Founded in 1855, Penn State is a major, public, Research-I university serving Pennsylvania and the global community. As Pennsylvania’s only land-grant institution, Penn State takes pride in its mission of teaching, research, and public service—and its focus on the future. Penn State is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities, one of 62 universities recognized for their especially strong research and academic programs. Penn State is home to approximately 100,000 students engaged in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Position


The chief of police operations provides leadership, strategic planning, and direction for the operational components of University Police and Public Safety for 22 Penn State campus locations, promoting a safe, secure, and service-oriented environment for all students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors to the University. Reporting to the assistant vice president for university police and public safety, the chief of police operations is responsible for developing goals, strategies, policies, and standards for the implementation of effective procedures for field operations at all campuses. Penn State University Police and Public Safety has recently centralized all functions across Penn State campuses, and this position will serve as part of the department’s senior leadership team, providing leadership, support, and guidance on criminal and administrative investigations, as well as ensuring all investigations of criminal and non-criminal complaints are handled in a fair and consistent manner. The chief of police operations will direct and oversee the scheduling of support for all normal operations and special events across all campuses, including logistic strategies and resource evaluations; provide guidance to all campuses regarding emergency incidents and notification processes; and ensure all campuses have an emergency response contingency plan in place.

The new chief of police operations must have a strong understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice, and the ability to create inclusive work and campus environments. The position has a high public profile and the chief acts as a liaison with University executives, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and private agencies and organizations. The chief is responsible for six direct reports, a total staff of 186, and a budget of approximately $21 million.


The chief of police operations was formerly held by Keith Morris from September, 2018, to February, 2019. Keith previously served as chief of police at the University Park campus from April, 2017, to September, 2018. Prior to that time, Michael Lowery held the chief of police operations position until September 2018, when he retired from the University.  Michael was the first person to hold the role as chief of police operations, as it was a newly-formed position within University Police and Public Safety, which supports the unified department of Penn State’s 22 campuses located throughout Pennsylvania.


The chief of police operations must possess a broad and deep understanding of national best practices with regard to field operations, staff development, change management, and strategic visioning in a large and comprehensive police operations setting on a flagship university campus. The chief should be an experienced leader capable of managing complex situations and staffing, unwaveringly committed to customer service at the highest level, possessing a deep understanding of current issues in community policing, and equipped to contribute at both a strategic and operational level at a large research institution.

The Penn State University stakeholders seemed genuinely interested in participating in discussions about the chief of police operations position, and there was a sense of unity in support of identifying a competent and visionary individual who can promote and develop the staff/team, set departmental priorities, and work in tandem with the assistant vice president, the police chief of administration, and the other staff in the department to progressively, innovatively, and comprehensively move the program forward. The following were identified as possible opportunities, priorities, and challenges that will face the new chief of police operations at Penn State University:

