Western Academic Leadership Forum


Calibrating Your Leadership Through New Landscapes

April 22-24, 2015
Boise, ID



Final Program Print Version

Recommended Reading in Advance

Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education
by George D. Kuh, Stanley O. Ikenberry, Natasha A. Jankowski, Timothy Reese Cain, Peter T. Ewell, Pat Hutchings, Jillian Kinzie


Location: The Grove Hotel

1:00-4:30 pm

Forum Executive Committee Meeting
(executive committee members only)

5:30-6:30 PM


6:30-8:30 pm

Dinner, Welcome and Keynote--Look to Your Left, Look to Your Right: Those Students Will Thrive!
Remember when university presidents “welcomed” their freshman classes with ominous pronouncements about their impending failure? Today, we recognize that message does not do our students, our faculty, or our nation any favors. By changing our message, our expectations, and our services, we can move away from the “failure factory” model of the past to a future where students receive a rigorous education of the highest standards accompanied by the tools and support they need to succeed.

Introducer: Laura Woodworth-Ney, Idaho State University
Speaker: Waded Cruzado, Montana State University


8:00-9:00 am


9:00-9:15 am

Welcome & Meeting Overview
Laura Woodworth-Ney, Forum Chair; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Idaho State University


Promising Approaches to Assuring Quality in Student Accomplishment
Documenting what students know and are able to do as a result of their postsecondary experience is fundamental to the quality and effectiveness of American higher education. While more institutions are collecting more evidence of student learning than ever before, the tangible benefits to students and academic institutions are embarrassingly modest. In this session we’ll consider several approaches to assuring quality that promise to make assessment and institutional improvement efforts consequential.

Introducer: Teddi Safman, Utah Board of Regents
Speaker: George Kuh, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

10:15-10:30 am


10:30-11:15 am

Addressing the Value Proposition in Higher Learning
The public and nonprofit higher education sector is beset as never before by public and policy maker questioning of both the value of higher education and the values of the decision makers inside the institutions. Most academics in turn think the public has it wrong, and point to data about both the economic and social value of investments in higher education. They think with better information, more aggressive ‘messaging,’ and smarter institutional branding, that higher education can educate the public and policymakers about the inherent wrongness of their perceptions. This session will explore the reasons behind the perceptual gaps about higher education from inside the academy and from outside of it, and strategies that might be used to forge more informed decision making for the future.

Introducer: Paul Turman, South Dakota Board of Regents
Speaker: Jane Wellman, Association of Governing Boards


11:15-11:30 am


11:30-12:15 pm

Focused Discussion: Quality and Completion: Finding the Sweet Spot
Back by popular demand, here is your chance to ponder with colleagues how what you’re hearing applies to what you’re facing as an academic leader. What would it mean at your institution to improve both quality and completion? (Please sit at the table corresponding to the color of the first dot on your name tag.)

Discussion Leader: Jane Sherman, Washington State University Table Hosts:

Table Hosts

Rick Caulfield, University of Alaska Southeast
Joe Cline, University of Nevada, Reno
Jack Crocker, Western New Mexico University
Selena Grace, Idaho State University
Martin Schimpf, Boise State University
Dan McInerney, Utah State University

12:30-1:30 pm


12:30-1:30 pm

Awards Luncheon and Federal Update
The Academic Leaders Toolkit – a joint project of the Forum and the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance) – will announce the winner of this year’s competition for the four-year sector.

Presenter: Bobbie Derlin, New Mexico State University, chair, Academic Leaders Toolkit Oversight Committee

In the Know: Federal Update
What’s up at the U.S. Department of Education? 

Introducer: Neil Moisey, Montana University System

Speaker: Daniel T. Madzelan, American Council on Education

1:30-1:45 pm


1:45-3:00 pm

Creating a Culture of Student Success Grounded in Data Analytics
Universities are increasingly seeking to leverage technology, research, and predictive analytics to improve graduation rates by uncovering hidden insights into the patterns of academic success and failure, and deliver actionable intelligence to advisors and retention specialists. But analytics alone won’t solve the problem without best practices for changing the culture around how data is integrated into the workflows of administrators and frontline advisors. This panel will explore how one institution, Georgia State University, has partnered with the Education Advisory Board to transform advising and executive decision-making to realize impressive student success gains.

Moderator: Sona Andrews, Portland State University
Panelists: Tim Renick, Georgia State University; Ed Venit, Education Advisory Board

3:00-3:15 pm


3:15-4:15 pm

Improving Student Outcomes Through Actionable Data
In higher education financial resources are often scarce. Data, however, are generally abundant and rarely utilized to full effect. This session will describe how Cal State Fullerton is generating, socializing and framing data to improve student outcomes.

Introducer: Erika Beck, Nevada State College
Speaker: José Luis Cruz, California State University, Fullerton

5:15-6:30 pm

Reception: A Basque Evening in Boise
Join us as we celebrate the rich and beautiful culture of the Basque region right here in downtown Boise!

6:30 pm

Dinner on your own.


8:00-9:15 am

Breakfast and Forum Update 

9:15-9:30 am


9:30-10:15 am

Focused Discussion: Moral Hazards and Practicalities
Solutions are seldom simple, many have moral considerations, and many end up thwarted by practical limitations. Let’s help each other think through how to avoid the pitfalls while reaping the benefits of solutions posed by our speakers or other participants. (Please sit at the table corresponding to the color of the second dot on your name tag.)

Discussion Leader: Jane Sherman, Washington State University

Table Hosts:
Rod Custer, Black Hills State University
Stephanie Jacobson, Arizona Board of Regents
Mike Mays, Washington State University - Tri-Cities
Sarah Witte, Eastern Oregon University
Salam Noor, State of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission

10:15-10:30 AM


10:30-11:30 am

Leadership Style, Approaches, and Culture
Leadership doesn’t occur within a vacuum. A good leader must maneuver within the culture defined by the institution, the position and the larger community. What variables should a leader watch for? How does one think systematically about which approach is going to fit in a given culture? An innovative and successful leader in higher education for many years, Dr. Haeger will discuss his strategies for navigating a variety of settings and cultural environments and lessons learned along the way.

Introducer: Stephanie Jacobson, Arizona Board of Regents
Speaker: Mike Driscoll, Indiana University of Pennsylvania


Meeting Wrap-up and Adjournment