After a diligent and thoughtful search process, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association has announced the appointment of Robert E. Anderson, Ph.D., as president starting August 1, 2017. Current SHEEO President George Pernsteiner announced his retirement earlier this year, after four years as president of the organization.
“Dr. Anderson is a visionary, strategic and dynamic leader with an impressive career in higher education, and he possesses a keen understanding of the complex, competitive landscape of public higher education,” said Dr. Bob Donley, chair of the SHEEO Executive Committee and executive director and CEO of the Iowa Board of Regents. “He has the necessary leadership skills and vision to guide the advancement of public policies to advance student success, research and discovery. He is a strong and principled leader. I believe his outstanding experience coupled with his passion and energy will be transformative as we seek to redefine the role of states in higher education and advance the value of public higher education to our national economy.”
Anderson’s extensive experience includes his current role as interim chief academic officer and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University System of Georgia. As a senior leader at USG, he addresses academic program approval, college completion initiatives, distance education, new delivery models, K-12 policy, teacher education, and grants administration and evaluation. Recently, he restructured the system’s learning support paradigm, which resulted in significant completion gains within credit-bearing gateway courses.
Previous to his role at USG, Anderson served the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission for seven years as vice chancellor for policy and planning and executive vice chancellor for administration. In these positions, he directed academic affairs, fiscal affairs, legal affairs, financial aid and WVNET, the state’s computing infrastructure unit, for both the 10 college four-year system and the 10 college community college system. During his tenure, he acquired and managed competitive grants totaling more than $20 million that were funded by organizations including the Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Complete College America, as well as a federal GEAR UP grant. Each of these grants was targeted at improving college access and completion.
“I am immensely honored to have this opportunity. Indeed, I believe the position of SHEEO president is of critical importance to the future direction of our nation’s higher education efforts,” Anderson said. “I am eager to lead and guide new strategic opportunities pertaining to the national higher education agenda of increased college completion, equity and degree quality. In collaboration with the slate of innovative leaders of higher education executives and presidents that are part of SHEEO, we can advance student success throughout our country.”
The SHEEO Presidential Search Committee identified attributes and expectations for the president and conducted the search process over the past four months, which yielded several qualified candidates. “The quality and caliber of the candidates for this position were outstanding, and I am exceptionally pleased that we had such a strong slate of candidates from which to choose,” said SHEEO Chair-elect and Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen I. Klein. “Dr. Anderson is a skilled leader and his substantial capacity to advocate for public higher education as well as his deep understanding of national and state higher education issues will be a distinctive benefit for SHEEO. I welcome Dr. Anderson and look forward to working together.”