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
Book Now!


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.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Workshop #1: 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.

Presenter: Dr. Toni Blum  

Toni Blum is the Assistant Provost for Accreditation and Assessment at the University of Texas at El Paso and has been leading the assessment and accreditation processes at UTEP for the past three years. She served formerly as University Assessment Coordinator and as Senior Associate Dean of General Education and Assessment at Stetson University in DeLand Florida. She has acted as a SACSCOC onsite reviewer and has been active in presenting her assessment work at venues such as the AAC&U General Education and Assessment Conference and the Association for Institutional Research annual conference.

Workshop #2: Designing and Using Signature Assignments to Promote Student Learning and Success

Participants will be introduced to the method of developing a signature assignment for one Texas Core Curriculum objective, as related to one course taught by each participant. Participants from the same institution can work as teams to develop the assignment. Participants will be guided through the process of development working through the related parts of course, assignment, assessment, and data collection. Each participant will be asked to come to the workshop with all course descriptions, assignment idea, and assessment used by the institution to assess the TCC objective. Participants will learn a partial NILOA method of charrette to develop and begin the process of signature assignment development.

Presenter: Dr. Jeanne Tunks  

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.

Workshop #3: Using VALUE Rubric Results for Learning Improvement, Professional Development and Equity

In this session participants will be asked to talk about how they would envision VALUE rubric results on their campus. Then, we will examine what institutions are now learning from and what they are doing with the results from using VALUE rubric assessment data. Through three years of sampling student work from 2- and 4-year public institutions and private liberal arts colleges, VALUE scoring results are being used in a variety of ways to improve student learning, to support and engage faculty across campuses in assignment work, and to provide evidence for accreditation reports. Multiple examples will be shared for how these actions are being accomplished, as well as how the creation of the VALUE Institute is generating nationwide benchmarks and how the results can be used to spur on-campus opportunities to improve student learning and foster an assessment culture for improvement. Open to all levels of expertise and experience.

Presenter: Dr. Terry Rhodes  

Dr. Rhodes is currently Vice President for the Office of Quality, Curriculum and Assessment and Executive Director of VALUE at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) where he focuses on the quality of undergraduate education, access, general education, and assessment of student learning. As the executive director of the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) project, he oversees the VALUE Institute and the Multi-State Collaborative for Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC) and related initiatives to assess student learning across several essential outcomes through evaluating student work. He co-directs the ePortfolio Forum and the Institute on General education and Assessment which encourage educators to lift up student voice and agency through engagement in highly effective practices that deepen learning for success.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Workshop #4: Building Equity into your Institutional Assessment Efforts

Workshop description is forthcoming.

Presenter: Dr. Natasha Jankowski  

Natasha Jankowski, Director of NILOA, has presented at numerous national conferences and written various reports for NILOA. Her main research interests include assessment and evaluation, organizational evidence use, and evidence-based storytelling. She holds a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Kent State University, and a B.A. in philosophy from Illinois State University. She previously worked for GEAR UP Learning Centers at Western Michigan University and worked with the Office of Community College Research and Leadership studying community colleges and public policy.

Workshop #5: 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.

Presenter: Dr. Chris Duke  

Chris Duke is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Accreditation and Assessment at San Jacinto College and currently serves as a LEAP Texas Assessment Fellow. Chris’ has almost 15 years of higher education experience in a variety of roles including work in assessment, curriculum, classroom teaching (adjunct faculty), instructional design, educational technology, and faculty development. He has facilitated at San Jacinto a full-scale, core-curriculum wide implementation of the LEAP VALUE rubrics to assess the Texas core objectives; that annual project is augmenting a culture of assessment among faculty and improving pedagogy across the College. Chris also serves as a LEAP Texas Assessment Fellow in which he co-facilitates the first LEAP Texas inter-institutional assessment project. He has presented at national and regional conferences on assessment and faculty development; and he holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Texas A&M University.

Workshop #6: A Practical Guide for Preparing for SACSCOC Reaffirmation

This workshop illustrates how a process oriented approach to reaffirmation can result in a quality product while still leaving time to breathe.  Taking care of a large project piece by piece sets the stage for an integrative workshop about the reaffirmation process in the southern region.  The workshop is organized in four phases: Preparation, Execution, Visit, and Response. The workshop provides participants, those involved in the reaffirmation process, with ample resources and personal experiences that will help them prepare for impending or distant visits.

Presenter: Dr. Loraine Phillips  

Dr. Loraine Phillips earned her Bachelor degree from Indiana University and a Masters degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas A&M University, with an emphasis in literacy and higher education administration.  As Associate Provost for Academic Effectiveness at Georgia Tech, Dr. Phillips works with faculty and staff to lead institutional effectiveness and accountability efforts.  She interprets policies and influences practices for the Institute to various constituents, including accreditors, the State, and the University System of Georgia.  She works closely with faculty and staff in new program development and authentic assessment practices.  Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, Dr. Phillips served as the first elected chair of LEAP Texas, a voluntary coalition of over 60 Texas institutions, including all six systems of higher education in the State, with the common purpose of strengthening general education in Texas, assessing it authentically, and promoting high-impact practices within institutions across the State.

Presenter: Dr. Rebecca Lewis  

Dr. Rebecca Lewis is the Interim Vice Provost in the office of Institutional Effectiveness and Reporting at The University of Texas at Arlington where she has worked since 2005. She has worked in higher education for over 17 years in various capacities including research, teaching, and student affairs. Dr. Lewis earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Public and Urban Administration from UT Arlington, a Master of Arts in Anthropology from Texas Tech University, and Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Texas State University. She has been recording the minutes for LEAP Texas Board of Directors for the past year.

Presenter: Dr. Glenn Phillips  

Dr. Glenn Allen Phillips is an Institutional Research Associate at The University of Texas at Arlington. Before entering into accreditation and institutional effectiveness administration, he taught qualitative research methodology and higher education courses at Texas A&M University and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He is currently interested in assessment of marginalized populations in higher education and exploring the rhetoric of assessment and accreditation as used by administrators and faculty.



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
Book Now!

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