Talk About Teaching & Learning


Jeb Bush: Presidential Professor of Practice for Academic Year 2018-2019

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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caption: Jeb BushUniversity of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett announced that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has been named a non-resident Presidential Professor of Practice for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Penn’s Presidential Professors of Practice program brings to campus eminent practitioners in public affairs whose unique experiences and diverse perspectives enrich Penn’s mission and culture. As a Presidential Professor of Practice, Governor Bush will engage with Penn faculty and students in multiple ways, including participating in classes, lectures and campus events, as well as select major Penn functions. He will be on campus approximately one to two days per month.

“Governor Bush is a man of exceptional character who has committed his life to public service and civic engagement,” said President Amy Gutmann. “As the 43rd governor of Florida from 1999 through 2007, Governor Bush championed policies to stimulate economic growth and create jobs, lower government spending, transform education and dramatically expand conservation of the Everglades. He also earned plaudits for his outstanding leadership during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, when eight storms ravaged Florida over a 16-month period. Governor Bush will enrich our campus with the passion and expertise he brings to timely and important conversations.”

“The University of Pennsylvania is one of the finest academic institutions in America, and I thank President Gutmann for the invitation to join the Penn community this year,” said Governor Bush. “At a time when our politics and culture can be polarizing and coarse, there is a tremendous need to foster civil discourse on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing our country. I look forward to engaging with Penn students and faculty on a range of public policy issues in the months to come.”

Governor Bush’s affiliation at Penn will be with the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy in the School of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 2017 through a donation (Almanac August 29, 2017) from alumna and trustee emerita Andrea Mitchell and her husband, Alan Greenspan, the Center provides an unparalleled platform for students and faculty to explore aspects of democracy, while promoting open dialogue and understanding of the key issues of the day. The Andrea Mitchell Center is located in the new Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.

“Presidential Practice Professorships are a significant component of President Gutmann’s Penn Compact 2022,” said Provost Pritchett. “Bringing national leaders from diverse political viewpoints to Penn advances knowledge-based public policy on challenging societal questions. We welcome Governor Bush’s unique perspective on the important issues of our day.  His affiliation with Penn will be a tremendous asset to students and faculty alike.”

Governor Bush is familiar to the Penn community for his contributions as a panelist in the 2018 David and Lyn Silfen University Forum, People and Policy Adrift: A 21st Century Framework for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Immigration Policy, which exemplified Penn’s commitment to engaging diverse perspectives on challenging and timely topics. He is also no stranger to Philadelphia, having served as chair of the Board of Trustees at the National Constitution Center, where he helped spur more robust engagement around our nation’s founding charter and the values and ideals for which the nation stands.

Governor Bush, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, has written three books: Profiles in Character; Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution; and Reply All: A Governor’s Story 1999-2007.

He is currently chairman of Dock Square Capital LLC, a merchant bank headquartered in Miami. He maintains his passion for improving the quality of education for students across the country by serving as the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national non-profit education reform organization he founded to transform education in America.  Governor Bush lives in Miami with his wife, Columba. They have three children and four grandchildren.

Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies: Online Bachelor’s Degree

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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The University of Pennsylvania announced that the School of Arts and Sciences’ College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) has launched a new program that, for the first time, makes an Ivy League bachelor’s degree accessible online. Beginning in the fall of 2019, the Penn LPS Online platform will offer a fully-accredited, online education from Penn for working adults and other non-traditional students.

Nora Lewis, Penn Arts and Sciences’ vice dean of professional and liberal education, said, “The goal of this new platform is to make an Arts and Sciences education more accessible, flexible and affordable for working adults. Penn LPS Online redefines the notion of who can get an Ivy League education by making it accessible to anyone who demonstrates the ambition and potential to earn it, without sacrificing the quality of the education offered.”

The new bachelor of applied arts and sciences (BAAS) degree combines general-education requirements and interdisciplinary concentrations. The program, designed by an advisory board of Penn Arts and Sciences standing faculty, is distinctive for its emphasis on connecting a liberal arts education to professional and career outcomes. An additional advisory board involving management executives from more than 20 regional, national and global employers is working with LPS to advise on workforce trends and the skills necessary for students to be successful in their careers.

Steven J. Fluharty, dean of Penn Arts and Sciences and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience, said, “This new degree is unique among our peers and places Penn at the forefront in creatively meeting the expanding need for adult education in the liberal arts. I’m proud that Penn’s innovative faculty are opening doors for more students to learn and to become empowered by education. In the United States today, only 30 percent of adults over the age of 25 have completed a bachelor’s degree, and with this new initiative LPS is moving forward to meet this educational need.” While other institutions have programs that combine online and on-campus course requirements, the Penn BAAS degree requirements are met almost entirely online, with two limited on-campus experiences designed to be accessible to working professionals. The program, Ms. Lewis says, builds upon 20 years of experimentation with online teaching by Penn Arts and Sciences faculty.

Peter Struck, professor of classical studies, has taught online at Penn for more than 15 years and says it has been an amazing experience. “The technology has advanced to a point now where new things are possible,” said Dr. Struck, who is also chair of the Arts and Sciences Online Faculty Committee. “We’re not just trying to replicate what happens in a live classroom but to innovate a different kind of education around the unique possibilities of an online environment.”

“Teaching all-online courses has completely refreshed my pedagogy,” said Al Filreis, Kelly Family Professor of English, who has taught modern poetry online since 1995. “My students are intergenerational, diverse in all ways, typically geographically far-flung and often living in communities underserved by educational resources. They challenge me with intensely intellectual but often nonacademic questions, bringing into being the best sort of ideas-based community.”

In addition to the BAAS, Penn LPS Online is launching for-credit certificate programs. Initial offerings include programs in leadership and communication, creative writing, and professional writing, with additional certificates in applied positive psychology, data analytics, modern Middle Eastern studies and climate change scheduled to launch during the next year. Students will have the option to take single courses or to earn the certificate by completing four to five courses. Each course is designed and developed by Penn faculty to be highly interactive, including ongoing feedback from instructors and peers.

Applications for certificates and the BAAS program are now open. Additional information is available at

Penn Medicine and Grand View Health Alliance

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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The University of Pennsylvania Health System and Grand View Health announced a new alliance focused on the development of joint clinical care programs to improve health care in Bucks and Montgomery counties and the surrounding areas.

“Penn Medicine is thrilled to expand our relationship with Grand View Health. This new alliance serves to fortify our shared dedication to providing patients with high-quality care close to home, while also giving patients new avenues for coordinated access to the expertise of a world-renowned academic health system,” said Ralph W. Muller, CEO of UPHS.

The new alliance will leverage Penn Medicine and Grand View’s existing partnership, which began in March 2018 when Grand View became a member of the Penn Cancer Network. In addition to the advanced clinical care and technological resources of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, including an extensive clinical trials program offering some of the nation’s most pioneering approaches to treating cancer, the alliance will provide patients with unprecedented access to Penn Medicine’s cutting-edge programs and expertise across multiple disciplines.

Leaders at both Penn Medicine and Grand View Health will work together to develop state-of-the-art specialty programs in complex areas including surgery, orthopaedics and trauma. Penn Medicine and Grand View will also explore opportunities to develop new ambulatory sites, giving patients even more opportunities to access advanced care in their own community.

“We’ve already seen our patients benefit from our Penn Cancer Network membership,” said Jean M. Keeler, president and CEO of Grand View Health. “With this new alliance, we will further unite in our shared mission to build a healthier community for our growing and diverse patient populations.”

The strategic alliance will also create opportunities for Grand View medical staff members to collaborate with their peers at Penn Medicine on research and innovation initiatives.

While the new alliance will mean more shared programs between Grand View and Penn Medicine, Grand View Health will remain an independent health system, which includes a 200-bed inpatient facility in Sellersville, PA, and five outpatient centers throughout Bucks and Montgomery counties. 

Penn Medicine, Penn Nursing, and Vingroup: Advancing Medical Education and Clinical Care in Vietnam

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing have launched a formal alliance with the Vingroup—an enterprise that encompasses a newly formed private not-for-profit university project, VinUni, as well as the largest and leading private health service provider in Vietnam, Vinmec—in an effort to improve health care and to create new undergraduate and graduate medical training programs in Vietnam.

“Penn is proud to share our 250 years of experience in research and clinical care—steeped in innovation, education and community service—to help train, educate and provide better care to the citizens around the world,” said J. Larry Jameson, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine.

The partnership will focus initially on the establishment of medical and nursing schools within VinUni and on the enhancement of graduate medical education and health-care programs within the Vinmec Health Care System. Together, Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing will also work to develop the undergraduate curriculum and align faculty and institutional support structures to establish high caliber educational and training programs.

