July 30, 2012
Kathleen Vouté MacDonald, Ed.D, M.B.A., has served as Dean of
College of Professional Studies (CPS) since 1994. She wore many
professional hats before coming to St. John’s, and these
experiences, she believes, prepared her to take the helm of CPS —
known for preparing students for many of today’s leading careers
while providing them with a solid liberal arts education.
What was your first career aspiration?
My first ambition was to be a nurse. I remember going to the St.
Patrick’s Day Parade [in New York City] and being fascinated by the
nurses from St. Vincent’s Hospital who were marching proudly in
white uniforms and capes with red linings. But the parade ended, I
grew up and life happened.
Describe a typical workday for you as a
There is no typical day. When you are Dean, it’s an ever-present
reality that I never forget about. For example, if I am reading a
book during the weekend, when I come across new and emerging ideas
or disciplines, inevitably I will start to consider whether CPS
should introduce a new program.
If you could be or do anything else, what might that
I’d love to be a space explorer. I am intrigued by the mysteries of
science and all there is to know. I can still remember the first
moon landing. My family had just gotten a nine-inch,
black-and-white television, and the neighborhood kids gathered at
our house to watch the landing. That was exciting enough, but think
about how many changes there have been since then!
If you could change something about your job, what would
you change and why?
A few weeks ago, I would have said that I’d like to see the
faculty, administrators and staff of CPS in one location. Now I am
happy to say that plans are under way to relocate all of our deans,
faculty, support staff and CPS’s
Media and Communication Arts Complex to the second floor of the
Library in St. Augustine Hall.
We expect to be in our new home by Spring 2013.
What’s the one thing about you that few people
Not many people know that I spent seven years in Japan teaching
English and sociology at Sofia University. I was so intrigued by
Asia that I pursued Oriental Studies at Columbia University.
I’m also an award-winning cake decorator.
As Dean, how would you like to be
For helping CPS to carve out its identity as a career-oriented
institution, fusing the liberal arts with professional studies. I
am very proud of adding a graduate division and introducing a wide
diversity of academic programs — all with the enthusiastic support
of the faculty.
What five words would you use to describe
Dynamic, innovative, evolving, responsive and extraordinarily
concerned about our students and faculty.
What’s your proudest achievement at St.
Spearheading our 1999 name change from St. Vincent’s College to the
College of Professional Studies. I felt our College needed to have
a name that communicated what our mission is, especially for
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your College
during your time here?
CPS has helped to foster a new understanding that universities can
combine a classical liberal arts education with solid career
preparation. This allows us to tailor the learning experience to
the needs of today’s students.
What makes a degree from CPS so valuable?
CPS’s flexibility and awareness of societal trends prepare our
students well for career success. Our faculty are quite skillful at
incorporating new programs and disciplines that keep up with an
ever-changing job market. As a result, a large number of CPS
graduates have become leaders in such fields as marketing,
business, technology, accounting and journalism.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a
To be connected — with friends, family, co-workers, people in your
field and CPS alumni. No one is an island; you can’t be alone. I
have always subscribed to the views of Thomas Merton, who believed
that the true self is best expressed by living as part of
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from a
That rules and protocols at times need to be broken and that
flexibility is critical if I want to enable students to develop