Tapia named dean of Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Andrea Tapia has been named the permanent dean of the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), effective May 1. Tapia has held the role in an interim capacity since August 2023.  

As dean, Tapia will oversee all aspects of Penn State’s second-youngest academic college, including its pursuit of excellence and innovation in information technology education and research; initiatives to attract students, faculty and staff and support their development; an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; and stewardship of the college’s financial resources.  

Tapia was selected following a national search led by an 18-member committee and chaired by Clarence Lang, Susan Welch Dean and professor of African American Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts.  

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Tapia fill this leadership role at Penn State and for the College of IST, where she has built a longstanding and successful career over the last 20-plus years,” said Tracy Langkilde, interim executive vice president and provost. “Andrea is a collaborative leader and empowers others to meet their full potential. Her experience, enhanced by her commitment to and passion for IST’s mission, positions her to successfully advance the college’s interdisciplinary approach to solving the complex challenges that exist in an information society. I am confident that IST will thrive under her leadership.” 

Tapia joined the College of IST, which enrolled its first students in 1999, as a fixed-term faculty member in 2002. She became an assistant professor in 2003, was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2010 and became a full professor in 2019. She served as the director of graduate programs in IST from 2015 to 2018 and as the professor in charge of the college’s social and organizational informatics research area.  

From September 2021 until she was named interim dean, Tapia served as IST’s associate dean for research. In that role, she was responsible for driving the college’s research priorities; fostering collaboration with institutional, federal and industry partners; and representing IST in research-related activities. She supported initiatives across the college’s four primary research areas — data sciences and artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, privacy and security, and social and organizational informatics. 

“I am profoundly honored to have this opportunity to lead the College of IST in a permanent capacity and eager to continue the work already underway,” Tapia said. “As we navigate the challenges of a new budget environment, I hope to instill in our faculty and staff a sense of hope, positive energy and stability. And I am excited to reinvigorate alumni relations and recharge our advisory board to engage even more deeply with the college.” 

As interim dean, Tapia has been engaged with the current 12-member IST advisory board on the college’s top objectives. She has hosted meetings with the board and additional college leadership, and she worked with the leadership team at Penn State’s University Development central office and IST’s development office to set the groundwork for the upcoming launch of the next University-wide campaign.  

Philanthropy has increased under Tapia’s leadership. Since August, she has encouraged new donors and stewarded past donors to find novel ways to support the college and the University, including a $250,000 gift to provide a one-to-one matching commitment for first-time gifts from IST alumni and a $155,000 pledge to name a new Student Engagement Center in the Westgate Building. She is currently working with IST and principal gifts to establish a student success center in Westgate Building.  

“As we celebrate the successes of the past 25 years, we also look forward to growing IST,” Tapia said. “I envision partnering with other colleges and departments across the University to develop new undergraduate and graduate degree programs and opening international doors for global collaboration.” 

Tapia is an international scholar in crisis informatics. Her research has examined the way that information technology impacts and is impacted by social, cultural, political, economic and organizational structures.  

“Information and digital technologies are evolving at an astounding rate and becoming increasingly embedded in all aspects of the human experience,” Tapia said. “I look forward to partnering with our leadership team, faculty, staff and alumni to ensure that the College of IST continues to play a significant and positive role in this evolution.” 


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