Dr. Valarie Ena Swain-Cade McCoullum, a native Philadelphian who is a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, has served at Penn since 1977, including 25 years as Vice Provost for University Life. She has held a wide range of positions encompassing such areas as undergraduate honors programs, Commonwealth Programs, graduate academic affairs, and campus space allocation. At other points in her career, she has been Interim President of Cheyney University, Faculty Director of Du Bois College House, and a teacher in both the Philadelphia and Camden school systems, leading to her lifelong commitment to pipeline and college preparatory programs.
As Vice Provost for Student Engagement and Provost’s Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Graduate School of Education, she is charged with aligning goals and approaches, and implementing a comprehensive strategy, for Penn’s K-12, baccalaureate-level, and graduate pipeline and enrichment programs on campus, with the aim of improving students’ experiences and outcomes in these vital programs. She also works with students, faculty, and campus leaders to enhance student engagement in campus and community initiatives, while collaborating with Philadelphia school leaders to support college preparation in Philadelphia schools. At GSE, she partners with faculty to pilot innovative new approaches to educational leadership resiliency while teaching two courses a year in her areas of expertise.