About NASH

The National Association of System Heads (NASH) is the association of the chief executives of the 44 colleges and university systems of public higher education in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Formed in 1979 for the purpose of seeking improvement in the organization and governance of public higher education systems, NASH serves as a forum for the exchange of views and information among its members and with other higher education organizations, with special attention to the perspectives, problems, and opportunities of heads of systems as a unique category of higher education executives.

NASH has defined a public higher education system as a group of two or more colleges or universities, each having substantial autonomy and headed by a chief executive or operating officer, all under a single governing board which is served by a system chief executive officer who is not also the chief executive officer of any of the system’s institutions. Such a system is to be distinguished from a “flagship” campus with branch campuses, and also from a group of campuses or systems, each with its own governing board, that is coordinated by some state body.

NASH systems include multiple four-year institutions, and several also include two-year institutions. Together, public university systems educate approximately three-quarters of the nation’s students in public, four-year higher education and a significant proportion of students seeking two-year degrees. How these systems are organized—that is, multiple institutions operating with a single system governing board and chief executive—makes them particularly well-positioned to tackle issues critical to the future of their states.

NASH is staffed by a staff director, a coordinator, and an office manager.  For cross-system initiatives, NASH mobilizes expertise within participating systems and partners with other organizations. In recent years, cross-system collaboration has focused on increasing student access and success in college, especially for low-income students and students of color.

The NASH team:

Rebecca Martin, Executive Director, rebecca@nash-dc.org

As Executive Director, Rebecca oversees NASH.  Previously, Rebecca served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Wisconsin System from 2007 to 2011. Under her leadership, the System aggressively focused on improving the retention and graduation rates of underserved students.  Prior to her time at the System office, Rebecca served for five years as Provost and Vice Chancellor at University of Wisconsin – Parkside. Before that, she served at the University of Vermont, where she held several positions including Senior Vice Provost, Interim Provost, and Acting President. She earned her doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

Jonathan Gagliardi, Deputy Director, jonathan@nash-dc.org

Jonathan serves as the Deputy Director for NASH. He comes to us from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, where he was a Senior Research and Policy Analyst, with a special emphasis on research, economic and community development, efficiency and innovation, and data governance and stewardship. At the same time, he was a higher education consultant for RPK group. Previous to that, Jonathan served Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in various enrollment management positions. He earned his doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Policy from the University at Albany (SUNY).

Krissy Haynes, Executive Assistant, krissy@nash-dc.org

Krissy serves as the Executive Assistant for Rebecca Martin. Prior to joining NASH, she worked as the Executive Assistant at PioneerRx, a Pharmacy Software company in Shreveport, LA. Krissy’s vast experience includes being a 5th grade teacher, lead software tester, and a flight attendant. Krissy has a BS in Education from Texas A&M University. 


Nancy Zimpher

Chancellor, State University of New York (SUNY)

Rebecca Martin
Executive Director (ex-Officio)

Executive Director, NASH

Robert L. Caret
Vice Chair

Chancellor, University System of Maryland

NASH Facts

The National Association of System Heads and its partners have worked hard to form a network of presidents, chancellors, executive directors, and commissioners. Together, this group supports leaders and their peers in the unique roles they play. NASH and its affiliates boast:

  • More than 35 years of collaboration
  • System heads in 31 states
  • Over 40 university systems
  • More than 5.6 Million students represented
  • Support for public multi-campus systems, which enroll 75% of all students in public four year colleges and universities

Board of Directors

Committee Members

Hank Bounds

President, University of Nebraska

Lee Jackson

Chancellor, University of North Texas System

Eileen Klein

President, Arizona Board of Regents

David Lassner

President, University of Hawai'i System

Timothy White

Chancellor, California State University System


Robert L. Caret

Chancellor, University System of Maryland

Rebecca Martin

Executive Director, NASH

Nancy Zimpher

Chancellor, State University of New York (SUNY)

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