It Started With Coffee and Doughnuts

You never know where the idea of a new business will occur.  During the past 25 years, I have been involved in establishing three businesses, and the common thread seems to be associated with food. One began during an elaborate dinner in a very upscale restaurant, the second happened in an Irish pub over a burger and a Guinness, and the third happened at a doughnut shop in a mall. The doughnut shop is where the idea of Edu Alliance was born.

In March 2014, at a Tim Horton’s in an Abu Dhabi mall, Senthil Nathan who was the person who recommended my hiring at Higher Colleges of Technology in 2008 (where I worked until the Middle of 2010) and I had a “catch up” meeting.

We both had news to tell the other. I told Senthil that I had decided not to renew my contract with Khalifa University at the end of September and Senthil listened to my news and told me he was planning to leave Higher Colleges of Technology after twenty-one years. Neither of us was ready to retire, but we both wanted to do something different that would challenge our skills and continue to be a positive force in higher education. In that meeting over coffee and doughnuts (well I might have been eating the doughnuts) we discussed continuing to work for a higher education institution in the UAE or India or the United States. Our initial meeting at Tim Horton’s evolved into a serious discussion about the feasibility of starting a higher education consultancy firm, and we always met at doughnut or coffee shops.

Over the next few months and a great deal of soul searching we felt it was worth the risk in founding an educational consulting firm based in Abu Dhabi and give we would give it two years to succeed, and if it didn’t make it, we would feel we had given it our best efforts and move onto re-joining a college or university. We understood the odds of a small, boutique consulting firm was a very high-level risk, but we felt colleges and university leaders in the UAE personally knew us and would at least meet with us to introduce our new firm.

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Dean Hoke, Nancy K. Hoke, Jesse Nathan, and Senthil Nathan

We publicly announced to our network in June 2014 our intention to start Edu Alliance. We stated that Edu Alliance’s mission would be “to help develop national capacity in the areas of education, training, and human development in the Middle East (GCC) and North Africa (MENA) region by creating effective and sustainable alliances between organizations in the region with the best-in-class international organizations and experts.” Our focus will be helping clients achieve success in:

  • Higher education strategic partnerships
  • Mentoring
  • Marketing
  • Executive, faculty and staff recruitment
  • Institution-wide strategy
  • Technology

We held our first introductory meetings with presidents of three universities in the UAE in October and early November to introduce Edu Alliance.  We were pleased, and a bit surprised that President Dr. Bruce Taylor of Emirates College of Technology (ECT) located in Abu Dhabi requested we submit a project proposal during the meeting. Within a few days, we submitted a proposal which was accepted, and a formal contract awarded. Edu Alliance was commissioned by ECT to help develop an in-house capacity for market research. The project commenced in mid-November and completed in early December.

The objective was accomplished through two customized, evidence-driven, and locally relevant workshops in close coordination with the university’s institutional research division. We helped to create relevant templates and processes for new program proposals based on market research.

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Dr. Bruce Taylor and Dean Hoke at ECT Contract signing

Our second client was KPMG in the GCC. Edu Alliance was selected as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) – in work related to universities, colleges, and schools. KPMG is one of the largest professional services companies in the world (one of the Big Four consulting / audit firms), which has offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Contracting our firm to support their work in the education sector was a major milestone for us. In November, we provided for KPMG advisory service / organizational review for a major chain of K-12 schools and in December, an internal audit and academic review of a leading UAE research university.

On October 2nd Edu Alliance Ltd. founded in Abu Dhabi (Masdar City) will enter its sixth year of existence. Since October 2014 we have provided services for over thirty clients in seven countries and in 2016 started a second location in Bloomington, Indiana. We have established two Advisory Councils, one in the MENA region and one in the United States. As we continue to develop Dr. Chet Haskell and Tom Davisson both highly respected senior higher education professionals have joined us as partners for our United States firm.

We look back after five years of service, and we believe that Edu Alliance stayed true to its mission and successfully provided our clients with quality service at a reasonable price.

On behalf of Edu Alliance thank you for your support and belief in us.

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Edu Alliance logo squareAbout  Edu AllianceEdu Alliance is a unique boutique educational management consulting company – with offices in the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America. We focus on the education sector providing support to educational institutions, government agencies, and investors. Our firm and its team of advisors have served as senior education organization officers and are experienced practitioners. We take a pragmatic, evidence-based approach rather than an abstract theoretical perspective. Edu Alliance principals have a proven track record and strong networks around the world to meet this major challenge.

We welcome you contact us on how we can be of service to your organization. Feel free to write or call any of us.

 

Contacts:

United Arab Emirates +971 50 613 0671

Dr. Senthil Nathan

United States 1 502 257 1063

Dean Hoke

Dr. Chet Haskell

Tom Davisson

Nancy Hoke

Edu Alliance Names North America Advisory Council

Edu Alliance a international higher education consulting firm with offices in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America announces the formation of a Advisory Council for North America

The nine founding members are:

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Edu Alliance North America Advisory Council
  • Dr. Roger G. Brown: Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC
  • Dr. Denise Gifford: Dean Of Students and Associate Provost for Widener University in Pennsylvania, was first woman Dean of Students Zayed University, UAE and past Vice President for Student Affairs the University of Louisville
  • Dr. Steve Jones: past Chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, President of Urbana University, and Antioch University New England
  • Dr. Allen Meadors: Chancellor Emeritus University of North Carolina-Pembroke, and served as Executive Director for Higher Education for the Ministry of Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates
  • Jay Noren, M.D., Past President Wayne State University, Founding Provost Khalifa University & currently Founding Director Executive Master of Healthcare Administration Program, University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine and School of Public Health
  • Marci Powell: President/CEO of Marci Powell & Associates, former Global Director for Education at Polycom and past President United States Distance Learning Association
  • Kenneth Salomon: chair of the Thompson Coburn Lobbying & Policy Group. member of the United States Olympic Ethics Committee
  • Dr. Pamela Shay: Senior Vice President Accreditation & Institutional Effectiveness for Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio
  • Judyth Wier: past Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Cottey College in Missouri, and Chief Fundraising Officer for the University of New Orleans,

Dean E. Hoke, Co-Founder of Edu Alliance and North America Managing Director stated, “2017 will be a time of significant change in higher education. There will be new challenges in international education, fundraising, accreditation, regulatory issues, and online learning. Edu Alliance and its Advisory Council members have significant experience in a variety of areas in the US and the international higher education community. They are true practitioners who provide Edu Alliance and its clients a wealth of experience.”

Edu Alliance office in Bloomington, Indiana will be officially open January 16th and Mr. Hoke will be coming to the United States to personally meet with higher education institutions, and state associations for colleges and universities in the south and midwest from mid January – March 2017.

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For Further Information Contact

Dean E. Hoke – Edu Alliance Group

dean.hoke@edu-alliance.net

US: 502-417-3332 UAE: +971 (0)50 641 0237

www.edu-alliance.net