DiscoverALP: The Admissions Leadership Podcast
ALP: The Admissions Leadership Podcast
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ALP: The Admissions Leadership Podcast

Author: Ken Anselment

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Ken Anselment hosts a series of one-on-one conversations with people who have been climbing the leadership mountain in the world of college admissions. Some are nearing the summit. Some are already there. But how did they get there? And what can other climbers learn from their mindsets, habits, and experiences?
34 Episodes
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Peaches Valdes

Peaches Valdes

2021-01-0801:04:35

Peaches Valdes, Dean of Admission at Hamilton College, joins Ken for a conversation that spans everything from taking the path less taken and the importance of having a board of mentors, to the magic of super soft stationery and storytelling without notes. Much hilarity ensues.Alternative episode title: "Paths, Pearls, Pickups, Pens, and Paper."  Rapid DescentWalkout song:  Tilted , Christine and the QueensBest recent read: The Farm: A Novel by Joanne RamosEager to read next: A Promised Land by Barack ObamaPodcast: The Moth.Favorite thing to make in the kitchen: Filipino food, especially eggrolls, which she makes with her mother and sistersWhat he uses to take and keep notes: Peaches and Ken go on a major sidequest about unlined paper and ultra fine point pens, including erasables because, as Peaches says, "I like making mistakes." So many tips about pens and paper purveyors: like OOLY fountain pens Ivy League Stationers and Muji, who make "super soft" paper.  Don't forget about Clairefontaine paper.Memorable bit of advice: "Be open to possibilities."Bucket list: Go on the Moth.
Nancy Beane

Nancy Beane

2021-01-0148:16

You can hear it in my giddy voice when I start the intro for this episode, where Nancy Beane, recently retired associate director of college counseling at The Westminster Schools, and former NACAC president, reflects on her career and all the people who have inspired and lifted her along the way. Come for the inspiration, stay for the history lesson.Shout-outs ... consider it Nancy's thank you's for her Lifetime Achievement AwardJuan Acosta; Lee Ann Afton Backlund; Stephanie Balmer; Marie Bigham; Jack Blackburn; Wade Boggs; David Burge; Terese Buscher; Rick Clark; Anthea Economy; Sarbeth Fleming; Steve Frappier; Jeff Fuller; Emmi Harward; Sam Moss; Stefanie Niles; Richard Powell; Jim Rawlins; Jenny Rickard; Todd Rinehart; Leon Scott; Brandi Smith; Joyce Smith; Lisa Sohmer; Bill Starling;  Bertha Todd; Phil Trout ... and many many more  Rapid DescentWalkout song:  Let There Be Peace on Earth , The Boys Choir of HarlemBest recent read: The Women in the Castle by Jessica ShattuckEager to read next: Wilmington's Lie by David ZucchinoPodcast: Anything that Rick Clark writes or reads.Favorite thing to make in the kitchen: As her daughter said, "Mommy, you're a plain cooker; Dad's a fancy cooker."What he uses to take and keep notes: her computer.Memorable bit of advice: From the father of one of her students, "To do my good, my better, my best, to make this world better than I found it."Bucket list: "I want to travel! Australia. New Zealand."
Gil Villanueva

Gil Villanueva

2020-12-1852:10

Gil Villaneuva, Associate Vice President and Dean of Admission at the University of Richmond and former board chair of The Common Application, joins Ken to discuss horror movies, dogs, and maybe a few things (OK, more than a few things) about higher ed leadership, including the joy of working for ambitious institutions ... also SPAM and fried rice.Shout-outsNancy Tessier his former boss at University of Richmond (now at Art & Science Group)Pat Coleman, his former boss at Harvey Mudd (now at Witt/Kieffer)Hector Martinez, his foamier boss at Pitzer (now at The Webb Schools)Rapid DescentWalkout song:  Don't Stop Believin' by Journey (a repeat walkout from an earlier episode)Best recent read: In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed ZakariaEager to read next: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesPodcast: The History Guy also any podcast about the Las Vegas (formerly LA, formerly Oakland) RaidersFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: SPAM and fried rice.What he uses to take and keep notes: iPhone.Memorable bit of advice: Hope is not a strategy. (Nancy Tessier) Kill people with kindness. (Pat Coleman). Finally, "Whenever you can take people with you to bigger and better things, take every opportunity to do that."Bucket list: Travel the world with his spouse. 
DJ Menifee

