Keynote Speakers

Dr. Tia Brown McNair 

Title:   Equity and Assessment: Inextricably Linked for Student Success and for Social Justice

Abstract:   What are evidence-based practices that promote faculty-led assessment of student learning to address inequities in student outcomes? How do we create educational environments where all participants will have the opportunity to achieve their full potential and to develop their human gifts? Through a discussion of AAC&U’s efforts to make excellence inclusive, a guiding principle for access, student success, and high-quality learning, and AAC&U’s Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Institute, participants will learn strategies for how to intentionally design and assess high-quality educational experiences that promote student engagement, achieve equity in student outcomes, and value students’ “cultural wealth.” AAC&U calls for higher education to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the wellbeing of democratic culture and to achieve this goal equity and assessment of student learning must be inextricably linked.

Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC.  She 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. Randall Van Wagoner

Title:   Assessment as a Lever for Equity and Culture Change

Abstract:  The pace of change is becoming overwhelming and organizations that fail to embrace change run the risk of losing their relevance in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. Developing and nurturing a culture that anticipates change requires attention to several key aspects to the organization, not the least of which is assessment. Providing the right information to the right people in the right way at the right time is the challenge of the modern assessment professional.  If higher education is to fulfill its role in providing our democracy with an educated citizenry, assessment must be conducted through an equity lens to foster a vibrant and inclusive organizational culture. This presentation will provide insights on the pace of change and aspects of organizational culture, including the role of assessment, as well as reflections on how assessment professionals can equip their institution with data to inform conversations around equity and consider what it takes to lead from anywhere.

Dr. Randall VanWagoner has been the President of Mohawk Valley Community College since July 1, 2007.  He is in his second term as the President of the New York Community College Association of Presidents.  Dr. VanWagoner also co-facilitates the Strategic Horizon Network of seven like-minded community colleges focused on innovation, vibrant organizational cultures, and equity from six different states. He serves on several local boards including serving as co-chair for the Oneida County Executive’s Vision 2020 initiative, as well as serving on the national policy trust for Jobs For the Future. Dr. VanWagoner has published several articles and presented regularly on leadership and organizational behavior at local, regional, and national events.  Most recently, he published his first book titled, “Competing on Culture: Driving Change in Community Colleges.” 

Prior to coming to the Mohawk Valley, Dr. VanWagoner held several administrative positions at community colleges in Michigan, Colorado, and Nebraska.  He attended Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan before receiving his B.A. in Communications from Oakland University in the Detroit area and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Higher Education from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Invited Speakers

Dr. Idna M. Corbett

Dr. Idna M. Corbett joined the MSCHE staff as a Vice President in mid-2017. In this role, she serves as a liaison to member institutions, provides training to institutions and volunteers, and supports the accreditation decision-making work of the Commission. Before coming to MSCHE, she served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs at Northern Kentucky University where she oversaw University-wide curriculum development, academic assessment processes and student support services, and served as liaison to the University’s regional accrediting Commission and state higher education council. Prior to that, she was at West Chester University (PA), where she was Professor of Educational Development and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Student Support Services. Dr. Corbett had served multiple times as a Peer Evaluator on behalf of the Commission. She earned her Ed.D. from Temple University (PA), her M.A. from Michigan State University, and her B.A. from Goshen College (IN). 


Ms. Erin Mattson

Ms. Erin Mattson join the Commission staff as the Assistant Director for Accreditation Services in 2012, served as Director for Accreditation Services from 2015 to 2018, and has served in her current role since July of 2018. In her role as Senior Director for Accreditation Services, she leads the Accreditation Services unit and is responsible for the oversight of the Commission’s volunteer management, standing accreditation Committees, and maintenance of the official accreditation record for institutions. Prior to joining Middle States, she served for six years as Senior Admissions Counselor at Temple University (PA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Temple University and a Master of Arts from University College Dublin (Ireland). 


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