Higher Education Government Relations Conference

HEGRC 2013 web banner

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 to Friday, December 13, 2013
Parc 55 Hotel • San Francisco, California

Higher Education Forging a State Agenda
Celebrating its 20th year as the nation’s premier conference devoted to higher education state advocacy and policy advancement, the 2013 Higher Education Government Relations Conference will feature a rich array of programming and networking opportunities for campus and state system government relations and public affairs professionals. Conference participants will take away tools and strategies for partnering with leaders from government, education, business and other sectors in the creation of a shared state agenda that fully leverages the capacities of public colleges and universities. Designed for governmental and external affairs professionals from institutional, system and governing/coordinating boards, the program will feature practical strategies on how college and university leaders can work collaboratively to meet state educational, workforce and economic objectives, and advance higher education as a state investment priority. Conference attendees will gain insight from seasoned professionals on maximizing the effectiveness of higher education government relations, and will hear the latest updates on key federal and state policy issues.

About the Conference

The Higher Education Government Relations Conference is an educational forum for professionals whose responsibility it is to foster successful governmental and community relations on behalf of public colleges and universities, and state systems of higher education. The conference reflects a unique partnership among four national higher education associations: the American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Government relations staff from these associations, in partnership with the Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations, comprised of state government affairs professional representing the entire spectrum of American public postsecondary education, help coordinate the conference. 


The 2013 Higher Education Government Relations Conference serves as an exceptional venue for generating product/service visibility and professional networking.

About the Webinar top

Check back here for the latest program updates!

Wednesday, December 11

3:15 p.m.— 4:15 p.m.
Leading in the New Higher Education Era
At a time when the mission-sustaining work of public colleges and universities is as vital as ever to individual, state and national prosperity, the foundation of American higher education is being fundamentally altered by advancements in innovation, changing financial models, shifting student-consumer demographics and a growing chorus of calls for the academy to deliver even greater value to its stakeholders. The actions taken by today’s college and university leaders to address these challenges and opportunities will determine the capacity of these institutions to continue to serve as pillars of the American economy and democracy. In this session, gain insight into the individual, organizational and system leadership actions integral to fulfilling the promise of American public higher education in a new era.


Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor, State of California   

Moderator: Lisbet Sunshine, Director of Government Relations, San Francisco State University

Session sponsored by San Francisco State University 

Related News Story-"State Colleges, Universities Advised to Embrace Change," Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 12 December 2013 (View)

4:15 p.m. — 5:15 p.m.
Driving a Results-Oriented Higher Education State Policy Agenda
A strategic state policy agenda is essential to meeting state and national educational attainment goals. Core to this agenda is the assurance of high quality student outcomes, the alignment of investments with state priorities and student needs, and the creation and implementation of smarter pathways for students. This session will feature the unveiling of the new state policy agenda by the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education, and will include a discussion of system and institutional strategies critical to implementing the agenda.


Elizabeth R. Gutierrez, Director of State Policy, Lumina Foundation
Chris Bustamante, President, Rio Salado College (Ariz.)
Jack Hershey, Associate Vice President for State Relations, The Ohio State University

Gutierrez Presentation (View)
Lumina Foundation-Strategy Sheet (View)
Lumina Foundation-State Policy Agenda (View)
Lumina Foundation-News Release (View)

Moderator: Kathleen Daly, Asst. Director of Government Relations, Florida State University

Session sponsored by Strategy Labs  


5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.
Opening Reception Honoring Past and Present State Relations Task Force Members and State Relations Award Honorees
Join your colleagues from around the U.S. in this terrific networking and hospitality gathering. The reception will honor individuals who have served on the State Relations Task Force and who have guided the conference since its inception 20 years ago, as well as all past recipients of the Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson Achievement Award and the Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation   

Session sponsored by CQ Roll Call    


Thursday, December 12

7:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. — Programming  

8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
Forging a New Compact Between States and Public Higher Education
The ability of public colleges and universities to craft and execute a shared state agenda must be done as part of a broader partnership between these institutions and state government. This session will explore how to build political support for higher education funding and state policy.  Two state legislators turned higher education leaders will discuss the findings of the AASCU report, Creating a New Compact Between States and Public Higher Education, part of the association’s Political Perceptions and Policy Priorities Project. A series of commitments higher education leaders can make toward a new compact and strategies for elevating public higher education as a state investment and policy priority will also be shared.  


Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
Daniel J. Hurley, Director of State Relations, American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Johnson-Hurley Presentation (View)
New Compact Report (View)

Moderator: Janet Owen, Vice President of Government Affairs, University of North Florida 

Session sponsored by The College Board

9:15 a.m.- 10:15 a.m.
Higher Education Policy Priorities for Driving the Success of a Changing College Student Body
Sweeping demographic changes are underway in the U.S., with profound—and contrasting—implications for various regions throughout the country. These changes foretell a period of increased competition for and scrutiny of taxpayer-provided dollars, as well as much-needed reform of federal and state policies and programs across the issues spectrum. Given that today’s youth and young adults will power tomorrow’s economy, it is essential for the federal government, states and institutions to enact reforms to foster the postsecondary success of underrepresented—and fast growing—populations. In this session, hear the latest national and state forecasts of high school graduates and join in a discussion of the policy priorities that are integral to broadening access and ensuring success for America’s next generation of college students.

Muriel A. Howard, President, American Association of State Colleges and Universities
Brian T. Prescott, Director of Policy Research, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

Prescott Presentation (View)

Moderator: Justin Lonon, Vice Chancellor, Public and Governmental Affairs, Dallas Community College District  

Session sponsored by the University of Texas System  

Break 10:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Leadership in the Higher Education State Government Relations Profession: Past, Present and Future Strategies
How have the roles and responsibilities of higher education government relations professionals evolved over the past several years? What leadership qualities are most important for government relations officers today and in the future? What types of career paths does the occupation lead to? Join in a discussion lead by a panel of seasoned leaders to gain perspective on these and other career-shaping topics. 


Chris Bustamante, President, Rio Salado College (Ariz.)
Daniel C. Holsenbeck, Vice President for University Relations, University of Central Florida 
Rochelle Black, Vice President for Government Relations, Oakland University (MI)

Moderator: Brian K. Jammer, Associate Vice Chancellor for Government Relations, University of Texas System

Session Sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley 

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
State Relations Awards Luncheon 

Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation Winner-Bridget Burns (Video)
Marvin D. Swede Johnson Achievement Award Winner-Ron Withem (Video)

Sponsored by Capitol Impact, LLC  

1:40 p.m.- 2:50 p.m.
What You Need to Know about Implementation of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
In response to state and federal "state authorization" regulations mandating that institutions must be granted appropriate legal authority by all states in which they operate, a multitude of stakeholders have coalesced around a new State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), to be carried out by the four regional higher education compacts (WICHE, MHEC, SREB, and NEBHE). This session will provide an overview of "state authorization" regulations as well as pertinent information you need to know to ensure that your institutions is in compliance with state and related federal regulations affecting postsecondary distance education. 


Marshall A. Hill, Executive Director of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)
Jennifer L. Parks, Director, Midwestern Regional State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA), Midwestern Higher Education Compact  

Hill-Parks Presentation (View)

Moderator: Rachel Kincaid, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, University of New Orleans

Session sponsored by Thomas Edison State College  

1:40 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.
How Higher Education Government Relations Officers Can Facilitate the Successful Implementation of the Common Core State Standards (and Avoid the Pitfalls in the Process)
In 2014, 46 states are set to implement new curriculum standards and assessment mechanisms associated with the K-12 Common Core Standards in mathematics and English Language Arts. Borne out of the efforts of the nation’s governors and chief state school officers, the standards are intended to enhance academic rigor, curricular consistency across states, and increase college readiness. Higher education must be a strong partner in ensuring high-quality and effective implementation of the standards. This session will provide insight on the role of higher education stakeholders in implementing the standards, and specifically how college and university public affairs and government relations officers can facilitate this important process while avoiding the political pitfalls that have buffeted the standards’ implementation in some states.


Ron Jetty, Director of PK-16 Initiatives, University of Wisconsin-System
Dawn Wallace, Director of Government Relations, Maricopa Community Colleges (Ariz.)
Matt Gandal, President, Education Strategy Group

Jetty Presentation (View)

Moderator: Don Nelson, Director of State Relations, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Session sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison  

3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. 
Harnessing Student Activism and Engagement to Advance Higher Education State Policy and Funding Objectives  
Students are the most important stakeholder in American higher education, but remain underutilized in promoting policy and funding objectives that will affect their future and the economic prosperity of our states. When interfacing with state policymakers in collaboration with their colleges, students can serve as a genuine and powerful means for communicating the ramifications and realities of state policy and funding decisions. This session will feature examples of how students—through activism and civic engagement—can serve as influential partners in advancing state policy priorities.


Brian Murphy, President, De Anza College (Calif.)
Lavita McMath Turner, Director of Government Relations, Kingsborough Community College (N.Y.)
Moderator: Regina Biddings-Muro, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Purdue University Calumet (Ind.) 
Session sponsored by the Maricopa Community Colleges  
3:00 p.m.- 4:15 p.m.
Using Social Media to Achieve Public Affairs and Governmental Relations Objectives
Social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook can serve as powerful channels for institutions, systems and coalitions to communicate directly with key constituencies. Social media can facilitate public affairs and governmental relations objectives—but can also hinder them if used improperly. In this session, learn the benefits of utilizing social media, as well as specific tools and strategies being used by public colleges and universities to successfully advance their communications objectives.

