About the Center for Mission
St. Catherine University’s unique approach to Mission is faculty-driven, collaborative, and integrative. The three components of the St. Catherine mission — Catholic, Women, and Liberal Arts — spring from St. Catherine’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In 1905, their vision was an institution that educated women to “do all of which woman is capable and which will most benefit the dear neighbor.”
The Center for Mission cultivates our tripartite mission (Liberal Arts, Women, and Catholic) throughout our University community and deepens our understanding of how and why this mission is essential and urgent in the 21st century. The mission chairs strive to empower all members of the community to see how their work contributes to our mission and to affirm that the mission of the University is everyone’s work. We partner with faculty and staff to build an inclusive institution of higher learning that is free of racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and all other forms of discrimination. Through story-telling, deep listening, collaborative learning, and radical hospitality, the mission chairs aim to catalyze a culture of courage, humility, spirituality, gratitude, joy, affirmation, care, and hope. Our work is collaborative, integrative, and enduring. As stewards of the University mission, we work from a transformational perspective to ensure that the institution is prepared to meet the evolving needs of our students and of the time.
This vision continues to evolve as St. Catherine prepares a new generation of women to take their place as leaders in a world that needs them. Three endowed chairs have been established to ensure that Mission permeates the University's curricular and co-curricular offerings.
Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity
Kate Barrett, OTD, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, serves as the Archbishop Harry Flynn Endowed Chair in Catholic identity and Director of the Myser Initiative.
Barrett is excited to work with faculty and staff to integrate Catholic Social Teaching and the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet into their daily work at St. Catherine University. As an occupational therapist, she is passionate about working toward just systems in which all people can participate in their communities in meaningful ways regardless of ability, race, gender or status.
Endowed Chair in Women's Education
Hui Niu Wilcox, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, Women's Studies, and Critical Studies of Race/Ethnicity serves as the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Endowed Chair in Women's Education and Director of the Rita Gillach Otte Initiative in Women's Education.
Originally from China, Hui revolves her life and work around integrating scholarship, teaching, dance (Ananya Dance Theatre), activism, family, and community across many borders. She focuses her research on the significance of race, gender, class and nation in the context of international migration and dance/performance. Informed by this research and her work at St. Catherine University, she develops a women-centered teaching philosophy and embodied pedagogies that empower learners to move towards investigation, critique and healing.
Endowed Chair in the Liberal Arts
Amy K. Hamlin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art History, serves as the Alberta Huber, CSJ Endowed Chair in the Liberal Arts and Director of the Evaleen Neufeld Initiative in the Liberal Arts.
Amy is dedicated to cultivating the distinctiveness of the liberal arts at St. Catherine University, which is nourished by its intersections with our Catholic values and dedication to women's education. As a scholar and an educator trained in the liberal arts, she works with staff and faculty across the University to fortify existing partnerships between the liberal arts and professional programs and to create new alliances with community partners that respond to the needs of our time. Her passion for the liberal arts grows out of her advocacy in her field of art history, most recently manifest in her collaborative project Art History That, which aims to curate, crowdsource, and collaborate on the future of the field.
Sharon Rolenc brings over 22 years of professional work from the higher education, nonprofit and news industries. Part storyteller, part techie, part advocate, and all doer, she brings a breadth of experience and broad skill set. Her communications work has won numerous creative awards from PRSA-MN, Hermes and CASE V. But for Sharon, her greatest moments of success have come when she creates or collaborates on something that impacts hearts and minds —something that causes individuals to take action, change their perspective, or simply say “wow, I didn’t know that.”