2021 January MHEC news

MHEC recognizes the difficult time postsecondary institutions are experiencing in the Midwest and across the nation. Feedback is welcome on how MHEC might be helpful from a regional perspective to institutions and states.


MHEC Policy & Research Builds Collaboration with Other Organizations to Expand Outreach and Gain Grant Funding

The following is a recap of MHEC's policy and research collaborations from 2020, and a glimpse of work for 2021 and 2022. MHEC’s Policy and Research team will continue to build collaborations with other higher education policy organizations to bring new ideas and initiatives to the Midwest.

Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit (MCMC):

In 2020, Associate Director for Policy Initiatives Sara Appel, worked with colleagues at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) with funding from the [American Institutes for Research (AIR) to conduct and write a policy report Military Transcript and Experience Review: A 13-state scan of policies. In addition to the report, they are offering a webinar to share their findings on January 26.

Concurrent Enrollment:

Since 2018, MHEC has worked with its member states to explore and address the shortage of concurrent enrollment instructors who hold credentials that will meet the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC’s) instructor qualifications expectations. In 2020, Jenny Parks, vice president, continued collaborations with the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) and added collaborations with the College in the High School Alliance (CHSA). In 2021, these collaborations will continue in the areas of policy analysis, state policy alignment work, and teacher pipeline research. MHEC also collaborated with the Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance (NEWERA)  in 2020, to adapt its searchable database of graduate courses teachers can take to help them meet instructor qualifications expectations. In spring 2021, the enhanced database, Graduate Credit Quest, will launch and provide teachers across the 12 MHEC states with a way to search for graduate courses while also providing universities across the region with a way to offer their courses to a larger pool of potential students.

Open Educational Resources (OER):

MHEC has also worked with its states on OER since 2018. In collaboration with the [WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET), MHEC received a grant from the Hewlett Foundation for a regional [OER summit in 2018 <https://www.mhec.org/convening/oer-policy-and-implementation-summit-mhec-sttes>] , and in 2019, in collaboration with the Open Education Network (OEN), MHEC received a second Hewlett grant to host a [Regional Senior Leaders' Open Education Seminar. In 2020, collaboration expanded to the other three regional compacts (the New England Board of Higher Education, the Southern Regional Education Board, and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and the [National Consortium for Open Educational Resources (NCOER) was formed to coordinate and facilitate OER implementation across the nation. In November 2020, each of the four compacts received a $250,000, 18-month grant from the Hewlett Foundation to support this work. At MHEC, these funds will support a halftime OER consultant who will continue to work with the state OER action teams and carry out other grant activities.

Credential Transparency and Credential Engine:

In 2020 MHEC began its partnership with Credential Engine, a registry of educational and industry credentials which allows students, employers, and others to search for and learn about certificates, degrees, badges and other credentials in a way that is consistent and detailed. In January 2021, MHEC and Credential Engine received a $1.2+M, 24-month grant from  Ascendium to help all MHEC states partner with Credential Engine and move along a path toward credential transparency. Seven of the twelve MHEC states have already partnered with Credential Engine and begun this work. With the support of this grant, MHEC will support the remaining five states (Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin) in such work.


Two Upcoming Webinars Hosted by the Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit

Midwestern State Policies Related to Military-Connected Students and Competency Based Education and Learning

Webinar Details: January 26, 1:00 p.m. CT (2:00 p.m. ET)
Presenters: Sara Appel, Associate Director for Policy Initiatives, MHEC
Gina Johnson, Senior Associate, NCHEMS

The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) and MHEC were awarded a competitive grant from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) as part of its National Research Collaborative on Postsecondary Competency based Education and Learning initiative. This grant allowed NCHEMS and MHEC to conduct a policy scan of the 13 states participating in MHEC’s Multi-state Collaborative on Military Credit. In addition to researching what state policies exist related to the review of military-connected students’ Joint Service Transcript and other related military documents for the awarding of college credit via Competency Based Education and Learning, the researchers explored how these policies are interpreted by the state agencies involved with military-connected students in postsecondary education. Our speakers will share their research questions and design along with results from this study.

