URI selects Minnesota State professor to serve as new director of its Women’s Center

Penny Jo Rosenthal former director of Iowa State’s Sloss Women’s Center

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Penny Jo Rosenthal

KINGSTON, R.I. — May 15, 2017 — The University of Rhode Island has selected Penny Jo Rosenthal as the new director of the University’s Women’s Center.

She will begin her duties May 15 on the Kingston campus, after having served as assistant professor of counseling and student personnel for almost six years at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Prior to that, she was director of Iowa State University’s Margaret Sloss Women’s Center from June 2001 to July 2011.

“Her education, college student personnel administrative experience and her teaching and scholarly work make her an outstanding choice for this position,” said Naomi Thompson, URI associate vice president for community, equity and diversity. “In fact, it is this meshing of her academic and administrative work that gives her a unique perspective on the entire student experience.”

Rosenthal succeeds Interim Director Racine L. Ramos, who will return to her position as coordinator of violence prevention and advocacy services.

Rosenthal said her own work in higher education and her own experiences are built around  a commitment to social justice, student empowerment and access to higher education.

“Higher education not only provided me with a wonderful life, career and introduction to scholarly practice–it helped me identify my calling. I have been passionate about equity and social justice before I could name, teach or conduct research on these topics. The best work I have done and the experiences that are most meaningful to me are when I engage with college students as they struggle with their identity, development, relationships, academics and more.”

In her faculty role at Minnesota State, Rosenthal prepared student affairs professionals for future positions that address equity, access, social justice and student success. Among the courses she taught were introduction to college student affairs in higher education, budget management in higher education, crisis intervention strategies, counseling in a multicultural society and managing and assessing campus environment.

At Minnesota State, Rosenthal was a member of the University Planning Committee, the Minnesota Campus Compact, Cultural Agility Collaboration, College of Education’s Intercultural & Diversity Advisory Board and Committee Restructuring Workshop.

Rosenthal received the Minnesota College Personnel Association Linda Schremp Alberg Award in 2014 for her “Outstanding Contribution to Minnesota Higher Education.”

As director of Iowa State’s Sloss Women’s Center, she was a member of the Campus Climate Implementation Committee from 2004 to 2007. She was the contact for female students, staff and faculty who experienced barriers, harassment and violence on-campus, as well as in their personal lives. She developed education programs, interventions and strategies to address inequity, oppression and Title IX compliance. She also worked to empower women and develop male allies. Rosenthal also provided educational programming for colleagues on crisis intervention/response, student advocacy and campus/community resources knowledge.

She also served as director of Off Campus & Adult Services at Iowa State, and earlier, worked as coordinator of Adult & Graduate Student Services at Texas A&M University at College Station.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Minnesota State and her doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Iowa State.