St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC) is a vibrant, student-centered institution in the New York City Metropolitan area. Founded in 1952 by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill as a teaching college, the college has grown to a 72-acre campus, providing a safe, welcoming place to study over 100 majors, minors, and specializations. STAC is dedicated to creating a learning environment that extends beyond the classroom with various clubs and activities, 20 NCAA Division II athletic teams, study abroad opportunities, and a community where students can make lifelong friendships and “stand out” while “fitting in.” The campus is just 45 minutes from the heart of Manhattan, giving students quick access to learning, cultural, internship, and career opportunities in one of the world’s most exciting cities. The college is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Top-Tier Regional University, by the New York and Catholic Editions of Colleges of Distinction, as a Military Friendly Institution, and by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The Position

Role of the Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students for St. Thomas Aquinas College

Reporting to the president, the Vice President and Dean of Student Development (VPSD) leads, promotes, and directs an accomplished and dynamic student development team with a strong commitment to equity and social justice. The VPSD provides leadership and oversight to athletics, campus health and safety, counseling and psychological services, residence life, and student engagement which include campus ministry and volunteer services. The Vice President cultivates a culture that supports the Mission and Values of the College and provides an inclusive learning community; develops and oversees programs, services, and facilities designed to create a supportive learning environment that is aligned with the College’s strategic plan; leads student engagement and student success initiatives in partnership with academic partners supporting retention, persistence, satisfaction and graduation outcomes; and operationalizes diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across the division of student development.

Additional duties and responsibilities of the position include;

  • Actively engages as a member of the president’s cabinet to guide college programs, policies and planning;
  • Provides oversight of the division of student development and guide a high functioning leadership team;
  • Operationalize diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across the division of student development;
  • Creates and maintains partnerships with a broad array of internal and external constituents;
  • Initiates and implements student success projects, which facilitate and improve the financial, administrative, and service productivity for division of student development units;
  • Provides visionary leadership to foster a vibrant and secure campus environment which actively engages students in an immersive residential experience and a welcoming commuter climate;
  • Serves as a liaison to parents and families and appropriately engages them in the college community;
  • Develops a long-range plan, annual budget, and assessment strategy that meets the needs of a diverse population which includes traditional and non-traditional students, and international students;
  • Manages and integrates programs and services which support student access to the college and creates co-curricular education experiences essential to students’ development, academic successes and preparation for the future;
  • Maximizes the use of computer technology in delivering programs and services;
  • Works collaboratively with faculty and college administrators to develop, implement, and evaluate student retention strategies;
  • Implements communication methods/channels within student development offices and between student development offices, and other areas of the college.

History of the Position

Dr. Kirk Manning has served as vice president and dean of student development since joining STAC in 2009. He is retiring from the college in 2022.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

President Daly is committed to building a new vibrancy on campus and identifying opportunities to engage students. The VPSD will need to be laser-focused on executing a plan to animate the campus to an “always on” mindset in which students have consistent opportunities to participate in activities and events. The college has a core of “resi-muter” students who are on campus during the week and return home on weekends.  The VPSD must stay attuned to evolving student needs and interests and support the division’s ability to be innovative and creative in its programming, services and support to students and student organizations.

Access to higher education has been a core principle of the college since its founding. They are committed to providing access to all students, especially those from diverse learning backgrounds and those who have been historically underrepresented due to social and economic inequities—for example, first-generation students. The college’s commitment to access does not end once students are on campus. Students must have access to a wide range of community service opportunities, research projects, clubs, and championship athletics. The division of student development plays a critical role in delivering on the promise of this core value.

The vice president and dean of student development, will also encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges, as shared by college stakeholders.

  • Ensure ongoing efforts directed at creating an inclusive, friendly and supportive environment for all students as the college becomes increasingly diverse, and that diversity and inclusion are reflected in the division’s structure and initiatives.
  • Serve as a champion and advocate for the division, delivering a clear message that reinforces the value of student development staff and the contributions they make each day to support student success and the mission of the institution.
  • Building on previous successes in the division, the successful candidate will also evaluate the current mix of student services, initiatives and activities, and make recommendations for enrichment or improvement.
  • Mentoring direct reports and the units they oversee to build capacity, foster team building and integration, recognize contributions, support growth and innovation, minimize staff turnover, enhance professional development and sustain operational and strategic progress; and
  • Actively engage students in a holistic manner, be highly visible throughout the campus, and be regarded as a role model for students, exemplifying what it means to be fully engaged with a passionate student population.
  • Create a strong and vibrant data-driven, outcomes focused, decision-making culture within the division. The division of student development should be able to speak eloquently and confidently about contributions made to, and the assessment of, student persistence/retention goals.
  • Bring innovative thinking and creative solutions at a challenging time for private higher education.
  • Develop and support strong town/gown relationships through active participation in the community to build positive lines of communication, shared objectives and efforts to enhance student success.
  • STAC has a significant number of student athletes so the VPSD needs to ensure strong communication within the division to ensure that the unique needs of student athletes are met, and that athletic events are leveraged as opportunities for student engagement and community building.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining STAC, a number of accomplishments will initially define success for the new vice president and dean of student development.

