Search committee forms to find successor to Dr. Gene Scapanski

Search committee forms to find successor to Dr. Gene Scapanski

A search committee will begin work this month on finding a successor to Dr. Gene Scapanski, who will retire as vice president for mission on June 30.

Father Dennis Dease, president, will chair the seven-person committee, which will conduct a local search. He believes there is a large and talented pool of potential candidates in the Twin Cities area who are familiar with St. Thomas and its history, mission and values.

Scapanski became the university’s first vice president for mission in 2003. He has developed programs to enhance the university’s Catholic identity and has overseen strategic planning efforts, diversity initiatives, community partnerships and Campus Ministry. He also has coordinated the annual Welcome Week and Heritage Week celebrations and chaired committees that oversaw the renovation of the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas and wrote a new mission statement for the university.

His successor will have similar responsibilities, but two changes will occur as the result of a reorganization. The Office for Institutional Diversity will report to Dr. Susan Alexander, executive adviser to the president and affirmative action officer, and the Center for Community Partnerships will become part of Academic Affairs.

The position summary states that the vice president for mission “engages faculty, staff and students in ways that enhance their understanding and support of the university’s Catholic mission and identity” and “collaborates with other divisions, units and groups to assure integration of the St. Thomas mission in every aspect of university life.”

Minimum qualifications are an advanced degree, and a doctorate is preferred. Extensive teaching experience at the collegiate level is required, as well as relevant administrative experience. Candidates should be knowledgeable about Catholic theology and the Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions, understand the nature and role of a Catholic university within the mission of the church, and have skills in facilitating partnerships that bring together the needs and resources of both the university and the community.

Applications are due May 17. The search committee will interview semi-finalists in June and recommend two or three finalists to Dease, who will select the new vice president.

In addition to Dease, search committee members include Alexander; Edna Comedy, associate vice president for human resources; Dr. Mark Dienhart, executive vice president and chief administrative officer; Dr. Thomas Rochon, executive vice president and chief academic officer; Father Erich Rutten, director of Campus Ministry; and Sister Katarina Schuth, professor at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity.