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NAICU Selects Shenandoah President To Chair Board

"It’s basically the entity that represents all private, that is not-for-profit colleges, in the country," said Fitzsimmons.

WASHINGTON, DC-  Tracy Fitzsimmons, who is currently President of Shenandoah University, now has another simultaneous job to do. For the 2014 year she will serve as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).

"It’s basically the entity that represents all private, that is not-for-profit colleges, in the country," said Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons has served as the Vice Chair since 2011, and will serve as Chair of the Board for one year. After that she will serve as Past Chair, and will be a mentor for other leaders at NAICU.

"It’s an unusual situation for associations like ours because it means that particular person will have served for five years, and has a really deep rich background," said President of NAICU, David Warren.

Along with unifying board members who represent a range of educational institutions, Fitzsimmons will also help in NAICU’s agenda on higher educational policies for the year.

And because she'll be advocating for the policies on Capitol Hill, her proximity to Washington D.C. isn't a bad thing.

“We are quite concerned about a proposal before us today that is called a value metric, and [it proposes that] every college will be graded," said Warren.

"The heart of the question is, what should the federal government's relationship be with colleges," said Vice President of Governmental Relations of NAICU, Sarah Flanagan.

"To help with the transparency of information, that's terrific. Parents and students should know a lot about the colleges and institutions they're considering. But it's not the federal government's job to rate them as if colleges and universities were an automobile, or a blender," said Fitzsimmons.

And because Fitzsimmons and Shenandoah University are just outside of Washington, she’s one of the first to see the hands-on affect of higher education reform.

"Virginia is a wonderful place for us to test case some of the policy ideas coming from Washington,” said Flanagan.

"She’s arriving at a time when you do really need someone who's got policy skills, great political instincts," said Warren.

Fitzsimmons will officially begin her position on February 5th, at the close of NAICU’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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