News & Events / IHEP Welcomes to Its Board of Directors  Five Advocates of Opportunity and Equity in Higher Education

IHEP Welcomes to Its Board of Directors  Five Advocates of Opportunity and Equity in Higher Education

Published Dec 08, 2022

Talented leaders in higher education research and policy, nonprofit finance, and educational equity join the nonpartisan research, policy, and advocacy nonprofit as it enters its fourth decade of promoting valuable opportunities through higher education. 

WASHINGTON, DC (December 8, 2022) – The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) has announced five exemplary leaders are joining its Board of Directors: Denisa Gándara, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at The University of Texas at Austin; Mike Krause, senior advisor at John M. Belk Endowment; James Larimore, co-founder and chairperson of the EdSAFE AI Alliance; Robert Olcott, founder of the olcott group; Amanda Tachine, assistant professor of higher education at Arizona State University.  

“We warmly welcome to our board these experienced and dedicated leaders who share our passion for building an equitable and just shared future by ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed in postsecondary education, regardless of race, background, or circumstance” said IHEP President and CEO, Mamie Voight. “The five new members bring an impressive and important array of expertise and perspectives that will strengthen our team and serve IHEP’s mission as we enter our fourth decade next year.”  

The five new Board members will support IHEP’s growth as an innovative leader in postsecondary education: 

  • Denisa Gándara, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Gándara’s research examines the development of higher education policy decisions and the effects of these decisions on students who have been excluded from and underserved in higher education. An additional line of her research explores how various approaches to funding colleges and universities might promote or hinder social equity. Her work is driven by a desire to expand postsecondary educational opportunities and outcomes for students from marginalized communities.
  • Mike Krause is a Senior Advisor at the John M. Belk Endowment, where he focuses on serving adult learners, particularly in the community college sector. Previously, he was the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, serving as the state’s higher education executive officer (SHEEO) and leading THEC to be named as the top higher education agency in the nation. As THEC Director, he focused on expanding access for adult learners, financial aid simplification, and implementation of the state’s first governance change since the 1960s. Prior to his time at THEC, he served on the staff of Governor Bill Haslam as the founding Director of the Tennessee Promise, where he led the creation of the nation’s first statewide free college program and provided advice and counsel on an array of higher education policy matters.
  • James Larimore is the co-founder and chairperson of the EdSAFE AI Alliance, a global consortium that brings together educators, researchers, education organizations, ed tech innovators, standards bodies, policy and advocacy experts, and non-profit leaders to create the frameworks and standards we need to ensure the safe, equitable and trusted use of artificial intelligence in education. Mr. Larimore has served as a student affairs leader at campuses across the country and served as deputy director for student success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation before launching the Center for Equity in Learning at ACT, a non-profit research and assessment organization. He has also served as the Chief Officer for Equity in Learning at Riiid Labs, a startup company founded to use artificial intelligence to improve learning and close gaps in equity and opportunity.  
  • Rob Olcott, CAE, FASAE, CIMA, AIF is the founder and CEO of the olcott group, a company he formed to help nonprofit organizations fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities through the governance and management of funds entrusted to them. Mr. Olcott previously served as Regional Director at DiMeo Schneider & Associates, one of the country’s largest independent investment advisors. He brings more than 35 years’ experience working for and with associations and other nonprofit organizations. He is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), an ASAE Fellow and a Certified Investment Management Analyst CIMA) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) and has served on the boards of several national nonprofit organizations including The Presbyterian Foundation USA and the TKE Educational Foundation.
  • Amanda R. Tachine is Navajo from Ganado, Arizona, and Náneesht’ézhí Táchii’nii (Zuni Red Running into Water clan) born for Tł’izilani (Many Goats clan). She is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership & Innovation at Arizona State University and serves as a board member for the Hopi Education Endowment Fund. Dr. Tachine has been an active College Board member since 2009 and has served as both chair and a member of the College Board’s Native American Student Advocacy Institute (NASAI) National Advisory Committee. Her research explores the relationship between systemic and structural histories of settler colonialism and the ongoing erasure of Indigenous presence and belonging in college settings using qualitative Indigenous methodologies.  

These five members join Laura Cronin, senior associate, Booz Allen Hamilton; MaryEllen McGuire, Ph.D., founder and president of PNPI; Ajita Talwalker Menon, president and CEO, Calbright College; and Michelle R. Weise, Ph.D., owner of Rise and Design, LLC in serving on the Board, chaired by Jacob Fraire, director of policy and strategy at the Diana Natalicio Institute at the University of Texas at El Paso, with vice chair Peter O. Nwosu, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and student success, Lehman College of the City University of New York. 

IHEP sincerely appreciates the contributions of Stella Flores, Ph.D., Kristin Hultquist, and Cheryl A. Oldham, who have now completed their terms on the Board of Directors.   

“We are deeply grateful to Stella, Kristin, and Cheryl for their service to this organization,” said IHEP Board Chair Jacob Fraire. “Their work has bolstered IHEP as a leader in the field and set the organization on strong footing as it enters its next chapter. The entire Board is grateful to them for their contributions to IHEP and continued commitment to our mission.” 

The IHEP Board of Directors manages fiduciary responsibilities and establishes policies that further the organization’s growing research, policy, and advocacy portfolio.