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The Class of 2010 doesn’t just refer to this year’s graduating seniors. It also refers to the recently announced Penn Fellows class that begins its two-year term this semester.

The Penn Fellows program is an initiative for mid-career faculty who display “outstanding academic achievement and strong leadership potential,” Director of Faculty Development and Equity at the Office of the Provost Lubna Mian said.

The program aims to nurture the development of future academic leaders and diversify faculty leadership.

The main focus of the initiative is a series of monthly dinner meetings with distinguished leaders in higher education, including President Amy Gutmann, Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli and Provost Vincent Price.

Groomed to be future higher education administrators, the Fellows’ meetings are expected to allow participants to interact with leaders in higher education and become familiar with the issues currently being tackled by these leaders.

In doing so, Fellows can contemplate how they would shape the academic communities at Penn, according to Mian.

This year’s fellows are: Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Vice Chair for Education and Inpatient Services in the School of Medicine Lisa Bellini; Director of the Center for Africana Studies Camille Charles; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine and Director of the Community and Minority Cancer Control Program Chanita Hughes-Halbert; Associate Professor of Pathology in the School of Dental Medicine Kelly Jordan-Sciutto; Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation in the School of Design Randall Mason; and Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair of Classical Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences Program Peter Struck.

The Fellows are nominated across the University by deans and department chairs. According to Mian, there are no strict quotas applied in the selection process.

“While there are no particular school or disciplinary guidelines applied, efforts are made to include Fellows from across the University, and from a mix of areas of scholarship, backgrounds, and of diverse race, ethnicity and gender,” Mian said.

Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education Marybeth Gasman, who was appointed as a Penn Fellow last year, described her experience as a Fellow as “a lot of fun and a great learning experience.”

The Fellows’ meetings with University administration have tackled issues from “the neighborhood to the city to the nation,” according to Gasman.

Recently-named fellow Camille Charles is looking forward to learning as much as she can.

“As head of the Africana Studies Department, it’s a great opportunity to get a better sense of how things get done in the University,” Charles said. “It’s not just about the power brokers here, but a chance to see how ideas and initiatives are turned into reality.”

Peter Struck, who is also one of this year’s Fellows, said he is “very thrilled” to be a part of the program.

“I’m definitely interested in the larger community at Penn, and making it the best place it can be,” he said.

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