SHEEO Releases New Strategic Plan, Redesigned Website to Support and Advocate for State Higher Education Policy Leadership

Annahita Jimmerson

BOULDER, Colorado, April 2, 2019 — The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) released a new strategic plan today that will guide the organization’s work through 2023 in support of its membership: the chief executives of statewide governing, policy and coordinating boards of postsecondary education and their staffs across the country. In tandem with the plan’s release, SHEEO also launched a redesigned website to better connect to and share information with its members and the higher education policy community.

“As the complexities of higher education have increased, so too has the importance of strong state policy leadership,” said Dr. Rob Anderson, president of SHEEO. “No other association is as attuned to these complexities and focused solely on the needs of state higher education agencies than SHEEO. As we execute our new strategic plan, we will help our members stay abreast of best practices, align stakeholders such as K-12 and workforce, ensure sufficient resources for higher education, and develop policies that advance student success.” 

The new strategic plan identifies three strategic priorities that will be central to the organization’s fulfillment of its member-driven mission in the coming years. They are:

  1. Serve and support SHEEO membership by developing, connecting, informing, and guiding SHEEO agencies. The goal of this priority is to support SHEEOs and their staffs in the procurement of relevant knowledge by serving as a primary and reliable source of in-depth and comprehensive information on state higher education policy and practice.
  2. Contribute to thought leadership in the field on salient higher education issues. The goal of this priority is to offer thoughtful analysis and insights into issues, such as equity and finance, which build the knowledge base of leaders of higher education policy.
  3. With its membership, advocate the value of higher education and the critical role of state-level higher education leaders. The goal of this priority is to position SHEEO and its members as critical voices to be engaged at the state and federal levels on issues pertaining to and intersecting with higher education.

In addition to the strategic plan released today, SHEEO also unveiled its redesigned website,, which will serve as a hub for members to access resources, research, data visualizations and more. The website will also house SHEEO’s original and industry-leading reports, including the State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) report and the Strong Foundations analysis of state postsecondary data systems.

“Working in the states requires expert navigation and an aptitude for collaboration across the higher education, policy, and workforce environments. Thankfully, state policy leaders have a partner in SHEEO that provides the professional development, technical assistance and other resources needed to be effective,” said Teresa Lubbers, commissioner of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. “As one of the advisory board members who provided input to SHEEO’s new strategic plan, I’m excited by the organization’s commitment to serve members and remain at the forefront of assisting states in their work to ensure a more educated nation.”

To support the development of the strategic plan and website, SHEEO received a capacity building grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to engage in the strategic evaluation and planning process to assess its direction, ensure effective and efficient service to its members, and develop a strategy for future action. Between November 2017 and January 2018, SHEEO solicited feedback from hundreds of current and former state higher education executive officers, policy organizations, and other stakeholders. SHEEO plans to frequently survey its membership on the organization’s progress and alignment with its strategic plan.

“For over 60 years, SHEEO has brought together state-level leaders of higher education, state agency staff, and others to build a network of support and be a resource on issues in higher education,” said Jim Hearn, professor and interim director at the Institute of Higher Education and member of the Gates Capacity Grant Advisory Board. “The strategic plan announced today is an evolution of that legacy. By being better positioned to respond to the needs of today’s state policy leaders and advocate for the critical role of higher education in our society, SHEEO’s success as an organization will benefit the entire profession.”

For more information on SHEEO’s 2019-2023 strategic plan, visit


About the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)

The State Higher Education Executive Officers is the national association of the chief executives of statewide governing, policy, and coordinating boards of postsecondary education. Founded in 1954, SHEEO serves its members as an advocate for state policy leadership, a liaison between states and the federal government, a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers, a manager of multistate teams to initiate new programs, and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues. SHEEO seeks to advance public policies and educational practices to achieve more widespread access to and completion of higher education, more discoveries through research, and more applications of knowledge that improve the quality of human lives and enhance the public good.