President ReBecca Koenig Roloff today announced the selection of Anita Jones Thomas, PhD, as St. Catherine University’s new executive vice president and provost. Thomas will assume the role on June 3, 2019.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Thomas join us as our new provost and to lead our excellent academic programs,” said Roloff. “St. Kate’s has long been respected for our academic excellence, commitment to social justice, and creating a learning environment in which women thrive. Dr. Thomas’ experience, expertise and passions directly support these values, and we are excited for her leadership in advancing these priorities for the University.”
Thomas brings more than 20 years of experience in academia both as faculty and an administrator. Her professional experience paired with her passion and commitment to the importance and value of education make her an ideal fit with St. Kate’s. Her belief that education is both a process and outcome, with the goal being a holistic, well-rounded, contributing member of society, directly aligns with the mission and social justice pedagogy of St. Kate’s.
"I am proud to join the St. Kate's family and am excited about working with a great administrative team, faculty, and staff, and talented students,” said Thomas. “The mission of St. Kate's, educating women to lead and influence, reflects both my scholarship and views on the importance of access and equity in education to promote positive change."
The search for St. Kate’s next provost was conducted with careful consideration of the University’s strategic priorities while seeking a leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative style. Sixty candidates applied, and after extensive review of candidate materials, eight were selected for preliminary interviews. Three finalists were identified for confidential on-campus interviews that included faculty and staff members from across the campus community.
“The search committee began the six-month search process by identifying all the exceptional qualities we hoped to find in our new provost. The posting attracted many strong candidates, and among them, we were delighted to find our ideal candidate in Dr. Thomas,” said Jennie Robinson Kloos, PhD, assistant dean of institutional research, planning, and accreditation and co-chair of the search committee. “We are extremely enthusiastic about the qualities that Dr. Thomas will bring to this position; her great vision and commitment to our mission, accomplished scholarship, knowledge of higher education, tremendous leadership and interpersonal skills, and commitment to the principles and values we hold dear at St. Kate’s.”
During her visit to St. Kate's, community members expressed great appreciation for Thomas's knowledge of and passion for higher education; her commitment to our mission, social justice, and inclusivity; her approachability, and above all, the inspiring and student-centered vision she presented for the University. Throughout her visit, Thomas made significant connections, listened well, and expressed sincerity and thoughtfulness as she shared her perspectives on a wide variety of topics important to St. Kate’s, including faculty development, community partnerships, budget and fundraising, shared governance, and academic planning, among many others.
Thomas currently serves as founding dean of the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences at the University of Indianapolis. She holds a doctorate in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago, specializing in family therapy and multicultural counseling. She earned a master’s degree in community counseling from Loyola and a bachelor’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University. Thomas spent 10 years at Loyola University Chicago, teaching in the Counseling Psychology and School Counseling Department and serving as the associate dean of academic affairs and research in the School of Education. She was department chair and associate professor in counselor education at Northeastern Illinois University and an assistant professor in the Department of Human Services at National-Louis University.
Thomas’s research interests include racial identity, identity socialization, and using culturally affirming counseling approaches with African American families. She has conducted training seminars and workshops on multicultural issues for state and national professional organizations in counseling and psychology, hospitals and corporations, and human service organizations. Thomas has served as chair of the Committee for Children, Youth, and Families for the American Psychological Association, and president of the Society for Child and Family Practice and Policy.