Last month, the National Governor’s Association, or NGA, announced Nevada was one of six states selected to participate in a policy academy on strengthening accountability systems in postsecondary education
The NGA holds policy academies on a variety of topics that states face. They are interactive strategy-development sessions in which leaders in a certain field address public policy issues and recommend best practices for all states.
According to the NGA, the policy academy on accountability in higher education came about because of the need for more skilled workers in the U.S.; states’ long- and short-term limits on education spending; and the continued hurdles low-income, working adult and minority students face in completing college. In such an environment, “a stronger focus on performance and outcomes is necessary,” an NGA statement said.
Besides Nevada, other participating states are Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri and Utah. They are charged with finding ways to graduate more career-ready students with the money they have, and to improve their accountability systems to that end.
Dane Linn, director of the NGA Center for Best Practice’s Education Division, said, “Governors and other policymakers must be equipped to use performance measures, whether in developing budgets, approving or evaluating programs or deciding how or whether to regulate administrative and academic services. This Policy Academy will help states focus on those measures.”
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval appointed the following team to participate in the policy academy on higher education performance measures: Heidi Gansert, Sandoval’s chief of staff; Julia Teska, Department of Administration budget analyst; Denice Miller, vice president of government relations for MGM Resorts International; Nevada Assemblyman Marcus Conklin; Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education; and Neal Smatresk, president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“Nevada is diligently working to improve accountability systems and measures throughout the K-12 system, and this policy academy will enable us to expand that work through the higher education realm,” Sandoval said. “The work our team will be able to accomplish will complement the Legislature’s interim funding study and inform decisions in the next biennium.”
The NGA policy academy includes two workshops, technical assistance from NGA Center staff and grants of up to $30,000 per state for additional expertise. Lumina Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding for the academy.