Monday, October 19, 2020
The RP Group
Keynote Speakers for the Strengthening Student Success Conference

Keynote speakers for our Strengthening Student Success Conferences are leaders and visionaries in their fields who present attendees with big picture ideas and unique perspectives to help them deepen their understanding of the complexity of students' lives, the elements of learning, and institutional environments. Most importantly, our speakers inspire our community to take action and help shape their own practice and the success of students.

#SSSC20 Online Series Keynote Speakers

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart
President | Amarillo College

Dr. Russell Lowrey-Hart

Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart currently serves as President of Amarillo College and was recently named a Top Ten Finalist for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. His leadership is focused on improving student success through systemic and cultural change centered on one word — love, and by empowering the student voice in redesigning higher education.

During Dr. Lowery-Hart’s career, he developed the systemic Culture of Caring, targeting removal of poverty barriers, scaling accelerated learning options, and ensuring employees intentionally love students to success. Amarillo College’s work on poverty was featured in The Atlantic (June 2018).

Dr. Lowery-Hart was selected into the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a rigorous executive leadership program led by the Aspen Institute and the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative. He served as the chair for the Amarillo “No Limits/No Excuses” Partners for Postsecondary Success Collective Impact, a 21-organization collaborative focused on education certificate and degree completion leading to living wage employment. Dr. Lowery-Hart also served as the chair for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee charged with evaluating and redesigning the state of Texas general education requirements.

Dr. Lowery-Hart previously served as Vice-President of Academic Affairs for Amarillo College and was named the National Council of Instructional Administrators Academic Leader of the Year for 2014. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio University, M.A. from Texas Tech University, and B.S. from West Texas State University.

While his calling is education reform, his passion is family. His wife, Tara, sons, Christopher and Campbell, daughter, Cadence, and dog, Sadie, fill his life with beauty and joy.

Dr. Angélica Garcia
President | Berkeley City College

Dr. Angélica Garcia

Dr. Angélica Garcia is an educational leader who is passionate about issues of access, equity, and student success in higher education. Over the past 16 years her professional experiences include direct student support, teaching, and administrative roles in non-profit organizations, secondary education, and higher education. Currently, Dr. Garcia proudly serves as the President of Berkeley City College and before that, she served as Vice President of Student Services at Skyline College, where she successfully led the implementation of Guided Pathways, the Promise Scholars Program, the Student Equity & Support Programs Division, and the Equity Institute.

As an experienced educator, Dr. Garcia combines her education and training as a social worker with her research and work in higher education to design and implement data informed programs and services that support quality instruction and comprehensive, holistic student services. She firmly believes that community colleges serve as pathways to liberation for historically minoritized communities. Dr. Garcia’s experience as a first-generation college student of color informs her lens to see students’ cultural capital and skills as strengths they bring to the college campus. She is committed to leading with integrity and promotes building collaborative relationships across campus cultures to build educational institutions that work for equity and racial justice.

Dr. Garcia’s leadership and equity advocacy includes her current appointments to the Student Centered Funding Formula Oversight Committee, the HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) Board of Directors, and the Vice President and Co-Founder of COLEGAS (California Community College Organización de Latinx Empowerment, Guidance and Advocacy for Success).

Dr. Garcia’s teaching at four-year institutions has included courses in undergraduate, master, and doctoral programs. She earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at San Francisco State University, a Master’s in Social Work at San Diego State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal and Civic Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California.

  SSSC Past Years Keynote Speakers

See the full list of keynote speakers from previous Strengthening Student Success Conferences below

Strengthening Student Success Conference Past Years Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab
Professor of Higher Education & Sociology | Temple University
Founder | Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab

Dr. Goldrick-Rab, PhD, is Professor of Higher Education Policy and Sociology at Temple University, and Founding Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia. She is also the Chief Strategy Officer for Emergency Aid at Equity, a student financial success and emergency aid company, and founded Believe in Students, a nonprofit distributing emergency aid.

