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Transformative Thinkers

June 18, 2018

An increasing demand for specialization and the intense competition among peer institutions to recruit and retain the nation’s most preeminent scholars are critical factors in the Law School’s ability to teach the full range of our curriculum. Hiring the best, most accomplished faculty members will be a focused and deliberate effort, enhancing Penn Law’s leadership in emerging areas of law, such as technology, privacy, and intellectual property, and in more established areas of practice, such as criminal justice and international trade.

We envision enhancing our national research reputation by providing support for additional faculty chairs; merit- and need-based scholarships for students focused in these fields (including tuition, research, and teaching support); new courses and workshops that cross fields and schools; faculty research; national conferences and symposia; visiting scholars and leaders from practice; one or more new student and/or faculty journals; named lectures for prominent figures in the field; and commensurate administrative infrastructure

To maximize support and visibility, the programs will continue to partner with other Penn schools, including Annenberg, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Wharton, as well as the National Constitution Center.




Professor Dorothy Roberts: My whole body of work looks at the harm of pretending that
that the reason that we social inequalities in our country and around the world is because of innate biological differences between human beings. I find that concept in the very notion that race is a biological category and I also find it in a number of policies that
address social problems like mass incarceration, or the drug use by pregnant women, or differences in educational attainment, as if they are biological problems. As if they are the result of something innate in the bodies of different groups, instead of looking at how structural inequalities, including legal institutions promote these continued divisions within our society.

So, I think my work is transformative because it gets people to think about these false assumptions and the many ways in which they affect our lives and policies and institutions. And turns their attention instead to how we might shape social policies and legal institutions and structures of inequality in order to have a more just and equal

Students who have the opportunity to be in a class where their professor encourages them to be transformative thinkers are able to look differently, to question some of the perceived wisdoms they’ve received all their lives, and have then the freedom to envision something better. It means that they become critical thinkers, but also imaginative.

The best compliment I can get from a student is one who says to me, “Professor Roberts you changed the way I think about the world and now I’m going to move forward in my career in a new a way that I have a greater sense of fulfillment and a greater sense that I’m actually going to make an important contribution to the world.” 


To learn more about the Power of Penn Law: Advocates for a New Era, go to: