October 2017 NewsCAp

New WUE, WRGP savings-finder portals vastly increase students’ ability to find the tuition-discounted school right for them

New WUE, WRGP savings-finder portals vastly increase students’ ability
to find the tuition-discounted school right for them


Just in time for Fall college application season, WICHE has upgraded its search portals for two tuition-discount programs, the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) and the Western Regional Graduate Exchange (WRGP). These Savings Finders’ newly streamlined, database-driven interface allows students to refine their search by major, degree type, online course availability, eligibility requirements and other filter criteria. The Finders’ new back-end interface also enhances the ability of admissions, recruitment, and enrollment managers at WICHE partner institutions to inform, promote, and reach students about their institution.

The WUE Savings Finder helps prospective undergraduates find hundreds of available degree programs at 161 public colleges and universities in the WICHE region. The WRGP Savings Finder allows prospective students to search graduate certificate, master’s and doctoral programs offered at the resident-tuition rate by some 60 public universities around the West.

Learning-technologies maven joins WCET

Learning-technologies maven joins WCET

Stacey VAnderHeiden Guney, new WCET Learning-technologies innovatorAt Austin Community College (ACC) in Texas, Stacey VanderHeiden Güney led the transformation of a former J.C. Penney mall-store space into a technology-rich environment for learning, training, and community engagement.

"First-generation college students going to a traditional campus might feel intimidated or out of place," she said then about the ACCelerator, the high-tech learning center that was honored with the 2015 Campus Technology Innovators Award for IT Infrastructure & Systems. "Nobody has that feeling about going to the mall, even if you don't have money to spend."

Now at WICHE, she takes on a new challenge: leading an initiative to create a more robust and innovative marketplace for digital learning and courseware in U.S. postsecondary education.

Güney recently joined the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) to direct the Digital Learning Solution Network, which aims to increase demand for tools and practices that demonstrate improved outcomes for underserved students. Last May, WCET was awarded a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to serve as the "backbone" organization for the new network, which Güney will lead while overseeing grantee collaborations, fiduciary management, and other backbone services.

Güney comes to WICHE from Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo., where she was assistant vice president of academic affairs following her role at ACC as director of the ACCelerator.

WICHE Behavioral Health Program: Same Mission, New Name

WICHE Behavioral Health Program: Same Mission, New Name


The executive committee of the WICHE Commission has approved renaming WICHE’s Mental Health Program to the Behavioral Health Program to better reflect its programmatic scope and the field’s evolving nomenclature. Though WICHE’s website continues to reflect the original Mental Health name, the new name is being phased in this Fall in program correspondence and literature, and will be ultimately reflected on WICHE’s overhauled website to launch later this year.

Behavioral health encompasses focus on mental health and substance use/addiction as well as, increasingly, its interface and integration with primary health care. The name change will augment the WICHE Behavioral Health Program’s work in technical assistance, education, consulting, program evaluation, training, and research services for diverse government and institutional stakeholders, as it expands the capacity and capabilities of behavioral health care throughout the West.

Legislative Advisory Committee spotlights key issues on state higher-ed agendas

Legislative Advisory Committee spotlights key issues on state higher-ed agendas

“Serving Students and State Goals: The Shared Mission of State Legislatures and Higher Education” was the theme of the annual meeting of WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC), Sept. 25-26 in Boise, Idaho. State lawmakers from Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming explored topics including the alignment of tuition, appropriations, and financial aid; the role of sub-baccalaureate credentials in meeting workforce needs; rural teacher shortages; and likely state-level impact of recent shifts in federal policy. View the agenda and presentations.

New webinars project, assess region-by-region H.S. grad trends

New webinars project, assess college-age demographic trends region-by-region

Knocking at the College Door logo Hear three recent recordings of webinars that highlighted institutional approach to regional H.S. graduate trends from WICHE’s December 2016 Knocking at the College Door report. In webinars co-hosted by WICHE and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, leaders from Northern Arizona University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley described student success initiatives for growing, diverse populations, and the presidents of Northern Michigan University and University of Southern Maine discussed recruitment challenges and solutions amidst regional population loss. The third, co-hosted by the State University of New York’s SAIL Institute, highlighted SUNY's initiative to increase student success as New York and other northeastern states face population decline and diversification.

