Drew Koch

President and Chief Operating officer


Drew has been with the Gardner Institute since 2010. From 1998-2010, Dr. Koch held a variety of student persistence and completion-related roles at Purdue University including serving as the founding director of the nationally acclaimed Department of Student Access, Transition, and Success Programs. During his tenure at Purdue, the University increased first-to-second year retention rates by over 8 percentage points and six-year graduation rates by more than 6 percentage points. Before working at Purdue, Dr. Koch served as the Director of Freshman Advancement and Associate Dean at Hofstra University, and he also served as Assistant to the Dean of Summer College at the University of Richmond.

Dr. Koch holds a BA in history and German and an MA in European history from the University of Richmond, an MA in higher education from the University of South Carolina, and a PhD in American Studies from Purdue University. His research interests include student success, the role of colleges and universities in shaping democracy and culture in the United States, and the role of sport in U.S. culture and society.

During his twenty-year career, Koch has garnered substantive experience with undergraduate education administration, strategic planning, fund raising, reaffirmation of accreditation, and enrollment management. His work includes extensive grant writing and fund raising with support coming from sources such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Coca Cola, Lilly Endowment, Inc., Lumina Foundation for Education, the National Science Foundation, and Target Corporation. To date, Dr. Koch’s fund raising and grant totals exceed $11 million.

Dr. Koch is the author of an array of publications pertaining to student success, including the second, third, and fourth editions of The First-Year Experience in American Higher Education: An Annotated Bibliography, published by the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience. He has served on several boards and commissions, including the Indiana College Access and Success Network; the Directorate Board for the American College Personnel Association Commission on Admissions, Orientation, and the First-Year Experience; the Military Family Research Institute; the Higher Learning Commission’s Think Tank on Persistence and Completion; the National Advisory Board for the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition; and the editorial review board of the Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Dr. Koch lives with his wife, Dr. Sara Stein Koch, and their six children in Mills River, North Carolina. In their spare time, he and his wife enjoy hiking with their children; attending their children’s track, soccer and lacrosse events; gardening; and reading.

To contact Drew, email him at koch@jngi.org or call 828-877-3549.