Partnering with WICHE since 1955
Professor, Sacramento State University and Mayor, City of West Sacramento
Christopher Cabaldon was first elected Mayor of West Sacramento in 1998 and is currently serving his ninth term. He is the first mayor elected directly by the voters of the city, after serving three terms on the city council. As Mayor, his local and regional leadership on school facilities, effective governance, universal preschool, research-based reform, and workforce/education alignment have resulted in both scholarly recognition and improved student outcomes. One of the nation’s leading mayors on education policy and best practices, he is chair of the Jobs, Education and Workforce standing committee at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He is also president of The Linked Learning Alliance, a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Established in May 2008, the Linked Learning Alliance aims to build a collective voice and coordinate efforts to expand access to Linked Learning in California—an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with real-world learning opportunities in fields of engineering, health care, performing arts, law, and more. From 1997 to 2003, Cabaldon was vice chancellor of the California Community Colleges System. He earned his B.S. in environmental economics from UC Berkeley, in addition to a Master of Public Administration from CSU Sacramento.
President, California State University, Stanislaus
Ellen Junn is the 11th president of California State University. As President of Stan State, she has established a strong reputation for displaying a focus for implementing new and innovative programs for student success, especially for non-traditional students, supporting a number of initiatives including Freshman Convocation, Freshman Year Experience seminars and Design Your Life courses, as well as building new state-of-the art technology-enhanced Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs). Other initiatives support faculty success with enhanced funding for research, scholarly and creative activity, use of high impact practices, and supporting numerous faculty learning communities. Another key area of focus has been promoting institutional inclusion.
Dr. Junn has a remarkable and extensive 35-year history with the CSU, having worked at five other CSU campuses prior to joining Stan State. She served as provost and vice president at CSU Dominguez Hills, provost and vice president at San Jose State University, associate provost at Fresno State, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Development at CSU Fullerton, and assistant professor at CSU San Bernardino. She also served as a visiting professor at Indiana University.
President Junn earned a bachelor’s degree in experimental and cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan, where she graduated cum laude and received high honors in psychology. She obtained both a master’s and Ph.D. in cognitive and developmental psychology from Princeton University. In addition, she holds a Management Development Program Certificate from Harvard University. She is widely published and has written numerous peer-reviewed research and journal articles on topics, such as supporting the success of underserved students, the importance of university-community engagement and strategies for supporting non-tenure-track faculty — especially women and minorities, as well as promoting innovative teaching strategies.
She is the first Korean-American woman president appointed in the US to a four-year public institution.
Director of Higher Education Excellence and Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
Robert Shireman is director of higher education excellence and senior fellow at The Century Foundation working on education policy with a focus on affordability, quality assurance, and consumer protections.
He served in the Clinton White House as a senior policy advisor to the National Economic Council, and in the Obama administration as deputy undersecretary of education. In 2004 he founded The Institute for College Access & Success, and in 2011 launched the policy organization California Competes.
In his various roles since 1989 Shireman has led successful efforts to reform student loans, streamline the financial aid process, promote campus diversity, and protect consumers from predatory colleges. He has shepherded the evolution of the nation’s income-based student loan repayment system from its initial adoption in 1992 to its expansion and improvement by President Barack Obama. He organized the federal response to emerging signs of predatory for-profit career training in 2009, leading to a widely discussed set of regulatory reforms and enforcement actions. Shireman’s analysis of local needs in California prompted changes in the funding formula for that state’s community colleges, following on his earlier work to improve the ethnic and economic diversity of California’s private colleges. He led an effort that significantly simplified the process of applying for federal college aid, and pressed for and ultimately won the elimination of costly middlemen from the federal loan programs so that more grant aid could be made available to low-income students.
Under Shireman’s leadership, in 2018 The Century Foundation won a contract with the State of California to develop recommendations for reforming the state’s approach to college affordability. In addition to his role at Century, Shireman serves on the board of uAspire, a national nonprofit that helps low-income students find quality, affordable college options, and The Opportunity Institute, an education policy think tank.
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