“At Penn State Abington, the visit was a unifying experience. I think Dr. Barron built everybody’s confidence in the continued stability and strong future of Penn State -- we all felt a sense of momentum surrounding the question of ‘how we make a great university even greater,’” she said. “The way he presented his six imperatives, as a starting point for learning from our community members about what we do well, was crucial, too. It was very clear that he was listening, and his engagement with our students, faculty, staff and community leaders was energizing.”
Barron said the opportunity to hear from so many members of the Penn State community has been informative as he begins to shape his strategic vision for the University.
“If I take a step back from all of these conversations, I have to say I have full confidence that we are operating at a high level of excellence – that’s something that great universities with great faculty do very naturally,” Barron said. “Part of what I’m looking for are the opportunities that we’re missing – making sure that we’re not just focused on success at the individual and program level, but that the work we do also is focused on the overall health of the institution and the success of our students.”
The conversations, too, have presented Barron with a chance to get to know Penn State on a much broader level. He already has spent 20 years of his career at Penn State, including four years as dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from 2002-06, but as he assumes the presidency it goes without saying that Barron is approaching the University from an expanded perspective.
“I left Penn State as a dean. Although I think every good dean is conscious about wanting the entire university to be successful, deans also have to focus on their college and their faculty, and on being competitive within their discipline,” Barron said. “The conversations I’ve had have been incredibly useful as I take broader view. As president, you have that same level of interest and that same approach to excellence, but now the entire family is yours.”