Outreach and Online Education VP to retire

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Craig Weidemann, Penn State vice president for Outreach and vice provost for Online Education, announced today (July 28) that he will be transitioning from his role, effective Dec. 31, to begin a phased retirement.

Starting in 2017, Weidemann will serve as special assistant for innovation and education technology initiatives to Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones. Weidemann will lead initiatives that advance innovations to improve student learning and services, assist with the implementation of the University’s strategic plan, fundraise for Penn State Outreach and Online Education (OOE) and promote the University’s educational technology initiative within Invent Penn State.

A national search will be conducted to fill Weidemann’s position.

Over the last 13 years, Weidemann has led various OOE units that are charged with fulfilling Penn State’s mission as a land-grant university and has overseen tremendous growth in the Penn State World Campus.

Weidemann also has led WPSU, the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP), Cooperative Extension, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, Conferences and Institutes, Justice and Safety Institute and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. More recently, he established the Center for Online Innovation in Learning, the EdTech Network and an Urban Engagement presence in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

"Craig’s leadership over the years has enabled Penn State to make good on the land-grant promise of sharing university knowledge to improve lives throughout Pennsylvania, across the United States and around the world,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. "His advocacy for the online learning environment, adult learners and service to students from all walks of life has left a lasting impact that will serve Penn State for years to come. I wish him the very best as he moves forward in this new chapter of life.”

Under Weidemann's leadership, World Campus has seen unprecedented growth. In 2003, the year Weidemann joined Penn State, World Campus had 3,175 students enrolled in 27 programs. In 2016, that number has grown to 17,487 students in 125 academic programs.

During that time, World Campus has repeatedly been recognized as a premier online university. U.S. News and World Report ranked Penn State World Campus No. 1 for the best online bachelor’s degrees in 2015 and 2016, and several of Penn State’s graduate programs are ranked in the top 10.

“Thanks to Craig’s leadership, Penn State World Campus has earned a stellar reputation as a national leader in online learning,” said Jones. “Having the ability to grow the World Campus at an incredible rate while maintaining such high standards for quality programming required a combination of innovation, foresight, skill and care.”

Outreach units also have seen success and received numerous accolades during Weidemann’s 13-year tenure:

  • WPSU professionals produced and distributed several documentaries addressing key societal issues — from spousal abuse to environmental challenges — that aired on PBS stations across the country. At the same time, the station continued to provide quality local programming, resulting in countless awards including Mid-Atlantic Emmy and Associated Press broadcasting awards.
  • Penn State Small Business Development Center staff helped entrepreneurs start numerous businesses, creating jobs and providing services to local communities. Programs like Global Entrepreneurship Week provided expertise and coaching to Penn State students who eventually turned their ideas into business ventures.
  • In collaboration with Penn State’s academic colleges and faculty experts, educational conferences, like the annual National Autism Conference, have provided thousands of attendees with university research and knowledge.

“Since arriving in 2003, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to work with many dedicated and talented individuals across Penn State,” said Weidemann. “I’m proud of the indelible marks we’ve made on this institution, advocating for online learners, for adult learners and for so many of the organizations and audiences that we serve.”

Weidemann has served on many state boards including the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Board on Education and Workforce Development and three terms on the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board. On the national level, he has served on the boards of the Online Learning Consortium, UPCEA Advisory Council for Center for Online Leadership and Strategy, American Distance Education Consortium, Engaged Scholarship Consortium, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Weidemann earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Illinois State University, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Illinois Springfield and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.

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Last Updated July 28, 2016