News

$10 Million Gift from Josh and Marjorie Harris to Wharton

  • February 26, 2019
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caption: Josh HarrisThe Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced a $10 million gift from 1986 undergraduate alumnus Josh Harris and his wife Marjorie Harris to establish the Joshua J. Harris Alternative Investments Program. This innovative new program will expand co-curricular opportunities for Wharton students in the field and bring together alumni and industry experts through events and dynamic programming. Mr. Harris is a co-founder, senior managing director and director of Apollo Global Management, LLC, an alternative investment manager serving institutional investors worldwide.

Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ gift is a major contribution to Wharton’s More Than Ever fundraising and engagement campaign, which is part of the University-wide Campaign, The Power of Penn: Advancing Knowledge for Good. By helping to redesign and redefine finance education, the gift enhances a key Campaign priority for Wharton.

“Josh and Marjorie Harris’ extraordinary gift to the Harris Program will significantly expand student opportunities, advance new knowledge and meaningfully engage the University community, which are key priorities for Penn,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “We are profoundly grateful to Josh and Marjorie for their visionary philanthropy that helps today’s Penn students lead in tomorrow’s complex world.”

The landmark gift extends Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ longstanding support for learning and excellence in finance at the School. They co-founded the Wharton Private Equity Professorship, currently held by Bilge Yilmaz, who is also professor of finance and will serve as faculty director of the Harris Program. Building on the foundation of curricular and co-curricular offerings in alternative investments, the Harris Program will bring together students, alumni, academics and practitioners to expand this critical work. Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ generosity extends to support for Wharton’s international and domestic conferences, deepening alumni engagement and expanding student programming in alternative investments.

“As an alternative investments trailblazer, Josh is a role model for our students and an incredible friend to the Wharton School,” said Dean Geoffrey Garrett. “His and Marjorie’s gift is a generous investment in students who seek a better understanding of the industry. It also reflects their deep commitment to Wharton and our ability to shape the future of finance. We’re sincerely grateful for their belief in the School and we couldn’t be happier to have this program carry the Harris name.”

“Wharton students continue to express a strong interest in alternative investments, and the Harris Program will provide unprecedented resources to enrich their understanding of the industry,” said Mr. Harris. “I know first-hand that Wharton students are creative, entrepreneurial and eager for new challenges—attributes that the great leaders of the industry possess. I look forward to the Harris Program inspiring our students to pursue transformative opportunities and develop into future leaders of the industry.”

Mr. Harris serves as a member of Wharton’s Board of Overseers. He and his wife have also given to other areas at Wharton, including the Harris Family Endowed Scholarship to support undergraduate Wharton students from the Washington, DC, area and the Joshua J. Harris Professorship—a position currently held by former Dean Thomas S. Robertson, who also serves as academic director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center and Professor of Marketing.

Penn Athletics has also benefited from Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ giving. Inspired by Mr. Harris’ undergraduate experience as a member of Penn’s wrestling team, he and Mrs. Harris established the Joshua J. Harris Wrestling Assistant Coach Endowment and supported the Grapplers Fund for the University’s varsity wrestling program (Almanac September 18, 2018). Mr. Harris is the managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, managing member of the New Jersey Devils and a general partner of the Crystal Palace Football Club.

$2 Million Gift for Axilrod Term Fund in Health and Inequality: Supporting Recruitment of Three New Faculty Members

  • February 26, 2019
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caption: (From left to right) Richard A. Axilrod, Juan Pablo Atal, Courtney Boen and Morgan HokeRichard A. Axilrod (WG’85) and Nancy M. Axilrod, Penn parents, have made a $2 million gift to establish the Axilrod Term Fund in Health and Inequality. The fund has enabled Penn Arts and Sciences to recruit three new faculty members who will help establish Penn as a worldwide center for the analysis of inequality and health, with a specific focus on the distribution of health outcomes and how this distribution is shaped by social policies.

“Social disparities in health are pervasive,” said Steven J. Fluharty, SAS Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience. “With their generous gift, Richard and Nancy are supporting the rigorous interdisciplinary research needed to understand the causes and consequences of these disparities and to develop policy interventions aimed at reducing them.”

The three new Axilrod Fellows recruited by the School are Juan Pablo Atal, assistant professor of economics; Courtney Boen, assistant professor of sociology; and Morgan Hoke, assistant professor of anthropology. Dr. Atal studies public economics and industrial organization, with a focus on health economics, while Dr. Boen documents how racial discrimination and contact with the criminal justice system, among other factors, contribute to racial disparities in biomarkers of health and aging. Dr. Hoke is a biocultural anthropologist who examines the economic, cultural and ecological influences on infant feeding practices and how those practices perpetuate economic and social inequalities.

“Social and health inequalities are a complex, urgent problem, and the liberal arts are an incredibly powerful tool,” said Mr. Axilrod. “These new faculty members are poised to make a substantive difference in their fields and our communities. Nancy and I are thrilled to support this effort.”

Mr. Axilrod is the managing director of Moore Capital Management, LP, a New York City–based hedge fund. He is on the Board of Directors of the Waterside School, a K-5 school in Stamford, Connecticut, for underprivileged students. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Axilrods have previously established two scholarships for students in the College of Arts and Sciences: the Richard and Nancy Axilrod Endowed Scholarship and the Stephen and Katherine Axilrod Endowed Scholarship. The latter was named in honor of Mr. Axilrod’s parents.

