Gregory Eells: CAPS Executive Director

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caption: Gregory EellsProvost Wendell Pritchett and Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum are pleased to announce the appointment of Gregory Eells as executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), beginning this March.

Dr. Eells, a national leader in university counseling services, has been director of counseling and psychological services at Cornell University since 2003, following five years as director of the University Counseling Center at the University of Southern Mississippi. He was elected president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors in 2007, serving two years in that position, as well as chair of the Mental Health Section of the American College Health Association in 2014, among numerous other honors. He has published dozens of scholarly articles, winning the AUCCCD’s Award for Excellence in Counseling Center Scholarship in 2016 and he has taught both graduate and undergraduate students in courses on counseling, social psychology and developmental psychology.

“Greg Eells will be a vital collaborator in our campus-wide initiatives to sustain wellness across the University,” said Provost Pritchett. “In particular, his vision and experience will be invaluable as we continue to improve and integrate our services dedicated to student wellness. He will work closely with Benoit Dubé, our chief wellness officer, to oversee the next generation of enhancements to CAPS that emerged from last year’s operational review.

These advancements, as we have noted in earlier messages, aim to increase capacity; decrease the time between a first consultation and a first counseling appointment; better distinguish short-term care, long-term care, and other kinds of wellness care; and expand the availability of phone, video, texting and app-based technologies that can be accessed anywhere, at any time, to support students in crisis. We have already started implementing these changes, making it easier for students to schedule appointments, walk in to CAPS, or talk to a clinician on the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Dr. Eells earned a PhD in counseling psychology from Oklahoma State University, an MA in psychology from Eastern Illinois University, and a BA in psychology and biology from Greenville College.

“We want to thank our CAPS staff for their extraordinary service to our students and all members of our Penn community,” said VPUL Swain-Cade McCoullum. “Through these many, many years, their dedication and care have been steadfast and strong. We want to especially recognize the superb ongoing work of Meeta Kumar, CAPS deputy director, whose leadership, passion and service have been exemplary. We look forward to working closely with Dr. Eells, Dr. Kumar, and all community members in the years ahead.”

Jane Morris: CURF Executive Director

  • January 15, 2019
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caption: Jane Coyle MorrisProvost Wendell Pritchett and Vice Provost for Education Beth Winkelstein are pleased to announce the appointment of Jane Coyle Morris as executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF), effective June 17.

Ms. Morris, a national leader in student research and fellowships, is currently executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows at Duke University. Before Duke, she led the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at Villanova University for 14 years. She has served as president, vice president, and secretary of the National Association of Fellowship Advisers and on numerous competitive scholarship selection committees and professional leadership organizations. In 2011, she co-founded the Women’s Academic Leadership Group, a group of senior women university leaders that supports women in the academy and promotes best practices and scholarship opportunities, especially at schools historically underrepresented in nationally competitive scholarships.

“We are very fortunate to bring to Penn one of the country’s most innovative leaders in student research and scholarships,” said Provost Pritchett. “Jane Morris has consistently brought vision,  creativity and a collaborative spirit to her work. She will help us further advance the crucial roles of undergraduate research and life-changing scholarship opportunities for our students.”

Ms. Morris’s background includes working as a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry and teaching biology at Villanova. She earned an MA in biology from Bryn Mawr College and a BS in biology from Villanova.

“I am very grateful to the many colleagues across campus whose investment in research and fellowship opportunities for our students was highlighted during the extensive search process,” said Vice Provost Winkelstein. “I am confident that Jane will be a vital partner and catalyst for this great scholarly engagement of our students, faculty, and outstanding CURF staff in the years ahead.”

Harriet Joseph, who served as director of CURF since 2008, retired from the University in 2018. Ann Vernon-Grey, associate director for undergraduate research at CURF, will serve as acting director until June 17, 2019.

Quayshawn Spencer: Robert S. Blank Presidential Professor

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caption: Quayshawn SpencerQuayshawn Spencer, associate professor of philosophy, has been named the Robert S. Blank Presidential Associate Professor of Philosophy effective July 1, 2018. An influential scholar of philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, and philosophy of race, Dr. Spencer has published articles in a variety of academic journals, including Philosophy of Science and Philosophical Studies, and his co-authored monograph, What is Race? Four Philosophical Views, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. His research has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Fleishhacker Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Dr. Spencer has served on the Penn Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee and the Committee on the Status of Black Philosophers for the American Philosophical Association. He is the co-founder and former chairman of the board of the Society of Young Black Philosophers, and serves as an editorial board member for three philosophy journals, Biology & Philosophy, Critical Philosophy of Race, and Ergo.

The Robert S. Blank Presidential Professorship was established in 2017 by Nancy L. Blank in memory of her husband, Robert S. Blank (L’65). Mr. Blank was an emeritus trustee at Penn. He was also an emeritus member of the Penn Medicine Board and of the Board of Overseers of Penn’s Law School, and was a former overseer of the Wharton School. The Blanks generously supported initiatives across the University including Penn Law, Wharton, Penn Medicine, and Penn Arts and Sciences.

Their three children are also Penn graduates and supporters: Wendy Blank Chaikin (C’98); Samuel A. Blank (C’01); and Matthew S. Blank (C’03, L’07, WG’07).

David Evans’ Gift to ARG

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caption: David J. EvansPenn’s Arthur Ross Gallery—celebrating its 35th anniversary this year—has recently received a gift in support of two new initiatives.

