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(Archived) Dean, Dougherty Family College

Last Updated: 1/20/22

Job Description

Search for Dean, Dougherty Family College

University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas (UST) was founded in 1885, inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, a 2,000-year-old practice of uniting faith and reason to explore the world. As a Catholic university, UST develops future leaders of all faiths looking to make a positive impact on the world. UST celebrates the diversity of faith traditions represented in our university community by meeting the pastoral and spiritual growth needs of all. And, UST is the only academic institution in Minnesota to be designated a “Changemaker Campus,” meaning social innovation, entrepreneurship and caring for the common good are built into everything at UST. Its three campuses in St. Paul, Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Rome, Italy offer unique learning and living opportunities.

UST is the largest private university in Minnesota with roughly 6,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students, 150+ undergraduate majors and minors, and 55+ graduate degree programs through these eight schools and colleges:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Opus College of Business
  • School of Education
  • School of Engineering
  • Morrison Family College of Health
  • School of Law
  • Dougherty Family College
  • The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity

Dougherty Family College

Dougherty Family College (DFC) at the University of St. Thomas offers a liberal arts associate degree program combining rigorous academics with comprehensive and culturally sustaining supports that prepare scholars to navigate and overcome social and financial barriers on their path to a bachelor’s degree. Its vision is to set the standard for preparing historically underrepresented scholars to earn a future bachelor’s degree, get on the path to a meaningful professional career and step into their role as transformative community leaders.

DFC is named after lead benefactors Mike and Kathy Dougherty and is seated on the downtown Minneapolis campus of UST. The college represents UST’s commitment to expand access to higher education, reduce student debt and contribute to building the Minnesota workforce of the future and eliminating the education, opportunity and prosperity gaps in Minnesota. DFC offers this financially supported full-time 2-year associate degree in liberal arts 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 aims to provide a seamless progression to four-year degree programs at UST or other private or public institutions in Minnesota upon completion of the two-year program.

DFC’s values drive all aspects of its work:

  • Anti-racist: We actively work to uncover the patterns of oppression built into traditional systems of higher education and are intentional about dismantling these norms in our program.
  • Community-minded: We are a collaborative community that practices mutual respect, transparency, and compassion.
  • Culturally-sustaining: Our curriculum, programming and team are representative and affirming of our scholars’ identities.
  • Empowering: We help scholars explore their own power and strengthen their ability to make change.
  • Holistic: We eliminate barriers to our scholars’ success by supporting them holistically, inside and outside the classroom.
  • Rigorous: We spur excellence by pairing unwavering high standards with academic supports, intensive mentoring and self-advocacy skills.
  • Student-focused: The best interest and human dignity of our scholars is at the center of all we do.

Admission to DFC includes an individualized interviewing process over traditional entrance standards, with the goal of identifying promise, perseverance and resilience to meet the academic challenge at hand. DFC recognizes the many factors beyond academic preparedness which contribute to student success in higher education. DFC provides intensive, individualized wrap-around education and support services to ensure student success and honor for the whole person. Robust financial aid support includes grants and scholarships for tuition, materials, and laptop computers as well as transportation and meals to ensure students’ day-to-day needs are met (DFC is a commuter program; housing is not provided). Semester cost to each student is estimated at $1,000.

DFC accepted its first cohort of 107 students in 2017, and currently hosts 73 freshman and 57 sophomores.DFC represents approximately 8-10 percent of UST's incoming freshman class each year. DFC's student population is 95% BIPOC, are largely first generation, between 17-22 years of age and required to enroll full-time. DFC's two-year graduation rate approaches 57% which is significantly higher than the average 2-year college graduation rate. Seventy-one percent of DFC graduates have gone on to pursue a bachelor’s degree, and 59% of DFC graduates matriculate to UST. DFC strives to reach even higher retention and graduation rates and be a premier two-year college in Minnesota, as well as a national model for a successful pathway to bachelor’s degrees for historically underrepresented students. DFC’s plans target class sizes of 150 freshman and 150 sophomores for a total enrollment of 300, and capacity exists to increase class size to accommodate increased demand. DFC currently employs 30 full- and part-time staff and faculty and maintains an annual budget of $2.5MM. UST provides administrative support in several areas. The deeply dedicated faculty deliver culturally responsive instruction and a rigorous curriculum that meets UST’s academic standards. Students join DFC in cohort-based class settings that take into account the cultural, linguistic, familial and community influences students bring to the experience. All first-year DFC students are enrolled in a seminar course in which they acquire/focus on/develop their study skills, time management, financial and information literacy, preparatory skills for conducting research and professional development etiquette. Students participate in leadership development advisory groups and receive one-on-one coaching from faculty advisors to work through the hidden curriculum of higher education. Furthermore, second-year DFC students access paid internships through regional collaborations to gain real world experience.

For more information, visit:

Position Summary

Reporting to the Provost, the Dean works alongside colleagues and faculty to continue the design, evolution, strategic direction, and execution of priorities for the college.

Reports to: EVP and Provost, Dr. Eddy Rojas

Direct Reports: Associate Dean of Academics (+ 18 faculty/adjunct/specialists)

Associate Dean of Student Affairs (+ 2 staff)

Director of Corporate Internships

Director of Admissions

Director of Development (.5 FTE)

Financial Aid Coordinator (.5 FTE)

College Transfer Counselor

College Persistence Counselor

= Total team of +/-30

Other key relationships: DFC Advisory Board
Deans for other UST Colleges and Schools


President’s Cabinet

Community Organizations

Partners and Funders (individual, corporate, foundations, etc.)

