Fitzsimmons tapped to head NAICU

Posted: February 10, 2014

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons has taken on a new leadership role.

On Tuesday, Fitzsimmons, 47, was elected as the chairwoman of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), which represents more than 1,000 private and nonprofit higher education institutions on policy issues with the federal government, including student aid, taxation and government regulation.

Before her appointment, Fitzsimmons was the vice chairwoman of NAICU. She was elected to a three-year term on the board in 2011 and will serve as chairwoman for one year.

“I think it’s a very important and challenging time in higher education,” Fitzsimmons said. “I’m honored my peers entrusted this role to me.”

Fitzsimmons said the “important time” refers to the federal government entering the public discussion of affordability, access and value of higher education.

As vice chairwoman, she lead the NAICU board in setting the association’s agenda on federal higher education policy, encouraging support of NAICU priorities and initiatives, and overseeing the association’s financial administration, according to a Thursday press release.

The NAICU staff meets with policymakers, tracks campus trends, conducts research, analyzes higher education issues, publishes information, helps coordinate state-level activities, and advises members of legislative and regulatory developments with potential impact on their institutions.

According to Fitzsimmons, the institutions represented by NAICU have great diversity, variation in cost and programs, and different missions.

“This is something we want to protect,” she said. “And we also want to protect the system of peer accreditation and the ability of students from all walks of life to afford the college of their choice.”

— Contact Rebecca Layne at