Carla Panzella

  • Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Dr. Carla Panzella was appointed Vice Provost for Student Affairs in June 2024 after having served 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 served 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 served 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. She provided 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 this role. 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