A top-level Ivy Tech Community College executive and former campus chancellor has been tapped to serve as Indiana’s new commissioner for higher education.
Chris Lowery, senior vice president of workforce, careers and adult strategy at Ivy Tech, was unanimously selected by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education board March 10. He takes over for Teresa Lubbers, who served the post since 2009 but announced in December her intent to step down in March.
“Alignment between education and workforce is critical to making Indiana a leader in attracting and developing talent,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb. “Chris is uniquely experienced and positioned to continue advancing this vital work. He understands the role higher education must play in the skills and ability necessary for Indiana to compete in the global economy.”
The commission conducted a national search led by a six-member search committee, which subsequently recommended Lowery to the full commission for a vote of approval and appointment.
Lowery previously served as Ivy Tech’s chancellor for its Columbus and southeast regions. Before joining Ivy Tech in 2014, Lowery served as president of the board of trustees of the Batesville Community School Corp. and was a founder of the Batesville Community Education Foundation.
Prior to his work in higher education, Lowery led public policy and engagement for Hillenbrand Inc. and served as an aide to former Indiana Gov. Robert Orr and former U.S. Senator Dan Quayle.
Lowery said the commission made great advancements under Lubbers’ leadership in areas of postsecondary attainment rate and focus on access through programs including 21st Century Scholars.
“Building on this strong foundation, much work remains to be done,” he said. “I am honored and humbled to have been chosen by members of the commission to follow Commissioner Lubbers and to serve in this leadership role at such an important time in our history.”
Lowery will focus on college affordability and ensuring quality higher education is delivered and tied to career relevance as the commission continues its efforts to realize the state’s goal of at least 60% of Hoosiers with quality education and training beyond high school. Along with addressing declining college-going rates, the commission will concentrate on increasing the number of adult learners who earn a degree or credential beyond a high school diploma.
“Indiana’s colleges and universities provide much of the fuel in terms of education, training and research to support individual growth, investments and innovations of employers,” said Lowery. “By bringing together leaders from our higher education institutions, employers, K-12 partners, nonprofits, philanthropy, government and other stakeholders, we can blur the lines and increase the value proposition of higher education.”
Lubbers – Indiana’s sixth higher education commissioner since its founding in 1951 – will conclude her service at the end of March and Lowery will take over by mid-April.
Lowery holds an undergraduate degree in public affairs from Indiana University Bloomington’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a master’s in management at Indiana Wesleyan University’s DeVoe School of Business.