Learning Network Convening 2022


Celebrating our work and the promise of developmental education reform

Denver, Colorado | May 3 – 4, 2022

We’re inviting a group of members from across our network to gather in person for our 2022 Learning Network Convening. You’ll hear from educators, researchers and technical assistance providers about their experiences and work in the field. Importantly, we will share Strong Start’s successes to date with a report from our evaluator, and think together about how to advance the work in the field.

By continually learning from each other, we can do more to deliver on the promise of developmental education reform, and operationalize equity across the system. Working together, we can scale practices that remove barriers that typically impede racially minoritized students, students with low incomes and returning adults from earning essential college credits in English and math courses in their first year.

This year’s convening is invitation only, with limited attendance to ensure we are safely distanced.

Join the conversation. Use the hashtag #SStFLNC22 to share your favorite moments and insights while you’re here and after you leave!




Day 1 – Tuesday, May 3

Location: Windows and Tower Courts Foyer

Location: Windows

Session Description

Dr. Laura Rendón will address developmental education reform’s promising results along with mixed findings about their efficacy, especially for racially minoritized and students with low incomes. Inspiring a way forward in our work, she will address gaps in reform practices, offering ways to understand and transform cultural narratives that have worked against equity and justice, as well as methods to support the challenges faced by first-generation students and students with low incomes. Learn how to be culturally responsive in your daily work, humanizing your interactions with students. 

Speaker: Dr. Laura Rendón, Professor Emerita, University of Texas at San Antonio

Laura Rendon

Dr. Rendón is a nationally recognized student advocate, activist, scholar and contemplative educator. She is a passionate advocate for first-generation students and students with low incomes, who she feels have hopes and dreams, but often are not supported by the system to realize them.


Location: Windows

Session Description

In celebration of alliance through many different models of reform and engagement, we will host a facilitated panel with our Scaling Site leaders and Technical Assistance providers. Based on their work together throughout the project, we have the opportunity to learn about collaboration, implementation of reform practices, how they operationalized equity within their models, best practices and challenges. This panel will include leaders from our four original scaling sites and Technical Assistant providers, including Ohio Department of Higher Education, State University of New York, City University of New York and University System of Georgia, and will be moderated by SStF’s Equity Consultant, Dr. Judy Marquez-Kiyama.


Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama, Moderator

Judy Marquez Kiyama

Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama serves as an equity consultant with Strong Start to Finish. She is also the Associate Vice Provost of Faculty Development within the Office of Faculty Affairs at the University of Arizona and Professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Practice.


Vanessa Keadle, Student-Ready Strategies

Vanessa Keadle

Vanessa Keadle is the Chief Strategy Officer for Student-Ready Strategies. In this role, she supports institutional transformation through delivery of intentional, equity-focused technical assistance and capacity support. Prior to joining SRS, Vanessa worked at Complete College America and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Her expertise is in developmental education reform, particularly corequisite support and placement strategies. Vanessa also served for years as a student affairs professional. She is currently working toward her doctorate degree, conducting research that focuses on corequisite support and college student persistence.

Tom Sudkamp, Ohio Department of Education

Tom Sudkamp

Dr. Thomas Sudkamp is Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Ohio Department of Higher Education. As the Chief Academic Officer, Tom’s responsibilities include statewide student success initiatives, transfer policies, program approval and dual enrollment. Prior to joining the Department of Higher Education, Tom served as Executive Director of the Ohio Strong Start to Finish program, a collaboration of 30 public Ohio colleges and universities with the goal of increasing the number of students who complete gateway mathematics and English courses in their first year through guided degree pathways, developmental education reform, and holistic academic and advising support. 

Robert Todd, University System of Georgia

Robert Todd

Robert Todd is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Success & Completion at the University System of Georgia. He leads the USG Momentum Approach and Complete College Georgia initiatives that strive to ensure increased college completion through guided pathways, growth mindset, predictive analytics, intentional advising and related efforts. His current foci include the High Impact Practices Implementation Project to scale equitable HIPs statewide, addressing the need for experiential learning, and a related Course Attribute Dashboard to capture HIPs experiences in the Banner student information system.

