2014 Higher Education Government Relations Conference

2014 HEGRC - web banner

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 to Friday, December 5, 2014
JW Marriott • New Orleans, LA

Stewardship of the Public Trust
Institutional and Public Policy Leadership in American Higher Education

Americans have long placed confidence in our nation’s public colleges and universities to serve the public good. As engines of economic growth, innovation and democratic renewal, maintaining the missions of these institutions is as critical as ever. College and university leaders, trustees and government officials all hold responsibility for ensuring that these institutions remain the bedrock of a strong economy and vibrant democracy. This year’s conference will explore the current state of stewardship of America’s public colleges and universities, and share policies and advocacy strategies for ensuring that these institutions remain accessible, accountable and true to their historic missions.

About the Conference

This year’s conference will explore the current state of stewardship of America’s public colleges and universities, and share policies and advocacy strategies for ensuring that these institutions remain accessible, accountable and true to their historic missions. 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. The conference is coordinated by government relations staff from these associations and the Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations, comprised of state government affairs professionals representing the entire spectrum of American public postsecondary education.


The 2014 Higher Education Government Relations Conference serves as an exceptional venue for generating product/service visibility and professional networking.

Download Sponsorship Prospectus (pdf) to learn more about conference sponsorship opportunities 
Download Sponsorship Application Form (pdf)

Schedule top

Preliminary Schedule

(updated September 3, 2014) - Check back for program updates

Wednesday, December 3

3:00 p.m.— 3:15 p.m. 
Conference Opening

Mark Kinders, Chair, 2014 Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations & Vice President for Government Relations, University of Central Oklahoma

3:15 p.m.— 4:15 p.m.   
General Session

Higher Education and the Public Trust: Institutional and State Leadership

The American public places great trust in the stewardship of the nation’s public colleges and universities. Whether it involves the prudent use of billions of taxpayer-provided dollars or the steadfast dedication to providing millions of students with the knowledge and skills requisite to their career and civic aspirations, the responsibilities and expectations of public higher education leaders and state policymakers today is tremendous. In this opening session, F. King Alexander and Sandra K. Woodley will explore the current state of stewardship at public colleges and universities and offer strategies for how both college leaders and elected officials can work together to maintain and advance the missions of these institutions to effectively serve students, employers and states in the years ahead.

F. King Alexander,
President and Chancellor, Louisiana State University
Sandra K. Woodley, President, University of Louisiana System

King Alexander Speech Handout (View)

Session Moderator:
Rachel Kincaid, Vice President for External Affairs, University of Louisiana System 

    Sponsored by Van Scoyoc/Capitol Decisions

4:15 p.m.— 5:15 p.m. 
General Session

Grading Colleges on Measures that Matter
A growing array of rankings systems seek to assess the nation’s colleges and universities on measures that miss the mark on what should really matter to students, parents and policymakers—measuring inputs rather than outcomes, encouraging higher spending, and rewarding institutions for keeping students out rather than letting them in. Such assessment metrics run counter to the very missions of America’s public colleges and universities. This session will feature a compelling and provocative discussion on why ratings do matter and how institutions can harness rating systems that actually advance their public service missions.


Paul Glastis
, Editor in Chief, Washington Monthly

Session Moderator:
Lisbet Sunshine, Director, Government and Community Relations & Exec. Director, Willie L. Brown, Jr. Leadership Center

5:15 p.m.— 6:15 p.m. 
Advocacy Showcase and Opening Reception 

Join your government relations and public affairs colleagues in this exceptional networking and information-sharing venue. Learn about advocacy-oriented programs and practices that can be used to advance higher education as a state priority through one-on-one discussion with college and university state relations officers.

  • A Measure of College Success Above All Others: The Student Achievement Measure
  • Picture This: Communicating Your College’s Undergraduate Outcomes to Policymakers and the Public through the Voluntary System of Accountability’s College Portrait
  • University of Washington, Bothell: Road to success through advocacy, access, affordability, and attainmen
  • I Stand with CSU (California State University)
  • UNH Works for New Hampshire (University of New Hampshire) 
  • Panther Caucus: University of Northern Iowa State Advocacy Initiative
  • Georgia Tech "Capitol Jackets" Legislative Advocacy Network 
  • Public Higher Education Legislative Advocacy Professionals (PHELAP), a volunteer national organization of advocacy professionals dedicated to advancing the understanding and support of legislative advocacy in public higher education, promoting the professional development of its members, developing important professional networks, and sharing resources and best practices.


