INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College has announced Mary Jane Michalak as vice president for government relations, assuming the role on September 26.
In this role, Michalak will be responsible for directing and overseeing the College’s governmental relations activities, which include planning and executing a comprehensive, proactive government affairs strategy. She will be a key point of contact for legislators, state and federal government officials.
“I am honored to join the Ivy Tech Community College team because Ivy Tech’s success is critical to the state of Indiana,” said Michalak. “I look forward to collaborating with the chancellors across the state, college leadership in Indianapolis, and with our various stakeholders to ensure the success of our students.”
Most recently, Michalak served as vice president for Thomas P. Miller and Associates, a private consulting firm, where she oversaw strategic business partnerships focused on aligning strategies with workforce initiatives, economic development and education.
Michalak has a decade of experience in Indiana state government, including leading the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana. During her time in this role she helped merge the agency with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE), bringing all higher education policy and operations together.
While at the ICHE, Michalak oversaw the distribution of the state’s financial aid programs, totaling nearly $300 million per year and serving more than 85,000 students. She aligned state practices and policies with federal regulations, and focused financial aid policies to emphasize completion, productivity, and quality for students, as well as the state’s return on investment. Additionally, Michalak created the state’s financial aid legislative agenda and strategies, ensuring implementation once passed.
“Ivy Tech is tasked by the legislature to serve as Indiana’s Community College system, thus requiring close alignment with our General Assembly,” said Ivy Tech Community College President, Sue Ellspermann. “As we move forward and continue to work on our key objectives, student success and workforce alignment, it will be critical that we are transparent in our communications and objectives, and work alongside our legislative partners. Further, as the nation’s largest singly accredited community college, Ivy Tech has a responsibility to actively participate in federal higher education and financial aid reform efforts.”
In 2012-2013, Michalak coordinated efforts that led to the state legislature passing the largest state financial aid reform package in history, tying student financial aid to milestones of completion, while guiding students to a four-year degree track. The first year of implementation, the policy led to an increase in the number of 21st Century Scholars taking 30 credits per year by 55 percent and Frank O’Bannon Grant students taking 30 credits per year by 19 percent.
In January 2013, former Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels, awarded Michalak with the Governor’s Distinguished Service Medal.
Michalak served on the federal relations committee of the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP), and in 2014, was selected by the NASSGAP Executive Committee to speak to the White House Domestic Policy Council about financial aid reform efforts in Indiana.
In Michalak’s career, she previously served as chief of staff and director of communications for the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. She also served as a communications specialist for the Indiana Department of Education, where she held roles related to media relations and the State Board of Education support.
Prior to her government service, Michalak worked as a Statehouse reporter covering education, policy, and gaming news for a niche publication.
Michalak earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with honors from Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. She currently attends Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, where she is enrolled in a dual program with the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs to earn her Doctorate of Jurisprudence and Master of Public Affairs.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.