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Welcome! The Chief Academic Officer (CAO) is here to help you to succeed at Penn State DuBois. All of the Academic Affairs staff are here to assist students with questions during their academic careers at our campus. In the following paragraphs, we answer a series of commonly asked questions, which we hope are helpful.


Q: What is the role of the Chief Academic Officer (CAO)?

A: The CAO is responsible for: planning, administrating, and evaluating academic programs and courses; hiring and evaluating faculty and academic staff; managing the campus academic budget; serving as a liaison between the campus and the University on academic matters; and, helping students and faculty with academic concerns.

Q: How can I be successful in my classes?

A: In addition, of course, to regularly attending your classes, and following the assignments on the syllabus, an important action you can take is to meet with your instructor during office hours to follow up with any questions you maybe have after class.

Q: I have a problem in a class. How do I contact the CAO to discuss it?

A: The CAO's office is located on the first floor of the Symmco House (the big white mansion across the street from the Smeal Building). You can call the office at (814) 375-4707 or send an e-mail to: rxm154@psu.edu

Q: I called and got an appointment to see the CAO about a problem concerning my class. What should I do to prepare for the meeting?

A: The first question that the CAO will ask you is: Have you discussed your concern with the faculty or staff member involved? The best way to do that is to visit the faculty or staff member in his or her office so that the activities of the classroom or other campus place do not interfere with you explaining exactly what you are concerned about. Be prepared to provide a good explanation of your concern by bringing along documents that illustrate your questions. Take notes on the response of the faculty or staff member so you are certain of how the person responded to your inquiry. When you meet the CAO bring in the documents you presented to the faculty or staff member and your notes on his or her response. In the meeting with the CAO, be ready to explain your concerns and listen to the CAO's recommendations on how to proceed with addressing the concern.

Q: I need to take a class this semester to make progress in my academic program, but it isn't on the schedule of classes. What do I do?

A: You have a variety of options. First talk to your advisor to determine which available course options would serve your needs. You may be able to take the course at another Penn State Campus or through Penn State's World Campus (an Internet-based course system where you can take some of the classes offered by the University), but these options may add tuition costs in addition to your regular semester tuition.

Q: At the end of the semester, I fill out a form called an SRTE. What is it and why did I have to do one in each class?

A: The SRTE is a student evaluation form that the CAO uses to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and academic programs at the campus. It is meant to get first hand feedback from the students attending the class as to what they think of the course overall. The comments sheet page gives you additional opportunity to describe what you liked about the course, and what you thought could be improved upon. Some courses also have evaluations done at other times of the semester. It is important to get student feedback on the classes in order to improve the overall quality of academics at Penn State, and I pay close attention to information from SRTEs. Students who are honest but fair in their assessments help me maintain consistently high quality in our courses.