Departments, Programs, and Centers

The organization of the faculty into academic departments, undergraduate and graduate programs, and research centers serves as a series of building blocks on which all of the School’s academic activities – disciplinary and interdisciplinary – are based.  The long-term vitality of these units remains closely tied with the long-term academic vitality of the School.

Long-Range Planning: Just as this strategic plan allows the School to align its academic priorities with its resources, so too will SAS ask all departments, programs, and centers to articulate their long-range aspirations, make choices about priorities, and use them as the basis for all budgeting and resource requests. At the department level, SAS will respond to these efforts by making multi-year commitments for faculty appointments against known attrition; it will also support departments who identify common priorities with other units in support of Penn Integrates Knowledge professors, cluster hires, and other forms of shared appointments. Continued attention to long-range curricular planning by departments and programs will ensure the effective coordination of faculty teaching time against programmatic needs.  The School will continue its process of regular reviews of departments and programs and will introduce a more regular review process for research centers to ensure their long-term academic rigor, faculty engagement, and funding base.

Faculty Leadership and Citizenship: Faculty governance depends on the service of professors in academic leadership roles, and an engaged and creative cohort of chairs and directors across SAS programs is essential to the School’s overall success. SAS will continue to cultivate a strong culture of leadership and citizenship in which administrative roles offer a special opportunity to shape programs and their academic directions. The School must offer appropriate incentives for this service, including rewards for long-term planning and appropriate administrative support. The School also must provide the proper training for these roles and encourage the creation of stronger pipelines within units to plan for long-term succession. Because SAS administrative entities vary widely in size, SAS will promote more flexible governance structures that create the most efficient means of carrying out a unit’s collective duties.