Former Annenberg School for Communication instructor Desiree Peterkin Bell resigned from her position Wednesday, a day after she was accused of half a dozen counts of public fraud.
Both Annenberg Director of Communications Julie Sloane and Penn spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy confirmed that Peterkin Bell is no longer affiliated with Annenberg. Peterkin Bell had taught several semesters of the course "Urban Communication" since she was appointed lecturer in 2017.
Peterkin Bell's profile has been deleted from the Annenberg website. The course listing for "Urban Communications" is no longer on PennInTouch.
On Tuesday morning, Peterkin Bell was taken into custody and then released on bail following the filing of public corruption charges. In court documents, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury stated that Peterkin Bell misused over $200,000 in public funds while she served as the City Representative for Philadelphia and as chairperson of Mayor's Fund, a nonprofit organization.
Peterkin Bell currently serves as CEO of the consulting firm she stablished, DPBell & Associates. Her website said that she designed the course she taught at Penn.
College senior Candy Alfaro said that she was part of the first Urban Communication course that Peterkin Bell taught at Penn, saying that she thought Peterkin Bell did a "really good job" teaching the class and was very invested in the students' learning.
"She had a lot of insights to share from her own work experiences," Alfaro said.
College Senior James Hiebert, who was also in the class that semester, agreed with Alfaro, adding that Peterkin Bell "seemed like she knew what she was talking about."
He also described Peterkin bell as "friendly" and the course as "engaging."
Alfaro added that the class was one of the first communication courses she took. The course inspired her to become a communications major because she became interested in the "role communications can have in local politics," she said.
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