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University Mission

The mission of Capella University is to extend access to high quality bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate programs for adults who seek to maximize their personal and professional potential. This mission is fulfilled through innovative programs that are responsive to the needs of adult learners and involve active, engaging, challenging, and relevant learning experiences offered in a variety of delivery modes.

Educational Philosophy

At Capella University, we believe education transforms people’s lives and society—immediately and permanently. The innovative, intentionally designed competency-based education we offer enables adult learners to meet challenges in their careers, lead and make new contributions in their disciplines, and reach their professional and personal goals. Our educational pathways respect existing expertise and allow learners to focus on what is essential, as they gain new competencies and expand on those they already have. The credentials they earn are signs of the professional relevancy, quality, and immediate applicability of their educational experience at Capella University and help to create new opportunities in the future. As partners in their education, we proudly serve the lifelong learning ambitions that allow our learners, alumni, their many communities, and our broader society to thrive.

Diversity Mission Statement

We believe that a diverse learning community is vital to achieving our mission of supporting learner success.

As an online university serving a diverse society, we create a learning community made up of individuals representing a rich mixture of identities, experiences and beliefs, including different genders, ages, racial-ethnic backgrounds, languages, economic strata, religious beliefs and practices, sexual orientations, abilities and disabilities, national and geographical origins and locations, political beliefs and values.

Capella is committed to a set of guiding values that are employee and learner centric. Rooted in our value of human potential, we are dedicated to an inclusive culture that supports our employees and our learners in achieving their fullest potential. We believe that diversity strengthens our organization by drawing on the varied perspectives and life experiences of an array of talented people. Additionally, we strive to be a culturally competent organization (as reflected in our mission, practices and policies) in order to effectively serve our global society.

Fulfilling our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

It is our intent to achieve our mission in the following ways:

  • Creating a collaborative working and learning community that is respectful, inclusive and valuing of diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds.
  • Recruiting and retaining faculty and staff members with diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, and by utilizing creative and equitable processes to support them.
  • Recruiting and retaining learners with diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds; and by providing services which support them in successful degree completion and the attainment of their professional goals.
  • Promoting the transformative exchange of ideas in a high-quality professional curriculum infused with multicultural competencies, which prepares graduates to be effective in a multicultural society.

 

Capella University Leadership

Administration

Richard Senese, PhD, LP

Capella University President

Dr. Richard (Dick) Senese serves as the Capella University President and Chief Academic Officer for Capella University. Prior to returning to Capella in 2014, Dr. Senese served in leadership roles with the University of Minnesota Extension for 13 years. He most recently served as the Extension's Senior Associate Dean, where he oversaw research, program evaluation, international partnerships, and faculty development, among other responsibilities. Prior to his promotion to Senior Associate Dean, he served as the founding Associate Dean for the Center for Community Vitality. He has taught at a number of Minnesota-based institutions, including St. Olaf College, Metropolitan State University, and the College of St. Scholastica, and served previously as the Associate Dean for Capella University's Harold Abel School of Psychology.

Dr. Senese received his PhD from the University of Minnesota through the Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology program with the Department of Educational Psychology. He is a licensed psychologist and active in community affairs in his native Minnesota.

Andrew Watt, BS

Senior Vice President of Post-Secondary Education, Capella Education Company

Andy Watt became Senior Vice President of Post-Secondary Education in 2016. Since joining Capella in 2002, Andy has held a variety of leadership positions across the University, including roles in operations, finance, analytics and our markets & products team. Most recently, Andy was the Vice President Colleges and University Operations and Chief Operations Officer. Prior to that, Andy was the Vice President and General Manager for the College of Business, Technology and Undergraduate Studies, where he led a team of Deans, Market Directors, and Enrollment and Advising leaders to develop and deliver high quality, highly differentiated programs for our learners. Before joining Capella, Andy worked in transaction advisory services at both Deloitte & Touche LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP. Watt graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting.

