UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Gordon De Jong, distinguished professor of sociology and demography in the College of the Liberal Arts, is the 2012 recipient of the Graduate Program Chair Leadership Award.
The award honors faculty members for exemplary leadership that benefits graduate students and faculty in an existing graduate program at the University.
De Jong founded the dual title demography program in 1987 and has been its director ever since. One of the first interdisciplinary dual degree doctoral programs at Penn State, the demography program now offers seven dual degrees with participating social and behavioral science graduate programs.
Over the past five years, Penn State has awarded an average of 10 dual doctoral degrees in demography each year. Program alumni for 2010 were placed in tenure-track positions and postdoctoral fellowships at major universities and in governmental and international agencies and major research corporations. Over his career at Penn State, De Jong has chaired the dissertation committees of 31 doctoral students and served on the committees of another 90 students.
“Providing research opportunities and fellowship support for graduate students has been one of Professor De Jong’s priorities,” one nominator said. De Jong has integrated the demography program with the research activities of the Population Research Institute. He has been awarded three consecutive five-year National Institutes of Health training grants to support U.S. predoctoral and postdoctoral demography fellows, and 20 consecutive years of fellowship support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The 2010 National Research Council ranked Penn State’s demography program fourth of 118 U.S. programs in overall quality, and first among public-university programs.