Gov. Jerry Brown announced his appointment of Linda Thor to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education — or WICHE — on Jan. 29.
"I have long admired the work of WICHE, particularly in the areas of higher education policy and research as well as educational technology," Thor said in a FHDA press release. "I am proud to be asked by the governor to represent California on a commission that is focused on student access and success."
Thor will start work immediately as one of three California representatives on the non-profit commission, which, according to the release, was founded in the 1950s to improve access to higher education opportunities for residents of 15 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Pacific territories.
Thor's appointment to the committee comes shortly after the local community college district was recognized as a leader in online education. The district was recently awarded $16.9 million in state funds to develop a statewide online educational system in partnership with the Butte-Glenn Community College District in Northern California.
The chancellor is highly qualified for her latest appointment, according to Michael Kirst, president of the California Board of Education. "Linda Thor's experience in Arizona and California can provide ideas for new interstate initiatives in many crucial postsecondary domains, Kirst said.
The Commission for Higher Education is known for running student exchange programs that help students attend classes at schools outside of their home state while avoiding much of the high cost associated with out-of-state tuition, the release said. Additionally, the commission collects and analyzes data in order to help education officials, policy makers and state governors craft and implement better policies.