Innovations by 2018 WOW Award winners help transform the college experience

Innovations by 2018 WOW Award winners help transform the college experience

WOW Logo

A highlight of WCET’s 30th Annual Meeting Oct. 23-25 in Portland, Ore. will be the honoring of this year’s WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award recipients, recognizing institutions that develop exceptionally creative, technology-based solutions to contemporary challenges in higher education. This year’s WOW Award winners are:

  • Colorado State University and Grit Digital Health, for a web portal, YOU@CSU, that promotes self-awareness, mental health literacy, coping strategies, and access to physical and behavioral health resources on campus
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, for a new infrastructure of student support—from virtual labs to personalized degree maps to career advising—aimed at increasing retention and persistence among distance learners.
  • University of Montana, for a statewide program that aims to reduce college remediation rates by offering low-cost, personalized math instruction online for middle- and high school students, adult learners, and teachers.
  • Open SUNY, for a quality review process that helps instructional designers and faculty throughout the State University of New York system improve online course offerings.
  • Colorado Technical University, for a mobile app that allows faculty to stay connected with their students, monitor coursework, and make the most of their time while on the go.

WICHE welcomes new Colorado commissioner Antwan Jefferson

WICHE welcomes new Colorado commissioner Antwan Jefferson

Anton Jefferson, new Colorado commissionerThe newest member of the WICHE Commission is Antwan Jefferson, a clinical assistant professor in the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education and Human Development. A former high school English teacher, Jefferson holds degrees from Morehouse College and Brown University and earned a doctorate in educational leadership and innovation at CU Denver. Learn more about WICHE’s commission.

WICHE and UND receive $3.8 million federal award to co-lead new Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center

WICHE and UND receive $3.8 million federal award to co-lead new Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center

An $3.8 million, five-year grant in August by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) will help Mountain Plains front-line providers be better prepared to help individuals affected by serious mental illness.

WICHE’s Behavioral Health Program, along with the University of North Dakota College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, will co-administer the new Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, which will focus on expanding access to training and technical assistance for the public behavioral health workforce, encompassing pre-professional, postgraduate, and continuing preparation. The Mountain Plains region comprises Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah.

WICHE helps states upgrade behavioral health services

Helping states upgrade behavioral health services

Maricopa Fidelity Review Team
Maricopa Fidelity Review Team

With the opening of a new training center in Anchorage, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium—which provides healthcare for 158,000 individuals—is expanding to staff its 170 village clinics with behavioral health aides certified in the prevention of domestic violence, suicide, and substance abuse. WICHE’s Mental Health Program has partnered with this consortium to develop the BHA Checklist, a state-of-the-art tool for assessing the knowledge, skills, and performance of behavioral health aides.

WICHE’s Mental Health Program also recently signed a two-year contract extension under which WICHE will assist Arizona’s Maricopa County in evaluating Phoenix-area service providers of Assertive Community Treatment, Supported Employment, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Consumer-Operated Services.

Finally, the Mental Health Program was awarded a $66,786 contract to serve as a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) data consultant to the Washington Health Care Authority. WICHE program staff will conduct research and provide technical assistance to advise the Health Care Authority on how to meet SAMHSA reporting requirements while maximizing use of existing data and minimizing the burden on behavioral health partners. 

Reading room

Reading room

WICHE Insights report coverA new WICHE Insights report, Impact and Implications: Projections of Male and Female High School Graduates, finds that though there are more males than females under age 19, fewer males earn a diploma and pursue postsecondary education—a gap that is greatest among black and Hispanic students. The report also suggests that more attention must be given to occupational and pay disparities that many working females encounter despite higher educational attainment.

