Kelly M. Austin, vice president of finance and administration at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, has been named the new chancellor at Penn State Schuylkill, effective June 1. He replaces previous Schuylkill chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk, who moved to the same role at Penn State Berks in 2011. Stephen Couch, director of academic affairs, has served as interim chancellor since July.
"Dr. Austin brings exceptional leadership experience to Penn State Schuylkill," said Madlyn Hanes, vice president for Commonwealth Campuses. "His accomplished service in senior administrative roles -- most notably in finance and business operations, academic and student support and community relations -- speaks to his broad expertise."
"It is an honor and a privilege to join the Penn State community, a nationally recognized institution of higher learning, as chancellor of the Schuylkill campus," Austin said. "Penn State Schuylkill's reputation for producing high quality graduates prepared for the jobs of the future is well known, and the excellence attributed to the first-class faculty and staff have positioned the campus for prosperity in an increasingly unstable national and international climate. I look forward to working with the campus community to serve the evolving workforce and cultural, artistic and educational needs of the citizens of the region and beyond."
Austin has been in his current role since 2008, serving as the chief business and administration officer of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. His duties include the development and implementation of a strategic plan, collaboration with senior officers to ensure student retention and leading the development and implementation of the campus operating budget, capital budget and auxiliary budget, among other responsibilities.
He also coordinates budget and administrative operations within larger University of Pittsburgh operations and oversees units including business operations, facilities management, athletics, information technology, budget office, campus police, housing, human resources, purchasing, the campus bookstore and dining services.
From 2007-08, Austin served as vice president of student affairs, where his duties included the development of a comprehensive outside-the-classroom student experience focused on leadership, involvement and service. He worked to foster a campus-wide student-centered atmosphere and an inclusive, open and safe environment while overseeing a residential student population of 1,800.
"Dr. Austin is regarded by his colleagues in the higher education community as an innovative leader, skillful at building positive community relations and strategic planning, and committed to shared governance and student-centered learning," Hanes said.
Austin earned his Ph.D. in administrative and policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh. He holds an M.B.A from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and bachelor's and master's degrees from Slippery Rock University.
Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, he served in multiple roles working directly with students at Embry-Riddle, including coordinator of first generation student programs, education specialist and academic advisor for first year programs and assistant director of student activities. He joined the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 2006 as director of student unions and student activities.
He has been active in numerous community service organizations, including United Way, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish, Habitat for Humanity and March of Dimes.
"I am confident that Penn State Schuylkill will enjoy its long-standing tradition of educational excellence and realize significant progress in the coming years under Dr. Austin's leadership," Hanes said.