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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


Richard Senese, PhD

Capella University President and Chief Academic Officer

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.

Jeff Shelstad, MBA

Vice President, College of Professional Studies

Jeff has joined Capella in February of 2014 as Vice President of the College of Professional Studies. Jeff was as Founder and CEO of Flat World Knowledge, a venture-backed start up that made a bold attempt to redefine the higher education content space by providing college textbooks and an online platform that that allows instructors and institutions to personalize content in new ways to help students succeed. He served over six (6) years in that role. Prior to that, Jeff held executive positions at both Pearson Education and McGraw Hill Education. He is a native of Minnesota and is happy to be returning home after 25 years. Jeff holds a BSB from the Carlson School of Management and an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Julie Smolich, MBA

Vice President and General Manager, College of Business, Technology & Undergraduate Studies

Julie has been with Capella for over 14 years, serving in various capacities including financial analyst, product manager, portfolio director, and senior market director. In her current role as Vice President and General Manager for the College of Business, Technology, and Undergraduate Studies, Julie is responsible for developing and executing on strategic plans that positively impact Capella’s competitive position and market value proposition; generating strong market demand for Capella’s programs; building sustainable differentiation for Capella’s target customers; improving learner success and learning outcomes through a quality learning experience; and improving operating efficiency and effectiveness.

Prior to joining Capella, Julie worked in the financial services sector at Ernst & Young and Piper Jaffray, earning her CPA certification (currently inactive) along the way. Julie earned an MBA from Capella University and a BS in Accounting from St. Cloud State University. Julie also currently serves as an officer on the board of directors for a local nonprofit organization, Headway Emotional Health Services in Richfield, MN.

Jennifer Dixson Hoff, MS

Vice President and General Manager, School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Jennifer joined Capella in August 2011 as the Market Lead for the School of Public Service Leadership, and in December of 2014 assumed responsibility as the Vice President/General Manager of Capella's School of Nursing and Health Sciences.  In her current role, Jennifer leads the Dean and associated academic teams, along with the Market Director, Enrollment and Advising teams, to deliver high quality and professionally aligned degree programs within the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.  Her role also includes focusing on learner success and an exceptional learner experience in order to deliver the academic outcomes aligned to the professions in which the school serves.  

Jennifer graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a BA in Business Administration/Financial Management and is a graduate of Capella's MS Leadership program. 

Jennifer is a member of the Bloom Early Learning Board of Directors and was recently selected as one of 30 women executives in the healthcare sector to coach and develop high potential women leaders within the Twin Cities Healthcare Community.

Mani Ratnam, MBA

Vice President, Learner Success and Strategic Analytics

Mani Ratnam serves as vice president Learner Success , Strategic Analytics and FlexPath. Mani leads a cross-functional team that is responsible for the overall execution of the Learner Success initiatives across Capella University. The Learner Success team is focused on projects that create a series of interrelated capabilities, which collectively make a positive impact to learner persistence and outcomes. Mani also leads Capella's strategic analytics function which is focused on creating a culture of systematically applying data & analytics through our entire value chain to achieve primary business goals of new enrollment growth and improved persistence. In 2015 Mani assumed responsibility for the FlexPath program. 

Mani has over 25 years of experience in various business and technology functions including business operations, product management, software development 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 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 business. Mani earned his MBA from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and a BS in Statistics from Mumbai University, India.

Tonia Teasley, JD

Vice President of Learner Services and Operations

Tonia joined Capella University as the Vice President of Learner Services and Operations in 2012. 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. Tonia refers to herself as a "recovering lawyer", having spent most of her career prior to Thomson Reuters in large law firms both as a practicing attorney and then as Executive Director and Managing Partner of a firm in Minneapolis. In addition to her role at Capella, she serves on the Board of The ARC Greater Twin Cities, an organization that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She earned her J.D. from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from St. Olaf College.


Barbara Butts Williams, PhD

Executive Dean, External Relations & Partnership, Dean Emeritus, Business

Dr. Barbara Butts Williams is Executive Dean, External Relations & Partnerships and Dean Emeritus, Business at Capella University. Since joining Capella in 2002, Dr. Butts Williams has served in several leadership positions including; Dean, School of Business, Interim Dean, School of Business and Technology, Associate Dean, Director of Graduate Programs and Director of the MBA Program. Dr. Butts Williams has also served as the Dean, School of Education at Capella University.

Dr. Butts Williams' professional experience spans over four decades including the public, private and higher education sectors. She previously served as the President of Growth Partners Consulting, a firm she founded to provide strategic planning, talent assessment, change management, and organizational development to small and medium sized organizations. She also served as director of executive programs for the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and on the executive education advisory council of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Her corporate experience includes leadership positions at The St. Paul Companies (now Travelers), Control Data Corporation (now Ceridian), and Wilson Learning Corporation.

Currently, Dr. Butts Williams serves on the Board of Directors for Allina Health, Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) and as a Commissioner on Minnesota's Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Board, overseeing the construction of the billion dollar multipurpose U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

Butts Williams earned a Master of Arts in Business and Leadership from Hamline University, and Master of Arts in Organization Development, and Doctor of Philosophy in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University.

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 Capella 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. She also has 10 years in higher education, including extensive, hands-on experience teaching; faculty and staff leadership; academic programming; curriculum development; and strategic planning. Dr. Capron joined Capella in 2016. She was previously the academic dean of the School of Business at University of Phoenix. Prior to that position, she held a number of academic leadership roles at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California. In addition she has an extensive background in both the business sector and the military. Rhonda was vice president of support services and software as a service at Oracle Corporation, and she served as the deputy director for operations within the Departments of Army and Energy.

