Forster promoted to assistant dean for online programs at IST

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Peter Forster, a senior lecturer at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and formerly executive director of Online Education, has been promoted to assistant dean for online programs and professional education.

“Dr. Forster’s promotion to assistant dean for online programs and professional education is in recognition of both the extensive growth of IST online programs as well as increased organizational responsibilities,” said David Hall, dean of the College of IST. “He is uniquely qualified for the position and has a proven track record in leading the growth of online programs for IST.”

Since its inception, the IST online program has grown to more than 500 undergraduate degree-seeking students, and 150 matriculated graduate students pursuing one of three masters of professional studies (MPS) degrees offered by the college. An additional 30 students are pursuing one of two online graduate certificates. In his new role, Forster will oversee the Office of Instructional Design and Innovation, the Office of Online Education, the Office of Resident Graduate Programs Administration and work with multiple academic program coordinators. In addition, he will define, pursue and implement new programs related to professional education, as well as creation of new Massive Online Open Source Courses (MOOCs) in conjunction with the World Campus. 

“The College of IST manages information and powers intelligence,” Forster said. “In such a role, it should be a leader in integrating technology to extend access to educational opportunities, offering content on information sciences that helps people maneuver in today’s technologically dependent world, and understanding the impact of technology on education and the world. I am excited to be so closely involved in the college’s strategic direction.” 

As executive director of Online Education, Forster was responsible for creating, managing and growing IST undergraduate and graduate online programs. He holds a doctorate in political science (international relations) and has affiliate faculty status with the School of International Affairs, the Center for Network Centric Cognition and Information Fusion (NC2IF), an IST-based research center, and Penn State Harrisburg.

Forster’s primary areas of interest are terrorism/counter-terrorism, risk and crisis management, international relations and national security. He is a member of the NATO/OSCE Partnership for Peace Consortium Counter-Terrorism Working Group which brings academics and practitioners together to examine the global aspects of terrorism and its impact. He has been involved with Penn State's Homeland Security program since its inception including teaching courses on terrorism, crisis management, and Homeland Security specific topics such as intelligence and inter-agency cooperation. Prior to joining IST, he taught courses on international relations, war and international relations of the Middle East. Forster served on the University’s Homeland Security Council, the Homeland Security Defense/Education Consortium’s sub-committee on curriculum development, the Department of Homeland Security Professional Development and Strategic Studies working group, and is Penn State’s representative to the Naval Postgraduate School’s University and Agency Partnership Initiative. He is the author of several books, numerous book chapters and papers in refereed conferences. His most recent book, “Multinational Military Intervention,” is co-authored with Stephen Cimbala.

Prior to joining the College of IST, Forster worked for 23 years for the Penn State’s World Campus, where he was involved in strategic planning and transition to the online environment, as well as being responsible for identifying, designing, developing, delivering and assessing e-learning programs. 

“I am very pleased to have Pete working with me in the capacity of assistant dean,” said Michael McNeese, senior associate dean for research, graduate studies and academic affairs at the College of IST. “Given the growth and complexities that have developed within the IST Graduate Studies area (both residential and online environments), Pete provides us with highly incisive experiences in educational administration and online operations that will amplify and extend our reach significantly.”

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Last Updated October 18, 2013