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September 1, 2011

What’s New: Things

The hustle and bustle that marks the beginning of the academic year has returned: The proliferation of laundry carts, redirected traffic, upperclass student volunteers pointing the way to newcomers and their families during Arrival Survival.

But for many at Pitt, the hazy days of summer have been anything but lazy: Facilities were renovated; faculty and staff were hired; academic programs were established.

The University Times asked deans and other school officials to provide a brief look at “What’s New? People, Places and Things” in their areas.

The summaries that follow are not all-encompassing, but rather are overviews of school news based on material submitted by the units.

Information previously published in the University Times was not included here.


The School of Arts and Sciences will host the biennial conference of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora at Pitt Nov. 3-6. Local organizing committee co-chairs are Brenda Berrian of Africana studies and Patrick Manning, director of the Department of History’s World History Center. Conference information is available at

The Department of Anthropology will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a seminar and a series of public lectures. The Dec. 9 seminar will feature presentations by distinguished alumni on their work in relation to the intellectual history of the department and developments in the field as a whole. Event details will be posted at

The architectural studies program is offering a new minor in historic preservation. Through class work and on-site study, students will gain experience working on the conservation of building materials; researching and documenting major building sites, and exploring the theoretical foundations and policy frameworks of the discipline.

The Department of Computer Science has been selected as a CUDA Teaching Center. CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) is a parallel computing architecture developed by Nvidia.

The CUDA teaching center program is designed to support teaching to include graphics processing unit (GPU) computing using CUDA C/C++ as part of their course offerings. NVIDIA will donate CUDA-enabled GPUs to be installed in teaching lab computers as part of this award for hands-on CUDA C/C++ development, debugging and experimentation.

Applications will be accepted for admission in fall 2012 for a new PhD program in film studies. The interdisciplinary and interdepartmental degree will stress the history, theory and esthetics of international cinema, video, television and new media.

Students will earn a PhD granted by the film studies program, but also will be a full member of one of six associated departments (English, French, German, Hispanic, history of art and architecture or Slavic) with additional requirements.

The history major has been revised to require a two-course capstone sequence to incorporate more training in research and writing into the major.

The history department is continuing its series of symposia on new books by history faculty. Two such events are scheduled for the fall, one on Rob Ruck’s “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game,” Sept. 15; the other on Bruce Venarde’s “The Rule of St. Benedict,” Oct. 26.

The World History Center will host Ross Dunn of San Diego State, the creator of “World History for Us All.” A reception and presentation open to all teachers of world history is set for Sept. 16. Visit for reservations and information.

The Department of Music will present the Pitt Choirs Showcase, bringing together the Heinz Chapel Choir, Pitt Men’s Glee Club and Women’s Choral Ensemble in a free concert Oct. 9.

“On a Lucky Day a Surprising Balance of Forms and Spaces Will Appear,” an exhibition by faculty of the Department of Studio Arts, will be on display Sept. 8-Oct. 21 in the University Art Gallery. The opening reception will take place Sept. 8.

Noontime conversations with artists are set for Sept. 21 and 28 and Oct. 5 and 12.

The women’s studies program will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2012.

The Office of Experiential Learning, which connects undergraduate students with research opportunities, has been renamed the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. Laura Dice, assistant dean and director of freshman programs, is the office’s acting director.

The Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Council approved revisions to departmental bylaws to allow internal approval of new courses for the Department of Psychology and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

In Athletics, the women’s soccer team will host its Pitt Soccer Classic Sept. 2 and 4 at the Petersen Sports Complex; the men will host the Pitt/Nike Invitational there on Sept. 9 and 11.

Pitt-Bradford has introduced a 22-credit minor in counseling psychology.

The Bradford campus also will have a new writing center this fall. Visiting faculty member Daneryl May Nier-Weber is director of the center. Previously, she was the interim writing center director at Eastern Oregon University.

In addition to teaching composition courses, Nier-Weber will work with faculty and oversee all activities in the writing center, which aims to strengthen the academic writing skills of students in all majors.

