Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders


The Future of Community Colleges: Thriving in a World in Flux

March 22-24, 2017
Long Beach, CA

*Download the 2017 FINAL Program
(accessible version available upon request)



Photo of Peter BahrPeter Riley Bahr serves as associate professor of higher education in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Bahr’s research deconstructs student pathways through community colleges and into the workforce or on to four-year postsecondary institutions. He recently received an Institute of Education Sciences grant to study, with colleagues at the Scripps Gerontology Center, older community college students with the goal of strengthening their educational and labor market outcomes. Bahr previously held a faculty appointment at Wayne State University and research appointments in the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges and the California Department of Education. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California-Davis.

Photo of Vanessa BrownVanessa Brown is currently the director of the Project Management Office (PMO), which she established in 2013, for the National Student Clearinghouse. She has 20 years of experience in launching new software products and delivering enterprise projects. The PMO has implemented the redesigned StudentTracker® service, reverse transfer project, and eTranscripts and is currently managing the student portal project. Previously, Brown ran her own consulting business working with businesses on their strategy and growth plans and also served as the director of business development at Freddie Mac. Vanessa holds an M.B.A. from George Washington University and a B.B.A. from James Madison University.

Photo of Boyoung ChaeBoyoung Chae is a policy associate of eLearning & open education at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). She led the development and implementation of several statewide OER initiatives including Open Course Library, Open Licensing Policy, and Open Washington, which was selected as a winner of 2016 Outstanding Site Award for Open Education Excellence. Recently, with her SBCTC colleague Mark Jenkins, she co-authored an OER research report awarded the Open Education Consortium’s Open Research Award for Open Education Excellence. Chae received her Ph.D. in instructional technology from the University of Georgia and her master’s in instructional systems from the Pennsylvania State University.

Photo of Christina ChoiChristina Choi has had the opportunity to serve as the student completion coach within student success and retention at Whatcom Community College for the past two years in Bellingham, WA. Her higher education roots come from residence life, as she served as a resident director at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA before making the move down the hill to Whatcom CC. She has received her Masters of Education in counselor education - student affairs from Clemson University in Clemson, SC and her Bachelors of Arts in psychology/family studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. Choi is fueled by her passion to work towards creating spaces for students to feel safe to explore their individual academic journeys, as she believes that every student’s academic journey is unique and impacted by the students' various identities.

Photo of Zhalisa ClarkeZhalisa Clarke, vice president of business development at Udacity, works with industry leaders like Google and Facebook to develop online tech training that is closely aligned with hiring needs and the skills most in demand in today’s market. Udacity leverages an interactive, project-based approach to learning coupled with coaching and community support to ensure that students can demonstrate their readiness for new jobs in technology.   Prior to Udacity, Clarke led business development and marketing teams at leading companies including frog design, Yahoo, American Express, and Citigroup, and she has extensive experience in management consulting with Bain & Co.   Clarke graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in economics and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Photo of Ryan CraigRyan Craig is a founding managing director of University Ventures. Prior to University Ventures, Craig founded and built Wellspring, the largest and leading organization providing treatment programs for overweight and obese children, adolescents and young adults. Craig headed the education & training sector at Warburg Pincus from 2001 – 2004 where he was the founding director of Bridgepoint Education, one of the largest online universities in the U.S. He received bachelor's degrees in literature and economics summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, and his law degree from the Yale Law School. He is on the advisory board of UCLA Extension. Craig is the author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education as well as many articles published in a range of higher education, technology and general interest publications.

Photo of Richard DeMillo Richard DeMillo is the Warren Professor of Computing, former John P. Imlay Dean of Computing, and director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Author of over 100 articles, books, and patents, he has held positions at Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Padua. He directed the Computer Research Division of the National Science Foundation and was Hewlett-Packard's first chief technology officer. He is the 2013 Lumina Foundation Inaugural Fellow. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Photo of Andy DorseyAndy Dorsey has been president of Front Range Community College (FRCC) since 2009, after serving for 14 years at the college as a faculty member, dean, and vice-president. He has led the college through significant expansions of programs and facilities and implementation of the guided pathways model. Before joining FRCC, Dorsey served in management positions at two for-profit firms and a human services agency and as legislative director for an Ohio congressman. Dorsey earned a B.A. in economics from Harvard College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and an M.A. from Lesley College.

