Boston College students and faculty often remark that the University provides an academic and social atmosphere unlike any other college or university, and Kelli Armstrong, the newly appointed vice president for planning and assessment, is no exception. Armstrong, who was recently promoted to this role after serving as the associate vice president for institutional research, planning, and assessment, was first hired eight years ago as a director of BC’s original Institutional Research department.
“It was technically a step downward in title to go from associate vice chancellor [of the University of Massachusetts system] to director,” Armstrong said. “I remember Fr. Leahy asking me in my interview, ‘Why would you pursue a role with a lesser title?’ and my reason was that I wanted to work at BC.”
As the associate vice president for institutional research, planning, and assessment, Armstrong worked with a variety of departments. Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment collaborates often with Information Technology Services to collect and store data in a virtual warehouse, available to other BC departments to assist them in creating sound plans. The department also compiles statistics about BC in an annual fact book. Some of this information is acquired directly from students in the form of surveys, which are useful not only in collecting statistics but also in determining which systems within the University are working and which need to improve.
Such information was used to determine the number and size of various offices, classrooms, and conference rooms to be included in Stokes Hall. Space Planning, which helps implement BC’s Institutional Master Plan, also played a role in Stokes Hall’s construction by determining the best use of the available space for the project.
Armstrong also worked with Strategic Services, which supports BC’s many departments in creating and implementing strategic plans to further their growth.
“We’re a planning arm for BC and a centralized place for much of the data describing BC,” Armstrong said. “We hope that these data will provide BC managers and leaders with the best information possible to support them in their decision-making.”
Her new role, created this year, will encompass these duties and also include assistance in planning and carrying out BC’s long-term financial and master plans. Armstrong hopes to utilize it as a way to continue BC’s strong tradition of excellence in higher education.
“We are an institution on an upward trajectory,” she said. “If you think about where we were 30 years ago and where we are now, it’s incredible how far BC has come. The role of my division is really to support that growth, to use data and planning information to help BC leaders make the strongest decisions they can for our future.”
Armstrong considers both the University’s need for access to better data and information and the support of Executive Vice President Patrick Keating, who oversees the departments, instrumental to her department’s growth over the last eight years.
“This promotion recognizes Kelli’s contributions to the University and the breadth of her role, as well as her talents, experience and commitment to advancing Boston College and its Jesuit, Catholic mission,” Keating said in a statement by the Office of News and Public Affairs.
Armstrong received her Ph.D. in higher education from BC and worked at Bates College, Tufts University, the UMass system, and the Board of Higher Education before returning to BC.
“It is wonderful to be a part of this institution, and to know that your role is to support BC as it continues to improve,” Armstrong said. “There are a number of great higher education institutions that have remained relatively stable over the years, but BC has been evolving in exciting ways.”