Registration for Dirigo 2023 has now closed. Please contact with any questions.


June 14 & 15, 2023
Eastern Maine Community College
354 Hogan Road

DIRIGO 2023 will offer you and your MCCS colleagues the opportunity to learn from and workshop with national higher education experts and some of the state's industry leaders, collaborate with others from among Maine's public higher education institutions to share best practices and address common challenges, and connect with one another to advance strategic efforts designed to help more students enroll and achieve academic success. Please explore this page for additional event details and highlights, and return often for updates. 

Registration for Dirigo 2023 is now closed. Please contact with any questions. 

Please follow this link to register

Links to Speaker Bios

Online Reservations:

For nearby hotels (across Hogan Road down Haskell Road)
Go to: Hilton Garden Inn and use group code EDC under Special Rates or
Go to: Hampton Inn and use group code: EDC under Special Rates

Phone Reservations:

For Comfort Inn (across I-95 near the Bangor Mall)
Call: 207-990-0888 and use the word Dirigo for the event rate

Please reserve your room at your earliest convenience. DIRIGO 2023 Rates are based on room availability, and blocks reserved for our event will be released to the general public on May 30. The MCCS and your college will split the cost of rooms only at the event rate (50% MCCS/50% College). Any expenses accrued during your stay beyond the room charge at the event rate will be the responsibility of the guest, and you may be asked to provide a credit card number for such incidentals.  

Cancellation policy: 
Guests are required to contact the hotel directly to cancel reservations. Failure to do so at least two days before arrival will result in charges to the guest (and will not be reimbursed).

To Modify Reservations, contact your hotel directly as follows:
Hilton Garden Inn: Ashley Ireland - 207-262-0099; 
Hampton Inn: Ashley Ireland - 207-262-0099; 
Comfort Inn Bangor: Sarah Eremita - 207-990-0888 
Courtyard Marriott Bangor: Erica Whitten - 207-299-9073; 

Be sure your room remains at the MCCS DIRIGO Rate.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023
A convening of the MCCS, University of Maine System, and Maine Maritime Academy. Speakers will include Brandon Protas, Assistant Vice President for Alliance Engagement and Meacie Fairfax, Strategy Director from Complete College America (CCA), as well as John Fink, Senior Research Associate and Program Lead from the Community College Research Center (CCRC). This first workday will culminate in a reception that invites some of our major industry partners to discuss the many ways our colleges currently support and can continue to address the state’s economic needs. And as you might expect, you’ll be treated to an evening of delicious food and delightful merriment at our BBQ and Basket extravaganza.  

Thursday, June 15, 2023 
Participants will reconvene on Thursday to hear from President Daigler about MCCS plans, projects, and priorities, followed by Tim Renick, Founding Executive Director of Georgia State University’s new National Institute for Student Success. Opportunities will abound to connect with your MCCS colleagues to dive more deeply into how we can even more effectively support our students and one another. DIRIGO 2023 will conclude Thursday afternoon as you bring new tools and takeaways back to your respective campuses and keep these meaningful conversations going.  


Wednesday, June 14

8:00 – 9:00

Arrival & Registration (continental breakfast available in Maine Hall Eagle’s Nest)

9:00 - 9:30

Welcome (unless otherwise indicated, events will take place in Maine Hall, Rooms 117-120)

9:30 - 10:45

Complete College America: A Framework for Student Success

Brandon Protas, Ed.D, Assistant Vice President for Alliance Engagement and Meacie Fairfax, M.A., Strategy Director for Complete College America

10:45 – 11:00


11:00 - 12:15

Workshops – choose one

Katahdin Hall Library

Using Data to Identify Barriers to Student Success & Completion

Nick Gill, MCCS & Staci Grasky, MCCS

This session will provide participants with the opportunity to explore how to find and leverage institutional, regional, state, and national data to move the needle on student success. We’ll begin with an overview of the basic kinds of data available and how Maine’s higher education leaders employ and interpret data. Then, grouped by operational area, facilitated table discussions will prompt attendees to share their favorite data resources, discuss common and uncommon uses and misinterpretations of data, brainstorm gaps in the data they’d like to find ways to fill, collaborate on how best to share data, and craft plans to not just collect, but truly utilize data to improve the student experience through policy-making and procedural change.   

