Launching Perry World House’s Inaugural Research Agenda: Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration & Demography

  • April 25, 2017
  • vol 63 issue 32
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W. Burke-White and S. Power

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

  • April 25, 2017
  • vol 63 issue 32
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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.

Marie Gottschalk

Marie Gottschalk

Evelyn Thomson

Evelyn Thomson

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.” 

David Kim

David Kim

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.”

Herman Beavers

Herman Beavers

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.”

Cullen Blake

Cullen Blake

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.”

Julia Bloch

Julia Bloch

Oscar Montoya

Oscar Montoya

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.”

Judith McLean

Judith McLean

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.”

James Pawelski

James Pawelski

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

  • April 25, 2017
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Connie Ulrich

Connie Ulrich

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

  • April 25, 2017
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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

  • April 25, 2017
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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

  • April 25, 2017
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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

  • April 25, 2017
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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.


Abass Johnson, LPS student

  • April 25, 2017
  • vol 63 issue 32
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Abass Johnson, a 37-year-old student in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, died on March 25, shortly after learning that he had cancer. Mr. Johnson was earning a master of science in agriculture (MSAG) in hydrogeology, and had taken courses at Penn in 2015 and 2016.

Mr. Johnson earned a master of public health from LaSalle University in 2015 and a bachelor’s in biology from Cheyney University in 2012.

He worked for more than a decade at Northwest Human Services in Sharon Hill, where he was a manager.

He is survived by his wife, Precious Johnson, and his children, Archimedes Collins, Phaedra Collins and Alexis Collins.

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


April Council Meeting Coverage

  • April 25, 2017
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On Wednesday, April 19, University Council held its last meeting of the semester. Provost Vincent Price enumerated the eight recommendations that he and President Amy Gutmann recently received from the Task Force on a Safe and Responsible Campus Community chaired by Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, vice provost for University life; Maureen Rush, vice president for public safety, superintendent of Penn police; and Beth A. Winkelstein, vice provost for education. Provost Price said that he and President Gutmann are enormously grateful to the Task Force and that they have accepted the recommendations. He noted that one of them has already been implemented with the appointment of Senior Vice President Joann Mitchell as the chief diversity officer (Almanac March 28, 2017). Penn will collaborate with student leaders to ensure that identified off-campus student groups adhere to Penn’s policies and regulations. VPUL McCoullum pointed out that the privilege of being a Penn student comes with responsibilities. There is one main reason for this, according to Ms. Rush, and that is safety. Provost Price added that Vice Provost for Faculty Anita Allen has been charged with developing training for faculty and staff to be comparable to the online program Thrive at Penn (TAP) for students.

The bulk of the meeting was then devoted to the chairs of the Council committees giving summaries of their year-end reports (Almanac April 18, 2017). Ani Nenkova spoke about the report of the Committee on Academic and Related Affairs; Emily Hannum spoke about the report of the Committee on Campus and Community Life; Ezekiel Dixon- Román summarized the Committee on Diversity and Equity’s report; Masao Sako talked about the work of the Facilities Committee and Reed Shuldiner highlighted the focus of the Committee on Personnel Benefits.

President Gutmann thanked the committee chairs for their work and said that their recommendations have been extremely helpful and  would be taken up by Steering and the Administration in the coming months.

Santosh S. Venkatesh summarized the work of the Council Committee on Committees.   

Ed. Note: See the Council Supplement in the April 18 issue for the 2016-2017 Year-end Reports of the Standing Committees.

University Council Committee on Committees Report on the Functioning of Council Committees during Academic Year 2016-2017

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Executive Summary

This report summarizes the general functioning and procedures of University Council (UC) Committees during the 2016-2017 academic year. These committees are: Committee on Academic and Related Affairs (CARA), Committee on Campus and Community Life (CCL), Committee on Facilities, Committee on Personnel Benefits (CPB), and Committee on Diversity and Equity (CDE).

Suggestions for enhancing the functioning of these committees include:

(1) Committee chairs should consider making meeting times as flexible as possible so as to be adaptive to groups whose attendance is limited by other obligations; (2) Council Committee members should commit to serve for at least two consecutive years with terms staggered in order to provide continuity and institutional memory; and (3) Committees should consider establishing subcommittees with clear directives in order to address aspects of their charges in more detailed fashion.

Mechanism of Evaluation

Members of the Committee on Committees (UCCoC) collected information for this report. Information was collected via in-person, phone, and/or email interviews, using the list of questions below as a guide. UCCoC members interviewed committee members from their own constituency. For example, faculty members interviewed Committee Chairs, as well as faculty representatives as available; students sought to interview the corresponding student representatives; and staff members of the UCCoC interviewed their counterparts in the committees. This report provides an overview of the general findings from the data collected and comments on the functioning and procedures of each Committee. The UC Steering Committee is encouraged to refer to the individual committee reports for more information on the functioning of each committee.

Questions Posed to Each Committee Chair

  1. What changes, if any, do you think need to be made in the committee’s general charge? Do you feel the scope of the committee is appropriate?
  2. What issues did the committee address this year? Will they be resolved by year’s end? Were the committee’s specific charges for this year clear and appropriate?
  3. What issues in the committee’s charges are unlikely to be addressed or resolved by the end of the academic year? What do you see as issues emerging for consideration next year?
  4. How many times did the full committee meet? Were any subcommittees created? If so, how many were created, how often did they meet, what were their purposes, and did they achieve their goals?
  5. Is the membership of the committee well-suited to the committee’s charge in terms of relevant expertise, representation of interests, etc.? Does the chair demonstrate sufficient leadership; if not, then who on the committee does? Which members would you recommend to serve on the committee next year?
  6. What was the role of the administration’s liaison in your committee? (The liaison is an administrative person who can provide relevant information for a committee charge or connect the committee with others on campus with relevant information.)
  7. Did someone from the administration provide explicit feedback on last year’s recommendations? Was the feedback satisfactory? Were there any aspects that have not been resolved or for which a path to resolving them has not been developed?
  8. What problems did the committee encounter (e.g., limitations on access to necessary resources or information)?
  9. Was the committee effectively structured to accomplish its charges? Were there appropriate opportunities for the committee to provide advice, to work with its administrative liaison to resolve specific issues, and/or to generate grander recommendations?1
  10. What recommendations about the committee’s process and organization do you have? Is there any question that should have been asked about process that was not included?
  11. For staff and students: Do you feel that your voice was heard as part of the committee?
  12. For students: Was there a primary and an alternate student representative on each committee?

