OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education
Current Section
Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education - Staff Contacts


  • Ralph Hines

    Mr. Hines serves as Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). FIPSE’s primary legislative mandate is the encouragement of reform and improvement of, and innovation in, postsecondary education and the provision of educational opportunity for all students. Through its grant competitions, FIPSE supports the implementation of innovative reforms, evaluates how well they work, and shares lessons learned with the education community. As Director, he has overall responsibility for program planning, policy development, application review and grants initiation, and grants management. He also leads ad hoc groups of staff in the development and execution of special projects and initiatives for the Department’s senior officers. Mr. Hines serves as the Designated Federal Official in matters concerning FIPSE’s National Board and, with the Board Chair, is responsible for convening Board meetings and setting agendas for these meetings with a view to securing the best counsel of the Board regarding FIPSE’s objectives and procedures. Prior to coming to FIPSE, Mr. Hines served as Director of the Department’s International Education Programs Service, which is now called the International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) service. The IFLE administers the international education programs authorized under Title VI of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and Section 102(b)(6) of the Fulbright-Hays Act. As such, he managed the major federal programs dedicated to the maintenance and development of a national capacity in foreign language, area studies and international business. Mr. Hines has held a variety of administrative, programmatic and management positions in his more than 41 years of service with the Department. Mr. Hines has served the public in a great variety of professional activities, including work on governmental and non-governmental advisory groups and task forces in the United States and abroad that focused on the totality of the federal education effort, particularly in the areas of international education and exchanges, graduate education, and postsecondary education reform and innovation. His professional activities have included travel and consultations in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. He holds BA and MA degrees from Norfolk State University and the George Washington University, respectively, and the Senior Executive Fellows certificate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

    (202) 502-7618


  • Sarah Beaton
    Program Officer and Co-Coordinator, Comprehensive Program

    Sarah joined the FIPSE staff in July 2007. Prior to this position, Sarah served as Team Leader of the International Studies Team, in the International Education Programs Service. Sarah directed seven discretionary grant programs with an annual budget of over $30 million and a staff of nine to improve the academic teaching of area studies, foreign languages, and international business. Her background includes the study of economics, liberal arts, and business both at home and abroad. She received her B.S. in Business and Economics from the College of New Rochelle and M.A. in International Studies from George Mason University. She is an enthusiastic internationalist and uses her influence and talents to help develop sustainable and creative international programs at universities and colleges throughout the United States.

    (202) 502-7621

  • Claire Cornell
    Program Officer and Coordinator, Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program & Off-Campus Community Service Program

    Claire joined FIPSE in January 2008. Over more than 25 years she has worked with federal, state, and foundation grants in bioscience, physical science, engineering, mathematics, humanities, and social science disciplines; developed and managed grants offices; and provided grant consulting for higher education institutions, non-profits, and state government agencies. At the University of Iowa, Claire directed the grants office of the Liberal Arts College, Business College, Graduate College, and University Libraries. She also designed and administered grants offices for the University of South Carolina’s College of Science and Mathematics, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, and for health and science non-profit organizations. While serving as the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Federal Grants Division Director, Claire developed strategic plans for government-business-academic partners that convened teams from the banking, agribusiness, biotechnology and biomedical research sectors, and from government.

    Claire has published in business education and public health peer-reviewed journals. Claire holds a Bachelors Degree in English Literature from Queens College, CUNY. While transitioning into grants development, she completed science prerequisite courses at Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa and graduate courses in both early childhood education and nutrition at the University of Iowa.

    (202) 502-7609

  • Bette Dow
    Program Officer and Coordinator, Congressionally-directed Grants

    Bette joined FIPSE in mid-2003, coming from OPE's Accreditation and State Liaison unit. Prior to joining federal service in 2000, she lived in Beijing, China, where she served as CEO for the development of a postsecondary MBA and executive management training programs for a China-USA joint venture. Bette's academic background includes a Ph.D., M.A., & B.A., in Psychology and a postdoctoral degree, Ed.M. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy, with an emphasis in quantitative/qualitative evaluations. Bette grew up in Ecuador and Chile, but spent most of her adult life in California. She has worked as a private practitioner in clinical psychology, vocational psychologist for the California Department of Rehabilitation, Acting Dean for the Education and Psychology Departments for National University, Sacramento, postsecondary education specialist for the Council for Private Postsecondary Education in California, consultant to postsecondary institutions on accreditation/licensing issues, and legislative advocate for a California Association for Counseling and Development. Bette has taught graduate-level courses at National University, Chapman University, and CSU-Sacramento in areas of organizational development, tests and measurements, operant conditioning, social psychology, psychology for managers, and values and ethics. Bette's primary responsibilities are as coordinator of Congressionally-directed Grants and as a program officer with the Comprehensive Program.

