Leadership and Governance

The Annenberg School for Communication, which is the smallest of the 12 schools at the University of Pennsylvania, is governed by its standing faculty, who make or give input on all major hiring, promotion, and curricular issues. While much of the work of the Annenberg School takes place through committees, ultimately it is the faculty as a whole that makes final decisions on important policy issues. This takes place in faculty meetings, which are held once a month and are run by the Dean. Agendas for these meetings are put together by the Dean, but all faculty members are invited to add items for discussion prior to each meeting.

The School also has an Alumni Advisory Board, whose role is to provide counsel to the Dean on relevant issues facing the School and its future. 


The School is led by the Dean, who is also a tenured member of the ASC faculty. The Dean reports to the Provost and President of the University. In addition to University-wide responsibilities, the Dean is responsible for the physical, financial, and administrative management of the Annenberg School.

Position currently held by Sarah Banet-Weiser

Reporting to and appointed by the Dean of the School is the Vice Dean, a position filled by a member of the ASC Standing Faculty. Working with the Dean of the School, the ASC Standing Faculty, and members of the ASC senior staff, the Vice Dean helps to build infrastructure that supports collaboration and cohesiveness across the various centers and research labs in the School, as well as developing strategies to procure research funding for this new infrastructure. 

Position currently held by Emily Falk

Reporting to and appointed by the Dean of the School is the Dean of Graduate Studies, a position filled by a member of the ASC Standing Faculty. Working with the Dean of the School, the Graduate Studies Committee, the Annenberg Graduate Student Council, and the ASC standing faculty, the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and their staff are responsible for the management of all aspects of the graduate program, including admissions, curriculum, and placement.

Position currently held by John J. Jemmott III

Reporting to and appointed by the dean is the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, a position filled by a Ph.D. holding, full-time staff member. Working with the Dean of the School, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Undergraduate Studies Committee, and the Standing Faculty, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and his/her staff are responsible for the management of all aspects of the undergraduate program, including curriculum, course offerings, undergraduate advising, and co-curricular activities.

Position currently held by Litty Paxton


The Annenberg School has organized the following committees, which report to the Dean:

The Executive Committee is made up of four members of the Standing Faculty who are elected each year by the Standing Faculty. As the central representative body of the faculty, the Executive Committee meets regularly with the Dean to discuss policy and administrative matters related to all aspects of the School’s research, teaching and service missions. It also serves as the School’s faculty search committee (one-year terms).

Current Committee members: Sarah J. JacksonKathleen Hall JamiesonGuobin YangBarbie Zelizer

Appointed each year by the Dean from one of the four elected members of the Executive Committee, the Diversity Search Advisor acts as an advocate for diversity in consulting and or deliberating with other members of the Executive Committee, the standing faculty, and the Dean on any new proposed faculty hire.

Position currently held by Sarah J. Jackson

As established by University policy, the essential duties of the Communication Graduate Group are to design an academic program that meets the requirements of the students and the University for depth, breadth, and academic quality of the highest order, and to adapt the program in response to the challenges by and opportunities for new developments in the field; and establish well-defined academic standards and requirements that are rigorous and that ensure quality and encourage the free development of the scholarly abilities of individual students. These standards and requirements must be consistent with the intellectual style and spirit of the field and also with the minimum base requirements of the University, as established by the Graduate Council of the Faculties; and establish standards and procedures for admission of graduate students and the operation of an admissions program that will attract and admit students. Only members of the Standing Faculty, Associated Faculty, and Emeritus Faculty are eligible for membership in Graduate Groups at Penn. Currently, the Communication Graduate Group consists of all tenured and tenure-track members of the ASC Standing Faculty, and only they have voting rights on curricular matters. Emeritus Professors and Secondary Appointments have more limited involvement in the Communication Graduate Group, as decided on by the Standing Faculty.

All members of the standing faculty are part of this committee.

The Graduate Studies Committee is made up of the ASC Dean of Graduate Studies and four additional members of the ASC Standing Faculty who are elected each year by the Standing Faculty. Their central responsibilities are to review applications for admission into the graduate program, oversee the Qualification Evaluation process for graduate students (discussed below), and serve as the initial group that considers policy changes regarding the structure and content of the Communication graduate program.

