Theresa Ricke-Kiely has been selected as the new executive director of the Center for the Common Good. The center will serve as a central point for all the community engagement efforts, both curricular and co-curricular, that happen across the University of St. Thomas.
Ricke-Kiely is the current executive director of the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies and an associate professor of the practice at the University of Notre Dame.
Father Larry Snyder, vice president for mission, said that he felt Ricke-Kiely was right for the position because she had experience running a well-respected, substantial center and also is a faculty member.
“It’s going to be essential for the Center for the Common Good to have strong relationships with the faculty on campus and she’s had that experience,” Snyder said.
Ricke-Kiely said she is looking forward to collaborating with the campus community, emphasizing that she appreciated there were so many individuals who are excited about the mission statement and strategic plan.
“I’m looking forward to working with this dynamic group so we can further the common good mission and help students understand the importance of social justice and action including how this service will enrich their own lives,” Ricke-Kiely said.
She said helping students understand how they can contribute to the common good for the entirety of their lives is an important part of Catholic social teaching. “It will be the center’s responsibility to teach students that this is a lifelong calling and commitment, not a random volunteer experience. Students have an opportunity to create stronger communities in solidarity, making sure that everyone is afforded dignity and a sense of agency,” Ricke-Kiely said. She will start at St. Thomas on July 1.
The new center will be home to coordinated course-based community engagement efforts, which were previously under the former Center for Global and Local Engagement; Tommies Together Volunteer Center; and volunteering done by clubs. The aim of the center is to provide consistency and guidelines for when students go into the community and purposeful reflection when students return.
In addition to Ricke-Kiely, Kelly Sardon-Garrity will serve as the associate director; and Dustin Killpack will serve as assistant director. A faculty director also will be hired.
“We’re all very excited for this to happen,” Snyder said. “We think there’s going to be a lot of synergy."