Division of Strategy and Policy
The division of Strategy and Policy is charged with enhancing and furthering the UNC System’s strategic goals. To this end, Strategy and Policy is developing a robust performance measurement systems and proactively identifying new initiatives that will help advance System goals.
The division leads several projects and programs, including:
The North Carolina Student Aid Study Group, a joint effort of the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College Systems
Andrew P. Kelly, Ph.D
Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy | 919-962-6082
Dr. Andrew Kelly serves as the senior vice president for Strategy and Policy. In addition to leading the division, Dr. Kelly serves as a higher-education policy expert to the president and the Board of Governors.
Prior to joining the UNC System, Kelly was a resident scholar in education policy studies and the founding director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). In his roles, Dr. Kelly conducted research on college affordability innovation in higher education and federal and state policy. He advised members of congress, state policy makers, and presidential candidates. Kelly has published work in academic journals and in popular outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, The Atlantic, and National Review.
Dr. Kelly is a summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, where he earned a degree in history. He holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Shun Robertson, Ph.D
Assistant Vice President for Policy Development and Analysis | 919-962-5663
Dr. Shun Robertson serves as a state policy expert for the Strategy and Policy Division, researching key higher education issues to advance the System’s strategic goals.
Prior to joining the UNC System, Robertson was a program director at MDC and Jobs for the Future, providing senior-level policy and research support to education and community-based projects. She also served as a policy analyst for the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS). In her role with SCTCS, Robertson provided ongoing analysis of education and economic trends affecting community colleges. She also has several years of experience working in admissions offices at colleges in Georgia and South Carolina.
Dr. Robertson received her bachelor of science in business administration and doctorate in educational administration from the University of South Carolina; and her master of business administration from Augusta State University. She earned a certificate in nonprofit administration from Duke University.
Director of Data Analysis and Research | 919-962-4549
Schoenheit received a bachelor of science in pure mathematics, a master of science in mathematics, and graduate certificates in statistics and operations research from the College of Charleston. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational leadership, policy, and human development from NC State University.
Access and Success Initiatives Manager | 919-962-5217
Tonya Walton serves as the access and success initiatives manager in the division. She helps implement grant-funded initiatives that support the UNC System’s Strategic Plan, including the Student Success and Innovation Lab.
Walton has served in business operations and program administration roles within multiple sectors. Most recently, she fostered innovation efforts, including the creation of a citywide training academy for strategic planning and performance analytics, as a budget and management analyst with the City of Raleigh. In a similar role within Orange County Government (NC), she coordinated the grant administration and assessment process for over 40 nonprofit agencies. She has also held program administration roles in higher education and nonprofit organizations.
Walton received bachelor’s degrees in sociology and communication from NC State University. She earned her master of public administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Executive Assistant to Dr. Andrew Kelly | 919-962-6082
Monique Keyes has a background in the legal field, serving as a family law paralegal in the Triangle Area for three years. Ms. Keyes holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hampton University and a paralegal certificate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Paralegal Certificate Program. As an executive assistant in Strategy and Policy, Keyes helps with administrative office needs and helps coordinate projects and events.
PreK-12 Strategy and Policy
Alexis Lockett, M.Ed.
NC Teaching Fellows and P-12 Program Specialist | 919-962-4575
Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, Director of Teacher Recruitment | 919-843-0176
Tiffany Watts, Ph.D.
Director of Strategic Research Initiatives | 919-843-9587
Graduate Assistant for Teaching Fellows, P12, & University Partnerships Division | 919-962-4595
Sarah Kitchens serves as the Graduate Assistant for NC Teaching Fellows, P12, and University Partnerships Division. In this role, Sarah assists with programming needs and communication for the department. Sarah is currently attending East Carolina University in Greenville, NC and will graduate with honors in May with an M.Ed. in adult education and a certificate to teach Community College.
GEAR UP stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs” and is a national college access initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of this initiative is to significantly increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Over the past seven years, more than 22,000 students and their families in sixteen North Carolina school districts have been supported through academic support services, financial aid and career counseling, college tours, and mentoring services. GEAR UP also provides professional development to school leadership, emphasizing the importance of data-driven decision making when developing programs to address student need.
Nikki A. Liles
Interim Director, GEAR UP | 919-445-0492
Nikki Liles has worked with the GEAR UP grant in different capacities for over four years and currently serves as the interim director. She provides administrative leadership and supervision for the GEAR UP state grant, including management of program resources. Liles collaborates with educational consultants, evaluators, school leaders and other partners to implement GEAR UP district services. She also engages in statewide outreach and programming to increase access to and preparation for postsecondary education.
Aministrative Assistant | 919-843-6790
Accounting Technician | 919-843-5845