Photo ofJonathan FinkelsteinJonathan Finkelstein is founder and chief executive officer of Credly, a leading digital credential service provider. Previously, he was founder of LearningTimes, and co-founder of HorizonLive (acquired by Blackboard), helping mission-driven organizations serve millions of learners through online programs and platforms. Finkelstein is author of Learning in Real Time (Wiley), contributing author to The Digital Museum, co-author of a report for the U.S. Department of Education on the potential for digital badges, and a frequent speaker on digital credentials and the future of learning and workforce development. He is a graduate of Harvard.

Photo of Joe Garcia Joe Garcia was appointed president of WICHE in June 2016. He served as the Lt. Governor of Colorado and as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, beginning in 2011. He had previously served on the WICHE Commission for nine years, including serving as its chair in 2011. During his time as Lt. Governor and as the SHEEO for Colorado, Garcia focused on increasing equity in outcomes for all students, particularly those from low income backgrounds and communities of color. Prior to being elected Lt. Governor, Garcia served as president of Colorado State University-Pueblo, which was named the Outstanding Member Institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities during his tenure. He also served as president of Colorado’s second largest community college, Pikes Peak Community College, where he was twice named President of the Year by the State Student Advisory Council. Garcia earned his B.S. in business at the University of Colorado-Boulder and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Photo of James Goodman James Goodman has served at Leeward Community College in Pearl City, Hawai‘i, as dean of arts & sciences since 1995. He has chaired his campus’ Developmental Education Committee and has worked with his faculty to develop a number of programs including the A.S. in natural sciences. He participated in the first round of WICHE’s Interstate Passport Initiative and chaired the Passport Criteria and Assessment Team for Written Communication in 2012; later recruiting faculty for round II. Previously, he was an associate professor in art and served as faculty senate chair. Goodman earned his B.F.A. and M.F.A. at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

Photo of Tom GreenTom Green is the associate executive director for consulting and strategic enrollment management for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). He comes from a 30-year background in higher education administration, where he spent over 20 years as vice president or dean of enrollment management at a number of colleges and universities in the United States. He has authored book chapters and articles on strategic enrollment management (SEM), recruitment and retention planning. He is editor-in-chief of SEM Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal, and oversees the AACRAO SEM Conference, the world’s largest, oldest and leading meeting of enrollment managers, now in its 26th year. Green holds a Ph.D. in higher education leadership, management and policy from Seton Hall University.

Photo of Sarah HeathSarah Heath is assistant provost and career and technical education state director with the Colorado Community College System. Heath has worked in career and technical education her whole career as a high school business and computer science teacher, state program director, a local system administrator, and now as the state director of CTE in Colorado. In her current position, she supports all secondary and post-secondary CTE programs in the state. Increasing workforce education and preparation is her life’s passion and she serves as the national past-president of the Association for Career and Technical Education to increase support for career and technical education and general career development in schools across the country. She also is proud to say she is a “triple Dawg” since all three of her degrees are from the University of Georgia.

Photo of Eric HeiserEric Heiser is the dean of the school of applied technology and technical specialties at Salt Lake Community College. He has worked in higher education for the past 11 years. Heiser was an assistant professor at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming, for six years and taught in the areas of business, management, and criminal justice. Heiser also spent time as a director and workforce training coordinator during his time with Central. Heiser has overseen and is currently leading SLCC’s School of Applied Technology to a transition from a clock-hour format into Competency-Based Education (CBE). Heiser is a reviewer for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in the area of CBE. He holds a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from Colorado State University.

Photo of Scott Jenkins Scott Jenkins serves as the director of state policy for Lumina Foundation. In that role, he leads development and advancement of the Foundation’s State Policy Agenda. Jenkins has a broad and extensive background in institutional, state, and federal policy development and execution. A few of his career highlights include serving as the education policy director to former Michigan Governor John Engler and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, the director of external relations for Western Governors University, and as a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education in the Bush administration. Jenkins has a B.S. in political science from The University of Central Florida.

Photo of Sally M. JohnstoneSally M. Johnstone is the president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), known nationally and internationally for turning data into knowledge to support strategic decision-making at institutions and agencies of higher education. Previously, Johnstone served as a vice president at Western Governors University and has also served as a provost at a public, comprehensive university, at WICHE, and as a faculty member. She now serves on the U.S. UNESCO Commission, and the editorial boards for Change magazine (USA) and the Journal of Open Learning (UK). She earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Photo of Dawn KazoleasDawn Kazoleas is the vice president of human resources for Weber Metals Inc., a metal forging company that services the aerospace industry.  She joined Weber last year after spending 25 years in both the automotive and oil and gas business performing various human resources positions in both unionized and non-unionized manufacturing and corporate settings. Kazoleas received her B.S. in industrial psychology at Arizona State University and a M. A. degree in organizational communication and labor relations from Michigan State University.