David J. Evans III (WG’70) has given $50,000 to the Gallery, dividing his gift to support two initiatives: the first is the David J. Evans Exhibition Program that will provide sponsorship ($10,000 each) for three upcoming exhibitions. This initiative of exhibition sponsorship for the gallery is one that Lynn Marsden-Atlass, the Gallery’s executive director, hopes others will join in the future. The second initiative is the David Evans Family Artist-in-Residence Program ($20,000) inaugurates an artist-in residence program. This will bring emerging and mid-career artists to work with the Gallery staff, with a residency on campus, presenting a series of talks and workshops across disciplines at Penn.

Mr. Evans is a Wharton grad who later received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Muskingum College in 2008. After retiring from an investment career, he partnered in real estate development and historic home renovations. He became involved with the Arthur Ross Gallery in the past two years.


Charles Benson, Penn Vet

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Charles E. (“Chuck”) Benson, retired professor at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine and chairman of New Bolton Center’s large animal hospital, died December 26, 2018. He was 81.

Dr. Benson began his career at Penn Vet in 1969 as a postdoc fellow in microbiology. In 1973 he joined the staff full time, working his way up to associate professor in microbiology and eventually a full professor in pathobiology in 1980. He held a secondary position as a lecturer in medical technology and later assistant professor in the College of General Studies, now LPS. He earned tenure in 1985.

Dr. Benson served as chairman of New Bolton Center’s large animal hospital from 1989 to 1997. During his time at Penn,  he also served for several years on the University Council’s Committee on Committees. He retired in 2006.

Outside of Penn, he was honored by the Boy Scouts of America in 2001 for his volunteer work. Dr. Benson was presented the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award given by the organization to adult volunteers.

Dr. Benson is survived by his children, Deborah Elizabeth Quigley (Thomas) and Charles N. (Karen Lee); grandchildren, Sean Quigley and Everett Benson; brother, Jon (Teddi); and numerous nieces and nephews.

To Report A Death

Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students and other members of the University community. Call (215) 898-5274 or email

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 517, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or email


From the Senate Office: SEC Agenda

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The following agenda is published in accordance with the Faculty Senate Rules. Any member of the standing faculty may attend SEC meetings and observe. Questions may be directed to Patrick Walsh, executive assistant to the Senate Office, either by telephone at (215) 898-6943 or by email at

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Agenda

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

3-5 p.m.

Meyerson Conference Room, Van Pelt Library (2nd floor)

  1. Approval of the Minutes of November 28, 2018
  2. Chair’s Report
  3. Past-Chair’s Report 
  4. Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures
    • Discussion with Joann Mitchell, Senior Vice President for Institutional Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, and Wendy White, Senior Vice President and General Counsel   
  5. Moderated Discussion
  6. New Business


André DeHon, Sanjeev Khanna: ACM Fellowships

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caption: André DeHoncaption: Sanjeev KhannaAndré DeHon, professor of electrical and systems engineering and computer and information science, and Sanjeev Khanna, the Henry Salvatori Professor of Computer and Information Science, both in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, have been named to the 2018 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellowship class.

The ACM, the world’s largest computing society, seeks to address computing machinery’s latest challenges. ACM Fellows are recognized for significant contributions in computing and information technology fields including computer architecture, robotics, and systems security. ACM awards this distinction to less than 1% of its overall membership each year.

Dr. DeHon has been recognized for “contributions to architecture exploration and design automation of spatially programmable computing fabrics, especially FPGAs [field programmable gate arrays].” Dr. Dehon broadly focuses on nano research, in which he ventures into the atomic scale to build computer systems. Effective nanoscale design poses many challenges and requires a complete rethinking of traditional computing systems. Dr. Dehon directs Penn’s Implementation of Computation group to address these challenges, where researchers are currently focused on programmable system-on-a-chip designs.

Dr. Khanna has been recognized for “contributions to approximation algorithms, hardness of approximation, and sublinear algorithms.” He works primarily in theoretical computer science, determining the amount of resources required to perform computational tasks. His recent work has focused on sublinear graph algorithms that solve optimization problems on large scale networks using computational resources that are much smaller than the network size.

The 2018 ACM Fellows will be formally recognized at the annual Awards Banquet, which will be held on June 15 in San Francisco, California.

Barry Fuchs, ABC Program: Digital Edge 50 Award

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caption: Barry FuchsA team led by Barry Fuchs, medical director of the medical intensive care unit and respiratory care department and a professor of medicine in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, was named a Digital Edge 50 Award winner for the Awakening Breathing Coordination (ABC) Program. The multidisciplinary team included physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, data scientists and software developers from the Critical Care Committee, Information Services, Penn Medicine Center for Healthcare Innovation and the Penn E-lert eICU. Using clinical decision support algorithms developed with help from the Center for Predictive Medicine, the ABC program is designed to allow patients to be weaned from sedation and mechanical ventilation at the earliest appropriate time through the display of real-time data on an electronic dashboard and by alerting clinicians through mobile devices. By removing patients from ventilators earlier so they can breathe on their own, care teams can shorten patients’ stay in the ICU, reduce the costs associated with their care, and improve patients’ overall experience, both physically and mentally. Presented by CIO magazine and the CIO Executive Council, Digital Edge 50 Awards recognize 50 organizations making “great strides toward being digital-centric businesses.” The winners will receive their awards at the AGENDA19 conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, in March.

Saar Gill: Emerging Leader Award

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caption: Saar GillSaar I. Gill, assistant professor of hematology-oncology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center, received The Mark Foundation’s inaugural Emerging Leader Awards. Dr. Gill is one of eight recipients of the award, which includes a grant and recognizes promising early career scientists for projects aimed at improving cancer risk prediction, prevention, detection and treatment. Dr. Gill’s project is titled, “Commoditizing Adoptive Cell Therapy: Towards in Vivo CAR T-Cell Manufacturing.”

