CPPHE Executive Committee

The Executive Committee consists of three officers and three members-at-large. Each year, the Council membership elects the Vice-Chair, Secretary, and one Member-at-large. The Vice-Chair serves in that post for one year, with major responsibility for organizing the Public Policy Forum, then assumes the Chair for the following year. The Secretary a one-year term, and Members-at-large serve three-year terms. Terms begin with the CPPHE Business Meeting that is held during the annual Public Policy Forum. For information on the selection process, refer to the CPPHE by-laws.

Terms conclude at the end of the business meeting of the year indicated.

Deshawn Preston, Chair (2019-2022)
United Negro College Fund

Meredith Billings, Vice Chair (2020-2023)
Sam Houston State University
Jason Taylor, Immediate Past Chair (2018-2021)
University of Utah
Howard University
University of Denver
University of Mississippi
University of Texas at San Antonio
Meet the CPPHE Executive Committee

Deshawn Preston, United Negro College Fund

DeShawn Preston was elected to CPPHE in 2019. He currently serves as the Program Manager, Institutional Knowledge for UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building. Within this role, DeShawn manages multiple programs to support institutional-self-awareness and the development of strategic approaches to increase the capacity of the institution through institutional data. As an active member in the field of higher education, DeShawn serves as a young scholar for the editorial board for the Journal of Negro Education. DeShawn considers himself to be an advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and those who are often forgotten in the field of higher education. Before joining UNCF, DeShawn served as the institutional effectiveness program manager at Morehouse School of Medicine and a research fellow at the Southern Education Foundation.

Meredith Billings, Sam Houston State University
Meredith S. Billings was elected to CPPHE in 2020. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University and she teaches courses on higher education policy, governance, finance, assessment, and program evaluation. Her research agenda broadly focuses on college affordability, college access and success, and state and institutional finances. Currently, she is conducting research projects on free college/promise programs, guaranteed tuition plans, college advising programs, and state funding for higher education during periods of economic recession.

Sosanya Jones, Howard University
Sosanya Jones was elected to CPPHE in 2019. She is an assistant professor of Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies at Howard University where she teaches courses on diversity, governance, higher education policy, and qualitative research. Her research interests focus on the nexus between policy and practice for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Cecilia Orphan, University of Denver
Cecilia M. Orphan was elected to CPPHE in 2019. She is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Denver where she teaches courses in administration and public policy. Dr. Orphan’s research agenda is informed by her experiences as a first-generation, low-income student whose life was transformed by attending access institutions - Linn Benton Community College and Portland State University, a regional public university in Oregon. Her research broadly investigates the role of higher education in a democratic society and includes two lines of inquiry: 1) how policy discourses shape higher education’s societal purposes and equity pursuits; and 2) how the intersection of campus governance and public policy affect the mission enactments and equity pursuits of regional public universities and rural public colleges. Her work has appeared in The Review of Higher Education, The Journal of Higher Education, Higher Education, and the Journal of Education Policy. She holds a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s in political science from Portland State University.

Raquel Muñiz, Boston College
Dr. Muñiz's research addresses the persistent educational inequities in American society using disciplinary tools of educational theory, policy, and law. She focuses on two lines of inquiry: 1) examining the role of law and policies in furthering educational equity; and 2) examining the use of research evidence in the legal system and public policy decision-making where such decision-making has implications for educational equity. Her research is particularly concerned with students who have experienced substantial adversity, systemic stressors that students face as a result of the nested systems of American laws, regulations, and accompanying social policies that shape their lived experiences and the school systems they attend.

Frank Fernandez, University of Mississippi
Frank Fernandez is Assistant Professor of Higher Education. He examines educational policy and equity issues. He has published in American Educational Research Journal, Review of Higher Education, Higher Education, Educational Policy, and Penn State Law Review, among others.

Vanessa Sansone, University of Texas at San Antonio
Vanessa A. Sansone was elected to CPPHE in 2020. She is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). She is Latinx, a critical policy scholar, and a former Senior Institutional Research Analyst who worked within the University of Texas System. As a Professor, her areas of research interest focus on understanding college affordability, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and power & governance structures, especially for students from Latinx, military-affiliated and rural backgrounds. Her empirical work has been published in such outlets as The Review of Higher Education, Review of Educational Research and New Directions for Student Development Services. She was named one of the 35 most outstanding women in higher education in 2020 by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education from UTSA, a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration from UTSA, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio.
Past CPPHE Chairs:
  • Jason Taylor (2020)
  • Emily Calderon Galdeano (2019)
  • Tiffany Jones (2018)
  • Lorelle Espinosa (2017)
  • Nick Hilliman (2016)
  • Leticia Osegera (2015)
  • Marvin Titus (2014)
  • Jennifer Delaney (2012-2013)
  • Will Doyle (2011)
  • Colleen O'Brien (20109-2010)
  • Patricia Yaeger (2008)
  • Donald Heller (2006-2007)
  • Scott Thomas (2003-05)
  • Karen Card (2001-2002)
  • Les Goodchild (1998-2000)
  • Bob Hendrickson (1996)