DJ Menifee

2020-12-1154:05

DJ Menifee, Vice President for Enrollment at Susquehanna University and member of NACAC's board of directors, shares the stories about his rapid ascent to higher ed leadership ... and, perhaps just as important, deconstructs the construction of a perfect PBJ with Ken. This quote from DJ (borrowed from Kobe Bryant):"If you want to be the best, you've got to sacrifice something."Shout-outsLori Greene (Butler U; mentor to DJ)Bill Sliwa (who hired him into the profession at Lees-McRae)Andy Borst (U of Illinois)Paul Steenis (Knox)Devone Eurales (Knox) Darryl UyIllinois ACACAnd, of course, DJs family.Rapid DescentWalkout song:  Standing Ovation by Young Jeezy (with "naughty words" warning by DJ 😉)Best recent read: Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior  by Jonah BurgerEager to read next: A Promised Land by President Barack ObamaPodcast: Tony Sarda's episode on the ALPFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: "I'm there for support."What he uses to take and keep notes: Padfolio.Memorable bit of advice: From his colleague and friend, Devone Eurales of Knox: "Someone is always watching."Bucket list: Supporting his wife in checking items off her bucket list3
Adrienne Amador Oddi

Adrienne Amador Oddi

2020-11-1358:14

Adrienne Amador Oddi, Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, shares her story, which may overlap with many other ALP alumni, but is very much her own. Learn how a swimmer's mindset is perfectly adaptable to leadership in admissions & financial aid. Also math.This quote from Adrienne Amador Oddi:"We take the steps to build community. And when we get tired, the beauty of community is that somebody else can keep us going, and then, when our energy is restored, we can pick up the slack again."Shout-outsJennifer DelahuntyDarryl UyJonathan BurdickMarie BighamHeath EinsteinAngel PerezRapid DescentWalkout song:  Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon (and fellow Kenyon '09 classmate Nick Petricca)Best recent read: I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown.Eager to read next: America is Not the Heart by Elaine CastilloPodcast ... or audible book: Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese LaymonFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: "Working on my brunch game."What she uses to take and keep notes: Moleskine cahier, extra large with a Vision Elite Uniball (micro point). Also Trello.Memorable bit of advice: From Jim Steen, winningest swim coach in NCAA history: "You can live your life in two ways: under a threat, or for a challenge."Bucket list: "Finding ways to help women find their voices and succeed in leadership positions. Working and brining all my interests together in coaching women to find and create their space."
Eva Blanco Masias

Eva Blanco Masias

2020-11-0650:40

Eva Blanco Masias, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Santa Clara University, shares her story, including how a significant national crisis 19 years ago led her to leave a highly successful career to jump into the admissions and enrollment world.Shout-outsRod Skinner (and his mother, Mrs. Skinner)Mike SextonSandra HayesCharlie NolanPatrick LorenzoRapid DescentWalkout song:  Mi Gente by J Balvin, Willy William ft. BeyoncéBest recent read: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (also The Magic Treehouse series, essential parent-child reading)Eager to read next: Pauli Murray: A Personal and Political Life by Troy R. SaxbyPodcast: Latino USA, Maria Hinojosa; LatinxAmerica, Adriana Flores-RagadeFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Her mother's puzzle recipe. What she uses to take and keep notes: A computer.Memorable bit of advice: From Charlie Nolan (former Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at Santa Clara University): "Do the fundamentals fundamentally well."Bucket list: Traveling to Europe, to "venture and explore all of it ... multiple times."
Four Peaks

Four Peaks

2020-10-3005:43

Ken shares four things to carry you into and through a Halloween/Nov. 1/pre-Election Day weekend. Full episode with new guests drops next week.Peak 1: The Keep Going Song a joyful ear wormPeak 2: "What's at Stake for College Admission in this Election?" by Angel PerezPeak 3:  "Election Stress Getting to You? 4 Ways to Keep Calm"Peak 4: Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
Jenny Rickard

Jenny Rickard

2020-10-2201:08:27

Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of CommonApp, climbs a veritable mountain range on this episode of the ALP.  Learn about a journey that's part dream, part serendipity and all dedication as you hear Jenny share what she's learned along the way, and what has driven her from the start.Rapid DescentWalkout song:  While You See a Chance by Steve WinwoodBest recent read: Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy by Tressie McMillan Cottom  Eager to read next: The College Conversation: A Practical Companion for Parents to Guide Their Children Along the Path to Higher Education by Eric Furda and Jacques SteinbergFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Shrimp Fra Diavolo over linguine What she uses to take and keep notes: Common App journal with a Frixion penMemorable bit of advice: From the Headspace app: "You are not your thoughts."Bucket list: Inspired by a visit to the King Tut exhibit when she was in 7th grade, Jenny wants to visit the pyramids in Egypt.
David Hawkins

