Wayne Smutz, executive director of Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus and associate vice president for academic outreach, has been selected as the new dean of continuing education and UCLA Extension, subject to approval by interim action of the UC regents. His appointment is slated to take effect Oct. 15.
With more than 30 years of experience in the fields of continuing education, distance education, outreach and engagement, Smutz (pronounced smoots) brings a wealth of knowledge and perspective to this critical position, according to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh, who announced Smutz’s selection today in a letter to the campus.
At Penn State, Smutz has served in a variety of leadership roles related to program development, marketing, strategic development and online learning. In his current roles, he provides strategic direction and operational leadership for World Campus and continuing education credit programs, overseeing more than 90 degree and certificate programs; student support services, including advising and learning design; and administrative activities associated with adult learners. World Campus, Penn State’s online campus, has nearly 55,000 course enrollments per year, serving more than 12,000 unique World Campus students and 6,000 resident students, and reaching learners in all 50 states and 70 countries.
Dedicated to helping individuals transform their lives through education, he has embraced a learner-centric approach with a focus on enhancing access to quality educational programs and ensuring that students have the support necessary to succeed, Waugh said in his letter. Committed to campus partnership, he has been instrumental in strengthening relationships with academic departments and enhancing the World Campus’s visibility within and beyond Penn State.
Smutz said he is looking forward to working closely with UCLA’s faculty and leadership to extend UCLA’s reach and reputation as a premier national and international public university.
"We’re in a very dynamic period of change in higher education," Smutz said. "From my perspective, continuing education and UCLA Extension have an important role to play in UCLA’s future by serving students and alumni across the globe as well as throughout Southern California via new and emerging educational technologies."
Smutz is a board member of the Sloan Consortium for Online Learning and the American Distance Education Consortium and has served on the boards of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.
He has served as a faculty member for the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning. From 2005 to 2009, he served as the co-project leader of the Forming Community/University Systems for Engagement (FOCUS), a Kellogg Foundation–funded project. He has spoken and written extensively on a variety of issues related to continuing education, online learning and higher education in the 21st century.
He has received a number of individual and organizational awards, including the Sloan Consortium John R. Bourne Award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning, the Sloan Consortium Award for Institution-Wide Excellence in Online Education (awarded to PSU’s World Campus), a UPCEA regional award for excellence in institutional partnerships (awarded to continuing education at PSU’s University Park) and a UPCEA national award for programming.
He holds a B.A. in history from UC Berkeley and an M.A. in political science and a Ph.D. in higher education from Penn State.