The WICHE-based Interstate Passport was referenced in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on how widely varying credit-transfer policies make earning a college degree more laborious and expensive. Roughly one-third of students transfer to another institution during their college career—in the process losing, on average, 43 percent of their course credits. The report cited the Passport, which facilitates block transfer of lower-division general education, as a promising new pathway for students transferring across state lines.

New MHEC partnership can help insure WICHE-region institutions against cyber crime, data breachs

New MHEC partnership can help insure WICHE-region
institutions against cyber crime, data breaches

MHEC Cyber Insurance

Public (and private nonprofit) higher education institutions and systems in the WICHE region can now obtain cyber insurance coverage through a collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC). The MHEC Cyber Insurance Program, in conjunction with Marsh USA Inc., offers institutions access to services including analysis of threat environment, the significance of vulnerabilities in security controls, and potential financial exposure. It can also help institutions benchmark how much cyber coverage similar institutions and systems are buying.

MHEC aims to build a critical mass of program participants to develop a shared risk pool with costs lower than those available to individual institutions. Interested parties may contact Frank Cella, managing director at Marsh, at 312-627-6082. WICHE also collaborates with MHEC to offer property insurance coverage (Master Property Program), discounted technology purchases (MHECtech), and student health insurance (MHECare). Contact Jere Mock, WICHE’s vice president of programs and services, at 303-541-0222 to learn more.

Legislative Advisory Committee spotlights key issues on state higher-ed agendas

Legislative Advisory Committee spotlights key issues on state higher-ed agendas

“Demographic Change in the West: Choices, Challenges, and Opportunities” was the theme of the annual meeting of WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC), Sept. 19-20 in Park City, Utah. The program included presentations on high-school graduation projections, financing higher education, affordability, distance education, open educational resources, strategies for serving underserved students, and new and emergent trends of legislative interest (including Promise Programs, Students’ Rights, Privacy, Free Speech, Credit Accumulation, Governance, and Cost & Value of Higher Education). You can download the agenda and presentations.

Interstate Passport convenes campus academic advisors for train-the-trainer workshop

Interstate Passport convenes campus academic advisors for train-the-trainer workshop

Interstate Passport Network and Prospective Members

Academic advisors serving students at Interstate Passport Network member and prospective member institutions  gathered for a two-day September workshop in Boulder to learn more about this friction-free way to transfer lower-division general education credits across state lines, and how to train other advisors on their campuses. More than 23,600 students at 14 Network institutions have become eligible for Passports over two years. The newest member of the Passport Network is College of the Siskiyous in northern California.

WICHE on the road

WICHE on the road

  • WICHE President Joe Garcia speaks at the 2017 Accelerating Latino Student Success (ALASS) Institute, Oct. 5-6 in Washington, D.C. and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference, Oct. 28-30 in San Diego.
     
  • Policy staffers Demi Michelau and Peace Bransberger will present on WICHE’s Knocking at the College Door report at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ annual meeting Oct. 21-25 in San Diego., and at the College Board Forum on Oct. 25-27 in New York City. They have recently presented at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) 2017 convention, the Montana Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Council’s summer conference, and the SHEEO Higher Education Policy Conference.
     
  • WICHE’s Pat Shea, director of academic leadership initiatives, will present on the Interstate Passport at the National Academic Advising Association’s annual conference, Oct. 11-14 in St. Louis.; at a Southern Regional Education Board meeting, Oct. 23-24 in Atlanta; and at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Dec. 2-5 in Dallas. In September, Passport presentations were made at the annual conferences of NACAC and the Association for General and Liberal Studies.
     
  • Policy staffers Patrick Lane and Sarah Leibrandt presented on WICHE’s Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange (MLDE) at the National Center for Education Statistics’ annual conference.

Save these dates! I October 2018

Save these dates!

  • Oct. 25-27 for WCET’s 29th Annual Meeting, at the Westin Downtown Denver. Keynote speaker will be Mike Hess, executive director of the Blind Institute of Technology.
     
