The presentation will explore the development of the Penn State Center Pittsburgh and its role as an operational base for institutional engagement with the Greater Pittsburgh Area across a variety of programs. The unique value of the Center is in its comprehensive community development approach within this state’s urban environment. This focus allows for the delivery of high-level community impact engaging the most scholarly activities to those with less academic value. Building on the traditional Extension model, the effort applies the concept of Extension as a delivery system rather than a programming suite. The investment of Extension funding is being supplemented with significant resources from University Outreach, Allegheny County, contracts, and grants. The fundamental Land Grant mission is being embraced serving to expand the traditional Extension model beyond the walls of the College of Agricultural Sciences. This has helped shape the effort into a significantly more robust operation. The Center’s boundary spanning capabilities allow for the extension of a trusting relationship providing easy access to the local community by faculty, students, and staff from across the entire institution. In all cases, the strong relational attributes of local staff facilitate learning and research while helping to find solutions for critical human and environmental challenges.
Dr. De Ciantis is the first Director of the Penn State Center Pittsburgh and has been in that position for seven years. The Center has allowed Penn State to elevate its profile in Pittsburgh with a new physical presence in a State-of-the-Art building known as the Energy Innovation Center. This has allowed for expanded educational and research programming in the Pittsburgh region. The Center serves as an urban platform for Penn State that connects individuals, families, communities, and businesses to learning partnerships that result in informed decisions that applies research based knowledge to help solve critical local issues.
He previously, served 15 years as County Extension Director for Penn State Extension of Allegheny County and before that as the 4-H Youth Development Coordinator there. He has served on a numerous county and local government committees and task forces. Some of his other affiliations include: past president of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Duquesne University Century Club of Distinguished Alumni, President of the Green Innovators board, Autumn House Press Board, past president of Three Rivers Community Foundation Board, and Chair of Allegheny County’s Green Action Team. He has also served on numerous Penn State committees and various other local community initiatives.
Prior to joining Penn State, he had a career with Head Start serving as a Program Coordinator for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit then as Head Start Director and Associate Director of the Division of Early Childhood for the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
He is married with 2 children, one of whom is a senior at Penn State. He holds three education related degrees from Duquesne University culminating in an – Interdisciplinary Doctorate in Educational Leadership.