MilGears & Learner Credit Analysis

Webinar Details: February 4, 1:00 p.m. CT (2:00 p.m. ET)
Presenters: Mitch Seal, Senior Academic Advisor for the Comprehensive Learner Record Taskforce, DoD
Boris Kun, Credentialing & SkillBridge Programs Manager, DoD

MHEC's Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit (MCMC) will host representatives from the Department of Defense (DoD) who will share information on MilGears (MG). MG is a new DoD-wide learner record resource that is open to the public. MG matches individual education and experiences to funded credentials, degree completion, and employment opportunities. Through direct review of authentic records, a Military Ready School can match programs and/or credentials to the most qualified and prepared military, veteran, and spouse students through MG. This provides access to the right students to the right school at the right time.


MHEC Welcomes Four New Commissioners and Several Reappointments


Jack Jordan (reappointment)
State Representative
Indiana General Assembly
Term: 7/1/2020 to 7/1/2022

David W. Wantz (reappointment)
President & CEO
Independent Colleges of Indiana
Term: 2/26/2020 to 2/29/2024


Connie Bernardy (reappointed)
State Representative; Chair, Higher Education Finance and Policy Division
Minnesota Legislature
Term: 1/2/2021 to 1/1/2023

David Tomassoni
State Senator; President Pro Tem & Chair, Higher Education Finance & Policy Committee
Minnesota Legislature
Term: 1/5/2021 to 12/31/2022


John Black
State Representative; Member, Higher Education Committee
Missouri General Assembly
Term: 3/18/2020 to 7/1/2021

Cindy O’Laughlin
Missouri General Assembly
State Senator; Chairwoman, Education Committee
Term: 1/7/2021 to 1/2/2023

North Dakota

Timothy Mihalick
Board Member
State Board of Higher Education
Term: 7/21/2020 to 6/30/2021


Rick Carfagna (reappointment)
State Representative; Chair, Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education
Ohio Legislature
1/2/2021 to 1/1/2023

South Dakota

Michael Cartney (reappointment)
Lake Area Technical Institute
 Term: 1/3/2021 to 12/31/2024


MHEC to Hold State Visits Virtually.  President Susan Heegaard, additional staff, and officers will conduct state visits with commissioners virtually. MHEC invites suggestions for additional meetings with state leaders. Please send details to Katie Chock, meeting and events manager.

MHEC OER Work Outlined in NCOER Introductory Webinar. Vice President Jenny Parks, along with colleagues from WCET and other regional compacts participated in a webinar [ New Year, New NCOER Initiative (National Consortium for Open Educational Resources) on January 14.

Technology and the New World of Education. MHEC's annual convening of the Technologies Community will be held virtually on February 17 and 18. MHEC brings together IT innovators and specialists from areas such as technology, academia, students, and administration for focused professional development sessions and to engage in robust discussions about how technology impacts higher education. The dialogue from this convening offers insight and guidance for MHEC's technology activities throughout the year. For more information contact Deb Kidwell, consultant.

All Insured Members Meeting & 23rd Annual Loss Control Workshop.  MHEC will hold its annual All Insured Members Meeting and Loss Control Workshop virtually over three separate days (March 2, 4, and 9), for members of the [Master Property Program (MPP). Following renewal discussions, MPP program members will gather for a number of informative workshop sessions. During last year's workshop, attendees were just beginning to feel the impact of the pandemic. This year's opening session will begin with COVID-19 in 2021 and how to navigate complex pandemic issues that have impacted student populations and institution budgets in unprecedented ways. For more information about the MPP or these upcoming events contact [Carla Ahrens, property program manager.


The Incoming Biden Administration & Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed | January 24, 2021 1:00 p.m. CT (2:00 p.m. ET)

How Equitable Is Access to AP and Dual Enrollment Across States and School Districts?
Community College Research Center | January 14, 2021

New Year, New NCOER Initiative (National Consortium for Open Educational Resources)
WCET | January 14, 2021

DoD SkillBridge: The best military transition program you didn’t know existed
Military Times | January 6, 2021

Biden's Choice for Education Secretary
Inside Higher Ed | January 4, 2021