Carla Panzella named Pitt’s next dean of students


via University of Pittsburgh

Carla Panzella will serve as Pitt’s next dean of students.

By Natalie Frank, News Editor

Carla Panzella will be Pitt’s new dean of students, according to a Friday morning announcement from Kenyon Bonner, the current vice provost and dean of students. Panzella, who previously served as associate vice president for student life and dean of students at Salem State University, will begin her role on Aug. 2. 

“Dr. Panzella’s strong strategic leadership and deep commitment to serving and advocating for students, staff, and the broader community make her a truly wonderful addition to our University and to the division of student affairs,” Bonner said. 

Pitt began its search for a new dean of students in February following an announcement that Bonner would move to an expanded role of vice provost for student affairs this fall. The announcement said Pitt is splitting Bonner’s role as vice provost and dean of students into two separate jobs in order to “integrate Student Affairs more widely across the institution to better serve Pitt’s students.”

Harshitha Ramanan, the president of Student Government Board and a search committee member, said Panzella was a “great” candidate to interview, and was “very excited” to know Pitt’s campus.

“Dr. Panzella has an awesome, bubbly personality so I’m very excited to work with her,” Ramanan said. “She was very interactive with us, especially during the student [interview] session.”

According to the announcement, Panzella earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Seton Hall University, an MA in organizational psychology and leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University and a BS in psychology from Saint Peter’s University, where she also served as associate vice president for student life and development prior to joining Salem State.

The announcement said Panzella was responsible at Salem State for “leadership and development of key functional areas of student life to maximize student success, including persistence and retention, student satisfaction and student learning.” Among her major accomplishments, the announcement said, were developing a bias response and prevention team and a CARE case management system for all students in response to COVID-19. At Saint Peter’s, Panzella opened a new six-story LEED Silver-certified student center in 2014 and planned the development of new residence halls to accommodate the growing student resident population.

Bonner said Panzella has a “deep commitment” to student well-being and “will continue the vital work of the division of student affairs as we support students in achieving their personal and academic goals.” Bonner also thanked the search committee for their work in the “comprehensive” search. 

“Carla stood out amongst the dozens of candidates in our national search as someone who would help drive the Pitt experience toward excellence with great care and compassion for our students, while also challenging and supporting our students and student affairs team to be their best selves,” Bonner said. “I am excited for Carla to join our Pitt family.”

Jon Moss contributed reporting.