Talk About Teaching & Learning

Download Supplement

News

Announcing the University of Pennsylvania’s Landmark Fundraising and Engagement Campaign to Strengthen World Impact

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • News
  • print

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Board of Trustees Chair David L. Cohen announced the launch of a $4.1 billion comprehensive fundraising and engagement campaign that will strengthen Penn’s support for students, investment in faculty and improvement of lives through a wide range of initiatives building on Penn’s unique cross-disciplinary culture. The Power of Penn: Advancing Knowledge for Good will support vital University-wide programs and priorities across Penn’s 12 schools and six centers, including Penn Medicine.

“Universities are the engines of knowledge, understanding and new ideas that propel communities and societies forward. As such, we have a fundamental responsibility to be a force for good,” President Gutmann said. “This Campaign will ensure that Penn-generated multidisciplinary knowledge has a more powerful and positive impact on our local, national and global communities.”

Among Penn’s prime strengths is its foundational commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Power of Penn Campaign will continue to strengthen Penn’s financial aid program for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, while also advancing initiatives to create a stronger, more responsive support system for first-generation and high-need students.

Noting that one out of eight Penn freshman represents the first generation in their family to attend college, and one of four is either first generation or low income (or both). President Gutmann said, “As a first-generation, low-income student myself, I know how life-changing financial aid can be.”

The other two institutional strengths that are core to The Power of Penn Campaign priorities are Innovation and Impact, which together with Inclusion have guided the direction of the University throughout President Gutmann’s presidency.

Mr. Cohen, chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees, emphasized the importance of strengthening the endowment to support Penn’s innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs. “A successful Campaign will enable us to expand student aid and augment cutting-edge programs through endowment funding,” he said, “and endowing new positions for faculty and staff leaders will secure Penn’s role as a cradle of innovation through the 21st century and beyond.” He added, “The Trustees are fully supportive of The Power of Penn Campaign and we are fortunate to have the extraordinary leadership of Bob Levy as chair and Lee Spelman Doty as vice chair.” 

 “The Power of Penn Campaign will be critical to Penn’s mission to innovate and create solutions where none now exist,” said Campaign Chair Robert M. Levy, highlighting that Penn research generated three FDA approvals over the past year. “It will enable Penn to advance more research initiatives, foster student entrepreneurship and develop new technologies that make a crucial impact.”

The Campaign will also bring several significant capital projects to Penn’s campus. Notable among these are the construction of New College House West; the Venture Lab, led by Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship; and the Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the largest capital project in Penn’s history, which will set new standards for patient comfort and care.

 “Penn has all the elements needed to make a positive and lasting impact,” said Mr. Levy, noting, “the ability to integrate knowledge across diverse disciplines, an inclusive campus environment and a global community driven to make a difference.” 

 Mr. Levy added that the Campaign will create more opportunities for the wider Penn family to engage in the life of the University. “The Power of Penn will offer our alumni, parents and friends new ways to make an impact on the issues they are most passionate about.”

 President Gutmann sees The Power of Penn as a unique opportunity for Penn to strengthen its influence on issues of global significance. “We have done so much to improve lives worldwide,” she said, “but there is much more we can do to address urgent issues. With this Campaign, we are stepping up our response—and stepping up to the plate.”

Abraham Nitzan: Donner Professor

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • News
  • print

caption: Abraham Nitzan

Abraham Nitzan, professor of chemistry, has been named Donner Professor of Physical Sciences. Dr. Nitzan’s research focuses on the interaction of light with molecular systems, chemical reactions in condensed phases and interfaces and charge transfer processes in such environments. He came to Penn from Tel Aviv University in 2015, where he held the Kodesh Chair of Chemical Dynamics. 

Dr. Nitzan is the recipient of the Humboldt Award; the Israel Chemical Society Award (2003) and Medal (2015); the EMET Prize and the Israel Prize in Chemistry; and the Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize in Theoretical Chemistry (2017-2018). He is a Foreign Honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

The Donner Professorship of Physical Sciences was established in 1958 by the Donner Foundation, now known as the Independence Foundation.

Joseph Subotnik: Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • News
  • print

caption: Joseph Subotnik

Joseph Subotnik, professor of chemistry, has been named Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Chemistry. A theoretical chemist who focuses on electronic processes in the condensed phase, Dr. Subotnik has made key contributions in electronic structure theory, chemical dynamics and statistical mechanics. Going beyond standard techniques from perturbation theory, he has developed novel nonadiabatic approaches to achieve a comprehensive theoretical and computational understanding of electronic relaxation (from excited to ground states), electron transfer, energy transfer and multilinear spectroscopy. He has received many prizes and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Career Advancement Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE), a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, the Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.

The Kahn endowed term chairs were established through a bequest by Mr. and Mrs. Edmund J. Kahn. Mr. Kahn was a 1925 Wharton graduate who had a highly successful career in the oil and natural gas industry. His wife, a graduate of Smith College, worked for Newsweek and owned an interior design firm. The couple supported many programs and projects in the University of Pennsylvania, including Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, the Modern Languages College House and other initiatives in scholarship and the humanities.

Graduate School of Education Excellence in Teaching Award

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • News
  • print

caption: Vivian Gadsden

Vivian Gadsden, the William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education, director of the National Center on Fathers and Families, and associate director for the National Center on Adult Literacy, is the recipient of the GSE Excellence in Teaching Award. She was recently named a faculty co-leader of the Penn Futures Project. Students describe Dr. Gadsden’s class as a place where they can be vulnerable while working through questions of how race and class affect child development. By simultaneously serving as a teacher, a mentor, a researcher and a thought leader whose work is shaping public policy, she demonstrates the many ways her students can make an impact. When they graduate, Dr. Gadsden’s students say they are prepared to testify on behalf of the children they will serve.

