Elena M. Bernal '94 serves as Vice-President for Diversity and Achievement. She partners with faculty, staff, and students to advance the College as a diverse, robust intellectual community-- in values and actions-- with engagement across differences at the center of an excellent liberal arts experience. She is currently guiding a campus climate assessment to identify and address gaps between the College's core value of diversity and the lived experiences of campus community members. Bernal is the College's liaison for the campus partnership with the Posse Foundation, and she will be supporting ongoing and renewed learning assessment efforts. Bernal also served as interim vice-president of student affairs in the spring of 2008.
Bernal came to Grinnell from Miami, Florida and earned her B.A. in sociology from Grinnell in 1994. As an undergraduate, she was actively involved with diversity and multiculturalism on campus, a passion that has shaped her career in higher education. Bernal received a master's in educational administration and foundations, emphasizing college student personnel administration, from Illinois State University in 1996; and she moved on to the Pennsylvania State University to pursue work on a Ph.D. in higher education policy studies. Before returning to Grinnell, Bernal served as director of institutional research at Bryn Mawr College. Her policy and research interests focus on the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation within college communities. She is currently a member of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), Liberal Arts Diversity Officers (LADO), and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). She also served on the Grinnell College Alumni Association Council from 2004-2006.