Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations
Christina West is the associate vice chancellor for federal relations in Vanderbilt University's Office of Federal Relations. In this role, West is responsible for coordinating the university's federal relations and advocacy activities. She works closely with both campus leaders and Washington policy makers on topics such as funding levels for federal research agencies; federal higher education policy and student aid; regulatory issues related to higher education and research; technology transfer; and tax issues. West interacts regularly with leaders in Congress, focusing primarily on the Tennessee congressional delegation and their staffs. Building on her previous experience on Capitol Hill in a Tennessee congressional office, West has built solid relationships with many of the key offices with which Vanderbilt interfaces.
She has served as the vice chair and chair of the Association of American Universities' (AAU) Council on Federal Relations (CFR) as well as a member of the CFR Steering Committee. She previously chaired AAU's Humanities Task Force which advocates on behalf of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Higher Education Task Force which focuses on higher education policy and federal student aid. West served as a government relations representative on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for United for Medical Research, a coalition of leading research institutions, patient and health advocates and private industry seeking strong and sustainable increases in funding for NIH.
West has received multiple recognitions for her service to the higher education and advocacy community. She received the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center Mentoring Award in 2023 in recognition of her efforts to support women on campus through professional and intellectual development. In 2020, she received AAU’s Ripple Effect award which is presented for particularly memorable public service contributions to the AAU community. She also received the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service to Faculty and Students in 2012.
Prior to joining Vanderbilt, West was a senior associate at the government relations firm of Collins & Company where she had direct, day-to-day interaction with the company's clients, advancing their government relations agenda from strategy formulation to execution. Her primary responsibilities were for the firm's higher education and international development clients, building on her past experiences in these areas.
West also served as the assistant director for international affairs at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (now the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities). In that position, she promoted, both on Capitol Hill and within the administration, the international agendas of major public research universities, including the Department of Education's Title VI programs and immigration issues related to international students and scholars.
In addition to her experience in the private sector, West spent several years on Capitol Hill as the senior legislative assistant for former Representative Bob Clement, D-Tenn., with responsibility for his work on the Budget Committee as well as his education, foreign relations, trade, immigration, and defense portfolios. Rep. Clement co-chaired of the House Education Caucus, for which West had primary responsibility in developing and executing the policies and events. West began her tenure in Rep. Clement's office as an intern, serving also as staff assistant, legislative assistant, and ultimately senior legislative assistant. She also completed an internship in the legislative office of former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.
A graduate of Haverford College, in Haverford, Pennsylvania, West has a bachelor's degree in political science. She is also a graduate of the University School of Nashville and currently serves on USN's National Alumni Board of Visitors. West has been an active member of Women in Government Relations and co-chaired both the Congressional Relations and Personal & Professional Development task forces. A competitive masters swimmer, she served for three years as co-captain and vice president of the District of Columbia Aquatics Club and currently serves on the board of the Potomac Valley Local Masters Swimming Committee. She also served multiple years on the board of her local Friends of the Library.