Home » About W. Kent Barnds

About W. Kent Barnds

Kent Barnds

Executive Vice President of External Relations: Advancement| Communications| Enrollment | Planning

Kent Barnds began his work at Augustana College as vice president of enrollment in the summer of 2005, leading the offices of admissions and financial aid. In the summer of 2008, his role expanded to chief communication officer and strategist in the reorganized communication and marketing office. Barnds achieved his current position as executive vice president of external relations, which includes enrollment, communication, advancement and planning in 2017 after serving in a number of leadership positions as Augustana College including as acting president while Steve Bahls was on a summer sabbatical in 2012. He now leads a division of nearly 75 professionals in the areas of advancement, admissions, financial aid, media and public relations, brand advancement, web and print communications, institutional and campus planning; and, he supervises the college’s public radio station, WVIK—Quad Cities Public Radio.

Some of Barnds’ achievements at Augustana include leading an institution-wide strategic planning process in 2010; heading the design of that process through a focus on enterprise risk management; collaborating with the president and provost on the development of Augustana 2020; leading the task force to develop a five-year capital plan; exploring and ultimately implementing the concept and model for the Gerber Center for Student Life, which combines dining, student activities and the college library under one roof; securing a $9 million gift in support of the Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex and Charles D. Lindburg Stadium; revising Augustana’s Campus Master Plan; and coordinating major capital project planning and development.

Barnds serves as a liaison to the Advancement, Enrollment and Student Engagement and Campus Planning Committees of the Augustana College Board of Trustees.

Over the past several years, Barnds has gained national visibility as a thought leader in admissions, enrollment management, higher education marketing, higher education, and higher education policy through a variety of publications and quotes in Money, Inside Higher Ed, University Business Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, College & University and his personal and HuffPo College blog. Barnds’ public presentation topics through the years have ranged from admission’s role in retention planning, team leadership, transparency in communicating assessment data, to marketing and communicating institutional affordability, to writing a great college admissions essay and conducting effective performance assessment for college admissions personnel. He serves as a member of the Personnel Committee at St. Paul Lutheran Church, a served nine years on the Board of Trustees at Rivermont Collegiate, a K-12 independent school in Bettendorf, Iowa. In 2016 he was elected to the Alumni Board of Directors at his alma mater, Gettysburg College.

Prior to his work at Augustana, Barnds served as dean of admissions and enrollment management at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania where he worked for 13 years.

He received a B.A. in political science from Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the M.S. in management from Regis University, Denver, Colorado. Barnds participated in the Institute for Educational Management through the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. In 2007 was recognize with the Young Alumni Achievement Award for Professional Development from Gettysburg College for his commitment to liberal arts and private education.

Kent Barnds was born Gering, Nebraska. He and his wife, Jennie, have three children, Martha, Sophie and Ben. Kent and Jennie are members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa. He enjoys traveling, cooking, jazz, Lyle Lovett, the Grateful Dead, cycling and he believes “the option” remains the most exciting styled football offense. He’s a below average golfer.


  1. Richard Johnson says:

    Kent, for some unknown reason I was moved this date 1/30/12 to google your uncle Delwin and I found you in the process. Del may have been gone for many years, but in my memory he is a fresh as ever. I had the privilege of attending Luther College and subsequently Augie with Del, and we roomed together for 3 semesters. Your references to your uncle’s influence ring true. He was a unique and singular individual and even these many years later I miss his presence. Running, music, and traveling witnesses his influence on you together with a love of academia. I can still see him in his sweat suit, his “combat” boots, and that ever present DAMN cigar as he headed out for a cross country practice run. And, Oh, so many other tales which may or may not be appropriate to tell. Please pardon my unannounced reminiscence, but Del left strong impressions on many, many folks, and I am one. Your chosen profession is witness to his legacy. Thanks for indulging a old Delwin fan and Augie grad.

    Rich Johnson 1964

  2. […] and colleagues.  For a Friday easy read I’d like to give a shout-out to respected colleague, W. Kent Barnds, VP for Enrollment, Communication and Planning at Augustana College.  His post, “Facebooking […]

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