As dean of the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture, Dr. Barbara Oliver Korner oversees multiple academic units plus the Center for the Performing Arts, Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State Centre Stage, and Music at Penn’s Woods. The college offers more than 20 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in architecture, landscape architecture, art history, integrative arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and graphic design. With approximately 1400 undergraduate students, 200 graduate students, 200 faculty, and 100 staff, the College of Arts and Architecture boasts a strong presence on the University Park campus, offering hundreds of musical and theatre performances, visual arts exhibitions, and related events each year.
Before coming to Penn State in June 2007, Dr. Korner, who holds the rank of professor of theatre, served as associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Florida for seven years. While there, she also spent a year as interim dean. Her other academic administrative experience includes serving as dean of fine and performing arts at Seattle Pacific University and special assistant to the chancellor at the University of Missouri at Columbia, in addition to positions at Ohio University.
Dr. Korner holds a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary fine arts from Ohio University, a master’s in theatre performance, and an undergraduate degree in theatre production. She has been recognized as a distinguished alumna of the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University. Her women’s history performances have been funded by humanities councils in both Missouri and the state of Washington. With Carla Waal, she is the co-editor of Hardship and Hope: Missouri Women Writing About Their Lives. She is the writer/performer of Responding to the Call: African-American Women Preachers. She has also performed dozens of stage roles in plays and musicals, as well as directed many university theatrical productions.
Dr. Korner presents communication and leadership workshops to a wide range of organizations and institutions. She holds a certificate from the Institute for Management and Leadership at Harvard University and is the co-director of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Leadership Institute, which she founded with Mark Heckler, president of Valparaiso University. Since 2000, that program has influenced more than 250 academic leaders of theatre and fine arts programs in higher education. She has served on several regional and national arts and cultural boards, including two terms as vice president of ATHE; member of the board of directors for the International Council of Fine Arts Deans; and member of the executive committee of the recently established Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), of which Penn State is a founding partner. The partnership involves 28 major research universities and includes Penn State's College of Engineering and College of Information Sciences and Technology, along with the College of Arts and Architecture. At Penn State, she has served as chair of the Academic Leadership Council, the University's United Way Campaign, and the Forum Speakers Series.