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


Photo of Sona Karentz AndrewsSona Karentz Andrews has been the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Boise State University since August 2004. Andrews also holds an appointment as a professor in the Department of Geosciences. Prior to coming to Boise State University, Andrews served as vice provost at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  She has held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her area of scholarly specialization is cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Andrews received her undergraduate degree in Geography from Worcester State College in Massachusetts in 1975 and her Master’s (1977) and Ph.D. (1981) in Geography from Arizona State University.

Photo of Steve CrowSteve Crow, recently retired from The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools after completing 26 years of service with the organization, is now the CEO of S.D. Crow & Co, LLC.   From 1997 until his retirement, he was the Executive Director/President of the Commission, and provided leadership to it and its 1000 member institutions, assuring the effectiveness of regional institutional accreditation and representing the organization nationally and internationally. Crow’s bachelor’s degree in history is from Lewis and Clark College (OR) and his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in U.S. History are from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI). Prior to joining the Commission in 1982, he taught and did some administrative work at Kalamazoo College, Bowdoin College, Vanderbilt University, and Bates College.

Photo of Michael Driscoll

Michael A. Driscoll has served as the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Alaska Anchorage since June 1, 2006. He serves as UAA’s Chief Academic Officer, a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, and a member of the Statewide Academic Council for the University of Alaska System. Driscoll is responsible for academic leadership for UAA’s five campuses serving 20,000 students across Southcentral Alaska. Additionally, he is responsible for UAA’s academic offerings leading to occupational endorsements; undergraduate and graduate certificates; associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degrees; and continuing education in a rich, diverse, and inclusive environment. Prior to joining UAA, Driscoll served as professor of electrical engineering, associate dean and executive dean of engineering, and vice provost. He received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Michigan State University. Driscoll is the 2008/09 chair for the Western Academic Leadership Forum (WALF) and has served on its executive committee for the past three years.

Photo of Bill Evenson

William (Bill) Evenson directed the Utah Tuning Project (2009) as a consultant for the Utah System of Higher Education. He also led the Utah Physics Tuning Team. Evenson was professor of physics at Brigham Young University (1970-2004) and at Utah Valley University (2004-2008). He was also associate academic vice president, dean of general education, and dean of physical and mathematical sciences at Brigham Young University. At Utah Valley University, he was associate dean of science & health. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has been active in studies of the physics of materials as well as history of physics.

Photo of Sam Gingerich

Samuel (Sam) Gingerich serves as the Chief Academic Officer for the South Dakota Board of Regents working with the Board of Regents, Board staff, and institutional academic leaders to develop and to oversee academic policy for the state system. Prior to this he served as provost at Mississippi University for Women, as interim president and as provost at Mesa State College and he was a faculty member and administrator at Northern State University. Gingerich holds three degrees in chemistry: a Ph.D. from Montana State University, a master’s degree from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College.

Photo of Mary Helling

Mary Kay Helling serves as the associate provost at South Dakota State University. From 1992 – 2003 she was Department Head of Human Development. She received her PhD from Purdue University and both her BS and MS from South Dakota State University. Areas of research include parental beliefs and behaviors as related to child development; American Indian students’ experiences in school and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She served as the coordinator of the most recent SDSU Self-Study for re-accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Photo of Duane Hrncir

Duane Hrncir serves as the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  Prior to joining the School of Mines, he was dean of natural sciences and mathematics at Mesa State College and a member of the faculty and department head of chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Dr. Hrncir received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Alabama, a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University.

Photo of Linda Johnsrud

Linda Johnsrud has served as the University of Hawai‘i System’s chief academic officer since 2005.  She collaborates with lead campus academic officers to set forth the overall academic vision, goals and strategic plan for the University of Hawai‘i System.  She also advises the president on matters relating to system-wide planning, policy development and analysis, and oversees institutional research and Hawai‘i P-20 initiatives.  She was elected 2006-07 president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), an international association of scholars in the field of higher education.  Author of more than 100 scholarly publications and refereed presentations, Johnrud holds the rank of professor in the department of educational administration in the College of Education at UH Mānoa.

Photo of Dennis Jones

Dennis Jones is President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), a research and development center founded to improve the management effectiveness of colleges and universities. A member of the staff since 1969, Jones is widely recognized for his work in such areas as: state and institutional approaches to budgeting and resource allocation, strategic planning and decision making, educational needs assessment, formulation of state policy, and the development of educational indicators. He has written many monographs and articles on these topics, has presented his work at many regional, national, and international conferences, and has consulted with hundreds of institutions and state higher education agencies on management issues of all kinds. Prior to joining NCHEMS, Jones served as an administrator (in business and in institutional planning) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received his graduate and undergraduate degree from that institution in the field of engineering management.

