A Message from Dean Kimberly A. Lawless

Greetings and welcome to the Penn State College of Education. As the new dean in the Penn State College of Education, I am excited to introduce myself, as well as to connect with you.

I joined the College as dean and professor of education (educational psychology) this fall after a 20-year career at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). At UIC, I served as the associate dean for research for six years, following two terms as a department chair.

As I begin the deanship here at Penn State, I have been deeply focused on connecting with the human and intellectual capital of the College. The mission of the College of Education at Penn State is to deepen and extend knowledge about the formation and utilization of human capabilities. This broad and exciting mission permits us to focus on teaching, learning and research in many different content areas and with learners of many different ages.

Our mission has given rise to numerous top-rated programs impacting all sectors of the educational ecosystem, including the preparation of future teachers, counselors, psychologists, administrators, therapists and policy analysts. A significant addition to our program portfolio is a minor in social justice that allows students across the entire University to critically examine educative practices that can improve the trajectory of our citizenry. Finally, our mission helps drive the cutting-edge research conducted by our faculty and students that endeavors to understand and address enduring issues in education.

I encourage all visitors to this site to explore the richness of the College of Education at Penn State. If you are a prospective student, I encourage you to explore the numerous residential and online programs of study we offer, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as the exciting research projects currently being explored by our faculty. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in learning more about our work or have any additional questions. We monitor the [email protected] address regularly and try to respond to questions promptly. You also can reach the dean’s office at 814-865-2526.

Again, welcome and best wishes.


Our Vision and Mission

The College of Education conducts its programs and activities guided by overarching Vision, Mission, Goals, Values, Beliefs statements. All are revisited periodically and revised, if appropriate.


The College of Education will be a world leader in the integration of (a) teaching and learning, (b) advancement of the knowledge base through research and scholarship, and (c) leadership in service and outreach. Further, the College will be a world leader in preparing professionals who provide leadership and exemplary educational and related services to improve the lives of individuals in a changing and complex global society.


The mission of the College of Education at Penn State is to deepen and extend knowledge about the formation and utilization of human capabilities.


  • Help to prepare educational professionals recognized for the quality and significance of their teaching, research, scholarship, service, outreach, and leadership.
  • Provide widely recognized leadership in the improvement of teaching, learning, and the assessment of educational outcomes across the life span through research, scholarship, and technology.
  • Enhance the commitment of faculty, staff, and students to the centrality of diversity, social justice, and democratic citizenship.
  • Provide leadership in the development of collaborative, professional relationships with schools, organizations, and other institutions focused on the improvement of education in schools, communities, and workplace settings.
  • Sustain a caring, supportive climate throughout the College.
  • Enhance the effective and efficient management of the College.


  • academic excellence and integrity
  • outstanding teaching and service
  • scholarly research and professional leadership
  • integration of teaching, research, and service
  • individual and collective excellence
  • diversity, equity, and social justice
  • education of individuals across the life span
  • collegiality and collaboration


  • A literate and educated citizenry is vital to a democratic society.
  • All people are entitled to a high-quality education, grounded in sensitivity to individual dignity, professional integrity, and a positive and nurturing environment.
  • A dynamic education system fosters an equitable, productive economy in a global environment.
  • Teaching and learning should be informed by scholarly research and effective practice.
  • School improvement should be based on sound research, the application of theory as it relates to effective practice, policy development, and collaboration with practitioners.
  • Technology should be used to improve the quality of teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and outreach to the state, nation, and the world.
  • Interdisciplinary programs should be used to enhance human learning, growth, and development across the life span.