Task Force Member working with a child

Catholic-Inspired Community Engagement

This task force on Catholic-Inspired Community Engagement will focus on promoting practices within our community that reflect the university’s commitment to truth, justice and caritas (self-giving love), and that inspire community members to work for the common good.  We will build upon our strengths in ethics, sustainability, social justice, service learning, globalization and social entrepreneurship with diverse local and global communities.  We will foster a more coordinated approach to community engagement and build a culture of service.

  • The university will seek partnerships and relationships with Catholic institutions and agencies, both educational and service/justice oriented around the globe.

  • It will promote research and teaching aimed at human development, the sanctity of human life, social justice and peacebuilding.

  • We will cultivate an ethic of the care for God’s creation.

  • We will address injustice in our world.

  • We will develop and sustain interreligious and ecumenical dialogue by engaging people of all faiths on our campuses and in the broader community. 

The task force – informed by constituents throughout the university - will:

I. Review the goals, objectives, initiatives, and performance measures put forth by the Catholic Inspired Community Engagement subcommittee of the UST 2013–14 Strategic Planning Committee.

II. Prioritize key objectives and establish concrete initiatives and performance measures.

III. Establish a timeline with milestones.

Fall 2015:

  • Continue collection of data from stakeholders based on five subgroups: Faith-Based, Business/Social Entrepreneurship, Public Sector, Non-Profits and UST Benchmarks.
  • Begin to analyze data collected to identify principles of engagement, potential models and best practices.
  • Design "Summit of Ideas" to engage community experts and explore best big ideas.
  • Review different models for campus community service opportunities.


  • Compile all information from stakeholders.
  • Identify themes and best practices from collected data.
  • Summit of Ideas completed.
  • Review different models for campus community service opportunitites.

Spring 2016:

  • Complete goals and recommendations based on collection of data, best practices and big ideas.


  • Final report and recommendations.

Karen M. Lange, Co-Chair 
Vice President for Student Affairs
email: KMLANGE@stthomas.edu

Larry J. Snyder, Co-Chair
Vice President for Mission
email: SNYD0014@stthomas.edu

Mahmoud Alaish
Graduate Student

Elise L. Amel
Professor of Psychology and Director of Environmental Studies

James F. Ennis
Executive Director of Catholic Rural Life 

Frank Forsberg
Senior Vice President of Systems Change and Innovation, United Way

Amy L. Gage
Neighborhood Liaison, University Relations

Ernest L. Owens, Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) liaison
Assistant Professor of Management

Brad T. Pulles
Program Director - Retention, Student Diversity and Inclusion Services

Erich Rutten
Director of Campus Ministry

Nancy A. Sannerud
Administrative Assistant to the Academic Dean, School of Divinity

Eva M. Solomonson
Clinical Faculty, Graduate Social Work

Patricia Stankovitch
Director of Psychological Services, Clinical Faculty

Rebecca Swiler
Director of the Child Development Center

Kim Vrudny
Associate Professor of Theology