National Center for Higher Education Management Systems

Aims McGuinness

Aims McGinness Senior ConsultantAims McGuinness is a Senior Fellow with NCHEMS.  He specializes in state governance and coordination of higher education; strategic planning and restructuring higher education systems; roles and responsibilities of public institutional and multi-campus system governing boards; and international comparison of education reform.

Prior to joining NCHEMS in 1993, he was director of higher education policy at the Education Commission of the States (ECS). Before joining ECS in 1975, was executive assistant (chief of staff) to the Chancellor of the University of Maine System.

Over the past thirty-five years, Aims has advised many of the states that have conducted major studies of their higher education systems and undertaken higher education reforms. Recent and ongoing projects (conducted through NCHEMS) were in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington State, and Wisconsin.

Aims is the author of several publications on state higher education policy, university systems and governance. He initiated the State Postsecondary Education Structures Sourcebook, a basic reference guide to state coordination and governance in the United States, and maintains an updated web-based version on the NCHEMS website and the ECS website Recent publications include “The States and Higher Education,” American Higher Education in the 21st Century, 3rd. ed., Altbach, et al, eds, Johns Hopkins University Press; “History and Evolution of Higher Education Systems in the United States” and “Serving Public Purposes: Challenges for Systems in Changing State Context,” Higher Education Systems 3.0, Lane, J. and Johnstone, B., editors, SUNY Press, 2013; “State Policy Leadership in the Public Interest: Is Anyone at Home,” Public Policy Challenges Facing Higher Education in the American West, Goodchild et al, eds., Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Aims is active at the international level in conducting policy reviews and advising governments on education policy, primarily through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, including projects in Australia, the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Ireland, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, and Turkey. He chaired the international task force leading to the 2011 OECD report, Strong Performers and Successful Reforms: Education Policy Advice to Greece, making recommendations to the Government of Greece on reforms in primary, secondary and higher education.

Aims earned his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from The George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in social science from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

Aims McGuinness
Senior Fellow