Penn Nursing: #1 in NIH Funding

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With $13.4 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has retained its top spot among other schools of nursing for research funding for the 2018 fiscal year. This is the second consecutive year Penn Nursing has earned first place.

Funded research topics include:

  • Reduce HIV vulnerability through life skills interventions for adolescent men;
  • Examine neural responses to food stimuli following cognitive behavioral therapy for binge eating disorder;
  • Test a problem-solving intervention for hospice caregivers;
  • Establish lymphedema and fibrosis measures in oral cancer patients;
  • Train and test a model to scale evidence-based dementia care and caregiver support programs into practice;
  • Study the impact of nursing on racial disparities in surgical outcomes and disparities in outcomes for in-hospital cardiac arrest;
  • Improve outcomes of critically ill children with acute respiratory distress syndrome; and
  • Determine neural mechanisms of nausea, vomiting and energy balance dysregulation.

Maria A. Oquendo: Delores Shockley Minority Mentoring Award

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caption: Maria OquendoMaria A. Oquendo, chair of psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine, was awarded the 2018 Delores Shockley Minority Mentoring Award by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). The award recognizes an ACNP member who has been successful in mentoring young scientists from underrepresented groups in the field of neuropsychopharmacology and related disciplines. Dr. Oquendo was honored for her passion and dedication to a diverse medical and academic workforce. The award was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the ACNP in Hollywood, Florida.

Mark Yim, Inventors Fellow

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caption: Mark YimMark Yim, professor in the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in SEAS, has been named a 2018 National Academy of Inventors Fellow for “demonstrating a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.”

Dr. Yim’s research interests began with modular robots that are made up of identical active components that can be arranged to form many different configurations, ranging from a snake robot to a humanoid to a 17-legged centipede. These systems can also self-reconfigure, changing the robot’s shape to suit the task. In addition to self-reconfiguring and self-assembling robots, Dr. Kim has also started work on flying robots, and task specification, working to figure out how to specify a task so that a robot configuration can optimally satisfy that task.

Dr. Yim’s most recent project is SMORES-EP, a modular robot that can reconfigure itself into different shapes depending on the task and environment at hand.


Benjamin Franklin: A Champion of Free Press and Free Speech

  • January 15, 2019
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caption: Amy GutmannPenn President Amy Gutmann described herself at the Icon Award ceremony as “a moral and political philosopher and an educator, by passion as well as by profession. I have devoted my life’s work to better understanding—and strengthening—the groundwork for both American democracy and education. For any democracy to survive and flourish, no single principle is more fundamental than the free and robust exchange of ideas—especially when we disagree.”

On November 28, Penn President Amy Gutmann was one of five Philadelphia leaders recognized with the 2018 Inquirer Industry Icon Award. In her acceptance of the award, she spoke of the heritage of free expression bequeathed to the University of Pennsylvania by its founder, Benjamin Franklin.

Unhindered press, transformative higher education, engaged civic and business leaders: These are lynchpins for open and free expression in American society. These are the pillars of a free world.

Benjamin Franklin was America’s first great newspaperman and one of the greatest champions of a free press and free speech. “When this support is taken away,” he wrote, “the constitution of a free society is dissolved.”

If you lead the University of Pennsylvania, which Benjamin Franklin founded, open expression is not some abstraction. It is the bedrock of all that we do. Diverse and unexpected ideas are as foundational to Penn as they are to the survival of a free society.

During times when the tendency to treat political adversaries as mortal enemies is rampant, when honest debate and peaceful dissenters are being stifled, and when hate crimes are surging, universities such as Penn have a special obligation. Our fundamental mission is to open things up. I am proud to say that Penn is a place where unexpected ideas are welcome and given a fair chance to stand up to rigorous research and spirited debate.

This is not just a university issue; this is a universal issue. It transcends social divisions and party lines.

Receiving the Icon Award from the Philadelphia Inquirer is a signal honor. It is no less a reminder of how much we all depend upon excellent journalism, honest reporting, and the complete and accurate representation of a story to allow us to succeed at the difficult task of democratic self-government. Every day, you go to work on behalf of free speech and honest and open inquiry. Penn is honored to undertake this essential work by your side.

caption: Benjamin FranklinFranklin’s birthday has been celebrated on January 17 for centuries, but he was actually born in Boston on January 6, 1705, before the colonies switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1752. Under the Julian system the new year began March 25 not January 1 so anyone born during those months also had to change the year of their birth. He supported the change and dutifully moved his birthday up the 11 days. So his Gregorian year of birth became 1706 instead of 1705. Franklin moved to Philadelphia at the age of 17 and prospered as an entrepreneur and newspaperman. 

Poor Richard’s Almanack

On December 19, 1732, Franklin published his first issue of the periodical book, Poor Richard’s Almanack under the pseudonym Richard Saunders. It was published continuously for 25 years and provided a wide range of information, including calendars, weather predictions, sayings, poems and demographics, as well as recipes, trivia, advice, aphorisms and proverbs about industry and frugality, and even jokes.

According to the Library Company of Philadelphia, only three copies of the 1733 original issue exist. Franklin’s pseudonym is a bit of a riddle in a riddle: Richard Saunders was an English physician and astrologist who wrote under the pen name of Cardanus Rider, which is simply the letters in “Richard Saunders” rearranged. The real Saunders published Rider’s British Merlin. The name Poor Richard was adapted from another British almanac, Poor Robin, which was first published in 1664. The pseudonym Richard Saunders was initially distinct from Franklin, but throughout the years it became linked with Franklin’s character.

