'I strive to model servant leadership'

  • Glena Temple

    Glena Temple

  • Glena Temple

    Glena Temple

Updated 12/13/2021 4:38 PM

Q: Describe your company.

A: Located in River Forest, Dominican University is a Catholic, Dominican university that prepares students to pursue truth, give compassionate service and participate in the creation of a more just and humane world. Founded in 1901 as St. Clara College in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin; relocated to River Forest, Illinois in 1922 and renamed Rosary College; we expanded to become Dominican University in 1997. We look forward to celebrating our 100th anniversary in River Forest in the next academic year.


This fall semester, Dominican enrolled just over 3,000 students, with two-thirds of the enrollment undergraduates and one-third graduate students. Dominican is proudly relationship-centered, which calls us to walk with our students to achieve their own individual goals. We achieve this through small classes (an average class size of 16), a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, intentional student support services and dedicated employees focused on the success of our students.

This approach works -- as evidenced by our strong retention and graduation rates, and the recent U.S. News and World Report survey which ranked Dominican as the No. 1 best value in Illinois, No. 10 overall among regional universities in the entire Midwest, and No. 3 for social mobility in the Midwest. Dominican is also the only university in the top No. 10 Midwest ranking that also is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, a designation we have had since 2012.

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

A: We will be launching some new academic programs and investing in new enrollment initiatives to expand our reach as a university. We have also recently received several significant grants to strengthen our student experience and retention in STEM and other fields that we will be launching during the next academic year.

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: Clearly articulating the value proposition of an education at Dominican University, in a very crowded higher education marketplace facing a predicted decline in traditional college-age students in the Chicago area in the years ahead.

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Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: Partnerships. Creating collaborations and pathways with other educational organizations and businesses to lower the barriers to education and increase efficiency.

Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie executive, what would it be?

A: You will be the most effective if you are an authentic leader -- aware of your passions, your strengths and limitations -- and share that with your team.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: I strive to model servant leadership -- focusing on serving those with whom I work and the communities of which we are part.

Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?

A: I admire the strong leadership of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa who founded Dominican University, and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration with whom I worked in my past job as president of Viterbo University. These strong, social-justice oriented leaders have made such an impact, quietly, for more than 100 years in education, health care and social justice efforts. Their ability to step into the needs of our communities with a clear mission-driven focus is an inspiration to me.


Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?

A: The history of Dominican is rooted in its service to immigrant communities, initially with the Irish lead miners of the rural Midwest. When, on the invitation of Cardinal Mundelein, the Sinsinawa Dominican sisters moved the college to Illinois in 1922, it was "to give the opportunities of higher education to the many," with the understanding that "neither wealth, nor age, nor race would be of any advantage ... or provide a hindrance." This has remained a priority at Dominican for the last 100 years, with our commitment to social mobility and a diverse campus environment.

Q: Was there a moment in your career that didn't go as you had planned? What lesson did you learn from it?

A: The pandemic certainly upended all plans during my last presidency, and we were having to make many decisions very quickly in a chaotic environment without clear information. As someone who values data-informed decisions, collaboration and researching best practices, I struggled with the rapid pace in the midst of shutting down campus. A mentor said to me: "We trust in you, your faith, your compassion and your experience. Just do the right thing that is centered in that, and we will be OK." Those were words I needed to hear.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: My only sister lives in Indonesia, and my husband is British, so travel to see family is a priority. I enjoy hiking, gardening, kayaking, experiencing theater and reading.

Q: What book is on your nightstand?

A: I am an avid reader who enjoys many genres, so I generally have several books going at once to match my mood.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: Worrying about how to keep a values-based, relationship-centered college experience accessible for low-income and first-generation students.

Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?

A: I have a passion for solving complex problems, working with complex spreadsheets and analyzing data. I enjoyed my accounting class in college (though they didn't offer it as a major). I have wondered if I should have followed that path.

Q: What was your first paying job?

A: When I was young, I had several strategies to make money -- collecting lost golf balls to sell, picking apples at the local orchard and selling fruit and vegetables from the garden. My first structured job was as a day camp counselor for kids.

Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?

A: As your typical college president, I'll answer that we have several sports facilities at Dominican University that would be outstanding naming opportunities. Please reach out if you would be interested.

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