Professional Qualifications & Personal Qualities
The president of St. Thomas will first and foremost personify the institution’s mission and ethos. He or she must be dedicated to the ideals of a Catholic education as typified by a commitment to the individual; to spiritual development; to the life of the mind, body, and spirit; to social justice; to service; and to the richness of humankind that is found in its diversity. The president will live those values and demonstrate confidence in bearing witness to his or her faith. The university’s bylaws require that the president be a Roman Catholic.
Significant experience at the senior level of an institution of substantial complexity is desired, and a track record of successful leadership of a comprehensive university is strongly preferred. Candidates who have demonstrated significant experience and successful leadership and management of institutions of higher education will be at a substantial advantage.
Involvement with the broader community has been key to the success of St. Thomas and has become central to its brand. Accordingly, the university’s president must be committed to and capable of representing the institution effectively both within and beyond its borders. Among the many rewards of such external activity is fundraising success, and the president will be a tireless and successful fundraiser. Exceptional relationship-building and communication skills are important. The ability to speak compellingly to groups large and small, to connect deeply with diverse audiences and people, and to listen earnestly and well are requirements of the position.
Of course, central to the attributes required of the presidency are those of leadership: integrity, intelligence, vision, decisiveness, courage, charisma, the ability to empower others, perseverance, tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to assess risk and to take calculated risks, self-confidence, humility, patience, and sense of humor.
In addition, the ideal candidate will possess:
- An earned terminal degree;
- A successful track record of leadership in higher education administration;
- A deep and abiding understanding of and respect for the role of the liberal arts and of scholarly research in a comprehensive university;A confident vision, anchored in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, of the distinctive vocation of a Catholic university in a society not always hospitable to joining faith with reason;
- A history of active, successful support of efforts to ensure a diverse student body, faculty, and administration;
- An open, accessible, transparent, and highly collaborative management and leadership style;
- An understanding of the issues facing higher education and ability to anticipate future trends;
- Well-developed strategic skills;
- A successful track record of management of institutional change;
- Extensive knowledge and commitment to the tenets of shared governance in higher education;
- Deep understanding and support for the principle of academic freedom;
- Demonstrated experience and expertise in teaching and scholarship;
- A student-focused approach to the academic enterprise;
- Familiarity with the issues surrounding traditional and non-traditional, undergraduate, graduate, and professional education;
- An appreciation for and understanding of the potential of technology as a teaching, research, communication and administrative tool;
- Experience with and facility for raising an institution’s public profile; and
- Strong financial management skills.