As Vice President for Sponsored Research and External Academic Relations Dr. Penprase helps to foster new externally funded projects that will help SUA’s faculty expand their research and scholarship and also enable SUA as an institution to more fully realize many of its strategic priorities. He also is tasked with expanding connections between SUA and regional and peer institutions, to enable SUA to have more academic collaborations and partnerships as it expands and becomes more recognized as a world leader in global liberal arts and as it defines and builds on its mission for fostering global citizenship.
From July 2017 to August 2020 he served as Soka University’s Dean of Faculty, where he was responsible for managing the undergraduate program with its innovative Soka University curriculum and dynamic faculty, and its energetic and diverse community of students. Dr. Penprase was previously was Professor of Science at Yale-NUS College, and also was a professor for 20 years at Pomona College, most recently as the Frank P. Brackett Professor of Astronomy. At Pomona College he was Chair of Physics and Astronomy, and was founding co-Director of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning. Dr. Penprase received both a BS in Physics and an MS in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1985, and a PhD from the University of Chicago in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1992. He has had numerous NSF grants, both as a co-I and PI, and most recently was a co-I with investigators at the California Institute of Technology in a $8.9-million NSF grant to fund the Zwicky Transient Facility for discovering new astrophysical sources using Palomar Observatory.
Dr. Penprase’s research on STEM education and innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum design has resulted in a volume just released by Springer, Inc. The book is entitled STEM Education for the 21st Century, and includes an overview of diversity and inclusion in STEM education, theories of teaching and learning, a review of new types of active learning in science courses, new types of engineering education, a review of global interdisciplinary science curriculum, an overview of online education and some thoughts about the future of STEM education. He is also the author or co-author of over 58 peer-reviewed journal articles in astrophysics, studying a range of topics that includes asteroids, quasars, and spectroscopy of the interstellar medium.