Dr. Stanton Wortham to Serve as the Lynch School Dean

Beginning in July, Dr. Stanton Wortham, University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education’s Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor and former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will become the inaugural Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School of Education.

The search committee for the position unanimously chose Wortham as Maureen Kenny’s successor. Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley said, “I expect Stanton to provide strong leadership for the Lynch School through a challenging time for schools of education, and his commitment to imaginative collaborations with faculty colleagues and school-based partners will serve us well.”

“After a very active search that included a wide range of strong candidates with prominent reputations in the field, [the committee] felt Dr. Wortham’s outstanding qualities and achievements as an experienced administrator and accomplished academic set him apart,” added Thomas More Brennan Professor Andy Hargreaves, a member of the search committee.

Aside from being an author or editor of nine books and more than 80 articles and chapters, and from being executive producer of the award-winning documentary “Adelante”, Wortham does have a rather accomplished list of achievements. With a B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Chicago, Wortham began his career as an Assistant Professor of Education at Bates College before joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty five years later. He has also been the recipient of several fellowships, teaching awards, and academic awards including the University of Chicago Century Fellowship, the William T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellowship, and the University of Pennsylvania Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.

“His commitment to the common good and his work at the intersection of research and practice make him an excellent fit for the Lynch School,” noted Daniel E. Kearns Professor Mary Walsh, another search committee member. “His scholarly work draws from a wide range of fields and disciplines in the social sciences including psychology, education, history, sociology, anthropology and even business/management.”

As for how his work will inform the perspective that he will bring to the new role, Wortham notes a few correlations. “I have done research on dialogue, on how people work together on intellectual endeavors. Through that work I have gained an appreciation for the importance of fostering community and conversation among colleagues and students.” He continues, “I have done research on adult development in organizations, on how the structure of an institution can foster or impede individuals’ personal and professional trajectories. Through that work, I have learned how to support colleagues’ development and provide them opportunities to be adaptive and take advantage of unexpected opportunities,” he asserts. “I have also done research on social identity, on how some people get positioned in unfair and sometimes damaging ways through educational institutions. Through that work I have developed a commitment to build an inclusive community and examine ways in which we can inadvertently deny some the full opportunities that should be available through education.”

The Lynch School mission involves enhancing the human condition, expanding understanding, and serving victims of injustice. “There is much excellent work already going on at the Lynch School that puts this mission into practice,” notes Wortham. “[One] of our tasks is to let the world know more about the ways we are already accomplishing this vision through research, teaching, and service. I also look forward to working with my colleagues to develop more projects with local school districts and other agencies through which we can enact the vision.”

“BC has always had a strong sense of community, of people working together toward a shared mission, and I hope to preserve and strengthen this collegiality and mutual support,” says Dr. Wortham in regards to the impact he hopes to have on the Lynch School. “The Lynch School also has outstanding faculty doing excellent research, and I plan to work with them — and with our new Associate Dean for Research, Jim Slotta — to foster even more visible research.”

He believes that one of his greatest challenges as Dean will be that nontraditional pathways to professional certification put a strain on the demand for schools of education. “We need to enhance our offerings so that we can reach a larger audience with our teaching and research,” says Wortham. “At BC, I hope that we can address this challenge by developing a distinctive approach to education, one that draws people through its emphasis on education as a process of developing the whole person.”

“BC is at an exciting and historic point, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the university at this time. The quality of the faculty and students has never been higher, and the university has been on a strong upward trajectory,” he remarks. “I value BC’s emphasis on a deep and integrated education in the liberal arts and sciences, and I embrace the commitment to serving others that comes with the Jesuit tradition. The Lynch School has outstanding faculty and excellent students, as well as a cooperative and collegial atmosphere. So I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to become the Dean of LSOE at this moment.”

One-on-one friend dates, English Breakfast tea (with milk, no sugar), thrift shopping, and living on Newton (two years running) are life.