Leading in climate and leading in the arts

Inaugural vice provost roles will advance In Principle and Practice strategic framework.

Campus photo, students walking, tree with pink flowers

Penn has announced two new University leadership positions, the Vice Provost for the Arts and the Vice Provost for Climate Science, Policy, and Action, to advance the goals of the University’s strategic framework In Principle and Practice
Launched in the fall, In Principle and Practice affirms Penn’s principles as an anchored, interwoven, inventive, and engaged University and describes the ways in which it seeks to apply its missions in practice to make an enduring impact in the world.  
“This is a transformational step,” said Interim President J. Larry Jameson. “We promised to lead on the great challenges of the world, and climate change may just be the greatest challenge we all face. And at a moment when it is critical that people come together through deeper understanding and empathy for others, the arts are core to creating connection and fostering common humanity.”

The new Vice Provost for the Arts will expand opportunities for Penn to create, exhibit, study, and research the arts across campus and in Philadelphia. Charged and resourced to inspire and amplify Penn’s arts leaders, practitioners, scholars, and students, the new Vice Provost will further advance Penn’s role as an arts leader in Philadelphia. The new Vice Provost will elevate Penn’s current academic programs and arts centers, including world-leading academic programs in the School of Arts & Sciences and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, the exciting new Student Performing Arts Center, and such vibrant arts programs as the Arthur Ross Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art, Kelly Writers House, Penn Art Collection, Penn Live Arts, Penn Museum, Platt Student Performing Arts House, and Sachs Program for Arts Innovation
“The arts and humanities are core to the human endeavor,” said David Asch, Penn’s senior vice president for strategic initiatives. “This new role will accelerate interdisciplinary activities by creating new opportunities and building connections across the vibrant arts ecosystem at Penn and more broadly in Philadelphia.”
The inaugural Vice Provost for Climate Science, Policy, and Action will draw from Penn’s academic strengths in the science and policy of climate mitigation and adaptation, advance scholarship and training for future leaders, and help lead our own institutional efforts at sustainability and bring other institutions along with us. The new position will accelerate the campus-wide Climate and Sustainability Action Plan, along with major academic programs in multiple Penn schools and world-leading centers, such as the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Environmental Innovations Initiative, and Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media
“The most tangible goal of this program is to reduce the temperature of the planet and to protect the planet’s inhabitants and ecosystem while we get there,” said Asch.
“Both of these exciting new leaders will be charged with catalyzing ideas and building collaborations across the many areas of our campus and our city,” said Provost John L. Jackson Jr. “They will be our strategic partners and advocates in growing opportunities, accelerating interdisciplinary connections, deepening our relationships with our neighborhood and our city, and advancing Penn’s national and global leadership in these two ever more important areas of our mission.”
Ad hoc consultative committees have been established to lead the appointments, and each maintain a chair, five faculty members, and two students. Inquiries, applications, and expressions of interest from standing faculty members at Penn—and nominations of standing faculty members from any member of the Penn community—can be sent to provost@upenn.edu by June 17. 

The committee members for the Vice Provost for the Arts position are:


  • Laura Perna, Vice Provost for Faculty; GSE Centennial Presidential Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education


  • Jeffrey Kallberg, Associate Dean and William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Music, School of Arts & Sciences

  • Ayako Kano, Professor and Graduate Chair of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, School of Arts & Sciences

  • Jessa Lingel, Associate Professor, Annenberg School for Communication

  • Matt Neff, Director of Undergraduate Fine Arts and Design, Weitzman School of Design 

  • Amber Wiley, Presidential Associate Professor in Historic Preservation, Weitzman School of Design


  • Michelle Chen, Wharton Class of 2026, Vice President, Undergraduate Assembly

  • Joelle Lingat, MSW/NPL Student, School of Social Policy and Practice; President, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly 

The committee members for the Vice Provost for Climate Science, Policy, and Action position are:


  • Beth A. Winkelstein, Deputy Provost; Eduardo D. Glandt President’s Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science


  • Dorit Aviv, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Weitzman School of Design

  • Russell Composto, Howell Family Faculty Fellow and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science

  • Joseph Francisco, President’s Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, School of Arts & Sciences 

  • Michael Mann, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, School of Arts & Sciences 

  • Dipti Pitta, Mark Whittier and Lila Griswold Allam Associate Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine


  • Ria Ellendula, College of Arts and Sciences Class of 2025, President, Undergraduate Assembly

  • Ludwig Zhao, Doctoral Student in Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science; Chair, Research Student Council, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly