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Upcoming Events

2023 NACUBO Planning, Budgeting, and Analytics Forum

September 25, 2023
Time: 2:15 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Leveraging Academic Data and Processes in Financial Sustainability Efforts

Finance leaders know the days of traditional budget cutting can no longer be the sole method for achieving strong institutional financial health and sustainability. Institutions must now understand their revenue and cost drivers and learn how programs and activities are generating a return on investment in terms of people, time, and money.

Robin Stanco from Washington State University Tri-Cities and Sue Callahan from Anne Arundel Community College will join rpk’s Rilie Sibold to share their success in moving institutions to an ROI lens. That success required understanding 1) student demand, 2) activity and cost drivers, and 3) net revenue. In addition, the use case examples will include the impact on institutional culture and the creation of processes to monitor return on investment over time.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Create and track key performance indicators that support an ROI lens
  • Engage across stakeholders to create transparency, common language, and improved data and a shift to data-informed decision making
  • Impact culture and support a more sustainable business model

Rilie Sibold is an Associate with rpk GROUP. For more than 10 years prior to joining rpk, Rilie worked in Kansas institutions of higher education leading sustainability and innovation efforts at university, technical, and community colleges. Her work connected academic and business models through revenue and cost analysis, and an understanding of student/employer demand and markets. As an Associate, she supports our clients in fulfilling mission and student success under a sustainable financial model.

Susan Callahan was named Budget and Resource Planning Director at Anne Arundel Community College in February 2010. She is responsible for the development and management of the college’s operating and capital budgets, including compliance and reporting as well as strategic guidance and financial modeling to evaluate the financial viability of college programs and initiatives. Under her leadership, the budget office has undergone an operational transformation shifting from mainly transactional support to strategic direction and decision support. Ms. Callahan serves on several college-wide committees, including the Strategic Planning Council, Institutional Assessment Team, and Data Governance Council.

Robin Stanco is the Director of Finance for Washington State University Tri-Cities. After graduating from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration/Accounting, she began her career working as a CPA in San Francisco and later in New York City. She went on to work in the non-profit and governmental industries and finally landed in higher education. In 2012, when working for Franklin County, Washington, she uncovered an employee fraud that at the time, was the largest municipal fraud in the history of Washington State. She has been with Washington State University for 6 years now and enjoys every minute of it.

2023 EACUBO Annual Meeting

October 24, 2023
Time: 10:45 am - 11:45 am
Location: Montreal, Canada

Finding the Ideal Strategic Partner – Best Practice

Higher education has historically been reluctant to consider partnerships, due in part to a belief that all academic and administrative service needs are unique to an institution. Recent enrollment and revenue challenges have made higher education leaders more open to opportunities in strategic partnerships. But what does that process look like? And how can leaders engage others to gain support?

Richard Hannmann, CFO of Excelsior University, will join rpk’s Rick Staisloff to share a case study around Excelsior University’s recent proactive strategic partnership journey in support of its growth strategy.

Attendees will learn:

  • The range of partnership options available to institutions
  • The “go/no go” milestones associated with partnership consideration
  • Common due diligence steps
  • Common pitfalls to be avoided
  • How to engage around the partnership question with boards, senior team members, and ultimately faculty and staff

Richard Staisloff is the founder and Senior Partner of rpk GROUP, a leading national consulting firm supporting colleges, universities, and other non-profits with their growth and reallocation strategies. rpk GROUP emerged from two decades of leadership positions in the higher education sector, where Mr. Staisloff developed his expertise in finance and higher education from the perspective of public and private, two- and four-year institutions, higher education commissions, and State legislatures.

Richard Hannmann has spent four decades supporting organizations as a certified public accountant, certified information systems auditor, and certified government financial manager. He currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Excelsior University. Prior to that, Richard served as a partner at KPMG.

