Legislators, state education policymakers and college and university leaders representing all six New England states gathered at Lasell University for the semiannual meeting of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) on March 13, 2023, to discuss how the region’s higher education stakeholders can address pressing issues ranging from access to education to workforce shortages and skills gaps that threaten economic growth. Possible solutions discussed ranged from new legislation, policy changes, model partnerships such as the Connecticut Tech Talent Accelerator and the need for relevant data on every aspect of higher education.
As part of the meeting, NEBHE’s Board of Delegates also discussed and adopted the organization’s 2023-2027 Strategic Priorities, which will guide its convening, program and policy work:
- Affordability: Advance innovative, strategic alliances to increase affordability and financial stability.
- Equity: Expand equity-focused practices throughout postsecondary education.
- Alignment: Expand connections between postsecondary education and high-demand talent needs.
During the business portion of its meeting, NEBHE recognized its board chair, Massachusetts Representative Patricia Haddad, for the completion of her four-year term in leadership (board chair, 2021-23 and vice chair, 2019-21) and announced the new leaders: Connecticut Representative Gregg Haddad as board chair and Maine Senator Mattie Daughtry, as vice chair of the Board.
Representative Patricia Haddad led the effort in five consecutive Massachusetts legislative sessions that ultimately resulted in a new law in July 2022 providing access for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism to state colleges and universities.
“We were fortunate to have Representative Haddad’s steadfast leadership through a challenging time for higher education, as for every part of society,” said Michael K. Thomas, President and CEO, New England Board of Higher Education. “And she inspired all of us with her vision of inclusivity in higher education that became law last year, creating new opportunities for thousands of students.”
In addition to leadership changes, the New England Board of Higher Education thanked the following board members who recently completed their terms:
- Michael Bradford, formerly Vice Provost for Faculty, Staff and Student Development, University of Connecticut
- Kathleen James, Vermont House of Representatives
- Michael Moffett, New Hampshire House of Representatives
- Andrew Perchlik, Vermont Senate
And NEBHE welcomed the following Board of Delegates members, newly appointed to represent their respective states:
- Thomas Chittenden, Vermont Senate
- Peter Conlon, Vermont House of Representatives
- Oliver Ford, New Hampshire House of Representatives
The New England Board of Higher Education advances equitable postsecondary outcomes through convening, research, and programs for students, institution leaders and policymakers. Our vision is that everyone in New England will have lifelong access to affordable, high-value post-secondary education.