Washington D.C. - Today, the New America Foundation announced the launch of the Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI), a new initiative designed to provide high-quality professional development to Congressional staff working on higher education issues.
An independent initiative at New America, PNPI will draw on the experience of researchers, policy experts, and administrators at the federal, state, and institutional level to deliver a series of seminars each year focused on issues identified by Congressional staff as the most pressing issues of the day. Seminars will be designed to "go deep" on postsecondary issues, providing staff with an opportunity to become more familiar with complex concepts, innovations in the field, and policy options designed to modify, change, or replace existing policies in an attempt to better meet student needs. PNPI is made possible in part by support from Lumina Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"While successful models of continuing education for legislative staff currently exist in the education space, none focus exclusively on higher education," said PNPI's Executive Director MaryEllen McGuire. "PNPI will bridge this gap by providing postsecondary policymakers with a well-developed, unbiased forum through which they can analyze the latest research, gain an understanding of what currently works, engage in constructive dialogue with experts and each other, and develop new ideas for consideration."
"Events will provide a neutral, nonpartisan space outside the political arena for Congressional staff to build relationships and explore issues free from political and ideological considerations," said Celia Sims, PNPI's director. "Our goal is to provide staff with a solid foundation on which to develop federal policies and programs while building productive relationships."
Each PNPI seminar will focus on a topic related to college access and success. Two day-long seminars will be held in the spring and fall and a longer retreat will be held each summer. Each event will be held on a college campus that has a direct link to the theme or topic being explored.
"Lumina Foundation is thrilled to support the proactive efforts of PNPI to inform Congressional staff about key higher education issues," said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. "Policymakers are in need of comprehensive, non-partisan, and timely information about the critical factors related to increasing college attainment in the United States. PNPI's work will serve as an effective resource to help policymakers make better, and better informed, decisions critical to the nation's future economic and social prosperity."
"Never at any time in history has degree attainment been so critical to the country -- or to an individual's success," said Stefanie Sanford, director of U.S. Programs, Policy and Advocacy, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "There is a tremendous need for a credible, nonpartisan source of information on higher education issues, and the Gates Foundation is pleased to support the PNPI. Our policymakers, and ultimately America's students, will benefit greatly for having this resource available."
For more information on the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, please visit pnpi.newamerica.net.