse learning communities: why they are important, a working hypothesis about what is critical to their success and what research reveals about how to achieve that success. The talk’s practical aim is to identify features of diverse learning communities—schools, universities and academic disciplines—that while good for all students, are especially helpful for minority students generally, and for women in STEM fields. The talk will also explore the psychological significance of community and its role in learning.

Introducer: Dan Howard, New Mexico State University

Speaker: Claude SteeleStanford University


7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Registration Open

7:30 – 8:15 am

8:15 – 8:30 am
Welcome and Meeting Overview

Renny Christopher, Washington State University Vancouver

8:30 – 9:30

Taking the Temperature of Today’s Student Body
For many students, the college experience is the gateway to career and life success. For others, it is a constant struggle to balance the demands of college with those of life. While some students are dealing with mental health issues, others are facing food and shelter insecurity making our goals for student success much more challenging to achieve. What are the effects of some of the social determinants on our students? What can we learn from the data on our students’ wellness? How do we tell this story successfully to stakeholders so that it leads to more understanding and resources? Our panelists will engage in thoughtful dialogue around these and other important questions.

Moderator: Laura Woodworth-Ney, Idaho State University


Sona Karentz Andrews

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Portland State University

Carlos Crespos

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Portland State University (PSU)

9:30 – 9:45 am

9:45 – 11:00 am
Storytelling Secrets: How to Make Your Message Resonate with Legislators & Other Key Stakeholders
The challenges faced by higher education institutions are increasingly complex. How can we help legislators and other key stakeholders understand some of these issues and effectively engage with us as partners in developing solutions that will lead to increased student success?  Let’s hear what these WICHE commissioners with experience on both sides of the conversation can share with us.

Introductory Video

Moderator: Clayton ChristianMontana University System


* Clayton Christian

Commissioner of Higher Education, Montana University System

* Barbara Damron

WICHE Vice Chair, Professor and Senior Advisor to the Dean, University of New Mexico

Gerry Pollet

Representative, Washington State Legislature

11:00 – 11:15 pm

11:15 – 12:15 pm
Lightning Round: Telling the Compelling Wellness Story
In our role as chief academic leaders we need to help our stakeholders understand the challenges our institutions face in meeting the goals for students’ success, given the diverse needs of today’s student population.  Join this session to participate in very frank roundtable discussions among colleagues about the lessons learned from both successes and failures when speaking to critical audiences on this very important topic.

Discussion Leader: Gail Burd, University of Arizona

Table Hosts: 

  • Greg Benson, Utah System of Higher Education
  • Karen Carey, University of Alaska Southeast
  • Beth Freeburg, University of South Dakota
  • Vicki Golich, Metro State University of Denver
  • Kamel Haddad, California State University, San Marcos
  • Kelly Long, Colorado State University
  • Megan Selheim, University of Wyoming
  • Donald Straney, University of Hawaii System

Instructions for Lightning Round Sessions

12:15 – 1:15 pm
Awards Luncheon
During this year’s award luncheon, we’ll tell you about an exciting new process
whereby you will be involved in selecting this year’s award winner.

Carl Wieman

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Stanford University

Transforming How We Teach; Great Opportunities and Challenges
Research advances have led to new teaching methods that produce large improvements in outcomes for all undergraduate students, particularly those at-risk, but the implementation requires expertise that few faculty have.  The challenge for universities is; how can we change the culture so faculty collectively value and learn this expertise, and what support will make this learning most efficient and effective.  This session will discuss issues and solutions.

Introducer: Renny Christopher, Washington State University Vancouver

1:15 – 1:30

1:30 – 2:30
Delivering the Right Message at the Right Time in the Right Way for the Right Effect 
Today’s students and faculty are inundated with messages from sun up to sun down and most of the time in between.  What are some effective strategies that ensure our communications will rise above the rest with one or both audiences?  How can we deal with some of the ethical and boundary challenges that arise with the use of social media?

Moderator: Paul Turman, South Dakota Board of Regents


Carina Beck

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success

Michael Caulfield

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Washington State University (WSU)

Laura Malcolm

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Civitas

2:30 – 3:30 pm
Scaling Up Boutique Student Success Efforts for Broader Impact
A plethora of student success initiatives abound in the K-12 and two-year sector and some are making a real difference for students. More effective counseling of high school students, guided pathways, apprenticeships and lifelong learning are just a few of these efforts. Yet, many are boutique in nature, providing excellent service to those they reach. How will some of these efforts scale in the future to ensure more students benefit from their first-rate services? How are student expectations and opportunities in the four-year sector likely to change as a result?

