Dr. Jamilyn Penn has been named interim vice president at Highline College. She will oversee the college’s Student Services division.
The division manages several departments and programs, including Advising, Admissions, Running Start, Women’s Programs, Funding Services, TRiO, International Student Programs, Athletics, Center for Cultural and Inclusive Excellence and Center for Leadership and Service.
“What I bring to the role at Highline College is a passion for providing equitable educational opportunities for all students,” Penn said. “I also have beneficial knowledge from my experience working at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and serving as an academic dean for several years that will help to tie the connection between Student Services and instruction,” Penn said. “I really look forward to working closely with the vice president of Academic Affairs to bridge gaps and to focus on building educational pathways that benefit students from the time they come through the doors of Highline College to the time that they earn credentials to pursue their career goals.”
Scheduled to begin at Highline on Monday, Nov. 15, Penn comes to Highline after serving as the statewide director of Transfer Education in the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
“Dr. Penn’s resume reflects a colleague that is equity-mindful, thoughtful and extremely dedicated to serving all students,” Highline College President John Mosby said. “Highline is very fortunate to have Dr. Penn continue in our system and serve in this new capacity as interim vice president of Student Services.”
Within her role at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Penn built strong relationships between K-12 partners at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and with four and two-year public and private institutions through the Council of Presidents and Independent Colleges of Washington. She’s also been instrumental in increasing the number of Applied Baccalaureate degrees colleges throughout the state offer. When she first began, there were around 100 and now there are “well above 130,” she said.
“What that means is there are more opportunities throughout our system for students to advance their education and to earn that two-plus-two degree that will help to move them toward their careers and advance opportunities for increased pay,” Penn added.
One such opportunity includes the potential for students to earn a more affordable Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science. Penn said she was “intimately involved in” House Bill 5401, a new law passed this spring, that permits 33 additional community and technical colleges in the state of Washington to offer the degree.
Penn has also increased professional development opportunities for staff at the state board in equity, diversity and inclusion work. And she’s proud of the work she’s done as chair of the Diversity and Equity Officers Commission, a new commission for diversity and equity officers at community and technical colleges.
Prior to the state board, Penn held dean roles at Lake Washington Institute of Technology and Clover Park Technical College. She was the Program Supervisor, Title 1 and Learning Assistance Program supervisor in the OSPI, she was a Special Education teacher in Texas and was an office assistant at McDonnell Douglas which became Boeing.
She also holds leadership roles as co-chair of the Pierce County Library System and is a mentor for students in doctoral programs at New Jersey City University.
Penn will serve as one of Highline’s four vice presidents.
A resident of Steilacoom, Penn is a voracious reader, she likes to dance, go on long walks and play the flute, clarinet and mandolin in between meetings.
Penn holds a doctorate in higher education leadership from Northeastern University, a master’s degree in English with an emphasis on adult learners from Radford University and a bachelor’s degree in English and Paralegal Studies from James Madison University.