Alliance 2018 Annual Meeting | Program


Changing the World or Changing with the World

April 18-20, 2018
Seattle, WA

*Download the 2018 PRELIMINARY Program
(accessible version available upon request)



Location: The Motif Seattle

Noon - 4:30 pm


1:00 - 4:30 pm

Executive Committee Meeting
(executive committee members only)

5:00 - 6:00 pm

Welcome Reception
Unwind from the busy day as you catch up with old friends and make new ones!

6:30 pm

Networking Dinners
Join your colleagues for some lively conversation about a topic that concerns you. We will reserve tables for dinner at several nearby restaurants to be hosted by members of the Alliance Executive Committee. You can sign up for your preference when you register. Attendees are responsible for the cost of their dinner.

  • Mike Cartney, Lake Area Technical Institute
  • John Cech, Montana University System
  • Joyce Hammer, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
  • Doug Murray, New Mexico Military Institute
  • Peter Quigley, University of Hawaii System
  • Clifton Sanders, Salt Lake Community College


7:00 - 5:00 pm


7:30 - 8:30 am


8:30 - 8:45 am

Welcome to the Alliance Annual Meeting!
Lita Burns, North Idaho College and Alliance Chair

8:45 - 9:30 am

Keynote: The Civic Role of Higher Education in a Changing World
In this era of uncertainty and impermanence across the globe and in every corner of American society, institutions of higher education are increasingly becoming anchor institutions in cities and regions. Their core commitment to knowledge development, economic growth and technology transfer, talent development and increasingly, elucidating social and cultural dynamics have them being called upon to play more and more prominent roles. Business, government, philanthropy and civic entrepreneurs increasingly look to our institutions to be honest brokers and valuable partners in regional renewal. How well are we doing?

Introducer: Joe Garcia, WICHE

Speaker: Mary Walshok, University of California, San Diego 

9:30 - 9:45 am


9:45 - 10:45 am

Looking Back to Race Ahead
The number of apprenticeship opportunities in this country has been growing rapidly in recent years “helping American workers acquire the skills they need to get good jobs while ensuring companies can attract the talent required to succeed in this fast-moving global economy,” says U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. What is the new twist on this Middle Ages’ concept that is making these programs so attractive to both students and employers?  How are colleges modifying their existing programs or building new ones to incorporate apprenticeship opportunities?

Moderator: Mike Cartney, Lake Area Technical Institute

Panelists: Robert “Joel” Farrell, Community College of the Air Force; Marcia Hultman, South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation; Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (WA)

10:45 - 11:00 am

Room Change/Break

11:00 am - Noon

Concurrent Sessions

Essential Skills Spell Success in a Global Economy
Employees need more than subject matter expertise in today’s global economy. Employers want employees with strong essential skills such as critical thinking, communications, and teamwork. Why are these and other skills so important to employers? What is the role of colleges in ensuring that these skills are developed?

Moderator: Steve MullinWashington Roundtable

Panelists: Ben Espitia, Goodwill Industries; Dija Fraser, Starbucks Coffee Company; Shaunta Hyde, Alaska Airlines

Interstate Passport: Putting Learning Outcomes to Work
The Interstate Passport facilitates block transfer for students crossing state lines because it is based on agreed upon learning outcomes in nine knowledge of concept and skill areas, rather than on individual courses and credits. Institutions identify a “Passport Block” of courses through which the agreed upon outcomes are achieved – i.e., lower division general education requirements in the nine areas completed. In its first year of operation, over 28,000 Passports were awarded.  A robust tracking system will evaluate student progress.

Moderator: Jane Sherman, Passport State Coordinator (also panelist)

Panelists: Judy Hay, Laramie County Community College (WY); Gary Pritchard, Cerritos College (CA)

Noon - 12:15 pm

Room Change/Break

12:15 - 1:15 pm

Awards Luncheon
Join us in congratulating the winner of this year’s Bernice Joseph Academic Leaders Award.

Host: Clifton Sanders, Salt Lake City Community College

Lightning Round: Facing Wellness Challenges Together
Given the diverse needs of today’s student population, we face many challenges especially in the wellness arena.  Increasingly, we are serving students who are suffering with mental or behavioral health issues, drug addiction, food insecurity, homelessness, or other difficulties.  How do we most effectively meet these needs with our limited resources?  Are there ways we could work together to find good solutions? Join this session to participate in very frank roundtable discussions among colleagues about the lessons learned from both successes and failures in addressing wellness issues on your campus.

