Western Academic Leadership Forum

WALF 2010 Annual Meeting logoWALF 2010 Annual Meeting

Academic Leadership: Charting the Future in a Sea of National and International Initiatives

April 21-23, 2010 • Rapid City, South Dakota
Hosted by: the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and the South Dakota Board of Regents

Preliminary Program



2:00-3:30 PM

Executive Committee Meeting, Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn

4:30 PM

Depart Hotel Lobby for Mount Rushmore

5:30-5:45 pm

Welcome to the WALF Forum and South Dakota!
Sam Gingerich, WALF Chair and Chief Academic Officer, South Dakota Board of Regents and Jack Warner, Executive Director, SDBOR

6:15-7:00 pm

Launching the Cruise: Trends in National and International Initiatives
David Longanecker, President, WICHE

It takes imagination to launch a cruise in the middle of South Dakota, but we are going to do just that! And not in prairie schooners! Longanecker, acting as captain of the cruise, will guide us into several ports of call, where we will explore national and international initiatives for common themes. At each destination we’ll embark on discussions to share creative visions, unique approaches, stunning successes, and lessons learned in implementing them. And during this cruise, we’ll look for new ports to explore along the innovative routes that the West’s top academic leaders are taking to ensure the future arrival of their ships and crews in the roughest waters any have ever navigated. Tonight we’ll focus on a few common threads running through current initiatives and highlight some questions to ponder over the next two days.

7:00-8:30 pm

Reception and Dinner



8:00 am

Depart from hotel lobby for SDSMT campus

8:15-8:30 am

Check in and Breakfast

8:30-9:00 am

Welcome to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Today’s Ports of Call
Sam Gingerich; Duane Hrncir, Dean, College of Science and Letters, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; and David Longanecker

9:00-10:00 am

Postsecondary Readiness: So We’re Getting Core Standards in K-12 Education—Now What?
Charles Lenth, Vice President for Policy Analysis and Academic Affairs, State Higher Education Executive Officers

What do Achieve benchmarks, Access to Success, and Core standards have in common? We’ll touch on each of these initiatives before focusing primarily on core standards for high school graduates to be “college- and workforce-ready” in mathematics and English language arts. To be available in 2010, this push for more for rigor and uniformity comes with considerable “oomph” from Achieve, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Governors Association, as well as from the endorsements of nearly all governors and the leveraging of $4.5 billion in federal Race to the Top funds. This session will provide an update and discussion of higher education’s roles and opportunities relative to these new standards.

10:00-10:15 am


10:15-11:45 am

State of the States: Post-Secondary Readiness Approaches
Dennis Jones, President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, Karen Nicodemus, former President of Cochise College and Arizona State Board of Education, Paul Thayer, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Special Advisor to the Provost for Retention, and Mike Reilly, Associate Director at the Council of Presidents Office

How are WICHE states responding to some of these initiatives?  Dennis Jones will provide some context about this issue in the West and then we’ll hear how Arizona, an Achieve state, raised graduation requirements, about the progress Colorado is making to align courses in K12 and higher education, and about the Transitional Math Project in Washington to identify and disseminate “college ready” math standards and how they relate to the Core Standards.


Summary Comments
David Longanecker

Noon-1:15 pm


1:15-2:15 pm

The Bologna Process: International Focus on Quality
Holly McKiernan, Lumina’s General Counsel and SVP, Lumina Foundation

Forty-six countries now participate in the Bologna Process, named for the Italian city in which the original agreement was signed by the ministers in charge of higher education. This overview will acquaint you with the ambitious goals and reforms now underway through this exciting initiative.

