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Isa Adney, MEd.

Isa Adney, MEd, is an author, speaker and community college advocate. The first in her family to earn a degree, Isa’s speeches, books and work as a mentor are inspiring first-generation students to set goals, build networks of people who care about them, and break the cycle of poverty through education.

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Linda Baer

Dr. Linda Baer has served more than thirty years in numerous executive level positions in higher education. She is currently a senior consultant with i4 Solutions. She was the interim vice president for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Previously, Dr. Baer served as a Senior Program Consultant in Post-secondary Success with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and as Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs in the Minnesota State College and University System. She was Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Interim President at Bemidji State University. Dr. Baer presents nationally on academic innovations, educational transformation, the development of alliances and partnerships, the campus of the future, shared leadership and building organizational capacity in analytics.

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Marni Baker Stein

Marni Baker Stein, Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning (ITL), is an authority on next generation program and curricular development, delivery, and assessment; student lifecycle management; and student-centered, outcomes-focused instructional design. Before joining the ITL, she was Senior Associate Dean of Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education, where she oversaw the school’s academic portfolio, and was responsible for the development, design, and evaluation of all online and hybrid programs.

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Dr. Melissa Biegert

An award-winning instructor, writer, editor, and speaker whose specialties include issues of character and education, Dr. Biegert serves as a director of student success projects for advising and Early College High School at Austin Community College. She has more than 20 years of experience in educational publishing,and eight years of teaching in both high school and college environments.


Dr. Kishia Brock

Dr. Brock has served as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Rio Salado College since 2011. Her previous positions with Rio Salado include Dean of Enrollment Management, Associate Dean of Student Services, Director of Student Services, Coordinator of Academic Advisement, and Academic Advisor.


Dr. Garikai Campbell

Dr. Garikai Campbell is an expert in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. He is Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehouse College. Prior to that, he served Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania in several leadership positions including Associate Vice President for Strategic Planning and Special Assistant to the President.


Dr. Marie Cini

Marie Cini, PhD, is the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UMUC. Dr. Cini has a broad academic background as an instructor and scholar, as well as administrative experience in both undergraduate and graduate program development and management.


Michael Collins

Michael Collins, is Associate VP, Postsecondary State Policy with Jobs for the Future. He advocates for state policies on behalf of national initiatives including Achieving the Dream, Completion by Design and the Developmental Education Initiative.


Jesse Coraggio

Jesse Coraggio is the Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Grants at St. Petersburg College. Jesse joined St. Petersburg College in 2006, and has had increasing levels of responsibility since that time. He received his doctorate in Educational Measurement from the University of South Florida. His research interests include instrument development, psychometrics, setting performance standards, and various item response theory applications. His work has been published and he has presented over 30 papers in the area of assessment and measurement at conferences including the American Educational Research Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education, and the Association for Institutional Research. He is the former president of the Florida Association for Institutional Research.

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Anthony Cruz, Ed.D.

Dr. Cruz is Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Sinclair Community College. He serves as chief student affairs officer and is responsible for articulating and cultivating a clear and progressive vision for maximizing enrollment and student success consistent with Sinclair’s vision and strategic plan. Dr. Cruz previously served as the dean of enrollment and student development at Cincinnati State College.


Sandra Coswatte

Sandra Coswatte is the Director of the Learning Institute at the Online Learning Consortium. She has a broad higher education background working in Online Education, Faculty Development, and Student Services. Sandra also serves as a faculty member at APUS and Faculty Specialist at Clemson University.

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Dr. Van Davis

Van Davis is Director of Innovations in Higher Education at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board where he leads the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Project and the state’s adult degree completion project, Grad TX.

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Kurt Ewen

Mr. Ewen is the Assistant Vice President for Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness at Valencia Community College. He is responsible for Institutional Research, Learning Outcomes Assessment, Faculty and Instructional Development, Valencia’s Teaching/Learning Academy for tenure-track faculty, and regional accreditation with the Southern Association of College and Schools. He has served in leadership roles for initiatives focused on learning outcomes assessment in curricular and co-curricular areas, student success and transfer readiness.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain is a senior reporter with Inside Higher Ed, where he covers adult students and emerging models of higher education. From 2004 to 2011, Fain was a senior reporter with The Chronicle of Higher Education, where he wrote broadly about college leaders and higher-ed finance. Fain has contributed chapters to two edited volumes on higher education, and his writing has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award.