Recent Webinars

Campus Economics: Adopting a New Mental Model for Higher Education Finance

June 28, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: Zoom

Higher education leaders increasingly find that their institutional business model is unresponsive to the needs of the market they serve.  The academic portfolio of programs does not reflect demand from students and employers.  And students question the value of the degree given the time and cost to obtain it and the perceived outcomes that result. Compounding the problem, faculty and staff delivering programs and services lack the mental model and language necessary to support needed change to achieve a sustainable model.

Join us on June 28 as rpk’s Founder Rick Staisloff discusses higher education’s current business models and their responsiveness to a changing market with Sandy Baum, nonresident senior fellow in the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute and professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College.

Rick and Sandy will engage around these key topics:

  • In what ways is the long-standing business model(s) in higher education able to address current needs of students and employers, and how might that model need to change?
  • What hinders the move to greater transparency and accountability across stakeholders serving higher education?
  • How might a shift to more economic thinking impact current debates around free education, cost structures, and outcomes in higher education?

Across all of these topics, Rick will share from rpk’s use cases, and Sandy will share from her most recent publication Campus Economics, How Economic Thinking Can Help Improve College and University Decisions.

Register here!


Higher Education’s Arrival at Strategic Partnerships

April 19, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Higher Education has historically been reluctant to engage in strategic partnerships, based in large part on a mistaken belief that all programs and services must be directly delivered by an institution in service to a unique mission, culture and student population.  That resistance is beginning to erode, however, as institutions recognize the potential for both cost savings and expansion of programs and services under strategic partnership models.

Join us on April 19 as rpk’s Founder Rick Staisloff discusses the shift toward strategic partnerships with John MacIntosh, Managing Partner at SeaChange.  SeaChange helps nonprofits apply quantitative approaches to current challenges –  including grant-making in support of mergers and sustained collaboration.

Rick and John will engage around these key topics:

  • Where does higher education’s historic reluctance to consider strategic partnerships come from, and what’s driving the current openness to these partnerships?
  • What are some common factors behind successful partnerships, and what pitfalls should be avoided?
  • How might leadership begin a conversation around strategic partnerships with their senior teams and boards?

Across all of these topics, John and Rick will share from rpk’s and SeaChange’s use cases in supporting institutions with a move toward strategic partnerships.

Register here.

Higher Education’s Shift to Strategic Finance

November 9, 2022
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: Zoom

Higher Education’s Shift to Strategic Finance

We’re excited for our next Webinar Wednesday installment on November 9th at 1 p.m. ET! We’ll be discussing the application of a strategic finance lens in higher education, and the forces that support and create obstacles to this shift.

Joining us will be one of our great partners in the work:
Matthew Crellin, Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Matt will share from his deep experience in championing and doing the hard work around strategic finance. We’ll plan to touch upon existing capacity around strategic finance, the levers that impact that capacity, and use cases that encourage our belief that higher education is increasingly adopting strategic finance best practice.

There are great lessons for all of higher education in Matt’s experiences, but this session is especially relevant for institutions and senior higher education leaders who recognize that the time for change is now.

Opening the Doors: The Business Model Case for New Student Access & Success Strategies

June 15, 2022
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

We’re excited about our next Webinar Wednesday installment on June 15!

We’ll be discussing the business model behind student access and success strategies to attract new student populations as the demographic cliff approaches. We will be joined by individuals who are already doing the hard work to address this challenge, including:

– Luke Dowden, Chief Online Learning Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor, Alamo Colleges District
– Cristen Moore, Independent Consultant to HCM Strategists

Cristen and Luke will share from their own experiences designing strategies to attract, enroll and support new student populations through transfer agreements and adult-centered enrollment approaches. This conversation will center these approaches in the current enrollment landscape, discuss the financial sustainability of these approaches, and identify the challenges and best practice in moving to action.

There are great lessons for all of higher education in their experiences, but this session is especially relevant for institutions and senior higher education looking to diversity their enrollment management strategies in response to shifting enrollment patterns.

Creating Sustainable Business Models – Acting from Urgency (Not Panic)

April 20, 2022
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

We’re excited for our next Webinar Wednesday installment on April 20!

