Tod R. Massa to Speak at 57th Commencement

December 1, 2011

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Tod MassaJOPLIN, MO (SNS) - Tod R. Massa, Director, Policy Research and Data Warehousing for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, will serve as the speaker for Missouri Southern State University’s 57th Commencement at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 17 in Leggett & Platt Athletic Center on the MSSU campus.

Tod R. Massa started at State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) in Richmond, Va. in 2001 as Director of Policy Research and Data Warehousing.  Now, with more than a decade of experience his vision for tracking the success of higher education institutions is earning the attention of members in both the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Having been awarded a $17.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Community College System, he is creating a mechanism which will allow actual data about the real costs and outcomes of academic programs to be used when selecting an institution of higher education to attend or for directing funding by policy makers. This project has been enhanced through additional financial support provided by the Lumina Foundation in partnership with the American Institutes of Research and the state of Indiana.

Massa currently oversees the development of the Commonwealth’s postsecondary education data system; the biennial projections of enrollment and demand; and is one of the architects and leaders of the Virginia Longitudinal Data System. His wide-ranging duties also include directing the collection, maintenance, and analysis of research data from all Virginia colleges and universities related to enrollment, graduation, faculty salaries, and financial aid. He directs the agency's information systems activities and coordinates the agency’s relationship with the Virginia Information Technology Agency. Massa also serves as the Continuity of Operations Director for SCHEV and frequently serves on federal technical review panels for the U.S. Department of Education.

Prior to his career at SCHEV, Massa held institutional research leadership positions at two noted institutions of higher education. His most recent position was that of the Director of Institutional Research and Planning Support at Willamette University in Salem, Ore. It was at Willamette that he began to take leadership in publishing large quantities of institutional data to the web, while developing complex intranet applications. Before his career took him to the west coast he began his profession in higher education in 1991 when he served as the Institutional Research Coordinator and Academic Policy Analyst at Saint Louis University which was where he earned his first professional award at the 1992 Illinois Association for Institutional Research Fall Conference for his work in developing Electronic Fact Books. It was this interest in electronic presentation of data that started him on the trajectory that led him to Virginia. Massa has also served in the United States Army where he was twice awarded the Department of the Army Certificate of Achievement and the Army Achievement Medal for outstanding service.

Massa has completed doctoral work in Public Policy Analysis and Planning at Saint Louis University. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from Missouri Southern State University.

Massa has also received the Association for Institutional Research’s “Outstanding Service Award” for service to the association in 2000 for contributions such as the development one of the first web-based proposal submission/conference management/attendee scheduling systems for major conferences.

He has been published a half-dozen times, conducted more than a dozen workshops (including workshops with the Chief Privacy Officer of the U.S. Department of Education) and served on more than a dozen panel discussions both on the statewide and national levels.

He has continued as a scout leader in his local troop, even though his son is no longer in the troop and is now in his third year of college.

Massa is a frequent invitee to participate in forums focusing on the status and future of higher education held at the American Enterprise Institute, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also an invited participant/advisor on a number of Gates Foundation initiatives.

At the end of 2009 he was diagnosed with a benign, but life-threatening, brain tumor. Six weeks later he underwent a 32 hour surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital in Richmond. He has spent much of the last two years overcoming the side-effects of the tumor and surgery.