Patchcoski named assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion

January 14, 2021
Brian Patchcoski

Brian Patchcoski has been named the assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion in Penn State Student Affairs effective January 18.

IMAGE: Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Brian Patchcoski has been named the assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion in Penn State Student Affairs, effective Jan. 18. Patchcoski is transitioning into that role after serving as the director for the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity since 2017.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our students and University communities through this role dedicated to equity, inclusion, but ultimately belonging,” said Patchcoski. “The units that this role represents, in partnership with many others across the University and commonwealth, provide education, advocacy, and support for our Penn State students to become globally engaged citizens dedicated to issues of justice and equity.”

The assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion is responsible for strengthening and furthering a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all students at Penn State and is positioned to provide education and engagement regarding equity, inclusion, and a true sense of community. 

This position provides strategic leadership and oversight for six Student Affairs units, including the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the Gender Equity Center, Adult Learner Programs and Services, and the Collegiate Recovery Community.

"Penn State tends to attract exceptional candidates for leadership roles, and the candidate pool in this instance was typically rich and diverse," said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs. "It became evident, however, that the best new leader for this role was among us already, and I am grateful for the chance to partner with Brian as we deepen the impact of our programs and services on all students at Penn State."

Throughout his career, Patchcoski has worked to build educational opportunities around issues of student advocacy and development and a diversity of thought and human experience. While at Penn State he has worked to broaden the understanding of diversity and commitment to inclusive excellence not as separate entities, but rather as part of the larger tapestry of student life and experience.

In Patchcoski’s role as director for the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, he provided leadership for a comprehensive range of education, information and advocacy to students, faculty, staff and alumni across the commonwealth. During his tenure, he oversaw the planning and opening of a new space for the center, which opened in January 2020. 

Patchcoski served as the assistant director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (then named the LGBTA Student Resource Center) from 2008-12. Prior to returning to Penn State as the center’s director, Patchcoski served as an associate dean of students at Cornell University focused on student support, sexual violence, and advocacy while also directing Cornell’s LGBT Resource Center and co-directing the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, which housed a variety of identity-based advocacy and inclusion units. Before joining Cornell, Patchcoski was the founding director of the Office of LGBTQ Services and deputy Title IX officer at Dickinson College.

Serving on bias assessment and review teams, within university crisis management, on community support teams and as a confidential victim advocate related to issues of sexual violence, bias, and harassment, Patchcoski believes that “these experiences have provided true insights into what our student communities navigate, which must then inform our robust vision on diversity, inclusion and community formation. We must create frameworks for equity based in cultural humility that recognizes cultures and experiences as actively engaging and inspiring one another.”

During his career, Patchcoski has participated in several national research projects examining student identity development and campus climate and has served as the Mid-Atlantic Representative for the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. He is published in areas of gender inclusion in higher education as well as inclusive faith-based practices for queer individuals.

In 2018, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order creating the United States’ only Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. Patchcoski was chosen as one of only 40 members of the new commission, giving him a unique opportunity to be a critical driving force for equity and inclusion across Pennsylvania. In 2020, Patchcoski was reappointed to that position. Currently, Patchcoski also co-chairs the President’s Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity and serves as vice chair for the Borough of State College LGBTQ Advisory Committee.

Patchcoski received his master’s degree in higher education from Penn State. He received his bachelor’s degree in counseling and human services from the University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

“It is truly an honor to follow in the footsteps of a mentor and colleague in this work, Peggy Lorah, said Patchcoski. “Peggy, along with the staff in these units, have provided a foundation for growth that will ultimately allow this role and the units it represents to meet the ever-changing needs of our communities.  Currently in higher education and in all the communities we might frequent, conversations, dialogues, and actions challenging systemic injustice are much needed. I believe it is through opportunities embedded in dedicated advocacy and equity-minded spaces that we can help our university communities to grow and support them in that growth by providing the resources and education necessary for change.”

Last Updated April 15, 2021