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 based in New York City. 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.
Richard HershSenior Consultant
Dick Hersh, a Senior Consultant with K&A since 2006, has served as President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Trinity College, Hartford; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of New Hampshire and at Drake University; and Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Oregon. Earlier in his career, Dr. Hersh also served as Director of The Center for Moral Education at Harvard University, was a professor and dean in teacher education, and taught high school.
He was a member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Greater Expectations national advisory panel and served as Co-Director of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA). Those projects created an innovative approach to measuring and assessing net gains in student learning at the college and high school levels.
Dr. Hersh has written much about the importance of a liberal arts education in the 21st century. His 1999 Daedalus article, “Generating Ideals and Transforming Lives” and his book “Promoting Moral Growth” are in use on many campuses. Dr. Hersh worked on and appeared in the two-hour PBS documentary “Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk” and co-edited the accompanying book by the same title (Palgrave Macmillan, publishers). The November 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly featured an article by Dr. Hersh, “What Do Colleges Teach?” about measuring student learning.
Dr. Hersh received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering and education from Syracuse University and his doctorate in education from Boston University. When not engaged with academic and institutional strategy, learning assessment and faculty development projects with K&A, Dr. Hersh enjoys sailing, travel, and a never ending search for the world’s best pizza.
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.
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.
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.
Almeda R. 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.
Edward G. Whipple
Dr. Edward Whipple brings expertise in general higher education administration, especially student affairs programs and services, and leads K&A’s consultative services concerning athletics, Greek letter organizations, and global learning. His work on campus focused on student success, academic quality, and institutional effectiveness. He served for 22 years as a Vice President for Student Affairs, at Bowling Green State University and at Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University-Billings). In 2011/2012, he was a Senior Fellow for NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Eduction, in Washington, DC.
Dr. Whipple has published books, chapters, and articles on student services, student learning, and student success, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. His scholarship on Greek Life addresses Greek values and attitudes, comparisons of Black and White Greeks, and diversity in college fraternities and sororities. Dr. Whipple has worked with NCAA Division I and Division II athletic programs in the areas of budget, personnel, and student-athlete welfare. He has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings regarding student affairs programs and services, worked with graduate students abroad, and has taught foreign language courses.
Dr. Whipple’s experience includes not only Student Affairs administration and leadership, but also teaching. He brings a strong commitment to integrative learning across the college experience.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Travel Coordinator and Project Assistant
Jay Brenneman was delighted to accept a position with K&A in August 2008 after establishing a working relationship with Dr. Keeling and Mr. Engstrom over previous years. His responsibilities include travel planning and logistics, reception, special event production, copyediting, the putting-out of small fires, general office management and problem solving, research, and project support.
Jay’s studies at University of California at Irvine prepared him for the variety of office work he encountered in Silicon Valley at the height of its growth, including in human resources at Broadvision and logistics at Intuit, as well as arts administration at Limón West Dance Project. In New York, he pursued work in the hospitality industry, culminating with his work at Danny Meyer’s Michelin-starred restaurant at MoMA, The Modern.
Also a dancer from the age of five, Jay has employed his skills as a communicator to both artistic and administrative work. His extensive performance resumé includes national and international tours, and he continues to teach and choreograph. During a 2011 hiatus from K&A, he performed with Limón Dance Company in Mexico and New York. He currently performs with modern dance company Riedel Dance Theater.