Penn Arts & Sciences

The University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences forms the foundation of the scholarly excellence that has established Penn as one of the world's leading research universities. We teach students across all 12 Penn schools, and our academic departments span the reach from anthropology and biology to sociology and South Asian studies.

Members of the Penn Arts & Sciences faculty are leaders in creating new knowledge in their disciplines and are engaged in nearly every area of interdisciplinary innovation. They are regularly recognized with academia's highest honors, including membership in prestigious societies like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as significant prizes such as MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships.

The educational experience offered by Penn Arts & Sciences is likewise recognized for its excellence. The School's three educational divisions fulfill different missions, united by a broader commitment to providing our students with an unrivaled education in the liberal arts. The College of Arts and Sciences is the academic home of the majority of Penn undergraduates and provides 60 percent of the courses taken by students in Penn's undergraduate professional schools. The Graduate Division offers doctoral training to over 1,300 candidates in more than 30 graduate programs. And the College of Liberal and Professional Studies provides a range of educational opportunities for lifelong learners and working professionals.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 6413
  • Publication
    Acting Strengths: The Development of Resilience and Character Strengths in Actors
    (2014-01-01) Taylor, Laura
    An actor’s work environment poses unique challenges that can drain personal resilience. Positive psychology research supports the development of resilience and the use of character strengths to bolster psychological resources that increase well-being in the face of adversity. This paper explores the history, mechanisms, and development of research on resilience and character strengths and their relationship to research on the lives of professional actors. I propose that developing character strengths and resilience creates potential pathways to cultivate well-being in actors and enables perseverance on the path to long-term career success.
  • Publication
    Optimistic Managers and Their Influence on Productivity and Employee Engagement in a Technology Organization
    (2006-01-01) Greenberg, Margaret
    The objective of this study is to investigate whether teams are more engaged and productive when led by an optimistic manager. Furthermore, we hypothesize that optimistic managers embody positive leadership—employing a strengths-based approach, maintaining a positive perspective, and frequently providing recognition and encouragement—which increases the engagement and productivity of their employees. In a cross-sectional study of 86 employees and 17 managers in an Information Technology (IT) organization, positive leadership correlated with employee optimism, engagement, and project performance. When we looked at a subset of this data prospectively, with 39 employees and 14 managers, manager optimism predicted project performance. Our data support the claim that positive leadership is correlated with employee engagement and performance, and further extends the importance of optimism in the workplace. The practical application of this research is now published in Greenberg and Maymin's book, Profit from the Profit: Proven Leadership Strategies to Boost Productivity & Transform Your Business (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The International Coaching Psychology Review published a peer-review edition of this study in their March 2007 issue (Vol. 2, No. 1). In addition, the Gallup Management Journal ( published two articles using the results of this study: "The Business Benefits of Positive Leadership: Finding the Connection Between Productivity & Positive Management Behavior" (May 10, 2007) and "It Pays to Be Optimistic: Exploring the Connections Between Optimism & Business Success" (August 9, 2007).
  • Publication
    Course Development of Positive Psychology & Personal Leadership
    (2008-01-01) Upadhyay, Madhur
    This capstone project involves the development of a course on Positive Psychology and Personal Leadership with the aim of inspiring young adults to be the greatest they can be. The course incorporates research and teaching from Positive Psychology, Experiential Education, Leadership, Organization Behavior and Management Education. This course is built around two key frameworks – that of Appreciative Inquiry and the Four Needs of Meaning. It is designed in such a way that, as students go through this course, they work on each stage of the Appreciative Inquiry methodology and discover / reinforce / modify powerful potentials and dreams within themselves. The four segments of this course also intend to engage students with the four needs of meaning, indirectly seeking to facilitate an awareness of the meaning in their life. Course units are developed to engage students with different learning styles and interest levels and with the opportunity of high customizability of individual experience by each student. Batteries of researched and established inventories will be utilized with the aim of assessing changes in students’ awareness, clarity and the key dimensions targeted by the frameworks used in this course.
  • Publication
    Computational Methods for Realistic Image Synthesis
    (1996-12-01) Shao, Min-Zhi
    In this thesis, we investigate the computational methods for both diffuse and general reflections in realistic image synthesis and propose two new approaches: the overrelaxation solution and the Bernstein polynomial solution. One of the major concerns with the radiosity method is its expensive computing time and memory requirements. In this thesis, we analyze the convergence behavior of the progressive refinement radiosity method and propose two overrelaxation algorithms: the gathering and shooting solution and the positive overshooting solution. We modify the conventional shooting method to make the optimal use of the visibility information computed in each iteration. Based on a concise record of the history of the unshot light energy distribution, a solid convergence speed-up is achieved. Though a great effort has been made to extend the radiosity method to accommodate general non-diffuse reflection, the current algorithms are still quite limited to simple environment settings. In this thesis, we propose using the piecewise spherical Bernstein basis functions over a geodesic triangulation to represent the radiance function. The representation is intrinsic to the unit sphere, and can be efficiently stored, evaluated, and subdivided by the numerically stable de Casteljau algorithm. We demonstrate that the computation of other fundamental radiometric quantities such as vector irradiance and reflected radiance can be reduced to the integration of the piecewise spherical Bernstein basis functions. A novel geometric integration algorithm based on adaptive domain subdivision is presented for the Bernstein-B´ezier polynomials over a geodesic triangle on the unit sphere.
