2022 Legislative Preview

Recap: Restoring Public Trust in Higher Education

On Jan. 6, 2022, leaders in private and public higher education and state government gathered online for the UW Impact Legislative Preview. The event, titled Restoring Public Trust in Higher Education, discussed what can be done to restore public confidence in our colleges and universities.

Brian Flahaven from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education opened the conversation by sharing survey data that reflect growing skepticism about the value of higher education. Speakers included UW President Ana Mari Cauce, Seattle University President Eduardo Peñalver and Washington State Representatives Debra Entenman (D-47) and Alex Ybarra (R-13).


University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce

As the president of one of the world’s great public universities, Ana Mari Cauce is leading the University of Washington in advancing its mission in four key areas: providing a leading-edge student experience, conducting research and scholarship that has a global impact, upholding the UW’s dedication to its public mission and infusing the entire university with a commitment to innovation.

Full Bio

Seattle University President Eduardo Peñalver

Eduardo M. Peñalver became the President of Seattle University on July 1, 2021. From 2014 until 2021, he served as the Dean of Cornell Law School. His legal scholarship focuses on property and land use, as well as law and religion. His work explores the way in which the law mediates the interests of individuals and communities. His writing on property has appeared in numerous leading law journals. His most recent book, “An Introduction to Property Theory” (co-authored with Gregory Alexander), was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.

Full Bio

Rep. Debra Entenman, D-47

State Representative Debra Entenman is a former non-traditional student who is passionate about education for people of all ages and stages of life. That passion stems from her own experiences, as well as her family’s experiences, in pursuing higher education. As the daughter of a Seattle teacher, Rep. Entenman believes in helping people reach their goals by advocating for programs that lift families out of hopelessness and enable them to succeed. At Highline Community College and Seattle University, she studied political science and went on to serve as District Director for Congressman Adam Smith. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees at Renton Technical College in 2015.

Full Bio

Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-13

Rep. Ybarra is the ranking member on the House Education Committee, and also serves on the House Civil Rights and Judiciary, and Health Care and Wellness committees. He graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and also holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix. He is the former director for the Quincy School Board and also served as the vice president for the Washington State School Directors Association. Rep. Ybarra is a powerful advocate for economic growth and wants to see more doors of opportunity opened to the residents of the communities he serves.

Full Bio

Brian Flahaven, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Council for Advancement and Support of Education

Brian Flahaven is vice president, strategic partnerships, at CASE. He also directs CASE’s government relations activities and tracks federal and state legislative and regulatory issues of concern to CASE members, as well as overseeing CASE’s public college and university foundation programs. Prior to joining CASE, Brian was the manager of government relations and public policy at the Council on Foundations.

Full Bio

Moderator: Courtney Acitelli, M.P.A. ’08

Courtney has been the director of UW Impact, the UW Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy program, since 2010. For the past decade, UW Impact has mobilized thousands of alumni to contact their lawmakers in support of investment in higher education. Courtney holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree from UW’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where she served as chair of their alumni council for two years.