State Policy Leadership: An historical perspective

Paul Lingenfelter
President Emeritus

The first installment in the State Policy Leadership series, posted in November 2012, was a brief essay written by Paul Lingenfelter for the SHEEO/Lumina Foundation Academy for State Policy Leadership in August 2012. It takes a retrospective look at the history and evolution of the profession of state policy leadership in the United States.

SHEEO was founded in 1954 by John Dale Russell, then Chancellor and Executive Secretary of the New Mexico Board of Education Finance. From 1946 to 1952, Russell, as Director of the Division of Higher Education and Assistant Commissioner, U.S. Office of Education, played a key role in the work of the Truman Commission. Many of the recommendations of the Truman Commission were controversial in 1947, and some of them have never been fully implemented. But its vision of dramatically expanded access to and participation in higher education was largely achieved within the lifetime of John Dale Russell. And in the global knowledge economy of the 21st century, widespread, virtually universal participation in postsecondary education has become a national imperative.

Since 1954 professional state policy leaders have worked to advance the public interest in higher education. As part of the community of professional educators and policy leaders, SHEEO members continue to work for the advancement of education, with both accountability and the essential freedoms of thought and action essential for innovation and excellence.

Click to read “State Policy Leadership for Higher Education: A brief summary of the origins and continuing evolution of a profession.”

Click here for additional examples of State Policy Leadership.