Kevin Kinser embraces leadership role in Education Policy Studies

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kevin Kinser is the new Education Policy Studies (EPS) department head in the College of Education, and he’d like to see the programs continue to advance on their current, successful path.

Maintaining and accelerating the excellence and achievement of the programs is his top priority, he said. “It’s a kind of place that’s had a lot of success. I don’t want to do anything to get in the way of that success, but I also want to make sure we’re not resting on our laurels. I want to continue to move forward and be the best program, best option for students seeking education and training in education policy,’’ Kinser said.

Kinser, a professor of education who most recently held a similar position at the University of Albany, is replacing Gerald LeTendre, who is resuming faculty responsibilities.

The college’s overall academic program attracted Kinser, and he was not at all unfamiliar with it. “My area is higher education, higher education policy, and I know several other people in higher education here and have been familiar with its status for a while,’’ he said. “I’ve known people who have worked here.

“I know the rankings of the programs that were here, particularly the higher education policy programs. One of my good colleague writing partners, someone I’ve been doing a lot of writing with over the past seven or eight years, is a graduate of this program, so I knew it (Penn State) through him as a place that produced good people doing good work.’’

Kinser earned his doctoral degree in higher education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Two master’s degrees in student personnel administration also were achieved at Columbia; he received his bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Dayton.

“We welcome Kevin into his new role as head of Education Policy Studies,’’ College of Education Dean David H. Monk said. “Kevin has proven himself to be an outstanding scholar and academic administrator, and we are very fortunate to have succeeded in recruiting him to the college. His leadership will play a key role in helping the department continue to thrive.’’

Kinser’s vision of EPS growth is worldwide, and he’s delighted to have Penn State World Campus at his disposal to promote the programs. “Penn State as an institution has a very good reputation globally and to be able to take advantage of that reputation, to extend the reach of this department and its programs internationally, connects to the comparative and international education program, or dual degree, that we have here,’’ he said.

“One of my main interests is in internationalization of higher education. It’s a pretty interesting opportunity to be able to take a program like that and focus and think about how the international connections of faculty and students that we have here can be used to benefit us more broadly around the world.

“It’s not growth for growth’s sake, obviously, it’s really thinking about what makes the most sense,’’ Kinser said, citing and complimenting “face-to-face teaching” on which the college has developed its reputation. “So I’m thinking about what the balance is between these different areas,’’ he said.

Previous undertakings, Kinser said, included thinking about what it meant to prepare principals and superintendents for the 21st-century education system. “And being able to come into a place like this that has that kind of program in a different state with a different policy environment, different connections to the school districts, it’s kind of exciting to see what we might be able to do with curriculum,’’ he said.

“But also I think about it in terms of the innovation of education that’s occurring, the different models of education, different structures that we have, the impact of technology and other kinds of forms of communication and the way we talk about education, the way we provide resources to students. Thinking about different ways of organizing education has always been an interest of mine.’’

Kevin Kinser is the new department head in Education Policy Studies in the College of Education. Credit: Jim Carlson / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated September 06, 2016