CQIN Executive Committee



Dr. Chris Bustamante

Chris Bustamante

Dr. Chris Bustamante serves as the President of Rio Salado College, the largest of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges located in metropolitan Phoenix, AZ. The College serves nearly 60,000 students annually with more than 30,000 students online.

Dr. Bustamante is a well-known advocate for increasing access to higher education and degree completion, and for forging transformational partnerships with business, government, and other educational providers. He was appointed as President of Rio Salado College in June 2010 after serving as the College’s Interim President, Vice President of Community Development and Student Services, and Dean of Academic Affairs. Previously, he served in senior level government affairs positions for the Maricopa County Community College District, as the Assistant to the Superintendent for Community and Government Relations for the Phoenix Union High School District, and as a Legislative Aide in the Arizona House of Representatives.
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Immediate Past President:

Dr. Laura Coleman

Dr. Laura Coleman is President of Bay de Noc Community College, a position she assumed in July of 2006. Prior to joining Bay College, Dr. Coleman was Executive Dean at Bertrand Crossing Campus, Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, MI. She also served as Interim Dean of Institute for Diversity and Leadership at Lake Michigan College, Benton Harbor, MI. She served as the Director at the Jefferson City Campus of State Fair Community College

Dr. Coleman serves on the Michigan College Access Network Board of Directors, the Michigan Early Middle College Association Board, the Michigan Center for Student Success Advisory Committee, the Michigan Colleges Online Advisory Board, and on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Presidents Academy Executive Committee. She was appointed by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) to the Advisory Committee of Presidents. She served on the AACC Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development from 2011-2013 and the Commission on Research, Technology, and Emerging Trends from 2013-2014. Locally, she serves on the Delta County Economic Development Board, the EDA Executive Committee, the CUPPAD Central U.P. Regional Prosperity Collaborative and Rural Wage Study Committee, and is a member of Rotary. She served on the OSF Community Advisory Board from 2008-2012 and the Bay Area Economics Club from 2007-2014.
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President Elect:

Liz Murphy

Liz_MurphyLiz Murphy is CEO of CampusWorks, a strategic consulting firm that helps higher education institutions overcome business and technological challenges that stand in the way of student success. She joined CampusWorks in 2011 as the company’s chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors.

Previously, Liz served as the chief client officer at Datatel (now Ellucian), where she began her career in 1989. Liz is also involved with many volunteer and philanthropic activities; she previously served as Chairman of the Lupus Foundation of America’s DC, Virginia and Maryland Chapter and is a board member of both Community College Business Officers (CCBO) and Quality Matters.
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Dr. Gayle Saunders

Gayle Saunders

Dr. Gayle Saunders is the sixth president to lead Richland Community College in Decatur, Illinois.  She came to Richland in August of 2001, and she hails from Harvard, Illinois, a small farming community near the Illinois-Wisconsin border.

Dr. Saunders has more than thirty-seven years of experience as an administrator in higher education, with the past thirty-one years spent specifically in community college administration.  She served in a variety of administrative positions prior to being named president of Richland.

Dr. Saunders has served in various capacities throughout her career:  Illinois Community College Presidents’ Council (past president); Illinois Leadership and Core Values Institute (steering committee); Commission on Global Education through the American Association of Community Colleges; Rotary International; American Red Cross – mid-Illinois Chapter; United Way of Decatur and mid-Illinois; and Easter Seals Central Illinois.  She currently serves as a member of: Partners in Education (steering committee); Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce (past president); Soy Capital Bank and Trust Board of Directors; Webster-Cantrell Hall; and Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County.
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Member at Large:

Dr. Sue Budjac

Sue Budjac

Dr. Sue Budjac was named President of Mid-State Technical College in January 2011. Previously, she served as Mid-State’s Vice President of Academic Affairs since 2002. Sue began her career in higher education as a faculty member at Marquette University. She also taught for Southern Illinois University and Northcentral Technical College. Sue has more than 30 years of experience in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). In addition to her extensive teaching experience, Sue has held various supervisory- and executive-level positions. Dr. Budjac also currently serves as the President of the WTCS Presidents’ Association.
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Member at Large:

Dr. Jackie Elliott

Jackie ElliottDr. Jackie Elliott started as President of North Arkansas College on July 1, 2011. Before coming to Northark, she served for five years as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Northwest Missouri State University. Before moving to Missouri, Dr. Elliott served in various administrative positions at Barton Community College in Great Bend Kansas, Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska and Highland Community College in Highland Kansas.

A native of Hiawatha, Kan., Dr. Elliott has worked in higher education for over 22 years. As a first generation college student herself, Dr. Elliott has a strong passion for designing and implementing programs designed to ensure student success. Over the years, she has had the privilege of initiating several programs designed to address student needs such as new child care center, three online degree programs, service learning trips to Calcutta and the Dominican Republic, scholarship program for Hispanics students and partnerships with CASE IH and Disney.

