Native-Serving Institutions Summit sparks drive for nationwide alliance

Native-Serving Institutions Summit sparks drive for nationwide alliance

NASNTI Summit

The first annual Native American-Serving, Nontribal Institutions National Summit, July 26-27 in Denver, attracted nearly 100 higher education leaders to discuss, debate, and problem-solve issues unique to the 24 U.S. colleges and universities federally defined as Native-Serving Institutions (NSIs), based on their American Indian or Alaska Native student populations exceeding 10 percent—and to the tens of thousands of such students who attend these off-reservation institutions.

The Summit kicked off a new partnership between WICHE and Lumina Foundation. In December, Lumina granted WICHE $990,000 to build a consortium to help NSIs develop networks, speak with a strong and common voice on legislative and policy matters, and tailor strategies to help their students succeed. The event also saw release of a new WICHE survey that establishes data baselines related to Native-student graduation, retention, and remediation rates; sheds light on barriers to success; and identifies best practices for serving Native students. See photos from the event.

WICHE Commission lays groundwork for presidential search

WICHE Commission lays groundwork for presidential search

NASNTI Summit

The executive committee of the WICHE Commission met August 10, aligning on process aspects related to an ongoing search for a new WICHE president to succeed Joe Garcia, who departed in June. A search committee and an external search partner have been identified to lead the process, and a job description will be publicly available in the coming weeks, with a goal of filling the role in late 2018. David Longanecker, who was president of WICHE from 1999 until 2016, returned in June to serve as interim president.

WICHE’s Western Academic Leadership Academy kicks off 4th year

WICHE’s Western Academic Leadership Academy kicks off 4th year


Sixteen individuals from eight WICHE-region states gathered in Boulder in mid-July to begin a yearlong program designed to develop the skills and knowledge needed for chief academic officer roles at four-year postsecondary institutions. The Western Academic Leadership Academy consists of a three-day seminar in Boulder followed by listserv discussion, mentoring, and other activities through April 2019 with guidance from Academy faculty (all sitting or recently retired provosts) and guest experts on fundraising, budgeting, diversity, legislative relations, and other topics.

The Academy was launched in 2014 by the Western Academic Leadership Forum to help expand the pipeline of deans and other leaders prepared to advance to a chief academic officer position. When the 2018 cohort graduates, the Academy will have helped develop nearly 60 new WICHE-region academic leaders.

2018 Digital Inclusion Award winner ignites access to technology in rural Pakistani school

2018 Digital Inclusion Award winner ignites access to technology in rural Pakistani school



During his doctoral studies, Assistant Professor of Education Hamid Ikram set out to test the efficacy of bringing digital technologies into the classrooms of a remote, high-poverty village in Pakistan. Ikram designed a program to train teachers to incorporate technology into curriculum and instruction, leading to a significant increase in attendance, math and language achievement, and student and teacher motivation.

Ikram was honored in June by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) and partner GlobalMindED with the second annual Digital Inclusion Award, which recognizes contributions to the advancement of digital learning and leadership among first-generation student populations.

 

New med student is 1st CNMI beneficiary of WICHE Professional Student Exchange Program

New med student is 1st CNMI beneficiary of WICHE’s Professional Student Exchange Program


As 24-year-old Billie Ryman Pensader Ocampo begins his studies at the University of Hawaiʻi’s John A. Burns School of Medicine this month, he becomes the first-ever Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) student to benefit from WICHE’s reduced-tuition program for aspiring healthcare professionals.

Though CNMI joined WICHE in 2012, it just this year approved participation in the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP), which enables students in member states and territories to enroll in selected out-of-state professional healthcare programs and pay reduced tuition with support from their home state. Over 15,000 practitioners have earned health professional degrees in nearly a dozen disciplines through PSEP.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Washington in 2016, Ocampo returned to CNMI to work at a community hospital before deciding to pursue his dream of becoming a physician. “The PSEP aid will be a great assistance in helping me achieve a longtime goal of becoming a physician,” Ocampo tells WICHE. “Thank you for this opportunity and for increasing accessibility to professional education for those of us from the islands.”

