Brandywine appoints new student affairs director

MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State Brandywine has appointed Brad Kovaleski as director of student affairs, effective Aug. 2. He has served as director of student services and engagement at Penn State Scranton since January 2016.

Brad Kovaleski

Penn State Brandywine has appointed Brad Kovaleski as director of student affairs, effective Aug. 2.

Credit: courtesy of Brad Kovaleski

“Brad has extensive experience in higher education leadership, enrollment management, and student and academic affairs, as well as strategic planning, retention efforts and community engagement,” said Penn State Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells. “He has a track record of collaboration at both the campus and University levels.”

Throughout his career, Kovaleski has implemented use of data metrics and learning outcomes in programs and services to increase student engagement and raise the quality of student learning experiences, all with the goal of offering successful programs that advance institutional objectives. He brings a strong understanding of student development theory and current trends and best practices in student affairs.

Kovaleski has been a leader on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, both on campus and in the community. At Scranton, he formed a Diversity Council and advocated for a new full-time multicultural coordinator. Since 2017, he has been program director for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Diversity Education Consortium, which works to create a more inclusive and dynamic culture among health care organizations, schools, colleges, and public and private businesses. He has partnered with the Scranton City and Lackawanna County departments of human resources to provide diversity, equity and inclusion training programs to more than 1,000 employees.

At Brandywine, Kovaleski will be a member of the chancellor’s senior leadership team and provide leadership and management for all student affairs units, which include student engagement and leadership, residence life, counseling and health services, and athletics, as well as student government, student conduct, and allocation of student fees to provide an excellent co-curricular student experience and sense of belonging for all students.

He also will lead and support efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion; behavioral threat management and early intervention; sexual misconduct prevention and response; and collaborating with student affairs colleagues and leaders across Penn State and the Commonwealth Campuses to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students.

At Penn State Scranton, Kovaleski’s collaboration with academic affairs, advising and admissions has led to improved student persistence and retention. He increased programs and services for students, including student service appointments, programs offered, community outreach, collaborations with academic affairs, retention interventions and DEI programs. He also was elected by his peers across Penn State to chair the University’s chief student affairs leadership council.

“Brad made significant impacts on student affairs that are too many to list,” said Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan A. Wafa. “His leadership role in improving the structure of the department, increased engagement of our students internally and externally, and his commitment to diversity is to be recognized not only within the campus community, but also in the region. He will be sorely missed. On behalf of our campus community, I wish him continued success in this new opportunity.”

Kovaleski has been active in the Scranton region, including with the Scranton Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the city of Scranton’s Ethics Board.

He previously served for eight years at Slippery Rock University, where he was director of student involvement and leadership and then executive director of student development.

Kovaleski earned a doctorate in organizational learning and leadership from Gannon University in Erie and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in college student personnel from Slippery Rock University.

“I am excited to be joining the Brandywine community,” he said. “My goal is to be an accessible, visible and compelling advocate for our students, campus and Penn State. I will work to establish transparent and cooperative relationships with the campus community and continue my work focusing on DEI and cultivating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment.”

“Through his commitment to student success, his collaborative approach to his work, his extensive experience with benchmarking and assessment, and his energy and enthusiasm, Brad will be a tremendous asset to our campus as we prepare for a greater in-person presence this fall and as we begin implementation of our new strategic plan,” Wells said.

Wells also thanked Gary Miller, associate director of student affairs, for his service as interim director for the past year and a half.

“Gary provided steady leadership to the department during a very challenging time for our students,” she said. “He successfully managed coronavirus testing protocols and public health guidelines while continuing to provide our students with enriching and engaging experiences both on campus and virtually.”