Associate Vice Provost for Global Programs Rob Crane to retire July 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Global Programs has announced that Associate Vice Provost Rob Crane will retire in July 2021 from the University after 36 years as a faculty member and an administrator.

Rob Crane, associate vice provost for Global Programs at Penn State. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

“Throughout his long and successful career at Penn State, Rob Crane has championed the need to situate his research and academic discipline in the global context. His legacy to all the students who he has taught and advised is extraordinary, and faculty and staff consider him a knowledgeable, inspiring and gracious colleague,” said Roger Brindley, vice provost for Global Programs.

Brindley continued, “In recent years he has become a critical voice as Global Programs worked to enhance global engagement within the values and goals of the University. His thoughtful but always calm and caring demeanor is respected across the commonwealth and around the country, and Global Programs will miss an exemplary leader and a good friend when Rob retires.”

Crane came to Penn State as an assistant professor of geography in 1985 and was promoted to professor in 1994. His early work was on sea ice-climate interactions and on the use of satellite microwave data for sea ice analysis. His was some of the earliest University work with satellite microwave data and from 1997 to 2000 he served on the NASA Earth Observing System Science Executive Committee. Soon after arriving at Penn State, Crane became interested in projecting future climate change and, with his then doctoral student Bruce Hewitson, Crane pioneered the concept of “statistical downscaling” global climate model projections for regional-scale climate change and published one of the first papers on climate downscaling in 1992.

Crane and Hewitson continued their partnership, publishing several papers on regional climate change and downscaling methodologies over the next 20 years. Much of that work was focused on sub-Saharan Africa, during which time, Crane was a frequent visitor to Hewitson’s Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town.

During his tenure in the Department of Geography, Crane taught 19 different courses in geography and earth science and co-developed and co-led 15 embedded or short-term courses to South Africa, the Bahamas and Curacao. Crane won the Earth and Mineral Sciences Mitchel Award for Innovative Teaching in 2013.

Crane served as associate director of the EMS Earth System Science Center from 1990 to 1993 and associate dean for education in EMS from 1993 to 2007. He served as interim dean of the college from 2006 to 2007. After stepping down from the associate dean position he served as director of the Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering and Development in Africa (AESEDA) from 2007 to 2015. Early during that tenure, AESEDA moved to the Office of Global Programs, which began Crane’s more formal association with the office. Crane chaired the University Strategic Planning Council Task Force in Internationalization in 2008-09, which led to the development of the University’s strategy for developing institutional strategic partnerships and the formation of the Global Engagement Network.

Crane led that effort until he was appointed associate vice provost for Global Programs in 2017. He also served as interim vice provost from January 2019 to April 2020.

Crane was awarded the University’s LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award in 2013.

“I am grateful to have spent my career at an exceptional university and working with some incredible people,” said Crane. “The memories I will cherish the most are those times spent with colleagues taking students on field programs abroad, while working with a wonderful group of colleagues in Global Programs to further enhance Penn State’s reputation and engagement around the world.”

Global Programs will begin the search for his replacement this month.

Last Updated April 14, 2021