The Wharton School's new coronavirus course will feature a lecture by a well-known figure on Penn's campus — President Amy Gutmann.
The course, titled “Epidemics, Natural Disasters, and Geopolitics: Managing Global Business and Financial Uncertainty,” met for the first time on March 25 and is the largest Wharton class ever administered with over 1,800 students enrolled. The course covers crisis management and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on global business and geopolitics.
During the class's April 22 meeting, Gutmann and Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett will have a live discussion where students will be able to submit questions, according to an announcement course professor Mauro Guillen sent to enrolled students this afternoon. Students said they are grateful Gutmann will visit the course and are looking forward to asking questions about Penn's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Gutmann will speak on behalf of her experience as Penn's president and as a scholar of moral and political philosophy, Guillen wrote. She will discuss her perspective on the actions of other global leaders as well as Penn’s response to the crisis.
Gutmann previously served as chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues for eight years under President Barack Obama, including during the Ebola crisis.
“Through the lens of her work on the Ebola epidemic, President Gutmann will discuss the ethical challenges that policymakers, business leaders, and citizens are living in real-time each and every day during the COVID-19 crisis,” Guillen wrote.
Wharton first-year Roshni Parikh, who is enrolled in the course, said she is grateful that Gutmann will deliver a lecture. She said she is most interested in learning how Penn’s administration is making major decisions in light of the pandemic, including the decision to move spring and some summer courses online, as well as the decision to cancel summer study abroad programs.
College first-year Sachit Gali said he was excited to hear Gutmann is visiting the course and plans to ask how the administration decided their responses to the coronavirus outbreak. He said he feels there was a lack of transparency and collaboration with the student body — particularly with the opt-in pass/fail grading policy.
“A lot of the announcements that came out of the administration really blindsided students and didn’t have as much input from the student body,” Gali said.
Gali said he hopes Penn will extend its pass/fail deadline — which is the earliest in the Ivy League — until the end of the semester.
College sophomore Beatrice Karp said she plans to ask Gutmann about crisis management and the ethics of resource allocation in light of Gutmann's work on the Ebola outbreak.
“I’m just excited to hear what she has to say,” Karp said.