  • It will be essential that the new chief of police operations commit to a comprehensive culture of collaboration and partnering, as well as clear and transparent communication within UPPS and across campus for maximum effectiveness. Penn State University is committed to building strong, healthy, and mutually supportive relationships as a foundation of the campus culture, and strong collaboration is an absolute necessity in all endeavors to ensure success. University Police and Public Safety touches a vast number of entities, including students, faculty, administration, departments, and community members across the Penn State system, so it will be crucial that the new chief quickly reach out across each of these areas to build solid and mutually beneficial relationships that foster ongoing positive interactions and act as a “connector” and “face” of the department in all instances. These connections are absolutely essential in order to assess the real needs of constituents, provide exceptional programs and services for the campus community, and ensure that UPPS is known for its customer- and student-centered approach at all times.
  • Assistant vice president for police and public safety, Charlie Noffsinger, along with UPPS staff, have worked for several years to develop and implement plans to strategically systemize University Park and the other Commonwealth Campuses under central leadership. This project has comprehensively adjusted staff patterns and updated policing and safety protocols on all campuses and has included such things as systemizing policies/procedures/protocols, reviewing best practices for organizing satellite police departments into districts, streamlining reporting structures, developing a common records management system, developing and deploying investigative support teams, and expanding measures that emphasize consistency while making allowances for the unique needs of the various campuses. After many years of a decentralized system, the complexity of centralizing all aspects of UPPS has been a somewhat lengthy and uncomfortable process for some, though the stakeholders are committed to successfully moving this endeavor to its conclusion. The new chief will need to quickly assess the state of the staff and the overall department in regard to this centralization and utilize strong progressive leadership and organizational management to assist in completing the process of integrating 22 different cultural organizations into a high-performing police and public safety operation.
  • Due to this recently centralized structure of UPPS, the chief of police operations at Penn State is not a typical chief of police position, wherein the chief is essentially responsible for all phases of the police department and has the final word on all decisions. In the Penn State model, the chief of police operations and the chief of police administration work collaboratively as a senior leadership team in support of the assistant vice president, and decisions involving the UPPS are made as a team and in consultation with each other. The chief will work through the shared university governance model to effectively work in tandem with the Penn State administration to execute the mission and vision of the UPPS.
  • The scope of responsibilities of the position is wide, and the new chief will need to quickly assess the needs, learn the staff, and develop a comprehensive list of priorities in order to be successful. This is an outstanding opportunity for the successful candidate to put their own professional mark on the UPPS and build it to an even higher level, as there is tremendous support from the assistant vice president and others in administration to develop and manage a dynamic and forward-thinking program. As priorities are developed and plans are initiated, the chief should be prepared to identify programs and services that are working well, as well as those areas that are not as efficient or effective and be willing to enhance and sunset programs as necessary.
  • The current staff reporting to the chief of police operations are extremely committed to the vision of a strong and supportive team, and they are dedicated to offering the best service possible to the Penn State community. The staff works hard and the new chief should make it a priority to quickly get to know the staff as individuals, learn their particular needs, develop trust and confidence across the board, ascertain and understand the various responsibilities they perform and roles they play, be available at all times, and be prepared to provide comprehensive professional support for all staff and oversee the ongoing development of a strong team. This is, in part, to support retention goals but is also desired as a way to provide continuing emphasis on increasing officers’ knowledge and skills of best practices in higher education policing, as well as general professional development aspirations. UPPS places great emphasis on professional involvement, so participation in IACLEA and IACP, as well as the Big Ten Chiefs Association, is greatly supported.
  • The contract for the new police union at Penn State was recently ratified and went into effect on April 4. Since this is the first police union the University has experienced, the new chief of police operations will need to quickly familiarize themself with the new collective bargaining agreement. In this new system, the first procedural grievance step occurs through the two chiefs (operations and administration) and the chief of police operations will also have a direct role in administering the union contract going forward.  While experience in working with police unions is not a requirement for candidates to be considered, given that the process of working with the union is in its nascent stages, it would be helpful for the selected candidate’s success to have at least been exposed to a work environment of this nature.
  • Event management is a significant portion of the role of police at Penn State. From large-scale athletic events, to concerts and speakers, to festivals—the chief of police operations provides direction and has key liaison relationships with numerous University offices and local boroughs to ensure safe and well-managed events. The chief of police operations will also serve as incident commander for all home football games.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important parts of the Penn State community, and the chief of police operations should be a leader in supporting, understanding, embracing, and nurturing these concepts. There are a large number of underrepresented populations within the institution, and the UPPS needs to be a model for maintaining a strong sense of equity and an unbiased, supportive environment at all times.
  • Penn State’s geographic location in central Pennsylvania can be both inviting and challenging, so the new chief of police operations must recognize that State College is a college town set in a relatively rural environment but only 3.5 hours from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, so there is easy availability to several major hubs. With over 45,000 students on the University Park campus alone, which is the home base for this position, there is a thriving college town environment. Across the board, stakeholders reiterated that they liked working at Penn State, are very supportive of each other, enjoy the vibrancy of the university, feel much camaraderie, and believe that there are many opportunities to make a big difference in the chief role. Additionally, the State College community is very safe, close-knit, and welcoming to new members. Within that community there are amazing opportunities for town/gown involvement, a robust assortment of restaurants and food options, and a plethora of cultural and arts-related events, as well as recreation, sports, and other outdoor activities that appeal to both the individual and to families.
  • Community policing is an area of key importance at Penn State, and the new chief of police operations must prioritize this area at all times. While community policing has long been a standard at Penn State, a review of the current operational plan should be conducted in a way that includes officers and command staff within UPPS as future needs and steps are discussed, ensuring the process becomes more formalized and professionalized.
  • UPPS has contracted a consulting firm to conduct a program review on its facilities, which will eventually result in a massive plan on upgrading facilities. Additionally, a feasibility study is being conducted on expanding the UPPS communications center into a full operations center in an effort to centralize communications for the system. The chief of police operations will be integral in working with these future process.
  • This is an exciting time to join Penn State University and an outstanding opportunity for the successful candidate to put their own professional mark on UPPS, building it to an even higher level; there is tremendous support from the administration for the chief of police operations and the services that emanate from this office, so the successful candidate can look forward to visioning and strategizing with the assistant vice president, the chief of police administration, and the staff within the department to move UPPS forward over time.


At an appropriate interval after joining Penn State, the items listed below will initially define success for the new chief of police operations.