Dr. Goldrick-Rab is best known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education, having led the four largest national studies on the subject, and for her work on making public higher education free. She is the recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholars Award, the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award, and the Carnegie Fellowship. In 2016, POLITICO magazine named her one of the top 50 people shaping American politics and she is ranked sixth in the nation among education scholars according to Education Week. Her latest book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream, won the 2018 Grawemeyer Award, and was featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The Chronicle of Higher Education calls Dr. Goldrick-Rab “a defender of impoverished students and a scholar of their struggles,” an accurate description of her life’s work.

She holds a PhD and MA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Sociology from George Washington University.

Dr. Edward Bush
President | Cosumnes River College
Founder  | African American Male Network and Development Incorporated (A2MEND)

Dr. Edward BushDr. Edward Bush is an innovative leader with over 20 years of experience in the California Community College system. He currently serves as the President of Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California. Under his leadership, the college has seen improvement of student outcomes while reducing gaps in achievement for students of color and other historically marginalized student populations.

Dr. Bush is active in several community organizations including serving on the board for four non-profit foundations. This includes the African American Male Network and Development Incorporated (A2MEND), which he founded. A2MEND is a non-profit organization that is comprised of African American male administrators who utilize their scholarly and professional expertise to foster institutional change within the community college system. Additionally, he co-authored The Plan: A Guide for Women Raising African American Boys from Conception to College and African American Male Theory. He also published three book chapters and 10 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Bush holds a PhD in Urban Educational Leadership from Claremont Graduate University, a Master’s degree in Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

Watch his full #SSSC19 keynote address!

Tina Curiel-Allen
Student  | University of California Davis

Tina Curiel-Allen is a queer Xicana/Boricua living in Modesto and a recent graduate of Modesto Junior College and UC Davis with a major in Xicanx Studies. During her time at UC Davis, she co-founded Beyond the Stats, an organization for formerly incarcerated and system-impacted students. Tina is also the Communications Specialist at MILPA (Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement), an organization of formerly incarcerated and system-impacted constituents committed to supporting next-generation infrastructure and leadership within communities, organizations, institutions, and systems.

Her writings and poetry have been published across multiple online platforms and in Teen Vogue. Tina’s cultura and experiences inform her work and activism.

Watch her full #SSSC19 keynote address!

Dr. Victor Rios

Dr. Victor Rios is an award-winning teacher, author, and speaker, currently serving as a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Rios has worked with local school districts to develop programs and curricula aimed at improving the quality of interactions between authority figures and youth. 

Pairing his own research with his personal experience living on the streets, dropping out of school, and being incarcerated as a juvenile, Rios has developed interventions for marginalized students aimed at promoting personal transformation and civic engagement. These programs have been implemented in Los Angeles, California (Watts); juvenile detention facilities; and alternative high schools. 

Rios is the creator of the sociological theories, "The Youth Control Complex,” "Racialized Punitive Social Control," and "Cultural Misframing." He is the author of five books including Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys (2011), for which he is the co-winner of the 2013 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award.

Rios has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Primer Impacto, and National Public Radio. His TED Talk, “Help for Kids the Education System Ignores,” has garnered over 1.2 million views. Rios has also advised the Obama administration on gun violence and policing and is the subject of the documentary film The Pushouts. Rios received his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005. 

Dr. Veronica A. Keiffer-Lewis (Neal)
Organizational Equity and Cultural Humility Specialist | Allied Path Consulting

Dr. Veronica Neal

Dr. Veronica Neal is an organizational equity and cultural humility specialist with nearly three decades of experience as a diversity and social justice educator, trainer, coach, and consultant. She holds certifications as a diversity professional, integral coach, and community/workplace conflict mediator.

Neal brings to her teaching and consulting practice the theories of justice-based leadership, cultural humility, and multicultural education from her graduate studies as well as her practical experience coaching, organizing, facilitating, and teaching. Her focus is on developing cultural humility across the lifespan, peace and social justice praxis, equity change management, unconscious bias and oppression transformation, and attitudinal healing.

In addition to an active consulting schedule, Neal currently serves as the faculty advisor to the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Education at De Anza College, where she was the inaugural Equity Director — setting the college’s tone for equity and social justice and building the equity office approach and infrastructure. Neal has a passion for community colleges and has worked with over 30 colleges within California alone, in addition to California Community College (CCC) leadership organizations such as the Chancellor’s Office, 3CSN, Academic Senate for CCC, and CCC Classified Senate.

