Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences

New Leadership and a New Affiliation for Penn's Fels Center of Government

PHILADELPHIA - Samuel H. Preston, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, has named leading criminologist Lawrence W. Sherman as the new Director of the Fels Center of Government. Sherman will also be appointed the Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations in the Department of Sociology.

Elaine Wilner

And the Oscar goes to…

Excellent writing is evident in many of the films nominated for Academy Awards this year, with several edgy alternative films sharing major categories with mainstream blockbusters, says Penn’s Timothy Corrigan, a professor of English and cinema and media studies.

Louisa Shepard

A 2021 Rhodes Scholar for Penn

May graduate Mackenzie Fierceton from St. Louis been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford in England. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently completing her master’s degree in clinical social work.

Ron Ozio

A Quarter-century of Community Partnerships

Glen Casey will be the first to admit it: He wasn’t the perfect student in high school. “I was always doing the dumbest things; getting into fights, getting arrested,” he says. A student then at University City High, Casey failed ninth grade, and barely passed 10th. “I just really wasn’t into school,” he says.

Two Penn juniors named Truman Scholars

Two juniors, Annah Chollet and Camilo Duran, have received Harry S. Truman Scholarships, a merit-based award of as much as $30,000 for graduate or professional school to prepare for careers in public service.

Louisa Shepard , Aaron Olson

In the News

The New York Times

Cash aid to poor mothers increases brain activity in babies, study finds

Martha J. Farah of the School of Arts & Sciences commented on a study that found alleviating maternal poverty with cash assistance increased brain activity in babies. “It’s proof that just giving the families more money, even a modest amount of more money, leads to better brain development,” she said.


WHYY (Philadelphia)

Unusual pets

James Serpell of the School of Veterinary Medicine was interviewed about the relationships between humans and animals. “At least with dogs, the evidence suggests that when they’re with people, they experience exactly the same kind of neurochemical changes in the brain that we experience when we’re with them,” he said.


How we tracked the pay of 24,000 cops

Aaron Chalfin of the School of Arts & Sciences said a new project documenting police pay in New Jersey contains “some pretty incredible data.”


The Wall Street Journal

Is the secret to happiness having a gratitude practice?

Martin E.P. Seligman of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the benefits of gratitude practices: “Humans are built to attend to the things that go badly in our lives. A lot of the exercises in positive psychology are ways of teaching people to savor and pay attention to what goes well.”


The New York Times

How $1,000 a month in guaranteed income is helping NYC mothers

Amy Castro of the School of Social Policy & Practice said “time scarcity” keeps many poor families trapped in poverty. “If you’re struggling to make ends meet and you’re knitting together two or three part-time jobs,” she said, “you don’t have time to plan for the future or even to think.”