Position Profile

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The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education seeks a creative, collaborative, and tested leader to serve as the next Commissioner of Higher Education.  The Commissioner is an advocate for the Commonwealth's public colleges and universities and works to strengthen the impact, accessibility, and quality of higher education in Massachusetts.   

The Commissioner is appointed by the Board with the approval of the Massachusetts Secretary of Education, and works with the Board, the Executive Office of Education, the leaders of the Commonwealth's 29 public colleges and universities, the President of the University of Massachusetts system, state legislators, and leaders in the local, regional, and business communities.  He or she collaborates with the Commissioner of Early Education and Care and the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and continue cross-sector initiatives.  The Commissioner also fosters and sustains academic and operational collaborative efforts with the state's 88 private, not-for-profit institutions of higher learning. 

The Commissioner is the executive and administrative head of the Department of Higher Education, which encompasses a staff of 70 in two locations and, in 2014, had an annual budget of $147.4 million, including $92 million for financial aid.  Together, the Commissioner, the Board, and Department staff work to carry out the statutory authority of the Board and identify strategies and policies that serve higher education institutions and their students.

The next Commissioner will have the opportunity to build on successes of recent years, supporting the development of innovative strategies and programs, and ensuring value and accountability.  He or she will be able to leverage the collective resources of Massachusetts' outstanding higher education institutions to deliver the best educational opportunities for students in the Commonwealth.

The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker and a proven leader and manager.  He or she will have a strong grasp of the salient issues, success drivers, and challenges of public higher education and higher education systems; an understanding of state government structures and the political process; and the ability to place Massachusetts trends within the national context.  The individual will also possess an unwavering commitment to the transformational power of higher education and demonstrated effectiveness in devising imaginative approaches that serve students.  A terminal degree or the equivalent is required, as is a record of success in roles of similar scope, scale, and responsibility.

The Board of Higher Education has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this important search.  Confidential inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications with cover letters should be directed electronically to:  Anita Tien, Vice President, or Katie Rockman, Senior Associate, at www.imsearch.com/5346.  Review of applications will continue until the position is filled.  To learn more about the Board of Higher Education, visit www.mass.edu.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  Equal opportunity shall be provided for all applicants on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status.

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