Neal also coaches educational leaders, health/social workers, students, and community activists to bring out the best in themselves and their teams through equity and cultural humility initiatives. Neal serves as Department Chair of International Peace and Conflict Studies at De Anza College while also teaching at San Francisco State University. Her greatest joy and ongoing inspiration is her family, which include two beautiful children and partner whom she calls her best friend.

Alejandro Lomeli
Student | California State University Long Beach

Alejandro Lomeli is a first-generation college student and a recent graduate of Long Beach City College (LBCC). Lomeli served in many roles during his time at LBCC, including student government representative and the student member on the district's Board of Trustees.

As well as working with his local student government, Mr. Lomeli served two terms as the Vice President of System Affairs (VPSA) for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC). As VPSA, he oversaw all statewide participatory governance student appointments, provided regular trainings on students’ decision-making rights, and tracked several initiatives affecting the community college system.

Mr. Lomeli is currently serving as a commissioner for the California Student Aid Commission, overseeing financial aid policy and leadership for the state and is completing his undergraduate degree at CSULB in Criminal Justice with hopes of joining the Long Beach Police Department, focusing specifically on community-oriented programs.

Sonia Nazario
Pulitzer Prize Winner | Journalist

Sonia Nazario is an award-winning journalist whose stories have tackled some of this country’s most intractable problems -- hunger, drug addiction, immigration -- and have won some of the most prestigious journalism and book awards. Nazario is best known for "Enrique's Journey," her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, "Enrique's Journey" won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003. It was turned into a book by Random House and became a national bestseller.

Nazario recent humanitarian efforts to get lawyers for unaccompanied migrant children led to her selection as the 2015 Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award recipient by the Advocates for Human Rights. She was also named a 2015 Champion of Children by First Focus and a 2015 Golden Door award winner by HIAS Pennsylvania. In 2016, the American Immigration Council gave her the American Heritage Award. Also in 2016, the Houston Peace & Justice Center honored her with their National Peacemaker Award.

Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and in Argentina, has written extensively about Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. She has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a “trendsetter” by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012 Columbia Journalism Review named Nazario among “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40.” She began her career at the Wall Street Journal, and later joined the Los Angeles Times.

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley
Chancellor | California Community Colleges

Eloy Ortiz Oakley is best known throughout California and the nation for implementing innovative programs and policies that help students succeed in college. Oakley strongly believes that California’s emerging economies demand a workforce with quality credentials and that the state’s 114 community colleges play a pivotal role in moving California forward. Under Oakley’s leadership, the Long Beach Community College District has received numerous awards and recognitions for its efforts to improve student completion rates and for directly supporting a strong small business and entrepreneurship eco-system throughout the greater Southern California region.

Oakley was appointed as the Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) in 2007. While there he led one of the most diverse community colleges in the nation and provided statewide and national leadership on the issue of improving the education outcomes for historically underrepresented students. For his efforts, the James Irvine Foundation recognized him with their 2014 Leadership Award. Also in 2014, Gov. Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents. In this role, Oakley is using his experiences to better serve all Californians in higher education. In November of 2017, President Obama recognized him as a White House Champion of Change for his work promoting and supporting the national college promise movement.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors appointed Eloy Ortiz Oakley as Chancellor for the California Community Colleges beginning December, 2016. Oakley himself is a community college success story. After serving four years in the U.S. Army, he enrolled at Golden West College and then transferred to the University of California, Irvine for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D
President | Skyline College

Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, President of Skyline College, has been an educator in the California Community Colleges for more than thirty years. She began as a professor of nursing at (then named) Rancho Santiago College of Santa Ana. Later, Dr Stanback Stroud became the Dean of Workforce and Economic Development at Mission College in Santa Clara and the Vice President of Instruction at Skyline College in San Bruno, California. In 2010 she was appointed to be the President of Skyline College by the Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District. Her experience in policy includes a five-year tenure as a representative, Vice President, President, and Past President of the statewide Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

Dr. Stanback Stroud is highly regarded at local, regional, state, and national levels for her knowledge, background, and perspective on student equity and diversity, education/industry collaboratives, economic empowerment and anti-poverty strategies, community workforce and economic development, and regional and state system policy implications for successful programs and services. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans to make recommendations on strategies and policies that help improve the financial wellbeing of young people. In honor of her work on equity and diversity, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges established the Regina Stanback-Stroud Diversity Award. The award is a statewide award that honors faculty whose work demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice.

