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Tracy Langkilde Named New Penn State Eberly College of Science Dean

Tracy Langkilde will become the dean of Penn State’s Eberly College of Science, effective October 1. She will ll replace Douglas Cavener, who stepped down in June to continue teaching and researching full-time.

“The complex challenge of leading the college through the next decade excites me,” Langkilde said in a release. “My vision as dean of the Eberly College will be a continuation of my vision as department head — to work together to elevate the reputation and impact of our scientific community, achieve excellence in innovative research and teaching, help build public understanding and trust in science, and foster a diverse, inclusive and supportive community where all contributions are valued.”

Langkilde became an assistant professor in the Department of Biology in 2007 and the department head in 2016. During her time as department head, she oversaw over 100 faculty members, 15 administrative staff, 120 postdocs and graduate students, and 10,000 undergraduate students.

During her tenure, Langkilde secured research facilities, advanced equity, inclusion and diversity in the department, and offered training and education in bias and mental health advocacy.

“I am so pleased that Tracy will succeed Doug as dean of our Eberly College of Science,” Nick Jones, Penn State executive vice president and provost, said. “As an accomplished leader, professor and scholar in the college, she is known for her commitment to excellence and to the success of students, faculty and staff. It’s an honor to appoint someone of Tracy’s caliber to elevate the college’s already exceptional teaching and research programs.”

Langkilde received her bachelor’s degree in tropical biology at James Cook University in 1999, achieved her doctoral degree in biology at the University of Sydney in 2005, and was a postdoc fellow at Yale University from 2005 to 2007.

Langkilde’s research focuses on how animals deal with changes in the environment and stress. Currently, she is examining how invasive fire ants impact the behavior, morphology, and physiology of native lizards.

She has published more than 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters. For more information on the work that the Langkilde Lab has done, check out its website.