Laura Perna Selected as 2014 Penn Fellow

January 14, 2014 - The Office of the Provost has selected Penn GSE’s Dr. Laura Perna as a 2014 Penn Fellow, an honor bestowed on just eight faculty members from across the University each year. Penn Fellows are recognized as up-and-coming leaders in Penn’s distinguished faculty, and over the next year, they will work to develop cross-university networks, think strategically about higher education and the future of Penn, and build leadership capacity across the University.

Dr. Perna, a nationally renowned expert on access, choice, and equity in higher education, is a member of GSE’s Higher Education Division. She recently received widespread attention for her research on low completion rates for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), conducted along with GSE colleagues Robert Boruch and Alan Ruby.

“Dr. Laura Perna will make a terrific Penn Fellow,” Dean Andy Porter said. “She is a high-energy thought leader in her field.”

Along with Penn GSE colleagues Matthew Hartley and Diane Eynon, Dr. Perna is currently launching the Penn Alliance for Higher Education And Democracy (Penn AHEAD), a research center dedicated to fostering open, equitable, and democratic societies through higher education. She is also currently serving as President-Elect (2013-2014) of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and is a Past Vice President of the American Educational Research Association’s Division J: Postsecondary Education.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Dr. Perna said. “It's very flattering to be recognized in this way. I'm particularly excited to have this opportunity to make connections with others across the University and think about the role of Penn in the broader higher education landscape.”

Dr. Marybeth Gasman, also a member of GSE’s Higher Education Division, was selected as a member of the first cohort of Penn Fellows in 2009.