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ROBERT ZEMSKY has spent his career at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on how best to keep universities true to their missions while at the same time remaining market smart. He currently serves as chair of The Learning Alliance, a broad coalition of experts assisting institutions of higher learning in striking the balance between market success and public mission.  He also is currently a Senior Scholar for the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (Penn AHEAD) at Penn GSE.

At Penn, Prof. Zemsky serves as the university's chief planning officer and is the founding director of the university's Institute for Research on Higher Education, one of the country's major public policy centers specializing in educational research and analysis. In his research, Prof. Zemsky pioneered the use of market analyses for higher education. Something of a contrarian, Prof. Zemsky recently described himself in the Chronicle of Higher Education as being "old and round enough to be mistaken for a pooh-bah." He was a member of the Secretary of Education's National Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He has forcefully argued that colleges and universities need to be transformed from within. He has focused on what globalism might really mean for higher education, on what technology has not accomplished, and on how to make learning important in the higher education marketplace.

Prof. Zemsky is the author of several books, including Remaking the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered with Gregory Wegner and William Massy (2005) and Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education (2009). In 1998 he received a Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon.) from Towson University and in 2008 a Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon.) from Franklin and Marshall College. He holds a B.A. from Whittier College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

WATSON SCOTT SWAIL is President & CEO of the Educational Policy Institute, is recognized internationally for his research on retention of under-represented students in higher education and has published extensively in national journals and publications. He is considered an expert in the areas of college access, financial aid, and college student retention and persistence. Dr. Swail is well published in these areas, including 2003’s Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education (Jossey-Bass) and his new book, Finding Superman: Debating the Future of Public Education in America, released in June 2012 by Teachers College Press. He is currently working on his next retention book and also another higher education book, The ROI of Higher Education.

Prior to establishing EPI, Dr. Swail served as the Founding Director of The Pell Institute and Vice President of the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, DC. He previously served as senior policy analyst with SRI International and associate director for policy analysis with the College Board. While with the Board, Dr. Swail co-directed the Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports released in the U.S. each fall.

Dr. Swail earned an Ed.D. in Educational Policy at the George Washington University, an M.S. at Old Dominion University, and a B.Ed. from the University of Manitoba.

ZORA MULLIGAN is the Commissioner of Higher Education for Missouri. Ms. Mulligan served as assistant commissioner, general counsel, and legislative liaison for the Missouri Department of Higher Education from 2007 to 2010. During that time, she participated in the development of the state’s coordinated plan for higher education; assisted in establishing policies to implement landmark higher education legislation, including a new need-based financial aid program; and conducted a review of the state’s public college and university facilities to develop a process for prioritizing capital projects.

Ms. Mulligan served as the executive director of the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) from 2010 to 2014. Most recently, Mulligan was the chief of staff for the University of Missouri System. In that role, she advised the president, coordinated activities that involved multiple departments within the system office and multiple campuses within the four-campus system, and assisted with the ongoing implementation of the system’s strategic plan.

She holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from Drury College and a master’s degree in education and juris doctor from the University of Kansas.

JAY GOFF is vice president for enrollment and retention management at Saint Louis University, where he oversees undergraduate and graduate admission, student financial services, student educational services, TRIO programs, international services, enrollment outreach and territory development and the office of the registrar. With over 20 years experience in university enrollment, strategic planning and communication programs, Mr. Goff’s mission-centric approach has achieved record enrollments, retention, diversity and graduation rates. He has focused on building a team oriented and data driven division that stresses service focused student success plans.

Prior to SLU, Mr. Goff was the vice provost and dean of enrollment management at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri for over ten years.  His leadership at Missouri S&T has been credited with raising the national academic profile of the student body, increasing enrollment by nearly 60 percent, setting institutional records for diversity and student success rates, in addition to other milestones for the research intensive school. Mr. Goff has consulted with over 30 institutions in eight countries and has served as the national coordinator of AACRAO’s strategic enrollment management conference for four-year colleges and universities since 2009.

Mr. Goff has served as the Missouri representative to the ACT testing services Board of Directors since 2004 and was a member of ACT’s national education advisory board.  He is also on the board of directors for the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington D.C. Mr. Goff earned his master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Southeast Missouri State University.


JILLIAN KINZIE is the Associate Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research & NSSE Institute at Indiana University. Her center coordinates the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Dr. Kinzie Jillian is interested in understanding how institutions use student engagement data and other assessment results to inform improvement efforts in undergraduate education; differences in student engagement by gender, race-ethnicity, and first-generation status; and assessing the impact of programs and practices designed to support student success (learning communities, undergraduate research, service-learning, etc.). 

Dr. Kinzie received her PhD from Indiana University in higher education with a minor in women's studies.


CHRIS SHAFFER serves as Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. In this role, Mr. Shaffer works for the provost on strategic initiatives such as operational review, economic development, grants, and governmental reporting. He is an expert data analyst and authority of Tableau software.

Prior to joining Shawnee State University, Mr. Shaffer worked as a program manager and state alternate for the governor of the state of Ohio to the Appalachian Regional Commission, regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. He was also the operations manager in the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Mr. Shaffer was recently appointed by Governor John Kasich to the state commission of service and volunteerism, ServeOhio.

Mr. Shaffer is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served as the platoon leader of a field artillery platoon. He received his undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his M.B.A. at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus.

NEAL RAISMAN is a leading authority and consultant on customer service and retention in higher education. Dr. Raisman’s best selling books such as The Power Of Retention: More Customer Service In Higher Education, have been purchased by 63 percent of all colleges in the U.S. In 2012 the Educational Policy Institute published another Policy Perspectives by Dr. Raisman titled The Cost of College Attrition at Four-Year Colleges & Universities.

Dr. Raisman’s work in customer service began in 1999 when hired to figure out why a large multi-campus college was losing students. Dr. Raisman has worked with over 400 colleges in the United States, Canada, and Europe to research and solve customer service issues. He also works with corporations and businesses that wish to better understand the higher ed market and students.

Raisman is a highly sought after speaker, trainer, consultant, researcher, and marketer on customer service. His firm, N.Raisman & Associates, is the leading customer service consulting group for retention, enrollment, morale, and marketing for higher education and businesses that work with colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe. MAPS’ technological solutions include the award and enrollment winning Leadwise personalization system plus web re-designs and analysis. His customer service and retention blog with its discussions of recent research and solutions to customer service issues is very popular and read by over 2,000 colleges, universities and business that work with academia each week.

Raisman has a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in neurolinguistics, was a Fulbright Fellow in France, has published five books and over 300 articles.