Our Employees

This "employee hub" is the place for all current and future Briar Cliff University employees to find the information, links, and resources you need to be successful. 

Thank you for all you do to make an impact in the lives of our students.


Organizational Structure

Learn more about our leadership team, how our organization is structured, and what leadership and management opportunities are available at Briar Cliff University.  
Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is made up of a group of community leaders individuals appointed to help advise, manage, and govern the 501c3 nonprofit organization that is Briar Cliff University. 

nullChair: Steven Freeman ('69)

Retired Senior Vice President of Special Projects
Kill Devil Hills, NC

nullVice Chair: Nick Roth

empirical innovations, inc.
Dakota Dunes, SD

nullRachelle Keck, PhD, JD

University President
Briar Cliff University
Sioux City, IA

nullMost Reverend R. Walker Nickless

Diocese of Sioux City
Sioux City, IA

nullSister Marge Staudt, OSF ('69)

Former Vice President
Sisters of Saint Francis of Dubuque
Dubuque, IA

nullSister Renae Hohensee, OSF ('07)

Pastoral Care Minister
Resurrection of our Lord Parish
Pocahontas, IA

nullSister Kathy Knipper, OSF

Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque
Dubuque, IA

nullBailey Aalfs

Retired CEO
Sabre Communications
Dakota Dunes, SD

nullKen Beaulieu

Retired Principal
AC & R Specialists
Dakota Dunes, SD

nullGail Bernstein ('87)

Retired Speech Pathologist
Dakota Dunes, SD

nullRon Bond, CPA

Retired Principal
AC & R Specialists
Dakota Dunes, SD

nullMark Schuett

American Natural Soy, Inc.
Dakota Dunes, SD

nullDavid Simmons ('80)

Business Owner
Washington, DC

nullMary Sterk

Founder and CEO
Sterk Financial Services
Dakota Dunes, SD

nullPam Duzik ('02) 

Deloitte & Touche LLP
Plattsmouth, NE 

nullJane Shey ('79) 

World Food Program, USA
Algona, IA

nullPatrick M. Walsh, M.D.

Retired MD
Siouxland Urology Associates, PC
Jefferson, SD

nullMark Ward ('02)

Ward Electric Company
Fredrick, CO

Executive Cabinet

The Executive Cabinet includes the university president along with an administrative group of vice presidents governing academic affairs, finance, university relations, admissions, and athletics.


nullPresident of Briar Cliff University

As Briar Cliff University’s 11th President, Dr. Keck (née Karstens) was appointed in 2018, and is a compassionate and proven leader with a background in higher education, law, and fundraising.

An Iowa native and one of nine children, Dr. Keck graduated from Wartburg College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, after which she earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Iowa College of Law and then her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education from Drake University. A lifelong learner, Dr. Keck is proud to be a first-generation college student, as well as the first in her family to earn an advanced degree. Her PhD research explored the experiences of college and university presidents as fundraisers while leading private, nonprofit institutions of higher education.

Dr. Keck began her career as an assistant prosecutor and associate attorney before establishing her own law firm. During this time, she also served on the Wartburg College Board of Regents and participated in their presidential search. It was during this process she determined she wanted to work in higher education in a leadership role.

This new passion for higher education eventually led Dr. Keck to philanthropy roles at the University of Iowa Foundation as their Director of Planned Giving, and then at Indian Hills Community College as their Executive Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations.

In addition to her success as a lawyer, business owner and university executive, Dr. Keck is also a lifelong believer in, and practitioner of, volunteerism. She currently serves in a board of director capacity for the following organizations:  Leadership Siouxland, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, Girls Inc. of Sioux City, and Iowa Sister States.

Dr. Keck exemplifies Briar Cliff’s Catholic Franciscan values, demonstrating service and openness to all, both personally and professionally. She has received accolades for her collaborative leadership style, an approach she has practiced since her days in the courtroom, fostering strong relationships through collaboration. Dr. Keck and her husband Jim reside in Sioux City. Additionally, Dr. Keck’s two adult children, Clara and Grant, reside in the Des Moines metro area.

nullVice President of Mission and Leadership

Sr. Pat Doody is the Vice President of Mission and Leadership. Sr. Pat served as a member of the Briar Cliff University Board of Trustees before joining Briar Cliff in 2019 as a part of the Empowering Learning Initiative (ELI). She assists with employee leadership development, oversees campus ministry, Franciscan scholars, Franciscan team and works on creating a mission-focused culture.

