Martha Allman

Director of Admissions

Wake Forest University

Martha Allman has been the Director of Admissions for Wake Forest University since 2001. She has been in Admissions for more than two decades, and established both the Alumni in Admissions Program and the Presidential Scholarship for Distinguished Achievement Program. She also oversees the administration of Wake Forest’s merit-based scholarship program.  Ms. Allman frequently represents Wake Forest nationwide at conferences, at workshops, and on admissions panels. Ms. Allman received her B.A. (1982) in History and her M.B.A (1992) from the Babcock School of Management at Wake Forest University.

Jeff Brenzel

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

Yale University

A 1975 graduate of Yale College, Jeff Brenzel has worked as a nonprofit executive, a private sector entrepreneur, a scholar and a university administrator. From 1975 to 1989, he established a career in association management, working for the National Association of Securities Dealers, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. He then embarked on a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, while at the same time founding and developing InterLearn, Inc., an investor-backed venture that used new media and technologies to produce career education and liberal arts programs for adult learners.  Jeff returned to Yale in 1997 as the Executive Director of the Association of Yale Alumni, where he was responsible for university alumni relations, event management, education programming and online services. In September 2005, he was named the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. In this new capacity, Dean Brenzel is responsible for worldwide outreach to talented students, the selection process itself, and the development of university admissions policy and practices. He also holds an appointment as Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Yale, and teaches in the Directed Studies program.

Claudia Buchmann

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Ohio State University

After receiving her Ph.Dd at Indiana University in 1996, Buchmann taught at Duke University for eight years before moving to Ohio State University in 2004. Buchmann’s research has focused on gender, race and class inequalities in education. Her recent co-authored article in the American Sociological Review examines the growing female advantage in college completion. In collaboration with Vincent Roscigno (O.S.U.) and Dennis Condron (Emory University), she is investigating race and class inequalities in access to SAT test preparation and the impact of these inequalities on SAT scores and subsequent college admission. Professor Buchmann is the chair of the Sociology of Education Section of the American Sociological Association and a member of the editorial board of the American Sociological Review.

Arlene Wesley Cash

Vice President for Enrollment Management

Spelman College

Arlene Wesley Cash has served as the Vice President for Enrollment Management at Spelman College since 2003, and as an enrollment professional at several other colleges and universities over the past 30 years. She has been a national leader in the area of admissions and enrollment, and recently on a College Board Commission and Task Force addressed the issues of access and equity in higher education. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she has holds a B.A. degree from Keuka College in New York (English and Philosophy), and a M.A. in Philosophy from Kent State University.

Steve Chatman

Director for the Student Experience in the Research University Project

University of California – Berkeley

Steve Chatman is Director for the Student Experience in the Research University Project housed at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley. The principal data collection activity of the consortium is a comprehensive survey with randomly assigned modules of all students attending fifteen major research universities. Dr. Chatman has served as director of institutional research for UC Davis, the University of Missouri System and Southeast Missouri State University. His doctorate is in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Chatman has been actively engaged in research throughout his career and his contributions have twice been recognized as best paper at the annual forum of the Association of Institutional Research.

Sally Clark Donahue

Director of Financial Aid and Senior Admissions Officer

Harvard College

Sally Donahue has held a number of positions at Harvard University
over the past twenty-seven years, and since January 2000 has been the Director of Financial Aid and Senior Admissions Officer at Harvard
College. Her previous positions have included Director of Financial
Aid, first at the Kennedy School of Government, and then at the Law
School, and from 1998 through early 2000, Director of the Law School’s
Office of Career Services. Her earlier tenure in the College
Admissions and Financial Aid Office, was preceded by several years at
Cornell University, where she graduated with an A.B. in English
Literature in 1975. Ms. Donahue has been an active member of a number
of national and regional financial aid committees. She has served as a
member of the College Board’s Task Force on Admissions in the 21st
Century, the College Scholarship Council of the College Board and is
Past-Chair of the College Board’s Financial Aid Standards and Services

John Aubrey Douglass

Senior Research Fellow – Public Policy and Higher Education at the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE)

