AIHEC Appoints John Phillips Interim President

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which provides leadership and influences public policy on American Indian higher education issues for the nation’s tribal colleges and universities (TCU), has appointed John Phillips as AIHEC’s Interim President after former President Carrie Billy stepped down.

“I am honored to be entrusted with continuing AIHEC’s mission of helping to strengthen tribal nations through excellence in tribal higher education,” said Phillips. “I especially want to acknowledge and thank former President Billy for her dedication and leadership that helped AIHEC to become the thriving organization that it is today, and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”

Billy’s 24-year tenure included being named President & CEO in 2008. Under her leadership with the AIHEC team, they secured more than $85 million in additional operating support to “forward fund” TCUs and $360 million in mandatory funding for TCU institutional development – and while state higher education budgets declined by 26 percent, federal operating funding for TCUs increased by more than 20 percent – a spread of 46 percent. Billy also led the development of AIHEC AIMS, a comprehensive data collection system for TCUs, and the Indigenous Evaluation Framework, which incorporates Indigenous epistemology and core tribal values into a framework that integrates place, community, individual gifts and sovereignty with Western evaluation practice. In addition, Billy launched new Native student engagement, student success, pre-K/12 partnership, job creation, and tribally directed research initiatives. 

Phillips has been with AIHEC since 2000 and most recently served as AIHEC’s Land Grant Director, as well as the Executive Director of the First American Land Grant Consortium. Phillips has extensive experience in facilitating non-profit organizations and diverse stakeholder groups in consensus building processes, strategic planning, leadership development, and community development. For the past 19 years, he has served on the facilitation team of the Leadership for the 21st Century program, a development program for the land-grant system of universities. He has also facilitated grassroots community listening sessions, conducted focus groups, and provided training on a wide range of topics.