2019 Performance and Staff Development Program

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Open and effective communication is essential when it comes to enhancing performance and achieving goals. The Performance and Staff Development Program (the annual performance appraisal program) provides staff and supervisors with a formal process to enhance communication and promote a productive work environment.

The performance appraisal process provides benefits for both the staff member and the supervisor, such as:

  • providing documented feedback on job expectations, performance and accomplishments from the past year
  • offering positive reinforcement as well as developmental feedback
  • allowing staff members to participate in goal-setting
  • setting performance expectations and goals for the upcoming year
  • encouraging open communication between staff and supervisors
  • promoting discussion of professional development opportunities and the competencies required to be successful in their job
  • ensuring that job performance and accomplishment information is recorded in each staff member’s official personnel file

Beginning March 18, 2019, staff and supervisors should use the Online Performance Appraisal System to complete self-appraisals and annual performance appraisals. Performance appraisals for all eligible regular staff should be completed and entered into the Online Performance Appraisal System by June 1. The Online Performance Appraisal System can be accessed at https://portal.hr.upenn.edu/

Valuable information on the performance appraisal process can be found on the Human Resources website at https://www.hr.upenn.edu/performance-management Here you’ll find a variety of materials to guide you in completing quality appraisals and providing effective performance and professional development feedback.

For more information on the Performance and Staff Development Program, contact your school or center Human Resources professional or the Division of Human Resources at (215) 898-6093.

—Division of Human Resources

Deaths

Don Langenberg, Physics and Penn Trustee

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caption: Don LangenbergDonald (“Don”) Newton Langenberg, former physics professor, LRSM director, vice provost and Penn trustee, died January 25 of an aortic aneurysm at his Dickeyville, Maryland, home. He was 86.

Dr. Langenberg, who was born in Devils Lake, North Dakota, was the son of deaf parents. His father taught printing at the North Dakota School for the Deaf, and his mother was a homemaker. When he was three, he was sent to his Iowa grandparents to learn English, and when he was four, he began school in a one-room schoolhouse. After completing second grade, he returned to Devils Lake, where he graduated in 1949 from Devils Lake High School.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Iowa State College in 1953, his master’s degree in physics in 1955 from UCLA and a PhD in 1959 from the University of California, Berkeley. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford and an NSF fellowship at Berkeley before coming to Penn in 1960 as an assistant professor of physics.

He became a full professor and associate chairman in physics at Penn in 1967, and he served as director of Penn’s Laboratory for Research and the Structure of Matter (LRSM) from 1972 to 1974. He served as vice provost for graduate studies and research from 1974 to 1979 (Almanac May 21, 1974). Dr. Langenberg won both Sloan and Guggenheim fellowships during his time at Penn and was known for his research in superconductivity, especially for precise determination of physical constants of materials at temperatures near absolute zero, which led to development of new international quantum standards of voltage. He served on the University’s Computing Policy Committee in the mid-1970s. He also taught and collaborated at the University of Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure, the California Institute of Technology, and the Technische Universität München.  

President Jimmy Carter appointed him deputy director of the National Science Foundation in 1980, a position he held while on leave from Penn. He officially left Penn in 1983 and went on to become chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago and then chancellor of the University System of Maryland. He retired from that position in 2002, at which time he became Chancellor Emeritus.

Dr. Langenberg was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Penn in 1985, was an overseer of the School of Engineering and Applied Science in the 1980s and served as a trustee for the University 1990-2000. He served on the Trustees’ executive board, and it was his resolution that established a department of emergency medicine in the School of Medicine.

Among his awards, he received the John Price Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1975 and the Distinguished Contribution to Research Administration Award of the Society of Research Administrators. He served as president of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and as chair of the National Reading Panel, charged by Congress to study the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children how to read and to report on application of its findings in the classroom and the home.

Dr. Langenberg is survived by his wife, Patricia; children, John, Karen, Julie and Amy; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. March 2 at the University of Maryland Medical School’s Leadership Hall, 655 W. Baltimore St., in Baltimore, Maryland.

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 Suite 300, 2929 Walnut Street,  (215) 898-8136 or email record@ben.dev.upenn.edu

Governance

Let Your Voice at Penn Be Heard: Volunteer to Join a University Council Committee: March 22

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Calling all faculty and staff: Please consider nominating yourself or someone else to join a University Council committee for the 2019-2020 academic year.  The time commitment is minimal, and the work of the committees directly contributes to the improvement of life at Penn. Nominations are due by March 22, 2019.

To: Members of the University Faculty, Penn Professional Staff Assembly, and Weekly-Paid Professional Staff Assembly

From: 2018-2019 University Council Committee on Committees

RE: Volunteers Needed for Committee Service

The University Council’s 2018-2019 Committee on Committees invites you to nominate yourself or others for service on one of the University Council’s standing committees. Council committees serve as advisory bodies in shaping academic/administrative policy. Please consider this unique opportunity to have input into the University’s decision-making processes.

Membership on these committees is open to all faculty and staff, including those who have not previously served. We invite individuals who have previously served to volunteer again in order to achieve a mix of new ideas and committee experience. Most committees also are open to students; their participation is already being solicited through other channels.

Please submit your nominations by March 22, 2019, using the form below.

