Launching Perry World House’s Inaugural Research Agenda: Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration & Demography
William Burke-White and Samantha Power
The University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House hosted the inaugural Global Shifts conference: Urbanization, Migration and Demography—An Examination of Marginalization and Inequality, on April 20-21. The conference included a closed day-long session with working groups followed by a public day, April 21, bringing together scholars, policymakers and practitioners in a program designed to advance substantive, policy-relevant work and public awareness around the pressing global challenges at the intersections of urbanization, migration and demography.
Penn President Amy Gutmann joined PWH Director William Burke-White in convening a group of Penn faculty, Perry World House Visiting Fellows and guests. President Gutmann introduced the keynote speaker Samantha Power (above right), former United States ambassador to the United Nations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and human rights advocate. Ambassador Power spoke of the global refugee crisis, the largest displacement crisis since World War II. She suggested a politics of compassion and inclusion, adding that everyone has the capacity to help.
School of Arts & Sciences Teaching Awards
Steven J. Fluharty, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Andrew Binns, interim dean of the College, announce the following recipients of the School’s 2017 teaching awards, to be presented on Thursday, April 27 at an awards reception that is open to the University community. The reception will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall.
Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching
This year’s recipients of SAS’s highest teaching honor are Marie Gottschalk, professor of political science, and Evelyn Thomson, associate professor of physics and astronomy. Created in 1983, the Ira H. Abrams Award recognizes teaching that is intellectually challenging and exceptionally coherent and honors faculty who embody high standards of integrity and fairness, have a strong commitment to learning and are open to new ideas.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Gottschalk has channeled her highly-lauded research into pedagogical strategies and materials that leave a lasting impression on students. Her courses on criminal justice and related policy domains are known for their “real-world significance” and long-term impact. One student explains, “Professor Gottschalk’s devoted and demanding teaching on mass incarceration defined my undergraduate experience and led me to pursue a PhD in political science.”
As the key to Dr. Thomson’s success, her faculty colleagues cite a powerful combination: tireless work to improve her teaching techniques and “a deep intuition for what the students do and do not understand.” A colleague notes, “She really connects with the students, even in large introductory classes, and instinctively grasps their view of the work. This is an enviable skill, and one we should all strive for.”
Dean’s Award for Innovation in Teaching
This award recognizes exceptional creativity and innovation in instruction. The 2017 recipient is David Kim, assistant professor of history of art. Dr. Kim is praised for encouraging his departmental teaching culture into new areas, including object-oriented learning in a global framework. A student describes his inventive approach as “seeking to revitalize the close study of works of art as material objects in an era of increasing digital mediation. Dr. Kim expects students to study both works of art and primary documents deeply, and to not take either for granted as self-evident or transparent. In turn, Dr. Kim’s approach emphasizes the global dimensions of early modern European art, an awareness of which is critical for the future of the discipline.”
Dean’s Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research
This award recognizes faculty members who have excelled in nurturing undergraduate students’ desires and abilities to conduct meaningful research. This year SAS honors Herman Beavers, professor of English and Africana studies. For nearly three decades, Dr. Beavers has fostered a wide range of research topics, always encouraging his students “to delve deeper.” He does so through a commitment to give feedback on student work, whether it is critical essays or poetry. Many students specifically point to his detailed and lengthy comments as driving them to undertake more in-depth research projects. Dr. Beavers is quite simply, in the words of one recent graduate, “an exceptional professor.”
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor
This award, which recognizes a member of the junior faculty who demonstrates unusual promise as an educator, is presented to Cullen Blake, assistant professor of physics and astronomy. As a faculty colleague notes, “what sets him apart is how he epitomizes the argument for an undergraduate education at a research university. Our students don’t just hear a story of how knowledge is accumulated, but instead learn about it first-hand, from a researcher who spends the rest of his life developing new ways to search for habitable worlds orbiting stars other than our own. His excitement about this science is highly contagious.”
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Affiliated Faculty
Julia Bloch, director of the creative writing program, and Oscar Montoya, lecturer in foreign languages in the department of romance languages, are the recipients of this award, which recognizes the contributions to undergraduate education made by the School’s non-standing faculty.
Dr. Bloch’s students speak of her courses as transformative, inspiring experiences that stay with them for a long time. One student explains, “she takes the time to understand her students, and recognizes the importance of cultivating an environment where people can write about the most sensitive and important topics.”
A student describes Dr. Montoya’s high level of engagement and “exceptional” classroom presence in a particularly challenging Spanish literature course: “He pushed us to find ways to articulate our impressions and to think analytically about which experiences underscored our points of view.”
LPS Award for Distinguished Teaching in Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Programs
Judith McLean, lecturer in the biological basis of behavior program, is the recipient of this award, which recognizes outstanding teaching in LPS’s undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs. A former neurobiology student describes the impact of Dr. McLean’s teaching: “She introduced me to the fascinating world that lies at the nexus between brain and behavior, yet it is her transcendent teaching ability and warm-hearted demeanor that has enabled me to explore that world confidently.”
