University Park, Pa. — Damon R. Sims, associate vice provost for Student Affairs at Indiana University at Bloomington, has been appointed Penn State's new vice president for student affairs. Sims will begin his new duties on August 1.
"Sims' broad range of experience in Student Affairs will be a tremendous asset to the University," said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier. "His leadership capacity and his strong commitment to student development will contribute to our goal of a more student-centered University."
As vice president for Student Affairs, Sims will oversee counseling and psychological services, health care, career management, student activities, conflict resolution, and residence life and a variety of student services and activities. Units include Career Services, Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs, Center for Student Engagement, Center for Women Students, Counseling and Psychological Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Judicial Affairs, the LGBTA Student Resource Center, the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, Residence Life, Student Activities and Unions and University Health Services. In addition, the division is supported by Student Affairs Research and Assessment, Human Resources, Finance and Information Technology.
As associate vice provost at Indiana University, Sims is involved in the oversight of a division of 200 staff members who support 39,000 students. Sims also holds academic appointments in both the School of Law and the School of Education.
Sims' previous titles at Indiana were associate vice president for Student Affairs and associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs, as well as associate dean of students and director of administrative services; assistant dean of students; and assistant to the dean of students.
He has served as an adviser to several Indiana University student organizations including the campus student government, Students Organized Against Poverty, Blooming Kids, Phi Eta Sigma freshman honorary society and the Golden Key National Honor Society.
He holds a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the Indiana School of Law and a bachelor of arts in political science and history from Indiana University.
As a licensed attorney at law, Sims is admitted to practice in the courts of Indiana and the federal courts. He served as a court-appointed pro bono attorney representing the interests of children and also provides pro bono representation to victims of abuse, as well as consulting with colleges and universities regarding legal issues affecting student affairs.
Sims also is the founder and co-sponsor of the Matthew Vandiver Sims Memorial Lectures at Bloomington. These annual lectures, produced in conjunction with the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics in American Institutions, focus on communications among patients, families, and medical and legal professionals with an emphasis on end-of-life ethical issues and controversial care options.
"Our national search for a vice president of Student Affairs has resulted in an exceptionally qualified candidate who has an outstanding track record in addressing the needs of students," Spanier said. "I know Damon Sims will help move our Student Affairs division forward and create an atmosphere that promotes student learning and personal development."
Sims' appointment is subject to confirmation by the Penn State Board of Trustees at the group's next meeting May 16 at University Park.