To the Editor: Readers of these articles are accurately informed that Penn Political Science is understaffed and that it is engaged in a vigorous, long-term building effort. But readers will not understand that this kind of effort is a challenge that can only succeed in a time span longer than that during which any Penn undergraduate is actually here on campus. In the meantime, colleagues in the department are offering a first-class education to more Penn students than ever before. Enrollments are extraordinarily high in our courses. The number of Political Science majors is very high and rapidly rising. Our honors program produced 15 successful theses. Five of our graduating majors this year are Phi Beta Kappa -- an unprecedented achievement. Our professors and graduate students regularly win teaching awards. Our graduate students are so successful in national competition for fellowship support that one of the main problems I have as chair is to ensure that we will be able to staff our large courses. Professors in the department are publishing excellent books and articles, receiving prestigious research grants, presenting papers at scholarly conferences, etc. -- all the while immersed in the extremely difficult task of making a very good department truly excellent in all subfields of the discipline. The truth is that we have hired five new colleagues in the last three years and we will continue to expand at this rate. It is true, of course, that colleagues have left Penn for other institutions. The rate of turnover at the best institutions in the country is actually quite high these days, making efforts to build strength, especially at the senior level, a real challenge. And if the overall size of the department remains lower than it needs to be, and that it will be, that is due also to the natural result of a large cohort of senior colleagues who reached retirement age at roughly the same time. But this development is an opportunity, a tremendous opportunity, if also a short-term problem. Ian Lustick Chairman Political Science Department To the Editor: Thank you for your coverage ("Residents stumped by fallen trees," DP, 4/26/00) and the editorial ("Time to show a little respect," DP, 4/27/00) on the axing of two young trees on the 3900 block of Baltimore Avenue. Both speak eloquently to the importance of supporting the efforts of the University and the community. As you so effectively argue, this act of vandalism is an unfortunate counterforce to the sustained efforts from Penn's students and administration to join the local residential and business communities in building a better environment for us all. On greening project after greening project -- from reclaiming vacant lots and underused public spaces, planting trees to greening area schools -- we have been enriched and empowered by the energy, dedication and joy the Penn community has brought to these efforts. They have both advanced the vision of transforming University City into a "garden village" and demonstrated the power of gardening as a catalyst for community building. While the recent setback of irresponsible rogue behavior on Baltimore Avenue is infuriating and unnerving, it was the powerful response of the larger majorities of responsible students, landlords, staff and residents that has sent the more important message -- that we care -- and that by working together, can continue the momentum to construct that better environment. The immediate task is to see that the two trees are replaced. We have made arrangements for this, to be paid for by the landlord at 3953-55 Baltimore Avenue. Active in the replanting will be Gene Dempsey, the steward of the other tree, whose quick actions triggered the police and community response. We invite the larger community that support these projects to join in the replanting and in other, equally rewarding greening projects planned for the days ahead. Thank you for drawing the lesson and for resetting the agenda for us all. Esaul Sanchez Dir., Neighborhood Initiatives Office of the Executive Vice Pres.Comments powered by Disqus
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