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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New VP Bagnoli on Admissions

On Feb. 6, President Kington announced Joe Bagnoli as the new Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid. Bagnoli joins Grinnell after serving as Dean of Enrollment and Academic Services at Berea College. The Scarlet and Black interviewed Bagnoli so that students could get to know him and his new position.

What are your duties going to entail in your new position?
As Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, I have been assigned organizational responsibility for the departments of Admission and Financial Aid. As a member of President Kington’s administrative team, I will also participate in Strategic Planning and operational initiatives at Grinnell.

What are some of your thoughts about Grinnell?
I see in Grinnell, a college eager to express its raison d’être through the students it seeks to serve—a place committed to excellence with clear goals for student learning and achievement. I see a culture rooted in the liberal arts tradition that finds relevance in social action. Grinnell is a place where committed faculty, staff, and students comprise a community of learners determined to make a positive difference in the world. In short, it seems to me that Grinnell is a college that deserves to attract a diverse cross-section of the most promising students in the US and beyond.

Do you see yourself making any changes to Grinnell immediately? If so, what are they?
I learned recently that applications to Grinnell are up this year. That is a testimony to the work already being done at Grinnell to bring the College to the attention of a wider audience of qualified prospects. While I have been fortunate to be part of successful teams in admission and financial aid at two institutions, I am not one who believes that successful programs in these areas can simply be airlifted from one campus to another. We will work together to identify opportunities for operational adjustments at Grinnell that will put important resources and information into the hands of those charged to recruit, enroll, and award financial aid to new Grinnell students. I am also particularly interested in the role of the website, current students, print publications, and financial aid in the assembly of new classes of students, so I hope to work closely with others on campus in each of these areas. I believe in measuring the effectiveness of investments made in admission and financial aid and anticipate establishing a system of data collection and analysis that will guide the work of these areas for years to come.

What strengths and experiences do you see yourself bringing to Grinnell?

When I read the job description for this position, I felt like the work I had done over the past twenty years had prepared me to do what Grinnell and President Kington identified as essential for a new Vice President for Enrollment. At Berea, we have dramatically increased the percentage of minority students and those strongly qualified to engage a rigorous academic and required work program. Of course, because Berea exclusively serves low-income students, I feel equipped to identify and meet the needs of the most deserving students with limited financial resources. I also believe in the mission of Grinnell and recognize that there is great value in all diversity, including diversity of socioeconomic class.

How has your time at Berea shaped your ideas on financial aid and admission?
At Berea, I have come to appreciate the importance of congruence between what teaching faculty and college administrators seek from enrolled students and what financial aid and admission offices do to construct classes of students that respond to institutional identity and priorities. It is important to understand whom the College intends to serve so that we can effectively assess the capacity of the financial aid and admission office to attract those students. I believe financial aid is a tool to permit deserving students an opportunity to fulfill their dreams. I have heard that the decision to attend Grinnell is made by some students based upon the fact that they receive the best financial aid offer from Grinnell. I suspect that Grinnell students would say that there are many equally or more important reasons why they are satisfied with their choice upon matriculation. Berea’s greatest successes were realized once we came to understand that students would not choose to attend simply because we were the low-cost-leader.

Is there anything you’d like the students to know about you?
I love working with college students! I am receptive to any and all ideas students have for how they might be involved in the process of student recruitment. At Berea, we developed a Student Marketing Team and hired several bloggers and marketing assistants who serve as credible sources of information to prospective students. I’m eager to work with enthusiastic Grinnell students who want to share with prospective students what they love about Grinnell. Come find me!

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