OCCA Annual Conference

OCCA Annual Conference

Join us in 2024!
November 6-8, 2024
Salishan Coastal Lodge, Gleneden Beach, OR

Thank you for joining us for the 2023 OCCA Annual Conference in Sunriver! The theme for the 2023 conference was “Empowering Community Colleges for the Future.” We hope you found the conference to be beneficial and insightful! Be on the lookout in summer 2024 for details about our 2024 OCCA Annual Conference at Salishan Coastal Resort in Gleneden Beach!

Keynote Presenters

OCCA would like to thank the two esteemed keynote speakers who spoke at the 2023 conference: Futurist Steve Brown and Lumina Foundation Strategy Director Shawna Davis.

Steve Brown, Futurist

Mr. Brown advises organizations on how to develop their AI transformation strategy, drawing on his expertise as a futurist, entrepreneur, and strategic advisor with over 30 years of experience in high tech. He is a co-founder of the Provenance Chain(TM) Network, a Web3 company that provides transparency, security, and resilience services to organizations including the U.S. Space Force. Some folks may remember Mr. Brown by his former moniker, The Bald Futurist.

Shauna Davis

Ms. Davis is the strategy director for community college participation for Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Davis leads a portfolio of work designed to increase enrollment and re-enrollment in AA degree and short-term credential programs. Ms. Davis was one of 35 women recognized by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education March 2020 edition for making a positive difference in education. She is passionate about helping students and colleges find practical solutions to improve success.

Breakout Presentations

The 2023 OCCA Annual Conference had a great program of breakout sessions with presenters providing their experiences, best practices and lessons learned from your community college colleagues from around the state. Check out the 2023 lineup below!

Thursday, November 2

Unlock the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in elevating your community college’s marketing and PR efforts. Learn how Lane Community College has successfully leveraged AI tools like ChatGPT to increase visibility and achieve remarkable outcomes—even amid budget and staffing constraints. Tailored for college presidents, board members, and administrators, this session offers localized, practical insights you can immediately apply to your own institution. – Brett Rowlett – Executive Director of External Relations, Lane Community College

Looking to enhance the connections between your institutional values and budget decisions? How you make budget decisions is important for building trust with the community, students, employees, and your board. In this session, presenters will share and engage participants in applying a process and tool to draw in more voices and have deeper discussions that lead to values-based budget recommendations for your Board and leaders. – Sarah Lechner, Principle, Coraggio Group; Jeff Shaffer, Vice President of Finance & Operations & CFO, Clackamas Community College; Casey Layton, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Clackamas Community College; Iriene Konev, Board Member, Clackamas Community College

PERS is often in the news, yet is generally not well understood. What are the basics? Why are the costs associated with the pension program so high and why do they only seem to increase? What are the implications for community college budgets going forward? What are ‘side accounts’, why did jurisdictions borrow to set them up, and what happens after they expire in FY 2028? What are the implications for your employees and for you as employers? These questions and more will be answered in as clear a way as the topic of PERS allows! – Carol Samuels, Managing Director, Piper Sandler; Brendan Watkins, Vice President, Piper Sandler

Too often, future of work conversations focus on the increasing digital skills, automation, and AI requirements, but not the policy and practice levers that states and colleges can employ to prepare for the future while closing opportunity gaps and driving an inclusive economy. It’s imperative to re-center students and workers. Hear what’s happening in Oregon and nationally, and consider how colleges can transform and shape the possibilities ahead. – Kate Kinder, State Strategies Director, National Skills Coalition; Dr. Jessica Howard, President, Chemeketa Community College

This presentation will focus on legal issues and developments important for boards to know because of the impact on community colleges. This includes recent court decisions involving free speech and freedom of religion; developments around affirmative action and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs; developments in labor law and union organizing; and a refresher on government transparency and ethics laws that apply to the board and board leadership. The presentation will include an overview of hot topics in the law, followed by a best practices discussion in small groups. – Liani J. Reeves, Attorney, Miller Nash

In an era marked by increasing polarization and charged rhetoric, this presentation seeks to address the pressing need to develop new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies to continue to advance the community college mission. This presentation acknowledges the current landscape of heightened tensions, where societal, political, and cultural differences often lead to fragmentation; emphasizing the important role of community colleges in nurturing broad inclusivity. – Vivi Caleffi Prichard, Chief Diversity Officer, Chemeketa Community College; Casey Layton, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Clackamas Community College

Understand the hype around generative AI based tools like ChatGPT. Explore the role and impact of these AI-based tools within Higher Ed, and uncover strategies to manage risks with generative AI. – Saby Waraich, Chief Information Officer, Clackamas Community College

