Among K&A’s senior consultants, there is more than 150 collective years of direct on-campus experience including service as president and executive officers. This synergistic capacity defines K&A as the uniquely qualified consulting firm with the expertise and values that can create change for learning in higher education.
Richard KeelingPrincipal and Senior Executive Consultant
Richard P. Keeling, M.D., leads Keeling & Associates, LLC (K&A)—a comprehensive higher education consulting practice. K&A’s mission is improving outcomes in higher education by creating change for learning. At the heart of his leadership of K&A are these beliefs and commitments: that learning should be transformative, that learning must be at the core of the mission of colleges and universities, and that sound processes of institutional renewal can enable campuses to improve learning in its broadest sense. Since founding K&A, Dr. Keeling has worked with more than 500 institutions and organizations in the United States and Canada over nearly 25 years of practice.
Dr. Keeling serves on the Board of Directors of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) and has been president of four professional organizations in higher education. He edited three sequential publications that focus on improving learning: Learning Reconsidered, Learning Reconsidered II, and Assessment Reconsidered. He has published more than 125 articles, monographs, and books, and served as Editor, for two terms, of the Journal of American College Health. He has received the highest awards of both the American College Health Association (ACHA) and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Dr. Keeling and Dr. Richard Hersh recently published We’re Losing Our Minds: Rethinking American Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). This book argues for substantial change in the culture of higher education to support higher quality and better value in undergraduate education in the United States.
Before creating K&A, Dr. Keeling was both a tenured faculty member and a senior student affairs administrator at the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During more than 20 years on campus, Dr. Keeling taught and practiced medicine, directed comprehensive health programs and services, developed collaborative programs in undergraduate education with academic departments and faculty, and explored innovative, cross-institutional approaches to advancing student learning.
Dr. Keeling took his bachelor's degree in English with highest honors from the University of Virginia and received his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine; he completed residency in internal medicine and fellowship in hematology. He is the proud father of three liberally educated children and the grandfather of five future college students.
Eric EngstromPresident and Executive Consultant
Eric L. Engstrom, M.P.H., President and Executive Consultant, joined Dr. Keeling in 1989 to form K&A. As the Company’s President, he has primary responsibility for organizational leadership and management, strategy and business development, innovation in technology and communications, and quality assurance. Mr. Engstrom provides direct consultation, technical assistance, and training programs in key areas for K&A's clients. He is an experienced and skilled facilitator in strategic analysis and planning for organizations.
As the first Executive Director of the Minnesota AIDS Project, he directed planning and implementation of state-wide HIV prevention and direct care and service programs, and later collaborated with other leaders of HIV-related service agencies on national boards, government agencies, and consensus conferences. Throughout the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, he provided national leadership in HIV prevention, care, services, and advocacy. His ability to understand the relationships between the parts of complex organizations and to think systemically, which were essential features of his success in Minnesota, are now essential elements of his work at K&A as well.
Mr. Engstrom received his bachelor's degree in Psychology from the College of Liberal Arts and a Master's degree in Public Health from the School of Public Health, both at the University of Minnesota.
Joseph DeSanto Jones
Director of Project Development and Communications
Joseph "Joey" DeSanto Jones joined K&A in April 2012 after a decade of working in student affairs on campuses and with associations. In his role as the Director of Project Development and Communications, he provides high-level intellectual, writing, and communications support to the senior consultants and project teams with both internal and client projects to enhance content, process, and outcomes. Joey also manages communications related to the K&A and Change for Learning websites, K&A publications, and social media.
Prior to joining the K&A team, Joey served as Director of Member Engagement and Community Programs for NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. At NASPA, he was responsible for all phases of planning professional development events related to multiculturalism, leadership, development and technology; served as primary liaison for seven diverse chapters and 26 member involvement groups; and produced online professional development opportunities. Before his tenure at NASPA, Joey spent over two years as a Training and Development Coordinator within the University of Maryland, College Park Division of Student Affairs.
Joey is a two-time University of Maryland, College Park graduate receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies in 2002, and his Master of Arts degree in College Student Personnel in 2006. He remains active with his alma mater as President of Lambda Pride, the University's LGBT alumni club.
Joey is both an avid runner and reader, and can often be found doing either one in Washington, DC.
Jennifer DicksonDirector of Research and Intellectual Capital
Dr. Dickson joined K&A in 2008 after an academic career in public health research. As Director of Research and Intellectual Capital, she manages the Company’s academic writing projects, which include journal articles, book chapters, and whole texts. In addition, she oversees the qualitative components of K&A’s many strategic planning and assessment projects and collaborates with senior consultants and the project teams to ensure high quality in our proposals, reports, and presentations.