Photo of Rick KempRick Kemp has served as dean of instruction and partnerships for Rio Salado College for six years and has worked at the college since 1993.  In his role, he is responsible for planning, directing, and evaluating workforce and partnership programs to include:  early college, corporate and government partnerships, and over 25 occupational degree and certificate programs.  Kemp received his B.S. in communication from Arizona State University and his M.Ed. in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Photo of Randall KimmensRandall Kimmens has over 30 years of higher education administration and teaching experience primarily in community college environments. He has an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. Currently, he serves as associate vice chancellor of workforce development at Maricopa County Community College District where he is responsible for workforce development efforts at ten colleges, and two Skill Centers with a total enrollment of over 240,000 students. MCCCD has over 900 occupational educational/training programs. He is a board member of several workforce and economic development boards and has presented workforce development and occupational education seminars at national conferences and has won awards for his work in workforce development initiatives.

Photo of Victor KuoVictor Kuo currently serves as director of strategic planning and research at Seattle Colleges District which serves nearly 50,000 and is the largest community college system in Washington. He leads district-wide projects on strategic planning, data dashboards and visualization, predictive analytics, and special projects. He currently coordinates the district’s Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Services (IPASS) grant. Previously, he was an evaluation officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and served on the board of directors of the American Evaluation Association. He taught high school biology in Anaheim, California, and his Ph.D. in education is from Stanford University.

Photo of David LeaserDavid Leaser is the senior manager of strategic initiatives for IBM’s Training & Skills program. Leaser developed IBM’s first cloud-based learning solution and is the program developer for IBM’s Open Badge program. Leaser is the author of a number of thought leadership white papers on talent development, including “Migrating Minds” and “The Social Imperative in Workforce Development.” He has trained more than 4,000 clients and developed more than 30 training manuals and video tutorials. Leaser holds a master's degree from University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications and a bachelor's degree from Pepperdine University. He currently serves on the IMS Global Consortium Board to provide an industry perspective on digital credentials and the bridge from colleges to careers.

Photo of Michelle MancillaMichelle Mancilla has been a program assistant at Cerritos College for two years and is currently assisting in a program called Accelerated Instruction in Math and English (AIME). With AIME, she is involved with helping the director of the program conduct student orientations for the Success Center and has become the liaison for students that have questions regarding the AIME program. Mancilla has completed her associate of arts from Cerritos College in business administration and is currently attending Northwood University at the Cerritos campus on her way to obtaining her bachelor of arts in business management this May.

Photo of Eloy Ortiz OakleyEloy Ortiz Oakley has been appointed by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors as chancellor for the California Community Colleges beginning on December 19, 2016. Oakley was appointed as the superintendent-president of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) in 2007. Since his appointment, he has fostered strong relationships with members of the community, state and national policy leaders, his Board of Trustees and the faculty and staff of the college. He has provided statewide and national leadership on the issue of improving the education outcomes of historically underrepresented students. He joined LBCCD in 2002, serving as the assistant superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services. He attended the University of California, Irvine where he received his bachelor of arts in environmental analysis and design and master of business administration.

Photo of Catrina PoeCatrina Poe has been with Pearson for 10 years in a variety of positions, and she has over 25 years of experience in education. As vice president for strategic partnerships, she has an opportunity to partner with educational institutions around strategic initiatives. Working with senior level college executives, Poe and her team craft, design and implement solutions that solve tomorrow’s problems today. Poe has also been a college administrator, dean and faculty member. She holds a doctor of business administration and a master of organizational behavior from the University of Phoenix, and she is a published author.

Photo of Peter QuigleyPeter Quigley is the University of Hawai'i System Community Colleges' associate vice president for academic affairs and co-chair of the Interstate Passport Initiative. He also has served as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and chancellor at Leeward Community College. Prior to coming to Hawai'i, Quigley served as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Minnesota State University and as dean of academics/chief academic officer at Embry Riddle University. Quigley has held tenured professorships in Europe and the US. He has been awarded two Fulbright awards to the University of Bergen in Norway. His last book is Housing the Environmental Imagination; his newest book, co-edited with Scott Slovic, is Ecocritical Aesthetics: New Studies in Language, Beauty, and the Environment, forthcoming in 2017.

