National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Staff & Associates

NILOA Staff:
Natasha Jankowski, Director and Research Assistant Professor, University of Illinois
Gianina Taylor Baker, Assistant Director, University of Illinois
Katie Schultz, Project Manager, University of Illinois
Erick Montenegro, Communications Coordinator and Research Analyst, University of Illinois
Verna F. Orr, Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Illinois

NILOA Senior Scholars:

George Kuh, Founding Director, Senior Scholar and Co-Principal Investigator, Indiana University
Peter Ewell, Senior Scholar, President Emeritus of the NCHEMS
Pat Hutchings, Senior Scholar
Stan Ikenberry, Co-Principal Investigator, University of Illinois
Jillian Kinzie, Senior Scholar, Associate Director, Indiana University
Paul Lingenfelter, Senior Scholar and President Emeritus, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)
David Marshall, Senior Scholar, Professor and Director of the University Honors Program, California State University San Bernardino
Nan Travers, Senior Scholar, Director of the Center for Leadership for Credentialing Learning, SUNY Empire State College.

Send an email to our team


Natasha Jankowski, Director and Research Assistant Professor with the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has presented at numerous national conferences and institutional events, and written various reports for NILOA. Her main research interests include assessment and evaluation, organizational evidence use, and evidence-based storytelling. She holds a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Kent State University, and a B.A. in philosophy from Illinois State University. She previously worked for GEAR UP Learning Centers at Western Michigan University and worked with the Office of Community College Research and Leadership studying community colleges and public policy.

Gianina Taylor Baker, Assistant Director, provides support to the Director and is assisting with the development and maintenance of partnership networks under the Lumina Foundation for Education grant at NILOA. Her main research interests include student learning outcomes assessment at Minority Serving Institutions, access and equity issues for underrepresented administrators and students, and higher education policy. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Organization & Leadership with a Higher Education concentration from the University of Illinois, a M.A. in Human Development Counseling from Saint Louis University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University. Previous to this position, she was the Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning at Richland Community College.

Katie Schultz, Project Manager, is responsible for the operation and continued development of the NILOA website and general oversight of all operational aspects of the NILOA Lumina funded program initiative. She also provides assistance to the NILOA Research Analysts and coordinates various research projects. She received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN and an EdM in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois. She previously worked for several years in accounting and finance, and her interests include finance-related topics such as higher education financing, student financial aid issues, and campus budgeting.

Erick Montenegro, Communications Coordinator & Research Analyst, is a doctoral candidate in the Education Policy, Organization and Leadership program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Erick received a dual B.S. in Marketing and Business Administration with a concentration in International Business, and an Ed.M. in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education both from the University of Illinois. His research interests include issues of equity in assessment, student learning outcomes assessment at Minority-Serving Institutions, and issues affecting access to higher education for students of color. 

Verna F. Orr, Post-Doctoral Researcher, earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the Education Policy, Organization and Leadership program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a three-time graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC. Prior to coming to NILOA, she served as Confidential Assistant to the 16th President of Howard University. Verna's research interests include student learning outcomes and accountability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), college/university presidential leadership acumen, and African American women in higher education leadership. 

NILOA Senior Scholars

George Kuh, Founding Director, Senior Scholar and Co-principal Investigator, has published more than 300 items (23 books and monographs, 75 chapters, 220 articles), and is an internationally recognized authority on assessment and improving the quality of the undergraduate experience. He has received numerous awards for his research and academic leadership from both scholarly and practitioner-based organizations. Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus of Higher Education at Indiana University, Kuh directed the IU Center for Postsecondary Research between 1999 and 2010, which attracted more than $11 million in grants and contracts during this period. He was principal or co-principal investigator for projects that accounted for $9.5 million of that work, including $3.9 million from the Pew Charitable Trusts to develop and implement the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which has been used by about 1,400 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. Kuh also has provided leadership for the development and use of other large-scale institutional improvement tools including the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, the Law Student Survey of Student Engagement, the College Student Experiences Questionnaire Assessment Program, and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project. In addition, Kuh has directed several multi-institutional studies using qualitative case study methods (such as those to be used in this proposed project), two of which resulted in major books (Involving Colleges, 1991; Student Success in College, 2005/2010).

Peter Ewell, Senior Scholar of the project, is also President Emeritus of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS). Ewell’s work focuses on assessing institutional and higher education system effectiveness and the outcomes of college, and involves both research and direct consulting with institutions and state systems on collecting and using assessment information in planning, evaluation, and budgeting. He has direct initiatives funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the National Institute for Education, the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education, the Pew Charitable Trusts. In addition, he has consulted with over 375 colleges and universities and twenty-four state systems of higher education on topics related to performance indicators and the assessment of student learning. Dr. Ewell has authored seven books and numerous articles on the topic of improving undergraduate instruction through the assessment of student outcomes. In addition, he has prepared commissioned papers for many agencies including the Education Commission of the States, the National Governors’ Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, and the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education. A graduate of Haverford College, he received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University in 1976 and was on the faculty of the University of Chicago.