UPB has launched a blog for college-bound students and their parents. “Preparing for College — No Need to Panic” can be found at

The Katz Graduate School of Business has launched an online version of its management essentials mini-MBA certificate. The 11-week online program focuses on business ethics, financial accounting, marketing, leadership and communication. For information, visit

New in Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) technology offerings this year:

• Faculty will be able to see student photos in class rosters.

New features in Pitt’s web conferencing service let users easily share documents and applications. In addition, the new system automatically displays video of the participant who is speaking.

More than 70 of Pitt’s public iTunes U tracks — those not meant specifically for students in a particular course or other internal audience — now are collected in the Apple Store, while all 400-plus University iTunes U tracks remain accessible through Pitt’s iTunes U page via a link on the MyPitt portal.

SSL certificates for servers now will be provided free to University departments. These server security certificates can be used to encrypt network traffic and to validate the authenticity of the server.

• Increased services are available to Pitt network account holders through the Shibboleth/InCommon program. Users now have access to information from Internet2 sites, to Educause materials and — for students — to Microsoft’s DreamSpark program, which allows students to download educational and development software for free.

Stata software is available at a reduced rate for Pitt students, faculty, staff and departments. This data analysis and statistical software puts hundreds of statistical tools at the users’ fingertips and makes it easy to generate publication-quality graphs. See for a complete list of available software.

• A new “Pitt Mobile” Pittsburgh campus parking location feature will be rolled out this fall to enable mobile device users to conveniently view information from the parking web site. Users will be able to view maps of parking lot locations and rates by launching their web browser and going to the parking icon at

• The site now features short “how to” videos to address some common questions from the Pitt community. Users now have the option to watch videos as part of help materials for specific topics such as resetting passwords, sending text message updates or adjusting spam filters.

New sustainability efforts through CSSD include:

• The use of 30-percent recycled paper in student computing lab printers. In response to student requests, self-service printing will be the default for printing from the labs. Self-service printers will be located outside the labs and will not use a banner sheet. CSSD expects to save more than 600,000 sheets of paper through these changes, which also increase convenience for students.

• Approximately 700 faculty and staff have signed up for the Read Green program through which participants can receive University mass mailings from University Mailing Services as email alerts instead of in print. Faculty and staff can sign up for the service through their profile link in My Pitt.

In association with the Schools of the Health Sciences, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has updated its Digital Vita application, a free online resource for Pitt’s scientific research community.

Digital Vita 2.0 contains new features and enables investigators to:

• Search for and connect with potential collaborators who have shared interests or specific expertise;

• Quickly create custom versions of CVs and NIH biosketches for grant applications, annual review and online profiles;

• Assemble research teams and share NIH biosketches among team members;

• Automatically import publications and grants from MEDLINE, with an option to indicate which publications may be most relevant to individual applications, as suggested by NIH guidelines;

• Automatically transmit CV information such as publications and presentations to co-authors, and

• Access an online “help desk” for questions.

Digital Vita 2.0 also makes it easy to delegate access to profile and document management functions to selected staff and faculty. More than 600 Pitt faculty members currently use the system.

To create an online profile, visit

The School of Dental Medicine has established a PhD in oral biology with two areas of concentration (craniofacial tissue engineering and craniofacial genetics) and an MS in oral biology.

Three-six students will be matriculated in the MS or PhD programs per year. Early applications are being accepted for next year’s fall term.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently approved the new pre-K-8 special education instructional I certificate, offered at the School of Education.

Faculty members in the school, partnering with faculty from Indonesia and Florida State University, created a new e-journal, Excellence in Higher Education. EHE is the first English-language academic journal in the field of higher education in Indonesia and is supported by the Consortium of Indonesian Universities-Pittsburgh, which works to form global, national and regional partnerships to meet national education-reform mandates.

The education school, through its Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, is launching a new writing fellowship for outstanding after-school youth workers and teachers across the region. Awarded by the Heinz Endowments and the Robert Bowne Foundation, the fellowship includes scholarships, writers’ retreats and publication for 13 leaders of the field who will exchange evidence-based pedagogy with the National Institute of Out-of-School Time at the Wellesley College Stone Center.

