Dr. Kim Vrudny has agreed to serve as the new associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas, effective Sept. 1.
Professor Vrudny, who has been on faculty since 2001, including serving as chair of the Theology Department, "is an outstanding scholar, teacher and leader whose broad humanistic and interdisciplinary background complements those of our current team," Dean Bill Tolman said in an announcement to the community.
Her studies of theology and religion have encompassed interdisciplinary examination of fields as diverse as art and art history; biology and public health; political science and history; communication studies and film studies; sociology, psychology, economics, human rights, and the law; holocaust and genocide studies; women, gender, and sexuality studies; and justice and peace studies.
As previous director of community engagement and department chair, she developed administrative skills in strategic planning, curriculum development, assessment, budgets, and conflict management. "In addition, as a thought leader in efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the university, she is passionately committed to the transformation of our campus culture to be more welcoming and inclusive of all people, and for our university to be a place that fosters a genuine sense of belonging for all of its members," Tolman said.
Vrudny, who is author of the book Beauty's Vineyard: A Theological Aesthetic of Anguish and Anticipation (Liturgical Press, 2016), was on sabbatical in South Africa, Thailand and Mexico during the academic year 2009-10 to create "30 Years/30 Lives," a photography project documenting 30 people impacted by HIV/AIDS. The project marked the 30th anniversary of that pandemic. She also served on the staff of ARTS: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies for 21 years (1993-2009 and 2013-2018), the final five years as the journal’s senior editor.
As CAS associate dean, Vrudny’s efforts will encompass many areas, including curriculum and interdisciplinary programs, as well as an emphasis on enhancing DEI across CAS. Her work will build upon that of previous Associate Dean Lisa Waldner, who was recently named associate vice provost for undergraduate student achievement.
“I am delighted to enter higher levels of leadership to advocate for the place of the liberal arts in the university’s degree programs and am pleased to support the administrative team assembled from the top, with Interim President (Rob) Vischer, Provost (Eddy) Rojas, and Dean Tolman as the inspirational and capable captains of our ship,” Dr. Vrudny said.
Vrudny received her doctorate in historical theology from Luther Seminary; her master's and bachelor's degrees were respectively from the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.