Organization of the School


The chief administrative officer of the Annenberg School for Communication (ASC) is the Walter H. Annenberg Dean. Academic affairs are directed by Annenberg faculty members: the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies supervises the doctoral program and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies supervises the undergraduate major. Associate Deans are appointed by the Annenberg Dean.

Annenberg staff members oversee the administrative functions of the school: the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies manages the development and coordination of the graduate program, and the Graduate Coordinator is responsible for administrative duties including processing applications and maintaining student records. Questions regarding school policy, academic advising, student affairs, financial policies, and other issues should be addressed to the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies. 

The Director of Student Services and and Registrar schedules and monitors courses and classroom assignments, and advises undergraduates. The Executive Director of Finance & Facilities Operations manages the School’s financial operations. The Business Administrator processes student stipend payments and reimbursements. The Librarian supervises the library’s staff and operations. The Director of the Information Technology administers the School’s computer resources. The Senior Building Administrator is responsible for the building, its contents, and related services. The Director of Special Events plans, implements, and manages School-supported functions as they relate to ASC faculty, staff, and students. 

Standing Faculty

Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Professors holding tenured or tenure-track, full-time appointments at ASC constitute the Standing Faculty. The Standing Faculty shall meet as stipulated in the University Statutes. At these meetings, the voting faculty shall determine, consistent with University regulations, ASC requirements for admissions, regulations for instruction of students, requirements for recommendation for degrees, and qualifications for membership in the faculty. The Standing Faculty may, either upon request or upon its own initiative, make recommendations to the Dean or to other parties about matters outside of faculty jurisdiction. Operational advice on the execution of faculty policy about matters within its powers and any other business not requiring a meeting of the voting faculty shall be provided to the Dean by an elected Executive Committee of the Standing Faculty of the Annenberg School. The Dean convenes regularly-scheduled meetings of the Executive Committee and other meetings as necessary.

Standing committees are appointed by the Dean in consultation with the faculty and in accordance with University Statutes and ASC procedures, and comprise members of the Standing Faculty and such others as a standing committee wishes to nominate for appointment by a majority vote of its regular members.

Secondary Faculty Appointments 

In line with its culture of interdisciplinary research, ASC welcomes to its graduate group Penn faculty who hold primary tenure-track positions in other University departments. These individuals are referred to as “Secondary Appointments” and should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • They can attend ASC faculty meetings as non-voting members.
  • They are eligible to teach ASC (COMM) graduate and undergraduate courses. Courses taught in their home departments/schools (i.e., non COMM-designated or cross-listed courses) are treated the same as any non-ASC course in terms of meeting undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.
  • They are subject to the same rules as the ASC standing faculty for access to ASC teaching assistants when ASC is the home unit for the course.
  • They may have access to ASC graduate students to serve as research assistants (through their own funded projects or as part of regular ASC funding of graduate students) only with permission of the ASC Graduate Studies Committee (See definition below). In making this decision, the Graduate Studies Committee will consider: the value of the research experience for the student; availability of graduate students for meeting the teaching and research assistantship needs of the ASC Standing Faculty; past access to research assistants; and the impact on the ASC budget. While the final authority for assigning research assistants resides with the Graduate Studies Committee, they may authorize the Associate and Assistant Deans for Graduate Studies to take on this responsibility.
  • They are non-voting members of the Communication Graduate Group, and thus are ­eligible to serve, with permission from the Graduate Studies Committee, as an ASC dissertation supervisor, or as chair of the dissertation committee. Consistent with ASC rules, any committee that includes a secondary appointee (as member, dissertation advisor or chair) must also include three members of the ASC Standing Faculty. Members of the Communication Graduate Group who are not standing faculty at ASC cannot serve as general academic advisors for ASC graduate students. 

Graduate Studies Committee

The Standing Faculty Committee on Graduate Studies enacts faculty policy on student admissions, financial awards, fellowships and assistantships, student academic progress and scholarship, academic grievances, and other academic matters. This committee is responsible for conducting the Qualifications Evaluation, evaluating transfer credit requests, and approving dissertation committees. Normally the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies chairs the Committee on Graduate Studies and serves as Graduate Group Chair for the doctoral program. The Faculty elects members for the upcoming academic year in early September.

Graduate Student Council

The Graduate Student Council is made up of six members of the ASC graduate student body. The group’s primary function is to represent the ASC student body and to convey its interests, suggestions, and grievances to the faculty and staff, as well as to foster a collegial atmosphere among students.

All ASC graduate students are eligible to vote in elections and serve as Council members. Graduate Council terms are one year. Three students are elected in late September with terms beginning in October. At least one of these students must be an incoming first-year student. Three students are elected in late January to begin serving in February. Members of graduate council must be students in good standing at the Annenberg School during the year of their term. They must be available to attend weekly meetings and various social events, as planned by graduate council. Students must be in Philadelphia during the academic year of their term and, while not required, it is strongly recommended that Grad Council members be available during the summer.