Sponsored by the The College Board 

Thursday, December 4

7:45 a.m.— 4:00 p.m. 
Conference Programming

8:00 a.m.— 8:15 a.m.  
SAM Turns 2:  A Progress Report
The Student Achievement Measure (SAM) starts its second year with the addition of part-time cohorts for the bachelor’s model and a complete cohort for the associate/certificate model, allowing institutions to report—for the first time ever—outcomes for all degree or certificate seeking students on their campuses.  The new cohorts boost SAM advocacy efforts to federal policymakers on the benefits of the SAM approach and the utility of allowing universities the option of including the SAM metrics on government consumer information website. Learn the very latest on SAM, institutional participation in the initiative, and how colleges can use the metric to advance advocacy and policy priorities. 

Christine Keller, Vice President for Research and Policy Analysis, and Executive Director of SAM, Association of Public and Land-gran Universities (APLU)

SAM Handout (View)

Session Moderator:
Nick Kallieris, Director, Resource Development & Legislative Affairs, College of Lake County (IL)

8:15-9:15 a.m.
General Session

Developing and Executing a Statewide Higher Education Advocacy Agenda
The ability of public higher education institutions to maximize their ability to meet state needs and goals requires that they build and execute a comprehensive and strategic advocacy agenda. This session will feature two veteran professionals with deep experience in advocacy communications and public policy who will share principles and practices for building institutional, system and statewide advocacy capacity. Participants will learn strategies and tools for informing, engaging and motivating key stakeholder groups, using messaging and communication channels optimally, and building mutually beneficial relations necessary to fostering strong legislative support. 

David Waymire,
Partner, Martin Waymire 
Daniel E. Smith
, President, AdvocacySmiths

Waymire Presentation (View)
Smith Top Ten List (View)

Session Moderator:
Regina Biddings-Muro, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Purdue University Calumet (Ind.)

9:15 a.m.— 10:30 a.m.
General Session

Washington Update: Briefing on Federal Legislation and Policy Issues
Learn the latest federal political dynamics and policy priorities in Washington, D.C. from federal relations professionals representing the conference’s four sponsoring national higher education associations. The panel will examine the significant implications stemming from the forthcoming federal college rating system, Higher Education Act reauthorization, campus safety, and numerous other substantive federal policy issues. Receive up to the minute insights on the Obama Administration’s higher education agenda as well as the political and policy landscape that will shape the 115th session of Congress.

Jennifer Poulakidas
, Vice President for Congressional and Governmental Affairs, APLU
Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis, AASCU
Jim Hermes, Associate Vice President of Government Relations, AACC

Brian Flahaven, Director of Government Relations, CASE

Session Moderator:
Brian Jammer, Associate Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations, University of Texas System

Sponsored by Maricopa Community Colleges

10:45 a.m.— 11:55 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions

Boosting Institutional & System Government Relations Capacity

State Focus: Building an Effective Collegiate State Relations Program
This session is geared toward those individuals who are new to the higher education state government relations profession as well as those who seek to establish new college state relations program or fundamentally overhaul their institution’s current program. Building off of the work from the 2013 AASCU report,  Creating a New Compact Between States and Public Higher Education, a panel of seasoned state relations officers will provide a preview to the forthcoming follow-up publication tentatively titled, Partneringfor Prosperity: Advancing the Institutional and State Agenda through aCollegiate State Relations Program. The discussion will include the following topics: building and sustaining a collaborative relationship with state government; campus presidential leadership in advancing a state relations agenda; building networks to link and mobilize key constituencies; critical elements of a high-functioning state relations program; and four steps to institutionalizing a state relations program.


William A. Sederburg, Interim Chancellor, University of North Carolina at Wilmington 
Sue Peterson
, Director of Government Relations and Assistant to the President, Kansas State University
Andy Clark, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government Relations, University System of Maryland

Effective State Relations Presentation (View)

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

Session Sponsor: San Francisco State University

Federal Focus: Strategies for Advancing Federal Priorities
This session will focus on strategies and tactics for working with Congress and the Administration and is geared toward those institutions that do not have a full time presence in Washington, D.C.  Government relations professionals from community colleges, comprehensive institutions and campuses that comprise university systems, as well as those who are new to federal relations will gain insights on how to establish effective working relationships in the federal policy arena and to facilitate federal policy and funding priorities. 

