After years of working with the Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, McDaniel College President Roger Casey was chosen to be on the NAICU's Board of Directors.
The position, which was effective as of the beginning of February, has a three-year term, according to a news release from the college. Casey will be representing the association's Region II, which includes colleges and universities in Maryland, as well as Delaware, District of Columbia, New Jersey and New York. The board is made up of 46 representatives throughout the country, six of which are officers, according to its website.
"I'm humbled and honored to get a chance to represent my colleagues," Casey said.
The organization is the largest voice in Washington, D.C., for the nation's independent colleges and universities, Casey said.
There are more than 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide in NAICU, according to the release. Since 1976, the association has represented private nonprofit colleges and universities on policy issues with the federal government, such as those affecting student aid, taxation, and government regulation, according to the release.
The organization's staff meets with policymakers,; tracks campus trends, conducts research, analyzes higher education issues, publishes information, helps coordinate state-level activities and advises members on legislative and regulatory developments with potential impact on their institutions, according to its website.
In addition to this new role, Casey also chairs the Board of Trustees for the Maryland Independent College and University Association, sits on the Council of Independent Colleges steering committee to assess the future of independent colleges and serves on the NAICU Student Financial Aid Committee.
Casey said the NAICU's time in Washington is spent focusing on important issues, especially financial aid for students. About one-third of McDaniel students receive some sort of federal financial funding, he added.
The organization and the work it does is critically important, Casey said.
This position is also an opportunity to sit with experts and better understand the role legislation plays even for private colleges, Casey said. Early in his career, Casey didn't think elected officials were impacting private education as much as state institutions, but that's not true, he said.
His new role is allowing him to really understand the "critical importance" of good legislation, he said.
"We follow bills really closely," Casey added.
While involved on the board, he said it's his goal to be "as useful as possible," he said.
As a president on the board whose college is close to Washington, proximity can help him be as involved as possible as he represents his colleagues, Casey said.
And, he said, this role will help McDaniel students by doing whatever he can to make sure legislators understand the important of higher education, and encourage them to make the best choices they can to help students achieve a college degree.
"Bottom line," Casey said, "it's about students."