  • Strong relationships, partnerships, and trust have been established across a wide array of campus and external stakeholders.
  • The strategic plan is being accomplished and it is tied to departmental and University annual goals.
  • A long-term vision is established and this vision is clear, transparent, and communicated across the department and the University.
  • Feedback regarding UPPS from across Penn State and from the metro areas is positive, and the chief is recognized throughout the system.
  • Morale in the department is high and rising, and the police union trusts the chief.
  • The centralization process is fully integrated and is viewed in a positive manner.
  • Crime statistics show a decrease, crisis management is handled effectively, and event management is efficiently administered.


The position typically requires a bachelor’s degree or higher plus 12 years of related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience, as well as progressive leadership experience in law enforcement including senior/command experience as a sworn officer (or an equivalent combination of education and experience). The position also requires Act 120 Certification or the ability to obtain Commonwealth of Pennsylvania certification; U.S. citizenship; a Pennsylvania driver’s license or the ability to obtain one; and successful completion of a psychological evaluation and physical examination.

Successful candidates will also possess skills necessary to enhance public respect for law enforcement and the University with courteous, devoted, and ethical service; demonstrate knowledge of trends and best practices in law enforcement; experience working with and leading diverse constituencies, as well as practicing inclusivity at all levels; excellent interpersonal and communication skills in establishing and maintaining professional working relationships; the ability to work cooperatively with various levels of faculty, staff, students, and outside agencies; a comprehensive commitment to outstanding customer service; and excellent analytical, judgment, and organization skills. The new chief of police operations should also demonstrate knowledge of organizational development and expertise in planning, staffing, organizing, directing, and evaluating a police department; an understanding of law enforcement technology; knowledge of applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances; experience evaluating/developing departmental policies and procedures; experience managing large-scale and high-profile events; and a commitment to the professional development and training of officers and other staff, with a strong commitment to staff retention and morale. Preferred qualifications include an advanced degree, experience with law enforcement in a university setting, and knowledge of higher education law enforcement policies, practices, techniques, and accreditation standards. A motor vehicle records check in addition to a credit history check due to financial and fiduciary responsibilities will be required in addition to standard background checks for the role.

Other desired characteristics, skills, actions, and/or abilities noted from the stakeholder discussions include the following:

  • a progressive background in campus or municipal law enforcement, with demonstrated experience in community policing concepts;
  • strong managerial and field operations skills in a law enforcement environment at higher levels;
  • strong leadership and organizational development abilities that inspire and develop staff, providing professional and personal development opportunities and promoting unity and teamwork throughout the operations areas of UPPS;
  • demonstrated collaboration skills with internal departments and external colleagues, with the ability to understand the importance of interconnectedness and partnerships;
  • an innovator with a futuristic orientation and a willingness to try new opportunities, remain informed on new trends and best practices, and lead significant change processes;
  • an excellent and transparent communicator with comprehensive public relations skills, media savvy, and the ability to reach all levels of the University, including students and upper level administration;
  • solid budget and finance skills, the ability to effectively advocate for scarce resources, and the ability to ensure adequate staffing within each district without utilizing excessive overtime;
  • the ability to multitask, adapt rapidly to changing situations, and be solutions-oriented at all times;
  • demonstrated skills as an advocate and champion for diversity, equity, inclusivity, accessibility, and social justice, along with a willingness to stand up for these values and have an understanding of the intersectionality of a diverse campus population;
  • demonstrated experience working with contracted union employees is highly desirable;
  • demonstrated ability to delegate effectively and empower staff to conduct their daily responsibilities;
  • MPOETC certification or the ability to obtain this certification without attendance at the police academy;
  • a strategic thinker who can develop both short- and long-term plans around the needs of UPPS; formulate strategic, assessment, and operational plans; and then effectively implement those plans in tandem with the AVP, the chief of police administration, and other campus partners;
  • energy and enthusiasm for the role, passion for the work, a positive attitude, a personable and approachable demeanor, charisma, and the ability to have fun on the job even in the face of adversity;
  • previous experience working directly with a police union is highly desirable;
  • ability to instill a culture of high-end customer service, including timely responsiveness to campus needs;
  • a highly visible individual who is willing to be present throughout the Penn State campuses, serving as a positive “face” for the department;
  • in-depth operational knowledge of Clery, Title IX, VAWA, and other federal guidelines and regulatory requirements/expectations;
  • ability to listen carefully, ask knowledgeable questions, learn the culture of the University and the department, accept input from others, respect differing opinions, and then make well-informed decisions that are best for the Penn State community;
  • previous experience with IACLEA or CALEA accreditation is desirable;
  • possess problem solving skills, with the ability to determine needs, address issues, and manage change effectively;
  • in-depth knowledge of emergency management preparation, physical security, and records management; and
  • the ability to make difficult decisions when necessary, to conduct difficult conversations when pertinent, to listen to all sides of an issue, to balance the needs of the people with the needs of the organization, and to be resilient at all times regardless of the circumstances.