Kevin F. Kelly, 
Vice President, Van Scoyoc Associates 
Michael Frame, 
Director of Federal Relations, Florida State University

Session Moderator:
Kathleen Daly, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations, Florida State University

Session Sponsor: University of Central Oklahoma

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

1:45 p.m.— 2:45 p.m.
Featured General Session

Degrees of Inequality: Why Opportunity Has Diminished in U.S. Higher Education, and How to Promote Leadership to Restore the American Dream
Suzanne Mettler When it comes to policy conversations involving issues of college affordability, academic quality, student outcomes and student debt, attention is often directed squarely at college and university leaders. Public colleges and universities certainly must account for institutional costs and outcomes. However, federal and state policymakers also play an enormous role in providing individuals with the ability to achieve the American Dream, the passport to which is often made possible by a college degree or credential. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that in recent decades policymakers have abdicated their responsibility for ensuring an affordable, accountable and high quality postsecondary system of higher education in the U.S., slowly dismantling a legacy in which earlier generations of lawmakers made higher education a pillar of the nation’s economic, social and civic foundation. How and why has this failure of public duty taken place? And what specific actions can higher education leaders take to encourage a renewal of political leadership in stewarding American higher education?

Suzanne Mettler
, Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University 
Author of Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream

Session Moderator:
F. King Alexander
, President and Chancellor, Louisiana State University

Session Sponsored by Louisiana State University

Degrees of Inequality

All Conference Participants Will Receive a FREE Copy of Dr. Mettler’s Book: 
Degrees of Inequality: How Politics Sabotaged the American Dream - by Basic Books Publishing, New York.

New York Times Book Review
Washington Post Book Review

3:00— 4:00 p.m.
General Session 

Creating Legislative Champions for Higher Education 

Unceasing state budget pressures and competition for limited state resources are among many factors that beckon the need to continuously cultivate legislative advocates on behalf of public higher education. Legislative champions can have a tremendous impact on the ability of public colleges and universities to effectively serve students and meet broader state needs. This session will discuss the framework and necessary elements that are critical to creating strong legislative advocates. The importance of institutional and sector collaboration within the state’s higher education community, unified messaging, accountability for actions, and a climate of trust are among the issues that will be discussed. Also considered will be the positive state policy and state investment outcomes that can be generated when legislative champions work in coordination with unified higher education leaders, featuring a case study from Utah’s 2014 legislative session and the state’s fiscal year 2015 budget. 

Stephen H. Urquhart, Utah State Senator, Chair, Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee
David L. Buhler
, Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Teresa Lubbers, Commissioner, Indiana Commission for Higher Education
Robert Behning, Indiana State Representative, Chair, Education Committee

Session Moderator:
Robin Walton, Vice President for Community and Government Affairs, Thomas Edison State College (N.J.)

Friday, December 5

8:00 a.m.— 11:15 a.m.
Conference Programming and Closing

7:30 a.m.— 9:00 a.m.
Breakfast Affinity Sessions
Sector Update & Forum--Community colleges, Public Comprehensives, Public Research, Systems & Boards

9:00 a.m.— 10:00 a.m.
General Session

State Outlook:Summary of Legislative and Elections Outcomes, and 2015 Economic and Policy Forecasts
Get the latest insight on economic conditions and forecasts that may affect state revenues in the near future, and which may in turn impact state financial support for higher education, state student aid programs and capital outlays. Learn about state-level outcomes associated with the 2014 elections of relevance to higher education stakeholders. Highlights involving higher education policy outcomes stemming from states’ 2014 legislative sessions will be shared. Take away a national perspective on what issues are likely to drive state policymakers’ higher education agendas in 2015. 