  • Nov. 9-10 for the fall WICHE Commission meeting, at the SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown. Speakers include Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; civil rights attorney Thomas Saenz; Francisco Rodriguez, chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District; and CU Boulder history professor Patty Limerick, chair of the Center of the American West. 
     
  • April 18-20, 2018, for the annual meeting of the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders, at the Motif in downtown Seattle. 
     
  • April 25-27, 2018, for the annual meeting of the Western Academic Leadership Forum, at the Hilton Vancouver, Wash.
     
  • May 7-8, 2018, for the spring WICHE Commission meeting, in Bozeman, Mont.

In Arizona, efforts to close postsecondary attainment gaps begin with outreach to under served populations

In Arizona, efforts to close postsecondary attainment gaps begin with
outreach to underserved populations

A series of roundtable discussions were held across Arizona in September to kick off the state’s participation on the WICHE Task Force on Closing Postsecondary Attainment Gaps. Sessions in Yuma, Tucson, and Phoenix were designed to gain a better understanding of the state’s equity gaps from the perspective of rural, Latino, and Native American communities.

As part of an intensive, two-year process supported by Lumina Foundation, WICHE is working with a broad array of stakeholders in Arizona, Utah and Wyoming to develop state-specific action plans to close attainment gaps and ultimately to craft regional recommendations for increasing higher education success among underserved students throughout the West.

You heard it from WICHE | October 2017

You heard it from WICHE

Mike Abbiattie, WCET Executive Director“My greatest hope is that we restate and refine our mission in higher education to be much more focused on student outcomes and less focused on where we’re going to find the next dollar. Failure to do so will mean that the big campuses get bigger, the small campuses get smaller, and diversity at every level will be less instead of more.” – WCET Executive Director Mike Abbiatti in "Future Forward: The Next Twenty Years of Higher Education,” a white paper by educational technology firm Blackboard.

 

Russ Poulin, WCET Director of Policy and Analysis“Accreditation is slow and innovation is fast; we are starting to see political and business pressure to find alternatives.” – Russ Poulin, WCET’s director of policy and analysis, in this Inside Higher Ed feature on the struggles of online-only institutions to earn accreditation.

 

With WICHE’s help, South Dakota officials take a deep dive into the state’s mental health system

With WICHE’s help, South Dakota officials take a deep dive into the state’s mental health system

South Dakota legislators convened this summer for a study session on the status and performance of the state’s mental health system. In partnership with WICHE’s Behavioral Health Program and the state’s Department of Social Services, legislators reviewed the availability, capacity, and funding of mental health services in South Dakota, along with options for developing cost-effective treatment programs. WICHE staff will issue a report and recommendations based on session observations and findings by the end of 2018.

On the road: Selected recent and upcoming WICHE-led presentations

On the road: Selected recent and upcoming WICHE-led presentations

Raise a toast to NCHEMS!

Raise a toast to NCHEMS!

Clara Roberts and Sally Johnstone
Clara Roberts and Sally Johnstone
David Longenecker, Ken Mortimer & Earl Hale
David Longnecker, Ken Mortimer
and Earl Hale

A Sept. 7 celebration at the State Higher Education Policy Center in Boulder marked the 50th anniversary of WICHE’s first-floor neighbor, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS). WICHE played a leading role in the creation of NCHEMS, which is dedicated to improving strategic decision-making in higher education in the U.S. and abroad. The party was an occasion to salute Clara Roberts, who recently retired after a 49-year career at NCHEMS, where she served as director of administration and corporate secretary. See event photo gallery.

You heard it from WICHE

You heard it from WICHE

Thomasine Heitkamp, professor of graduate nursing at the University of North Dakota

“Information comes so fast, and having a center that can sort through information and get that information out to service providers to advance their use of what we know is the best science — that makes the whole system better.”

Thomasine Heitkamp, professor of graduate nursing at the University of North Dakota and co-director, with WICHE’s Dennis Mohatt, of the new Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center