An overview of the department

University Police and Public Safety is responsible for the protection of and service to Penn State’s students, faculty, staff, and visitors. In addition, University Police and Public Safety is charged with the protection of property and maintenance of order as well as the enforcement of both the laws of the Commonwealth and University regulations. University Police and Public Safety has full law enforcement authority.


Protecting our community through professional service, education, diversity, and ethical accountability by promoting safety and security.


Honesty – University Police employees are, first and foremost, honest and truthful. We do not cheat, steal, lie, deceive, or act deviously. We avoid unnecessary secrecy or the concealment of information. Our credibility with the public comes from always being truthful.

Integrity – University Police employees possess the highest degree of integrity. We are principled, honorable, and morally sound. We are courageous and act upon our convictions. We will fight for our beliefs and will not adopt an “end-justifies-the-means” philosophy that ignores principle. We will not be expedient at the expense of principle, or be two-faced, or unscrupulous.

Fidelity – University Police employees demonstrate fidelity and loyalty to our department, the University, our profession, and our fellow employees. Devotion to duty is paramount in our lives. We do not use or disclose information learned in confidence for personal or political advantage. We safeguard the ability to make independent professional judgments by scrupulously avoiding improper influences and conflicts of interest.

Fairness – University Police employees are committed to justice, the equal treatment of individuals, tolerance for and acceptance of diversity, and open-mindedness. We are willing to admit when we are wrong and take appropriate actions to change our positions and beliefs.

Caring – University Police employees show concern for the well-being of others. This caring manifests itself in compassion, giving, kindness, and service. Caring requires us to make every legal attempt to help those in need and avoid harming others.

Respect – University Police employees respect human dignity, privacy, and the right to self-determination. We are courteous and decent. We provide others with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own lives.

Excellence – University Police employees are committed to quality work and the pursuit of excellence. We are diligent, reliable, and industrious. We endeavor to be role models of responsibility, accountability, and trustworthiness for the members of the community through our words and actions. We strive to be well informed and are prepared to exercise public authority.

Citizenship – University Police employees believe in democracy. Responsible citizenship is seen as an ethical obligation; it involves abiding by laws and rules of society, participating in democratic processes, being social conscious, and engaging in public service. We have the additional responsibility to encourage the participation of others and a special obligation to respect and honor the democratic process of decision-making.

Accountability – University Police employees accept responsibility for their decisions and for the foreseeable consequences of our actions and inaction, as well as setting an example for others. In addition, we take whatever legal and ethical actions are necessary to correct or prevent inappropriate conduct of others.

Public Trust – University Police employees represent our chosen profession and the University 24 hours a day throughout our careers with The Pennsylvania State University. Because of the unique importance of credibility and public trust, police employees must be beyond reproach, and avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Hard Work – University Police employees adhere to a strong work ethic. We believe that our employer is entitled to the full measure of our time and talents when on the job.

Leadership of the division

David J. Gray is the senior vice president for finance & business/treasurer at Penn State University. The senior vice president for finance & business/treasurer reports directly to the president of Penn State.

The senior vice president for finance & business/treasurer is responsible for the management of Finance & Business and the strategic planning process for the unit, which includes the offices of Auxiliary and Business Services, Commonwealth Operations, Corporate Controller, Diversity and Inclusion, Enterprise Project Management, Ethics and Compliance, Human Resources, Internal Audit, Investment Management, Physical Plant, and University Police and Public Safety. The position also leads financial, endowment, business, and administrative activities at all Penn State campuses. In this capacity, the position serves as a member of the board of directors for the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State Hershey Health System. In addition, the position serves as a member of the president’s Council, the Penn State Investment Council, and the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Penn State.

Organization chart for Finance & Business/Treasurer:

University Police and Public Safety

Charlie Noffsinger was appointed as assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety at Penn State University in May 2016.  Charlie came to Penn State University from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where he served as chief of the Department of Public Safety. Prior to that, he served as deputy chief at the University of Michigan Police Department. Charlie earned his Master of Liberal Studies Degree from Eastern Michigan University.

Institution & Location

Institutional background/history

As Pennsylvania’s only land-grant university, Penn State has a broad mission of teaching, research, and public service. But that mission was not so grandly conceived in 1855, when the Commonwealth chartered it as one of the nation’s first colleges of agricultural science, with a goal to apply scientific principles to farming.