Council committees typically meet for 1-2 hours per month during the academic year. To support staff participation, offices are strongly encouraged to provide flexibility and release time to the greatest extent possible so that staff members may fully participate. We encourage staff and supervisors to work together to arrange release time in recognition of the operational needs of their school/center, and we encourage staff members to provide as much notice as possible in scheduling time for attendance at these meetings.

Please review committees’ recent annual reports for more information on the specific nature of its work. These reports, which provide summaries of the committees’ recent work as well as topics under current deliberation, are published in Almanac and can be accessed via the University Council website: https://secretary.upenn.edu/univ-council/committees

The University Council seeks nominations of faculty and staff to serve on the following committees:

Committees and Their Work

Academic and Related Affairs has cognizance over matters of undergraduate recruiting, admissions and financial aid that concern the University as a whole or those that are not the specific responsibility of individual faculties; of all programs in recreation, intramural and club sports, and intercollegiate athletics; and of all matters of policy relating to research and the general environment for research at the University, including the assignment and distribution of indirect costs and the assignment of those research funds distributed by the University. The Committee considers the purposes of a university bookstore. It advises the administration on policies, developments, and operations of the bookstores and libraries; in such areas as international student services, foreign fellowships and studies abroad, exchange programs, and cooperative undertakings with foreign universities; on athletic operations and recommends changes in policy when appropriate; and on those proposals for sponsored research referred to it because of potential conflict with University policy.

Campus and Community Life has cognizance over the University’s electronic and physical communications and public relations activities; advises on the relationship of the University to the surrounding community; has cognizance of the conditions and rules of undergraduate and graduate student life on campus; and considers and recommends the means to improve safety and security on the campus.

Diversity and Equity aids Penn in fostering and taking full advantage of its diversity as well as in strengthening ties across all boundaries to enrich and enliven the campus community. The Committee shall advise the offices of the president, provost and the executive vice presidents on ways to develop and maintain a supportive atmosphere on campus for the inclusion and appreciation of diversity among all members of the University community. The Committee will review and provide advice regarding the University’s equal opportunity and affirmative action programs and policies. The areas in which the Committee shall report to the Council include diversity within the educational and work settings, integration of staff and faculty into the larger campus community, and ways to foster a campus environment that is inclusive and supportive of difference.

Facilities keeps under review the planning and operation of the University’s physical plans and all services associated therewith, including transportation and parking.

Honorary Degrees is charged with soliciting recommendations for honorary degrees from faculty, staff and students and submits nominations to the Trustee Committee on Honorary Degrees.

Open Expression has competence to act in issues and controversies involving the Guidelines on Open Expression. It monitors communication processes and prevents conflicts that might emerge from failure of communication by recommending policies and procedures for improvement of all levels of communication, investigating alleged infringements of the right of open expression of any member or members of the University community, advising administrative officers where appropriate, and participating in evaluation and resolution of conflicts that may arise from incidents or disturbances on campus.

Personnel Benefits has cognizance over the benefits programs for all University personnel. Special expertise in personnel, insurance, taxes or law is often helpful.

For FACULTY volunteers, mail the form below to: Patrick Walsh, Faculty Senate Office, Box 9 College Hall/6303, tel. (215) 898-6943; fax 898-0974 or email at senate@pobox.upenn.edu

For PENN PROFESSIONAL STAFF ASSEMBLY volunteers, mail to Nadir Sharif, Stouffer College House Dean, 142-D Stouffer/6026, tel. (215) 573-3741; or email at nsharif@upenn.edu

For WEEKLY-PAID PROFESSIONAL STAFF ASSEMBLY volunteers, mail to Loretta Hauber, Weingarten Learning Resources Center, Ste. 300, 3702 Spruce St./6027, tel. (215) 573-9235; or email at lhauber@upenn.edu

Please respond by March 22, 2019.

PPSA 2019 Call for Board and Committee Nominations: April 26

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Nominations are open for positions on the Penn Professional Staff Assembly (PPSA) Executive Board and University Council Committees. All monthly-paid, full-time University staff members are eligible to participate. More information is available at http://ppsa.upenn.edu

Service on a committee is a rewarding and enjoyable experience that requires only a couple hours per month. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet colleagues from across the University who will help to enrich your work life with Penn.

For Executive Committee and University Committees Nominations

To nominate, please fill out the form at http://tinyurl.com/y2kah3sh

The following positions are open for nomination:

  • PPSA Chair-Elect (one position, three-year term of service)  
  • Executive Committee Member At-Large (four positions, two-year term of service)
  • PPSA Representative to University Council Committees (seven positions, one-year term of service)

Descriptions of duties and responsibilities for each position are available on the nomination form at the URL above.

All monthly-paid, full-time University staff members are encouraged to self-nominate or nominate colleagues for consideration using the form below by no later than Friday, April 26, 2019.

The 2019-2020 election for officers will occur following PPSA’s annual meeting, to be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at noon in the Hall of Flags, Houston Hall. We will be joined by Benoit Dubé, Penn’s Chief Wellness Officer. Lunch will be served.

All full-time, monthly-paid University staff members are encouraged to attend the meeting as guests of PPSA. More information can be found at https://ppsa.upenn.edu/events/ppsa-may-elections-meeting-and-speaker-a-conversation-with-dr-benoit-dube/

For more information on the work of the seven University Council Committees, visit https://secretary.upenn.edu/univ-council/committees

An election period will take place to identify the Chair-Elect and the Members At-Large. University Council Committee members will be appointed by the PPSA Tri-Chairs from amongst all applicants following the election.

