Lubbers stepping down as state higher education commissioner

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers announced on Tuesday her plan to leave her current role at the conclusion of the 2022 legislative session. Lubbers will also be stepping down as chair of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet. Currently the nation’s longest serving State Higher Education Executive Officer (SHEEO), Lubbers has served nearly three decades in the higher education field.

“Throughout my career, I have been blessed with opportunities for service that have enriched my life both personally and professionally. None of these roles has been more meaningful to me than my tenure at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. It has been my privilege to serve alongside a talented staff and visionary Commission members who are committed to students and the state. I look forward to new ways to contribute to this next chapter of my life while ensuring a smooth transition to new leadership for the Commission,” said Lubbers.

Lubbers was chosen by the 14-member Commission in 2009 after she represented District 30 in the Indiana Senate for 17 years, where she led on education and economic development issues and was chair of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee. Members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb appointed Lubbers as chair of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet in 2019.

“Indiana has been fortunate to have Commissioner Lubbers devote her time in public service to the benefit of Hoosiers with her work in higher education and workforce issues for our state for many years,” said Gov. Holcomb. “We are grateful for her passion for students and employers and for helping Indiana make strides toward ensuring all Hoosiers have the education and training they need to prosper.”

Lubbers has served under six governors including Mitch Daniels, now serving as Purdue University’s president.

“Teresa Lubbers’ contributions during 12 years at the Commission for Higher Education will be seen as historic, but they are only part of the story. She has served Indiana for a half century with great skill at all three levels of government, somehow still making time for innumerable volunteer and civic involvements. To cite just one example of her legacy, thousands of young graduates of Indiana’s charter schools owe their improved life prospects to Teresa Lubbers,” Daniels said. “For those who know her personally, Teresa has been more than a respected colleague. She has led a life of integrity and moral example fully as admirable as her record of leadership. Indiana must hope that its next generation includes people who will take note of that example and do their best to emulate it.”

Among the accomplishments during her time as Commissioner, Lubbers was charged with implementing Indiana’s higher education strategic plans and moving the state toward its goal of at least 60 percent of Hoosiers with education and training beyond high school—gaining 15 percentage points toward that goal over the past several years. Under Lubbers’ tenure, Indiana aligned distribution of financial aid with student success, with efforts resulting in the state being first in the Midwest and fourth in the nation in distributing need-based aid. Lubbers advocated for institutional funding based on Indiana’s goals through outcomes-based funding and partnered with higher education providers, employers, policymakers and community leaders to strengthen the value proposition of higher education.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.