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September 3, 2015

What’s New at Pitt: Things


UPT faculty, staff, students and alumni participated in the Titusville Oil Festival Parade held Aug. 8.

The hustle and bustle that marks the beginning of the academic year returned last week: The proliferation of laundry carts and 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 came and went; academic programs were established.

The University Times asked deans, unit heads and others: “What’s New at Pitt?” The summaries that follow are overviews of school news based on material submitted by the units. Information previously published in the University Times was not included here.

The listings were coordinated by Kimberly K. Barlow and Marty Levine.


Arts and Sciences

A four-sided glass mosaic pillar depicting the Cathedral of Learning now graces the Falk Library entryway in Scaife Hall.

A four-sided glass mosaic pillar depicting the Cathedral of Learning now graces the Falk Library entryway in Scaife Hall.

The Department of English has developed four graduate focal areas in the literature program. Grounded in literature’s long association with the history of writing and print and the cultural value of art, the graduate focal areas prepare MA and PhD students to examine literature’s life across media and language’s activity in the world.

The focal areas are designed to be broad enough to accommodate a range of scholarly projects but specific enough to offer direct support for those projects through coursework, programming and intellectual community.


They are:

— Children’s Literature and Childhood Studies: This curriculum offers training in historical and archival literary studies as well as support, in and beyond the English department, for interdisciplinary projects about children’s literature, media and culture.

— Genealogies of Modernity, Medieval and Early Modern: Spanning the medieval and early modern eras, this focal area supports inquiries into religion and secularism, ethics, gender and sexuality and media relations during the “age of reform” (roughly 1300-1650).

— Media and Material Practices: This area engages past, present and emerging media, exploring how scholarly paradigms designed for print, performance and digital cultures can inform the study of both new and old media.

— Race, Poetics, Empire: This area examines how imperialism and its racial politics have shaped modern cultural forms. Developing innovative approaches to the study of literary traditions, race, diaspora and geopolitics, it investigates relationships between aesthetics and power.


The gender, sexuality and women’s studies program now offers a 30-credit undergraduate major in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. Details:


The Department of Computer Science has an all-time high of more than 300 declared majors. The department plans to launch a new website this month, inspired by student designs.


The department will offer new classes in data science this year and has added data science as a CS major concentration.


Computer science hosted Pittsburgh’s first MLH (Major League Hacking)-sanctioned hackathon, SteelHacks, in March with support from local industry.


The computer science department’s annual Technology Leadership Initiative, consisting of a three-week summer camp for high school students and a weeklong camp for female middle school students called Tech Divaz, drew a record number of participants. The camps introduced the students to basic concepts in computer science and introductory programming.


Computer science partnered with the Crossroads Foundation this summer to offer a weeklong Intro to Computer Science camp to 35 at-risk urban youth.


This year’s WiCStart program, which invites incoming undeclared female freshman students to learn about computer science, welcomed more students than the past two years combined.

Athletics, the University’s official athletic website, has been upgraded to provide a seamless, consistent experience across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices. Athletic video content now is more easily available on the home-page as well as on each individual sport page. In addition, UPMC is the new partner for the Pitt LiveWire video platform. For online shoppers, a new Official Online Panthers Team Store features improved navigation and product assortments.


A new Pitt Gameday LIVE app is available for Apple and Android devices. The app covers each of the Panthers’ 19 teams and provides news, live audio and video, calendars, live stats and more.


Athletics has formed a Panther Fans Experience committee, which held its first meeting Aug. 31. The group was formed to provide insight and feedback to Athletics, focusing on the Pitt game day experience, customer service, ticketing, donor support and fan communications.


Among the 22 inaugural members of the committee are John Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for Community Relations; staff members Lauren DelSignore of the University Honors College, Chris Gates of the Center for Instructional Design and Distance Education, Lisa Pilewski of the Office of Clinical Research, Health Sciences, and Pitt students Casey Doran and Jai-W Hayes-Jackson.


According to athletic director Scott Barnes, more than 800 individuals applied to serve on the committee, which will convene quarterly. Members serve a two-year term. The full committee roster is posted at



UPB partnered with Presto Sports to launch a new athletic website in April. features large photos, integrated statistics and an easy-to-use calendar.


Two scholarships have been established to honor the memory of Bernard G. Meyer, who taught criminal justice at Pitt-Bradford from 1996 until shortly before his death in 2014. The Bernard G. Meyer Memorial Scholarship, endowed by an anonymous UPB faculty member, will be awarded to a first-generation Pitt-Bradford student from Meyer’s native Elk County. To donate to the fund, visit


In addition, the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Justice Educators, of which Meyer was a past president, presented its first annual Bernie Meyer Student Scholarship Award.