David Hawkins

2020-10-1646:50

What do a growling beagle, Andrew Cuomo, the Green Bay Packers, shoe leather and good ideas have in common? Find out in this fun and wide-ranging interview with David Hawkins, Executive Director for Educational Content and Policy at the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Rapid DescentWalkout song: Total Football by Parquet CourtsBest recent read: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois Eager to read next: Mostly Harmless (The 5th book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy) by Douglas AdamsFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies, which his mother taught him to make when he was 4. What she uses to take and keep notes: College notebooks and a utilitarian pen.Memorable bit of advice: "A man should love his life enough to call it his own in the end." from Orhan Pamuk's The White Castle.Bucket list: To see the Green Bay Packers play at Lambeau Field.
Corey Johnson

Corey Johnson

2020-10-0958:32

Ken learns why dynamic kindness is more important than "success" in his chat with Corey Johnson, founder of Imagine Scholar, based in the Nkomazi region of Mpumalanga province, in South Africa. Imagine Scholar is "founded on the belief that there is an equal distribution of raw potential in every pocket of the world. Our mission is to equip young leaders with the integrity, skills, and mindsets they need to shape a world they can be proud of." Many thanks to Laura Kaub (whose name somehow got garbled on the pod!) from Yale Young African Scholars, who introduced Ken to Corey via Kyra Kellawan's excellent ThePilotEd Podcast.Rapid DescentWalkout song: Magic Carpet Ride by SteppenwolfBest recent read: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt Eager to read next: Hate, Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another by Matt TaibbiFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Pizza using an obscure recipe from Richard the hippie, who read Lord of the Rings to Corey when he was ten. What she uses to take and keep notes: Things (Mac app) and four colored Etsy notebooks, using a purple-inked Pilot G2 pen.Memorable bit of advice: Get honest feedback from people who care about you. We all have emotional blindspots that we think nobody sees. Unmask your insecurities. (Inspired by a roast of him by his best friends.)Bucket list: He really wants to go to space.
Rachelle Hernandez

Rachelle Hernandez

2020-10-0201:02:59

Ken kicks off Season 3 with Rachelle Hernandez, Senior Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Student Success at the University of Texas at Austin. Learn why you may be able to go fast alone, but you'll always go far together—a theme of this podcast—and how doing right by students will always mean doing right by your institution. Ken also learns that the last thing you need is a pen exploding on you.Rapid DescentWalkout song: Hall of Fame by The Script (feat. will.i.am)Best recent read: The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Michael Starbird and Edward Burger Eager to read next: Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené BrownFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with 4x the recommended amount of vanilla What she uses to take and keep notes: Notebooks (currently a burnt orange/cactus themed, very Texas) and hotel pens.Memorable bit of advice: Listen more.Bucket list: Take a month-long road trip with her family around the U.S.
Maria Furtado

Maria Furtado

2020-05-2248:39

Ken chats with Maria Furtado, Executive Director of Colleges That Change Lives, which is dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process. Maria shares the origin story of Admissions Aerobics (it's real and it's magic), as well as lessons she's learned along the way as a former director of admission herself. Special shout-out to Marty O'Connell and Virginia Buege two of the big brains behind the birth of Colleges That Change Lives.Rapid DescentWalkout song: Flowers are Red by Harry ChapinBest recent read: The Unwind Dystology Series by Tom Rachman Eager to read next: Half Broke: A Memoir by Ginger GaffneyFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: "Drinks."What he uses to take and keep notes: Paper and pen, especially one with a nice wide tip; not one of those sharp pointy ones.Memorable bit of advice: "Make a decision. It may be good; it may be bad. But make a decision. The best one you can at the time."Bucket list: Go to Fiji.
Darryl Uy

Darryl Uy

2020-05-1552:11

Ken chats with Darryl Uy, director of admission at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. \In the episode Darryl illustrates the joys and advantages of being the director instead of the VP or dean, and how majoring in theater is the perfect prep for being an admission director.Rapid DescentWalkout song: Don't Give Up on Me by Andy Grammer and Broken & Beautiful by Kelly ClarksonBest recent read: The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman Eager to read next: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie FrankelFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Making room for his husband to make the best chicken and eggplant parmigiana in the world.What he uses to take and keep notes: If I'm out and about, Notes app on my phone, otherwise Google Docs. And there's a fountain pen he got from his parents for graduation that needs an ink refill.Memorable bit of advice: "Be proud of who you are. Be proud of where you came from. And always give people the respect they deserve by learning how to pronounce their name correctly."Bucket list: See every movie that has been nominated or has won the Oscar for Best Picture. He's done everything from the present back to 1989.Bonus rapid descent items (movie recommendations): Saving Face and The Half of It by Alice Wu
May 1, Then and Now