School of Nursing Teaching Awards

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • News
  • print

Dean’s Award for Exemplary Teaching

caption: Lisa LewisLisa M. Lewis is an associate professor in the department of family and community health, a Calvin Bland Fellow and the assistant dean for Diversity and Inclusivity. She teaches Psychological and Social Diversity in Health and Wellness to undergraduate Nursing students and co-teaches Health Equity: Conceptual, Linguistic, Methodological, and Ethical Issues to T32 trainees and other doctoral students. She has had a holistic impact on the growth and success of our teaching mission across all curricula. Her students note the clarity of her insights and the creativity of her lesson planning in addition to her compassion and empathy. As one pre-doctoral fellow states, “She makes not only the academic success of her students a priority but also the overall well-being of the student….She believes that her success is exemplified in the success of her students.” A teaching collaborator notes, “I felt my own teaching was enriched by her collegiality and feedback.” Dr. Lewis demonstrates an ability to break down barriers and foster meaningful experiences for all at Penn Nursing.

Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence

caption: Loretta SernekosLoretta A. Sernekos, a senior lecturer in the department of biobehavioral health sciences, teaches physiology, pathophysiology, therapeutics, cell biology and microbiology to undergraduate and master’s students. Her knowledge and innovative teaching style enables them to think critically and compassionately. One student noted, “She encourages deep critical thinking and problem-solving through her engaging classes. Most important, she promotes and enhances the image of nursing as the cross-section of compassionate inquiry and creative science.” In addition to providing mentorship to former students, she also seeks input from them about their clinical experiences to inform her teaching and invites them to tutor current students. And from a peer: “Dr. Sernekos goes above and beyond in developing and enhancing the learning experience for her students….She exemplifies the encouragement and steadfastness of a committed teacher—the gift that Dr. Sernekos provides for her students that is unconditionally necessary for excellence in teaching.”

Dean’s Award for MS/MSN/DNP Scholarly Mentorship

caption: Patricia GriffithPatricia Griffith is an advanced senior lecturer in the biobehavioral health sciences department teaching in the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program (AGACNP) master’s program. Ms. Griffith’s students express a deep appreciation for her patience, attention to detail, follow-through and kindness. She demonstrates a commitment that cuts across all stages of academic development. Writes one student: “[She] is genuinely one of the main reasons why I chose Penn for my graduate education. Her dedication to prospective and current students is evident in the amount of time she spends communicating with her students.” Ms. Griffith models an accessibility and command of subject, and has left an indelible mark on her students.

Student Nurses at Penn Undergraduate Award for Teaching

caption: Marlene EtkowiczMarlene Etkowicz is a clinical instructor in the Nursing Lab for Integrated Human Anatomy, Physiology and Physical Assessment, and a clinical simulation instructor in the Simulation Lab for Integrated Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Nursing of Young, Middle Aged and Older Adults. Throughout all of the labs and simulations that she teaches, she shows that she is a vital part of Penn Nursing’s education mission. Many students who have had her as a lab instructor have praised Ms. Etkowicz for being incredibly knowledgeable, warm and understanding. As one student writes, “Marlene has shown students how much potential we can have and taught students to be confident when tackling simulation test outs.” She has inspired many of her students through sharing about her many years of nursing experience, and always encourages students to ask questions and challenge themselves in her clinical course.

Graduate Student Organization Graduate Nurse Educator Award

caption: Joseph LibonatiJoseph R. Libonati is an associate professor in the School of Nursing and director of Penn Nursing’s Laboratory of Innovative and Translational Nursing Research. Dr. Libonati has helped thousands of nursing graduate students excel in the clinical setting through his teaching of advanced physiology and pathophysiology over the past 10 years. His dedication to students and passion for teaching are palpable. Dr. Libonati’s teaching style make his courses some of the most challenging, valuable and rewarding academic experiences offered at Penn Nursing. As stated in one nomination, “Dr. Libonati creates an atmosphere in the classroom that is conducive to didactic, professional and clinical growth. He encourages collaboration and collegiality. His multimodal approach to our education is enlightening, strengthening and inspirational. We are undoubtedly stronger clinicians today and in the future because we have been taught by him.”

Barbara J. Lowery Doctoral Student Organization Faculty Award

caption: Sarah KaganSarah Hope Kagan is the Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Gerontological Nursing. Dr. Kagan has offered thoughtful mentorship and support to countless doctoral students over her years as a professor at Penn Nursing. Dr. Kagan’s advisement is not limited to individual mentees. In addition to her formal advising and teaching responsibilities, she oversees the Advanced Qualitative Collective, a group of pre- and post-doctoral trainees, faculty and alumni who are interested in qualitative research traditions. She has served on a number of doctoral dissertation committees. This year, Dr. Kagan has reached out in particularly unique and useful ways to help all doctoral students across the program by offering workshops on writing, public speaking and finding a scholarly voice. These opportunities are invaluable and contribute to the renown of the Penn Nursing PhD program and the success and impact of its graduates. Dr. Kagan has shown an unwavering support of doctoral education and commitment to fostering student growth and development.

Announcing New Enhancements to Penn Marketplace

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • News
  • print

Yesterday, the University launched a range of technology enhancements to its existing procurement platform, the Penn Marketplace. These new functionalities have been developed to improve administrative efficiencies and the user experience for supplier onboarding, purchase order (PO) invoice processing and the non-PO payment request (current PDA) process. The implementation of these added features will accomplish the following:

  • Provide greater visibility into the status of onboarding, invoicing and payment transactions for end users and suppliers;
  • Improve efficiencies through automation and supplier self-service; and,
  • Enhance Penn’s controls through improved electronic procure-to-pay (P2P) workflows.

More specifically, Penn’s Schools and Centers and its supplier community benefit from the following process improvements:

  • Supplier Self-Registration and Self-Service: All suppliers, including both Purchase Order and Non-PO payees upon invitation to register, are able to electronically self-register with Penn via a supplier portal;
  • Electronic Invoicing: Suppliers have increased visibility into their purchase orders, invoices and payment statuses while having a greater opportunity to ‘Do Business with Penn’ effectively, regardless of their size; and,
  • Electronic Non-PO Payment Requests: The manual, paper PDA forms are no longer the standard vehicle for requesting, approving and processing Non-PO payments/credits and are replaced with electronic forms within Penn Marketplace.

The Penn Marketplace Enhancements initiative has been sponsored by the Divisions of Business Services, Finance, and Information Systems & Computing.

