Clayton Christian

Commissioner of Higher Education, Montana University System

For more than a decade, Clayton T. Christian has proudly served the students of Montana. During his six-year tenure on the Montana Board of Regents, from 2006 to 2011, Christian championed common-course numbering, tuition freezes and other system initiatives aimed at increasing student access, success and affordability. As Board Chair, Christian focused the Regent’s work on successful measures to improve system accountability, transparency and productivity, and to increase confidence in higher education. In 2012, Christian was asked to continue his service to Montana as the Commissioner of Higher Education, leading an educational system that serves more than 42,000 students and approximately 2,500 faculty annually at 16 public colleges and universities.

Commissioner Christian has leveraged public and private partnerships to dramatically increase growth in workforce development, implemented innovative state investments that yielded record amounts of university-based research, and implemented performance-based funding with institutional incentives for student retention. He is a strong advocate for expanding distance learning in a state that covers more than 147,000 square miles and is larger than New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Kentucky combined.

On the national level, Christian currently serves as Chair-Elect for the Executive Committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), as Vice-Chair on the Board of the National Association of System Heads (NASH), and as Co-Chair of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Council of Presidents. He previously served as Chair of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).