Griffith named director of Office for Summer Session

October 05, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Kelly Griffith, former senior assistant director of Residence Life at University Park, has been named director of the Office for Summer Session, effective Oct. 10.

The Office for Summer Session, a unit of Undergraduate Education, coordinates with academic colleges and partners across the University to ensure the courses and experiences offered in the summer will help students get a head start, stay on track, or get ahead as it applies to making progress toward graduation. It administers the Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP) for incoming first-year students at University Park, as well as the Student Transitional Experiences Program (STEP) for students making the junior year transition to University Park. In 2016, all students participating in STEP received a $1,500 award. 

As director, Griffith will be responsible for general oversight of the University's summer session and increasing its creative programming and effectiveness. She will work to develop, coordinate and market summer course offerings and scheduling; communicate information to students, faculty, and advisers about integrating summer session into students' study plans; and serve as a central point of contact on summer session at University Park.

“I am excited and honored to be named director of the Office for Summer Session,” said Griffith. “As a first-generation college student, my transition to college was difficult. My experiences as an undergraduate student directly influenced my career choice in higher education and cultivated an interest in how students prepare for and transition to college. The opportunity to work with the LEAP and STEP programs, both of which are intended to help students successfully transition to life at University Park, and the opportunity to think critically and creatively about ways to engage students in the summer, is both personally and professionally rewarding.”

Griffith brings to the role 10 years of experience in Residence Life administration, where she provided leadership on co-curricular learning, living-learning communities, assessment, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, and crisis response.

Her initial goals for the Office for Summer Session include expanding the scope of the STEP program so that more students are eligible to participate, partnering with academic colleges to identify both in- and out-of-class engagement opportunities for students taking summer courses, and ensuring students taking courses in the summer have access to the resources and support services necessary to be successful.

“Summer can be an essential part of student success, helping students graduate on time or add academic experiences to their studies,” said Yvonne Gaudelius, associate vice president and senior associate dean for Undergraduate Education. “Kelly’s leadership will ensure that we have the right mix of summer courses and programs to allow students to take full advantage of Summer Session.”

Attending Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Griffith earned a bachelor’s degree in specialized studies and a master’s degree in counseling—student personnel services. She is currently seeking a doctoral degree from Penn State in education theory and policy, her dissertation exploring, in part, the unique needs of rural high school students as they transition to college.

Griffith replaces Yaw Agawu-Kakraba as director of the Office for Summer Session. Agawu-Kakraba recently returned to his role as professor of Spanish at Penn State Altoona.

To learn more about the Office for Summer Session, its programs, and the benefits of enrolling in courses over the summer, visit

The Office for Summer Session is part of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated October 06, 2016