Russell Reynolds Associates Assists Penn State With Provost Search

May 15, 2023 – Following a national search, Russell Reynolds Associates has assisted in the recruitment of Justin Schwartz as Pennsylvania State University’s permanent executive vice president and provost. During the search Dr. Schwartz held the position on an interim basis. “Justin is the right person to lead our academic enterprise to new levels of success, and I am thrilled that he is now a permanent member of the leadership team,” said Neeli Bendapudi, president of Penn State. “Justin is a forward-thinking, collaborative leader with a proven record of recruiting and retaining talented, diverse faculty and staff, and investing in their development; of facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations that span academic domains; and creating opportunities for student academic, career and life success.”

“He shares my passion for the transformative impact of our land-grant mission and for maximizing the potential of our Commonwealth campuses, and he is committed to providing our students from all backgrounds with the highest-quality educational experiences and outcomes,” Dr. Bendapudi said.

The search committee highlighted Dr. Schwartz’s commitment to the university’s access mission and the Commonwealth campuses, his prolific personal research portfolio and success in helping to grow the research enterprise as dean of the College of Engineering, and the relationships he has developed with faculty and the university’s shared governance partners among the factors that made him the committee’s top choice.

Prior to joining Penn State, Dr. Schwartz was professor and department head of materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University since 2009, where he grew the department’s enrollments, faculty, research expenditures, and endowment. He also helped to recruit the Eastman Chemical Center of Excellence to NC State. In 2015, he co-founded and is chief executive officer of Lupine Materials and Technology Inc., an optical fiber sensors and magnetic materials company. From 1993 to 2009, Dr. Schwartz held various faculty positions at Florida State University, including serving as professor of engineering and senior research adviser to the vice president for research. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois in 1990.

“I am humbled and honored to serve this incredible institution as its next executive vice president and provost,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Working with Neeli and her leadership team has been a privilege for the last eight months, and the opportunity now to partner with her and our entire community to implement her vision for the university is exciting. Our people are what make Penn State so special, and my success will be measured by the accomplishments of our deans and chancellors, our faculty and staff, and our students.”

As provost, Dr. Schwartz will serve as Penn State’s chief academic officer and oversee all academic units within the university’s colleges, schools and campuses, as well as major academic support units.

Navigating the Insular World of Academic Recruiting
Passionate about higher education, recruiters for the academic sector face a range of challenges than those in other areas are unlikely to see, says Shawn M. Hartman, of Washington, D.C.-based Academic Search. Widespread input from across an institution’s community, lengthier searches and state sunshine laws are just some of the issues that executive recruiters working for institutions of higher learning must deftly navigate.

Pennsylvania State University is a public state-related land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, Penn State became the state’s only land-grant university in 1863. Today, Penn State is a major research university which conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery.

Experienced Recruiters

Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory and search firm. Its 520-plus consultants in 47 offices work with public, private, and non-profit organizations across all industries and regions. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.

Russell Reynolds provides executive search services across all areas of the global media, entertainment, technology, and athletics markets. The firm’s consultants bring the experience and ability to assess competencies and cultural fit of board members, CEOs, senior functional leadership, and players, with expertise in professional sports teams and leagues (CEOs, general managers, coaches, and players); digital, media, and entertainment; and technology-based start-ups.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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