We’ll be discussing the critical decisions higher education must make to move toward sustainable business models. And we will be joined by individuals who are doing the hard work, including:

Charles Ambrose, Chancellor, Henderson State University
– William Reuter, Special Advisor, SUNY Erie, and previous Interim President and Chief Administrative and Financial Officer

Chuck and Bill will share from their own experiences of moving boldly to change the business model.  This conversation will touch on approaches to understand current state, best practice in moving to action, and strategies for engaging all stakeholders.  There are great lessons for all of higher education in their experiences, but this session is especially relevant for institutions and senior higher education leaders who recognize that the time for change is now.

Centering Academic Affairs in the Higher Education Business Model

February 16, 2022
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

We’re excited for our next Webinar Wednesday installment on February 16. We’ll be discussing the importance of ensuring alignment between academic program offerings and the institutional business model. We will be joined by two individuals who have done, or are working on doing, exactly that:

– Terry Brown, Vice President of Academic Innovation and Transformation for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
– Howard Smith, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Pittsburg State University

Terry and Howard will share from their own experiences of understanding academic program return on investment, how the academic portfolio at institutions connects into the overall institutional strategy and business model, and the challenges around culture change that are necessary as program and portfolio management becomes more data-driven. There are great lessons for all of higher education in their experiences, but this session is especially relevant for institutions and higher education leaders wrestling with how to adjust academic offerings in response to changing student needs and shifting enrollment patterns.

Transformation at Scale

October 13, 2021
Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Location: Online

We’re excited for our next Webinar Wednesday installment on October 13. We’ll be discussing Transformation at Scale and will be joined by two great leaders in the field:

– Dr. Barbara Bichelmeyer, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, University of Kansas
– Dr. Yasmine Ziesler, Chief Academic Officer, Vermont State Colleges System

Barbara and Yasmine will be sharing their stories of transformation across institutions and systems. There are great lessons for all of higher education in their initiatives – especially given that they were achieved in the midst of a pandemic.

Save your spot to learn more about:

– Reallocating existing resources toward new shared future vision.
– Moving toward change at scale.
– Securing faculty and staff buy in for bold change.
– Adopting an ROI approach at your own institution, with an emphasis on moving successfully from post-pandemic survival to recovery to sustainability.

Past Events

2023 SCUP Annual Conference

July 31, 2023
Time: 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Community College Integrated Planning Efforts Begin to Bear Fruit

Now more than ever, thoughtful, and actionable planning is essential for community college health. Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) recently went through an internal review and emerged with a roadmap to financial sustainability, good stewardship, and culture change.

AACC leadership will join rpk’s Mike Daly in a discussion around AACC’s recent experience implementing a multi-year journey of integrated planning, covering academic and administrative areas. What worked? What didn’t work?

Attendees will learn:

  • The initial steps in the integrated planning process
  • How to leverage existing opportunities to support the planning process
  • Why it’s necessary to prioritize inclusivity in the process
  • Strategies for measuring outcomes

Mike Daly is a Senior Associate at rpk GROUP, a leading national consulting firm supporting colleges, universities, and other non-profits with their growth and reallocation strategies. Mike joined rpk with years of experience focused on sustainable student success honed through his work in both systems and community colleges. At rpk Mike continues to support institutions across higher education with sustainability and change management.

Melissa A. Beardmore was named vice president for Learning Resources Management at Anne Arundel Community College in May 2008 after serving as acting vice president for a year. Prior to that, she was the college’s executive director of Finance. As vice president, she manages and is responsible for the college’s operating and capital budgets and provides leadership on a number of issues including the development, implementation, and assessment of the college’s strategic plan.

Dr. Tanya Millner has worked for 29 years in nearly all capacities in higher education and is currently the Provost/Vice President for Learning at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) overseeing five schools of study. This role includes supporting strategic planning, learning advancement, research, and institutional effectiveness. She is also responsible for learning outcomes assessment and program reviews, instructional and curricular planning, faculty hiring, promotion and tenure, and budget management.