Questions on the nominating and election process can be directed to ppsa@exchange.upenn.edu The elections process is governed by the PPSA Bylaws, available on the PPSA website at http://ppsa.upenn.edu

—PPSA Executive Board

Honors

Kutan Ayata, Thom Mayne and Paul Preissner: P/A Awards

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Three PennDesign faculty members have been selected for 2019 Progressive Architecture (P/A) Awards from the American Institute of Architects.

Senior Lecturer Kutan Ayata received an award for the DL 1310 Apartments in Mexico City. A collaboration between his firm Young & Ayata and Michan Architecture, it was one of only two award recipients. The DL 1310 Apartments were described by jury critic J. Frano Violich as, “provid[ing] a sense of thickness and depth that is very skillful and super effective.” The design is the product of extensive research into the technical capabilities of and local traditions in concrete, recalling the geometries of Félix Candela and Miguel Fisac to solve challenges.

Cret Chair Professor of Practice Thom Mayne’s firm Morphosis received an honorable mention for the Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa, California.

Lecturer Paul Preissner received an honorable mention for Ring of Hope in Chicago. It was submitted by his firm Paul Preissner Architects.

The awards recognize unbuilt projects demonstrating overall design excellence and innovation. Their work was published in the February issue of ARCHITECT. They will be honored at a celebration in New York in February. The jury selected ten projects from nearly 200 submissions.

M. Grace Calhoun: NCAA Division I Council Chair, Board of Directors

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caption:M. Grace CalhounM. Grace Calhoun, director of athletics and recreation at Penn, has been named the incoming chair of the NCAA Division I Council, a high-level group responsible for the day-to-day decision-making for Division I. Dr. Calhoun will also represent the Council with a seat on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, a group comprised predominantly of college presidents with ultimate decision-making responsibility for Division I.

The Council is comprised of one representative from each of the 32 Division I conferences, plus several at-large representatives, and is the chief legislative body of the Division. She is the first chair from a non-Power Five university, following Jim Phillips (Northwestern) and Blake James (Miami), and will begin her two-year appointment following the Council’s  June meeting.

Dr. Calhoun was recently appointed chair of the NCAA’s Strategic Vision and Planning Committee. She has previously served as chair of the NCAA Division I Awards, Benefits and Financial Aid Cabinet; chair of the NCAA Research Committee; and vice chair of the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee. She has served as a member of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance, the NCAA Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport Committee, and the NCAA Division I Track and Field Committee. Dr. Calhoun also served on the board of Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA).

Cyberwar: R.R. Hawkins Award and Award of Excellence

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Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President, authored by Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, was recently awarded the R.R. Hawkins Award, making the book the “ultimate winner” of the 2019 PROSE Awards competition held  by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

Cyberwar also won the 2019 PROSE Award of Excellence in the Social Sciences, one of four books named excellence award winners. The excellence award winners were chosen from 48 subject category winners, and those were selected from 165 finalists. The AAP previously named Cyberwar a subject category winner in Government, Policy and Politics.

The PROSE Awards honor scholarly works and recognize publishers “who produce books, journals, and digital products of extraordinary merit that make a significant contribution to a field of study in the humanities, biological and physical sciences, reference and social sciences.”

Mitchell Lazar: 2019 Rolf Luft Award

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caption:Mitchell LazarMitchell Lazar, the Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases in the department of medicine at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and founding director of the Penn Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (IDOM), will receive the 2019 Rolf Luft Award from the Karolinska Institute. This global distinction recognizes Dr. Lazar’s outstanding scientific contribution in endocrinology and diabetes. Dr. Lazar will present the Luft Prize Lecture, entitled, “Nuclear Receptors, Circadian Rhythms, and Metabolism,” on May 8 at the Nobel Forum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dr. Lazar is receiving the award for his groundbreaking work in transcriptional regulation of metabolism, including discoveries that revealed how the environment interacts with the genome to regulate circadian rhythms and metabolism and how these mechanisms impact obesity and diabetes.

His research, focused mostly on gene and metabolic regulation and mechanisms of hormone action, has led to discoveries that span molecular biology, physiology, endocrinology and metabolism. Dr. Lazar’s work has led to discoveries of the hormone resistin, which plays an integral role in insulin resistance, and the role of the nuclear receptor PPARg in the development and function of fat cells, including its link to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. He also discovered the circadian nuclear receptor Rev-erba and identified mechanisms by which it represses gene transcription as a core circadian clock component and controller of metabolic rhythms.

Kate Kinney Grossman: SDP Partnership Grant

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caption:Kate Kinney GrossmanKate Kinney Grossman, director of the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program (UTAP) Collaboratory for Teacher Education in the Teaching, Learning and Leadership Division of Penn GSE, has been granted $85,000 as a partner of the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) Teacher Residency Program. Through this partnership, UTAP collaborates with SDP schools to prepare high school or middle school STEM teachers who commit to teaching in the SDP for a minimum of three years following program completion. The grant will allow UTAP to provide mentorship to each resident-apprentice and additional scholarships.

Ms. Kinney Grossman is an expert in teacher training and professional development. She is currently building new models for pre-service teacher preparation in partnership with K-12 schools. A former high school teacher, Ms. Kinney Grossman can discuss the challenges new teachers face, what it means to teach for social justice, practices for middle and high school content teachers that support language diverse students and trauma informed approaches to education. As part of the Penn Futures Project, Ms. Kinney Grossman seeks new ways for teachers, counselors, social workers and health workers to partner to better support students and meet their needs.