The undergraduate College of Business Administration (CBA) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first class of admitted students. From an initial class of 55 students, the CBA program has grown to an enrollment of more than 2,100 students, making it the third-largest school by enrollment at the University.


The yearlong celebration aims to encourage more alumni to reconnect with the school. Planned events include associate dean roadshows and the 20 for 20 webinar series. Visit for more information.


CBA is now offering a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship. Students will learn the fundamentals of innovation, creative thinking, product development and commercialization.


The Katz Graduate School of Business will offer three new master’s degree programs this fall: the MS in customer insights; the MS in finance; and the MS in supply chain management. The nine-month programs are designed to provide students from all academic backgrounds and all experience levels with transferable skills in in-demand business fields.


Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education


CIDDE continues to work with Coursera to offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The five courses developed in 2013 have had a total enrollment of over 340,000 students worldwide. Two new MOOCs have been developed this past year: Epidemics, Pandemics and Outbreaks, led by faculty from the School of Law, the Graduate School of Public Health and the School of Medicine, and Disability Awareness and Support, led by faculty from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.


The University of Pittsburgh Testing Center earned recognition as a certified test center through the National College Testing Association. Fewer than 100 testing centers around the country have received this distinction. Additionally, the center is now a Castle Worldwide Testing Center, offering professional certification and licensure examinations to Pitt students and residents of the tri-state area.


CIDDE and Computing Services and Systems Development upgraded Blackboard in May to provide additional features, including student preview, course copy, achievements and integrations with Turnitin and

Panopto has replaced the Kaltura video hosting and streaming service, which will be phased out by Nov. 1. Panopto does everything Kaltura does and more, but with a more reasonable fee structure. Educational Technology Services will help instructors migrate any Kaltura content they wish to continue using.


Chancellor’s Office


A new Office of the Chancellor web page,, was launched in August. And now you can follow Chancellor Patrick Gallagher on Twitter @PittChancellor.


Community and Governmental Relations

A grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has made possible an additional “Be a Good Neighbor” block party in Central Oakland.

Community Relations organizes the neighborhood block parties to provide students and long-term residents with an opportunity to get to know each other and build relationships. Faculty and staff are invited to attend any or all of the block parties.

The four events will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m.:

— Sept. 8, North Oakland, at 234 North Dithridge Street, between Bayard and Centre avenues.

— Sept. 9, Oakcliffe and South Oakland, at Niagara Parklet, 354 Craft Ave.

— Sept. 22, serving the Oakland Square, Dawson and Parkview sections of Central Oakland, at the Oakland Square Parklet, 1 Oakland Square.

— Sept. 30, serving the Central Oakland streets nearer Forbes Avenue, at Oakland Career Center, 294 Semple Street.


Computing Services and Systems Development


CSSD has begun to provide unlimited Box storage space for all 40,000 faculty, staff and students who use the secure cloud storage.


A beta version of a new My Pitt, optimized for display on mobile devices, will be made available later this fall for review and feedback. The new My Pitt will allow users to easily find and access University services through a powerful search and filter capability and provide ratings and reviews directly to service owners.


A new PeopleSoft Mobile allows faculty and staff to view class rosters, enter grades and view advisees from a smartphone or tablet. Weekly schedules will display in a streamlined, easier-to-read design. Students will be able to use the new PeopleSoft Mobile to search for courses, add and drop classes, check class schedules, access their planner and view grades. PeopleSoft Mobile is available in the Pitt App Store.


The new Pitt App store includes apps identified as useful to the Pitt experience, such as PeopleSoft Mobile, Box, Pitt LiveWire Gameday, Overdrive and more. Schools can use the Pitt App Store to deliver school-specific apps.


All five Pitt campuses have new 10 Gbps connectivity, providing higher bandwidth speed for research and education. The new connections also provide redundancy. Connectivity to the Internet for students, staff and faculty has been increased 120 percent.


Microsoft SharePoint Online now is available to Pitt faculty, staff and students at no cost. This cloud-based service is best known as a collaborative online space for sharing documents and other information. But SharePoint Online has a broad range of tools. Because it’s part of the Office 365 suite, users can create and edit Office products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more in the cloud.


Dental Medicine


The school is the recipient of a $1.97 million Title VII grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which provides support to pediatric dental residencies. The funding will expand the current residency program to include two new program tracks specializing in the care of patients in underserved rural settings and special needs populations in underserved regions of western Pennsylvania, specifically in northern Appalachia. It is the second HRSA grant received by the school. Two additional resident dentists will be accepted annually into the program, increasing total residents in the program to four. The program also includes an additional year of training.