Dr. Chris Benner
Professor of Environmental Studies | University of California, Santa Cruz | Executive Director of the Everett Program

Coming Together for the Next California: Demographic Change, the Future of Work, and Our Shared Future

California is like America on fast forward. Demographic changes, rising inequality, and dramatic economic restructuring that are contributing to social tensions across the country happened in California first. As a result, California is well positioned to provide leadership in finding solutions to our pressing social and economic challenges. What is the future of work that California students of today are likely to face? Community colleges play an increasingly important role in our economic future. How can we lead with new models that can re-energize the California Dream by making equity central to policy and practice? We will explore what these broad demographic, social, and economic trends mean for educational and training paradigms, and discuss the roles that community college leaders can play in shaping our collective future.

Chris Benner is a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Executive Director of the Everett Program. His research focuses on the relationships between technological change, regional development, and structures of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment patterns. Dr. Benner’s recent book, co-authored with Manuel Pastor, is Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, which helps uncover the processes, policies, and institutional arrangements that help explain how certain regions around the country have been able to consistently link prosperity and inclusion. Benner’s work has also included providing research assistance to a range of organizations promoting equity and expanded opportunity, including the Coalition on Regional Equity (Sacramento), Working Partnerships USA (San Jose), the California Labor Federation, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, among others. He received his PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Scott Evenbeck
Founding President | Guttman Community College

Building a New College: Lessons Learned

Higher education has never paid more attention to enhancing student success, retention, and graduation than now. Community colleges are currently the focus of unparalleled attention, and support. In higher education circles and state and national agencies, there exists a collective sense that community colleges must raise their game and have higher expectations for their success in serving the students who will define the country’s future. In 2012, the City University of New York (CUNY) opened Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, drawing upon the best practices of other colleges and research findings on student success. From our experiences at Guttman, we will explore: What happens when students follow a guided pathway? When there is no separate developmental work? When there is sustained attention to learning outcomes using an electronic portfolio? What characteristics define this new community college? What elements are transportable to other colleges? What can California community colleges learn from this experience?

Dr. Scott Evenbeck joined City University of New York in 2011 as the founding president of Guttman Community College. Previously, Dr. Evenbeck served as professor of psychology and founding dean of University College at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indiana (IUPUI). He joined the IUPUI faculty after completing his master’s degree and doctorate in Social Psychology at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While at IUPUI, Dr. Evenbeck played a major role in key initiatives to support student achievement, including efforts to keep students in college. Long involved in designing, implementing, and assessing first-year experience programs for students, Evenbeck has given more than 100 presentations at academic conferences, and has written articles and chapters on academic achievement and persistence. Dr. Evenbeck also served as a taskforce advisor for the Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year and as a board member of the American Conference of Academic Deans and other national associations. In 2009, the National Learning Community conference recognized him with the lifetime achievement award.

What Did We Learn in the Last Ten Years? Where Are We Going in the Next Ten? Reflections from Three Community College Practitioners

Linda Collins, Executive Director | Career Ladders Project | LearningWorks

Bob Gabriner, Co-Director | Leading the Middle—RP Group | Director, San Francisco State University Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Deborah Harrington, Executive Director | California Community College Success Network (3CSN) | Dean of Student Success, Los Angeles Community College District

This plenary will be a conversation about the evolution of the community colleges during the last ten years. Three community college “old timers” will share their reflections, discuss, argue, debate, and then ask the audience to join in. Four major questions will animate this conversation:

  • What are the most significant developments for the community colleges in the last ten years?

  • How have these developments affected our students, our faculty and staff, our leaders, and our organizations?

  • Have we made progress? Where’s the evidence?