2023 AASCU Academic Affairs Summer Meeting

July 20, 2023
All-day event
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Allocating Resources to Scale and Sustain Digital Learning and Student-Centered Initiatives

Institutional leaders considering transformational teaching and learning initiatives in a dynamically shifting higher education landscape do not lack choices. What is not always present is an intentional plan of action to realize and sustain the intended outcomes of new instructional models and student-centered programs. Widening the approach from ‘this is what we are going to do’ to include ‘here is how we are going to do it’ requires a nuanced understanding of how stakeholders, strategy, timing, resources, and metrics are interconnected.


  • Mark McBride, Associate Director, Ithaka S+R
  • Dawn Eckenrode, Director of Professional Development Center, SUNY Fredonia
  • Seana Logsdon, Associate Provost for Student Success, Empire State College
  • Tony DeFranco, Director of Operations, SUNY OER Services, State University of New York (SUNY) System
  • Donna Desrochers, Senior Associate, rpk GROUP

Hear lessons learned about various sustainable business models behind new student-centered initiatives, including open educational resources (OER), competency-based education (CBE), and credit for prior learning (CPL). This will include cohort experiences from SUNY as well as other systems and institutions that implemented these models.

Attendees will gain a unique lens of best practices for creating sustainable student success initiatives, including:

• Understanding the business model behind new student-centered initiatives
• Prioritizing investment across various student success initiatives
• Considering, people, time, and money when evaluating initiative resource needs
• Developing frameworks and metrics that support monitoring of initiatives over time
• Use of cohort-based models to move to scale

Throughout the session, presenters will share industry use cases. In addition, participants will benefit from robust peer-to-peer learning.

2023 NASPA Annual Conference

April 4, 2023
Time: 10:00 am - 10:50 am
Location: Boston, MA

Holistic Advising Redesign: Actionable Strategies for Campus Leaders & Tools to Make the Business Case for Campus Investment

– Donna Desrochers, Senior Associate at rpk GROUP
– Lynn Brabender, Director of Student Success and Supervision at American Association of State College and Universities (AASCU)

Decisions around holistic advising redesign can require significant investment of institutional resources. It is critical for institutional leaders to consider how these investments could impact their institution’s overall business model as they make critical resource allocation decisions.

During this session, the presenters will share key principles for prioritizing and governing new advising initiatives and explain the business model case for these investments.

Attendees will learn about an advising sustainability framework to implement transformative and sustainable change, along with access to other resources and tools—including a financial model—to guide their campus redesign efforts.

DREAM 2023 (Achieving the Dream)

February 15, 2023
Time: 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Data & Communication-based Strategies for Scaling Adult Learner Enrollment: Lessons from the PACCE Initiative

Community colleges across the country continue to implement innovative strategies to increase the enrollment of adult learners. This session will share some of the adult learner enrollment strategies implemented by the 20 colleges in Achieving the Dream’s Prioritizing Adult Community College Enrollment (PACCE) grant.

During the session, speakers will share how behavioral science can help your college refine your recruitment and enrollment strategies with adult learner needs and strengths at the center of the process. We’ll then share how a return on investment analysis can help prepare for scaling, sustaining, and communicating your adult learner enrollment strategies.

Donna Desrochers, Senior Associate, will present during this session.

2022 Higher Education Government Relations Conference

November 30, 2022
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C.

The Lingering Impact of HEERF on Campuses and Students

The session will highlight some of the uses of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) I, II, and III resources. Panelists will examine the past, present, and future uses of funding. They will also discuss campuses’ experiences with shifting flexibility in the use of funds, on the one hand, and the built-in limitations on the other.

Moderator: Mark Browning, President – Blue Mountain Community College


  • Rick Staisloff, Founder and Senior Partner, rpk GROUP
  • Amanda Winters, Program Director, Post-Secondary Education, National Governors Association

2022 EACUBO Annual Meeting

October 30, 2022 - November 2, 2022
Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: New York City

Moving Toward Sustainable Transformation

Higher education leadership often talks about transformation as a goal. But what does transformation look like when it is achieved? And how can transformation efforts become sustainable?

