Presidential Search Process
In November 2012, when Todd A. Milano announced that he would step aside as president of the college and continue to serve as president emeritus and ambassador to the Central Penn College Education Foundation, the presidential search committee (board members Harlon Robinson, William Kobel ‘81, Judy Redlawsk and Glenn Zehner) committed to updating the Central Penn College community periodically throughout the search process.
This webpage includes information about the search, as well as contact information for the search committee.
Email to introduce Central Penn’s ninth president, July 22, 2013
Dr. Karen Scolforo
By William Kobel ’81, Chairman of the Central Penn College Board of Directors
On behalf of the Central Penn College Board of Directors and the presidential search committee, I am pleased to announce that the board has voted unanimously to name Karen Scolforo, Ed.D., the College’s ninth president.
Dr. Scolforo is former executive director of the Fortis Institute and former Jacksonville campus president of Keiser University; both institutions located in northeast Fla. Throughout her 14 years of higher education executive leadership experience, Dr. Scolforo has demonstrated a commitment to enhancing student learning through a holistic approach to whole-student development. Much of her scholarly work in education has related to student outcomes, assessment and retention; and she has received numerous awards for her work in these areas.
From our first conversation, every member of the search committee was immediately impressed with Dr. Scolforo’s student-first mindset, entrepreneurial spirit, and the enthusiasm and fresh thinking she brings to her work. Dr. Scolforo is an accomplished college administrator. She will focus on academic excellence and creating a unique, inspiring experience for Central Penn students and our staff and faculty.
Dr. Scolforo was among the finalists for the position to succeed Todd A. Milano, who now serves as president emeritus and ambassador to the Central Penn College Education Foundation after 22 successful years as president.
“I was drawn to Central Penn College’s career-focused education, commitment to student success, and engaging campus culture,” Dr. Scolforo says. “Higher education has to evolve to meet the current needs of its students, communities and business leaders. I am excited to partner with an impressive group of higher education professionals, dedicated faculty and spirited students. Together we will explore new and exciting ways to fulfill the mission of Central Penn College, to expand the institution’s reach, and to serve a diversified population in preparation for workforce needs of the future.”
A sharp focus on student success
As president of Keiser University, Dr. Scolforo is a three-time award recipient of the ‘Campus of Distinction’ award for successful student outcomes, high retention, completion, licensure pass rates and placement; successes she attributes to visible, accessible, student-focused leadership. Under her leadership, Dr. Scolforo’s Keiser University campus experienced 559 percent growth.
In Dr. Scolforo’s most recent role as executive director at the Fortis Institute, she worked closely with community and business leaders to develop relevant curriculum for career training programs. At the Jacksonville campus of Keiser University, she led initiatives to offer new and relevant associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs to the diverse populations within the communities it serves. At her prior institutions, she has shown a commitment to social justice and diversity, and has researched the role of service projects as they relate to student retention, campus ownership and pride.
Dr. Scolforo has traveled throughout Europe and Asia and lived in Japan for a period of time; and believes in promoting global experiences for students, faculty and staff.
After her presidency at the Jacksonville campus of Keiser University, Dr. Scolforo was appointed regional vice president of operations for the Southeastern College System, where she directed five Southeastern Institute campuses along the eastern seaboard and managed a $30M operating budget. Her experience in multi-campus leadership positions her well to lead Central Penn’s Summerdale, Lancaster and Lehigh Valley locations.
Dr. Scolforo is adept at building community partnerships, workforce and community development and community service opportunities. An avid fundraiser and volunteer, Dr. Scolforo has served on two capital campaigns and currently serves on the development committee for HandsOn Jacksonville, a nonprofit fundraising organization serving the needs of thousands in the Jacksonville area.
She serves on numerous business, community and higher education advisory councils and associations in the Jacksonville area. Dr. Scolforo currently works with JAXUSA, a division of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, to develop programs to provide training for prospective employees of new businesses.
Education and credentials
As an educator, Dr. Scolforo has taught many student success courses. Previous educational roles she has served in are: regional executive director over three campuses in three New England states; school director, dean of education, director of admission and K-8 teacher.
She holds a doctoral degree in education leadership from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in writing and literature from Rivier University. A published writer, Scolforo has written books, papers and manuscripts on higher education, student success and leadership.
At her prior institutions, Dr. Scolforo has authored a nationally promoted service-learning project and implemented a writing center designed to serve students through their degree programs.
Continuing our career-focused reputation
Dr. Scolforo supports Central Penn’s mission and vision, and is dedicated to continuing the momentum Todd Milano built. Her growth strategies include: expansion of online education, new program development through comprehensive market analysis and community and business partnerships, identification of niche graduate programs, expansion of secondary and postsecondary articulation agreements, referral and alumni programs, innovative enrollment management, and increased student support services.
“I am committed to professional development for continual improvement, collaborative initiatives to enhance creativity and problem solving, and service as a core value,” says Dr. Scolforo. “As leaders in higher education, we are compelled to model lifelong learning, good citizenship, and commitment to diversity as we prepare our graduates for new careers or advancement in their chosen careers.”
Dr. Scolforo has adopted a student-first philosophy, and she embraces student feedback as a tool for continual improvement. She encourages a strong partnership between faculty and student support service teams on behalf of her students.
“These are the people serving on the front lines,” says Dr. Scolforo. “They hear directly from our students every day, and they have the power to enhance student success.”
