Brumfield named admissions director

May 7, 2010 By John Lucas

Adele C. Brumfield has been named director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. announced today, Friday, May 7.

Brumfield comes to UW–Madison from the University of Chicago, where she has worked since 1998, most recently as associate admissions director.

“Adele is the ideal person to lead our undergraduate admissions efforts into the future,” DeLuca says. “We’re pleased to have found a person of her talent, who is a skilled communicator and familiar with Milwaukee and the state as a whole.”

Coming to Madison will represent a homecoming of sorts for Brumfield, who grew up in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, graduated from Shorewood High School in Shorewood, Wis. and began working in admissions at her alma mater, Marquette University.

From 1994-98, she worked in the admissions office at Denison University in Granville, Ohio before moving to the University of Chicago.

“For as long as I can remember, I have known of UW–Madison’s reputation as a premier public research institution with a first-rate faculty that educates talented, curious young scholars in Wisconsin and beyond to compete in an ever-changing world,” Brumfield says, noting that her mother, an educator in the Milwaukee Public Schools, guided her toward higher education and her career.

To sum up her approach to admissions, Brumfield says she will emphasize an informative and compassionate approach toward prospective students and their families.

“The college search process can be overwhelming for students whether they are first-time freshman or considering transferring,” she says. “It is important to meet them where they are and see where that leads. Admissions counselors gain credibility by showing compassion, being honest and giving people the real story.

“Our ultimate admissions goal will be to find the best students who are appropriate for UW–Madison,” she adds. “By that, I mean finding students that understand our mission, are equipped to take on the rigor of instruction presented by our faculty, and are excited by what the education could do in their lives. Admissions decisions will always be made with an eye toward graduation.”

Brumfield, who has an undergraduate degree in speech and broadcast communication from Marquette and a master’s degree in telecommunications from Michigan State University, says that training will influence how she works with students, parents, and other constituent groups.

“Admissions folks are story tellers,” she says. “We craft messages designed to introduce young people to the richness of a college or university. We look for inspiration from all around campus and wherever our alumni can be found. We seek to find the best vehicle — interpersonal one-on-one, traditional print publications, electronic media, like the web or blogging — to share our tales.”

As in her past positions, she plans to vigorously pursue efforts to encourage a diverse and welcoming student body.

“Mom made me a believer [in higher education] and I have spent most of my career guiding our youth to post-secondary options encouraging them to think critically about their future,” she says. “I strive to share the same vision for the future with all students particularly those who are first-generation college or who are from under-represented groups.”

The director position is extremely challenging, and centers around several key priorities, says Joanne Berg, vice provost for enrollment management. The director establishes strategic direction, priorities and goals for the Office of Admissions and the undergraduate admissions process and will lead the process of selecting emerging technologies to assist in reaching those goals.

A search and screen committee made up of faculty, staff and students developed the list of finalists. The committee was chaired by Julie Underwood, dean of the School of Education, and co-chaired by Dawn Crim, special assistant for community relations in the chancellor’s office.

“I’m so happy to welcome Adele back to Wisconsin and look forward to her arrival,” says Underwood. “Many thanks also to our search committee for their time and tireless efforts.”

The director role is currently held on an interim basis by Tom Reason. Reason will return to his role as associate director. Brumfield will begin on July 1. Her salary will be $130,000.