Photo of Charles Lenth

Charles S. Lenth is vice president for policy analysis and academic affairs with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) association located in Boulder, Colorado.  Working with SHEEO’s members (state coordinating and governing boards for higher education), he focuses on state-level academic planning and policy, access and affordability in postsecondary education, governance and coordination, and other state roles and policy needs.  In addition to SHEEO, Lenth has held positions with the Minnesota Private College Council and Research Foundation, the Education Commission of the States, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission.  He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

Photo of David Longanecker

David A. Longanecker has served as the president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) in Boulder, Colorado since 1999. WICHE is a regional compact between 15 Western states created to assure access and excellence in higher education through collaboration and resource sharing among the higher education systems of the West. Previously, Longanecker served for six years as the assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that, he was the state higher education executive officer (SHEEO) in Colorado and Minnesota. He was also the principal analyst for higher education for the Congressional Budget Office. Longanecker has served on numerous boards and commissions. He has written extensively on a range of higher education issues. His primary interests in higher education are: expanding access to successful completion for students within all sectors of higher education, promoting student and institutional performance, assuring efficient and effective finance and financial aid strategies, and fostering effective use of educational technologies, all for the purpose of sustaining America’s strength in the World and increasing quality of life for all Americans, particularly those who have traditionally been left out in the past. He holds an Ed.D. from Stanford University, an M.A. in student personnel work from George Washington University, and a B.A. in sociology from Washington State University.

Photo of Christine Mallon

Christine Mallon serves as state university dean of Academic Program Planning for the California State University (CSU) System and is the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation liaison officer for the CSU. She is a member of the University of California-California State University Joint Graduate Board, Chancellor’s General Education Advisory Committee, CSU Assessment Council, and Lower-Division Transfer Pattern Advisory Committee, among other groups dedicated to providing high-quality postsecondary education. Mallon facilitates the review and approval of new academic degree programs; assists in the development and implementation of policy on general education and other curricular matters; and participates in the planning of graduate education and other programs that are responsive to workforce demand. Before coming to the Chancellor’s Office in 2000, Mallon taught at Cal Poly Pomona and the University of California, Irvine. She has also worked for the CSU Institute for Teaching and Learning and served as policy analyst for CSU Academic Affairs. Prior to joining Academic Program Planning as associate dean, she held the position of associate dean of Wilkinson College of Letters and Sciences at Chapman University. Her Ph.D., from the University of California, Irvine, is in comparative culture.

Photo of Holly McKiernan

Holiday Hart McKiernan serves as senior vice president and general counsel for Lumina Foundation for Education. She is an acknowledged expert on legal, governance and policy issues concerning nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions. McKiernan directs the Foundation’s legal affairs and also leads Lumina’s exploration of the Bologna Process and the implications of that reform effort on American higher education.

Before joining Lumina Foundation in 2003, McKiernan was executive director and counsel for Alpha Chi Omega. Before joining Alpha Chi Omega in 1991, she practiced at Baker & Daniels and Leagre & Barnes law firms, concentrating on nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations.

She serves on the Board of Visitors for DePauw University, the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Community Foundation and the Advisory Board for the Stetson University College of Law Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy.

Photo of Linda Nichols

Laurie Stenberg Nichols is the provost and vice president for academic affairs at South Dakota State University.  Prior to this she served the institution for more than a decade as Dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.  During 2008-09 Nichols was the Interim President of Northern State University (SD).  She was recognized as an ACE Fellow in 2006-07.   She holds a BS in Home Economics Education from South Dakota State University, MEd in Vocational and Adult Education from Colorado State University and PhD in Family & Consumer Sciences Education/Family Studies from Ohio State University.

