We have recently concluded a successful search for just the right person to serve as assistant dean for our College’s Office of Academic Programs. From a field of excellent candidates–each of whom took part in a series of interviews and presentations that involved faculty, staff, and students–we selected Penny Diebel for this important role. She begins in her new job as Spring Term opens here.
Dr. Diebel is an associate professor in our Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics who joined Oregon State in 1995 from the faculty of Kansas State University. Her initial assignment for our College was as a faculty member in the OSU Agriculture Program at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. She relocated to the Corvallis campus in 2010.
The assistant dean is point person at the College level for our students, so we sought someone who understands and has experience working with students across a broad range from recruitment to advising, curriculum development and teaching, retention to career planning, and beyond. There’s a hint about Penny’s effectiveness in many of those roles when one notes that students chose her in 2012 as the College’s Professor of the Year.
As she described her decision to apply for the assistant dean position, Penny said, “I am applying, first and foremost, because the primary duty of this position, to provide leadership in support of the student experience in the College…, has been and continues to be my personal goal as a faculty member of Oregon State University and of the higher education community.”
The College of Agricultural Sciences has long been committed to providing the best possible educational experience for our students. In Penny Diebel as assistant dean we will have someone who has long worked at national and University levels to define institutional best practices for student engagement and success. That policy-level work has been informed by her nearly two decades staffing recruiting booths, visiting high schools and community colleges, representing us at county fairs, and engaging with student groups. In those venues, she has been part of explaining the College’s programs and attracting students to the diverse paths toward education in agriculture, food, and natural resources and the many career opportunities there. She also understands how our College can contribute to increased education in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.
So, too, is our new assistant dean experienced at engaging students when they first arrive on campus, helping them discover how to be successful. She has a profound respect for our academic advisors and the individual attention they provide to our students. Together with our head advisor and departmental advisors, Penny will ensure that advising continues as an area of excellence for us. And as a teacher who has helped many students gain skills, develop intellectual maturity, and find passion in their studies, I know Penny will ensure curriculum development and teaching are high priorities.
I hope you soon have an opportunity to meet Penny Diebel personally but, even if that’s unlikely, I believe you may trust the College’s Academic Programs office is in good hands. Please join me in welcoming Penny and wishing her the best.
Dan J. Arp
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Director, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station