Western Academic Leadership Forum

WALF 2011 Annual Meeting

the Politics of Student Success: Meeting the Challenges – from Readiness to Completion

April 13-15, 2011 | Fort collins, co
Hosted by: colorado state University Colorado State University logo


Photo of David ConleyDavid Conley serves as chief executive officer of the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC); founder and director of the Center for Educational Policy Research (CEPR); and Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Oregon. He conducts research on issues related to college readiness, college and high school course content analysis, high school-college alignment and transition, and large-scale diagnosis and assessment of college readiness. His findings have been published in numerous journal articles, technical reports, conference papers, book chapters, and books, including his most recent publication, College and Career Ready (2010). Conley received a B.A. with honors in social sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Photo of Kevin CorcoranKevin Corcoran is a program director at Lumina Foundation for Education, where he leads an integrated, cross-functional strategy team focused on the critical outcome of improved higher education productivity. The Productivity Team, one of three primary strategy teams, aims to catalyze higher degree attainment by building public will, advocating policy change, and encouraging effective practice that supports increased efficiency and cost effectiveness within colleges and universities through a variety of approaches, including: embracing low-cost, high-quality instructional delivery; rewarding students for completing coursework and degrees and institutions for graduating more students; removing regulatory barriers to innovation, such as distributed education, online degrees, and open courseware; and finding savings from increased operational efficiency that can be used to serve more students within available funding. The team also focuses on quality through efforts to define and measure student learning and improve consumer information. Corcoran graduated in 2007 with an M.B.A. in finance from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He puts his experience and training to work by helping grantees execute their strategies and by assessing and managing opportunities for organizational change, such as through participation in Lumina's efforts to leverage a portion of its $1 billion investment portfolio to invest in companies whose services or products can hasten achievement of its big goal: to increase the proportion of working-age Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. He spent nearly 20 years as a journalist, covering complex budget, health policy, and state and local tax issues, before finishing his career at The Indianapolis Star as an investigative reporter.

Photo of Kevin CorcoranAllison Jones joined Achieve in November 2010 as the senior fellow for postsecondary engagement. In that role Jones is responsible for advancing Achieve's college-and career-ready mission through work with the postsecondary community, including leading the higher education engagement strategy for the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium. Prior to joining Achieve, Jones was with the California State University (CSU) system for 25 years, 23 of which were with the Office of the Chancellor. Jones was responsible for leading the CSU's Early Assessment Program (EAP), the largest effort in the nation to use a college readiness test in high school, enabling students to place into credit-bearing courses based on their high school performance. In addition to providing a clear signal to students of their readiness for college level coursework, EAP also led to specialized curricula and supports to help students get ready for college during their senior year of high school. The program has recently been expanded to the California Community College System and has become a national model for higher education and K-12 collaboration. A similar system is envisioned in PARCC.

Photo of Alan LambornAlan Lamborn has been at Colorado State University since 1984. As Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, he is responsible for matters related to the curriculum, statewide transferability issues, and other areas that contribute to the quality of the undergraduate educational experience. A professor of political science who specializes in world politics, Lamborn received his B.A. from Oberlin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Prior to becoming Vice Provost in 2005, he was elected faculty representative to the governing board of the CSU System and served as an Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Photo of Paul LingenfelterPaul E. Lingenfelter is the president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). His work has focused on successful participation in higher education, accountability, and finance. Under his leadership the SHEEO staff organized the National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education, created the annual study State Higher Education Finance, and published More Student Success: A Systemic Solution. He previously served as vice president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he established and led the MacArthur Foundation Program on Human and Community Development. Earlier, Lingenfelter served as deputy director for fiscal affairs for the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He received an A.B. from Wheaton College in literature, an M.A. from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in higher education. He currently serves on the boards of the National Student Clearinghouse and the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability.

Photo of David LonganeckerDavid Longanecker has served as the president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) in Boulder, CO, 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 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 the 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 Tom Miller

Tom Miller has served in the Office of Academic Affairs at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) since 2002. As vice provost for accreditation and undergraduate programs, he currently supports curriculum development, institutional and programmatic accreditation, assessment, and continuous improvement in academic programs. As a professor at UAA, he taught aviation technology and electrical engineering for 20 years. Prior to that he held engineering and technical positions with various companies. Miller holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia.

Photo of Maggi Murdock

Maggi Maier Murdock serves as the associate provost for academic affairs and dean of the Outreach School at the University of Wyoming (UW). She is responsible for the university’s academic distance education programs, Wyoming Public Radio, and the technological infrastructure for distance delivery of a variety of learning opportunities, as well as for interactions with Wyoming’s community colleges. Murdock has served as the dean of the University of Wyoming Casper College Center and has been a UW faculty member in political science and criminal justice since 1975. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in political science from Tufts University and her B.A. degree in political science from Creighton University.

