New Academic and Administrative Advisory Committee Replaces two Disbanded Committees

Dr. Mark Dienhart

Dr. Mark Dienhart

Dr. Susan Huber

Dr. Susan Huber

One of the things that Father Dennis Dease and other senior administrators rely on when making significant decisions is the wisdom of the St. Thomas community. We consider input from a wide variety of committees, councils and task forces, and we share information with them – and the broader St. Thomas community – about our deliberations and decisions.

Last year, these faculty, staff and student groups – to name just a few – included the Undergraduate Student Government, Exempt Staff Council, Non-Exempt Staff Council, Faculty Affairs Committee, University Senate, University Council, and Academic and Administrative Leadership (AAL) group.

We created the latter two groups – University Council and AAL – several years ago to involve two different constituencies. University Council usually met twice a semester to hear updates on issues and trends, and included leaders and representatives from faculty and staff departments. The AAL, which met monthly, comprised senior administrators, deans and faculty representatives.

Over the summer, after consulting with Father Dease and a number of faculty and staff leaders, we decided to disband the University Council and the AAL and replace them with a smaller, combined group that has a clearer focus: the Academic and Administrative Advisory Committee (AAAC). We determined that neither University Council nor AAL had reached its full potential and that it was time for a new advisory committee to be formed.

The AAAC will consist of about 40 members and will meet once a semester to address specific issues. We are consulting with faculty and staff leaders to determine membership and soon will extend invitations. We expect the committee will include former AAL members, faculty leaders and representatives from the staff councils.

In the meantime, four other groups will continue to meet on a regular basis:

  • President’s Senior Staff: Father Dease leads this group, which is comprised of his direct reports: Susan Alexander, executive adviser to the president; Father John Malone, vice president for mission; and the two of us. We meet on a biweekly basis.
  • President’s Staff: This group, in addition to Father Dease’s direct reports, includes five vice presidents: Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan (St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity), Jane Canney (Student Affairs), Doug Hennes (University Relations), Sam Levy (Information Resources and Technology) and Mark Vangsgard (Business Affairs). The staff formerly met on a biweekly basis but now meets monthly.
  • Deans’ Council: Sue oversees the council, which includes Deans Marisa Kelly (Arts and Sciences), Bruce Kramer (Applied Professional Studies), Tom Mengler (Law), Christopher Puto (Business), Barbara Shank (Social Work), Chris Thompson (School of Divinity) and Don Weinkauf (Engineering), and Associate Vice Presidents Angeline Barretta-Herman and Joe Kreitzer. The council meets twice a month.
  • Administrative Staff: It includes Mark’s direct reports, including Jane Canney (Student Affairs), Edna Comedy (Human Resources), Barb Dunker (Administrative Services), Marla Friederichs (Enrollment Services), Linda Halverson (Administrative Services), Doug Hennes (University Relations), Steve Hoeppner (Development), Sam Levy (IRT), Mark Vangsgard (Business Affairs) and Rachel Wobschall (Alumni and Constituent Relations). This group meets monthly.

We should note that members of the Dean’s Council and Administrative Staff will meet once a semester in a joint session to discuss issues of common interest.

We are confident that these five leadership groups will ably represent all faculty and staff members and bring to the forefront important issues for discussion and resolution. You have our promise that we will continue to involve all of you – faculty, staff and students – in the decision-making process and will report to you on a regular basis the decisions made by these groups.

As always, we welcome your comments. Please feel free to e-mail or call us.