University of St. Thomas

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

St. Paul
Nov 11, 2016
Apr 04, 2017
Job Type
Employment Status
Full Time

The University of St. Thomas (St. Thomas) invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

St. Thomas seeks a leader with proven strategic leadership skills, a passion for Catholic intellectual tradition, a strong commitment to shared governance, and the ability to build meaningful collaborations as the institution continually strives for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

Institutional Background

The University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good. Founded in 1885 and inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, the University of St. Thomas is based in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Encompassing seven schools and colleges serving over 10,000 students, St. Thomas is the largest private university in Minnesota. It offers bachelor's degrees in 90 major fields of study and more than 60 graduate degree programs including master's, education specialist, juris doctor, and doctorates.

The College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is central to the intellectual and creative spirit that defines St. Thomas. It emphasizes active learning in an academically challenging environment that is grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition. As the largest unit on campus, more than 5,000 students are served across 37 academic departments and interdisciplinary programs with a full-time faculty of more than 250 and close to 200 part-time faculty members. Its mission is to engage students in an exceptional liberal arts that prepares them to be reflective individuals, responsible citizens, and thoughtful professionals committed to the common good.

As a student-centered unit with a strong faculty formed in the teacher-scholar model, the College of Arts and Sciences believes that an ethical and academically excellent learning environment is marked by the interaction of differing perspectives and experiences among its members. Thus, academic “excellence" is not limited to the mastery of a particular specialty or area of study, but it is also defined in terms of the integration of various branches of human knowledge that is made possible by a strong liberal arts Core Curriculum.

To realize its vision, the following are areas of priority:

Engaged Learning: The College of Arts and Sciences will ensure that engaged learning opportunities are available to students in all majors in the College and infused throughout the Core Curriculum. Initiatives in this area will include, but are not limited to: community-based learning, undergraduate research and creative activity, study abroad, internships, interactive uses of technology, and hands-on experimentation.

Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Learning: The College of Arts and Sciences will assure that a variety of valuable interdisciplinary and intercultural experiences is available to students in all majors in the College as well as in appropriate Core courses. Initiatives in this area will include but are not limited to: study abroad, service learning, and performance and research activities designed to foster students' intercultural competence. 


Moral Responsibility: The College of Arts and Sciences will foster in students, in correlation with our University mission, the values and sensibilities necessary to be morally responsible members of their professions and their communities, including personal integrity, respect for human rights, and the promotion of a just social order. Each program in the College will infuse its curriculum, including its contributions to the Core, with a focus on the moral dynamics appropriate to the discipline and to issues surrounding life in a complex, changing society.


Scholarly Endeavors: The College of Arts and Sciences will enrich the intellectual and creative life of the University community through the scholarship of its faculty. The College defines scholarship broadly to include discovery, artistic activity, integration, and pedagogy. The faculty model life-long learning through continual engagement with disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests, and expose students to their scholarship by integrating it into their teaching. The College supports student-faculty collaborative scholarship.


Community Diversity: The College of Arts and Sciences will work to attract and retain a highly talented and diverse faculty, staff, and student body through recruitment, advising and mentorship, and curricular and co-curricular innovation. The College is committed to building a culture of radical hospitality premised on the development and flourishing of every community member.

Academic Programs:


Graduate programs include master’s degrees in Art History, Catholic Studies, Music Education and English, and there are certificate programs in Lay Ministry (Theology), Museum Studies, Piano Pedagogy, Teaching College English, Teaching World Music and Teaching College Art History.

University of St. Thomas Strategic Plan

The University of St. Thomas’ strategic plan is “St. Thomas 2020: Living Our Mission, Expanding Our Horizon.” A new vision statement says:

The University of St. Thomas, a Catholic comprehensive urban university, is known nationally for academic excellence that prepares students for the complexities of the contemporary world. Through disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry and deep intercultural understanding, we inspire students to lead, work and serve with the skill and empathy vital to creating a better world.

The strategic plan includes five themes as developed by a Strategic Planning Steering Committee and eight subcommittees. The themes are:

  • Excellence in Learning and Student Engagement
  • Education Informed by Catholic Mission
  • Diversity and Inclusive Culture
  • Globalization
  • One University

Eight priorities emerged from the themes, and eight task forces will develop initiatives that address and achieve the priorities. They are:

  • Educating for the Future
  • Flexible Pathways into St. Thomas, Within St. Thomas, and to the Job Market
  • Enhanced Visibility and Profile
  • Global Connections
  • Embracing our Differences as One Human Family
  • Catholic-Inspired Community Engagement
  • Integrated and Expanded Health and Wellness Programs
  • Integrated Planning

For further information regarding the strategic plan, please visit:


Dr. Julie Sullivan became the first layperson and woman to serve as president in July 2013. Prior to coming to University of St. Thomas, President Sullivan served as Provost at University of San Diego. Known as an innovative academic leader with a purpose, she is passionate about learning and scholarship grounded in the needs of an ever-changing and more complex world. She is a champion for social innovation and has been a leader in the Ashoka Changemaker movement. Sullivan has a Ph.D. in Business Administration, a master’s in Accounting, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida.


Dr. Richard Plumb, former Dean of the Seaver College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, has served as Executive Vice President and Provost since 2015. Plumb, a first-generation college graduate, earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Syracuse University. Known for building relationships and driving cross disciplinary projects, he is a student-centered leader who brings an analytical and creative process to solving problems.