General Comments across all Committees

Each UC committee has two major roles:

  1. Performing a broad review in its areas of interest and monitoring the issues to determine whether there are any that require deeper exploration. While it is occasionally the case that no recommendations emerge from this process, the University is well served by having a representative body tracking important institutional and community matters on a continuing basis.
  2. Performing an in-depth consideration of a small number (typically three to five) issues that arise from the previous year’s agenda and its recommendations, or new information relating to the work of the previous year’s committee. These issues are developed in consultation with committee members from the previous year, Faculty Senate leadership, and University leadership. The examination of an issue charged to the committee may be undertaken by the committee as a whole, or by subcommittees, and will typically involve multiple meetings and conversations with people around the University engaged with the issue. While many issues can be resolved by working directly with administrators in the focus area to clarify issues and consider policy modifications, in the absence of a resolution of a given matter, the committee may request that Council Steering reexamine the issue. Committees and Council Steering should nevertheless bear in mind the importance of closure on matters addressed by the various committees.

While several factors can contribute to whether a committee functions effectively, there are a few governing principles which can help a UC committee function well: a clear explanation of the purpose of the committee by the chair; a careful delineation of the roles of the various members of the committee; the formation of appropriate subcommittees; scheduling meetings to fit the schedules of the members of the committee; and beginning meetings as soon as feasible in the fall semester to get an early start on the charges. Accordingly, as has been the practice in past years, the University Council Committee on Committees urges committee chairs to provide committee members with detailed orientation materials along with a thorough explanation of their roles and the committee’s role in the University as a whole in order to facilitate substantive and efficient discussions on the committee’s charges.

In light of feedback received, UCCoC makes the following specific recommendations for the 2017-2018 academic year:

  1. Ask Council committee members to commit to a minimum of two years of service with terms that are staggered so that committee turnover occurs in a segmented fashion and the committee benefits from continuity and institutional memory. This recommendation continues from the 2015-2016 report.
  2. Ensure that enough deliberation time is built in to committee meeting times. While information transfer (via presentations, etc.) is important, much of it can and should be disseminated ahead of time to enable committee members to prepare adequately for the meeting. Committee meeting time should be reserved primarily for discussion and debate.
  3. To complement the previous recommendation, consider the feasibility of establishing subcommittees that divide the work and address subsets of it in more detailed fashion. It is important that clear directives be given to these subcommittees.
  4. Ask each committee to formally reconsider its general committee charges and report annually to the Committee on Committees. This recommendation also continues from the 2015-2016 report.

Committee on Academic and Related Affairs (CARA)

General Comments

CARA members noted that they received thorough feedback on the previous year’s recommendations from University administration along with a clarification of general process issues. The charge related to the library will continue to next year. While the committee chair maintained that the charge related to the research environment cannot be fully addressed, it was noted nonetheless that Penn maintains many resources to support creativity in research already. CARA members further noted the importance of student participation on the committee, with differing perspectives on whether student participation was sufficient.

Thanks in part to committee membership continuity and extended meeting lengths to allow for a fuller deliberation of its complex charges, CARA has made significant progress over the past year. The University Council Committee on Committees recognizes the progress made and commends CARA for the work it has done over the year. UCCoC also urges students to take an active role in CARA in future years to give direct voice to student concerns. CARA leadership should ensure that student perspectives are heard and meetings are scheduled at appropriate times to suit student participation.

Committee on Campus and Community Life (CCL)

General Comments

CCL met six times separately and in two separate joint meetings with the Committee on Facilities and with CARA. Much of the meeting time involved presentations and information transfer rather than deliberation. This was in part due to the fact that, because of turnover, most CCL members for the academic year 2016-2017 were new to the committee.

CCL members commented that the general charge for CCL is too broad and should be reduced in scope, particularly regarding Penn’s communications and public relations activities. The specific charge regarding student mental wellness will not be resolved by the end of the academic year.

The University Council Committee on Committees recommends that CCL members agree to serve an additional year in order to maintain continuity and so that CCL’s charges can be deliberated to conclusion. It commends the membership for its commitment to understanding the issues before working on establishing recommendations. When possible, at least some overlap of committee membership should occur year-over-year so that institutional memory is maintained and deliberative processes streamlined.

Committee on Diversity and Equity (CDE)

General Comments

As in the previous year, the committee charges were again broad and complex. The committee examined the campus climate for LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff and the resources available to them. It also continued its investigation of first-generation and low-income students’ experiences. CDE will also make recommendations on how Penn can best include veterans’ issues amongst diversity efforts.

CDE met monthly and formed subcommittees (with CDE members self-selecting their participation on those) to accomplish their complex goals most efficiently. These subcommittees resulted in increased productivity by CDE, though some members complained that some faculty did not regularly attend meetings and those who did attend were asked to perform extra work via subcommittees. Some subcommittees struggled to identify workable meeting times. CDE did not address the issues of pilot data on graduate students or staff diversity and will recommend those charges be continued into 2017-2018. There was increased membership flux this year which induced some instability in the committee’s work.

The University Council Committee on Committees recommends CDE members commit to engagement in subcommittee work even if regular attendance is not possible. It further recommends that the current chair be permitted to remain a CDE member for a fifth year in order to assist in the transition of chair responsibilities to a new faculty member.