Laura Casamento, President of Utica University, will join rpk’s Rick Staisloff to share a case study demonstrating the impact of their move to a return on investment lens. That lens, including transformation of the academic portfolio and administrative services, has now been in place 3 years.

Attendees will learn:

– How to apply an ROI lens to academic and administrative operations
– Apply best practice for engaging all institutional stakeholders in the creation of sustainable transformation
– Learn how to adopt a change management approach in moving toward sustainable business models

Richard Staisloff is the founder and Senior Partner of rpk GROUP, a leading national consulting firm supporting institutions with their growth and reallocation strategies. rpk GROUP emerged from two decades of leadership positions in the higher education sector, where Mr. Staisloff developed his expertise in finance and higher education from the perspective of public and private, two- and four-year institutions, higher education commissions, and State legislatures.

Laura Casamento became the ninth president of Utica University in 2016. She is the first woman to serve as president. Prior to joining Utica College in 2004 as VP for Institutional Advancement, she was president and chief operating officer of Herkimer County Trust, an independently owned, state chartered bank located in central New York.

NACUBO 2022 Planning, Budgeting, and Analytics Forum

September 18, 2022
Time: 10:45 am - 11:45 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Attaining System Goals Through Strategic Operational Planning

Join one team on their journey from analysis to building a transformative operational plan. This session will lay out and review the goals, steps taken, analysis, the operational plan, and its outcomes. The exposition will be followed by an interview that will dive into the impact of analysis and planning on the institution-wide system.


  • Lorenzo Esters, chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis
  • Katie Hagan, principal, rpk GROUP

NACUBO 2022 Annual Meeting

July 16, 2022 - July 19, 2022
All-day event
Location: Denver, CO and online

Transformation at Scale in Higher Education

Rick Staisloff, rpk’s Founder and Senior Partner, will lead this session featuring expert insights on the necessary conditions to achieve transformation at scale. Barbara Bichelmeyer (Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of University of Kansas) and Yasmine Ziesler (Chief Academic Officer, Vermont State Colleges System) will present use cases showing the challenges faced and solutions created in achieving bold change at an institution and system level. Particular attention will be given to the use of an ROI lens, and how to build capacity for ROI thinking across faculty and staff.

KU’s transformation spanned its academic portfolio and the achievement of new efficiencies, the development of new shared service models for the delivery of administrative services, and a revised resource allocation model. The VSCS story includes the consolidation of all the four year colleges/universities into a single institution.

The session will include small group exercises and Q and A for the speakers.

EACUBO 2022 Spring Gathering: Building Toward a Post Pandemic Future

March 28, 2022
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Building Toward a Post Pandemic Future

Institutions are increasingly considering how to move toward a post-pandemic future. Colleges that have shown the courage to do the hard work around academic and administrative offerings are now well positioned to emerge stronger in 2022. This session will share proven best practice for adopting a sustainable business model, including streamlining academic portfolios, reinvesting in high growth/high revenue programs, creating efficiencies in administrative service delivery, and creating data-informed culture to support change.

Richard Staisloff, rpk GROUP’s founder and Senior Partner, will be joined by Kathleen Hetherington, President Emeritus of Howard Community College in this session, where they also will share a case study demonstrating the use of a strategic finance lens to drive transformation.

rpk Office Hours

March 16, 2022
Time: 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Location: Online

Looking for a safe space to talk about strategy with your peers? Interested in solving problems instead of just admiring them?

Then you’ll want to join rpk for its next Office Hours segment on March 16, starting at 5 p.m. ET.

We had a great opening session in January, with engagement from leaders across higher education.

In March, we’ll explore what it takes to move from optimization to transformation. Our team can’t wait to see where the conversation takes us.

Learn more and save your spot here.