John Ikenberry will begin at Georgetown in the fall. he joins a long line of Poli Sci profs to leave Penn. In yet another blow to the University's embattled Political Science Department, Professor John Ikenberry said yesterday that he will be leaving Penn to take a position at Georgetown University this fall. Ikenberry, who specializes in International Relations and has taught at Penn for six years, will oversee the creation of a new research institute in international affairs. His departure leaves a hole in the already notoriously understaffed department and robs Political Science of one of its most prestigious scholars. "I do have an exciting new opportunity," Ikenberry said, adding that Georgetown, "made an offer I couldn't refuse." He explained that the new job satisfies both his personal and professional desires. The neighborhood in Washington where he lives is only blocks from Georgetown, and his wife is employed in the city. The move also gives Ikenberry the opportunity to join a larger, better-established academic department. Citing both the size of Penn's department and the limited resources made available to its faculty, Ikenberry said that the University has not been the easiest place to work. "[It's a] very depressing situation -- it's very difficult to build International Relations at Penn right now," he said. "I think there's a real problem that needs to be addressed." Several of his colleagues noted that losing Ikenberry would undoubtedly hurt the department. "Anyone would tell you he's an enormous loss," Political Science Professor Anne Norton said. "He's been a prodigious scholar." Added Professor Avery Goldstein, who is on leave this semester: "It is a loss for the department." Department Chairman Ian Lustick did not return repeated requests for comment yesterday. Still, some members of the department said that Ikenberry's departure was not a great surprise due to his desire to live in D.C. and his mixed feelings toward Penn. While undoubtedly a prodigious scholar -- his work is routinely published in the best journals in his field -- Ikenberry has not been one of the most-loved members of the Political Science Department. One graduate student, who asked to remain anonymous, criticized Ikenberry for paying scant attention to his students. "He has made little effort to work with graduate students, tries to get his undergraduates to agree to take three-hour seminars so he doesn't have to come to Philadelphia more than once a week and is completely unavailable for departmental service," the student said. Ikenberry was critical of the University in 1997 when Daniel Deudney -- one of the department's most popular professors -- was denied tenure. Deudney and Ikenberry collaborate frequently, even after the former's move to Johns Hopkins University. Ikenberry came to Penn in 1993 after failing to win tenure at Princeton University. He was promoted to a full professorship just this year. Still, whether he was a favorite or not, Ikenberry is leaving a department that can ill avoid to lose more warm bodies. Recruitment has proved a constant struggle for a department that has lost more than a half-dozen faculty to retirement, better offers and failed tenure bids over the last two years. "Frankly, I think Penn is a top-tier University and there is no reason we can't compete with others," said Goldstein, adding that recruitment and retention "is a constant battle." The University's strategy thus far has been to focus on recruiting senior-level superstar faculty. But with that plan having failed, officials have indicated that Penn will more aggressively seek out talented junior faculty over the next few years. In his strategic plan released last spring, School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston targeted Political Science as a department in need of additional funding. One faculty member said the best way for Penn to successfully build the department would be to provide more support at the junior level. "More resources are needed for mentoring and support for junior faculty," the professor said.Comments powered by Disqus
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