News

Marci Hamilton: Penn Arts and Sciences’ Third Professor of Practice

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print
Marci Hamilton

Marci Hamilton

Marci A. Hamilton, one of the country’s leading church-state scholars, has been appointed Penn Arts and Sciences’ third Professor of Practice, in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. Ms. Hamilton also serves as a Fox Family Pavilion Senior Fellow in Residence in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program’s Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) and is Co-Chair of the Common Ground for the Common Good Program.

Ms. Hamilton, L’88, is the founder, CEO and academic director of Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, or CHILD USA, a nonprofit dedicated to interdisciplinary research and advocacy to end child abuse and neglect. She co-leads the organization with Steven Berkowitz, a leading child traumatologist, director of the Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery, and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine; and Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at CHOP and Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine.

Ms. Hamilton is a tireless pro bono advocate for access to justice for all child sex abuse victims and an international leader in the movement to eventually eliminate statutes of limitations (SOL) in child sex abuse cases. She has submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred. CHILD USA tracks and provides analysis on the SOL movement in the United States and around the world, as well as information regarding ages of majority, consent and marriage; religious liberty statutes that create opportunities to harm children; and medical neglect laws.

Ms. Hamilton is the author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty, which was nominated for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize; Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children; God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law, which received Foreword Magazine’s Political Science Book of the Year Silver Medal; and numerous scholarly articles.

Ms. Hamilton was recently honored with the prestigious 2017 Louis H. Pollak Award, which is awarded each year by the Penn Law Alumni Society’s Board of Managers to a Penn Law alum who has pursued a career of advancing justice through service to others. Ms. Hamilton has also received the 2016 Voice of Gratitude Award from Voice Today, Inc.; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award from the American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award in 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship in 2008; and the Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award in 2012, among others. She is also frequently quoted in the national media on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, First Amendment, clergy sex abuse and statute of limitations issues.

“Marci Hamilton is a force of nature on issues of religious freedom. In the context of the Penn Common Ground for Common Good Project, she has proven once again that civil and respectful church-state debates remain possible even among and between leaders who hold strongly opposing views,” said John J. Dilulio, Jr., the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society and Director of Penn’s Fox Leadership Program for undergraduates. “She is also a national champion for abused children, an amazing classroom teacher and a brilliant writer. We’re lucky to have her with us at Penn.”

The Robert A. Fox Leadership Program supports Penn’s commitment to producing future leaders, by equipping students with hands-on leadership experience and connects them with successful leaders—including Penn alumni and senior University faculty and administrators—for discussion and mentorship.

Thrashed by Hurricane Maria, Monkey Island Tries to Rebuild, Bolstered by Support from Scientific Community

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and other international universities are working to save an invaluable scientific resource badly damaged during Hurricane Maria: a population of rhesus macaques living on the remote island, Cayo Santiago, as well as the staff and facilities that support them.

More than 1,000 free-ranging monkeys live on Cayo Santiago, a small Puerto Rican island. These animals have provided researchers a unique field site since the 1930s, the longest-running primate site in the world. It is work that cannot be done almost anywhere else.

The monkeys roam free on the natural tropical island, but they also are so habituated to humans that they can be involved in up-close and personal work, allowing researchers unprecedented access into the animals’ daily lives. This social microcosm has shed light on questions as diverse as how the monkeys think, choose friends and choose mates, as well as the genetic underpinnings of their complex social behaviors.

On September 20, Cayo Santiago received a direct hit from Hurricane Maria, then a Category 4 storm, that devastated Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean.

“This fragile population somehow survived this awful storm, but we need to act quickly to save them and the important scientific possibilities they represent,” said Michael L. Platt, the James S. Riepe University Professor at Penn with appointments in psychology, neuroscience and marketing in the School of Arts & Sciences, Perelman School of Medicine and Wharton School. “Unless we immediately rebuild the infrastructure on the island, as well as the lives of the people who support it, this important resource may disappear.”

International researchers are now working hard to do just that. The team includes scholars from Penn, New York University, Yale, University of Buffalo, University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, University of Michigan, University of Puerto Rico and University of Washington from fields such as biological anthropology, psychology and neuroscience.

After Hurricane Maria hit, the staff of the Caribbean Primate Research Center (CPRC) went to heroic lengths to reach the island and assess the monkey groups, even surveying damage by helicopter.

“All the different social groups on the island have been accounted for,” said James P. Higham of NYU, “which means that most of these resilient monkeys weathered this powerful storm.”

But the situation is still precarious. 

“Vegetation on the island has been decimated, and the infrastructure providing life-sustaining fresh water has been destroyed,” said Noah Snyder-Mackler of the University of Washington.

The scientists said they hope this newly organized relief effort can address these pressing problems. People living in surrounding communities are suffering even more. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico—which still has limited electricity, fuel, food and water—has had a dire impact on the neighboring community of Punta Santiago and the region of Humacao in general. Many of the staff who live near the site have lost everything, and limited phone service has left others still unaccounted for.  

Two GoFundMe sites have been set up for this relief effort Cayo Santiago Monkeys: Maria Relief and Relief for Cayo Santiago Employees.

Nominations: University-Wide Teaching Awards: December 1

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

Nominations for Penn’s University-wide teaching awards are now being accepted by the Office of the Provost. Any member of the University community—past or present—may nominate a teacher for these awards. There are three awards:

  • The Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching honors eight members of the standing faculty—four in the non-health schools (Annenberg, Design, SEAS, GSE, Law, SAS, SP2, Wharton) and four in the health schools (Dental Medicine, PSOM, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine).
  • The Provost’s Award for Distinguished PhD Teaching and Mentoring honors two faculty members for their teaching and mentoring of PhD students. Standing and associated faculty in any school offering the PhD are eligible for the award.
  • The Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Non-Standing Faculty honors two members of the associated faculty or academic support staff who teach at Penn, one in the non-health schools and one in the health schools. 