Participants will complete a Master’s in Public Health degree and receive advanced education and specialized training in delivering care to patients and populations in such areas as advanced clinical practice, cultural sensitivity and population-health issues. A formal transition-to-practice component of this program will assist residents upon graduation.


The dental school has added a new patient feature, PatientAccess, which lets patients update important records and forms, verify personal information, view or confirm upcoming and past appointments, review medical information and communicate with providers in a secure online environment before appointments, saving time.


The school recently acquired a state-of the-art digital imaging computer, the CEREC Omnicam and complementary CEREC MC XL milling machine, for use in the Department of Prosthodontics.

The Omnicam is an intraoral optical device that captures a continuous digital video impression scan at 18 images per second. It is inserted directly into the patient’s mouth without any need for specific preparation. Proprietary software translates the scans into precise, virtual 3-D models in natural color that are used to propose customized ceramic restorations for the patient.

The milling machine fabricates all-ceramic restorations using a digital feed from the Omnicam station. In roughly 12 minutes, the milling machine can carve a simple crown restoration from a block of solid porcelain. In addition to crowns, inlays and onlays, the MC XL is able to mill fixed bridges, veneers, implant abutments and implant crowns. Residents and students will be trained to use the equipment, which made possible through the support of Thomas Braun.


Dental medicine has established a new clinical department, the Department of Endodontics, previously part of the Department of Restorative and Comprehensive Care. Herb Ray Jr. is the new department chair.


The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) moved its headquarters to Pitt effective Sept. 1. CPED executive director Jill A. Perry has been appointed as a non-tenure-stream faculty member in the School of Education, where she will continue her leadership duties. CPED is a consortium of over 80 colleges and schools of education in the U.S., Canada and New Zealand that have committed resources to work together to undertake a critical examination of the doctorate in education (EdD) through dialogue, experimentation, critical feedback and evaluation.


The Health and Physical Activity Department is instituting “Be Fit Pitt Ambassadors” to bring fitness and health to Pitt divisions, departments and schools.


The Center for Urban Education’s biannual lecture series event is set for 4-5:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the University Club. Russell Skiba of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology in the School of Education at Indiana University-Bloomington, will present “You Can’t Fix What You Don’t Look At: Acknowledging Race in Addressing Disproportionality.” A series of national reports has highlighted inequities in school discipline. The presentation will use the recent work of the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative to outline the current status of research and the need to abandon “race-neutral” policies in order to actively identify and challenge inequity in school discipline.


The Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering dedicated a display that chronicles the department’s 105-year history as part of an April 25 open house in honor of the Class of 2015.

The RFID Center of Excellence’s Internet of Things (IoT) seminar will be dedicated to the memory of Marlin Mickle, one of its founding organizers and a passionate advocate for IoT.

Mickle, professor emeritus of electrical engineering, died in April. The seminar will be held Sept. 22, 1-5 p.m. Tours of the Swanson School of Engineering’s renovated RFID center and the GS1 AIDC Bar Code Testing Lab will follow. Registration is free to the first 75 persons who register by email to or


The 2015 electric power industry conference is slated for Nov. 16 and 17 at the University Club. This year’s theme is “Reimagining Our Energy Future: Building Upon 10 Years of Public/Private Collaborations.” Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto is the Nov. 16 morning keynote speaker. The evening keynote speaker is Jill Jonnes, author of “Empires of Light.” Registration is free for Pitt faculty, students and staff at


The Coulter Translational Research Partners II (TPII) program, led by the Department of Bioengineering in partnership with the Schools of the Health Sciences and the Innovation Institute, in June funded three projects at $100,000 each:

— ContegoDerm, a Topical Treatment for Radiation Dermatitis, led by Peter Wipf and Louis Falo Jr.;

— Ligamend, a Novel Device for Regeneration of Torn ACL, led by Savio Woo and Patrick McMahon, with Katie Farraro; and

— Solidrop, a Long Term Non-Invasive Glaucoma Treatment, led by Morgan Fedorchak and Ian Conner.

Over the next year project teams will perform problem-focused research and development aimed at resolving key questions that must be answered in order for an investor or company to engage.

The projects were drawn from an initial pool of 35 teams who submitted letters of intent in November 2014. From those, Coulter leadership selected 14 teams to present “elevator pitches” in December. Eight teams were chosen to participate in the 14-week Bench-to-Bedside course and prepare final proposals for funding consideration.