Christopher Murray: NAE Membership

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caption:Christopher MurrayChristopher Murray, the Richard Perry University Professor and professor in the department of materials science and engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) “for invention and development of solvothermal synthesis of monodisperse nanocrystal quantum dots for displays, photovoltaics and memory.”

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

As a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with appointments in Penn Arts & Sciences’ department of chemistry and Penn Engineering’s materials science and engineering, Dr. Murray bridges boundaries between the two disciplines.

Mecky Pohlschröder: AAM Fellow

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caption:Mecky PohlschröderMechthild (Mecky) Pohlschröder, professor and undergraduate chair of biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Penn, has been named a 2019 Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. The AAM is an honorific leadership group within the American Society of Microbiology, one of the world’s oldest and largest life sciences professional organizations. Dr. Pohlschröder joins 108 colleagues from around the world in this year’s class of AAM Fellows.

The peer-reviewed election process considers the candidates’ scientific achievements and original contributions to the field of microbiology. Dr. Pohlschröder’s research focuses on the biosynthesis and function of prokaryotic cell envelopes and surface structures, especially archaeal cell surface biology.

The mission of the Society is to “advance microbiological sciences through the pursuit of scientific knowledge and dissemination of the results of fundamental and applied research.” This goal is achieved through the help of the AAM fellows who give colloquia and provide oversight of the Society’s awards programs.

Abby Reisman: Spencer Foundation Grant

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caption:Abby ReismanAbby Reisman, assistant professor in the Teaching, Learning and Leadership Division of Penn GSE, has received a $49,942 grant from the Spencer Foundation for the project “Using Online Professional Development Modules to Support Practice-Based Coaching for Document-Based History Instruction: A Design Experiment.” The grant will support a two-year design-based study in which Dr. Reisman works with a team of instructional leaders to first design online professional development modules that target instructional practices in history and then embed the modules in a coaching intervention. The project envisions the modules, replete with articulated specifications of practice and video representations of those practices, as providing a common vocabulary upon which to build a shared vision of good instruction.

Dr. Reisman studies how to engage struggling adolescent readers in text-based historical inquiry. Her interests in this area include curriculum design, teacher education, pedagogy and high-leverage instructional practices. Dr. Reisman is studying how to support middle-school teachers as they facilitate discussions around historical texts. Through her involvement in the Core Practice Consortium, she is also engaged in a yearlong comparative study examining pre-
service social studies methods courses that
emphasize practice-based teacher preparation.

Peter Quinn: Annual Lectureship Fund

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caption:Peter D. QuinnPeter D. Quinn, senior vice president for CPUP, UPHS, and vice dean for professional services at the Perelman School of Medicine, was recently honored with the creation of the Peter D. Quinn Lectureship Fund. The fund will be a catalyst to enhance all levels of training within the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery with a special emphasis on building on its strengths in the areas of digital technology, custom prostheses and regenerative medicine therapies. Proceeds from this Fund will be used to bring expert speakers to the department for an annual lecture in honor of Dr. Quinn.

Prior to his current appointments, Dr. Quinn served as chair of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and at Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, for 22 years. He is the Schoenleber endowed Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of temporomandibular joint surgery and surgical management of high-flow maxillofacial arterio-venous malformations. He pioneered the development of the only FDA-approved stock temporomandibular joint implant that is now the most widely used jaw joint replacement device both within the United States and internationally.

MIC: Ecosystem Collaboration Grant

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The Media, Inequality and Change (MIC) Center at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication and Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information has received a Philadelphia News Ecosystem Collaboration Grant from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Penn’s co-director of the MIC is Victor Pickard, an associate professor of communication at Annenberg.

The Institute announced six projects for its inaugural Philadelphia Ecosystem Collaboration Grants. The grant program collaboration is designed to encourage partnership on a broad array of journalism projects serving the public interest of the diverse communities of the greater Philadelphia region.

Together with its partner groups, Media Mobilizing Project and The Philadelphia Inquirer Opinion section, MIC will use its grant to create the Community Journalist Exchange, a series of dialogues between a diverse group of Philadelphia’s leading journalists and Philadelphia’s leading public advocates from across the political spectrum, in the run-up to the municipal elections on May 21.

Given that local elections are a moment when people from across the city engage with the most pressing local issues, MIC and its partners will bring together community activists with journalists who cover these beats for Philadelphia’s media. Issues they hope to explore include public education, housing, poverty/work, criminal justice, climate change and environmental justice, and health and harm reduction.

Ishir Seth, Tanvi Kapur, Beatriz Go, WenTao Zhang: Y-Prize

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caption:Ishir Seth, Tanvi Kapur, Beatriz Go, and WenTao ZhangIshir Seth (C’20,W’20), Tanvi Kapur (W’19), Beatriz Go (W’19) and WenTao Zhang (C’19,W’19) make up the winning team, Nosoco Technologies, of this year’s Y-Prize. They will receive $10,000 for their plans for a new, improved catheter designed to stop infections at the source. They will also be entered into the semi-final round of the Penn Startup Challenge. The idea was inspired by Mr. Zhang’s grandfather, who died from complications due to a catheter-related infection.

