Mark Bernhard of Blacksburg, Va., formerly with Penn State University’s Conferences and Institutes division, has joined Virginia Tech as director of Continuing and Professional Education (CPE), part of Virginia Tech’s Office of Outreach Program Development.

Bernhard brings to Virginia Tech solid experience in developing continuing and professional education programs that spring from the core of the land-grant university’s commitment to disseminate university knowledge for the public good, especially in the area of economic and workforce development.

“Mark is a great addition to the Outreach Program Development team,” Outreach Program Development Director Jeri L. Childers says. “His leadership role in Continuing and Professional Education will be key in aligning our continuing education activities with the university strategic plan and the needs of our state. We will measure our success by serving the lifelong educational needs of the citizens of Virginia and the training and development needs of organizations in our state and beyond.”

In his new position, Bernhard supervises CPE faculty, each assigned to collaborate with faculty in Virginia Tech’s colleges, centers, and institutes to develop lifelong learning programs. His staff also includes meeting planners and the CPE conference registration, marketing, and financial departments. CPE has been increasingly self-supporting and returns program revenue to the colleges and faculty, last year amounting to more than $1 million.

In addition to CPE, Outreach Program Development (OPD) includes the Service-Learning Center, the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement, Outreach Information Services, Virginia Tech’s Upward Bound/Talent Search programs, the English Language Institute, and the Office of Business Operations and Strategic Initiatives. OPD also supports university program initiatives at the Hotel Roanoke Conference Center and the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. Bernhard will be working closely with directors of these programs.

Bernhard was a senior conference planner at Penn State, where he managed $2.8 million in annual program budgets, developed new programs in collaboration with academic faculty, and led a team of seven. He served as project director for the PA Career Link Academy, a $2.3 million workforce development project funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. He created, developed, and implemented a conference, among others, on urban design/public health/crime prevention which annually draws about 1,000 enrollees. He also created “Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium,” which attracted hundreds of academics and others from around the world and garnered extensive national and international media coverage.

Bernhard’s background in hospitality and tourism industry management with the Marriott chain and a resort property gives him an additional perspective on conference and program planning that will benefit Virginia Tech.

“I'm very excited to be at Virginia Tech working with a stellar group of continuing education professionals,” Bernhard says. “Together we hope to expand and diversify our program offerings to maximize service to lifelong learners in Virginia, the nation, and the world. I'm committed to fostering an atmosphere of entrepreneurship and innovation, and am delighted to be able to do that at Tech.”

Bernhard earned his bachelor’s from Bucknell University and his master’s from The Ohio State University. He expects to receive his doctorate in workforce education and development from Penn State University in December, 2007.

Share this story