Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship (ACES)

Ira Harkavy

Inducted in

University of Pennsylvania

Associate Vice President
Founding Director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships

Photo of Ira Harkavy

Biographical Abstracts

Ira Harkavy is associate vice president and founding director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania. As director of the Netter Center since 1992, he has helped to develop academically based community service courses and participatory action research projects that involve creating university-community partnerships and university-assisted community schools in Penn's local community of West Philadelphia. An historian, he teaches in the departments of history, urban studies, and Africana studies, and in the Graduate School of Education. He is chair of the Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy; chair of the Anchor Institutions Task Force; and founder and Steering Committee member of the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND).

Harkavy is author or editor of ten books as well as numerous articles and chapters on university-community-school partnerships and the democratic and civic missions of higher education. Among other honors, he is the recipient of the University of Pennsylvania’s Alumni Award of Merit; Campus Compact’s Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning; New American Colleges and Universities’ Ernest L. Boyer Award; a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant; and two honorary degrees. Under his directorship, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships received the inaugural William T. Grant Foundation Youth Development Prize awarded by the National Academies and a Best Practices/Outstanding Achievement Award from HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. He received his bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. in history from U-Penn.

Areas of Expertise

  • University-community-school partnerships
  • Democratic implementation and participatory action research
  • History of university civic and community engagement in the US
  • Creating and sustaining regional, national, and global higher education partnerships focused on civic and community engagement
  • Broadening participation in STEM fields (served and chaired NSF Committee)