September 27-28, 2019 | Chicago, Illinois

American post-secondary education today is more focused on ensuring student academic success and college completion than perhaps at any other time in our nation’s history.  The demands of economic transformation and heightened public expectations are driving a new era of innovation for the way colleges and universities prepare 21st Century students for society and the workforce.  As the fiduciary stewards for their institutions, governing board members are ultimately responsible for how they work with their chancellors, presidents, and chief executive officers to oversee their institutions’ costs, quality, and student outcomes.  With a student population increasingly comprised of Latinos, first generation college goers, and low-income students, it is critical that governing board members of post-secondary institutions be equipped to adapt their institutional policies and strategies to ensure their students and graduates become full stakeholders in the nation’s economic vitality.

The NALEO National Policy Institute on Higher Education Governance brought together governing board members from colleges and universities from throughout the country to acquire governance strategies that will help them make effective policy decisions in the best interest of the students they serve.  Participants had an opportunity to network with their peers and heard from leading experts who shared their knowledge on pressing policy matters and governance strategies.  The Policy Institute’s curriculum included:

  • The State of Our Students
  • Shared Governance and Collaboration
  • Meeting the Leadership Challenge
  • Higher Education Policy Update
  • Fiduciary Responsibility and Budgeting
  • Data-Driven Policymaking
  • K-14 Partnerships: Equipping Students for Post-Secondary Education and the Workforce


This convening is part of the NALEO Education Leadership Initiative (NELI) which aims to provide Latino public servants with the enhanced capacity and governance skills they need to become effective advocates for their students, families, and communities.



  • Friday, September 27
  • Saturday, September 28

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Ambassador Room Foyer, Second Level




8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Gold Room, Second Level




9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Gold Room, Second Level

Welcome Remarks



9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Gold Room, Second Level

Session I:

Joint Plenary: The State of Our Students

Over the last two decades, the Latino student population across all levels of education has grown.  With this growth, education leaders have the opportunity to address and reduce achievement gaps.  Policymakers can create sound policies that support the success of Latino students across the education pipeline through in-depth knowledge of the state of Latino students, barriers to success, and indicators of progress.  In this session, participants received an overview of areas of strength and opportunities for growth in Latino student achievement.

  • Dr. Lynn Jennings, Senior Director of National and State Partnerships, The Education Trust
  • Mr. Sergio Lopez, Senior Associate of National and State Partnerships, The Education Trust

Presentation | Resources: 1 2


11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Ambassador Room, Second Level

Session II:

Shared Governance and Collaboration

At its best, effective shared governance by governing board members and institutional leadership has the ability to strengthen the quality of leadership and decision-making at an institution.  It can also enhance the ability for leadership to meet strategic goals and propels institutions to strengthen the educational experiences for students attending their postsecondary institutions.  However, even when there is recognition of the importance of shared governance to institutional operations and innovation, this model of shared governance can present considerable challenges in practice.  In this session, participants explored strategies to cultivate and strengthen collaborative shared governance structures to enhance institutional and student success.

  • Dr. R. Barbara Gitenstein, Senior Consultant and Senior Fellow, AGB Consulting; President Emerita, College of New Jersey

Presentation | Resource: 1



12:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Gold Room, Second Level

Luncheon Program:

Preparing Schools and Communities for the 2020 Census

  • Mr. Arturo Vargas, Chief Executive Officer, NALEO Educational Fund
  • Ms. Lizette Escobedo, Director of National Census Program, NALEO Educational Fund



2:20 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Ambassador Room, Second Level

Session III:

Meeting the Leadership Challenge

Today’s changing economic environment demands innovative and effective higher education leadership to dramatically improve student outcomes while maintaining the longstanding commitment to open access and low costs for students who attend public institutions at the post-secondary level.  While institutions are working to meet these demands, they are also facing dramatic turnover in leadership.  Over the next decade, the Aspen Institute predicts that more than 80 percent of presidents are projected to retire, creating an opportunity for governing board members to develop strategic plans to cultivate, attract and retain diverse leaders.  This session equipped participants with data trends on the diversity make-up of various leadership roles at post-secondary institutions and highlighted strategies to foster the institutional leadership needed to lead transformational change within post-secondary institutions.

  • Dr. Sherri Lind Hughes, Assistant Vice President of Professional Learning, American Council on Education

Presentation | Audio | Resource: 1

  • Dr. Elizabeth Ortiz, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity,
    DePaul University, Illinois

Presentation | Audio

  • Hon. Deborah Santiago, Chief Executive Officer, Excelencia in Education; Board Member, University of Mary Washington, Virginia

Audio | Resource: 1



3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Ambassador Room, Second Level

Session IV:

Higher Education Policy Update

Publicly funded institutions depend on and respond to, the economy, public support, and the political process at the federal and state levels.  Understanding the implications of higher education policies as they relate to the local mission and goals for their post-secondary institutions is vital information for governing board trustees to master, as they must consider a complex array of economic, political, and demographic forces when making decisions.  This session provided participants with an update of current policy issues affecting public higher education.

  • Mr. Luis Maldonado, Vice President for Government Relations and Policy Analysis, American Association of State Colleges and Universities




4:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Ambassador Room, Second Level

Strategy Discussion

Participants drew from their respective roles as policymakers to identify and discuss how they can strategically work with their governing boards and stakeholders to improve student outcomes in their states and post-secondary institutions.  In this session, participants delved deeper into policy issues armed with insights from topics covered in the first day of the Policy Institute.



4:45 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.

Ambassador Room, Second Level




4:50 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Ambassador Room, Second Level

Closing Remarks



5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Rouge Room, Lobby Level

Opening Reception

Foundation Partner: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Corporate Partner: State Farm®