University of California – Berkeley

John Aubrey Douglass is Senior Research Fellow – Public Policy and Higher Education at the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of California – Berkeley. He is the co-editor of Globalization’s Muse: Universities and Higher Education Systems in a Changing World (Public Policy Press, forthcoming), and author of The Conditions for Admissions (2007) and The California Idea and American Higher Education (2000; published in Chinese 2008). He is a founding principle investigator in the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Project, serves as the editor of the CSHE Research and Occasional Paper Series (ROPS) and sits on the editorial board of a number of international higher education journals. His current research interests focus on comparative international higher education, including the influence of globalization, the role of universities in economic development, science policy as a component of national and multinational economic policy, strategic issues related to developing mass higher education, and assessing student experience in major research universities.

Thomas J. Espenshade

Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate at the Office of Population Research

Princeton University

Thomas J. Espenshade is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate at the Office of Population Research, Princeton University.  He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton in 1972 and has held positions at the University of California (Berkeley), Bowdoin College, Florida State University, The Urban Institute, and Brown University before returning to Princeton in 1988.  From 1999 to 2003, he served as Chair of Princeton’s Department of Sociology.  His research and teaching interests include diversity in higher education, the racial and social class dimensions of college admission and campus life, intergroup relations on college campuses, social demography, and contemporary immigration to the United States.  Espenshade is Principal Investigator for the National Study of College Experience funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and a co-Principal Investigator for the Campus Life in America Student Survey funded by the Ford Foundation. 

Michele Gillespie

Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives and Kahle Associate Professor of History

Wake Forest University

Michele Gillespie is Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives and Kahle Associate Professor of History at Wake Forest University, joining the school in 1999, after nine years at Agnes Scott College.  She has written extensively on the history of the American South, and is interested in constructions of gender, race, class, memory and region.  She is past president of the Southern Association for Women Historians.  She received her B.A. in History and English from Rice University and her Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Daniel Golden

Daniel Golden is a senior editor at Conde Nast Portfolio, where he edits and writes investigative articles. He joined Portfolio in October 2007 after eight years at the Wall Street Journal, where he was an education writer and deputy chief of the Boston bureau. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting in 2004 for a series of articles on preferences for children of alumni and donors in college admissions. He expanded that series into a critically acclaimed 2006 best-seller, The Price of Admission. The Washington Post chose The Price of Admission as one of the year’s best non-fiction books, and The Economist wrote that it “deserves to become a classic.” Mr. Golden has won numerous other journalism honors, including two George Polk awards and seven Education Writers Association first-place finishes. He received a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1998.

Christoph O. Guttentag

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

Duke University

Christoph Guttentag has been with Duke University since 1992. He was named the Dean of Undergraduate Admission in 2006.  Prior to Duke, he worked in the University of Pennsylvania Admissions Office for nine years.  In his 25 years in the admissions profession, he has been directly involved in the decisions of over 200,000 applicants to college.  Mr. Guttentag has been an active participant in regional and national organizations of admissions professionals, including the College Board and the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.  His current areas of interest include the relationship between the admissions process and student behavior in college, the relationship between the admissions profession and the media, and issues of economic diversity in college admissions.  A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Mr. Guttentag received his B.A. in Philosophy and Music History at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a M.A. in Musicology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Scott Highhouse

Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Bowling Green State University

Scott Highhouse is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University. Scott served as Associate Editor of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (OBHDP) from 2001-2007, and as Associate Editor of Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology from 2007-2009. He is co-author, with Robert Guion, of the 2006 book “Essentials of Personnel Assessment and Selection.” Scott has been named a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology. He formerly worked in organizational development at Anheuser-Busch Companies, and has published numerous articles and chapters on history of psychology in the workplace, assessment/selection for employment, and human judgment/decision making.

Nathan Kuncel

Marvin D. Dunnette Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology

University of Minnesota

Nathan Kuncel’s is the Marvin D. Dunnette Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota where he also earned his doctorate. His research is focused on the measurement of human cognitive and non-cognitive characteristics and their relationship with important life outcomes including academic and job performance. Nathan’s work has appeared in Science, Psychological Bulletin, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Review of Educational Research, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Psychology, among others.