Mary Miller, MBA

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer

Mary Miller is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Capella, where she leads efforts to further strengthen Capella's marketing capabilities and commitment to a brand focused marketing strategy. She joined Capella in 2011 in a consulting role, and was soon named Senior Vice President of Value Proposition Development and Management, and then Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to joining Capella Mary held positions as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PetSmart, Inc., from 2006 to 2010, and she held executive leadership positions at Best Buy Co., Inc., from 1998 to 2006, in areas including strategic marketing and customer loyalty. She earned her bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and her MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Constance St. Germain, EdD, JD

Vice President,  Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer

Constance St. Germain, Ed.D., J.D. joined Capella University in 2017 as its Chief Academic Officer and Vice President of Academic Affairs, where she is responsible for leading the University in achieving superior outcomes and impact. In her position, St. Germain provides leadership, in collaboration with other university stakeholders, on all aspects related to accreditation, faculty affairs, institutional policy, curriculum & programs, academic success and assessment.

Prior to joining Capella, she was the Executive Dean for the College of Humanities & Sciences at University of Phoenix, where she had strategic, operational and P&L responsibility for faculty, students and ground campuses across the country and online. While there, St. Germain positioned the college as an incubator for continued growth and development to transform students into socially aware, critically thinking global citizens.

In addition to her academic career, St. Germain is a U.S. Army veteran, where she served as a major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. While on active duty, she held assignments as an attorney at military posts including the 82D Airborne Division and XVIII Airborne Corps Fort Bragg, NC.

St. Germain has authored numerous articles, presented at national conferences and served as an expert in the media on a wide range of issues facing both the workforce and higher education related to leadership, gender equality, mental health, food security, student outcomes, humanities study, and the law.

She received her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in higher education and organizational change from Benedictine University; her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Baltimore School of Law; and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from George Mason University. She is admitted to practice as an attorney in Vermont, Virginia and Maryland, as well as several federal courts. St. Germain’s research focus is on women and leadership.

Tonia Teasley, JD

Vice President  & General Manager
College of Business, Technology, Education and Public Service Leadership

Tonia serves as Vice President & General Manager, College of Business, Technology, Education and Public Service Leadership. Prior to taking on this role, she was Capella’s Vice President of Learner Services and Operations. She came to Capella from Thomson Reuters, where she ran a department that was responsible for online learning for customers and for training and development of the sales team. Prior to that, she spent most of her career in large law firms both as a practicing attorney and then as Executive Director and Managing Partner of a firm in Minneapolis.  She earned her J.D. from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from St. Olaf College.

Jennifer Dixson Hoff, MS

Vice President and General Manager, College of Nursing, Health, and Behavioral Sciences

Jennifer currently serves as the Vice President and General Manager of the College of Nursing, Health, and Behavioral Sciences at Capella University where she provides executive direction over the execution and growth of a spectrum of academic programs spanning five professional disciplines. She joined Capella in 2011 as the Market Lead for the School of Public Service Leadership. In 2014, she led the development and launch of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and served as its Vice President and General Manager.  In 2017, the Schools of Nursing and Health Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences were aligned into a single business unit forming the College of Nursing, Health, and Behavioral Sciences under Jennifer’s leadership.  Jennifer’s prior work experience includes management positions at Target.com, Coach Leatherware and the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson Corporation.  She holds a BA in business administration/financial management from the University of St. Thomas and graduated with distinction with a MS in Leadership, from Capella University.

Jennifer is passionate about developing a new generation of leaders. In 2016 she was selected by the Women’s Health Leadership Trust as one of 30 executives to coach and develop high potential women leaders within the Twin Cities healthcare community. In addition, she is a member of the board of Bloom Early Learning, which focuses on closing the access and disparity gap in learning, for under privileged children. In February 2017 she assumed the Vice-Chair role for the Bloom Board. Additionally in 2017, Jennifer was named as one of 50 honorees for the Women in Business award by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Mani Ratnam, MBA

Vice President, Experiences and Initiatives 

Mani Ratnam serves as Vice President, Experience and Initiatives. Mani is responsible for vision and strategy for customer experience and also leads initiatives across the enterprise to implement this vision. Previously, Mani led Capella’s Learner Success Program that consistently improved early cohort persistence for over 5 years. Mani has over 30 years of experience in various business and technology functions including product management, software engineering, business operations and service delivery. Prior to Capella, Mani spent over 15 years at Carlson Companies Inc. in senior technology and operations roles. At Carlson Wagonlit Travel as vice president Global Traveler and Transaction Services, Mani was responsible for strategic initiatives aimed at improving the global operations capabilities. Prior to this, as vice president and CIO for E2 Solutions, Mani launched a new line of business for Travel & Expense Management for US Federal Government agencies and led the day-to-day operations for the startup. Mani earned his MBA from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and a BS in Statistics from Mumbai University, India.

