Position Announcement for the Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s land-grant institution and its largest university, invites applications and nominations for the position of Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Eberly College of Science. This is an extraordinary opportunity to lead a highly esteemed college at Penn State, a premier university committed to making positive impacts worldwide through stellar teaching, research, and service.

Penn State embraces its land-grant mission to serve the public good and create a better future for its students, the Commonwealth, and the world. The University, which enrolls approximately 96,000 students on 24 campuses in Pennsylvania and online via its World Campus, functions as one University, geographically distributed. With a $6.8 billion annual operating budget, it has more than 17,000 full-time faculty and staff and offers more than 160 baccalaureate degree programs.

Research and innovation are at the core of Penn State’s mission. The University’s research expenditures totaled $968 million in 2018-2019, a record high for the third consecutive year. Moreover, according to the National Science Foundation rankings of 2018 research expenditures, the breadth of Penn State’s research surpasses that of any other university in the country, ranking in the top 10 in 18 research fields.

The Eberly College of Science strives to build a better future for its students and society by creating and sharing knowledge and discoveries through impactful research and delivering innovative undergraduate and graduate education and assessment. Through a strong outreach program, the College plays an important role in enhancing public understanding of science, and its nearly $128 million in research expenditures make up 13% of the University’s total.

The College provides instruction and research opportunities in life, mathematical, physical, and interdisciplinary sciences in its seven departments: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics. All these academic departments have impressive National Research Council ratings, placing them among the best nationwide.

Further demonstrating its deep commitment to collaborative, interdisciplinary opportunities and the education of future scientists, the College is home to 16 centers, offices, and institutes that attract top students and foster robust fundamental and applied research.

The Eberly College of Science enrolled 3,496 undergraduate and 712 graduate students in Fall 2019. The College’s 616 faculty in Fall 2019 comprised 239 full, associate, and assistant professors, and 377 instructors, lecturers, and teaching/research faculty. The faculty includes four National Medal of Science recipients, 16 members of the National Academy of Sciences, and 14 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The College also hosts 14 of the University’s 25 Evan Pugh Professors, the highest honor bestowed on Penn State faculty. The College’s 287 staff members in Fall 2019 included executives, academic administrators, and staff at all levels.

The Eberly College of Science values and advances inclusion, equity, and diversity by:

  • Recruiting, supporting, and advancing a diverse faculty, staff, and student body;
  • Fostering a culture of respect and inclusion that values the experiences and perspectives of its faculty, staff, and students;
  • Evaluating and evolving organizational structures, policies, and practices that cause differential impacts and limit access and opportunities for faculty, staff, and students; and
  • Developing and implementing curricula and scholarship that reflect the importance of inclusion, equity, and diversity in the College.

Reporting to Nicholas P. Jones, the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University, the Dean of the Eberly College of Science serves as the College’s principal academic and administrative officer. The Dean leads the College’s strategic planning and fundraising efforts and manages its facilities and fiscal resources. The College’s next Dean will:

  • Possess a Ph.D. or terminal degree in a related field or equivalent and a distinguished record of scholarly achievement meriting tenure at the rank of Professor under the College’s criteria;
  • Be an accomplished scholar with a track record of transformative leadership and an understanding of and passionate commitment to higher education;
  • Be an engaged and visible leader on campus and beyond, with a transparent, approachable, and facilitative management style;
  • Develop and advance a keen vision for the College and provide exemplary leadership to augment its visibility and stature within and outside the University;
  • Continue to strengthen the College’s academic programs, with an emphasis on developing the critical skills that prepare them to be the next generation of innovative scientists;
  • Enhance the collaborative academic environment throughout the College;
  • Prioritize the College’s commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity;
  • Make decisions and take actions to ensure that the College is productive, culturally inclusive, and stronger in its science education and basic and applied research; and
  • Build and sustain connections with other Penn State colleges to emphasize and leverage the centrality of the sciences; and
  • Engage with alumni and corporate partners to build enduring relationships and grow the College’s gift funds and endowments.

Inquiries about and nominations and applications for this position are invited. Interested applicants should forward an electronic version (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files preferred) of their curriculum vitae and a letter of interest to:

Jett Pihakis and Joi Hayes-Scott

Russell Reynolds Associates


(202) 654-7800


Though all materials received will be reviewed, for priority consideration please submit materials by

March 16, 2020.


Penn State University 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.