Dr. Dickson was on the faculty of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York until 2009 and continues to teach courses on research methods and consult on various research projects in the Department of Narrative Medicine at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons. Her work has included a number of qualitative studies looking at disparities in health outcomes along socioeconomic and geographic lines, including: the needs of minority women living with HIV/AIDS in American cities; the consequences of urban renewal on inner-city populations; community based recovery from upheaval post 9/11; and community building and empowerment of families struggling with HIV/AIDS and substance abuse.
In 2007, Dr. Dickson edited and published her late husband’s memoir, Leukemia for Chickens, which recounts their experiences living with cancer. She is an active member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and is a director of the Roger Madoff Journalism Scholarship, a collaboration between Duke University and Bloomberg News.
Dr. Dickson received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in 1995, and her Master’s and doctorate in public health from the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia in 1999 and 2002, respectively.
Dr. Erich Dietrich brings extensive expertise in global strategic planning, academic program design, and international partnership development to his role as senior consultant with K&A. He is a faculty member in the departments of Higher Education Administration and International Education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, where he also serves as Dean for Global and Academic Affairs.
In his administrative role, Dr. Dietrich oversees NYU Steinhardt's global academic integration, acting as the primary liaison to NYU-Shanghai, NYU-Abu Dhabi, the Office of the Vice Provost for Globalization, and international university partners. He works with faculty to develop new curriculum for NYU’s global academic centers, and to create academically rich study abroad experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.
As a faculty member, Dietrich is a historian whose specialization is internationalization and higher education. He conducts research on access to higher education in Brazil and is currently co-editing a peer-reviewed special journal issue on access to higher education in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
In addition to his research and teaching, Dietrich serves as a consultant and advisory board member for the Institute of International Education’s Brazil Academic Partnerships Program and has significant experience in Asia, Europe and Africa. He is regularly called on by journalists for expertise on study abroad trends in the United States and higher education in Brazil.
Dietrich earned his B.A., magna cum laude, at Carleton College, his M.A. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his Ph.D. at New York University.
Anna DiStefanoSenior Consultant
Dr. Anna DiStefano’s role as senior consultant with K&A is honed by extensive experience as both a faculty member and administrator in higher education. Dr. DiStefano has been the consummate leader within the Fielding Graduate University community since 1983, serving in several senior executive capacities including Vice President of Academic Planning and Program Development and Dean, Human and Organization Development. Before joining the doctoral faculty of the School of Educational Leadership and Change in 2010, she served as Provost for Fielding from 1996 to 2010. As a founding member of the Worldwide Network for Gender Empowerment, Dr. DiStefano is at the forefront of advocacy for women’s and gender issues worldwide. She currently serves on Fielding’s Senate Leadership Committee.
Dr. DiStefano's specialized areas of interest are higher education leadership and governance, accreditation, educational equity, new learning environments, and feminist research. Her most recent accomplishments include:
- Commissioner and Chair, Policy and Planning Committee, Western Association of Schools & Colleges (2006-2012).
- Co-author (2010), “Leadership and Management of Online Learning Environments in Universities” in K.E. Rudestam and J. Schoenholtz-Read (Eds.) Handbook of Online Learning, 2nd edition.
- Symposium speaker (October 2009), “Leadership and Change in the Global World of the 21st Century,” King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia.
Dr. DiStefano received her Ed.D. and her M.Ed., both in counseling, from Boston University. Her undergraduate degree, an A.B. in History, was awarded by Trinity College, D.C. She was also selected as an American Council of Education Fellow (1987-1988).
Kyle HutchisonSenior Vice President and Chief of Staff
Kyle Hutchison, the longest serving employee of K&A, joined the company in 2000 and has been, since 2007, Chief of Staff; in 2010, he assumed additional responsibilities as Senior Vice President. The broad scope of his current role embraces Company strategy, priorities, coordination of our internal and external projects and activities, resource allocation, and oversight of our client relationships. As Chief of Staff, he serves as senior project manager, leading and managing K&A’s project teams; he supervises and mentors the consulting associates and is responsible for guiding and integrating the company’s work on all client projects. He works closely with the principals, senior consultants, project staff, and clients to ensure quality and effectiveness in K&A’s services. Mr. Hutchison is directly responsible for what many clients call the “K&A experience” -- the particular quality of engagement and collaboration that defines our working relationships.
A Colorado native, Mr. Hutchison took his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado in Boulder. The roots of his work with K&A extend back to earlier roles in public, community, and college health. As a devoted uncle, Kyle enjoys his nieces and nephews; as a loyal son of Colorado, he cheers for the Buffaloes.
