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Meet the SAI Team

Linda Neavel Dickens

Linda Neavel Dickens is the associate vice provost and founder of the Office of Strategic Academic Initiatives. She oversees several compliance and program effectiveness areas: SACSCOC accreditation, including assessment and substantive change; State Authorization; NC-SARA; and undergraduate curricular change approvals. She serves as the university’s liaison to SACSCOC and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. On behalf of the provost, Linda leads high-level, campus-wide strategic initiatives designed to facilitate operational and cultural change.

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 strategic change efforts. Additionally, she has taught and supervised graduate students in leadership, research methodologies, critical thinking, and organizational change.

Jeff Freels

As Director of Academic Policy and Compliance at UT Austin since 2016, Jeff Freels oversees academic, administrative, general education, and student support services assessment and manages the university’s SACSCOC substantive change process. Additionally, he was a core member of the team that secured UT Austin’s unconditional reaffirmation of SACSCOC accreditation in 2018. Jeff worked as an adjunct and tenure-track history instructor for more than ten years prior to joining UT Austin and continues to teach in the Liberal Arts Honors Program. He has a Ph.D. in Higher Education from George Mason University, a Master of Arts in History from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Texas A&M University.

Ashleigh Moses

Ashleigh Moses is the Senior Strategic Coordinator for the Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness supporting program assessment initiatives, faculty awards processes, and activities related to institutional accreditation and compliance. Prior to joining UT Austin in 2018, Ashleigh facilitated faculty programming to enhance diversity and inclusion efforts at medical schools across the country in a number of roles at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in Washington, D.C. In her most recent role as communications manager at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Ashleigh worked with institutional leadership to augment data-driven communication initiatives related to student recruitment and engagement. Ashleigh earned a Bachelor of Political Science and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama.

Tiffany Willis

Tiffany Willis is the senior administrative manager for the Office of Strategic Academic Initiatives where she provides program and administrative support, including managing degree program approvals, academic legislation, and curricular changes for undergraduate degree programs and directing the faculty credentialing process. 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. In her role as communications coordinator at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi she served as a liaison between the Provost’s Office and the campus community. Tiffany earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Kathleen Krysher

Kathleen Krysher is a graduate research assistant in the Office of Strategic Academic Initiatives. Kathleen graduated from UT Austin in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a certificate in creative writing. She has since returned to UT Austin and is currently in her second year of the School of Information’s Master of Science in Information Studies program, focusing on data management and visualization. She also works at the University Writing Center, where she contributes to data-driven administration.