With twenty years of experience in education, Dr. Ackerson joined SFHS from the University of Virginia (UVA), where she served as Assistant Vice Provost and Project Manager for Strategic Planning. During her time at UVA, she spearheaded the development and implementation of a comprehensive, university wide strategic plan that incorporated input from more than 10,000 stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and others. Considered the university’s most successful strategic plan, it identified innovative opportunities in student learning, faculty development, and staff leadership. She also was involved in the creation of a new long-term financial plan for the university. Previously at UVA, Dr. Ackerson managed the university’s accreditation and worked with faculty in the development of new academic programs.
Prior to joining UVA, Dr. Ackerson worked in Ireland as the co-principal of a venture to start a Catholic, liberal arts, higher education institution. She served in a variety of roles at the College of William and Mary and Sweet Briar College including fundraising for a $115 million capital campaign, communications and marketing, admissions, alumni relations, and external affairs. She also worked in the private and not-for-profit sectors earlier in her career. Dr. Ackerson began her career as a youth minister for a group of 500 high school students.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Duke University (Public Policy & Spanish), an MBA from the College of William and Mary Mason School of Business, and a PhD in Education from the University of Virginia. Her dissertation was on Catholic culture and student spiritual development in Catholic higher education. Her academic publications and presentations focus on Catholic education, strategic planning, and academic leadership. She is a member of Legatus and serves on the Board of Directors of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
In her free time she enjoys traveling, cooking, cheering on the Duke Blue Devils, and enjoying the great outdoors.