  • Where are the community colleges going, and how will we get there?

Linda Collins works to foster improved student achievement, educational and career advancement for Californians—through research, policy, and direct support to community colleges and their partners. Currently, Linda oversees the California Community College Linked Learning Initiative; technical assistance for several California Career Pathways Trust regional consortia; and ongoing work to support the Career Advancement Academies, designed to connect low-income youth and adults to college and career. In state and national education policy, Linda worked with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to develop the statewide Ladders of Opportunity initiative and the statewide Career Advancement Academy demonstration project. Linda currently leads California’s delegation to the national Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, and is a founding member of the California EDGE Coalition. Previously, Linda taught social sciences at Los Medanos College for over 15 years and served two terms as President of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. 

Dr. Robert Gabriner has been a faculty member, administrator, and leader in the California community colleges for over 40 years. He has held a variety of leadership positions in the RP Group since 1995, and is currently the co-director of the Leading from the Middle program. Dr. Gabriner is also a professor of educational leadership and director of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at San Francisco State University. Previously, he served as Vice Chancellor and Dean of Research, Planning, and Grants at City College of San Francisco for 19 years. Dr. Gabriner was also a history instructor in the Peralta Community College District for 22 years, and while a faculty member, served as president of the Community College Council of the California Federation of Teachers. He has been a leader in community college reform initiatives since 1985, including AB 1725 (1988), the Community College Accountability Act (2004), and the Student Success Task Force (2011).

Dr. Deborah L. Harrington works to improve student access, success, and equity with extensive experience as a faculty member, administrator, and leader in the California community colleges during the last three decades,. As the Executive Director of the California Community College Success Network (3CSN,) Dr. Harrington oversees the 3CSN research-driven communities of practice, leadership institutes, and regional networks, providing ongoing support to over 18,900 California educators from all 113 colleges. In the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), which serves nearly 160,000 students, she has been an English Professor, Writing Center Director, Dean for Institutional Effectiveness, and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dr. Harrington has helped lead national and state efforts through equity-minded programs, including the Puente Project, Achieving the Dream, and the Diversity/Equity Scorecard Project. She additionally serves on numerous statewide committees and advisory groups including the Advisory Committee on Legislation and the Basic Skills Advisory Committee.

Design For Equity
Michael Tubbs, Fellow & Lecturer, |Institute of Design at Stanford University | City Councilmember, Stockton, CA

Given the challenges of the 21st century and the populations community colleges now serve, what tools can we harness from design thinking to evolve how community colleges effectively support students? How can school leaders connect these tools with empathy to create learning ecosystems and pathways to opportunity for the full range of traditional and non-traditional students? In this keynote address, participants will engage in a rapid design session to reflect on these questions in their own contexts.

Michael Tubbs was elected in 2012 as the youngest councilmember in the history of Stockton, California, earning more than 60% of the citywide vote. While in office, Tubbs has established literacy programs in concert with the Housing Authority and the University of the Pacific; drafted and passed Ban the Box legislation; allowing those previously convicted of a crime to apply for city jobs; piloted an anti-recidivism, back-to-work program; and created community-wide coalitions, such as the San Joaquin County Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, and the Black Community Crusade. 

Tubbs has interned at both Google and the White House. He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors and a master’s degree in Policy, Organization, and Leadership studies from Stanford University. Tubbs is a Truman Scholar and a recipient of the Dinkelspiel Award, the highest award given to undergraduate students at Stanford. Tubbs founded The Phoenix Scholars and the Summer Success and Leadership Academy at the University of the Pacific, and was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and as a speaker at TEDx San Joaquin and TEDx Stanford. He has been honored as one of Black Enterprise’s “Top 40 under 40,” The Root's ( “Top 25 under 25” and one of Reader Digest's “50 Things to Love about America.” He is the subject of the feature length documentary, “True Son,” which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition to his duties as a councilmember, Tubbs is currently a fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Design at Stanford University.