  • The dean of students will have reviewed organizational strengths and weaknesses and will have outlined the strategic direction and long-term plan for the division of student development consistent with the college’s mission and goals.
  • It will be important for the VPSD to assess the skills and knowledge of the staff, develop a strong sense of teamwork among staff, and build working relationships that emphasize an engaging and collaborative work environment.
  • The dean of students will maintain a proactive, highly visible, well-respected and established leadership presence on and off campus that is credible, collegial, and highly effective.
  • The division of student development will be defined as a strong, highly functioning, well-regarded and resilient team that works with synergy and shared purpose, readily collaborating across departmental and division lines with a demonstrated commitment to student success.

Qualifications

Qualifications and Characteristics

A master’s degree and at least seven years of experience, including management and supervision in multiple student-facing areas, are required. An earned doctorate is preferred. A record of support and advocacy for individuals from diverse identities, histories, backgrounds and experiences, as well as the ability to build the capacity of colleagues in this work, is essential. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated record of dynamic and visionary accomplishments with a deep understanding of the mission and functions of student affairs in a small independent college; experience in strategic planning and financial management including budget and resource development; and knowledge of and active engagement with current and emerging best practices and issues in higher education and student development.

Additional desired skills and abilities include:

  • an abiding commitment to, and passion for, working with students and being personally involved in student life on campus;
  • ability to effectively relate to and communicate with a diverse population;
  • ensure the offices in the portfolio of this position provide a vibrant living-learning community program for students in residence, faculty, and the campus as a whole;
  • a proven ability to recruit, retain, and motivate high-performing team members with a demonstrated commitment to support the professional development of staff members, set clear performance expectations, provide constructive feedback, and make timely, transparent decisions;
  • be decisive and ready to make decisions;
  • be a visionary and possess the ability to translate institutional strategy into operational goals;
  • strong skills in using technology to optimize productivity of tasks and delivery of objectives;
  • a commitment to excellence demonstrated by the ability to set high goals and to provide guidance and resources to achieve said goals, complemented by a broad understanding of the role of effective assessment to document, measure, and improve performance over time;
  • a commitment to ongoing efforts to enhance the integration of student development and campus partners that support student success and transformation;
  • be approachable, visible, and engaged in all facets of campus life;
  • entrepreneurial—able to generate innovative solutions to complex problems;
  • high level of emotional intelligence, empathy, and concern for others, including the ability to navigate controversy with civility and respect;
  • computer literacy; working knowledge of administrative computer software, preferably SCT Banner;
  • extensive supervisory experience;
  • a willingness to take action when necessary based on the values and priorities of student access, social justice and equity, and student learning and engagement;
  • the ability to articulate a sophisticated understanding of current student affairs trends and best practices, and the key issues facing today’s college students;
  • outstanding interpersonal, communication, and conflict resolution skills, with the ability to successfully navigate a variety of constituent relationships.

Institution & Location

Overview of the Office of Student Development

The VPSD oversees most non-academic departments at the college, including Counseling and Psychological Services, Health and Wellness Services, Career Services, Campus Ministry and Volunteer Services, Athletics, Residence Life and Dining Services, Campus Safety and Security, and Student Activities.

Additionally, the VPSD is responsible for the preliminary investigation and usual disposition of student-related college disciplinary matters and is responsible for orientation and graduation.

Student Activities

With over 40 clubs and organizations to choose from, students can find something that fits their academic program (including art therapy, business or science clubs) or go outside the box (like the House Band, NERD Club or Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity). Off-campus trips provide culture and adventure, while on-campus events bring activities like Bingo to a new level.

Residence Life

STAC campus features suite and townhouse-style residences for undergraduate students. An on-campus dining hall and separate Spartan Grill provide meals for resident and commuter students.

Athletics

STAC has 20 NCAA Division II teams to cheer for. Student support for the Spartans and Lady Spartans can be found at games both home and away.

Campus Ministry

The Office of Campus Ministry aims to enlighten the mind through truth. Students can participate in discussions about world events, activities aimed at human rights issues as well as volunteering efforts for local not-for-profits.

Career Development

Career development is an integral part of the educational process, assisting the diverse student and alumni populations in developing self-assessment, decision-making, and job search skills that are essential for life-long career and professional development.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS offers a wide range of free services to currently enrolled STAC students including time-limited individual psychotherapy; counseling; crisis intervention; preventative outreach programming; and consultative services.

