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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Villanueva Named New Dean of Admissions

Published: October 14, 2005
Section: News

The search for the new undergraduate Dean of Admissions has finally come to an end Tuesday, Sept. 27. In an email to the Brandeis community, Senior Vice President of Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy announced that Gil Villanueva will fill this position.

The past Dean of Admissions, Deena Whitfield, resigned unexpectedly in May of 2005 and a search for a replacement began soon after. Executive Assistant to Jean Eddy and Acting Director of Admissions Judith Pearson chaired the search.

In an email correspondance with Eddy reported that a national search firm William Spellman Executive Sear that specializes in higher education positions [was hired]. There was also a search committee comprised of faculty, people from Orientation and Student Life, and Admissions the faculty admissions and financial aid committee staff from athletics, research and planning, the University budget office, Hiatt career center…

According to Eddy, candidates each spent a day and a half on campus and spoke with dozens of people.
Eddy also reported that students chosen by Student Union government representatives were also involved in the search committee. She remarked that she worked closely with [Union President] Jenny [Feinberg], [Director of Union Affairs] Aaron [Gaynor], and others to take part in the process [during which] they interviewed four candidates over [the course of a] week.

The search committee was looking for broad admissions experience, an understanding of our mission, and someone with passion for their work, said Eddy.

In regards to the choice of Villanueva as the new Dean of Admissions, Eddy remarked that we found Gil Villanueva to be our best candidate because of his passion for his field, wonderful charisma, and ability to bring the Brandeis message to ever increasing numbers of students.

Villanueva has spent the last eight years working as Senior Associate Dean of Admissions at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA and before was an admissions counselor and then Assistant Dean of Admissions at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA.

In a Sept. 27 community email, Eddy wrote that during [Villanuevas] eight years at Bucknell, he played a major role in the transformation of that institution from a highly selective to a most selective institution, achieving significant increases in applications, SAT scores [of applicants], numbers of [minority] students… and geographic distribution of the undergraduate student body.

When asked why he was leaving Bucknell to come to Brandeis, Villanova explained that the opportunity to serve one of the top universities in the nation was more than enough of a reason for me to apply for the position. Not many places can claim to have achieved so much in such a short period of timeand of course, the opportunity to be the lead manager of an admissions office was also part of my motivation to leave Bucknell for Brandeis.

Villanueva was especially attracted to Brandeis during his on-campus interview because he had the opportunity to interact with students and faculty. A certain intellectual rigor was readily apparent to [him], he said. Villanueva also said that this refreshing insight was further enhanced by a kind of respectful civility among community members. I thought, This is a place that truly promotes learning through open and active dialogue.

When asked what his goals for Brandeis were, Villanueva said that as Dean of Admissions he aims (among other goals) to develop and implement strategic long-range planning efforts, including budgetary implications and targeted communications plans;

provide leadership for the universitys relationship with high schools around the country and abroad, and for other influencers in the college guidance community;

and to identify ways to improve Brandeiss station among the elite universities in the nation.

In the Sept. 27 email, Eddy wrote that Villanueva is an enormously personable, energetic, and accomplished senor admissions officer and when asked by the Hoot why Villanueva was chosen as the new Dean of Admissions, she said, wait until you meet him youll understand immediately.