Penn State seeks candidates for position of VP for Commonwealth Campuses

August 30, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State invites applications and nominations for the position of vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor.

Since Aug. 1, Kelly Austin has served as interim senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor, after Madlyn Hanes retired from Penn State after a 33-year career with the University.

The vice president and executive chancellor is the principal academic and administrative leader of Penn State’s 20 Commonwealth Campuses, and reports to the president of the University through the executive vice president and provost. The position holds a seat on the President’s Council, Provost’s Council, Academic Leadership Council, and University Park Council of Academic Deans, and chairs the Council of Campus Chancellors.

Based at the University Park campus, this position provides visionary and innovative leadership to the 20 Commonwealth Campuses of a multi-disciplinary and highly inter-disciplinary research university, and requires an individual who can lead a large and complex organization that is geographically distributed.

The Commonwealth Campuses enroll approximately 27,000 students in associate, baccalaureate, and graduate resident degree programs, in addition to 5,000 students enrolled in 20 degree programs delivered through the university’s World Campus. Full-time employees include 1,617 faculty and 1,833 staff and administrators. The Commonwealth Campuses confer about 30% of the University’s resident degrees and administer or participate in $41.6 million in sponsored awards.

Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses comprise Abington, Altoona, Beaver, Behrend, Berks, Brandywine, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Great Valley, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Scranton, Shenango, Wilkes-Barre, and York.

“More than 95% of Pennsylvania residents live within a 30-mile radius of a Commonwealth Campus, which are hubs for education, enrichment, community development, and entertainment,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “This is a unique leadership challenge and an incredible opportunity to impact students and families across the commonwealth, and to fulfill Penn State’s mission of teaching, research and service.” 

Commonwealth Campuses enroll nearly 40% of Penn State’s total student body of approximately 90,000. More than 80% of Commonwealth Campus students are Pennsylvania residents, and 40% are the first in their families to attend college. More than 50% of first-year students begin their Penn State experience at a Commonwealth Campus, and while many students complete their degree at one campus for all four years, students can complete the first two years of more than 275 majors at a Commonwealth Campus through the University’s 2+2 plan before transitioning to another Commonwealth Campus or University Park to complete their degree.

The vice president and executive chancellor oversees the Commonwealth Campuses’ academic and administrative programs and operations, including strategic and facilities planning; integrating diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging into student recruitment, retention and the student experience; faculty recruitment and development; program and curriculum development, including shared multi-campus online courses (over 800 sections); and select institutional student-aid programs. The campus chancellors report directly to the vice president and executive chancellor, who is the budget executive for the Commonwealth Campuses, overseeing a base budget of $450 million.

The vice president and executive chancellor sits on University Senate Council and works closely with the University Faculty Senate leadership and the Commonwealth Caucus. This position works in partnership with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research to advance Invent Penn State, including the Commonwealth Campuses’ 20 innovation hubs situated in University communities across Pennsylvania. The vice president and executive chancellor also serves as academic dean of the University College (comprising 14 Commonwealth Campuses) and the Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies. Suitably qualified candidates are signatory on faculty promotion and tenure reviews and sponsored programs, working in close collaboration with three associate deans and a research grants manager.

Those who apply for the position must hold a terminal degree and must be an exemplary communicator while being an engaged and visible leader. The individual will have high energy and integrity, the capacity to work collaboratively with others, and the ability to identify innovative approaches to problem-solving and planning, make informed decisions and exercise sound judgment. The successful candidate must have a successful record of leadership in strategic and budget planning, resource and talent management, and diversity, equity and inclusion. The individual also must have broad experience in advancing critical academic and student services, faculty and academic program development, and effective engagement with external constituents – including alumni, corporate and community partners, and elected officials – to sustain enduring, positive relationships. Also essential is demonstrated knowledge of state and national issues affecting higher education and appreciation for the core, multiple missions of teaching, research, and service and values of access and affordability. Experience in fund-raising to obtain external support for large projects is desirable.

To apply for this position, submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and contact information for four references via the University’s employment website. To nominate a candidate, or if you have questions, write to Yvonne Gaudelius, chair of the search committee, at ymg100@psu.edu. Applications received by Oct. 15 will receive full consideration and review of applications will continue until the position is filled.

Last Updated September 02, 2021