who we are

The Managing Partners of Volta Learning Group (VLG), Kris Clerkin and Kate Kazin, bring a wealth of experience in higher education to their consulting practice, with special expertise in market strategy and revenue growth, competency-based program design, alternative credentials, workforce and education alignment, and employer partnerships.

  • Kris Clerkin
    Kris Clerkin Managing Partner

    A seasoned advisor, strategist, and executive leader with substantial private sector and non-profit experience in the higher education industry, Kris Clerkin is Managing Partner of Volta Learning Group. She works with clients to develop strategies to address the business challenges of launching innovative new offerings and navigate the complex policy, regulatory, and accreditation landscape. From 2012-2017, Kris was Senior VP and Founding Executive Director of College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, a workforce-focused unit offering affordable, competency-based Certificate, AA, and BA programs.  Under Kris’s leadership, CfA introduced a project-based learning curriculum at the associate and sub-degree level, introduced new student support models, identified innovative approaches to driving down costs, and built data models to help working adult learners be successful. Kris also introduced a business-to-business employer engagement and recruiting model to College for America, resulting in over 100 partnerships with employers in industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

    Kris is a Board Director of the Education Design Lab and Nexford University and served on the Board of the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN). She is a member of McKinsey’s Consortium for Advancing Adult Learning and Development (CAALD), a think tank of workforce and education leaders focused on adult learning and reskilling for the future of work.  Kris has spoken about new learning models, OER, and competency-based education at the International Conference of Education Innovation (Mexico City), CAEL, WICHE, Educause, OLC, Close-It, ASU-GSV, CBExchange, and the Saylor Summit. In previous roles, Kris was President of Houghton Mifflin’s Higher Education Division and General Manager of Wolters Kluwer Legal Education. She earned her BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.

    Email: kclerkin@voltalearninggroup.com

  • Cathrael Kazin
    Cathrael Kazin Managing Partner

    One of the nation’s foremost experts in competency-based education (CBE) and assessment, Cathrael Kazin is Managing Partner of Volta Learning Group. Kate sits on the Board of the national CBE organization, C-BEN, and is a former Commissioner of NECHE, the regional accreditor for higher education in New England. As founding Chief Academic Officer of College for America (CfA) at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), Kate designed CfA’s award-winning project-centered CBE model and led its academic team. At CfA, Kate also served as Project Director for a $3.93 million federal grant to develop a competency-based alternative to remedial education. Kate joined SNHU from ETS, where she was Executive Director of the Higher Education Division. She has taught widely in the US and overseas and was a member of the University of Iowa English Department. During the Clinton administration, she served as an attorney-advisor lawyer in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Labor, where she also worked as a speechwriter to then-Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

    Kate publishes regularly on innovation in higher education and is frequently invited to speak at such venues as the White House, the Chautauqua Institute, the US Senate, the New America Foundation, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Lumina Foundation, the American Council on Education, the League for Innovation in the Community College, Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore and Universidad del Valle in Guatemala. She holds a PhD in English from Cornell University; a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was an editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review; and an AB with Highest Honors in English from Smith College.

    Email: ckazin@voltalearninggroup.com

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