Jeff Sharp likens his new role as associate dean of undergraduate education to that of a “really good referee” at a football game: “The best ones keep everyone’s focus on the players,” he says.
After 23 years as a Penn State Smeal College of Business faculty member, Sharp stepped into his new administrative role on Jan. 1. His responsibilities include student enhancement, engagement, and enrichment, as well as curriculum and student records and educational programs.
“In simple terms, my job is to uphold and increase the value and honor of a Smeal College degree,” says Sharp. “I want to continue letting our students be the stars, and to support (Dean) Chuck Whiteman’s leadership and vision for the college.”
Sharp sees an important aspect of his position as that of a facilitator, connecting faculty, students, and advisors while promoting all aspects of undergraduate academic life from curriculum to graduation.
The most basic component of a great undergraduate program is a solid curriculum taught by top-notch faculty—and Smeal certainly has that, according to Sharp: “If you look at how well our students are placed after graduation, the college’s success speaks for itself,” he says.
But, Sharp says, what makes Smeal really stand out is its high level of student involvement. Smeal has a large number of student business organizations, global programs, service activities, co-ops and internships.
“We offer so many great opportunities for leadership experience, exposure to the corporate world through internships and co-ops, and opportunities to participate in global programs and philanthropy. I don’t think other schools can match the momentum we have in student organizations and their relation to the college’s mission.“
“I look forward to working with Jeff to build upon the undergraduate education foundation that has been strengthened in recent years by previous associate dean Gus Colangelo,” says Charles Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. “Jeff has been a tremendous contributor to Smeal during his career, particularly in the undergraduate classroom. He has also played a critical role with our academic integrity initiative since it was introduced several years ago.”
About Jeff Sharp
Before joining the Penn State faculty in 1989, Sharp served as litigation counsel to national financial institutions and the FDIC during the banking crisis of the 1980s. He has expertise in commercial transactions and bankruptcy law. During his tenure at Penn State, Sharp has been recognized several times for excellence in teaching, and he will continue to teach business law courses for Smeal while serving as associate dean.
Sharp holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, an MBA, and a JD, all from the University of Oklahoma.