Crossing Boundaries: A Practitioner’s View on Facilitating Meaningful Dialogue and Campus Engagement (video)
Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, Chancellor | Los Angeles Community College District

Increased national attention is being paid to the significant roles community colleges play in transferring students to the university and to building the middle class through workforce training. Key to this is bolstering the educational outcomes of the institution and its students. So what roles can college leaders play in shaping productive dialogue on the prickly issues of institutional performance and student success? What can be done to create, nurture, and sustain a campus culture that can ultimately lead to improving student success and to facilitating meaningful engagement by crossing boundaries? This opening session will offer the candid views of an accidental leader who now leads the largest community college district in the nation.

Dr. Francisco Rodriguez began his tenure as Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District on June 1, 2014. Prior to his appointment as head of the nation’s largest community college district, Dr. Rodriguez served as Superintendent/President at MiraCosta Community College District (Oceanside, CA) for five years and President at Cosumnes River College (Sacramento, CA) for six years. Dr. Rodriguez has dedicated his career to diversity, equity and inclusion issues and to outreach to underserved communities, particularly the development of young Latino and African American males.

Expanding Student Success in the 21st Century: Innovation, Disruption or Improvement? (video)
Dr. Martha J. Kanter , Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education and Senior Fellow | New York University

Some noted scholars who call themselves reformers seek to disrupt higher education under the banner of innovation. Others are frustrated that community college graduation and rates are too low. Far too many aren’t aware of the transformative evidence-based remediation and pathways models that are taking hold on many campuses, despite the chronic underfunding of two-year institutions that educate nearly half of America’s undergraduates. This keynote session will offer a national perspective of the state of evidence, progress and impact of community colleges to propel the nation’s social and economic prosperity in the 21st century.

Dr. Martha J. Kanter is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education and Senior Fellow at New York University. In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Kanter to serve as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education with oversight responsibility for federal postsecondary statutory, regulatory and administrative policies and programs for the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, Dr. Kanter served for sixteen years in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District as President of De Anza College and then Chancellor of the district. She began her career as an alternative high school teacher in Lexington, MA and established the first program for students with learning disabilities at San Jose City College. 

The "E" Word
Darrick Smith, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Department of Leadership Studies, Organization and Leadership | University of San Francisco

As conditions of inequity persist in our society and continue to have a pervasive presence at all levels of our educational system, an examination of the assumptions that often define institutional culture and frame institutional practices is in order. This presentation will focus on the ideological and structural missteps that are commonly taken as colleges and community organizations work to improve completion rates in higher education. Attention will be paid specifically to issues of instructional support, the notion of rigor, and the social significance of the California Community College system.

Act Locally
Ken O'Donnell, Senior Director, Student Engagement and Academic Initiatives & Partnerships | California State University Office of the Chancellor

California has a legitimate interest in increasing student success, eliminating inequities and assuring high-quality degrees. These goals enjoy consensus support, but we find considerably less agreement on how best to reach them. Maybe that’s a good thing. Our colleges and universities serve a diverse state, with distinctive regional strengths, market demands and student needs. And the diversity only increases when we consider the needs of at-risk populations: interventions that work for some groups may fail others, or depend on local context. As California’s higher education leadership looks for ways to better serve the state, we will benefit from approaches that set clear goals and unequivocal metrics to judge progress. Yet, to choose how we do better, the most equitable decisions may be closest to home.

The Changing Landscape of Developmental Education
Wednesday, October 3 | 10:00 – 11:00 | Uri Treisman, Charles A. Dana Center | University of Texas, Austin

Developmental education is in the spotlight.  Just about everywhere faculty members, administrators and legislators are wrestling with the reformation of an enterprise that is widely perceived as shaped more by the weight of history than by the needs of today's academic programs or workplace needs.  I will describe what I believe to be the most promising elements of experimental work now taking place, as well as the details of some of the policies that—if not modified—would constitute a betrayal of the core mission of community colleges.   My hope for this talk is that it will lead to the creative redirection of energy now going into minor modification of current offerings to a fundamental redesign of community college pathways, focused on supporting upward social and economic mobility for our students.

