JFF established The Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success in 2015 to promote postsecondary policies that are informed by the perspectives and experiences of practitioners implementing evidence based reforms.
Through the Trust, JFF is deliberately culling institutional knowledge and evidence to develop policy positions for how colleges and communities can help more students attain credentials and succeed in the labor market.
The Trust currently comprises two dozen institutional and systems leaders drawn mostly from JFF's Postsecondary State Network.
JFF works with the Policy Leadership Trust to develop state and federal policy recommendations and advocates for adoption of these recommendations through:
- Strategic outreach to state and federal policy makers and influencers
- Dialog with the field of postsecondary practitioners and stakeholders
- Thought leadership in the media
Policy Design Principles
Trust members developed policy design principles on three high impact policy issues, College Promise, Better Connecting Postsecondary Education to Career and Dual Enrollment.
Trust members brought their experiences from leading state systems and institutions to help informed these practitioner informed recommendations for state policy.
State Policy Framework
The Trust has crafted a framework for how state policy can catalyze systems change, improve student success, and build a postsecondary-trained workforce. The framework emphasizes the role of state policymakers in creating the conditions, incentives, and structures needed to foster clear pathways to credentials and careers for students and to ensure their financial stability to achieve their goals. This suggests that, first and foremost, policymakers should focus on policy issues related to metrics, money, and systems integration, rather than on prescribing specific academic and student affair practices.
Eight Design Principles for Good Policy
These eight design principles exemplify what practitioners on the Trust believe makes for good policy. The principles underlie the policy approaches recommended by the Trust in the state policy framework. For good policy, keep in mind:
No Silver Bullets
No single policy intervention will—on its own—move the needle on student success. Good policy takes a multi-pronged approach.
State context matters when designing policy. What is working in one state may not work in another because of differences in political landscape, priorities, governance, capacity, collaboration, and current and past reforms.
Flow from Practice
Policy should flow from practice, not the inverse. In most instances, it is better to use policy as a tool to accelerate implementation and scaling of proven practices that are already taking hold locally—rather than attempt through policy to ignite reforms that have yet to emerge.
Sense of Ownership
Policy is most likely to be implemented with fidelity when practitioners have informed the policy process and have a sense of ownership. Practitioners should have a seat at table when policy is developed.
Good policy creates incentives and structure to catalyze change within institutions and among systems.
Good policy respects the autonomy of institutions over academic and student affairs.
Does Not Prescribe Rigid Implementation
Good policy does not prescribe rigid implementation.
Includes High Level Directives
High-level directives can be useful at times in steering the direction of reform, deepening commitment, overcoming resistance and creating leverage.
Meet the Trust
Scott Ralls, Co-Chair
President, Wake Tech Community College
Marcia Ballinger, Co-Chair
President, Lorain County Community College
Vice Provost, Miami Dade College
President, Rockland Community College
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Georgia
President, New Jersey Council of County Colleges
President and CEO, Tulsa Community College
President, Michigan Community College Association
President, Columbus State Community College
Executive Vice President, North Carolina Community College System
President, Ohio Association of Community College
Vice Provost for Academic Partnerships, Arizona State University
Director, Basic Education for Adults, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges
Transfer and Articulation, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
Executive Director, Arkansas Center for Student Success
President, Amarillo College
Vice Chancellor for Academic Services & Research, Virginia Community College System
"Good policy is strategic, evidence based, and integrated."
Executive Director, Oregon Community College Association
Executive Vice President and Provost Vice President of Academic Affairs, Tallahassee Community College
Yves Salomon Fernandez
President, Greenfield Community College
Deputy Executive Director of Education, WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
President and CEO, Achieving the Dream
President, Louisiana Community and Technical College System
President, Mohawk Valley Community College
President, St. Petersburg College
- Lisa Chapman, Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, North Carolina Community College System
- Tamara Clunis, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Amarillo College
- Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Senior Vice Chancellor, State University of New York
- Reynaldo Garcia, President Emeritus, Texas Association of Community Colleges
- Maria Harper-Marinick, Chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges
- Lawrence Nespoli, (retired) President, New Jersey Council of County Colleges
- Richard Rhodes, President, Austin Community Colleges
- Mary Rittling (retired) President, Davidson County Community College
- Debra Stuart, (retired) Vice Chancellor for Educational Partnerships, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
- Jan Yoshiwara, Executive Director, Washington State Board of Community & Technical Colleges