Linda Muehlbauer, MBA

Associate Vice President, Learner Support and Operations

Linda was with Capella University 2001-2008 and re-joined in 2016.   During her 16 years in higher education, Linda has overseen centralized student support functions of enrollment services, admissions, financial aid, career services, disability services, learner accounts, training and project management.   Linda has experience with all degree levels and trade school as well as on-line and brick and mortar formats.  Her expertise is scaling operations and staff development while improving the student experience.    Prior to higher education, Linda has 15 years of sales and operations experience in financial services.   She earned her Executive MBA and Business Administration BS from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.

Deans

Rhonda Capron, EdD

Dean of Business & Technology

Dr. Rhonda Capron is an accomplished leader with remarkable business acumen, extensive academic experience and professional relevance within the confluence of today’s transformative marketplace. She brings a unique blend of background and experience to her dean role as a seasoned executive and higher education leader with more than 15 years of experience successfully leading strategic initiatives and operations within high-tech businesses coupled with 12 years in higher education, including extensive, hands-on experience teaching, faculty and staff leadership, academic programming, curriculum development and strategic planning.  In addition, she has an extensive background in both the business sector and the government.  Rhonda served as the vice president of support services, software as a service at Oracle Corporation and the deputy director for operations within the Departments of Army and Energy.  

Cheryl Bann, PhD

Associate Dean of Business

Dr. Cheryl Bann is Associate Dean for the School of Business. She joined Capella in 2002 as adjunct faculty and moved into a core faculty role in 2004. Prior to joining Capella, Dr. Bann held leadership positions in the corporate sector (General Mills and Dain Bosworth), in government (Minnesota Trade Office), as consultant/assessment expert (50+ USAID consulting projects in 15 countries), and business consultant to small businesses (private practice and 20+ years as a Small Business Development Counselor). Dr. Bann's educational background includes a BA (Physiology) and a BS (Business) from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, an MBA (General/International) from the University of St. Thomas, and both an MS (Instructional Design for Online Learning) and a PhD (Organization and Management with a specialization in Leadership) from Capella University. She was awarded the Capella University Harold Abel Distinguished Faculty award as well as the University’s Red Carpet award. Dr. Bann is a veteran of the US Army, having served for over 20 years.

Bill Dafnis, PhD

Associate Dean of Technology, School of Business and Technology

Bill Dafnis serves as Associate Dean of Technology for Capella University's School of Business and Technology. Dr. Dafnis' professional background includes 25 years of information technology, project management and  manufacturing and distribution leadership positions at a media conglomerate where among others he lead in the strategic evolution of new technology.  Dr. Dafnis’ higher education experience began in an adjunct capacity at various institutions of higher education as a technology faculty member that quickly progressed into the Dean of Information Systems and Technology at Strayer University. His research interests, editorial contributions, scholarly presentations and publications focus on disruptive innovation, cybersecurity and business process modeling. Dr. Dafnis serves as an ABET program evaluator,  project management professional (PMP) and holds a PhD in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University, an MSIT in  Information Security and Assurance from Carnegie Mellon University, MBA from Lake Forest College and a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Illinois.

Genevieve Feliu, MA

Dean, Division of Arts & Sciences and Academic Success

Genevieve Feliu is the Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies. Genevieve began her foray in the higher education industry in 2002, joining the local community college faculty as a full-time sociology instructor for several years. She has since taught at a number of community colleges, in several instances as one of the first groups of instructors exploring and implementing online learning. By 2005, Genevieve identified the opportunity for rapid prototyping and platform growth in the for-profit industry and joined the faculty of 3 national, exclusively online institutions. She joined Capella in 2007 as an adjunct faculty member and has served as Faculty Chair for General Education from 2009-2014. Genevieve holds a Master of Arts in Sociology from the East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Jennifer Straub, PhD

