President, StartUp Vegas
Running for Board of Regents, District 6
How would you describe yourself to voters?
My name is Heather Brown, I’m a native to Las Vegas, graduate of Western High School and the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I was raised in a military family that taught core values around service, compassion, and accountability which have been my guide throughout my career. I’m running for Board of Regents to bring ethics and equity to the board. As a product of CCSD and NSHE, I’m passionate about ensuring Nevada's System for Higher Education is affordable and accessible while improving the collegiate experience for all students as NSHE strives for excellence. As a Regent, I will prioritize students by ensuring better graduation preparedness, faculty with better fiscal responsibility, and staff with decorum from the top down.
What do you see as the top issues in this campaign?
- Prioritize students by ensuring better graduation preparedness and a renewed focus on ethics throughout the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).
- Refocus the budget to cut out wasteful spending so that every dollar goes where it can make the biggest impact for our students and communities.
- Attract and retain top talent, both faculty and students, rebuilding NSHE’s reputation to stop the brain drain from our institutions and our communities.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the state’s colleges and universities?
Our higher education institutions are key to a strong workforce pipeline and I think one of the biggest challenges is a lack of academic planning. In order to ensure Nevada’s innovation future is protected, institutions need the freedom to focus on expanding fields, find top faculty and add programs in emerging industries to ensure our institutions are producing a workforce that is in high demand. Making multi-year plans will allow for better capital funding allocations which will ensure our institutions are getting the resources needed.
In late 2021, former Chancellor Melody Rose filed a hostile workplace complaint alleging sexual discrimination and that some regents were undermining her. An investigation could not substantiate the sexual harassment, but it did note possible ethics violations. It also noted factionalism and tensions among board members. How would you, as a Regent, work to ease tensions on the board?
As a Regent, I would want to usher in a new wave of ethics and decorum. I would build a personal relationship with each board member and stress the need for civil discourse while encouraging open communication. When it comes to the relationship between the board and staff, including the Chancellor, I would hope for more transparency which would lead to better accountability from the top down and bottom up.
What should the board look for in a new Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor?
The next Chancellor should be a person with integrity, vision, and has had success as a strong leader. They must also be a fair negotiator. Moreover, I think a skill that is often overlooked is the kitchen cabinet with whom they surround themselves. Every great leader should know their strengths and their weaknesses and hire a workforce that completes gaps in skills. If the cabinet is strong and can work together, then the institutions will be as well.