Maine Hall Rooms 117-120

Math Pathways 101 & Updates

Jared Harvey, KVCC, & Kathy Englehart, KVCC

For too many students, math is a barrier. Maine’s Community Colleges embraced math pathways reform in 2017 to align course progressions with students’ career interests, so math becomes more relevant and meaningful. In this session, we will learn about how KVCC embraced and implemented math pathways across its various programs. However, since math success starts well before any course begins, we will then think about how our colleges might help students find confidence and relevance in their math courses. Key audiences: faculty, advisors, pre-college/early college advisors, admissions, academic support staff, deans, all others welcome.  

Katahdin Hall Rooms 315 & 316

Deeper Dive: Peer Learning with CCA Pillars and Strategies Workshop

Meacie Fairfax, CCA

This interactive workshop is designed to let you go deeper with the CCA student success pillars and strategies by talking with your peers about what is working on your campus, what needs you still have, and what you can learn from peers at other institutions. There will be no sage on the stage for this interactive workshop, so get ready to move around the room and connect with others through facilitated activities. The goal of this session is for each person to leave the session with one action item related to student success on their campus.

Maine Hall Student Success Center

Guided Pathways: Ask & Connect

Matt Goodman, SMCC

Retention and student success begins with proper onboarding, and the Community College Research Center (CCRC), through voluminous research and best practices, urges community colleges to build an ACIP framework into their Guided Pathways redesigns.  

This working session will provide opportunities for colleagues to idea-share, discuss effective strategies, and design systems that allow Maine’s community colleges to effectively Ask and Connect with every new learner.  


GOAL: At session’s end, each college will leave with an actionable plan for improving the onboarding process at their respective colleges. INTENDED AUDIENCE: Admissions, Advising, and other areas to work collaboratively to craft a comprehensive onboarding framework.

12:15 – 1:15

Lunch – Dining Hall

1:15 – 2:30

Workshops – choose one

Katahdin Hall Rooms 315 & 316

Exploring Maine Data to Drive Action with CCA Pillars and Strategies

Brandon Protas, CCA

This will be a working session in which we encourage participation by small groups from Maine colleges. Participants will engage in an inquiry-based activity to explore state data to determine which CCA student success pillars and strategies are most relevant for their campuses. Get ready to ask questions and come up with creative solutions. The goal of this session is for each person to leave the session with one action item related to student success on their campus.

Maine Hall Student Success Center

Encouraging Access: From OER to Course Design

Tatiana Osmond, WCCC; Jae Allain, YCCC; and Araminta Matthews, KVCC

Sometimes, success in a course has less to do with content and more to do with contextual barriers. Expensive texts and cumbersome course requirements might be discouraging students who would otherwise succeed. In this workshop faculty, academic advisors/coaches, and others will learn to

define the various types of OER, distinguish between the different OER permissions for adoption, attribution, and reuse, identify collections of resources that provide OER relevant to their own course and discipline, and evaluate OER using appropriate standards and criteria.

Maine Hall Rooms 117-120

Early College 3.0: Pre-college Advising and Pathways

Cross-institutional Early College staff

Early College students now represent over a quarter of our enrollment in credit-bearing courses across MCC. The different programs across the state are key to promoting equitable access to post-secondary aspirations. In this primer to John Fink’s presentation, we will provide an overview of our state-wide activity, a glimpse into OnCourse, our shared application portal, and an opportunity to explore how these students connect with all areas of the college and can benefit from pre-college advising and career pathways.  

