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Wendell Pritchett, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania Photo: Mona Lee

Provost Wendell Pritchett

When former Provost Vincent Price announced that he was leaving his position at Penn to become Duke University’s president, Penn chose Penn Law School professor Wendell Pritchett as its newest provost. He formally took office on July 1. 

Formerly the chancellor of Rutgers University at Camden and interim dean of Penn Law, Pritchett brought a career of scholarship in urban policy and race relations into his role as provost. As the University's first black provost, he carried the expectations of students looking for greater support in the highest levels of the administration.

During Pritchett's tenure, several student deaths shook the campus, and a series of natural disasters affected many students' homes. Along with Penn President Amy Gutmann, he spoke at the "Campus Conversation," an event in Zellerbach Theatre that encouraged students to be resilient in the face of recent tragedies. 

LGBT Center Director Erin Cross

Photo: Julio Sosa

LGBT Center Director Erin Cross

After 35 years of dedicated service, Penn LGBT Center Director Bob Schoenberg retired in June 2017. Upon his retirement, Senior Associate Director Erin Cross became the center's director in September, the second in its history. 

Cross earned a doctorate from Penn’s Graduate School of Education in 2010 and has an extensive background in gender and sexuality studies. 

As director, Cross said that she hopes to have the center include more initiatives to celebrate Penn’s LGTBQ community. She also expressed an intent to help LGBTQ undergraduates, graduate students, alumni, and professors connect with each other. 

Cross is working on an initiative to have Pennant – Penn InTouch’s future replacement – include students’ preferred names and pronouns. 

Chief Diversity Officer Joann Mitchell

In March, Penn President Amy Gutmann announced that Joann Mitchell would serve as Penn’s first-ever chief diversity officer. As an administrator in the President's Office, Mitchell had already been working on recruiting and mentoring faculty through Penn’s 2011 Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence.

“Because Penn is highly decentralized, there are a number of offices already in existence that work on issues related to diversity for students, faculty, staff,” Mitchell told the Daily Pennsylvanian. “This role is basically making real and visible a function that I had been carrying out for quite some time … me as a senior advisor trying to coordinate, collaborate with individuals who [are] working on diversity.”

Before she was named chief diversity officer, Mitchell was the administrative liaison to the University Board of Trustees’ Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and in charge of the Office of the Sexual Violence Investigative Officer, the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, and the African American Resource Center. 

Her position was announced a month after the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly passed a resolution in support of establishing a centralized, University-wide diversity office to assist “underrepresented students across campus.” However, months after the proposal passed, Mitchell said the administration is centralizing resources differently. 

“It’s not an office,” Mitchell said. “We said we would create a centralized chief diversity officer, and that’s what we did.”

College Dean Paul Sniegowski 

This summer, Paul Sniegowski succeeded Dennis DeTurck, a math professor who had been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for 12 years

Sniegowski, a professor of evolutionary biology, formerly led the Committee on Undergraduate Education and Faculty Senate Committee on Students and Educational Policy. He was also a disciplinary hearing officer for the Office of Student Conduct and the Office of the Sexual Violence Investigative Officer. 

As College dean, Sniegowski has worked to interact more directly with students via a strong social media presence, creating a Snapchat account and documenting his daily activities on his Snapchat story. He also interacts with students during his weekly “Snacks with Sniegowski" events in the Quad.

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.