DALLAS, February 21, 2017 – Academic Partnerships today announced the appointment of Dan Branch to its Board of Directors. Branch, a prominent Texas political leader, attorney and advocate for advancing the state's colleges and universities, is a former Chairman of the Committee on Higher Education in the Texas House of Representatives.

Branch's extensive career in legal and public affairs work includes his current service as a Commissioner on the Education Commission of the States and six terms in the Texas Legislature. During his tenure in the Texas House from 2003 to 2015, Branch was a leading advocate of numerous education reforms and was recognized by Texas Monthly among its "Ten Best Legislators."

As a legislator, Branch led a number of select and joint oversight committees on public and higher education reform in addition to serving on the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Education and the Public Education Committee. As Higher Education Committee chair, he authored landmark legislation encouraging lower college tuition and increased graduation rates, reforming the Top 10 Percent college admissions law, creating the UNT Dallas College of Law and advancing graduate medical education in Texas. In 2009, his signature House Bill 51, known as the "Tier One" law, set the framework for creating more national research universities in Texas.

"I am grateful to join the Board of Directors of Academic Partnerships, a company with a proven track record of expanding access to high-quality and affordable higher education, which not only has significant positive implications for its university partner's students, but also our workforce," said Branch. Randy Best, founder of Academic Partnerships and Chairman of the Board, remarked, "Dan's deep understanding of pressing matters affecting higher education as well as his demonstrated commitment to advancing important causes in the post-secondary space will offer our Board an insightful perspective."

Branch, a former law clerk to Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, is a shareholder at Winstead PC and serves as a Distinguished Guest Lecturer in Higher Education Policy at the SMU Simmons School of Education & Human Development. In addition, Branch serves as board chair of the SMU Tower Center for Political Studies, trustee of The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C., and board member of the Texas State History Museum Foundation and Texas Department of Public Safety Foundation.

Branch received his J.D. degree from SMU Law School, received a B.A. and B.S. with highest honors from Oklahoma Christian University and studied at the Institute of Comparative Political & Economic Systems at Georgetown University.

About Academic Partnerships

Academic Partnerships is a leading online service provider for higher education globally. The company assists universities in converting their on-campus degree programs into an online format, recruits qualified students for those programs, and supports enrolled students through graduation. Serving public and private not-for-profit universities in the United States and top international institutions, Academic Partnerships is guided by the principle that the opportunities presented through technology-aided learning make higher education more accessible and achievable.