Jon Boeckenstedt, Oregon State University’s vice provost of enrollment management, has received a national award for his communication work.
The John B. Muir Editor’s Award, given by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, recognizes the efforts of members who produce articles, blogs, podcasts and videos.
Boeckenstedt came to Oregon State in June 2019. As chief enrollment management officer, he is responsible for setting and fulfilling OSU’s enrollment goals. He also oversees the offices of admissions and financial aid, as well as degree partnership programs and the registrar’s office.
In addition to his duties at the university, he is a prolific writer and communicator. He writes three different blogs, one focused on college admissions and enrollment management, one about higher education data, and a third about higher education in Oregon. He also is active on Twitter, focusing on an audience that is mainly college counselors, admissions and enrollment management staff. Boeckenstedt is frequently interviewed by national media including the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, raising Oregon State’s profile as a national leader in enrollment management.
“It’s important to me to do this because I believe access to education is the key to a better life and greater access to opportunity; and that a more educated citizenry is vital to our national health,” Boeckenstedt said. “I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in an era where access to college was still considered important in America. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, and it concerns me greatly.”
Boeckenstedt says he started writing in high school. While people tell him he writes clearly, he doesn’t feel like he writes very beautifully. “I try to get points across in a clear and easily digestible way. Einstein said, ‘If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.’ I guess that’s what I do.”
Although he receives positive feedback from readers, he also gets pushback from those who say he is too opinionated. He said he considers both views before he publishes a piece.
“It’s important to listen to your detractors as much as it is to listen to your supporters,” he said.
Boeckenstedt encourages young people, women and people of color to write and speak out, but said he recognizes that he occupies a position of privilege that protects him from many consequences. He said for those not coming from the same safe space, it’s a good idea to write from a place of comfort first, and start slowly, but to write anyway.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed Boeckenstedt’s work. Instead it has confirmed what he has always believed about higher education.
“As universities, we can and should put students first to the fullest extent possible,” he said. “It seems to have worked for Oregon State, and I hope we never have to change.”
~ Theresa Hogue