“The Penn Center for Global Health currently operates Centers of Engagement in Africa and Latin America; extending our reach into Vietnam with the new Center of Engagement in Southeast Asia was a natural step, and a very exciting one for Penn, global health as a whole and most importantly for the people of Vietnam,” said project director Glen Gaulton, vice dean and director of Penn’s Center for Global Health.

Vietnam, a country of roughly 96 million people, has significant disparities in both the access to and provision of health care. The partnership will provide opportunities to implement effective public health approaches such as preventative medicine, mobile health technologies and population-scale “big-data” analytics. The new initiative is part of the Center for Global Health’s strategy of establishing Regional Centers of Engagement to address disparities in health equity worldwide through efforts that unite Penn Medicine’s missions of education, research, clinical care and community service.

“The Center of Engagement in Southeast Asia and our partnership with the Vingroup represents a unique opportunity for Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing to innovate in interdisciplinary education and to provide faculty and trainees opportunities at VinUni and Penn to engage in studies to improve the health of the Vietnamese people,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel.

Penn will also support the Vinmec Health Care System to enhance the quality of care and clinical training, initially at the International Hospital in Times City, Hanoi. The ultimate goal is to build a new VinUni/Vinmec teaching hospital in Hanoi, along with future plans to create the medical residency training programs and a robust clinical research portfolio focused on translational medicine.

“The University of Pennsylvania, Penn Nursing and Penn Medicine have set a world-class standard in education and have a very well-deserved global reputation,” said Le Thuy Anh, Vinmec CEO. “Penn has exemplified a standard of excellence that we hope to achieve. And of course, with its legacy of excellence in education and clinical practice, Penn gives us confidence that we are collaborating with one of the leaders in the world.”

Penn will form joint working groups with colleagues in Vinmec and VinUni led from Penn by Gail Morrison, the William Maul Measey President’s Distinguished Professor in Medical Education in PSOM; Lee Fleisher, department of anesthesiology and critical care chair, Robert Dunning Dripps Professor of Anesthesia, and professor of medicine in PSOM; Julie Sochalski, associate professor of nursing, associate dean for academic programs and Class of 1965 25th Reunion Term Chair in the School of Nursing; Lisa Bellini, vice dean for academic affairs, professor of medicine, vice chair of education and inpatient services in the department of medicine in PSOM; and Dr. Gaulton to advance the project goals.

Megan Ryerson: PennDesign Associate Dean for Research

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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caption: Megan RyersonPennDesign Dean and Paley Professor Frederick Steiner has named Megan Ryerson associate dean for research as part of a wider initiative to advance and diversify The School of Design’s growing research agenda. Dr. Ryerson is an assistant professor of city and regional planning who has a secondary appointment in the department of electrical and systems engineering at Penn Engineering. She has chaired the research committee at PennDesign since 2017.

Dean Steiner said, “Along with an impressive track record in her own research, Professor Ryerson brings tremendous energy and vision to her new role.”

Dr. Ryerson and her team design algorithms and methods to address cross-disciplinary transportation planning challenges, such as the introduction of autonomous vehicles and new infrastructure design strategies for pedestrian and bicycle safety to improve accessibility and mobility. She is the research director of the Mobility21 Transportation Research Center, a national University Transportation Center, a senior fellow at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a member of the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics. Dr. Ryerson serves on the Board of Advisors of The Eno Center for Transportation, the Program Committee for the International Conference on Research in Air Transportation, two Transportation Research Board committees, and the Board of Advisors of the Los Angeles Metro Office of Extraordinary Innovation. In 2015, Dr. Ryerson was named “Woman of the Year” by the Women’s Transportation Seminar Philadelphia Chapter. She received a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 and a BS in systems engineering from Penn in 2003.

Twenty-Five Year Club: New Members for 2018

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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Since 1956, Penn has celebrated a rite of passage each year for faculty and staff who meet one common requisite: they have been members of the University community for 25 years. Another 158 new members crossed the 25-year mark in 2018 and will be welcomed at the University of Pennsylvania annual 25-Year Club celebration on Thursday, October 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Houston Hall. Registration is required to attend, and guests are asked to register at For more information call (215) 898-3463 or email

This event is presented by Penn’s Division of Human Resources.

The New Bolton Center will have a separate celebration on Wednesday October 17. David Holt will speak at 4 p.m. about his cancer research at the Ryan Hospital. Cocktails will be at the Allam House from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and dinner will follow at the Alumni Hall. Guests are asked to contact Anne Drumeheller at to register.

Michael A. Acker, Perelman School of Medicine

Paul H. Axelsen, Perelman School of Medicine

Jeffrey A. Babin, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Marisa S. Bartolomei, Perelman School of Medicine

Paul Batastini, Jr., School of Dental Medicine

Marta M. Bates, School of Veterinary Medicine

Nancy A. Bentley, School of Arts and Sciences

Richard Wayne Berman, School of Arts and Sciences

Maureen J. Bernfield, Perelman School of Medicine

Michael T. Blakley, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Steven Blum, Wharton School

Gordon Bodnar, Wharton School

Kathryn H. Bowles, School of Nursing

David J. Bozentka, Perelman School of Medicine

Garrett M. Brodeur, Perelman School of Medicine

Linda Denise Burton, Perelman School of Medicine

Barbara Cavanaugh, University Library

Ara A. Chalian, Perelman School of Medicine

Mary Y. Chin, Perelman School of Medicine

Melpo Christofidou, Perelman School of Medicine

Denise E. Clifton, School of Veterinary Medicine

Meryl Cohen, Perelman School of Medicine

Christopher R. Cook, Information Systems and Computing

Cynthia Cronin-Kardon, University Library

Edward T. Crotty, School of Arts and Sciences

Joseph G.P. Cruz, Wharton School

Andrew J. Cucchiara, Perelman School of Medicine

Patricia O’Brien D’Antonio, School of Nursing

Pauline V. Darden, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Frederick R. Dickinson, School of Arts and Sciences

Dennis A. Disbrow, Development and Alumni Relations

Marcia Dotson, School of Arts and Sciences

Amy M. Eader, School of Arts and Sciences

Pamela J. Erney, Executive Vice President

Anthony P. Esposito, School of Arts and Sciences

Ann C. Farnsworth-Alvear, School of Arts and Sciences

Jeffrey Michael Field, Perelman School of Medicine

Annette Fierro, School of Design

Loretta Flanagan-Cato, School of Arts and Sciences

Howard Paul Fraiman, School of Dental Medicine

Brenda Fraser, President’s Center

Steven Fredricks, Information Systems and Computing

Lisa Jane Futch, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Gale Garrison, School of Arts and Sciences

Gregory G. Ginsberg, Perelman School of Medicine

Joseph V. Giorla, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Lisa A. Goodrich, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Antonella Grassi, School of Arts and Sciences

Kathryn J. Griffo, Development and Alumni Relations

Adda Grimberg, Perelman School of Medicine

Erika N. Gross, Student

Sung Y. Gwak, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Kevin Ross Hardy, Perelman School of Medicine

Ellena F. Hayes, Perelman School of Medicine

Stephen Heim, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Rebecka S. Hess, School of Veterinary Medicine

Thomas C. Hettinger, Information Systems and Computing

Janet M. Hines, Perelman School of Medicine

Margaret Holloday, Perelman School of Medicine

Lynn Hunter, School of Veterinary Medicine

Michael Imbalzano, Perelman School of Medicine

Cynthia Jacobstein, Perelman School of Medicine

Abbas F. Jawad, Perelman School of Medicine

Michael Kaplan, School of Arts and Sciences

Joann M. Kent, Wharton School

Mary T. Keough, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Sherriann King, Graduate School of Education

Alexandre A. Kirillov, School of Arts and Sciences

Nathan B. Kobrin, School of Dental Medicine

Michael L. Kochman, Perelman School of Medicine

John C. Kucharczuk, Perelman School of Medicine

Seth Kulick, School of Arts and Sciences

Nancy Kusik, School of Veterinary Medicine

Paula T. Lahann, Student Services

Xay Lam, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Ann M. Lee, Facilities and Real Estate Services

John M. Leferovich, Perelman School of Medicine

Donald Lewis, Residential and Hospitality Services

Grant T. Liu, Perelman School of Medicine

Margaret M. Lizotte, Perelman School of Medicine

Laurie A. Loevner, Perelman School of Medicine

Albert John Louie, School of Social Policy and Practice

Paul J. Marcotte, Perelman School of Medicine

Ellen M. Martin, Perelman School of Medicine

Christina Master, Perelman School of Medicine

Michael F. Mavracick, School of Veterinary Medicine

Rebecca A. Maynard, Graduate School of Education

Kevin  McBride, School of Veterinary Medicine

Helen McFie-Simone, School of Arts and Sciences

Annie McKee, Graduate School of Education

David C. Metz, Perelman School of Medicine

Maureen P. Miller, School of Arts and Sciences

Natasha Mirza, Perelman School of Medicine

Olivia S. Mitchell, Wharton School

Anthony W. Montagna, Perelman School of Medicine

Kathleen A. Moosbrugger, Perelman School of Medicine

Vladimir R. Muzykantov, Perelman School of Medicine

Sergei S. Nikonov, Perelman School of Medicine

Harvey L. Nisenbaum, Perelman School of Medicine

Anne Norton, School of Arts and Sciences

Christopher Pastore, School of Arts and Sciences

Steven S. Paul, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Robert Persing, University Library