The nomination forms are available at the Teaching Awards website. The deadline for nominations is Friday, December 1, 2017. Full nominations with complete dossiers prepared by the nominees’ department chairs are due Friday, February 2, 2018.

Note: For the Lindback and Non-Standing Faculty awards, the health schools—Dental Medicine, Nursing, PSOM and Veterinary Medicine—have a separate nomination and selection process. Contact the relevant Dean’s Office to nominate a faculty member from one of those schools. 

There will be a reception honoring all the award winners in the spring. For more information, please email provost-ed@upenn.edu or call (215) 898-7225.

Criteria and Guidelines

  1. The Lindback and Provost’s Awards are given in recognition of distinguished teaching. “Distinguished teaching” is teaching that is intellectually demanding, unusually coherent and permanent in its effect. The distinguished teacher has the capability of changing the way in which students view the subject they are studying. The distinguished teacher provides the basis for students to look with critical and informed perception at the fundamentals of a discipline, and s/he relates that discipline to other disciplines and to the worldview of the student. The distinguished teacher is accessible to students and open to new ideas, but also expresses his/her own views with articulate and informed understanding of an academic field. The distinguished teacher is fair, free from prejudice and single-minded in the pursuit of truth.
  2. Skillful direction of dissertation students, effective supervision of student researchers, ability to organize a large course of many sections, skill in leading seminars, special talent with large classes, ability to handle discussions or structure lectures—these are all attributes of distinguished teaching, although it is unlikely that anyone will excel in all of them. At the same time, distinguished teaching means different things in different fields. While the distinguished teacher should be versatile, as much at home in large groups as in small, in beginning classes as in advanced, s/he may have skills of special importance in his/her area of specialization. The primary criteria for the Provost’s Award for Distinguished PhD Teaching and Mentoring are a record of successful doctoral student mentoring and placement, success in collaborating on doctoral committees and graduate groups, and distinguished research.
  3. Since distinguished teaching is recognized and recorded in different ways, evaluation must also take several forms. It is not enough to look solely at letters of recommendation from students or to consider “objective” evaluations of particular classes in tabulated form. A faculty member’s influence extends beyond the classroom and individual classes. Nor is it enough to look only at a candidate’s most recent semester or opinions expressed immediately after a course is over; the influence of the best teachers lasts, while that of others may be great at first but lessen over time. It is not enough merely to gauge student adulation, for its basis is superficial; but neither should such feelings be discounted as unworthy of investigation. Rather, all of these factors and more should enter into the identification and assessment of distinguished teaching.
  4. The Lindback and Provost’s Awards have a symbolic importance that transcends the recognition of individual merit. They should be used to advance effective teaching by serving as reminders to the University community of the expectations for the quality of its mission.
  5. Distinguished teaching occurs in all parts of the University.  Therefore, faculty members from all schools are eligible for consideration. An excellent teacher who does not receive an award in a given year may be re-nominated in some future year and receive the award then.
  6. The Lindback and Provost’s Awards may recognize faculty members with many years of distinguished service or many years of service remaining. The teaching activities for which the awards are granted must be components of the degree programs of the University of Pennsylvania.

From the President and the Provost: Consultative Committee for the Selection of a Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

We are pleased to announce the formation of an ad hoc Consultative Committee to advise us on the selection of the next Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication.  The members of the Consultative Committees are listed below.  The Committee welcomes—and will keep in the strictest confidence—nominations and input from all members of the University community. For fullest consideration, communications should be received, preferably in electronic form, no later than November 15, 2017, and may be sent to Adam P. Michaels at adampm@upenn.edu.

—Amy Gutmann, President
—Wendell Pritchett, Provost

Chair

Theodore Ruger, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law (Law)

Faculty

Joseph Cappella, Gerald R. Miller Professor of Communication (ASC)

Emily Falk, Associate Professor of Communication, Psychology, and Marketing (ASC)

Daniel Gillion, Presidential Associate Professor of Political Science (SAS)

Robert Hornik, Wilbur Schramm Professor of Communication and Health Policy (ASC)

Victor Pickard, Associate Professor of Communication (ASC)

Susan Yoon, Associate Professor, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division (GSE)

Barbie Zelizer, Raymond Williams Professor of Communication (ASC)

Students

Karissa Hand, Undergraduate Student

Aaron Shapiro, PhD Student 

Alumni

Shawnika Hull, G’07, Gr’10

Nikhil Sinha, ASC’89, Gr’91

Ex Officio

Joann Mitchell, Senior Vice President for Institutional Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer

Staff to the Committee

Adam P. Michaels, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President

Consultants to the Committee

Vivian Brocard, Isaacson, Miller

Greg Esposito, Isaacson, Miller

Sarah Hadjian, Isaacson, Miller

From the President and the Provost: Consultative Committee for the Selection of a Dean of the School of Dental Medicine

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

We are pleased to announce the formation of an ad hoc Consultative Committee to advise us on the selection of the next Dean of the School of Dental Medicine.  The members of the Consultative Committees are listed below.  The Committee welcomes—and will keep in the strictest confidence—nominations and input from all members of the University community. For fullest consideration, communications should be received, preferably in electronic form, no later than November 15, 2017, and may be sent to Adam P. Michaels at adampm@upenn.edu.