Discussion Leader: Kaylyn Bondy, Williston State College (ND)

Table Hosts:

  • Bobbi Merfalen, Northern Marianas College 
  • Suzette Robinson, University of Hawaii Community Colleges
  • Todd Schwartz, College of Southern Idaho (invited)
  • Van Ton-Quinlivan, California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office (invited)
  • Tim Rogers, Chemeketa Community College (OR)
  • Susan Kazama, Kapi’olani Community College (HI)
  • Jim Jacobsen, Southeast Technical Institute (SD)

1:15 - 1:30 pm


1:30 - 2:30 pm

Concurrent Sessions

Increasing Access and Completion: Reflections on Implementing Guided Pathway and Promise Programs
With increased expectations from students and external stakeholders, community colleges from across the nation are actively seeking to identify and implement high-impact practices that remove excess barriers to higher education, and are also actively seeking ways to increase persistence, retention, and completion.  Simultaneously, many community colleges are working in an environment of declining resources and student enrollments.  This panel will discuss implementation processes, lessons learned, and preliminary results of guided pathways and promise initiatives that have been implemented at their respective institutions.

Moderator:  Joe Schaffer, Laramie County Community College (WY)

Panelists: David Fabish, Cerritos College (CA); Debra Gilchrist, Pierce College (WA); Chuck Lepper, Salt Lake Community College; Allison Sieving, Pierce College 

Future Directions for Academic Advising & Career Services

With community colleges serving as the workforce engine for states’ economies, the intersection of their academic advising and career services is crucial to success in this role.  This panel discussion will focus on the ever-changing role of academic advising and career services by highlighting their overlap, distinct differences, and opportunities for growth and collaboration.  Further perspectives and discussion will take place regarding external partnerships and connections with employers within this changing environment. We’ll also learn about a very creative new career pathways tool.

Moderator:  Deborah Kish, Aims Community College (CO) 

Panelists:  Jason Krupp, St. Petersburg College (FL); Chrissy Davis Jones, Spokane Falls Community College (WA)

2:30 - 2:45 pm

Room Change/Break

2:45 - 3:45 pm

Indigenous Approaches to Academic Success and Community Partnership
The West is home to hundreds of distinct Indigenous nations that we have a responsibility to serve in a responsive way. It is important to build meaningful partnerships that lend insight into the unique challenges Indigenous peoples face on pathways to academic success and community development. This panel of Indigenous academic and community leaders will share models and initiatives that have demonstrated success for community engagement and student success.

Moderator:  Evon Peter, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Panelists:  Carmen Fernandez, Northern Marianas College; Keiki Kawai'ae'a, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo; Nick Tilsen, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (SD)

3:45 - 4:00 pm


4:00 - 5:00 pm

A Philanthropist’s View:  Changing the Higher Education World
As the director of Education, Postsecondary Success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the U.S. Program, our speaker oversees work to substantially increase the number of students who acquire a postsecondary degree or certificate.  He’ll tell us about some of this exciting work, what the Foundation is learning, and what still needs to happen.

Introducer: Joyce HammerWashington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Speaker: Dan Greenstein, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 


Dinner on your own


7:30 - 8:30 am

Breakfast and Alliance Membership Meeting

8:30 - 8:45 am


8:45 - 9:30 am

Managing Change: Leading with Purpose
Drawing upon her 28-year presidency and experience as an international thought leader in higher education, Juliet García will provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities in addressing issues of equity, inclusion, and community engagement. She will speak to how to increase diversity at all levels and the importance of re-spiriting the soul.

Introducer:  Evon Peter, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Speaker:  Juliet García, University of Texas System 

9:30 - 10:30 am

Perspectives on Community College Leadership: A Conversation with Two Successful Presidents
In this session, we’ll hear from two very successful community college presidents about the important mission of community colleges in today’s changing world and how the roles of the president and chief instructional officer are changing too.  What are some of the big leadership challenges and opportunities ahead? How would they like to change the community college world?

Moderator:  Lita Burns, North Idaho College

Panelists:  Mark Mitsui, President, Portland Community College (OR); Mary Spilde, President Emerita, Lane Community College (OR)

10:30 - 10:45 am


10:45 - 11:30 am

“Alternate Facts” Community Colleges Tell Ourselves and How Marketing Can Reforge the Truth
Most of us ignore marketing until enrollment is down! At the same time, we tell ourselves that as the affordable, accessible and close to home college we are/should be the “college of choice.” Pamela Cox-Otto, Community College Whisperer and 35-year veteran of the community college “good fight,” talks about the lies we tell ourselves, the realities of reaching and serving our students…and how marketing can do more for you than you think!

Introducer: Karla Fisher, Maricopa Community Colleges (AZ)

Speaker: Pam Cox-Otto, Interact Communications Office

11:30 - 11:45 am

Wrap Up/Adjournment