Pauley named interim executive director of Faculty Senate


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Laura Pauley, professor of mechanical engineering and former Penn State Faculty Senate secretary, has been appointed the Faculty Senate’s interim executive director.

Pauley, who has served as a senator for 28 consecutive years, will assume her new position effective Jan. 3, 2022. She succeeds Dawn Blasko, who has served in the role since 2017.

“We are fortunate to have a person as experienced as Laura to lead the University Faculty Senate during this transitional period,” said Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones. “I look forward to working with her as the Senate continues to fulfill its critical roles and responsibilities at Penn State through the process of shared governance.”

The executive director of the Faculty Senate is responsible for overseeing all functions of the senate office, including supervising a staff of five and supporting and facilitating the senate in the performance of its duties. The director provides comprehensive support to Faculty Senate leadership, oversees the annual election of senate officers, collaborates with campus leadership and administration, leads the creation of the senate’s annual publications, and plays a central administrative role in the senate’s work as a representative and legislative body.

“I’d like to personally welcome Laura into this senate leadership role,” said Faculty Senate Chair Bonj Szczygiel. “Having served the senate in several leadership positions, Laura will ably take on the needed tasks that allow the Senate office to flow smoothly. The office will be in good hands as the search for a permanent executive director is conducted.”

Pauley’s service with the Faculty Senate began in 1993, and she served as the senate secretary for the 2015-16 academic year. She has held additional senate leadership positions, including University Planning Committee chair, Educational Equity and Campus Environment Committee chair and Undergraduate Education Committee chair. A current member of the Faculty Affairs Committee, she has also served as member of Senate Council and chair of the Engineering Caucus, and twice served as a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President.

A researcher who studies energy systems and thermal and fluid sciences, Pauley has been recognized with the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society’s Premier Teaching Award, Outstanding Teaching Award and Outstanding Advising Award, as well as with the University’s Undergraduate Program Leadership Award.

“It is an honor to be selected as the interim executive director of the Penn State Faculty Senate,” Pauley said. “I look forward to working with faculty, administrators and senate staff in this new role. The Faculty Senate provides an important role in the shared governance of the University, and I hope to follow Dawn’s strong leadership in facilitating faculty contributions from campuses, colleges and units across the University.”

A permanent successor for Blasko will be determined through a search process that is currently underway. Jonna Kulikowich, who served as chair of the Faculty Senate for the 2014-15 academic year, has been named search committee chair.

An official job posting will be available on the University’s employment website in the near future, and faculty members are encouraged to apply. Candidates are expected to hold a current full-time faculty position at Penn State, and should be able to demonstrate excellent administrative and leadership abilities. Prior experience in the Faculty Senate is preferred. Familiarity with senate and University policies, the curriculum and implementation of new technology are necessary attributes.


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