Campus News


Bryan E. Penprase, PhD, named Dean of Faculty and Professor of Science at Soka University

Aliso Viejo, CA – Daniel Habuki, PhD, president of Soka University of America, is pleased to announce that Bryan E. Penprase,PhD, will serve as SUA’s new Dean of Faculty beginning next academic year in addition to joining Soka University’s full-time faculty as Professor of Science.  Dr. Penprase will report to Edward Feasel, PhD, who continues as Soka’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer.  

Dr Penprase joins SUA from his position as Professor of Science and founding Director for the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Yale-NUS (National University of Singapore) College. 

Previously Dr. Penprase was a professor at Pomona College, most recently as the Frank P. Brackett Professor of Astronomy at Pomona College for 20 years. He received both a BS in Physics and an MS in Applied Physics from Stanford University and a PhD from the University of Chicago in Astronomy and Astrophysics.  Dr. Penprase served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Yale University, where he was one of the authors of the blueprint for the Yale-NUS College Curriculum and was the founding Director for the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Penprase is the author of “The Power of Stars – How Celestial Observations Have Shaped Civilization,” published by Springer, Inc., and has authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles, in the Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal, and in Nature and Science. He has served on numerous NSF and NASA review panels, including the Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee and the NASA/Keck Time Allocation Committee. His most recent research program is a collaboration with Caltech to develop the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) and a Global Relay of Observatories known as GROWTH for studying gamma ray bursts, new supernovae, and the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave sources. 

 “We’re very proud that Soka University is welcoming Dr. Penprase as we prepare to add a new Life Sciences Concentration to our curriculum,” added Dr. Habuki.  “Our mission is to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life.  We look to Dr. Penprase’s leadership to help guide us as we open new academic doors for our students .”

Soka offers an 8:1 student/faculty ratio, average class size of 12, and study abroad for every undergraduate student (included in tuition.)  Admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less may be eligible for Soka Opportunity Scholarships which cover full tuition.  Additional scholarship opportunities are available for higher income levels. About 60% of Soka University's students come from the US and 40% have come from more than 50 other countries.