Assistant Dean, Division of Arts and Sciences


Dr. Jennifer Straub is the Assistant Dean for the Division of Arts and Sciences.   Dr. Straub received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology/Neuroscience Research from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2004.   She then pursued her Post-Doctoral Studies in Neuroscience and Cancer Biology at the University of Vermont, where she researched the genetic etiology of the pediatric cancer Neuroblastoma.   As a graduate and post-doctoral student, she was selected to speak at several conferences for her research, including the Keystone Symposia and Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Conference.  Dr. Straub’s experiences in higher education include teaching both undergraduate and graduate studies, including the graduate Molecular Neurobiology course at the Marine Biological Laboratory, and undergraduate Health Sciences, Biology, and Liberal Arts/General Education courses at Eastern Connecticut State University, Johnson State College, Kaplan University, and the University of Phoenix.    Dr. Straub has been with Capella University since 2010; prior to becoming an Assistant Dean at Capella, she taught undergraduate learners in the field of Biology, and served as Chair of General Education and the Division of Arts and Sciences.  In her leadership roles, Dr. Straub has led several university-wide projects, including a remote, undergraduate faculty conference.  She currently serves as the remote co-chair for Capella’s 2017-18 Together for Good Campaign, our annual employee giving campaign.   

Anna Hultquist, PhD

Dean of Counseling, and Human Behavior, Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Anna Hultquist was appointed dean for the counseling and human behavior department in the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2012. Previously, Dr. Hultquist served as associate dean for the department of counseling and human behavior since 2008.  Dr. Hultquist’s educational background includes a PhD in adult education from the University of Connecticut, a MS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island, and a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences from Framingham State University.  Current studies include doctoral work in Business Administration. 

Dr. Hultquist has over 25 years of experience in higher education serving in the fields of counselor education, human services, and human behavior.  Dr. Hultquist has held positions as faculty, program director, associate dean and dean in several institutions.  Additionally, Dr. Hultquist is a licensed family therapist, nationally approved clinical supervisor who created two community-based counseling centers where she served as executive director and clinical supervisor.  Service to the profession has included professional licensure initiatives, appointment to the Oregon State Board for Professional Counselors and Therapists, membership on community boards, Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Counselor, and numerous conference presentations and professional articles.

Charlyn Hilliman, PhD, MPA

Dean, School of Public Service Leadership

Dr. Charlyn Hilliman serves as the dean for Capella University’s School of Public Service Leadership. Dr. Hilliman has worked for the university since 2006, having served on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and as a scientific merit reviewer; a residency instructor; a subject matter expert in research, criminal justice, and public administration; and the comprehensive examination lead. Most recently Dr. Hilliman served as the faculty chair for the Capella University’s public administration degree programs. Dr. Hilliman also spent her career in health care information technology leadership at Columbia University and Florida International University, and has worked as a director of community programs evaluations and policy initiatives for the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Hilliman holds both a PhD and Master of Philosophy in Criminal Justice from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), as well as a Master’s in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.

Andrea Miller, PhD

Dean of Psychology, Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Andrea Miller has worked as a member of the Capella team since 2010 and has taught online since 2005.  She began as an adjunct faculty member and later moved to lead faculty and then to the faculty chair role for the psychology department in the School of Undergraduate Studies at Capella University.  In 2015 Dr. Miller moved to the Dean of Psychology role in the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Her professional background includes work as a psychologist in the public schools and as a psychologist and supervisor for non-profit clinics. She specializes in working with children and families as well as individuals of all ages with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.  Dr. Miller is licensed as a psychologist in three states, licensed as a specialist in school psychology, and a human services board certified practitioner.  She is active in psychological associations and served as President of the Georgia Psychological Association from 2013-2014.  Dr. Miller holds Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.

F. Patrick Robinson, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean, School of Nursing and Health Sciences

F. Patrick Robinson is the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Capella University. Prior, he served as Senior Vice President of Academics for Orbis Education, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction at Chamberlain College of Nursing, Executive Assistant Dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing and Chair of the Department of Health Management and Risk Reduction at the Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Robinson has a distinguished record of leadership and service to the global HIV/AIDS care community. He is certified AIDS nurse specialist has been awarded the Certified Nurse of the year by the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board. He is also a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing (NLN) and currently serves on the advisory council for the NLN Foundation for Nursing Education. The Association of Nurses in AIDS Care awarded him both the Frank Lamendola Memorial Award for exemplary leadership in HIV/AIDS care and its Life Time Achievement Award. Indiana University School of Nursing named him a distinguished alumnus and honored him at its centennial anniversary as one of the top 100 Alumni Legacy Leaders.  An award winning educator, Dr. Robinson has received many accolades for teaching excellence and curricular innovation.  He was the inaugural recipient of the Doing Well By Doing Good award from the DeVry Education Group for his contributions to community service. Dr. Robinson is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and actively contributes to the Nurses on Boards Coalition.

