Robert Zemsky has spent his career at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on how best to keep universities true to their missions while at the same time remaining market smart.
He currently serves as chair of The Learning Alliance, a broad coalition of experts assisting institutions of higher learning in striking the balance between market success and public mission. He also is currently a Senior Scholar for the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (Penn AHEAD) at Penn GSE.
At Penn, Prof. Zemsky has been the university's chief planning officer, and served as master of Hill College House. For 20 years, he served as the founding director of the university's Institute for Research on Higher Education, one of the country's major public policy centers specializing in educational research and analysis. In his research, Prof. Zemsky pioneered the use of market analyses for higher education.
Prof. Zemsky is the author of "The Structure of College Choice, Structure and Coherence, Measuring the Undergraduate Curriculum," "Higher Education as Competitive Enterprise: When Markets Matter," "Thwarted Innovation: What Happened to e-learning and Why" with William Massy and "Remaking the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered" with Gregory Wegner and William Massy. His most recent book, "Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education" has sparked a major discussion of the need for curricular re-engineering across American higher education.
Named in 1998 by Change magazine as one of higher education's top 40 leaders for his role as an agenda-setter, Prof. Zemsky is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow and was a postdoctoral Social Science Research Council Fellow in Linguistics and later chair of that council's Committee on Social Science Personnel.
In 1998 he received a Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon.) from Towson University and in 2008 a Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon.) from Franklin and Marshall College. He holds a B.A. from Whittier College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.
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