Announcing the Appointment of New Vice Provost for Student Affairs

May 29, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

After a thorough national search, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Carla Panzella has been named Vice Provost for Student Affairs, effective June 1, 2024.

As you may know, Carla has been serving as Interim Vice Provost since January 2024. Prior to that assignment, she served as the Dean of Students since August 2021 and as Associate Vice Provost since December 2022.

As Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students, Carla serves as liaison to the Office of the Provost to support the Office of the Provost Academic Team, with a focus on maximizing the impact of student success programs for underrepresented first-generation and Pell-eligible students while also supporting graduate and professional students. 

She also serves as a liaison to the Office of the Provost Data Analytics Team, leading assessment efforts designed to collect and analyze qualitative data to augment student survey data and provide a holistic understanding of the student experience.

In her role as Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students, Carla was integral in implementing a Division-wide reorganization for Student Affairs to create departments, programs, and services to meet our new generation of students where they are. Student centered work is at the forefront of her portfolio.

Carla provides leadership for innovative co-curricular social-educational programs, activities, and services that promote student well-being, sense of belonging, engagement, and diverse learning experiences. She is also responsible for the strategic direction and management of the Student Experience, Student Community and Belonging, Student Wellness, and Student Engagement and Professional Development Leadership Teams. 

Carla brings over 20 years of student affairs experience to her new role. Prior to joining Pitt, she was the senior student affairs officer serving as the Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts.

She holds a PhD in higher education from Seton Hall University, where she completed her dissertation research on “Postsecondary Pathways: A Study of Low-income Black and Latino Students,” an MA in organizational psychology and leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University, and a BS in psychology from Saint Peter’s University. Carla has taught psychology courses at previous institutions and is currently teaching in the School of Education.

I believe that Carla’s leadership in this role will continue to be just what is needed for Student Affairs as they continue to build a vibrant, nurturing, and inclusive environment for students at Pitt, and as she carries on her strong commitment to championing student engagement in shared governance, and I look forward to working with Carla.

I sincerely thank the search committee—co-chaired by Nicola Foote, Dean of the David C. Frederick Honors College, and Clyde Wilson Pickett, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion—for their excellent efforts throughout the search process.

In the time ahead, we will begin a formal search for a new Dean of Students. In the interim, I am pleased to further announce that Lorraine Craven, Assistant Dean for Student Experience, has agreed to serve as the interim dean of students. Lorraine has amassed an 18-year career in higher education, including efforts in both student affairs and enrollment management and notably has served as Chief Student Affairs Officer for the Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Panzella on her appointment as Vice Provost for Student Affairs and thanking Lorraine for agreeing to expanded service as interim Dean of Students!



Joseph J. McCarthy
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of Pittsburgh