For more information about this initiative, please visit the Penn Purchasing Services website at www.upenn.edu/purchasing or contact the project team at PennMarketplace@upenn.edu

Deaths

George Gerstein: Neuroscience

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Deaths
  • print

caption: George GersteinGeorge L. Gerstein, an emeritus professor of neuroscience in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, died in Winter Park, Florida, on March 28. He was 85.

Dr. Gerstein graduated from Harvard with a BA in physics in 1952 and received his PhD there in 1958. He attended MIT for his post-doctoral and remained there from 1958 to 1964, serving as an assistant professor. He was then hired as an assistant professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964 and was promoted to full professor in 1969. In 1993, he also became a professor of neuroscience. Dr. Gerstein earned emeritus professor status at Penn in 2003. He was the first laureate of the Nencki Award, established by The Scientific Council of the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology. He published more than 130 papers in neuroinformatics and sensory neurophysiology, with several milestones in both areas.

Dr. Gerstein is survived by his children, Mark (Lori) and Eva Gerstein Sheridan (William); his former wife, Linda; and their four grandchildren, Joshua and Maya, and Katherine and Claire Sheridan.

Barbara Johnson Huber: HR

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Deaths
  • print

caption: Barbara HuberBarbara Johnson Huber, a retired Penn staff relations manager—familiar to most as Barbara Johnson—died in Gallipolis, Ohio, on April 3. She was 81.

She began her career at Penn in 1960 as a secretary in biology. She went on to hold several other positions, including associate director of women’s residence, before becoming the assistant director of personnel relations in Human Resources in 1976. In 1983, she became manager of staff relations for Human Resources, and she remained in that position until her retirement in 1988. That same year she married Michael (Mike) Thomas Huber, who was also a longtime Penn employee, who had been associate director of alumni relations and executive assistant to the vice president for development and alumni relations (Almanac May 26, 2015).

She is survived by her sister, Ruth Adeline (Edmund D’Andrea); stepson, Thomas; two step-grandchildren, Anna Livingston and Otto Edward; sisters-in-law, Josie Metzger (John) and Kathy, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Governance

University Council Meeting Agenda

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Governance
  • print

Wednesday, April 18, 4 p.m.
Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall
 

  1. Approval of the minutes of the March 28, 2018 University Council meeting. 1 minute
  2. Follow up comments or questions on Status Reports. 5 minutes
  3. Report on Budgets for the Next Academic Year. 30 minutes
  4. Summary reports by Council Committee Chairs. 40 minutes
  5. Report of the Committee on Committees. 10 minutes
  6. Discussion of possible Focus Issues for next year. 10 minutes
  7. New Business. 5 minutes
  8. Adjournment.

Related to: Council 2017-2018 Year-End Reports supplement.

Supplements

Policies

OF RECORD: Rules Governing Final Examinations

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Policies
  • print

1. No instructor may hold a final examination nor require the submission of a take-home final exam except during the period in which final examinations are scheduled; when necessary, exceptions to this policy may be granted for postponed examinations (see 3 and 4 below). No final examinations may be scheduled during the last week of classes or on reading days.

2. No student may be required to take more than two final examinations on any calendar day during the period in which final examinations are scheduled. If more than two are scheduled, the student may postpone the middle exam. If a take-home final exam is due on a day when two final examinations are scheduled, the take-home exam shall be postponed by one day.

3. Examinations that are postponed because of conflicts with other examinations, or because more than two examinations are scheduled on the same day, may be taken at another time during the final examinations period if the faculty member and student can agree on that time. Otherwise, they must be taken during the official period for postponed examinations.

4. Examinations that are postponed because of illness, a death in the family, for religious observance or some other unusual event may be taken only during the official periods: the first week of the spring and fall semesters. Students must obtain permission from their Dean’s office to take a postponed exam. Instructors in all courses must be willing to offer a make-up examination to all students who are excused from the final examination.

5. No instructor may change the time or date of a final exam without permission from the appropriate Dean.

6. No instructor may increase the time allowed for a final exam beyond the scheduled two hours without permission from the appropriate Dean.

7. No classes or required class activities may be held during the reading period.

8. The first examination of the day begins at 9 a.m. and the last examination concludes by 8 p.m. There will be one hour between exam time blocks.

9. All students must be allowed to see their final examination. Exams should be available as soon as possible after being graded with access ensured for a period of at least one regular semester after the exam has been given. To help protect student privacy, a student should have access only to his or her own exam and not the exams of other students. Therefore, for example, it is not permissible to leave student exams (or grades or papers) in publicly accessible areas.

10. Students may not be asked for their Social Security numbers. Instructors may not publicly display a student’s Penn ID or any portion of the Social Security number, nor use names, initials or any personally identifiable information to post grades. Even when an identifier is masked or absent, grades may not be posted in alphabetical order, to protect student privacy.

11. Final exams for College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) courses must be given on the regular class meeting night during the week of final examinations. No change in scheduling is permitted without unanimous consent of all students in the class and the director of LPS. LPS final exams may not be administered during the last week of class or on a reading day.

In all matters relating to final exams, students with questions should first consult with their Dean’s offices. Faculty wishing to seek exceptions to the rules also should consult with their Dean’s offices. Finally, the Council of Undergraduate Deans and Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE) urge instructors to see that all examinations are actively proctored.

Wendell Pritchett, Provost

Honors

Angus Beane, Marcello Chang: Goldwater Scholars

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

caption: Angus BeaneTwo juniors at Penn, Angus Beane and Marcello Chang, have been selected as Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which provides scholarships of up to $7,500 for undergraduate students interested in pursuing research careers in the natural sciences, math or engineering. Mr. Beane and Mr. Chang are the 38th and 39th recipients from Penn since the United States Congress established the foundation in 1986 to honor the work of U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater.

Mr. Beane, from Richmond, Virginia, will graduate in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics, as well as a master’s degree in physics. His research interests include astrophysics and cosmology, with a special focus on the Epoch of Reionization. His work examines alternative measurements of diffuse hydrogen gas from the era when the first galaxies were forming. A recipient of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Challenge Award, his career goal is to conduct research in theoretical cosmology and teach at the university level.

caption: Marcello ChangMr. Chang, a biochemistry, biophysics, computer science and physics major in SAS and SEAS, is from Carmichael, California. His career goal is to earn a PhD in computational biology, conduct research in the life sciences by applying computer science and engineering technology and become a faculty member at a research university.