Their plan is to incorporate micro-size crevices into the catheter wall to prevent or disrupt the formation of biofilms, a super-thin slime of bacteria that clings to a surface. Many biofilms are harmless, but when “bad” bacteria band together, it can cause infection. For hospital patients who need a catheter, such infections are a serious problem that costs insurers and hospitals $3.5 billion a year in the United States alone.

The group has worked with researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine and CHOP on their idea, and now with the Y-Prize money, Nosoco will move toward testing the viability of the product. In vivo testing and clinical trials would come next.

The Y-Prize is a collaboration between Penn Engineering, Wharton’s William and Phyllis Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship and the Penn Center for Innovation. Applicants submit a video pitch explaining their idea, why it’s needed and how they plan to make it happen.

AT PENN

Events

Exploring Singing as a Survival Tool

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caption: Photograph by Melisa Cardona

March 7-10, the Annenberg Center will be hosting the world premiere of a new piece called Vessels in which seven women explore the transcendental possibilities of music during the Middle Passage. Set in an interactive, sculptural environment that invokes those infamous ships, this interdisciplinary, speculative history work explores singing as a survival tool. The work explores the question, what does freedom sound like in confinement?

The show takes place in the Harold Prince Theatre at 8 p.m. each night except for March 10, when the show begins at 7 p.m.

For tickets and more information, visit https://annenbergcenter.org/event/vessels

Vessels is a National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Junebug Productions in partnership with Annenberg Center Live and NPN/VAN.

Searching for Brilliant Witchhazels

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Events
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caption: Photograph by Marie IngegneriAt Morris Arboretum on Saturdays, March 2 & 9 at 2 p.m., knowledgeable guides will lead visitors on tours throughout the garden, searching for brilliant witchhazels. With more than 70 varieties growing in the garden, the Arboretum’s witchhazel collection is unparalleled in the area. These colorful and fragrant flowers are the perfect eye and nose candy for a winter day of outdoor fun.

Tours start from the Widener Visitor Center and are included with garden admission. Registration is not required. For more information, visit morrisarboretum.org

Morris Arboretum is one of more than 30 Philadelphia gardens in America’s Garden Capital. This 92-acre horticultural display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a beautiful and colorful landscape.

The official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, effective 1988, Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and accredited by the American Association of Museums. 

Update: February AT PENN

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Events
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Fitness and Learning

27    Research Tea: The Globalized Library; Molly Des Jardin and Michael Williams, Penn Libraries; 3 p.m.; Meyerson Conference Room, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library (Diversi-tea at the Library).

Readings and Signings

Penn Book Center

All events will be held at Penn Book Center.

Info: www.pennbookcenter.com/event

26    Blue Stoop Presents: Sophia Shalmiyev in conversation with Alina Pleskova; 6:30 p.m.

27    Jamal Elias on ‘Alef is for Allah’; 5:30 p.m.

28    Jonny Thakkar in conversation with Susan Sauvé Meyer; 6:30 p.m.

Special Events

28    Rare Disease Day; event to kick off the 6th Annual Million Dollar Bike Ride; 4-6 p.m.; TRL Lobby, Orphan Disease Center.; info: scharle@upenn.edu (Orphan Disease Center).

Talks

26    Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth and How to Fix It; Dambisa Moyo, economist; 6 p.m.; Hall of Flags, Houston Hall (SAS).

        Gravitational Waves: A Window Into Black Holes and the Early Universe; panel discussion; 6  p.m.; Amado Recital Hall, Irvine Auditorium (SAS).

27    Eric and Beth Schlager Lecture on Entrepreneurship; Matthew J. Lustig, Lazard; 6 p.m.; rm. B-11, Vance Hall (Wharton).

AT PENN Deadlines

The March AT PENN calendar is now online. The deadline for the April AT PENN is March 11.

Crimes

Weekly Crime Reports

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Crimes
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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 February 11-17, 2019View 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 for the dates of February 11-17, 2019. The University Police actively patrol from Market St to Baltimore and 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.

02/12/19         3:56 PM           3925 Walnut St           Merchandise taken without payment

02/12/19         5:03 PM           3400 Spruce St            Unwanted text, emails, phone calls received

02/12/19         6:05 PM           3637 Chestnut St        Complainant threatened by male

02/12/19         7:30 PM           4001 Walnut St           Male arrested for retail theft

02/13/19         12:41 PM         3620 Locust Walk       Apple charging cord taken

02/13/19         5:40 PM           3910 Irving St              Secured bike taken from bike rack

02/13/19         6:24 PM           3701 Walnut St           iPhone and wallet taken

02/13/19         8:19 PM           3600 Sansom St          Credit card, apartment card and ID taken

02/13/19         11:32 PM         3701 Walnut St           iPhone and credit card taken

02/14/19         1:20 PM           4001 Walnut St           Merchandise taken without payment/Arrest

02/15/19         5:35 AM          3400 Spruce St            Gold chain taken while in hospital

02/15/19         7:34 PM           3800 Chestnut St        Complainant assaulted by unknown male

02/15/19         10:31 AM        4200 Chestnut St        Items taken from glove box of vehicle

02/16/19         12:12 AM        4100 Spruce St            Offender exhibited public drunkenness/Arrest

02/16/19         12:31 PM         3925 Walnut St           Unknown male took merchandise without payment

02/17/19         4:31 AM          4201 Walnut St           Juveniles took merchandise; one had handgun

