Penn State Harrisburg appoints school director

Penn State Harrisburg has announced the appointment of Catherine A. Surra as director of the college’s School of Behavioral Sciences and Education.

Surra currently is director of the School of Human Ecology at the University of Texas at Austin. She joined the university in 1989 and has held numerous positions there. In addition to being a full professor, she chaired the Department of Human Ecology and led the effort to advance it from a department to a school.

Prior to joining the University of Texas, Surra held faculty positions at the University of Arizona, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Utah State University. An active researcher, her study interests focus on human relationships. She holds a doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State and also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University. She earned a master of science in Family and Community Development from the University of Maryland.

“Dr. Surra brings to Penn State Harrisburg a strong interdisciplinary background and significant experience in teaching, research and administration,” said Chancellor Madlyn L. Hanes. “We look forward to welcoming her to the college community.”

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to join Penn State Harrisburg,” said Surra. “The faculty and students of the college, including its School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, have an important mission to serve the educational and social needs of the region and the state. As a Pennsylvania native myself, I am excited to have the chance to be part of such a worthy goal.”

“Dr. Surra’s breadth of experience in administering academic programs encompassing a variety of disciplines makes her well suited to head the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, itself an interdisciplinary unit featuring a blend of programs in the social and behavioral sciences and in various disciplines within the field of education,” said Mukund Kulkarni, senior associate dean for academic affairs.

The School of Behavioral Sciences and Education is home to bachelor’s programs in applied behavioral science, human development and family studies, nursing, psychology, secondary education social studies and sociology; master’s programs in applied behavior analysis, applied clinical psychology, applied psychological research, community psychology and social change, health education, literacy education, teaching and curriculum, and training and development; and the Doctor of Education in Adult Education.

Surra will assume the director position in July 2010.

Last Updated November 18, 2010