Penn Arts and Sciences

Four Faculty Win SSPF Grants for Innovative Courses

The Penn Social Science and Policy Forum is pleased to announce the 2013 winners of SSPF Course Development Grants for innovative teaching in policy-relevant social science.

Femida Handy, Professor, School of Social Policy and Practice, will develop “Ethics for Social Impact.” Professor Handy’s new course will combine lectures and two-day workshops for students planning to work for policy organizations and in non-profit leadership. It will explore the ethical challenges that face organizations, and help future leaders develop a code of ethics for tailored to an organization’s mission, needs and resources. This is a timely course at a moment when policymakers and executives are grappling with ethical issues and responsibility.

Amy C. Offner, Assistant Professor of History, School of Arts and Sciences, was selected for “Thinking About Capitalism: A Social and Global History of Ideas.” Professor Offner will develop a new course on the history of capitalism and economic analysis, examining the emergence of the economy and economics as naturalized, globally recognizable concepts; the formation of economists as an authoritative professional group; and the rise of economic reasoning as a persuasive form of public argument. Offner’s course is closely related to SSPF’s 2012-13 annual theme, the Global Economic Crisis.

Rand Quinn, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, will be funded for “Reforming Philadelphia’s Schools: A Research Practicum on Civic Capacity.” Professor Quinn will develop a course open to undergraduate and graduate students throughout the university who have an interest in urban education, civil society and public policy. The capstone of the semester will be a student research symposium open to the Penn community and the general public that will serve as a platform for launching new school reform initiatives in Philadelphia neighborhoods and schools, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development and the Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

Matthew P. Steinberg, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education will use the funds to launch the “Education Policy Research Practicum.” This innovative course will connect graduate students and educational leaders to develop client-based, applied education research projects. Teams of students will conduct research tailored to the needs of educational policy makers and administrators. The practicum will help education leaders to benefit from the growing availability of data but who face organization capacity constraints that limit the timely generation of empirical evidence.

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