Agenda for Excellence 1995-2000
STRATEGIC GOAL 8
The University will effectively communicate to its various constituencies
the ways in which it contributes to the advancement of society.
Effective institutional communication, both internal and external, for
a university as large and decentralized as Penn is a constant responsibility
and challenge. Not only is there always a plethora of "news" about
research discoveries, institutional developments and campus events, there
is often the obligation to manage one or more "crises", as well,
that threaten to distract time and attention. At the same time, the means
or vehicles of communication have expanded as the world wide web and other
information technologies have continued to evolve. This has created many
new opportunities - and also new questions about how best to "reach"
In the past five years, the University has successfully communicated
its most important messages. The evidence of this success lies in the preceding
pages of this report that chronicle Penn's rise in national rankings, increased
admissions selectivity, growth in research funding, public sector impact
and development expansion.
Illustrative media placements
February: 50th anniversary celebration of ENIAC with Vice President Al
Gore resulted in feature coverage in the New York Times, "Good
Morning America," Associated Press, and Reuters;
December: "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" aired a feature
piece profiling Dr. Rodin as one of the most influential women in America.
September: the New York Times featured the work of Richard Estes,
School of Social Work, ranking social progress of 160 nations;
November: Dr. Rodin's address to the AAMC on the qualities of leadership
was reported in the Washington Post;
December: New York Times reported on the $100 million donation
from Leonard and Madlyn Abramson for cancer research.
April: Psychology Professor Martin Seligman profiled in the New York
December: New York Times feature story on Professor of Telecommunications
July: New York Times story on e-seminars at Penn;
July: USA Today feature on domestic violence focusing on research
presented at Penn School of Social Work conference;
August: Sociology professor Elijah Anderson interviewed in Newsweek
magazine on research from his book Code of the Streets;
November: USA Today features Linda Aiken, of the School of Nursing,
on the effects of the burgeoning nursing shortage.
December: Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, and AP
reported on research published by Penn team in Nature magazine on
King Midas' funeral feast.
January: Professor Richard Gelles, School of Social Work, in the "CBS
Evening News" commenting on the continuing custody battle over Elian
February: President Clinton's visit for Penn's Granoff forum resulted
in feature coverage in numerous outlets, including the New York Times,
Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AP, "ABC World News This
Morning," and C-Span;
April: Professor Lawrence Sherman, Fels Center, was the sole guest on
a "Nightline" discussion of school violence;
October: Chemistry Professor Alan MacDiarmid's Nobel Prize resulted
in feature coverage in dozens of outlets, including the New York Times,
Washington Post, "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" and Associated
November: BusinessWeek magazine features Interim Dean Neville
Strumpf on how children of aging parents can best make decisions regarding
November: The New York Times features an article by former Dean
Claire Fagin on the changing roles of nurses in society.
December: Dr. Rodin's op-ed on university/community revitalization published
in the New York Times; Newsweek magazine features.
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Innovations by Office of University Relations
- The Pennsylvania Current, a new bi-weekly campus tabloid covering
news and features of interest to students, faculty and staff. The Current
has won two gold medal awards for Excellence from the Council for the Advancement
of Secondary Education (CASE).
- A local and national communications strategy for the five component
parts of the West Philadelphia Initiative.
- A new website, "Our Commitment to West Philadelphia," highlighting
the five component parts of Penn's neighborhood revitalization efforts.
- An ongoing program to encourage members of the faculty and others to
write opinion pieces for submission to high-circulation publications in
major markets. Opinions were published in more than three dozen prominent
newspapers throughout the country.
- A program for meshing faculty expertise against breaking news stories
by creating "One Stop Shopping Lists." These lists offer a selection
of Penn faculty available to comment on various aspects of a breaking news
story, and have resulted not only in an increase in faculty placements
(2 dozen in national newspapers in 1999; a similar number in 2000), but
an increase in reporters from around the nation and overseas calling Penn
for experts. Recent examples include:
- March 21, 2001 NPR's Setsuko Sato interviewed Law Professor Stephen
Burbank to discuss the Bush administrations plan to end the role of the
American Bar Association in selecting federal judges.
- March 15, 2001 Donna Harrington Luecker of USA Today quoted
Jeanne Vissa, director of teacher education in the Graduate School of Education,
in story "Middle Schools Fail to Make the Grade."
- March 13, 2001 Peter Kuriloff, professor in the Graduate School of
Education, was the primary source quoted in Christian Science Monitor
story, "When Special Education Discriminates."
