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February 5, 1998

Winners of awards for teaching, research, public service selected

Twelve faculty members have won the 1998 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching, Research and Public Service Awards.

One faculty member, Robert B. McCall, director of the Office of Child Development and a professor in the psychology department, received chancellor's awards for both his research and public service.

In addition to McCall, the recipients of the 1998 Chancellor's Distinguished Award for Public Service are: Burkart Holzner, director of the University Center for International Studies, and Audrey J. Murrell, associate professor of business administration, psychology and women's studies.

Winners of this year's Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award in the junior scholar category are David Beratan, associate professor of chemistry, and Jeffrey L. Brodsky, assistant professor of biological sciences. In addition to McCall, winners of the research award in the senior scholar category are Jonathon Arac, professor of English, and Robert E. Ferrell, professor in the Graduate School of Public Health's human genetics department.

The winners of this year's Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award are Yves Citton, associate professor of French and Italian languages and literatures; Robert M. Enick, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering; David J. Herring, professor of law; Thomas Kane, associate professor of communication, and R. Harsha Rao, associate professor of medicine.

The Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching, Research and Public Service Awards consist of a $2,000 cash prize for each faculty member, plus $3,000 for support of that faculty member's work.

Winners of the awards will be recognized at this year's honors convocation, which will be held Feb. 27 in Soldier and Sailors Memorial Hall.

Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Awards In a letter to Burkart Holzner of UCIS, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said the award recognizes Holzner's "enormously impressive record of contributions to internationalizing the University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh region and higher education in the United States and abroad.

The chancellor went on to write: "You have been described as a 'consummate institution-builder,' who has established, nurtured, and maintained linkages with local, regional, state, national and international organizations. Your leadership has enhanced the understanding of international, commercial and political ties and has raised the consciousness of our students regarding international issues." Robert McCall's award for public service recognized his contributions to the improvement of the human service system as an advocate for children and their families. Nordenberg also noted McCall's "ability to translate scholarly child development research and scientific thinking for applied professionals, policy makers and parents." McCall's efforts in this regard are evidenced by his published articles in both scholarly works and columns in Parents magazine, as well as through the Office of Child Development. "This office, under your direction, has spawned numerous programs for children and families that provide comprehensive, coordinated community services," the chancellor wrote to McCall. "This award applauds both your tenacious belief in community and your commitment to make a difference." The chancellor said that Audrey Murrell's award for public service recognizes her community contributions through the American Red Cross and the Minority Enterprise Corporation. Murrell, who is chair of the undergraduate programs committee of the Katz Graduate School of Business, has served the Red Cross as a board member, as a hands-on volunteer and as a creator of educational programs that teach disaster preparedness and coping skills for families recovering from the effects of a disaster. In collaboration with the Minority Enterprise Corporation, Murrell designed a project that links businesses with minority entrepreneurs.

Chancellor's Distinguished Research Awards This award recognizes a faculty member for an outstanding and continuing record of research and scholarly activity.

Jonathon Arac of English won praise for his work covering American literature and contemporary literary criticism, for broadly addressing the social foundations of aesthetic form, and for his original scholarly writing on the place and work of literature in contemporary political and social life. In his letter to David Beratan of chemistry, the chancellor wrote that Beratan won special praise for his novel approach to predicting the properties of large molecules using information obtained from calculations on small molecular fragments. "Your fundamental insights into 'how electrons move' in complex molecular systems and development of new computational algorithms have made a profound impact on experimentalists in the field of intramolecular electron transfer, particularly in proteins and DNA." The award to Jeffrey Brodsky of economics recognizes his studies of the molecular machinery responsible for sending secreted proteins to their export from the cell. This, the chancellor wrote, "has yielded an unprecedented level of understanding of how this molecular machine works and, by extension, how other molecular machines in the cell carry out their jobs." Nordenberg noted that Brodsky's work has produced substantial theoretical interest as well as practical implications for diseases such as cystic fibrosis and cancer.

The award to GSPH's Robert Ferrell recognizes his efforts to understand how genes interact with the environment to affect health and his advocacy of the study of human genetics in defined populations. Norden-berg said Ferrell also was commended for mentoring many investigators who were learning how to use modern laboratory genetic methodology. Robert McCall's research award recognizes his early leadership in the field of human infant development and his efforts to communicate research results to the general public. Norden-berg said that McCall should be "commended for the substantial role you have played in improving the methodological sophistication of developmental psychology, both in basic research and in addressing the effectiveness of programs designed to benefit young children." Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Awards Nordenberg, himself a former winner of the teaching award, noted that the existence of the award "underscores the high institutional priority that must be assigned to our instructional responsibilities." The chancellor wrote to Yves Citton, of French and Italian languages and literatures, that the award recognizes the substantial contribution Citton has made in strengthening his department.

Nordenberg noted Citton's leadership in the development of new undergraduate and graduate courses , as well as his efforts as director of graduate studies. "Your creativity in teaching is exemplified by your redesign of the undergraduate conversation course to include such activities as videos, songs and audio-visual portfolios, and the creation of the literary theory course that brings your graduate students in French and Italian together with a variety of departmental faculty members." Robert Enick, undergraduate coordinator in the chemical and petroleum engineering department, was recognized for his work to strengthen his depart-ment's undergraduate curriculum through revision of the senior-level design class, his success in securing outside funding for the PC lab, and his renovation of the unit operations laboratory and associated text.

The chancellor wrote to Enick: "Students and colleagues appreciate your emphasis on the application of theory to actual industry problems, the help you have provided with the software used in industry, and the effort you demonstrate in all of your courses to develop an active learning environment. Your warmth, caring attitude and energy are communicated not only in your teaching but also outside of the classroom through your mentoring of junior faculty members and students." Associate law dean David Herring's teaching award recognizes the high level of preparation for and overall effectiveness of his teaching, ranging from large first-year law classes to small upper-level seminars and clinic courses. Nordenberg also commended Herring for his development of the child welfare, elder and health law clinics and the substantial funding he has attracted to support the clinics.

The chancellor wrote to Herring: "The client-centered approach you promote encourages your students to incorporate knowledge from other disciplines and to develop a personal code of ethics which prepares them well for the practice of law and provides lasting impressions of the value of your teaching." Nordenberg told Thomas Kane of communication that his teaching award recognizes 30 years of valuable contributions to teaching at Pitt, both inside and outside the classroom. The chancellor noted Kane's 14 years as director of the William Pitt Debating Union, during which his team won a national championship and Kane was twice named by his peers as national debate coach of the year.

Kane advises a large number of dissertation students, acting as a mentor long after the students have completed their studies, Nordenberg noted. "Your skill in lecturing captivates your undergraduate students, you create dynamic graduate seminars described as probing and engaging, and you demonstrate your dedication to the professional development of your graduate students by encouraging and supporting their involvement at national conferences." The chancellor also noted that other areas of both the University and the community have benefited from Kane's "willingness to share your impressive talent in public speaking." R. Harsha Rao of the Department of Medicine is being honored for his ability to impart his depth and breadth of clinical experience and knowledge, plus a love of medicine, to students and residents. Nordenberg cited Rao's well prepared lectures, his role as a facilitator in the problem-based learning groups and his leadership at morning report, bedside attending rounds and in the outpatient clinic.

"Your recent commitment to and success in preparing residents to work within the managed-care environment to provide cost-effective care without sacrificing quality will have a long-reaching impact on their lives and promote the reputation of the Medical School," the chancellor wrote.

"In a discipline where there are so many pressures competing for your time and energy, your enthusiasm for and skills in teaching make you most deserving of this University-wide honor."

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