Mari Watanabe-Rose, City University of New York

Mari Watanabe-Rose

Dr. Mari Watanabe-Rose is Director of Undergraduate Education Initiatives and Research at the Central Office of Academic Affairs of the City University of New York (CUNY). Since she joined CUNY Central in 2009, Mari has worked on remediation reforms and promoted student supports that are more effective than traditional, prerequisite developmental education. Since 2019, she has organized seven university-wide professional development events for learning mindsets, in which more than 1,000 faculty, staff and campus leaders participated from across CUNY. Mari has a Ph.D. in Psychology, Learning Processes and Behavior Analysis, and is a Board Certified and New York State Licensed Behavior Analyst.

LaDonna Young, Motivate Lab

LaDonna Young

LaDonna Young is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Development at Motivate Lab and a champion for educational equity and racial justice. With over twenty years of urban K-12 and higher education practitioner and administrative experiences, LaDonna supports Motivate Lab by providing leadership and strategic vision for new partner relationships and advancing equity-centered work for tools and product development. LaDonna enjoys coaching and challenging practitioners to interrogate and mitigate policies, practices, pedagogy and systems that perpetuate (in)equity and opportunity gaps for historically marginalized students, particularly Black students.

Choose a breakout session from the below list of options.

Location: Director’s Row J

Session Description

How are we different, yet still the same? During this interactive session, we will focus on two of our early Scaling Sites, California Community Colleges and Arkansas Department of Higher Education. At the end of the session, participants will gain further understanding about how these different systems have created momentum and maintained sustainable developmental education reform in states with differing governance structures and funding models.


Mike Leach, Arkansas Community College

Mike Leach

Mike Leach is the Director of the Center for Student Success at Arkansas Community Colleges. The Center works with all 22 community colleges in Arkansas to adopt institutional innovations to improve student outcomes, and to establish a state policy environment supportive of student success. Mike has developed and managed a variety of student success projects impacting the entire higher education sector in Arkansas, including Arkansas Math Pathways and Arkansas Strong Start to Finish. Mike was instrumental in the creation of the nationally recognized Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative, which uses federal funding to support underserved students to attend community colleges across Arkansas. 

Aisha Lowe, California Community Colleges

Aisha Lowe

Dr. Aisha Lowe is a passionate educator who has dedicated her life to improving education for all students and communities. As Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Supports for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Aisha provides leadership for educational services division activities, including transfer and articulation, curriculum chaptering and approval, equity programs and grants, innovations in teaching and learning, special project management, and system-wide technical assistance delivery. Prior to joining the Chancellor’s Office in 2020, Aisha served as Associate Professor of Education at William Jessup University, where she oversaw the thesis research of future teachers in training. 

Location: Director’s Row H

Session Description

The call to “address equity in developmental education reforms” is often promoted, but learning how to do this is discussed less often. In this hands-on session, participants will engage with eight equity principles that can be applied to developmental education reform efforts; explore how to apply one or more of the principles to system-level reform efforts; and explore the challenges that can arise when addressing racial and socioeconomic equity in developmental education reform.


Rebecca Hartzler, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Rebecca Hartzler

Rebecca Hartzler is a Program Officer for Postsecondary Success at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Here, she leads work to develop and deliver reforms to developmental education programs, practices and policies — with particular attention to eliminating equity gaps for Black, Latinx and Indigenous students and students experiencing poverty. Prior to working at the foundation, Rebecca worked at The Charles A. Dana Center, served as the Dean for Science and Mathematics at Seattle Central College, and as tenured faculty in physics, engineering and mathematics at Washington state community colleges. Rebecca holds a BS and MS in Physics from Kansas State University.

Maxine Roberts, Strong Start to Finish

Maxine Roberts

Maxine Roberts is the Director of Strong Start to Finish. In this role, she works with state leaders, researchers and technical assistance partners to address inequities in developmental education for racially and ethnically minoritized students, students with low incomes and adults. Prior to Strong Start to Finish, Maxine directed after-school and college-preparatory programs, worked with community college faculty to improve their course outcomes in developmental education, and studied factors that foster success for racially and ethnically minoritized students in developmental math courses.

Location: Director’s Row I

Session Description

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an interactive session that will explore the history of developmental education, the effects of race-neutral policymaking and the promise of equity-minded reform. Participants will engage in both small- and large-group discussions centered on the role of developmental education in improving, or worsening, institutional and state outcomes for racially minoritized students.


