SHEEO Welcomes Dr. Tom Harnisch as Vice President for Government Relations

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) welcomes Dr. Tom Harnisch as our new vice president for government relations.

As vice president for government relations, Dr. Harnisch will be located in Washington, D.C., and his primary leadership responsibility will be for planning, implementing, and coordinating SHEEO’s portfolio of federal relations, policy, communication, and advocacy work. This position will monitor new and potential federal action (legislation, rules, and other policies and actions) that have relevance to our membership. The vice president for government relations will also be responsible for bringing these issues to the attention of SHEEO staff and SHEEO’s membership and for articulating their potential impact on our members and the institutions and students they serve.

Tom Harnisch

From 2007 to 2019, Dr. Harnisch worked in a series of roles at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), including as director of state relations and policy analysis. In his role at AASCU, his roles included policy research, analysis, and communication to the AASCU membership and other external stakeholder groups. He helped craft the AASCU Public Policy Agenda and planned the Higher Education Government Relations Conference. His research interests and commentary on higher education finance, access, affordability, and other topics have been cited in over 200 articles, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine, Politico, Inside Higher Ed, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University and The George Washington University. 

“We are excited to have Tom join us at SHEEO,” said Rob Anderson, SHEEO president. “His vast experience will serve our states by amplifying their voice and ensuring greater coordination between federal and state policies, which will allow us to meet the needs of our students in the most effective manner possible.” 


The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) 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, and a vehicle for learning from and collaborating with peers. SHEEO also serves as a manager of multistate teams and as a source of information and analysis on educational and public policy issues. Together with its members, SHEEO advances public policies and academic practices that enable Americans to attain education beyond high school and achieve success in the 21st century economy.