Christy Davidson, DNP, RNC-OB

Associate Dean and Director of Nursing, School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Christy Davidson has been a nursing professional for over 20 years beginning as a staff nurse in Labor and Delivery, then growing in leadership as a Women’s Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, nurse manager of a Pediatric/Medical Surgical Unit, and as nursing faculty. Christy received her BSN and MSN from the University of Mobile, in Mobile, Alabama. She received her DNP from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. After several years as a core nursing faculty member, Christy is currently the Associate Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and Director of Nursing at Capella. Christy holds several scholarly presentations to her credit, is a member of STTI (Sigma Theta Tau International), was a 2012 DAISY Faculty Award winner, a 2016 LANP (Leadership for Academic Nursing Program) Fellow, and currently serves as a CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) site evaluator and team leader.

Amy Smith, PhD

Dean, School of Education

Dr. Amy Smith serves as Dean for the School of Education. In her 25-year career in education, she has held leadership positions in both public and private P-12 education, beginning as a high school English teacher, with increasing leadership roles as department chair, Principal, and eventually leading teams in building charter schools. Dr. Smith’s higher education experience began as a professor of education at Kent State University and Western Oregon University, with continued leadership as a Department Chair at Concordia University Chicago and a Dean at the University of Phoenix. Her service includes authoring sections the national teacher preparation standards for the National Council Teachers of English, being an assistant editor for the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, member of a charter school network Board of Directors, and columnist for a trade publication where she provided soft-skills career advice for multiple magazines and audiences. Dr. Smith holds a PhD in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver, a MEd in administration and supervision from National-Louis University in Chicago, an MA in secondary education from the University of Akron, and a BA in English from the University of Colorado.

Board of Directors

Adrian M Butler

Adrian Butler is Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, DineEquity, Inc. In his role as Chief Information Officer (CIO), Adrian is responsible for Information Technology (IT) transformation and strategy, innovation, and technology delivery as well as building and enhancing the organization’s digital, mobile, social-media and data capabilities focused on growing the business and enhancing the guest experience.

Adrian joined DineEquity in August 2015 with more than 20 years of progressive leadership experience in IT. Most recently, Adrian was Vice President in the Technology Services division of Target Corporation. He started his IT career serving as an officer in the United States Air Force, leaving as a Captain.

Following his Air Force career, Adrian has had experience in IT across several industries including financial services/insurance, hospitality and retail.

Throughout his career, Adrian has been recognized for outstanding leadership and performance, and was awarded Officer of the Year honors at both the organizational and Air Force base level, as well as various organizational and industry awards once his military career ended, including being named one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders by Computerworld magazine.

Adrian earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Grambling State University, a master’s degree from Embry Riddle University, and a doctorate degree from University of Maryland.  Adrian and his wife have three children and reside in the Los Angeles metro area.

Carmen Coballes Vega, PhD

Dr. Coballes Vega has more than 35 years of experience in higher education. She holds a master's degree in Humanities Education/School of Education, New York University; and a doctorate in Reading and Linguistics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Dr. Coballes-Vega will assume the role of provost in 2016 at Hennepin Technical College, Eden Prairie/Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Her immediate past position was as the provost and chief academic officer at Rock Valley College, Rockford, Illinois. Dr. Coballes-Vega also served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs for over four years at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, City University of New York, Bronx, New York. Dr. Coballes Vega has 17 years of administrative experience in three other institutions including Metropolitan State University (St. Paul), University of Wisconsin River Falls, and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities named Dr. Coballes Vega a Millennium Leadership Fellow. She was honored by ASPIRA of America in the 2011 Salute to Latina Leaders during their 50th anniversary celebration. ASPIRA is the nation's largest Latino nonprofit organization and the only one dedicated exclusively to the education of Latino youth.

Dr. Coballes Vega has provided professional service through her work as a member of the faculty for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Leadership Academy. In addition, she served on the Board of Directors of AACTE and as a member of the Unit Accreditation Board of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. She was president of the Wisconsin State Reading Association.

Dr. Coballes Vega has been active in the community and served on the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce Board and the board of Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has previously served on the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of St. Croix Valley and the National Board of the YWCA of the USA.

