Dr. Wilfredo Nieves

Dr. Wilfredo Nieves, President Emeritus of Capital Community College, retired after 18 years of service as a community college president in Connecticut, eight of them at Capital.  Dr. Nieves came to Capital in July 2010 after serving as President of Middlesex Community College in Middletown.  He also served as Interim President of Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury.

Dr. Nieves has been active in the community and region with service on the boards of the National Coalition of Advocates for Students, the Middlesex United Way, Capital Workforce Partners, the Community Renewal Team, The Hartford Stage, Leadership Greater Hartford, Latino Community Services, The Village for Family and Children and The Bradley Home.  He serves as a Director for Liberty Bank and its foundation, is a corporator for Middlesex Health Systems and is Past President of the Middletown Rotary Club.  He was recognized by the Middlesex United Way and awarded its highest and most prestigious volunteer award, the Community Service Award.

In higher education, Dr. Nieves has served as the Chair of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, been a Commissioner for the New England Commission for Higher Education and has served as an evaluator for it as well as for the Middles States Commission on Higher Education.  He has been a Director on the Board of the American Association of Community Colleges and has chaired the Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, the Committee on Directors and Membership Services and the Committee on Program Initiatives and Workforce Training.

Wilfredo Nieves received his Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology from Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.  He holds a Master of Arts degree in Guidance and a Master of Education degree in Applied Human Development from Columbia University.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Keene University of New Jersey.

Wilfredo resides in Middletown, Connecticut with his wife Iris Rivas-Nieves and their two sons,  Adrian and Davian.

Sumaya Villanueva-Gaines, Ph.D.

Dr. Sumaya Villanueva-Gaines is Assistant Provost for Academic Engagement at John Jay College. She is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelors of Art, Masters of Art, and Doctoral Degrees in Sociology in 1993, 1996, and 2002 respectively. In her role as Assistant Provost for Academic Engagement, she has responsibility for the college’s award-winning Academic Advisement Center, the Center for Career and Professional Development, Learning Technologies, and Academic Support Centers, which include the Math & Science Resource Center, the Modern Language Center, and the Alan Siegel Writing Center. She also has direct oversight of two grant-funded initiatives: Completion for Upper-division Students Program (CUSP), a partnership between John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Price Family Foundation, that leverages a predictive analytic tool to identify at-risk students and implement various levels of interventions  that propel  ‘near completers’ to degree completion; and Linking Experience, Academics and Practice (LEAP), which supports students through their first and second years using an integrated approach to major and career advisement, with an emphasis on experiential learning. Her professional interests and expertise focus in the areas of strategic planning, program assessment and evaluation, student learning and development, social justice and inclusion, and leadership. She is keenly interested in the science of happiness, travel, yoga, and meditation. 

Dr. Javier Torner

Dr. Javier Torner is a Professor Emeritus and Chair of the Department of Physics at California State University, San Bernardino. Dr. Torner has been in higher education for over 35 years serving in many different committees and several administrative positions at the university. Dr. Torner returned to his current faculty position in 2019 after serving in the position of Information Security Officer for 19 years. Dr. Torner has extensive experience in computational physics, data communication networks, and enterprise computer systems and applications. 

Mr. Javier Zavala Quiñones

Mr. Javier Zavala Quiñones has worked for the past 29 years in higher education in the areas of teaching, institutional research, statistics, planning, assessment, and accreditation. During this time, he collaborated with public and private higher education institutions in the country, as well as the regulatory agency for higher education in Puerto Rico. He has held the positions of Statistician in the Medical Sciences Campus of the UPR; Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research for the Ana G. Méndez University; Assistant Vice Chancellor of Appraisal for Universidad del Este; Director of the Center for Studies and Documentation of Higher Education of Puerto Rico for the Council of Higher Education of Puerto Rico, and Director of Institutional Research for the UPR System. For the past 13 years, he has collaborated with the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón as Director of the Office of Planning, Institutional Studies and Accreditation, where he supports all accreditation, assessment, statistics, and institutional research management.

Mr. Zavala has formal education in psychology, statistics, and project management. He began working with information management in 1997 and since then he has supported multiple organizations and institutions in the development of methods and tools for gathering information.

As a philosophy of life, Mr. Zavala has the goal of learning something new every day that he can put into use for the achievement of a better country.

Ñ El Sr. Javier Zavala Quiñones ha trabajado por los pasados 29 años en educación superior en áreas de docencia, investigación institucional, estadísticas, planificación, avalúo y acreditación.  En este pasar por el tiempo colaboró con instituciones de educación superior públicas y privadas del país, así como en la agencia reguladora de la educación superior de Puerto Rico.  Ha ocupado los puestos de Estadístico en el Recinto de Ciencias Médicas de la UPR; Vicepresidente Auxiliar de Investigación Institucional para el Universidad Ana G. Méndez; Vicerrector Auxiliar de Avalúo para la Universidad del Este; Director del Centro de Estudios y Documentación de la Educación Superior de Puerto Rico para el Consejo de Educación Superior de Puerto Rico, y Director de Investigación Institucional para el Sistema UPR.  Por los pasados 13 años colabora con la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Bayamón como Director de la Oficina de Planificación, Estudios Institucionales y Acreditación, donde apoya toda gestión de acreditación, avalúo, estadística e investigación institucional. 

El Sr. Zavala posee educación formal en psicología, estadísticas y gerencia de proyectos.  Comenzó a trabajar con manejo de la información para el 1997 y desde entonces ha apoyado a múltiples organizaciones e instituciones en el desarrollo de métodos y herramientas para el acopio de información.

Cómo filosofía de vida el Sr. Zavala tiene como meta el aprender algo nuevo todos los días que pueda poner en función para el logro de un mejor país.

Chelsea Caile

Chelsea has 15 years of experience working in education and technology.  She is currently the Director of Southeast Online and Early College Programs at Southeast Missouri State University, a regional public institution.  Chelsea co-developed the Flipped Advising Model for Student Services.  The model is recognized by the Online Learning Consortium, OLC, as an Online Learning Effective Practice Award-winner (2018) for it’s ability to recruit and retain online students.  She is co-creator of the Eastern Missouri Distance Learning Summit (EMDLS), which has met for 5 years annually to gather leaders from the state to discuss pressing issues and opportunities.  Her current research interests are HyFlex and bridging the achievement gap through early college programs.  She thinks the best thing about working in higher education today is the collective entrepreneurial spirit everyone has to find innovate approaches to meeting the needs of students.  This spirit combined with our increasing access to technology solutions, means we are poised to do great things in higher education in the next decade. 

Dr. Lorena Checa

Dr. Lorena Checa has served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Cal State San Marcos since 2013. In that role, she provides leadership and oversight for the Division of Student Affairs, which encompasses Enrollment Management Services, Student Development Services, Student Academic Support Services, and Student Life. Previously, Dr. Checa has worked as the Associate Vice President for Student Academic Support Services, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Services and has held a variety of other higher education positions throughout her career.  

At Cal State San Marcos she has been a committed advocate for underrepresented students and has worked diligently to create institutional structures that support the success of all students, particularly first-generation, low-income, and minority students. Dr. Checa’s dedication to clearing the pathway to success for students of all backgrounds is a reflection of her guiding philosophy that those who succeed with the support of others have an obligation to reach back and help those who follow also be successful.