Photo of Tim RogersTim Rogers is currently the associate vice president for college support services, and the chief information officer at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. He has more than 30 years of community college experience in a diversity of roles. Previously, he served at Chemeketa as a faculty member for both developmental education and computer information systems. Some of his professional interests fall into the areas of instructional technology and college affordability. One of his current affordability initiatives is a community college textbook publishing house, the Chemeketa Press. Rogers holds a M.S. in educational leadership and policy from Portland State University.

Photo of Paul SakamotoPaul Sakamoto is the web application development manager of the University of Hawai`i Community Colleges System. He has been with the University since 2006. Sakamoto is a full stack application developer who specializes in interface design and data visualizations. Before dedicating his time to the University, he owned and operated multiple companies in the electronic contracting business and is also an accomplished commercial artist.

Photo of Jonell SanchezJonell Sanchez is the vice president for education services at the National Student Clearinghouse, responsible for the products and services to the K-12 and higher education community. He previously served as Pearson’s global vice president for employability and career success, and in 2012 assumed the role of vice president for college and career readiness. He has also served as The College Board’s senior director of academic initiatives and program development and associate dean of students at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Sanchez holds degrees from Rutgers College-New Brunswick, the Rutgers University Eagleton Institute of Politics, and New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.

Photo of Matthew SigelmanMatthew Sigelman is CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market analytics firm. For more than a decade, he has led Burning Glass in harnessing the power of data to deliver artificial intelligence technologies that have helped fill millions of jobs. Burning Glass data drives initiatives for more than a dozen state and national governments, as well as educational institutions and major employers. He is consulted frequently by national media, by researchers, and the White House. Sigelmanserved previously with McKinsey & Company and Capital One. He holds an B.A. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Photo of Susan StevensonSusan Stevenson currently serves as executive vice president and chief academic officer at Marion Military Institute (MMI) after joining the college in 2004 as academic dean. Previously, Stevenson served in various senior academic administrative positions in Tennessee and Virginia.  She has delivered numerous workshops on college student traits and characteristics, organizational effectiveness, and leadership, including visits to Saudi Arabia to present workshops to female university faculty and staff.  She holds a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University and received both a master’s and a bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University.

Photo of Suzanne WalshSuzanne Walsh is a deputy director on the postsecondary success team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she leads the foundation’s institutional transformation strategy. Before joining Gates, Walsh worked at two other foundations: Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis where she managed the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative; and, The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh where her diverse portfolio included community colleges, universities, workforce development, tech commercialization and transfer, city/county consolidation, immigration and regional economic development. She got her start in community college work as the coordinator of special projects at Cuyahoga Community College. Suzanne has her juris doctorate and master’s in social work from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s of science from Cornell University, and an associate’s degree in applied science from Hudson Valley Community College.

Photo of Amy WilliamsAmy Williams works for the Montana University System’s Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education managing two programs that give high school students an early start on college and career: dual enrollment and Big Sky Pathways (Perkins Programs of Study). She is a national dual and concurrent enrollment policy expert with a particular passion for career technical education. Williams is the current chair of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), State Policy Leadership Committee and is an active member in the Association of Career Technical Education (ACTE), and Advance CTE.

Photo of Laura WilliamsLaura Williams leads ground game and strategy as the city program manager at LinkedIn. As part of the Economic Graph vision of the company, Williams works to bring together employers, educators, government agencies and job seekers to better connect local communities and advance their economic opportunity. Prior to joining LinkedIn, Williams was the senior Marketing & community manager at Urbanspoon and she has deep experience in the policy and political worlds. Among other projects, she worked as a field director in the 2004 presidential race and as the director of volunteers for Seeds of Compassion, a five-day festival with the Dalai Lama.

Photo of Jen WorthJen Worth serves as senior vice president for workforce and economic development for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). In this role, Worth oversees projects that partner community colleges with workforce boards, economic development entities, labor market intermediaries, and other community organizations to drive workforce and economic opportunity. In addition to the various projects in the department, Worth also directs the annual Workforce Development Institute (WDI) an annual event for approximately 700 workforce development professionals at community colleges. She holds a master of public policy and management degree from the University of Melbourne in Australia.