WICHE Staff -- Policy Analysis & Research

WICHE Policy Analysis and Research Mission:

The Policy Analysis and Research unit offers a variety of policy and information resources to support better informed decision making, principally at the state level. The unit is involved in a number of research projects and collaborative initiatives that focus on college completion: adult learners; multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development; and other critical areas. WICHE staff serve as a useful resource on a number of higher education issues, including state and federal financial aid, finance, articulation and transfer, the Common Core State Standards, and various college completion initiatives. Its publication series, including Policy Insights and Western Policy Exchanges, explore a wide range of significant policy issues. The unit also undertakes major, long-term grant-funded projects, collaborates with other regional and national organizations, and provides short-term technical assistance to members.

CONTACT POLICY UNIT STAFF

  • Peace Bransberger

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      As senior research analyst for WICHE's Policy Analysis and Research unit, Peace leads the production and analysis of WICHE’s quadrennial projections of high school graduates (Knocking at the College Door), WICHE’s annual data products such as Tuition & Fees in the West and Benchmarks of access and success, and data analysis and products for the Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange and state and institutional financing and financial aid research.  Prior to joining WICHE, Peace provided evaluation and program improvement services as a senior researcher with the Aspen Institute and as an independent consultant in the areas of workforce development, job training and postsecondary education for under-prepared, nontraditional and adult students.  Prior to that, Peace managed federal program evaluations at Westat and another private evaluation firm in Washington, DC.  Peace is a licensed adult educator, and taught at an adult charter school and community college in the Washington, DC area.  She earned her master’s degree from American University in Washington, DC and her undergraduate degree from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.  

    pbransberger's picture
    Senior Research Analyst
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0257
  • Laura Ewing

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    Administrative Manager
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0269
  • Colleen Falkenstern

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    Research Coordinator
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303-541-0313
  • Patrick Lane

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      Patrick Lane is the director of data initiatives, a role that includes managing the Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange, which seeks to improve linkages between state data systems to provide better information to students and their families while also improving education, workforce, and economic development policy. He previously coordinated WICHE’s Adult College Completion Network and has worked extensively on a project called Non-traditional No More: Policy Solutions for Adult Learners. Both projects focus on identifying policy and practice solutions to help adults with prior college credit return to postsecondary education to complete their degrees. He also coordinated WICHE’s College Access Regional Network, which focused on increasing the number of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. He came to WICHE having spent several years working in education policy in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. He received a master’s degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2007 and completed a Ph.D. in public administration at the University of Colorado Denver in 2015. He can be reached at 303.541.0266 or plane@wiche.edu.

    PLane's picture
    Director of Data Initiatives
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0266
  • Demarée Michelau

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      Demarée K. Michelau is the director of policy analysis at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). In this role, she manages WICHE’s Policy Analysis and Research unit and oversees externally-funded projects related to adult learners, projections of high school graduates, college access and success, and the development of a multistate longitudinal data exchange. The author of numerous reports and policy briefs, she also has experience in a variety of higher education policy issues, including articulation and transfer, equity and attainment, accelerated learning options, college affordability, common academic standards, and K-16 reform. Previously, she worked for the National Conference of State Legislatures as a policy specialist. Michelau received her bachelor's degree in public law from Northern Illinois University and her master's degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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    Vice President of the Office of Policy Analysis and Research
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0223
  • Sarah Ohle Leibrandt

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      Sarah Ohle Leibrandt is a research analyst for the Policy Analysis and Research Unit at WICHE.  Prior to joining WICHE, she worked for the Colorado Department of Education and Red Rocks Community College.  Sarah earned a Ph.D. in Education Policy from University of Colorado Boulder and a Bachelors degree from Wellesley College.  Sarah previously interned for WICHE in 2012 and is a proud Colorado native.

    sohle's picture
    Research Analyst
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0221
  • Christina Sedney

    csedney's picture
    Policy Analyst
    Policy Analysis and Research
    303.541.0238