The school will be a host institution for the annual convention of the University Council for Educational Administration, which is set for Nov. 17-20. This year’s program theme is “Forecasting the Future of Leadership Preparation and Practice: Reclaiming Ground Through Research, Policy and Politics.”

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety will be holding the 20th annual Fire Safety Day Oct. 4. The event strives to serve the Pitt community by offering fire safety education through hands-on demonstrations and displays.

The Office of Veteran Services (OVS), housed in the College of General Studies, is organizing Veterans Recognition Day at the Sept. 10 Pitt football game.

OVS also is hosting a presentation on Nov. 8 by Col. Edward Shames, a soldier from the unit featured in the “Band of Brothers” HBO miniseries.

On Dec. 2 OVS will offer a new career development workshop for veterans on how to apply for federal jobs.

More information on OVS programming is available at 412/624-6919 or

The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences celebrated Cliff Brubaker’s 20th anniversary as dean with an Aug. 25 reception at the University Club.

The School of Law’s Innovation Practice Institute is launching a new programming series, including a co-sponsorship of the February 2012 symposium, “Building Sustainable Neighborhoods.”

New this year is the Pitt Law Academy, a speaker series on lawyers’ roles that will provide first-year students with exposure to the variety of roles that lawyers play in the profession and society.

The School of Nursing has added a third admission cycle for the accelerated second degree BSN program for students with a previous baccalaureate degree who want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Parking, Transportation and Services has added a GPS system to its shuttle fleet. The system will allow users to view real-time vehicle location maps via the web. The system will benefit riders by telling them both where the shuttle buses are located on the route and when they will arrive at the bus stop.

The information can e accessed via the Internet at; via a smart phone at, or via iPhone and Android applications (Search for Ride Systems in the App store.).

Access to these features is free. Users also can subscribe to the Pitt shuttle Twitter feed and receive announcements of closures, reminders for special events and other system notices. For additional information and updates visit

The School of Pharmacy this summer teamed with Giant Eagle Pharmacy in a new program to offer high school students the opportunity to learn about careers in pharmacy during a three-day summer boot camp.

Students housed on-campus participated in a broad range of learning experiences, including basic skills in pharmacy practice; the role of pharmacists in managing chronic diseases such as diabetes; the various roles of pharmacy practitioners in the hospital; compounding in a pharmacy laboratory, and a shadowing experience in a local community pharmacy.

The school also helped to develop a partnership with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Pitt and Phipps are developing programming for a medicinal garden at Salk Hall that will include a hillside rain garden and flowering medicinal plants, shrubs and trees.

The Graduate School of Public Health and the Swanson School of Engineering have established a new graduate certificate in health care systems engineering. The program is designed to provide students a multidisciplinary curriculum necessary to better influence the costs, risks, utilization, distribution and outcomes of health care services.

Students enrolled in the Master of Health Administration or the Master of Science in Industrial Engineering programs are eligible to apply to the certificate program.

The School of Social Work is offering two new certificates.

The undergraduate certificate in behavioral health case management will be administered through social work, in collaboration with the Department of Psychology.

The children, youth and families certificate is available to MSW students who want to focus on providing services to at-risk youth and families.

The Division of Student Affairs is rolling out a new version of the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) program, designed to help students receive a well-rounded education, get connected to their peers and the many programs and resources at Pitt and ultimately gain a competitive edge when applying for graduate or professional schools, internships and employment.

The OCC changes include a reformatted curriculum with both required programs and electives, similar to an academic course of study. Students will be required to complete fewer programs and experiences, but the programs will be more demanding. In addition, students now can complete the program at their own pace.

A new software system has been rolled out, making it easier for students to record their involvement, track their progress and view upcoming events.

Members of the Pitt Green Team collect cardboard for recycling during last week's Arrival Survival.

Members of the Pitt Green Team collect cardboard for recycling during last week's Arrival Survival.

Student Affairs also initiated the Pitt Green Team this year. The Green Team enrolled 105 incoming freshmen in a pilot project coordinated by Residence Life, First Year Experience and Housing Services to give students a greater appreciation for sustainable action. Green Team members made presentations in campus residence halls during last week’s move-in, talking to students and their families about making the move-in process more environmentally friendly. For example, incoming students were encouraged to drop off their cardboard boxes to be recycled.