Photo of Karen Nicodemus

Karen Nicodemus currently provides consulting services to several clients focusing on educational policy and practice.  She retired in July, 2009 as president of Cochise College, a rural Arizona community college.  In addition to CEO responsibilities, she participated on a number of statewide boards and/or initiatives including the State Board of Education (K12 policymaking board), Governor’s P20 Council, Arizona’s participation in the American Diploma Project, and Lumina funded Making Opportunity Affordable initiative.  Nicodemus received her B.A. in History from John F. Kennedy College (NE) and a Master’s in HPE/Sports Administration and Ph.D. in education administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Photo of Michael Reilly

Michael Reilly is the associate director at Council of Presidents in Olympia, Washington. He has 20 years of higher education admissions and enrollment management experience in the Pacific Northwest.  He worked in admissions at Washington State University and Seattle University before becoming Admissions Director at Central Washington University in 1999.  He has since served as Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at both Central Washington University and at Humboldt State University.  He is currently the Assistant Director at the Council of Presidents Office in Olympia, Washington, where he represents Washington’s public universities in public policy development and other collaborative efforts with state agencies and the legislature.  He has been a frequent presenter at AACRAO national conferences and currently serves on the College Board’s Advanced Placement Higher Education Advisory Committee.

Photo of Bill Roggenthen

William Roggenthen is the co-principal investigator for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) and a professor at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.   The DUSEL Project involves the conversion of a former gold mine in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota into a multidisciplinary underground laboratory that will host physics, geoscience, microbiology, and engineering experiments.  Roggenthen received a B.S. in geological engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, an M.S. in geology from the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. in geology and geophysics from Princeton University.

Photo of Phyllis (Teddi) Safman

Phyllis (Teddi) Safman is the assistant commissioner for academic affairs, Utah Board of Regents. Her responsibilities include general education assessment, statewide transfer and articulation, NCLB, teacher education and working with Utah’s K-16 Alliance to improve high school to college articulation. In addition, she is the system representative for Lumina’s Tuning Process and for the LEAP Initiative developed by the Associate of American Colleges and Universities. Safman received a Ph.D. in Continuing Education from the University of Illinois and held national, regional and statewide leadership positions while serving as associate dean of continuing education, University of Utah. She joined the Commissioner’s staff in 1993 with a short break to work in accreditation and strategic planning in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois.  Safman teaches a graduate class in organization and governance of higher education at the University of Utah.

Photo of Karen Sprague

Karen U. Sprague is a molecular biologist specializing in the regulation of gene expression. She earned a B.A. in biology from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Yale University. After postdoctoral research, Sprague joined the faculty in the Institute of Molecular Biology and the Biology Department at the University of Oregon. She taught biochemistry and genetics, headed a research lab and served on scientific review panels for the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund, the American Heart Association, and the National Institutes of Health. Sprague was appointed leader of the Task Force on Undergraduate Education at the University of Oregon and later was selected as vice provost for Undergraduate Studies, where she oversees new student orientation, academic advising, first year programs, disability services and the Teaching and Learning Center for the University of Oregon. In addition, she is the OUS Chancellor’s deputy for educational alignment among public universities, community colleges and the K-12 system. She is also a member of the Western Region Scholarship Selection Committee for the Marshall Commission of the British Commonwealth.

Photo of Paul Thayer

Paul Thayer has worked on access and retention issues at Colorado State University since 1975.  Currently serving as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Special Advisor to the Provost for Retention, he has worked previously as Director of Undergraduate Student Retention, Executive Director of the Center for Advising and Student Achievement, and Director of the Center for Educational Access and Outreach.  He is a member of the Governor’s Statewide P-20 Education Council.  Thayer received his B.A. in history from Williams College and an M.P.A. and Ph.D. in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Photo of Jack Warner

Jack Warner is the executive director and chief executive officer of the South Dakota Board of Regents.  Prior to this position, Dr. Warner served as Commissioner of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education and previously was in the Massachusetts public higher education system, including a term as Vice Chancellor of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.  He is a past president of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).  He holds a Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Boston College, a Master of Education from Springfield College and a BA from the University of Vermont.

Photo of Robert WhartonRobert A. Wharton, Ph.D., is the 18th president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He has refocused the School of Mines through four strategic foci: optimizing enrollment, securing resources, growing graduate programs and the research enterprise, and continuously improving quality. Championing the university’s leadership role in the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory in Lead, South Dakota, Wharton has seen research funding soar to nearly $21 million per year, the highest amount in the history of the university and more than double the previous year’s total.

Prior to joining the School of Mines, Wharton served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Idaho State University (ISU). He also served as the chief research officer at ISU, a member of the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service, and the executive officer for the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs. Wharton has been a visiting senior scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., an executive vice president for the Institute of Management Studies in Reno, Nevada, and a vice president for research and research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada. Wharton received his Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his B.A. and M.A. from Humboldt State University.