Ellen Peskin, Perelman School of Medicine

Mary Ann Pickel, School of Veterinary Medicine

Jill C. Posner, Perelman School of Medicine

John T. Prendergast, Development and Alumni Relations

Abdolrahim Rajaei-Rizi, Perelman School of Medicine

Elizabeth B. Rand, Perelman School of Medicine

Cheryl A. Randall, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Steven Eugene Raper, Perelman School of Medicine

Patrick M. Reilly, Perelman School of Medicine

James J. Riley, Perelman School of Medicine

Gwyn Meredith Roberts, School of Arts and Sciences

Josephine S. Rook, Provost’s Center

Lori Rosenkopf, Wharton School

David Roush, Law School

Matthew H. Rusk, Perelman School of Medicine

Pamela L. Sankar, Perelman School of Medicine

Amita Sehgal-Field, Perelman School of Medicine

James A. Serpell, School of Veterinary Medicine

John T. Seykora, Perelman School of Medicine

Doris M. Shank, Perelman School of Medicine

Dennis A. Sharkey III, School of Dental Medicine

Trudi Sippola, Human Resources

Thomas Sollecito, School of Dental Medicine

Karin Sorenmo, School of Veterinary Medicine

Vivian Stacy, School of Veterinary Medicine

Joseph A. Styers, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Kathleen E. Sullivan, Perelman School of Medicine

Jing Sun, Perelman School of Medicine

Oriol Sunyer, School of Veterinary Medicine

Meenakshi Swaminathan, Perelman School of Medicine

Robert Terrell, President’s Center

Margaret Mary Thomas, School of Arts and Sciences

Isobel Ann Thompson, Information Systems and Computing

Deborah Tiller, School of Nursing

Raymond R. Townsend, Perelman School of Medicine

John C. Trueswell, School of Arts and Sciences

Adrian Tschoegl, Wharton School

Karl Thatcher Ulrich, Wharton School

Kathleen Valentine, Perelman School of Medicine

Elena N. Vasserman, Perelman School of Medicine

Lada Vassilieva, School of Arts and Sciences

Mariusz Wasik, Perelman School of Medicine

Richard Paul Waterman, Wharton School

Laura E. Weber, School of Arts and Sciences

Joann M. Weeks, School of Arts and Sciences

Rosemary A. Welsh, Perelman School of Medicine

Beth S. Wenger, School of Arts and Sciences

Joshua R. Wetherbee, School of Arts and Sciences

William Whitaker, School of Design

James M. Wilson, Perelman School of Medicine

Jerel Wohl, Law School

Grace Mei-Hui Wu, School of Arts and Sciences

Shuwen Xu, Perelman School of Medicine

Deborah Zampitella, Facilities and Real Estate Services

Babette S. Zemel, Perelman School of Medicine

Richard Gelles: Managing Faculty Director of Field Center

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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SP2 Dean John L. Jackson, Jr., named Richard J. Gelles, the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence and former dean of SP2, as the managing faculty director of the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, effective summer 2018.

Dr. Gelles was the Field Center’s founding co-faculty director when it launched in 1999 and is a stalwart, driving figure in the mission to enhance and ensure the well-being of at-risk children. As managing faculty director, he will integrate and unify the work of researchers, students, practitioners, community partners and the Center’s team of faculty directors and staff.

Dr. Gelles’ most recent book, Out of Harm’s Way: Creating an Effective Child Welfare System, identifies four fundamental flaws in the current child-welfare system and offers clear solutions to each, without requiring a systemic overhaul. Dr. Gelles recently launched a six-module online course, Creating an Effective Child Welfare System. One of edX’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), it provides a comprehensive overview of child protective services and prompts learners to develop strategies for improving both policy and practice.

Shlomo Benartzi: Distinguished Senior Fellow BCFG Initiative

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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caption: Shlomo BenartziShlomo Benartzi has been named a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Behavior Change for Good (BCFG) Initiative (Almanac September 18, 2018).

BCFG unites a world-class, interdisciplinary team of scientists with leading practitioners in education, health care and financial services to test interventions intended to make behavior change stick. Dr. Benartzi will focus on applied behavioral economics and financial decision-making for lasting behavior change.

Dr. Benartzi is a professor and co-founder of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at the Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles. He received his PhD from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management in 1994. A behavioral economist, Dr. Benartzi works on creating digital nudges that leverage technology to test and scale up interventions capable of helping millions make better financial decisions.

Dr. Benartzi, with Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler, pioneered the Save More Tomorrow™ (SMarT) program, a behavioral program that nudges employees to increase their savings rates gradually over time. In their original research, Dr. Benartzi and Dr. Thaler found that SMarT increased employee savings rates from 3.5 percent to 13.6 percent. The SMarT program is now offered by more than half of the large retirement plans in the US and a growing number of plans in Australia and the UK. The program has also been incorporated into the Pension Protection Act of 2006, enabling approximately 15 million Americans to boost their retirement savings.

As a BCFG Distinguished Senior Fellow, Dr. Benartzi will work with Penn Professors and BCFG Co-Directors Angela Duckworth, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology, and  Wharton’s Katherine Milkman to develop partnerships and programs designed to improve people’s long-term financial security. Dr. Benartzi’s extensive experience using science and technology to help people make better financial decisions will be instrumental to BCFG’s endeavors in this domain.

“Angela and I are delighted that Shlomo Benartzi, who was already a valued member of the Behavior Change for Good Scientific Team, has taken on this new and important role,“ says Dr. Milkman. “Our Initiative will benefit immensely from his expertise, and I expect that he will make key contributions to BCFG’s strategy moving forward.”

Penn Law’s Quattrone Center’s Grants to Penn Faculty Researching Ways to Improve Fairness of US Justice System

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School is now accepting proposals to fund original research projects that will generate new knowledge that can improve the US criminal justice system. The program is open to all Penn faculty.

“The Quattrone Center takes an interdisciplinary, data-driven and systemic approach to understanding the errors in the criminal justice system and proposing solutions to enhance fairness,” said Paul Heaton, senior fellow and academic director of the Center. “We’re excited about the possibilities this program presents to encourage new research that will prevent errors and further criminal justice reform efforts.”

The Quattrone Center anticipates funding multiple projects each academic year, with an average award size of roughly $50,000 per project.

The Center has previously funded proposals from Penn faculty in numerous schools and departments, including Penn Law, the School of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the School of Nursing and the Perelman School of Medicine.

Proposal submissions on any topic related to the Center’s mission will be considered, with particular consideration given to proposals that address the following issues:

• The plea-bargaining process; 

• Measuring and improving prosecutorial quality; 

• Pretrial reform; 

• Over-criminalization and sentencing policy; 

• Forensic science; and 

• White collar crime.  

Proposals will be selected through a peer review process. Reviewers will evaluate submissions using several criteria, including:

• Relevance to the mission of the Quattrone Center; 

• Project originality and innovation; 

• Feasibility of the research plan and appropriateness of methods; 

• The ability of the proposed research team to conduct the work as described; 

• Potential for the research to generate real-world impact; and 

• The likelihood that the project could catalyze future, follow-up on research. 

Funding proposals will be considered on a rolling basis.

Penn faculty may submit a proposal online at

Proposals should include a narrative of no more than three pages that describes the proposed research question and its significance, data and research methods and proposed deliverable (e.g. journal article, law review article, dataset, etc.). The narrative should also include a list of project personnel, projected completion date and requested funding amount. Submissions also require CVs of key personnel and a short itemized budget.

For questions regarding the grant program, contact Paul Heaton at

Penn Dental Medicine: Training in Use of NARCAN to Opioids Education

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that on average 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Yet, when an overdose emergency does occur, prompt action can save lives. That was the message to Penn Dental Medicine students at the first of a series of lectures on the only FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone to counteract the life-threatening effects in an opioid overdose, part of the School’s ongoing efforts to keep students and faculty informed and engaged in addressing the opioid crisis.

Approximately 150 Penn Dental Medicine students attended the August 24 presentation on the science and application of intranasal naloxone by ADAPT Pharma®, the manufacturers of NARCAN® (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray, the leading FDA-approved emergency treatment for opioid overdose, to health agencies, first responders and retail pharmacies. Additional lectures are planned to ensure all DMD students as well as postdoctoral students and faculty members will be trained in the use of this delivery system.

