Jeff Budz ’15

Jeff Budz

Jeff Budz, president/principal of Joliet Catholic Academy (JCA), is a 2015 graduate who participated in USF’s very first Ed.D. cohort.

In need of professional development and because he was taking on a new role at JCA at the time, Budz decided to enroll in USF’s doctoral program in 2012, after speaking with program director Steve Midlock. Budz first learned about the program because Midlock’s son, Jason, worked (still works) at JCA. The younger Midlock sold Budz on his father’s program and the University of St. Francis, and Budz made the decision to pursue his doctorate.

“I was very interested, knowing that I would soon be taking over a more superintendent-ish role as president of JCA,” described Budz, who was the first layperson ever to assume that role at JCA. “I’ve always tried to stay current on educational trends, so I thought that this would be a perfect way to improve.”

He looked at other programs at other universities, but felt the USF program suited him best. The fact that JCA and USF have similar missions also played a huge role in his decision. He described USF as a strong institution steeped in Franciscan values that really takes a personal approach to educating students. He especially liked the challenge and flexibility of the courses, and respected Midlock’s meticulous organization of and commitment to the program.

“Dr. Midlock is a gem for the university. He and Dr. Barwa are extraordinary professors and men in general. They would do anything to help you get to the next level in your personal educational journey. I felt that the courses related well to the job I was performing at the time. The professors really tried to make sure the that courses and structure of the program had practicality to our everyday positions as well as present a unique challenge to each of us,” said Budz.

In his role as president/pincipal at JCA, Budz has been able to take the life lessons learned in each of his USF courses and use them daily. He also has a new appreciation for data collection and analyzation, and his thesis topic has helped him analyze the effects of certain programs on campus. Perhaps most importantly, Budz feels USF’s doctoral program has opened many doors for him, both personally and professionally.

“Through the whole doctoral cohort, I had the chance to work closely with other administrators and problem solve daily real world scenarios,” he said with appreciation.