Charles L. Bosk, Charles Yang: Guggenheim Fellows

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

caption: Charles L. BoskTwo University of Pennsylvania professors, Charles L. Bosk and Charles Yang, have been awarded 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships. They are among 173 scholars, artists and scientists selected from nearly 3,000 applicants.

Dr. Bosk, professor of sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences, a professor of anesthesiology and critical care in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, and Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, researches the social and cultural dimensions of health care. He will use his fellowship to work on his forthcoming book, Mistakes Were Changed: An Ethnographic History of Medical Failure, which explores the tension between professional and managerial definitions of “error,” analyzes why improvements in patient safety and the quality of care have been elusive and suggests new strategies for reducing harm to patients beyond the vague conception of reducing “system error.”

caption: Charles YangDr. Yang, professor of linguistics and computer science in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, is also the director of the Cognitive Science Program at Penn. He will use his fellowship to support a new line of research exploring how children learn to count and how they develop the conceptual understanding of numbers. He plans to study children’s counting in several languages with varying degrees of numerical complexity, including American Sign Language, where counting is done by hands but also follows linguistic rules.

Lik Sam Chan: Gerbner Fellow

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

Lik Sam Chan has been named the 2018-2020 George Gerbner Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication.

In December 2017, Mr. Chan successfully defended his dissertation, which explored the implications of dating apps on feminist politics, gender performance and the nature of intimacy in urban China, and he will receive his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California in May. Prior to beginning his doctoral work, he was a copywriter in Hong Kong for clients like Red Bull, HSBC and Wyndham Hotels. Mr. Chan holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a master’s degree in cultural studies from Goldsmiths, University of London.

As a Gerbner Fellow, Mr. Chan will study the lived experiences of gay and lesbian dating app users in urban China. Combining this new research with his previous research on straight-identified dating app users, he will draft a book manuscript that examines the impact of dating apps on people across different genders and sexual orientations in China. His manuscript will be the first academic book to address this subject matter.

Wendy Chan: Spencer Foundation Grant

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

caption: Wendy ChanWendy Chan, GSE assistant professor, was recently awarded $36,033.50 from the Spencer Foundation for the project Assessing the Role of Covariates and Matching in Improving Bounds for Generalization and in Understanding Generalizations Over Time. The goal of this project is two-fold: It investigates the impact of covariates and matching methods on improving the precision of bound estimates of population average treatment effects; and it explores the extent to which generalizations from experimental studies are made to populations defined at a future time point.

Anne Cocos: Google PhD Fellow

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

Anne Cocos, a CIS PhD student in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been awarded the 2018 Google PhD Fellowship in Natural Language Processing. According to Google, Ms. Cocos’ application especially stood out and was endorsed by the research scientists and distinguished engineers within Google who participated in the review.

The Google PhD Fellowship program began in 2009. The awards are presented to exemplary PhD students in computer science and related research areas to acknowledge their contributions to their areas of specialty and provide funding for their education and research. Now in its ninth year, the program has supported hundreds of future faculty, industry researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Ms. Cocos is also a military veteran and was the keynote speaker at the Veterans Day flag raising at Penn in 2015 (Almanac November 3, 2015).

Penn Made President: Linda Oubré, Whittier College

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

caption: Linda OubréLinda Oubré, who received her EdD in higher education management from Penn in 2017, has been appointed Whittier College’s 15th president and will take office on July 1. Dr. Oubré will be the first person of color to lead Whittier College in Whittier, California.

Previously, Dr. Oubré served as the Dean of the College of Business at San Francisco State University; was executive director of corporate relations and business development and chief diversity officer for the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis; and president and CEO of LSO Ventures. She was also one of the founders and president of BriteSmile. She has held leadership roles in Tri Com Ventures, Times Mirror Company and the Walt Disney Company.

Dayo Adewole, Matthew Hanna, Michael Wong: Hult Prize Ivy

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

A team of Penn students—Dayo Adewole (ENG’15, GEN’15, GR’21) Matthew Hanna (ENG’18) and Michael Wong (W’19)—won the first Hult Prize Ivy Competition, held earlier this month. About 25 teams of students from across the Ivy League gathered at Penn to present their ideas to answer the 2018 Hult Prize challenge: “Build a scalable, sustainable social enterprise that [would harness] the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025.”

The winning team pitched an attachment for light switches called InstaHub, which attaches onto pre-existing toggle light switches and utilizes motion sensor technologies to automatically turn lights on or off when people enter or leave a room. The device eliminates the high installation cost and finds sustainable measures for minimal maintenance to simplify lighting automation. Thirty of these devices have been successfully installed in Harnwell College House, Stouffer College House, W.E.B. Du Bois College House and Jon M. Huntsman Hall.

The Hult Prize was established in 2009 in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative. Winners from national and regional competitions attend an accelerator program at Hult’s estate in England and ultimately have the chance to compete for $1 million at the United Nations final. With their Ivy League win, the InstaHub team now moves on to the accelerator program.

Graduate & Professional Student Leader Awards

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

Penn will honor graduate and professional student leaders on Friday, May 11 from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Graduate Student Center. The Penn community is invited to attend; RSVP at http://www.gsc.upenn.edu/register

This year’s recipient’s are:

Brenda Salantes (PSOM) and Anthony Pratcher (SAS): President’s & Provost’s Citation for Exceptional Commitment to Graduate and Professional Student Life, presented to graduate or professional students upon their graduation from Penn who have been a catalyst for transformative and lasting new developments that have enhanced graduate and professional student life at Penn.

Akudo Ejelonu, (PSOM and LPS); Rosario Jaime-Lara (Nursing); Ruiyuan Ma (SEAS); Miles Owen (Design and LPS): The Dr. Andy Binns Impact Award for Outstanding Service to Graduate and Professional Student Life.

2018 GSE Awards

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

In addition to the GSE Excellence in Teaching Award, Penn’s Graduate School of Education recently announced the following 2018 award winners:

Amy Benedict, director of career and professional development, received the Lois MacNamara Award for Outstanding Service to Students.

Aisha Bowen, GEd’18 and research assistant for the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, received The Laurie Wagman Award for Visual and Performing Arts in Education.