—Amy Gutmann, President
—Wendell Pritchett, Provost

Chair

Antonia Villarruel, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing (Nursing)

Faculty

Hydar Ali, Professor of Pathology and Director of Faculty Advancement and Diversity (SDM)

Faizan Alawi, Associate Professor of Pathology; Director, Penn Oral Pathology Services; and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (SDM)

Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, Professor of Biochemistry (SDM)

Eve Higginbotham, Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Dean for Inclusion and Diversity (PSOM)

Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, Chair and Professor of Pathology (SDM) and Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Director of Biomedical Graduate Studies (PSOM)

Bekir Karabucak, Chair and Associate Professor of Endodontics  (SDM)

Eric Stoopler, Associate Professor of Oral Medicine and Director, Oral Medicine Residency 

Program (SDM)

Students

Sehe Han, D’18

Bret Lesavoy, D’19

Alumni

William Cheung, D’81, GD’82 (Chair of Penn Dental Medicine Board of Overseers)

Martin Levin, D’72, GD’74 (Chair of Penn Dental Medicine Dean’s Council)

Ex Officio

Joann Mitchell, Senior Vice President for Institutional Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer

Staff to the Committee

Adam P. Michaels, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President

Consultants to the Committee

Kenneth Kring, Korn Ferry

Warren Ross, Korn Ferry

Reappointment of Vice Provost for Faculty Anita Allen

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

Provost Wendell Pritchett announces the reappointment of Vice Provost for Faculty Anita Allen, who was initially appointed to a five-year term in 2013. 

“Anita Allen is a world-renowned expert on ethics and privacy law whose interests span law, philosophy, race relations and civil and women’s rights,” said Provost Pritchett. “Recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine and President-Elect of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, she is an essential leader in advancing our campus-wide goals for faculty diversity, recruitment and retention. In particular, she is an invaluable partner in implementing the Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence, which has enhanced diversity across every measure, including a remarkable 30% increase in underrepresented minority faculty. She has also become an energetic leader of the arts on campus, chairing the Provost’s Arts Advisory Council and launching the exciting new Sachs Program for Arts Innovation and its hub for arts innovation in the Annenberg Center.”

 Vice Provost Allen is the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law in the Penn Law School and professor of philosophy in the School of Arts & Sciences. As Vice Provost for Faculty, she oversees faculty life and the academic personnel process at Penn, including recruitment, retention and retirement; appointments, tenure and promotions; enhancement of faculty diversity and gender and minority equity; and resolution of individual faculty issues, including grievances. She chairs the Provost’s Arts Advisory Council and oversees the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Arthur Ross Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art and Sachs Program for Arts Innovation.

2016-2017 Report of the Office of the Ombuds

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

Lynn Hollen Lees, University Ombuds

The Office of the Ombuds offers a safe space where all members of the Penn community can bring complaints and concerns. We welcome the chance to discuss problems relating to Penn and to explore options for their resolution. During the past year, the University recognized the Ombuds Office as a confidential resource in matters involving sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking. Both the Ombuds and the Associate Ombuds have undergone training in the counseling of victims of sexual violence. We can provide advice and support, as well as discussion about next steps and the availability of other University resources. We will neither identify our visitors nor discuss their concerns with anyone unless we have been given explicit permission to do so. The only exceptions to confidentiality arise when there is a risk of imminent harm to the visitor or to someone else, or if we have a legal obligation to disclose information. We are not agents of the University for purposes of reporting complaints of sexual violence or harassment. 

The Ombuds Office does not take sides in disputes. Rather, we are neutral and independent. We aim to de-escalate tension and to settle problems informally. Although the Office does not carry out investigations, we can make inquiries and seek out information as needed, for purposes of illuminating matters of concern. We cannot impose a particular resolution of a problem, but we can and do advocate for fairness and consistency. When we see patterns of problematic actions, we bring these to the attention of appropriate University administrators. The Ombuds Office operates under guidelines conforming to “best practices” as outlined by the International Ombuds Association. Marcia Martínez-Helfman, the associate ombuds, is a certified mediator. In short, our office is a resource for all members of the Penn community—faculty, staff, graduate and professional students, undergraduates and post-docs—who are having difficulties in any aspect of their work and life on campus. 

During the academic year 2016-2017, our office served 154 visitors from all parts of the University. Of that group, 43 percent were staff, 21 percent graduate and professional students, 20 percent faculty, nine percent undergraduates and three percent post-doctoral fellows. These proportions among our visitors have remained approximately the same since 2011. (See charts 1 and 2.) Our visitors are drawn from all 12 schools and all parts of the Penn community.

Alternative resources are also available to members of the Penn community. The Division of Human Resources, the Offices of the Vice Provost for University Life and Faculty, Dean’s offices, and other resource offices step in to help resolve many disagreements. The Ombuds’ Office offers another option for the discussion of concerns and complaints, as well as for conflict management and mediation of disputes, and we encourage those with unanswered questions or need for advice to consult with us.

During this past year, the office has seen significant shifts in the types of issues that have been brought to our office. The proportion of complaints that concern academic matters—denials of tenure, procedural irregularities, disputes over particular decisions, etc.—has decreased from 30 percent to 25 percent, when 2016-2017 is compared with the period 2011-2016. At the same time, grievances relating to individual behavior—disrespectful treatment, bullying, abusive language, or other inappropriate comments and actions—increased from 16 percent to 23 percent during the same period (See charts 3 and 4). During the past several years, more and more of our visitors have complained about the way they were treated by other members of the Penn community. When an adverse decision is made or there is a disagreement about a policy, what we hear about is not the substance, but rather the manner in which it was communicated and implemented.