Dr. Mel Foster

Dr. Mel Foster is the Associate Dean of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Professor of Voice at Morehouse College. In addition to his administrative role, this tenor teachers Applied Voice, Singer’s Diction, Voice Class, and Masterpieces of Music.

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Dr. Virginia Fraire

As Vice President of Student Services (ACC Pinnacle Campus), Dr. Virginia Fraire provides campus and district leadership of programs and services related to college readiness, academic and career advising, counseling, disability services, international student advising, assessment and academic testing, transfer services, student conduct administration, retention services, and community outreach. She has served as faculty for ACC and St. Edward’s University. Fraire is the founding director of the Center for Financial Aid Policy in Community Colleges with Texas Guaranteed.


Dr. Jennifer Freed

In her role as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rio Salado College, Dr. Freed is responsible for faculty, locations, dual enrollment, academic and occupational programs, compliance, research, and course development. She is the principal investigator for the Generation Learning Challenges Wave IIIb Grant.


Dr. Yakut Gazi

Dr. Yakut Gazi worked at higher education institutions in the US, Qatar, Turkey, and Spain in various faculty and staff roles since 1993. Prior to her current role at Texas A&M, she led the distributed learning and classroom technology operations at TAMU-Central Texas, where under her leadership, the institution’s online operations were awarded the 2013 Quality Matters Making a Difference for Students Award for online educational quality. She presented at over 50 conferences and is the author or co-author of book chapters, journal articles, and proceedings. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and her M.A. and B.S. from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.development. She is the principal investigator for the Generation Learning Challenges Wave IIIb Grant.

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Tina Gridiron

As a Senior Strategy Officer for Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation dedicated to expanding access to and success in education beyond high school, Ms. Gridiron has been a grant officer for Lumina, and currently leads their Latino Student Success effort, co-directs Lumina’s Minority Serving Institutions – Models of Success effort, and additional project work advancing Lumina’s Goal 2025 agenda.

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Dr. Joel Hartman

As the university’s CIO, Dr. Hartman has overall responsibility for library, computing, networking, telecommunications, media services, and distributed learning activities. Hartman graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Journalism and Communications, and received his doctorate from the University of Central Florida.

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Stephen Hilderbrand

Stephen Hilderbrand is a data scientist with Civitas Learning, and hosted the recent ROC Curves webinar. He is responsible for developing predictive analytics for improving student success in higher education. His focus is on incorporating various natural language processing, clustering, and social network techniques for improving the accuracy of Civitas Learning’s models.

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Phil Ice

Phil Ice is the VP of Research and Development at American Public University System where his research is focused on the impact of new and emerging technologies on cognition in online learning environments.

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Dr. Davis Jenkins

Dr. Davis Jenkins is a senior research associate at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He works with colleges and states to find ways to improve educational and employment outcomes for students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds of credentials, and to prepare students to succeed in further education and careers. His research and thinking have informed the development and spread of innovative approaches to improving student outcomes, including career pathways, adult technical bridge programs (such as Washington State’s I-BEST), and guided pathways to success (GPS).


Dr. Larry Johnson

Dr. Johnson is Chief Executive Officer of the New Media Consortium, an international not-for-profit consortium dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies, and Director of the Edward and Betty Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts (MIDEA). Johnson brings visionaries and thought leaders from across the globe together to define and explore new ways of thinking about and using technology, and to examine emerging trends and issues.


Dr. Harrison Keller

Dr. Keller is Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy and Research and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Continuing and Innovative Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Keller is responsible for developing institutional initiatives and state and national policy solutions in line with the University’s strategic priorities, with emphasis on preparation, affordability, productivity, and new educational delivery models.


Dr. Cathy Kemper

Dr. Cathy Kemper is Lee College’s Vice President of Learning. She comes to Lee College from Blinn College where she served as Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation. Dr. Kemper was the SACS-COC liaison for Blinn College and also co-chaired the Achieving the Dream initiative. She has more than 12 years of higher education leadership experience and 20 years of higher education teaching experience in both community colleges and four-year institutions.


David Kil

Dave is the Chief Data Scientist at Civitas Learning overseeing the development of insight and action analytics, leveraging salient concepts from multiple disciplines. Prior to joining Civitas, Dave was the Chief Scientist at Humana, building predictive models and outcomes analytics algorithms that fed into the corporate insight engine. He is widely published and holds 9 U.S. and international patents.


Phil Komarny

Phil Komarny is the CEO, USA, for Robots and Pencils making iPhone and iPad apps in use by more than 9 million people. Formerly the VP/CIO of Seton Hill University, he is a highly social, entrepreneurial, award winning senior executive with a 17-year track record of delivering innovative, high value solutions by aligning existing problems with emerging technologies.