Uyen Ha, GEd’18, received the GSE Award for Excellence in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion.

Lloyd Talley, GrEd’18, received the William E. Arnold Award for Outstanding Contributions by a Student.

Elizabeth Julian: Penn IUR Urban Leadership Award

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Honors
  • print

caption: Elizabeth JulianElizabeth Julian, founder and senior counsel of Dallas-based Inclusive Communities Project, is the recipient of the 14th annual Urban Leadership Award, given by Penn IUR. In 2015, The Inclusive Communities Project won a Supreme Court case ruling that policies, which even inadvertently cause segregation are illegal under the Fair Housing Act. This landmark ruling will help to fully realize the original goals of the Fair Housing Act to not only prevent individual housing discrimination but also address the decades of systemic discrimination that led to segregated communities across the country. Prior to her work with Inclusive Communities, Ms. Julian served as Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Clinton administration, and has practiced poverty and civil rights law since the beginning of her career.

The Annual Penn IUR Urban Leadership Awards recognize exemplary thinkers who have demonstrated the vision to revitalize urban centers, respond to urban crises and champion urban sustainability in the U.S. and the globe.

Features

Events

Opening Weekend for the Penn Museum’s New Middle East Galleries: April 21-22

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Events
  • print

caption: Rendering of the new Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum, which open April 21-22.

This month, the Penn Museum taps into its world-renowned collection and research expertise to open the new Middle East Galleries. This suite of galleries invites visitors to travel on a remarkable 10,000-year human journey, from the earliest villages and towns to increasingly complex cities. The opening of these magnificent new galleries will take place during a weekend-long celebration, Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—galleries are open until 5 p.m., activities and events end at 3:30 p.m.—free with general admission.

Highlighted Activities & Events for Saturday, April 21:

  • Explore the Museum’s early excavations in Mesopotamia with “Unearthed in the Archives: Middle East Edition.”
  • See animals from the Middle East with the Zoo on Wheels from the Philadelphia Zoo!
  • Drop in and chat with a curator, graduate student, researcher or designer who helped to shape the new Galleries during the Exchange with an Expert sessions.
  • Catch a glimpse of the Myth of Gilgamesh: dance, puppetry, theatre and live music—a spectacular work in progress by Sebastienne Mundheim’s White Box Theatre.
  • Enjoy a Live Music Performance from Jordan’s “Musical Ambassadress” Farah Siraj.

Highlighted Activities & Events for Sunday, April 22:

  • Hear tales from the Middle East during a special Children’s Storytime.
  • Learn to play the doumbek! Try drumming skills in the Middle Eastern Drum Workshop.
  • Watch the Iraqi team formed for Philadelphia’s Unity Cup tournament show their skills in a Soccer Demonstration.
  • Make your own cylinder seal and roll out a clay imprint to take home in the Cylinder Seal Workshop.
  • Enjoy an afternoon of classical and contemporary Arab music featuring Al-Bustan Ensemble and guests.

Visit the Penn Museum online at www.penn.museum for the full schedules.

Update: April AT PENN

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Events
  • print

Exhibits

17    Lantern Slide Show; viewing lantern slides using Beseler lantern slide projector; 6 p.m.; Kislak Seminar Room, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library (Arthur Ross Gallery).

Fitness & Learning

20    Friday Yoga with Anisha; bring your own mat; noon; free/Penn students, $5/staff and community members; lobby, Arthur Ross Gallery. Also April 27 (Arthur Ross Gallery).

On Stage

19 Stimulus Children’s Theatre Presents “Fantastic Mr. Fox”; 7 p.m.; Class of 1949 Auditorium, Houston Hall. Also April 20 at 6 p.m. and April 21 at 1 p.m. (Stimulus Children’s Theatre Company).

    Penn Dance Company Presents “de|construct”; 7 p.m.; Iron Gate Theatre; tickets: https://tinyurl.com/yderaobw Also April 20 at 8:30 p.m. and April 21 at 7 p.m. (Penn Dance Company).

20 Counterparts Presents “Till Death Do Us Part”; 6 p.m.; Iron Gate Theatre; tickets: https://tinyurl.com/ya349lqq Also April 21 at 9 p.m. (Counterparts).

    PennYo A Cappella Presents “PunYo: Insert Yo Pun Here”; 8 p.m.; Class of 1949 Auditorium, Houston Hall; info: www.pennyo.org Also April 21 at 7:30 p.m. (PennYo).

21 Penn Masala Presents “Kaleidoscope”; 7 p.m.; Irvine Auditorium; tickets: https://tinyurl.com/y7su973f (Penn Masala).

Talks

18 Developing a Culture of Health; 1-2:30 p.m.; panel discussion; Widener Auditorium, Penn Museum; register: www.surveymonkey.com/r/9KJXPKW (PPSA and WPPSA Teach-In).

    2018 Susan T. Marx Distinguished Lecture “Whispering”; Jaume Plensa, Spanish artist and sculptor; 5:30 p.m.; The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy rm. 401, Fisher Fine Arts Library (Arthur Ross Gallery).

AT PENN Deadlines

The April AT PENN calendar is online. The deadline for the Summer AT PENN calendar is May 15.

Athletes and Abuse Symposium

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Events
  • print

On Wednesday, April 25, (the day before Penn Relays), there will be a symposium on Athletes and Abuse, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. in the Class of 1949 Auditorium, Houston Hall. It will closely examine athletes and abuse across the spectrum of sports and ages and will educate the public on the instances of abuse and neglect that run rampant in sport. There will be four panels: one geared towards youth sports; another on high school and college athletics; the third on incidence of abuse and neglect among elite or Olympic-level athletes; and one covering professional sports, from the NFL and MLB to the NBA, NHL and MLS.  Leading experts, athletes, officials and policymakers will shine a light on what needs to change in sports culture that puts children at risk. Participants include: keynote speaker Dominique Moceanu, Olympic gold medal gymnast and panelists Doug Glanville, Penn alumnus and former MLB outfielder for the Phillies, Cubs and Rangers; Nancy Hogshead Makar, 3-time Olympic gold medal swimmer; Shellie Pfohl, CEO, U.S. Center for Safesport; and Justin Tuck, former NFL defensive end for the Giants and Raiders.