Fears about retaliation have made it difficult for some people to raise concerns directly within a department or a work unit. In a diverse community where there are many individual differences that shape opinions and actions, everyone must remember the value of respectful communication and civility. All members of the University community must be treated with respect, whatever their status or points of view. We continue to work with departments and units that have identified issues or situations that have made it difficult for them to function smoothly. In such cases, we have held group meetings and facilitated discussions about outstanding problems. We can also relay concerns, doing “shuttle diplomacy” among the parties to a dispute.

 Questions regarding the rights and responsibilities of those involved in graduate education are regularly brought to our office from different parts of the university. Disagreements over academic policies reveal a lack of transparency in the implementation of those policies, as well as inadequate communication of their substance. What should a student expect from an advisor or a teacher with respect to accessibility, timely commentary on work, or writing recommendations? How should evaluations of performance or decisions about dismissal from a program be handled? Too often, departments do not have detailed guidelines or handbooks that specify policies and promote consistency and clarity. Irregular contacts between faculty and students compound these problems. Post-doctoral fellows also have raised questions about their rights and responsibilities, complaining of their treatment by faculty supervisors. When there is a lack of written procedures, the ability of faculty, students and post-docs to resolve disputes is hampered. 

Our office is located in 113 Duhring Wing adjoining the Fisher Fine Arts Library in the center of the Penn campus. We can be reached by phone at (215) 898-8261 or at Office of the University Ombuds. Please consult our website for more information on our office and its activities. We respond to inquiries quickly, and we encourage anyone experiencing difficulties related to their work, academics, or any other aspect of life as a member of the Penn community to set up an appointment. Our office is staffed during regular business hours. The Ombuds Office keeps neither the names of visitors nor written records. Those who wish to speak with us may do so without providing names or other identifying information if they so choose.

Table 1

July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017
 NumberPercentage
Visitors154100%
Visitors by Issues Raised
Academic, General106.49%
Academic Integrity31.95%
Academic Procedures1811.69%
Academic Research74.55%
Employment, General3220.78%
Employment, Promotion85.19%
Employment, Compensation63.90%
Employment, Benefits10.65%
Employment, Procedures117.14%
Procedures, General63.90%
Miscellaneous, Personal106.49%
Financial Matters74.55%
Student Services00.00%
Discrimination10.65%
Sexual Harassment00.00%
Behavior3422.08%
Other00.00%
Visitors by Status
Staff6642.86%
Faculty3120.13%
Post-Doctorates53.25%
Students - Undergraduates149.09%
Students - Graduate/Professional3321.43%
Other53.25%

Chart 1

2016-2017 Visitors by Status
Staff
43%
66
Faculty
20%
31
Post-Doctorate
3%
5
Undergraduate
9%
14
Graduate/Professional
21%
33
Other
3%
5
TOTAL
100%
154

Chart 1

Chart 2

2011-2016 Visitors by Status
Staff
42%
304
Faculty
21%
150
Post-Doctorate
4%
27
Residents
0%
2
Undergraduate
11%
81
Graduate/Professional
20%
145
Other
3%
22
TOTAL
100%
731

Chart 2

Chart 3

2016-2017 Visitors by Issue
Academic Related
25%
38
Employment Related
38%
58
Behavior
23%
35
Other
15%
23
TOTAL
100%
154

Chart 2

Chart 4

2011-2016 Visitors by Issue
Academic Related30%221
Employment Related39%286
Behavior16%118
Other15%106
TOTAL100%731

Chart 2

2018 Models of Excellence Award Nominations: October 20

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

Nominating your coworkers for Penn’s Models of Excellence awards is meaningful way to show appreciation to truly outstanding staff members. Nominations for fiscal year 2018 are open now through October 20, 2017.

The online nomination form is available at the Models of Excellence website.

The Models of Excellence award program celebrates the extraordinary achievements of full- and part-time staff members and teams across the University’s schools and centers.

Awards are given in three categories:

Models of Excellence Award—Recognizing staff member accomplishments that reflect initiative, leadership, increased efficiency and a deep commitment to service.

Model Supervisor Award—Honoring supervisors who contribute to Penn’s success.

Pillars of Excellence Award—Celebrating the important work that weekly-paid staff members do to promote Penn’s success.

Your deserving colleagues can’t receive these awards without your nominations. Being nominated for Models of Excellence is an honor in itself. All nominees receive a certificate of appreciation for their service.

Models of Excellence, Pillars of Excellence and Model Supervisor winners each receive $500 and a symbolic award. Nominees selected for honorable mention receive $250 and a symbolic award. Awards are presented at the Models of Excellence ceremony on April 4, 2018 in Irvine Auditorium. The entire Penn community is invited to attend.

Visit the Models of Excellence program website for more information, or contact Human Resources at models@hr.upenn.edu or (215) 898-1012 if you have questions. 

DRC Pilot and Feasibility Grants: December 4

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • News
  • print

The Diabetes Research Center (DRC) of the University of Pennsylvania is now accepting applications for support to perform pilot and feasibility studies in diabetes and related endocrine and metabolic disorders.

The application deadline is Monday, December 4, 2017 by 5 p.m.

The Pilot and Feasibility program is intended to support new investigators and established investigators new to diabetes research. Established diabetes investigators pursuing high impact/high risk projects or projects that are a significant departure from their usual work are also eligible for support under the DRC P&F program. Applications are welcome from basic, clinical and translational investigators. 

Grants will be reviewed by the DRC Pilot and Feasibility Review Committee, as well as internal and external reviewers.  Funding level maximum is $50,000.   

For detailed information and instructions, see the Diabetes Research Center website.