It is believed that Richard Saunders’ personality was modeled after Isaaq Bickerstaff Esq, a pseudonym used by Jonathan Swift as part of a hoax to predict the death of almanac writer John Partridge.

The almanac was a best seller in the American colonies printing up to 10,000 copies a year. Its success brought wealth to Benjamin Franklin. Poor Richard’s Almanack was so popular that Napoleon ordered it translated into Italian and later it was also translated into French.

Almanac, the University of Pennsylvania’s journal of record, opinion and news began in November 1954 as a monthly and has been a weekly since spring 1971.

Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania

Ben Franklin’s 1749 pamphlet on the aims of education, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, led directly to the founding of the Academy of Philadelphia, which has been known since 1791 as the University of Pennsylvania.

In this document, Franklin described his revolutionary and visionary plan to properly educate American youth. He believed in combining “every Thing that is useful, and every Thing that is ornamental.” Franklin spelled out his ideas for a perfect educational institution, addressing buildings, academic life, student health and service to the broader community, among other topics.

As a result of his writings, he was able to recruit 24 prominent citizens as trustees for a new institution of higher education. He persuaded the trustees to acquire George Whitefield’s New Building at Fourth and Arch St. and convert it for educational purposes.  The Trustees drafted a Constitution of the Publick [sic] Academy, in the City of Philadelphia in 1749, codifying Franklin’s ideas into a concrete school charter. In 1751, Franklin’s Academy opened at Fourth and Arch Streets, and four years later the Academy was converted to a College with the authority to confer undergraduate and professional degrees.

You can find the full proposal online (Almanac January 24, 2006).

The Pennsylvania Gazette

The Pennsylvania Gazette was founded by Samuel Keimer in 1728 under the name of The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette. Each copy was published with an insert of Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences.

Bemjamin Franklin and his partner Hugh Meredith purchased the Gazette from Keimer on October 2, 1729. They shortened  the title to The Pennsylvania Gazette and dropped inclusion of the Cyclopaedia. They improved the paper’s appearance, articles and news, and soon the Gazette, published twice a week, became the most successful newspaper in the colonies.

The Gazette was unusual for the time in that it included essays and letters from readers, many of which were written by Franklin himself under pseudonyms.

Franklin used the Gazette to publish his experiments with electricity and to stress his political views. On May 19, 1754, during the French Indian War, Franklin published the first known American political cartoon known as ”Join, or Die.” In the editorial he tried to emphasize the need of the colonies to join forces with Great Britain to defeat the French and Indians. Ironically, one decade later the same cartoon became the symbol of the Revolutionary War. The cartoon shows a snake cut into eight parts, each one labeled with the initials of each American colony.

As Franklin moved up in his political career so did the profits of his business. By the mid-1730s, the Gazette became the most popular newspaper in the colony. In 1748 Franklin retired from business, and he left printing and editing of the Gazette to his partner David Hall. It ceased publication in 1800, 10 years after Franklin’s death.

The title was resurrected by Penn’s alumni magazine in 1918, a nod to the University’s founder and his publishing roots.

caption: “Join, or Die”, published in 1754 by Benjamin Franklin in The Pennsylvania Gazette, was the first political cartoon published in America.

Plenty of Penn Perks

  • January 15, 2019
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caption: A Penn Transit bus passes by the Quad.

Did you know there are tons of benefits that come with a position at Penn? Listed below are many of Penn perks that are available to faculty and staff members.

Health and Fitness

Health Risk Assessments—Visit to access Penn Medicine’s variety of online tools that help you learn about your body and how to manage your health.

Annual Flu Shot—Human Resources sponsors a flu shot for all employees every November. Consistent with the Affordable Care Act, employees do not need to pay up front or seek reimbursement from their insurance companies.

Health Advocate Service—Visit or call 1 (866) 799-2329 to take advantage of this free service, which helps employees find doctors, expedite appointments, navigate insurance and generally assist with health care.

Annual Wellness Fair—Every April, Human Resources sponsors a wellness fair that offers free screenings, merchandise and information about campus safety, nutrition, dining, women’s health and many other topics.

Flexible Work Options—Penn offers a variety of arrangements such as flextime, flexplace and a compressed work plan that help employees manage their busy schedules. For more information, visit

Counseling and Referrals—Life is often challenging, and Penn employees receive up to eight free counseling sessions to help with stressful transitions. Visit to learn more.

Penn Walking Program—Penn provides plenty of incentives to stay in shape by walking, including a free pedometer, a t-shirt and a tracking booklet. Learn more about this program at

Tobacco Cessation Resources—Penn is dedicated to its employees’ well-being, and Penn’s Quit Smoking Program is available to help employees fight this difficult addiction. For information, visit

Weight Watchers at Penn—This well-known national program has its own Penn branch! Meetings are held Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. for a weekly fee. For details, see

Recreation—Penn offers a variety of recreational venues, including Penn Park, Pottruck Health and Fitness Center and Fox Fitness Center. These are available to Penn faculty, staff and students. In addition, several fitness programs such as club sports, personal training and massage therapy can help any member of the Penn community get in shape! Visit for fees and information.

StayWell Portal—Penn’s StayWell portal is available at and provides access to many useful health resources. In addition, there is a helpline at 1 (855) 428-6324. This is part of the Be in the Know wellness campaign:

Children and Family

Adoption Assistance—Penn can help ease the financial impact of bringing home a new child by reimbursing up to $5,000 for eligible adoption expenses. Visit to learn more.

