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Chancellor named to national committee on student success

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has appointed Chancellor Linda M. Thor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District to serve as one of 15 higher education leaders on the newly formed Committee on Measures of Student Success (CMSS).

The committee was created under the Higher Education Opportunity Act to develop recommendations for two-year degree-granting institutions on how to comply with new federal provisions for disclosing college graduation and completion rates. The committee also is charged with developing comparable alternate measures of student success. Duncan has given the committee 18 months from its first meeting to make recommendations.

"This is a very complex task and one I know will be very engaging," Thor said.

Thor became Foothill-De Anza's chancellor in February after 20 years as president of Rio Salado College in Arizona, where she developed a reputation as an innovative leader and pioneered the use of educational technology to effectively and efficiently serve students. Her career spans more than 30 years working in large, multi-college community college districts - first in the Los Angeles Community College District and before coming to Foothill-De Anza, in the 10-college Maricopa Community College District.

Committee members include experts in the field of higher education policy, state higher education officials, students and other stakeholders in the higher education community. Duncan named Thomas Bailey, a professor of economics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, to chair the committee. Bailey is director of the Community College Research Center and the National Center for Postsecondary Research at Teachers College in New York, N.Y.

"These individuals have a diverse background in higher education, and I value their expertise and experience as we move forward on this important issue," Duncan said.

Bruce Swenson, president of Foothill-De Anza's Board of Trustees, called Thor's appointment "a statement about the quality and abilities of our chancellor."

Besides Thor and Bailey, other members of the committee are:• Margarita Benitez, senior associate, Excelencia in Education, Washington, D.C.• Wayne Burton, of Durham, N.H., president, North Shore Community College, Danvers, MA.• Kevin Carey, policy director, Education Sector, Washington, D.C.• Alisa Federico Cunningham, vice president, Institute for Higher Education Policy, Washington, D.C.• Jacob Fraire, assistant vice president, Educational Alliances, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, Austin, Texas• Isabel Friedman, student, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.• Millie Garcia, president, California State University at Dominguez, CA.• Sharon Kristovich, higher education consultant, Champaign, IL.• Harold Levy, managing director, Palm Ventures, New York, N.Y., and former chancellor of New York City Public Schools• Geri Palast, executive director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity, New York, N.Y.• Patrick Perry, vice chancellor, California Community Colleges, Sacramento, CA.• Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, deputy director, MDRC, New York, N.Y.• Belle Wheelan, president, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges, Decatur, GA.

All members, including the chair, have been appointed for terms ending Dec. 31, 2011. The first meeting is tentatively planned for the fall.


Posted June 8, 2010