 nullVice President of Finance

Patrick Jacobson-Schulte, B.A, M.B.A, D.B.A., (A.B.D.), is the Vice President of Finance at Briar Cliff University. As VP of Finance, he's responsible for coordinating and executing day-to-day business operations and has been instrumental in the development of new business tactics and strategies.

 nullVice President of Academic & Student Affairs

Dr. Todd Knealing is the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr, Knealing oversees the academic operations of the University, including academic programs and faculty recruitment. He has served as director of the Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), chaired the school of undergraduate studies, was a member of the strategic leadership team, and taught psychology at BCU for 10 years. 

 nullVice President of Athletics & Operations

Nic Scandrett is the Vice President of Athletics & Operations for Briar Cliff University. He joined the team in July of 2019 and oversees all intercollegiate athletic programs, the Roth Cliff Shop, Charged Food & Brew, The Café, Residence Life & Housing, Security, and Facilities.

 nullVice President of University Relations

Tina Stroud is the Vice President of University Relations, she is responsible for the development, fundraising, alumni relations, and marketing strategies at the University. Tina, a Briar Cliff alumna, has more than 20 years of fundraising experience at non-profit organizations, including at the Alzhemier’s Association and St. Luke’s Health Foundation prior to her return to BCU.

 nullVice President of Enrollment Management

Matt Thomsen is the Vice President of Enrollment Management. Since Matt joined Briar Cliff as Executive Director of Enrollment in September 2017, he has been instrumental in the development of new admissions strategies. Matt is responsible for coordinating and executing the day-to-day operations of the admissions department, this includes all undergraduate and graduate admissions.

Organizational Chart

Use the Organizational Chart attached to see a graphical representation of an organization hierarchical structure.

View Organizational Chart


Learn from the best! Briar Cliff University is blessed by talented faculty with real-world experience in their field of study. 

Meet the Team


For over 90 years, Briar Cliff has been blessed with talented staff to support the academic and operational progress of the University. 


By working in higher education and at Briar Cliff University provided opportunities for collaboration, feedback, and leadership experience above and beyond the traditional organizational ladder. 

Shared Governance Council

Briar Cliff emphasizes providing a quality, value centered, education for its students. With intention toward those values, in 2004 the University declared its adherence to principles of “shared governance and collaborative decision making.”


The formation of a new Faculty Senate in 2017 and the appointment of the first lay chair of the Board of Trustees in 2018 have been steps in the direction of meeting that commitment. Shared governance is an ideal peculiar to academia, one perhaps impossible to realize fully, but the University expects all of its members shall strive toward this ideal.


Council Responsibilities

Briar Cliff University’s three governance bodies include the Board of Trustees, Faculty, and Administration. In accordance with the document entitled “A Vision of Shared Governance for Briar Cliff University”, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit A, the Council will review the primary shared decision-making processes of the institution’s governance bodies (budget, assessment, and strategic planning) and make recommendations for improvement to the campus community.

Representative Restrictions

A Board of Trustees cannot simultaneously serve as Chair or Vice-Chair of a Board Committee. The Faculty cannot simultaneously serve as a Faculty Senator. The Administration cannot be the President or a Vice President; must be a Director-level or above employee, and the Student Representative will be the Student Body President for that year.


2 Years with the following exceptions, the current BCU Student Body President will automatically serve as Student Representative, to allow for alternating term years, first-cycle nominations (Fall 2020) for the Board, Administration, and Faculty, a representatives will include one 1.5 year term (3 semesters) Member and one 2.5 year term (5 semesters) Member

Timeline of Events 

Fall 2020 – Nominations and elections for Representatives

Spring 2021 – Council elects chair at April Council meeting

Fall 2021 (and thereafter) – Council continues 

Meeting TimesOctober and April, with additional meetings as needed.

Staff Assembly and Faculty Senate 

As a Briar Cliff University employee, you will be a part of either the staff assembly or the faculty senate. Your elected leader will represent your department/division during monthly staff or faculty meetings. They will act as an advocate and representative serving to actively facilitate communication to and from the group as a whole. 


These meetings are meant to provide an avenue for all employees to use the strength of their collective voices to be an agent for change and communication. The goal of these meetings is to facilitate understanding, transparency, and allow employees to unite behind common goals.  

Staff Assembly

The staff assembly consists of all BCU employees that do not have regular teaching duties. Each division is permitted one elected representative for every ten staff members. 

Faculty Senate

The faculty assembly consists of all BCU employees who have regular teaching duties. Each department is represented by its elected Departmental Chair.