Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004

New Space, Familiar Face

Penn State Altoona's Dr. Lori Bechtel Hired as First Female Academic Dean

With the naming of Dr. Lori J. Bechtel as associate dean for academic affairs, Bechtel has again achieved a first for women at Penn State Altoona. Bechtel holds the distinction of being the first female full professor at Penn State Altoona, in addition to her new role as the first female associate dean for academic affairs at the College.

As Dr. Kjell Meling, academic dean for the College since 1978, retires this June, Bechtel will begin her tenure at the helm of academic affairs on July 1, 2004. Having served as professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State Altoona and as head of the Division of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences, in her new position she will be responsible for coordinating all academic programs and faculty development at the College.

"Our main challenge at this time is to ensure we are providing appropriate resources, including time, technology, space, and equipment, to our faculty and their programs so that we may continue to offer high quality academic programs. We need to build on the success we have already achieved, while constantly reviewing and improving our programs. I believe that maintaining and improving the quality of our academic programs should be our top priority." — —Dr. Lori Bechtel, on her top priorities as associate dean for academic affairs

About Bechtel

Penn State Altoona Firsts:
First female full professor at Penn State Altoona; will be first female associate dean for academic affairs.

Research Interests/Publications:
Primary prevention, specifically in curriculum development and comprehensive school health education; published nearly 40 articles and manuscripts; secured more than $2 million in external funding to support her research.

Most recently worked with colleagues at University Park on a five-year longitudinal study funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse entitled Project A.D.A.P.T (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Training).

Traveled with Penn State Altoona students and other faculty members to the Dominican Republic for the past two years on an alternative spring break trip to conduct service learning and educational activities with children in an orphanage.

Community Service:
Member of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Team; service on the board of directors of various community agencies, including the American Cancer Society's Blair Unit and the American Cancer Society's Pennsylvania Division, where she chaired the local and state Comprehensive School Health Education Committees and Coalitions for five years.

The Penn State Commission for Women's Achieving Woman Award for Faculty (2003); The Distinguished Educator Award from The Lock Haven University Alumni Association (1997); The Pennsylvania State University George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching (1993); and The American Cancer Society, Blair Unit Volunteer of the Year Award.

Central High School, Martinsburg, PA (1975); Lock Haven University, Bachelor of Science in health, physical education, and athletic training (1979); University of Illinois, Master of Science in health education (1980); The Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in health education and minor in counseling (1987).