Health and Wellness Services

Health and Wellness Services is a source of confidential health care and a wellness resource center for all students. The office provides health education, prevention and health promotion services and activities.

Institutional Overview

St. Thomas Aquinas College is a school for future leaders with over 100 majors, minors, and specializations in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of STEM to choose from.

The College is committed to the holistic development of students. State-of-the-art facilities, such as the Bloomberg Professional Laboratory, the Innovation Center equipped with 3D printers, the Kraus Fitness Center, HD Television Studio, Digital Imaging Labs — to name a few — provide students with top-notch technology and hands-on experience to develop their mind, body, and spirit.

St. Thomas Aquinas College focuses on fostering student success. Through the support of dedicated faculty and administration, and career development services, STAC graduates join the ranks of successful alumni, pursuing masters and doctoral degrees, as well as embarking on challenging and rewarding careers. St. Thomas Aquinas College alumni can be found at Fortune 500 companies, in the region’s top medical facilities, teaching tomorrow’s leaders in classrooms, or working in federal agencies, professional sport organizations, and many other professions.

The College is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as Top-Tier Regional University, by Colleges of Distinction, both the NY and Catholic Editions, as a Military Friendly Institution, and by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. These distinctions have been earned by STAC esteemed faculty, highly motivated students, and successful alumni. St. Thomas Aquinas College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; its School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and its School of Business is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).

About Sparkill, NY

Sparkill, located in southeast New York, is a suburb of New York City with a population of 1,586. Sparkill is in Rockland County and is one of the best places to live in New York. Living in Sparkill offers residents a rural feel and most residents own their homes. Many families live in Sparkill and residents have moderate political views. The public schools in Sparkill are highly rated.

Sparkill Rankings (niche.com)

  • Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in NY: 65/383
  • Most Divers Suburbs in NY: 66/383
  • Best Places to Raise a Family in NY: 67/902

Education Levels

  • Master’s degree or higher: 21%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 40%
  • Some college or associate’s degree: 15%
  • High school diploma or equivalent: 19%
  • Less than a high school diploma: 6%

Median Individual Income: $42,188

Diversity: 57% white; 25% Hispanic; 15% Asian; 3% two or more races

Vision

St. Thomas Aquinas College endeavors to be a vibrant, inclusive learning community that is the top choice for students who seek a leading-edge, transformative education rooted in the liberal arts and designed to prepare them for career success in a changing world.

Mission

St. Thomas Aquinas College seeks to challenge, guide, and energize each student to realize and create their own path to success and commit themselves to making a profound difference in the world.

Values

Rooted in a tradition of study, reflection, and service, and faithful to our founders, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, St. Thomas Aquinas College believes that education has the power to liberate and transform.

  • Commitment to Access and Affordability
  • Commitment to a Diverse Learning Community
  • Commitment to Lifelong Learning
  • Commitment to Nurturing the Whole Self

Detailed information on the college’s mission and values can be found at https://www.stac.edu/about-stac/vision-mission-values

Leadership

Kenneth D. Daly, President

Kenneth D. Daly assumed his position as the ninth President at St. Thomas Aquinas College on July 1, 2020.

As the new President, Ken has committed to helping students navigate the current societal challenges by providing access to affordable education to prepare them for College, community service, and careers.

Daly was selected for his mission-focused leadership over a 30-year career in clean energy with National Grid and its predecessor companies, KeySpan and Brooklyn Union, serving local New York communities, supporting students, and leading emergency response plans. Ken completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard, earned an MS in Human Resource Management from New York University, an MBA in Finance from St. John’s University, and a BA in English from St. Francis College, and earned the distinguished Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

He is a passionate educator and has chaired and served on the boards of several colleges while teaching in the classroom as an adjunct professor at St. Francis College since 1992. Across his career, Ken has fostered strategic relationships with academia, supporting research and workforce development programs at colleges and STEM education programs in New York schools, which have resulted in innovative new programs, educational resources for under-served communities, and hundreds of jobs for the students.

President Daly transitioned into the role as President over six months, completing an industry leadership program for new college presidents, and working closely to support the college’s COVID-19 response plans. He has been actively developing funding programs to ensure educational access and affordability for all students.

As the new President of St. Thomas Aquinas College, Ken Daly says, “I am committed to providing students with a very supportive and caring environment — where inclusion, equity, and diversity are enhanced as part of our values — to help them navigate these challenging times. We have a dedicated team of faculty and administrators who will mentor the students every step of the way. We have a proud history of caring for our students and an exciting future whereby, together, we will overcome the societal challenges we currently face and develop each unique individual into our leaders of tomorrow — leaders who have a true sense of purpose.”

