A peak at PIK

Text by Tim Hyland

The Penn Faculty Senate’s third annual Founder’s Day Symposium will address a theme near and dear to Penn President Amy Gutmann’s heart: The integration of knowledge.

“Aristotle’s Brain: Integrating Knowledge in the 21st Century” will take place at 3 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18 at the Clare M. Fagin Hall at the School of Nursing.

The symposium—a new annual event intended to showcase the broad base of knowledge among Penn’s faculty—will explore how the integration of knowledge can help universities address any number of societal problems and will feature, fittingly, some of the University’s new Penn Integrates Knowledge professors: John L. Jackson, a professor of communications and anthropology; Jonathan D. Moreno, a professor of medical ethics and history and sociology of science; Christopher B. Murray, a professor of chemistry and materials science; and Adrian Raine, a professor of criminology and psychiatry. The event will be moderated by President Gutmann.

“We’re really expecting an exciting conversation with our PIK professors,” says Neville Strumpf, a Penn professor of gerontology and past chair of the Faculty Senate. “I think we’re in for a real treat in terms of learning how these professors think of both the power of integrating knowledge and how one balances the need for having a core knowledge but also taking knowledge across boundaries.”

The integration of knowledge has been a priority for Penn since President Gutmann made the idea a key component of the Penn Compact, her plan to take the University “from excellence to eminence.”

President Gutmann believes the challenges facing the world today can’t be solved by any one discipline. The PIK professorships were created to bring to Penn acclaimed scholars who will hold appointments in two schools and departments. Says Strumpf: “The general sense is that only with an integrating-knowledge approach can we solve the world’s great problems—violence, climate change, the impact of technology.”

This is the third year the Faculty Senate has hosted its symposium around Founder’s Day, and Strumpf says the event—which in years past had been made part of Homecoming festivities—seems to be increasingly popular among both faculty and the larger University community. The event is open to everyone and the audience is encouraged to join in the discussion.

For more information on the 2008 Founder’s Day Symposium, visit the Faculty Senate website at www.upenn.edu/faculty_senate/announcements.html.

For more news featuring Penn President Amy Gutmann see http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/amy_gutmann_news.php.

Originally published Jan. 10, 2008

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