2012 POWER Awards
Wednesday, October 3 | 1:00 – 1:45

Outcomes assessment directs our instructional, student service and administrative unit work by clearly describing and documenting the student knowledge, skills, abilities and beliefs that are a result of student learning activities and service interactions. It is also an important means of improving student success, guiding practice and driving institutional change. Well-designed outcomes assessment goes beyond compliance and can address multiple goals—sustainable and learner-centered implementation methods, demonstration of student progress in classes and programs and the generation of reliable and trustworthy data that document success and help guide interventions and improvement. Awards and highlights of the award winners' effective approaches will be highlighted in the lunchtime ceremony.

  • Outstanding Program-Level Outcomes Assessment: La Shawn Brinson, Los Angeles Southwest College

  • Local SLO Change Agent: Arkady Hanjiev, West Hills College Coalinga

  • Statewide SLO Champion: Fred Hochstaedter, Monterey Peninsula College

  • Lifetime Achievement: Julie Slark, retired

  • Lifetime Achievement: Jerry Rudmann, retired

What’s Hope Got to Do with It?
Thursday, October 4 | 1:15 – 2:15 | Ricardo Diaz, Jim Fillpot, Sherrie Guerrero, Laura Hope & Cindy Walker | Chaffey College

In an interactive panel, faculty and staff from Chaffey College discuss the rationale for adopting an institutional emphasis on hope, engagement and well-being in both student services and instruction. Based on extensive research from the Gallup organization, one of the single most compelling long-term predictors of academic achievement is hope. But what is it? And how can educators make hope actionable? The panel will discuss ways that Chaffey, through a partnership with Gallup, is beginning to measure it, teach it, and adopt it. As Chaffey has discovered, hope is not only an actionable educational strategy but a cultural compass that has the capacity to transform the college culture.

Rethinking Remedial Education and the Academic-Vocational Divide: What the Two Cases Can Teach Us About the Curricular, Institutional, and Societal Barriers to Comprehensive Reform

Mike Rose, UCLA | Thursday, October 13, 1:15-2:30

Along with government and philanthropic initiatives to help more Americans, particularly low-income Americans, enter and succeed in post-secondary education, there is a good deal of interest in remedial education (because a significant number of students are academically underprepared) and in Career and Technical Education, because a number of students elect an occupational pathway. On the remedial front, policy makers are calling for reform of remedial education, for it has proven to present various barriers to degree completion. On the CTE front, policy makers want more academic work integrated into career courses to better prepare students for the demands of the new economy. There is currently a lot of effort on both fronts. But both remediation and CTE emerge from and carry with them assumptions about cognition and learning that will limit their effectiveness, and these assumptions are reinforced by institutional structures and status dynamics and by the forces of social class. This presentation will offer an examination of these assumptions with the goal of moving beyond them. It also offers some reflection on research methodology suited to exploring the educational and social dimensions of complex topics like remediation and CTE.

Beyond the Fear Factor

Rebecca Cox, Seton Hall University | Friday, October 14, 8:30-9:45

In this keynote, Rebecca Cox discusses a central problem of teaching and learning: gaps between faculty expectations of students and students’ actual performances.  Drawing on her research, which includes extensive classroom observations and interviews with community-college faculty and students, she will highlight the students’ experiences and perspectives, which in turn, help explain student disengagement and counterproductive behavior.

Note to Educators: Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete
Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D. , Assistant Professor of Raza Studies | Education Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies | Mandela High School |East Oakland | Thursday, October 7, 8:30 – 10:00 am

In this lecture, Jeff Duncan-Andrade draws from his 18 years as an urban educator to explore the concept of hope, as essential for nurturing urban youth. He first identifies three forms of “false hope”—hokey hope, mythical hope, and hope deferred—pervasive in and peddled by many urban schools. Discussion of these false hopes then gives way to Duncan-Andrade’s conception of “critical hope,” explained through the description of three necessary elements of educational practice that produce and sustain true hope.  Through the voices of young people and their teachers, and the invocation of powerful metaphor and imagery, Duncan-Andrade proclaims critical hope’s significance for an education that relieves undeserved suffering in communities.

