About Us


About Us

Wheelhouse Leadership: Susanna Cooper, Michal Kurlaender and Debbie Travis.

The mission of Wheelhouse is to support and resource current and future leaders in the California Community Colleges system. The strength of that leadership is essential to the success of the California economy and to the state’s culture of broad opportunity for a diverse population. Our focus is twofold:

  • Leadership development and support. Our institutes at UC Davis deliver professional and peer learning for sitting and aspiring district chancellors, college presidents and other senior leaders that is transformational in nature, tailored to current needs, and developed with the unique California context in mind.
  • Actionable research. We conduct, translate and disseminate timely, relevant, rigorous, third-party research to inform policy development for Community College leaders and state and local policymakers.

Where once college leaders and policymakers had to look out of state for these resources, Wheelhouse develops and delivers them here in California. 


  • University of California, Davis
  • Hearst Foundations (through the Foundation for California Community Colleges)
  • Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (through the California Community College Chancellor’s Office)
  • The James Irvine Foundation
  • The Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund
  • U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences
  • College Futures Foundation

Log in