  • Publication
    Parallel Programming Languages for Collections
    (1995-08-01) Suciu, Dan
    The thesis discusses the design, expressive power, and implementation of parallel programming languages for collections, the fragment dealing with collections of an object-oriented query language. The Relational Algebra has a simple, intrinsic parallel semantics, which enabled the successful development of parallel relational database systems. But the implementation techniques of these systems do not carry over to the more complex object-oriented databases. In order to develop efficient parallel object-oriented database systems, one needs to (1) design their query languages with parallelism in mind, and (2) find new implementation techniques, specially designed for these languages. Here we pursue these goals for parallel languages for collections. The collections of interest for us are sets, bags, and sequences (lists). We start by describing a basic collection calculus and additional forms of recursion on collections. They have an idealized parallel "execution", assuming unbounded resources and instant communication, which gives us high-level parallel complexity measures. An interesting fragment of the calculus expresses exactly the queries in the parallel complexity class NC. Here the salient construct is divide and conquer recursion on sets. Sublanguages obtained by imposing a bound k on the number of recursion nesting correspond to the subclasses ACk, for k≥1. We break the implementation of the calculus into three steps. First, sets and bags are implemented on sequences, using high-level parallel algorithms we express such algorithms in a high-level language for sequences called MAP, built around a new form of recursion. Second, we describe a complexity-preserving compilation of MAP on a simple vector-parallel model. Third, we implement the vector model on a parallel multiprocessor. Here we choose as target the LogP model, which can be instantiated to simulate various multiprocessors. All but one of the vector model instructions require only restricted forms of communication patters on LogP, called monotone communications. These in turn admit efficient implementations on LogP. We ran two simple benchmarks on a LogP simulator, measuring the speedup and the scaleup. We report conditions under which good speedup and scaleup can be expected.
  • Publication
    Cultivated Positive Emotions Inspire Environmentally Responsible Behaviors
    (2009-01-01) Carter, David M
    Existing environmental problems, such as climate change and species extinction, are partially the result of human behavior. Attempts to motivate people to reduce and alter consumption behaviors have primarily relied on the summoning of negative emotions. The author elaborates a comprehensive theory, supported by empirical evidence, showing how positive emotions can be more effective at inspiring environmentally responsible behaviors. B. L. Fredrickson’s (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions is used to demonstrate how cultivated positive emotions can, expand people’s awareness that they are a connected part of the Earth’s living system, increase their capacity to creatively and effectively address environmental problems, and help them recognize that well-being and environmental health go hand in hand.
  • Publication
    A Quantitative Analysis of the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard: And Options for the Future
    (2007-05-01) Tichich, Nicholas
    This study evaluates Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard and its effect on promoting the development of new, utility-scale electricity generators fueled by alternative sources. The energy profile of Pennsylvania for 2005 and 2006 is determined from the Generation Attribute Tracking System, which tracks the creation of compliance credits according to the policy guidelines. The future energy profile is projected from the PJM Interconnection Queue, which lists the proposed future generating plants in the state. The forecast for electricity use in Pennsylvania is derived from the Energy Information Administration’s 2007 Energy Outlook. The study shows that the Tier II goals of the policy are currently met, with no need for further developments. The study predicts that Tier I and solar PV developments will fall short of the policy goals. Compatible Tier I technologies are profiled, and recommendations are made to meet future compliance.
  • Publication
    Enhancing the Well-Being of Incarcerated Females: A Pilot Study
    (2007-01-01) Lewis, Sandy
    Piloting the Group Positive Psychotherapy program (Seligman, Rashid & Parks, 2006) with dually diagnosed mothers, age 13 to 22, who are under penal supervision; this project will attempt to counter traditional interventions by increasing positive emotion, meaning and engagement. Phase 1: The program will be administered over 7 a week period to 20 professional staff members. Measures on approaches to happiness and quality of life will be taken pre and post intervention. Phase 2: The program will be administered over a 6 week period to a group of 24 residential clients. Measures on depression and quality of life will be taken pre and post intervention. Once data is analyzed, this pilot will be taken to the female prison population at large.
  • Publication
    "Pro-Poor" Tourism in Nicaragua: A Case Study of the Telica Rota Natural Reserve
    (2016-12-12) Bridges, Megan M
    The following paper is an ethnographic study that was conducted over the course of eleven months while working in León, Nicaragua, for an international NGO. It adds to existing literature that illustrate the shortfalls of community-based tourism projects, particularly when multiple stakeholders are involved. It focuses its attention on the cultural misunderstandings between the NGO, municipal government, and a rural tourism cooperative regarding tourism development and land management. Furthermore, it highlights the cooperative’s efforts in maintaining its agency when it felt as though its interests were being ignored by organizations with greater social, political, and economic capital than they had.