2022 Alliance Annual Meeting
October 26-28, 2022
Speakers and Sponsors
Alliance Executive Committee, California Community Colleges
Marty J. Alvarado serves as executive vice chancellor of educational services with the California Community Colleges. She provides leadership and support for the Academic Affairs and Student Services Programs. In this role Alvarado is responsible for agency-wide policies and programs related to student support, instructional delivery, and curriculum with the aim of increasing student success rates and closing achievement gaps. Prior to joining the chancellor’s office team in 2019, Alvarado provided support for scaling up regional cross-sector partnerships and state systems engaged in large scale transformation. She received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Whittier College in Whittier, CA, and a master of arts in philosophy and cultural analysis from the Universiteit van Amsterdam located in the Netherlands.
Alliance Executive Committee, Truckee Meadows Community College
Jeffrey Alexander has served as vice president of academic affairs at Truckee Meadows Community College since 2021, and he collaborates with public institutions of higher education across Nevada. Previously, he served for six years as dean of arts and sciences at Pueblo Community College, prior to which he taught history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Alexander is an historian of modern Japan and has published three books on Japanese consumer product manufacturing, sales, and consumption. He holds a B.A. in history from Brock University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from The University of British Columbia.
Trinidad State College
Lynette Bates serves as the vice president of academic affairs at Trinidad State College. Previously, she served as the dean of career and technical education. Her passion concentrates on first generation, Pell Eligible and students of color, their identity and social capital and to provide resources and opportunities for her students. Bates earned her B.S. and M.S. from Colorado State University. She is currently earning her doctorate at University of Colorado Boulder.
Salt Lake Community College
Agustin Bautista Silva is currently serving as an orientation and student success coordinator for the Bridge Program at Salt Lake Community College. He is responsible for providing academic support to underrepresented first generation students. He is currently co-leading the development of a STEM-focused Summer Bridge where students will have the opportunity to implement engineering concepts through a capstone project completed at the end of the 8-week program. Bautista Silva has a background working with TRIO STEM and teaching AC/DC circuits. He earned his B.S in electronics engineering from Weber State University in 2021.
Senior Research Analyst, Policy Analysis and Research
Peace Bransberger has been a researcher with WICHE for 10 years. She leads the production and analysis of WICHE’s projections of high school graduates and other research focused on equitable college access, success and financing. Previously, Peace was a consultant and evaluation researcher with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities and Workforce Strategies Initiatives and Westat’s education and mental health evaluations, in Washington, DC, as well as a licensed adult educator. Peace is a former foster youth and first-generation college graduate with an M.A. from American University, Washington, DC and B.A. from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota.
Alliance Executive Committee, Laramie County Community College
Kari Brown-Herbst is the senior vice president of academic affairs at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. As the college’s chief academic officer, Brown-Herbst provides executive oversight and strategic guidance in the planning, development, and implementation of all aspects of academic programming as well as instructional support services. Brown-Herbst also serves as a representative to the LCCC Foundation Board, is the Wyoming Passport State Facilitator, and is also a member of the Peer Review Corps of the Higher Learning Commission. She received an Ed.D. in instructional technology from the University of Wyoming, her master’s in education technology from Marian University (Wisconsin) and her bachelor’s in sociology with an education endorsement from Kalamazoo College (Michigan).
Alliance Executive Committee, Lake Area Technical Institute
Mike Cartney is president of Lake Area Technical College, Watertown SD, recipient of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, and commonly ranked as the top community college in the nation. He was also recently re-appointed as a commissioner for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, serves on the Air University Board of Visitors, and also serves on the executive committee for the Alliance. Cartney testified to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, on education’s role in addressing the skilled workforce gap and making the country more competitive. He holds a B.S. in computer science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a M.Sc. in numerical analysis for Automated Data Processing (ADP) from Purdue University, attended numerous national and international military schools, and was a National Fellow to Harvard University’s Program on Information Resources Policy.
President, Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs
Kimberly Kuster Dale came to Western Wyoming Community College in 2019 as Western’s 8th president. She attended a large university after high school and left after one semester to go to work. She later returned to college and never stopped, finding her love for learning and serving students. Dr. Dale received a bachelor of science degree in business education from Metropolitan State College of Denver, a master’s degree in management and organization from the University of Colorado Denver, and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and human resource studies from Colorado State University.