“Unfortunately, this is the epidemic of our time, and it does not discriminate,” said Dr. Mark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine. “We have been teaching our students how to reduce opioid prescriptions as practitioners, but with this training, we are taking it a step further. As health-care providers, we need to be trained on how to manage an emergency whether our patient or not. Our students are out in the community, and we want them equipped to respond—one of them may save a life.”

Designed for easy delivery with a spray in the nostril, the intranasal naloxone is given right away should an individual overdose with an opioid or show signs of a possible opioid overdose with breathing problems and severe sleepiness or not being able to respond. ADAPT Pharma® stresses that the spray does not take the place of emergency medical care, which should be called immediately after administration, but it temporarily reverses the effects of opioids.

In Pennsylvania and many other states, intranasal naloxone is available without a prescription, directly from a pharmacist. The cost will vary depending upon an individual’s insurance.  One Penn Dental Medicine student reports that with the health insurance she receives through the School, the co-pay for NARCAN® Nasal Spray at a local pharmacy was $40 for two doses with shelf life of approximately two years.

“Our students and faculty may have friends and family with opioids in the home and have concerns within the community at large. It’s important to make them aware of the protocols for use and the ease of access should they choose to acquire the spray,” noted Dean Wolff. Penn Dental Medicine is exploring adding intranasal naloxone to the School’s emergency crash carts.

“The ease of administration and safety of this drug also make it particularly beneficial in alleviating any apprehension someone may have in an emergency situation,” added Dr. Elliot Hersh, professor of pharmacology at Penn Dental Medicine. “If by chance a patient is unconscious with poor ventilation for some other reason like an alcohol overdose or insulin shock, the naloxone won’t make it worse.”

Dr. Hersh has been a leader in the study of non-addicting pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium for postsurgical dental pain and lectures extensively on the topic. “Over the past five years, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the opioids prescribed by dentists,” said Dr. Hersh, “but that is not going to help the many people that are currently misusing and are addicted to these drugs and are at significant risk for overdose and death. Our students must be prepared to deal with opioid overdose situations outside the School, and in the future, their practices, and intranasal naloxone is a potential life saver.”

MLK Community Involvement Recognition Awards: November 1

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
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“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Recognition Awards will be presented to five individuals in the following areas:

  • Community Award presented to two residents (youth and/or adult) of the greater Philadelphia community involved in community service and/or working for social justice efforts.
  • Community Award presented to a faculty or staff of the Penn community involved in community service and/or working for social justice efforts.
  • Community Award presented to a Penn student involved in community service and/or working for social justice efforts.
  • The Rodin Education Award presented to a Penn faculty, staff, student or Philadelphia resident who demonstrate significant contributions in community service and/or working for social justice efforts through the advancement of education and educational opportunities in Philadelphia.

The awards will be presented as part of the University’s commemoration of the MLK holiday during the Interfaith program. We seek your help in nominating individuals whose work most merits recognition. Please share this information with others in your families, communities, schools, departments and organizations so that we may identify those most deserving of this award.

Nomination forms may be submitted through November 1, 2018. Electronic submissions at: are preferred but not required. If you prefer sending by mail, please send to the African American Resource Center, attn: Colleen Winn, 3643 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA  19104-6230. Should you have any questions, please contact the African-American Resource Center at (215) 898-0104 or

—2019  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium Executive Planning Committee

Planning Programming for the 2019 MLK Symposium: November 30

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Each year, during the month of January, the University of Pennsylvania and our surrounding communities come together to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This commemoration includes a day of service on our campus and in the Philadelphia community on Monday, January 21, 2019, and continues with programming and events through Friday, February 1, 2019.

We invite your organization to plan a program in conjunction with this year’s symposium. Programs can include reflection, action and response on/to contemporary issues and should raise issues of social change, social justice and community engagement while incorporating Dr. King’s challenging vision to end racism and poverty, to strengthen and embrace diversity and to support free expression. All programs sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania will be publicized on the MLK 2019 website and on the January AT PENN calendar.

Before submitting a program please review the current MLK 2019 event calendar for similar programs or timing conflicts. To submit a program or event request, please visit the Penn MLK Symposium website:

You will find the link to the submission form on our calendar of events page.

The deadline for program submissions is Thursday, November 30, 2018.

If you have any further questions, email

Thank you for your consideration.

—2019  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium Executive Planning Committee

Women of Color Day 2019 Awards­—Call for Nominations: November 1

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To Members of the University and Surrounding Community:

The National Institute for Women of Color (NIWC) has proclaimed March 1 National Women of Color Day. Penn, UPHS, Presbyterian and Pennsylvania Hospital seek to increase awareness of the talents and achievements of women of color by recognizing them with the Women of Color Day Award.

The Women of Color Awards are given in recognition of individuals who have conscientiously endeavored to increase respect for women of color at Penn, University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, Presbyterian, Pennsylvania Hospitals and the Delaware Valley community. Annually, awards are given in up to five categories:

  • Helen O. Dickens Award
  • Joann Mitchell Outstanding Legacy Award
  • Faculty/Staff, Graduate or Professional Student Award
  • Undergraduate Student Award
  • Community Member Award
  • Nominees must be affiliated with UPHS, Presbyterian or Pennsylvania Hospital and/or the local Philadelphia area and have demonstrated:
  • Outstanding leadership
  • Distinguished service
  • Positive impact on the community
  • Commitment to enhancing quality of life for and/or serving as a role model for women of color
  • Joann Mitchell Outstanding Legacy Award nominee must have worked with the Women of Color Executive Planning Committee or have proven support through donations, event involvement and action advocacy of the WOCAP mission.

Nominations must be submitted on or before November 1, to: Isabel Sampson-Mapp at

Learn more about the 2019 WOCAP Day Awards Luncheon at:

—Women of Color Executive Planning Committee


Naomi Lynch, GSE

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Naomi Evers Lynch, a lifelong educator who began pursuing a doctoral degree at Penn’s GSE at the age of 61 and battled cancer for the duration of her time in the mid-career program in educational leadership, died September 2 in her home in Virginia. She was 64.

Ms. Lynch’s research focused on using civics lessons to help adolescents become engaged citizens with strong critical-thinking skills. She spent more than 40 years in classrooms around the globe.

She grew up in Atco, NJ, and was one of five black graduates in 1975 from Georgian Court College. She earned a master’s degree in adult and community college education from North Carolina State University. She also worked as a lead transition officer for the US Army Installation Management Command, supporting veterans moving into civilian life.

Ms. Lynch is survived by her two daughters.

Robert Venturi, Architecture

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caption: Robert VenturiRobert Venturi (H’80), Pritzker-prize winning architect and former PennDesign faculty member whose work can be seen across Penn’s campus, died September 18 at his home in Philadelphia from complications due to Alzheimer’s. He was 93.

Mr. Venturi, the pioneer of the post-modern architecture movement who lived by the mantra “less is a bore” and who embraced history, humor and diversity in his work, was born in Philadelphia. After attending Episcopal Academy in Merion, PA, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Princeton. After working for architects Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Louis Kahn (GAR’24) in Philadelphia and spending two years  as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, Mr. Venturi joined the faculty of Penn’s Graduate School of Fine Arts (now PennDesign) in 1957. He continued to teach at Penn until 1965. He also taught at Yale and Harvard. Mr. Venturi authored two key, influential books on architectural theory: Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1967) and Learning from Las Vegas (1972; with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour).

Mr. Venturi founded his own firm in 1965; his wife, Denise Scott Brown (GCP’60, GAR’65, H’94), whom he met at Penn, became a partner in 1969. Venturi Scott Brown & Associates (later renamed VSBA Architects & Planners) designed a number of internationally recognized buildings, including the Sainsbury Wing at the UK’s National Gallery; Gordon Wu Hall at Princeton; the Houston Children’s Museum; a huge government complex in Toulouse, France (Almanac January 23, 2001); and in Philadelphia, two early groundbreaking works, Guild House (1961-1966) and the Vanna Venturi House, designed for his mother. VSBA has been responsible for a number of architecture and campus planning commissions at Penn. Among them are the Clinical Research Building, the restoration of Fisher Fine Arts Library, the Roy and Diana Vagelos Laboratories and planning and design of alterations and additions to Houston Hall, Logan Hall (now Claudia Cohen Hall), Irvine Auditorium and Perelman Quadrangle. His close relationship with PennDesign continued to evolve over the course of his life. From 1985 to 2002, he served on the Board of Overseers.

In 1998, the firm began working with Penn’s Architectural Archives to establish the Venturi, Scott Brown Collection. In the subsequent two decades, they transferred drawings, models, photography and correspondence papers to the Archives, creating the most extensive documentation of their architectural and planning projects to be found anywhere in the world. (Almanac November 14, 2006). He retired from the firm in 2016.

