Two Penn State Harrisburg faculty members named distinguished professors

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Credit: Sharon Siegfried

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Two Penn State Harrisburg faculty members have been named distinguished professors by the Penn State Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. They are among 13 distinguished professors named in 2024.

The distinguished professor or distinguished librarian title recognizes outstanding academic contribution to the University. This special academic title is bestowed upon a limited number of professors who are leaders in their fields of research or creative activity and who have demonstrated significant leadership with respect to teaching, research or creative activity, and service. 

Penn State Harrisburg’s latest distinguished professors include:

Senel Poyrazli, professor of counseling psychology, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education

Poyrazli is an international leader in the internationalization of psychology with a focus on mental health counseling. She has published extensively in prominent journals in her field and frequently gives invited presentations throughout the U.S. and abroad. She has received several awards from the American Psychological Association in recognition of her contributions to the field. During the 2022-23 academic year, she served as a Fulbright senior scholar at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. She mentors many students and colleagues on the Harrisburg campus and provides service in the greater Harrisburg area to help support immigrants, refugees and survivors of domestic abuse.

David Witwer, professor of American studies and history, School of Humanities

Witwer, Penn State Laureate for the 2020-21 academic year and an internationally acclaimed scholar and national leader in his field, has published three books and numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to awards for two of his books, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Shelby Cullom Davis Center at Princeton University. During the 2022-23 academic year, he served as the Fulbright Bicentennial Distinguished Chair in American studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He recently served as president of the Pennsylvania Historical Association and is currently the editor of the Pennsylvania History Series at Temple University Press. Witwer recently developed a service-learning project that enables students in history courses to work with the Gettysburg Foundation to support historical resources at Gettysburg National Military Park.