Alex Clemens, Founding Partner, Barbary Coast Consulting  
Carey Whitworth, Assistant Director of Advocacy, The University of Tennessee System 
 Clemens Presentation (View)
 Whitworth Presentation (View
Moderator: Mica Stark, Special Asst. to the President for Governmental Relations, University of New Hampshire



Friday, December 13

7:00 a.m.-7:45 a.m.
Affinity Group Sessions
Participate in this networking and information-sharing gathering among colleagues and association representatives from your sector. Learn about key initiatives, resources and opportunities for stakeholders, and discuss legisaltive and policy issues that can be collaboratively acted upon. 

Turbovote Handout (View)

8:00 a.m.-9:15 a.m. 
Rebuilding and Reinventing Public Higher Education
Like many other states, California’s public higher education system has been greatly impacted by the Great Recession, with a drop of state support of $2.8 billion, or nearly 25 percent, from 2008 to 2013. The world-envied California higher education system, with the Master Plan as its cornerstone, has in recent years been buffeted by powerful dynamics involving state funding, student enrollment, fast-evolving new educational delivery models and increasing calls for accountability. The passage of the Proposition 30 ballot referendum in 2012 has ushered in a period of state reinvestment, and with it, an era of rebuilding and reinvention at the state’s public colleges and universities. In this exceptional gathering featuring the chiefs of the state’s three public higher education systems, join in a discussion about replicable strategies for renewal, growth and innovation that are underway in the Golden State.


Janet Napolitano, President, University of California
Timothy P. White, Chancellor, California State University
Brice W. Harris, Chancellor, California Community Colleges

Moderator: Leslie E. Wong, President, San Francisco State University

Session sponsored by Economic Modeling Specialists, Int'l. (EMSI) 

Related News Stories-
"Higher Education: UC President Janet Napolitano meets CSU, Community College Counterparts for First Time," San Jose Mercury News, 13 December 2013 (View)
"UC President Janet Napolitano Advises College Officials on Building Relationships with Lawmakers," Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 15 December 2013 (View)
"Napolitano, Panelists Call for Change of Mindset Regarding Funding," The Daily Californian, 15 December 2013 (View)  
"California Higher Education Leaders Address National Education Conference," Capital Public Radio, 13 December 2013 (View)
"Calif. Higher Ed Leader: Demand-Based Funding Base Serves Underrepresented Groups" Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 24 December 2013 (View)

9:15 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Who is Sam? (...and Why Metrics Matter)
Student graduation rates are increasingly being utilized as indicators of institutional performance, and in turn, as a metric used in funding allocations and policy proposals. However, the current federal method for calculating graduation rates includes only first-time students who attend college full-time and start and finish at the same institution. Students who attend college part-time or who enroll in multiple institutions before they graduate either aren’t counted or are counted as “failures” for the institution at which they originally enrolled. The new Student Achievement Measure (SAM) offers a powerful alternative to the federal graduation rate by capturing the progress and completion of more students across multiple institutions. Learn more about this vital, collaborative project sponsored by APLU, AASCU, AACC, AAU, ACE, and NAICU. Find out how SAM can provide a more accurate picture of student outcomes at your campus and support conversations with external stakeholders.


Christine M. Keller, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs, APLU and Executive Director, Voluntary System of Accountability
Keller Presentation (View)
VSA Handout 1 (View)
VSA Handout 2 (View)
SAM Handout 1 (View)
SAM Handout 2 (View)
Moderator: Nick Kallieris, Director, Resource Development & Legislative Affairs, College of Lake County (Ill.)
Session sponsored by the University of Central Oklahoma

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Washington Update: Briefing on Federal Legislation and Policy Issues
Federal government relations staff members from the conference’s four sponsoring associations will provide the very latest involving federal higher education policy and funding priorities and political dynamics on Capitol Hill and in the Obama Administration. Higher Education Act reauthorization, federal student aid reform, distance education, veterans education and federal efforts to promote institutional accountability will be among the many topics that will be addressed. 


Jennifer Poulakidas, Vice President for Congressional and Governmental Affairs, APLU
Jim Hermes, Associate Vice President for Government Relations, AACC
David Baime, Vice President for Government Relations, AACC
Brian Flahaven, Director of Government Relations  and Institutionally-Related Foundations, CASE  

Moderator: Claire Rosacco, Government Relations and Community Outreach, Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio)

Session sponsored by the University of North Texas Health Science Center  

10:30 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
State Outlook: State Legislative and Funding Update and Forecast  
Participate in a discussion of the highlights involving higher education policy stemming from states’ 2013 legislative sessions and state higher education funding outcomes fiscal year 2014. Take away a national perspective on what issues are likely to drive state policymakers’ higher education agendas in 2014. 


