Higher Education Strategy Associates

Our People

Alex Usher

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.

Lori McElroy

Dr. Lori McElroy is HESA’s Senior Scientist, with over 25 years of experience conducting research and managing research projects, with a special focus on educational policy issues. Lori has expertise in the areas of program evaluation, performance measurement, and policy analysis. She holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Toronto, and a minor specialization in statistics.

Since completing her Ph.D. Lori has taught at the University of Toronto, worked as a consultant, managed her own consulting firm, and worked as a researcher and manager in the BC public sector. Lori has directed a wide range of research projects for a variety of clients, the BC public sector and federal departments and agencies.

Dr. McElroy was the lead researcher and author for a study on the factors that influence how high school graduates make decisions about whether and when to pursue PSE. The report, In Pursuit of Postsecondary Education: Whether and When to Go On, which can be found here http://www.millenniumscholarships.ca/images/Publications/081125_IPPSE_EN.pdf

One of Dr. McElroy’s areas of focus is the study of the impact of student financial assistance especially on persistence. Relevant publications include:

  • Examination of the Impact of the Provincial Needs Assessment Process for Student Financial Assistance (2009)
  • Student Aid and University Persistence: Does Debt Matter? (2005)
  • The Millennium Bursary in New Brunswick: Impact on Debt and Persistence (2008)
  • The Millennium Bursary in Manitoba: Exploring its Impact (2005)
  • The Millennium Bursary in British Columbia: Exploring its Impact (2004)

Paul Jarvey

Paul Jarvey holds an M.A. from the University of Toronto in Political Economy  and an Honours B.A. from the University of Calgary in Political Science and Economics. He is experienced in the management, design, implementation, and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative research projects as well as the development and implementation of cross-platform research databases. Mr. Jarvey has authored several novel studies in higher education measurement and analysis, including a detailed analysis of Canadian academic publishing cultures.

Over the course of his career at HESA he has supervised, designed, executed, and analyzed research projects for clients including Colleges Ontario, HEQCO, the Globe and Mail, and numerous post-secondary institutions. Most recently, Mr. Jarvey managed the development of the HiBAR database of normalized publication records. He also led the Student Experiences of Credit Recognition and Transfer study, which explored student pathways at Ontario colleges. Mr. Jarvey is highly skilled in the design and implementation of data collection methodologies and database management and development on a variety of common data platforms, including SPSS, MySQL, Access, and Excel. He also holds expertise in economic policy and impact analysis.

Prior to joining HESA, Paul worked in the Privy Council Office as a junior research analyst, where his primary responsibility was the preparation of policy briefs on the Provincial implications of Cabinet Sub-Committee items. He has a broad range of professional experience in the private sector, government, and academia. Mr. Jarvey is fluent in both English and French.