Committee on Facilities

General Comments

The committee met six times. Each charge assigned to the committee was discussed. The committee concluded that each of the charges was being sufficiently managed by administration and that adequate resources were being provided to the community. The committee maintained, however, that it is important to monitor these issues from time to time. The committee wishes to discuss gender-neutral facilities issues in the coming year. Several faculty seats remained vacant on the committee.

Attempts in the previous academic year by the Committee on Committees and the Senate leadership to recruit additional faculty for the University Council Committee on Facilities were abortive. UCCoC recommends that renewed efforts be made and appeals widely broadcast to faculty members to seek participation on the committee. It commends the members of the committee and the staff support for their good work.

Committee on Personnel Benefits (CBP)

General Comments

The Committee on Personnel Benefits addressed most of its charges this year, including examinations of new-parent benefits, mental health benefits, and parity for same-sex partner benefits (which is rendered moot by recent marriage equality judgments). The committee did not have time to make recommendations for changes to any existing benefits categories and may wish to consider it next year. The committee wishes to consider monitoring changes to healthcare plan design and pricing given potential changes in law and to carry forward the charge to review mental health benefits on a continuing basis. A suggested charge to examine dependent child tuition benefits compared to peers was noted. University administration agreed to establish a routine of informing the committee during the fall semester of whether it is considering making changes to healthcare plans so that committee members may offer feedback. Members noted that because charges often continue year over year due to the nature of the work, continuity in membership is important.

The University Council Committee on Committees commends the Committee’s good work and the strong leadership displayed by the chair and is grateful to the administration for its support. It notes that SCESF continues to examine dependent child tuition benefits and collaboration between the groups is warranted as appropriate. It further notes, as it did last year, that SCESF by design is not positioned to negotiate on matters of University policy issues but rather serves as a resource for this information. It recommends continued attention to unresolved charges and coordination with SCESF about issues pertaining to faculty benefits.

Committee on Committees 2016-2017

Chair: Santosh S. Venkatesh; Faculty: Mitchell Berman, Eileen Lake, Michael McGarvey, Laura Perna, Reed Pyeritz, Melissa Wilde; PPSA: Heather Kelley; WPPSA: Loretta Hauber; Graduate Student: Betsy Sneller; Undergraduate Student: David Scollan; Staff: Patrick Walsh and Joseph Gasiewski.

1Each committee has been charged to operate keeping the following process in mind: 1) To perform a general advisory review of their area of concern; 2) To try to resolve specific issues that the committee wishes to address (or has been charged to address) by working through the administrative liaison; 3) In cases where the intra-committee level effort is not able to resolve issues, to generate recommendations to be addressed outside of the committee as formal proposals to be forwarded to the administration or for the University Council to consider.


Of Record: Policy on Non-Affiliates Visiting Penn Research Facilities

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For the purpose of this policy, non-affiliates are people who are not University of Pennsylvania faculty, staff, graduate or professional students or post-doctoral/clinical trainees. Non-affiliates include all elementary, high school and undergraduate students. The principal investigator/supervisor of the entity is responsible for assuring that all non-affiliates in his/her facility are appropriately supervised and comply with the requirements of this policy. Please note that this policy addresses only people visiting labs. For students and other non-affiliates actively participating in labs, see below for the “Policy on Undergraduate Students, High School Students and Non-affiliates Participating in Research in Penn Research Facilities.”

Requirements for visitors to Penn laboratories:

  • Visitors must be approved by the principal investigator/supervisor.
  • Visitors must be accompanied by a laboratory staff member.
  • Visitors must sign in with security staff (in buildings with manned security stations).
  • Visitors must wear proper laboratory attire: long pants, closed-toed shoes, lab coats and eye protection.
  • Visitors must not be permitted to handle or be exposed to hazardous chemicals, biological agents, radioactive materials or animals.
  • Foreign national visitors/non-affiliates must not be given access to export controlled equipment or materials without appropriate eligibility screening.

Requirements for visitors to Penn vivaria are detailed in the IACUC facility “Visitation Policy” (pdf).

Of Record: Summer Research: Policy on Undergraduate & High School Students Participating in Penn Research

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During the summer many students and people unaffiliated with Penn participate in research in University laboratories. To provide for their safety and to ensure compliance with applicable regulations, the University established the Policy on Undergraduate Students, High School Students and Non-affiliates Participating in Research in Penn Research Facilities. This Policy was last published in Almanac on April 19, 2016.

In summary: Principal Investigators are responsible for assuring that all students and non-affiliates working in their laboratories are appropriately trained and supervised and comply with the requirements of the Policy. Programs for high school students must comply with requirements described in the Vice Provost’s of University Life current year’s “Special Summer Programs Protocols.” A consent signature sheet must be submitted to the Principal Investigator/Sponsor with signatures from both the high school student and parents.

High school students and undergraduates must attend laboratory safety training offered by the Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS). Students must register for a class. Check the EHRS website for training schedules or contact EHRS at (215) 898-4453 to schedule a program for a particular group. 

Proper attire (long pants, closed toed shoes, lab coat and safety glasses) must be worn when working the laboratory. 

Please contact EHRS or call (215) 898-4453 for additional information.


Rich Pepino: Netter Center Faculty-Community Partnership Award

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Rich Pepino

Rich Pepino

Professor Richard (Rich) Pepino, lecturer in earth & environmental science (EES), School of Arts & Sciences and deputy director, Community Outreach & Engagement Core, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), Perelman School of Medicine, and his partners in the School District of Philadelphia are this year’s recipients of the Netter Center Faculty-Community Partnership Award.

The Netter Center for Community Partnerships Faculty-Community Partnership Award is an annual award to recognize outstanding Faculty-Community Partnership projects in West Philadelphia/Philadelphia. The $5,000 award is split evenly between the faculty member and the community partner to develop and advance existing partnerships. The faculty member and community partner will be honored at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 9, 5-5:30 p.m., room 108, at the ARCH Building. This is the second presentation of this annual award.

