Executive Search

Our Executive Search practice provides colleges and universities with support that is comprehensive, focused, and characterized by open and regular communication with clients and candidates. We strive to understand the unique needs of each position in order to develop a pool of candidates that will result in a successful hire.

K&A is a comprehensive search firm. Our approach provides the benefits of a search consultant supplemented with the deep understanding of higher education priorities that comes from our extensive higher education consulting experience. We provide a consultative approach that is mission-oriented and focused on improving overall outcomes for the institution; recruiting is therefore a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

We welcome inquiries from institutions regarding searches for senior leadership positions in Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, Student Health, Counseling, Residence Life, Student Activities, Recreation, and other areas in student life. K&A focuses on leadership positions ranging from vice presidents to associate vice presidents and directors. We are happy to discuss your needs and mutually determine if we have the expertise to help you.

Our Mission

With a passion for higher education and a commitment to change for learning, K&A’s Executive Search practice supports and enhances the ability of colleges and universities to achieve their missions by providing comprehensive, customized, and focused support and services for hiring exceptionally talented leaders.

K&A Mobius Strip

We believe that the most successful searches are based on a solid understanding and appreciation of institutional priorities and goals. Only that understanding can produce the right match. We work closely with clients to find candidates who fit the mission, learning goals, characteristics, and requirements of the specific position at each distinct institution. We secure pools of strong and well-matched professionals who have the  potential to succeed in the role and, therefore, advance the mission and goals of the institution. Our long experience in higher education allows us to develop extensive, trust-based networks and relationships through which we identify and motivate the best possible candidates, including highly qualified professionals who are not (yet) looking for a new position and have not been reviewing advertisements or job announcements.

Our search projects are led by senior consultants who have served in and/or supervised the types of positions for which an institution is seeking. The combined experience and expertise of Jan Walbert, Ed.D., Jeff Ewing, M.Ed., and Richard P. Keeling, M.D., supplemented by our colleagues, Gordon Winsor and Lisa DeStephanis, forms the framework for a uniquely qualified and responsive executive search service that complements, informs, and adds value to established institutional processes.

An extensive amount of time is spent personally recruiting and networking with individuals who could succeed in the designated position. In addition to this personal outreach through our extensive network, K&A utilizes a robust marketing approach to identify and reach potential candidates.

Diversity among candidates is of the utmost importance to K&A and our clients. We understand the important role that a diverse staff, especially among senior leadership, plays in the success of all students in their academic lives and beyond. Increasing leadership opportunities for all qualified individuals is at the core of our philosophy and central to the ethics of our consulting practice. K&A has a strong track record of attracting diverse applicant pools through focused outreach and individual contact.

K&A has a long and proud history of active participation in NASPA, including our partnership on the Interim Executive Placement Service. We are also members of the ACE Executive Search Roundtable. Our participation in these organizations, in addition to others, provides additional opportunities for K&A to put our goal of “Change for Learning” into action.

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Keeling & Associates (K&A) is proud to partner with NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education to offer Interim Executive Placement Services (IEPS) to institutions seeking to fill temporary vacancies in key positions on campus. Our reliable and high-quality service is unique due to the significant executive-level leadership experience and in-depth knowledge of our senior consultants — Richard P. Keeling, M.D. ,Jan Walbert, Ed.D., and Jeff Ewing, M.Ed. Their “hands on” approach and extensive networks, coupled with NASPA’s position as the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession, come together to offer a truly innovative and effective service.

NASPA IEPS (powered by Keeling & Associates) maintains a pool of skilled and qualified higher education administrators who are available to serve in interim positions. Through a careful and conscientious process, K&A’s senior consultants work with each institution individually to define and fully understand that institution’s needs and the specific roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the interim position. We gather important information such as salary and benefits, anticipated term, portfolio and responsibility, and accountability and reporting structure of the position.

Once an institution contracts with K&A to fill an interim position, we review potential candidates in our network, conduct initial interviews and submit a short list of suitable candidates to the institution. All candidates are carefully reviewed and considered by the senior consultants for their effective alignment with the institution’s needs. We provide the candidates and institutions with as much information as possible in order to make the best decision. It is ultimately the responsibility of the selected interim administrator and the institution to negotiate and agree to the final details of the assignment.


Employers: Institutions seeking to fill a senior leadership position for a specified period of time may benefit from selecting an interim candidate for the position. For more information, please visit the Employers section of the NASPA IEPS website. Questions? Contact us at ieps@keelingassociates.com.

• Candidates: Do you have executive or senior-level leadership experience in higher education or specifically in student affairs? Are you interested and available to consider serving as an interim senior executive? If so, we invite you to submit your information to be included in our