Dr. Elliott also serves as a Peer Corps Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission and an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
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Member at Large:

Timothy Nelson

Tim Nelson

Timothy J. Nelson has served as President of Northwestern Michigan College since February 2001. President Nelson has guided NMC through the implementation of a strategic plan consisting of five key strategic directions, including the establishment of national and international competencies and leadership in select educational areas connected to the regional economy. The college community has embraced a culture of continuous improvement and collaborative relationships. During his presidency, NMC has continued to grow and evolve. Enrollment has increased by more than 30 percent and the college has created global partnerships with institutions in China, Great Britain, India, Russia, Sweden and others. Nelson believes that every student needs to have international experiences, and he has helped to establish a Global Opportunities Fund to increase those opportunities for NMC students.

President Nelson is recognized as a visionary leader at the national, state and local levels being invited to present on topics from economic development to the new economy to international higher education, and to contribute in areas of policy and governance relating to higher education and economic development. He is Past Chair of the Michigan Community College Association and currently serves as Chair of the organization’s Legislative Committee. He is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges, the AACC’s Presidents Academy Executive Committee, the Continuous Quality Improvement Network, the Rotary Club of Traverse City, NorthSky Nonprofit Network Advisory Board, Munson Healthcare’s Corporate Board and Finance Committee, a past chair of the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce and member of the Executive Committee and Economic Forecast Planning Committee. He is a Champion of the Grand Vision, a member of the TCAPS Tomorrow group of the Traverse City Area Public Schools and member of the Traverse City Executive Group.

Nelson is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges 21st-Century Initiative Implementation Team. He was also a member of the past Council for Labor and Economic Growth and served as chair of the Entrepreneurship Committee. Nelson is a Board member of the Prima Civitas Foundation, Michigan Community College Association, and Michigan Public Schools Employee Retirement System (MPSERS).
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CQIN Staff

Executive Director:

John Politi
John Politi

John J. Politi is the President of The Avalon Group (TAG), a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. TAG provides consulting and education services pertaining to the principles of performance excellence to individuals and organizations of all types throughout the country. Mr. Politi is a member of the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, our nation’s highest award for performance excellence, and has served for more than six years as a Senior Examiner. He is a nationally recognized expert on leadership systems, strategic planning, customer service and relationship building, measurement systems, human resource management, and process management. He was awarded the Governor’s Quality Leadership Award by Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan in 1997.

Prior to establishing his consulting business, Mr. Politi served a full career in the United States Air Force in a wide variety of locations and command positions. Of particular note, he served as Commander of an Air Division and a Wing Commander on two separate occasions. He also served as National President and Chairman of the Board of the Air Force Association (AFA) from 2000 through 2004. Currently, he volunteers as a member of the Boards of the AFA, Spring Creek United Methodist Church, and the Boerne, Texas Emmaus Fourth Day Group.
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Coordinator for Finance & Administration:

Dr. Charlotte Lee

Charlotte Lee 3Dr. Charlotte Lee is Senior Director of the Center for Learning & Student Success at the University of Arkansas. Prior to this, she was Vice President for Education & Organizational Development at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Charlotte has served as CQIN’s Coordinator for Financials and Administration since 2007. Before that, she was a CEO member of CQIN for a decade during her presidency at Terra Community College in Fremont, OH. She has also served on CQIN’s Executive Committee in the roles of President and Treasurer.
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Coordinator for the Summer Institute:

Laura Helminski

Laura HelminskiLaura Helminski is currently the CQIN Coordinator of the Summer Institute and has served in this role since 2004. She has Faculty Emeritus recognition from Rio Salado College in the Maricopa Community College District, Phoenix, Arizona. During her years as a fulltime faculty member, she also served as Rio Salado College Chair of the Student Learning Outcomes Team for 10 years, co-chair of two Accreditation Self Study committees, a Learning Organization trainer and facilitator, a Continuous Quality Improvement trainer and facilitator. Laura was also a past Faculty Senate President, and was Faculty Development and Staff Development Coordinator for 15 years. She was Rio Salado College’s 2009 Woman of Distinction. Laura has taught online college courses for Rio Salado College since 1996.

Laura has worked with educators in several states in presentations and workshops focused on changing organizational cultures, and on increasing student achievement. She has completed extensive training and research in Systems Thinking, Learning Organization, and Continuous Quality Improvement theory and applications. Laura has facilitated numerous faculty development sessions, and has given presentations across the state and country, on organizational change in higher education. She has also presented national “webinars” on “Introduction to the Continuous Quality Improvement Approach for Effective Student Assessment” for a private company working in Higher Education environments. She was Rio Salado College’s Faculty of the Year for the 1991-92, and Innovator of the Year in 1988 and received the college’s Customer Astonishment Award with the President and Vice President for Academic Affairs co-chairs for the Self Study for that work in 2002. She was awarded the Association of Community College Trustees’ Western Region William H. Meardy Faculty Award for 2003. This regional award is presented to a full-time instructor of an ACCT member two-year postsecondary institution. The criteria include excellence in teaching, innovation, college service on a local and regional level, and demonstrated leadership in solving challenges to postsecondary education.
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Website Coordinator:

Paul Klute


Paul is the Assistant Director of Institutional Research and Planning at the University of Kansas. He also serves as the Assistant to the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at KU.  Paul joined KU in 2009 after serving as the Assistant to the President at Northwest Missouri State University. Paul is finishing his doctoral degree at KU in Higher Education Administration and Policy, with special interest in Big Data Governance in Higher Education.

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