Robert Fox, JD

As one of the founding faculty members and professor emeritus at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Robert Fox has nearly 40 years of experience in higher education. He practiced law at a Twin Cities law firm specializing in non-profit organizations before leaving to help establish the university in 1972. During his tenure at Metro State, Fox served as department chair, assistant to the president, and counsel to the president. He also held numerous university committee and faculty positions, which involved significant work with multiple student centered learning strategies. He consults nationally on the assessment of experiential learning. Fox also served on the Minnesota Department of Health Committee on Chemical Dependency Counselor Credentials. He has extensive volunteer experience as the Team Leader for United States Table Tennis in four Olympic  and Pan American Games and 12 World Championships; he is a member of the United States Table  Tennis Hall of Fame.

Eric Jolly, PhD

President and CEO of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners

Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., joined Minnesota Philanthropy Partners in 2015 after 10 years as president of the Science Museum of Minnesota. Before that, Jolly served as vice president and senior scientist at the Education Development Center in Massachusetts. His career began with successive academic roles in several colleges and universities, including professor, dean, assistant chancellor, and director for Affirmative Action and Diversity. Jolly serves on a number of local and national boards, including the Bush Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Widely recognized for his work with communities and policy makers, he has published articles and books and has lectured around the world about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.

 

Jolly has a doctorate in psychology and a master’s degree in psychometrics from the University of Oklahoma.

Christopher King, PhD

Christopher J. King is a healthcare executive, educator, researcher and fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. As a senior fellow of the American Hospital Association’s educational affiliate, Health Research & Educational Trust, Christopher’s research and scholarship advances how health systems are organized, delivered and financed to promote health equity and improve the health of the nation.

As a professor and director of the Georgetown University graduate program in health systems administration, Christopher is an academic administrator and strategist. To advance policy and practice at the intersection of medical care, public health, and systemic racism, Christopher lectures at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.


In his former roles, Christopher served as the first Assistant Vice President of Community for a $5B not-for-profit healthcare system in the mid-Atlantic. In this capacity, he advanced the system’s capacity to promote health and better align with health reform priorities and emerging payment models. As Director of Programs for a Federally Qualified Health Center in southern Maryland, Christopher managed a Women, Infants and Children’s Program, Ryan White HIV Services, and specialty care referral contracts. As Chairman of the Board for the Consumer Health Foundation, his leadership was instrumental in shifting a philanthropic strategy from access to racial equity and economic justice as a means of improving the health of historically marginalized populations.

Christopher’s investigations and thought leadership have been published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the American Journal of Medical Quality. Most recently, his epidemiological investigation on health disparities in the nation’s capital served as a cue to action for policymakers and cross-sectoral stakeholders.

Christopher is board certified in healthcare management. He received his PhD in Health Services Administration with a focus on vulnerable populations from the University of Maryland College Park. He has been recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the region’s most influential leaders.

Thomas Niemi, MS

Thomas M. Niemi serves as the Learner Representative for the Capella University Board of Directors and is a Business Management doctoral candidate in the School of Business and Technology, with an emphasis on Management Education. He holds a Master of Science degree in Management from Eastern Nazarene College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Bridgewater State University. Currently, in addition to being a full-time learner at Capella University where he is completing his dissertation, Tom works as an adjunct instructor of business. Tom teaches several business courses, oversees the work of capstone students, has worked on learning outcome projects, and has developed on-line courses. Tom is a member of the Academy of Management (AOM), the Association of Continuing Higher Education (ACHE), and the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR). He is also a member of Capella University’s chapter of the Delta Mu Delta business honor society.

Peter M Ramstad

Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Peter M. Ramstad joined Capella in 2015 as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. He brings a wide variety of experience to Capella, including extensive consulting experience in human resources, finance and strategy, as well as his experience in leading and consulting with HR functions in a variety of contexts. Before he joined Capella University, he was Vice President of Human Resources and business development for The Toro Company, where his role included oversight of the global HR function, as well as leadership of the business development team which completed several acquisitions during his tenure. Prior to Toro, he was a senior executive with Personnel Decisions International (PDI), where he was Chief Financial Officer, before moving into a consulting role and establishing the firm’s strategy practice. Pete co-authored the book “Beyond HR” which was published by Harvard Business School Press. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in math and accounting from the University of Minnesota. 

