Patrick Kelly

As an enthusiastic researcher and statistician, Patrick Kelly spends his career striving to better inform higher education and workforce policy decisions across the United States – finding along the way threads that can be woven into the fabric of the development of human capital.

Patrick has worked with many community colleges and universities, higher education systems, foundations in public policy and research in higher education, organizations devoted to economic and workforce development, and state and local governments across the U.S. His professional experience reflects a strong commitment to utilizing sound data and information to improve postsecondary education: strategic planning, alignment of postsecondary education and workforce and economic development, diversity and inclusion, and the financial well-being of colleges to serve their mission.

Patrick J. Kelly, Ph.D.


  • Utilizing sound data and information to better inform strategic planning, policy development, and implementation. 
  • Assuming a leading role in designing and managing policy and research projects, presenting findings and recommendations to experienced and lay audiences, and writing reports explaining the relevancy of the findings.   
  • Helping state, system, and college leaders address workforce needs and more effectively link programmatic offerings to available jobs in their communities and states.
  • Measuring student outcomes – access, progress and completion.  
  • Fundraising and working with foundations on projects involving the improvement of higher education.
  • Conducting focus groups and interviews with higher education policymakers, institutional leaders, and stakeholders; focusing largely on strategic planning, student success and equity, and connecting research and practice to help foster successful implementation of policies. 
  • Teaching and lecturing – research and statistical methods, higher education policy and finance.
  • Developing college attainment goals for the Lumina Foundation, the Obama administration, and many states; with a great deal of attention paid toward the importance of closing racial/ethnic and income disparities in higher education.
  • Designing metrics used by many higher education agencies for student success, closing equity gaps, and institutional financial viability.
  • Highly regarded for political acuity, tact, interpersonal skills, and presentation abilities.
  • Outstanding strengths in leading complex, multi-stakeholder projects. 
  • Demonstrated skills in understanding complex issues related to institutional policies and practices, and managing competing interests in policy development within organizations.
  • Skilled at planning, coordinating, and managing project implementation and financial resources to meet goals.

Key Skills

  • Higher Education Research
  • Policy Analysis
  • Strategic Planning
  • Program Evaluation
  • Workforce and Economic Development
  • Higher Education Finance
  • Writing and Presentations
  • Project Management
  • Fund Raising

Research and Statistical Skills

  • Highly Effective Graphical and Visual Presentations
  • Focus Groups and Interviews
  • Data Analysis, Research, and Statistics
  • Regression Analyses: Linear and Logistic
  • Factor Analysis
  • Hierarchical Linear Modeling
  • Survey Design and Analysis

“First you figure out what each one means by itself, the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop full of moonlight. Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.”

Mary Oliver - Breakage

Featured Organizations Patrick Has Served

Patrick has had the pleasure of serving a variety of higher education and workforce development organizations during his illustrious career, including:

  • Higher education SHEEO and system offices in many U.S. States.
  • Universities and community colleges across the United States.
  • Workforce and economic development organizations in many U.S. States. (i.e. chambers of commerce, business roundtables, etc.)
aspen institute
Indiana Chamber
NGA logo
Virginia Business Higher Education Council
  • Aspen Institute
  • Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
  • Council of State Governments (CGS)
  • Excelencia in Education
  • Delta Cost Project
  • Complete College America (CCA)
  • State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO)
  • New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE)
  • Ford Foundation
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Joyce Foundation
  • Lumina Foundation
  • Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC)
  • Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)
  • National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO)
  • National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
  • National Governors Association (NGA)
  • National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (NCPPHE)
  • National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC)
  • Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)
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