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How We Work2018-01-26T20:48:30+00:00

Mission

Our mission is to improve outcomes in higher education by creating change for learning.

Vision

Our primary purpose is to help colleges and universities improve the quality and quantity of student learning. We serve that purpose through the projects we do for clients, the work we do in collaboration with national organizations, and our own scholarship and writing. Every project we undertake — from academic and strategic planning to strengthening student services — is intended to support higher learning in higher learning.

Process

We’ve worked in different ways over the years to support students and their learning. From our beginning, we’ve been improving learning and outcomes for students and institutions, and we still do that. That’s our history and our future all in one.  As we grow, senior consultants with deep academic, Student Affairs, and administrative expertise strengthen and diversify our project teams. Today, K&A provides a full spectrum of consulting services to colleges and universities. Over 29 years of practice, we have worked with more than 500 institutions in North America and abroad, as well as several higher education professional organizations.

Okay, now that the business types have left, lets talk about what we really do for our day jobs. Higher Education is in trouble – we know how difficult, and how stressful and lonely, senior roles in universities have become. Even more, we know how difficult higher education, and higher learning, is to progress, achieve, and change. We all started out in this field to help students in their quest for higher learning. The challenges along the way may have deterred this goal, the red tape makes it near impossible to create real change by oneself. 

But that’s exactly what we do; beyond the buzzwords, administrative language, and pictures of us wearing suits – we are change-makers. Think of us as Agents of Change; catalysts to help bring your organization, division, or institution to the next level to best serve students, global learners in this fast-paced, crazy world.

We are an inter-professional consulting firm committed to changework. Here are the “ins and outs”. Get to know us a little better.

Our Clients

In every project we deliver, we collaboratively develop and share the mission and goals of our clients’ work — improving vision, strategy, and results in higher education. With that in mind, we prefer to think of our client relationships as partnerships devoted to achieving these common goals.

Our clients share that view; it was, in fact, a client who first used the term partnership to define their work with us. Our client relationships have always been just that — partnerships in which we call upon each other to reach our common goals. Specific projects have always had a defined lifetime — a beginning and an end — but our relationships with our clients have naturally continued in that way.

We believe that as our partnerships focus on improving vision, strategy, and results on individual campuses, we are actually contributing to strengthening those qualities in higher education as a whole. Whether you are a college or university, higher education association, not-for-profit organization or business client of K&A, our philosophy is the same. When we work together, we share our mission and goals — and we are partners.

Our Approach

Rather than emphasizing the differences and “silos” in higher education, we focus on learning as an integrated, institution-wide activity.

  • We are thoughtful, reflective, and practical.

  • We do not hesitate to address difficult issues and we do not avoid hard questions.

  • We balance respect for what is unique and inspiring about each institution of higher education with knowledge of what has worked well for other colleges and universities.

  • We make our claims and base our conclusions on good evidence; our recommendations emerge naturally and logically from our observations.

  • We work hard to ensure that changes we recommend are sensible, meaningful, and possible.

  • We enjoy our work and recognize the privilege we have as consultants; we are grateful for the confidence that creates that privilege.

  • We value the strong relationships and friendships we have developed with our clients.

  • We do not offer a formulaic or “out of the box” approach to any project; we do not template our work, and the ability to take a cross-institutional perspective based in actual campus experience is unique to K&A.

  • We blend the knowledge, experience, and skills of our senior consultants who are accomplished scholars, teachers, and administrators; working together as an ensemble, we bring a diversity of perspectives but share a common purpose.

  • In any project, a team of senior consultants and professional staff collaborates and adapts all of our intellectual assets and resources to fit the needs of the client.

Our Tools (we prefer hammer & nails, but insurance precludes use of many power tools…)

K&A has created – and used in more than 40 universities – a proprietary self-assessment process and associated tools through which individual departments, divisions, and programs can study, reflect upon, and report their own organizational effectiveness, strategic thinking, outcomes, and aspirations. This process, which includes Web-based, document, and in-person components, reduces time and resource demands for project teams on-site, gives clear voice to campus staff, and highlights internal institutional assets. K&A creates, administers, and reports analysis and results from customized surveys to gather key information in support of project goals. These surveys contribute special richness and depth to our consulting observations and ground and contextualize the findings of the project team. To support our reviews of health-related programs and services (health services, counseling and mental health centers, and health promotion and wellness programs), K&A has developed spreadsheet-based tools to calculate various utilization, capacity, and professional staff productivity indicators that inform project conclusions and recommendations.

Core Ideas That Guide Our Work

Some may view teaching and learning through a conceptual lens that sees, but confuses, them as one and the same. Using that lens, we might assume the following: if teaching occurs, learning happens. But this is a particularly blurry form of tunnel vision that reflects a serious narrowing and clouding of higher education’s purpose; it assumes that the purpose of colleges and universities is to teach, while, in fact, it is for students to learn.

To learn more about the ideas, theories, and ghost stories of K&A past, check out this page.

Core Ideas

Our Leadership Team