Elena Quiroz-Livanis, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

Elena Quiroz-Livanis

Elena Quiroz-Livanis is the Chief of Staff and Assistant Commissioner of Academic Policy and Student Success at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. She oversees the system’s efforts to create a unified system of transfer and transform developmental education. Additionally, Elena has begun working with the Commissioner of Higher Education to develop a system-wide strategic plan focused on racial equity. The framework seeks to significantly raise the enrollment, attainment and long-term success outcomes among minoritized student populations. Elena is also a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Tara Parker, University of Massachusetts Boston

Tara Parker

Tara L. Parker is Chair of the Leadership in Education Department and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research focuses on race, equity and success in higher education, including three interrelated areas:  1) the application of critical race theory to higher education; 2) the experiences and contributions of faculty of color; and 3) the influence of public policy on developmental education. 

Location: Director’s Row E

Session Description

During this workshop, we will host a session, Showcasing of Sites: Core Principles in Action – A Culmination Brief where participants will have the opportunity to engage with the successes and challenges of the site-based work, including trends across 13 Strong Start to Finish sites; key learnings from our work; and considerations for state, system and institutional leaders seeking to engage in similar efforts. This session will also showcase the Core Principles, along with key details from the brief on site-based work from 2018 – 2021.


Sharmila Mann, Education Commission of the States

Sharmila Mann

As principal, Sharmila Mann provides leadership on the development and execution of Education Commission of the States’ strategic policy initiatives and fosters internal and external relationships. Sharmila brings more than 15 years of education policy experience to her role, including 10 years at the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association engaging with state and federal policymakers, funders and national associations in pursuit of policy to smooth transitions between education sectors. Sharmila holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University and a master’s and doctorate in human genetics from the University of Michigan. 

Emily Warren, Strong Start to Finish

Emily Warren

As a senior project manager for Strong Start to Finish, Emily Warren focuses on engaging systems that commit to implementing actionable, evidence-based policy and practice at scale to improve student entry and success in their initial year of college. Emily comes to Strong Start to Finish with over 12 years of experience in higher education and program management at the university level. She also has a passion for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of an organization. 

Location: Windows

Session Description

A presentation that captures valuable lessons and insights that can inform state and system efforts to design, implement and scale developmental education reforms. During this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn key findings; further understand how the successes and challenges of this work might impact reforms through a broader lens; and engage in conversation about implementation efforts.


Bruce Vandal, Bruce Vandal Consulting

Bruce Vandal

Bruce Vandal is the principal of Bruce Vandal Consulting (BVC) where he works with states, systems, institutions and national higher education organizations to implement evidence-based college completion reforms. Bruce provides practical technical assistance and professional advice to organizations, conducts program evaluations and research, and provides strategic planning services.  Bruce was Senior VP at Complete College America and was the VP of Development and Outreach as well as the Director of the Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development Institute at Education Commission of the States.

Jessica Brathwaite, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Jessica Brathwaite

Jessica Brathwaite has studied education and inequality for over a decade. As of March, 2022, Brathwaite is a consultant for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supporting the Solutions and MLE teams. In her previous role, Jessica was a Senior Research Associate at the Community College Research Center, where her research focused on developmental education reform, secondary and postsecondary math education reform, and the experiences of English  learners in community college.  She is also the equity lead for the qualitative evaluation of Strong Start to Finish and the strategy review of the Bill and Melinda Gates’ developmental education portfolio of investments.

Location: Windows

Session Description

Dr. Laura Rendón and Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama will return to the stage to answer questions from the keynote address, and we’ll reflect together on the day.

Location: Bezel Lounge, Lobby Level 

Dinner On Your Own

Day 2 – Wednesday, May 4

Location: Tower Courts Foyer

Location: Windows

Session Description

In our Conversation with SStF Strategy Sites, our seven Strategy Sites will highlight how they addressed racial and socioeconomic equity in their systems, institutions and classrooms; what frameworks or methods were drawn on when developing developmental education reform strategies; what sustaining efforts, structural and otherwise, ensure continuous progress toward developmental education reform; and equity goals during their time with the Strong Start to Finish project. This format is designed to feature a wider variety of perspectives on our main stage and energize the SStF community around opportunities that extend beyond the first phase of our collective work. 


Jana Anderson, Minnesota State Colleges & Universities

Jana Anderson

Jana Anderson is a member of the math faculty at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) in Cloquet, Minnesota. She has been instrumental in implementing developmental education reform at FDLTCC and is currently serving as Faculty Region Coordinator for the Minnesota Math Pathways Project.


