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Kent Barnds to lead strategy, innovation at Augustana

W. Kent Barnds has been named executive vice president for strategy and innovation at Augustana College. Barnds, who has served as executive vice president of external relations, will now oversee all enrollment management functions and lead the college in institutional strategic planning efforts. 

Among other responsibilities, Barnds’ new role will prioritize attracting and retaining students from across the globe to Augustana, maintaining a high-quality student experience, and strengthening and inspiring philanthropic support. 

College President Andrea Talentino said Barnds, who started 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 Barnds
Kent Barnds

“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.” 

President Andrea Talentino

“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,” said President Talentino. “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.” 

As executive vice president for strategy and innovation and vice president of enrollment, Barnds will continue serving as vice president of Admissions, Financial Aid, and Communication and Marketing. As Barnds steps into this new role, he will no longer oversee Advancement, with the college launching a search for a vice president of Advancement this summer. The new vice president will assume duties in January.

Barnds moves into this new role as he continues 18 years of service to Augustana. Most recently, he has led the college in reaching a new record in new students intending to enroll for the 2023-2024 school year. Other milestones during his 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

 An instrumental voice in higher education, Barnds 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. 

Barnds, who previously served as dean of admissions and enrollment management at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pa., resides in Davenport with his wife, Jennie. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa., and a master’s in management: organizational leadership from Regis University, Denver, Colo.

“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,” 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.”


Nicole Lauer, 309-794-7645; 

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