Penn State announces 2011-12 Administrative Fellows

University Park, Pa. – In its 25th consecutive year, Penn State’s Administrative Fellows Program is well under way with the naming of several new fellows for 2011-12.

Created as an opportunity for faculty and staff members to gain first-hand experience in leadership, fellows are given an opportunity to work with senior University officers to gain knowledge and experiences related to the challenges of leadership in the academic community.

The Fellows selected this year include:

-- Karen L. Duncan, senior associate registrar, from the Office of the University Registrar. Her mentor will be Madlyn Hanes, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses.

-- Olga Igolnikov, senior financial analyst from the Office of the Bursar (Loan and Scholarships). Her mentor will be Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for Development and Alumni Relations.

-- Careen Yarnal, associate professor from the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Development. Her mentor will be Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education.

Faculty and staff in the Administrative Fellows Program strengthen their administrative talents and qualifications by working with a Penn State administrator in a mentoring relationship. Their understanding of the contexts within which decisions are made increase, along with their understanding of various units across the University. The length of the program is one academic year.

"The Administrative Fellows Program offers a unique opportunity for professional development at higher levels of administration," said Blannie Bowen, Penn State's vice provost for Academic Affairs. "Fellows obtain access to a mentor who can familiarize them with issues facing higher education, broaden their leadership skills and perspective, and help prepare them for any future advancement in their careers. The experience they gain also can benefit them as they return to their existing positions of leadership."

As senior associate registrar for the Office of the University Registrar, Duncan directs academic records, enrollment services and transcript and verification teams. She also led a committee to examine scheduling policies and procedures that then made recommendations to the provost. She has served on a number of committees at Penn State, including the Student Insurance Administrative Committee, the Faculty Senate Undergraduate Education Committee and the Business Intelligence Advisory Committee.

“I feel very honored to have been selected to be an Administrative Fellow. I view this as a vote of confidence that I have potential to contribute to Penn State beyond my current role and responsibilities. I'm excited to start working with Dr. Hanes,” Duncan said. “While I'm aware of some of the aspects of our campus system, it will be eye-opening to explore them in-depth over the course of the year.”

As senior financial analyst from the Office of the Bursar, Igolnikov manages the operations of the Endowment Accounting Office, after having worked for two years as senior accountant at Penn State’s World Campus. Igolnikov now performs monthly endowment “buy-ins” and gift reconciliations. She also coordinates endowment workshops for Penn State colleges, departments and campuses.

“Finding out [about being named a fellow] was both exciting and humbling. It is such an honor to have a mentor such as Rod Kirsch, who is quite well-known in the higher education world,” Igolnikov said. “He has launched successful campaigns and has really helped the University endowments to grow. I am looking forward to learning the ins and outs of how the whole process works."

As associate professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, Yarmal has had experience in three faculty leadership roles. She chairs the Academic Solutions to High-Risk Drinking (ASHRD) Committee, a grassroots, University-wide group formed in recognition of the role the classroom plays in students’ lives. She also is a faculty adviser for the Women’s Leadership Initiative program in the College of Health and Human Development. With more than 200 graduates to date, the purpose of WLI is to provide young women with a firm basis for their future roles as leaders. She also has had leadership roles in the Faculty Senate.

“As a fellow I hope to broaden and deepen my understanding of the complexities of issues facing higher education and to compare and contrast administrative leadership with faculty leadership,” Yarmel said. “I’m excited about this unparalleled opportunity to expand my leadership horizons in an administrative setting."

For more information about the program, visit and click on the link to the Administrative Fellows Program.

Last Updated May 29, 2012