The adult education population is a pipeline of potential community college enrollees, & the State Team has developed a robust culture of data for WIOA Title II programs across Oregon. The team uses data to provide technical assistance & professional development to programs to meet local, state, & federal goals. Additionally, the team provides data use & literacy training opportunities to local directors, data professionals, & instructors to inform programmatic decisions & drive learner success. – Kelly Zinck, Education Team Research Analyst, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC); Ashley Garrigan, ABE State Leadership Coordinator, HECC

Friday, November 3

Explore how a six college rural consortium has set up course sharing for increasing student access. – Ali Mageehon, Vice President of Instruction & Student Services, Southwestern Oregon Community College; Loretta Casart, Regional Vice President of Academic Partnerships, Acadeum

Community college enrollment in Oregon has been declining for almost a decade. This alarming trend poses a threat to the well-being of community colleges and their students. To address this, New America partnered with Mt. Hood Community College to help re-enroll adult stop-out students. This session contains original research and recommendations on how community colleges can use data and updated policies and procedures to better enroll and serve adult learners. – John Hamblin, Vice President of Student Development, Mt. Hood Community College; Ivy Love, Senior Advisor, New America

In June, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) adopted rules to change how state funding is distributed to Oregon’s 17 community colleges. The change redirects an increasing percentage of state funding from enrollment to equitable student success. This session will help attendees understand all elements of the new distribution model, which can guide policy decisions that support priority student populations and incentivize progression and completion. – Jennifer DeMent, Vice President of Finance & Administration, Mt. Hood Community College; Jeff Shaffer, Vice President of Finance, Operations & Strategic Partnerships, Clackamas Community College; Lisa Stanton, Vice President of Operations & Finance/CFO, Rogue Community College; Sheldon Flom, Vice President of Finance & Operations, Linn-Benton Community College

Have you ever considered going to your voters for a bond levy? If so, this session is for you! Learn a) How bond proceeds can be spent b) What goes into calculating the costs of a bond levy on taxpayers; b) What legal restrictions you face and d) What the rules are for developing a ballot title. – Carol Samuels, Managing Director, Piper Sandler; Brendan Watkins, Vice President, Piper Sandler

Strengthening Community Colleges through Collaborative Partnerships

Join Central Oregon Community College and three regional partners as they talk about the value of partnerships using COCC’s Early Childhood Education program as an example of collaboration. – Moderator: Amy Howell, Early Childhood Education Program Director/Professor, Central Oregon Community College; Panelists: Kathryn Brown, Early Childcare Accelerator Program & Director of Small Business Development Center, COCC; Melinda Boyle, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Jefferson County School District 509J; Karen Prow, Director of Child Care Resources, NeighborImpact

Providing opportunities for community college students to transfer to 4-year institutions is critical to student success in reaching their career goals. These students often do not know how accessible private universities can be. This project strives to create clear pathways for efficient transfer. – Linda Samek, Project Director, Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities; Elizabeth Cox Brand, Executive Director, Oregon Student Success Center; Brent Wilder, President, Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities

There are no silver bullets to solving the housing crisis and the lack of affordable housing is keeping many students from completing their community college education. The only path forward is to leverage the learning and successes of housing that is in place and to share possible solutions with all stakeholders whose focus is community college student success. This session will build a collaborative coalition to seek viable housing solutions for those students. – David Garnand, Executive Director, College Housing Northwest 

With the goal of stabilizing institutional enrollment, Rogue Community College identified K-12 partners as an area of opportunity. Strategic efforts to grow dual credit and early college offerings have garnered promising results with more on the horizon. Come see how RCC has leveraged resources and relationships to impact career readiness and postsecondary participation in the Rogue Valley. – Randy Weber, President, Rogue Community College; Juliet Long, Vice President of Student Learning & Success, Rogue Community College

Thank You, Sponsors!

Thank you to the 2023 OCCA Conference Sponsors for their support!

Please note that sponsorship opportunities have ended for 2023. If you are interested in sponsoring the 2024 OCCA Annual Conference, please email casey@occa17.com.






Miller-Nash LLP

PSU College of Education



Johnson Controls

Energy Trust of Oregon

Hank Payments

Howard Cherry Awards Banquet

The annual Howard Cherry Awards celebrate the contributions that local advocates, administrators and board members have made to the benefit of Oregon’s community colleges. The awards are named for the late Dr. Howard Cherry, a lifelong advocate for education and community involvement. Dr. Cherry was also a founding member of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and was a trustee of the American Association of Community & Junior Colleges.

The Howard Cherry Awards Banquet is included with OCCA Conference Registration (additional tickets also available), and took place on Thursday, November 2, 2023. It also included recognition of distinguished service awards for community college board members, as well as will honor the Oregon Presidents Council winner of the Cam Preus Award for Extraordinary Commitment to Community Colleges. Attire for the banquet was business professional or formal.

Congratulations to the 2023 Howard Cherry Award winners! Click here for the press release.

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