    (202) 502-7835

  • Frank Frankfort
    Program Officer

    Frank joined the FIPSE staff in September 1994. After receiving his doctorate in Medieval Studies, he taught History at Westminster College (PA) for fourteen years. From 1987 to the present he has been in the Washington area, first as a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, then as a Professor of Humanities and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Hood College. His special interests include globalization and the impact on higher education and comparative educational systems.

    (202) 502-7513

  • Krishan (Krish) Mathur
    Program Officer and Coordinator, Pilot Program for Course Material Rental and OPE Liaison for STEM Activities

    Krish has been a FIPSE Program Officer since November 2007.

    Krish coordinates the Pilot Program for Course Material Rental, and has previously run the Student Achievement program to measure student learning outcomes and the U.S.-Russia International Program initiated by the departments of State and Education (ED). Krish is also the liaison for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE).

    Krish earned his BTech and MTech in Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and PhD in CAD (Computer Aided Design) from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Prior to ED, his 25 years in the academia includes professorships in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia, and fellowships at the University of California-Berkeley, Purdue University, and Sydney University.

    In between the academia and the government service, for seven years Krish worked in the industry doing BPR (Business Process Re-engineering), information technology (IT) project management, and process improvement as Lean Six-Sigma Blackbelt. His prior experience also includes advising on Singapore Government initiative to provide a national information infrastructure.

    His teaching and research experience relates to CAD, IT, Project Management, Information Systems and Modeling, Artificial Intelligence, Concurrent Engineering and BPR, Product and Process Modeling, Operational Research (OR) Methods, Architectural Design, Building Sciences, and Construction Engineering.

    Krish serves on the National Science and Technology Council’s National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Committee as the U.S. Department of Education representative. He has served the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) Board on Broadening Participation.

    (202) 502-7512

  • Fred Winter
    Program Officer

    Fred joined FIPSE in March 2011, coming from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) where he was Senior Director of Advancement and Leadership Development. Before joining AAC&U in 2008, Fred was a senior program officer in the Office of Challenge Grants at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) where he served initially in the Endowment’s Higher Education in the Humanities Program. His responsibilities there focused on projects involving core curricula and the use of emerging technologies in undergraduate education. He joined NEH’s Office of Challenge Grants in 1995. He was the founding coordinator for the NEH We the People Challenge Grants in American History, Institutions and Culture, and he served on the NEH task force for its Digital Humanities Initiative. He also designed and administered special federal grant programs for historically black, Hispanic-serving, and American Indian colleges and universities, and was part of the NEH task force that provided funding for the restoration of cultural programs in Iraq. When he joined the Endowment in 1993, he was a tenured Professor of Classics with a joint appointment in the doctoral program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the undergraduate program at Brooklyn College. His research and publications have focused on the pre-Roman era in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, and the archaeology of pre-Revolutionary, slave-worked plantations in the U.S. Northeast. Fred received his B.A. in Classical Greek Language from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania.

    (202) 502-7632

Administrative Staff

  • Beverly Baker
    Management Program Analyst

    Beverly’s work at FIPSE has been varied. Currently her focus is on grant closeouts and reconciliation of accounts, but she has worked in some capacity with every major FIPSE program over the years. She is also the contracting officer's representative (COR) for FIPSE on the database contract. Beverly was awarded the "Secretary's Anchor Award" for her services to the Department of Education in 1996.

    (202) 502-7503

  • Levenia Ishmell
    Program Specialist

    Levenia has worked for FIPSE since 1981 and is the lead support for the Comprehensive Program, Congressionally-directed Grants, and FIPSE's National Advisory Board.

    (202) 502-7668

FIPSE office location and general mailing address:

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
U.S. Department of Education, OPE
1990 K Street, N.W., 6th Floor
Washington DC 20006-8544
Telephone: (202) 502-7500
Fax: (202) 502-7877
Web Site:

Express mail delivery address*:

[Recipient Name]
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue S.W.
K Street Location, Room ____ [Recipient room number]
Washington DC 20202
Telephone: [Recipient Telephone]

* Effective April 8, 2011 all express mail packages must be sent to a central U. S. Department of Education location for security screening and tracking before transfer to other headquarters buildings.  Please direct express mail packages being delivered to FIPSE by UPS, FedEx, DSL, and similar carriers to the express mail address indicated.



Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 05/24/2012