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Esteemed Speaker

Dr. Heather Adams

Full Bio

Dr. Heather Adams serves as the Director of Special Initiatives at Sova Solutions, where she contributes to the California Vision 2030 project—a venture in partnership with Governor Newsom and the California Community College System that targets large-scale systems change to streamline the transfer process. Dr. Adams' work orchestrates a synergy among faculty, administrative bodies, and government agencies to improve transfer efficiency and transparency.

In her role, Dr. Adams is pivotal in developing initiatives such as the common course numbering system across California's 116 community colleges, aiming to ease student transitions and cultivate deep cross-sector collaboration.

Her previous tenure at the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program saw her leading cutting-edge transfer projects and collaborating on seminal works like 'The Transfer Playbook,' ‘Tracking Transfer,’ and the ‘Tackling Transfer’ projects, as well as state and system efforts in North Carolina, Virginia, California, Texas, among others.

While at Aspen, Dr. Adams co-founded the Transfer Student Success Intensive. This yearlong program brought together college presidents from sending and receiving institutions and their teams to focus on comprehensive transfer strategy reform across sectors. In partnership with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Dr. Adams supported over 91 institutions and thousands of educators in their efforts to prioritize crucial transfer reform efforts and embedded transfer as an intersegmental student success strategy.

The cornerstone of Dr. Adams's work is her dedication to reshaping institutional mindset, policy, practice, and politics to build higher education institutions in which transfer, adult, and first-generation learners thrive. Her advocacy was instrumental in establishing the UCLA Transfer Student Center, evolving it into a dynamic hub for student success, and founding the UCLA First Year Scholar’s Program—a learning community for first-year, first-generation college students.

Dr. Adams's academic journey epitomizes the transformative power of community colleges. Her journey from Santa Monica College to UCLA—where she earned her B.A. in Psychology and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership—informs her approach and solidifies her resolve to revolutionize and champion higher education as a vehicle for opportunity.

As founder of Transfer Nation, a global media advocacy and peer-to-peer learning community custom-designed to empower community college transfer students — and the faculty, staff, and administrators who work with them, Dr. Adams aims to encourage best practices for a better transfer student experience and promote every educator’s vital role in the moral imperative of transfer success.