• Founding Director and Associate Vice President, Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania
  • Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Ira Harkavy is Associate Vice President and founding Director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania. An historian with extensive experience building university-community-school partnerships, Harkavy teaches in the departments of history, urban studies, Africana studies, and city and regional planning.  As Director of the Netter Center since 1992, Harkavy has helped to develop service-learning courses as well as participatory action research projects that involve creating university-assisted community schools in Penn's local community of West Philadelphia.

Executive Editor of Universities and Community Schools, Harkavy has written and lectured widely on the history and current practice of urban university-community-school partnerships and strategies for integrating the university missions of teaching, research, and service. His recent publications include: Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform (Temple Press, 2007), which he co-authored with Lee Benson and John Puckett, and The Obesity Culture: Strategies for Change. Public Health and University-Community Partnerships (Smith-Gordon, 2009), co-authored with Francis E. Johnston.

Harkavy also served as consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help create its Office of University Partnerships and is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. Harkavy is a member of numerous boards, including the Advisory Committee of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) at the National Science Foundation; Widener University Board of Trustees; the International Consortium on Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy (US chair); Anchor Institutions Task Force (chair); Coalition for Community Schools (chair); and Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (co-chair).  He is the recipient of Campus Compact’s Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning (2002), the University of Pennsylvania’s Alumni Award of Merit (2004), a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant (2005), and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Heritage Award (2006); and, under his directorship, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships received the inaugural William T. Grant Foundation Youth Development Prize sponsored in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Children, Youth and Families (2003) and a Best Practices/Outstanding Achievement Award from HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (2000).

Harkavy received his B.A. and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.