Wisr Academy Instructors

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John Knific

Co-Founder, President, & Instructor

Hi, everyone! John Knific here. I’m the co-founder and President of Wisr, and the lead instructor for Wisr Academy. My passion for higher education started with the launch of my first company while completing my undergraduate degree at Case Western Reserve University. After deferring an acceptance to medical school, I pursued growing DecisionDesk full time as co-founder and CEO. I’ve since spent the last decade helping higher ed professionals crack the code on engagement. Wisr was built out of the belief that digital communities can give students and alumni access to the resources they need to succeed, while at the same time helping institutions better meet the needs of underserved populations, boost affinity, and drive donations. Since launching the Wisr mentorship platform in 2016, we’ve worked with over 30 institutions – from small, liberal arts colleges to massive state systems – to implement technology and strategy that moves the needle on engagement. With each Wisr implementation, we partner closely with our customers to develop a launch plan that features targeted marketing for specific user segments, design experiential and volunteer programming that aligns with the institutions’ engagement goals, and introduce analytics to measure engagement. After collaborating with leading institutions to design these engagement plans, in addition to facilitating the Wisr Summit Series with over 280 attendees from 160+ institutions, our team has built a deep arsenal of proven practices for student and alumni engagement. At Wisr, the mission of improving outcomes at every step of the higher ed lifecycle, from incoming college students to experienced professionals, has always been our #1 priority. That’s why we’re so passionate to share what we’ve learned through Wisr Academy. Wisr Academy is more than a course; it’s a community of devoted higher ed professionals supporting each other and helping each other grow so that we can all be better stewards to the students and alumni we serve. Get in touch with me at


Kate Volzer

Co-Founder, CEO, & Instructor

Hi, I’m Kate. As a former first-generation college student, I’m personally motivated to improve educational outcomes for college students across the country. After spending 5 years working in admissions and career services for the University of Chicago, I became especially interested in how technology can be used to support student outcomes. So, I returned to Northeast Ohio as VP of Business Development at DecisionDesk and later founded Wisr in 2016.

As Wisr’s CEO, I get to have strategic conversations with leaders in enrollment, student success, career services, alumni relations, and advancement every day. After successfully launching engagement plans at over 30 colleges and universities, plus teaching 250+ Wisr Summit Series attendees our approach to engagement, I’ve had the privilege of serving as an engagement advisor to institutions. You have an engagement issue? We’ve probably seen it before and we definitely have thoughts about how to fix it.

Now, as a Wisr Academy instructor, I get to share our best thinking to help you deliver more effective programming, reach more constituents, use technology to overcome resource constraints, and advocate for your office’s work with campus leadership. 

Get in touch with me at


Anna Moloney

Director of Marketing & Instructor

I’m Anna, the behind-the-scenes strategist for Wisr Academy. I’ve translated my background in digital marketing and Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice to serve as an advisor to John and Kate during university consulting engagements, shaping the conversation on how higher ed leaders manage change internally, drive technology adoption among constituents, and build a respected brand on campus and beyond. The idea for Wisr Academy was sparked out of conversations with ambitious higher ed administrators who wanted to attend a Wisr Summit Series event, but couldn’t make the trip. Now, I get to share the best of the best lessons and practices  to you through virtual courses that actually make you excited about engagement… and not roll your eyes at the drop of trendy lingo. Plus, with the private Wisr Academy community, you (and your team!) can get even more out of the learning experience. I love working with people who love what they do, and I love seeing motivated professionals like you get results. Get in touch with me at


Grace Frye

Wisr Academy Programming Advisor

Grace here. I’m Wisr Academy’s Programming Advisor, which basically means I’m here to help match you to the course(s) that will help you get your job done well and set you up for success once you’re enrolled. Have a question about which course is meant for you? I’m your girl. Treehouse, the Wisr Academy community you’ll gain access to as a course participant, is a complete game changer. I can’t wait for you to discover it yourself! I nerd out about the Wisr platform, where this digital community is housed. This includes setting up the profile, accessing documents and resources, following discussion threads, and especially matching with people who share similar interests or backgrounds. Sound exciting to you, too?! Get in touch with me at


Lindsey Royer

Director of Customer Success & Instructor

Hi there, I’m Lindsey, Wisr’s Director of Customer Success. The courses I teach on Wisr Academy are intended to help our customers get the most of the Wisr product, beginning during the initial launch process, all the way through growing and maintaining a vibrant, active networking platform. After launching the Wisr product at over 30 colleges and universities, we’ve collected more than a few tips and tricks about what it takes to successfully launch a network. Simply put: a networking platform doesn’t do much good if you don’t have people who are excited to be there, connecting with others. Now, through easy-to-access virtual courses, we’re arming higher ed leaders with the tools and resources they need to launch the Wisr product on their campus, regardless of the size of their budgets or breadth of resources at their disposal. Get in touch with me at


Samantha Sconyers

Wisr Academy Customer Instructor

Hi! Samantha here. I support development of Wisr Academy courses targeted at Wisr product customers, which means I have the privilege of helping our new customers get up and running in Wisr. Most universities are more alike than different, so these courses will share proven practices that will help our customers succeed. Get in touch with me at

Introduction to Engagement Strategy

The foundational engagement strategy session, this free 60-minute virtual class introduces the Wisr Engagement Framework to help your team evaluate the maturity of your current engagement strategy and integrate email, social, and programming into a cohesive engagement strategy.

Alumni Engagement Strategy

This 4-week certification course is designed to help alumni relations professionals develop a robust alumni engagement strategy and measure its performance using data analytics. The course covers everything from email marketing, digital engagement, and volunteer and experiential programming to alumni data, analytics, and campus collaboration.

See how Wisr can create meaningful connections on your campus