Across his career, Ken has fostered strategic relationships with academia, supporting research and workforce development programs at colleges and STEM education programs in New York schools. He was a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, his alma mater, from 2011 to 2020, serving as a member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Finance Committee and previously serving on the Academic Affairs Committee. He also previously served as Chairman of the Business Advisory Council. Through his work on the Development Committee, he has raised millions of dollars for St. Francis and personally funded four scholarships. He was an Adjunct Professor of Management at St. Francis since 1992 and has also lectured at Harvard, MIT, New York University, St. John’s University, and in England, Italy, and Canada.

To support his clean energy agenda at National Grid, Ken launched the Institute of Gas Innovation and Technology (IGIT) at Stony Brook University, empowering students to research and develop new clean gas technologies and alternatives to natural gas. He served on the Board of Directors of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) at Stony Brook and as an advisor to the university’s Center for Integrated Electric Energy Systems (CIEES). Earlier, after having served as Chairman of the Kingsborough Community College Foundation Board, Ken launched a Customer Experience Management Academy (CXM) at Kingsborough, which gave students customer service experience at National Grid while they completed their college studies.

Addressing changes in workforce demographics, Ken strengthened electric line worker academies at community colleges in Albany, Syracuse, and Buffalo and opened the industry’s first natural gas technician college academies in Long Island and Brooklyn—programs that have led to National Grid jobs for 500 students. He also played a key role in the launch of Energy Tech, a STEM high school for under-served students in Queens, and the innovative Brooklyn Tech STEM Pipeline program for under-performing middle schools in Brooklyn, while serving as commencement speaker at Energy Tech and Brooklyn Tech graduations.

Several colleges and high schools have honored him for his contributions to education and scholarship funding for students. He announced a $50,000 scholarship over four-years and launched the Kenneth D. Daly Scholarship to support students and their families impacted by COVID-19 and the Social Justice crises in our local communities, matching contributions to provide support to students when they need it most.

President Daly, his wife Laurie, who will be volunteering at the college, and their four children are delighted to be a part of the STAC community and to give back to our students during this critical time.

Academic Programs and Faculty

Academics at St. Thomas Aquinas College

At St. Thomas Aquinas College, there are a variety of paths students can take to earn their degree. STAC offers more than 100 different programs of study and dozens of partnerships with graduate programs in the area and across the country. Through a balanced liberal arts education, STAC will prepare students for the career or graduate school program that will shape their future and lead them to success.

Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees

STAC has majors ranging from Accounting and Actuarial Science to Sports Management and Physical Therapy, plus minors from Art Therapy to Writing. This means students can create a major and minor combination that fits them perfectly. STAC also offers graduate programs through both the School of Business and School of Education and has a Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice through the School of Arts & Social Sciences.

Programs & Majors

St. Thomas Aquinas College’s academic programs and faculty focus on providing students with the tools and skills they’ll need to succeed in any career they choose! We are proud to offer over 100 majors, minors, specializations, and dual-degree programs in the School of Arts & Social Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Students study at the undergraduate and graduate level and the College’s proximity to New York City allows students quick access to endless learning, cultural, internship, and career opportunities. STAC Spartans become an integral part of a diverse community of thinkers and doers, athletes and leaders, researchers, and scholars — the opportunities are limitless.

 

Affiliations with Graduate Schools

STAC not only offers its own suite of graduate programs but also partners with other colleges and universities to help students transition into the graduate school of their choice. For example, a student can major in Psychology at STAC and begin taking courses at NYU’s School of Social Work in the senior year, or begin any of the dozens of graduate programs that we have affiliations with at other schools that lead to the same great plan — two degrees in less time and for less money! In alliance with St. John’s University, STAC also offers a Master’s in Public Health and a Master of Professional Studies degree in Sport Management.

Internship Opportunities

Learning happens in many places — sometimes it’s in a classroom but other times it’s on guided trips to prisons and crime labs for Criminal Justice majors, to Wall Street for Finance and Business majors, or to local classrooms for Education majors. These are just a few of the opportunities offered to STAC students. Students can get set up with internships in every major and in all programs of study, at CNBC, WCBS, the FBI, the NYSE and many more organizations. The college’s proximity to New York City and Newark, NJ is perfect for finding internship and job opportunities.

If students want to complete an internship outside of the area, they might like to get paid to go to Walt Disney World. During the semester, they’ll take two classes at Disney’s famous Education Connection and return to campus with invaluable experience and academic credit!

The Student Body

Total enrollment          2,000

Student:teacher ratio     18:1

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

STAC offers a wide variety of benefits to increase the value of employees’ total compensation package and recognize their hard work and dedication. These include:

  • Dental plan
  • Medical plans
  • Flex spending accounts
  • HSA accounts
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • EAP
  • Credit Union membership
  • Tuition benefits
  • Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

For a detailed look at STAC benefits, visit the website at https://www.stac.edu/about-stac/college-offices-directory/human-resources/employee-benefits