Mr. Pepino has spent the last 11 years teaching academically-based community service (ABCS) courses that help students contribute to the solution of significant environmental public health problems in Philadelphia. He has partnered with public schools in West/South Philadelphia—Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP), Lea and Comegys Elementary Schools, and Sayre and West Philadelphia High Schools—to develop projects that simultaneously enhance community environmental health literacy and environmental health education for K-12 and college students. Penn students in his courses collaborate with school teachers to educate students about environmental health risk factors, such as lead poisoning, asthma triggers, and indoor air quality. The Philadelphia school students then engage in outreach projects to bring what they have learned to their families and communities. Through these projects, he has further leveraged partnerships with various government and city agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Philadelphia Department of Health, and Philadelphia Air Management Services, as well as Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He has also mentored numerous Penn students who pursued additional research projects that built on their ABCS coursework.

Mr. Pepino and his partners have improved the quality of life in the community and the quality of learning and scholarship in the University through collaborative problem-solving, kindergarten through college. Their work reaffirms Ben Franklin’s belief that: “The great Aim and End of all Learning… is service [to society].” This partnership exemplifies the Netter Center’s efforts to develop courses that integrate research, teaching, learning and service in a meaningful and impactful way.

Robert Aronowitz, Rita Copeland, Daniel J. Mindiola and Daniel K. Richter: Guggenheim Fellowships

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University of Pennsylvania professors Robert Aronowitz, Rita Copeland, Daniel J. Mindiola and Daniel K. Richter have been awarded 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships. Guggenheim fellows include scholars, artists and scientists and are chosen “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.” This year, 173 awardees were selected from almost 3,000 applicants.

Dr. Aronowitz, a physician, professor and chair of the department of history and sociology of science, will study the history of the ways Americans have judged the safety and efficacy of medical interventions through his Guggenheim project, titled “Medical efficacy in a highly intervened-in world.”

Dr. Copeland, the Sheli Z. and Burton X. Rosenberg Professor of the Humanities and a professor of classical studies, English and comparative literature, will use the fellowship to work on her book project, “Emotion and the History of Rhetoric in the Middle Ages.”

Dr. Mindiola, a Presidential Professor in the department of chemistry, will use the Guggenheim to support his project to convert methane and ethane, the major components of natural gas and shale gas, into value-added materials using non-combustible methods that involve activating the carbon-hydrogen bond, with the goal of utilizing the carbon and hydrogen content found in these gases without releasing greenhouse gases.

Dr. Richter, the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History in the department of history, will use his Guggenheim to support his project studying an often-overlooked period of American history, between the restoration of King Charles II to the English throne in 1660 and the end of the seventeenth century, titled “The Lords Proprietors: Land and Power in Seventeenth-century America.”

Paris Butler and Kevin Jenkins: 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health

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Two University of Pennsylvania faculty were recently named recipients of the National Minority Quality Forum’s 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health Award.

Paris Butler

Paris Butler

Paris Butler, assistant professor of plastic surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine, and Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, the vice provost’s postdoctoral fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics with appointments in Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice and the Division of General Internal Medicine, were chosen for the award, which recognizes young minority thought leaders who are working to reduce healthcare disparities.

Dr. Butler is nationally recognized for his dedication to reducing healthcare disparities along ethnic lines in his research, policy work and teaching. He has studied the underrepresentation of minorities in academic medicine. He served as a policy fellow in the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins

Kevin Jenkins

Dr. Jenkins is a scholar and author whose research investigates the intersection of race, law and health and focuses on the elimination of disparities and discrimination in healthcare.

Sarah Cornelius: Truman Scholarship

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Sarah Cornelius

Sarah Cornelius

Sarah Cornelius, a junior at University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a merit-based award for college students who plan to pursue careers in government or public service or who wish to attend graduate or professional school to help prepare for their careers and are United States citizens or US nationals.

Ms. Cornelius is one of 60 awardees this year. She is pursuing a degree in political science with a focus on education policy and has worked as an intern for the School District of Philadelphia and in the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.

Beverly Davidson, Samuel Freeman and Pamela Grossman: American Academy of Arts and Sciences

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Three University of Pennsylvania professors have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Beverly Davidson, the Arthur V. Meigs Chair in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine; Samuel Freeman, professor of philosophy and law and the Avalon Professor in the Humanities in the department of philosophy; and Pamela Grossman, dean of the Graduate School of Education and the George and Diane Weiss Professor of Education.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the Academy is based.

Dr. Davidson is a nationally recognized expert who investigates gene therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Freeman works in social and political philosophy, ethics and philosophy of law. Dr. Grossman is a leading voice on quality teaching in the United States.

“It is an honor to welcome this new class of exceptional women and men as part of our distinguished membership,” said Don Randel, chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “Their talents and expertise will enrich the life of the Academy and strengthen our capacity to spread knowledge and understanding in service to the nation.”

Frederick Kaplan: Rare Impact Award

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Frederick S. Kaplan

Frederick Kaplan

Frederick S. Kaplan, the Isaac & Rose Nassau Professor of Orthopaedic Molecular Medicine and chief of the division of Molecular Orthopaedic Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has been chosen for the National Organization for Rare Disorders’ 2017 Rare Impact Award, which recognizes those working to make a difference in the lives of people with rare diseases.

Since meeting a child with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) — an extremely rare disorder in which the body’s skeletal muscles turn into bone — in 1988, Dr. Kaplan has dedicated himself to understanding what causes FOP and working with patients around the world. Along with colleague Eileen M. Shore, Dr. Kaplan and a team of international collaborators identified the genetic mutation that causes FOP in 2006. Dr. Kaplan also contributed to the discovery of progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH), another rare disorder in which bone forms outside the skeleton, within skin and muscle tissue. Shortly after this, Drs. Kaplan and Shore discovered the genetic cause of POH.

Dr. Kaplan is widely considered the world’s leading expert on genetic disorders of heterotopic ossification (when bone forms outside the skeleton) and skeletal metamorphosis (FOP).

In addition to Dr. Kaplan, other 2017 Rare Impact Award honorees include patients, researchers and clinicians, elected officials, patient organizations and industry innovators.

