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New administrators settle in, make plans for Saint Mary’s

Katie Kohler | Monday, August 28, 2006

The beginning of the new academic year brought with it several new administrators to Saint Mary’s, filling the empty vice president of Student Affairs and vice president and dean of faculty offices.

College President Carol Ann Mooney and the recruitment search committee at Saint Mary’s welcomed Jill Vihtelic, Joseph Incandela, Deborah McCarthy and Karen Johnson to their new roles.

The first position Mooney filled was that of acting vice president and dean of faculty when faculty members selected Vihtelic late last spring to fill the position for one year.

“Jill has been a valued, trusted, and indispensable member of the campus community for years,” Mooney said. “Her decisions are thoughtful and based on her deep love for the College and extensive knowledge of it.”

For Vihtelic, her transition goal is simple.

“I hope to make changes that will smooth the transition for the next vice president and dean of faculty,” she said.

Vihtelic will serve as the chief academic officer to the president as well as the chief executive officer in the event of Mooney’s absence.

After her one-year term, Vihtelic said she plans to return to her previous position as professor of Business Administration and Economics.

Vihtelic has already been active as vice president and dean of faculty during this new academic year.

“My job is all about empowering others to do the very important work of the academic division,” she said. “I am grateful to the faculty of Saint Mary’s who have answered my calls with ‘yeses.'”

Besides serving as chair of the Business Administration and Economics departments at the College, Vihtelic spent nine years as a faculty representative on the Board of Trustees and was a chair of the Faculty Assembly.

Mooney also named professors Incandela and McCarthy as associate deans of faculty and academic strategies, respectively.

Incandela, who received his doctorate from Princeton University, is now responsible for directing the general education programs at the College. Incandela left his position in the Theology department at Saint Mary’s for the new role.

McCarthy now directs the Center for Academic Innovation at Saint Mary’s. Her responsibilities include developing new curriculum and academic programs and facilitating grant proposals for academic endeavors.

McCarthy said she would be coordinating with the directors of Saint Mary’s Center for Spirituality and Center for InterCultural Leadership as well.

“I will be working closely with the directors of the other Centers for Distinction to foster synergy in our programs,” she said.

Both Incandela and McCarthy have several goals they wish to accomplish during their three-year terms.

McCarthy hopes to expand current programs on campus as well as increase funding through grant proposals.

“I want the work of our faculty and our students to be seen by the College, the local community, and [whenever] possible, at the regional and national level,” she said.

McCarthy said she sees her appointment as a learning opportunity for the future.

“I want to continue to learn and develop as an administrator and see where else I might contribute to the College, even after my three-year term,” she said. “I am taking it one semester at a time.”

Saint Mary’s also welcomed Johnson as the vice president of Student Affairs. She applied last April and assumed her new role Aug. 21. Johnson has more than 30 years experience in Student Affairs and spent the last 20 years at another Saint Mary’s (in San Antonio, Tex.) – where she spent 11 years as dean of students.

Johnson heard about the administrative opening through her colleagues, who encouraged her to apply.

“This is definitely a promotion for me,” Johnson said. “When I came and interviewed, I felt really good about it.”

Former vice president of Student Affairs Linda Timm and vice president and dean of faculty Patrick White accepted head roles at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee and Wabash College, respectively.