Lara Luetkehans, dean of Indiana University of Pennsylvania's College of Education and Communications, has been selected by IUP President Michael Driscoll to serve in the role of interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs upon the retirement of Provost Timothy Moerland.

Moerland will retire from IUP on August 20. Luetkehans will serve in the interim role until a national search for the permanent position is completed.

“Dr. Luetkehans is an experienced member of the IUP community and has been a key partner in our ongoing commitment to student success across the university, while moving the College of Education and Communications forward in our goal to become more student-centered,” Driscoll said. “As a leader, she's a collaborative team builder; a very careful listener and thinker who gathers and considers many opinions and key information before making a decision.

“She has greatly enhanced IUP's strong education programs, and she's done groundbreaking work in diversity, equity, and inclusion for her college and for the university. After consulting with a number of others, I am confident she is the right choice for this interim role,” he said. “She has gained the experience and credibility in her time at IUP to enable her to lead the important work of ensuring that the academic enterprise operates as efficiently as possible in order to best serve our students,” he said.

“Dr. Luetkehans will not be a ‘placeholder;' I have charged her with some very critical tasks, including continuing the work of Strategic Planning and IUP NextGen, as well as engaging the community to come together after a very difficult year.

“It's essential that we rebuild and strengthen our partnerships and find a renewed sense of community to work together to make the necessary progress to better serve our students,” he said. “As IUP's chief academic officer, I also expect her to be a strong player at the State System level with work related to academic programs,” he said.

Luetkehans joined the IUP community in July 2013.

Since coming to IUP, she has led many initiatives to advance the College of Education and Communications, including a 2017 name change as a result of work to rebuild and rebrand the college. She has championed the college's commitment to diversity and inclusion with a number of innovative initiatives, including creating a taskforce that built the college's Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan; this taskforce later evolved into the Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee of the college.

For the last five years, she has partnered with the Office of International Education for an immersive professional development program for international teachers, which has provided more than $1 million in grant funds to IUP for the program.

She also has successfully guided her college through a number of professional accreditations and reaffirmation of accreditations.

Luetkehans came to IUP from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she served as a department chair and faculty in Educational Technology, Research, and Assessment. She earned her doctorate in instructional technology from the University of Georgia in Athens; her master's in library and information science from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois; and her bachelor's degree in philosophy from Loyola University in Chicago.

“I'm honored to be asked to serve IUP in this capacity, and I look forward to working closely with President Driscoll and all members of the campus community to continue our work toward realizing the vision of IUP NextGen and our student-centered Strategic Plan,” Luetkehans said.

“We have a dedicated faculty and staff who have proven this past year that we can rise to meet even the most unexpected challenges. I am eager to see what we can accomplish together this coming year.

“I have had the privilege of working with an outstanding team in the College of Education and Communications, who are all committed to student success and moving our programs and initiatives forward in ways to continue to benefit students, including our focus on diversity and inclusion. I am confident in the team's ability to continue this forward momentum for the college and for the university, and I want to thank them for their support as I take on this new challenge.”

Information on interim leadership transition in the College of Education and Communications will be announced as details are finalized.