2022 Alliance Annual Meeting
October 26-28, 2022
WELCOME TO COLORFUL COLORADO! On behalf of your executive committee and the good folks of the vital WICHE staff, we look forward to seeing you at our annual meeting October 26-28, 2022 in Broomfield, CO. We have developed a program that we know will be engaging and energizing, while providing you the time to network with like-minded colleagues from community colleges across the western United States. The theme, How Will Higher Education and the Purpose of Community Colleges Change in the Next Decade?, this year is particularly relevant to the challenges on our campuses. The pandemic has forced us all to examine our practices, programs, support services, policies, and structures with an eye to the future. We all need to rethink who we serve, how we serve them, and the vital role we play in supporting our respective communities. The focus of this year’s conference, developed with input from the membership, is to do just that. Redefining and refining our role must be a collaborative effort with our key constituents – students, community partners, workforce partners, and college employees. We are truly excited not only for the compelling conference sessions, but also to engage with you all in person.
We look forward to joining with you here in Colorado in October!
Alliance Executive Committee, Colorado Community College System
Landon K. Pirius is the vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). At CCCS, Pirius provides strategic leadership for all aspects of academic affairs, student affairs, online education, workforce development, and institutional research. Prior to his current position, he was the vice president for academic and student affairs at North Hennepin Community College. Pirius also served in a variety of leadership roles at Inver Hills Community College, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Walden University, and as an adjunct faculty member. He completed his B.A. in Russian studies and environmental studies from Gustavus Adolphus College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.
Alliance Executive Committee, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Carli Schiffner serves as the deputy executive director of education at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. She is a dedicated leader in higher education, with over fifteen years of progressive senior leadership experience in positions including interim university president, university provost, vice president for instruction, and dean of arts and sciences. Schiffner values servant leadership, collaboration, quality improvement, focusing on the whole student, an entrepreneurial spirit, equity, hard work, and a sense of humor. She has a B.A. in history and political science from Gonzaga University; a M.A. in cultural and intellectual history from Drew University; and a Ph.D. in American women’s history from Washington State University.
Professional Development Workshop – Dr. Roberto Montoya, Chief Educational Equity Officer, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Oct 27th 2-3:30pm
Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel, Broomfield, CO
During this session, an intimate cohort of Alliance members attending the 2022 Annual Meeting will have the opportunity to participate in an action-oriented workshop centered around reviewing and revising institution- and system-level policies with an equity lens. Attendees are asked to come prepared with a policy from their own institution or system office that could be reworked. Led by Dr. Roberto Montoya, the Chief Educational Equity Officer of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, participants will leave with examples and ideas that they can take back to their campus. Following this workshop, this cohort of Alliance members will be invited to participate in 2 one-hour follow-up conversations via zoom during the Spring 2023 term (i.e. January and April) to discuss what conversations and actions have taken place on campus regarding equity and the policy that you brought to the workshop. Between follow-up sessions, participants will have the opportunity to connect with each other, WICHE, and Dr. Montoya. Space is limited to the first 15 attendees. Requires an additional $50 fee to be paid at the time of registration. Please contact Jenn Raby if you would like to attend and need financial assistance to do so.
Educational Equity Officer, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Dr. Roberto Montoya has worked and researched at all levels of the educational system. He began his career as a diversity recruiter for Colorado Mesa University and traveled across the state and Southwest to recruit students from diverse populations. He worked in enrollment at Regis University, and more recently, at the University of Colorado Denver as an instructor and on various research projects and grants that focused on educational equity and justice in public PK-12 schools and higher education. He also worked in the private sector and with government agencies and nonprofits.
In August 2021, The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) hired Dr. Montoya, to take on the new position and serve as the first-ever chief educational equity officer. The new position supports the Department’s diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity goals and promotes the vision of a Colorado higher education community that is inclusive and deliberate in erasing the persistent equity gaps in educational attainment across all student demographic categories. The chief educational equity officer serves as a catalyst and advocates for educational equity initiatives and systemic change at Colorado’s institutions of higher education to develop quick and sustaining results that support historically minoritized and underrepresented students.
Dr. Montoya has numerous peer-reviewed publications, holds a B.S. in political science from Colorado Mesa University, an M.A. in ethnic studies from Regis University, and a Ph.D. in education and human development from the University of Colorado Denver. Forged in the barrios of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Montoya is committed to community, praxis, and elevating epistemologies. He is a father, husband, scholar, educator, and self-proclaimed jazz and hip-hop head.
In attendance you will find colleagues from the WICHE region eager to share the lessons they’ve learned from tackling a host of institutional and academic challenges, including some of the ones you may currently be facing.
The members of the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (Alliance) are the chief academic officers of community colleges and technical schools along with their associated system and state agencies in the 15 Western states and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States which make up the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) region. Through the Alliance, these top academic leaders share perspectives on current issues, work together on regional projects that are beyond the scope of a single institution or state, and contribute resources and expertise to build a stronger future for higher education in the West. The Alliance was founded in 2010 with support from the Western Academic Leadership Forum which is also based at WICHE.