Assistant Dean Pytel set to retire

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jean Landa Pytel, assistant dean for student services and global programs and associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, will retire at the end of the calendar year.

Pytel has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1979 and assistant dean since 1994.

As assistant dean, Pytel leads the college's academic advising efforts, enrollment and records management for undergraduate engineering students, as well as its international programs.

"Jean has been one of the most recognized persons in the college by students over many years -- both as a faculty member teaching the core engineering mechanics classes taken by most undergraduates and in her central role in academic advising and orientation of new students," said Robert Pangborn, professor of engineering science and mechanics who served as associate dean of undergraduate studies and worked closely with Pytel.

Pangborn, who is now Penn State's vice president and dean for undergraduate studies, continued, "Jean is always looking for ways to make academic and administrative processes work more smoothly and implementing procedures that will be more effective in serving students. She cares deeply about students, goes out of her way to get to know as many as she can and is dedicated to ensuring their success at the University and in life."

Renata Engel, associate dean for academic programs in the College of Engineering, said, "In addition to the excellent leadership she has provided to the advising center, Jean has been a leader when advancing the college's global connections. Her advocacy to bolster support for programs that develop the knowledge and skills of students to succeed in today's global environment has been instrumental in addressing our college goal to prepare them to become world-class engineers."

Pytel began her career at Penn State as an assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics, conducting teaching and research in mechanics and biomechanics.

During her tenure at the University, Pytel has been a member of the Faculty Senate for a total of 24 years, serving as its chair during 2010-11 and parliamentarian from 2007 to 2009. She was an administrative fellow to the provost from 2000 to 2001.

She was the faculty adviser for the Penn State student chapter of the Society for Women Engineers from 1984 to 1990 and has served as an adviser to other groups, including the Engineering Undergraduate Council and the Engineering House, an on-campus special living option.

Pytel was a board member of the Faculty/Staff Club from 1997 to 2003 and served as its president from 2001 to 2002.

She was a member of the Commission for Women between 1986 and 1989, and has held memberships in numerous University-wide and college-wide committees, task forces and boards. In 2000, Pytel was one of the inaugural recipients of the Achieving Woman award from the Penn State Commission for Women.

She has been a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and served as the chair of its International Division from 2011 to 2013.

Pytel earned her bachelor's degree in physical education from York University in Canada, her master's degree in physical education from Washington State University and her doctorate in biomechanics from Penn State.

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Last Updated January 10, 2015