Pat Hutchings is a senior scholar with the project.  Her work has focused on a variety of strategies for creating a campus culture of teaching and learning: student learning outcomes assessment, integrative learning, the peer collaboration and review of teaching, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Recent publications include The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Reconsidered: Institutional Integration and Impact, co-authored with Mary Taylor Huber and Anthony Ciccone (2011); and, as part of the NILOA team, Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education (2015).  Previously, she was with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as senior scholar and vice president, working closely with a wide range of programs and research initiatives, including the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  Hutchings received her doctorate in English from the University of Iowa, was chair of the English department at Alverno College from 1978 to 1987, and a senior staff member at the American Association for Higher Education from 1987 to 1997.

Stan Ikenberry, co-principal investigator, has had a long and visible career in American higher education as an academic leader and student of higher education policy. He held major academic and administrative posts at West Virginia University and Penn State University prior to serving as president of the University of Illinois from 1979-1995 and 2010. Ikenberry worked closely with and led the boards of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, AAU, and NASULGC. From 1996 through 2001 he served as president and chief executive officer of the American Council on Education, where he served as the national spokesperson on public policy issues related to higher education on the national level. Relevant to the particular focus of this proposal, Ikenberry is experienced in the workings of accreditation and served as co-chair of the “President’s Work Group on Accreditation” that recommended to the national higher education community the founding of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. CHEA and other accreditation groups and higher education associations have become increasingly engaged with the challenge of assessment of learning outcomes at the collegiate level.

Jillian Kinzie, Senior Scholar and Associate Director of Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research & NSSE Institute, is responsible for organizing the day-to-day activities related to the case study portion of this project. She played a similar role in managing the field research reported in Student Success in College, for which she was a senior co-author. In her role as associate director of the NSSE Institute for Effective Education Practice, she has worked with dozens of campuses to develop assessment strategies and advise on using the data to improve student learning. She was the co-principal investigator on the Teagle-funded project to evaluate the efficacy of its investment in suppporting the development and use of assessment instruments in liberal arts college settings.

Paul Lingenfelter, Senior Scholar, is the former President of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). His work focused on successful participation in higher education, accountability, and finance. Under his leadership, SHEEO organized and staffed the National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education, which in March 2005 issued its report: Accountability for Better Results: A National Imperative for Higher Education. He previously served as Vice President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he established and led the MacArthur Foundation Program on Human and Community Development. Earlier, Dr. Lingenfelter served as Deputy Director for Fiscal Affairs for the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He received an A.B. from Wheaton College in literature, an M.A. from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in higher education.

David Marshall is a Senior Scholar with the project and serves as a Professor of English and Director of the University Honors Program at California State University San Bernardino. He facilitated the Lumina Foundation-funded Tuning projects nationally from 2010 to 2016, working with states, regions and national disciplinary associations to identify essential learning within disciplines and develop strategies for campus-based engagement with the resulting learning outcomes. His research, taken from a practitioner lens, explores issues of alignment and curriculum mapping as a complex collaborative process in higher education, both within institutions and across institutions nationally. He is the author of Tuning American Higher Education: The Process and co-author of Roadmap to Enhanced Student Learning and co-editor of a special volume of New Directions in Institutional Research on Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) and Tuning. A graduate of College of the Holy Cross, he earned his Master’s degree in Medieval Studies from the University of York, England and his Ph.D. in English from Indiana University.

Dr. Nan L. Travers is a Senior Scholar and serves as the Director of the Center for Leadership for Credentialing Learning at SUNY Empire State College. Dr. Travers focuses on research, policies and practices of the recognition, validation and credentialing learning, including prior learning assessment, competency-based learning, and microcredentialing. She is widely published nationally and internationally. She has worked with many institutions to develop or improve their prior learning assessment program. She led the development of the Global Learning Qualifications Framework to assess college-level learning acquired outside of the traditional academic setting. She serves on the board for the Prior Learning International Research Consortium and is a member of the national Connecting Credentials Initiative sponsored by the Lumina Foundation and led by the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce. She serves as co-editor for the journal: PLA Inside Out: An International Journal on the Theory, Research, and Practice in Prior Learning Assessment ( Dr. Travers has also served in various administrative roles at community colleges in VT and NH.



National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
360 Education Building, College of Education
Champaign, IL 61820
Phone: 217.244.2155


If you would like a NILOA Senior Scholar to speak at your institution's/organization's event, please fill out our Speaking Engagement Request Form.