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Beth Simmons appointed Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, joins Law School faculty

July 12, 2016

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price are pleased to announce the appointment of Beth Simmons as Penn’s eighteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor, effective July 1, 2016.

A world-renowned authority on international relations and human rights, Simmons is the Andrea Mitchell University Professor, with joint faculty appointments in the Law School and the Department of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences.

“Beth Simmons’ award-winning scholarship spans international politics, law, and human rights,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “She not only ranks at the top of her field as a scholar, she also is a universally admired teacher and mentor whose students have themselves gone on to illustrious careers. Simmons’ recruitment to Penn was clinched by a consummately collaborative, interdisciplinary team that spans multiple disciplines. Coupled with the opening of a stunning global hub on Penn’s central campus, Perry World House, Simmons’ arrival as the Andrea Mitchell University Professor in law and political science catapults Penn forward in its capacity to tackle the most challenging issues in global affairs.

“I speak on behalf of the deans and the entire university in thanking Andrea Mitchell for her visionary and far-reaching support. This is the latest example of how the Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professorship program — with a stellar cohort of preeminent professors that span Penn’s schools — is fueling the most innovative interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship and teaching in the world. My thanks to all the generous donors who have endowed PIK University professorships.”

Simmons comes to Penn from Harvard University, where she was Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs and served from 2006-2013 as Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is former President of the International Studies Association and author of two landmark books: Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years, 1924-1939 (Princeton University Press, 1994). Both books won the Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association as the best book of the year published in the United States on government, politics, or international affairs, as well as additional major awards from the International Studies Association, the International Social Science Council, and the American Society for International Law. 

A co-editor of seven books and author of dozens of influential articles and book chapters, Simmons worked from 1995-1996 at the International Monetary Fund and previously taught at the University of California-Berkeley and Duke University. She earned a PhD and MA in Government from Harvard University, an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a BA summa cum laude in political science and philosophy from the University of Redlands.

“It is tremendously exciting to welcome to Penn one of the world’s leading scholars of global affairs and human rights,” said Provost Price. “Beth Simmons brings to us deep scholarly expertise and global engagement across multiple disciplines. She is certain to be an extraordinary catalyst for the Perry World House, for Penn’s engagement around the world, and for our vibrant intellectual life here on campus.”

The Penn Integrates Knowledge program was launched by President Gutmann in 2005 as a University-wide initiative to recruit exceptional faculty members whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines and who are appointed in at least two Schools at Penn.