Carla Panzella

  • Interim Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Dr. Carla Panzella has served as the Dean of Students since August 2021. Reporting to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, the Dean of Students is a visible and engaged advocate with and for all students on the Pittsburgh campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The Dean assists the Vice Provost in the leadership and administration of the Division of Student Affairs. The Dean provides leadership for innovative co-curricular programs, activities, and services that promote student well-being, sense of belonging, engagement, and diverse learning experiences. The Dean is responsible for the strategic direction and management of the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Care and Outreach, and the Offices of Residence Life, Student Life, New Student Programs, PittServes, and Cross Cultural and Leadership Development, which includes Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Prior to joining Pitt, Dr. Panzella served as the associate vice president for student life and dean of students at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, where she has served since 2016. In that role, she served as the senior student affairs officer and was responsible for leadership and development of key functional areas of student life to maximize student success, including persistence and retention, student satisfaction and student learning. At Salem State, she led an organization of over 70 professionals and staff from departments including athletics, campus life and recreation, career services, community standards, counseling and health services, leadership engagement advocacy and diversity (LEAD), orientation, prevention education advocacy response (PEAR), and residence life. Some of her major accomplishments at Salem State included developing a bias response and prevention team and developing and deploying a CARE case management system for all students in response to COVID-19.

Prior to joining Salem State in 2016, she served as associate vice president for student life and development at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. She also taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology Department, teaching courses and labs including Life Span Development, Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology and Educational Psychology.

Dr. Panzella 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.” She holds 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’s deep commitment to holistic student well-being guides the division of student affairs as we support students in achieving their personal and academic goals. She believes that it is vitally important for public universities to advance and promote inclusive excellence and to be student-ready institutions that anticipate and meet our students’ needs.

Education & Training

  • PhD in Higher Education, Seton Hall University
  • MA in Organizational Psychology and Leadership, Teachers College of Columbia University
  • BS in Psychology, Saint Peter’s University