He won the Pritzker prize in 1991, and, together with his wife, received the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, was an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Penn in 1980.

Mr. Venturi is survived by his wife Denise Scott Brown and his son, James. The family is planning a memorial to celebrate Mr. Venturi’s life; details will be announced.


David Asch, Gail Morrison, Stanley Plotkin: AAMC Awards

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caption: David Asch Three faculty members in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine have been selected to receive awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the professional organization of all 151 accredited medical schools in the United States and nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems nationwide. The winners of the awards will be honored at the AAMC annual meeting, in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, November 4.

David A. Asch, executive director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, the John Morgan Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics and Health Policy at PSOM, and professor of health-care management and operations, information and decisions at Wharton, will receive the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation David E. Rogers Award, given for “major contributions to improving the health and health care of the American people.” He is a pioneer in combining economic analysis with moral and psychological theory and marketing in behavioral economics.

caption: Gail Morrison Gail Morrison, the William Maul Measey President’s Distinguished Professor in Medical Education and former long-time senior vice dean for medical education, is one of four recipients of the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award. For decades she has led research, development and implementation of medical school curriculum changes at Penn and across the nation.

Stanley Plotkin, emeritus professor of pediatrics at Penn, will receive the  Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences. Among his notable advances in the field of vaccine research and development is the attenuated RA27/3 rubella virus vaccine, licensed in the United States in 1979 and now used worldwide.

caption: Stanley PlotkinAccording to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, his vaccine led to the eradication of rubella in the US and the Western Hemisphere. Today’s well- known MMR vaccine comprises the RA27/3 vaccineand vaccines for measles and mumps.

Matthew Breitenstein, Blanca Himes, Susan Yoon: NSF Grant

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caption: Matthew Breitensteincaption: Blanca Himescaption: Susan YoonMatthew Breitenstein, PSOM instructor of biomedical informatics, Blanca Himes, PSOM assistant professor of informatics in biostatistics and epidemiology, and Susan Yoon, Penn GSE professor in the teaching, learning and leadershipdivision, have received a grant of $1,036,108 from the National Science Foundation for the project “Professional Development Supports for Teaching Bioinformatics through Mobile Learning.” The project aims to help create an engaged population of informatics-informed students who are capable of critically analyzing information and able to solve local problems related to their health and well-being.

Manuel González Canché: National Academy of Education Grant

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Manuel S. González Canché, associate professor in the higher education division of Penn’s GSE, has received a $70,000 grant from the National Academy of Education. The grant is for his project “Overcoming the Geography of Disadvantage: A Spillovers Framework to Identify Structural Means to Enhance Community College Students’ Educational Outcomes Despite Their Location.”

Kate Kinney Grossman: Philly School Partnership Grant

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Kate Kinney Grossman, director of the Teacher Education Program in Penn’s GSE, has been granted $182,368 by the Philadelphia School Partnership. The award is for incubation of specialized coursework and fieldwork that supports pre-service teachers in the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program to enact Project Based Learning and/or use Design Thinking approaches in their classrooms.

Jorge Henao-Mejia: Burroughs Wellcome Fund Grant

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caption: Jorge Henao-MejiaJorge Henao-Mejia, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, has received the Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease (PATH) award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an independent foundation based in Research Triangle Park, NC, dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences. Dr. Henao-Mejia, who was one of 12 recipients, will receive $500,000 over five years.

Under the grant, Dr. Henao-Mejia will work to uncover how minute organisms in the gut contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes, findings which could pave the way for new treatments to reduce the growing number of people diagnosed with these medical conditions.

PATH awards provide support for assistant professors to bring multidisciplinary approaches to the study of human infectious diseases, with a focus on how the microbiota affects human health.

Deep Jariwala: Nano Letters Early Career Advisory Board

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caption: Deep Jariwala Deep Jariwala, Penn assistant professor in the department of electrical and systems engineering, has been named to the Early Career Advisory Board for The American Chemical Society’s journal Nano Letters. On the board, junior researchers provide new perspectives and insights to their senior peers.

Dr. Jariwala is an expert in nano- and atomic-scale devices that could have applications in information technology and renewable energy, among other fields. Dr. Jariwala was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30: Science list in 2017 (Almanac December 12, 2017).

Despina Kontos, Lewis Chodosh: NIH Big Data Grant

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caption: Lewis Chodoshcaption: Despina Kontos

Despina Kontos, associate professor of radiology, and Lewis A. Chodosh, chair of cancer biology and associate director of the Abramson Cancer Center, both in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, have received a five-year $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop more effective, personalized approaches for selecting tailored treatment options for breast cancer patients.

Dr. Kontos and Dr. Chodosh aim to determine whether certain tumor-imaging characteristics, combined with artificial intelligence, can provide additional information to established imaging tools and genetic methods for predicting risk for breast cancer recurrence.

With this grant, the Penn researchers have several goals: to better capture the variety of primary tumors in size, shape and molecular composition; to determine the value of the imaging features in combination with molecular profiling in predicting risk of recurrence; and to perform an independent validation of their model with prospectively collected data at Penn.

Considering that multiple types of imaging are increasingly used as part of routine clinical care, the study could provide new imaging biomarkers to improve treatment decisions at a minimal additional cost.

Marsha Lester: ACS Award

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Marsha Lester, Edmund J. Kahn Distinguished Professor in the department of chemistry at Penn and editor of The Journal of Chemical Physics, will receive the American Chemical Society Philadelphia Section Award. The award was created in 1962 to honor scientific achievement, important contributions to knowledge and aiding public appreciation of chemistry. The award lecture will take place in the Carolyn Lynch Lecture Hall, Chemistry Building on October 16 at 6 p.m.

Jonathan Moreno: Bioethics Lifetime Achievement Award

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caption: Jonathan MorenoDescribing him as “one of the world’s foremost experts in bioethics and politics and bioethics in national security,” the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities has awarded Penn Medicine bioethicist Jonathan D. Moreno its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is the Society’s highest honor.

Dr. Moreno is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor and a Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professor. He is also a professor of medical ethics and health policy; history and sociology of science; and philosophy. With appointments in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Moreno writes and teaches on topics related to bioethics, culture, science and national security.

The society noted that Dr. Moreno is being honored for his innumerable scholarly writings, service to national and international commissions and contributions to public discourse on bioethics. “His career in integrating bioethics with the history of ideas, technology and public affairs has led to his recognition as one of the key translators and interpreters of ethical issues in science for policymakers and one of the leading public intellectuals in the field of bioethics.”

Dr. Moreno is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and is the US member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee. He has served as an adviser to many governmental and non-governmental organizations, including three presidential commissions, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2008-2009 Dr. Moreno served as a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team. His next book, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven but Nobody Wants to Die: Bioethics and the Transformation of American Healthcare, co-authored by Penn President Amy Gutmann, will be published in 2019.

The award will be presented October 19 at the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities’ annual conference in Anaheim, California, following which Dr. Moreno will deliver an invited lecture.

Laura Perna: Institute of Education Sciences, Research for Action Grants

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caption: Laura PernaLaura Perna, the James S. Riepe Professor and chair of the higher education division in Penn’s Graduate School of Education and executive director of Penn AHEAD, has received a $600,000 grant from the Institute of Education Sciences with project partners Robin LaSota of Development Services Group and Joshua R. Polanin of the American Institutes for Research. Their two year project, “The Effects of College Aid Programs: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” aims to estimate the relationships between different types of financial aid programs and student progress through postsecondary education.

Dr. Perna has also received a $300,000 subcontract from Research for Action, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support the project “Evaluating free college programs,” which is designed to advance understanding of design, implementation and effects of selected state and local free community college programs.

Carlin Romano: Free Speech Fellow

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caption: Carlin RomanoAnnenberg School lecturer Carlin Romano has been named an Inaugural Free Speech Fellow by the University of California’s new National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement in Washington, DC. The Center, a project driven by UC President Janet Napolitano, former secretary of homeland security under President Obama, seeks to catalyze attention to free-speech issues across the country. It will convene a major conference on such matters at its Washington headquarters in early 2019.

Mr. Romano’s fellowship, which comes with a $20,000 honorarium, invites him to visit a University of California campus of his choice in the fall to deliver two lectures on free speech, engage in a public debate with a UC faculty member on a key public issue and conduct a Town-Hall conversation after the screening of a film involving freedom of expression. Mr. Romano, who has been involved in several free-speech controversies in his career,  will visit the University of California, Irvine, site of its own prominent free-speech clashes in the past decade.

As part of the project, Mr. Romano is also writing a four-part series, in his role as Critic-at-Large of the Chronicle of Higher Education, under the general rubric, “When Free Speech on Campus Becomes ‘Unacceptable.’”