Moderator: John Cech, Montana University System


Patrick Briggs

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)

Kimberly Green

2019 Alliance Annual Meeting speaker, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium

3:30 – 3:45
Good Ideas with the Evidence to Prove It! 
In this fast-moving session, we’ll hear about some of our members’ exciting ideas, how they brought them to life, and what evidence exists to verify their success.  Each speaker will have just two minutes to tell us all about it. What a great way to wrap up the day with a whole collection of new, proven ideas to try out back home!

Emcee: Veronica Dujon, State of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission


  • AK: Using iPads at a Distance – Karen Carey, University of Alaska Southeast
  • AZ: Using PeopleSoft to Collect Data and Report on Faculty Credentials for the Higher Learning Commission Qualified Faculty Requirement – Gail Burd, University of Arizona
  • CA: How to Spread the Effective Use of Data Effectively on Campus – Brian Jersky, California State University, Long Beach
  • CO: Diversifying Faculty and Staff – Strategies that are Successful – Vicki Golich, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • HI: Opening the Front Door to Students: A Strategy to Move from Tension to Fun – Michael Bruno, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • ID: Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment Council – Selena Grace, Idaho State University
  • MT: Improving Academic Outcomes: From Math Pathways and Co-Requisite Education to Freshman 15 – Robert Mokwa, Montana State University
  • ND: Barrier Busters to Promote Graduation and Retention – Debbie, Storrs, University of North Dakota
  • NM: Aggie Pathway to the Baccalaureate – Greg Fant, New Mexico State University
  • NV: NevadaFIT Freshman Academic Bootcamps – Joe Cline, University of Nevada Reno
  • OR: Improving the Student Experience: Interactive Degree Planning – Randi Harris, Portland State University
  • OR:  Are We in Touch with Learners of the Future – Susan Walsh, Southern Oregon University
  • Improving the Student Experience: Interactive Degree Planning – Randi Harris, Portland State University
  • SD: Implementing Block General Education Transfer – Paul Turman, South Dakota Board of Regents
  • UT: Alternative Quantitative Literacy Completion Strategies – Michael Lacourse, Dixie State University
  • WA: Quick Tips for Managing a Major Institutional Change: Shift in Budget Models – Gail Mackin, Central Washington University
  • WY: Wyoming’s 2+2 Program-Level Transfer Articulation Agreements – Mary Aguayo, University of Wyoming



5:00 – 7:00 pm
Reception hosted by Pearson
Before dinner on your own, join us for a complimentary reception to network and mingle with peers, exchange ideas, and learn how your colleagues are implementing Inclusive Access to improve access and affordability. Look in your email inbox for registration information.


7:30 – 8:45 am
Breakfast and Forum Annual Membership Meeting

8:45 – 9:00 am


Terry Jones

2018 Forum Annual Meeting speaker, Wayblazer

9:00 – 10:10 am
Artificial Intelligence & Its Place in the Future of the Professoriate
Leaders are worried. Businesses are being disrupted at an ever increasing pace and technological advances are converging to create unprecedented dislocation. Identify what these are and how you can turn them to your advantage. Terry reviews the to 10 technical forces of disruption and more importantly shows the new business models that result.

Introducer: Joe Cline, University of Nevada, Reno

10:00 – 10:15 am

10:15 – 11:00 am
Lightning Round: Preparing our Faculty for the Intriguing Future of Teaching and Learning
The faculty role is evolving and so must our professional development strategies to help ensure that teaching and learning at our institutions are the best they can be.  In roundtable discussions, we’ll talk about some of the successful approaches being used today that we can build upon, as well as explore new ideas that could help prepare faculty for the type of future we just heard about. Finally, we’ll discuss messaging strategies to inspire faculty to embrace this exciting future.

Discussion Leader: Gail Burd, University of Arizona

Table Hosts: 
Jack Crocker, Western New Mexico University
Deb Hedeen, University of Montana, Western
Cher Hendricks, University of Idaho
Martin Klotz, WSU Tri-Cities
Tony Scinta, Nevada State College
Laura Woodworth-Ney, Idaho State University


Martin Carcasson

Colorado State University

11:00 – 11:45
Tackling Wicked Problems from Campus: The Critical Role of University Centers, Faculty, and Students as Key Local Resources for Deliberative Engagement
Democracy requires high quality communication to function well, but unfortunately such communication is rare. Indeed, due to the increasing hyper-polarization that dominates our political landscape, our communities are struggling to talk about much less address difficult issues. Universities, however, have significant capacity and potential to serve as critical mediating institutions and take more responsibility for elevating the quality of public discourse in their local communities by adopting a passionately impartial role and supporting deliberative engagement.

Introducer: Renny Christopher, Washington State University Vancouver


11:45 – noon
Meeting Wrap-up and Adjournment