Fifth Annual Conference


Promoting Student Transition and Equity in 21st Century Higher Education




March 25-27, 2018

Omni Houston Hotel Westside
13210 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77079


Dr. Loraine Phillips, Associate Provost for Academic Effectiveness, Georgia Tech

Dr. Tia Brown McNair, Vice President, Office of Diversity, Equity and Student Success, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

Dr. McNair oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact educational practices, and student success, including AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal series of yearly working conferences.  McNair also directs AAC&U’s Summer Institute on High-Impact Educational Practices and Student Success. McNair serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives: “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation,” “Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: Campus-Based Strategies for Student Success,” and Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence.” She directed AAC&U’s projects on “Advancing Underserved Student Success through Faculty Intentionality in Problem-Centered Learning,” “Advancing Roadmaps for Community College Leadership to Improve Student Learning and Success,” and “Developing a Community College Roadmap. McNair chaired AAC&U’s Equity Working Group that was part of the General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) project that represented a large-scale, systematic effort to provide “design principles” for 21st-century learning and long-term student success. She is the lead author of the book Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016). McNair is a co-author on the publication Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-Impact Practices.  Prior to joining AAC&U, McNair served as the Assistant Director of the National College Access Network (NCAN) in Washington, DC. McNair’s previous experience also includes serving as a Social Scientist/Assistant Program Director in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Director of University Relations at the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia; the Statewide Coordinator for the Educational Talent Search Project at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission; and the Interim Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment Services at West Virginia State University. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at several institutions where she taught first-year English courses. McNair earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and English at James Madison University and holds an M.A. in English from Radford University and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University.

Dr. Rex Peebles, Assistant Commissioner, Academic Quality and Workforce, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)

 Dr. Peebles has 30 years of experience in higher education, including positions as instructor, professor, department head, dean, and vice president of instruction. He currently serves as the Assistant Commissioner of the Academic Quality and Workforce division of the THECB. Dr. Peebles served six years as a member of the Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee, serving from 2010 to 2012 as the committee’s co-chair. The Core Curriculum, applicable to all public colleges and universities in Texas was revised during that tenure. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Ray Williams Outstanding Leadership Award from the Texas Community College Instructional Administrators (TCCIA). He served as a co-chair of the LEAP Texas Task Force prior to coming to the Coordinating Board. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of Texas at Dallas, a Master’s in Political Science from The University of Texas at Arlington, and his Ph.D. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin. He has co-authored a Texas state and local government textbook, Texas Politics and Government: Ideas, Institutions, and Policies and authored The Theoria and Praxis of Obligations to Future Generations.


Dr. Natasha Jankowski, Director and Research Assistant Professor, National Institute for Learning Outcomes and Assessment (NILOA)

Dr. Toni Blum, Assistant Provost for Accreditation and Assessment, University of Texas at El Paso

Workshop: Elements of Assessment for Beginners
Designed for beginners in assessment work, this workshop will allow faculty/staff to articulate the purposes of assessment, identify the key elements of a sound assessment plan, and develop a plan that is meaningful, measureable, and manageable. Throughout the session, interactive exercises will be designed to write learning outcomes, analyze a curriculum map, recognize best practices in the selection of assessment methods, and create action plans to address the results of assessment. Finally, discussion will focus on ways in which assessment reporting can be strategic and efficient, while meeting the expectations of external constituents.

Dr. Loraine Phillips, Associate Provost for Academic Effectiveness, Georgia Tech

Dr. Chris Duke, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Institutional Effectiveness, Assessment and Accreditation, San Jacinto College

Workshop: Institutional Interpretation and Calibration of LEAP VALUE Rubrics 
This session will provide an experience of San Jacinto College’s approach to facilitating a faculty-centered implementation of LEAP VALUE rubric-based assessment of Texas’ state-mandated core curriculum. SJC continues to develop and maintain a college-wide “institutional interpretation” of each rubric that capably adapts the rubric (a) to the institutional environment, (b) to our faculty’s understanding and interpretation of the rubric and outcome, and (b) to discipline-specific perspectives regarding the outcome. The institutional interpretations are then used to inform and to facilitate calibration sessions in which faculty assess samples of student work; the calibration sessions serve as college-wide professional development for faculty regarding the general education outcomes and rubrics and are intended to improve the consistent application of the rubrics across the college. Ultimately, a fully developed institutional interpretation of a rubric represents the institutional standard for the associated outcome. Attendees will engage an activity used at San Jac to develop the institutional interpretation of a rubric and then apply that interpretation of the rubric to samples of student work; resources will be provided to support attendees interest in implementing similar methods at their institution.

Dr. Jeanne Tunks, Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction, University of North Texas

Dr. Tunks is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Texas, where she has taught for the past 20 years. During her tenure at UNT she has served as the coordinator of a professional development school cadre for ten years, the director of the core curriculum for three, and the director of the International Teacher to Teacher Exchange for five. She currently serves as a LEAP Texas Fellow and board member for this organization.  During the summer of 2016 and 2017 she conducted signature assignment institutes throughout Texas.


The registration fee for this event is $125.00 per person.

Pre-conference workshops are $35.00 per workshop.

Attendees have the option to purchase a plated lunch for Monday, March 26, 2018 for $30.00.


Omni Houston Hotel Westside
13210 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77079

Room rates

$119.00 per night plus taxes (Single Occupancy)

$129.00 per night plus taxes (Double Occupancy)


Mr. Jeff Roberts | Sam Houston State University, Committee Chair
Ms. Audra Barrett | Cedar Valley College 
Dr. David Blair | St. Edward’s University
Dr. Terry DiPaolo  | LeCroy Center, Dallas County Community College District
Dr. Larry King | Stephen F. Austin State University
Dr. Rebecca Lewis | The University of Texas at Arlington
Dr. Amy Tan | Houston Community College
Ms. Arnita Williams | The University of Texas at Arlington
Ms. Tiffany Willis | The University of Texas at Austin