Tim Hopper, 
Managing Director and Chief Economist, TIAA-CREF 
Daniel Hurley
Associate Vice President for Government Relations & State Policy, AASCU 
Thomas Harnisch
Assistant Director of State Relations, AASCU 

Hopper Presentation (View)
Hurley-Harnisch Presentation (View)
AASCU State Outlook-2014 Election (View)
2014 Gubernatorial State of the State Addresses (View)

Subscription Link to AASCU Publications (View)

Emmy Glancy, Policy Analyst, Education Commission of the States
ECS Report: Blueprint for College Readiness: A 50-State Policy Analysis (View)

Session Moderator:
Justin Lonon, Vice Chancellor, Public & Governmental Affairs, Dallas County Community College District

Sponsored by TIAA-CREF

10:00 a.m.— 11:00 a.m. 
General Session

Tapping the Energy of Alumni to Advance State and Federal Support for Public Higher Education

Of all the constituent groups that are vital to advancing the higher education agenda of public colleges and universities, none are as large, well-networked and as enthusiastic as an institution’s own alumni base. Figuring out how to best tap this vital advocacy resource, however, can be a challenge. This panel of  Public Higher Education Legislative Advocacy Professionals will share strategies, tools and programs colleges can utilize in efforts to advance their state and federal policy and funding objectives, including a range of activities suitable for both large and small institutions. 

Mike Fahey,
Managing Director, Campus and Constituent Relations at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association
Monique C. Field
, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Vice President for Governmental Affairs, Michigan State University
Kim Kovacs, Executive Director of Federal Relations, University of California, Los Angeles

Fahey Presentation (View)
Field Presentation (View)
Kovacs Presentation (View)

Session Moderator:
Mica Stark, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs, University of New Hampshire

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

Mark Kinders, Chair, 2014 Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations, and Vice President for Government Relations, University of Central Oklahoma

Claire Rosacco, Chair, 2015 Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations, and Vice President Government Relations and Community Outreach, Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio)

Fees top

Early Registration - $475 (By November 7, 2014) 
Late Registration  - $550 (By December 3, 2014)

Registration Information top

How to Register
Please select among the two options below:

Accommodations top


JW Marriott
614 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 525-6500

The original hotel room block has sold out. A limited number of deluxe rooms may still be available for $227/night. Room rates do not include 13% state/local taxes and $2.00 city occupancy fee. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly and referencing the Higher Education Government Relations Conference prior to November 10.
If your stay does not exceed the conference dates, you may also make reservations online by clicking here 

Consider individual reservations (AARP, education discount) at other properties in New Orleans. Nearby hotels include:

  • The New Orleans Marriott
    555 Canal Street, New Orleans 70130
    Phone (504) 581-100

  • The Sheraton New Orleans
    500 Canal Street, New Orleans 70130
    Phone (504) 525-2500 
  • AC Hotel New Orleans/French Quarter Area
    221 Carondelet Street 70130
    Phone (504) 962-0700
  • Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel
    817 Common Street, New Orleans 70112
    Phone (855) 525-1111
  • Courtyard New Orleans Downtown Iberville 
    910 Iberville, New Orleans 70112
    Phone (504) 523-2400
  • The Saint Hotel, Autograph Collection
    931 Canal Street, New Orleans 70112
    Phone (504) 522-5400

Disability Needs/Special Requests
Indicate any disability-related requirements or special preferences when making the reservation. The JW Marriott reservations department will try to accommodate requests.

Air Travel
Fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (about 15.8 miles or 25 minutes from JW Marriott).
Ground Transportation

Airport Transfers
Shared van rates are $38/person round trip or $20/person one way. Please be advised that each guest is allowed two bags, and there are additional charges for extra bags. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by visiting: http://www.airportshuttleneworleans.com/

Taxi fares from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to JW Marriott are a flat rate of $33 each way, accommodating one or two passengers. 

Cancellation & Refund Policytop

  • Cancel in writing by Nov. 21st to receive full refund.
  • Cancellations received after Nov. 21st will be charged a $150 administration fee that will be used to pay for meals and services already guaranteed at the hotel.
  • Cancellations received after Dec. 1st will not be refunded.


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

Platinum Level

Capitol Decisions logo

CollegeBoard - new logo

LSU logo


Van Scoyoc Associates logo

Gold Level

Dallas County Community College District

Maricopa Community College logo

Thomas Edison State Colleges logo - color

Silver Level

San Francisco State University logo

University of Central Oklahoma

Award Sponsorship

Capitol Impact logo

Program Partner

Turbo Vote logo