Nursing Mothers Program—This program, which includes a free Breastfeeding Resource Group, can help new mothers make a smoother transition back to work while nursing a newborn. Visit

Penn Children’s Center—The Penn Children’s Center provides child care and education for children (ages 3 months to 5 years) with preference given to faculty, staff and students. Visit to learn about this award-winning institution.

Snow Day Child Care—Pre-register now to have your child (ages 12 weeks to 12 years) taken care of when Philadelphia schools close but Penn remains open. For information, visit

Backup Care Program—When an emergency strikes, Penn will help you find the right care for your child. Visit for more information.

Take Your Children to Work Day—Penn understands the importance of providing children with positive, productive experiences in their formative years. This annual event gives youngsters ages 9-15 years an up-close and personal look at their parent/sponsor’s workplace. Visit to learn more.

School Strike and Closing Guidance—Penn provides resources to help parents in the event of a school strike or closing. Visit to learn more.

Personal Assisted Search—Offered through, this search can help with a wide range of dependent care challenges, such as finding child care, school-age care, summer camp programs in your community, and/or elder care services to meet your family’s needs and preferences. Visit to learn more.

Tuition Benefits for You and Your Family—Faculty and staff members receive 100% of tuition for up to two course units per term at Penn. Spouses, domestic partners and children receive considerable discounts as well. Visit to learn more.

Funeral Planning Services—Penn’s life insurance carrier, Aetna, offers Penn employees enrolled in life insurance free funeral planning and funeral-related concierge services through its partnership with Everest. Visit to learn more.

caption: The University Club has a free membership  opportunity for new hires.

Work and Career

Career Coaching—Employees who have been at Penn for at least a year receive help polishing their résumés, developing their present careers and optimizing mobility. For more information, see

Employee Resource Fair—Held every October, this event, co-sponsored by Human Resources, the PPSA and the WPPSA, spotlights dozens of Penn’s offices and demonstrates the variety of resources available to all Penn employees.

Resolving Workplace Issues—Penn has various resources available to assist staff members in resolving workplace issues or concerns. Visit to take advantage of Penn’s programs, procedures and professionals who are available to intervene.

Penn Libraries—Penn Libraries offer a variety of useful services. Penn’s collections include more than seven million books and 34 thousand sound recordings. Online services like Franklin, Ancestry and Safari aid with finding information, and the Weigle Information Commons offer workshops to assist with technology and equipment rental. Several libraries have video and DVD rentals. Search for a title:

ISC Training—Penn Computing provides computer training courses that can be taken both on Penn’s campus at their training lab, or off campus at several locations in Philadelphia and the suburbs.

Leadership Development—Penn offers four leadership development programs to help develop the management and leadership skills needed to be successful at Penn and beyond. Visit to learn more

Online Courses—Penn employees can take advantage of more than 50,000 free professional training videos offered by at In addition, web-based online classes are available from Coursera at

Safety and Transportation

Help Line—(215) 898-HELP (4357). The HELP Line is a 24-hour-a-day, 7 days a week phone number for members of the Penn community who are seeking time-sensitive help in navigating Penn’s resources for health and wellness. Any member of the Penn community can utilize this service. Calls will be answered by Division of Public Safety professionals trained in mental health referrals by staff from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Visit for more information.

UPennAlert Emergency Notification System—Registered cell phone numbers receive critical information from University officials in the time of an emergency. To update emergency contact information:

Walking Escort Services—(215) 898-WALK (9255) to request a walking escort 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, between 43rd & 30th Streets and Market Street to Baltimore Avenue. Escorts are also available from 10 a.m. until 3 a.m. between 50th & 30th Streets and Spring Garden Street to Woodland Avenue via the University’s partnership with the University City District Ambassador Program.

How to Request a Walking Escort:

  • Ask any Public Safety Officer on patrol or inside a building
  • Call 215-898-WALK (9255) or 511 (from campus phone)
  • Use one of the many building and blue-light phones located on and off Penn’s Campus

Visit for information.

Emergency Ride Home—In case of an emergency or if an employee’s regular ride home is not available, a free ride home for commuters is available. Visit

Lockout and Jump-Start Services—Security Services offers free services to anyone with car needs, such as needing a jump start, on campus. Call (215) 573-3333 or 511 from any campus phone.

Self Defense Courses—Penn offers RAD and other self-defense courses for men and women, and private classes and classes for nonbinary affiliates are also available, all free of charge. Information can be found at

Loop Through University City (LUCY)—Between 6:10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, excluding holidays, this shuttle is available between University City and 30th Street Station. It is free to all PennCard holders. Visit for information about routes and schedules.

Parking on Campus—Penn Parking manages 25 parking facilities on Penn’s campus, including garages and lots, that are reserved for faculty and staff. Visit to learn more about how to save on parking.

Carpool and Vanpool—Penn offers support to individuals who wish to take advantage of carpooling and vanpooling. Visit:

Bike Sharing Stations—Philadelphia’s bike-share system, Indego, has stations on Penn’s campus. For information about Indego, visit

Bike Commuter Expense Reimbursement Program—Full-time benefits-eligible employees who commute to work by bicycle will receive reimbursement for eligible expenses. Visit

Penn Transit—Penn’s integrated transit service offers free transportation to and from campus (within specified boundaries) to anyone with a valid PennCard. Visit:

Public Transportation—Penn offers discounted options through Commuter Pass Program,  PATCO Freedom Pass, New Jersey Transit and SEPTA. Learn more at

Discounts and Savings

Penn Home Ownership Services—Penn offers a variety of incentives for home buyers, including a Closing Cost Reduction Program and $7,500 enhanced forgivable loans. For information, visit

Penn Bookstore—The Penn Bookstore offers a 10% discount on many items if PennCard is shown.