WICHE presents on zero textbook costs

WICHE presents on zero textbook costs

Tanya Spilovoy, director for open policy for WCET at WICHE, reports, "I gave a presentation titled 'Zero Textbook Costs: Open Educational Resources Equity, Access, & Affordability,' at the Tribal Colleges and Universities Summer Meeting July 29-August 3. The attendees were very collaborative: we had a robust question/answer session. I spent the next few days talking with tribal college representatives interested in knowing more about OER. I was excited to meet people from the northernmost tip of Barrow, Alaska (Ilisagvik College) to the southern border town of Sells, Ariz. (Tohono O’Odham Community College) and every tribal college in between. I have been following up with the institutions after the meeting. There is great opportunity to reduce cost and make education more accessible and attainable for Native American post-secondary students through use of open educational resources."

Utah, Idaho, N.M. join forces with WICHE to prepare rural psychologists

Utah, Idaho, N.M. join forces with WICHE to prepare rural psychologists


Expanding one of its most successful behavioral health workforce development initiatives, the WICHE Mental Health Program has partnered with three more states—Utah, Idaho, and New Mexico—to develop accredited psychology internship programs in rural and underserved parts of those states.

A shortage of accredited internship slots for psychology doctoral students is a significant problem nationally, and is most acute in the rural West. WICHE works with state agencies and other partners to develop opportunities for doctoral students to train, work, and ideally make their home in underserved rural and remote areas.

Current WICHE-partner psychology consortia in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, and Oregon see more than half these budding psychology professionals remain to serve residents in those states.

WICHE Reading Room

WICHE Reading Room

Sharply differing views of state policymakers and education technology professionals on the cost of creating and supporting online courses have emerged as a major impediment to realizing the full potential of distance education. That’s the problem recently explored by Russ Poulin, WCET policy and analysis director, and Terri Taylor Straut in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.

A common perception among policymakers that online courses cost less to produce and therefore save students money on tuition doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, Poulin and Straut suggest. Nor does the insistence of many distance-education administrators that online courses cost as much as, if not more than, face-to-face instruction. Distance education can and should be more affordable, the authors conclude, but that will require greater attention to cost and price issues, and greater efforts to rethink existing structures, policies, and practices.

Interstate Passport convenes campus officials serving military/veteran student populations

Interstate Passport convenes campus officials serving military/veteran student populations


Because of their high level of mobility, active military and veteran students are among student populations most likely to benefit from Interstate Passport, which offers a friction-free way to transfer lower-division general education credits across state lines.

At a mid-July workshop in Boulder, 31 military and veterans affairs officials from 13 states learned more about the Interstate Passport Network and best practices for supporting veterans, family members, and active-duty students. Among presenters were R. Joel Farrell, chief of academic analytics for Air University; Cheryl Holt, education services specialist at Ellsworth Air Force Base; and William Kono, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s senior civilian advisor.

On the road: Selected recent or upcoming WICHE-led presentations

On the road: Selected recent or upcoming WICHE-led presentations

Save the Date!

Save the Date!

You heard it from WICHE

You heard it from WICHE


“The challenge is to help local communities create a safe space and build the trust that enables people to talk about things that are difficult to talk about. It’s not something that happens quickly. If you want to fail, you roll into a community and start with the hard conversations. They just won’t want to work with you anymore.”

—Dennis Mohatt, WICHE vice president for behavioral health,
in an interview with the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health on rural mental health

From the WICHE archives: prescient words?

From the WICHE archives: prescient words


“In a world in which change induced by scientific activity is now accelerating at an exponential rate, the symbol of graduation as a milestone reached—an education completed—blocks acceptance of continuing learning as an integral part of higher education. Continuing education holds the key to the adaptations in human attitudes and behavior that an increasingly affluent society will require. All the available data suggest that the need for continuing education in the western states, while already sizable, will increase by astronomic proportions—and the present supply of educational opportunities for adults in our colleges and universities is woefully inadequate to the meet the need.”

—University of California Dean of Extension Paul H. Sheats at the WICHE symposium “The Changing West,” spotlighted in WICHE’s November 1964 newsletter. Browse WICHE newsletter archives from 1954 to 1990