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March 24, 1998
Volume 44 Number 26

Faculty Masters for

Hi-Rise College Houses

Faculty Masters have been chosen for the three college houses located in the hi-rise dormitories, to take office in the coming academic year as part of the redesigned and expanded residential college system at Penn. The houses and their masters are:

  • Harnwell: Dr. David Brownlee of art history;
  • Harrison: Dr. John Richetti of English; and
  • Hamilton: Dr. Neil Shubin of of biology.

"I am absolutely delighted to announce these appointments," said Interim Provost Michael L. Wachter. "The quality of Penn's faculty in residence has always been excellent and these three new appointments build upon that tradition. To have this calibre of faculty join us in the inaugural year of our comprehensive College House system is especially gratifying."

Faculty Masters are appointed by the Provost to three-year terms, renewable for a similar term or terms thereafter.

The appointments follow a comprehensive search process which included members of the Residential Faculty Council, the undergraduate Residential Advisory Board, Graduate Fellows, representatives from the four undergraduate schools and staff from Academic Programs and Residence Life, Dr. Wachter said.

Each resident Faculty Master is a member of a multi-generational community in which students and faculty meet regularly over meals and at numerous social and cultural events sponsored by the House, he explained. The masters bring other faculty into contact with the life of the House and build bridges between the House's programs and other relevant activities on the campus. "Each also brings to the life of the House some of his or her own special interests," he added, "while working to support the greatest possible variety of other programming developed by the House community-especially its council of undergraduate members and the Residential Programs located in the Houses." Working closely with the House Dean, the Faculty Master ensures that the House provides "excellent counseling and academic support," he said, including the locally-delivered services of "The Wheel."

New Faculty Masters

Harnwell's Dr. David Brownlee is a historian of modern architecture who headed the planning and implementation committees responsible for creating the new system of 21st Century College Houses at Penn, and is now director of College House implementation for the Provost's Office. He will be joined in Harnwell House by his wife, Dr. Ann Blair Brownlee, an archaeologist and historian of Greek art and Senior Research Scientist in the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

Philadelphia-born David Brownlee was educated at Harvard, where he received his A.B. summa cum laude in 1973. After taking his M.A. and Ph.D. there, he joined Penn's History of Art Department in 1980 as an assistant professor. He has been full professor since 1993 and has chaired both the undergraduate and graduate programs in art history at SAS.

He is the only scholar to win all three major prizes of the American Society of Architectural Historians and the only American ever to win the book prize of the counterpart British society. Among his books are Building the City Beautiful: the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1989), Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture (with David De Long) (1991) and Making a Modern Classic: the Architecture of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997). He will be a guest co-curator of the planned Robert Venturi retrospective exhibition in 2001.

Harrison's Dr. John Richetti, the Leonard Sugarman Term Professor of Eighteenth-Century English Literature, has been a Faculty Fellow for the past two years in Van Pelt College House, along with his wife, Dr. Deirdre David, professor of English and former chair of the department at Temple.

He is a 1960 alumnus of St. Francis College in Brooklyn who received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University (1968) and taught at Columbia and Rutgers before joining Penn in 1987. He has held the Sugarman chair since 1987, and chaired the English department here in 1990-1995.

He is the author of Popular Fiction Before Richardson: Narrative Patterns 1700-1739 (1969), Philosophical Writing: Locke, Berkeley, Hume (1983) and Daniel Defoe (1987), and is currently working on The Novel in History: Fiction and Social Change, 1660-1780.

A winner of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, he has also won the Danforth Teacher Fellowship and held Woodrow Wilson, Fulbright, Guggenheim and NEH Senior Research fellowships.

Hamilton's Dr. Neil Shubin, associate professor of biology, will be joined in Harnwell House by his wife, Dr. Michele Seidl, a geologist who was assistant professor at Rutgers in New Brunswick until her recent move to the Pew Charitable Trusts as program associate in the Higher Education Program.

Dr. Shubin is a 1982 Columbia alumnus who took his A.M. and Ph.D. (1987) from Harvard, where he won the Harvard-Danforth Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Biology Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship. Other honors include the Young Faculty Award of the Natural Sciences Association and selection for the University of Chicago's Sewell Wright Lectureship.

Joining Penn in 1989, Dr. Shubin became associate professor in 1995 and is currently chair of the College Committee on Study Abroad and the Faculty Senate Committee on Students and Educational Responsibility. He is a freshman advisor in SAS and member of the biology department's graduate admissions committee. His research, supported by NSF, the National Geographic Society, and Penn Research Foundation, is published widely in such journals as Science, Nature and the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and he contributed also to Interpreting the Hierarchy of Nature and Homology: The Hierarchical Basis of Comparative Biology.

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, March 24, 1998, Volume 44, Number 26