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Indiana's Commissioner for Higher Education

"We simply cannot argue with the data – greater levels of education lead to better outcomes for individuals, for employers, for communities and for our state. It is going to take a robust and intentional statewide effort to reverse the present trends facing education beyond high school, but I do not fear for the sake of our state. I am hopeful because the evidence tells me to be so."

About the Commissioner

Chris Lowery
Commissioner for Higher Education 


Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief of Staff

Josh Garrison is responsible for the administration of Indiana’s state financial aid programs, including the 21st Century Scholarship, the Frank O’Bannon Grant and the Workforce Ready Grant. Garrison oversees the Commission’s legislative agenda and the implementation of new programs created by the Indiana General Assembly. Prior to joining the Commission, he held positions with Iowa State University and the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Garrison holds a B.S. in Politics and Government from Illinois State University and a Juris Doctor from the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

Josh Garrison, J.D.
Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief of Staff


Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Program Officer

Dr. Michelle Ashcraft leads the K-12 Outreach, Career and Technical Education (CTE), Postsecondary Transitions and Success, and State Financial Aid teams to increase Indiana’s college-going rate, college completion rate, and in-state retention rate of college graduates. The teams align policies, programs and partnerships to assist Hoosier high school students in earning credentials before graduation, filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), taking advantage of direct admissions to Indiana's higher education institutions and maximizing usage of state financial aid to complete college on time and enter the workforce in Indiana. Key initiatives include dual credit and dual enrollment (including CTE and the Indiana College Core), career coaching and navigation, work-based learning, Indiana Pre-Admissions: Your Path to College and over $400M in state financial aid (including the 21st Century Scholars program and Frank O'Bannon Grant),

Prior to joining the Commission, Ashcraft served as the director of Purdue Promise at Purdue University and previously worked for the University of Kentucky in New Student & Parent Programs. Ashcraft earned her Ph.D. in higher education from Purdue University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina.

Michelle Ashcraft, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Program Officer


Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer

Seth Hinshaw oversees the Commission’s financial, business intelligence, enterprise solutions and human resource operations. He leads the Commission’s fiscal policy initiatives, including Outcomes-Based Performance Funding, in collaboration with the Budget and Productivity Committee.

Hinshaw has served in various roles and capacities in state finance, most recently serving as a fiscal analyst with the Indiana Senate. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies from Ball State University and is pursuing a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University.

Seth Hinshaw
Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer


Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Ken Sauer oversees new program approvals and program reviews, transfer of credit, dual credit, and campus mission statements/policies. He is also the executive director of the Indiana Board for Proprietary Education, liaison to the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Governor’s Health Workforce Council.

Sauer leads Indiana’s inter-agency participation in the National Governors Association Community of Practice on Learning and Employment Records, the Credential Engine Indiana initiative and the Indiana e-Transcript Program.

Since 2007, Sauer has been the Governor’s designee on the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) and is a past chair of the Compact. He is also a member of the Midwestern-State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA) Regional Steering Committee and the National Council-SARA Data Committee.

Previous employers include the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCES), where he helped lead the development of the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), which NCES still uses for annually collecting data from all U.S. colleges and universities.

He holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from St. John Fisher College and a Ph.D. in Government/International Relations from Claremont Graduate University.

Ken Sauer, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Academic Officer


Associate Commissioner for K-12 Strategy

Anthony Harl is responsible for the Commission’s strategies related to engaging and supporting K-12 students in early postsecondary opportunities and talent pipelines with employers. This includes the Indiana College Core (ICC), Career and Technical Education (CTE), career coaching and navigation, and work-based learning.

Prior to serving in this role, Harl served in various roles with the Office of CTE at the Indiana Department of Education and Governor’s Workforce Cabinet including Director of CTE Programming and most recently as the State Director of CTE. While serving in these positions, Harl led the CTE redesign efforts focused on creating intentional alignment between secondary and postsecondary CTE programs and providing students with greater opportunities to earn college credit and postsecondary credentials and to participate in work-based learning.

Harl holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana State University, a Business Education teaching license and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Indiana University. Harl brings over twenty years of educational experience as a Business Education teacher and school administrator with him to the Commission.

Anthony Harl
Associate Commissioner for K-12 Strategy


Associate Commissioner for Business Enterprise Solutions & Chief Technology Officer

Rajinder Heir focuses on mission-critical solutions and the Commission’s utilization of myriad IT services in alignment with strategic and operational initiatives. Her team delivers improvements to serve financial aid, data collection, budgetary, academic program inventory, and case management functions. She is an active and engaged member of the Governor’s Executive Council on Cybersecurity.

Heir’s varied IT experience includes high-tech start-ups, telecoms, insurance, nonprofit, consulting (cybersecurity) and in the public sector as COO of IT for the City of Indianapolis. Her board service includes Women & Hi Tech, Girls Inc., and the FBI Citizen’s Academy. She is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership program. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Technology (Purdue) with Honors.

Rajinder Heir
Associate Commissioner for Business Enterprise Solutions & Chief Technology Officer


Associate Commissioner for Business Intelligence

Brooke Kile oversees the Commission’s efforts to leverage data in the measurement and assessment of strategic initiatives related to Indiana’s college-going rate and enrollment, completion, and retention of college graduates in Indiana. She is responsible for the strategic use of related data and analyses across the Commission staff, university partners, inter-agency partners and industry leaders.

Prior to joining the Commission, Kile held various positions in the offices of Institutional Research and Financial Aid at postsecondary institutions located in the Midwest.

Kile holds a B.A. in English from Butler University and a M.S. in Management from the University of St. Francis in Illinois.

Brooke Kile, M.S.
Associate Commissioner for Business Intelligence


Associate Commissioner for Marketing and Communications

Allison Kuehr leads marketing and communications at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. In her role, she oversees internal and external strategic communications, public relations, media relations and marketing strategies.

Most recently, Kuehr served as communications director for the Commission and previously worked for Work and Learn Indiana which is a program of the Institute for Workforce Excellence. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Allison Kuehr
Associate Commissioner for Marketing and Communications


Associate Commissioner for Adult Strategy

Dr. Stacy Townsley is responsible for the Commission’s adult strategy for postsecondary attainment, leading the development and implementation of policies, partnerships and programs designed to remove barriers and enhance supports for adults seeking to further their education or training.

Prior to serving in this role, Stacy was vice president for adult strategy and statewide partnerships at Ivy Tech Community College. Previous roles in higher education include overseeing research and analysis at the Commission and various academic administrative and adjunct faculty roles at four-year institutions.

Townsley has contributed to the development of national policy and practice frameworks supporting adult learners related to the expansion of the awareness and utilization of credit for prior learning, stakeholder engagement, and data quality. She is a member of the Education Design Lab’s Designer in Residence program and is actively involved with the Indiana Talent Network.

She earned her Ph.D. in organizational systems from Saybrook University with a focus on sustainable cross-sector collaboration and holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international relations from the University of Tulsa.

Stacy Townsley, Ph.D.
Associate Commissioner for Adult Strategy


Emily Price
Communications Director



Rachel Zajac
Executive Assistant to the Commissioner


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