Kim worked within the Colorado Community College System for over 20 years, serving as a faculty department chair, dean of instruction and outreach. She also taught as an adjunct professor in management and organizational development at the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to coming to Western, Kim served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Western Nebraska Community College.
Kim and her husband, Randy, have five children and four grandchildren who reside in northern Colorado and Kentucky. Kim and Randy have fallen in love with Wyoming and take time to enjoy the great outdoors every chance they get.
Salt Lake Community College
Richard A. Diaz has served as the director of the Orientation and Student Success Department at Salt Lake Community College since 2013. He leads an energetic team responsible for leading new student orientations and subsequent programs aimed at supporting students to complete their academic goals. Diaz brings previous experiences as an ethnic studies and education faculty, and as a seasoned student affairs practitioner with roles in the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Admissions, and TRIO. Diaz received his academic training at the University of Utah where he earned a B.U.S in social justice education, and an M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy with an emphasis in student affairs.
Policy Analyst, Policy Analysis and Research
Liliana Diaz Solodukhin, policy analyst with WICHE, works on a diverse range of activities including conducting and communicating policy research on a wide array of higher education-related topics, developing and sustaining relationships with external stakeholders, and conceptualizing and executing short- and long-term collaborative projects with states. Diaz received her B.S. in journalism and mass communication, B.A. in film studies, and a certificate in Technology, Arts, and Media from the University of Colorado at Boulder, earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Denver.
Montana Department of Labor & Industry
Scott Eychner was born in San Antonio, Texas to a career Air Force officer which allowed him the opportunity to live in locations and experience cultures all over the world. Growing up in this type of ever-changing environment instilled in him an appreciate and even desire for change. Eychner has spent 25 years in the workforce development world and serves as administrator of workforce services at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. His passion for workforce development built itself over time through various positions and fantastic opportunities to be a part of helping others. Today he continues to work to understand Montana’s unique and dynamic workforce challenges and focus on making sure the public workforce system is a relevant and active partner in helping businesses and individuals address those challenges.
Salt Lake Community College
Penina Fitiao is serving as a success advocate coordinator for the Bridge Program at Salt Lake Community College. The Bridge Program provides guidance to first-generation, minoritized, LGBTQIA+ students who are transitioning from high school to college. Fitiao is passionate about guiding students through the labyrinth of higher education and empowering marginalized voices. She has acquired numerous talents from varying industries including International Rescue Committee, Fabian VanCott, Pharmacotherapy Outcome Research Center and Surgical Pathology at ARUP Laboratories. Fitiao received her B.A. in international studies, emphasis in Latin American studies from the University of Utah in 2016.
Arapahoe Community College
Stephanie J. Fujii, Ph.D. serves as the president of Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. She is a passionate, outcomes-oriented, community college leader with over 30 years higher education experience in student services, instruction, and workforce/career and technical education. Prior to moving to administration, she was tenured faculty, division chair, and faculty senate president. Past administrative experience include service as a system/district level director leading and facilitating instructional support services and programs between ten colleges, a college instructional workforce dean, and a vice president of academic affairs. Fujii received B.A. in communication and M.A. in counseling and educational psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno and Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Arizona State University.
Director of Education and Training, Behavioral Health Program
Todd Helvig earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University after completing his internship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) in 2000. He began his clinical work as a Psychologist at the Colorado Department of Corrections’ Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center, and became the Manager of Behavioral Health services for the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility in 2004. He supervised the work of correctional Psychologists, Social Workers, and Substance Use counselors alongside supervising the UCHSC correctional-based interns/internship. He then moved to the Division of Parole in 2007 where he was the Administrator of Community Behavioral Health Services and organized behavioral health resources in the community for offenders releasing from institutional settings who had mental health, substance use, or sex offender treatment needs. In 2013, Helvig left State correctional services to join Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) as their Director of Business Development for community behavioral health. While developing new business opportunities for ADMHN, Helvig was also building a private consulting and coaching practice. Then, in 2018, his passion for nonprofit community behavioral health led him to CHARG Resource Center where he served as Executive Director of a consumer-centric organization supporting the social, emotional, and psychiatric programs and services for those managing chronic mental illness in Denver, Colorado.
