June 18, 2004
LaVISTA TO HEAD VIRGINIA HIGHER ED SYSTEM
SPRINGFIELD - Daniel J. LaVista, Executive Director of the
Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) since May 2002, has announced
his acceptance of a similar position with the State Council of Higher
Education for Virginia.
His new position, LaVista said, will offer "a number of professional
and personal satisfiers, and I look forward to realizing them as
I work with others to help advance Virginia's higher education agenda."
LaVista said he has enjoyed his tenure at IBHE "during a time
of significant and diverse types of change" and said he remained
"proud of the work we have done together as members of the
Illinois higher education community." He joined the IBHE from
the presidency of McHenry County College in the midst of a state
fiscal crisis virtually unparalleled in history.
James L. Kaplan, Chairman of the Board of Higher Education, echoed
LaVista's sentiments. "Dr. LaVista has served during one of
the most tumultuous times that higher education has faced in Illinois.
I congratulate him on this new opportunity and wish him well in
his future endeavors."
John Peters, President of Northern Illinois University and convener
of public university presidents and chancellors, said that Virginia's
gain is Illinois' loss.
"Dan LaVista has been an able and adept leader for Illinois
higher education," Peters said. "During these exceedingly
difficult economic times, Illinois has been fortunate to have such
a calm, thoughtful, and resourceful guide for its system of colleges
and universities. He has the respect of all public university presidents
and chancellors. Dan has served with grace and good humor, with
honor and distinction, and Illinois will miss him."
During LaVista's two-year tenure in Illinois, the Board has focused
on issues of affordability, diversity, and accountability. A joint
IBHE-Illinois Student Assistance Commission study highlighted a
growing gap in college affordability for families in the lower economic
strata and recommended a comprehensive list of measures that the
state, campuses, and parents could take to help ensure that finances
are not an insurmountable hurdle to a college education. A study
of faculty diversity revealed a need to improve processes for recruiting
and retaining minority faculty at colleges and universities and
has led to legislation now before the General Assembly to revamp
and strengthen two minority graduate incentive programs aimed at
placing minority graduates in Illinois higher education faculty
positions. The Board has led a study of administrative expenses
at public universities which led to a reallocation of nearly 20
percent of such resources to teaching, learning, and other core
mission activities over the past two years. It also recently established
a new study committee to review university missions, academic programs,
and faculty productivity.
LaVista will take the helm of a system with 15 public, four-year
institutions, 24 community colleges, and more than 100 private and