2015 Keynotes

Dr. LawDr. Bill Law serves as President of St. Petersburg College, a position he has held since 2010.  Dr. Law has served as a college president since 1988, leading institutions in Springfield Illinois, The Woodlands Texas, and Tallahassee Florida prior to his move to St. Petersburg.  President Law is an active participant in issues of public policy and post-secondary education, most particularly in matters relating to improving student success, workforce development, and organizational responsiveness and change.  Law is a past Chair of the Council of Presidents of the Florida College System, and still maintains an active role in the legislative policy for the FCS. Additionally, Law is a member (and current Chair) of the Advisory Committee for the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, serves on the board of the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas as well as the National Community College Advisory Panel for the Educational Testing Service at Princeton.  Law holds both a Masters and PhD degree from Florida State University in Higher Education Administration.  He continues to be an active marathon runner (Paris 2015) and has participated in the Boston Marathon on seven occasions.

Dr. Paul Dosal is the Vice Provost for Student Success at the University of South Florida.  In that position, he is responsible for coordinating the university-wide student success initiative, a strategic campaign to raise retention and graduation rates, boost student satisfaction, minimize financial indebtedness, and prepare all students for success in their careers or graduate and professional schools.  He also directs enrollment planning and management, supervising the offices of Undergraduate, Graduate, and International Admissions, the Registrar, and Financial Aid, as well as the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships and the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence.  Prior to his appointment as Vice Provost, he chaired the USF Student Success Task Force, a 100- person committee charged by the President and Provost in November 2009 to establish goals for USF, 2010/2011 through 2020/2021, framed around policy, practices, programs, personnel and performance.  The task force presented a 150-page document with actionable and prioritized recommendations on April 15, 2010.  This document has served as the blueprint for radically transforming Student Success at USF.  Since 2009, the six-year graduation rate at USF has jumped from 48% (2003 cohort) to 63% (2007 cohort).

Laura Mercer, Sinclair Community College Head ShotMs. Laura 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!

Mark MillironDr. Mark David Milliron is Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning, an organization committed to helping education bring together the best of emerging technology, data science, and design thinking to help students learn well and finish strong on education pathways.  An award-winning leader, author, speaker, and consultant, he has worked with universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, foundations, corporations, associations, and government agencies across the country and around the world.  In previous roles, Mark served as the Deputy Director for Postsecondary Improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; founding Chancellor of WGU Texas; Endowed Fellow and Director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development at The University of Texas at Austin; Vice President for Education and Medical Practice with SAS; and President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Portillo2Dr. Joyce Walsh-Portillo lived in Mexico City for twenty years and while working there, earned her MBA.  Upon her return to the US, she worked as an adjunct professor in Business at Broward College for three years.  In 2006, she became a tenured professor at Broward.  Her work with faculty development and her management experience created a natural fit to launch and maintain a successful outcomes and assessment initiative in General Education while continuing to teach.  Joyce moved into Higher Ed Administration at the College in 2009, developing a more fully integrated assessment process for all academic programs.  She has served on a number of committees including Academic Standards and the Endowed Teaching Chair Awards.  She earned her Ed.D from FIU in 2011 in Higher Education Administration. She became the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, her current position in 2013.  Her areas of responsibility include:  articulation and transfer, dual enrollment, credit for prior learning, curriculum services, data management for academic affairs, academic outcomes and assessment and the Honors Institute.  She is the recipient of an Endowed Teaching Chair award and the NISOD award for outstanding service at a community college.  Most recently she has been recruited to be one of the 12 Career Pathways Coaches, part of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation initiative at AACC.  Joyce is married and has one adult son.

Crawford1Ms. Sabrina Crawford joined the St. Petersburg College team in 2013, bringing 20 years’ experience in teaching, curriculum development, assessment, research, and accreditation from both the K-12 and higher education fields.  She focuses upon streamlining processes to remove effort duplication, ensuring self-sustainability of practices, and creating user-friendly platforms to drive continuous improvement.  Her current research interests include the use of e-portfolios for program assessment, balancing qualitative and quantitative assessment to develop a true picture of student success, guided pathways, and bridging the gap between high school and college.  She has presented at various conferences in the area of curriculum and assessment including the Appalachian College Association, NC Department of Instruction, Achieving the Dream, and the Association for Institutional Research (national, regional, local).

Davis JenkinsDr. 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.  Davis’s research and thinking have informed the development and spread of innovative approaches to improving student success, including career pathways, adult technical bridge programs (such as Washington State’s I-BEST), and guided pathways to success (GPS).  Together with Thomas Bailey and Shanna Jaggars, he is the author of a new book, Redesigning America’s Community Colleges:  A Clearer Path to Student Success (Harvard University Press, 2015), which is based on CCRC’s           research on strategies for improving student completion and learning.

Wendi DewMs. Wendi Dew is the Assistant Vice-President for Teaching and Learning at Valencia College.  She is responsible for leading the college’s faculty and instructional development programs for full-time and part-time faculty members, the broad strategy for online/hybrid teaching and learning, and the development and implementation for strategic teaching and learning initiatives.  Her work at Valencia has involved the development and expansion of Valencia’s comprehensive, competency-based faculty development programs; the advancement of outcomes-based practice and program learning outcomes assessment; and implementation of quality improvement and excellence initiatives for online teaching and learning.  Wendi has extensive experience with the design and implementation of student learning outcomes, curriculum development, course and program assessment, and evidence-based improvement across two-year general education and career technical education programs.