Kent Barnds to lead strategy, innovation at Augustana College

Kent Barnds, Augustana College
Kent Barnds

Kent Barnds is the new executive vice president for strategy and innovation at Augustana College.

In the new post, he will oversee all enrollment management functions and lead the Rock Island college in institutional strategic planning efforts. As executive vice president for strategy and innovation and vice president of enrollment, Mr. Barnds will continue serving as vice president of admissions, financial aid, and communication and marketing, Augustana said in a news release. 

In his new role, Mr. Barnds will no longer oversee advancement. The college said it will launch a search for a vice president of advancement this summer. That new vice president will assume duties in January.

In his new role, Mr. Barnds also will prioritize attracting students to Augustana from across the globe, retaining students, maintaining a high-quality student experience, and strengthening and inspiring philanthropic support, the release said. 

Augustana President Andrea Talentino said in the release that Mr. Barnds, who began his career at Augustana in 2005 as vice president of enrollment, will continue to provide bold leadership and vision for Augustana by fostering innovations for the campus and cultivating new institutional partnerships. 

“Kent has been essential in identifying leading-edge and innovative higher education strategies, and we aim to give him the space to do even more of that important work,” Ms. Talentino added. “A commitment to strategic thinking is absolutely essential to the long-term success of colleges like Augustana and by reappointing Kent we are showing just how important that is.” 

Most recently, Mr. Barnds led the college in reaching a new record in new students intending to enroll for the 2023-2024 school year. Other milestones during his 18 years of service include: 

  • Leading the task force that developed the vision for the Gerber Center for Student Life.
  • Co-authoring the Augustana 2020 strategic plan.
  • Developing the President’s Advisory Council as a pipeline for trustee service.
  • Cultivating the Gerber gift and developing the vision for Augustana Possible.
  • Co-chairing the Presidential Transition Committee.

Mr. Barnds also serves on the EAB Enrollment 360 Advisory group and the national CASE Commission for Communications and Marketing. He is a frequent featured speaker at higher education conferences and writes regularly for both Inside Higher Education and The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

“I am eager to continue the work of stewarding Augustana in its work of developing excellent students who go on to become the professionals and leaders the world needs,” Mr. Barnds said. “Augustana continues to be a leader, both on campus and around the world, and I’m proud to contribute to this diverse and rich environment.”

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