The search process
Last fall, the presidential search committee—which includes three other board members—began the national search for Central Penn’s ninth president. The search committee moved with a sense of urgency, while at the same time being thorough and diligent in the review of each candidate. In eight months, we took the time necessary to choose the right person to lead Central Penn into the future.
The search relied extensively on college community feedback. The points shared by students, faculty and staff became a key part of our requirements for the position. Finalists for the position met with faculty, staff and administration, and a sampling of students from different student groups (traditional, continuing education, online).
Today’s announcement came after the review of a diverse pool of 127 highly-competitive candidates.
The qualitative and quantitative feedback from students, faculty and staff solidified what the search committee learned about Dr. Scolforo during her on-site visits, interviews, phone conferences, and information collected from references. The search committee paid attention to all the input provided.
Following meetings with faculty, staff and students, it was quite apparent that Dr. Scolforo was an excellent fit for Central Penn. She understands and appreciates the value of a career-focused education and has demonstrated the critical skills needed to maintain high academic standards. I know our college community will quickly embrace Dr. Scolforo as we work together to meet the challenges, and capitalize on the opportunities, that lie ahead in higher education.
Feedback for Dr. Scolforo indicated that she is someone who presented herself well and with tremendous energy, communicated clearly and answered questions honestly, and demonstrated a willingness to get involved at the school and in the community.
Dr. Scolforo’s references echoed this. They spoke positively about her ability to listen to her staff and to build consensus around what is best for students. One of her current employees stated, “She has a great ability to build her leadership team and give them the tools to be successful. She is a good strategic planner and involves the team in the process.”
Presidency to begin August 12
Dr. Scolforo will arrive on the Summerdale campus on August 12 and is eager to start meeting with students, faculty, staff, and the business and surrounding communities. Please extend her a warm, professional welcome.
Special events will take place shortly after Dr. Scolforo begins her presidency so you can meet with her. To learn more about Dr. Scolforo or leave her a welcome message, visit www.centralpenn.edu/president. Questions about Dr. Scolforo or the presidential search process can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame,Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, said that “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
We have a vision for Central Penn College. Dr. Scolforo believes in that vision and will bring fresh perspective and a new dimension to how we achieve that vision. I’m eager for all of us to interact and collaborate with her in achieving our goals and realizing our vision for Central Penn.
Email update on presidential search, June 3, 2013.
The Presidential Search Committee wants to thank all who participated in the interviews and meetings with the three candidates. We appreciate your commitment of time, your honesty and your professionalism throughout the process. The committee is now reviewing all of the information collected over the past three weeks in order to prepare a recommendation for the Board of Directors. This information includes survey data, interview notes, and comments collected from students, faculty, staff and board members during the candidates’ recent on-campus visits. We can assure you that the board will be thorough in its deliberations as it makes a decision that it believes is best for the College.
It is also important that the board handle this responsibility within the parameters of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; and in fairness to the students, faculty and staff of the College, as well as the three candidates, a decision will be made as soon as reasonably possible. However, in order to complete the process, a number of steps must be completed and this will take a few weeks.
The Search Committee
Harlon Robinson, Committee Chair
William Kobel, Board Chair
Email update on the national search, May 3, 2013.
Hello, Everyone. On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, I am pleased to report to you that the national search to identify a new president of Central Penn College is progressing in a timely manner.
To date, RPA, Inc., our executive search firm, reports making 775 contacts that have resulted in letters and applications from a diverse group of 127 candidates. Through the collaborative efforts of RPA and the search committee, we have identified four individuals unanimously believed to be best suited for the Central Penn College president position.
The search committee is scheduled to interview each of the four candidates at a neutral site this Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5. The goal of these interviews is to determine the individuals who will be invited to campus to participate in more extensive interview sessions. The campus interview sessions with the “finalists” for the position are tentatively planned to occur between May 13 and May 27. We will provide information regarding these sessions as soon as details are available.
It is hoped that a recommendation will be formed by the search committee and presented to the board of directors immediately after the campus interviews are completed. An employment start date will be determined at the time of a job offer, and an internal announcement regarding the selected candidate will be made as soon as all details are finalized.
The Search Committee
Harlon Robinson, Committee Chair
William Kobel, Board Chair
Visit the website for RPA Inc., the executive consultant search firm retained for the presidential search. In February 2013, RPA and presidential search committee facilitated a series of question and answer session for faculty and staff to learn more about the presidential search process and to share thoughts on the desired qualities and experience of the college’s next president.
Any comments and suggestions for the presidential search committee can be sent to email@example.com.
The search for Central Penn’s ninth president is guided by a presidential search committee whose four members include representatives from the college’s board of directors.
“While the board understands the need to move with a sense of urgency, thoroughness and diligence will be paramount,” said Board of Directors Chairman William Kobel when the presidential search announcement was made. “We are committed to taking whatever time necessary to choose the right person for Central Penn and its students.”
The committee members include:
- Harlon Robinson – Corporate V.P., Human Resources and Administration (retired), United Concordia Companies, Inc.
- William Kobel ‘81, chairman – Vice President, Strategy and Integrated Communications, JPL
- Judy Redlawsk – Director of Aviation Services Harsco Corporation
- Glenn Zehner, past chairman – Executive Director, CAIU (Retired), Professor, Lebanon Valley College, Educational Consultant