New year brings new leadership appointments for SP2 faculty
Authored by: Juliana Rosati
Photography by: Mark Stehle; provided
Faculty & Research
Four SP2 faculty members have been appointed to new leadership roles at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) as the 2023-2024 academic year approaches. As of July 1, the faculty below will direct the PhD in Social Welfare Program, the Master of Science in Social Policy Program, and School-wide strategic initiatives.
Drs. Tamara Cadet and Yoosun Park named PhD in Social Welfare Program co-directors
With a rigorous and flexible curriculum that reflects a School-wide commitment to social justice, SP2’s PhD in Social Welfare Program prepares students for careers as researchers and scholars. Associate Professor Tamara Cadet and Associate Professor Yoosun Park both bring interdisciplinary expertise and social justice aims to their roles as the program’s new co-directors.
Dr. Park, a theory-driven scholar, has built a nontraditional body of scholarship to extend the borders of social work knowledge. Her award-winning scholarship informs the next generation of social work practitioners and researchers as required readings in courses of social work in the United States and abroad. Dr. Cadet, a leading scholar in the arena of social work and public health, works to create interventions and reduce disparities in health among under-resourced, underserved, and underrepresented populations. Her research has a particular focus on cancer screening and cancer care for older people.
Dr. Park, a theory-driven scholar, has built a nontraditional body of scholarship to extend the borders of social work knowledge.
As they take on leadership of the PhD in Social Welfare Program, Drs. Cadet and Park will build on the work of Dr. Irene Wong, emeritus faculty member, who served as interim director of the PhD in Social Welfare Program for 2022-2023.
In their directors’ welcome, Drs. Cadet and Park emphasize the importance of critical, cross-disciplinary thinking. They write, “Whatever the domain of interest — health, poverty, education, incarceration, climate change, racism, migration, philanthropy, homelessness, history, and whether it is framed as a theoretical, methodological, issue-focused, or population-based inquiry — what we seek is students interested in not only finding the answers but in critically interrogating the questions themselves.”
Dr. Cadet works to create interventions and reduce disparities in health among under-resourced, underserved, and underrepresented populations.
Dean Bachman notes the strengths in research and education that the two bring to their roles. “Drs. Park and Cadet are ideal faculty to take on leadership of this important program at this time,” she says. “They bring a wealth of methodological and theoretical expertise and varied experiences and perspectives on academia, as well as a shared commitment to excellence and a passion for educating the next generation of social welfare leaders.”
Dr. Ioana Marinescu named Master of Science in Social Policy director
Dedicated to increasing equality, promoting equity, and forging enduring social change, SP2’s Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) Program and its data-focused variation, MSSP Program + Data Analytics for Social Policy Certificate, empower students to create policy solutions in governmental settings and beyond. Associate Professor Ioana Marinescu, who spent the past year as the principal economist at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, returns from a one-year leave from SP2 to lead the programs.
A sought-after expert, Dr. Marinescu has testified before Congress and the Federal Trade Commission, and her work is regularly featured in major media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post. Her research is published in top-tier academic journals, including the Journal of Labor Economics and the Quarterly Journal of Economics, of which she is an associate editor.
Dr. Ioana Marinescu spent the past year as the principal economist at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division
Addressing students in her director’s welcome, Dr. Marinescu notes the program’s broad definition of social policy and its aims of effecting change. “You will study a wide range of social policy domains, such as social welfare, education, health, technology, and environmental justice, among many others,” she writes. “We will examine social policy from a social justice perspective, challenging assumptions and biases, and seeking effective solutions to promote social justice.”
Dean Bachman highlights Dr. Marinescu’s skills in teaching and innovation as assets to the programs. “Dr. Marinescu is an excellent and committed educator, both as a classroom teacher and as a mentor to students,” she says. “She is constantly innovating to advance the impact of her teaching. Recently, for example, she piloted a new course on podcast development and co-hosts the Podcast “Just Economics” as a learning laboratory for our students.”
Dr. Desmond Patton named inaugural chief strategy officer
Devoted to the passionate pursuit of social innovation, impact, and justice, SP2 works to advance more effective, efficient, and humane human services through education, research, and civic engagement. As the School’s inaugural Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Desmond Upton Patton will work with faculty, students, and staff to identify and implement innovative strategies that promote the School’s mission, enhance its reputation, and create social policy and practice impact.
Dr. Patton, a pioneer in the interdisciplinary fusion of social work, communications, and data science, holds joint appointments at SP2 and the Annenberg School for Communication as the Brian and Randi Schwartz University Professor. His appointments are a result of the University-wide Penn Integrates Knowledge program, which recruits exceptional faculty who exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines.
In addition, Dr. Patton is founding director of SAFELab, a research initiative affiliated with Annenberg and SP2. SAFELab examines how to support youth of color in navigating grief and violence in social media environments and researches innovative methods to promote joy and healing in digital contexts.
Dr. Patton, a pioneer in the fusion of social work, communications, and data science, holds joint appointments at SP2 and the Annenberg School for Communication as the Brian and Randi Schwartz University Professor.
Dr. Patton points to inclusion as a significant aim of his new role. “An important component of my work is to integrate anti-racist practices and policies into the strategic direction and future of our school,” he says. “I look forward to co-designing strategies for and with our associate dean for inclusion, faculty, staff, students and alumni. It’s vital to me that we foster an environment where everyone, regardless of their role or background, feels valued and included. I am excited about the potential to collaborate and learn from you all in this important endeavor.”
Dean Bachman notes the collaborative and creative approach that Dr. Patton will bring to SP2’s engagement at Penn, in Philadelphia, and beyond. “Dr. Patton will work collaboratively to extend SP2’s reach across the university, Philadelphia and beyond, including identifying linkages with the University’s strategic plan,” she says. “He is the ideal person to play this role. Since joining SP2 he has demonstrated his collaborative approach to his work as well as his creativity and strategic thinking.”
Yoosun Park, MSW, PhD
Tamara J. Cadet, PhD, LICSW, MPH
Ioana E. Marinescu, PhD
Desmond Upton Patton, PhD, MSW
Brian and Randi Schwartz University Professor