Join us at the USDLA Annual Conference for a ‘Must Hear’ Keynote!

By Dean Hoke, Managing Partner Edu Alliance Group – First published in USDLA blog March 13, 2019. In November of 2018 , I was invited to represent the United States Distance Learning Association in which I serve as a member of the Board of Directors, to be a panelist addressing the question “What is the Future? How do You Make it Happen” at Corporate Learning Week Conference held in Orlando, Florida. Rather than just participate in my panel I wanted to take advantage of the conference and listen to the many fine speakers addressing various training issues. One speaker particularly impressed me. At the USDLA Board Meeting when we were discussing potential keynote speakers for the upcoming Annual Conference on May 20-23 being held in Nashville, Tennessee. I recommended Dr. Trish Holliday. Dr. Holliday is the Chief Learning Officer for the state of Tennessee, and she spoke on “Preparing for the Future – How Learning Can Be a Cultural Divider.” What got my attention about Trish was her passion helping professionals reach their greatest potential.

The title of Chief Learning Officer (CLO) is popularly defined as the highest-ranking corporate officer in charge of learning management. The CLO instead of trying to solve individual problems is to take a bigger picture view of their organization. The CLO develops a vision of learning for the entire organization. In 1989 Jack Welch then CEO of General Electric was one of the first major corporations to name a CLO (Steve Kerr). Since then Corporate American has had a number of CLO’s but in higher education, there are very few, and in government there are none.

Dr. Trish Holliday Keynote Speaker USDLA Annual Meeting

That changed in April 2012 when the state of Tennessee set a new priority for learning for its approximately 43,500 employees in the three branches of government by naming Dr. Holliday its first Chief Learning Officer (CLO). She was not only the first person named CLO for the state of Tennessee but the first CLO for any state government. Trish had been a member of state government working in various positions since 2005. She started as a Training Officer for the Human Resources then named in 2010 the Director of Strategic Learning Solutions in 2010 and in 2012 has appointed to her current post as Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources and CLO.

I believe why she was appointed to her post, besides her obvious talent and experience, is Trish brings enthusiasm and passion for training, coaching, and retention. She is a true believer. You can see and hear this when she speaks. Trish has a passion for lifelong learning, and she has been successful in mentoring and coaching many leaders in engagement, goal setting, competency, and strategic development. She puts her heart and soul into educating adults and helping them become the best they can be.

Trish has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Tennessee Tech University, her Masters of Arts from Scarritt Graduate College and her Doctor of Education from Lipscomb University with an Emphasis in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change.

I think attending the USDLA Annual Conference in Nashville May 20-23, 2019 is well worth your time and investment. I will be attending and speaking on Distance Learning International Partnerships. You can additionally learn many new ideas in the field of online learning no matter the industry, get the opportunity to meet new people, network, and while attending. I would also highly encourage to hear Dr. Holliday as she talks about learning.  I was impressed, and I believe you will be as well.

Edu Alliance Group Welcomes Tom Davisson To Advisory Council

EDU Alliance Group Inc., a boutique consultancy firm assisting colleges and universities to find solutions and achieve success for institutional issues. Edu Alliance provides professional,confidential, and practical support to University Presidents, Board of Directors, and senior administrators.

Bloomington, Indiana March 12, 2019 – The Edu Alliance Group Managing Partner of North America Dean Hoke announced today that Tom Davisson has been named to the North America Advisory Council.

Mr. Davisson has recently retired after 30 years from The Sullivan University System where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. His responsibilities included: Head of Operations, oversight of campuses, new product/program development, and institutional accreditation. Sullivan University, with an enrollment of over 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students, is a private higher learning institution dedicated to providing students with high-quality, career-focused educational opportunities.

Mr. Davisson is one of the leading experts in the area of higher education institutions bridging the gap between education and the workforce. He has written White Papers for Governor’s in two states, worked for a third Governor’s Taskforce for Workforce Development, and also testified before Congress. In addition he has served on and chaired numerous US and international institutional visits on behalf of SACSCOC. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees, and Executive Committee of The University of Rio Grande in Ohio.

“Edu Alliance is delighted to welcome Tom to the Advisory Council,” said Managing Partner Dean Hoke. “I’ve known Tom for over 20 years and his experience as a higher education senior officer and his problem-solving talent ads breadth and depth to our college anduniversity clientele. He is an incredible addition to our outstanding group of Advisors who help and support Edu Alliance but more importantly our clients.”

Current North American Advisory Council Members of the Edu Alliance Group are:

Dr. RogerBrown, retired Chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga; Julien Carter, Vice President of Human Resources Tufts University; Dr. Denise Gifford, Associate Provost American University Ras al Khaimah; Dr. StephenJones, former Chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Dr. DanielKing, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of University Administrators; Dr. AllenMeadors, former President of St. John International University in Torino Italy; Jay NorenM.D., former President of Wayne State University; Marci Powell, CEO of Marci Powell and Associates; Ken Salomon, Chair Thompson Coburn Lobbying and Policy Group; and Judyth Wier, university fundraising professional.


EduAlliance is a unique, boutique management consulting company founded in 2014 with offices in Bloomington, Indiana and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Thecompany provides the experience and expertise colleges and universities need to expand and optimize their engagement with students and its stakeholders around the world. We help universities think strategically and creatively about their unique opportunities and challenges.

Edu Alliance provides a diverse group of distinguished higher education professionals to research, plan, and execute programs. The partners and advisory members areavailable for consulting projects worldwide. Consultancy work includes:

  • Advisory services: feasibility studies, due diligence review, business plans, partnership agreements, licensure and accreditation
  • Market Research, communications,enrollment evaluation planning, marketing research, and branding
  • Strategic Planning
  • Regional – International partnerships (between institutions; institutions and investors)
  • Executive and Key Faculty Search-for Universities
  • Educational Technology strategies and implementation


ManagingPartner: Dean E. Hoke

Partner:Dr. Chet Haskell

Partner:Dr. Senthil Nathan