 The pattern of successful coaches with power over aspiring athletes repeats itself at every level: the youth, high school, college, Olympic and professional. Like other arenas where children can be isolated and manipulated by predatory adults, the sports arena presents steep challenges to the protection of children. Sports, at all levels, are the latest frontier in the war against child sex abuse and is the least studied.  With 45 million children involved in organized sports, this frontier needs attention.

  This symposium is sponsored by Penn, CHILD USA and the Ortner Center on Violence and Abuse in Relationships. For more information and to register, visit www.childusa.org, or contact info@childusa.org

Human Resources: Upcoming May Programs

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Events
  • print

Professional and Personal Development Programs

Open to faculty and staff. Register at http://knowledgelink.upenn.edu/

TED Talk Tuesday: Daniel Goleman, Why Aren’t We More Compassionate?; May 22; 12:30-1:30 p.m.; free. In this TED Talk video screening, the author of Emotional Intelligence describes the forces that motivate compassion and self-absorbed behavior, and ways we can tap into empathy to improve our lives.

FeedForward: Feedback for Your Future; May 23; 12:30-1:30 p.m.; free. FeedForward is Dr. Marshall Goldsmith’s technique for providing feedback in a more positive, future-oriented manner. In this program, managers will learn how to use the FeedForward technique to providing feedback to employees.

Coaching Skills for Managers; May 31; 9 a.m.-noon; $75. Coaching Skills for Managers recognizes the need for employees to feel committed to their work and is designed to help managers encourage individual performance as a means for increasing engagement and ultimately productivity rather than to use the traditional ‘command and control’ method. In this workshop, participants learn the key elements of building a successful coaching relationship and how to best implement them using a step-by-step coaching process; in addition, how to help an employee implement a development plan to individually improve their success as well as how to apply effective strategies for overcoming common coaching challenges.

Learning with Lynda: Creating Great Workplace Habits; May 31; 12:30-1:30 p.m.; free. Gretchen Rubin on Creating Great Workplace Habits is a practical and focused approach on how to apply noted happiness and habits expert Gretchen Rubin’s eye-opening research to the workplace. She introduces practical strategies to create better work habits and tips for ongoing success. With these techniques, you can build the foundation for a happier, healthier and more productive life. Learning with Lynda uses the University’s enterprise-wide license of Lynda.com to provide a blended learning solution to the Penn campus. Prior to attending the in-class session it is strongly recommended that you take the online Lynda module at http://lynda.upenn.edu/ During the classroom session we apply the concepts from the online module.

 

Work-Life Workshops

Open to faculty and staff. Register at www.hr.upenn.edu/registration

Webinar: Aging Well; May 8; noon-1 p.m.; free. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” This webinar will address common risk factors of aging such as falls, isolation and memory loss. We will also explore strategies for seniors to remain active and engaged, cope effectively with chronic conditions and maximize quality of life as they age.

Mindfulness Monday: From Mind Full to Mindful; May 21; 12:30-1:30 p.m.; free. Mindfulness practice develops awareness of your present thoughts and feelings to help you manage different situations. In this once-a-month experiential workshop, you’ll see how mindfulness can help you become more engaged and effective both at home and in the workplace. No prior meditation experience necessary.

Webinar: Working With Millennials; May 23; noon-1 p.m.; free. During this seminar we will look at tips and tools that can guide you in working with this mission-based generation of millennials, a generation that usually has a lot of misconceptions. We will talk about why those misconceptions are out there, and take a deeper dive into discussing what contributions and traits millennials bring to the workplace.

Guided Meditation: Take a Breath and Relax; May 25; 12:30-1:30 p.m.; free. Practice mindful breathing that focuses your attention on the present moment with kindness, compassion and awareness. Self-massage and gentle mindful movements that promote relaxation and reduce stress may also be included in the workshop. No experience necessary.

 

Penn Healthy You Workshops

Open to faculty and staff. Register at www.hr.upenn.edu/registration

Gentle Yoga; May 1, noon-1 p.m.; free. Let your body reward itself with movement! Join us for this Gentle Yoga session and explore the natural movements of the spine with slow and fluid moving bends and soft twists. During this session, you will flow into modified sun salutations that loosen those tightened muscles and joints of the lower back, neck, shoulders and wrists. And as an added bonus, you’ll get a workout in the process. Mats and props will be provided.

Be in the Know Biometric Screenings; May 8; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; free for benefits-eligible faculty and staff. Free on-campus biometric screenings provide you with key indicators of your health status, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar. Participants receive immediate feedback on their results—plus points toward Be in the Know cash incentives. You can earn up to $300 this campaign year! Visit www.hr.upenn.edu/beintheknow for details about the 2017-2018 Be in the Know wellness campaign.

Body Pump; May 9, noon-1 p.m.; free. A toning and conditioning class with weights that is for everybody! It’s perfect for anyone who wants to add strength training into their aerobic workout. You won’t know if you don’t go. So meet the challenge and reap the rewards!

Wellness Walk; May 11, noon-1 p.m.; free.Meet up with Center for Public Health Initiatives staff at noon in front of College Hall by the Ben Franklin statue for a 2-mile walk (you may exit the walk at any time). This is a perfect opportunity to participate in Million Steps Challenge. Track your steps on Penn’s StayWell portal through device integration or manual upload. You can earn Be in the Know points when you complete one million steps. The challenge concludes on August 31, 2018. Register on StayWell’s wellness portal, penn.staywell.com, and your participation is automatically reported. Bring a colleague, your water bottle and don’t forget your sneakers!

Gentle Yoga; May 15, noon-1 p.m.; free. See May 1 program description for details.

Division of Human Resources

The University Choral Society Presents Handel’s “Messiah”

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Events
  • print

caption: William Parberry conducts the University Choir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The University Choral Society, accompanied by the Penn Chamber Orchestra, will perform G.F. Handel’s “Messiah,” Parts II and III, on April 20 at 8 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium.

This performance marks the last concert of Music Director William Parberry’s 45-year tenure as director of Choral Activities at Penn.

Mr. Parberry has conducted thousands of Penn singers through hundreds of music scores in more than 270 concerts at Penn.

