Pew Charitable Trusts Public Policy Program Director Michael Delli Carpini will succeed Kathleen Hall Jamieson as dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, University President Judith Rodin recently announced.
Delli Carpini, who earned both his bachelor's degree in English and a master's degrees in political science from Penn, said the move was like coming home.
"It's just up the street," he said, noting that the move from Pew's Center City offices to West Philadelphia.
Loath to speculate on specific plans for the school, Delli Carpini said that, like a physician, his first priority during of his term will be to "first, do no harm."
Modest as he may be, the Penn community seems confident entrusting Annenberg to Delli Carpini's care.
"It's always nice to welcome a Penn graduate back," Jamieson said. "Michael is going to be an outstanding dean."
As is customary, Jamieson will pursue projects off campus as her successor gets his bearings. Her tenure as dean lasted 14 years.
"The walls are empty, the shelves are almost empty," she said, adding that even her tear-off countdown to the shift -- whose last page reportedly read, "Free at last" -- has been taken down.
Jamieson will spend her sabbatical year as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
"I have a fatal attraction to oceans," Minnesota-born Jamieson said. When not looking at the bay and catching up on her reading, she intends to write a book on the changing nature of political discourse, a sequel to her Eloquence in an Electronic Age. Also serving as an editor for an Annenberg Foundation-sponsored project on the press -- which is slated to be published by Oxford University Press -- Jamieson remains director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Jamieson reflected on the nature of the appointment and the Annenberg School.
"The school is so small, it works best when it's working with the rest of the campus," she said, referencing the highly interdisciplinary work she has pursued. "I certainly never would have guessed that I'd be working with... the head of the Psychiatry Department on a major volume on adolescent mental disorders."
Delli Carpini has already worked at and with the University, teaching in the Political Science Department and coordinating grants between Penn and Pew Charitable Trusts. Before joining Pew, he chaired Barnard College's Political Science Department, also holding appointments as a member of the graduate faculty at Columbia University and as professor of political science at Rutgers University.
According to Jamieson, "he has many positive surprises in store" for Penn.
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