Rachelle Hernandez, who has more than 25 years of experience working in higher education student services, student success, and new student enrollment, will join Johns Hopkins University next year as its next vice provost for student affairs. Her first day at the university will be March 1, 2022.
Hernandez joins Hopkins from the University of Texas at Austin, where she has served as the inaugural senior vice provost for enrollment management and student success for the past four years. While at UT, she successfully unified offices within student services to create a more responsive and student-centered experience for all students. Her work has had a direct impact on increasing retention and graduation rates, particularly for first-generation and low-income students. Prior to joining UT, she spent 22 years at the University of Minnesota, starting as an admissions counselor in 1995 and advancing in the office of admissions until being named associate vice provost for enrollment management and director of admissions.
She will succeed Alanna Shanahan, who left Johns Hopkins this past summer to return to her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, as athletics director, and Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being Kevin Shollenberger, who has filled the role of vice provost for student affairs on an interim basis for the past five and a half months.
"Throughout her career, Rachelle has been deeply committed to building a comprehensive student experience and advancing DEI efforts to create sense of belonging for all members of the student body," Provost Sunil Kumar wrote in a message announcing Hernandez's appointment today. "She has an excellent background in all facets of the student experience and in working across a large, complex institution to drive student success through graduation and beyond."
In her current role, Hernandez built a strategic, institutionally coordinated, and data-driven new student recruitment and enrollment campaign. She also developed and oversaw the university's financial aid, scholarship, and affordability strategy and was responsible for increasing service to students and supporting the transformation of the undergraduate experience. She established several programs at UT to increase affordability, recognize and encourage student success, increase access to jobs and internships, and improve alumni support and engagement.
"I am thrilled to be joining the Johns Hopkins University community in this role," Hernandez says. "To be able to work with students is a privilege, and I am excited to be part of this amazing campus community that is so committed to helping students achieve their dreams and impact the future of our communities and our world. I am looking forward to working with Student Affairs colleagues and university partners across campus to further the university's incredible and innovative efforts to support student engagement and student success outcomes."
Hernandez earned her bachelor's degree and a master's of education and human resource development from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and is completing a doctorate of philosophy in organizational leadership, policy, and development at the same institution this year.
Hernandez has led seminars and trainings and taught courses on college admissions, enrollment management, and success strategies for students.
"In my work, I am surrounded constantly by possibility and promise," Hernandez said. "I learn something from our students every day about the ways we can encourage each other, the ways we can make a difference in this world. I am inspired by the students, the faculty, the campus leaders, and the staff members with whom I work—and the ways that, together, we can collectively impact student success and the student experience. I look forward to working together with colleagues and students across campus to continue Hopkins important work to meet the needs of Hopkins students today and into the future."