Budget Model

As a part of the 2020 Plan, one strategic priority is to develop and maintain a culture of integrated planning and budgeting used to inform the strategic and operational decision-making processes at the university. To this end, the university has embarked on a transition to a new budget model including a more decentralized process. The new budget model will begin to be implemented in the 2017 FY.

Campus Master Plan

Through the unveiling of a campus master plan in Fall 2016, St. Thomas has identified 14 potential projects, including two new academic buildings, student residences, and parking, in a new 10-year, $300 million master plan for the St. Paul campus. The academic buildings included in this plan are a fine arts and science/engineering building.


The university has three campuses in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Rome. The campus in St. Paul houses most of its undergraduate students on 78 acres as well as the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Social Work and the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. In 1992, St. Thomas opened a permanent 150,000 square foot campus in Minneapolis, which is now home to its Opus College of Business, the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling and the School of Law. The Rome campus was established in 1999 through a generous gift and serves as a study abroad campus for undergraduate students.

For more information on the Twin Cities, please visit


Key Responsibilities

Reporting to and working with the Executive Vice President and Provost, and in coordination with the Deans from other units, the Dean will have responsibility for the strategic, programmatic, fundraising, and management operations that support the mission and vision of the College of Arts and Sciences and its role within St. Thomas.

In consultation with the faculty, the Dean is responsible for:

  • Developing, implementing, and revising a strategic plan that advances the mission of the college as a whole, ties the college/school mission to the University’s mission and  identity, and advances University-wide priorities;
  • Ensuring that college’s educational programs are exceptional in quality and designed to meet the needs of the University’s diverse student population;
  • Promoting high standards through intellectual and creative leadership to support teaching and scholarship;
  • Demonstrating effective administration and fiscal management in order to enhance the College and its faculty;
  • Inspiring trust and building bridges within the college and university;
  • Developing external relationships and fund development opportunities for the College and its academic programs;
  • Participating actively in the community including partnership with the College’s Advisory Board and enhancing effective partnerships between academic programs, faculty, students, and external organizations;
  • Advocating for the College internally within the context of its mission and build multi-disciplinary networks across campus;
  • Managing faculty workload, disseminating resources to faculty, and periodically evaluating faculty in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service;
  • Establishing and maintaining a cooperative, collegial work climate that enhances communication, trust, and productivity of and among faculty and staff;
  • Creating “space” for student, faculty and staff excellence while reducing administrative obstacles that inhibit such goals;
  • Recommending the appointment of all faculty under their jurisdiction and making recommendations on promotion and tenure of faculty; and
  • Managing a Dean’s office inclusive of Associate Deans and staff members to assist in the administration of the college.

This is a full-time, benefits eligible position. The University of St. Thomas offers a competitive and comprehensive benefits program, which includes medical, dental, vision, life, long-term care, legal, and disability insurance coverages. Offerings also include retirement plans, flexible spending accounts, a health savings account, and an employee assistance program. The University provides tuition remission to its employees, spouses, and dependents. In addition, the University values a healthy work/life balance and has generous provisions for paid time off.


Professional Experience/Qualiciations

The ideal candidate is an accomplished, visionary academic leader who can successfully navigate the college through many challenges and opportunities with a sense of intellectual curiosity. He/She must bring a collaborative work style, yet must be able to make decisions with an entrepreneurial mindset. The successful candidate should be able to cultivate an environment that will stimulate the development of initiatives that demonstrate relevance to student needs, impact for faculty goals and sustainability for the college and university. Candidates should demonstrate strategic thinking, possess outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, and be a compelling storyteller. The next Dean must be able to support and clearly articulate the unique mission of the University of St. Thomas as a Catholic, comprehensive, urban university.

Further the successful candidate will bring:

  • Clear articulation for and understanding of the broad spectrum of disciplines represented within the college;
  • Demonstrated experience managing complex budgets;
  • Ability to manage personnel and delegate responsibilities as needed to run the operations of the college;
  • Experience in recruitment, mentoring, and retention of diverse students, faculty, and staff and building an inclusive learning community;
  • A record of inspiring and delivering interdisciplinary programs and initiatives;
  • Respect for the teaching and learning process with a strong understanding of the teacher-scholar model;
  • Experience with or demonstrated potential for work with development and capital campaigns, alumni relations, and external funding agencies;
  • Understanding of the challenges and trends that face private higher education;
  • Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Interest in being visible and approachable to the internal and external community;
  • Capacity to expand the global perspective of the curriculum and international educational partnerships; and
  • Character and integrity that promote the value of transparency.


The next Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences must possess the qualifications required for an appointment at the rank of Professor within one of the academic departments in the college.


University of St. Thomas will offer an attractive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and experience.

The University of St. Thomas is an Equal Opportunity Employer

The University of St. Thomas, Minnesota Human Resources Department advertises the official job listing on its website.  If you are viewing this posting from a site other than “Jobs at St. Thomas”, the University assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information. 

Special Instructions to Candidates:

How to Apply

The Search Committee will begin reviewing candidates immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For priority consideration, please apply before January 9, 2017.

Applications should be submitted online through and include: 1) a detailed curriculum vitae, 2) a letter or statement summarizing the applicant’s personal vision and relevant leadership experience (copy/pasted into the application), and 3) the applicant’s preferred contact information.

Inquiries can be submitted electronically in confidence to Korn Ferry, Rosa Morris, at

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