University Leadership | Briar Cliff University

University Leadership

At Briar Cliff University, our leadership includes the university president along with an administrative group of vice presidents governing academic affairs, finance, university relations, admissions, student development and athletics.


Karstens, Rachelle

President of Briar Cliff University

Rachelle L. Karstens, PhD, JD is a compassionate and proven leader with a background in higher education, law and fundraising. She most recently served as interim president of Briar Cliff University and has also served as chief of staff and executive vice president since arriving on campus in the spring of 2017.

Knealing, Todd

Vice President for Academic Affairs

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

Stroud, Tina

Vice President for University Relations

Tina Stroud is the Vice President for University Relations, who is responsible for development, fundraising, alumni relations and marketing and communication strategies at the University. Stroud, 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.

Thomsen, Matt

Vice President for Enrollment Management

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

19.01.24 Sr. Pat Doody

Vice 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 initially as a part of the Empowering Learning Initiative (ELI). Sr. Pat assists with leadership development for BCU employees as well as oversee campus ministry, the Franciscan scholars, the Franciscan team and will work to further integrate Catholic Franciscan values throughout the University and to create a mission focused culture. 

Scandrett, Nic

Athletic Director

Nic Scandrett is the Athletic Director for Briar Cliff University. He joined the team in July of 2019 and oversees all intercollegiate athletic programs at the University.

Institutional Organizational Chart (PDF)