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Dr. Giegengack: Davidson Kennedy Professor

R. Giegengack

Dr. Robert F. Giegengack, Jr., professor of earth and environmental science, has been named the Davidson Kennedy Professor in the College, SAS Dean Samuel Preston announced.

Dr. Giegengack has pioneered curricular innovation at Penn for three and a half decades, initiating successful developments in both the undergraduate and graduate curricula. He introduced the undergraduate major in environmental studies in 1972 to educate Penn students to address contemporary problems of environmental analysis and management. He continues to shape the course of graduate education as faculty director of the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program and as a member of several graduate groups in SAS and in the School of Design.  He also serves as director of several field courses that his department operates each summer at the Yellowstone-Bighorn Research Association in Montana.

In addition to teaching courses in geology and environmental science in SAS, Dr. Giegengack has taught programs in the School of Design, in the Wharton division of Executive Education, and in the new Master of Public Health program in the School of Medicine.

Widely known for his commitment to teaching excellence, he has received Penn's most prestigious awards recognizing exemplary teaching, including a CGS Award for Distinguished Teaching, Friars Senior Society Teaching Award, Ira Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching, Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and, most recently, a Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching. Dr. Giegengack has served as a mentor for over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral research associates, and young faculty.

Dr. Giegengack has conducted field investigations on every continent except Australia, including his recent work exploring the history of climate change in the Sahara and the role of scarce water resources in maintaining political tension in the Middle East. Closer to home, he has focused on environmental problems in West Philadelphia by developing a series of academically-based community-service courses, which undertake to reduce exposure to environmental lead among young children in area communities, to reduce tobacco use among pre-adolescent children in Philadelphia, and to reduce exposure to environmental asthma triggers in the homes of Philadelphia children. Dr. Giegengack's research has been published in scholarly publications ranging from Science, Nature, Geology, and the International Journal of Climatology to the American Association of Higher Education's environmental studies series Service Learning in the Disciplines.

He holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University and an M.S. from the University of Colorado.  

The Davidson Kennedy Professorship was established by the bequest of Josephine Rankin Kennedy in memory of her late husband. This professorship was first awarded in 1995 and supports a distinguished faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, innovation in curriculum development, service to students, and first-rate scholarship.


  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 15, December 9, 2003