Matthew McHugh: Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council

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Matthew McHugh

Matthew McHugh

Matthew McHugh, the Rosemarie Greco Term Endowed Associate Professorship in Advocacy, associate professor of nursing, and associate director of Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at Penn Nursing has been appointed to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) by Governor Thomas Wolf. The purpose of PHC4 is to address rapidly growing healthcare costs, and the appointment is for four years.

“It is an honor to serve our state as a Penn Nurse on this important independent agency charged with ensuring high quality care is accessible to all Pennsylvanians,” said Dr. McHugh.

Barbara Riegel: TCPW Award

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Barbara Riegel

Barbara Riegel

Barbara Riegel, Penn Nursing’s Edith Clemmer Steinbright Professor of Gerontology in the department of biobehavioral health sciences, was recognized with the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW) Award.

The award recognizes undergraduate faculty advisors who have distinguished themselves in providing assistance and advice to their advisee students and who have made a significant impact on the academic experience of these students.

TCPW is an international network of Penn alumnae whose members support, foster and promote the advancement of women and women’s issues within the University. The TCPW 25th Anniversary Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising was established in 2012.

Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellows

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Eight emerging artists are this year’s recipients of grants from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for Performing and Visual Arts. Administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, it is in its 10th year. Each of these recipients will be awarded a $50,000 fellowship to pursue their artistic careers. The 2017 recipients are mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey; ballet dancer Cassandra Trenary; actors Ato Blankson-Wood and Ruibo Qian; visual artists Herman Aguirre and Emily Erb; and cellists Khari Joyner and Jia Kim.

Graduate Student Center Awards

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The Graduate Student Center will honor graduate student leaders there on Monday, May 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. The Penn community is invited to attend. RSVP required.

This year’s honorees include:

  • President’s and Provost’s Citation for Exceptional Commitment to Graduate and Professional Student Life: Ufuoma Abiola, GSE, and Robert Ashford, SP2.
  • Dr. Andy Binns Impact Award for Outstanding Service to Graduate and Professional Student Life: Victoria Aguilar, SP2; Nathan Castillo, GSE; Will Schmenner, SAS; Justine Sefcik, Nursing; and Yunning Wang, GSE.

The Newly Retired Faculty

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The following faculty were accorded emeritus status during the 2016-2017 academic year, unless otherwise noted. Those marked with an asterisk (*) have elected not to use the emeritus title modifier. The year each one joined the Penn faculty ranks is noted in parentheses.

Franklin Allen, Professor Emeritus, Finance, Wharton (’80)

James Alwine, Professor Emeritus, Cancer Biology, PSOM (’80)

Dorothy Cheney, Professor Emerita, Biology, SAS (’85)

Thomas Childers, Professor Emeritus, History, SAS (’76)

Randall Collins, Professor Emeritus, Sociology, SAS (’97) 

Joel Cooper, Professor Emeritus, Surgery Administration, PSOM (’05)

James Corner, Professor Emeritus, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Design (’87)

Patricia Danzon, Professor Emerita, Health Care, Wharton (’85)

Richard Davidson, Professor Emeritus C-E, Orthopaedic Surgery, PSOM (’82)

Janet Deatrick, Professor Emerita, Family & Community Health, Nursing (’89)—accorded status in 2015-16

John Esterhai, Professor Emeritus C-E, Orthopaedic Surgery, PSOM (’76)

Lawrence Frame, Associate Professor Emeritus C-E, Cardiovascular Medicine, PSOM (’83)

Philip Hanno, Professor Emeritus C-E, Urology in Surgery, PSOM (’90)—accorded status in 2015-16

Katherine High, Professor Emerita, Pediatrics, PSOM (’93)

Marjorie Jeffcoat, Professor Emerita, Periodontics, Dental Medicine (’03)

Mariell Jessup, Professor Emerita C-E, Cardiovascular Medicine, PSOM (’91)

Bernard Kaplan, Professor Emeritus C-E, Pediatrics, PSOM (’87)

Ann Kennedy, Professor Emerita, Radiation Oncology, PSOM, (’88)

Kenneth Laker, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Systems Engineering, SEAS (’84)

Paul Lanken, Professor Emeritus C-E, Medicine, PSOM (’75)

Howard Lesnick, Professor Emeritus, Law (’67)

Rochelle Lindemeyer, Professor Emerita C-E, Preventive & Restorative Sciences, Dental Medicine (’02) 

Meryl Littman, Professor Emerita C-E, Clinical Studies, Veterinary Medicine (’78)

Jack Ludmir, Professor Emeritus C-E, Obstetrics & Gynecology, PSOM (’87)

Janice Madden, Professor Emerita, Sociology, SAS (’92)

Richard Maughan, Professor Emeritus C-E, Radiation Oncology, PSOM (’00) 

Lynne Maxwell, Professor Emerita C-E, Anesthesia, PSOM (’02)

*Kathleen McCauley, Professor C-E, Biobehavioral Health Sciences, Nursing (’90)

*Afaf Meleis, Professor, Family & Community Health, Nursing (’02)

Graham Quinn, Professor Emeritus C-E, Ophthalmology, PSOM (’79)—accorded status in 2015-16

*Jerilynn Radcliffe, Professor C-E, Pediatrics, PSOM (’84)

Edward Rock, Professor Emeritus, Law (’88)

Richard Schultz, Professor Emeritus, Biology, SAS (’78)

C. William Schwab, Professor Emeritus C-E, Surgery Administration, PSOM (’87)  

Robert Seyfarth, Professor Emeritus, Psychology, SAS (’85)

William Shoff, Associate Professor Emeritus C-E, Emergency Medicine, PSOM (’93)

Gary Smith, Professor Emeritus, Clinical Studies, Veterinary Medicine (’85)

Marilyn Sommers, Professor Emerita, Family & Community Health, Nursing (’05)—accorded status in 2015-16

Eileen Sullivan-Marx, Professor Emerita C-E, Family & Community Health, Nursing (’89)

Michael Topp, Professor Emeritus, Chemistry, SAS (’73)

Terri Weaver, Professor Emerita, Biobehavioral Health Sciences, Nursing (’85)

Paul Weinberg, Professor Emeritus C-E, Pediatrics, PSOM (’77)


Natural Selection: An exhibition of Eleanor Hubbard’s Paintings at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Steven W. Atwood Library through May 16

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Eleanor Hubbard, an artist and alumna, who received a BA in English and an MFA at Penn, is a firm believer in the power of serendipity. Without it, her latest exhibition, Natural Selection: Lost Cat, Found Ox and Other Inspiring Bonds, would have never come to fruition. It is now on display in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Steven W. Atwood Library through May 16. A percentage of sales of the limited-edition prints will benefit Penn Vet Student Scholarships.

