Plan for administrative reorganization unveiled by Penn State

March 25, 2005

University Park, Pa. -- In an effort to streamline administrative functions and improve efficiencies across Penn State's network of campuses, the University today released a comprehensive plan to reorganize the structure and administrative responsibilities of the University.

"This restructuring will allow Penn State to adjust better to changing demographics and the competitive realities in the coming years, and it will position the University to take maximum advantage of the strength of its administrative resources," said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier.

At Penn State DuBois, the reorganization plan will include Campus Executive Officer Anita McDonald taking on the title of chancellor and having increased responsibilities effective July 1.

Highlights of the plan include the consolidation of what are currently three senior administrative positions into two new areas of responsibility, a new alignment of Penn State's campuses, title changes for the senior campus executives, and policy and structural changes to eliminate administrative overlaps.

Under the plan, the 12 campuses that currently compose the Commonwealth College will join with seven other Penn State campuses in reporting to the newly created position of vice president for Commonwealth Campuses (VPCC). The College of Medicine/Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania College of Technology and the Great Valley Graduate Center School of Graduate Professional Studies will continue with their current reporting lines.

The breadth of responsibilities of the VPCC includes: developing, where appropriate, regional clusters of activity and resource-sharing among Penn State campuses; promoting curricular integration across all commonwealth campuses and with University Park academic colleges; and overseeing and integrating student recruitment and retention strategies across all commonwealth campuses.

John Romano, who currently serves as vice provost and dean for Enrollment Management and Administration will assume the new position as vice president for Commonwealth Campuses, effective July 1.

Under the reorganization, the deans and campus executive officers of the 19 campuses, as well as Penn State Great Valley, will assume the title of chancellor and will have increased responsibilities.

"This new title is appropriate given the expanded role that Penn State's campus executives have increasingly assumed," said Rodney A. Erickson, executive vice president and provost at Penn State. "The chancellor title places Penn State's campus leaders on the same footing as the campus leaders of other institutions in their locality with whom they interact as they represent the University."

The chancellors of the 19 predominantly undergraduate Penn State campuses will report to the VPCC. The current amalgamations of the Berks and Lehigh Valley campuses and the Harrisburg and Schuylkill campuses will change, with all four campuses operating separately with their own chancellors. The campuses of the existing Commonwealth College will no longer report through a separate dean and administrative unit.

The VPCC will serve as the senior academic officer for curricular matters and faculty promotion and tenure review for the campuses formerly associated with the Commonwealth College. The position of dean of the Commonwealth College is eliminated under the new organizational structure.

The position of vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education (VPDUE) will be created, combining the current responsibilities of the vice provost and dean for Enrollment Management and Administration and the vice provost for Undergraduate Education and International Programs. This position will parallel in title the vice president for Research and dean of the Graduate School, thereby giving equal stature to Penn State's commitment to undergraduate education in the student-centered University.

The vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education will incorporate the functions of Enrollment Management and Administration, including Undergraduate Admissions, the Registrar and Student Financial Aid, as well as the current portfolio of the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Office of International Programs.

Janis Jacobs, currently vice provost for Undergraduate Education and International Programs, will assume the position of vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education on July 1.

Both new vice presidents will join the President's Council, which is the University's senior administrative policy body.

In addition to the consolidation of operations under the two new vice presidents, other reporting lines and organizational relationships will to be altered to capitalize on the functional depth of central units that have the resource base to provide University-wide services more efficiently and effectively than is possible individually on each campus. Policy and structural changes to eliminate administrative overlap, reduce costs and improve operational efficiency will be implemented in the areas of Outreach, University Libraries, Student Affairs, Development and University Relations. The reorganization plan calls for greater system-wide oversight from the executives in charge of each of these areas.

Diane Disney, currently the dean of the Commonwealth College, will become chancellor of Penn State Great Valley. Disney will seek to expand enrollments and educational outreach at the Philadelphia area campus. She will serve until June 30, 2007 in this capacity.

In summarizing the restructuring plan, Erickson noted that "this plan will be accomplished at no additional cost." Three executive positions - one dean and two vice provosts -- will be converted to two executive positions -- vice presidents. The elimination of some positions in the current Commonwealth Campus structure through attrition and reassignment will result in cost savings that can be redirected toward the provision of greater support for the commonwealth campuses in key functional areas.

"The streamlining will ensure that greater attention and visibility is accorded to undergraduate education and to the campuses where the greatest challenges exist," said Spanier. "This restructuring also will permit the executive vice president and provost to assume a greater range of operational responsibilities and, in turn, will release time for me to engage in additional activities including fundraising and external relations."

The reorganization plan will be presented for formal approval at the May board of trustees meeting.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009