Rand Quinn appointed as faculty director of Civic House

Quinn, who will also lead the Civic Scholars Program, is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education and will start in the new role on Aug. 1.

Rand Quinn.

The University of Pennsylvania has named Rand Quinn as faculty director of Civic House and the Civic Scholars Program. Provost John L. Jackson Jr. announced the appointment today. Quinn will begin in the role on Aug. 1.

Quinn, associate professor in the Graduate School of Education, is a widely recognized scholar of public education, especially organizing, activism, and the politics of race and class in urban school reform. A former community organizer, he is the author of “Class Action: Desegregation and Diversity in San Francisco Schools” (University of Minnesota Press, 2020), a landmark political history of school desegregation in San Francisco after the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which traces the evolving relationships among judicial action, community-based activism, multiracial politics, and urban education reform.

“Rand Quinn is an ideal leader to help us chart the future of Civic House and Civic Scholars,” said Jackson. “He is deeply experienced in civic engagement and community service, and he is devoted to mentoring students—both graduate and undergraduate—and bringing them together with schools and nonprofit organizations across Philadelphia. His remarkable ability to unify research, policy, and practice will help shape new paths of inquiry across our campus and our wider communities.”

Quinn came to Penn in 2012 after a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley. He has published widely across both scholarly journals and popular media, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post, focusing on strategies to establish and sustain partnerships between universities and their communities. He has received both the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Service Award from the Graduate School of Education and served in a wide range of roles at Penn, including as a senior faculty mentor for the Penn Graduate Community-Engaged Research Mentorship program in the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and on the Faculty Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty, advisory committee of the Environmental Innovations Initiative, and Self-Study Working Group for the University’s 2024 reaccreditation. He received a Ph.D. in education, an M.A. in political science, and a B.A. in linguistics from Stanford University, as well as an M.A. in education from San Francisco State University.

Civic House is Penn’s hub for civic engagement, promoting mutually beneficial collaborations between Penn and Philadelphia community nonprofit organizations. Through social justice education, trainings, and workshops, Civic House prepares students for responsible community engagement and empowers them to become advocates for social change. The Civic Scholars Program at Civic House provides undergraduate students with a sustained four-year experience in civic engagement and scholarship, including dedicated proseminars, summer internships, and a capstone senior research project.