Centre County became the site of the new college in response to a gift of 200 acres from gentleman farmer and ironmaster James Irvin of Bellefonte. Founding President Evan Pugh drew on the scientific education he had received in Europe to plan a curriculum that combined theoretical studies with practical applications.

Pugh and similar visionaries in other states championed Congressional passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862. The act enabled states to sell federal land, invest the proceeds, and use the income to support colleges “where the leading object shall be, without excluding scientific and classical studies … to teach agriculture and the mechanic arts [engineering] … in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in all the pursuits and professions of life.” The state legislature designated Penn State the land-grant institution of Pennsylvania.

But not until the 1880s, under the leadership of President George W. Atherton, did the college expand its curriculum to match the Land-Grant Act’s broad mandate. From that time onward, curriculums in engineering, the sciences, the liberal arts, and more began to flourish. In the early 1900s, Penn State introduced cooperative extension and additional outreach programming, extending the reach of its academic mission.

An even greater segment of the Commonwealth’s population had opportunities for engagement in the 1930s when Penn State established a series of undergraduate branch campuses, primarily to meet the needs of students who were location-bound during the Great Depression. Those campuses were predecessors of today’s system of 24 Penn State campuses located throughout the Commonwealth (22 of which are currently supported by UPPS).

Penn State began offering systematic advanced-degree work in 1922 with the formation of the Graduate School. Graduate education and research evolved hand in hand. By 1950 the University had won international distinction for investigations in dairy science, building insulation, diesel engines, and acoustics, and other specialized fields.

A college of medicine and teaching hospital were established in 1967 with a $50 million gift from the charitable trusts of renowned chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey. In 1989 the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport became an affiliate of the University. In 2000, Penn State and the Dickinson School of Law merged. In 2015, two Penn State law schools, known as Dickinson Law (in Carlisle, Pennsylvania) and Penn State Law (on University Park campus) went into operation. Penn State’s online World Campus graduated its first students in 2000 and now enrolls more than 12,000.


We strive to be great neighbors. We generate billions of dollars for the state economy and serve communities at the grassroots level.


With 24 campuses throughout Pennsylvania, Penn State represents a strong economic engine. It is, among other things, a major employer and a source of students, faculty, and staff who keep local economies going by spending money to live in communities and support nonprofits to benefit those in need.

Statewide, Penn State’s research and development expenditures have increased steadily over the past decade, contributing to the economy through innovation and technology transfer. Federal dollars coming our way for research and development have increased substantially over the past 10 years. Likewise, industry-sponsored research continues to trend upward.


At Penn State, we recognize that great minds need support. Invent Penn State is a Commonwealth-wide set of initiatives and investments that will drive economic development, a culture of entrepreneurship, and student career success. Our aim is to accelerate the transfer of new ideas into useful products and build a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem around our campuses.


Across the University, colleges and campuses engage in community service projects, from giving advice to working side-by-side with people on projects.

Penn State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education is just one example of how seriously Penn State takes its mission of serving communities. Among the research centers in that department alone: Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network; Operation: Military Kids; Consumer Services Information System; and Childcare and Youth Training and Technical Assistance Program.

Our students serve communities through course projects and volunteering. An example of student dedication to serving? The Penn State Berks Center for Service Learning and Community-based Research produces the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research for students in a wide range of disciplines, designed to encourage participation and give guidance.


Penn State Extension is an educational network that gives people in Pennsylvania’s 67 counties access to the University’s resources and expertise.

We offer practical how-to education and problem-solving assistance based on University research. We strive to help people make informed decisions to improve their lives, businesses, and communities.

Not sure how to deal with that garden pest? Need a little help figuring out how to deal with your personal finances or small business? Extension can help with a wide range of issues.

About State College, Pennsylvania

State College is a home rule municipality in Centre County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is the largest designated borough in Pennsylvania. It is the principal borough of the six municipalities that make up the State College area, the largest settlement in Centre County and one of the principal cities of the greater State College-DuBois Combined Statistical Area with a combined population of 236,577 as of the 2010 United States Census. In the 2010 census, the borough population was 42,034 with approximately 105,000 living in the borough plus the surrounding townships often referred to locally as the “Centre Region.” Many of these Centre Region communities also carry a “State College, PA” address although are not part of the borough of State College.

State College is a college town, dominated economically and demographically by the presence of the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). Lion Country is another term used to refer to the State College area; the term also includes the borough and the townships of College, Harris, Patton, and Ferguson. When including college and graduate students, State College is the third most populous city in Pennsylvania, after Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

State College evolved from a village to a town in order to serve the needs of the Pennsylvania State College, founded as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania in 1855. State College was incorporated as a borough on August 29, 1896, and has grown with the college, which was renamed The Pennsylvania State University in 1953.

