University of St. Thomas

Dougherty Family College Dean & Executive Officer

May 12, 2017
May 13, 2017
Job Type
Employment Status
Full Time

The Organization

Founded in 1885, the University of St. Thomas (UST) is a Catholic comprehensive urban university known nationally for academic excellence that prepares students for the complexities of the contemporary world.  Through disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry and deep intercultural understanding, St. Thomas inspires students to lead, work and serve with the skill and empathy vital to creating a better world.

The Dougherty Family College, named after lead benefactors Mike and Kathy Dougherty, (DFC) is the newest college at the University of St. Thomas, opening in the fall of 2017 on the downtown Minneapolis campus.  Offering an associate degree in liberal arts, the Dougherty Family College extends a path for students with college readiness, perseverance and commitment but without the financial resources, academic and social support to pursue a four-year degree. The program represents the University’s DFC commitment to expand access to higher education, reduce student debt and contribute to the elimination of education, achievement and prosperity gaps in Minnesota.  

The Dougherty Family College will provide intensive, individualized wrap-around education and support services to ensure student success and honor the whole person.  Admission to the College will include an individualized interviewing process over traditional entrance standards, with the goal of identifying promise, perseverance and resilience to meet the academic challenge at hand.  Robust financial aid support will include grants and scholarships, making for minimal out-of-pocket expenses and student debt. 

A dedicated faculty will deliver culturally responsive instruction and a rigorous curriculum that meets the University’s academic standards.  Students will experience a small, cohort-based class setting that takes into account the cultural, linguistic, familial and community influences students bring to the experience. A first year seminar will focus on study skills, time management, financial and information literacy, preparatory skills for conducting research and professional development etiquette.  Students will also participate in leadership development advisory groups to hone critical thinking and leadership skills and receive one on one coaching from faculty advisors.  

Collaborating with regional employers, the Dougherty Family College will connect students with paid internships to gain real world experience, and will complement their seamless progression to four-year degree programs at private or public institutions upon completion of the program. Finally, the College will also offer Metro transit passes, school-supplied laptop computers and meal plans to ensure students’ day-to-day needs are met. 

The State of Minnesota has given approval to the new college through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, and UST is in the process of finalizing accreditation approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer the associate of arts degree. Dougherty Family College intends to admit up to 150 students to its inaugural college class in the fall of 2017, and another 150 per year in subsequent years, for a total enrollment of 300.  The College will ultimately employ 30 full- and part-time staff and faculty and maintain an annual budget of approximately $4.5MM.

Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, the University of St. Thomas’ mission is to educate students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.  As a community, the University is committed to:

• Pursuit of truth
We value intellectual inquiry as a life-long habit, the unfettered and impartial pursuit of truth in all its forms, the integration of knowledge across disciplines and the imaginative and creative exploration of new ideas
• Academic excellence
We create a culture among faculty, students and staff that recognizes the power of ideas and rewards rigorous thinking
• Faith and reason
We actively engage Catholic intellectual tradition, which values the fundamental compatibility of faith and reason and fosters meaningful dialogue directed toward the flourishing of human culture
• Dignity
We respect the dignity of each person and value the unique contributions that each brings to the greater mosaic of the university community
• Diversity
We strive to create a vibrant diverse community in which, together, we work for a more just and inclusive society
• Personal attention
We foster a caring culture that supports the well-being of each member
• Gratitude
We celebrate the achievements of all members of our community in goals attained and obstacles overcome, and in all things give praise to God

For more information about University of St. Thomas and the Dougherty Family College, please visit:

Position Summary

Reporting to the Provost, the Dean and Executive Officer will serve as the chief administrative officer for the Dougherty Family College, working alongside colleagues and faculty to establish strategic direction and lead the execution of institutional priorities while building a strong foundation for the College within the Twin Cities community.  

Reports to: Richard Plumb, PhD, UST Provost

Direct Reports: Buffy Smith, PhD, Associate Dean of Academics, Associate Dean of Students

Other key relationships: Julie Sullivan, PhD, UST President, Dougherty Family College students & families, Dean’s Council, Erik Thurman, VP of Development, Dougherty Family Faculty, Corporate partners, Donors, UST Board of Trustees

Position Location: Minneapolis, MN

Key Responsibilities


  • Defines the future of the Dougherty Family College and the importance of a two-year degree pathway at the University.
  • Works collaboratively with the administration and faculty to further articulate a shared vision for the Dougherty Family College as it grows and thrives. 
  • Develops and implements an overarching strategic plan which will serve as the foundation of the Dougherty Family College as a two-year college committed to serving a diverse student body.  This will include a business plan with financial components as well as broad institutional priorities.
  • Serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet.