Neil C. Tomson: MIRA for Early Stage Investigators Grant

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caption: Neil Tomson Neil C. Tomson, assistant professor of chemistry, has been awarded the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for Early Stage Investigators grant. The grant is made by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which, as a part of the National Institutes of Health, supports basic research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

MIRA grants provide early-career investigators with stability and flexibility, enhancing scientific productivity and the opportunity for important breakthroughs.

The five-year, $1.6 million grant supports Dr. Tomson’s research on electrostatic effects in model compounds of metalloenzyme active sites. The Tomson group performs synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry as a way of investigating new concepts in structure, bonding, catalysis and materials chemistry. Dr. Tomson’s research is particularly interested in energy problems and works to take advantage of modern concepts in bonding theory to generate materials that can influence how energy from renewable sources is collected, stored and released.

Four Penn Students: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation POST Grants

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In an effort to fund childhood cancer researchers at early stages in their careers, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) awarded 53 Pediatric Oncology Student Training (POST) Grants students across the country. Each student is awarded $5,000, dedicating at least eight full weeks to the program, either joining a research project underway in a mentor’s lab or beginning an original investigation.

This year’s students from Penn, their mentors and the titles of their projects are:

Allison Hare, PSOM

Mentor: Dr. Kristopher Bosse (co-funded with Love Your Melon)

“Validating GPC2 as an Immunotherapeutic Target in Medulloblastoma”

Sabina London, SAS

Mentor: Dr. Yael Mossé (co-funded with Northwestern Mutual)

“Targeting SHP2 in Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-driven Neuroblastomas”

Kavitha Muralidharan, PSOM

Mentor: Dr. Vinodh Pillai

“Predicting Cytokine Release Syndrome Before Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapy in B Lymphoblastic Leukemia”

Alberto Guerra, PSOM

Mentor: Dr. Yael Mossé

“ALK as an Immunotherapeutic Target in Neuroblastoma”



Innovation at Penn

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Preceding the 25-Year Club celebration on October 4, Penn’s Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli will discuss Innovation at Penn. The Annual PASEF Lecture will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the second floor of Houston Hall in the Class of ’49 Auditorium. It is open to the Penn community. This lecture is sponsored by the Penn Association of Senior and Emeritus Faculty (PASEF).

Human Resources: Upcoming October 2018 Programs

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Professional and Personal Development Programs

Open to faculty and staff.

Register at

Penn Perks; 10/3; 12:30-1:30 p.m. You love the benefits you gain by working for Penn. But there is a good chance there are even more benefits than you knew existed! Be prepared to be surprised and delighted by more than 100 “hidden benefits” we will reveal in this session. We’re sure there is something that will make your day. Join us for this invaluable treasure hunt!

TED Talk Tuesday: Why You Think You’re Right, Even When You’re Wrong; 10/9; 12:30-1:30 p.m. Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs, or a scout, spurred by curiosity? In this video screening and discussion, Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information.

How EAP Services Help Supervisors Support their Employees Webinar; 10/11; 11 a.m.- noon and 3-4 p.m. This webinar focuses on the role of the supervisor in the EAP referral process. The training reviews the basics of the EAP, including making referrals, techniques for reaching out to employees with support and dealing with the different reactions employees may exhibit when they are approached. It also covers obstacles to a successful confrontation and the dangers of enabling.

Work-life Workshops and Events

Open to faculty and staff.

Register at

Managing Emotional Health at Work Webinar; 10/2; 12:30-1:30 p.m. Managing Emotional Health at Work will help you to develop an awareness of emotional issues and their impact in the workplace. This webinar reviews stressors that impact employee’s behavior and work performance as well as what leadership should look for, and how to supportively confront those concerns for a successful outcome.

Financial Freedom: Strategies for Reducing Debt and Saving More; 10/9; noon-1 p.m. This workshop, presented by Vanguard, covers basic rules of thumb to help participants improve their financial lives and is intended to help the broad population of working Americans who feel they are headed in the wrong direction financially.

Guided Meditation; 10/9 and 10/30; 12:30-1:30 p.m. Practice mindful breathing that focuses your attention on the present moment with kindness, compassion and awareness. Self-massage and gentle mindful movements that promote relaxation and reduce stress may also be included in the workshop. No experience necessary.

How to Nominate a Staff Member or Team for a Models of Excellence Award; 10/9; 12:30-1:30 p.m. Do you work with someone who shows special initiative or demonstrates outstanding leadership? Have you noticed that a colleague or team excels at fostering workplace collaboration or shows an especially deep commitment to service? If so, then recognize them as a Model of Excellence. The Selection Committee depends on the content of the nominations to make its decisions. Therefore, nominations submitted should be as detailed and descriptive as possible in order to convey a nominee’s exceptional performance and award worthiness. Be sure to attend this workshop and learn about how best to write your nomination.

Penn Family Day; 10/13; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; up to four free tickets. The 26th Annual Penn Family Day welcomes faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars to Shoemaker Green and the historic Franklin Field to enjoy games, sports, science, cultural activities and more as we celebrate Penn community. Order your tickets by October 8 at or the Penn Athletics Ticket Office in Weightman Hall, 235 South 33rd Street. You can get up to four free tickets for the tailgate party and football game. Additional tickets are $8 each.

Stress Management; 10/16; 12:30-1:30 p.m. It is natural to become stressed when the demands on time and energy have become too great. This can happen both at home and at work, and can severely limit productively and effectiveness. This workshop shows the physiological stages of stress development, and its harmful effects on the body. It also addresses the defining symptoms and different sources of stress. This useful information is incorporated with helpful stress relievers and imagery techniques.

The Challenges of Infant Sleep; 10/16; noon-1 p.m. Becoming a parent is one of the greatest joys you will experience, but often the accompanying sleep deprivation is one of the greatest struggles. Our workshop with Dr. Melisa Moore, a clinical psychologist and board certified sleep expert at CHOP, can help. She will share with you the common causes of pediatric sleep issues and different solutions that we can use to shape the foundation of a healthy sleep routine for our little ones. This workshop is tailored for parents and caregivers of infants, toddlers and children under five. This event is co-hosted by the Family Center and the Division of Human Resources, open to all Penn families. Lunch will be provided. Please register in advance.

Balancing Work-Family-Life; 10/17; 12:30- 1:30 p.m. Balancing your work and home life can seem impossible in our busy world. Feelings of guilt and turmoil are stirred by demands of work and home, and the lack of personal time and time for family and friends. Through open discussion, this workshop outlines how to work toward attainable personal and professional goals, while reducing stress levels. It also offers effective workday tips for reducing discomfort and guilt, and successfully “keeping it all together.”

Mindfulness; 10/17; 12:30-1:30 p.m. Mindfulness is “paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,”  said Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness practice develops awareness of your present thoughts and feelings to help you manage different situations. In this once-a-month experiential workshop, you’ll see how mindfulness can help you become more engaged and effective both at home and in the workplace. No prior meditation experience necessary.

New and Expectant Parent Briefing; 10/18; 12:30-1:30 p.m. This is an introductory resource briefing designed for expectant parents and those who are new to parenting or child care. Participants will learn about local and university childcare and parenting resources including breastfeeding support and the nursing mothers program, childcare locators, back-up care, adjusting to new schedules and flexible work options, among other topics. This session will also cover Penn’s time away policies including short-term disability (STD), parental leave and related sick leave policies.

It is Not The Fountain in the Lobby: What to look for in a Long Term Care Community; 10/22; 12:30-1:30 p.m. Of course some of us want to live in the big house with the grand chandelier, pool, and three car garage. So it’s no shock that if we were to consider a nursing home or assisted living community for ourselves, we would want a place that has all the bells and whistles—not a dingy nursing home like many of us have come across. Although, even with nursing homes, looks may be deceiving. This seminar will address options for senior living communities, what to look for when choosing a long-term care community and resources available to help identify the best fit for your family.

Let’s Talk about Breastfeeding; 10/23; 12:30-1:30 p.m.; free. This interactive conversation is led by Diane Spatz, director of the lactation program at CHOP, professor of perinatal nursing and the Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition at the School of Nursing. This event is a great opportunity for expecting, new and experienced parents on campus to get help with breastfeeding challenges, ensure a smooth transition back to work and academics while sharing helpful tips with one another. If you are currently breastfeeding, pumping and/or bottle-feeding, pregnant, formula-feeding or just curious about breastfeeding, come join us for this conversation. This event is co-sponsored by Family Resource Center and the Division of Human Resources and is open to Penn staff, faculty, student, post docs and their partners. Lunch will be provided.

Penn Healthy You Workshops and Programs

Open to faculty and staff; 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Register at

Be in the Know Biometric Screenings; Start this year’s Be in the Know campaign and sign up for a free and confidential biometric screening, which measures your blood pressure, blood sugar (glucose), and non-fasting total and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol. You may also choose to fast to include low-density cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride results. Get started today and earn up to $300 this campaign year!

