April 20, 1999
Volume 45
Number 29

T&L Center in SAS: Dr. Robbins

Dr. Larry Robbins, a former assistant professor of English who has created communications training and teaching support programs in the Wharton School, has been named director of a newly-created Center for Teaching and Learning in the School of Arts & Sciences, the College's Dean Richard Beeman has announced.

Dr. Robbins, who took his A.B. from Harvard and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, joined Penn's English Department in 1967. In 1975 he became the first director of the Wharton Communication Program, later becoming also director of a Teacher Development Program and an Arts Management Program there.

In SAS, he will be responsible for creating pro-grams to enhance teaching at all levels through the new Center (see description in this issue's Talk About Teaching). Aside from activities in the Center and on its website, Dr. Robbins works with faculty individually and confidentially.

"With the creation of this new center, we want to send a very strong message that teaching matters," said Dr. Beeman. "Larry Robbins and the Center will make a tremendous difference not only for faculty, but also for students who ultimately will reap the rewards of better teaching. He understands teaching in the Penn environment and brings to this new position outstanding credentials and wide experience across the University ."

He added that Dr. Robbins will continue to make his expertise available at Wharton and at SEAS.

  Ira Abrams Award: Dr. Rescorla

Dr. Robert Rescorla, professor of psychology and former dean of the College, is this year's recipient of SAS's Ira Abrams Memorial Award for teaching. Now in its 13th year, the Abrams award calls for teaching that is "intellectually challenging and exceptionally coherent,"and is reserved to faculty who embody high standards of integrity and fairness, have a strong commitment to learning, and are open to new ideas.

Dean Samuel Preston, who announced the prize, described Dr. Rescorla as a magnificent teacher and a very distinguished scientist who has made attractive research experiences for undergraduates a priority.

In his scholarly work, where his honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Rescorla focuses on elementary learning processes, particularly Pavlovian conditioning and instrumental learning.

During his three years as dean, 1994-97, he played a major role in the 21st Century Project to improve undergraduate education; expanded the College's advising system; and established several interschool minors. He also helped create Almanac's University-wide "Talk About Teaching" series in cooperation with the Lindback Society. (For his own contribution to the series, see "Undergraduate Research Experience," Almanac December 6, 1994.) [Please see this issue's story on the Kahn Award in SAS.]

 Research Services: Dr. Rudczynski

Following a national search, Dr. Andrew B. Rudczynski joined the University April 1 as Associate Vice President for Finance and Executive Director, Research Services, Vice President for Finance Kathryn Engebretsen has announced. He will be responsible for managing the administrative support for a burgeoning sponsored research effort which last year exceeded $414 million.

Dr. Rudczynski came to Penn from Rutgers, where he was the associate vice president for research policy and administration. He was responsible for all aspects of research support at Rutgers, including grant and contract administration, institutional review board, technology transfer and animal care. Prior to his 15-year career at Rutgers, Dr. Rudczynski worked in research administration at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, as a research scientist at the Michigan Cancer Foundation, and as a principal investigator at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. He holds a B.Sc. in biology and biochemistry from McGill; a Ph.D. in immunology from Syracuse; and an MBA from Southern Illinois University. He is on the board of the Council on Governmental Relations and has been actively involved with the National Council of University Research Administrators.

Mr. Merritt's Role: Anthony Merritt, who has been serving as the Executive Director of Research Services, will remain at Penn as a Senior Advisor until his retirement on June 30, 2000. In this capacity, he will assist in Dr. Rudczynski's transition and continue the work of Research Services.


In the Round: At Friday's groundbreaking, the Wharton School unveiled the first three-dimensional model of Huntsman Hall; the view is from the southwest, with the 38th Street Bridge in the foreground.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 29, April 20, 1999