In 1973 State College adopted a home rule charter which took effect in 1976; since then, it has not been governed by the state’s Borough Code, although it retains “Borough of State College” as its official name.

The university has a post office address of University Park, Pennsylvania. When Penn State changed its name from College to University in 1953, its president, Milton S. Eisenhower, sought to persuade the town to change its name as well. A referendum failed to yield a majority for any of the choices for a new name, and so the town remains State College. After this, Penn State requested a new name for its on-campus post office in the HUB-Robeson Center from the U.S. Post Office Department. The post office, which has since moved across an alley to the McAllister Building, is the official home of ZIP code 16802 (University Park).


The Pennsylvania State University is a multi-campus, land-grant, public research University that educates students from around the world, and supports individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research, and service.

Our instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, continuing, and extension education, offered through both resident instruction and distance learning. Our educational programs are enriched by the talent, knowledge, diversity, creativity, and teaching and research acumen of our faculty, students, and staff.

Our discovery-oriented, collaborative, and interdisciplinary research and scholarship promote human and economic development, global understanding, and advancement in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social and behavioral sciences, engineering, technology, arts and humanities, and myriad professions.

As Pennsylvania’s land-grant university, we provide unparalleled access to education and public service to support the citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond. We engage in collaborative activities with private sector, educational, and governmental partners worldwide to generate, integrate, apply, and disseminate knowledge that is valuable to society.


Penn State will be a leader in research, learning, and engagement that facilitates innovation, embraces diversity and sustainability, and inspires achievements that will affect the world in positive and enduring ways.

Strategic Plan

The Pennsylvania State University’s Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020


The Pennsylvania State University’s strategic plan for the five calendar years comprising 2016 through 2020 is the result of a broad and inclusive two-year process that involved unit-level planning for 48 academic and administrative units across the University. In concert, this overarching institutional plan was developed.

Penn State’s vision, mission, and institutional values are interwoven throughout this plan, and they ultimately drive its success. Six foundations underpin all University endeavors and are considered fundamental to implementing this plan. These foundations—Enabling Access to Education, Engaging Our Students, Fostering and Embracing a Diverse World, Enhancing Global Engagement, Driving Economic Development, and Ensuring a Sustainable Future—connect to, empower, and sustain our values as an institution.

This Plan’s five thematic priorities are:

  1. Transforming Education. Penn State will be a leader in the transformation of education, including enhancing access to it, as it fulfills its land-grant mission in a 21st-century context and continues to drive discovery-focused research across disciplines.
  2. Enhancing Health. Penn State will be a leader in promoting quality of life through comprehensive approaches to enhancing personalized and population health, achieved through a commitment to and investment in relevant research, education, clinical practice, and outreach.
  3. Stewarding Our Planet’s Resources. Penn State will be a leader in creating comprehensive solutions to mitigate the dangers of climate change and address the challenges of providing safe and abundant water, clean and renewable energy sources, and plentiful and nutritious food.
  4. Advancing the Arts and Humanities. Penn State will be a leader in the arts and humanities, utilizing them—along with the sciences and other disciplines—as agents of change in addressing complex global issues.
  5. Driving Digital Innovation. Penn State will be a leader in preparing students for success in the digital age and use digitally optimized outreach to foster economic prosperity in communities across Pennsylvania and beyond.

This Plan’s supporting elements comprise:

  • Organizational Processes. Penn State will lead nationally in the design, development, and deployment of effective and agile organizational processes that support the University’s mission and vision.
  • Infrastructure and Support. Penn State will think creatively and act boldly to ensure that its academic infrastructure aligns with and supports the University’s mission and vision.
  • Constituent Outreach and Engagement. Penn State will partner directly and effectively with our constituencies in sharing consequential research, creative works, and scholarship for impact worldwide.
  • General implementation considerations cited at the end of this document provide a framework within which the plan’s ambitious goals will be achieved.

During a time of rapid societal change worldwide, the University’s strategic plan is a powerful beacon that will guide the institution to achieve even more meaningful accomplishments and deliver more benefits to the constituencies it serves. Penn State is excited about this plan and the hard work of delivering on its intent to make a University-wide commitment to impact.

Leadership—the president and provost

Dr. Eric J. Barron, President

Eric J. Barron, former dean at Penn State and former president of Florida State University, began his presidency at Penn State on May 12, 2014. Succeeding former President Rodney Erickson, who had served since 2011, Dr. Barron was named the 18th President of Penn State by the University’s Board of Trustees February 17, 2014.

The president has nearly 35 years of leadership experience in academic administration, education, research, and public service.