Jeffrey Michael Reies Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Raza Studies and Education Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies.  In addition to these duties, he continues as a high school teacher in East Oakland where for the past 18 years he has practiced and studied the use of critical pedagogy in urban schools. He currently teaches English at Mandela High School in East Oakland. Before joining the faculty at SFSU, Duncan-Andrade taught English and coached in the Oakland public schools for 10 years, and completed his doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Duncan-Andrade has lectured around the world about the elements of effective teaching in schools serving poor and working class children. He works closely with teachers, school site leaders, and school district officials nationally, and as far abroad as Brazil and New Zealand, to help them develop classroom practices and school cultures that foster self-confidence, esteem, and academic success among all students. His research interests and publications span the areas of urban schooling and curriculum change, urban teacher development and retention, critical pedagogy, and cultural and ethnic studies.  He has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters on the conditions of urban education, urban teacher support and development, and effective pedagogy in urban settings that have been published in leading journals such as Harvard Educational Review and Qualitative Studies in Education.  He recently completed two books, The Art of Critical Pedagogy: Possibilities for Moving from Theory to Practice in Urban Schools and What a Coach Can Teach a Teacher, with Peter Lang Publishing.  These books focus on effective pedagogical strategies for urban schools. He is currently completing his third book on the core competencies of highly effective urban educators with Routledge Press.

 A Federal View on Community Colleges
Frank Chong, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education| Thursday, October 7 , 1:15 – 1:45 pm

Dr. Chong will provide an overview of the President's College Completion Goal which states, “By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” Some estimate that in order to accomplish this goal, community colleges would need to graduate an additional 5 million students in the next ten years. Furthermore, the role of research will be a critical component in measuring and understanding student outcomes. Dr. Chong will discuss strategies and share approaches that will enable America’s community colleges to play a proactive role in meeting the President’s goal.

Frank Chong began his duties as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, in January, 2010. Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., Dr. Chong served as president of Laney College, the flagship of the Peralta Community College District in Oakland CA. Prior to assuming the Laney College presidency, he served as president of Mission College in Santa Clara CA and Dean of Student Affairs at City College of San Francisco. He was an appointed member of the San Francisco Children and Families Commission, and was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1998. From 1987 to 1991, he served as special assistant to Willie L. Brown, Jr., the Speaker of the California State Assembly. Dr. Chong has served on numerous boards focused on higher education, including the Chief Executive Officers Board of the California Community Colleges and the American Council on Education Commission on Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity. He is the former president and founding member of Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE), a national advocacy organization.  

One Journey, Many Paths
Donna McKusick, Dean | Developmental Education and Special Academic Programs | Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)| Friday, October 8 , 8:30 – 9:45 am

In the keynote, Dr. McKusick will share CCBC’s journey of the past ten years of becoming increasingly focused on student success. This journey, spearheaded by the examination of learning outcomes and framed by national research literature, has led the college down many individual roads to increase levels of student and faculty engagement, improve outcomes for developmental learners, increase retention and graduation rates, and close achievement gaps. Strategies touched on will include acceleration in developmental education, learning communities, departmental pedagogy projects, culturally responsive instruction, and a college-wide student success course. Participants will hear about both wins and losses, effective strategies and mistakes, and will be encouraged to take an honest inventory of their own practices as they pave their own paths for student success.

Donna McKusick is dean for developmental education and special academic programs at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). In this position, she coordinates all aspects of developmental education and learning assistance for the CCBC system including developmental courses, tutorial support, the academic support course, learning communities, honors, and the libraries. She has degrees in English, Reading, and Education including a doctorate from University of Maryland in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on academic literacy. She has also received her certification in developmental education from the Kellogg Institute at Appalachian State University. Dr. McKusick has served community colleges for over thirty years in both instructional and administrative capacities. She has been the author, principle investigator, and director for major grants including Workplace Literacy, Title III, and a federal earmark for CCBC’s Closing the Gap Initiative, and she led the college to its achievement of the MetLife Community College Excellence Award in 2008. She is currently assisting in the coordination of CCBC’s participation in the National Learning Communities Demonstration Project and the Achieving the Dream program. Dr. McKusick co-authored a book with Dr. Al Starr, Making Sense: A Guide for Readers and Writers, published by Pearson. She has provided consultation, delivered presentations, and published articles on literacy, developmental education, learning communities, and closing the achievement gap in higher education.