Ms. Hubbard’s colorful, evocative paintings, many of which were created on the iPhone’s Brushes app, feature 15 separate animals. Each is accompanied by a brief narrative, written by the artist, describing salient details of the animals’ lives and those of the humans who came to care for them.

The seed for the show was planted at Ms. Hubbard’s class reunion in 2012, which she almost skipped. At the last minute, she was persuaded by her former college roommate to leave the American Academy in Rome, where she had been painting, to fly to Philadelphia for Alumni Weekend. Browsing the schedule of events, she saw a talk on the human-animal bond by James Serpell, the Marie A. Moore Professor of Ethics and Animal Welfare and director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at Penn Vet.

En route to Philadelphia, Ms. Hubbard was invited to explore Mesolithic engravings in newly discovered caves outside Paris.
“Since Dr. Serpell began his lecture with cave art, I was riveted,” Ms. Hubbard said. “At the end I raised my hand to say that I had been painting an ox for several years and a strong bond had developed.”

The two spoke further following the lecture about bonds with unlikely animals and about her art.

“She has interesting ideas about how these animals become a kind of nexus for coincidental connections between disparate people, bringing them together in various ways,” Dr. Serpell said. “It does raise some intriguing questions about why some animals seem to have this effect, whether it’s something about the animal itself or an accident of circumstances.”

During that conversation, the possibility of displaying her art at Penn was first raised, but busy schedules intervened and nothing more came of it for a few years.

​​​​​​​Following last fall’s presidential election, however, the artist found herself turning toward animal subjects and focusing on “the small miracles that go on every day, the quiet inexplicable kindnesses.”

“Isn’t this the perfect time to create an exhibit of rescued animals, about how chance, great veterinarians, great people and luck cross paths?” she said.

Recalling her 2012 conversation with Dr. Serpell, she called her own veterinarian on Martha’s Vineyard, who happens to be Steven Atwood, a Penn Vet alumnus and the benefactor for whom the school’s library is named.

Dr. Atwood put Ms. Hubbard in touch with librarian Margaret Lindem, who was encouraging but also shared that art could not be installed on the library’s glass walls. Fortunately, Ms. Hubbard’s husband, Geoffrey White, an architect and graduate of Penn’s School of Design, didn’t see that as an obstacle. He designed standing easels to display paintings atop the library’s low bookshelves.

Each work of art captures the story of a rescued creature. “Lucky” portrays a canary Ms. Hubbard encountered during a haircut in Chestnut Hill.

“One day I was sitting in the salon and a flash of yellow-orange flew by,” she said. A canary had flown in the salon’s open door along busy Germantown Avenue. By chance, as a teenager in Japan, the salon owner had held a job raising canaries. He knew a stressed and hungry bird would require sugar, so asked his assistant to get a bit of cake from a bakery across the street.

“This little guy ate it right up and revived,” said Ms. Hubbard. “For years Lucky was the salon’s mascot, but what had directed him to that specific door?”

Another cherished subject, appearing in a number of works, is a white ox, named José. A woman living next to the farm where José was born had purchased the calf, sparing him from becoming a dinner plate feature in the restaurant she owned. Ms. Hubbard learned about the ox when his owner put an ad in the local paper, desperate to find a suitable home for the now 2,500-pound animal. Ms. Hubbard tried to place him with a number of rescue organizations. By chance she relayed the story to friends in New York who responded they had just bought property in the Berkshires, enough acreage on which to keep an ox happy and healthy.

The artist began to visit their farm regularly to paint José in his new home. “We traveled to the Berkshires to see José the day before he died,” she said. “While unable to stand, he still just wanted to be loved and hugged.”



Reminder NGSS Town Hall Meeting: April 27

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The Next Generation Student Systems (NGSS) project invites the entire Penn community to a town hall meeting from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, in room G-17 of Claudia Cohen Hall. Project managers will present a concise overview of the multiyear effort, including an update on progress to date and projected timeline.

The team will also offer a look at screen designs for the first significant deliverable for Pennant Records, a new online Undergraduate Academic Catalog. In addition, the team will share results from extensive research conducted by the UK-based firm Torchbox on how users from a wide cross-section of Penn constituencies currently interact with the InTouch suite of applications.

The remainder of the meeting time will be devoted to questions from the audience. Please bring your questions so everyone can benefit from a wide-ranging discussion!

For more information about NGSS and Pennant, consult the project website.

—Stephen Schwarz, Project Manager for Pennant Records

Penn Home Ownership Services Workshop: May 3

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On Wednesday, May 3, Penn Home Ownership Services will present its new workshop, Is Home Ownership for Me? Open to employees of the University and the Health System, this session will address questions and share helpful information about how to determine if owning your own home can be part of your future. This event will be held from noon-1:30 p.m. in the Room 251, Biomedical Research Building, 421 Curie Boulevard. Lending partner Santander Bank will be present to address your questions.

Lunch will be provided. Please register in advance for this workshop by visiting the PHOS website.

ICA Spring Opening Celebration for Three Exhibitions: April 28

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The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is celebrating its three new exhibitions at the opening on Friday, April 28. The public opening celebration is from 6:30-9 p.m. It is preceded by a preview and conversation with artists and curators at 5 p.m. for members only. These exhibitions will be on view through August 6.