2:15-3:00 pm

Case Study: Utah’s Approach
Phyllis (Teddi) Safman, Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs, Utah Board of Regents and William (Bill) Evenson, Consultant, Utah Tuning Project, Utah System of Higher Education

Utah was one of three states that received a grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education to test American colleges’ and universities’ response to the Tuning Process, an outgrowth of the Bologna Process.  Tuning drills down into student competencies to arrive at not only depth of learning but what constitutes assessment of the learning.  The disciplines testing the Tuning Process in Utah are history and physics.  Faculty from all nine public institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education have met, both in person and virtually, for many months hammering out the competencies, what they mean, their depth according to the Bologna Framework, and the rubrics to be used to assess and support evidence of student learning. This session will describe some of the ‘aha’ moments during the Tuning Process.

3:00-3:15 pm

Summary Comments
David Longanecker

3:15-3:30 pm


3:30-4:30 pm

Local Highlight:  Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory
Bill Roggenthen, Senior Personnel, Consultant and Advisor, Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab

The Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab (DUSEL) at Homestake, SD, addresses the underground needs of major scientific fields including particle and nuclear physics, geology, hydrology, geo-engineering, biology, and biochemistry. Homestake, with rooms at 8000 feet, is the deepest mine in North America. The large number of tunnels, shafts, boreholes, dedicated access and well known patterns of water flow allow studies of the dynamics of the earth’s crust and of microbiology and life at extreme depth.

4:30-5:30 PM

Reception & Tour: SDSMT Museum of Geology
Robert Wharton, President, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

The Museum of Geology showcases fossils, minerals and artifacts from South Dakota’s geological wonderlands, dating back to SDSMT’s founding in 1885. From a giant mosasaur to tiny crystals and fluorescent minerals, the exhibits feature a wide variety of geological treasures. Visitors can see South Dakota’s state fossil, Triceratops, on permanent display. The Museum includes a gift shop featuring books, toys, and other items connected to South Dakota’s geological heritage. This is a fitting way to a fitting way to end an inspiring day and to celebrate the heritage of our gracious host!

5:30 pm

Return to hotel.
Dinner on your own.



Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn

7:30-8:15 am

Breakfast and WALF Annual Business Meeting

8:15-8:30 am

Today’s Ports of Call
David Longanecker

8:30-9:15 am

Accreditation:  Regaining its Breath or Breathing its Last?
Steve Crow, CEO of S.D. Crow & Co, LLC, Former Executive Director/President, The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation  argues that the government is poised to federalize accreditation which is inept at fending off the threat. Leaders of the nation's most prominent colleges and universities question the usefulness of the process. Meanwhile, national accreditors chaff at what they perceive to be legislative and regulatory discrimination around accreditation that should—and will—be tested in court. And regional approaches to accreditation strike many as being outdated, given the national and global educational marketplace. Crow will review these issues and others and identify the strategies that must be considered by institutions, programs, and agencies if accreditation is to maintain credibility with and usefulness to its many stakeholders.

9:15-10:15 am

Regional Roundtables:  Sharing Campus Perspectives

Since accreditation trends are playing out with some differences, facilitators will host a roundtable for each of the regional accrediting agencies in the WICHE states. They will share their most recent experience with the accreditation process and invite your comments and questions about your experiences. Please join the roundtable for your region.

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities: Michael Driscoll, Provost, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges: Linda Johnsrud, Vice President for Academic Planning, University of Hawaii System
  • The Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools: Laurie Nichols, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Mary Kay Helling, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, South Dakota State University
10:15-10:30 am


10:30-11:30 am

The WALF Toolkit Debut: A New Resource for Academic Leaders
Sona Andrews, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Boise State University

Today’s academic leaders face an endless array of challenging decisions. You must continually find new ways to ensure institutional effectiveness, reallocate limited resources, and improve student learning. WALF is in the process of creating a depository of resources and tools academic leaders can use to make decisions in thoughtful ways that protect the integrity of their institutional missions. This session will showcase the toolkit’s vision and scope and provide an opportunity for recommendations on its proposed content.

11:30-11:45 AM

Final Summary Comments
David Longanecker


Meeting Wrap Up & Adjournment
Sam Gingerich



1:00 pm

Depart hotel lobby for Excursion. (Note this activity requires an additional registration fee.)