Student Affairs also has developed a program called “Healthy U” designed to help students become more purposeful about maintaining optimal heath — not just physical health, but also emotional, social and spiritual health. The University has launched an interactive web site — — and will host a Sept. 14 Healthy U Fair.

The Office of Technology Management will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year.

OTM has launched an executive in residence program to identify promising technologies and promote startup companies in the areas of computer software and medical devices.

Pitt-based startup ALung has procured $9 million-$14 million in private funding to support its growth. And, Pitt-based startup Cohera Medical Technologies has been successful in clinical trials in Europe and soon will be able to launch its medical adhesive product there.

This academic year, the School of Nursing’s Department of Continuing Nursing Education will offer its pharmacology update series at Pitt-Titusville for professional nurses in northwest Pennsylvania.

Units within the University Center for International Studies have announced some new developments.

The European Union Center of Excellence (EUCE) was awarded a grant from the European Union Delegation in Washington, D.C., to be recertified as a Center for Excellence. EUCE has been designated a center since 1998, when the program began, as a way to support teaching, research and community activities devoted to the European Union and EU-U.S. relations. The current designation will carry the center through 2014.

Two new subject themes now are available through the West European studies certificate program. The German studies theme is designed for students who complement their major with coursework focusing on the contemporary or historical politics, society, culture or international relations of Germany. The modern European humanities theme is geared to students interested in European literature, art, theatre and music. To have a theme added to their West European certificate designation, students complete 15 credits of theme-based coursework and three years of an appropriate foreign language.

The Global Studies Center, in collaboration with the University Library System, has acquired online access to the Heinemann’s African writers series. With key texts of modern African literature, this series has a unique importance in the global history of postcolonial writing. It comprises more than 250 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction prose. For more information, visit

The Global Studies Center is hosting a Sept. 18-20 conference titled “Silent No More: Rape as a Weapon of Political Violence.” The interdisciplinary conference will explore the range of available approaches for assisting women and children who have suffered physically and psychologically from such violence.

The Russian and East European Studies (REES) program announced a new short-term study abroad program for undergraduate students, set for next May. Students will travel to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland to learn about Roma (Gypsy) music and culture in the East Central European region.

The University Library System’s PittCat+ catalog has new features that enable users to find articles, books and other library items in a single search. Web services librarian Jeff Wisniewski said, “It takes everything we have access to and pre-indexes all of it.”

The new search function, available at, has a Google-like interface that can be viewed in any of two dozen languages in addition to English.

Users of the new PittCat+ can refine their searches in multiple ways, including selecting only those materials available in full text online, limiting results to scholarly and peer-reviewed publications or searching only for items located in a specific Pitt library.

Limiting a search to a particular time period can be done either by typing specific dates or by using a slider to set the time frame.

Users can hover over a title to preview details or add items to a temporary folder.

Materials available online in full text are identified with bright icons. In addition, the system can sense whether users are accessing PittCat+ via a mobile device and automatically deliver a mobile-optimized version, Wisniewski said.

Saved items can be exported or emailed in any of five selected citation formats, simplifying referencing of source materials.

Users can use the RSS function to receive an email whenever new materials matching a specific search become available. All databases to which the University has access are included, eliminating the need for users to manage multiple database alerts, Wisniewski said.

Although PittCat classic will remain, the more recent version of the online catalog — the one that features a word cloud of related terms — will be phased out later this year, Wisniewski said.

The University of Pittsburgh Press is celebrating its 75th year of publishing scholarly and general interest books.

The Press has signed an agreement with On Demand Books, the company behind the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), to distribute nearly all Press paperback titles through EBMs in bookstores and libraries and on university campuses around the world.

Essentially an ATM for books, the EBM and its EspressNet software system are linked to a vast network of book publishers and distributors, enabling the instant distribution of books on demand. The machine prints, binds and trims a high-quality paperback book in any language, with a full-color cover, in minutes. One of the first such machines on the East Coast is at Pitt’s Book Center.

—Peter Hart & Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 44 Issue 1

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