UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Paul Clark, professor and director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations in the College of the Liberal Arts, has been awarded the 2014 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration.
The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment and service.
Over the past decade, Clark led School of Labor and Employment Relations faculty in developing and implementing an online professional master’s degree in human resources and employee relations. Launched in 2008, the degree is targeted toward working professionals and currently has the largest enrollment of any World Campus degree, with an average student age of 34. One nominator said, “Paul Clark, first a leader in traditional on- and off-campus education, has been one of Penn State’s most successful pioneers in the modern world of online education, broadening opportunities for higher education to thousands around the globe.”
Even though Clark has been the department head and graduate program director since 2002, he continues to teach the 100-level introduction to labor and employment relations course to up to 200 students each year, saying he is passionate about introducing students to his field. He also meets regularly with students to discuss their academic performance and career aspirations. One former student wrote that Clark was important “in my transformation from a student-athlete at Penn State who only thought about athletics to an individual who puts academics before all.”
Clark is also widely recognized for his scholarship. He is the author or editor of six books and 55 scholarly articles and book chapters. He has presented papers and invited lectures at professional meetings and universities across the United States and around the world. He regularly discusses the practical implications of his research with unions and government agencies and helped create the Labor Research and Action Network, which brings academic researchers and labor practitioners together. Topping his long list of publications is the 2009 landmark monograph Building More Effective Unions, which translates academic social and behavioral science research for an audience of union leaders and administrators and is one of the best-selling books ever published by the Cornell University Press. Widely used by trade unions and universities in the United States and abroad, the book “has become the bible of effective union organization and operation,” a nominator said.
In addition to serving as department head and school director for 13 years, Clark was a member of the University Faculty Senate for 12 years and has served on many college and university committees over his 34-year career at Penn State.