Meet the IAE Team

Dickens, Linda

Linda Neavel Dickens, Ph.D.

Linda Neavel Dickens is the senior director and founder of the Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness, and oversees UT Austin's accreditation and assessment efforts. Linda ensures that university units address required quality standards and document continuous improvement. She also facilitates strategic planning initiatives and focuses on developing and managing sustainable, comprehensive processes and systems that improve decision making and enhance effective organizational practices. Linda serves as the university's accreditation liaison and is a member of the Teagle Assessment Scholars.

Linda holds a doctorate in organizational learning and has worked with educational and non-profit organizations for more than 30 years, including coaching executives and administrators, creating and implementing large-scale organizational assessments, and facilitating complex change efforts. Additionally, Linda has taught and supervised graduate students in leadership, research methodologies, critical thinking, and organizational change.

Jeff Freels

Jeff Freels, Ph.D.

As Director of Institutional Assessment, Jeff Freels oversees academic, administrative, general education, and student support services assessment. He has a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in higher education from George Mason University. Prior to joining UT Austin in 2016, Jeff worked as an adjunct and tenure-track instructor of history for more than ten years. For almost four of those years, he served as a faculty assessment coach and was part of a team that built and managed an outcomes assessment system that became a model for other institutions. In that role, Jeff developed a passion for outcomes assessment and a belief in the role it can play in enhancing programs and services and in improving student learning in and out of the classroom. Jeff also has extensive experience in educational technology and instructional design.

Jessica Knapp

Jessica Knapp, Ph.D.

Jessica Knapp is general education assessment specialist for the Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness. She ensures core courses and graduation requirements map to state and institutional standards, and that education at the university is both relevant and rigorous for all students. Jessica holds a Ph.D. in interpersonal communication and has 8 years of experience teaching and creating higher education curriculum. She also coaches MBA students in the McCombs School of Business and works as an adjunct instructor in the Austin area.

Tiffany Willis

Tiffany Willis, M.B.A.

Tiffany Willis is the administrative manager for the Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness where she provides support and management of activities, information, and communication related to institutional accreditation and compliance efforts. Prior to joining UT Austin, Tiffany served as accreditation manager at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). While at UTA, she was integral to the writing team that prepared its 2017 SACSCOC Compliance Certification Report. Tiffany also served more than seven years at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in a number of capacities. Her most recent role Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi was communications coordinator for the Office of the Provost where she served as a liaison between the Provost’s Office and the campus community. Tiffany earned her Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Ximena Canelo

Ximena Canelo-Pino

Ximena Canelo-Pino supports IAE as a graduate research assistant. She is a licensed psychologist from The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the same institution. Additionally, she received a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and in Women´s and Gender Studies from UT Austin. Ximena served as department chair and associate dean at the College of Social Science and Economics at the Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile. She is back at UT Austin as a first year Ph.D. student of higher education leadership in the Department of Educational Administration.