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Sarah Banet-Weiser has been named dean of the Annenberg School for Communication effective Aug. 14 (Photo courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania).

Sarah Banet-Weiser has been named the next dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, according to an announcement from Penn President Liz Magill on July 18.

Banet-Weiser, the Lauren Berlant Professor of Communication at Annenberg, will assume her new role on Aug. 14. She succeeds John L. Jackson Jr., who became the University provost on June 1. Michael X. Delli Carpini, the Oscar H. Gandy Emeritus Professor of Communication and Democracy at Annenberg, has since held the interim position.

Prior to her time at Penn, Banet-Weiser was the head of the Media and Communications Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 2018 to 2021. She was also a faculty member at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism for 19 years, serving terms as director of the School for Communication and vice dean.  

“Sarah Banet-Weiser has a stellar record as an astute, effective, and visionary leader and is a deeply respected voice in the field of communication,” Magill said in the announcement. “[Her] record of accomplishment and leadership qualities make her the ideal person to lead Annenberg into its next era of excellence.”

Banet-Weiser, who also holds an appointment as a research professor at USC Annenberg, is known for her leadership commitment to global engagement and diversity, equity, and belonging, according to the announcement. Her research focuses on how women, communities of color, and youth use media to create identity and culture and engage in politics.

She is the founding director of the Annenberg Center for Collaborative Communication, a partnership between the Annenberg schools at Penn and USC committed to addressing global issues through collaboration. At USC, she founded the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg, which focuses on research related to diversity in media and communication. 

In the announcement, Jackson emphasized his enthusiasm for having Banet-Weiser serve as the next dean. 

“[Her] extensive leadership experience brings together the Annenberg School at Penn with the Annenberg School at USC, while encompassing global leadership at the London School of Economics and Political Science,” Jackson said. “I am excited to work with her as she shapes the global landscape of communications in the years ahead.”

Banet-Weiser's appointment was the result of a months-long process led by the Consultative Committee for the Annenberg School dean search. In the announcement, Magill thanked Vijay Kumar, the committee chair and Nemirovsky Family Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, as well as the other members who aided in the search. 

Banet-Weiser emphasized her excitement to lead Annenberg in “a moment when thinking globally has never been more urgent.”

“It is a tremendous privilege to work at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication, and an honor to be appointed as Annenberg’s next Dean,” Banet-Weiser said in the announcement. “I could ask for nothing more than to work with the brilliant faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Annenberg on tackling the important issues of our time.”