Throughout these roles, Helvig has had the pleasure of working with a wide variety and broad scope of behavioral health programs and services. He has worked alongside both City and State leaders to identify gaps in mental health and substance use services, implement evidence based practices, and raise awareness for the needs of those for whom there are barriers to accessing services. He thrives not only on developing behavioral health resources, but on developing those professionals who are providing services, including: Doctoral Interns, Psychologist Candidates, and mental health as well as substance use treatment professionals. Helvig’s 20+ years of work in community behavioral health now joins the work of WICHE’s behavioral health unit in the goal to develop programs, processes, and professionals which create essential access to behavioral health services for all those in need.
Director of Academic Affairs, Colorado Community College System
Danen Jobe has served as Director of Academic Affairs since 2019. He works with faculty and staff at the system colleges on such items as course content, accreditation issues, work on internal policies and procedures, and inter institutional articulation agreements along with working closely with external entities such as the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Previously, he served as Vice President of Instruction at Northeastern Junior College, was a faculty in English, and an Associate Dean of Humanities. Jobe received his B. A. in English and MFA in Fiction and Poetry from the University of Arkansas.
Westchester Community College
Belinda S. Miles, Ed.D., has served as president of Westchester Community College since 2015. Her leadership contributed to the college’s selection to the Achieving the Dream network; the founding a full Honors College; and procurement of a major gift to establish the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity. Previously, she served as provost and executive vice president at Cuyahoga Community College. Miles received her B.A. in political science from York College (CUNY), and an M.A. in educational psychology and an Ed.D. in higher education organization and leadership development from Columbia University Teachers College.
Colorado Northwestern Community College
Keith Peterson has served as the vice president and chief academic officer of Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) since 2018. He is the former chair and current member of the Colorado Community College System Rural College Consortium, a group dedicated to the advancement of and equitable distribution of resources for community colleges in the state of Colorado. Prior to his time at CNCC, Peterson spent five years as the dean of workforce education and economic development at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Peterson received his B.S. in communication from the University of Texas-Tyler and an M.A. in communication from Arkansas State University.
Executive Director, WCET & Vice President for Technology-Enhanced Education
As the executive director of WCET, Russell Poulin leads an organization focusing on the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET member institutions and organizations hail from all fifty states and Canada. As WICHE’s vice president for technology-enhanced education, Poulin advises on policies and projects. Poulin served on federal negotiated rulemaking panels and received recognition for national policy contributions. Poulin previously lead distance education collaboration for the North Dakota University System and earned a bachelors from the University of Colorado Denver and masters from the University of Northern Colorado. Poulin is partial to movies, cats, and his wife.
Alliance Executive Committee, Alliance Chair, Salt Lake Community College
Clifton Sanders has served Salt Lake Community College(SLCC) as provost for academic affairs since 2015. He is chief academic officer at SLCC, overseeing instruction and training for more than 61,000 students annually. Previously, he served in several roles at SLCC, including assistant professor of chemistry, division chair for natural sciences and communication, and dean of science, mathematics and engineering. Prior to his tenure at SLCC Sanders was a senior research scientist and co-inventor on six patents in biomaterials technology. He received his B.A. in chemistry from Hamline University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Utah.
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.
Front Range Community College
Satine Stone is a psychology student and president of the Student Government Associate at Front Range Community College. She is from Los Angeles, CA, and recently moved to Longmont, CO. She is working on receiving her A.A. in psychology from Front Range Community College and transferring to the University of Colorado, Boulder to study for a bachelor’s and master’s in psychology. Stone’s final educational goal is to attain her Ph.D. in psychology focusing on developmental trauma and recovery in family and community systems.
Central Wyoming College
Kathy Wells, DNP, RN, CNE, has served as the vice president for academic affairs at Central Wyoming College (CWC) since 2015. As the institution’s chief academic officer, she works with faculty and academic support staff to ensure relevant, experiential student learning. She collaborates with academic leaders across the state to advance initiatives to meet the needs of communities, employers, and other educational partners. She is a professor of nursing education, and currently serves on the local hospital board and on various advisory boards related to higher education and healthcare. Wells received her A.A.S. in nursing from CWC, her B.S. in nursing from Weber State University, her M.S. in nursing from the University of Wyoming, and her D.N.P. in educational leadership from American Sentinel University.