Investigators who are currently in the first year of support through this P&F Program may reapply for an additional year of funding. Continuation requests need to be carefully justified and will be considered as competing renewals.  

For more information please contact Lisa Henry at henryli@pennmedicine.upenn.edu; (215) 898-4365 or Doris Stoffers, director, DRC Pilot and Feasibility Grants Program at stoffers@pennmedicine.upenn.edu; (215) 573-5413.

Deaths

Memorial for Bayard Storey

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Deaths
  • print

A memorial service for Bayard T. Storey will be held on Saturday, October 28. Dr. Storey was professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania. He died on June 4 at the age of 84 (Almanac July 11, 2017).

The memorial will be held from noon-3 p.m. at the Rubenstein Auditorium in the Smilow Center for Translational Research. All are welcome.


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 almanac@upenn.edu.

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 517, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or email record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.

Governance

From the Senate Office: Faculty Senate Executive Committee Actions

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Governance
  • print

The following is published in accordance with the Faculty Senate Rules. Among other purposes, the publication of SEC actions is intended to stimulate discussion among the constituencies and their representatives. Please communicate your comments to Patrick Walsh, executive assistant to the Senate Office, either by telephone at (215) 898-6943 or by email at senate@pobox.upenn.edu

Faculty Senate Executive Committee Actions

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Chair Santosh Venkatesh informed SEC members that the Teach-In being planned by the Senate is the first teach-in on campus since March 4, 1969 (pdf). He gave the floor to Neill Epperson (PSOM/Psychiatry), who provided an update on Teach-In planning. Several topics are being considered as features during the Teach-In (to be held March 19-22, 2018), including health care and how its research is related to the public, artificial intelligence, natural environment and climate, and social climate issues. Events will be planned across all schools and centrally and will take a number of forms to engage the entire campus and the broader Philadelphia community. Professor Venkatesh invited all Penn community members to contact the Senate office at senate@pobox.upenn.edu and become involved in the effort.

Past-Chair’s Report. Faculty Senate Past Chair Laura Perna reported that the Campaign for Community (C4C) continues to accept applications through the C4C website, and encouraged faculty, students and staff who are planning on-campus events to apply for funding.

Update from the Office of the Provost.  Provost Wendell Pritchett invited ongoing input from SEC members throughout the year, emphasizing the important role that the Faculty Senate plays in shared governance at Penn. He echoed support for the ongoing Campaign for Community and for the Teach-In the Senate is planning. He noted a desire to continue increasing faculty diversity and inclusion and is working with the schools as they renew their five-year diversity and inclusion plans. He also wishes to enhance interactions among the schools, through interdisciplinary projects and the PIK Professor program; he asked SEC members for suggestions on how else to augment these interactions. Regarding student concerns, he intends to incorporate more first-generation/low-income students into the Penn community and provide them with support services. Provost Pritchett will also work toward increasing graduation rates for undergraduate students and lessening time-to-degree for graduate students. He will engage faculty and students to better understand what student health and wellness resources are and are not working and will also improve communication efforts of available resources to students.

Provost Pritchett then responded to questions from SEC members. Regarding student wellness, SEC members requested expansion of I CARE training and inquired about ways to decrease competitiveness in joining student clubs. Provost Pritchett responded that students have expressed similar concerns about these matters and their governance mechanisms are investigating the matters. When asked about how unconscious bias training was implemented across schools, Provost Pritchett said that as of this summer, the training (offered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty) is required of all new search committee members. He concurred with SEC members that all departments should accept an offer to hold a training session for their faculty. Other topics discussed included sixth-year funding for graduate students, tenure procedures within schools, orientation programs for new faculty, work-life balance and mentorship programs for junior faculty.

2017 Senate Nominating Committee. Pursuant to the Faculty Senate Rules, the members of SEC were asked to submit a nomination of a member of the Standing Faculty to appear on the Nominating Committee ballot.

Research

Bone Marrow Protein to Improve Stem Cell Transplants

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Research
  • print

Researchers at University of Pennsylvania and Technical University of Dresden have identified a bone marrow protein that, when targeted, could improve stem cell transplants for both donors and recipients. They also found they may be able to modulate levels of the protein, called Del-1, to enhance immune cell production in patients with certain blood cancers.

“Because the hematopoietic stem cell niche is so important for the creation of bone marrow and blood cells and because Del-1 is a soluble protein and is easily manipulated, one can see that it could be a target in many potential applications,” said George Hajishengallis, the Thomas W. Evans Centennial Professor in the department of microbiology in Penn’s School of Dental Medicine and a senior author on the work.

Dr. Hajishengallis began studying Del-1 in the bone marrow as it applies to dental medicine. He and Triantafyllos Chavakis, co-senior author on the study and a professor at the Technical University of Dresden, identified Del-1 as a potential drug target for gum disease after finding that it prevents inflammatory cells from moving into the gums. When the scientists discovered that Del-1 was also expressed in bone marrow, they began to investigate further.

Drs. Hajishengallis and Chavakis found that Del-1 was expressed by at least three cell types in the bone marrow that support hematopoietic stem cells: endothelial cells, CAR cells and osteoblasts. They then conducted research on mice deficient in Del-1 which showed that the protein promotes proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells. They also discovered through bone marrow transplant experiments that Del-1 is required to be present in recipient bone marrow in order for the transplanted stem cells to engraft in the recipient and produce myeloid cells.

“We saw roles for Del-1 in both steady state and emergency conditions,” Dr. Hajishengallis said.

