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Profile of our President

Joanne Burrows

Joanne Burrows, SC, Ph.D.

Fifteenth President of Clarke University

Joanne Burrows, SC, Ph.D. became the 15th president of Clarke University on July 1, 2006. Throughout her presidency, she has been instrumental in helping the institution clarify its vision for the future and implement steps to achieve it.

Sister Joanne has created a culture of strategic thinking at Clarke. She is committed to encouraging Clarke to build on its capacity for strategic action and as president, has developed two comprehensive strategic plans and a master facilities plan. Clarke also launched the largest capital campaign in institutional history under her leadership. Developed in collaboration with the campus community, these documents set the course for Clarke into the future and guide the daily work of the institution.

Sister Joanne has also been integral in maintaining the university’s fiscal stability, strengthening its brand position, and transitioning to university status. The university has experienced enrollment growth, as well as facility and academic program expansion, during her tenure. The institution’s strategic plans have led to significant campus improvements such as the Lingen Technology Commons, the Center for Science Inquiry, and the Jack and Rosemary Gantz Athletic Practice Facility. These additions to the campus community all greatly enhance the learning and teaching environment at Clarke. As Sister Joanne strategically looks toward the future of Clarke University, she remains focused on building relationships, listening and promoting institutional growth.

Clarke University is a community that values higher learning and seeks to promote freedom, charity and justice on our campus and beyond.

A Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, Sister Joanne has also played an integral role in shaping and strengthening the many ways in which Clarke expresses its Catholic identity. She is well-versed in this area as her doctoral research focused on Catholic institutions and the development of their academic and religious identities.

In addition to her work on campus, Sister Joanne is a highly respected leader in the Dubuque area and in the higher education community. She is on the Executive Board of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, of which she is past chair. Sister Joanne sits on the Board for Opening Doors, which operates the Maria House and Teresa Shelter in Dubuque, she has also served on the executive board of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, and was campaign chair for the United Way.

Sister Joanne is very involved as a professional in the field of higher education. She is a trustee for the College of Mount St. Joseph, as well as a trustee for the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting agency for the North Central 19-state region. She is also a board member for the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Iowa College Foundation, the President’s Committee of the Midwest Collegiate Conference chair, and past-chair of Iowa Campus Compact.

Prior to joining the Clarke University community, Sister Joanne served in many capacities at institutions of higher education throughout the country. Previous experiences include chief academic officer and academic dean; chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, Administration and Foundations; coordinator of a distance doctoral program in higher education leadership; assistant professor of higher education; assistant academic dean; and assistant dean of students and director of residence life.

Sister Joanne holds a Ph.D. in higher education from The Ohio State University, a master of arts degree in theology from the Graduate Theological Union and Jesuit School of Theology, and a bachelor of science degree in graphic design from the University of Maryland, College Park.