In the News: Dr. Buffy Smith on Serving the Next Generation of Students

Dean of Dougherty Family College, Dr. Buffy Smith, was highlighted in a piece on the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities website about how Catholic two-year colleges are increasing accessibility in higher education for students who do not have access to obtaining an associate degree.

From the article: Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas opened in the fall of 2017. Its curriculum fulfills the requirements of the core curriculum of the University of St. Thomas as well as the Minnesota transfer curriculum. The goal is to prepare students to continue their studies to earn a bachelor’s degree, either at the University of St. Thomas or another four-year university, which 75% of graduates have done. The college intends to expand its curriculum to include pre-STEM and pre-business concentrations.

Buffy Smith, PhD, dean of Dougherty Family College, describes her role as a “calling.” Before being selected as dean, Smith was a faculty member in the Sociology Department at the University of St. Thomas. “Social problems are not divine. We cause them. We also have the capacity to solve them,” said Smith. “If you do the right things for the right reasons, God opens up the path.” 

Students of color make up 95% of the enrollment at Dougherty Family College. Smith, herself a first-generation college student, believes that the education attainment gap is solvable. “But we cannot stop at breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty,” she said. “Education helps to build generational wealth.”