Karl Bell will serve as director of the new Mentoring and Academic Achievement pillar at Boston College’s Pine Manor Institute for Student Success, according to Joy Moore, University vice president and executive director of the Pine Manor Institute.
“These organizational changes will enhance the overall student experience and provide consistent, high-quality support and mentoring to our [Pine Manor Institute], Messina and Boston College students,” Moore wrote in an email to The Heights.
BC first established the Pine Manor Institute in 2020 to help provide first-generation students and students from historically underserved communities with a secondary and post-secondary education.
The Pine Manor Institute is now composed of four pillars: Mentoring and Academic Achievement; the Academy, a readiness program for students from grades 8–12; Messina College, an incoming two-year associate-degree granting residential college division of Boston College; and Alumni Support.
According to a BC News release, Mentoring and Academic Achievement will unite the student support programs; Learning to Learn, Options through Education (OTE), TRIO Student Support Services, and the McNair Scholars Program under one pillar.
“As we began to plan for the structure and work of the institute it became clear that grouping all of these programs under one pillar made a lot of sense,” Moore wrote. “As a support center for students, having all of the services under one roof benefits the students in many ways [like] first and foremost ease [of] getting resources when needed.”
Moore also clarified that the Pine Manor Institute, including all the programs now under Mentoring and Academic Achievement, will continue to be housed on the Chestnut Hill campus.
“The Institute will not move to the Brookline campus as some inaccurate information is circulating,” Moore wrote.
Bell—the current associate director of the TRIO Student Support Services Program—said he is excited to continue supporting underrepresented students as the director of Mentoring and Academic Achievement.
“As a first-generation, low-income student myself, this is an opportunity to serve the University and more importantly, our students in a way … I couldn’t have imagined,” Bell said. “So it’s … a very big opportunity, and it’s rare that you find a startup in higher education.”
Bell also said while it is difficult to predict the immediate outcome of the new pillar, he believes the Pine Manor Institute’s recent organizational changes, including the establishment of Messina College and the Academy in January of last year, will ultimately benefit its student body.
“These changes have been vetted at the highest levels of the institution,” Bell said. “And we are absolutely open to continuing to receive feedback from our alumni, currently enrolled students, and even our eighth … and ninth graders, who are coming to us this summer, around those things that we might do to improve.”
Moore said Bell’s experience helping underrepresented students makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Mentoring and Academic Achievement pillar.
“He thinks and plans like an entrepreneur and that is exactly what is needed to integrate all of the programs into the Mentoring and Academic Achievement pillar,” Moore wrote. “Karl has been an employee of Boston College for nearly 20 years and the knowledge he’s gained is invaluable.”