Penn Computer Connection—The campus computer retail outlet for Penn faculty, staff and students offers educational discounts on computers, hardware, software, accessories and supplies as well as the opportunity to trade-in your technology to get credit toward a future purchase.

Financial Services—The University of Pennsylvania Federal Credit Union offers a variety of discounts on vacations, cars, coupons and insurance. Visit to learn more. In addition, Bank of America offers Penn faculty and staff Visa credit cards. See

PNC WorkPlace Banking—PNC offers Penn faculty and staff a complete set of money management tools with exclusive features, benefits and rewards. Visit to learn more.

YMCA Discount—Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA and Regional Y Alliances offer 10% monthly discounts to all members with valid PennCards. Existing members can sign up for a discount at their home YMCA branch.

GlobalFit—Penn faculty and staff and their families qualify for discounted rates at participating GlobalFit health clubs, including Sweat, Curves, LA Fitness, Nutrisystem and more! Visit to learn more.

Personal Purchase Programs—Employees of Penn can get discounts for a variety of products, such as Ford and General Motors vehicles; AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless cellphone plans; Office Depot office supplies; shipping from Amazon, Apple and Dell.

Pet Care Benefits—Penn employees receive a 20% discount on services at the Ryan Veterinary Hospital. To make an appointment, call (215) 746-8387 or visit

PennO365—Faculty, staff and students receive a free suite of Microsoft Office 365 software (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and others), which can be installed on up to five laptops and devices per user, see:

PersonalShip—PennKey provides access for any Penn employee to this personal shipping service, which features discounted rates, tracking and several express shipping options. For  information, visit

Amazon@Penn—Located in 1920 Commons on campus, Amazon@Penn offers convenient and safe pick-up and returns on Amazon orders.

Dining—With a faculty/staff dining plan, Penn offers a 5% discount at Penn retail dining facilities. Visit

University Club—All new faculty and staff a receive free one year membership. Visit

PennCards—A PennCard entitles its bearer to a number of perks, including free admission to the Morris Arboretum, the Penn Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art; use of Penn Transit Services; and access to Penn recreational facilities. Any Penn employee can obtain a PennCard for any member of his/her family, who will then share in the benefits! For information, see

Travel Reservations—Penn has relationships with several preferred travel vendors, such as Enterprise, World Travel and United, all of which offer discounts to Penn employees. Visit to take advantage of these discounted rates.

YouDecide—Penn offers the YouDecide program, which features a single-destination portal showcasing consumer products and services. Through this convenient online shopping destination, eligible faculty and staff will find savings at establishments such as restaurants, spas, sports and entertainment venues, car discounts, and popular apparel retailers. There are hundreds of discounts available from local and national brands. Visit for information.

caption: Penn’s Public Safety provides a walking escort.


Teen Cannabis Use and Behavioral Problems

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Research
  • print

New research led by Penn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) finds that cannabis use among teens does not appear to lead to greater conduct problems or greater affiliation with other teens who smoke cannabis. Instead, it is adolescents with conduct problems or whose friends use cannabis who are more likely to gravitate toward cannabis use. That “cascading chain of events” appears to predict cannabis use disorder as the teens become young adults, according to the study, published in Addiction.

The research uses data from the Philadelphia Trajectory Study, a six-wave study that began in 2004 with interviews of nearly 400 10- to 12-year-olds in Philadelphia. The adolescents were tested annually from 2004 to 2010, and then again in 2012 for a final two-year follow-up. The current study uses data from 364 teens from the final four waves of the study. The observational study is based on self-reports from the adolescents which were then validated by urine screening.

Ivy Defoe, the lead author and former APPC postdoctoral fellow, said, “Interestingly, the results show that not only do conduct problems such as school truancy and theft predict cannabis use, but adolescents who display conduct problems are also drawn to cannabis-using peers. These affiliations predict increases in cannabis use and, eventually, cannabis use disorder, as our results show,” added Dr. Defoe, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente, the Netherlands.

Dr. Defoe said some theories would suggest that teens with conduct problems may be using cannabis as a coping mechanism to deal with disapproval of their behavioral problems and perhaps to self-medicate. The study concludes that if youth with conduct problems “use unprescribed cannabis to cope with their condition, then healthier alternative coping strategies and support should be made available.”

One concern about use of an illegal drug is that it will lead adolescents to socialize with deviant peer groups, such as those who sell and use illegal drugs. However, the study suggests that adolescents using cannabis are no more likely to start affiliating with peers using cannabis.

The findings do suggest that with increasing legalization, there will be greater access to cannabis and thus a greater likelihood for youth to develop cannabis use disorder. However, just as with alcohol, which is legal for adults, research conducted as part of this project suggests that less than a quarter of youthful users would develop a mild cannabis use disorder.

Holistic Defense Reduces Mass Incarceration

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Research
  • print

A new study by RAND and the University of Pennsylvania Law School finds that by adopting an innovative holistic approach to defending poor clients in criminal cases, jurisdictions can significantly reduce incarceration and save taxpayer dollars, without harming public safety.

The study, “The Effects of Holistic Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes,” to be published in the Harvard Law Review, examined over half a million cases in the Bronx over a 10-year period involving poor criminal defendants who received court-appointed lawyers. The study was authored by James Anderson and Mary Buenaventura of RAND, and Paul Heaton, senior fellow and academic director of Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at Penn Law.