The performance is free with a PennCard; $5 general admission.

Crimes

Weekly Crime Reports

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Crimes
  • print

The University of Pennsylvania Police Department Community Crime Report

Below are the Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Society and Crimes Against Property from the campus report for April 2-8, 2018View 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 2-8, 2018. The University Police actively patrol from Market St to Baltimore from the Schuylkill River to 43rd St in conjunction with the Philadelphia Police. In this effort to provide you with a thorough and accurate report on public safety concerns, we hope that your increased awareness will lessen the opportunity for crime. For any concerns or suggestions regarding this report, please call the Division of Public Safety at (215) 898-4482.

04/03/18         11:51 PM         3900 Spruce St            Male wanted on warrant/Arrest

04/04/18         6:43 AM          3231 Walnut St             Currency removed from pocketbook

04/04/18         8:51 AM          4032 Spruce St             Inappropriate drawing found

04/04/18         8:01 PM           3400 Spruce St            Unsecured bike taken

04/04/18         8:37 PM           3600 Chestnut St        Vehicle taken from highway

04/04/18         10:29 PM         4249 Walnut St            Offender lunged at police officer/Arrest

04/04/18         11:05 PM         3025 Walnut St            Offender grabbed complainant

04/04/18         11:09 PM         3400 Locust St            Complainant harassed by offender

04/04/18         11:38 PM         3025 Walnut St           Offender grabbed complainant

04/05/18         1:00 PM           3737 Market St           Offender struck police officer/Arrest

04/05/18         2:36 PM           3701 Locust Walk       Unsecured cell phone and wallet taken from office

04/05/18         9:13 PM           3910 Irving St              Compost buckets and sign taken

04/06/18         1:13 AM          3813 Chestnut St         Complainant struck by known female

04/06/18         5:27 AM          4000 Walnut St            Complainant assaulted by boyfriend/Arrest

04/06/18         1:38 PM           3604 Chestnut St        Merchandise taken without payment by unknown male

04/06/18         2:48 PM           4111 Pine St               Unauthorized charges made on credit card

04/06/18         6:49 PM           3441A Chestnut St      Headphones taken without payment

04/06/18         9:58 PM           40204 Spruce St          Item taken from package by unknown person

04/06/18         11:49 PM         4000 Spruce St            Cell phone taken/Arrest

04/07/18         9:05 AM          3331 Riverfield Dr         Graffiti found on fence

04/07/18         5:32 PM           4000 Walnut St            Intoxicated male/Arrest

04/08/18         12:18 PM         3333 Walnut St            Bag and sneakers taken from dorm room

04/08/18         4:37 PM           4001 Walnut St            Packages taken from front steps

04/08/18         11:15 PM         4113 Pine St                Merchandise taken without payment/Arrest

18th District

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 12 incidents (5 assaults, 6 domestic assaults, 1 indecent assaults) with 3 arrests were reported between April 2-8, 2018 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

04/02/18         6:12 PM           3000 Walnut St            Domestic Assault

04/02/18         9:26 PM           3701 Walnut St            Indecent Assault

04/03/18         3:52 PM           4701 Chester Ave        Domestic Assault/Arrest

04/03/18         7:44 PM           2929 Walnut St            Domestic Assault

04/04/18         2:49 PM           4632 Walnut St            Domestic Assault

04/04/18         9:49 PM           4737 Sansom St          Domestic Assault

04/04/18         11:11 PM         4249 Walnut St            Assault/Arrest

04/05/18         12:27 AM        3400 Locust St             Assault

04/05/18         12:59 AM        3025 Walnut St             Assault

04/05/18         1:58 AM          3025 Walnut St             Assault

04/06/18         2:36 PM           3813 Chestnut St        Assault

04/06/18         9:13 PM           4000 Walnut St            Domestic Assault/Arrest

Bulletins

Register to Volunteer or Participate in the Million Dollar Bike Ride

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Bulletins
  • print

Registration is now open for the fifth annual Million Dollar Bike Ride on Sunday, May 20, to raise money for rare disease research, organized by the Penn Orphan Disease Center.

The ride starts and finishes at Highline Park, 31st & Chestnut Streets. Online registration is open until midnight on Sunday, May 13. Early registration fee: $25 (must raise at least $250 before the event). Walk-up registration ($100) is available at the Class of 1923 Penn Ice Rink on Sunday, May 20 at 6 a.m.

Proceeds will help further research by the Penn Medicine Orphan Disease Center. To register visit: https://tinyurl.com/yb9qg67o

Volunteers are also needed for various tasks and shifts throughout the day of the bike ride, starting at 6 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. To volunteer: https://tinyurl.com/y896oklb

For more information: www.milliondollarbikeride.org

Your Total Compensation: More Than a Paycheck

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Bulletins
  • print

Working at Penn earns you more than a paycheck. Full-time faculty and staff also gain access to exceptional benefits and services. Penn’s comprehensive total rewards package is one of the most competitive in higher education. Your annual Total Compensation Summary shows just how valuable these benefits are, giving you a picture of Penn’s complete investment in you.

Your 2017 Total Compensation Summary was delivered to your home recently. It’s also available for download from the secure Total Compensation Summary website at www.hr.upenn.edu/totalcomp

This personalized statement covers your salary or wages, retirement contributions, tuition benefits, healthcare and other insurance coverage and any additional compensation for the 2017 calendar year.

Penn encourages you to make the most of its retirement savings and investment counseling, professional development programs, wellness services and award-winning work and life resources outlined in your summary. The total rewards package also includes a list of campus cultural activities and unique Penn community discounts.

For quick access to your Total Compensation Summary and your benefits information, visit the U@Penn Portal at www.upenn.edu/u@penn

Division of Human Resources

One Step Ahead

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Bulletins
  • print

Securely Sharing Files at Penn

We all have files that we need to share electronically with colleagues both here at Penn and elsewhere. Sending the files via email as attachments isn’t always good practice, possible or practical. Email is not considered a secure method to communicate sensitive data. Many email services have limits on file size and the receipt of the files typically cannot be confirmed. Fortunately, there are two tools available at Penn that are better suited to securely share and collaborate on files.

