San Jose, CA—
David S. Spence, a distinguished leader in higher education, has been awarded the Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award for 2006.
The award recognizes individuals whose leadership in higher education has fostered better methods to educate people to participate in and improve an open and inclusive democratic society.
From 1999 to 2005, Spence served as Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer for the California State University (CSU), the largest and most diverse university system in the country. As Vice Chancellor, he led the creation and implementation of the Early Assessment Program (EAP), an effort to ensure that high school students with college aspirations will be adequately prepared for university-level work. The first-of-its-kind program has garnered the CSU national recognition for measuring students' preparedness for postsecondary education prior to beginning college.
"The EAP has made college readiness standards more concrete for schools, teachers, and most importantly, students," says Patrick M. Callan, President of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. "Through his work with the program, David Spence has helped to connect these standards to the high school curriculum."
The EAP was formed through a partnership between the CSU, the California Department of Education, and the California State Board of Education. The program consists of three elements: testing in the 11th grade to let students know whether or not they are proficient in mathematics and English; the opportunity for additional preparation in the 12th grade for those needing to improve their skills; and professional development for instructors who teach high school English or mathematics. The EAP's objective is to have high school students enter the CSU fully prepared for the work that they will be expected to do.
In 2005, over 185,000 high school juniors took the English proficiency test, and over 119,000 students sat for the math test.
The exams are based on the public school California Standards Tests (CST) in which college readiness standards are included.
Spence is currently president of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), the nation's first interstate compact for education. The SREB, based in Atlanta, Georgia, was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the 16-state region stretching from Texas to Delaware. Each member state is represented on the SREB by its governor and four gubernatorial appointees. (More details are available at www.sreb.org.)
Spence also served as Executive Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Programs for the State University System of Florida from 1994–1998, Executive Vice Chancellor of the University System of Georgia from 1987–1994, and Vice President and Director for the Office of Educational Policies at the SREB from 1984–1987.
He received a B.A. from the University of Rochester, an M.S. from SUNY at Albany, and a Ph.D. from SUNY at Buffalo.
The award is named for Virginia B. Smith, President Emerita of Vassar College. Smith has made extraordinary contributions in higher education throughout her career as an educator, foundation director, and public policy scholar. She was the founding director of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), Associate Director of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, and Assistant Vice President of the University of California system. Smith is also a founding board member of the National Center.
Previous winners of this award include George Kuh, Director of the National Survey of Student Engagement and Chancellor's Professor of Higher Education at Indiana University Bloomington; Barbara Leigh Smith, emeritus faculty member of The Evergreen State College; Jean MacGregor, Senior Scholar and Director of the Curriculum for the Bioregion Initiative at The Evergreen State College; Robert Olin, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama; Tim Riordan, Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Alverno College; Peter Ewell, Vice President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS); and Susana Navarro, Executive Director of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence.
The award is jointly administered by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. A steering committee for the award oversees nominations.