Director, Student Success Initiatives
Denise Poole joined Penn State in July 2019 as the University’s inaugural director of student success, overseeing the Student Success Center (SSC) within Undergraduate Education. The SSC administers the Complete Penn State program and scholarship, leads programs and events to support first-generation student success, and supports a variety of retention and degree completion efforts at the university. Denise has served on a variety of committees, taskforces, and change efforts such as the Undergraduate Education Culture and Climate Taskforce, Commission for Adult Learners, First-Gen Advisory Council, Strategic Planning Implementation Team, Transfer Governance Council, Coalition for Student Success, University Advising Council, Approaches to Student Success Working Group, Transforming Education Steering Committee, Student Emergency Aid Distribution Team, The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF I, II, and III), and American Talent Initiative/Powered by Publics (APLU) Steering Committee. Before Penn State, Denise was the director of academic and student-athlete support services and compliance officer. She was employed with New York University for 13.5 years and served in numerous roles and cross-campus initiatives during that time. Denise is also a Past President of the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A), and served as the Association’s president during the 2019-2020 academic year. She provided leadership to N4A’s organizational enhancement and strategic planning efforts for the past 12 years and have served as a faculty member for the Association’s Professional Development Institute for nine years. Denise earned her M.S. in applied educational psychology with a focus in college student development and counseling from Northeastern University and a B.S. in psychology from Saint Joseph’s University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in workforce education and development with a focus on organization development and change. Denise is a proud first-generation college student and a strong advocate for equity in the academic experience. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Denise currently resides in State College, PA with her family.