LPS Award for Distinguished Teaching in Professional Graduate Programs
The recipient of the College of Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Professional Graduate Programs, which recognizes teaching excellence in LPS graduate programs, is James Pawelski, director of education and senior scholar in the Positive Psychology Center.
A Positive Psychology Center colleague notes, “James’s outstanding teaching is a large part of the reason the Master of Applied Psychology Program has been so successful. Students particularly value his passion, innovation, and knowledge, along with the care he gives both to his teaching and to each member of the class.”
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students
This award recognizes graduate students for teaching that is intellectually rigorous and has a considerable impact on undergraduate students. This year’s awardees are:
Erica Boetefuer, Biology
Florian Breitkopf, Germanic Languages and Literatures
Brian Chao, Political Science
Lee Ann Custer, History of Art
Travis Lau, English
Asja Radja, Physics and Astronomy
Ariel Resnikoff, Comparative Literature and Literary Theory
Nathaniel Shils, Political Science
Hee Yoon, Applied Mathematics and Computational Science
Mary Zaborskis, English
Connie Ulrich: Lillian Brunner Professor in Medical and Surgical Nursing
Connie Ulrich has been named the Lillian S. Brunner Chair in Medical and Surgical Nursing. Dr. Ulrich is professor of nursing and associate professor of bioethics at the Perelman School of Medicine. She is internationally recognized for her expertise in bioethics, particularly as it focuses on the conceptual development and design, measurement, analysis and interpretation of the impact ethical issues have on healthcare providers and outcomes of care. She has a strong record of funding and publication. Her expertise has led to membership on key national and international committees addressing important bioethics issues such as the ICN Nursing Ethics Interest Group, the AAN Bioethics Expert Panel and the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Research and Nursing Interest Group. Dr. Ulrich’s work was recognized by the Presidential Bioethics Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues under former President Barack Obama. She is known as an exceptionally dedicated mentor and teacher across disciplines for second degree nursing students, doctoral students and medical students. She is also the director of Penn’s highly innovative BSN to PhD Hillman Program.
Recommendations of the Task Force on a Safe and Responsible Campus Community
The Task Force on a Safe and Responsible Campus Community was charged in February 2017 by President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price to focus attention on, and develop a collective understanding of, how best to promote a respectful and healthy campus environment. The Task Force members convened campus conversations and gathered as a body to discuss and formulate recommendations to the President and Provost.
The recommendations below were submitted to the President and Provost in April 2017, and the Task Force will meet with the President and Provost in May 2017 for a final discussion. The Task Force Tri-Chairs and other University leaders will work to implement the recommendations in the coming academic year.
—Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, Vice Provost for University Life
—Maureen Rush, Vice President for Public Safety, Superintendent of Penn Police
—Beth A. Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education
Update the Alcohol and Drug Policy to:
- Clarify how the policy applies to different individuals, groups and organizations, including undergraduates, graduate and professional students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors.
- Directly address the distribution and sharing of prescription drugs.
- Clarify the responsibility and accountability of students, irrespective of their place of residence.
Update the Anti-Hazing Regulations to:
- Make clear that hazing is prohibited in any organization, regardless of whether the group is registered with the University.
- Educate students that all organizations and all students are subject to these regulations, regardless of where the activity takes place.
- Educate students about Pennsylvania laws related to hazing.
Collaborate With Student Leaders on an Educational Campaign to:
- Reinforce that expectations of individual behavioral responsibility set forth in the Code of Student Conduct, Code of Academic Integrity, the Guidelines on Open Expression and other University policies apply to students anywhere in the world.
- Reiterate that all students are members of the Penn community, regardless of their personal group affiliation or location, and that we hold all members of our community to the same high standard.
- Communicate to all Penn students and organizations the consequences of unsafe party hosting, including potential sanctions for violations of Penn policies and/or criminal citations.
Establish Closer Collaboration With Off-Campus Landlords to:
- Provide off-campus residents and landlords with information about safe living and event management in collaboration with the Office of Off-Campus Services, including information on University anti-hazing and alcohol policies.
- Ensure that off-campus residents are aware of their responsibilities as tenants and expectations of the “good neighbor” clauses in leases. Assist landlords in communicating to families/parents about their responsibilities as guarantors. Encourage landlords to communicate with students that they too expect student-tenants to uphold expected standards of conduct.
- Communicate with landlords as they address concerns including, but not limited to, evicting tenants for lease violations and preventing leases from being passed down in identified nuisance houses.