Minneapolis & St. Paul Urban High School Principals

Position Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Key Responsibilities

Organizational Leadership

  • Building on the strengths of DFC, continuously develops, evolves, and executes a strategic plan that serves as the foundation for DFC as a two-year college committed to serving a diverse student body, including a business plan with financial components and broad institutional priorities.
  • Works collaboratively with all stakeholders to further articulate a shared vision for DFC as it grows and thrives.
  • Leads innovation to create better outcomes for traditionally marginalized students.
  • Establishes and maintains a cooperative, collegial work environment that enhances communication, trust, and productivity of and among all faculty and staff.
  • Continues to build and support a team of faculty who are committed to the mission, vision and values of DFC and who embrace educational innovation that support students’ needs and aspirations.
  • Champions goals and benchmarks aimed at achieving successful student outcomes.
  • Ensures that faculty is supported with appropriate resources, that workloads are balanced, and that faculty have opportunities in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.
  • Serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet.

Student Success

  • Fosters an environment supportive of inclusivity, creativity and innovation in teaching and mentoring.
  • Implements best practices for providing education to a highly culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse student body.
  • Provides leadership in developing academic achievement for traditionally underserved communities.
  • Dedicated to ensuring delivery of anti-racist, culturally sustaining pedagogy and a rigorous curriculum that meets UST’s academic standards.
  • Dedicated to developing students’ leadership skills and experiences.
  • Honors and supports whole person success for all students.

Fundraising and External Relations

  • Represents DFC as ambassador with corporate partners, donors, advisors, students and families, staff, faculty and other key stakeholders.
  • Raises funds and garners non-financial support to advance the mission of DFC.
  • Develops and enhances strong relationships with current and potential donors to secure resources necessary to sustain and grow DFC.
  • Develops and maintains strong community, professional, governmental, foundation and corporate relationships that support the growth and sustainability of the College.
  • Supports efforts for recruitment and retention of students to DFC.
  • Develops partnerships with companies that are committed to the future strength and success of the 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.

Financial Management

  • Ensures the adequacy and soundness of DFC’s key financial metrics through careful planning, analysis and management.
  • Uses financial acumen when making decisions and/or advising others.

Ideal Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will possess deep passion for education and commitment to positive outcomes for underserved students and communities.

Leadership Competencies

The Dean at DFC is expected to demonstrate the following leadership competencies:

DEI Champion
Demonstrates a personal commitment to anti-racism. Models inclusion and champions equity by effectively engaging people of diverse cultures and backgrounds with an asset-based and trauma-informed approach. Creates systems to recognize and mitigate bias and place equity at the core of decision making and culture.

Inspirational Leadership
Models and communicates a compelling passion for the overall work of the organization, both internally and externally. Inspires a sense of excitement around the mission and values, activating broad support and engagement. Exhibits servant leadership qualities, displays a sense of optimism, sees possibilities, and creates a vision shared by all.

Relationship Building and Collaboration
Represents and advocates for the organization enthusiastically and effectively across all constituencies. Monitors the landscape to identify opportunities to develop new and deepen existing relationships on behalf of the organization. Builds an intentional and cohesive culture that aligns functional agendas and unites the team. Facilitates communication and coordination across all parts of the organization and broadly in the community.

People Leadership
Provides reasoned and creative direction to establish and grow a collaborative, supportive culture that works toward a mutual mission and set of goals. Provides and supports career development opportunities and ensures staff and faculty challenge and support each other while respecting others’ unique roles and contributions.

Strategic Acumen
Develops clear, focused, actionable vision and strategies for the future. Demonstrates thought leadership, prioritizes strategically, and capitalizes on the best opportunities.

Results Orientation
Translates strategies and ideas into effective plans and priorities, sharing accountability for achieving goals. Demonstrates balanced thinking between long and short-term outcomes, and comfortably manages ambiguity in pursuit of defined objectives.

Skills and Experience

In addition to demonstration of the Leadership Competencies above, key skills and experiences desired include:

  1. Highly aligned to the mission of DFC.
  2. Deep leadership experience in the education sector. Higher education preferred. Multi-sector experience preferred (higher education, K-12, corporate, nonprofit, community.)
  3. Experience working with shared governance and/or collaborative leadership models in leading and supporting faculty and staff.
  4. Experienced fundraiser; alternatively, an expressed desire to learn and lead relationship building with funders.
  5. History of creating strong relationships with business and other community stakeholders. Connections to relevant Twin Cities organizations preferred.
  6. Experience representing one or more organizations externally.
  7. Demonstrated comfort and success working with prospective student population, their families, and community leaders; preference for relevant “lived experience.”
  8. Demonstrated ability to advocate for students in a variety of internal and external settings, relate to how decisions impact students, and learn from students to continuously adapt and improve DFC to best meet the needs and exceed the expectations of the communities it serves.
  9. Success growing an organization, especially with a focus on building a positive culture and community within the organization, and establishing a durable, mutually beneficial community partnerships. Specific success increasing student enrollment preferred.
  10. Master’s degree required. Ph.D. or terminal degree preferred, but not required.

How to Apply

All interested candidates must apply online at the St. Thomas job board by clicking here. Follow the instructions to complete an online application which includes creating or updating an applicant profile, uploading a resume, and completing a job specific application.

Please note that all University of St. Thomas employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Limited exemptions will be made for medical and religious reasons.


Contact Heidi Westlind ( at Doran Leadership Partners, the external search firm leading this search.

Heidi Westlind
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Libby Doran
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Company Details

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States