10/9; Dental, Evans Building;

10/11; Nursing, Claire Fagin Hall;

10/15; Houston Hall;

10/16; New Bolton Center, Kennett Square;

10/17; Irvine Auditorium;

10/18; Tse Center Hutchinson Gym;

10/22; Houston Hall;

[CANCELLED] 10/23; DAR, FMC Tower;

10/25; Irvine Auditorium;

10/26; LGBT Center;

10/29; Pottruck Center;

[CANCELLED] 10/30; Hoover Lounge, Vance Hall;

10/31; FRES Left Bank

Gentle Yoga; 10/16 and 10/30; noon-1 p.m. Let your body reward itself with movement! Join us for this Gentle Yoga session and explore the natural movements of the spine with slow and fluid moving bends and soft twists. During this session, you will flow into modified sun salutations that loosen those tightened muscles and joints of the lower back, neck, shoulders,and wrists. And as an added bonus, you’ll get a workout in the process. Mats and props will be provided.

Bodycombat; 10/26; 11 a.m.-noon. This fiercely energetic cardiovascular workout program is inspired by martial arts and draws from a wide array of disciplines such as Karate, boxing, Taekwondo, Tai Chi and Muay Thai. Tone and shape muscles while burning major calories!

October Wellness Walk: Breast Cancer Awareness; 10/26; noon-1 p.m. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. We are asking everyone who can to show their support by wearing pink. It can be a pink hat, shirt, socks, jewelry, scarf, etc. The more pink the better. So grab your coworkers and join us as we take advantage of the great benefits walking produces, while we also remember those who are still on their journey to recovery, honor those who are no longer with us and celebrate those who have survived! Meet the Center for Public Health Initiatives staff at noon in front of College Hall by the Ben Franklin statue, and walk a one- or two-mile route around Penn’s campus, returning to College Hall. Bring your water bottle and don’t forget your sneakers!

Get Your Flu Shot on Campus

Penn faculty and staff can prepare for the flu season with a free influenza vaccine on-campus at one of these convenient clinics. October Flu Vaccine Clinics are sponsored by Student Health Service (SHS). No appointment or pre-registration is necessary for these SHS clinics. They are open to all Penn faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars. Just bring your valid PennCard to Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall.

Wednesday and Thursday, October 10 and 11

11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.,

Friday, October 12, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Benefits-eligible faculty and staff will earn 10 Bonus Action points for Be in the Know when they receive a flu vaccine. For more information, visit

In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, Penn employees do not need to pay for flu shots and seek reimbursement from their insurance companies.

For more information about faculty and staff flu vaccine clinics, contact Human Resources at or (215) 573-2471.

For more information about the upcoming flu season, visit

—Division of Human Resources

Wolf Humanities Center’s Forum on Stuff

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Events
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The Wolf Humanities Center’s 2018-2019 Forum on Stuff focuses on the madeness and the physicality of cultural lives. Topic Director Julie Nelson Davis, professor of history of art, asks: “Has the rise of digital and virtual culture fundamentally altered our thinking about materiality, or just given us more stuff to think about? Could a more concerted effort to understand our relations to stuff assist us in a time of political turmoil, increasing scarcity of resources and escalating environmental dangers, when the sheer volume of stuff we make, consume and discard threatens the very ecosystems that sustain us? Can we solve what George Carlin said was the great problem of contemporary life, that of finding a place for our stuff?”

In partnership with the American Sign Language Program in Penn’s Department of Linguistics and the Deaf Hearing Communication Centre, the Wolf Humanities Center will provide ASL interpretation at many of the live events in the 2018-2019 Forum on Stuff, and in their online counterparts.

Visit for more information, event location and registration information and a listing of 2019 events.

    The following are the 2018 events in the Forum on Stuff:

    September 26, 5-6:30 p.m.; Dr. S.T. Lee Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities, Acts, Facts, and Artifacts: The Stuff of Black Culture; Kevin Young, Herman Beavers

    October 10, 5-6:30 p.m.; Design and the Stuff of Everyday Life, Ilse Crawford

    October 14, 2 p.m.; Random Acts of Legacy; Film Screening

    October 17, 5-6:30 p.m.; Segregation: The Stuff Social Media is Made Of, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun

    October 24, 5-6:30 p.m.; Buried in Treasures: When Stuff Takes Over, Gail Steketee

    November 8, 5-6:30 p.m.; Think Me Nuthing? Raising Awareness of the Black Deaf Community, Ritchie Bryant

    November 11, 2 p.m.; Poi E: The Story of Our Song, Film Screening

    November 14, 5-6:30 p.m.; Repatriating Tribal Objects in the Digital Age, Eric Hollinger

    November 28, 5-6:30 p.m.; Re-Stuffing Theory, Re-Thinking Assemblage, Bill Brown

Update: September AT PENN

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Events
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Special Events

27 Trolley Portal Gardens Official Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting; 5-7 p.m.; 40th Street & Baltimore Avenue; register: (University City District).

AT PENN Deadlines

The October AT PENN calendar is now online. The deadline for the November AT PENN is October 15. The deadline for the weekly Update is Monday for the following week’s issue.

Celebrating the Korean Harvest Festival at Morris Arboretum: September 29

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Events
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Celebrate traditional and modern Korean culture at Morris Arboretum on Saturday, September 29, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Discover this Asian country’s way of life through music, dance, food sampling and garden tours that highlight Korea’s native plants.

Experience Korean arts by entertainers from the Korean Traditional Music of Philadelphia and by two University of Pennsylvania student groups; all with a unique expression of the nation’s soul.

  • 11 a.m. & 1 p.m., Korean Traditional Music of Philadelphia, drum and dance performances, including the Five Drum Dance and the Fan Dance
  • 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m., Penn DuRe, a traditional drum troupe of Penn students
  • noon & 2 p.m., Penn Sori, a capella singing group of Penn students                                                        

In between music sets, learn about plants that are native to Korea on a 45-minute tour of the 92-acre botanical collection. Led by Arboretum Guides, tours begin at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Featured trees include:

Zelkova serrata: In Korean folklore, the tough trunk of the Zelkova symbolizes a strong will and the attractive leaves symbolize politeness; these trees are known as “good spirit” trees.

Pinus densiflora: The national tree of Korea, will also be on the tour. Hear stories about this tree’s spiritual and material influence on the Korean people for 5,000 years.

Before and after the walking tour, sample complimentary Korean food favorites, such as kimchi and Asian pears, while supplies last.

This event is included with garden admission and made possible by a grant from the University of Pennsylvania’s Provost Interdisciplinary Arts Fund.

For more information, visit

caption:  Penn DuRe, a traditional drum troupe of Penn students, performs at the Arboretum’s Festival.

Penn Convening to Promote Teacher Research, Advance Social Justice

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Events
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On Saturday, October 6, local educators are invited to participate in an annual day of learning, reflection and joy as school, community and University-based researchers share promising practices for advancing writing and literacy from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in Houston Hall.

Sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) and Teachers Institute of Philadelphia (TIP), this year’s Celebration of Writing and Literacy will feature a keynote presentation by James Forman, Jr., Pulitzer prize-winning author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in America. Mr. Forman’s talk will build on a teacher seminar he led on the criminal justice crisis at the Yale National Initiative’s summer program in July. He will be joined by TIP Fellow Matthew Menschner, Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School teacher, who will share a curriculum unit he wrote on racism in the criminal justice system while enrolled in Mr. Forman’s seminar. The audience will be invited to think about what educators can do to make a difference and contribute to change.

Matt Kay, SLA English teacher and author of Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom will open the day sharing what he has learned from over a decade of leading meaningful conversations about race in classroom. He will engage educators in thinking expansively about their responsibility as educators to help students become “better citizens, thoughtful scholars and empathetic neighbors.” The day will also include featured sessions facilitated by Penn GSE professor Gerald Campano and Maria Ghiso, authors of Partnering with Immigrant Communities, which recently won NCTE’s Russell Award; and Noah Tennant (Principal, Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School)  Patty Cruice  and Martha Richmond, Penn GSE Mid-Career graduates who will discuss the writing process for their chapters in the recently published Teachers College Press book Repositioning Educational Leadership: Practitioners Leading from an Inquiry Stance. Local middle and high school student winners of the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards will be featured in a special lunchtime launch of the 2019 awards program.

Register online at

Reserve Your Tickets for The 26th Annual Penn Family Day

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Events
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The 26th Annual Penn Family Day is on Saturday, October 13. Don’t forget to order your tickets by October 8 at or the Penn Athletics Ticket Office in Weightman Hall, 235 South 33rd Street. You can get up to four free tickets for the tailgate party and football game. Additional tickets are $8 each.

Penn Family Day welcomes faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholars to Shoemaker Green and the historic Franklin Field to enjoy games, sports, science, cultural activities and more as we celebrate Penn community.