Robert Morse

Director of Data Research

U.S. News & World Report

Robert Morse is the Director of Data Research for U.S. News & World Report, and has been with U.S. News since 1976. He, previously held the position of Director of Research, and was a member of the Economic Unit there.  He is in charge of producing the America’s Best Colleges, the America’s Best Graduate Schools, America’s Best High Schools and World’s Best Colleges and Universities rankings all of which are published annually by U.S. News & World Report.  Mr. Morse developed most of the current methodologies that are used in determining the rankings in the publications listed above. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Cincinnati and an M.B.A. in Finance from Michigan State University.

Kevin Rask

Professor, Department of Economics

Wake Forest University

Kevin Rask joined Wake Forest as Professor of Economics in 2007.  He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Duke University in 1989 and 1991 respectively, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Haverford College in 1986. Prior to coming to Wake Forest, Rask taught economics at Colgate University.  His research interests have focused on the economics of higher education and environmental economics.  He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals, most recently related to student choice, both in college selection and major selection.  He has also been a consultant for admissions offices, university administration, and university research centers on issues relating to admissions, alumni giving, major choice, and academic performance. 

Greg Roberts

Dean of Admissions

University of Virginia

Currently the Dean of Admissions at the University of Virginia, Greg Roberts has held various admission positions at numerous prestigious schools, including Emory University, Georgetown University and Woodward Academy. In addition, Mr. Roberts is on the Executive Board of the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC) where he Chairs the Admission Practices committee and is a member of the Current Issues/Future Trends committee and the Government Relations committee. He is also a National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Delegate and member of the National Admission Practices Committee. He serves as a University Legislative Advisor for the Virginia General Assembly and is a member of the UVA President’s Athletic Advisory committee, serving on the Academic Integrity subcommittee. He was a member of the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Transfer Admission committee from 2003-2007 and has served as Chair of the Virginia State Policy subcommittee. Mr. Roberts holds a B.A. in History (1988) and an M.A. in Education (1990) from Wake Forest University.

Jesse Rothstein

Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs

Princeton University

Professor Rothstein is an applied microeconomist, with research interests in labor and public economics and a particular focus in the economics of education. His work includes research on the use of student test scores to evaluate schools and teachers, the effect of student debt on college graduates’ career choices, the return to investments in school facilities, and the role of student demographics and academic achievement in predicting and influencing higher educational outcomes. His other current interests include urban economics and the labor market effects of income transfer programs. He holds an M.P.P. and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Akbar Salam

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry

Wake Forest University

Akbar Salam was born and educated in London, U.K. He obtained a B.Sc. Degree (First Class Honours) in Chemical Physics in 1990, and a Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry in 1993, both from University College London. Dr. Salam joined the faculty of Wake Forest University as an Assistant Professor in 2003, where he teaches General and Physical Chemistry. His research interests lie in the development and application of quantum mechanics to the study of laser-molecule and intermolecular interactions. He was a guest Professor at Kyoto University from December 2005 to January 2006, and was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics during March-April 2007.

Robert Schaeffer

Public Education Director of FairTest

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing

Robert Schaeffer is Public Education Director of FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a position he has held since the organization’s founding in 1985. He is also the co-author of Standing Up to the SAT (1989) and several FairTest publications including The SAT Coaching Cover-up (1991); Sex Bias in College Admissions Tests: How Women Lose Out (1989); and Test Scores Do Not Equal Merit: Enhancing Equity & Excellence in College Admissions by Deemphasizing SAT and ACT Results (1998). Prior to working at FairTest, Schaeffer was the Research Director for the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Human Services and an associate at the Education Research Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was both an undergraduate and graduate student.

Peter Siavelis

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Fellow and Associate Professor of Political Science

Wake Forest University

Dr. Siavelis has published on Latin American electoral and legislative politics in numerous journal articles and book chapters and is the author of The President and Congress in Post-authoritarian Chile: Institutional Constraints to Democratic Consolidation (2000).  His current research focuses on political recruitment and candidate selection in Latin America, and he recently published an edited volume, Pathways to Power: Political Recruitment and Candidate Selection in Latin America (2008) with Scott Morgenstern.  Dr. Siavelis is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University.  He received his B.A. from Bradley University and both his M.A. and Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

