Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders


Innovative Thinking Inside the Nested Boxes:
The Academic Leaders’ Challenge

MARCH 12-14, 2014





Pre-Meeting Activities

Location: Tempe Mission Palms

1:00-4:30 pm

Alliance Executive Committee Meeting (executive committee members only)

5:00-6:00 pm

WICHE Orientation and Update
WICHE was established by the U.S. Congress in the early 1950s as one of four regional compacts in the country. WICHE works collaboratively with its 16 members (15 states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) to expand educational access and excellence for all citizens of the West. Come learn more about WICHE's many programs and projects.

Dinner on your own.

Meeting program


7:30-5:00 am

Registration Open

7:30-8:30 AM


8:30-8:45 AM

Welcome from the Chair and Meeting Overview
Maria Harper-Marinick, Alliance Chair; Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Maricopa Community Colleges

8:45-10:00 aM

The Future of U.S. Higher Education: A Conversation with Lee Gardner
What’s the near-term future of U.S. higher education? The truth is, no one really knows, not even your speaker. But the current landscape of federal interventions, state policy, technological disruptions, changing demographics, and other complex factors allows for some educated (if sometimes discomfiting) guesses. Join us for an interactive discussion of the issues facing colleges and of the possible outcomes.

Introducer: Maria Harper-Marinick, Maricopa Community Colleges
Speaker: Lee Gardner, The Chronicle of Higher Education

10:00-10:15 AM


10:15-11:30 aM

Promising Pathways to Student Success: A Data Driven Approach
Using high school achievement data to improve assessment, placement, and attainment of early educational milestones substantially increased the rate of first-time students’ assessment into transfer-level courses in English and Math by up to 500 percent at Long Beach City College (LBCC). Once in those courses, these students successfully completed the courses at the same rates as returning students who completed prerequisite courses and as students assessed directly into the courses via standardized tests. Most importantly, when alternative assessments were combined with prescriptive, full-time placement into foundational skills courses, the completion of key early educational milestones increased dramatically across all student demographic groups. LBCC’s findings provide 1) compelling support for the use of high school achievement data as a better predictor of performance in college level courses than traditional, standardized assessments; and 2) strong initial indications that acting on that research can meaningfully improve both the rate of and time to attainment of meaningful educational outcomes.

Introducer: Pete Pinney, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Speakers: Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Long Beach Community College District, CA

11:30 AM-12:30 PM


12:30-1:45 pm 

Concurrent Mini Sessions: Take Your Pick!
Choose three topics of interest below. Every 20 minutes a bell will ring and attendees will move to a new topic.

The Maricopa Millions Project: Scaling Up OERs to Save Students Money and Increase Access
The Maricopa Millions Project is designed to scale Open Educational Resource (OER) usage throughout the ten-college district by remixing and adapting current models from across the nation. A steering committee has been established to develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan to save our students $5 million over five years in course materials. The project includes a strategic, sustainable OER infrastructure consisting of building awareness, providing training and support as well as increasing faculty collaboration.
Paul Golisch, Paradise Valley Community College, AZ

Student Retention Toolkit - Choose the Tools that Meet Your Needs
Student retention is critical to the success of every college, but what worked in the past to retain students doesn't always work today, and what works at one college may not work at another.  This session will provide information on a retention toolkit - retention tools that can be used alone or in conjunction with other tools.   Learn about tools such as JumpStart Days, Attendance Challenge, Emergency Loans, Success Advisors and Seminar class, Academic Recovery, and more!  Each tool will be discussed briefly with information on how to implement them successfully.  Choose your favorites and implement them at your own college!
Tracy Noldner, Southeast Technical Institute, SD

Interstate Passport Initiative: A New Framework for Transfer
Learn how your institution can become part of the Interstate Passport Initiative that allows students to transfer based on learning outcomes in lower division general education, not courses and credits.
Peter Quigley, University of Hawai‘i System

Flipping Student Services: Supporting Students 24/7
Are you prepared to provide services to meet the needs of today’s students? With tight budgets and high demand, institutions are finding it difficult to provide services to all students in a cost-effective manner. This session will explore tools institutions can use to provide 24/7 resources for students; thus, flipping the way we provide support.  We will discuss how to enhance orientation programs, academic advising, tutoring, financial aid, supplemental instruction and student success workshops.
Valerie Kisiel, Innovative Educators; Geri Anderson, Aims Community College, CO

Scaling Innovation in TAACCCT Consortia: The Transformative Change Initiative
The unprecedented federal investment in community college workforce education through the TAACCCT grants and the vision of leading consortia of community colleges across the nation have resulted in developing and scaling innovations that might otherwise take many years to accomplish. This session, based on rigorous third-party evaluations and insights from select TAACCCT consortia that are a part of a Transformative Change network, will reveal some of the strategies being implemented and what we are learning about scaling educational reforms at the regional, state, and national levels.
Heather McKay, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

