Tactical trio: Meet Mount Mary’s new deans

By Loredana Farhad

Three new deans were recently hired by Mount Mary University in the hopes of growing enrollment and infusing creativity into academics. The deans are charged with working with faculty and students to develop Mount Mary’s future graduates into leaders.

Kathleen Dougherty, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Humanities

Dougherty is well acquainted with an educational setting, with previous positions at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., and Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. At these institutions, Dougherty has held titles as both teacher and administrator.

“I gained a breadth of perspective that makes it easier to face challenges and work creatively toward solutions,” Dougherty said.

Provided by KATHLEEN POORMAN DOUGHERTYDr. Kathleen Poorman Dougherty, Dean, School of Humanities

Dr. Kathleen Poorman Dougherty, Dean, School of Humanities

Dougherty began her educational path at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., earning a B.A. in philosophy, then going on to the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., to pursue both a M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy. Dougherty’s educational background firmed her belief of the importance of the humanities.

“I am a strong advocate of the kinds of skills that are gained through the humanities disciplines: critical thinking, effective writing, good verbal communication and a strong moral foundation,” Dougherty said. “I think these are some of the central skills required to be an educated person, and I hope to help keep the value of the humanities disciplines at the forefront of our educational mission.”

Dougherty was previously employed at Notre Dame of Maryland University, also sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, where she was associate professor and chair of the philosophy department.

Dr. Eileen Schwalbach, Mount Mary president, said Dougherty has “a passion for education, an entrepreneurial spirit and a dedication to the mission of Mount Mary.”

Dougherty sees the uniqueness of Mount Mary, saying, “The integration of a wide variety of programs, including science and the arts, coupled with a strong liberal arts foundation, is a hallmark of the institution. In addition, Mount Mary’s commitment to its students is quite remarkable.”

Barbara Armstrong, Dean of the School of Arts and Design

Armstrong has only been on the job since January 2014 and already has a strong plan of action in place.

“[I intend to] identify what the future should look like – what we want to be for the next 100 years,” Armstrong said. “Where do we want to position ourselves in the higher education marketplace?”

Armstrong earned a Bachelor of Science in art from Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J. and a master’s degree with a concentration in environment and behavior studies from UW-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Career-wise, she has had upwards of 25 years of experience involved in interior, art and graphic design as well as in leadership roles at two nationally recognized firms.

Mount Mary was always on Armstrong’s radar as a unique institution contributing to community growth.

Provided by Barbara T. ArmstrongBarbara T. Armstrong, Dean of Arts and Design

Provided by Barbara T. Armstrong
Barbara T. Armstrong, Dean of Arts and Design

“One of my strongest passions is to engage in growing the next generation of leaders by helping people grow their skills and talents,” Armstrong said. “I enjoy working collaboratively with people to problem solve and creatively explore what is possible in the context of a strong vision for the future.”

Karen Friedlen, Ph.D., vice president of academic and student affairs, said, “Barbara is very well positioned based on her academic background, professional experience and community service to lead our faculty through the many initiatives that result in developing our students as creative leaders.”

Armstrong said she is prepared to bring tough questions to the forefront and so she can pave a clear road for the school.

“Together we can create a clearly articulated plan to close the gaps between today’s realities and the future we want to achieve,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong sees it necessary to work side-by-side with all parties eager to participate in the movement.

“I hope that by leveraging a collaborative approach with the leaders of the School of Arts and Design — students, staff and faculty — we can achieve our vision,” Armstrong said.

Chioma Ugochukwu, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Business and Education

Mount Mary’s student-run newspaper, Arches, has a potential fan and critic. Dr. Chioma Ugochukwu, new dean of the School of Social Sciences, Business and Education, received her Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a professional journalist and editor. She also completed a doctoral portfolio in women’s studies from the same institution.

Ugochukwu is familiar with the educational scene, having taught journalism at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. and serving as the coordinator of the Journalism and Electronic Media unit. Most recently, she was assistant dean in the College of Communication at Marquette University.

Ugochukwu is passionate about social justice and Mount Mary’s mission.

“Working to educate and empower young women capable of transforming the world resonates with me,” Ugochukwu said.

Fostering relationships and growing responsiveness to our campus is part of her plan.

“One of my goals is to ensure that our presence is felt in the greater Milwaukee area and to make sure that more people are aware of our majors and programs,” Ugochukwu said. “As a result,I hope to facilitate partnerships with other institutions and organizations.”

Ugochukwu emphasized the long-term benefits of service learning.

“There is a strong correlation between challenging courses and high persistence rates, so we will continue the efforts to ensure that our students are challenged in the classroom and that we are exposing them to experiential learning and more community-based programs and activities,” Ugochukwu said. “My hope is that we graduate students who are unique in terms of their sense of ethics and their passion for social justice.”

Friedlen is thrilled about what Ugochukwu and the other new deans are bringing to the school. “[The deans] have a commitment to growing enrollment and are working with faculty in their schools to establish innovative programming and delivery formats that will serve diverse student needs and interests,” Friedlen said.

A fourth dean for the School of Natural and Health Sciences is yet to be hired.

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