Colley Consulting
actor holding saxophone


who we are...

Colley Consulting provides organizations in arts and education with consultants in: Evaluation, Planning, and Policy Design. Under the personal leadership of founder Dr. Bernadette Colley, each project team of consultants exhibits four qualities: our commitment to quality education programs, our breadth of research experience in diverse designs, methods and fields, our belief in the intrinsic and catalytic value of art and arts education, and a personal enjoyment each of us derives from problem solving. All consultants at Colley Consulting have presented their work professionally in person and in print in local, state, and national forums. We each have won various awards in our areas of specialization, and hold memberships in numerous organizations in education, the arts, and related research fields of expertise.

what we do...

Clients of Colley Consulting include federal and state agencies, private foundations, non-governmental organizations, cultural institutions, school systems, and universities. Underlying all contracted work at Colley Consulting is our mission to advance the status of education and the arts in our society at large through research-based program evaluation and policy design. In the case of the arts in particular, we have found that this happens in two fundamental ways: through increased commitment to the arts in educational settings, and through increased commitment to education in cultural and arts institutions. This a priori objective of improvement drives our work as consultants, interests us most, and holds us to high standards of objectivity and excellence.

how we do It...

Our approach is to first be certain that we clearly understand the client's motivation for seeking outside help, and the organizational context surrounding that decision. During initial conversations, we ask clients to derive a set of questions that need answering, to explain to us why the answers are important to them, and to specify what they hope to be able to do as a result of our work. Colley Consulting intentionally does not bring preconceived approaches, methods, frameworks, five-point plans, or other acronymed, trademarked "recipes for success" to the client's table. Instead, we bring to clients professionally trained arts education consultants with considerable experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

If we feel that a particular aspect of the client's situation requires specialized expertise, we hire qualified individuals to join our team. We then design and tailor a plan to address the clients' needs. Every plan includes an agreed-upon budget, a specified task list and a work completion schedule. Clients may choose from among several options the type of final product(s) which will best suit their needs: detailed reports, executive summaries, and/or presentations to staff, trustees, or audiences of their choosing. (Samples available upon request)

how colley consulting got started...

In 1988, the National Endowment for the Arts asked NEA Fellow Bernadette Colley to write and produce for nationwide use an Arts Education Coordinators' Handbook which she had conceived and designed during her NEA summer Fellowship. During the twenty three years that followed, Bernadette Colley drew on her extensive work experience as a teacher, professional musician, educational evaluator, administrator, researcher and writer to build Colley Consulting into a practice providing consultation services to clients at the national, state, and local levels.

Because our clients represent diverse fields and involve multiple constituencies, they require consultants with varied backgrounds and multiple skills to accurately understand programs and issues. Bernadette Colley earned her bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees from Syracuse, McGill, and Harvard universities, respectively, where she trained professionally as a performing artist, educator, and researcher. Having spent 10 years teaching music K-12, 18 years as a professional musician, 8 years as an Associate Professor of Music Education in the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, and having worked 8 summers as an administrator for the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, Bernadette Colley brings a wealth and breadth of practical experience to clients. She has presented and authored numerous reports and articles on arts education in the United States and internationally.

Clients frequently remark that Bernadette Colley's leadership brings qualities and applied skills to their projects which - in combination at least, are not usually found among arts education consultants available to them. Over the past decades, they have expressed appreciation for her "teacher's perspective," "artist's sensitivity," "rigorous research methods," "systematic approach," "practical grounding in school issues – public and private," "clarity of thinking," "immediate understanding of our questions and needs", "thinking outside the box," and "seeing the larger picture."

In addition to overseeing all projects at Colley Consulting, Bernadette Colley purposely continues to remain active as a professional musician and teacher, enhancing her value as an organizational consultant.