Myths of the Marble, features new and recent works from 11 international artists, from painting and sculpture to VR technology and 3D animation, shedding light on the idea of “the virtual” not solely as a computer-generated technology, but as a concept linked to the potential to remap social and political landscapes through a reorientation of the physical and sensorial.

Ginny Casey & Jessi Reaves, spotlights new and recent works by two emerging artists exploring the relationship between contemporary painting and sculpture, domestic objects, and decorative surfaces, with more than 30 works by painter Ginny Casey and sculptor Jessi Reaves, which imagine and reimagine the form and function of objects encountered in daily life.

With Open Video Call, ICA presents new selected works on video by Philadelphia-area artists and filmmakers.

What Oscillates, by A. Graff

What Oscillates, Ane Graff, 2017, mixed media; in collaboration with Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Norway.

Droopy Vase, by G.Casey

Droopy Vase, Ginny Casey, 2015, oil on canvas.

Update: April AT PENN

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26     Managing Cell and Human Identity Symposium; 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Biomedical Research Bldg.; Register: (IRM).

    Race and Sports: A Conversation on Race, Sports and Activism; 5:30 p.m.; rm. 351, Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall; info: 215-898-4965 (Wharton; Center for Africana Studies).

AT PENN Deadlines

The May AT PENN calendar is now online. The deadline for the Summer AT PENN is May 16.


Weekly Crime Reports

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The University of Pennsylvania Police Department Community Crime Report

About the Crime Report: Below are all Crimes Against Persons, Property and Crimes Against Society from the campus report for April 10-17, 2017. View 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 between the dates of April 10-17, 2017. The University Police actively patrol from Market Street to Baltimore Avenue and from the Schuylkill River to 43rd Street 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.

4/11/201710:13 AM3420 Walnut StTheftSecured bike taken from rack
4/11/20175:29 PM231 S 34th StTheftProperty taken from unsecured locker
4/11/20177:13 PM3549 Chestnut StTheftProperty taken from break room
4/12/201710:10 AM3817 Spruce StArsonPoster set on fire
4/12/201711:43 AM3335 Woodland WalkTheftBike tire taken
4/12/20172:25 PM4006 Spruce StAssaultComplainant being followed by male
4/13/20179:38 AM4200 Spruce StRobberyMale attempted to take complainant’s backpack
4/13/201711:07 AM3600 Ludlow StRobberyCell phone taken by known person
4/13/201711:44 PM3700 Walnut StTheftSecured bike taken
4/14/20173:03 PM3700 Sansom StTheftRegistration plate taken from vehicle
4/14/20175:57 PM4201 Walnut StFraudCounterfeit bills used for purchase
4/14/201711:01 PM4000 Baltimore AveDUIIntoxicated driver arrested
4/15/20172:48 PM119 S 38th StTheftLaptop and backpack taken
4/16/20173:03 AM4000 Walnut StVandalismPassenger side window broken/Arrest
4/16/20173:19 AM4100 Pine StAssaultOfficer assaulted by suspect/Arrest
4/16/20173:20 AM4100 Pine StAssaultOfficer assaulted by offender/Arrest

18th District Report

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 16 incidents with 6 arrests (10 assaults, 3 aggravated assaults and 3 robberies) were reported between April 10-17, 2017 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

4/10/20176:26 PM100 S 40th StAssault
4/10/20177:58 PM4006 Spruce StAssault
4/10/201711:37 PM4300 Market StAssault
4/11/201712:09 AM3401 Civic Center BlvdAssault
4/11/201712:15 AM3400 Spruce StAssault
4/11/20171:32 AM4500 Baltimore AveAggravated Assault/Arrest
4/11/20172:30 AM46th and Baltimore AveAggravated Assault/Arrest
4/11/20173:44 AM4000 Woodland AveAssault
4/11/201711:21 PM34th and Market StRobbery/Arrest
4/12/201712:04 AMFarragut and Market StAggravated Assault
4/12/20172:34 PM4006 Spruce StAggravated Assault
4/13/20179:26 AM4200 Spruce StRobbery
4/13/201710:59 AM3600 Ludlow StRobbery/Arrest
4/13/201712:14 PM4830 Cedar AveAssault
4/16/20174:08 AM4100 Pine StAssault/Arrest
4/16/20177:18 AM4100 Pine StAssault/Arrest


Benefits Open Enrollment: Ends on Friday, April 28

  • April 25, 2017
  • vol 63 issue 32
  • Bulletins
  • print

Penn Benefits Open Enrollment will end this Friday, April 28. If you haven’t reviewed your medical, prescription, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits elections for the 2017-2018 plan year, now is the time.

For detailed information about your benefits options, visit the Human Resources Open Enrollement website. Review the changes for the coming plan year so you can make the right choices for you and your family.

Changes made during Open Enrollment will be effective as of July 1, 2017. If you don’t make changes during Open Enrollment, you’ll receive the same coverage you had last year. New rates for all plans will be reflected in your July 2017 paycheck.

To update your benefits coverage, visit the Penn Benefits website. If you don’t have internet access or are having problems enrolling online, contact the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236) from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday.

If you have questions, please contact the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236).

—Division of Human Resources

Walk-Back Program: April 27-May 9

  • April 25, 2017
  • vol 63 issue 32
  • Bulletins
  • print

The Division of Public Safety, in collaboration with the Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, offers the Public Safety Walk-Back Program during reading days and final exams.

Spring Semester 2017: Walk-Back is held from Thursday, April 27 to Tuesday, May 9, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.

An Allied Universal Public Safety Officer will be posted at the “Button” on Woodland Walk from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. Approximately every half hour the officer will enter Van Pelt-Dietrich Library to offer walking escorts to anyone in the building. The officer will then perform the escort and return to repeat the process.

The Division of Public Safety provides this service in addition to its traditional Walking Escort Programs: Remember you can call anytime for a walking escort: (215) 898-WALK.