Katahdin Hall Library

Guided Pathways: A Case Study

Susan Cerini, EMCC & Kim Campbell, EMCC

There are no “wrong doors” when looking at careers in healthcare.  Kimberly Campbell and Susan Cerini from EMCC will share how an approach using pathways and adapting the delivery and stack of Medical Office Technology courses allows students to explore careers in healthcare and gain the necessary skills and training to join the workforce immediately. 

2:30 – 2:45


2:45 – 4:00

Extending Guided Pathways to Dual Enrollment to Broaden Access to High-opportunity Postsecondary Pathways

John Fink, M.A.
Senior Research Associate and Program Lead, Community College Research Center

4:00 – 4:15


4:15 - 5:15

The MCCS’ Role in Maine’s Economy
Join us as we explore innovative strategies and collaborative initiatives shaping Maine's workforce's future through partnership's transformative power.  Workforce training programs through Maine's community colleges foster collaboration between industry and education and address the evolving skill requirements employers need to remain competitive in this challenging hiring environment.  Be part of the conversation shaping Maine's economic landscape by enhancing growth, empowering individuals to learn and grow in their careers, and contributing to the economic development and prosperity of the state.


Panelists: Guy Langevin, Chief Administrative Officer, Dead River; Catharine MacLaren, Ph.D., LCSW, CEAP, SHRM-SCP, Vice President of Talent & Diversity, Northern Light Health; Angela Gallant, Chief Product Officer, Hamilton Marine; Betsy Vickery, Vice President, WS Emerson


Moderated by Deb Neuman, President and CEO, Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce

5:15 - 6:00

Social Time – EMCC Quad

6:00 – 8:00

MCCS BBQ and baskets – EMCC Quad


Thursday, June 15

7:00 – 8:00

Continental Breakfast – Maine Hall Eagle’s Nest

8:00 – 9:00

State of the System - President Daigler

9:00 – 10:30

Learning from GSU’s Transformation: Identifying Systemic Barriers and Implementing Data-driven Solutions

Tim Renick, Ph.D.

Founding Executive Director of Georgia State University’s new National Institute for Student Success

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – 12:00

Workshops - choose one

Maine Hall Rooms 117-120

A Deeper Dive for College Leadership

Tim Renick, GSU, NISS

Join Tim Renick in this informal discussion of the challenges institutions face in increasing student success and strategies for improvement. Learn about the institutional barriers to equitable enrollment, retention, and graduation outcomes that policies, practices, and structures can create. Discuss how GSU’s experience can translate to your institution.

Maine Hall Student Success Center

Trends in Community College Enrollment

John Fink, CCRC

After you have had some time to think about how yesterday’s ideas might impact your college and all of Maine, join this workshop to ask John Fink follow-up questions about dual enrollment and community college enrollment trends and drivers. We may also look at specific Maine enrollment data to analyze together.  

Katahdin Hall Rooms 315 & 316

Creating Opportunities for Students through Partnerships

Cait Grant, YCCC, Leah Buck, NMCC, and Eric Wellman, MCCS

In the workforce arena, we strive to meet the training needs of our local workforce and employers.  There are times when we cannot meet the training needs on our own due to faculty constraints and access to experts.  Join Cait Grant (YCCC), Leah Buck (NMCC), and Eric Wellman (MCCS), in a discussion on sharing resources to help support your partner campuses in delivering high-need, high-value training. 

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch – Dining Hall

1:00 – 2:30

Affinity Workgroup sessions
Collaborate with your MCCS counterparts in one of the following groups: Academics/Instruction/Faculty; Admissions/Enrollment; Advising/Navigating/Coaching; Finance/Billing/Financial Aid; Information Technology/Institutional Research; Public Relations/Communication; Registration; Senior Leadership; Student Affairs/Life; Workforce

2:30 – 3:15

Identifying Key Takeaways and Planning Next Steps

3:15 – 3:30