We help learners, communities, institutions, and employers prosper in a changing economy.

Kris Clerkin

Kris Clerkin, Managing Partner

Kris is an experienced senior leader in the higher education industry. Her unique background includes a long career in the private sector in educational publishing and a senior leadership role with one of the largest and fastest-growing, non-profit, private universities in the U.S.  She is deeply committed to bringing education and career opportunities to underserved students who have few viable, cost-effective options. She has worked to address their challenges in new ways by putting students at the center of decision-making, by engaging employers as partners, by focusing on cost and sustainability, and by leveraging technology to enable and extend successful learning experiences.

Kris joined Southern New Hampshire University in 2012 as the Executive Director of the Innovation Lab. Under her direction, the Lab launched College for America (CfA) in 2013. CfA is the workforce-focused unit of SNHU offering affordable, ($3,000/year), competency-based Certificate, AA, and BA programs that have enrolled 6,000 students with more than 1,000 graduates. Under Kris’ leadership, CfA introduced an innovative, project-based learning curriculum, built a learning technology platform on Salesforce, developed a new coaching model to drive student success, innovated to drive down costs, and built data models to help working adult learners be successful. CfA recruited students through an unusual and successful business-to-business partnership model that resulted in over 100 employers, non-profits, and public agencies sponsoring its programs for their employees.

Kris has served on the Board of the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) and is currently on the Board of the Education Design Lab. She is also on advisory boards of LearnLaunch, SXSWedu, and TEx. She has spoken widely 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.


Cathrael Kazin, JD, PhD, Managing Partner

Kate is one of the nation’s foremost experts on competency-based education (CBE) and training and assessment. She was the founding Chief Academic Officer of College for America (CfA) at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), where she designed its award-winning model for project-focused CBE. She was recognized by the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) for “extraordinary contributions to the field of CBE.” She won a $3.93 million federal First in the World grant to create and test a new CBE approach to helping underprepared students succeed in college and in the workplace. She has extensive experience in educational policy and regulatory issues and served as a Commissioner on the New England accrediting body for colleges and universities (NEASC/CIHE). Kate joined SNHU from ETS, where she was Executive Director of the Higher Education Division and led efforts to develop new assessment and learning products for 21st century skills. She is also a lawyer with experience both in government and in private practice. Kate has taught widely and was a faculty member at the University of Iowa. She holds an AB with Highest Honors in English from Smith College, a PhD in English from Cornell University, and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was an editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She also completed the Design Thinking Bootcamp at Stanford University. She is frequently invited to present on CBE, 21st century assessment, project-based learning, and disruptive innovation at a range of domestic and international venues, including the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the White House, New America Foundation, ACE, AAC&U, Nanyang Polytechnic (Singapore), and Universidad del Valle (Guatemala).

Kate has been named a judge for the 2017 Reimagine Education global awards competition, sponsored by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Volta learning group team also includes senior advisors in technology platform design and implementation, labor market analysis, design thinking, project management, learning analytics, marketing and social media, and student support.

We are active participants in the Competency-Based Education Network and a co-sponsor of Connecting Credentials