Ronald G. Penny until June 2015 served as Chair and tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration, teaching courses in human resources, policy, government, law and leadership.
Penny was the first Vice President for Human Resources for the University of North Carolina System, establishing policy for the 40,000 employees in the state system. Prior to that appointment, he served eight (8) years as the Director of the NC Office of State Personnel ( now NC Office of Human Resources) and as a member of the executive cabinet of former Governor James B. Hunt. In this position he established policy for 120,000 public employees.
In 1999, he served as President of the National Association of State Personnel Executives. He was Senior Managing Partner in Penny & Barnes a law firm in NC and Tidewater Virginia, and environmental attorney for E.I. DuPont Corporation.
He was chief counsel in a number of voting rights cases in eastern North Carolina. His efforts were featured in the book Quiet Revolution in the South by Chandler Davidson and Bernard Grofman, Princeton University Press.