Robert Beener joins PCA&D as Dean of Admission

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Sunday, July 23rd, 2023

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design welcomes Robert Beener as our new Dean of Admission. The longtime admissions professional brings more than 23 years of experience as a highly motivated, team-oriented professional to the position. 

And, he says, he found the idea of working at an art school “intriguing — a new perspective.”

He’s served in a variety of positions at a religiously affiliated, Division I college, St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and in admissions for the largest campus in the University of Pittsburgh’s system, in Johnstown. Now, he says, it’s a chance “to apply my trade with a different kind of student. It’s fascinating to learn about the process by which art and design students approach” choosing a college to attend. 

Beener’s background includes a BA in History from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from St. Francis, and a long list of professional associations and advisory positions. In his brief time at PCA&D, Beener says, he’s been surprised “at the nimbleness and alacrity with which the College can move on issues that meet student needs. The senior leadership is ready to act when they see opportunity — they can really move. A microcollege (like PCA&D) is a lot of fun to be a part of … it’s challenging, but we don’t want to let opportunities pass us by.” Some of the courses offered also have surprised him, he says, “things that differentiate our students when they get out in the real world.”

Beener’s first order of business in his new Admission role is to “bring home” the incoming Class of 2027. “All credit to the Admission team, and Carol (Descak, current Vice President for Enrollment), and the entire PCA&D community,” Beener says. “After that, putting the team in place is one of my first goals.”

“The vision I’ve seen so far for growth and expanded opportunities for students is really fun,” he adds. “The Live Experience Design & Production major, for example, is incredible; certainly a unique opportunity and potentially game-changing for us.”

The longtime Western Pennsylvania resident also has been pleasantly surprised at the ease of his transition to Lancaster. He thought Lancaster was “lovely” upon initial impression, he says, and that’s only continued. “This is a location that can appeal to all students — it’s a city environment, but it’s an ‘accessible’ city for students from rural areas. There seems to be more progress on the way in terms of buildings and opportunities and, for almost any student, this would be a perfect college town.”