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NASH Newsletter – September 2019

September 25, 2019

NASH National Association of System Heads logo


A primary goal of the NASH Taking Students Success to Scale (TS3): High Impact Practices project is to provide mechanisms to identify and scale a set of complementary approaches to advance student learning and success, with particular focus on underrepresented minority and first-generation students.  A key component to the success of this strategy is a scalable approach to professional development.  In order to have greater national impact and share lessons learned from the current TS3: HIPs network, NASH is currently developing e-learning modules focused on the implementation, assessment and scaling of high-quality equitable HIPs.   This experiential approach will enable us to share lessons from the NASH TS3: HIPs Network and to curate selected resources on HIPS into a central “hub.”  The intended audience for the NASH HIPS modules will be system staff, and campus faculty and administrators who want to learn about implementing and scaling equitable high impact practices.  Campus and system Teaching and Learning Centers will be a key point of facilitation in these efforts.

To develop these modules, NASH is working with Allen Communication Learning Services, an instructional design firm based in Salt Lake City.  As an instructional design and eLearning company AllenComm works to translate subject matter expertise into online learning solutions.  Erick Montenegro has also recently joined the TS3: HIPs team to consult on the project.  Erick is the Communications Coordinator & Research Analyst at NILOA and a doctoral candidate in the Education Policy, Organization and Leadership program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Currently the content on HIPs is scattered across various websites and primarily delivered through long text blocks and PDFs.  Most websites are static leaving little room for autonomy or personalization based on user’s needs.  In contrast, the modules will be interactive, with focused content that matches users’ needs.  Each user can navigate the experience based on his/her interests to create a personalized learning experience.

Scheduled to launch in early 2020, the modules will be made available free of charge, expanding access to professional development on HIPs.  Further, unlike in-person professional development, these modules will not be constrained by space, time and distance.  NASH TS3: HIPs project was designed to reach campuses and systems that are diverse in terms of geography, campus composition and student population. For many systems, professional development is challenging due to geographic limitations and constraints due to size and budget.  Unlike traditional professional development, online learning removes geographic and resource constraints helping to provides more equitable access to information.  Focusing on equitable access for campuses and systems could potentially have a greater impact on improved outcomes for all students—the ultimate goal of the TS3: HIPs project.

Stay tuned for more information!


The call for the proposals for the 2020 HIPs in the States conference is now available.  The conference will be held on February 18-21 and hosted by Texas A&M University in College Station.  Proposal submissions are due October 1, 2019 at Noon Central time.

Two keynote sessions will highlight the work of high impact practices with first generation college students.  For conference details, including information about lodging, travel, featured speakers, and proposal submission guidelines, visit:


Higher education is facing a host of challenges, including external questions regarding its value and purpose. These questions cut to the core of the states’ role in higher education. Traditionally, states have the responsibility to ensure that institutions of higher education are operating in the public interest and that the institutions are good stewards of their public resources. Central to this responsibility is the question of institutional and educational quality. Concerns regarding higher education quality and the states’ role in quality assurance and improvement motivated the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) and the National Association of System Heads (NASH) to partner with Lumina Foundation to investigate current state and system practices and to work toward recommendations for future action.

Using a variety of data sources, including two in-person convenings of relevant stakeholders, a survey of state higher education agencies and system offices, and qualitative interviews, the partners explored current quality assurance and improvement practices, challenges and limitations related to quality assurance and improvement at the state and system levels, and ideas for how current policies and practices might be improved.

The findings revealed that approaches are varied and limited by a lack of consensus around what quality means in higher education, what the appropriate level and manner of state and system engagement regarding quality should be, and limited resources (staff, money, and technology). Nevertheless, participants and respondents provided important insights into how states and systems might better engage in the question of quality and work to assure and improve quality in higher education. In that regard, the following recommendations are offered:

  • Arrive at widely agreed upon understandings of quality.
  • Develop a greater understanding amongst all relevant actors of the state’s interest and role in educational quality.
  • Identify best practices in quality assurance.
  • Make program review and state authorization meaningful quality-assurance processes.
  • Treat equity as a quality consideration
  • Actively engage faculty and institutional leaders
  • Invest in data, tools, and people.
  • Open lines of communication and real partnership between members of the triad.

For the full report ›


In its current strategic plan, Lumina Foundation has prioritized work to ensure the quality of the credentials that postsecondary students earn, including degrees, certificates, and other validated credentials. The foundation believes, at a minimum, that quality credentials are those that have clear and transparent learning outcomes and that are designed to set up graduates to succeed in employment and to take advantage of further learning opportunities.

State agencies and state systems of postsecondary education have essential roles to play. They deserve a larger role in our national dialogue about how to assure and improve quality across systems and how to increase equitable access to quality pathways and credentials.

