Commissioner’s FY21 in Review: “The Stakes Have Never Been Higher”

Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago
August 13, 2021

It was the case in the past that summer months brought a small degree of respite from the hectic pace of the academic year for BHE members and DHE staff. This is no longer possible as circumstances bring new challenges that require continual assessment and reassessment of the work necessary to support students in our colleges and universities. The realities we face today—a pandemic and virus that continually mutates to ensure its survival through its human toll, clear evidence of climate change and environmental degradation, and the need for racial reconciliation and reparation—imply that what we do as an agency cannot be left to chance and happenstance. We must be deliberate and intentional in all our work as the stakes have never been higher. With this as backdrop, my presentation at the June 22 BHE meeting highlighted the sheer volume of high-quality work this agency and its staff have been engaged in over the past year. Some of the major areas of work include:

  1. COVID-19 Response
    • DHE staff coordinated segmental and system-wide stakeholder calls, and became a public point of contact for inquires about pandemic response at our institutions as we look towards a full in-person return to campuses and offices
  2. Advances in the Equity Agenda
  3. Financial Assessment and Risk Management
  4. Campus Safety and Violence Prevention

From ongoing to new projects and initiatives, we are receiving national recognition and substantive state investments in our work. All of this is a credit to the creativity and work ethic of a relatively small (66 DHE employees) and dedicated group of people. I applaud and thank you for your efforts.

The coming months won’t be easy. But I’m proud of the way we’ve positioned ourselves to meet the challenges ahead.