Our work is grounded in our respect for the unique values and governance systems of each university or college.

With a combined 59 years of experience with fifteen of America’s largest and most complex research universities, we understand the universities and colleges we serve and the environments in which they operate. We bring expertise in:


Governance Issues

Governance issues pose unique challenges and opportunities for institutions, both for boards of consortia as well as other non-profit organizations serving higher education. Whether your board is organized “ex officio” or by volunteer effort, we understand the unique dynamics of boards of non-profit organizations serving higher education. We can help you navigate board politics and assist you in building a stronger, more engaged board.

Strategy Development And Implementation

Strategic planning in higher education frequently devolves into a formal exercise with little value to the organization. We can help you clarify your mission, identify strategies for accomplishing that mission, and design structures and processes to implement those strategies. We are adept at helping people identify and address areas of greatest positive impact, then assuring that efforts align with broad institutional mission and goals.

Relationship Management

Strong universities are built on a complex set of established and emerging relationships among and between individuals with varying interests, investment and expectations. We’ve navigated complex decision making and support networks for some of America’s leading universities.

Leadership Development

We provide consulting and advice to leaders at all levels, and can present a range of workshop sessions on leadership in higher education including; work and life balance issues; change management; maintaining strategic focus; and data-driven decision making.

Meet The Team

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Barbara McFadden (formerly Barbara McFadden Allen) recently retired as the Executive Director of the Big Ten Academic Alliance where she was responsible for leading and directing collaborative academic programs across the member universities. She served as director from 1999 to 2017, and as director of the CIC Center for Library Initiatives from 1994-1999.

McFadden developed, led and oversaw large-scale inter-institutional collaborations for the Big Ten Universities, including the creation of the OmniPop fiber optic network and the large-scale Google book scanning project.  She has published, lectured, and consulted widely on collaboration in higher education, including consultancies for the governments of Brazil and India, the British Library, the National Library of Finland, and the states of Missouri, Illinois, Virginia and Oregon. Most recently, she was a co-author of “Science Funding and Short-Term Economic Activity,” published in the journal Science. Drawing on her extensive expertise, Barb played a major role in international higher education.  She was a leading voice for the Global University Summit, a gathering of worldwide leaders held annually in conjunction with the G8 Summit. She helped organize the Summit held in the United States in 2012, was on the 2013 London planning committee, and was a delegate to the Paris (2011) and Russian (2014) Summits. She served on the boards of the Association of Consortial Leadership and the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education. 

Selected writings by Barbara McFadden
Barbara McFadden’s Curriculum Vita

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Tom Rocklin recently retired as vice president for student life at the University of Iowa. The first half of his 36-year career in higher education was as a faculty member at Texas Christian University and at the University of Iowa, teaching and conducting research in psychology. He is a fellow of Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. As an administrator at Iowa, Rocklin served as director of a teaching center, chair of his academic department, vice provost, and for almost nine years, the vice president for student life. At the University of Iowa, he is recognized for his contribution to the creation of a culture of student success that led to a ten-percentage point increase in four-year graduation rate over a ten-year period. He is also recognized for organizing and leading a remarkably effective alcohol harm reduction effort that resulted in a decrease in the incidence of high risk drinking from 70.3% to 50.5% over a seven-year period.

Selected essays by Tom Rocklin
Tom Rocklin’s Curriculum Vita

Get In Touch

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(319) 331-1951
(217) 766-1425