Pelco serves as associate vice provost for community engagement at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Pelco joined VCU in 2008 as director of VCU Service Learning and was promoted to her current role in 2012. Additionally, Pelco holds the position of affiliate professor of counseling and special education in the School of Education. She earned her MS and Ph.D. in school psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and was a post-doctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the department of behavioral psychology.
Lynn shared that her personal history had significant influence on her leadership approach. She was one of the first in her family to attend college and experienced some of the many ways that campuses undermine female, first-generation, and low-income students. Pelco’s experience working with racially and economically diverse students experiencing mental and physical health challenges allowed her to appreciate some of the privileges she enjoyed, but also solidified the importance and power of assets-based approaches to building inclusive learning communities.
Pelco is committed to developing the next generation of campus and community leaders. She guides development of her office’s operating budget to ensure that it aligns with university priorities, including improving underrepresented minority student graduation rates and building faculty capacity for participating in community-university partnerships.
Additionally, Pelco established a graduate and undergraduate service-learning teaching assistant program in 2009. Annually, this program trains more than 80 students, helping VCU strive towards its institutional community-engagement priorities. Pelco demonstrates through her work that she effectively uses scholarship to guide these administrative decisions.
Pelco was nominated by David Timberline, project manager for the Center for Community Engagement and Impact (CEI) at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“She is an innovative and rigorous scholar as well as a compassionate and creative administrator. She embodies Dr. Holland’s commitment to effective community engagement,” said Timberline.
Another recommender stated, “I cannot possibly quantify the significance of Lynn’s work. Even if such a thing could be captured adequately in quantifiable terms, Lynn’s reach and impact extend far beyond what I am in a position to observe.”
CUMU could not agree more. There are numerous additional accolades shared by Pelco’s recommenders and the award selection committee. Again, congratulations to Lynn Pelco!