New associate chief academic officer adapting to role at Great Valley

Headshot of Ronnie Godshalk

Ronnie Godshalk began her full-time appointment as Penn State Great Valley's associate chief academic officer at the start of the fall 2021 semester after a decade at Penn State Brandywine.

Credit: Cai Pyle

MALVERN, Pa. — New Penn State Great Valley Associate Chief Academic Officer Ronnie Godshalk has been familiar with the campus for a while. Although her full-time appointment began at the start of the fall semester, she’s been on campus since January transitioning to the new role. Godshalk’s relationship with Great Valley goes back even further — she joined the management faculty as an assistant professor in 1997, became an associate professor, and served as the David and Marjorie Rosenberg Professor for Innovation and Change from 2002 to 2007.

So, given her familiarity with the campus, her interest was piqued when she learned of the associate chief academic officer role. A lot had changed since Godshalk was at Great Valley, too — new graduate and professional development programs were added, and international enrollment skyrocketed. Reconnecting with her early career roots while having the opportunity to help further expand the campus’ reach was a perfect fit.

“I believe there are a lot of opportunities for growth for the campus and for graduate education,” Godshalk said. “My experience with Penn State Great Valley has always been one where both faculty and staff are very focused on our professional graduate students and that is a great community to be able to lead.”

In her first stint at Great Valley, Godshalk, who earned her doctorate in business at Drexel, also was the senior faculty coordinator responsible for the development of the initial curriculum proposal for the online MBA program. For this contribution, she received the World Campus’ Outstanding Achievement Award.

After leaving Great Valley, Godshalk was the chair of the business department at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, before moving to Penn State Brandywine in 2011. In the decade she worked at Brandywine, Godshalk was a professor of management and the BSBIC program director for the online undergraduate business program.

Now that she’s back at Great Valley, one of Godshalk’s priorities is increasing communication and developing partnerships at Penn State undergraduate campuses.

“There are opportunities to link their graduating students to the different kinds of graduate programs that we have to offer at Great Valley, as well as to possibly provide integrated learning programs for the undergraduate students,” Godshalk said. “Given my experience in the undergraduate world, there is an opportunity for us to reach out to our local campuses — Brandywine, Berks, Abington, Lehigh Valley, potentially — and partner with those campuses to have them be aware of what Penn State Great Valley has to offer.”

Great Valley provides a Multidisciplinary Engineering Design option for undergraduate engineering students at the Brandywine and Abington campuses. Through the program, juniors and seniors pursue advanced engineering coursework at Great Valley’s state-of-the-art engineering facility. Godshalk hopes to develop something similar for business students, which could be particularly advantageous given the campus’ location in a corporate park.

Godshalk also has been working with the management faculty to create topical new graduate certificates, particularly stackable certificates, which she and the faculty hope will be rolled out and available by early 2022.

Some of Godshalk’s other duties include strategic plan assessment, academic program assessment, and promotion and tenure preparation for faculty, all of which have allowed her to work closely with faculty and staff. Although it’s still relatively early in her (second) time at Great Valley, Godshalk already sees great opportunities for growth and collaboration, both immediately and in the future.

“I think our long-term vision for the campus would be to help it continue to be a significant player in the Greater Philadelphia region,” Godshalk said. “We as Penn State have a great story to tell and I think that we need to continue to be out in the community sharing that story. I hope to play a significant role to do that.”