Create “Identified Off-Campus Group” as a New Category of Student Organization to:
- Establish that “Identified Off-Campus Group” is defined as a group of predominantly Penn students which may meet some or all of the following characteristics:
- Mimic, mirror or align with registered groups’ organizational structure;
- Mimic, mirror or align with fraternity/sorority pledge/initiation process;
- Have formed as a result of a registered group being sanctioned or closed;
- Occupy or gather in communal off-campus housing for social events;
- Form primarily for social purposes.
- Require Identified Off-Campus Groups to provide the University with leader contacts, member rosters, and off-campus residence addresses annually. Cross-reference member lists with off-campus landlords to ensure that Penn knows which students hold the lease for each address.
- Communicate to students and families that all events sponsored by Penn students, irrespective of event location, must adhere to Anti-Hazing Regulations, the Alcohol and Drug Policy, and all other University policies to ensure that Identified Off-Campus Groups are held to the same behavioral standards as any organization.
- Explore developing a registration process to Identified Off-Campus Groups hosting events in their houses. However, in no way should the University take responsibility for, or subsidize, these groups.
- Communicate to students and parents/families that every member of Identified Off-Campus Groups will be held responsible for unacceptable behavior. Thus, if an Identified Off-Campus Group violates Penn policies or community standards, and responsible parties do not self-identify, or fail to cooperate with the investigation, the entire membership of the group and/or all students on the lease may be sanctioned by the Office of Student Conduct regardless of individual students’ attendance or participation. Students also may face eviction from landlords for violating the terms of the lease.
- Ensure that Identified Off-Campus Groups are eligible to receive educational programming (MARS, PAVE, MERT training, I CARE) to be responsible members of the Penn community.
Explore Creating a Second-Year/Sophomore Experience Program to:
- Address the unique needs of sophomores related to academics and research, co-curricular opportunities, social standing/community, housing choices, personal finances, budgeting, and pre-professional exploration.
- Develop a comprehensive two-year College House program. This would encourage students to take full advantage of the educational and social opportunities on campus as first- and second-year students. The program would begin with their orientation to living on campus and conclude with supporting their transition to living off campus.
Appoint a Chief Diversity Officer to:
- Provide the community with a single, senior-level point of contact to address concerns about diversity and bias incidents on campus.
Promote Student Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation Programs (OFSL, OSC) to:
- Enable students to raise behavioral complaints with each other.
- Provide students and groups with a process to mediate concerns that might not rise to the level of policy violations, but which do challenge Penn’s standards of community expectations.
- Foster diversity conversations and education within the student body.
STARFIRE Project Investigating the History of the Universe: $700,000 NASA Grant
A University of Pennsylvania-led project, the Spectroscopic Terahertz Airborne Receiver for Far-InfraRed Exploration, or STARFIRE, has received a $700,000 grant from NASA to investigate a longstanding mystery in cosmology.
Through centuries of careful observation, scientists have developed a clear picture of what the universe looked like in its infancy. This picture stretches from the Big Bang to the so-called “dark ages” of the universe, to the collapsing clouds of gas and dust that formed the very first stars in the very first galaxies.
But there are gaps in our understanding of how the universe evolved into the one we live in today.
Scientists at Penn and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are hoping to change that through STARFIRE. The project is led by James Aguirre, an associate professor of physics and astronomy in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences.
“STARFIRE will help us investigate what was going on within galaxies when the universe was around half its current age,” said Alyssa Barlis, a graduate student at Penn involved in the project. “We’ll be observing galaxies when the universe was forming stars at its greatest rate and measuring how quickly those new stars were forming. The goal is to use what we observe to fill in gaps in the timeline of galaxy evolution.”
The project will use detectors more sensitive than any ever built to look at the universe in infrared and to deeply map a portion of the sky. This will allow researchers to see a chunk of cosmic history as far back in time as four billion years after the Big Bang up until a few billion years ago.
STARFIRE will investigate the rate of star formation throughout the history of the universe. According to Dr. Aguirre, there was a period of time when all the conditions in the universe were right and it was producing many stars. But now, he says, we’re just “coasting.”
“For the last six or eight billion years, the rate at which stars are forming has been falling off,” he said, “and it doesn’t seem to be related to the fact that the universe is expanding or even accelerating. It’s something else, something about the way star formation works.”
Through STARFIRE, the researchers hope to figure out what the universe was like when it was about half its current age and understand what is driving this change in its behavior.
Until now, the problem with observing star formation in the universe was that the most prolific star-forming galaxies are also the most dusty. This dust obscures the view so that, when scientists observe galaxies in visible light, they only see about half of the star-formation history.
Because STARFIRE observes in the far infrared wavelength, it sees through this curtain of dust, enabling scientists to get a more accurate measurement of the rate of star formation.
While the actual telescope used in STARFIRE will be fairly conventional, the detectors, forming an imaging spectrometer system which will collect data from the telescope, will push the limits of current technology.