To assist interested state agencies and state systems in these efforts, the Lumina State Quality Assurance Grant Fund will support state-level entities interested in developing or implementing new approaches to quality assurance and improvement. For more information on this Request for Proposal, see:  Note that letters of intent are due by September 25, 2019.


Registration is now open for the NASH System Leadership Academy.  Now in its fourth year, the NASH Leadership Academy will bring together leaders from systems and a selection of their campuses to discuss one of the highest priorities facing U.S. systems and campuses: improving student success. The Academy, to be held January 15-16, 2020, in Washington, DC, is designed to support systems in the development of high-performing teams that facilitate large-scale change, enhance campus and system performance, and scale best practices across multiple campuses. Participants will work as system-based teams and focus on leading change efforts that are known to enhance student success through a multilateral approach, considering relationships between system and campus leaders as well as among the campuses themselves. Speakers will provide a mix of content and case studies on leading for change, culture and innovation, and data informed action. Team sessions provide ample time to apply these ideas to the particular context of the systems and campuses, as well as the projects they identify in advance.

Here is what one team leader, Katie Barras of the University of Louisiana System, had to say about the 2019 academy:

“NASH provided a necessary opportunity for our system leadership and nine university team to plan and focus intensely on the goals and implementation of our new adult leader initiative.  The activities and structure of the convening were helpful in refining our primary goal, crafting an initial implementation plan, and identifying metrics to evaluate both implementation and outcomes.   The opportunity to share the initial plans through a peer review activity was also valuable in identifying policy barriers and obtaining a differing perspective from colleagues outside of the system.  The overall experience was well executed and provided a kick-start to our team.”

The Academy comprises a two-day intensive workshop, with a follow-up meeting in Minneapolis on April 20-21, 2020. System teams will develop action plans around a project of choice designed to significantly boost student success and will report on three-month accomplishments at the meeting in April.  To register, please click here.  The deadline to register is November 1.

Please contact Rebecca Martin ( for details.



NASH members are well acquainted with the Dana Center’s groundbreaking work on improving student success in entry level college math courses.  Now they are focusing on ways to better align the mathematics courses and expectations from high school to postsecondary education.  The Dana Center’s Launch Years Initiative seeks to usher in a new paradigm to support students, specifically focusing on the transition from junior year of high school to their junior year in college.  It is this timeframe that is critical in supporting students for college preparation and guiding them through pathways for degree attainment.

This multi-year strategy focuses on the ground in several states to assess the high school mathematics students can access every day in the classroom.  It also seeks to bring K-12 and higher education institutions together at a regional level to ensure that students have clear paths for success.  Strategies include: 1)creating consensus around a common understanding of mathematics pathways that extend from high school into postsecondary education and prepare students for success; 2) mobilizing a wide range of constituencies to advance the new paradigm for college and career readiness in mathematics and reduce persistent equity gaps; and 3) creating new pathways for math instruction in the third and fourth years of high school and initiating the implementation of transition math courses.

From these learnings, open access resources will be developed and made available to schools and districts in all states to better support students.  Rebecca Martin is serving on the Launch Years Consensus Panel, representing NASH in shaping and guiding this initiative.

Invited Contributor: Karen M. Whitney, Ph.D.

Ensuring success is no accident. In particular, ensuring the success of single campus presidents/chancellors is no accident and is actually the result of hard work on the part of many. Every semester we all read about real life “accidents” of failed or faltering college presidencies. Given the impact that campus CEOs have on their universities and communities, more must be done to ensure that campus CEO’s are successful. An often overlooked effort to ensuring the campus CEO success are comprehensive performance reviews. 

While Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) we were guided and helped by our policy on Evaluating Presidents ( This policy clearly articulated the annual performance review and the comprehensive performance review which is conducted every 3 years. The Triennial Reviews are invaluable both to the president and to the Chancellor as an evidenced based way to guide how the presidency could better succeed going forward.

As such, there is a strong “business case” for an objective external party to conduct comprehensive performance reviews. Comprehensive performance reviews are very different from annual performance reviews. This kind of review is broad in scope, highly inclusive in terms of the participation of internal and external stakeholders, and is usually conducted initially during the third year of the President’s term in office and every three to five years thereafter.  A comprehensive performance review allows the President, the System Head and the Board Chair to realign priorities, agree on accomplishments and challenges and move forward with greater certainty. In addition, the various constituents who interact with “the presidency” feel and have reason to believe that their hopes, fears and suggestions for the president and the presidency will be seriously considered and integrated into the future work of the president.  As a result, there is a tremendous value to presidents and to System Heads for conducting comprehensive presidential reviews.  From my experiences from both sides of a Comprehensive Review, it provided invaluable information and direction to everyone involved.