Almeda JacksSenior Consultant
Dr. Almeda Rogers Jacks leads executive searches for K&A. Dr. Jacks and K&A have rich experience doing searches for:
- Interim and permanent Senior Student Affairs Officers (usually, Vice Presidents or Vice Chancellors)
- Associate and Assistant Vice Presidents and Vice Chancellors in Student Affairs with various portfolios and areas of responsibility
- Directors of Student Affairs departments and functional areas
- Student Affairs development officers
- Vice Presidents and Directors for Enrollment Management and/or Admissions
Dr. Jacks retired from Clemson University in 2006 after 31 years of service, including 14 years as Vice President for Student Affairs and several years teaching in the College of Education. As Vice President for Student Affairs, she had responsibility for recruiting, hiring, placing, supervising, and evaluating Associate and Assistant Vice Presidents and directors in the full spectrum of Student Affairs units. After retiring from Clemson, she served as an interim senior student affairs officer at Manhattanville College. She is a member of Blue Key, Golden Key, and other honorary societies, clubs, and organizations and has won numerous awards from Clemson and from state, regional, and national groups and organizations. She has served as an evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Dr. Jacks has one child (Errett) who is a recent graduate of her alma mater, Clemson University.
Christine PrioriSenior Consulting Associate
Christine Priori, who joined K&A in 2009, has responsibility for managing many of our most complex and interesting projects. As Consulting Associate, she leads travel teams, participates in client meetings, collects and synthesizes data, develops reports and presentations, and conducts background research. Earlier, Christine was an Account Executive at Diane von Furstenberg and an Analyst in the Fixed Income Operations division of Morgan Stanley. Christine received a Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College with a dual major in Economics and Spanish. She remains an active alumna, serving as an admissions volunteer, representative at local college fairs, and member of the Annual Fund Executive Committee.
Hazel ScottSenior Consultant
Dr. Scott retired as Vice President for Student Services at Georgia State University in 2006 to join K&A. She also served as the senior student affairs officer at both Occidental College and California Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo. Throughout her distinguished career in student affairs, Dr. Scott has consistently provided leadership and direction to the profession through her advocacy, service, and consistent focus on student learning and the quality of the student experience.
During her tenure at Georgia State, Dr. Scott initiated a comprehensive, division-wide process of developing and documenting student learning outcomes and indicators of institutional effectiveness as a core element of divisional strategy. She created both internal divisional structures and systems to support assessment and linkages to early efforts at assessment that were being developed in other sectors of the institution. Under her leadership, assessment at Georgia State became an institutional norm through a multi-year process of capacity-building, continuous improvement, and transformation of organizational culture.
Dr. Scott works with K&A on projects focused on senior institutional leadership, student affairs organizations, student programs and services, assessment of learning, divisional strategy, and diversity.
Dr. Harry B. Shucker, Consultant, served Furman University for 40 years, including 22 as Vice President for Student Services.
Throughout his career, Harry has demonstrated tireless commitment to the core roles and functions of Student Affairs -- advocacy for students, leadership development, student retention and the education and preparation of the whole student. His servant-leader approach involved providing the necessary resources to help students and professional colleagues attain their own successes and leadership positions in campus life and in the work place.
Harry is well known for his long service and contributions to the profession of student affairs, most notably in SACSA and NASPA Region III. Since retiring from Furman, he has remained active with NASPA and works with K&A on projects concerning the structure, organization, roles/responsibilities, operations of programs and services in Student Affairs.
Margaret “Peg” Spear, M.D., Consultant, has served as the Senior Director of University Health Services at Penn State for the last 18 years. Her long experience in college health and role as a surveyor for the Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) provide great strength in consultations concerning student health services. Throughout her distinguished career, Peg has contributed greatly, both in thought and advocacy, for excellent health education and health promotion programs as key, integrated components of college health programs.
Gordon WinsorSenior Consulting Associate
Gordon Winsor is a senior consulting associate and lead project manager for K&A’s executive search services. He has assisted with over twenty-five searches in the past three years, including those for senior officers in Student Affairs and/or Enrollment Management; and directors of student life programs and services, including health-related programs and services and disability offices. Prior to joining the firm in 2007, Gordon spent eight years conducting social and market research in Boston, and manages the quantitative survey research required for many K&A projects. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in research methods from the University of Rhode Island.
Cooper D. AiredaleVice President for Canine Relations
For almost 5 years, Cooper D. Airedale has served the corporate headquarters of K&A with loyalty and distinction. Whether offering opportunities for a calming interlude of petting or announcing the need for playtime with an unmistakable bark, Cooper has proved himself to be an expert at stress management, reality-testing, and causing smiles and laughter. As several of our clients know, Cooper has also been invaluable in providing explanatory metaphors and demonstrating complex abstract concepts through canine behavioral representations in the development and application of effective rubrics for the assessment of learning. He is the perfect antidote for taking things too seriously.