Support for Institutional Success

We provide external data analysis services to small colleges and non-profit organizations that lack funding or the capacity to do so with internal staffing. From strategic planning to program development and fundraising, our services aim to initiate lasting development to any organization that seeks the service of our specialists.

Opening in 2015, our agency consciously decided to remain independent and concentrate on engaging a few clients at a time. Your ongoing success is our priority.

William Smialek, Ph.D. is an administrator and consultant with experience in accreditation reaffirmation, resource development, fundraising management, curriculum development, program implementation, assessment, and data analysis. Dr. Smialek is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). He has served in executive positions as chief academic officer, chief advancement officer, and accreditation liaison. He has also led efforts in institutional effectiveness and institutional research. His activities with non-profit organizations include analysis of key performance indicators, strategic planning, board development, leadership training, team building, and data management. Dr, Smialek is a musicologist and earned his graduate degrees from the University of North Texas. As a partner with Benchmark Higher Ed Associates, he focuses on accreditation, fundraising, data analysis, and assessment of academic programs and student learning.

Data management is a fundamental function of a comprehensive development program.  In an institution of higher education, data collected from students migrates to the alumni/donor database, where it will serve the institution for 60 years or more.  HBCUs have lagged behind in collecting pertinent fundraising data, maintaining its integrity, and using the information to identify and cultivate donors.  If decision making to advance fundraising is to be data driven, administrators must have a general understanding of the institution’s CMS and database structure.  Moreover, to strengthen future results, there must be consistency in entering data institution-wide.   As a strategy for heightening institutional understanding of the importance of consistent data management, as well as reporting possibilities, training sessions can be designed to brief administrators on the structure of the institution’s relational database and its software interface.  As the intended result, requestors for specific information will consider the data elements captured over time and the complexity of interconnecting the requested data. 

Belinda A. Prihoda, Ed.D., has served as high school science teacher, Area Coordinator of Science and Mathematics, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Physical Science, Director of Faculty Development, Director of Assessment, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Assessment, and SACSCOC Liaison. Her areas of specialty include curriculum development and assessment – particularly the connection between assessment, student learning, student retention, graduation rates, and the curriculum – and the reaffirmation of accreditation process. Dr. Prihoda has worked for Tyler Junior College, Jarvis Christian College, Kilgore College, and Quitman Independent School District. She received her Doctorate in Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce and Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Texas A&M University in College Station.

Molly J. McCoy, D.M.A., has extensive experience in managing an assessment program. As Assistant Director of Institutional Effectiveness before retirement, she worked with faculty in an array of disciplines to create meaningful student learning outcomes, develop appropriate assessment measures, document progress, and prepare improvement plans. Dr. McCoy, as an accomplished musician, has special insight in assessing performance skills as well as cognitive learning. She worked for more than eight years with Nuventive’s TracDat system to capture and report assessment data at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. She has studied at the University of South Dakota and University of North Texas, and earned her doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sunya L. "Suny" Young is a seasoned fundraising professional with more than 15 years of experience. She's worked for both public and private higher education institutions serving as vice president of institutional advancement, foundation executive director, director of development, director of corporate and foundation relations, director of planned giving, and Title III Director. She's also experienced in public relations and communications having worked as public affairs manager for a large, national corporation. Ms. Young received a Bachelor's degree from Temple University, a Master’s degree from Webster University, and a certificate in Fund Raising Management from the prestigious Fund Raising School at Indiana University. As a partner with Benchmark Higher Education Associates, she focuses on fundraising and data compilation and analysis for clients, grant administration and management, and marketing and business development. 

V. Pernell Lewis, Ph.D., is an experienced researcher, teacher and administrator and brings to the Benchmark team research capacity, data management, and data processing, along with experience in instruction and curriculum development. He is trained in fisheries environmental sciences and has worked as a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He’s worked as a research scientist with the University of South Carolina, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Hampton University, and with a private consulting firm serving Duke Energy Corporation. In addition, Dr. Lewis has served on graduate research committees as a committee member and chairman, has been engaged in teaching students from high school through graduate degree programs over his 20 year career as an educator. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina and his doctoral degree from North Carolina State University.