“The instrument will have 3,600 pixels capable of detecting infrared light from galaxies,” Barlis said. “The signal that we need to detect is very faint, so the detectors have to be extremely sensitive.”
The devices that Barlis is working on rely on superconducting technology, which means they need to use a specialized refrigerator to cool them to less than one degree above absolute zero.
To get above the atmosphere, and away from the water and other molecules that would obscure its measurements, the STARFIRE telescope, which will have a mirror two and a half meters across, will be launched 35 km above the ground hanging from a balloon about the size of a football field.
After about two weeks of observations, the scientists will cut down the balloon and retrieve the important parts of the instrument for future flights.
Although the project is still in its infancy, Dr. Aguirre hopes that this grant money will put it on the path to proving that this new detector technology works and to proposing a full-scale mission that will give a more complete picture of the history of the universe.
“The light STARFIRE will collect was emitted by stars eight billion years ago, way before humans existed, and we will use that light to learn about the details of what was happening in galaxies,” Barlis said. “I think that’s incredibly exciting.”
Mapping Manuscript Migrations: T-AP Digging into Data Challenge Award
The Penn Libraries is pleased to announce that a team of humanities scholars and information scientists that includes Lynn Ransom, curator of programs at the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, has been awarded a 2017 Digging into Data Challenge grant funded by the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities (T-AP).
Since its inception in 2009, the Digging into Data Challenge program has helped to spark new research avenues for the humanities and social sciences utilizing large-scale, computational methods and analysis to demonstrate how cutting-edge big data techniques can be used to investigate a wide range of research questions across the humanities and social sciences.
“Mapping Manuscript Migrations” is a two-year, $710,000 collaboration led by the Oxford e-Research Centre together with the Bodleian Libraries, the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes (IRHT), the Semantic Computing Group at Aalto University, Helsinki, and Penn Libraries.
This project will bring together more than 500,000 records from key databases, including the Penn Libraries’ Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts and the Medium database from the IRHT. For the first time, researchers, curators and the community will be able to explore this vast body of data, visualizing the travels of manuscripts over many centuries and navigating the network of connections between people, institutions, and places involved in their history. According to Ms. Ransom, the Digging into Data program “presents an exciting opportunity for the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts to participate in and contribute to advancing new research possibilities for the study of manuscripts across time and geographies at an international level.”
The T-AP Digging into Data Challenge is sponsored by research funding organizations from 11 nations, organized under the auspices of “T-AP,” the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities. T-AP is an unprecedented collaboration between key humanities and social science funders and facilitators from South America, North America and Europe. T-AP aims to enhance the ability of funders, research organizations and researchers to engage in transnational dialogue and collaboration. The Penn Libraries’ contribution to the Digging into Data Challenge is supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Penn Dental Medicine’s Prosthodontics Residency Program
Penn Dental Medicine is adding to the depth of its graduate dental education programs with the launch of a new advanced specialty education program in prosthodontics. The program was awarded initial accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation on February 2, 2017, and is now accepting applications for its first class of residents to begin in July 2017.
This is the first prosthodontics program in the nation to begin after the revised accreditation standards were instituted that recognize digital dentistry and surgical implant placement as integral parts of the specialty of prosthodontics.
“Prosthodontics has evolved like no other specialty in the last decade with the rapid advancement of dental digital technology,” said Dr. Markus Blatz, professor and chair of the department of preventive & restorative sciences. “Our goal has been to design a program to be the embodiment of the future of prosthodontics with full digital workflow integration. As founding director, Evanthia Anadioti has done a tremendous job of bringing that vision to life through the curriculum development.”
Program director Dr. Anadioti, a diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, said the curriculum is designed “to create the next generation of leaders in our specialty.”
“It feels like Penn was waiting for the right time to start an advanced prosthodontics program,” adds Dr. Anadioti. “And the best time for prosthodontics is now. “
While maintaining a strong foundation in classic prosthodontics, the program’s curriculum focuses extensively on digital dentistry, including intraoral scanning, laboratory and chairside milling, digital smile design and digital planning, dental microscopy, and surgical placement and restoration of dental implants. The addition of this program will also allow the School to expand its clinical services to patients who are severely compromised and in need of comprehensive prosthetic and maxillofacial prosthetic treatment.
“This is great addition to our graduate education programs,” says Morton Amsterdam Dean Denis Kinane. “I believe it promises to prepare our prosthodontic residents not only to exceed the standards of today, but also to lead the changes of tomorrow.”
The 36-month-long residency, which will accept four students per class, leads to a certificate in prosthodontics combined with a Master of Science in oral biology. Successful completion of the program will satisfy the formal training requirement for eligibility for the American Board of Prosthodontics certification examination.
With the addition of this new prosthodontic residency, Penn Dental Medicine now offers study options in nine dental specialties through its division of graduate dental education, along with a Doctor of Science in Dentistry and Master of Science in Oral Biology.