I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jon Darling, Professor of Sociology, as our Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Darling joined the UPJ faculty in 1977 as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. He was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1981, and Professor in 1992. He received his PhD and MA in Sociology from the University of Connecticut and a BA in Psychology from the University of Maine. Dr. Darling, who has announced his plans to retire, will serve in this role until the end of the current academic year.
Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Darling has served as a teacher-scholar committed to excellence in teaching. An excellent and highly reflective teacher who continually works at his craft, he has successfully integrated a service-learning component into many of his courses, helping to provide his students with important real world experience in the field of sociology. Dr. Darling has been praised by students for his passion for teaching and the high level of professionalism that he brings to his classroom. He is widely known for a deep commitment to his students, highly effective teaching methods, and for providing strong mentorship. Among the courses that Dr. Darling teaches are Social Problems, Social Psychology, and Sociology of Education.
A fine scholar whose work has received national recognition in his field, Dr. Darling co-authored the book Children Who Are Different: Meeting the Challenges of Birth Defects in Society. Additionally, Dr. Darling’s research has appeared in several professional publications including The American Sociological Review and Teaching Sociology. He has also delivered more than 20 papers and addresses on topics including civil rights, social justice, and bullying prevention. He is currently Chairperson of the UPJ Inclusive Community Task Force.
During his tenure at UPJ, Dr. Darling has been actively involved in campus service, having served as Vice President of Faculty Senate, Chair of the Sociology Department, Chair of the Full Professor Review Committee, Chair and Vice Chair of the College Status (Tenure and Promotions) Committee, Chair of several Peer Review Committees, and a member of over a dozen faculty committees. From 1997 to 2001, Dr. Darling served as Director of the Office of Community Outreach.
A highly regarded member of our community, Dr. Darling created the Civic Action Network, a community leadership partnership involving UPJ and several local organizations. The project resulted in the creation of a web-based public database that is now serving the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Community Action Association. He has served as the President of the Association for Humanist Sociology, the Pennsylvania Sociological Society, and the Allegheny Valley Sociological Association. Dr. Darling received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award in 1996 and the UPJ Advisory Board Service-to-Community Award in 2003.
Congratulations, Dr. Darling!