Director of the Prevention Research Center

Affirmative Action Search Number: 023-109
Job Number: 36462
Posted:  April 20, 2012


An Opportunity to Shape the Future of Prevention Science

The College of Health and Human Development at The Pennsylvania State University and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) invite applications for the next Director of the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development (PRC). The Director will hold the C. Eugene Bennett Professorship in Prevention Science, and will have an exciting opportunity to lead the PRC into its next phase of development by:

  • Conducting impactful research
  • Advancing methodological and technical innovations
  • Mentoring the next generation of prevention scientists
  • Extending strong collaborative relationships with researchers, the National Institutes of Health and other federal and state funding agencies, foundations, and policy makers

The new director will have access to a substantial endowment that provides a stable and flexible source of discretionary funding to support PRC activities.

The Candidate

Candidates for this exciting position should be experienced faculty members dedicated to continuing the PRC’s impressive contributions to prevention science and eligible for tenure at Penn State. Specifically, the Director will provide leadership in developing new and innovative programs of research in prevention science, as well as for innovative training at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels. To be successful in this role, the Director must have a strong applied health research portfolio with demonstrated ability to create and foster productive interdisciplinary collaborations. As a member of the HDFS Department (with a possible secondary appointment in a related department), this person will also teach one course per year and mentor graduate students. An earned doctorate in the behavioral or social sciences or a related public-health discipline is required. Administrative experience within a center or department is desired.

The Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

The Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development (, a prominent interdisciplinary research center in the College of Health and Human Development, was established in 1998 to foster research focused on longitudinal, developmental aspects of risk and prevention. Research projects in the PRC, many funded through NIH, range from etiologic studies to large-scale translation trials, examining how families, schools, and communities can work together to promote healthy lifestyles for children, youth, and families. Current research focuses on topics ranging from alcohol and skin cancer studies, to interventions to strengthen families and parenting, to the development and implementation of school-based prevention and intervention programs. Center faculty also develop clinical trials of innovative models to promote competence and prevent unhealthy outcomes for children, families, and communities, conduct rigorous research on the translation and dissemination of effective prevention programs in community settings, and conduct evaluation studies designed to inform policy within several state agencies. The Center provides research seminars on prevention science for faculty and graduate students, and coordinates a NIDA-supported training program with the Penn State Methodology Center to foster the integration of prevention and statistical methodology in the prevention of substance use and related morbidities (e.g., HIV). The Center is also an active partner in two other training grants in obesity prevention and in interventions aimed at promoting literacy and social/emotional competence in children and youth. Through an endowment, the Center supports Bennett Faculty Scholars, Graduate Prevention Fellows, and conferences. The PRC currently has over 55 full-time research and administrative staff and approximately 25 graduate students from across the University. One indicator of the Center’s dedication to interdisciplinary work is the active engagement in PRC research projects of over 20 tenure-track faculty from various departments and colleges throughout the University. In December 2012, the PRC moved into a state of the art new building, in close proximity to the Department of Biobehavioral Health, the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, the Center for Healthy Aging, and the Laboratory for the Advancement of Developmental Systems.

The Department Of Human Development and Family Studies

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies ( has a diverse, multi-disciplinary faculty that focuses on individual development from infancy through old age, on family structure and dynamics, on the impact of social/cultural contexts on development and family functioning, and on the design and evaluation of interventions to promote health and development, and to prevent disease. A strong research and training program in developmental and prevention methodology is integrated into the Department’s research and graduate education activities.

The College of Health and Human Development

The College of Health and Human Development enrolls approximately 4,200 undergraduates and 350 full-time graduate students at University Park. The College includes eight academic units and several research centers and service units. For more information about the College, visit:

The Pennsylvania State University

Founded in 1855, Penn State is one of the most comprehensive public institutions in the nation with approximately 44,000 students enrolled at University Park, the administrative and research hub of the University. The University and surrounding community enjoy a lively performing arts calendar, an array of intercollegiate sports, excellent on-campus childcare, and superb public schools.

Review of applications and nominations will continue to be accepted until the position is filled. For more information about this exciting opportunity, please contact the committee chair Ed Smith Penn State recognizes and is supportive of dual career situations. Interested parties should send cover letter, curriculum vitae and supporting information (e.g., reprints, preprints, letters from three professional references) to the address below or submit electronically to Donna Bitner Please indicate “Prevention Search” in the subject line of all email correspondence.

Prevention Search Committee
315 Health & Human Development East Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.