LAC Annual Meeting 2017

Annual Meeting, September 19-20, 2017

Park City Marriott

Demographic Change in the West: Choices, Challenges & Opportunities


Tuesday, September 19

Legislative Spotlight: Utah’s Higher Education Priorities and Accomplishments

This session featured a discussion with the Chair of Utah’s Senate Education Committee focused on the state’s upcoming legislative priorities for higher education and a reflection on their key legislative accomplishments and challenges over the last session.

Spencer Jenkins, assistant commissioner, Utah State Board of Regents

Senator Ann Millner, Utah 

Knocking at the College Door: What WICHE’s High School Graduate Projections Mean for the West

In 2016 WICHE released its latest iteration of high school graduate projections, detailing projections by state through 2032. These data show slowing growth in the number of graduates in the West through the mid-2020s, followed by a decrease in the overall number of graduates. During this period, growth is largely driven by a decrease in the White student population and growth in the Hispanic youth population, with variation across the Western states. The session explored trends for the Western states and policy approaches states and institutions are taking to respond to these changing demographics.

Demarée Michelau, vice president, policy analysis and research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education | PRESENTATION

Don Bennett, deputy director, Washington Student Achievement Council | PRESENTATION
Kim Hunter Reed, executive director, Colorado Department of Higher Education | PRESENTATION

Cost and Price of Distance Education - Update

WICHE’s Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) released a report in 2017 detailing findings from their 2016 research about the economics of distance education courses. Building on the initial research results shared at last year’s meeting, report author Russell Poulin provided an update on the findings and led a discussion about implications for states and institutions.

Joseph Garcia, president, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Dennis Jones, president emeritus, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
Russell Poulin, director, policy and analysis, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) | Distance Education Price and Cost Report

Financing Attainment: What Does an Educated Workforce Cost and Who Pays for It?

States across the West have set ambitious postsecondary attainment goals to meet the evolving needs of their workforce. Yet what will meeting these goals actually take? Higher education finance experts were joined by one of WICHE’s LAC members to discuss the projected costs states will face in achieving attainment goals and states’ role in financing sustainable higher education systems equipped to serve a new generation of students.

Dennis Jones, president emeritus, National Center for Higher Education Management SystemsHigher Education Funding Policy: The Role of Legislatures in Better Aligning Funding to Achieve State Priorities

Representative Gerry PolletWashington | PRESENTATION
Jane Wellman, senior advisor, College Futures Foundation | Securing the Public Trust: Practical Steps toward Higher Education Finance Reform in California

The Affordability Question: What Does “Affordable” Mean in the Context of Higher Education

With cost of attendance rising steadily over the last decade, there is legitimate concern among students, families, policymakers, and others about the impact  on students—especially those from low-income backgrounds—pursuing higher education. The question of what an “affordable” postsecondary education means is now more important than ever. This session examined different perspectives on what an affordable higher education can and should look like and possible strategies for addressing rising costs for students.

Demarée Michelau, vice president, policy analysis and research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Ben Cannon, executive director, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission | PRESENTATION
Jamey Rorison, director of research and policy, Institute for Higher Education Policy PRESENTATION

Studies in Success: Serving a New Generation of Students

Institutions across the West are striving to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for high-quality jobs. Leaders in the region shared programs and practices they are using to ensure success for all of their students and the lessons they have learned along the way.

Joseph Garcia, president, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Michael Cartney, president, Lake Area Technical Institute | PRESENTATION
Bert Glandon, president, College of Western Idaho PRESENTATION

Wednesday, September 20

Opportunities with Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources or “OER” hold great promise for reducing students’ cost of attendance, yet implementing OER successfully requires navigating a complicated array of considerations. This session provided an overview of North Dakota’s journey through OER implementation, including their challenges, successes, and implications for other states in the West.

Russell Poulin, director, policy and analysis, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET)

Representative Mark SanfordNorth Dakota
Tanya Spilovoy, Director of Open Policy, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET)  | PRESENTATION

The 2017 Legislative Sessions

This session presented highlights and trends from the 2017 legislative sessions; during the subsequent facilitated discussion, LAC members shared their perspectives.

Christina Sedney, policy analyst, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education | PRESENTATION