External Relations

  • Represents the Dougherty Family College as chief ambassador with corporate partners, donors, students and families, and other key stakeholders.
  • Develops and maintains strong community, professional, governmental, foundation and corporate relationships that support the growth and sustainability of the College.
  • Successfully drives the recruits recruitment of students to the Dougherty Family College.
  • Develops partnerships with companies that are committed to the future strength and success of our local workforce.
  • Actively promotes the Dougherty Family College within the communities it serves.  Enhances the visibility and impact of the College in the community at large.
  • Partners with corporations and other educational leaders on student success initiatives and efforts aimed at reducing education and prosperity gaps.
  • Implements best practices for providing education to a culturally diverse student body.

Student Success

  • Champions goals and benchmarks aimed at achieving successful student outcomes.
  • Fosters an environment supportive of inclusivity, creativity and innovation in teaching and mentoring.
  • Builds the foundation of the Dougherty Family College as a two-year college committed to serving a diverse student body.
  • Provides leadership in developing academic achievement for traditionally underserved communities.


  • Raises funds and garners non-financial support to advance the mission of the organization.
  • Develops and enhances strong relationships with potential and current donors to secure the resources necessary to sustain and grow the two-year college.  

Financial Management

  • Ensures the adequacy and soundness of Dougherty Family College’s financial foundation through careful planning, analysis and management.
  • Uses financial acumen when making decisions and/or advising others.

Leadership Competencies

As the leader of the Dougherty Family College, the Dean and Executive Officer is expected to demonstrate the following leadership competencies:

Strategic Vision

  • Provides strong, innovative and highly collaborative leadership in shaping a clear vision along with a sustainable roadmap to reach  objectives.
  • Takes the long-term view, anticipating trends and future implications of major decisions.
  • Can create competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans.
  • Drives proper analysis and interpretation of information and metrics regarding trade-offs and choices that impact the organization’s strategy.


  • Models and communicates a compelling passion for the overall work of the organization, both internally and externally.  Inspires a sense of excitement around the organization’s mission and values.
  • Models servant leadership through supporting others in achieving excellence.
  • Displays a sense of optimism.  Sees possibilities and makes a vision sharable by all.  

People Leadership

  • Provides reasoned and creative direction to establish and grow a collaborative, supportive culture that works towards a mutual mission and set of goals.
  • Inspires others to take on and persevere through difficult challenges.
  • Cultivates enduring internal and external relationships that support the organization’s mission and growth objectives.  Actively listens to and takes action on the integrated perspectives of all stakeholders. 
  • Tailors communications to the audience, providing the right amount of detail and explaining ideas clearly and articulately.

Values-Based Decision Making

  • Is able to make decisions when faced with difficult and complex situations, and always adheres to the organization’s core values.
  • Demonstrates balanced thinking between long and short-term outcomes, while consistently modeling core values.

Results Orientation

  • Translates ideas into effective strategies and priorities for the organization.  Drives accountability for getting things done.
  • Steadfastly pushes self and others for results.  Creates a sense of urgency in others to get maximum performance from the group.
  • Can decide and act with limited information.
  • Comfortably manages ambiguity and risk in pursuit of defined objectives.

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.


The ideal candidate will be a bright, strategic, entrepreneurial professional executive with a demonstrated passion for education and a commitment to positive outcomes for underserved students and communities.  A devotion to diversity and inclusion is paramount, as is the ability to be a credible and effective ambassador for the College with a broad range of constituents within and outside the Dougherty Family College.

The ideal candidate will be a dynamic self-starter with a successful record of inspirational leadership in building organizations, programs and teams.  Strong planning and organizational skills, with the ability to think strategically in the design and execution of programs, are also required.  S/he must demonstrate broad vision, while understanding the day-to-day needs of the organization.  A demonstrated commitment to prudent financial leadership and past successful fiscal management are required.

The ideal candidate will have a proven ability to raise funds and non-financial support to advance the mission of his/her organization.  S/he will possess a proven ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with businesses, community leaders, donors and Board members.  Knowledge of the Twin Cities business community is critical.

Excellent organizational leadership and people management skills, including the ability to inspire a team and hold members accountable, are critical.  S/he will be a motivational leader who provides regular coaching and feedback to his/her team. 

The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to the ideals set forth in University of St. Thomas’ mission statement.  An advanced degree or equivalent experience is preferred.  The highest of ethical standards are assumed.

Inquiries regarding this position should be directed to:


Ali Vos

Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, 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.  The successful candidate will possess a commitment to the ideals of this mission statement.

In light of its commitment to create and maintain a safe learning and working environment, employment with the University of St. Thomas requires successful completion of a background screening.

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.

The University of St. Thomas is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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