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Staff Box

New Residential/Academic Post: Dr. Dennis

Dr. Christopher H. Dennis has been named to the new post of Director of Academic Programs and Residence Life, according to a joint announcement by Dr. Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, Vice Provost for University Life, and Dr. Al Filreis, professor of English and Chair of the Residential Faculty Council.

Dr. Dennis, an adjunct assistant professor of English who is widely known to faculty and students across the University for his coordination of the annual Penn Reading Project, was initially coordinator of College House Programs and has been Director of Academic Programs in Residence since 1989. Since the recent reorganization of the VPUL area he has also been acting director of Housing and Residence Life.

The two functions now form a position that is "very new in its scope, and very important in our emerging transformation of undergraduate education," the VPUL said. "Chris has done an outstanding job in partnering the world-class work of our Residential Faculty Council, and we are very excited about Penn's residential college houses as we move forward."

Dr. Filreis called the appointment "a major step in the direction of implementing the College House system for September '98.

"This is an important moment in the history of residential academic programs and collegiate communities at Penn," he said. "Indeed Chris, as director of college house programs and later academic programs in residence, has had a significant role to play in that history."

His new position integrates the old Academic Programs in Residence group and the old Residential Living group, Dr. Filreis explained. "The former used to enable all programs and staffs of the six original College Houses; the latter used to organize the efforts of the four First-Year Houses and Upperclass House programs. The new comprehensive--and much, much, much simpler--organization, partnered with the Residential Faculty Council, other VPUL leaders, and the Provost's 21st Century Project groups, coordinates the efforts of the faculty, students, and staff who lead the system of twelve college houses. That system will go fully into effect in September 1998. I know I speak for the other members of the Council in saying I am pleased and gratified that Chris Dennis, after all the work he has done in various roles to make all this happen, will be in such a leadership position."

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, November 4, 1997, Volume 44, No. 11