Current Members: Dolores AlbarracínVictor PickardAswin Punathambekar (Diversity Officer), Andy Tan

The Curriculum Committee is responsible for approving any changes in the graduate curriculum and for approving individual courses offered in the program. The committee consists of all members of the ASC Standing Faculty (plus other members of the Communication Graduate Group who have been granted voting rights), and is chaired by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

All members of the standing faculty are part of this committee.

The Undergraduate Studies Committee is made up of two members of the ASC Standing Faculty, the ASC Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and at least one additional representative who is a Lecturer at ASC or who teaches in a School of Arts and Sciences department related to Communication. The committee advises the Dean of Undergraduate Studies on policy and curricular issues regarding the undergraduate program.

Current Members:  Litty Paxton (chair), Basha Starr (ex-officio), Murali BalajiSandra González-BailónJessa Lingel, Matthew Brook O'Donnell, Kim Woolf

The Events Committee advises the Dean of the School on invited speakers to School-sponsored lectures, colloquia, and other scholarly events. It consists of three ASC faculty, one graduate student, and the ASC Director of Events, appointed by the School Dean (one-year terms).

Current Members: Desmond PattonSandra González-BailónEmilie Grybos (Graduate Student Representative), Luisa Klemm (Associate Director of Events, ex-officio)

The Annenberg Graduate 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, staff, and ASC administration, as well as to foster a collegial atmosphere for students. Members of the Graduate Council of Students are elected by the ASC graduate student body for a one year term.

Every other year, the Dean will appoint two faculty members to select a recent graduate from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism as a Gerbner Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship is named after Annenberg School's former Dean, George Gerber. Gerbner Postdoctoral Fellows serve two-year terms.

Current Members: Jessa Lingel and Damon Centola

Ad Hoc Committees

Either by their choice or at the request of the faculty, the Dean may appoint, or the faculty may elect, members to ad hoc committees intended to address major issues or decisions facing the School, including but not limited to facilities, library services, and other issues not directly covered by standing committees.

The Committee on Community, Inclusion and Culture was created to help the school's efforts to build and sustain an inclusive culture and a shared sense of community. The committee is tasked with ensuring that ASC's internal culture-building efforts are inclusive of the numerous voices and stakeholders within the school while also furthering relationships and partnerships with the surrounding community. The committee is made up of faculty, staff and student representatives chosen by the Dean and Graduate Student Council, respectively.

Current Members: Murali Balaji (Chair), Duncan Watts (Faculty Representative),  Anna Gamarnik (Staff Representative), Sim Gill (Graduate Student Representative)

University-Mandated Appointments

In addition to these School positions and committees, ASC faculty members fill several University-mandated elected or appointed roles. 

Responsible for all issues and grievances connected to academic freedom. Consists of three ASC faculty members elected by the ASC Standing Faculty (one-year terms).

Current Members: Kathleen Hall JamiesonCarolyn MarvinDiana MutzGuobin Yang (alternate)

The University of Pennsylvania Faculty Senate is the body in which full-time teaching faculty members may “discuss and express their views upon any matter they deem to be of general interest to the faculty.” The Senate is expressly empowered to “request reports from the University administration,” and to “make recommendations directly to the President, the Provost, and the Trustees.” Its responsibilities are to routinely act for the Senate on substantive policy issues. The Annenberg School representative to the Senate Executive Committee is selected by the Senate based on nominations from the ASC faculty (two-year term).

Current Representative: Yphtach Lelkes

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) is the official student government body for graduate and professional students at Penn, representing over 13,000 students across twelve schools. A representative is appointed by the ASC Graduate Student Council each year.

Current Representative: Devo Probol

The Graduate Council of the Faculties is an advisory body to the Provost and the Associate Provost for Education. The Graduate Council assists in the evaluation of graduate programs by participating in or conducting periodic reviews; advising on policy matters related to the well-being of graduate education; advising on University-wide admissions and degree requirements for the Ph.D., A.M., and M.S. degrees; and certifying for the Trustees the candidates for the award of those degrees. ASC’s representative is a faculty member appointed from the ASC standing faculty (three-year term).

Current Representative: Victor Pickard

The Provost's Council on Research is a major advisory committee for the Vice Provost for Research and plays an important role in formulating and implementing research policies at the University level. The Council is constituted of faculty representatives of each of the 12 Schools, many of whom hold administrative appointments, such as Associate Dean for Research. The Council meets monthly during the academic year. ASC’s representative to the Council is appointed from among the ASC faculty by the Dean (one year term).

Current Representative: Emily Falk

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