May 1, Then and Now

2020-05-0107:18

Ken chats with—well—himself. No the quarantine isn't going that badly for him, but it seems like May 1 is a good day to pause and reflect on our previous expectations for—and now the new reality of—The Big Day.Shameless cross-promotion: Why Do We Do This? an article I published almost a year ago about the challenges and the gifts that come with the work of college admission counseling. 
Patrick O'Connor

Patrick O'Connor

2020-04-2455:47

Ken chats with Patrick O'Connor, associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Schools and author of College Is Yours 2.0: Preparing, Applying, and Paying For Colleges Perfect For You. A frequent publisher of articles in the Huffington Post and elsewhere, Patrick is a strong advocate for college access (he's the chair of the Michigan College Access Network) with a long record of working with legislators to support college counseling.Rapid DescentWalkout song: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by J.S. BachBest recent read: The Anatomists of Melancholy, by Spencer Lee-Lenfield (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 17, 2020) Eager to read next: The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us by Paul ToughFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Ina Garten's Avocado and Grapefruit Salad and Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs.What he uses to take and keep notes: "I don't take notes." The thoughts just spring from his head and into the computer. Memorable bit of advice: Remember when you're frustrated with your superiors' decisions, the advice Patrick's dad gave to Patrick's frustrated 16-year-old brother, "It's his hot dog stand. If he wants to serve them with peanut butter, that's his decision." It helps you step back and see why folks might make decisions differently from the ones you'd make.Bucket list: Learn to play the drums. Also, to be Sam Seaborn (from The West Wing) for a year or two, writing policy speeches that shape the future of the country. 
Jennifer Delahunty

Jennifer Delahunty

2020-04-0348:07

Ken chats with Jennifer Delahunty, a self-described "accidental admissions officer, a humanoid and admissions gig worker. The former enrollment chief at Kenyon College and a perpetually gifted writer, Jennifer shares her views on how we can make the admissions world for students better than it is right now, and how our current disruption may be the perfect opportunity for nimble, creative, and humble leaders to bring all hands on deck to do so.Rapid DescentWalkout song: It's the End of the World as We Know It by R.E.M. and You Get What You Give by New Radicals. Best recent read: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor TowlesEager to read next: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein (which she describes as a great argument for the liberal arts)Favorite thing to make in the kitchen: After making Ken blush by implying a different way that question can be answered, she reveals that it's tamales with her daughters, which can sometimes resemble a crime sceneWhat he uses to take and keep notes: Any kind of tablet "I'm analog; I need to hold a pen in my hand," and that pen is a fine Sharpie. Memorable bit of advice: Treat everyone well on the way up, as you may meet them on the way down.Bucket list: "Nice" answer: play all the Bach unaccompanied cello suites from beginning to end. "Not so nice" answer: "I want to take the mad emperor and all of his sycophants out of office." 
Mary Beth Petrie

Mary Beth Petrie

2020-03-2701:03:34

Ken chats with Mary Beth Petrie, Dean of Admissions at Lawrence University (who works just two doors down from Ken). Beth reminds Ken what snowstorms can teach admissions folks about coping with pandemics, how to keep a team healthy in the midst of chaos, and, in an unusual twist, switches the typical ending of the ALP, much to Ken's surprise. Many thanks to Rick Bailey and Sam Waterson of RHB for sharing their advice during this episode about how we can "imagine voraciously" during this time of uncertainty.Rapid DescentWalkout song: Independent Women by Destiny's Child and Into the Unknown (because she's watched Frozen II like 6 times).Best recent read: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.Eager to read next: This is Chance! The Shaking of an All-American City; A Voice That Held it Together  by Jon MooallemFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Apple pieWhat he uses to take and keep notes: Blueline Notepro and a Pilot VBall pen.Memorable bit of advice: You don't have to seize the day." from Glennon Doyle's Don't Carpe Diem | MomasteryBucket list: Travel to Turkey
Tony Sarda