Seven teams completed the B2B course and three were selected to receive unconditional funding.

The deadline for letters of intent for the 2016 cycle is Oct. 19.


Facilities Management

Single-stream recycling is on its way to the Pittsburgh campus. The new program will allow all recyclable material — paper, glass, plastic bottles, aluminum and metal cans —to be placed in the same recycling container. Rollout dates have not been finalized.



UPG’s Center for Applied Research (CFAR) is working with Excela Health to develop and administer a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) to meet IRS 990 guidelines requiring the identification of chronic disease conditions and community health needs, community assets and strengths, and the needs of under-represented and disadvantaged populations.

CFAR will assist with collecting quantitative and qualitative data and analyzing data on community health indicators; examining the data to assist with the prioritization of appropriate community health programs and services, providing feedback and recommendation regarding both; and writing a report that documents the CHNA process.

The project began July 1 and will be completed by June 30, 2016. Working with Excela Health on the project are CFAR director Geoffrey Wood of sociology; Frank Wilson of sociology and criminal justice; Diane Cheek of biology; and Victoria Causer of statistics.

The IRS 990 requires a CHNA every three years from charitable 501(c)(3) tax-exempt hospitals to show community health prevention efforts as well as managing the health of the population to lower health care costs and improve health. Excela Health is the region’s third-largest health care provider and serves Westmoreland, northern Fayette and southern Indiana counties.

Pitt-Greensburg this summer began offering an information technology major that will lead to a Bachelor of Science degree.

The new major replaces the cooperative agreement with the School of Information Sciences that allowed students to complete the requirements for an information science major at UPG and receive a degree from the iSchool. That agreement, in place since the mid-1980s, required students to register through the Pittsburgh campus for their final semester.

Students declaring UPG’s new IT major must complete a 36-credit program rather than the 30-credit program offered through the Pittsburgh campus.

The six additional credits in the UPG major are designed to accommodate a second programming course and an extra elective. Pitt-Greensburg IT majors will be required to take only 12 credits in a related area compared to the 15 credits in a related area required for IS students in Pittsburgh.


UPG received state approval for its Spanish education major. The major was designed to provide another certification option for students in education and to be a career alternative for students studying Spanish.

Students majoring in Spanish education will take specified courses from the Spanish curriculum as well as education courses that will allow them to be certified to teach the Spanish language in kindergarten-12th grade.

Other career options include teaching English as a second language, providing bilingual instruction for international organizations and working with community groups that have a significant number of members that are non-English speakers.


New this fall at Pitt-Greensburg is an arts entrepreneurship certificate, developed by Stephen Schrum of theatre arts with input from other faculty members.

Designed to be interdisciplinary and cross-divisional, the Arts-E certificate provides students in theatre, music and writing with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to create their own personal brand, market themselves and find employment while they are working toward their eventual full-time career in the arts.

The program helps students to develop business skills to complement their artistic talent and reinforces the campus commitment to provide specific support for student career aspirations as part of Pitt-Greensburg’s concept of a 21st-century liberal arts education.

Students take courses in financial accounting, project management, advertising strategy and practice and business writing, and pursue a communication internship or theatre practicum.

A new course, Arts Entrepreneurship, focuses on personal branding as a means for Arts-E students to bring their skills to bear on planning for their own careers. It also provides necessary background on fundraising in the arts.


A new digital studies certificate program will give students experience in digital research methods and digital presentations and provide them a digital portfolio of projects to share with potential employers and graduate programs.

Students will develop their skills in learning information literacy and critically evaluating digital resources; investigating research questions using digital resources and methods; visualizing complex information in digital formats; and designing and presenting accessible digital resources.

Core courses in the program ensure that students gain experience with digital research methods and effective presentation in digital media forms. Students will design and produce websites, sound essays, short films, digital narratives, blogs, online editions and other multi-tiered forms. The program primarily serves students who major in disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.

Serving on the initial steering committee for the certificate are Sayre Greenfield, Humanities Division chair; Elisa Beshero-Bondar and Lori Jakiela of English, and John Prellwitz of communication. Greenfield also will be the certificate coordinator.


A kickoff event in Village Hall is set for Sept. 16 to launch Greensburg Experience More, a structured, co-curricular program designed to complement students’ classroom learning. Participating students will engage in structured professional and personal skill development across five core components: leadership development; service; career development; cultural awareness and appreciation; and Pitt-Greensburg pride and traditions.


Expanded wireless network coverage and upgrades to fiber-optic networking components, copper network cables in buildings and networking hardware are all part of UPG’s network re-imagination project. This summer, the campus network demarcation point was relocated from McKenna Hall to Cassell Hall.