Lori Riley, MBA

Lori Riley joined the EVine as Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer responsible for Human Resources, Facilities and Loss Prevention in December 2016. Most recently, Ms. Riley served as Vice President Human Capital at UnitedHealth Group where she accelerated the company’s talent analytics strategy, drove innovative HR operations to scale with global growth, reinvigorated the diversity & inclusion strategy and established a values-based, positive culture with strong customer service focus. Previous to that, she spent 15 years at Target Corporation in numerous Human Resource positions, including Human Resources Manager, Director of Compensation, Human Resources Director, Vice President Human Resources Operations, and Vice President Target Technology Service, Corporate Systems. Ms. Riley serves as an advisory group member of Pacer Center helping children and families with special-needs. She is also a member of the board of directors for Capella University. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in personnel & industrial relations, an MBA and a MS, Business Education from Northern Illinois University. 

Steven Snyder, PhD

Steven Snyder’s firm, Snyder Strategic, works with organizations to accelerate their capacity for strategic innovation. 

Early in his career, Snyder worked for Microsoft, when that company was in its infancy.  His work there secured the relationship with IBM during a crucial stage in Microsoft’s growth.  Promoted as Microsoft’s first business unit general manager, Snyder led the company’s Development Tool business where his team won PC Magazine’s Technical Excellence Award three times.

After leaving Microsoft, Snyder earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Minnesota. Snyder then worked at Personnel Decisions International (PDI), a worldwide human resources consulting firm.

Snyder was co-founder and CEO of Net Perceptions, where he brought to market real-time personalized recommendations that have become central to the online shopping experience, with Amazon.com, the company’s first customer.  Snyder’s work at Net Perceptions received numerous awards, including the first-ever World Technology Award for Commerce, and the MIT Sloan E-Commerce Technology Innovator Award.

Snyder is on the adjunct faculty of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.  He serves on the board of directors of Stemonix, winner of the Minnesota Cup.

Nicole Swanegan, JD

Nicole Swanegan joined Capella in April 2009 as a regulatory specialist, primarily responsible for maintaining programmatic compliance with state regulatory agencies. In January 2011 Nicole assumed the role of corporate attorney, with a focus on employment law and intellectual property matters. Prior to joining Capella, Nicole worked full-time for Thomson Reuters as a senior editor, and local law firms while pursuing her masters and law degrees at night. Nicole earned her Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law, Master of Public Administration from Hamline University, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from Indiana University.

Kathryn Van Asselt, PhD

Dr. Kathryn Watkins Van Asselt was appointed Faculty Representative of Capella University's Board in March of 2015. Since joining Capella in 2006, she has served in a variety of governance and academic positions, including the University Policy Council (UPC), Faculty Review Panel (FRP), Counselor Education Executive Council, CES Governance Board, Subject Matter Expert (SME), residency curriculum redesign, and currently serves as Chair of the Counseling Program Professional Standards (CPPS) panel.

Dr. Van Asselt has more than 19 years of educational and leadership experience, including special education teaching and school counseling at both the elementary and middle school levels. She served as the Oregon School Counselor Association Past-President and is President of the Western Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (WACES). She has published peer-refereed articles, including the flagship Journal of Counseling and Development, has presented educational sessions at more than 20 national and international conferences and has been recognized for distinguished teaching including the Harold Abel Distinguished Faculty Award, the Stephen Shank Outstanding Faculty Member Award, and the WACES Outstanding Mentor Award. Dr. Van Asselt earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of New Mexico, her Master of Arts in School Counseling from Western Carolina University, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Northern Colorado.

Harry Williams, PhD

Dr. Harry L. Williams became the 10th President in the 123-year history of Delaware State University on January 10, 2010, after serving as the institution's provost and vice president for academic affairs. During the first eight months of his tenure, Dr. Williams held more than 200 meetings with constituencies, including White House officials, Governor Jack Markell, the Delaware Congressional delegation, state legislators, alumni groups, community organizations and others. Dr. Williams also took several trips abroad to sign new collaborative agreements with institutions of higher education in China and South Africa.

Prior to his arrival at DSU, Dr. Williams served the University of North Carolina General Administration as interim associate vice president for academic affairs beginning in September 2007. He was elevated in March 2008 to interim senior associate vice president for academic and student affairs in which he focused on access and outreach for the 17 campuses of the UNC system. In addition to his experience within institutions of higher education, from 2002 to 2008 Dr. Williams was a national marketing and recruitment associate consultant with Noel-Levitz, the top national consultation firm for enrollment and management solutions in the country. In that capacity, Dr. Williams provided consultation expertise to 14 different institutions of higher education, including Delaware State University.

Dr. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Broadcasting and a Master of Arts in Educational Media, both from Appalachian State University. He earned an EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from East Tennessee State University.