Tony Sarda

2020-03-2045:20

Ken chats with Tony Sarda, Director of Recruitment for Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Some are called to serve with a whisper, others with a boom of thunder... in the case of Tony, it was both. Learn about the importance of being open to grace, and giving grace... and why it's really hard to be whay you cannot see. Rapid DescentWalkout song: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda (from the best scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1) and Lose Yourself by Eminem.Best recent read: Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum.Eager to read next: Leaders Eat Last by Simon SinekFavorite thing to make in the kitchen: Ropa Vieja for Christmas Eve.What he uses to take and keep notes: Whatever's aroundMemorable bit of advice: From Beverly Wheeler to Tony, who said to her, "I want to be like you when I grow up." Her response: "You're going to fail. You don't need to be like me. You need to be the best version of you."Bucket list: Run a half marathon. (Ken recommends Hal Higdon's training program).
Jon Boeckenstedt

Jon Boeckenstedt

2020-02-1859:42

Ken chats with Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment at Oregon State University, and the mind behind Higher Ed Data Stories, a treasure trove of data-driven (and data-visualized) observations about the state of higher ed. Jon shares some views about his recent career move as well as surprises about his reading and writing habits, as well as the unusual upside of the imposter syndrome.Shout-outs & LinksA couple of other places to get your Boeckenfix: jonboeckenstedt.net and Out Here In Oregon.The Test and The Art of Thinking a documentary about standardized tests, their role in college admission, and how they do (and don't) predict academic success. Jon's early influences that inform his wonderment about the absurdity of life: Mad Magazine's Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions (Vol. 1-3); The Stranger by Albert Camus; and Monty Python.500px and Flickr, two collections of Jon's photographyAn investigative report on whether Alex Bello is, in fact, Marlon Jackson's Episode sponsored by InitialView and their latest development, Elevator Pitch.Rapid DescentWalkout song: Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who.Best recent read: A Wikipedia entry about Norman Borlaug, which inspired him to name March 25 (Borlaug's birthday) National Test-Optional Day.Eager to read next: The Years that Matter Most by Paul Tough ("Apparently I'm in it...")Favorite thing to make in the kitchen: Semi-homemade killer chili: Hormel chili + extra sharp cheddar + Frank's Red Hot + bacon bits.What he uses to take and keep notes: Not much of a notetaker, but Jon loves a good fountain pen. Though he owns a Montblanc, he prefers his Sheaffer (for writing in black) and Lamy (for writing in blue).Memorable bit of advice: "Everybody is an imposter." Bucket list: "I do not and never have had a bucket list."
Carmen Lopez

Carmen Lopez

2020-02-0657:38

Ken learns why "leadership is motion" with Carmen Lopez, Executive Director of College Horizons, a national educational non-profit serving American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Hawaiian Native students in their transition to college and graduate school.Shout-outs & LinksClaudio Sanchez's NPR story on College Horizons recorded at Lawrence University: How Native Students Can Succeed in College: "Be As Tough As the Land That Made You"Shout-outs to:Whitney Laughlin (founder of College Horizons) and Christine Suina, College Horizons program coordinatorDr. Robert Binswanger of Dartmouth, an early mentorDr. Adrienne Keene, author of Native Appropriations and co-host of All My Relations with Matika Wilbur.Also: Candace Jimmerson, Bryan Brayboy, Jonathan Burdick, Joanie Brotman, Ralph Figueroa, DeAngela Burns-Wallace, and Regis Pecos (Cochiti Pueblo)Rapid DescentWalkout songs (it's a playlist): I Love Rock'n'Roll (Joan Jett); Nasty (Janet Jackson); Kickstart My Heart (Mötley Crüe); Cult of Personality (Living Colour); Sabotage (Beastie Boys); Sisters (A Tribe Called Red); Kiss Me Deadly (Lita Ford); Are You Gonna Go My Way (Lenny Kravitz); Pynk (Janelle Monae); Get Ur Freak On (Missy Elliott)... all of which have been added to the ALP playlists on Apple Music and Spotify.Best recent reads: Navajo Coyote Stories and Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire (both of which she has read with her kids); The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in an Age of Information Overload (Daniel Levitin); The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse (Charles Mackesy)... all of which have been added to the ALP Goodies List.Eager to read next: The Testaments (Margaret Atwood)Favorite thing to make in the kitchen: Blue Corn Mash for the kids; Pinto Beans and Ham Hocks (with a LOT of cumin)For taking and keeping notes: One Note, a couple of Mead notebooks for brain dumps and... well, she warns you to keep an eye on your best penMemorable bit of advice: From one of the elders who led the opening circle at a College Horizons college program: "Don't forget that while we might have generational trauma, we also have generational stamina."Bucket list: Even though she doesn't have a bucket list, she still needs to see two concerts: Buddy Guy and Def Leppard.
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