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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Dennis Scanlon, distinguished professor of health policy and administration and director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research, has been named Penn State's faculty athletics representative to work with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Scanlon, a faculty member in the College of Health and Human Development since 1997, will start in the position effective July 1, 2017.
He will succeed Linda L. Caldwell, distinguished professor of recreation, park and tourism management and Human Development and Family Studies, who is retiring from Penn State on June 30. Caldwell served as faculty athletics representative since 2010.
Penn State President Eric Barron appointed Scanlon in consultation with the Faculty Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. The appointment lasts five years, is renewable and is reviewed by the president in consultation with the Senate at the end of each five-year term. All NCAA member institutions are required to appoint a faculty athletics representative.
"This position plays a crucial role in ensuring the University is not only meeting the requirements for Intercollegiate Athletics and representing the University, but also working across the board to help our student athletes succeed," Barron said. "Dennis is an excellent fit for this position. He understands the central role of academics and student learning to everything we do at Penn State, and I'm confident he'll continue the tremendous work that Linda has been doing."
The faculty athletics representative is responsible for representing faculty on all matters related to varsity athletics at University Park. Among the responsibilities Scanlon will have are ensuring that student-athletes meet all NCAA, conference and institutional requirements for eligibility and that Penn State remains in good standing with the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. He will also serve as the primary liaison between Penn State Athletics and the Faculty Senate; review proposed NCAA and Big Ten legislation; collect data on the academic status and performance of student-athletes; consult with University leadership and faculty on matters related to Intercollegiate Athletics; and assist student athletes in pursuing academic awards.
"Penn State's student athletes are known not only for their wins but also for their impressive academic accomplishments," Scanlon said. "I am excited about serving as a liaison between the academic and athletic sides of the University. I look forward to working with Penn State's student athletes, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and President Barron to continue Penn State's strong tradition of academic and athletic success."
Scanlon has been a professor in the College of Health and Human Development since July 1997 and was named distinguished professor in January 2017. In July 2014, he also became director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research (CHCPR).
Scanlon has received a number of academic awards and recognitions, as well as significant funding for his research. His research expertise is frequently sought by state and federal policymakers and industry, and he has served on a number of domestic and international expert panels and editorial boards related to health care delivery, finance and policy. Scanlon teaches undergraduate and graduate students and formerly directed the doctoral program for the Department of Health Policy and Administration.
Scanlon earned a bachelor's in economics with a minor in business from Villanova University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He played all four years for Villanova's NCAA men's varsity ice hockey team, which competed in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South. He earned a master's in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in health services organization and policy from the University of Michigan. After joining Penn State in 1997, Scanlon served as an academic adviser for Penn State's club ice hockey team until 2012, and has been a faculty partner for the men's ice hockey program after it made the move to Division I in 2012-13.
Penn State has one of the nation's most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, sponsoring 31 intercollegiate varsity programs (16 men's and 15 women's), with approximately 800 student-athletes. Penn State student-athletes earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent in the 2016 NCAA Graduation Rate Report, continuing a rate well above their peers nationwide. The Nittany Lions rank No. 4 among all Division I schools with 195 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time.
The Nittany Lions' 49 NCAA Championships all-time (77 national championships overall) rank No. 5 among all NCAA Division I programs and are the highest total of any college or university east of the Mississippi River. Penn State's 30 NCAA titles since 1992-93 leads all Big Ten Conference institutions. The Nittany Lions have won 103 Big Ten Championships since capturing their first crown in 1992-93, including a conference-leading six thus far in 2016-17, under the direction of Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour.