Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price today announced that John L. Jackson Jr., the Richard Perry University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Senior Advisor for Diversity in the Office of the Provost, has been named dean of Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice. His new position will become effective July 1.

Jackson, who has primary appointments in the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as a secondary appointment in the School of Social Policy & Practice, is a noted cultural anthropologist who has written and taught about the impact of mass media on urban life, globalization and the remaking of ethnic and racial diasporas, and racialization and media technology.

Jackson joined Penn in 2006 as its first Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professor, a program developed to recruit preeminent faculty who have appointments in two Penn schools and who harness tools from different disciplines and professional perspectives to address compelling societal challenges. He has conducted fieldwork in Harlem to understand cultural and economic diversity in contemporary New York, analyzed the impact of language on race relations, and explored the use of technology by African American religious and spiritual communities. His scholarly work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Lilly Endowment.

An accomplished filmmaker, Jackson has produced a feature-length fiction film, documentaries, and shorts that have screened at film festivals internationally. With colleagues from the Annenberg School and Penn’s Graduate School of Education, and working closely alongside community members, he also helped create CAMRA, an interdisciplinary group of researchers and educators committed to participatory, experimental media making.

Jackson earned his B.A. in Communication summa cum laude from Howard University as a University Merit Scholar and received his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. with distinction in anthropology from Columbia University. He was a Junior Fellow in Harvard University’s Society of Fellows and a faculty member in Duke University’s Cultural Anthropology Department before coming to Penn where, in addition to his appointments in Anthropology, Africana Studies, and Communication, he is also affiliated with the School of Social Policy & Practice, the English Department, the Graduate School of Education, and the Penn Institute for Urban Research. In 2009, Jackson served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Jackson has served as program chair for the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference and on the editorial boards of highly respected journals, including Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, & Society.

About University of Pennsylvania     

The University of Pennsylvania is an American private Ivy League research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Incorporated as The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn is one of 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities and one of the nine original Colonial Colleges.

Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder, advocated an educational program that focused as much on practical education for commerce and public service as on the classics and theology. Penn was one of the first academic institutions to follow a multidisciplinary model pioneered by several European universities, concentrating multiple "faculties" (e.g., theology, classics, medicine) into one institution. It was also home to many other educational innovations. The first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), the first collegiate business school (Wharton, 1881) and the first student union (Houston Hall, 1896) were all born at Penn.