portrait of Karen Whitney

Karen M. Whitney, Ph.D

President Emerita, Clarion University | Executive Coach

I work with higher education leaders to be courageous, confident, successful leaders.

Throughout her 40-year career in higher education, Dr. Karen Whitney has held a variety of executive and leadership positions with increasing levels of responsibility, beginning as a Director to Associate Vice President, Vice Chancellor, President, and Chancellor. Karen is a nationally recognized organizational and leadership development writer, speaker, consultant and advisor. She holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in Higher Education Administration and is a certified coach through the Center for Executive Coaching.

Today, Karen’s work revolves around advising and consulting with higher education leaders with stints in serving as an interim executive leader herself. As an advisor, Karen has been a leadership coach to over 60 leaders since 2018. As a consultant, she has worked with boards, system heads and campus CEOS on a variety of leadership advancing topics. She has held a variety of leadership appointments herself including: Interim Chancellor at the University of Illinois Springfield, Interim Chancellor for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), President at Clarion University and Vice Chancellor for Student Life & Diversity at IUPUI.

After a very accomplished career as a leader and executive in higher education, Karen is now passionately focused on working with other leaders, executives and board members to ensure their success in service to their students and institution. She advocates for courageous and confident leadership that is needed now more than ever in higher education, particularly since the challenges and threats to leadership success seem to be increasing. In working with every leader to succeed, Karen’s approach is to combine a proven track-record of higher education leadership with a variety of engagement approaches, including advising, coaching, facilitating, and training. Drawing on her vast experience at every level of leadership, she customizes an individual structured process to ensure each leader achieves their highest professional and institutional priorities.