• 2015 Photo of Prof. Michael Penn
Professor of Psychology, Department Chair of Psychology



Office: LSP151 E


Ph.D., Temple University, Clinical Psychology, 1991

Clinical Intern, Temple University School of Medicine,  1990-91

B.A., University of Pennsylvania, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1986


Michael Penn is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College.  His research interests and publications include works in the pathogenesis of hope and hopelessness, the interpenetration of psychology and philosophy, the relationship between culture and psychopathology, and the epidemiology of gender-based violence.  Professor Penn has lectured widely around the world and has been invited to serve as a consultant and speaker at United Nations-related conferences in several countries.  He also serves the UN Leader’s Programme, which trains Director-level United Nations officers.  Professor Penn is the author of  three books, “Overcoming Violence against Women and Girls: The International Campaign to Eradicate a Worldwide Problem,” which he wrote in collaboration with Dr. Rahel Nardos, "Moral Trauma: An Analysis of Akrasia and Mental Health," co-authored with Dr. Azin Nasseri, and "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights and Human Dignity", which he edited in collaboration with Professor Hoda Mahmoudi -- Baha'i Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland. Professor Penn is also the author of  numerous academic papers and chapters. In 2004, Penn was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Administration by Governor Edward Rendell and served on that board for three years. He currently serves on the Boards of the Authenticity Institute and the Tahirih Justice Center in Washington, D.C. Professor Penn was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1986, is a former Ford Foundation Fellow and is the recipient of several academic awards, including the John Russwurm Award for Scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania.



Sample of  Publications

Penn, M.L., Koroush, N., & Groff, M. (Forthcoming, 2020). Cultivating Humanity: Reflections on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Human Flourishing. In N. Rubin & R. Flores (Eds.) Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Human Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Mahmoudi, H., & Penn, M. (Eds.) (2019). Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights and Human Dignity. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishers.

Penn, M.L. & Nguyen, T. (2019). Promoting Human Rights and Human Dignity in an Axial Age. In Mahmoudi & Penn (Eds.) Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights and Human Dignity. Chapter 4. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishers.

Haslip, M. & Penn, M.L. (2019). Cultivating Human Rights by Nurturing Altruism and a Life of Service: Integrating UN Sustainable Development Goals into School Curricula. In Mahmoudi & Penn (Eds.) Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights and Human Dignity. Chapter 9. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishers.

Penn, M. L. (Winter 2018/2019). On Hopelessness and Hope: A Conversation with Deep Psychologist Michael Penn. An interview conducted by Richard Whittaker and Preeta Bansal in Parabola: The Search for Meaning, Vol. 43.

Penn, M.L. (In Preparation). Protecting Human Rights and Human Dignity in An Axial Age: Reflections on the Reclaimation of the Human Spirit

Nassari, A., & Penn, M.L. (2016). Moral Trauma: An Analysis of Akrasia and Mental Health. Academic Publishing.

Penn, M.L. (2015). Mind and Mental Health: A Baha’i-Inspired Perspective. Journal of Baha’i Studies, 25, pp. 25-50.

Washington, E., & Penn, M.L. (2014). Painting with Light: The Art of Bunch Washington. Phillips Museum of Art.

Hall, A. H., Gow, K. M., & Penn, M. L. (2011). Do chronic moral emotions mediate between value congruence and psychological health in university students? In K. M. Gow & M. J. Celinski (Eds.), Wayfinding through life’s challenges: Coping and survival. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Hall, A. H., Gow, K. M., Penn, M. L., & Jayawickreme, E. (2011). Strength and weakness of character: Psychological health and resilience. In M. J. Celinski & K. M. Gow (Eds.), Continuity versus creative response to challenge: The primacy of resilience and resourcefulness in life and therapy. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Landau, S., Owen, S., & Penn, M.L. (2011). Diagnosis of sexual abuse among Haitian physicians: An exploratory study. Proceedings of the 20th World Congress for Sexual Health, June 12-16, 2011. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8.