Bill Calhoun, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

Bill Calhoun

Dr. William Calhoun is a professor of mathematics at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Bill holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and has taught mathematics and computer science for over 30 years. He has published research papers in computability theory and combinatorics. Bill directed the Strong Start to Finish funded project, Developing and Implementing Co-Requisite Learning Support for Mathematics, for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in 2020–21. 

Elizabeth Cox Brand, Oregon Community College Association

Elizabeth Cox-Brand

Elizabeth Cox Brand is the Executive Director of the Oregon Student Success Center. Originally from Iowa, Elizabeth earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University in 2007. After graduation, she became Assistant Director of the California Community College Collaborative at UC Riverside. Dr. Brand came to Oregon in 2011 as Director of Communications and Research for the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development and in 2016, and became the first Executive Director of the Oregon Student Success Center.  

Laura Decker, Nevada System of Higher Education

Laura Decker

Laura Decker is an Assistant Professor of English Composition at Nevada State College, where she teaches first year writing and writing studies courses and serves as the Coordinator of First Year Composition. When she is not teaching, she enjoys being outside with her family in the beautiful wild spaces Nevada has to offer. 


Lindsey Koch, TBR—The College System of Tennessee

Lindsey Koch

As a Policy and Data Analyst at TBR—The College System of Tennessee, Lindsey works to strengthen data science application in higher education to identify areas to pilot interventions to improve outcomes for community and technical college students. She has participated in and led policy research related to community and technical college student success, with a special focus on refining TBR’s remediation efforts across 13 community colleges. She earned her Bachelor’s in Political Science from Baylor University and her Master’s of Higher Education Policy from Vanderbilt University. As an open access system, TBR strives to develop innovative solutions to the wide array of challenges students face when they enter college – from the time they enroll, all the way into the workforce.

Janet Newhall, Louisiana Board of Regents

Janet Newhall

Serving as an Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs for the Louisiana Board of Regents, Janet Newhall has over 20 years of higher education experience in student and academic affairs. At the Regents, she has led efforts to implement a new multi-year statewide academic program planning process; facilitated the development of the state’s first policy on prior learning assessment; and orchestrated major revisions to the state’s college math and English placement policy through support from a Strong Start to Finish strategy site grant.

Chris Rasmussen, Colorado Department of Higher Education

Chris Rasmussen

Chris Rasmussen is Senior Director for Academic Pathways and Innovation with the Colorado Department of Higher Education. In this role, Chris leads initiatives to help students earn degrees in less time and at a lower cost, with a focus on seamless transfer, innovative delivery systems, recognition of prior learning, and diversifying the credentialing ecosystem. In 10 years with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, Chris led several initiatives to address shared challenges among states, including a multi-state effort on “tuning” the disciplines (aligning coursework to degree-level knowledge and competencies) and expanding student access to online programs through launch of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. 

Location: Director’s Row and Tower Court Rooms

9:45 – 10:30 a.m.      Breakout Sessions: Block 1

Choose a first breakout session from the below list of options.

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.      15-MIN BREAK

10:45 – 11:30 a.m.   Breakout Sessions: Block 2

Choose a second breakout session from the below list of options.

Location: Tower Court B

Session Description

This session starts with briefly sharing findings from a multi-year, mixed-methods research study of the corequisite model at Houston Community College (HCC), one of the nation’s largest and most racially/ethnically diverse community college systems. Our goal was to better understand corequisite coursework — the benefits and potential areas for improvement — to enhance equity within a student body that is predominately Black and Latinx. Next, we will show how we used our findings to inform future professional development for HCC corequisite faculty. In this collective space, participants will share their own experiences and discuss how to use research findings to influence changes in developmental education reform. 


Andrea Burridge, Houston Community College

Andrea Burridge

Andrea Burridge serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Analytics and Decision Support at Houston Community College. Prior to HCC, she served as faculty at the University of Houston, and as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and as Director of Institutional Effectiveness at the University of Houston College of Education. Her research focuses on equity and success in community college settings. 

Susana Hernández, University of Houston 

Susana Hernández

Dr. Susana Hernández is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Houston. In this role, she oversees the qualitative data collection and analysis for a collaborative research project with Houston Community College that explores developmental education reform efforts — funded by Strong Start to Finish. Her own higher education experiences as a first-generation Latina student and student affairs practitioner shapes and informs her research. Her research uses critical and non-deficit frameworks to study how higher education policies influence the educational/work experiences of racially and ethnically minoritized communities.

