Vice Provost for Affirmative Action Ken Lehrman to retire

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ken Lehrman, who has served as Penn State’s vice provost for affirmative action since 2008, has announced his retirement, effective July 7.

Since first joining the University in 2002 as the director of the Affirmative Action Office, Lehrman has overseen Penn State’s initiatives to advance a diverse and inclusive campus community, foster a workplace free from discrimination and harassment, and provide advice and leadership to faculty and staff in colleges and departments throughout the University and across the Commonwealth.

“With 15 years of service at Penn State, Ken is a dedicated administrator who has helped the University navigate complex challenges and identify opportunities in the areas of diversity, equal opportunity and inclusion,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost. “His work has been critical to Penn State. We wish him all the best as he begins this new chapter in his life.”

During his tenure, Lehrman helped Penn State enhance its diversity education and support offerings for students, faculty and staff. Among its many efforts, the Affirmative Action Office provides educational programming and training throughout the year on a variety of topics, including intercultural awareness, workplace civility, equity and equality, generational dynamics, and sexual harassment awareness and prevention, among others. In addition, Lehrman was instrumental in the development of a framework for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty. He established initiatives for the oversight of faculty searches and provided orientation and guidance to the chairs related to each committee’s role in advancing the University’s diversity mission.

Lehrman spearheaded the creation of the University’s Title IX program and throughout the past year has collaborated with partners in the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity in the development of an Equity Action Resource Team, which aims to enhance diversity and inclusion in Penn State’s staff hiring process.

He has been a member of various University committees, including the President’s Task Force on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment, which, among a host of outcomes, resulted in an enhanced online system and hotline for anonymously reporting sexual misconduct, new annual training requirements for University employees, and a standalone Title IX coordinator position.

“First and foremost, I wish to thank the colleagues who have made my Penn State experience a wonderful journey,” said Lehrman. “I must also give a special note of appreciation to my dedicated and loyal staff, past and present, in the Affirmative Action Office — you truly made engaging in our challenging work a pleasure. I will miss and think of you often.”

He has been a member of the University’s Behavioral Threat Management Team since its inception and for 10 years served on the Academic Leadership Council. In 2017, Lehrman was recognized with a Way Pavers Award from the Council of College Multicultural Leadership at Penn State.

For 14 years, Lehrman has volunteered as a “sous chef” in Educational Equity’s annual fish fry benefiting the Lawrence Young, W. Terrell Jones, and Edward and Patricia Jackson Thompson scholarships funds, which support diverse, first-generation and low-income students. Also a constitutional law scholar, for four years he engaged in his passion by teaching classes in civil rights and civil liberties.

Lehrman came to Penn State after 10 years as director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity at the University of Oregon. Before serving in that role, he was an associate professor of political science at Ithaca College in New York.

He earned a bachelor of science degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma, and a doctorate in political science from the University of Oregon. Lehrman also earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Oregon School of Law and is a former member of the Oregon State Bar.

A national search to find a successor for Lehrman is underway.

Last Updated June 08, 2017