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National Higher Ed System Leaders Appoint Jason Lane as First-Ever NASH President & CEO

November 16, 2023

Lane will lead a growing organization that is at the forefront of collaborative efforts transforming the higher education sector to improve student outcomes

Washington, DC – The National Association of System Heads (NASH) today announced the appointment of Dr. Jason E. Lane as its first-ever President. NASH represents and supports leaders at higher education systems and their institutions in their pursuit of collective, measurable goals that will advance prosperity for the nation. NASH’s members represent nearly 500 institutions and more than 5 million students, including nearly three-quarters of all students in public four-year higher education in the country.

Lane is the preeminent thought leader on higher education systems and systems thinking. He is an accomplished leader, widely-read author, and award-winning scholar who has led several national initiatives to improve student success through systemness – the concept that higher education can achieve more together than individual systems or institutions could on their own. Included among his more than ten books on higher education are Higher Education Systems 3.0 (with D. Bruce Johnstone) and Higher Education Systems Redesigned (with Jonathan Gagliardi).

He has had a long history with NASH, having developed NASH’s System Leadership Academy, directed the Systems Center, and co-led Taking Student Success to Scale (TS3), a seven-year project to support a national network of 21 systems to implement evidence-based practices to improve student success. As a Senior Fellow, he helped guide NASH through the pandemic and launch the Big Rethink, a year-long strategic planning process to guide the future of NASH. Recently, he directed a study, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on the role of systems in facilitating, accelerating, and sustaining transformation efforts.

Lane comes to NASH with extensive leadership experience at the campus, system, and national levels. He currently serves as Dean of the College of Education, Health, and Society at Miami University, where he has led several statewide initiatives to improve support for public education. Lane has also served as Vice Provost & Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for The State University of New York system, having led several of the system’s academic, research, and economic development initiatives. While at the University at Albany, SUNY, he served as a full professor, department chair, and dean. He is also director of AGB’s Institute for Leadership and Governance, a professional development program for aspiring college presidents, and chair of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) board of directors.

A Fulbright New Century Scholar, Lane brings extensive experience collaborating with higher education systems globally. He has worked and consulted in more than 30 countries, advising both OECD and UNESCO on higher education’s role in supporting economic development and quality of life. He was a member of the board of SUNY Korea and serves on the International Advisory Board for the Swedish Foundation for International Collaboration in Research and Higher Education.

Lane’s full biography and curriculum vitae are available online.

“I am honored that America’s college and university systems have asked me to lead NASH at such a pivotal moment for higher education,” said Lane. “Together, we will continue to leverage the Power of Systems and systems thinking as we explore new and innovative ways for our systems and their institutions to collaborate and deliver real change for students and advance prosperity for the nation. Just as we work to promote the value of higher education and ensure its long-term sustainability, so too will we continue delivering unparalleled services that leave unquestioned the value of NASH to higher education systems far and wide.”

The appointment begins on January 2, 2024 and comes on the heels of a nationwide search as NASH builds from its foundation as a membership organization to lead systems transformation through an action-oriented agenda. The new approach goes beyond playing a convening role and into providing technical assistance for members implementing data-proven interventions at scale to ensure equitable student success.

“As higher education wrestles with unprecedented challenges and opportunities, it was clear our ship needed an experienced captain willing and able to chart our course. We knew Jason Lane was the right choice,” said Brian McCall, chancellor of the Texas State University System and chair of the NASH Board of Directors. “Systems play a critical role in America’s learning landscape, a role that uniquely positions NASH members to truly move the dial for students and ensure America can remain competitive globally. Jason understands this critical role for systems and the board was unanimous in our belief that he will be able to deliver.”

In a unique relationship that empowers NASH to better serve and share best practices from one of its most prominent member systems, Lane will also serve as Special Advisor to the President at the University of Illinois System.

“I am so pleased that an accomplished leader and scholar of systems will not only be taking the helm of NASH to lead higher education into this next chapter, but also joining the University of Illinois System as an education professor and a presidential advisor,” said Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System. “We welcome him to the University of Illinois System family.”

Late last year, NASH released its first-ever collective goals for higher education systems to increase degree and credential completion, improve social mobility, and reduce student debt. More recently, the organization announced its second cohort of a NASH Improvement Community, where multiple systems are using improvement science to solve challenges related to student transfer. As the country grapples with rising costs of living, NASH aims to assure Americans in the grips of a fierce public debate over the value of a degree that college is, in fact, worth it.

“I’ve been at this for a long time, and never have I had a thought partner as innovative and driven as Jason Lane,” said Nancy Zimpher, interim executive director of NASH and chancellor emeritus of The State University of New York. “We are incredibly fortunate to have brought on a leader who understands the intricacies and nuances of higher education, while at the same time sees the unlimited potential of our member systems to have a lasting impact on our nation’s education landscape. From SUNY to the Association of Governing Boards and even as co-authors, I have consistently depended on Jason’s insights and expertise. I know he will bring our organization to the next level.”

A native of Troy, IL, Lane earned a bachelor of science in political science from Southeast Missouri State University, and a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from The Pennsylvania State University.

Higher education systems interested in joining or learning more about the work of NASH and its members can visit the organization’s website for more information.

About the National Association of System Heads
Founded in 1979, the National Association of System Heads (NASH) represents the 65 public higher education systems in the United States. Member institutions work collaboratively to advance innovation and improvement in public systems of colleges and universities. To learn more about NASH and its national transformation agenda, the Power of Systems, visit


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