Uniformed Allied Universal Public Safety Officers provide walking escorts to all campus locations. Officers are dispatched by radio and will accompany you from one campus location to another, to your parked vehicle, to a Penn Transit Stop or to an on-campus SEPTA regional transit stop.

Walking Escorts are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, between 30th & 43rd Streets and Market Street to Baltimore Avenue.
Escorts are also available from 10 a.m. until 3 a.m. extending between 30th & 50th and Spring Garden Street & Woodland Avenue via the University’s partnership with the University City District Ambassador Program.

To request a Walking Escort, call (215) 898-9255 (898-WALK).

For more information, visit Walk Back Program: Reading Days and Finals.

Talk About Teaching & Learning

From Awe to Activity: Pedagogies in Special Collections

  • April 25, 2017
  • vol 63 issue 32
  • Talk About Teaching & Learning
  • print

by John Pollack

A research seminar in South Asian studies has spent a good portion of this semester in the Kislak Center for Special Collections. Students have examined letters of travelers to India, photographs, diaries, cookbooks, cinema pressbooks and even comic books from the popular Amar Chitra Katha series drawing upon Indian mythology. During these sessions, students held in their hands the types of materials that “real” historians work with every day. They returned on their own to pursue additional research on these items in the Kislak Center reading room and assembled their findings into a digital exhibition using the Omeka platform. They saw, in a way that cannot be easily described, that history isn’t just a list of events in a textbook—that knowledge is constructed from different types of sources, and that they, even as students, also have a role to play in the study of the near and far past.

On a first visit, students in classes like this regularly begin by reacting with surprise: “Wow! We can touch this stuff!” They may be impressed with the quantity, range and value of materials this university possesses. Awe and amazement—the wonder of seeing and studying the “real” stuff—connects students to scholarship in powerful ways. The curators and librarians charged with stewarding these collections regularly impress visitors with remarkable treasures, from medieval to modern and from across the world. Along with the recently-renovated Kislak Center, there are important collections in nearly every corner of campus: the University Archives, the Penn Museum and Museum Archives, the Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing; the Fine Arts and Museum Libraries, the Annenberg School, the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, the Biddle Law Library and the Historic Library at the Pennsylvania Hospital.

In the past, getting students to the “wow” moment when they could see and even handle these materials was a major challenge for instructors, and sometimes an insurmountable one. But now most special collections departments, and certainly those at Penn, encourage classes to make use of their resources. To get undergraduates in to see, for example, 500-year-old manuscripts, Penn faculty simply need to contact library or archives staff, make arrangements, consult and request materials, and ask their students to show up, leave their coffee and food behind, and clean their hands. That’s it.

Of course, the awe-factor only gets students, and instructors, so far. Beyond the initial, often powerful, encounter with these remarkable “primary sources” that are the vital matter of research the key question is how can instructors, faculty, and librarians show students how we might interpret and question the sources? How can the encounter help students to see that they themselves can become makers of knowledge?

Effective teaching activities begin by nudging students to look at sources carefully and consider their various histories. This begins with the physical objects in front of them: book, poster, letter, archival box, photograph, Book of Hours, comic book....  A list of basic questions can get students started: What is the date? Why is this so big, or so small? Are there illustrations? These suggest the importance of careful attention to details students might otherwise assume they know already. Students begin to make meaning from material facts—they can realize that they then need to learn about paper, or printing, or binding materials, or handwriting. Larger questions about historical contexts follow. Instructors can shape a discussion that leads the students to question why these materials matter and to examine what they can learn from “real” objects. Students in the Kislak Center have had many productive conversations about the limits of images presented via PowerPoint or on the internet.

The challenge of learning how to look is a cross-disciplinary one. The instructor for a freshman seminar on the history of chemistry brought his class to the Kislak Center three times over the course of a semester to show them a series of books that reveal the changing look and meanings of “chemistry” and to encourage discussion of how changes in these books reflected changes in thinking about the discipline of chemistry itself.  A course in the School of Design uses special collections to consider the form of books—size, shape, layout, typography. Students look one week at late medieval manuscripts with text and commentary and early printed books with woodcuts and marginal notations. In another week students examine Arts and Crafts printing of the late nineteenth century and modernist typographical responses to it. And finally, these students focus on contemporary “artists’ books” that radically reinvent the book form. Students incorporate all these forms into their own projects, using these old and new books to expand their own assumptions about what a book is.

Other classes use special collections in still more in-depth ways. An English class on the “Pamela craze” of the eighteenth century (the popularity and controversy surrounding Samuel Richardson’s novel) holds every class meeting in special collections seminar rooms. Rare book collections are a regular “actor” in these meetings. Students pick archival sources for their own class presentations and prepare their own questions for discussion. The act of looking at particular books becomes a launching point for larger projects. Working with these materials allows students to become producers of knowledge.

Although a number of these projects are most appropriate in specialized small classes, with enough thought and preparation, undergraduates at any level can use special collections in innovative ways. In a popular history and sociology of science course on the history of medicine, with enrollments approaching 100 students come to the reading room over a period of two weeks. They attempt to diagnose their own symptoms, which they have recorded in a diary, by reading Renaissance medical treatises and medical “receipt” books. They work at reading early modern English and take digital photographs that they can study further at home. For another class session, the Kislak Center staff assembles a large group of early modern and modern cookbooks from Penn’s collections in a seminar room. Students look through these books to select a recipe, an ingredient, or a pair of ingredients to track across time or across cultures.

Approaches to special collections can and should be as varied and wide-ranging as the disciplines themselves. And close looking can encourage thinking across disciplines and across periods. The result can be collective discovery, in which all parties—faculty, students, librarians, curators—see pieces of the past, exclaim “Wow! That’s cool!” and then progress together toward interpretation.

John Pollack is a library specialist for public services, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

This essay continues the series that began in the fall of 1994 as the joint creation of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Lindback Society for Distinguished Teaching. See for the previous essays.