Amy E. Harris Tan, Houston Community College 

Amy Harris Tan

Dr. Amy E. Harris Tan is the Dean for English and Communications at Houston Community College. She taught English Composition and Literature courses for 16 years while serving in leadership roles, including Program Coordinator and Department Chair. She has served on the LEAP-TX board and on the Steering Committee for the Open Education Conference. Supporting equity and success, she continues to champion student basic needs and the rights of contingent faculty.

Location: Director’s Row I

Session Description

“We can’t get our faculty to do anything!” “They’ve got a negative view of students.” “We’ve no spare resources, other than a teaching center.” “Anyway, our faculty are fine — does teaching even make a difference?” REALLY? Join this dynamic session to bust these myths! We’ll use SStF’s new toolkit “Success & Equity Through Quality Instruction: Bringing Faculty into the Student Success Movement” to show how. Participants will gain a richer understanding of the holistic transformation necessary to engage faculty in developmental education reform and understand how to use the SStF toolkit to lead change in their states and systems.


Bacari Brown, Association of College and University Educators (ACUE)

Bacari Brown

Bacari Brown is a Partnership Director for ACUE. He has spent over 14 years building relationships and collaborating in higher education, with a specific focus on identifying new technology solutions to further improve student success and learning outcomes. For 12 years, serving in various capacities at Pearson Education and Cengage Learning, Bacari helped institutions leverage innovative technologies to achieve their strategic goals. Prior to joining ACUE, he served as Executive Director of Partnerships at Knewton, a New York City-based adaptive learning company whose mission was to bring personalized education to the world.

Jonathan Gyurko, Association of College and University Educators (ACUE)

Jonathan Gyurko

Jonathan Gyurko is President and Co-Founder of the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), which advances student success and equity through effective instruction. Prior to ACUE, Jonathan spent more than two decades leading mission-driven efforts to create and expand educational opportunities of the highest quality for students at all levels of learning in the U.S. and around the world. He holds a Ph.D. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and was the inaugural Harber Fellow in Educational Innovation at Wesleyan University. Jonathan began his career as a teacher at Tiger Kloof School in Vryburg, South Africa.

Location: Director’s Row J

Session Description

In this session, the facilitator will first briefly discuss the findings of a study that examined outcomes of students who were placed into corequisite reading, and how delivery structures were associated with student outcomes. In the second half of the session, attendees will participate in a discussion on the best strategies to support students who need development of academic literacy.


Florence Xiaotao Ran, Community College Research Center (CCRC)

Florence Ran

Dr. Florence Xiaotao Ran is an Assistant Professor of higher education policy in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and a research affiliate with the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research examines how educational resources and policies affect student outcomes in postsecondary institutions, particularly in community colleges. Her recent work looks at the impact of college instructors and remedial education reforms on student success. She has worked closely with higher education institutions and systems to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice.

Location: Tower Court C

Session Description

This session reviews the latest findings related to the role learning mindsets (e.g., growth mindset, perceptions of purpose and relevance, sense of belonging) play in corequisite models of education. A brief presentation on the evolving research related to learning mindsets will be followed up with breakout discussion questions to reflect on the research. Specifically, we will discuss recent findings that highlight the connection between students’ learning mindsets and their environment, with implications for critical academic outcomes (e.g., grades, persistence). Whereas prior learning mindset research primarily focused on strategies to motivate individual students, nascent findings continue to highlight the importance of focusing more efforts on creating motivationally supportive climates. We will evaluate evidence indicating that this structural approach to supporting student motivation is more effective for supporting students enrolled in corequisite courses, and subsequent breakout discussions will center around how we can translate these findings into practice and integrate them into ongoing equity initiatives.


Yoi Tibbets, Motivate Lab

Yoi Tibbets

Yoi is an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Virginia and the Research Director of Motivate Lab, where his work focuses on creating more motivationally supportive learning environments that better support students from historically marginalized backgrounds. The majority of his published work focuses on how STEM educators can integrate learning mindsets (e.g., growth mindset, purpose and relevance, sense of belonging) into their pedagogy, resulting in improved academic outcomes and well-being. Yoi strives to explicate motivational principles related to these learning mindsets in accessible ways that position educators to create more equitable classrooms that support the growth and development of their students.  

