Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies office welcomes new faces, new priorities

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The winds of change have swept through the Office of the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State during the last year. Long-time director of undergraduate studies, Holly Beaver, moved on to a position as executive assistant to the executive vice president and provost, and several other staff advanced their careers with new opportunities inside and outside of Penn State.

“Holly was the glue that held a lot of moving pieces together,” associate dean Paul Taylor said. “Her departure forced us to closely examine how our office operates and how it serves our students. Even before her departure we were beginning to restructure the office to respond to the evolving needs of liberal arts students. Staff vacancies accelerated that work.”

Taylor said that issues like access, completion and student success have emerged as critical areas of focus at Penn State and in higher education more broadly. “We want to be leading the charge in these areas,” he explained, “and we have built a new staffing structure that will allow us to do just that.”

Two new positions were created to work on issues of access, and completion. Staci Kelly started working as scholarship coordinator in October 2015, and Stephen Moczydlowski joined the college in November 2016 as the recruitment and retention coordinator. This February, Alex Towle joined the team in a new role as analysis and planning consultant, where he will collect and analyze data to inform the college’s work across a broad array of initiatives including access, completion and student success.

In addition to the new positions, Taylor is excited about new faces on his core staff. He reports, “We have found a fantastic replacement for Holly in Kim Smith; and Jennifer Hessert, who just started this month, is already helping to restore structure and organization to a unit that has seen a tremendous amount of change.”

“For a long while, we’ve been fixing and redesigning the ship as we sailed it,” Taylor explained. “Now the ship is sound, we have people in place, and we’re pointed in the right direction; we’re ready to get on with the business of transforming the undergraduate experience in the college. I am excited to see where this team takes us.”

Last Updated April 16, 2017