Provost's Seminars: Four Winners

In December, the Provost announced the creation of a new seminar fund to stimulate the creation of interdisciplinary discussions and connections that could grow into lasting cooperative intellectual efforts and perhaps programs. This announcement drew 19 remarkable proposals. The proposals range over the full spectrum of intellectual life at Penn and draw on connections from all aspects of the University. Taken together they paint a rich and exciting picture of interdisciplinary connections at our University. Unfortunately it is not possible to fund all 19. Rather we can afford only four. The four that have been selected for funding are:

Imaging and Micromanipulation--Lee Peachey, biology

The Power of Sight: Theory and Practice of Vision from Antiquity to Modernity-- Renata Holod, history of art

The Biological, Computational and Social Sources of Language Learning--Lila Gleitman, psychology; Aravind Joshi, computer and information science; and Robin Clark, linguistics

The Chemistry/Biology Interface--Andrew Binns, biology

The Committee that made funding recommendations found it very difficult to choose among the many worthy proposals. We certainly hope that many of the affiliations that grew out of drawing up the proposals will be able to continue and grow even without central funding and will apply in the next round. It is our plan to have this competition each year and to have the funded proposals compete for renewal with the new ones. In reviewing the proposals, the Committee was able to sharpen the goals of the fund and wishes to share some of those sharpened goals so that future proposals can keep them in mind. The Seminar is directed at interdisciplinary intellectual connections that are new, reach across schools, and that can lead to significant, new, intellectual directions. The Seminar Fund is not intended as a fund for curricular development. Thus although student participation is encouraged, it is not the central focus of the program. The Committee also recommends that, except in special circumstances, seminar funds not be used for faculty released time or summer salary.

-- Ralph D. Amado, Acting Vice Provost for Research


Volume 42 Number 29
April 23, 1996

Return to Almanac's home page.

Return to index for this issue.