Penn State World Campus names new executive director

University Park, Pa. -- Wayne D. Smutz has been appointed executive director of Penn State World Campus, effective Aug. 25. Smutz will continue to serve as associate vice president for Academic Outreach in Penn State Outreach.

Since July 2007, Smutz has been associate vice president for Academic Outreach and executive director of Continuing and Distance Education. His responsibilities included oversight of credit and noncredit continuing education programs delivered through the campuses, online programs offered through World Campus, and short-term educational events offered through Penn State Conferences. In addition, Smutz led a program development unit and an enrollment management group.

In his new role, Smutz will lead Penn State's online campus and guide its future development, including overseeing World Campus teams engaged in learning design, program management, student services, marketing, finance and educational technology. Launched in 1998, World Campus offers 62 academic degree and certificate programs and currently has more than 9,600 adult learners in every state and 62 countries.

"Online education is becoming an increasingly integral and accepted component of higher education," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "Penn State World Campus credit course enrollments grew by more than 37 percent in 2008-09. Under Wayne Smutz' leadership, I am confident World Campus will continue to achieve new milestones."

Frank Mayadas, program director for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in charge of online education, said, "This is an outstanding appointment, especially in light of the long experience and excellent results that Wayne Smutz has achieved in outreach. We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with Penn State and with Wayne."

World Campus is a part of Penn State's Outreach unit, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education, serving more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries.

"The World Campus is a very important part of Penn State's overall Outreach effort," said Craig D. Weidemann, vice president for Outreach. "Wayne Smutz has had significant experience in Outreach and in online learning. During his Penn State career, Wayne has been engaged in ensuring the quality of the University's online pedagogy and in driving innovation by integrating new technologies, including the use of social networking, into World Campus courses and programs. He's also a passionate advocate for eliminating barriers that inhibit adults from pursuing higher education. I have no doubt that Wayne will bring this commitment to his new focus and provide tremendous leadership to advance the World Campus."

Nationally, online enrollments are on the rise. According to a 2008 Sloan Consortium report, online enrollment growth is showing "no signs of slowing." More than 3.9 million students were taking at least one online course during fall 2007, a 12 percent increase over the previous year. The reported noted: "The 12.9 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population."

Since its debut 11 years ago, World Campus has earned many honors. Among them is the Sloan Consortium's Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program award for turfgrass management programs. In addition, Military Advanced Education selected World Campus as one of its Top Military Friendly Colleges and Universities, and World Campus has partnered with the Department of Defense on the Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program to improve access to online education for spouses.

Other World Campus highlights include AMR Research's selection of Smeal College of Business as having the best U.S. supply chain program; Smeal College offers an online master's program in supply chain management through World Campus, and the World Campus Military Grant-in-Aid is now available to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving on active duty and studying at the undergraduate level.

"These honors and partnerships recognize the caliber of Penn State's online programs," Smutz said. "Our challenge for the future will be to continue to innovate and incorporate new technologies to increase access to online education for busy adult learners. We will also build upon our student services functions to improve the online learning environment and experience for learners. I'm committed to helping to ensure that World Campus learners not only access Penn State, but are successful as well by completing their degrees."

Prior to joining Outreach in 1980, Smutz earned a master's degree in political science and a doctorate in higher education from Penn State. His bachelor's degree in history is from the University of California at Berkeley.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering 62 of Penn State's most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University's 25th campus serving more than 9,600 students in all 50 states and 62 countries. For more information, visit http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/ online. Penn State World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education, serving more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010