Penn State faculty member named new Schreyer Honors College dean

April 28, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A University faculty member today (April 28) was named the new dean of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College. Peggy A. Johnson is tentatively scheduled to begin her appointment in July 2017, pending approval by the University Board of Trustees at its May meeting.

Johnson, a tenured professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, has been a Penn State faculty member since 1996. She previously served as head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2006 to 2015. As department head, Johnson worked to advance new research initiatives; revised the undergraduate curriculum to meet the needs of the civil and environmental engineering professions; increased engagement with alumni and industry; cultivated a culture of mentoring; and championed global experiences for students.

“We are thrilled to have a professional of Peggy’s caliber lead the Schreyer Honors College into a bright and promising future,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost. “Throughout her career, Peggy has demonstrated a degree of enthusiasm and innovation that aligns with the college’s mission and goals to promote academic excellence and integrity, while lifting the entire institution to new levels of achievement. With her people-first approach, I am confident Peggy will help our honors students surpass their already impressive academic, civic and professional accomplishments.”

Johnson succeeds interim Dean Kathleen Bieschke, who has served since former dean Christian Brady stepped down in May 2016.

“I am very honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve as the dean of the Schreyer Honors College,” Johnson said. “There are so many exciting possibilities associated with this position. The commitment of Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College to outstanding scholarly activity is clearly very strong. I am looking forward to working with an exceptional group of students and alumni, and collaborating with colleagues across the University to strengthen and advance an already strong reputation in honors education at Penn State.”

Johnson is a Fellow and past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Environmental and Water Resources Institute (ASCE-EWRI). She has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals on bridge scour (sediment), stream restoration, uncertainty in hydraulics, and the probability of scour-related bridge failure. Johnson’s stability assessment method for bridge-stream intersections is incorporated as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s manual on stream stability at bridges.

Her awards and honors include ASCE’s Hans Albert Einstein Award, recognizing her work in the area of sediment transport as it applies to control structures and stream restoration projects, and the ASCE-EWRI Margaret S. Petersen Outstanding Woman of the Year award, honoring her mentorship of young women pursuing water-related technical careers. Johnson also is the recipient of the Penn State Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award for her outstanding mentorship of junior faculty.

Before coming to Penn State, Johnson held faculty positions at the University of Maryland and served as a graduate research Fellow at the Federal Highway Administration in Virginia.

Johnson received her bachelor of science degree in geology from New Mexico State University and her master of science and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College enrolls approximately 1,800 students — just 5 percent of the University’s entire undergraduate population — across all Penn State locations and offers more than 200 honors-level courses. In 2016, the college was ranked among the nation’s premier honors institutions by Public University Honors Press for program excellence, along with only 10 other programs in the country.

  • Peggy Johnson

    Peggy Johnson

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated April 28, 2017