02/17/19         11:59 AM        3400 Spruce St            Complainant assaulted by boyfriend/Arrest

18th District

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 7 incidents (2 domestic assaults, 2 robberies and 3 assaults) with 1 arrest were reported between February 11-17, 2019 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

02/11/19         11:50 AM        3730 Walnut St           Assault

02/12/19         7:17 PM           4800 Osage Ave          Robbery

02/13/19         6:15 PM           3600 Market St           Assault

02/15/19         8:29 PM           3800 Chestnut St        Assault

02/16/19         12:47 AM        4719 Springfield Ave   Domestic Assault

02/17/19         4:07 AM          4201 Walnut St            Robbery

02/17/19         1:00 PM           3400 Spruce St           Domestic Assault/Arrest

Bulletins

One Step Ahead: Protection from Malware

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Bulletins
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Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy

Protection from Malware

Malware targeting smartphones to secretly steal sensitive data from infected devices or to use the infected device as a host to launch other attacks on secure networks are on the rise according to several 2018 news reports. Such malware may harvest device information, including voicemail, videos, contacts, other user data and saved wi-fi networks.

Malware can be installed on your smartphone in several ways:

  • An app in the marketplace or store may be infected or compromised or the creator may have programmed the app to access specific data.
  • Downloading an infected app from outside the official app stores, also known as side loading
  • A phishing text with an infected link, or a link directing the user to a malicious download
  • An ad that appears to be normal lures the user to click on the ad. Some ads may take over the whole screen, forcing the user to touch the screen which immediately installs the malware.
  • Leaving your phone unattended or sharing your phone with individuals you don’t know may provide an opportunity for someone to install malware on your device before handing the phone back to you.

Phone malware may not show any immediate symptoms. You may notice something is wrong after receiving a very high data bill. To protect your device and your data from malware:

  • Download apps from the official app stores, Google Play or the Apple App store. Assess whether the developer is new or well-known, and if the app new or talked about in the trusted media.
  • Delete any texts you are not expecting and avoid clicking on links in texts.
  • Review the permissions of your applications to make sure you understand what they are sharing.

To check iOS privacy permissions:

  1. Settings
  2. Privacy
  3. Select app to view privacy settings

For Android devices:

  1. Settings
  2. Apps & notifications
  3. Select app
  4. Permissions

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: https://www.isc.upenn.edu/security/news-alerts#One-Step-Ahead

Form 1095-C to Arrive Soon

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Bulletins
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Although there has been a lot of public discussion about possible changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal law still requires that Penn send the 1095-C tax form to certain benefits-eligible faculty and staff members. This form includes information about the health insurance coverage offered to you by Penn as well as information for each of your family members enrolled under your Penn benefits plan.

You will receive this form if you:

  • worked as a full-time benefits-eligible staff or faculty member in 2018, even if you have not enrolled in a Penn plan,
  • are a part-time benefits eligible staff or faculty member enrolled in a Penn benefit plan at any point in 2018, or
  • worked at Penn an average of 30 or more hours per week in 2018 and were offered ACA benefits coverage.

The 1095-C form will be mailed and available online on or before February 28, 2019. To access your form online, go to the “My Pay” section of the secure U@Penn portal at www.upenn.edu/u@penn, select “My 1095-C form.”

If you have questions about your form, call Equifax at (855) 823-3728. When prompted for your employee ID number, enter your social security number to speak to a customer service representative.

While you do not need to attach your 1095-C to your tax return when filing, keep it for your records as it provides proof of qualifying health coverage.

The IRS uses the information from the 1095-C to determine who will need to make a Shared Responsibility Payment for failing to have healthcare coverage as required by the Affordable Care Act.

For general information about Form 1095-C, visit the IRS webpages: Q&A about Form 1095-C at https://tinyurl.com/y59rfu56 and Affordable Care Act & Taxes at a Glance at https://tinyurl.com/y5cf4cc5

—Division of Human Resources.

No Almanac During Spring Break

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Bulletins
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There is no issue on March 5, during Spring Break, but staff will still be available to accept content submissions for future issues. Almanac will resume weekly publication on March 12. The deadline is March 4.

Spring Break Tennis Camp March 25-29

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Bulletins
  • print

This camp is for tennis players ages 5 to 14 and runs Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., lunch included, and Friday 9 a.m.-noon. Sign up for the full camp for $520, or drop in Monday-Thursday for $130/day, Friday for $65. Call (215) 898-4741 to register.

Penn Summer Soccer Academy

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Bulletins
  • print

In addition to the many programs and camps listed in the January 29 Almanac supplement, here is one more for the upcoming 2019 summer.

Penn Summer Soccer Academy

June 10-14, July 15-19 and July 22-26. For boys and girls ages 5-13, these camps are run by the Penn women’s soccer coaching staff and current players. It is held at Penn Park, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and features a slate of fun, age-appropriate soccer games and exercises! Cost: $320/week; discount for Penn employees. Register: www.pennsocceracademy.com

Talk About Teaching & Learning

Coaching Students in Data Analysis

  • February 26, 2019
  • vol 65 issue 25
  • Talk About Teaching & Learning
  • print

Since 2012, I have taught introductory probability and statistics, Econ 103, to just under 1,000 undergraduate economics majors. Econ 103 had a bad reputation when I began teaching it: relatively few undergraduates are excited about a 9 a.m. mandatory statistics course. Full of energy as a new assistant professor, I redesigned Econ 103 from the ground up. Course evaluations improved substantially, and I happily declared victory. Student evaluations are one thing but practical data analysis skills, I have discovered, are another. The experience of working with two undergraduate research assistants in 2015—both of whom were extremely bright and had taken my Econ 103 course—revealed just how many of the data analysis skills I take for granted were never taught in a course, but instead acquired through years of practice, trial and error. Ever since, I have wanted to design a course that would help students come to grips with substantive applied data analysis. 

