Penn College Names New Chief Academic Officer

Published 04.13.2006

Faculty & Staff

Pennsylvania College of Technology's Board of Directors today approved the hiring of Lizabeth Self Mullens as the next vice president for academic affairs/provost.

Veronica M. Muzic, who plans to retire from the vice president/provost position later this year after more than 30 years of teaching and administrative leadership at the college, will remain for several months to aid in Mullens' transition into the role of chief academic officer.

Mullens, who has served as director of the Women's Leadership Initiative in the College of Health and Human Development at The Pennsylvania State University since 2003, will assume her new position on July 1.

"The student-centered learning environment is exactly the place in which I belong," Mullens said. "I entered academic administration early in my career because I learned that was the place to begin to be able to change programs and impact outcomes for students. I look forward to being a part of an effective leadership team to build opportunity for people and organizations."

In her current position, Mullens directs a program for undergraduate women students and alumnae mentors. She oversees faculty and alumnae recruitment, as well as student recruitment, selection, and advising. She also led the design of a faculty leadership development program, intended for development and implementation in 2006-07 in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State.

"My passion is to create the environments and opportunities that empower others to discover their strengths and move forward with confidence to accomplish goals," Mullens said. "Higher education is the place in which I can live that passion every day, working with students, staff, faculty and other colleagues to find and share the unique talents and skills that are in all of us."

Prior to her arrival at Penn State, Mullens had 11 years of faculty and administrative experience in Maine. She began as an adjunct faculty member at Southern Maine Technical College and later worked with the University of Maine first as a consultant with the Maine Work and Family Institute at the university's Farmington campus and later as an educator with the university's cooperative-extension program and a local adult and community education unit.

She began her career in 1977 as a graduate research assistant at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she earned her Ph.D in human ecology-interdisciplinary and her master's degree in textiles and apparel after completing a bachelor's degree in home economics education at Miami University, Ohio. She joined the faculty in the School of Home Economics at Tennessee Technological University in 1979; from 1985-89, she served as director of the School of Home Economics and associate dean of the College of Agriculture & Home Economics at that university. From 1989-92, she was the assistant vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate and summer programs at Adams State College in Colorado.

As chief academic officer, Mullens will lead Penn College's eight academic schools, which enroll more than 6,000 students and employ more than 294 faculty. She also will oversee all related academic services and auxiliary operations, including noncredit Workforce Development and Continuing Education, which serves more than 2,000 corporate and community clients and administers statewide, grant-funded training initiatives.

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour, who, prior to her appointment as president in 1997 also served as the college's vice president/provost, said Mullens' appointment, following Muzic's retirement, marks a milepost in the institution's history.

"I would never say that it's the end of an era, because Veronica Muzic's influence on this college and this community will never end," she said. "She is an extraordinary teacher and administrator. She is a role model for students, alumni, and colleagues who have the highest respect, admiration and love for her. She is a community leader who devotes her life to expressing her passion for education, culture and the arts. Veronica's influence is in the air we breathe on this campus; that will never change. Fortunately, we have found in Lizabeth Mullens a leader whom we expect will carry the torch with equal passion and commitment. I look forward to working with Lizabeth to chart a continued record of success for academic affairs and Penn College."