Penn, M.L. & Malik, A. (2010). The Protection and Development of the Human Spirit: An Expanded Focus for Human Rights Discourse. Human Rights Quarterly, 32, 666-690.

Penn, M.L. (2010). A Proteção e o Desenvolvimento do Espirito Humano: Uma Perspectiva mais Ampla para o Discurso dos Estudos para a Paz e os Direitos Humanos. In M. Jalali Rabbani (ed.) Estudos para a Paz e Resolucao de Conflitos. Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Brazil.

Penn, M. L. & Witkin, D. (2008). Pathognomic versus developmentally appropriate self-focus during adolescence: Theoretical concerns and clinical applications. In Diessner & Tiegs (Eds.), Sources: Notable selections in human development, (Classic Edition.). Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 190-196.

Penn, M.L. & Clarke, P.J. (2008). Art. Culture & Pediatric Mental and Behavioral Health. In B. Koan (Ed.) Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology.

Penn, M.L. & Pharaon, A. (2007). Biological, Psychological and Social Factors in the Pathogenesis of Psychopathy. In G. Walker (ed.) The Science of Morality, G. Walker (Ed.), pp. 105-116. London: Royal College of Physicians

Penn, M.L. & Radpour, M.K. (2006). Clinical Practice and the Dynamics of Relational Authenticity. Turkish Journal of Psychiatry, 17, p. 152.

Penn, M.L. (2005). Inner Enlightenment, Moral Refinement and Justice: Antidotes to Domestic Violence. Bahá’í World, 2003-2004 (Haifa: Bahá’í World Centre).

Penn, M.L. (2005). Reflections on Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. World Order.

Penn, M. L. & Wilson, L. (2003). Mind, Medicine and Metaphysics: Reflections on the Reclamation of the Human Spirit. American Journal of Psychotherapy 57, 18-31.

Penn, M.L. & Nardos, R. (2003). Overcoming Violence Against Women and Girls: The International Campaign to Eradicate a Worldwide Problem. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Penn, M.L. (Winter, 2001). Oedipus Revisited. World Order, 32, 11-18.

Penn, M. L. (2001). Reflections on Human Rights, Moral Development and the Eradication of Gender-Based Violence. In Tahirih Danesh (Ed.), Bahá’í-Inspired Perspectives on Human Rights. (Victoria, CA: Juxta Publications).

Penn, M.L. (Spring, 2001). Eradicating Gender-Based Violence: Successes and Challenges. World Order, 32, No. 3, 33-54.

Penn, M.L. & Coverdale, C. (1996). Transracial Adoption: A Human Rights Perspective. Journal of Black Psychology, 22, 232-237.

Penn, M.L., & Witkin, D. (1994). Pathognomic Versus Developmentally Appropriate Self Focus During Adolescence: Theoretical Concerns and Clinical Implications. Psychotherapy, 31, 368-374.

Penn, M.L. (1994). Toward A Global World Community: The Role of Black Psychologists. Journal of Black Psychology, 20, 398-417.

Penn, M.L., Phillips, L., & Gaines, S.O. (1993). On the Desirability of Own-Group Preference [Feature Article]. Journal of Black Psychology, 19, 303-321.

Phillips, L., Penn, M.L., & Gaines, S.O. (1993). A Hermeneutic Rejoinder to Our Critics and Ourselves. Journal of Black Psychology, 19, 350-357.

Penn, M.L., Stahler, G., Shipley, T.E., Comfort, M.L., & Weinberg, A. (Winter, 1993). Returning Home: Reintegration of Substance-Abusing Homeless Women Following Detoxification. Contemporary Drug Problems.

Penn, M.L. (Winter, 1991-92). Memory, Emotional Processing and Anxiety: A Critique. Current Psychology: Research and Reviews, 10, 253-262.

Penn, M.L. (1992). World View, Hopelessness and Depression Among Adolescents and Young Adults. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Press.

Shipley, T.E., Shandler, I.W., & Penn, M.L. (Fall, 1989). Treatment and Research with Homeless Alcoholics. Contemporary Drug Problems.