Rep. Barbara Ballard Elected Chair of Midwestern Higher Education Compact
SAINT PAUL, MN — Rep. Barbara Ballard, of Lawrence, Kansas, was elected chair of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact’s (MHEC) on November 14, during the commission’s Annual Commission Meeting, held in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Ballard has served as a MHEC commissioner or commissioner alternate representing Kansas since 2005. She was elected vice chair last November and became acting chair on August 1. Over the years, she’s also contributed to numerous MHEC committees. She serves on the Executive Committee and recently concluded a term as chair of MHEC’s Governance Committee.
“We are grateful for Representative Ballard’s leadership,” said Susan Heegaard, MHEC president. “Her steadfast commitment to our organization and postsecondary education embodies the ideals that elevate our region. I look forward to working with her during her year as chair and am grateful for her stepping in to serve as acting chair these last few months.”
One of four regional higher education compacts in the United States, MHEC brings together midwestern states to develop and support best practices, collaborative efforts, and cost-sharing opportunities. Through these efforts, it works to ensure strong, equitable postsecondary educational opportunities and outcomes for all. Ballard was recognized with MHEC’s highest honor the Phillip Sirotkin Award last fall. Sirotkin was the visionary in the early 1990s for the creation of a regional higher education compact in the Midwest.
“I am inspired by the continued good work of the Compact,” stated Ballard. “I am grateful to my fellow commissioners for their confidence in me. MHEC brings together a great cross-section of leaders in our states to learn from each other and collectively address issues facing our 12 Midwest states.”
Ballard, who is the longest-serving member of the Kansas House, also is the senior associate director at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas (KU) where she coordinates the Youth Civic Leadership Institute (YCLI), Civic Engagement and KU Leadership, Constitution Day, the Government, History, and Social Studies Teachers Conference, Tribute to Veterans Gala, and Conversation on Race series programs and activities. Ballard, who has been with KU since August 1980, has a Ph.D. in counseling and student personnel services, and teaches for the Department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. She currently serves on the Executive Committee as an at-large member of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and served as co-chair of NCSL Standing Committees. Ballard is a past president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
MHEC’s states are synonymous with the Midwest census region states, and Kansas was the first state to join the Compact back in 1990. In addition to Ballard, Kansas commissioners are Sen. Molly Baumgardner; Dr. Blake Flanders, CEO and president of the Kansas Board of Regents; Aaron Otto, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s designee and Wint Winter, member, Kansas Board of Regents. Commissioner alternates are Sen. Marci Francisco and Rep. Ken Rahjes.
VISION: MHEC members collaborate to address the region’s most pressing challenges in higher education and transform educational opportunities so that people and communities thrive.
MISSION: MHEC brings together midwestern states to develop and support best practices, collaborative efforts, and cost-sharing opportunities. Through these efforts it works to ensure strong, equitable postsecondary educational opportunities and outcomes.
HOW MHEC WORKS: MHEC’s strategic approach highlights member states’ strong desire for collaboration, effectiveness, and efficiency. MHEC believes that collaborative actions informed by research and best practices are the catalyst for improving quality, accessibility, relevance, and affordability of postsecondary educational opportunities. MHEC does this primarily through the following approaches: convenings, programs, research, and cost-savings contracts. Increasingly, MHEC looks to leverage these approaches in conjunction with each other to serve its strategic priorities.
MEMBER STATES: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. www.mhec.org
MHEC Senior Director of Communications and Marketing
(612) 677-2765 direct