Dr. Heaton and his co-authors compared holistic representation–wherein an interdisciplinary team that includes a lawyer working alongside other advocates such as a social worker, housing advocate, investigator, etc., addresses the wider needs of the client enmeshed in the criminal justice system—to the more traditional public defense model focused around criminal attorneys and criminal case advocacy. They found that the holistic approach reduced the likelihood of a prison sentence by 16% and actual prison sentence length by 24%.

Over the decade covered by the study, holistic representation of clients prevented more than one million days of incarceration, saving New York taxpayers an estimated $165 million. In a follow-up spanning up to 10 years after case resolution, defendants who received holistic defense services were shown to commit no more crime than those incarcerated for longer periods.

The study is the first large-scale empirical evaluation of the impact of holistic representation on criminal justice outcomes. The authors studied two institutional providers, the Bronx Defenders and the Legal Aid Society of New York. The former operate under a holistic defense, while the latter has historically followed a more traditional model.

An analysis of over half a million cases revealed that holistic defense did not affect conviction rates, but did appreciably increase the use of non-incarceration sentencing alternatives. Impacts were particularly large in drug and larceny cases, where holistic representation reduced custodial sentences by 63% and 72%, respectively. In the latter years of the study, as the Legal Aid Society also embraced a more interdisciplinary approach, outcomes across the two organizations converged.

Nanomaterial Applications

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Research
  • print

Researchers in Penn’s department of physics & astronomy in SAS are paving the way for the future of nanomaterial applications, which are at the forefront of solving some of the world’s biggest engineering challenges, by providing insights into how these thin 2D membranes form. A study from the lab of Marija Drndić, the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics at Penn, published in the journal Nano Letters, also offers a view of what these materials look like at the nanometer scale.

The study builds on previous work done by the Drndić lab and focuses on a “less attractive” form of 2D membranes. Most research focuses on membranes that are comprised of a monolayer that is only one atom thick. In this study, the Drndić lab used membranes that vary in thickness.

These membranes are considered “less attractive” because they may not be ideal for applications such as electronics. But these membranes are strong, versatile, and much easier to make in the lab. “This additional robustness can be used for applications like desalination or gas transport,” said Priyanka Thiruraman, a graduate student involved with the study.

Using a scanning transmission electron microscope, Paul Masih Das, graduate student and the study’s lead author, was able to take pictures of these types of membranes at an atomic scale— “nanotopography.” The images show the layout of individual atoms within the membrane and reveal patterns that resemble a map of atomic hills and valleys. “This level of structure, where we can see the individual atoms of these multilayer molybdenum disulfide membranes, hasn’t been seen in the related literature before,” said Dr. Drndić.

Mr. Masih Das said that they thought they would find a structure that was more uniform and grid-like. Unexpected results like this drive the Drndić lab to keep exploring the potential of how these “less attractive” materials could be used in the future.

“The idea of desalination came naturally. It’s not that we planned it; it was just that for the holes that we were making for DNA sequencing applications we noticed that if they were smaller then we can filter ions. When we first published on that topic, there were not many papers at all out there. Now, all of a sudden, there are many more papers, and there’s more of a research community.”

The Drndić lab continues to study the fundamental nature of 2D membranes and other nanomaterials. “We let it grow naturally,” Dr. Drndić said  about the work done in her lab. “If we see another opportunity, we might jump on it. “


Celebrating the Legacy of MLK at Penn

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Events
  • print

caption: Martin Luther King, Jr.Penn will celebrate and honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during the 24th annual Commemorative Symposium on Social Change, January 17 through February 1. 

The symposium, organized by the African-American Resource Center, combines service opportunities with performances, lectures and discussions to help people inside and outside the University community engage with the ideas, actions and lasting impact of the civil rights icon. MLK Day has been one of Penn’s Recognized Holidays since 2001 to allow faculty, staff and students to participate in the Day of Service.

Many of the events are happening on January 21, the national MLK Day of Service, but Penn’s programming lasts for more than two weeks. 

On January 21, the Day of Service kicks off with a breakfast at Houston Hall, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Then, participants can fan out to an array of service projects, including:

  • Making audio books for Philadelphia kids with the Penn Reads Literacy Project;
  • A drive collecting adult professional clothing for Career Wardrobe;
  • Filling bags with toiletries for women in local shelters;
  • Community-beautification projects throughout West Philadelphia;
  • A workshop on “Finding Your Path to STEM.”
  • The School of Veterinary Medicine is running a clinic offering free vaccinations and exams to approximately 250 dogs and cats; pet owners should preregister at (215) 898-4680 between 8 and 10 a.m. to make appointments.
  • Screening of an inspirational documentary film, Personal Statement, directed by Penn alumna Juliane Dressner, about three high school students determined to get themselves and their peers to college; 3 p.m., Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center; free but must register:
  • The MLK holiday will end with a candlelight vigil through campus, beginning at 7 p.m. at DuBois College House and ending at College Green.

Two days later is another major event: the Interfaith Commemoration and Conversation in Social Justice, on January  23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. It will feature a discussion with Rev. William Barber II and Camille Z. Charles, the Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences, professor of sociology and Africana studies, and education director of the Center for Africana Studies at Penn. 

Rev. Barber, a pastor and social-justice advocate, founded the grassroots group Repairers of the Breach and won a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (often called a genius grant) last fall. 

The Community Involvement Awards will be presented at the event. This year’s recipients include Anea Moore, a senior focused on community service during her time on campus and the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship (Almanac November 20, 2018). 

