Higher Education Strategy Associates

Who we are

Alex Usher – President

Alex Usher is the President of Higher Education Strategy Associates and Editor-in-Chief of Global Higher Education Strategy Monitor. An internationally recognized expert in student financial aid and quality measurement in post-secondary education, Mr. Usher has authored numerous ground-breaking studies in higher education. In addition to his years of work on higher education in Canada, his recent work spans Asia, Europe and Africa as well.

In his former role as Director of Educational Policy Institute Canada (EPI Canada), Mr. Usher managed the Measuring the Effectiveness of Student Aid Project for the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, a 4-year $4 million research project to investigate the long-term effects of student aid and is the author of the project’s Final Report, appearing in early 2010. In 2002 and 2004, Mr. Usher co-authored (with Sean Junor) the Price of Knowledge, a volume considered the standard reference on student finance in Canada. More recently, he has written the theme document for UNESCO Europe’s decennial meeting on higher education, Ten Years Back and Ten Years Forward: Developments and Trends in Higher Education in Europe Region. He sits on a variety of advisory, supervisory and editorial boards in Canada, Europe and Asia.

Prior to joining the Educational Policy Institute in 2003 and founding the Higher Education Strategy Associates Mr. Usher served as the Director of Research and Program Development at the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Usher served as a researcher and lobbyist for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and before that was the first national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. He holds degrees from McGill University and Carleton University.

Paul A. Jarvey – Manager, Research & Evaluation

Mr. Jarvey is an experienced consultant in higher education sector. Over the past seven years, he has contributed to leading policy evaluation and research that has help to transform the higher education sector. He is an expert in tertiary education policy evaluation, management and governance assessment, and product development.

Paul Jarvey bring extensive experience working in-field with post-secondary institutions in support of evaluation, process and governance assessment, and strategic review projects. He bring direct, hand-on expertise and solid technical skills in programming related to post-secondary delivery, marketing and recruitment optimization, and international student support. His technical expertise includes all phases of design and development for evaluation and monitoring processes, including methodology design, data collection, analysis and dissemination – including feasibility studies, student surveys, impact assessment, and process flow evaluation. In particular, his brings strong data analysis and interpretation skills, with extensive experience conducting complex descriptive and inferential statistical analysis.

Most recently, Mr. Jarvey supported a large-scale feasibility study for the development of an post-secondary education hub in Tanzania on behalf of the World Bank and the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology. He has played central roles in Strategic Enrolment Management processes at Waterloo University and Nipissing University, and supported numerous program prioritization processes.  Mr. Jarvey led the Student Experiences of Credit Recognition and Transfer study, which explored barriers to student pathways at 23 Ontario colleges and developed policy reccomendations to improve access.  His recent work also includes led a large-scale policy implementation assessment to evaluate proposed changes to OSAP’s delivery model.

Mr. Jarvey manages the development of the HiBAR database of normalized publication records, and has used this data alongside linked datasets to assess over 500 academic departments across Canada. Mr. Jarvey’s academic publication record can be found here.

Prior to joining HESA, Paul worked for the Privy Council Office and Ipsos Reid.  Paul Jarvey holds an M.A. from the University of Toronto in International Political Economy of Development.


Melonie Fullick, M.A., Ph.D. (Candidacy) HESA Research Associate

Melonie Fullick is a writer, researcher, and PhD student in Higher Education. Her research focuses on university governance, Canadian post­secondary policy, and communication and organizational change, examining the processes and effects of policy changes at various levels on the work and experiences of university members. She also specialises in analysis of the contexts and outcomes of doctoral education.

Ms. Fullick is currently a Research Associate at HESA, and has contributed to several projects including the Harmonization of Territorial and Provincial Surveys of Recent Postsecondary Graduates for the Council of Ministers of Education Canada, and Global Developments in Non-Traditional Learning Models in Higher Education for Employment & Skills Development Canada. She is currently managing two studies in HESA’s new research series on student decision-making in postsecondary education—the Parental Influence Project and the Early Influences Project.

Ms. Fullick holds a BA in Communication Studies and a Master’s in Linguistics. She has researched and written about academic issues for various publications including Inside Higher Ed, University Affairs, The Guardian UK, and Academic Matters.