Faculty Database: Penn and the Sustainable Development Goals

Discover Penn’s academic strengths relative to global sustainability priorities.

Our Findings

We used the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to understand how teaching and research of Penn’s standing faculty members connect to global priorities. Use the graphics below to explore our aggregated University results to-date. Data can be sorted by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) or by school. Penn faculty members may request lists of faculty members by goal or by multiple goals [i.e. good health (SDG3) and climate (SDG13) or zero poverty (SDG1) and peace (SDG 16)].

Key Statistics

12

All of Penn’s 12 schools have connections to the SDGs.

1,110

Faculty members do research linked to the SDGs.

1,750

Total connections.

Our Analysis

This program aims to illuminate Penn’s distinctive strengths in generating knowledge to support solutions to global challenges while also resulting in a searchable database to foster transdisciplinary research. We used the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a classification system, as the 17 goals offer a universal platform today’s most pressing global challenges.

Methodology

Our first approach was to deploy an interdisciplinary team of students to analyze the teaching and research of standing faculty members. Each student assistant assumed responsibility for batches of academic units. They reviewed the biographies, course descriptions, websites, and publications of each faculty member in that unit using an online form to ensure consistency. While thorough, this method was time-consuming and subject to human bias.

In partnership with Penn Libraries, the Initiative tested a second approach using a research database to find faculty members whose fields of research connect with one or more Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Based on an analysis of publications between 2018-2023 (January), we identified Penn standing faculty across the 12 schools whose research connects to one or more goals. This method relies on automated classification of research documents aligning to the goals, using supervised machine learning with extensive training datasets and curated keyword searches. 

 

Standing and associated faculty (Spring 2023) 

A total of 2,049 standing and associated faculty, without clinical divisions, were considered in our analysis. Find total faculty by school below. 

  • School of Arts & Sciences......................532
  • The Wharton School...............................256
  • Annenberg School of Communication.....21
  • School of Dental Medicine.......................24
  • Weitzman School of Design.....................65
  • Graduate School of Education.................63
  • School Engineering & Applied Science..161
  • Penn Carey Law.........................................59
  • Perelman School of Medicine.................662
  • School of Nursing......................................102
  • School of Social Policy & Practice............28
  • School of Veterinary Medicine..................76

Next Steps

 

Bearing in mind the goals of this work – connecting Penn’s knowledge to global priorities and fostering collaboration – the Initiative will continue to refine and enhance the tactics and methodology for this program.

  1. The current analysis includes journals, preprints, books, chapters, monographs, and proceedings. In the future, it is possible to add policy documents, grants, and datasets.
  2. Acknowledging the limitations of the SDGs – such as the exclusion of agriculture, forestry, and chemicals – we intend to re-envision this program using keywords that more accurately reflect environmental priorities.
  3. Once we have established robust methodology to capture data related to standing faculty, we plan to expand to non-standing faculty and other researchers.
  4. We are currently able to run queries upon request. Should this functionality prove viable and valuable, we plan develop a searchable online platform. 

Inquiries

If you would like to know more about how Penn standing faculty connect with the SDGs please feel free to submit your inquiries.  

Contact us

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