Location: Director’s Row E

Session Description

by doing, which means if you enter this room, you should be prepared to engage in games, shout out answers, move around the room, and experience activities that you can use in professional development sessions at your site when making the case for student success and developmental education reform/corequisite support. We know that active learning is best for students, and it is best for people attending conferences as well. This session is focused on the activities themselves and is not a presentation per se about the details and data of developmental education or corequisite reform. We encourage anyone who plans to focus on work or answer emails during the session (no worries, been there and done that too in other venues) to select another breakout.


Brandon Protas, Complete College America (CCA)

Brandon Protas

Brandon Protas, Ed.D., serves as a Strategy Director with Complete College America (CCA). He leads the Momentum pillar of strategies, which includes Credit for Competency, Multiple Measures, Corequisite Support, Dual Enrollment and 15 to Finish/Stay on Track. He also supports CCA Alliance members in the West. Brandon is passionate about education as a public good to improve society and to transform individual lives. Prior to joining CCA, Brandon worked for nine years at Community College of Denver directing their concurrent enrollment program. He led the college through accreditation from the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). 

Resources and Pre-Reads

These resources, developed by members of the Strong Start to Finish network, dive deep into developmental education reform and corequisite supports. Take some time to explore these resources before you hear from their authors at the 2022 Learning Network Convening.

SStF Reports and Toolkits


Implementation Pathways for Developmental Education Reform Report Cover

Implementation Pathways for Developmental Education Reform

By: Sharmila Mann and Emily Warren
Read the Implementation Pathways Report

No Room for Doubt Report Cover

No Room for Doubt: Moving Corequisite Support from Idea to Imperative

By: Complete College America
Read the No Room for Doubt Report


Corequisite Math Report Cover

Corequisite Mathematics Toolkit

By: The Charles A. Dana Center
Check Out the Corequisite Math Toolkit


Success & Equity Report Cover

Success & Equity Through Quality Instruction

By: ACUE and Sova
Read the Success & Equity Report


Faculty & Staff Support Toolkit Cover

Faculty & Staff Support: A Toolkit for Mid-Level Managers

By: Sova and The Charles A. Dana Center
Check Out the Faculty & Staff Support Toolkit

Self-Placement Report Cover

Developmental Education Self-Placement Approaches

By: Phase 2 Advisory
Read the Self-Placement Report



Improving College Success for Students in Corequisite Reading Report Cover

Improving College Success for Students in Corequisite Reading

By: Florence Xiaotao Ran, Susan Bickerstaff and Nikki Edgecombe
Read the Improving College Success Report

Systematic Change Report Cover

Leading a Systematic Change Process

By: Texas A&M University – Texas, Texas Rural Funders
Read the Systematic Change Report


Learning Mindsets Report Cover

Learning Mindsets Matter for Students in Corequisite Courses

By: Motivate Lab
Read the Mindsets Matter Report


Improving Equity Report Cover

Improving Equity Throuh Corequisite Support

By: University of Houston, Houston Community College and Strong Start to Finish
Read the Improving Equity Report

Finding Relevance in College Math Report Cover

Finding Relevance in College Math

By: Motivate Lab
Read the Finding Relevance Report



ACUE Back to School Webinars

Watch the ACUE Webinars

SStF Network Blog Posts


Student Self-Placement as an Equity Strategy

By: Melinda Karp
Read Melinda Karp’s Blog Post

Developmental Education Reform for English Learners

By: Jessica Brathwaite, CCRC
Read Jessica Brathwaite’s Blog Post

Faculty Are Key to Student Success

By: Jonathan Gyurko, ACUE and Brandon Protas, Complete College of America
Read Jonathan Gyurko and  Brandon Protas’s Blog Post



Supporting Faculty Development through Policy and Practice

By: Karon Klipple, Carnegie Math Pathways/WestEd and Alison Kadlec, Sova
Read Karon Klipple and Alison Kadlec’s Blog Post

Lessons from Corequisite Math Reform

By: Lauren Schudde, University of Texas at Austin
Read Lauren Schudde’s Blog Post

Lift Ev’ry Voice for Math

By: Vanson Nguyen, College of Alameda and Jamylle Carter, Diablo Valley College
Read Vanson Nguyen and Jamylle Carter’s Blog Post

The Strong Start to Finish Equity Philosophy

Strong Start to Finish addresses equity by working to change systems to meet the needs of students who are adversely impacted by traditional developmental-education practices: Black, Brown, Asian-American and Indigenous students, students with low incomes and adult learners. Below, we share links to articles that address racial equity in theory and practice.

