Capacity Building Grant

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation generously provided SHEEO with a Capacity Building Grant in 2017. This grant has provided the State Higher Education Executive Officer Association (SHEEO) with an opportunity to reevaluate its approach to fulfilling its mission within a changing national and state policy context. SHEEO engaged in a strategic evaluation and planning process to assess our current strategic plan, organizational structure, and direction; ensure effective service to its members; and develop a strategy for future action. For the first time, a strategic communications plan was developed and dramatically increased SHEEO’s communications efforts.

The outcome of this project will be an organization focused on meeting the current and anticipated needs of its members and known for its ability to assist states in their roles as the primary engines of postsecondary education in the United States. SHEEO will be a more proactive, nimble, and strategic organization that directly and positively impacts its member organizations. To date, SHEEO has:

  • Conducted 15 site visits to SHEEO agencies in a diverse set of states.
  • Contracted with Research for Action to conduct an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the qualitative data collected via the site visits.
  • Conducted a national survey of our member agencies and the higher education policy field, including partner organizations, researchers, think tanks, funders, and policy and membership organizations.
  • Engaged the SHEEO Executive Committee to help inform and guide the effort and offer final approval of any major strategic decisions and directions.
  • Contracted with HCM Strategists to complete a SWOT analysis to ensure our internal capacities are aligned with our external opportunities and demands.
  • Contracted with Vox Global, a strategic communications firm, and developed and began implementation of a strategic communications plan and a new SHEEO website.
  • Engaged a project advisory board consisting of outside subject-area experts and SHEEOs to provide advice on the project.
  • Developed a written strategic plan to guide SHEEO’s work for the next five years.

SHEEO subsequently received an extension of the Capacity Grant to undertake a few additional projects:

  • Conduct another 10 member site visits
  • Expand our State Higher Education Finance project, including collecting additional data, extending those additional data elements into prior years, and providing additional data visualizations.
  • Engage in a planning process for a comprehensive cohort-based professional development opportunity for SHEEO agency staff members.

Project Contact: David Tandberg, vice president for policy research and strategic initiatives