Another highlight is this year’s Hallmark Program, a discussion called “What Can Colleges and Universities Do About Education?” on January 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. The program will look at public school programs and services supported by local colleges and universities, and will include presentations and trainings on parent and community advocacy.  

Other symposium events include a storytime for kids at the Penn Family Center January 19, the annual “Jazz for King” concert on February 1, a presentation about King’s influence on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on January 24, and a program on building a stronger force of student, faculty, and community activists on January 28

Most events are free and open to the public, but some ask for participants to register:

Update: January AT PENN

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Events
  • print

Readings and Signings

24    Moral Distress in the Health Professions; discussion with Connie Ulrich, author; 3 p.m.; Biomedical Library; register:

        Poetry Reading with Andrés Cerpa, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, & p.e. garcia; 6:30 p.m.; Penn Book Center.

26    Women’s Worlds Reading Group; discussing To Mervas by Elisabeth Rynell; 3 p.m.; Penn Book Center.

AT PENN Deadlines

The January AT PENN calendar is now online. The February AT PENN calendar will be available Tuesday, January 29.

Thomas Evans and the Professional Press Exhibit

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Events
  • print

caption: (Above) Advertisement for mineral teeth,  56 Bond St New York, from Brown’s quarterly dental expositor (New York, July 1859).

The Thomas Evans and the Professional Press exhibit is on display through April 12 in the Leon Levy Dental Medicine Library. It’s free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

By neither twentieth nor twenty-first century standards was Thomas W. Evans (1823-1897) a “dentist” or a “doctor.” Licensing procedures and paths into the professions had, in his era, not solidified. If his route to dentistry was unusual, it was not at all unprecedented. After all, he had been awarded a “certificate” from Jefferson Medical College in 1843.

Interested from childhood in dentistry, Dr. Evans had also long been a reader of contemporary dental printed works. Some, naturally, were textbooks or manuals of practice. But he also had access to contemporary professional periodical literature for dentists. Both articles and advertisements from such periodicals are the subject of this exhibition. They illustrate what Dr. Evans, along with other young or mature dentists, would have encountered in this literature.

caption: The exhibit on display at the Leon Levy Dental Medicine Library.

caption: The exhibit on display at the Leon Levy Dental Medicine Library.


Weekly Crime Reports

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Crimes
  • print

The University of Pennsylvania Police Department Community Crime Report

Below are the Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Society and Crimes Against Property from the campus report for December 31, 2018-January 6, 2019View prior weeks' reports—Ed.

This summary is prepared by the Division of Public Safety and includes all criminal incidents reported and made known to the University Police Department for the dates of December 31, 2018-January 6, 2019. The University Police actively patrol from Market St to Baltimore and from the Schuylkill River to 43rd St in conjunction with the Philadelphia Police. In this effort to provide you with a thorough and accurate report on public safety concerns, we hope that your increased awareness will lessen the opportunity for crime. For any concerns or suggestions regarding this report, please call the Division of Public Safety at (215) 898-4482.

1/2/2019         8:37 PM           4001 Walnut St           Merchandise taken without payment/Arrest

1/3/2019         11:29 AM        4000 Pine St                Phone taken from complainant’s hand

1/3/2019         3:01 PM           4258 Chestnut St        Packages taken from building

1/3/2019         3:02 PM           4258 Chestnut St        Packages taken from building

1/3/2019         3:03 PM           4254 Chestnut St        Packages taken from building

1/4/2019         12:11 PM         3733 Spruce St           Items taken from secure office swipe access

1/6/2019         1:19 PM           3925 Walnut St           Merchandise taken without payment

1/6/2019         2:25 PM           3945 Chestnut St        Unsecured package taken from lobby

1/6/2019         6:25 PM           3600 Walnut St           Offender FTA/Arrest

18th District

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 4 incidents (1 assault and 3 robberies) were reported between December 31, 2018-January 6, 2019 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

1/1/2019         9:23 PM           41st/Chester Ave        Assault

1/4/2019         7:45 PM           46th & Ludlow Sts      Robbery

1/4/2019         11:14 PM         4500 Baltimore Ave    Robbery

1/6/2019         9:38 PM           213 Farragut St           Robbery


One Step Ahead: Welcome Back, Use your New Devices on the Penn Network Safely!

  • January 15, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 19
  • Bulletins
  • print

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Welcome Back, Use your New Devices on the Penn Network Safely!

The holiday season means that there will be many new devices coming on campus. You should make sure that these devices are secured to protect your information as well as Penn’s network. Connecting to Penn’s wireless networks also saves your cellular data. Do the following to help keep your devices and Penn safe!

  • First make sure that your devices are using strong passwords. If your device has a default password on the device please make sure that you change that password. “Strong” passwords are passwords that are complex with a mix of letters, upper and lowercase, numbers and special characters.
  • New devices may have been on the retailers’ shelf for a while so make sure that your device has the most updated software available. After you connect the device to the network, please run and install any updates that are available.
  • Some devices also permit you to use additional security features such as two-factor authentication to secure the accounts for your devices. If the manufacturer of your device supports additional security features they should be noted on the company web page.
  • For new phones and computers please use the JoinNow application to get your device on the Penn network, AirPennNet. AirPennNet is a secure network that uses encryption.
  • If you have a device that cannot be placed on AirPennNet, for example a Kindle EReader, then you can use AirPennNet-Device. AirPennNet-Device is supported across campus.

For helping in finding these features and making sure that they are in use please use the manufacturer’s website.

For more information on wireless at Penn see:

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: