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Q&A: Michael Frame on federal relations

Michael Frame, the new director of federal relations, recently spoke with Inside BU about his work and why it’s important to the University’s future.

How do you define the work you do?

I work to ensure that the best interests of the University are being advocated for at the federal level. That means tracking policies that may affect the institution, participating in national organizations that are focused on topics ranging from study abroad to math and science initiatives to financial aid and developing relationships with federal elected officials and agencies.

The Office of Federal Relations is here to be a resource in promoting the University, but it can also help in other ways when faculty and staff go to Washington or work with federal officials. Collaborating with this office can add impact to a trip to D.C.

When did you get interested in this field?

During my junior year at Cornell, I took a trip to Washington to lobby for federal student aid. I enjoyed the entire experience, advocating for a policy I believe in.

From there, I went to Syracuse University’s Maxwell School for my master’s in public administration.

Since then, I’ve worked as a policy analyst for the California State University system in Washington and most recently on economic development in upstate New York.

The most rewarding element here is a chance to be part of Binghamton University’s growth. The University is an important part of this region, with huge potential for economic development.

How does the University benefit from having someone on staff who has a personal relationship with the congressional delegation?

It helps open doors and prioritize the University’s federal agenda. Federal elected officials are approached daily by thousands of constituents to take action on a multitude of different issues. By working with the legislators and their staffs, we are able to educate them about what is important to Binghamton.

In addition, when elected officials are looking to the University to serve as a resource, whether to provide expert testimony or showing innovation in our classrooms and labs, it’s helpful for them to know whom to contact. The Office of Federal Relations provides them a single conduit from Capitol Hill and federal agencies to the University.

What do you consider the most vital issues facing Congress next year that relate to the University?

The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act plays a huge role in everything from the administration of the University to the day-to-day lives of students. Students need and depend on federal financial aid, which is part of that legislation.

The reauthorization of No Child Left Behind may also present opportunities for us. There’s provisions for college preparedness and that’s something the University can play a role in at the national level.

Immigration and study abroad are also huge issues. We need to monitor them to make sure the University has access to the best talent possible and truly achieves its goal of being an international educator.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08