Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders

FROM THE CHAIR

 

Dear Colleagues~
 

Last year at this time I welcomed you to the Alliance’s first annual meeting. In that letter, I underlined the spirit of our alliance by stating the following:

There is no doubt that the challenges facing higher education are many and complex. The Alliance was formed out of the recognition that these issues are bigger than any one campus or system. The changes we face in economic restructuring, technological innovation, attainment rates, and workforce alignment, as well as in defining quality and success, all speak to a sense of urgency.

A year has passed since the Alliance's first annual meeting, and it’s time for reflection on our beginnings and where we are headed. The recent recession has caused Americans from all quarters to question and rethink many standard American institutions. In many cases this has given way to pessimism. Everything from our financial systems to college degrees has come in for heavy doses of rethinking.

A recent article in the Huffington Post focused on concerns around our educational systems. Some Americans spend thousands—even hundreds of thousands--of dollars on higher education. As the cost of a degree continues to rise, it appears some have begun to question the worth of a college education.

The article goes on to state that the actual number of people who believe in the value in education is way down. Certainly, the economic downturn has a detrimental impact on hope in general. Education as a social value has always been about hope and promise. Reflecting the Alliance’s mission, innovating for more success and more promise was the spirit of our first meeting, “Change by Design@EDU.” Our second conference pauses and asks about the driving elements of such innovation and its agenda: What is success and completion?

The Alliance is committed to serious and well thought out ways forward and dedicated to engaging new directions in change and improvement, but it is equally committed to avoiding headlong leaps towards unexamined trajectories. In this light, The Alliance offers a serious and multi-voiced discussion on “success and completion.” What is it is? How do we know? Who is ahead of the curve? This term has different values depending on one’s position in the education industry. Professors, accreditation leaders, business leaders, students, academic administrators, parents, all have a different take on what constitutes success and even completion. This conference will tackle these essential issues and more.

We’re especially pleased to be holding part of the meeting this year in conjunction with the California Community Colleges Chief Academic Officers (CCCCIO). On Wednesday, CCCCIO members will attend our breakfast and morning sessions before we convene for a joint lunch. During the afternoon, Alliance members are invited to attend the CCCCIO sessions. This will be a great opportunity to share perspectives with more colleagues and we look forward to some lively discussions on many timely and important issues facing two-year institutions.

 

Photo of Peter Quigley

Peter Quigley, Alliance Chair
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Hawaii Community Colleges

 

Who Should Attend

In attendance you will find colleagues from the WICHE region eager to share the lessons they’ve learned from tackling a host of institutional and academic challenges, including the ones you’re facing.

  • Vice presidents and directors of academic affairs at community colleges and technical schools
  • Chief executive officers and chief academic officers of related systems and statewide agencies
  • Institutional staff with expertise in the program topic areas, accompanying those above at their invitation