Dr. Barron returned to Penn State from the helm at Florida State, bringing with him nearly 35 years of leadership experience in academic administration, education, research, and public service, and a track record as a talented manager of fiscal policy within large and complex institutions. Dr. Barron led Florida State to two consecutive U.S. News and World Report rankings as the nation’s “most efficiently operated” institution of higher education.

Dr. Barron served as dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and founding director of the Earth System Science Center during his previous years at Penn State.

Dr. Barron earned a bachelor of science degree in geology at Florida State in 1973 before moving on to the University of Miami, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees in oceanography, in 1976 and 1980, respectively. Dr. Barron spent 20 years of his career at Penn State, serving as dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from 2002 to 2006, and as founding director of the Earth System Science Center, one of the first major initiatives focused on the total study of Earth as a system, from 1986 to 2002. He also had a simultaneous appointment as director of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Environment Institute from 1998 to 2002. In 1999, he was named Distinguished Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, and during his tenure as director, Industry Week magazine ranked him among “50 R&D Stars to Watch.”

An accomplished scientist with a long background in atmospheric research, Dr. Barron served as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) from 2008 to 2010 and as dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2008. Early in his career he was a postdoctoral research fellow and scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, a federal research center focusing on atmospheric and related science issues. Dr. Barron originally worked at NCAR as a postdoctoral fellow (1981–85), and served for one year on the faculty at the University of Miami before joining Penn State.

Dr. Barron has lent his scientific expertise to many national committees and federal organizations.

Over the decades, Dr. Barron has lent his significant expertise in the areas of atmospheric science and the geosciences to many national committees and federal organizations, including contributions as chair of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) science advisory board and nearly 20 years of service as the chair of multiple National Research Council committees and boards. Throughout his career he has earned numerous accolades and awards, including Penn State’s Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999); the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s (NASA) Distinguished Public Service Medal (2003); and the Bridge Builders Leadership Award from the Martin Luther King Foundation of Florida (2012).

Dr. Barron is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the Geological Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed papers in geology, oceanography, and climate issues.

Dr. Nicholas P. Jones, Executive Vice President and Provost

Dr. Nicholas P. Jones is The Pennsylvania State University’s executive vice president and provost.

As executive vice president, Dr. Jones serves as the chief executive officer in the President’s absence, and he is centrally involved in most University operations. As provost, Dr. Jones is the University’s chief academic officer, responsible for the administration of all of Penn State’s educational and research programs. He is charged with enabling and driving the success of about 17,000 faculty and nearly 100,000 students at Penn State’s campuses, including 24 throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the online World Campus. He also serves as the University’s chief budget officer.

Dr. Jones chairs the meetings of Penn State’s Council of Academic Deans and the Academic Leadership Council. He serves on the President’s Council and is an ex officio member of the University Faculty Senate and Senate Council. He also chaired the University Strategic Planning Council, which developed the University-wide strategic plan, titled “Our Commitment to Impact,” for the calendar years 2016 through 2020. Dr. Jones’ approach to leadership and strategic planning emphasizes collaboration, innovation, and the development of critical cross-disciplinary initiatives and partnerships.

Dr. Jones came to Penn State in July of 2013 from Johns Hopkins University, where he served as the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering and previously as Professor and Chairman of Civil Engineering. He also served for two years as Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds an MS and PhD in Civil Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and previously earned his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Organizational chart for the campus/cabinet

Academic Programs and Faculty

Penn State is in the top one percent of universities worldwide and has the largest alumni network in the nation. Founded in 1855, the University combines academic rigor with a vibrant campus life as it carries out its mission of teaching, research, and service with pride and focuses on the future throughout Pennsylvania and the world. Granted the highest rating for research universities by the Carnegie Foundation, Penn State teaches students to be leaders with a global perspective.

Our leadership in administration, faculty, and staff make our mission come alive every day. The Board of Trustees reviews and approves the budget of the University and guides general goals, policies, and procedures from a big-picture perspective. The President’s office ensures that all aspects of the University are running smoothly and promotes overall principles that students, faculty, and staff abide by for the long term. The University Faculty Senate represents the Penn State faculty with legislative authority on all matters regarding the University’s educational interests.

Penn State strives to celebrate diversity in all aspects of its educational and operational activities and the University’s strategic plans are designed to result in ongoing improvements that help prepare future generations of leaders.

Our ideals stem from our origins as Pennsylvania’s sole land-grant institution, which allow us to continue to bring positive impact to humanity through our teaching, research, and engagement mission. And across the world is a community of Penn Staters—more than half a million strong—driven by that same spirit to serve our local and global communities.

From access to state-of-the-art resources to interdisciplinary pursuits in collaborative atmospheres, a Penn State degree is more than an education. The experiences and knowledge gained here will form the foundation for the lives our students build. Their contributions to the world begin with a Penn State degree.

