ALA Alumni Experiences

Alumni Experiences

Heather Lewis
Chairperson of Art and Design Education, Professor Art and Design Education
Pratt Institute
As a participant in the Assessment Leadership Academy from outside of the WSCUC region, I fully appreciated the universally applicable and topical experience. The ALA provided a two-fold foundation for my future work within my institution; a) solid grounding in current and emerging assessment policies and practices and b) support for my individual study of the conceptual and theoretical relationship of assessment to institutional development and learning. These two integrated foundational experiences influenced my professional decision-making to be able to chart a non-traditional and non-hierarchical career path.



Shirley McGuire
Ph.D.Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor
University of San Francisco
The ALA experience has been invaluable to my work as Senior Vice Provost in Academic Affairs. I understand how crucial it is to develop and continually support assessment leadership from my office to the deans to the faculty and back. I met our future Director of Educational Effectiveness and together we completed a successful and meaningful review for reaffirmation of accreditation.


John Ruys
Psychology Instructor
Las Positas College
I cannot speak highly enough of the Assessment Leadership Academy (ALA). The ALA introduced me to a variety of topics related to assessment and student learning. It gave me new perspectives on assessment, accreditation, and student learning and invigorated my own work at Las Positas Community College. It also gave me multiple opportunities to network with a number of leaders in the field of assessment and student learning from community colleges and universities. My work as part of the ALA allowed me to present my work on assessment at multiple conferences and community colleges. Being a part of the ALA helped me become more involved with accreditation efforts at my college and I am now serving as the Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) at Las Positas College. 


Sonny Calderon
Dean of the College, Secretary to the Board of Directors
New York Film Academy in Los Angeles
The short story: the ALA is the single best professional development program in which I’ve ever participated. Do yourself a favor and apply for it. The long story: as the dean of the college at an institution that is currently in candidacy status for WSCUC accreditation, the ALA introduced me to the literature of assessment, afforded me personal guidance from luminaries in the field, gave me a deeper understanding of and familiarity with WSCUC itself, introduced me to dozens of new friends and colleagues whom I cherish, and gave me the confidence to seek out new opportunities to serve the higher education community as a volunteer, peer evaluator, and advocate. 


Marguerite Bonous-Hammarth
Executive Director, Office of Inclusive Excellence
University of California-Irvine
The ALA has been one of my best career-enriching decisions!  The presentations by internationally-recognized scholars were amazing and cutting-edge, and the connections to cohort members continue to broaden my assessment and collegial network.  I left feeling more empowered because I had enhanced my skills in ways that would directly support priorities for my institution.  I continue to use ALA tools and references today and can honestly say that learning from ALA has helped to advance my institution’s accountability and shared knowledge in core functional areas.  ALA was a rare opportunity and I was honored to participate.



Lon Olson
USN, Ph.D. Military Professor, Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law
United States Naval Academy
I have found the Assessment Leadership Academy to be immensely beneficial.  Before ALA, most of my assessment training was on the job. As a result, my training was not very systematic and my knowledge of assessment techniques and best practices was spotty. As a result of the ALA, my knowledge and expertise in assessment has expanded exponentially. Of equal, if not greater importance are the techniques in assessment leadership and the experiences in academic leadership shared by the instructors and guest faculty.



Joe Slowensky
Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Faculty Affairs

Chapman University. 
The experience I had as part of ALA’s first cohort was transformational to my career.  I had recently been put in charge of assessment and accreditation at Chapman University and tasked with getting the institution ready for a WASC accreditation reaffirmation review.  Not only did the ALA help me develop an understanding of the basics of assessment and program review, it also helped me develop the leadership skills I needed to motivate others to accomplish the tasks at hand.  The ALA helped me contextualize the national and political forces behind accreditation and assessment,  gave me a safety net of assessment professionals at other institutions to call up for advice and information, and opened the door to me to become a member of WASC peer review teams.  In short, the experiences I had in the ALA helped me develop into a valuable player at my institution as a leader of all of our assessment and accreditation activities, and it wasn't long before I was promoted to Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Faculty Affairs. 

Wanda Nitsch
Owner, Eclipse Higher Education Consulting
Former President and Chief Academic Officer

University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
The ALA experience was important for me.  As a chief academic officer for an institution going through initial WSCUC accreditation, this experience helped me to lay down the framework for institutional and educational effectiveness at my university.  I enjoyed learning from national experts on assessment and the residency sessions were interactive and covered so many valuable lessons.  I have enjoyed staying in touch with my cohort as we continue to advance best practices in assessment.