Buena Vista University has named Brandon Johnson as its new Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing.
Johnson, a 2004 BVU graduate, comes to BVU from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn., where he served as Vice President for Enrollment Management & Career Placement, leading a team that helped the institution achieve the highest number of freshmen admitted in school history.
A native of Alta, Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in leadership communications. He started his career as a BVU Admissions Counselor before going on to serve Iowa Wesleyan University in the same capacity. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Saint Mary and a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Baker University.
Johnson has also served in vice presidential and directorial roles at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan., and Avila University in Kansas City, Mo. At Avila, his team worked to increase full-time traditional undergraduate enrollment by more than 20 percent. He directed efforts that boosted full-time undergraduate fall enrollment at Saint Mary by 30 percent, resulting in the largest full-time enrollment in school history.
“BVU was always on my radar and being back at my alma mater allows my personal side and my professional side to align,” Johnson says. “I’m so excited about so many facets of the BVU experience and what we’ll have here in the future; from seeing how diversity enriches all students and the campus experience to how Storm Lake is growing and deepening its connections with BVU, to how President Lenzmeier leads from a place of both experience and humility, knowing that our work is all about the students we have the opportunity to impact each day.”
Johnson transferred to BVU during the middle of his freshman year. Various components of the BVU community worked to encourage and bring him along throughout his undergraduate experience, one in which he played on the Beaver football team while giving tours for Admissions and more. Voted the BVU football team’s “Unsung Hero” as a senior, the former tight end remains grateful for his coaches, his peer groups in both academics and athletics, and professors who worked tirelessly to meld his interests in people into what became a professional pursuit.
“My doctoral dissertation was focused on first-year retention,” he says. “I discovered that the more I learned about student retention, the more I learned about myself, reflecting on the fact that people at BVU built a community and established relationships that helped me succeed. Data and analytics are an important aspect of this work, but building meaningful connections and believing that each student can succeed is how you impact lives.”
“Brandon’s experiences in building enrollment and retention at a number of places in higher education set him apart,” says BVU President Brian Lenzmeier. “His time as a BVU student and the ways in which his professional experience pairs with our shared vision for BVU’s future, and the future of our students affirmed our choice. We’re confident and eager to see Brandon lead a wonderful team we’ve assembled with Director of Admissions Conner Ellinghuysen as we continue to build on recent successes in growing enrollment through a variety of academic and co-curricular programs. We are delighted that Brandon and his family are coming ‘home’ to BVU.”
Brandon and Sarah Johnson are the parents of two children; son Bode, 11, will be a sixth-grader at Storm Lake Middle School this fall, while daughter Reggie, 10, enters fifth grade at Storm Lake Middle School.
The family loves spending time together, time that often revolves around interests and activities involving soccer, volleyball, cheer, dance, and more.
“We adore the Storm Lake community and how students and teachers refer to our school district as ‘America’s School,’” Brandon Johnson says. “We are thrilled to now be part of a community and a University that never give up on students and young people while celebrating our cultures through all walks of life.”