Avila News

January 9, 2015

Cathryn Pridal, Ph.D., is New VP for Academic Affairs

Cathryn Pridal

Cathryn Pridal, Ph.D., who has 32 years of experience as a faculty member, administrator and executive at some of the most highly-regarded institutes of higher education in the U.S., is Avila University’s new Vice President for Academic Affairs. Her first full day on campus is scheduled to be June 15. She assumes the position that Avila’s Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, Marie Joan Harris, CSJ, Ph.D., has served with distinction the last 27 years. Harris announced last year plans to step away from her current role following the 2014-15 academic year following 45 years of service and leadership to the University.

Pridal has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Cottey College in Nevada, Mo. since July 2009. As such, she has provided leadership for the overall planning, development, implementation, evaluation and fiscal management of the academic area as well as supervising all aspects of the college’s academic operations. The past three years, she served as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission and played a role in all stages of the higher education accreditation process.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Avila team and working with them to implement the exciting vision of President Ron Slepitza,” Pridal said. “I am impressed by the dedication and support provided by the Board of Trustees, the faculty and staff and look forward to working collaboratively as we enhance the already strong and vibrant student learning opportunities at Avila.”

Much of Pridal’s background is in psychology. She received her bachelor of arts in psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. and her master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Stony Brook University in New York. She served on the faculty at Texas A&M, University of Missouri, William Woods and Westminster College before going to Middlebury College in Vermont in September 2007 as a part of the American Council on Education Fellows program. As an ACE Fellow, Pridal had opportunity, through a one-year series of seminars, interactive learning opportunities and campus visits, to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development in the highest levels of academic decision making while participating in administrative activities.

Pridal said she is looking forward to embracing the mission of Avila University and its founding Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet – to serve the dear neighbor without distinction. She plans on visiting LePuy, France, where the CSJs originated, during a European trip this spring.

“I find the mission and values of Avila University especially appealing and look forward to the opportunity to respond to the needs of students, faculty and staff while respecting the worth and dignity of each individual as we prepare students for responsible lifelong contributions to the global community,” she said.

Avila President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA, said, “I am excited about Cathryn joining the team. She will be a good colleague and a thoughtful and innovative leader of the learning environment at Avila. She will be a great addition.”

S. Marie Joan Harris will assume the role of Provost Emerita upon stepping away from her current duties at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

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