The research could lead to therapeutic interventions thanks to the identification of the protein on hematopoietic stem cells with which Del-1 interacts, the ß3 integrin. The findings could impact bone marrow and stem cell transplants—for both the donors and the recipients—as well as people undergoing chemotherapy.

“It’s easy to think of practical applications for these findings,” said Dr. Hajishengallis. “Now we need to find out whether it works in practice, so our studies continue.”

Student Debt’s Disproportionate Negative Effects on Female Lawyers

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Research
  • print

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania and Ryerson University shows that student debt from law school, combined with recently stagnant median first-year salaries, can negatively influence career choices and partner prospects for new female lawyers.

According to economists Holger Sieg of Penn and Yu Wang of Ryerson, student debt for new lawyers has an asymmetric effect: women with more student debt are more likely to stay in private-sector jobs, to postpone marriage, to marry partners who have lower earnings and to delay having children than male lawyers who have similar student debt loads. Dr. Sieg is the J. M. Cohen Term Chair in Economics at Penn as well as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and at Penn’s Population Studies Center and Dr. Wang, Gr’16, is assistant professor of economics at Ryerson.

“Most male graduates from law school are fairly career-oriented, and whether they have debt to pay back is not going to change whether they will pursue a career in the private sector,” Dr. Sieg said. “For women, we found it’s a lot more problematic.”

The researchers studied two datasets—one from the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement and one from the US Department of Education—to create a long-term picture of the choices made by 1,300 female lawyers, including which law school they attend and what job they take post-graduation.

Upon noticing the gender disparities, the researchers built a model to work toward applying potential solutions such as a loan-forgiveness program or weighted subsidies dependent on base salary. 

“You are accomplishing similar objectives, but you make working in the public sector more attractive,” Dr. Sieg said. “In the one case, you forgive debt; in the other case, you pay a higher salary, and with a higher salary, you can pay back debt, so it works in similar ways but there are some differential effects.”

They found offering complete loan forgiveness in a decade does not change the gender disparity; instead, successful programs provide annual incentives that vary from paying a higher salary to dropping a percentage of the debt. This lowers the entry barrier to working in the public sector.

The research could be applied to other sectors with public policy components, such as business or medicine.

Shedding Light on Optical Properties of Stable Glass

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Research
  • print

Although glass has been around for at least 5,000 years, many of its properties are not well understood. But researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are learning more about the properties of stable glasses. Stable glasses are closely packed forms of glasses produced by depositing molecules from a vapor phase onto a cold substrate.

“There have been a lot of questions about whether this is analogous of the same amorphous state of naturally aged glasses such as amber, which are formed by just cooling a liquid and aging it for many, many years,” said Zahra Fakhraai, associate professor of chemistry in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences.

Dr. Fakhraai and PhD student Tianyi Liu studied a new, spherical molecule designed and synthesized by chemistry professor Patrick Walsh. Because this special molecule cannot align itself with any substrate as it is deposited, the researchers expected the glasses to be amorphous and isotropic, with constituent particles arranged in no overarching pattern or order.

Their results surprised them: The researchers found that these stable glasses are birefringent, so that the index of refraction of light is different in directions parallel and normal to the substrate. The light shined in one direction on birefringent glass will break differently than light shined from a different direction, which changes the orientation of the material and can produce optical effects. Birefriengence patterns are not common in material made of round molecules. 

The researchers were able to confirm that the material had no orientation by conducting photoluminescence experiments with physics professor James Kikkawa and PhD student Annemarie Exarhos, and by calculating the index of refraction of the crystal and determining the degree of birefringence in the amorphous state with help from chemistry professor Joseph Subotnik and PhD student Ethan Alguire.

While the glass measured at zero order, it displayed birefringence analogous to having up to 30 percent of the molecules perfectly ordered. The researchers found this was due to the layer-by-layer nature of the deposition, which allowed the molecules to pack more tightly in the direction normal to the surface during the deposition. They found they could control this by changing the substrate temperature, which controls the degree of densification: The denser the glass, the higher the value of birefringence.

The research sheds light on the process of accessing lower state phases and also offers a way to engineer optical properties without having to induce an order or structure in the material.

“I think understanding how shape, orientation and packing could affect the mechanics of these coatings is one of the places where interesting applications could emerge,” Dr. Fakhraai said.

Now that the researchers have successfully showed that there can be amorphous phases that are high density, Dr. Fakhraai hopes to apply this understanding to find out what would happen in highly aged glass.

“This tells us that we can actually make glasses that have packings that would be relevant to very well-aged glass,” she said. “This opens up the possibility of better fundamentally understanding the process by which we can make stable glasses.”

Discovering New Law of Perception

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Research
  • print

Penn researchers have discovered a new law of perception that helps to explain why people see the world the way they do. The new law links the discrimination threshold (measured by how sensitive people are to changes occurring in front of them) to the perceptual bias (the amount perception deviates from reality). The link was confirmed by Alan Stocker, professor of psychology in the School of Arts & Sciences and electrical and systems engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and his former graduate student Xue-Xin Wei, Gr’15, now a postdoc at Columbia University.

The researchers knew from a theory they developed several years ago that humans go through a two-step process to perceive a stimulus. Step one is encoding, the process by which the one absorbs information from the senses, filters the information and sends it to the brain. Step two is decoding, or “taking that signal and combining it with what we know about the world, intelligence, prior beliefs that get used to interpret this encoded signal in a way that makes sense,” according to Dr. Stocker. Research has established that the encoding step shapes the decoding step, but Drs. Stocker and Wei theorized the decoding might also influence the encoding. The next step was connecting the discrimination threshold and perceptual bias.