This past fall I was given carte blanche by my undergraduate chair to develop a new undergraduate elective course in econometrics. The result was Econ 224: Statistical Learning and Causal Inference for Economics, a course covering the basics of statistical learning, a.k.a. “machine learning,” along with modern tools for untangling causal relationships from non-experimental data. My main goal, however, was not so much to impart a body of theoretical knowledge as to coach students through the process of applied data analysis: acquiring, loading, cleaning, and analyzing data, and writing up the results using modern tools for reproducible research. For this reason, and with the help of a course development grant from the Center for Teaching and Learning, I chose to forgo the familiar lecture format and organize Econ 224 around structured, active, in-class learning (SAIL).

Before each class meeting, students completed a short reading assignment and a list of associated reading questions covering the topic for the day. Each week alternated between a statistical learning topic and a causal inference topic, drawn from the books An Introduction to Statistical Learning by James et al. and Mastering Metrics by Angrist and Pischke. To ensure that everyone came prepared, I began each class with a five minute quiz drawn directly from the reading questions. On the whole this system worked well. Students completed the readings as assigned and the quizzes did not appear to cause undue stress; because the quiz questions were known in advance, there was no uncertainty. After the quiz, I typically spent between 10 and 15 minutes answering student questions about the reading assignment. To help get things started, I usually began with a question of my own, often one that implied a criticism of something from the reading. A number of students told me that they particularly enjoyed this approach, because it stimulated them to approach the readings not as an unquestionable repository of truth, but as an argument to be engaged with and evaluated.

I allocated the bulk of each class period, between 50 and 60 minutes, to “labs,” structured assignments that students completed in groups of three to four while the TAs and I walked around the room to facilitate. Labs fell into two categories: tools and applications. The former focused on the nuts and bolts of implementing and interpreting methods from the assigned readings using the R statistical programming language, while the latter turned students loose on substantive data analysis problems, many of them drawn from influential recent papers in economics. All of the semester’s labs are available from the course website: www.ditraglia.com/econ224

The labs were undoubtedly the most challenging part of Econ 224, both to prepare and to facilitate. A problem I encountered early on was the difficulty of gauging how much time would be required for in-class exercises. My earliest labs, for example, were more than double the correct length. This turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise, however, as I simultaneously discovered how time-consuming it was to prepare effective active learning exercises. A related challenge was the wide variation in students’ background knowledge. While some were double majors in computer science and economics, for example, others had never encountered any form of computer programming before. Differences in background are challenging in any class, of course, but active learning makes these differences much more apparent. After only one semester of SAIL teaching, I cannot claim to have hit upon the ideal solution, but two things strike me as crucial. The first is forming effective groups. There seems to be some debate among SAIL instructors as to whether students should be grouped at random, grouped based on background knowledge, or left free to choose their own groups. In the end, I tried a little of each. What is clear, however, is that the same students were much more productive in the right group. The second is having adequate TA support. A typical lab in Econ 224 had roughly one facilitator—i.e. TA or instructor—for each three groups of students. This ratio was small enough that we could devote attention to groups that encountered difficulty, particularly early in the semester. This “triage” approach worked extremely well, dramatically narrowing the initial gap in computing background. 

Grades in Econ 224 were based on quizzes, problem sets, class participation and a final project. My intention was for the projects to encompass all aspects of a real-world data analysis: posing a question, finding and cleaning data, choosing appropriate statistical methods, implementing them using R and writing up the results in a professional-quality, reproducible report. I initially planned for students to complete their projects in groups of three to four. This idea proved so unpopular, however, that I allowed the students to vote. In the end, all of them chose to work independently. Because it was impractical for one person to give meaningful advice on 41 projects, I assigned each student a “project supervisor,” either the instructor or a TA, and used private discussion threads on the discussion board Piazza to keep track of each student’s project feedback. This allowed me to check on any student, should the need arise, while ensuring that all of them received meaningful feedback both in and out of class. 

After reading 300 pages of student projects, and considerably fewer pages of student evaluations, I am prepared to declare Econ 224 a success. Students enjoyed the SAIL format. Attendance was high, and I had no difficulty keeping them focused during labs. More importantly, even those who initially struggled with R had no trouble carrying out basic programming, data manipulation and analysis tasks by the end of the semester. The code students submitted with their final projects was generally clean and well-documented, and the projects themselves were on the whole competently done. In-class labs gave students considerable practice working with data in R, and this practice clearly paid off. This is the most important lesson that I have drawn from teaching a SAIL course: students improve if you give them constant feedback and opportunities to practice. Creating such opportunities takes work, and giving effective feedback takes practice, but my experience with Econ 224 was an overwhelmingly positive one.

Francis J. DiTraglia is an assistant professor of economics in SAS, a member of the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences, at Penn Engineering and a visiting researcher at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank.

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.