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Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP


Mike Krause is a senior advisor* in Bradley’s Governmental Affairs and Economic Development practice groups, where he represents clients before the executive and legislative branches of government in Tennessee and Washington, D.C., and provides strategic advice and technical assistance to colleges and universities, philanthropic entities and a range of other organizations.

Prior to joining the firm, Mike served for 14 years in Tennessee state government, holding senior leadership roles in two administrations. Most recently, he served as the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, functioning as the state’s chief policy officer on all higher education matters, the primary representative for a $2 billion annual budget before the legislature and executive branch, and a national thought leader on financial aid and workforce development issues. Mike also served as the coordinator for all state higher education efforts relative to COVID-19, acting as the liaison between campuses and the Tennessee Department of Health and the governor’s Unified Command Group during the pandemic.

Prior to his appointment as higher ed chief, Mike served as a senior staff member in the office of Gov. Bill Haslam and as the founding director of Tennessee Promise. Reporting directly to the governor, he served as an advisor on an array of policy issues and higher education matters, and successfully lobbied the legislature to ensure passage of the historic FOCUS Act, resulting in the first higher education governance overhaul in 50 years. Mike also led the design, implementation, and statewide campaign for Tennessee Promise, the first free community college program in the nation.

A frequent commentator in the media, his work has been covered by Politico, The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, NPR and CNN. Mike received a Master of Public Policy from Vanderbilt University and a B.S. in Public Management from Austin Peay State University. He also served in the United States Army as a member of the 101stAirborne Division for six years.

*Mike Krause is not an attorney.


  • Vanderbilt University, Master of Public Policy, 2010
  • Austin Peay State University, B.S., Public Management, 2007

Two Ways Colleges Can Build Better Paths Toward Student Success
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, February 2021

Like every other higher education leader, I spent most of the last 10 months reacting to the operational imperatives driven by the COVID-19 crisis. Each day presented a novel crisis, and just when we thought we’d see no more plot twists, a new one emerged. In the midst of that maelstrom and as the state’s higher education chief, I often found myself trying to find elusive time to process what these daily crises meant for our enterprise over the long term...

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