Laura Malcolm

As Vice President of Product Management at Civitas Learning, Malcolm drives the product vision and user-interface design. She is a two-time CODiE Award recipient for product design and has ten years in executive leadership roles directing the design and development of innovative educational technology. She began her career as a high school teacher.

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Dr. Nicole Melander

Dr. Melander is Executive Vice-President, Digital Strategy and Chief Customer Officer at Boston-based publishing company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). She works with HMH’s content, marketing, alliances, and technology teams to align digital initiatives across the company. She was previously the Chief Technology Officer for Achieving the Dream.

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Laura Mercer

Ms. Mercer is the Director of Research, Analytics, and Reporting at Sinclair Community College. She has 27 years of experience in comprehensive planning, implementation and management within the higher education environment. She maintains responsibility for the institution’s data warehouse and analytics infrastructure, decision support, state and federal reporting, and institutional research. Ms. Mercer provides leadership and project management for Sinclair’s comprehensive predictive analytics and student success tools initiative, LIFT!


Dr. Mark Milliron

Dr. Milliron is an award-winning leader, author, speaker, and consultant who has worked in universities, community colleges, foundations, corporations, and associations across the U.S. and around the world. As Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder of Civitas Learning, he focuses on a wide range of activities for the company, from shaping product development to engaging the education community in leading research projects.


William F. L. Moses

William F. L. Moses serves as the managing director for The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program, which promotes access and success in higher education for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. A key architect in restructuring Kresge’s education programming, Bill leads the education team’s continuum of grant activities from developing program strategy, reviewing preliminary ideas, and helping grantees develop proposals or initiatives, to awarding funding and monitoring existing grants. He presents Education Program work to Kresge’s board and represents the foundation at media and nonprofit events.

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Dr. Angela Oriano

Angela Oriano, PhD, is the executive director of the Texas Success Center. Prior to this role, she served as a Senior Associate at the Center for Community College Student Engagement, an initiative of the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Lisa Petrides

Lisa Petrides is President and Founder of ISKME (Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education), a global leader in research and practice around data use, open education, and social learning in the education sector.

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Neal Richard Phillips, Ed.D.,

Dr. Phillips has been teaching with Valencia College since 2001. He earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida in 2008, and he obtained both a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in Secondary Education from Duquesne University. Professor Phillips specializes in ENC 1101 and 1102 courses whether face-to-face, hybrid, or online exclusive. He has studied Shakespeare at both Rollins College and the New Globe Theater in London and is a former board member of the English-Speaking Union based in Winter Park. He believes that everyone can write, it’s the planning and thinking that writers encounter as problems. With the right tools, however, notions such as “writer’s block” can be a thing of the past.


Dr. Richard Rhodes

Dr. Rhodes is the President and CEO of the Austin Community College District. He joined ACC in September 2011 after serving as President of El Paso Community College for 10 years. He works to improve pathways into higher education, strengthen awareness of the community college mission, and give students the tools to accomplish their educational, professional, and personal goals.


Dr. Joyce Romano

Dr. Joyce Romano is the Vice President for Student Affairs at Valencia College. She has led the charge in several student support initiatives as well the College’s work with Achieving the Dream. Under her leadership Valencia is making advising an irresistible key to student success.


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Dr. James R. Stellar

As a professor of behavioral neuroscience for 30 years at Harvard and Northeastern universities, Dr. Stellar promoted serious undergraduate experiential education (ExEd) in his research laboratory. As a senior administrator of 14 years, first as Dean Northeastern and then as Provost at Queens College CUNY, and as co-director of the WACE Planning Institute on ExEd, he promoted programs of all forms of ExEd in higher education to complement a classical academic education. He writes a blog on ExEd and the brain ( and a book on this topic is forthcoming.


Charles Thornburgh

CEO and Founder of Civitas Learning, Thornburgh discovered a passion for education during his undergraduate days at Stanford, and upon graduating translated that passion into the founding of multiple successful ed-tech start-ups. He is a two-time CODiE Award recipient and is listed on “16 People Changing the Landscape of Online Education Forever” by Find Education Online.

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Dr. Paul von Hippel

A professor in UT Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, Dr. von Hippel is an expert on research design, and on statistical methods for missing data. Before his academic career he was a data scientist who developed fraud-detection scores for banks including JP Morgan Chase and the Bank of America. His research interests include educational inequality and the relationship between schooling, health, and obesity.