Daniel J. Hurley, Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis, AASCU
Thomas L. Harnisch, Assistant Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis, AASCU  

AASCU State Outlook (View)
University of Alabama Survey (View)

Moderator: Imelda Cuyugan, Asst. Vice Chancellor for State Governmental Relations, Pima Community College (Ariz.)

Session sponsored by Pima Community College 

11:00 a.m.- 11:15 a.m.
Conference Closing    

Applying What We’ve Learned in Forging A Higher Education State Agenda      
Remarks on integrating key principles and lessons from the conference’s program into your occupational agenda and toward a more comprehensive and unified state agenda for higher education. Learn about the dates and location for the 2014 Higher Education Government Relations Conference. 


Lisbet Sunshine, Director of Government and Community Relations, San Francisco State University, and Chair of the Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations.  

Schedule top

Conference Program

The conference program is going mobile. If you have a smartphone or iPad, you will be able to download the conference mobile app and easily see the entire program, a list of participants, speakers, documents and presentations, and much more! The mobile app will reflect any changes that might occur before or during the meeting. Participants will receive a link to download the mobile app prior to the start of the meeting.

Fees top

Early Registration - $475
Late Registration  - $500

Registration Information top

How to Register
Please select among the two options below:

Accommodations top


Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco-Union Square (SOLD OUT)
55 Cyril Magnin
Market at Fifth
San Francisco, CA 94102

The Parc 55 Hotel, along with San Francisco Hilton, are sold out. There are number of hotels nearly in Union Square within walking distance of the conference: 

Hotel Nikko - (415) 394-1111
222 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Westin St. Francis (415) 397-7000
335 Powell Street 
San Francisco, CA 94102

Room Rates

  • Special room rates: $189 Single/Double, plus 8.5% sales tax, 16% San Francisco room tax 13%, and 1.5 % tourism improvement district tax. 
  • As you make your travel plans, please note that rooms are available at the Parc 55 Hotel at the conference rate for the nights of Tuesday, December 10 through Friday, December 13 

Hotel Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellations will be accepted (2) days prior to arrival to avoid penalty. Any cancellation that occurs within (2) days will be charged one (1) night’s room and tax. Early departures will be charged a $75 fee. Cancellation fees may be waived if changes were the result of a family emergency or abnormal circumstance.


  • Major domestic airlines serve the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), a 15-20 minute drive from the hotel.

Transportation from Airport(s) to Hotel

  • Super Shuttle is available for $17.00 one way to the hotel from the airport. The daily shuttle also drops off and picks up in front of the hotel, every 15 minutes from 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. Reservations are required after 4 p.m. and can be made with the bell captain or doorman. All rates are subject to change without notice.

  • Most major car rental firms operate at the airport, as well as an airport shuttle service, taxis and limousines. There are also plenty of taxis waiting at the Hotel's cabstand to drive guests. Additionally, the concierge staff is very efficient in arranging private ground transport with the most professional livery services in the region

Car Rental

  • Hertz is offering discounted rates guaranteed from December 4 through December 20, subject to car availability, from San Francisco International Airport.

  • Call the Hertz Meeting Sales Desk at 800.654.2240 and mention the code Hertz CV# 011B0076 (All “0” are zeros). Advanced reservations recommended. See rate sheet (pdf) and reserve online here (coming soon) 


  • Daily high temperatures in San Francisco in early December typically reach the mid to upper 50’s, with nightly lows in the mid to upper 40’s.

Cancellation & Refund Policytop

  • Cancel in writing by Nov. 29th to receive full refund.
  • Cancellations received after Nov. 29th are subject to a $150 cancellation fee.
  • Cancellations received after Dec. 11th and no-shows are not eligible for a refund. Refunds will be processed and issued within 45 days of the meeting's conclusion.


  • Tom HarnischAssistant Director of State Relations and Policy Analysisharnischt@aascu.org(202) 478-4660

Platinum Level

College Board - logo

CQ-Roll-Call logo

EMSI logo

Gold Level

Maricopa Community College logo

San Francisco State University

Strat Labs

Thomas Edison State Colleges logo - color

University of California Berkeley

The University of Texas seal

Silver Level

Pima Community College logo

University of Central Oklahoma

UNT Health Science Center logo

University of Wisconsin - Madison logo

Bronze Level

CSU East Bay

CSU Fullerton logo

CSU Long Beach logo

Sonoma State University

Awards Sponsorship

Capitol Impact logo