The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

The School of Arts and Sciences recruited six new faculty members this summer, bring the total number of new faculty joining Penn next year to 28.

Four of this summer's new appointees will come to the University in September, with the remaining two arriving at the start of spring semester 2001, according to SAS Dean Samuel Preston.

And one of the six new hires is a senior appointment -- in Romance Languages -- while the other five are junior professorships.

SAS also authorized an additional 40 new recruitment searches this summer. The school had already authorized 40 searches last semester; 12 of those remain outstanding and are included in the recent authorizations.

"I think we had a fabulous year in recruiting faculty members," Preston said, noting that the overall size of SAS will grow from last year's size of 437 to 450 next year.

About half of the 40 authorized searches target the six departments highlighted by the SAS Strategic Plan for additional faculty positions and increased funding, Preston said. The remaining searches will focus on departments outside of the plan.

While Preston said he was pleased with this year's search results overall, he remained concerned about the small number of faculty in the embattled Political Science department, which has lost several faculty members in recent years.

"We are not as successful as we hoped to be in our senior search last year," he said of the Political Science department.

The school would embark on an "extremely active search agenda for the coming year," he continued, saying he hoped the searchs would yield three or four additional senior faculty members for the department.

Of the 28 faculty members that will come to Penn next year, two are African-American, both of whom will teach in the English department. Another two are Latino and will teach in the romance languagues. And around 10 of the new professors are women.

Additionally, four of the 10 faculty members joining Penn staff will teach in the science, which Preston emphasized.

"It's important to do everything we can to hire talented women, particularly in the sciences," Preston noted.

Preston said that attracting a diverse body of new professors in terms of both ethnicity and gender remained a priority for SAS.

In the next several years, Preston said he hoped SAS faculty would grow at the rate of about five new professors a year, a goal he thought was attainable.

"We can afford to grow modestly, and I think we need to grow modestly," he said.

He also said that the school was going to work on decreasing its ratio of tenured faculty from its current level of 82 percent to around 73 percent.

The higher proportion of junior faculty, he noted, will give the school increased flexibility, and will also bring "technical abilities that are relatively fresh to the school."

Carlos Alonso will join the faculty in the fall as the most recent senior faculty hire, with his appointment just finalized this year.

Alonso leaves Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., to come to Penn, specializing nineteenth-and twentieth-century Spanish American literature, intellectual history and culture and critical theory. Alonso received his doctoral degree from Yale University.

Although SAS is authorized to conduct 40 faculty searches, Preston noted that this wouldn't necessarily lead to 40 hirings. He said that the school only typically succeeds in 40 to 50 percent of senior searches, and 80 percent of all searches for junior professors.

This year, he added, the school only managed to succeed in fewer than 40 percent of searches for senior faculty -- less than last year -- though this didn't worry him.

"When we don't succeed this year, we continue the search," he explained. "We do not close searches at the senior level."

He added that it was often hard to lure senior professors to the University because a position often had to be available for a spouse.

"It's a major effor to conclude the senior searches," he said.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.