Sara Stein Koch

Institute Fellow and senior associate for institutional support


Sara is an Institute Fellow and Senior Associate for Institutional Support with the  Gardner Institute.  She has spent the past three decades in administration, training, coaching, facilitation, and teaching in higher education.

Her current work with the Institute involves advising institutions on the Foundations of Excellence First-Year, Transfer, and Implement, Gateways to Completion, and Retention Performance Management processes. She also coordinates the curriculum for the Annual Gateway Course Experience Conference. Sara was involved in the development of the Gateways to Completion process, development and administration of the two year National Survey on Student Success practices, and strategic planning for the Institute.

Prior to joining the Institute, Sara served as the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.  Her role included the administration and operation of the undergraduate business school program of 2700+ undergraduate students. Her oversight included the areas of curriculum administration, Academic Advising, Career Services, Recruitment, and the development and operation of the Undergraduate Management Communication Center. At the heart of the Center was its outreach and curricular connections through the development of programs and coaching for undergraduate students to improve their professional development and communication skills.

Sara also served as a Senior Consultant with Organization and Career Development in Human Resources at Purdue University. Her consulting focused on the process of talent development and retention, managing change, performance management, and strategic planning design. Through her career Sara has been certified as a SHRM  Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR); Harvard Mutual Gains Negotiator, Linkage Inc. Human Resource consultant, Blessing White™ facilitator, Zenger Miller™ facilitator, and Targeted Selection™ administrator.

Sara has also developed and taught undergraduate courses on Conference Leadership and Human Resource Issues and Critical Thinking for the School of Technology at Purdue University. In addition, she appeared frequently to guest lecture classes on teamwork, interviewing, conflict and communication in Civil Engineering, Management, and  Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Her early career work in student affairs took her from the University of South Carolina to Hamilton College and Pratt Institute.

She earned her BS in Business Administration at Winthrop College, Master’s in Education from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Sara and her husband Drew have six children, Andrejs, Maks, Hunter, Hudson, Grayson, and Lauren. Though she was born and raised in New York, she has lived in Florida, Tokyo, New York City, Indiana and she now resides in the Asheville area of North Carolina.

Sara can be reached at or 828-398-1586.