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

Co-hosted by the South Dakota Board of Regents and the South Dakota School of Mines


Launching the Cruise: Trends in National and International Initiatives

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, guides us into several ports of call, where we explore national and international initiatives for common themes. At each destination we embark on discussions to share creative visions, unique approaches, stunning successes, and lessons learned in implementing them. And during this cruise, we 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. We focus on a few common threads running through current initiatives and highlight some questions to ponder over the next two days.


Postsecondary Readiness: So We’re Getting Core Standards in K-12 Education—Now What?

What do Achieve benchmarks, Access to Success, and Core standards have in common? We 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 provides an update and discussion of higher education’s roles and opportunities relative to these new standards.


State of the States: Post-Secondary Readiness Approaches

How are WICHE states responding to some of these initiatives? Dennis Jones provides some context about this issue in the West and then we 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.


The Bologna Process: International Focus on Quality

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 acquaints you with the ambitious goals and reforms now underway through this exciting initiative.


Accreditation: Regaining its Breath or Breathing its Last?

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 reviews 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.


Regional Roundtables: Sharing Campus Perspectives

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

  • Tom Miller, Vice Provost and ALO, University of Alaska Anchorage



The WALF Toolkit Debut: A New Resource for Academic Leaders

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 showcases the toolkit’s vision and scope and provide an opportunity for recommendations on its proposed content.