Racial Equity Resources

Note: Many of these resources are behind a paywall

Accountability, equity, and practitioner learning and change.

Bensimon, E. M., Rueda, R., Dowd, A. C., & Harris, F., III.(2007), Metropolitan Universities

View article 

Reclaiming racial justice in equity.

Bensimon, E. M. (2018), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

The role of institutional agents in providing institutional support to Latinx students in STEM.

Bensimon, E. M., Dowd, A. C., Stanton-Salazar, R., & Dávila, B. A. (2019), The Review of Higher Education

View article

First-generation equity practitioners: Are they part of the problem?

Bensimon, E. M., & Gray, J. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

The case for an anti-racist stance toward paying off higher education’s racial debt.

Bensimon E.M. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

Silence is complicity: Why every college leader should know the history of lynching.

Bledsoe, C. L., Dowd, A. C., & Ward, L. W. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

“Never Forget” the History of Racial Oppression: Whiteness, White Immunity, and Educational Debt in Higher Education.

Cabrera, N. L. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

Equity Priniciples

UCS Rossier School of Education, Center for Urban Education

Download PDF



The Challenges and Tensions of Equity-Minded Teaching.

Castillo-Montoya, M. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

The false notion of “race-neutrality”: How legal battles in higher education undermine racial equity.

Garces, L. M. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

Reclaiming the moral case for educational equity.

Martínez Alemán, A. M. (2020).  Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

Do We Really Know What We See? The Role of Cognitive Bias in How We View Race in Higher Education.

Park, J. J. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

Dear White people: Reimagining Whiteness in the struggle for racial equity.

Patton, L. D., & Haynes, C. (2020), Change: The magazine of higher learning

View article

Designing for racial equity in student affairs: Embedding equity frames into your student success programs.

Pendakur, V. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

Unrelenting inequality at the intersection of race and class.

Rendón, L. I. (2020), Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning

View article

Crafting A Racial Equity Practice In College Math Education

Cheryl D. Ching and Maxine T. Roberts, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education (2021)

View article



Travel & Accommodations

A travel stipend of $500 and up to two nights lodging will be provided to support each attendee’s participation. You should make your reservation directly with the Denver Sheraton Hotel using the link provided in your invitation. Please reserve your travel to arrive at the convening by noon on Tuesday, May 3 and depart after noon on Wednesday, May 4.

For more details, visit the registration FAQ page.

Safety Protocols

The safety of our attendees is of utmost importance. By attending our event in Denver, you agree to abide by and engage in certain beneficial health and safety conduct while attending the meeting.

Safety guidelines below are subject to change at any time based on federal, state and local guidance.

We ask that all attendees follow all safety instructions provided by Strong Start to Finish staff at all times, and that you do not attend any in-person events if you are feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of illness or have been recently diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.

We will closely monitor all guidelines and regulations to keep everyone updated on safety protocols.

Face Masks and Self-Tests

We are committed to gathering as safely as possible. To support that goal, although the City and County of Denver does not currently have a mask mandate, our registration desk will have masks available, as well as a first aid kit equipped with Covid tests for any concerns that arise. We encourage you to make use of the hand sanitizer that will be available and to be mindful of your fellow participants’ boundaries.

Meals and Refreshments

Strong Start to Finish will provide food and beverage services during scheduled meal times (breakfast and lunch), and select events (e.g., cocktail receptions). All applicable COVID-19 health and safety standards will be upheld.

Cleaning Standards and Special Measures

The hotel space will be cleaned regularly, including sanitation of commonly used surfaces. Additional protocols that the hotel has implemented are protective sneeze guards, hygiene stations, meeting space configurations that follow social distancing guidelines, and third party partners that comply with Marriott International cleanliness standards.

For more on COVID-19 safety, read Denver County’s COVID guidelines.

I.M. Pei Tower Building

Map of the I.M. Pei Tower Building's second level, showing the Windows conference room and tower rooms in the west wing

Plaza Building

Map of the Plaza Building's lobby level, showing the director's rooms


Contact our team with any questions about the event.

Maxine Roberts

Maxine Roberts Website Resized

Director, Strong Start to Finish
Education Commission of the States

Antionette Garcia

Photo By Ellen Jaskol.

Director of Administrative Services
Education Commission of the States 


We would like to thank our funders for their generous support:

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