Ackoff Center for Advanced Systems Approaches
The School of Engineering and Applied Science has announced the creation
of the Ackoff Center for Advanced Systems Approaches (A-CASA). The Ackoff
Center which opened July 1 is named for Dr. Russell Ackoff, Emeritus Anheuser-Busch
Professor of the Wharton School. It will operate as a think tank in the
vanguard of systems approaches. A-CASA is dedicated to education, academic
research, industry research and consulting, and outreach programs in the
area of systems approaches.
Faculty from Engineering and the Wharton School are expected to work
under the auspices of A-CASA on multi-disciplinary research topics in such
areas as netcentricity and sustainability. The Ackoff Center
will examine the implications of netcentricity on a variety of topics including
production, logistics, trading, organizational design, and knowledge management
and will examine several issues related to sustainability in both "new
economy" and traditional organizations.
The Center is the result of generous contributions of the Anheuser-Busch
Foundation, Analog Devices, and the General Motors Foundation, and research
grants that will sustain the Center's first year operating budget of $1
million. A membership program will allow for close liaison with leading
edge companies for industry-sponsored research and short-term fellows from
industry to work on intellectually challenging projects with standing faculty
and students. Additionally, A-CASA will provide opportunities for internships
for undergraduates and graduate students from Penn and other institutions
to further enhance the educational mission of the University. Jack Purnell,
executive vice president of Anheuser-Busch said, "This is a unique
opportunity to combine the systems theory and research capabilities of the
exceptional faculty at Penn Engineering and Wharton with the real-world
industry experience and wisdom brought by Russ Ackoff and his senior associates."
The director of the Center, Dr. G. Anandalingam, National Center Professor
of Resource and Technology Management and Professor of Information Management
at Wharton, will be responsible for directing the research activities and
for general administrative decision-making. "The intention is for the
Ackoff Center to develop innovative ideas in systems approaches that will
enable the Center to evolve into a world-class institution with contributions
to solving intractable problems, wherever they exist," says Dr. Eduardo
Glandt, dean of SEAS. A-CASA will extend its offerings beyond the walls
of Penn through the application of information technology and the Internet
and will represent a competency bank of knowledge for all Systems Thinking
related academic activities, research and practices which are scattered
around the world.
New Interim Dean for School of Medicine
Dr. Peter G. Traber,
M.D., interim dean of the School of Medicine and CEO of the University of
Pennsylvania Medical Center and UPHS, has accepted an appointment as head
of clinical pharmacology and experimental medicine at GlaxoSmithKline, the
health care company to be formed upon the merger of SmithKline Beecham and
Glaxo Wellcome, according to a July 26 announcement by President Judith
While the search is underway, she said that Dr. Arthur K. Asbury, the
Van Meter Emeritus Professor of Neurology, who has been serving as deputy
dean of the School of Medicine, will assume new responsibilities as interim
dean of the School of Medicine. Dr. Robert Martin, who has been COO of the
UPHS, will assume new responsibilities as interim CEO of the health services
components of the Health System.
Dr. David Longnecker, the Robert Dunning Dripps Professor of Anesthesia,
will continue serving as chairman of the Clinical Practices of the University
of Pennsylvania (CPUP), working closely with Dr. Asbury and Dr. Martin.
"Peter Traber has done an outstanding job for the University and
its Health System," Dr. Rodin said. "We are sorry to see him go,
but we recognize that this is a tremendous new opportunity for him."
Penn's Health System has achieved a remarkable financial recovery over
the past year, Dr. Rodin noted. "The Health System has made great progress
in its financial recovery from the deficits experienced in FY '98 and FY
'99," she said. "In FY 2000, which ended June 30, the Health System's
operating deficit was dramatically reduced, and we are very grateful for
the efforts of the entire Health System leadership team in achieving this
In the fiscal year ahead, Dr. Rodin added, "Health System leadership
is resolutely focused on achieving better than break-even performance."
Although academic medical centers will continue to face serious challenges,
she continued, "our Health System has great reason for optimism. We
have the enormous advantage of an unparalleled faculty, outstanding clinical
chairs and a highly talented and dedicated staff."
The Frank Wister Thomas Professor of Medicine and chairman of the department
of medicine until he assumed his current responsibilities on Feb. 17, 2000,
Dr. Traber will take a leave of absence from the Penn faculty, but, according
to Dr. Rodin, "we look forward to Peter's continued association with
the School of Medicine, and the University, in the future."