Karl Bell to Leave OSI, Join Learning to Learn Office

Karl Bell, the assistant director of student organizations within the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), will move to the Learning to Learn Office as associate director of TRIO programs on Dec. 12.

“I’ll be responsible for working with first-generation, low-income [students], and students with disabilities,” Bell said. “[I’ll be] working those students, or that population, to get them from admission through commencement and onto life after BC, onto master’s programs, to doctoral programs.”

TRIO programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and “designed to identify and provide services to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds,” according to the program’s website. BC’s TRIO programs are run through the Learning to Learn Office, whose primary goal is to help its students excel academically at BC and create a beneficial environment for them to succeed.

Bell’s long career in OSI is something he will remember fondly.

“I have had a phenomenal experience in student affairs, in this office, working with students in good times, bad times, through ups and downs, bringing speakers, bringing performers,” Bell said. “And I’ve done it for 12 years.”

As the assistant director of student organizations, Bell oversaw the Student Organization Funding Committee, and the finances, events, and policies of BC student organizations. He did not, however, expect to stay that long.

“And 12 years is a long time to be in any position. Students are here for four years and they move on fairly quickly, and so I never planned to be here in this position for 12 years,” Bell said. “And so I have an awesome opportunity now to transition from this office, to stay at BC … to transition to Learning to Learn, and I’m very excited.  

Bell also took the time to reflect on the biggest challenges he faced in his 12 years in Student Involvement.

“Saying no has been my absolute biggest challenge, and that space where I think students and I both learned the most. Not every idea is a great idea,” Bell said. “Not every idea is funded, not every idea results in a successful program, and I’ve been in a position that I’ve had to look ahead to see whether or not something was feasible, and it was difficult at times to say, ‘No, I see your vision, I understand your vision, and it’s not feasible.’”

Bell sees this new position as a way to broaden his expertise, while at the same time staying at BC, an institution he has come to regard as a home, with his staff and colleagues at OSI being a sort of second family.

“As I reflect, my first kid was born when I was in this position, and she attended some of her first big events in her life at Boston College, and so BC has become a home of sorts for me, and I’ve grown a lot over that 12-year period.”

While saddened to leave OSI, Bell sees this change to Learning to Learn as something beneficial for himself professionally.

“As I think about my career, this is an opportunity for me to focus on a new area, a new population of students at a phenomenal institution,” Bell said.

Featured Image by Mark Miceli / Office of Student Involvement