Keynote Speakers

Jean Henscheid


Jean M. Henscheid, Ph.D. is a fellow with the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition and has been involved in learning community work for 31 years. Her LC career began in 1992 in Washington State University’s Freshman Seminar, a program linking orientation, advising, general education courses, a first-year seminar, and residence life.  Jean left WSU to become associate director of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, where she continues as a fellow.

After departing the National Resource Center full-time, she served as director of general education at the University of Idaho (including leading UI’s learning community program), held a visiting scholar appointment at Portland State University, and served as a faculty member in the UI’s College of Education. She was most recently director of the McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the UI and a policy analyst for the Office of the Idaho State Board of Education.

Jean has consulted with campuses around the country and abroad and written widely on learning communities, students in transition, and learning assessment.  She served a term as editor of The Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and, for nearly a decade, was managing and then executive editor of About Campus. She was a fellow with the Washington Center’s Pew-funded National Learning Communities Project, helped build the original national learning communities directory, and is now a proud member of the National Learning Communities Collaborative.

Upon her semi-retirement in 2021, Jean continued her learning community work and joined the League of Women Voters of Idaho to tackle voter suppression and fight for honest government. She now serves as that organization’s co-president.


Carlos Huerta 

Carlos Huerta

Carlos Huerta, Ph.D. is a Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) and became an advocate for learning communities after teaching political science classes in them and witnessing their powerful impact on student success. From 2003-2016, Carlos served as Director of the University Core Curriculum Programs at TAMU-CC and provided leadership for the First-Year Learning Communities Program, and he continues teaching in political science-based learning communities.

Over the past two decades, Carlos has worked with colleges and universities across the country on learning community program development, meaningful assessment, and administration. In addition, he served as Resource Faculty for the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities at Evergreen State College numerous times and published several works on learning communities. His leadership led to TAMU-CC's addition to the National Learning Community Consortium in 2010 and he ultimately brought the National Learning Communities Conference to Corpus Christi in 2013, during which the Texas Learning Communities Consortium was formed. Working with other learning communities advocates, he helped establish the National Learning Communities Association in 2015 and served as Founding President.

Carlos has also been an advocate for emphasizing teaching and learning in political science and served on the Council and as a Vice President of the American Political Science Association. In addition, he served as President of the Southwestern Political Science Association. His recent political science research (published in Social Science Quarterly) examines party identification in Texas, investigating the role of political generations and race/ethnicity in party change, and he is co-author of the textbook Practicing Texas Politics.