1:15 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.
Conference Opening Session—Making the Case for Higher Education in Today's Political Environment
While most state economies are improving, higher education government relations professionals must compete for limited new funds alongside calls to strengthen K-12 education, upgrade state infrastructure, stabilize state pension systems, and expand access to health
care. Their efforts to make the case for higher education takes place in political settings that are increasingly polarized, partisan, and usually controlled by a single party. The advocacy challenge is compounded by contrasting public perceptions of higher education, rapid demographic changes, and renewed
concerns about higher education’s value proposition.
5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 5
7:00 a.m. — 8:00 a.m.
8:00 a.m. — 9:15 a.m.
General Session—Presidential Perspectives: How Can Higher Education Be More Competitive in State Capitals?
College presidents and state system leaders are often the most influential voices for public colleges and universities, with the ability to share a compelling vision of the institutions and their role in helping regions grow and states succeed. What do these leaders
see as successful advocacy strategies? How can government relations professionals work more closely with their presidents? This panel of experienced college presidents will discuss their strategies for elevating higher education as a state budget priority and provide insights into how government
relations professionals can work in concert with their presidents to achieve the best results for their institutions and systems of higher education.
F. King Alexander, President, Louisiana State University
Randy Beutler, President, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Para M. Jones, President, Stark State College (Ohio)
Program evaluation remains a critical, if overlooked, part of improving the effectiveness of government relations and demonstrating accountability to campus leaders. Evaluating governmental relations can include assessing its performance toward stated goals, measuring its capacity, and reviewing
legislative outcomes in the context of the state legislative session. This session will explore ways to provide meaningful evaluation of state-level higher education government relations to strengthen its ability to elevate higher education as a state budgetary and policy priority and ensure continued
support from college, university, and system leaders.
Peter J. McDonough, Jr., Senior Vice President for External Affairs, Rutgers University (N.J.)
Anthony Haynes, Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy, The University of Tennessee
1:30 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.
General Session—Advocacy Showcase: Best Practices in Higher Education Government Relations
Where have government relations professionals delivered results? How did they do it? This session will explore examples of creative, replicable best practices in state higher education
advocacy and government relations. It will consist of several five to seven-minute presentations from representatives of institutions, state systems of higher education, and others in higher education that have elevated higher education as a policy and funding priority through effective advocacy and government relations
#1 College Forward (Tex.): Citing Neighboring Louisiana Success, Advocates Secure Mandatory FAFSA
#2 University of Northern Iowa: Educating Iowans for Iowa: UNI's Approach to Advocacy
Speaker: Austin Buchan, Chief Executive Officer, College Forward (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
Speakers: Mary Braun, State Relations Officer, and Andrew Morse, Assistant to the President for Board & Governmental Relations, University of Northern Iowa (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
#3 Missouri State University: Making a Big Appropriations Play
Speaker: Ryan T. DeBoef, Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President for Governmental Relations, Missouri State University (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
#4 University of Illinois System Advocacy: Cultivating Stakeholders and Changing the Conversation
Speakers: Jennifer Creasey, Senior Director of State Relations, University of Illinois System, and Marissa Brewer, Associate Director for Advocacy, University of Illinois System (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
2:30 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.
What is the state of higher education government relations today? This interactive session will feature the results of a fall 2019 poll of government relations professionals at public colleges and universities, including questions related to institutional capacity for government relations, their views on lawmaker perceptions of higher education, and effectiveness in advocacy. The polling results will be followed by a response from a panel of experienced leaders in the profession, as well as allow for
audience participation to prompt discussion on key issues confronting higher education government relations professionals as they make the case for higher education.
General Session—Polling the Profession: How Do Government Relations Professionals View Their Roles Today?
Frances Teves, Assistant Vice President, Government and Community Relations, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Kelly Whitten, Director of State Relations, The University of Kansas
Clayton Jones, Assistant to the President, Government and Community Relations, Monroe Community College (N.Y.)
3:30 p.m. — 3:45 p.m.
3:45 p.m. — 4:45 p.m.
General Session—The Equity Imperative: Moving the Dial on Educational Attainment Through Equity-Focused Leadership
Closing educational attainment gaps for historically underrepresented populations remains a critical priority for state policymakers. Without closing these gaps, most states will fall far short in meeting ambitious educational attainment goals over the next decade. This panel
of state education leaders will discuss how their states are starting conversations on addressing equity gaps in higher education, their approaches to closing equity gaps through changes in institutional practices and state policies, and how government relations professionals can aid their efforts in advancing the
Wil Del Pilar, Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Practice, The Education Trust (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
F. Javier Cevallos, President, Framingham State University (Mass.) (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
Denise Pearson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Equity Initiatives, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)
Friday, December 6
7:00 a.m. — 8:00 a.m.
8:00 a.m. — 9:00 a.m.
General Session—Effective Advocacy for Higher Education Amid Crisis, Controversy and Change
Higher education government relations professionals must often navigate an unexpected array of crises, controversies, and transitions in their role, from campus protests to deep budget cuts and new political administrations. Campus government relations professionals can play an outsized role in shaping the response and communicating with key constituencies during these challenging periods. What are the keys to success? This session will include a panel of government relations professionals that have been through crises and controversies in their state and include a discussion of their response to these situations and lessons learned for the future.
Miles Baker, Associate Vice President of Government Relations, University of Alaska (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
Dustin Bryant, Director of Federal Relations, University of Alaska
Jeff Buhrandt, Senior Director, State Relations, University of Wisconsin System
9:00 a.m.— 10:00 a.m.
General Session—Statehouse Perspectives: What Do Legislators and Governors Want from Public Higher Ed?
The 2019 state legislative sessions included a sweeping set of higher education policy measures, including ambitious free or reduced college tuition plans, expansive new investments in public-private partnerships, and a renewed commitment to student success. Such
a diverse array of policies begs the question: What do legislators and governors want from higher education today? And how can government relations professionals best position their institutions and systems to meet these needs? Hear from a diverse panel of state leaders on their priorities and higher
education’s role in helping their state succeed, along with practical ideas for government relations professionals to effectively match higher education’s resources with state needs.
Chris Broadwater, Vice President for Workforce Policy, Louisiana Community & Technical College System and former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives (2011-2018)
Lande Ajose, Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education, Office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom
Rep. Mike McKell, Utah State Representative and Chair, House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee
10:00 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.
General Session—State Outlook: What Happened in the 2019 State Legislative Sessions? What's Ahead in 2020? And What Is the Financial Outlook for Public Higher Ed?
The 2019 state legislative sessions included ambitious changes to higher education policy throughout the country, including new free college frameworks, numerous measures aimed at combating sexual assault on campus, and overhauls to university governance structures. With
2020 elections on the horizon, the next legislative session promises continued focus on higher education policy issues. Many higher education policy proposals, however, will depend on the availability of state resources. This session will start with an in-depth discussion of the financial dynamics
affecting state colleges and universities and a national economic outlook and then review the 2019 state higher education legislative landscape, 2020 state legislative sessions, and pivotal fall elections.
Thomas Harnisch, Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) (POWERPOINT PRESENTATION)
Susan Shaffer, Vice President & Senior Credit Officer, Moody's (POWERTPOINT PRESENTATION)