Alliance Chair Message
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.
As the elected chair of the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (Alliance), I would like to thank current members for your continued commitment and support. For those of you who are not members, I welcome you to explore our work and hope you consider joining us.
As I look back over this past year, I can’t help but think about what our students have endured in order to stay enrolled and complete their studies. Not only did many of our students need to adapt to the new learning environment, but they endured multiple challenges in their personal lives. I also think about how many student could not remain enrolled. For many of these students, it may be many semesters before they ever return to us – they must get their lives back in order before they can resume their studies. After such a challenging year, I am so proud of our community and technical college students.
At the same time, I think about what our employees have had to withstand over the last year. For so many of our faculty and instructors, they had to quickly convert to emergency remote instruction and continue this way even today. For our staff, they too have had to adopt new practices in order to continue serving students and their communities. The fact that every one of us was able to make these sudden and dramatic changes impresses me to this day. Like you, I am so honored to work with so many amazing people at our community and technical colleges.
Over the past year and throughout the pandemic, the Alliance and Forum (WICHE’s four-year sister organization to the Alliance) conducted a series of virtual sessions aimed at supporting institutions in their practice and seeking collaborative solutions. At the same time, the Alliance endeavored to learn and grow from what changes occurred during the pandemic. In the coming year and at the 2022 Alliance Annual Meeting in Colorado, the Alliance will facilitate sharing lessons learned and explore practices that might be sustained in the future.
Thank you all for everything you do for our students, our communities, and for each other. Continue to take care of yourselves, your colleagues, and your families. When you are ready and able to reconnect with colleagues across the West, the Alliance stands ready to serve and support you.