We Are Penn State.


No matter how you learn and work, in whatever discipline you choose, you’ll emerge with the same Penn State degree. For anyone with the willingness to put in the hard work—from the first-generation college students making up one-fourth of our student body to the more than 17,000 adult learners—our doors and resources are open.

This includes access to more than 275 baccalaureate degree programs across 24 campus locations —including a medical college, two law schools, and a school of graduate professional studies, plus an online World Campus.

If you have a dream and the determination, we want to help make it a reality. As part of our Invent Penn State initiative, Penn State has funded twenty-one innovation hubs designed to boost entrepreneurship and economic development in communities surrounding all our campuses.


Here, we believe ideas and solutions come from including a multitude of perspectives. Fifteen disciplines—from psychology to atmospheric science and materials engineering—rank nationally in the top ten for research expenditures. (Only one other major research university—Johns Hopkins—shares this distinction.) From stopping the spread of malaria to developing farming practices that protect the water quality in the Chesapeake watershed, our interdisciplinary researchers solve problems that impact the world.

And that collaboration extends beyond Penn State. As a top twenty-five research university, we collaborate with industrial, educational, governmental, and agricultural partners to research issues that are valuable to society. In each of the last four years, total research expenditures have topped $860 million, placing the University among the nation’s leaders.


Here, passion is met with collaboration in an environment that is rooted in shared pride for the accomplishments of our fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

With a comprehensive health system caring for more than one million patients a year and the world’s largest student-run philanthropic organization raising more than $127 million to benefit pediatric cancer research, Penn Staters cheer each other on to build a culture committed to service and engagement.

And that culture is diverse—our community is made up of students from all walks of life and more than forty countries around the world. Even after graduation, our community continues to share expertise and support. Our global network of more than half a million alumni is available to students when they want advice on job networking, mentoring opportunities, and what to expect in the future.


Our University values represent our core ethical aspirations for all our daily activities and actions as students, faculty, staff, and volunteers at Penn State.


Penn State has eighteen colleges, including three at special-mission campuses. The University Park campus is organized into fourteen distinct colleges, plus the Graduate School and the Division of Undergraduate Studies:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences
  • College of Arts and Architecture
  • Smeal College of Business
  • Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Health and Human Development
  • College of Information Sciences and Technology
  • Dickinson Law
  • Penn State Law
  • College of the Liberal Arts
  • College of Medicine
  • College of Nursing
  • Eberly College of Science
  • Schreyer Honors College
  • Graduate School
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology

In addition, the university’s Board of Trustees voted in January 2007 to create a School of International Affairs, with the first classes admitted in the fall 2008 semester. The school is part of Penn State Law.

Formerly the School of Nursing, on September 25, 2013, the Board of Trustees granted the nursing program college status.

The Student Body

Penn State Student Body Statistics

Enrollment                                                                                                      Number

Total Undergraduates University-wide                                                     76,700

Total Undergraduates at University Park                                                  40,552

Total Undergraduates at Other Campuses                                                36,148

Gender                                                                                                       Percentage

Female Undergraduates University-wide                                                     46 %

Male Undergraduates University-wide                                                          54 %

Residency                                                                                                 Percentage

Pennsylvania Students University-wide                                                       64 %

Pennsylvania Students at University Park                                                    57 %

Pennsylvania Students at Commonwealth Campuses                             81 %

Out-of-state Students University-wide                                                          36 %

Out-of-state Students at University Park                                                      43 %

Out-of-state Students at Commonwealth Campuses                                19 %

Race/Ethnicity                                                                                      Percentage

African American                                                                                                5.98 %

Asian American                                                                                                    6.13 %

Hispanic/Latino                                                                                                  7.21 %

Native American/Alaskan Native                                                                 0.11 %

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander                                                                0.10 %

White                                                                                                                     66.41 %

Multiple Races                                                                                                     3.28 %

Unknown/Undeclared                                                                                       1.74 %

International                                                                                                        9.03 %

Benefits Overview

  • Health insurance
  • Prescription drug insurance
  • Health savings account
  • Flexible spending account
  • Vision coverage
  • Dental coverage
  • Employee assistance program
  • Short-term disability
  • Long-term disability
  • Life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Supplemental retirement plans
  • Educational privileges

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately, and will continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to J. Scott Derrick at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Penn State website at

CAMPUS SECURITY CRIME STATISTICS: For more about safety at Penn State, and to review the Annual Security Report which contains information about crime statistics and other safety and security matters, please go to, which will also provide you with detail on how to request a hard copy of the Annual Security Report.

Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.