Meet David Sylvia: World Campus Director of Academic Affairs for Graduate Programs

David Sylvia, World Campus Director of Academic Affairs for Graduate Programs
David Sylvia, World Campus Director of Academic Affairs for Graduate Programs

What is your role as Director of Academic Affairs for Graduate Programs for Penn State World Campus?

I provide leadership and oversight to the rapidly growing portfolio of professional graduate degrees and certificates available to the global community through Penn State’s innovative online campus.

Professional graduate degrees are the most rapidly growing sector of higher education, and I am pleased to be in a position to promote these opportunities for adult learners. Our degree offerings reflect the wide range of academic pursuits of a major land-grant university, spanning the range of disciplines from education and humanities to sciences, engineering, and business.

Penn State currently offers more than 20 online master’s degree programs, with nearly that number in the development pipeline. I focus my energies on developing the framework necessary for faculty and students to flourish in online graduate education.

What do you like about online learning?

It has been said that the main driver of economic growth is innovation, which in turn is inspired by education. Online learning brings educational opportunities to a wider community and thereby has a major impact on our society.

In many technical fields, a graduate degree is rapidly becoming the new bachelor’s degree (that is, the entry point into the profession). Many individuals who competed their undergraduate experience several years ago now have obligations that prevent them from returning to a bricks-and-mortar institution to pursue an advanced degree.

The great thing is that attitudes and technologies have advanced to the point where quality online education is now available for these students!

What do you like most about Penn State?

For more than 150 years Penn State has provided an outstanding model for the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Penn State has a long history of extending its programs beyond the traditional campus, and certainly the World Campus exemplifies a university viewing change as an opportunity to pursue excellence.

Penn State has great breadth and depth in its academic programs, providing the framework for excellent online offerings.

Penn State’s administration has been very supportive of online education and invested in distance learning before most other public universities. And the payoff has been outstanding, as evidenced by the recognition of Penn State’s World Campus as the No. 1 online institution for 2011.