- Joe Turow, Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication, was
primary source in Gary Levin's USA Today's March 7 piece, "Just
How Real is Reality TV?"
- Ram Cnaan, co-director of Penn's Center for Research on Religion and
Urban Civil Society, provided background for David Reilly's Philadelphia
Inquirer article on, Feb. 22, 2001, "Faith-Based Plan Raises Questions
- Increased media coverage of developments in the sciences at Penn through
the recruitment of an experienced science writer/editor, and the use of
new media outreach tools, such as Eurekalert, a science and technology
web posting mechanism under the auspices of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science.
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Universities are prone to experience "crises" of varying kinds
given their size, research mission, locations, prominence and other factors.
Penn is no exception. Since 1995 the University has had to manage crises
connected to crime, safety and security; UPHS financial troubles; gene therapy;
and a range of other issues. To deal with such matters in an expeditious
and effective way, President Rodin appointed in 1997 a crisis committee
of top University officers including the Provost, Executive Vice President,
General Counsel, Vice President and Chief of Staff, Vice President for Public
Safety, and Director of University Relations. On more than one occasion
this committee has convened to analyze, manage and communicate about a crisis
to Penn constituencies.
- Alumni Relations' strategic planning process developed an encompassing
vision and model for building the University's strong, positive relationship
with its alumni. Particular attention focused on development of alumni
leadership groups, such as Agenda for Excellence Council, Trustees' Council
of Penn Women, James Brister Society, and young alumni affinity groups.
- Regional Advisory Boards have assisted in development of "Penn
on the Road" program to showcase Agenda priorities. POTR programs
have been offered in seven cities; four more cities scheduled for programs
- PennCares was developed to increase alumni engagement in community
service projects through regional alumni clubs; 20 clubs have participated
in annual PennCares events, and specific classes now participating in Penn
Cares as part of planned reunion activities.
Global Alumni Network (GAN) was created to update and reorganize domestic
and international alumni club structure.
- GAN offers programming for alumni who live in areas not served by clubs,
and for alumni who choose not to affiliate with local clubs.
- GAN's "Partners With Penn" program, introduced in 1999, provides
regional alumni clubs an outline of Penn's strategic goals and priorities,
and incentives for helping to achieve goals for Penn.
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- PENNews transformed from a freestanding, semiannual publication
to an insert in the Pennsylvania Gazette three times per year.
- Increased readership from approximately 30,000 to more than 140,000.
- Pennsylvania Gazette has focused more than 30 articles on the
Agenda and/or the six academic priorities, including academic programs,
physical environment, and student living/learning experience.
- The Essential Alumni Guide: comprehensive annual directory of
alumni resources across the University; 1st edition published September
2000 as a supplement to the Gazette.
- People Supporting Penn: annual donor recognition publication
placing increased emphasis on gift impact.
- The Benjamin Franklin Society: new identity and improved marketing
materials for undergraduate annual giving and reunion class giving in conjunction
with raised minimum giving standards.
- Penn Medicine --The School of Medicine's primary vehicle for
reaching its key audience of alumni and friends. The magazine is devoted
to news, features, and commentary on faculty research, alumni achievements,
and trends in the health care.
- Bioethics.net - Penn's Center for Bioethics comprehensive web
site that furnishes information and news on the Center, while linking to
news articles, commentary, research, and information worldwide. Billed
as the Internet's first and largest web site of its kind, Bioethics.net
is the most heavily visited bioethics site on the Internet (according to
- OncoLink -- SOM also publishes, an online provider of free cancer-related
information that has received awards and praise for providing cancer patients
and their families with valuable and often empowering knowledge.
- Knowledge@Wharton --The Wharton School's free business and research
online business publication.
- The Wharton Alumni Magazine, which is now published on-line,
reaches 70,000 Wharton graduates worldwide.
- The Leonard Davis Institute of Health and Economics published reports
that make its health policy research and education activities more accessible
to students, policy makers, and industry leaders.
Electronic communications have expanded dramatically as planned for in
the Agenda for Excellence.
- Gazette website provides convenient, immediate source of information
for alumni worldwide.
- Development and expansion of the Alumni Web as part of Penn's Internet
presence has included the creation of websites for international clubs
and reunion classes.
- Alumni On-line Community and e-mail forwarding.
- New websites for fundraising priorities.
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No. 32, SUPPLEMENT: Agenda for Excellence 1995-2000 (~ 375 k; 32 pages)
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Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 32, May 1, 2001
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