Linda Baughman, who has 22 years of progressive leadership experience at St. Thomas and Century College, will become dean of students at St. Thomas effective Sept. 21.
Baughman previously served as director of academic counseling at St. Thomas and is a tenured faculty member and chair of the counseling department at Century in White Bear Lake.
“Linda brings broad leadership experience in student affairs and academic affairs and a strong ability to bring together faculty, staff, and administrators around campus-wide student success initiatives,” said Dr. Karen Lange, vice president for student affairs. “I believe her background and experience with promoting equity and leading collaborative teams of faculty and staff make her a great fit for the university and our strategic priorities.”
During her time at St. Thomas (1992-2005), Baughman served in a variety of roles, including residence hall director, interim director of orientation, academic counselor and director of academic counseling. She also was a chair of university student conduct hearing boards and a process coordinator for students who were victims/survivors of sexual assault.
At Century, Baughman also serves as a student success co-coordinator reporting directly to the president. In this role, she helped develop a campus-wide student success strategic plan with the goals of eliminating the racial opportunity gap and increasing student retention and completion rates.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to the university and I’m excited to be leading work that will contribute to the strategic plan,” Baughman said. “I bring a strong commitment to equity and the success of all students, and I see that represented in the plan’s priorities. That was part of what drew me back to St. Thomas.”
In addition, she said, “It is exciting to join a university where great work is happening. I know I will be working with a very talented student affairs division, and I’m looking forward to working with faculty and staff in this role.”
Baughman earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Western Michigan University. She has a Master of Arts in teacher education from St. Thomas and a Master of Science in education in counseling from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Dean of Students role and Student Affairs restructure
The scope of the dean of students role changed as part of a restructure which was implemented July 1 to better align the division to support the St. Thomas 2020 strategic plan.
Baughman will be responsible for the daily operations of the dean of students office, including student conduct, student grievances, retention, off-campus student services, orientation programs for all undergraduate students, parent and family programming, sexual violence response and prevention programming, student advocacy, students’ rights and responsibilities, and the student handbook. She also will oversee the Career Development Center, Residence Life and the Child Development Center.
Lange thanks search committee and interim dean
Lange thanked the search committee for its time and dedication to the dean of students search.
Dr. Ann Johnson, director of faculty development, and Lori Friedman, director of international student services, co-chaired the committee. Other members were: Joanne Boyer, Child Development Center; Dr. Kate Boyle, Leadership, Policy, and Administration; Mary Dunn, Dean of Students Office; Sharon Howell, Dean of Students Office; Jean Giebenhain, Psychology; Dr. Terry Langan, College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Aaron Macke, Residence Life; Dan Meuwissen, Public Safety; Tonia Peterson, Academic Counseling and Support; Paul Strickland, Career Development Center; Michelle Thom, Human Resources; and Yaia Yang, student.
Lange also extended a special thank you to Madonna McDermott for serving as interim dean of students, as well as the rest of the dean of students staff. In addition, she thanked Birdie Cunningham for assuming leadership in health services during this time.