The League for Innovation is proud to continue the ongoing practice of featuring as its Closing Keynote Speaker a community college leader who has had a significant impact on his or her institution's use of information technology. The sharing of best practices is at the heart of the Conference on Information Technology -- community college educators exchanging ideas with each other to help improve student learning -- and by featuring a community college practitioner, we believe CIT participants will find this year's closing general session particularly helpful and inspiring. The community college leader serving as this year's Closing Keynote Speaker will be Linda M. Thor.
Linda M. Thor is President of Rio Salado College, located in Tempe, Arizona. Rio Salado, which serves some 41,000 credit and 15,000 non-credit students annually, is one of the ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa Community Colleges in greater Phoenix. Rio Salado is a "college without walls" that specializes in serving working adults through distance learning, customized degrees with corporations and government, and accelerated programs such as dual enrollment for able and ambitious high school students. It has attracted national attention for its exemplary and award-winning programs, such as online post-baccalaureate teacher preparation, accelerated dental hygiene and online clinical dental assisting, adult literacy, Sun Sounds Radio Reading Service, KJZZ-FM and KBAQ-FM public radio, and its prison programs. It has provided leadership in the implementation of successful business practices in community colleges and was the recipient of the Arizona Governor's Award for Quality/1993 Pioneer.
Prior to joining Rio Salado in Fall 1990, Dr. Thor was President of West Los Angeles College (WLAC), a 10,000-student community college located in Culver City, California. During her four-year tenure at WLAC she obtained state funding for several major capital construction projects, saw the enrollment increase 48 percent, and introduced a number of new and innovative programs.
Dr. Thor's appointment as WLAC President in March 1986 followed a successful tenure as the Senior Director of Occupational and Technical Education for the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) where she administered over $20 million in technical training programs under federal and state grants. Earlier she served as Director of High Technology Centers and Services. For six years Dr. Thor was the Director of Communications Services for the nine-college district. Prior to joining the LACCD in 1974 as a Public Information Officer, she was Director of Public Information for the Pepperdine University School of Continuing Education.
Dr. Thor has served as adjunct faculty for the UCLA School of Education, Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and Rio Salado College. She currently teaches for Northern Arizona University.
A frequent speaker and author, Dr. Thor serves on the boards of the Community College Baccalaureate Association, Arizona Town Hall, the Friends of Public Radio Arizona, and Nana's Children Mental Health Foundation. She is Past-President of the Arizona Community College Presidents Council, Past-President of the Continuous Quality Improvement Network for Community and Technical Colleges, Past Chair of the Board of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, and past member of the Arizona Governor's Advisory Council on Quality.
Dr. Thor received the B.A. degree in journalism from Pepperdine University, the Master's of Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles, and the Doctor of Education degree in Community College Administration from Pepperdine University.
Dr. Thor has been recognized by Pepperdine University with the Alumni Medal of Honor and the Delores Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education. In 1988 Dr. Thor was named Woman of the Year by the Culver City Business and Professional Women and in 1989 received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Women's Business Network (Los Angeles). In 1998 Dr. Thor was named Pacesetter of the Year by the National Council on Marketing and Public Relations, Region VI, and in 2000 received the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction for CEOs from Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. In 2003, Dr. Thor received the Paul A. Elsner Excellence in Leadership Award from the Chair Academy.