Meet Our Consultants

The RFY consulting team is committed to providing subject matter expertise to campuses on issues related to reforming the first year. They are leaders in their fields and dedicated to helping shape and enrich the RFY project. Consultants will  work closely with campus teams in this learning community to provide guidance in the review, adoption and sharing of promising practices, programs and implementation strategies aimed at improving student success.


Dr. Judith A. Ramaley


Dr. Judith A. Ramaley is President Emerita and Distinguished Professor of Public Service at Portland State University in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and President Emerita of Winona State University. From 2005-2012, she served as President of Winona State University (WSU) in Minnesota and Professor of Biology. From 2001-2004, she was Assistant Director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) at The National Science Foundation (NSF). During her NSF service, she held a presidential professorship in biomedical sciences at the University of Maine and was a Fellow of the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy. She served as a Visiting Senior Scientist at the National Academy of Sciences in 2005. Dr. Ramaley was President of The University of Vermont (UVM) and Professor of Biology from 1997 to 2001. She was President and Professor of Biology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon for seven years from 1990-1997.

Dr. Ramaley holds an appointment as a Senior Scholar with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and is a consultant on the Reimagining the First Year project at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). She is also a member of the Board of Second Nature, an organization committed to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society through the transformation of higher education and a member of the Board Campus Compact of Oregon. She has worked with preK-12/higher education collaborations for many years and has a special interest in civic and community engagement. She serves as an advisor to several projects that focus on improvements in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and a quality education for all students.

Areas of Expertise

  • organizational change
  • leadership of change
  • the design and delivery of undergraduate education
  • policy and politics of education
  • civic and community engagement
  • university-community collaboration

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Dr. Randy L. Swing

Dr. Randy L. Swing focuses on postsecondary student success, data-informed decision making, and national policy. Posts include Executive Director of the Association for Institutional Research, a nonprofit membership association serving over 4,200 members/ 1,500 postsecondary institutions (2007-2016); Co-Director and Senior Scholar at the Policy Center on the First Year of College (1999-2007), and academic advising, first-year seminar, and outcomes assessment at Appalachian State University (1980-1999). Dr. Swing is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and author of books and articles on assessment, institutional research, and student success, especially the first-year experience. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

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Dr. M.J. Bishop


Dr. M.J. Bishop is inaugural director of the University System of Maryland’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, which was established in 2013 to enhance and promote USM's position as a national leader in higher education academic innovation. The Center conducts research on best practices, disseminates findings, offers professional development opportunities for institutional faculty and administrators, and supports the 12 public institutions that are part of the system as they continue to expand innovative academic practices.

Prior to coming to USM, Dr. Bishop was Associate Professor and Director of the Lehigh University College of Education’s Teaching, Learning, and Technology Program where, in addition to being responsible for the institution’s graduate programs in instructional technology, she also played a leadership role in guiding the general and special education teacher preparation programs through a curricular overhaul to address the new Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) guidelines for teacher certification. While at Lehigh, Dr. Bishop received several awards for her research and teaching including the 2013 Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching for leading students to “excellence in their chosen field” as well as “excellence as human beings and as leaders of society.”

Areas of Expertise

  • instructional design
  • instructional technology
  • cognitive/learning sciences
  • multimedia design
  • educational research
  • project management
  • organizational change/change management
  • educational policy

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Dr. Jillian Kinzie

Dr. Jillian Kinzie is associate director of the Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute at the Indiana University School of Education. She conducts research and leads project activities on effective use of student engagement data to improve educational quality, and directs a range of learning outcomes projects in her role as senior scholar with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) project. She is co-author of Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education (2015), Student Success in College (2005/2010), One Size Does Not Fit All: Traditional and Innovative Models of Student Affairs Practice (2008/2014), and the forthcoming 2nd edition of Assessment in Student Affairs (2016). She is co-editor of New Directions in Higher Education, on the editorial board of the Journal of College Student Development and the Journal of Learning Community Research, and serves on the boards of the Washington Internship Institute and the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. Jillian was honored with a Student Choice Award for Outstanding Faculty at IU (2001), received the Robert J. Menges Honored Presentation by the Professional Organizational Development (POD) Network in 2005 and 2011, and in 2014 was named senior scholar by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). She has consulted with hundreds of institutions and higher education member organizations to increase the use of assessment results to inform improvements in undergraduate education and to enhance conditions for student success.

Areas of Expertise

  • Practices and policies that support and retain first year students
  • Effective educational practice to foster student engagement and learninf
  • Issues of teaching and learning
  • Student learning outcomes assessment
  • Student and academic affairs partnerships
  • High-Impact practices (learning communities, undergraduate research, internships, etc.
  • Advising
  • Historically underrepresented student success
  • Using data to improve undergraduate education
  • Assessment, accreditation and quality improvement

View Dr. Kinzie's Profile