For more information about Penn Family Day, visit

Lecture on Diversity: October 2

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Events
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Lecture on Diversity: October 2

On Tuesday, October 2, The Provost’s Lecture on Diversity Butterfly Politics will feature Catharine MacKinnon, the renowned feminist legal scholar and pioneering activist for women’s rights, whose ideas have helped shape the national conversation about sexual harassment, rape, pornography, prostitution and gender equality. 

Dr. MacKinnon, the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and the James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, will have a dialogue with the audience and interviewer Lubna Mian (L’97), Penn’s executive director for faculty and an adjunct professor of law. The lecture, at Annenberg Center's Zellerbach Theatre; 4:30-6 p.m., is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Penn Law School and is part of Toll Public Interest Week. 

RSVP appreciated but not required. For information, visit or email


Weekly Crime Reports

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • 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 September 10-16, 2018View prior weeks' reports. —Ed.

This summary is prepared by the Division of Public Safety and includes all criminal incidents reported and made known to the University Police Department between the dates of September 10-16, 2018. 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.

09/11/18          1:40 AM           3000 Chestnut St         Intoxicated driver/ Arrest

09/11/18          2:39 PM           3631 Walnut St            Iphone taken from display

09/11/18          5:02 PM           219 S 33rd St               Currency taken from locker

09/12/18          4:06 AM           3850 Spruce St            Rear tire taken from bike

09/12/18          12:30 PM         4235 Osage Ave          Secured bike taken from porch

09/12/18          8:39 PM           409 S 40th St               Secured bike taken

09/13/18          10:50 AM         4100 Baltimore Ave      Male wanted on warrant/Arrest

09/13/18          1:33 PM           4209 Spruce St            Graffiti on back wall and fence

09/13/18          3:37 PM           699 Hollenback Dr.       Offender in possession of narcotics/Arrest

09/13/18          9:58 PM           3925 Walnut St            Credit card and cash taken from wallet

09/15/18          6:00 AM           3400 Spruce St            Male took items from vending machine

09/15/18          5:46 PM           249 41st St                   Bike taken from under porch

09/15/18          7:37 PM           3934 Spruce St            Mounted gazelle taken.

09/16/18          3:02 AM           3744 Spruce St            Merchandise taken without payment/Arrest

09/16/18          3:07 AM           3337 Walnut St            Unauthorized male in fraternity/Arrest

09/16/18          2:28 PM           4001 Walnut St            Unsecured bike taken

09/16/18          10:19 PM         121 S 41st St               Bike taken from garage area

18th District

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 2 incidents (1 assault, 1 domestic assault) were reported between September 10-16, 2018 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

09/10/18         10:36 AM        4300 Kingsessing Ave   Domestic Assault

09/13/18         6:53 PM           4418 Spruce St             Assault


One Step Ahead: Protecting Student Record Information

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Bulletins
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Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy

As we begin the new academic year, it’s important to know about FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  FERPA is a federal law that provides certain rights to students and imposes certain obligations on University faculty and staff regarding the privacy of “education records,” or student record information, including limitations on sharing information with parents and guardians.

At Penn, FERPA’s requirements are incorporated in our Policy on the Confidentiality of Student Records:  The policy states in general that University faculty and staff may not disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s records except with the student’s written consent.

One important exception allows for sharing with school officials with “legitimate educational interests”—in other words, where the information would be helpful in the performance of official duties. This allows Penn faculty and staff to access the student information they need to perform their jobs.

In general, you may not share student records with parents or guardians. There are some exceptions, including when there is a health or safety emergency, in which case you must work with VPUL and your Dean’s office before contacting a parent. Disclosure is also allowed if the student has provided written consent.  Students may also set their privacy choices electronically within Penn InTouch, under Profile, Privacy & Emergency, and Share Academic/Financial Information.

For more information, visit the FERPA page of Penn’s Privacy website’s ( and check out the FAQs for Faculty & Staff.  Questions about student privacy can be addressed to

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website:

Talk About Teaching & Learning

Leading Discussion

  • September 25, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 6
  • Talk About Teaching & Learning
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When I first started teaching discussion-based courses, I felt satisfied if I could just keep the students talking throughout the entire class time. But a conversation with a more experienced colleague reminded me that part of the point of being a teacher is knowing things that the students do not and that I was not really doing my job if I didn’t convey some of that knowledge, no matter what the format. Ever since, I have thought of leading discussion as a balancing act between encouraging and honoring students’ responses to the material we are studying and making sure they come away with some of the understanding that I have developed over many years in the field. It is a challenging, unpredictable form of teaching, in which success cannot be guaranteed through even the most careful planning, but exhilarating when it goes well.

Planning plays an important role in generating discussion that is truly instructive, but it has to be balanced by flexibility. I try to go into a class with a set of ideas in mind that I hope will emerge but also aware that getting that to happen will require making spontaneous decisions and seizing opportunities in the moment. The deadliest times are those in which I realize I am trying to get the students to say something that they simply are not inclined to. Sometimes it is best just to come out and admit that, identifying the point I was hoping they would make and openly providing the information or perspective I want them to take away. Sometimes I can turn the fact that they didn’t make my point into another question. “Aren’t any of you bothered that classical Athens, a society that valued freedom for its citizens, was so repressive in its treatment of the other cities that it dominated?”

Formulating effective questions—and reformulating them as needed —is obviously key. I try to ask questions that are concrete but genuinely open-ended, often starting with a particular passage in a text we are reading and flagging some feature that I think is puzzling in itself and raises larger issues. “Why is Antigone being so mean to her sister when she is risking her life for the sake of her brother?” It is helpful if the subject matter lends itself to questions about which I myself am in doubt, to which the students’ opinions are an appropriate answer, or for which they have at least as much expertise as I do. “Are there any features of classical Athenian society that we would benefit from adopting?” “Where do you see the influence of Homer’s Odyssey in contemporary popular culture?” “What did you find most surprising about the Odyssey when you read it this time?” Specific and pragmatic questions work surprisingly well to open up large and abstract issues. Asking which texts I should include and which I should omit the next time I teach a course has led to some great final discussions summing up the important themes of the semester.

One of the biggest challenges comes from the fact that not all students are eager to participate in class discussion. This may be because of shyness or self doubt, but sometimes a student’s previous education has not especially encouraged the idea that what they themselves think is relevant to learning. I do not find it productive to put students on the spot by calling on them without warning, but I am always trying other strategies, beginning with willingness to tolerate a stretch of silence if no one speaks up, making it clear that I am not going to let them off the hook. The widely used approach of breaking a class into smaller groups to tackle a set of questions and report back is a reliable way of getting a higher level of participation. When students are required to lead a discussion themselves they often develop a more active appreciation of the value of jumping in and venturing an idea even if it is not fully formed, something many thoughtful students, especially women, are unwilling to do. This is something I also try to address in one-on-one conversations. I will encourage the most reluctant to make a bargain with themselves that they will speak once each session or come to class armed with a particular point they are committed to bringing up. Of course it helps the overall discussion if everyone has been thinking of points they will want to make as they prepare. I have never been drawn to the online discussion threads that many teachers set up in advance of class meetings (they diminish the element of surprise that makes discussions interesting and force the last students who post into novelty for its own sake), but I find it very helpful to ask every student to email me a brief comment on the assigned reading a few hours before we meet. This means they do arrive with something to say and it tells me a lot about what is on their minds, so that I can meet them where they are as I figure out where to start.

Deliberately framed questions, along with the other strategies I’ve described, will get most students to say something, but that is, of course, only the beginning. The experience I want students to have involves formulating and articulating an idea, but also having that idea extended and refined through what I and the other students have to say in response. Sometimes that means that I enter into a brief dialogue with a particular student, asking them to clarify their point, bringing up something from the reading I think might complicate or contradict it. But that should not go on for long without the other students being involved. Ideally, someone else will jump in; if it makes sense to do so, I may simply ask whether or not the other students agree or encourage one of them to relate the most recently made point to something they themselves said earlier. I am always trying to dramatize my conviction that their initial thoughts are interesting in themselves and worth testing and developing.

If the chemistry in the group is right and the discussion takes on a life of its own, I am glad to see that, but I still provide some grounding to the students’ thinking. I usually end the session by summing up what I myself took away from their conversation. Or I might do that as a way of opening the next class and setting the agenda for a discussion that integrates what emerged the last time with whatever new material we are looking at. That is one way of providing the structure that is essential if students are going to develop a deeper understanding of any topic through discussion. Once that structure is in place, it is equally essential to maintain flexibility so that they can work from their own insights, articulating their ideas, building on those ideas, filling in the gaps and making new connections in dialogue with a teacher and with each other.

Sheila Murnaghan is The Alfred Reginald Allen Memorial Professor of Greek in the School of Arts & Sciences.

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