Photo of Travis Reindl

Travis Reindl oversees the postsecondary education work area in the National Governors Association’s (NGA’s) Center for Best Practices. His concentration is on postsecondary access and completion. He is also the lead on the 2010-2011 NGA Chair's Initiative, which focuses on increasing college completion and productivity. He most recently served as state policy and campaigns director at CommunicationWorks, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm. From 2006 to 2008, he served as program director at the Boston-based Jobs for the Future, where he led the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative. Previously, Reindl headed the state policy analysis unit at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and oversaw government relations and institutional research for the South Dakota Board of Regents. A native of South Dakota, he holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.P.P. from the University of Maryland-College Park.

Photo of Jane Sherman

Jane C. Sherman is the vice provost for academic policy and evaluation at Washington State University, where she directs institutional planning for internal and external accountability, accreditation, and assessment activities, as well as several other areas of academic policy and planning. Prior to her work at WSU, Sherman was the deputy director for academic affairs with the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. She has also held administrative positions with the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Idaho State Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the College of Idaho. She has held faculty positions at Idaho State University and the College of Idaho, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in counseling and education. Sherman's educational credentials include a B.A. in history from Earlham College, an M.Ed. in counseling from Boston University, and an Ed.D. in counseling and counselor education from Idaho State University.

Photo of Ephraim SmithEphraim Smith is the executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer of the California State University system, a position he assumed in July 2010. Prior to this appointment, Smith served in several roles at California State University, Fullerton: as vice president for academic affairs, his most recent appointment; dean of the College of Business and Economics; and professor of accounting and member of the Accounting Department. As vice president for academic affairs, Smith was responsible for managing more than 2,000 faculty and 300 staff members, as well as eight colleges, contracts and grants, institutional research, outreach, admissions, and international partnerships. Smith facilitated numerous international agreements in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Germany. He also served on the President’s Administrative Board, Council of Deans, and the University Planning, Resource, and Budget Committee. He has published extensively in some of the nation’s leading journals and is the co-author of six books, including CCH Federal Taxation, Basic Principles, now in its 27th edition. Smith has remained active professionally and taught one course each year in the Accounting Department while vice president; his areas of specialization are accounting, taxation, and corporate management. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College, a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Ph. D. from the University of Illinois, all in accounting.

Photo of Tom SugarTom Sugar is the senior vice president of Complete College America. He is responsible for Complete College America’s external and legislative affairs. As senior vice president, Sugar oversees engagement with federal policy initiatives, monitors legislative activity relevant to the college completion agenda at both the federal and state levels, and manages Complete College America’s relationships with external partners in state and federal policy venues. As former chief of staff to a senator and with nearly 25 years working in government and political campaigns, he brings a wealth of experience building grassroots initiatives and engaging with a variety of stakeholders at state and federal tiers of government. As a chief of staff, he was the senior strategic and tactical advisor, directed political operations and communications, and engineered successful election campaigns. He also served as director of communications and planning in a governor’s office, where he established numerous new government initiatives to further public policy goals.



Photo of Joe WillhoftJoe Willhoft is the executive director for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. For the past six years, he has served as assistant superintendent for assessment and student information at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State. His responsibilities have included design and implementation of Washington’s assessment program and collection and reporting of student information for the state’s longitudinal student database. Before moving to the state level, he directed assessment and evaluation activities at the local level for more than 20 years, primarily in Tacoma Schools in Washington and in Charles County schools in Maryland. Willhoft earned his doctorate in educational measurement and statistics from the University of Maryland. He is past president of both the Maryland Assessment Group and the Washington Educational Research Association and has been involved in several collaborative data and assessment efforts, including the technical work group for a congressionally mandated evaluation of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and as chair of the NAEP Policy Task Force for the National Assessment Governing Board, a collaborative effort cosponsored by the board and the Council of Chief State School Officers.


Photo of Jan Yoshiwara

Jan Yoshiwara currently serves as deputy executive director of the Education Division at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. She’s been with the State Board since 1984. Her primary responsibility is education policy on behalf of the community and technical college system. She works with college presidents and vice presidents for instruction and for student services, university provosts, state superintendents of public instruction, legislators, and governor’s policy staff on education goals, strategies and policy for the community and technical college system. Areas of responsibility include workforce development, adult basic education, academic transfer, e-learning, student services, student achievement, and education research. She received her B.S. in zoology from the University of California, Davis, and a M.Ed. from Western Washington University.