Paul Lingenfelter, president emeritus of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), has been awarded the Association for the Study of Higher Education Council on Public Policy in Higher Education Excellence in Public Policy Higher Education Award. The award is intended to recognize excellence in work at the nexus of academic scholarship and policy practice in the field of public policy and higher education. The award committee made decisions based on such factors as a demonstrated commitment to promoting equity, prominence and impact in the field of higher education and in public policy, public scholarship, and excellence in scholarship.
Lingenfelter has been an active and steady voice in the field of public policy for higher education for decades and a leading voice on state higher education finance and state leadership and governance for higher education. For 13 years, Lingenfelter served as the president of SHEEO, the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. SHEEO endeavors to serve as an unbiased advocate for state policy leadership, as a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers, and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues.
Under Lingenfelter’s tireless leadership, SHEEO focused on increasing successful participation in higher education; accountability for improving learning; finance; and building more effective relationships between K-12 and postsecondary educators. Under his leadership, SHEEO organized the National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education, created the annual study State Higher Education Finance (SHEF), published More Student Success: A Systemic Solution (among many other publications), and substantially expanded SHEEO’s collaborations with the Council of Chief State School Officers, while providing direct technical assistance, professional development, and consultation to state higher education executive officers from across the country. Lingenfelter has been a constant figure on national commissions, working groups, and committees. He has frequently been called upon to testify before Congress, state legislatures, and executive branch offices.
Rob Anderson, current president of SHEEO, shared this regarding Lingenfelter, “Paul’s thinking, writing, and work regarding the position of the state higher education executive officer and state governance and leadership for higher education generally have been extremely impactful. He has been a constant advocate of the role of the state higher education executive officer and for the professionalization of the position. Paul’s career-long dedication to advocating for and improving state higher education finance, policy, leadership, and governance make him an ideal candidate for the CPPHE Excellence in Public Policy Higher Education Award.”
Through Lingenfelter’s writing and work, he has made significant contributions to the way the field thinks about and understands state higher education finance and policy leadership and governance. Lingenfelter’s development of and work on the SHEF report fundamentally changed the way the field measures and thinks about state funding for higher education. The annual data collection has served as a primary data source for those interested in understanding, explaining, and predicting state funding for higher education. Further, Lingenfelter authored “Proof,” Policy, & Practice, a book of significant scholarship, that takes a critical and informed perspective on policymaking, research, and the use of evidence. His recent chapter, in The State Higher Education Executive Officer and the Public Good, on the history of the state higher education executive officer is the only comprehensive history of state higher education policy, leadership, and governance and will likely serve as the source of record on the topic for some time forward.