Our Team

Principals, Advisors & Consultants

Richard Gaumer
Principal and CFO

Richard (Rick) Gaumer has a long and distinguished career in business and higher education. He has more than 25 years’ experience in a variety of private sector financial leadership positions and more than 40 years of teaching experience in higher education.

Early in his career, Rick learned to apply best practice solutions inside a Fortune 100-sized business as a divisional controller for Kohler Co. and has since applied those practices to the higher education industry. More recently, he has served as CFO at Emory & Henry College (VA) and VP for Finance and Strategy for Lyon College (AR). Rick holds a master’s degree in Management from UW Milwaukee, a bachelor’s in business administration from Lakeland University, the CPA license (WI), and the Certified Fraud Examiner designation from the ACFE.

W. Joseph King
Principal and Senior Advisor

Joseph (Joey) King is recent past president of Lyon College and previously served as senior advisor to the president of Emory & Henry College. As executive director of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, he helped almost 140 liberal arts colleges integrate inquiry, pedagogy, and technology to become more strategic and innovative. Similarly, as vice president of innovation at Southwestern University, he focused on strategic opportunities. As executive director of Connexions at Rice University, he led the first large-scale open education initiative.

In addition to his work in academe, Joey is a serial entrepreneur who has worked in leadership positions at several technology companies. He holds a doctorate in human-computer interaction from the University of Washington and has extensive experience on governance boards

Brian Mitchell
Managing Principal and President

Brian C. Mitchell’s leadership roles in higher education include serving as president of Bucknell University, Washington & Jefferson College, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. He has served in numerous leadership and governance roles in higher education, including chair of the board of Merrimack College, chair of the Pennsylvania Committee for the Rhodes Scholarships, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and the Patriot League Athletic Conference (Division I).

With his Academic Innovators colleague W. Joseph King, he co-authored the Amazon best-seller, How to Run a College: A Practical Guide for Trustees, Faculty, Administrators, and Policymakers (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018). Their second book, Leadership Matters: Confronting the Hard Choices facing Higher Education, will be released by JHU Press in January, 2022.

Our principals are supported by a team of professionals with extensive experience in higher education who provide subject matter expertise in crafting solutions for our clients.

Their areas of expertise include:

  • enrollment management
  • student services and retention
  • strategic planning
  • technology and online learning
  • shared services
  • administrative management
  • legal counsel
Jeffrey Arnold
As Executive Director of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, Jeff Arnold has created Strategic Partnership Program with higher education service providers and launched a consulting network for member presidents. Earlier in his higher education career, Jeff has held leadership positions in business strategy, finance, and marketing in a range of corporate and consulting firms.
Eric Blacknall
Eric has more than 25 years of success in diverse educational settings. He has developed and implemented reliable methods to support institutional success, especially with the goal of increasing recruitment and retention outcomes, timely graduation rates, and career readiness.
Richard Creehan
Rick has more than 36 years of experience in higher education as a director of athletics, senior executive for enrollment, university president, and trustee. A nationally recognized enrollment advisor, he developed an Admissions/Yield model used by countless colleges.
Kenneth Hartman
An educational entrepreneur, Ken has served as a university president, professor, senior academic administrator, and consultant to for-profit companies and investors in the higher education sector. As president of Drexel University Online, he was responsible for the operation and fiscal performance of a multi-million dollar organization that served more than 8,000 adult learners in over 100 online degree programs.
Corey Hebert, MD
Corey Hebert MD has more than 25 years of experience in global health systems management as well as creating innovative solution-based platforms in the university health care space. He is the Chief Medical Officer of Dillard University and a Professor at both Tulane University and Louisiana State University. An accomplished researcher, author, and Emmy award-winning medical broadcast journalist, Dr. Hebert is the founder and CEO of College Health TV, the largest provider of health information for colleges and universities in the US.
Bryan Hooper
As Information Technology Director, Bryan Hooper equips religious and secular nonprofits with internet-based tools to enhance their missions. With a background in religious leadership and computer science, Bryan has a unique understanding of the challenges facing nonprofit executives as they adapt to ever-evolving technologies and trends. A native Texan, Bryan presently resides in Vermont.
Vikas Mehrotra
A senior consulting leader managing and delivering complex business analytics projects, Vikas helps colleges and universities succeed by using innovative business strategies driven by advanced analytical approaches and techniques. He has over 25 years of business management, analytics, technology, and strategic experience across multiple industries.
Gerard O'Sullivan, Ph.D.
Gerry is a seasoned higher education professional with over thirty-five years of experience serving mission-driven private independent colleges and universities. His areas of expertise include strategic financial forecasting, strategic planning and budgeting, accreditation and compliance, curriculum development, digital teaching and learning, and the design and implementation of operational systems and virtual mergers to enhance institutional quality while reducing costs.
David Proulx
Drawing on more than 25 years of experience in higher education, David Proulx is interim president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). His previous roles include senior finance leadership positions at RISD, Franklin & Marshall College, and the University of New Hampshire. Dave's board service includes Commissioner at the New England Commission of Higher Education, an officer of The Boston Consortium and a board member of the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers.
Shawn Rice
With extensive experience providing counsel on general business matters and mergers & acquisitions, Shawn provides counsel and strategic direction, guiding clients through transactional matters, such as joint ventures and partnerships, corporate governance, real estate matters, and contracts.
Dana Schroeder
Dana is an experienced communications professional who has worked with a variety of organizations ranging from Fortune 100 companies to seed round startups. She has helped establish emerging brands, built and executed dynamic thought leadership programs, and managed strategic communications in highly complex and regulated environments.
Robert Scott
Having served as a president of two higher education institutions, Dr. Scott is an expert on governance, leadership development, and succession planning. He advises boards and presidents on best practices in board governance, organization, and strategic planning.
Edward Steinmetz, Jr.
In more than 30 years at the University of Scranton, Ed has served most recently as Senior Vice President for Finance and Treasurer and is a member of the President's Cabinet. An active member of the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers, he also has served on state-wide higher education evaluation teams.
Harold G. Washington
An experienced entrepreneur, Harold was instrumental in developing a public-private partnership with 118 HBCUs to deliver technology to students and colleges. He also has helped HBCUs diversify their student body and increase tuition revenue by expanding their international enrollment.