Penn State School of International Affairs Leadership Transition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) will have a leadership transition this spring.  After over five years as its director, Dr. Scott Gartner will be leaving the Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) on March 1, 2021 to become the provost and academic dean of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)

“This is a tremendous leadership opportunity for Dr. Gartner but a big loss for SIA,” states SIA Dean Dr. Hari Osofsky. “Dr. Gartner has contributed enormously to the growth and development of SIA through his energetic, impactful leadership. I am very grateful to him and have deeply appreciated our partnership. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Gartner and wishing him all the best in his transition.” 

During Dr. Gartner’s tenure as director, SIA became a full member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA), created the Office of Academic Advising and Student Services, founded Penn State’s first graduate education abroad portfolio, initiated online classes, increased the size and diversity of the student body and faculty, increased the number of public events, and expanded collaborations across the university through affiliated faculty, Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) programs, joint hires and partnerships. He also has provided important leadership and collaboration to help SIA through the challenges of the past several months. 

“It has been an honor to be the director of SIA,” states Dr. Gartner. “I could not be more proud of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and Board, in terms of both their impressive individual achievements and our supportive and inclusive community. I would like to thank everyone who made my tenure at SIA so incredible. SIA is a terrific school with amazing people and I will always treasure my time there as a faculty member and director—thank you!”
Dean Hari Osofsky and the University are committed to a smooth transition and ambitious trajectory for SIA. Osofsky states, “I am delighted to report that Dr. Elizabeth Ransom, associate director of SIA, has agreed to serve as interim director. SIA is extremely lucky to have a leader of her caliber guiding the school in this transitional period. She will begin her role on March 1, 2021 and serve through the 2021-22 academic year. This will provide SIA with strong leadership and stability while we conduct a national search for SIA’s next director.” 

Dr. Ransom brings extensive academic and professional leadership experience, as well as interdisciplinary insights into international affairs, to her role as interim director. In addition to serving as SIA associate director, Dr. Ransom has served on the Strategic Planning Committee for both SIA and the Rock Ethics Institute, the Sabbatical Review Committee, the Professors of Practice Review Committee, and in several academic leadership roles at the University of Richmond including as the NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative appointed by the president of the university, on two Dean’s Advisory Councils, and on numerous search committees. She has served on the editorial board of several professional journals in her field, on a National Academy of Sciences committee, as an elected officer for numerous professional organizations, as a Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and as a Fulbright Global Scholar. She also has received numerous grants, including from the National Science Foundation. The Rural Sociological Society recognized her in 2015 with an Excellence in Instruction Award. 

“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as interim director of SIA and to collaborate with all of you,” states Dr. Ransom. “It has been a pleasure to work with Dean Osofsky and Dr. Gartner closely as associate director, and I look forward to our partnership in developing SIA’s bright future as it enters its next chapter.”

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