Thornton named Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program Fellow

Head shot of a Black man with blue-framed glasses smiling.
Darrin Thornton, associate dean for academic affairs and outreach and teaching professor of music, has been named as one of six Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Academic Leadership Program (ALP) fellows from Penn State for 2022-23. The BTAA is an academic consortium of Big Ten universities that aims to promote collaboration among research universities, and the ALP focuses on addressing the challenges of academic administration at the respective universities. Each year, the ALP recognizes academic leaders who have demonstrated exceptional ability and administrative promise. The fellowship aims to further develop their leadership and managerial skills during a one-year term with funding provided by the participating institutions. “I am humbled and honored to have been selected as one of six leaders to represent Penn State,” Thornton said. “My philosophy of continuous learning being at the heart of effective leadership, and a fulfilling life in general, fits well with the program, and I plan to take full advantage of access to administrative colleagues from within Penn State and throughout the Big Ten Alliance.” During the one-year fellowship, Thornton will participate in two in-person seminars at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Penn State, and one virtual seminar. The time between seminars will include local sessions with more focused discussions and collaboration. “I expect this fellowship will operate like most learning situations in that the more you put into it the more you get out of the experience,” Thornton said. “Success for me is feeling I committed to the program over the course of the year and did the thinking, questioning, exploring, asking, listening, sharing and interacting to actively learn and grow as much as possible.” B. Stephen Carpenter II, the Michael J. and Aimee Rusinko Kakos Dean in the College of Arts and Architecture, said that he is excited about Thornton’s appointment to the ALP and looks forward to him sharing his ideas and experiences gained from the fellowship. “As a leader, Darrin is genuinely curious about institutional operations, opportunities and policies. His participation in this program will provide him invaluable access to insights and other approaches,” Carpenter said. “His new perspectives will enable us to advance the goals of our strategic plan in the College of Arts and Architecture.” Joining Thornton as BTAA, ALP Fellows representing Penn State are:
  • Jeffrey Bardzell, professor of information sciences and technology and associate dean of undergraduate and graduate studies, College of Information Sciences and Technology.
  • Dan Cahoy, professor of business law and research director of the Center for the Business of Sustainability, Smeal College of Business.
  • Miguel Mostafa, associate dean for research and innovation, Eberly College of Science.
  • Michele Stine, associate teaching professor of biobehavioral health and chair of the University Faculty Senate, College of Health and Human Development.
  • Shelley Stoffels, associate dean for faculty and professor of civil and environmental engineering, College of Engineering.
Click here for more information about the Academic Leadership Program.