September 21, 1999
Volume 46
Number 4

Black Literature Center: Dr. Awkward

Dr. Michael Awkward, professor of English, has been named director of the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture. He succeeds the founding director, Dr. Houston F. Baker, who is now professor of English at Duke University.

"Michael has a clear and thoughtful vision for building on the Center's tradition of scholarly excellence in black cultural studies," said SAS Dean Samuel Preston in announcing the appointment. "We are excited about his plans and look forward to seeing him bring them to fruition."

Dr. Awkward, who graduated cum laude from Brandeis University in 1980, came to Penn for his M.A. (1982) and his Ph.D., awarded in 1986. He then joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as an assistant professor, was promoted to tenure in 1990, and by 1995 he was full professor of English and Afro-American and African Studies there. He also headed Michigan's Center for Afro-American and African Studies for three years, 1993-96, and served on Michigan's Faculty Senate as well as on numerous committees there.

He became widely known for his writing on contemporary black literature and criticism, with special emphasis on gender issues, publishing numerous articles and several major books during his Michigan years. Among these are Negotiating Difference: Inspiriting Influences: Tradition, Revision, and Afro-American Women's Novels (Columbia 1989, also issued in Japanese by Sairyusha in 1993) and Negotiating Difference: Race, Gender and the Politics of Positionality (Chicago 1995). He also edited New Essays on Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1990 as part of Cambridge University Press's series on "The American Novel." In progress are Shores of Knowing: Writing a Black Male Life and, with Nicole Brittingham, "Ah Save de Text for You": Reading Afro-American Literary Traditions, 1975-1995.

Penn Health Senior VP Administration: Dr. Ferniany

Dr. William N. Kelley, Dean of Medicine and CEO of the Penn Health System, has appointed to the newly created position of Senior Vice President for Administrative Services Dr. I. William Ferniany, who has been senior vice president for professional services.

In his new post Dr. Ferniany oversees marketing, medical affairs, information Services,telecommunications, human resources, facilities, venture and industry relations, and support services, which includes liaison to Penn Tower, Dr. Kelley noted.

He is also responsible for the subspecialty networks, affiliates, and clinical service groups, as well for the PennMed satellites at Radnor and Limerick. He remains acting director of the Clinical Practices (CPUP) of the University of Pennsylvania until a new executive director is named.

"Those of you who have worked with Will in his various UPHS roles over the years are well aware of his creative resourcefulness and his wide-ranging experience," said Dr. Kelley. "He has been, in short, a person who gets the job done. We are confident that he will be a valuable contributor in helping us solve the challenges now facing us."

Dr. Ferniany came to Penn in 1992 from the University of Alabama, where he took his three degrees--a B.S. in manpower and industrial relations in 1973, M.S. in hospital and health administration in 1975, and Ph.D. in administration and health services in 1984, when he was vice president for planning and development at Healthcare Services of America. He was later CEO of HAS's Hill Crest Hospital before returning to his alma mater in 1998.

University Council Agenda

Wednesday, September 22, 1999, 4-6 p.m.

McClelland Hall, The Quadrangle

Observers must register their interest by calling the Office of the Secretary in advance, (215) 898-7005. PENNCard is required to enter the Quad.

I. Approval of April 28, 1999, minutes (1 minute).
II. Status Reports of President, Provost, and Chairs of Steering, GAPSA, UA, PPSA and A-3 Assembly (25 minutes).
III. Appointment of Moderator (2 minutes).
IV. Selection and ranking of focus issues for Council for the academic year (20 minutes).The following issues were suggested at the April 28, 1999, Council meeting:
A. Follow up on women's safety issues
B. Safety for community across campus
C. Minority recruitment and retention, especially consistency with financial aid
D. Compare statistics for people of color and varied ethnicity in 1997-98 to 1998-99
E. Pluralism report on financial aid
F. Graduate/professional student service relationship to undergraduates living on campus
V. Committee charges for the academic year 1999-2000 (25 minutes).
VI. Remaining 1998-1999 year-end committee reports (3-5 minutes each, 10 minutes discussion each):
A. Admissions and Financial Aid
B. Bookstore
C. Facilities
VII. Adjournment by 6 p.m.

Lasker Prize: Next Week

At the request of a Penn faculty member who is to receive the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation's 1999 Basic Medical Research Award, Almanac will honor the Foundation's release date of September 26. The story will appear here September 28.--Eds.

La Casa Latina: With its opening ceremony today, Penn's new Center for Hispanic Excellence sets out to "celebrate and support Hispanic culture...and the academic success of Latino students." All faculty, staff and students are welcome at the ribbon-cutting, 4 p.m. at Westminster House (above) adjacent to the colonnade of Tabernacle Church, 3700 Chestnut Street. 

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 4, September 21, 1999