University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Administrative Appointment: Dr. Ray Wrabley

After the conclusion of the search process, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ray Wrabley, Interim VPAA since August 1, 2023, as our new Vice President for Academic Affairs. After an educational journey that took him to Virginia Tech, where he received his B.A. and M.A., and later Arizona State University, where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Science, Dr. Wrabley has made Pitt-Johnstown his home since 1987. Throughout the years, he has distinguished himself through exemplary teaching, scholarship, and service to the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown. Widely respected and admired, Dr. Wrabley is a very popular teacher, supportive colleague, and valued member of our community.

Faculty, staff, and students were full of praise for Dr. Wrabley during the search process, describing him as an excellent, thoughtful, and caring leader who is passionate about the university and its students and their success:

• "Dr. Wrabley would be an ideal candidate … He is able to work with staff and faculty to solve problems and complete tasks."

• "Dr. Wrabley is a very kind, caring individual. He is highly qualified and knowledgeable…He is always looking for ways [of] improvement and goes above and beyond to listen to people and their concerns. He truly cares about this school and having it succeed… He puts in a lot of hard work and dedication."

• Dr. Wrabley loves UPJ and "takes faculty, staff, and student issues seriously and will listen to input and suggestions…."

• "Ray has done an amazing job in his interim position, and he's tackled many obstacles so far in his short time as interim..."

• "Ray is a fair person. He listens to the needs of everyone and will do what is best for the given situation."

• "Dr. Wrabley has allegiance to the campus and has the campus' best interest as well as the people involved…"

• "Ray would bring to the position experience, knowledge of the campus, and genuine concern for the issues at hand."

• “Dr. Wrabley expressed his clear love for our campus and his understanding of who we are… I have nothing but complementary things to say about him…"

• Dr. Wrabley is a "role model who ‘listens and learns’ from others.”

• "One can tell that he cares about students through his passion [for] learning and ‘being a student’.”

• Dr. Wrabley has a "supportive leadership style, familiarity with procedures and people, [and] proven effectiveness with various constituencies."

• Dr. Wrabley "is trusted by all faculty and staff. Everyone respects him and trust that he will listen and keep their best interests in mind when making a decision. He is approachable, and his door is always open (even when the door is very busy with other things."

• "Ray is informed, thoughtful, trustworthy, and experienced…Ray's institutional knowledge, commitment to UPJ, balanced approach to problems, and easy manner make him an ideal VPAA."

In his prior capacities as Chair of the Social Science, and the Business & Enterprise (B&E), Divisions, Dr. Wrabley has been a highly effective administrator, including most notably his role as the first chair of the newly created B&E division. During that period, he led the creation of several new programs, including Justice Administration, Cybersecurity, and Management Information Systems, to name a few. More recently, Dr. Wrabley served as a Co-Chair of our institutional strategic plan, the Next Level 2023-2030.

Since his appointment as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs in August 2023, Dr. Wrabley has led the Academic Council in efforts to implement Strategic Plan goals on curriculum development, student retention, faculty development, and internationalizing the campus.

An effective advocate for our community, Dr. Wrabley is also playing a key role in our efforts to connect the university to the city, including providing leadership for The Murtha Center, our successful entrepreneurship program and PITTchFest as well as our recent efforts to develop a center for innovation and workforce development in downtown Johnstown.

Finally, let me take this opportunity to thank the members of the campus-wide search committee, so ably led by Dr. Steve Stern, for doing an outstanding job reviewing many impressive candidates from around the country.

Please join me in welcoming our new VPAA, someone who has excelled in numerous leadership roles, especially regarding his commitment to ensuring the success of our students, faculty, staff, and community.

Jem Spectar, PhD, JD, MBA, MA, MAP