Gelles named School of Social Work dean

School of Social Work Professor Richard J. Gelles, who is known internationally for his work in domestic violence and child welfare, has been named dean of the School. The holder of the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence, Gelles has been serving as interim dean since Fall 2001.

Gelles, who joined Penn in 1998, is the author of several landmark books, including “The Violent Home,” which was the first systematic investigation to provide empirical data on domestic violence. His more recent works, “The Book of David: How Preserving Families Can Cost Children’s Lives” and the third edition of “Intimate Violence in Families,” have changed how researchers study the issues of child welfare and family violence.

Gelles’ achievements extend beyond the academic sphere. He helped draft the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997 and was appointed to the Kinship Care Advisory panel of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families in 1998. In 1999, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children honored him with the Award for Career Achievement in Research.


Joseph Farrell, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Professor in the Humanities, has been named associate dean for arts and letters. He starts his new position this July, succeeding Rebecca Bushnell when she assumes the College deanship. Farrell will oversee the school’s academic programs in the humanities, including 11 departments: Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classical Studies, English, German, History of Art, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Romance Languages, Slavic Languages and South Asia Studies. A distinguished scholar of Latin and Greek literature and of Roman culture and society, Farrell joined the Penn faculty in 1984.

B-school beacons

Olivia Mitchell, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, has been named the director of the Wharton School’s newly-established Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research. In her new role, Mitchell will oversee scholarly research, teaching and outreach on global aging, successful retirement and public and private pensions. She will also help disseminate research findings to international audiences of academics and policy makers as well as support data developments at Penn.


Barbara Kahn, Dorothy Silberberg Professor of Marketing, will succeed Thomas Dunfee starting July 2003 as the next vice dean of the Wharton School’s Undergraduate Division. Kahn joined the Wharton faculty in 1990 after serving on the faculty at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is currently senior fellow of the Wharton Financial Institutions Center and the Leonard Davis Institute and a faculty member of the Graduate Group in the Psychology Department of the School of Arts and Sciences. In 1999, Kahn received the David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Undergraduate Division.

Originally published on February 27, 2003