While no practical applications have been developed for the new perception law yet, it helps researchers develop a better idea of the importance of people’s previous experiences in shaping their perceptions.

Events

Update: October AT PENN

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Events
  • print

Readings

10              Tales from Webster’s; John Shea; 6 p.m.; Penn Bookstore.

Special Events

11              Faces of Courage: Ten Years of Building Sanctuary, From the Ground Up; reception and discussion; 5 p.m.; Gallery, ARCH (Center for Hispanic Excellence). 

Talks

11              Medieval Renaissance Seminar; Daniel Davies, English; 4:30 p.m.; Graduate Lounge, Fisher-Bennett Hall (English).

12              Tissue of the World: On Stoic Sympathy; Brooke Holmes, Princeton; 4:30 p.m.; rm. 402 Claudia Cohen Hall (Classical Studies).

13              After Development: The Latin American Novel Now; Emilio Sauri, UMass; 4:30 p.m.; rm. 543 Williams Hall (Hispanic and Portuguese Studies). 

Public Safety Open House: October 12

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Events
  • print

Penn’s Division of Public Safety is hosting its annual open house on October 12 from 1-4 p.m. at its headquarters, 4040 Chestnut St.

Meet the Penn MERT Team and members of Public Safety, try the firearm training simulation machine, learn about the RAD self-defense program and fingerprinting and tour the state-of-the-art PennComm Emergency Communications Center. There will be raffles and giveaways as well as refreshments.

For information visit the Division of Public Safety website.

Internet Safety for Kids: October 13

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Events
  • print

On October 13, ISC Information Security and Wharton are hosting a must-attend event for anyone interested in understanding the full context and impact of technology on the social, emotional and academic lives of children and teens. Erica Pelavin, a psychologist, educator and the co-founder of Palo Alto-based My Digital TAT2, will give a lecture that is an eye-opening look at the constantly-changing number of applications and platforms currently used by teens. Her organization, My Digital TAT2, emphasizes the need to understand how and why teens use technology, and encourages parents and educators to hold an ongoing dialogue with kids on safe usage. Joining her for a panel discussion after the lecture are three Penn subject matter experts: Amy Bleakley (Annenberg School of Communication, research scientist), Scott Schafer (University Privacy Officer) and Wiam Younes (OIS Training Officer). Due to the overwhelming response to this event last year, it is being presented again. This will take place from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. To register, visit the Penn 2017 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month website.

No Cost Fall Flu Shots on Campus

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Events
  • print

Penn faculty and staff can prepare for flu season with a free influenza vaccine on-campus at one of these convenient clinics.

Flu Vaccine Clinics sponsored by Student Health Service: No appointment or pre-registration is necessary; open to all Penn faculty, staff and students. Bring your valid PennCard to Houston Hall, Bodek Lounge:

  • October 11-12, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
  • October 13, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Faces of Courage: Ten Years of Building Sanctuary, From the Ground Up

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Events
  • print
DREAMers

DREAMers by Harvey Finkle.

In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month at the University of Pennsylvania, La Casa Latina, the University’s Center for Hispanic Excellence, is hosting a reception and panel discussion for the exhibit, Faces of Courage: Ten Years of Building Sanctuary, From the Ground Up on Wednesday, October 11, 5-7 p.m. in the ARCH Building Gallery, on the ground level. The exhibit, which features photographs by Harvey Finkle, runs through October 25; it is free and open to the public. Exhibit hours: Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Harvey Finkle is a documentary still photographer whose interests are social, political, economic and cultural. His career has centered on photographing marginalized and disenfranchised communities and their Movements; these include low income and homeless families, refugees and immigrants, the disabled and the Deaf, as well as other groups working for economic equality, peace, justice, human rights and civil rights. La Casa Latina promotes greater awareness of Latinx issues, culture and identity at Penn. La Casa Latina works closely with the Penn community to offer a supportive environment where all students are welcomed and engaged in programs, events and dialogues that address important issues affecting Latinxs/Hispanics locally, nationally and internationally.

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia is an interfaith, multicultural immigrant justice organization working to build community across faith, ethnicity and class in our work to end injustices against immigrants regardless of immigration status, express radical welcome for all and ensure that values of dignity, justice and hospitality are lived out in practice and upheld in policy.

“These photos make me proud of all that we have done. I am proud we are able to carry something of us, that people can see you can serve others, to be able to serve others with my heart,” said Teresa Herrera, New Sanctuary Movement leader.

“Seeing Harvey’s photos of the last ten years is an anchor for me. With the brutality of the Trump administration’s weekly attacks on the immigrant communities, Harvey’s photos remind us to breathe, to connect with community, to remember the power of collective action and celebrate the victories we have had. From this grounding, we find the strength and spirit to fight back every day,” said Peter Pedemonti, New Sanctuary Movement executive director.

Crimes

Weekly Crime Reports

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Crimes
  • print

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 September 25, 2017-October 1, 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 September 25, 2017-October 1, 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.

