Office of the VPAA
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Sarah Ferguson
The VPAA is the university’s chief academic officer and reports directly to TLU President Dr. Debbie Cottrell, serving as a member of senior leadership through both internal and external efforts.
This position also provides vision, leadership, and strategy to ensure the strength of academic affairs across campus.
Dr. Ferguson’s professional insight and experiences developing both traditional and non-traditional programs are a valuable asset to the President's Cabinet as they evaluate opportunities for new academic programs to drive enrollment growth.
More About Dr. Ferguson
Dr. Ferguson previously served as vice provost for Faculties and Academic Affairs at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota where she was also an associate vice president for the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, and an academic dean prior to that.
She was also an associate professor of social work at St. Catherine University and also served in various academic administrative roles there and at the University of St. Thomas. She holds a Ph.D. in social work and a joint master’s degree in social work and public affairs from the University of Minnesota.
At TLU, Dr. Ferguson’s specific responsibilities include: managing all curricular offerings as well as hiring, development, and evaluation of all faculty members; managing and maintaining all budgets associated with academic affairs; representing academic affairs in all planning and implementation of strategic plans related to academic facilities; overseeing all academic departments and programs, working closely with academic chairs and directors in that process; managing additional departments and programs including the Registrar’s Office, library, academic assessment, academic grants, and International Education; making sure shared governance is honored and utilized, overseeing the structure of academic affairs, and interacting with all faculty committees.
“It is a tremendous honor have Dr. Ferguson join our community,” TLU President Dr. Debbie Cottrell said. “Her multi-faceted experience as an academic administrator, along with her deep understanding of the significant place of small, private institutions within the higher education landscape, positions her well to lead our academic programs and to work effectively with our talented and committed faculty. Her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and her connections to Lutheran higher education further position her to be a strong VPAA for TLU.”