Donald E. Fouts, Ph.D.

Don FoutsDr. Fouts is director and senior fellow at the McKendree University Center for Higher Education Management. Throughout his career, he has been active in public and private higher education governance at both the state and national levels. Fouts served previously for twenty years as president of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. He has also served on the boards of Southern Illinois University and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and as the private sector representative to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

He has taught at Northern Illinois University and Western Illinois University and lectured at DePaul University, Loyola University and the University of Chicago. Most recently he served as professor and director of the Center for Higher Education and Organizational Change at Benedictine University.

J.W. Croft, Ph.D.

Jim Croft photoDr. Croft  is executive vice president of The Field Museum in Chicago, one of the world’s leading research museums. The Field Museum conducts basic research in natural science and offers a variety of public educational programs that serve nearly 1.8 million visitors a year. He has more than 40 years of not-for-profit executive experience, including management, strategic and financial planning, administration, fundraising, and facilities and operations management.

A college faculty member for more than 25 years, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at National-Louis University, finance and management courses in the Ed.D. program in Higher Education and Organizational Change at Benedictine University, and currently teaches courses in finance and budget planning in the Center for Not-for-Profit Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Roger "Mitch" Nasser Jr, M.S.
Mitch NasserMitch Nasser Jr has served as Director of Residence Life at McKendree University since 2007.  Prior to arriving at McKendree, Mitch worked in residential life at Miami University (Ohio) and the University of Dayton.  He has experience in Retention/Orientation, Career Services, Academic Advising, Service Learning, and Leadership Development.  Mitch’s research interests include supervision, men’s development, new professionals, and retention of employees.  He received his B.A. from Saint Louis University and an M.S. from Western Illinois University.  He is on pace to complete his PhD in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University in May 2016.

Mitch has presented regionally and nationally on the topics of supervision, department development, training methods, ethics, and social justice education.


Anita Leach, J.D., LL.M.
Anita LeachMs. Leach teaches research and writing courses at McKendree University and is also the Assistant Director of the university’s Writing Center. She recently developed a new Law in Higher Education course, which she will teach for the first time in October 2014. She previously taught Legal Research and Writing for Non-Lawyers at Southern Illinois University School of Law and has been a member of the Illinois Bar since 1999.

She served as an officer in the Air Force for over 20 years. While on active duty, she acquired extensive leadership experience in small and large organizations, as well as expertise in human resources; law; education and training; public speaking; legislative research and drafting; policy development and implementation; military readiness; and investigative methods.


Melissa Meeker, MAEDMelissa Meeker
Melissa Meeker is the Assistant Dean of Student Services for online and external programs at McKendree University.  She has over twenty years of admissions, enrollment management, and higher education experience.  She is currently completing her dissertation with Northcentral University and her topic is the retention of online faculty. 

Her previous degrees are in education and her passion is working with students.



Advisory Board

Elizabeth Adams

Director of Research Administration, McCormack School of Engineering, Northwestern University

Coleen Burrus
Director of Foundation Relations, Northwestern University

Joseph Cipfl, Ph.D.
Dean, Graduate School, McKendree University

Deborah Edwards
Senior Vice President, Bank of America – Chicago

Janet Gibbs
Former Chief Financial Officer, Loyola University

John Hartung, Ph.D.
President, Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Curtis McCray, Ph.D.
Former President, California State University – Long Beach

John T. O’Connell 
John T. O’Connell Ltd.

Calvin Stockman, Ph.D.
President/CEO, The Growth Group, Inc.

David Strand, Ph.D.
President Emeritus, Illinois State University

Roy Wehrle, Ph.D.
Former Senior Fellow, Institute of Politics, Harvard University

Tom Wolf
Executive Director, Energy Council, Illinois Chamber of Commerce