Joseph A. Soares

Conference Organizer

Associate Professor of Sociology

Wake Forest University

Joseph A. Soares is the conference organizer of this event. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University. His recent book The Power of Privilege (2007) has been widely acclaimed. His earlier book, The Decline of Privilege (1999) won a national award from the American Sociological Association. Soares was a Krupp Fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University; a U.S. Congress Jacob Javits Fellow; and a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University. Before moving to Wake Forest, Dr. Soares taught as a Lecturer at Harvard and was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale. He is Director of the Honors Program in the Department of Sociology at Wake Forest. For most of 2008, he was a member of the national education policy group for Barack Obama’s campaign for U.S. President. Dr. Soares will be editing a book of papers and speeches from this conference.

Eric Stone

Associate Professor of Psychology

Wake Forest University

Eric Stone is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University.  He received his PhD in cognitive psychology and a Master’s in applied statistics from the University of Michigan in 1994.  His research is in the field of judgment and decision making.  The current focus of his work is on how people make decisions for others, contributors to overconfidence, and how best to communicate risk information.

Omari Holmes Swinton

Assistant Professor of Economics

Howard University

Omari Holmes Swinton earned his Ph.D in economics from Duke University (2007).  Dr.  Swinton’s research interests include labor economics and education. In particular, he is working on projects that look at the returns to effort for students and the obstacles to faculty diversity in higher education.

Lloyd Thacker

Founder and Executive Director

The Education Conservancy

Lloyd Thacker is the founder and Executive Director of The Education Conservancy (, and editor of College Unranked.  He works to improve the educational value of college admissions for all participants and to promote collaboration among colleges in serving the public interest. Lloyd is a thirty-year veteran of the College Admission and College Counseling professions.

Jill Tiefenthaler

Provost and Professor of Economics

Wake Forest University

Jill Tiefenthaler has served as the Provost of Wake Forest University since 2007.  During this time she has led strategic planning at the university, and implemented key initiatives, including diversity in admissions and enrollment, and new faculty development, recruitment and retention efforts. Prior to Wake Forest University, she was at Colgate University where she had been Chair of the Economics Department (2000-2003), Director of the Upstate Institute (2004-2006), Associate Dean of the Faculty (2003-2006), and Consultant to the President (2006-2007). An economist by training, she holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University, and a B.A. in Economics from Saint Mary’s College.  Her research interests include labor economics, economics of the family and development economics.

Jessica VanParys

Economics Department

University of Georgia

Jessica N. VanParys is currently a graduate student in Economics at the University of Georgia.  Ms. VanParys co-authored the University of Georgia study, “How Does the New SAT Predict Academic Achievement in College?” with Dr. David Mustard, Professor of Economics, University of Georgia, and Dr. Christopher Cornwell, Chair, Department of Economics, University of Georgia. This paper disaggregates the returns to SAT scores by race and gender and discusses the value-added of SAT scores in explaining educational outcomes for first-year college students.  Ms. VanParys is also interested in the variance in labor, education and health outcomes for different groups of people. 

Richard Vedder

Distinguished Professor of Economics

Ohio University


Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington, D.C.

Richard Vedder is Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio University and Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity in Washington, D.C. The author of eight books and over 200 scholarly papers in economic history and public policy, Professor Vedder wrote Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much (2004) and served on the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. His popular works have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, USA Today and numerous other places. He appears widely in the electronic media as well, including ABC Nightly News, Fox News Primetime Special, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Professor Vedder is an Adjunct Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and is working on a new book, tentatively entitled Universities and Human Welfare. Dr. Vedder received his B.A. from Northwestern University and both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Bruce Walker

Vice Provost and Director of Admissions

University of Texas at Austin

Since 2003, Bruce Walker has served as Vice Provost and Director of Admissions at UT Austin.  Dr. Walker was hired by the University of Texas in 1996 to serve as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Admissions. He served for 11 years as Associate Provost for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Delaware.  From 1977 to 1985 he was Director for Admissions and Guidance Services in the Southwest Regional Office of the College Board, following four years as Associate Director of Admissions at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Walker has held several national positions in his profession, including The College Board, where he currently serves as a member of both the Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century and the Commission on Access, Admission, and Success in Higher Education.