What If Textbooks Cost $30 or Less?  The Open Course Library Project
The Open Course Library was funded by the Washington State Legislature and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to hire faculty to develop materials for 81 common courses.  Faculty developed a wide variety of solutions that cost students $30 or less per course and that use both publisher and openly licensed material.  The project has saved students more than $5 million in textbook costs to date, and all courses are available and openly licensed on http://opencourselibrary.org
Connie Broughton, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Unlocking Student Potential: The Power of High School Data
This session will focus on the utility of multiple measures in assessment using existing high school achievement data in the California Community Colleges. The speaker will explain the predictive placement model developed at Long Beach City College that increased placement into college level courses while maintaining success rates, discuss statewide replication of the research by the RP Group, and introduce the development of a new statewide multiple measure resource by a partnership between the Chancellor's Office and Cal-PASS.
James Lanich, Cal-PASS Plus
Ken Sorey, Cal-PASS Plus

Rio Salado's College Bridge Pathways Program: A Personalized Approach to Success
Rio Salado College recently partnered with Pearson to garner the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Adaptive Learning Market Acceleration Program Grant.  Together they will develop undergraduate courses imbued with adaptive learning technologies consistent with the Foundation’s charitable purpose to ensure “Global Access”.  Concurrently, both parties are working together to deliver Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways program. The focus is to increase student completion rates and deliver courses that incorporate best practices for personalization, engagement, and assessment.  Rio Salado will share details of their implementation and successful outcomes.
Julie Stiak, Rio Salado College, AZ; Cynthia Maxson, Rio Salado College, AZ

1:45-2:00 pm 


2:00-2:45 pm 

The Completion Agenda
The Completion Agenda—doubling the number of community college students who, in the next ten years, complete a certificate, Associate’s Degree, or transfer to a four-year college or university—has become the overarching mission of the nation’s community colleges.  What students need to do to meet this goal and what conditions need to be in place in the college to ensure that students meet this goal will be addressed in this session.

Introducer: Joe Schaffer, Laramie County Community College, WY
Speaker: Terry O'Banion, League for Innovation & National American University

2:45-3:00 PM


3:00-4:00 PM 

Implementing Applied Baccalaureate Degrees in Community and Technical Colleges
Changing degree requirements in some high demand fields and limited geographic access to baccalaureate institutions has led some community and technical colleges to seek authorization to offer bachelor's degrees in targeted occupations.  Mike McFarlane, Great Basin College in Nevada, has been a pioneer in this growing movement and will offer practical advice based on his experience and the experiences of other early adopters.  Jan Yoshiwara, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, will provide a system policy view, representing one of the early statewide efforts to gain authority for all colleges to offer applied baccalaureate degrees.
Speakers: Michael McFarlane, Great Basin College, NV; Jan Yoshiwara, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

4:00-4:15 PM


4:15-5:00 PM

Contexts for Students Success: Lessons Learned
Faculty and staff of Stella and Charles Guttman Community College in New York (founded as the New Community College) have drawn on best practices and policies for enhancing student academic achievement and success.  Key units of the new college are the Center for College Effectiveness and the Office of Partnerships.  The college will continue to draw on national research and practice as it aspires to be a campus centered on continuous learning and improvement.
Introducer: Peter Quigley, University of Hawaii Community Colleges
Speaker: Scott Evenbeck, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, NY

5:00-6:00 pm

Welcome Reception
Unwind from the busy day as you catch up with old friends and make new ones! Join us in celebrating with this year's toolkit winner.

6:30 pm

Networking dinners hosted by Executive Committee members at local restaurants.
Join your colleagues for some lively conversation about your common interests and challenges. We will reserve tables for dinner at several nearby restaurants to be hosted by members of the Alliance Executive Committee. You can sign up when you register. Attendees are responsible for the cost of their dinner.


6:30-8:00 AM



Alliance Membership Update

8:30-10:00 am

Competency-Based Education: Best Practices for Institutions and Accreditors
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other non-traditional learning opportunities pose new questions about the value of seat time as demonstration of learning and the meaning and viability of the credit hour.  Employers want to know what the student knows and can do—not how many credit hours they have accumulated.  Some institutions are transitioning to adoption of new models for learning that are more flexible and help students demonstrate proficiency of skills regardless of time and space.  With the U.S. Department of Education awarding financial aid status to competency-based institutions, another barrier to competency-based education has been removed. Our panelists will discuss their approaches to competency-based education and highlight some best practices in this area from the constituents they serve.

Moderator: Mike Cartney, Lake Area Technical Institute
Speakers: Christopher Johnson, American Council on Education; Rebecca Klein-Collins, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning; Jeffrey Rosen, Higher Learning Commission; Sandra Elman, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

10:00-10:15 AM 


10:15-10:45 am

Community Colleges: The Underrepresented Students’ Pathway to the Middle Class
Community colleges are the entry point to higher education for communities that have historically been underrepresented in higher education. They play a key role in putting these communities on a path to the middle class.  You’ll learn about some of the best practices in this arena along with an update on key activities of the U.S. Department of Education and how they may impact community colleges.

Discussion Leader:  John Cech, Montana University System
Speaker:  Mark Mitsui, U.S. Department of Education (audio)

10:45-11:45 am

A Look Ahead: More Inside the Boxes?
As we make plans for our institutions’ futures, it is imperative that we incorporate effective use of resources and expertise available from federal agencies.  We must know what changes in existing programs are in the offing and what new programs might be added. What are the current hot topics being discussed among the leaders of these agencies?  Are there ways that we can help inform these conversations based on our understandings and expertise in the field? Join us for this critical update

Introducer: Maria Harper-Marinick, Maricopa Community Colleges
Speaker: David Longanecker, WICHE


Wrap-up and Adjournment