Cheryl Bann, PhD

Associate Dean of Business

Dr. Cheryl Bann is program chair for Capella's MBA program in the School of Business and Technology. She has worked with Capella since 2002, initially as adjunct faculty and then, beginning in 2004, as core faculty. Prior to joining Capella, Dr. Bann spent more than 30 years working in the corporate sector (at General Mills and Dain Bosworth), in government (at the Minnesota Trade Office), and in a private consulting practice. In addition, she possesses extensive international experience as a consultant on more than 45 USAID projects in 15 countries, as well as teaching experience at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Dr. Bann's educational background includes a BA in Physiology and a BS in Business from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and both an MS in Instructional Design for Online Learning and a PhD in Organization and Management with a specialization in Leadership from Capella University. In 2006, Dr. Bann was a recipient of Capella's Harold Abel Distinguished Faculty award.

Bill Dafnis, PhD

Associate Dean of Technology, School of Business and Technology

Bill Dafnis is the Associate Dean and faculty chair of Technology for Capella University's School of Business and Technology. Dr. Dafnis' professional background includes 20 years of leadership positions with newspaper media publishing in operations, business development, project management and information technology. In the field of higher education, Dr. Dafnis has served at various institutions as a technology faculty member, Associate Dean and Dean of Information Systems and Technology. His research interests focus on disruptive innovation, information security and business process modeling. Dr. Dafnis is a project management professional (PMP) and holds a PhD in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University, an MSIT with an Information Security and Assurance Specialization from Carnegie Mellon University, MBA from Lake Forest College and a BA from the University of Illinois.

Genevieve Feliu, MA

Dean, Undergraduate Studies

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.

Anna Hultquist, PhD

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

Anna Hultquist was appointed dean for the counseling and social work department in the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2012. Previously, Dr. Hultquist served as associate dean for the counseling program areas since 2008.

Dr. Hultquist has over 20 years of experience as a licensed therapist, counselor educator and program director designing programs to meet state and national accreditation standards (CACREP and COAMFTE). In addition to maintaining an active private practice, Dr. Hultquist has established and served as clinical director for two community-based counseling centers that trained graduate-level clinical interns. Service to the profession has included professional licensure initiatives, appointment to the Oregon State Board for Professional Counselors and Therapists, numerous conference presentations and professional articles.

Dr. Hultquist earned a COAMFTE accredited Master of Science from the University of Rhode Island, graduate work in school counseling that included ESL certification, and a PhD in adult education from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Hultquist holds the distinction as a Certified Family Life Educator from the National Council on Family Relations, Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and holds professional memberships in the American Counseling Association, Association for Conflict Resolution and International Association of Coaches.

Beth Koenig, JD

Dean, School of Public Service Leadership

Beth Koenig serves as Dean for the School of Public Service Leadership. Beth has worked in higher education for over twenty years, and during this time she has taught, advised and mentored both undergraduate and graduate students. She has developed and supported numerous sponsored research initiatives and has successfully created several enterprise-wide, university infrastructure improvements. In addition, Beth has worked in government relations, has served as a MN Supreme Court qualified mediator and has presented best practices in building university research and sponsored programs initiatives to local, state, national, and international audiences. Beth holds a JD from Hamline University School of Law and a BA from St. Catherine University (formerly the College of St. Catherine) in the areas of speech communication and music, opera performance.

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

Patrick Robinson is the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. 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 and a Certified Nurse Educator through the National League for Nursing.  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 winner 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.

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

Mable Hunter Aigoro, MBA

Mable H. “Sandi” Aigoro serves as the Learner Representative for the Capella University Board of Directors and is a doctorate candidate in the School of Public Service Leadership with emphasis on Multidisciplinary Practice in Human Services. She has a Master of Business Administration in International Business and a Master’s Certificate in Project Management. Sandi has 25+ years of experience in the communication and high-tech industry and worked as an IS field engineer, technology engineer, international process engineer, quality assurance manager and a management consultant in business and technology. Currently, a full-time learner at Capella University, Sandi works as an independent insurance producer and an adjunct professor instructing international business, organization management, project management and global workforce courses. Sandi worked with Fortune 500 and Big-4 consulting enterprises as a domestic and global executive. In addition, Sandi served on multiple advisory boards and consulted boards in strategic planning, and Sandi serves on the TUA Upsilon Alpha Beta Chi Honor Society’s Board of Advisors associated with the National Organization of Human Services. She is a licensed Life, Sickness and Health Insurance Producer for the State of Georgia. Her honors include member representative for the Beta Chi Honor Society and member of the International Service Performance Chapter at Capella University.

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.

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

Dr. Christopher J. King, FACHE, is a healthcare executive, researcher, educator and strategist who is committed to health reform efforts aimed at bridging the gap between the healthcare and public health sectors.

As a health services leader, Christopher has taught in public schools, managed private and federal community health programs, and written more than $20M in award-winning grants for healthcare providers. As the assistant vice president of community health for MedStar Health, a $4.2B not-for-profit healthcare system, he provides leadership for ten hospitals' community health activities. He is also responsible for conducting community health assessments and evaluating unconventional delivery models that support population health management.

As a health services researcher, Christopher's national investigations have been documented in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the American Journal of Medical Quality. He has also presented to national audiences and conducted lectures on minority health and workforce development for the American College of Healthcare Executives. Christopher teaches Strategic Planning and Human Resources at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health and he recently completed a 3-year term as chairman of the Consumer Health Foundation, which invests more than $1.8M annually in health equity initiatives focused on the Washington, DC region.

Christopher has a PhD in Health Services Administration, a master's degree in Health Science and an undergraduate degree in Community Health. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

The Washington Business Journal has recognized Christopher as one of the top minority business leaders in the national capital area.

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. Most recently, 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. 

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 the CPPS review committee.

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.