For more information, contact Karen M. Whitney, Former Interim Chancellor Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education & President Emerita, Clarion University at



Our 5th Annual Taking Student Success to Scale (TS3) Network Convening will take place on April 21-22, 2020 in Minneapolis, MN.  The TS3 Network Convening brings together system and campus leaders from across the country committed to adopting evidence based practices in order to move the dial on our nation’s completion and attainment goals.    To learn more about Taking Student Success to Scale, including viewing past webinars on our three interventions, please visit our website:


In July, SHEEO held a convening on the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP), a national initiative managed by the National Student Clearinghouse. The PDP provides three important benefits. First, it promotes system- and institution-level data use to increase student success with easy access to Tableau dashboards and data files for subpopulation analysis. Second, it reduces reporting burden for institutions and systems participating in multiple national initiatives (for example, Achieving the Dream, Complete College America, and JFF are all advocating the use of the PDP). Finally, it encourages common higher education data definitions based on the Institute for Higher Education Policy’s (IHEP) Postsecondary Metrics Framework. The PDP is open to all two and four-year institutions (and systems) and is working with several national and regional organizations, including the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

SHEEO’s meeting brought together teams from eight states (Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, and Ohio) to hear from national leaders utilizing the PDP, discuss PDP implementation, learn how PDP data can be used to support institutional change, and collaborate with their respective teams during dedicated state team time. In the coming months, SHEEO will build off this initial meeting and develop an online tool kit with PDP resources and case studies on the impact of the PDP on college campuses and within state systems. As one participant noted, “The PDP data collection is very doable and having the benefit of the state office submitting would provide many benefits.”

More information on SHEEO’s work with the PDP can be found on SHEEO’s website. For questions, contact SHEEO Associate Vice President Eric Godin at



New System Heads

Dr. Susan Fritz, Interim President, University of Nebraska System
Mr. Mark Kennedy, President, University of Colorado System
Dr. Félix Matos Rodríguez, Chancellor, City University of New York
Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Interim Chancellor, WV Higher Education Policy Commission
Mr. Dave Woolstenhulme, Interim Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education



Type Topic Date Location Meeting
System Heads NASH Board & System Heads Annual Meeting Nov 10 San Diego APLU
Leadership Academy NASH System Leadership Academy – convening I Jan 15-16 Washington, DC
CAO NASH CAO Network Meeting Feb 6* New Orleans AASCU
HIPs HIPs in the States Feb 18-21 College Station, TX
CAO CAO/CBO Joint Meeting March 10-11 Washington, DC
System Heads NASH Board and System Heads Meeting April 5* Washington, DC AGB
Leadership Academy NASH System Leadership Academy – convening II April 20-21 Minneapolis
TS3 NASH TS3 Convening April 21-22 Minneapolis
CAO NASH CAO Network Meeting August 4* Indianapolis SHEEO
System Heads NASH Board & System Heads Annual Meeting Nov 8* Orlando APLU

* Date is not confirmed and is subject to change.



Please join NASH and the TS3 Network for our upcoming webinars.

September 23 at 4:00 pm EDT: Equity Minded Pedagogy

Presenters: Dr. Carleen Vande Zande and Dr. Fay Yokomizo Akindes of the University of Wisconsin System

Description:  This Webinar extends July’s NASH-sponsored Webinar by addressing professional development in equity-minded pedagogy for faculty and instructors and builds upon recent engagement at institutions related to designing equity-minded HIPs.  Speakers from the University of Wisconsin System identify ways that its long-standing professional development programs have been adapted to integrate equity minded pedagogy. It is a long-term process with no end date. Equity is a holistic mindset that extends beyond the classroom and encompasses all aspects of an institution. Borrowing from our Canadian colleagues, we consider a 4-M framework to contextualize equity minded pedagogy (Wuetherick and Yu, 2016) and the relationship between the four spheres: Micro, Meso, Macro and Mega.

October 7 at 4:00 pm EDT: Scaling HIPs part 1

Presenters: Melynda Connor (TBR), Joseph Thiel (MUS), Robert Todd and Bruce Vandal (USG), and Carleen Vande Zande (UWS)

Description:  TS3: HIPs leverages the power of systems to identify and scale promising High Impact Practices (HIPs) at both the campus and system level.  The system leads from University System of Georgia (USG), the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), the Montana University System (MUS), and the University of Wisconsin System (UWS)  will come together for a conversation on the barriers and successes to scaling High Impact Practices as a system.

November 19 at 3:00 pm EST: Scaling HIPs part 2

Presenters: Cynthia Alby, Georgia College, and Caroline Boswell, UW-Green Bay

Description:  Cynthia Alby from Georgia College and Caroline Boswell from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will discuss how being a member of the TS3: HIPs Network sparked innovation in their implementation and enabled them to pilot programs over the course of the two-year grant period.  They will also discuss how they are scaling HIPs on their campuses beyond their initial pilot programs and how they intend to sustain the work beyond the grant period.