University Advisory Council

Herman Beavers, Advisory Co-Chair

Professor Beavers has a joint appointment in the Department of Africana Studies and teaches courses in African American and American literature, including courses on Southern Modernism, 20th Century African American Poetry, as well as  “Trading Fours:  The Literatures of Jazz,” which is a requisite course in the Jazz and Popular Music minor.  He also teaches a section of the introductory poetry workshop in the Creative Writing Program.  Professor Beavers also teaches (with Professor Suzana Berger) the Arts-Based Community Service course entitled, “August Wilson and Beyond,” which brings Penn students together with West Philadelphia residents to read August Wilson’s Century Cycle of plays.

His most recent poems have appeared (or are about to appear) in MELUS, The Langston Hughes Colloquy, Versadelphia, Cleaver Magazine, and The American Arts Quarterly.  He has published essays on  August Wilson, Charles Johnson, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison.  His latest book, Changing the Order of Things: Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017.  He also serves as an advisory editor at African American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, and The Black Scholar.  

Karen Detlefsen, Advisory Co-Chair

Karen Detlefsen is Professor of Philosophy and Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Calgary, Canada. She then spent five years teaching middle school, conducting educational research, and working in radio and television production at the United Nations in New York City. She then returned to university to earn an MA in Philosophy from University of Western Ontario followed by a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. She joined Penn’s faculty in Philosophy in 2001.

Karen’s research focuses on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy, especially women philosophers of that period. She has published on a wide range of figures, including Astell, Cavendish, Descartes, Du Châtelet, Hobbes, Malebranche, and Wolff, and on topics in metaphysics, natural philosophy, ethics and social-political philosophy. Her professional awards include research grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, The Australian Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has received the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Sciences, Penn (2007), and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2016).

Her commitment to cultivating greater inclusion in the discipline of philosophy is linked to her interests in pre-college philosophy. To that end, she is the Director of Penn’s Project in Philosophy for the Young, a broad-based project to bring philosophy into Philadelphia’s public-school classroom.


Cory Bowman, Treasurer

Cory Bowman has been working for Penn Program for Public Service since 1991 and for Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships since its inception in 1992. Mr. Bowman helps coordinate the core functions of the Center, including developing academic partnerships with schools, non-profits, and communities of faith. He also supports the Center’s local and national replication and adaptation efforts of its university-assisted community school programs. Mr. Bowman serves on the board of the Bernett L. Johnson, Jr. Sayre Health Center and on the advisory committee of PHENND’s K-16 Network.


TIP University Advisory Council Members

Cory Bowman, Associate Director, Netter Center for Community Partnerships

Kathleen Brown, David Boies Professor of History

Peter Decherney, Professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies

Karen Detlefsen, Professor of Philosophy and Education

Al Filreis, Kelly Professor of English; Faculty Director Kelly Writers House

Vivian Gadsden, William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education

Reto Gieré,Professor and Department Chair, Earth and Environmental Science

David Grossman, Director, Penn Civic House

Ira Harkavy, Associate University Vice-President & Founding Director, Netter Center for Community Partnerships

Marilyn Howarth, Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacology

Ross Koppel, Adjunct Professor of Sociology; Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Walter Licht, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History

Deven Patel, Associate Professor of Religious Studies; Undergraduate Chair, South Asia Studies

John Puckett, Professor Emeritus of Education

Jorge Santiago-Aviles, Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering

Herb Smith, Professor of Sociology; Director, Population Studies Center

Cynthia Sung, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Computer and Information Science

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Associate Professor of Education