09/26/1712:36 AM4109 Walnut StTrespassing/ Arrest
09/26/171:17 PM3400 Spruce StDisorderly conduct and public intoxication/ Arrest
09/26/173:00 PM4000 Sansom StAssault on Police/ Arrest
09/26/173:18 PM3400 Civic Center BlvdUnwanted phone call received
09/27/173:16 PM220 S 33rd StSecured bike taken
09/27/173:57 PM4001 Baltimore AveSecured bike taken
09/27/174:13 PM4008 Chestnut StUnauthorized charges made on debit card
09/27/177:37 PM3130 Walnut StCell phone stolen
09/27/179:17 PM433 University AveComplainant harassed by co-worker
09/28/174:50 AM4109 Walnut StParole violations/ Arrest
09/28/1711:56 AM43 Ludlow StProbation violations/ Arrest
09/28/173:30 PM4050 Spruce StItems taken from bedroom
09/28/174:00 PM100 S 40th StComplainant slapped in the face by offender.
09/28/176:56 PM4200 Walnut StSex offense/ Confidential
09/29/171:15 AM3440 Market StOffender demanded money and cigarettes
09/29/172:18 AM3900 Sansom StUnderage drinking/ Arrest
09/29/179:51 AM3730 Walnut StBlank checks taken from office
09/29/174:55 PM3600 Chestnut StItems taken from community dryer
10/01/172:20 AM3800 Walnut StDUI/ Arrest
10/01/171:10 PM4009 Pine StBurglary/ Arrest
10/01/178:52 PM4100 Pine StBackpack taken from auto

18th District Report

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 13 incidents with 7 arrests (4 domestic assaults, 3 aggravated assaults, 3 assaults, and 3 robberies) were reported between September 25, 2017-October 1, 2017 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue

09/25/174:21 PM34th & Market StsDomestic assault
09/25/178:31 PM300 FarragutRobbery
09/25/178:58 PM4504 Locust StRobbery/ Arrest
09/26/172:31 AM234 S 46th StAggravated assault/ Arrest
09/26/172:32 AM234 S 46th StAggravated assault/ Arrest
09/26/173:15 PM4000 Sansom StAssault/ Arrest
09/27/179:32 AM3737 Chestnut StDomestic assault/ Arrest
09/27/179:30 PM433 University AveAssault
09/28/171:51 PM4800 Walnut StAssault/ Arrest
09/28/179:41 PM4400 Walnut StAggravated assault
09/29/171:17 AM3440 Market StRobbery
09/29/1711:13 AM4801 Walnut StDomestic assault
10/01/1711:14 AM1224 S 48th StDomestic assault/ Arrest

Bulletins

One Health Award: Deadline Extended: October 13

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Bulletins
  • print

The deadline for the One Health Award has been extended to Friday, October 13. The deans of Penn’s health schools announced the Award for Excellence in promoting One Health initiatives and education. For more details, see Almanac September 19, 2017

Corrections

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Bulletins
  • print

In the article about the LGBT Center’s 35th Anniversary, in last week’s issue, it should have read, with $5 million in funds from a fundraising campaign, the Center redesigned the interior of a Carriage House to provide two stories of space for the Center. Previously, the Center had been located at 3537 Locust Walk, not 3533 Locust Walk which is now the Sweeten Alumni Center. Almanac regrets the errors. —Ed.

In the 25th Annual Family Day story in last week’s issue, it should have stated that there will be a Women’s Volleyball game at 7 p.m. as part of this year’s offerings on Saturday, October 21. Tickets availbale at the Penn Family Day website.

One Step Ahead: Know your Data, Know Your Role

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Bulletins
  • print

Penn employees frequently handle personal and sensitive University data. It is vital to know how to properly safeguard the data you handle and oversee as a Penn employee. 

If you work with research data or with financial, health or student information and systems, then you come in contact with sensitive University information that should be handled and stored with extra layers of security. Depending on your job function and role, you may also be required to adhere to government and Penn policies and regulations that protect the type of data you handle.

Examples of personal or sensitive University data include Social Security numbers, driver’s license or state ID numbers, credit card numbers, biometric information (e.g., fingerprints, eye color), health records or student grades and records. Intentional or unintentional exposure of this data may result in serious legal, financial, and reputational consequences to Penn.

Here are some simple yet important steps you can take to strengthen your protection of sensitive data:

  • Enroll in Two-Step Verification to add an additional layer of security when accessing systems and applications with sensitive data.
  • Configure computers and devices that handle sensitive University data to require a password or access code whenever they are powered up, restarted or left unattended.
  • When sensitive data exists in paper form, always keep it in locked cabinets.
  • Ask your Local Support Provider (LSP) for a secure system to store sensitive digital data, including digital resources you might oversee as a manager or researcher.

If you suspect that unauthorized access to a computer or device containing sensitive University data has occurred, immediately disconnect the device from the network and contact your LSP before taking any further action.

Penn’s Way 2018 Raffle

  • October 10, 2017
  • vol 64 issue 8
  • Bulletins
  • print
Penn's Way logo

Visit Penn's Way for more information about the raffle and making a pledge. 

Entries must be received by 5 p.m. on the prior Friday for inclusion in a given week’s drawing. 

Week 1 Winners (Awarded October 3)

ThermoFisher—Amazon gift card (value $50): Ant’Quinette Jackson, Nursing

National Constitution Center—Four Passes (value $58): Victoria Thompson, HUP

Philadelphia Catering Company—Gift certificate for large dessert tray (value $65): Susan Halfen, Presbyterian Medical Center

Metropolitan Bakery & Penn Business Services—Lunch on Us, $50 in gift certificates & Penn Lunch Box ($70): Tina Salvucci, CPUP

Penn Business Services—Branded Travel Accessories (value $50): Christopher Pham, HUP Corporate

[solidcore]—Gift certificate for gym (value $100): Colleen Burns, Pennsylvania Hospital

Week 3 (October 17 Drawing)

New Deck Tavern—Gift card (value $50)

ThermoFisher—Amazon gift card (value $50)

Morris Arboretum—Family Fun Pack (value $100)

Gift Baskets for Thought–Penn-themed gift basket (value $75)

Philadelphia Eagles—Autographed photo of Donnie Jones (value $25)

[solidcore]—Gift certificate for gym (value $100)