The October 2017 newsletter from the leading regional agency serving
higher education throughout and beyond the American West

Learning-technologies maven joins WCET

Learning-technologies maven joins WCET

Stacey VAnderHeiden Guney, new WCET Learning-technologies innovatorAt Austin Community College (ACC) in Texas, Stacey VanderHeiden Güney led the transformation of a former J.C. Penney mall-store space into a technology-rich environment for learning, training, and community engagement.

"First-generation college students going to a traditional campus might feel intimidated or out of place," she said then about the ACCelerator, the high-tech learning center that was honored with the 2015 Campus Technology Innovators Award for IT Infrastructure & Systems. "Nobody has that feeling about going to the mall, even if you don't have money to spend."

Now at WICHE, she takes on a new challenge: leading an initiative to create a more robust and innovative marketplace for digital learning and courseware in U.S. postsecondary education.

Güney recently joined the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) to direct the Digital Learning Solution Network, which aims to increase demand for tools and practices that demonstrate improved outcomes for underserved students. Last May, WCET was awarded a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to serve as the "backbone" organization for the new network, which Güney will lead while overseeing grantee collaborations, fiduciary management, and other backbone services.

Güney comes to WICHE from Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo., where she was assistant vice president of academic affairs following her role at ACC as director of the ACCelerator.

New webinars project, assess region-by-region H.S. grad trends

New webinars project, assess college-age demographic trends region-by-region

Knocking at the College Door logoHear three recent recordings of webinars that highlighted institutional approach to regional H.S. graduate trends from WICHE’s December 2016 Knocking at the College Door report. In webinars co-hosted by WICHE and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, leaders from Northern Arizona University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley described student success initiatives for growing, diverse populations, and the presidents of Northern Michigan University and University of Southern Maine discussed recruitment challenges and solutions amidst regional population loss. The third, co-hosted by the State University of New York’s SAIL Institute, highlighted SUNY's initiative to increase student success as New York and other northeastern states face population decline and diversification.

WICHE welcomes new Colorado commissioner Antwan Jefferson

WICHE welcomes new Colorado commissioner Antwan Jefferson

Anton Jefferson, new Colorado commissionerThe newest member of the WICHE Commission is Antwan Jefferson, a clinical assistant professor in the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education and Human Development. A former high school English teacher, Jefferson holds degrees from Morehouse College and Brown University and earned a doctorate in educational leadership and innovation at CU Denver. Learn more about WICHE’s commission.

WICHE helps states upgrade behavioral health services

Helping states upgrade behavioral health services

Maricopa Fidelity Review Team
Maricopa Fidelity Review Team

With the opening of a new training center in Anchorage, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium—which provides healthcare for 158,000 individuals—is expanding to staff its 170 village clinics with behavioral health aides certified in the prevention of domestic violence, suicide, and substance abuse. WICHE’s Mental Health Program has partnered with this consortium to develop the BHA Checklist, a state-of-the-art tool for assessing the knowledge, skills, and performance of behavioral health aides.

WICHE’s Mental Health Program also recently signed a two-year contract extension under which WICHE will assist Arizona’s Maricopa County in evaluating Phoenix-area service providers of Assertive Community Treatment, Supported Employment, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Consumer-Operated Services.

Finally, the Mental Health Program was awarded a $66,786 contract to serve as a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) data consultant to the Washington Health Care Authority. WICHE program staff will conduct research and provide technical assistance to advise the Health Care Authority on how to meet SAMHSA reporting requirements while maximizing use of existing data and minimizing the burden on behavioral health partners. 

Reading room

Reading room

WICHE Insights report coverA new WICHE Insights report, Impact and Implications: Projections of Male and Female High School Graduates, finds that though there are more males than females under age 19, fewer males earn a diploma and pursue postsecondary education—a gap that is greatest among black and Hispanic students. The report also suggests that more attention must be given to occupational and pay disparities that many working females encounter despite higher educational attainment.

The WICHE-based Interstate Passport was referenced in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on how widely varying credit-transfer policies make earning a college degree more laborious and expensive. Roughly one-third of students transfer to another institution during their college career—in the process losing, on average, 43 percent of their course credits. The report cited the Passport, which facilitates block transfer of lower-division general education, as a promising new pathway for students transferring across state lines.

Legislative Advisory Committee spotlights key issues on state higher-ed agendas

Legislative Advisory Committee spotlights key issues on state higher-ed agendas

“Demographic Change in the West: Choices, Challenges, and Opportunities” was the theme of the annual meeting of WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee (LAC), Sept. 19-20 in Park City, Utah. The program included presentations on high-school graduation projections, financing higher education, affordability, distance education, open educational resources, strategies for serving underserved students, and new and emergent trends of legislative interest (including Promise Programs, Students’ Rights, Privacy, Free Speech, Credit Accumulation, Governance, and Cost & Value of Higher Education). You can download the agenda and presentations.

WICHE on the road

WICHE on the road

  • WICHE President Joe Garcia speaks at the 2017 Accelerating Latino Student Success (ALASS) Institute, Oct. 5-6 in Washington, D.C. and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference, Oct. 28-30 in San Diego.
     
  • Policy staffers Demi Michelau and Peace Bransberger will present on WICHE’s Knocking at the College Door report at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ annual meeting Oct. 21-25 in San Diego., and at the College Board Forum on Oct. 25-27 in New York City. They have recently presented at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) 2017 convention, the Montana Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Council’s summer conference, and the SHEEO Higher Education Policy Conference.
     
  • WICHE’s Pat Shea, director of academic leadership initiatives, will present on the Interstate Passport at the National Academic Advising Association’s annual conference, Oct. 11-14 in St. Louis.; at a Southern Regional Education Board meeting, Oct. 23-24 in Atlanta; and at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Dec. 2-5 in Dallas. In September, Passport presentations were made at the annual conferences of NACAC and the Association for General and Liberal Studies.
     
  • Policy staffers Patrick Lane and Sarah Leibrandt presented on WICHE’s Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange (MLDE) at the National Center for Education Statistics’ annual conference.

Save these dates!

Save these dates!

  • Oct. 25-27 for WCET’s 29th Annual Meeting, at the Westin Downtown Denver. Keynote speaker will be Mike Hess, executive director of the Blind Institute of Technology.
     
  • Nov. 9-10 for the fall WICHE Commission meeting, at the SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown. Speakers include Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; civil rights attorney Thomas Saenz; Francisco Rodriguez, chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District; and CU Boulder history professor Patty Limerick, chair of the Center of the American West. 
     
  • April 18-20, 2018, for the annual meeting of the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders, at the Motif in downtown Seattle. 
     
  • April 25-27, 2018, for the annual meeting of the Western Academic Leadership Forum, at the Hilton Vancouver, Wash.
     
  • May 7-8, 2018, for the spring WICHE Commission meeting, in Bozeman, Mont.

You heard it from WICHE

You heard it from WICHE

Mike Abbiattie, WCET Executive Director“My greatest hope is that we restate and refine our mission in higher education to be much more focused on student outcomes and less focused on where we’re going to find the next dollar. Failure to do so will mean that the big campuses get bigger, the small campuses get smaller, and diversity at every level will be less instead of more.” – WCET Executive Director Mike Abbiatti in "Future Forward: The Next Twenty Years of Higher Education,” a white paper by educational technology firm Blackboard.

 

Russ Poulin, WCET Director of Policy and Analysis“Accreditation is slow and innovation is fast; we are starting to see political and business pressure to find alternatives.” – Russ Poulin, WCET’s director of policy and analysis, in this Inside Higher Ed feature on the struggles of online-only institutions to earn accreditation.