Secure Share is a web application designed for secure file exchange. After logging in to the application with their PennKey, faculty, staff and students can send encrypted secure messages and files to other Penn affiliates. Recipients are notified via email and need to authenticate via PennKey to access the information that was sent. Secure Share is best for one-time file sharing such as providing someone with personal or sensitive information.

Another tool to securely share files is Penn+Box. University faculty, staff and students can use this cloud-based storage and collaboration service to securely store and share folders or individual files with both Penn and non-Penn colleagues. Penn+Box can be used on multiple operating systems and device types and provides end-to-end data encryption to protect shared data. Penn+Box is recommended for people looking to continually collaborate on files with others.

For more information on Secure Share, see:

https://www.isc.upenn.edu/secure-share

For more information on Penn+Box, see:

https://www.isc.upenn.edu/pennbox

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/

Talk About Teaching & Learning

Teaching Against Stereotype

  • April 17, 2018
  • vol 64 issue 31
  • Talk About Teaching & Learning
  • print

It is difficult to imagine a field of study without stereotypes. Stereotyping is one way of knowing something; it is a framing of expectations, even if unfounded. And, having a set of expectations when setting out to learn something new is not necessarily a bad thing. Expectations become dangerous when we insist on guarding them as true and actively set out to prove them as fact.

All fields of study have to address stereotypes, but in fields labelled “Area Studies,” like those programs that house the study of Arabic and other Middle Eastern literatures, stereotypes take on a particular salience. For students, stereotypes are often where the relationship with these literatures begins. For instructors it is counterproductive to even consider avoiding stereotypes. It is more fruitful to find ways of negotiating a healthy relationship with them; of managing them well in a classroom and outside of it, in research; of using them as a starting point for a daring interrogation of the means by which we produce knowledge about our “areas” of interest and the conscious and inadvertent ways we perpetuate that knowledge. It would be an achievement if we succeed as instructors and scholars in exposing stereotypes that inform our fields and transforming them from accepted “truths” to revealing “constructs.”

When thinking about teaching and stereotypes, I cannot but base my observations on my experience as a student and teacher of Arabic literature in programs of Middle Eastern Studies/Near Eastern Studies in the U.S. In my own teaching I am conscious of my experience as a student, and I try to keep my own biases from shaping my students’ experience. I came to the U.S. as a student interested in the study of poetry who happened to be an Arab, but the American academic system responded to me as an Arab who happened to have interests in literature. The way I and other Arab students in my situation are pigeonholed created a very perplexing and challenging academic experience. Not only was it an aggressive process of labeling but it was a process that forced me to remain acutely conscious of the labels that defined me, some of which I was never even aware of before and others I would have preferred to keep blurred and out of focus. Here, I had to prepare myself to respond to labels such as “Muslim,” “Arab,” “Lebanese,” “Middle Easterner” which became much more defined and rigid than I had ever experienced before. I am particularly interested in the place of literature in these “studies,” and the role of stereotypes in driving interest in “other” literatures and in shaping their image. Those rigid labels have driven my scholarship, but they might just as easily have alienated me from the whole field.

In the classroom now, as an instructor, I continue to negotiate those labels but now have to consider my own authority and expertise carefully. Stereotyping and pre-conceived ideas do not only play a role in what we do as scholars of the Middle East in America, but it can sometimes determine who we are. The situation is especially tricky when you are engaged in a field of studying “others” and you yourself are an “other.” Consciousness of perspective and approach is crucial here. As an Arab scholar in the U.S., you are always walking a tightrope between what you study and those who study it. You have to keep guard lest what you are perceived to be becomes more important than what you do. For it is very easy, and sometimes encouraged, to “perform” one’s identity and have it pass as scholarship. As literary scholars and humanists, we have to cross a barrier of suspicion. Before we can read an Arabic poem as a poem and not as a cultural document or artifact, we are expected to prove that it can serve in some way to alleviate an anxiety towards the Middle East or shed light on some dark dimension. This was and still is a very unsettling situation for me. Students and scholars genuinely interested in literary studies of Arabic, Persian, Turkish or Hebrew cannot but feel that their real interests are constantly compromised in favor of other extra-literary interests that are portrayed as more pressing and “useful.”

In teaching, all of these factors play an active role in the decisions I make. To guard from misguidedly dealing stereotypes to my students, and in some cases becoming one myself, every element of a class must be planned out as an act of resistance to the politics of pigeonholing, labeling and essentializing, from the title of a course to the assigned secondary literature. For example, the class with the highest enrollments among the classes I teach is one, titled: “Arab Women and War.” I find the title problematic, but I think it contributes to the appeal of this class. I keep the title because it allows the class to spend some time in the beginning of the semester examining the students’ expectations.

Discussing the title allows us as a class to address the broader biases and assumptions students (especially non-specialists) have when it comes to studying Arabic literature and culture. These prejudices and motivations inform the backdrop against which or in conversation with which my teaching happens and my students come to learn ways to challenge those stereotypes. Once the class has exposed the backdrop of motivating biases and expectations we can use them as an entry point, allowing me to steer the class towards a literary reading of the texts at hand. This reading turns to the aesthetics of the texts and resists handling them as symptoms of cultural or ethnic or gender complexes or as “useful” to students’ extra-literary interests. We continue to return to our initial expectations and assumptions throughout the semester, modifying them and tracing their development and transformations in light of our readings and discussions.

I consider a class to be successful when we manage to examine our approach to the material as much as the material itself; examining ourselves and the lenses with which we translate literature into our experiences and vice-versa. Here, translation as a practice and as an attitude is central. On some level, we, in area studies, always teach in translation whether it’s a class conducted in English or in Arabic. This is why I often rely on translation theory to frame classes of Arabic literature. I use this framework to set the tone for the class and to encourage students to critically examine their processes of reading and finding meaning in texts. Such classes, especially at the undergraduate level, are opportunities for students to learn how to become conscious readers and responsible interpreters of literature and of the world.

Huda Fakhreddine is an assistant professor of Arabic literature in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in the School of Arts and Sciences. This article is based on a talk titled, "Teaching Against Stereotype" that was organized by former CTL fellow Raha Rafii (NELC) in Spring 2016.

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 https://almanac.upenn.edu/talk-about-teaching-and-learning-archive for previous essays.