Pitt-Greensburg was included in Money Magazine’s list of colleges and universities that “turn out graduates with the most manageable debt.” UPG was among 664 colleges to make the cut for the 2014-15 academic year.


UPG’s regular full-time staff now can participate in a flextime schedule with the approval of their supervisors. Excluded from the policy are union personnel, police officers and library personnel. The pilot program will be reviewed periodically to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the campus. The policy is expected to help employees balance work and family, and provide departments with an opportunity for additional customer service by offering longer hours of operation.


The Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) awarded Pitt-Greensburg’s SOPA Hoops Saturday its Gold Award for Community Service in the category of one-time event for the 2014-15 academic year.

The event, which features an exhibition game for Special Olympics athletes during the halftime of a men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader, raises money for the local chapter of Special Olympics and brings together more than 80 volunteers and student-athletes.

Erin Eaton, head women’s basketball coach, and Tony Berich, athletic director, orchestrate the event that also is supported by the UPG student athlete advisory committee and the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association members.

AMCC recognized the UPG women’s tennis team with a 2014-15 Peak Performer Award. Pitt-Greensburg was one of nine schools to receive the honor, which is based on combined academic performance and athletic accomplishment. The Bobcats posted a 3.57combined GPA, placing them second among all the teams receiving the award. They also posted a 6-2 conference record, advancing as far as the AMCC championship semifinals.


Health Sciences Library System

A glass mosaic pillar depicting the Cathedral of Learning now graces the Falk Library entryway in Scaife Hall. Local artist Daviea Davis created the four-sided illuminated pillar in response to a call for glass artists for Phipps Conservatory’s 2013 summer flower show. The pillar can be viewed during regular library hours.


On display through Oct. 10 in the Health Sciences Library System’s Falk Library is the National Library of Medicine’s exhibit, “From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry.” The traveling exhibit highlights medical discoveries and developments related to DNA and microorganisms and is designed to promote understanding of the relationship among microbes, technology and science and medicine.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Adam Davis of Duquesne University’s history department and Community College of Allegheny County’s biology department will lecture Sept. 17 on “Background to the Discovery of DNA” and Jamie Johnston of Pitt’s Department of Medicine will speak Oct. 8 on “Erythropoeitin: A Case History — The Promise and Perils of Harnessing Nature.” The talks take place at 6 p.m. in 1105 Scaife Hall.

Details are posted at


Housing, Food Services and Panther Central

The department is growing. Three new positions — communications and brand development coordinator; assistant manager of maintenance and operations, and assistant housekeeping coordinator — were created recently to better serve students and the Pitt community.

Housing has placed single-stream recycling receptacles in all bedrooms and apartment-style kitchens in campus residence halls and is more clearly labeling landfill/recycling rooms in each building to encourage recycling among students who live on campus.


Human Resources

Pitt has automated the student recruiting process and launched a central place for students to look for a student employment position as a collaborative effort among Student Affairs, Human Resources, Financial Aid, Payroll and Financial Information Systems. Through the new system Pitt has received over 14,000 online applications and hired more than 1,300 students.


The Pitt-Johnstown Book Center layout has been updated and new merchandise added.

The Pitt-Johnstown Book Center layout has been updated and new merchandise added.


Pitt-Johnstown has received approval to launch an engineering program that would culminate in the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE). In addition to transitioning current engineering technology programs to engineering programs, UPJ will launch a program in chemical engineering in fall 2016.

The core curriculum of the new BSE program at Pitt-Johnstown virtually is identical to the Swanson School of Engineering curriculum on the Pittsburgh campus and will help meet the demand for engineering education by providing more engineering slots at UPJ.


Pitt-Johnstown hosted a Makers Premier and PITTch Fest in partnership with Showcase for Commerce to promote the maker movement and entrepreneurship in rural Pennsylvania.

Makers Premier featured 22 booths comprised of artisans, students and crafters who made use of recycled, reclaimed and repurposed items. Additionally, area high school students presented their ideas on robotics and STEM projects.

PITTch Fest was a “Shark Tank”-style competition for entrepreneurs and creators who wanted to turn their ideas into big business. Seventeen teams pitched to a lineup of entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders; winners took home more than $11,000 in investment capital and startup consulting services.


Pitt-Johnstown will introduce a third special donor society on Sept. 24. The inaugural induction ceremony and reception of the Bridge to the Future Society will recognize individuals with lifetime giving to Pitt-Johnstown of $1,000-$9,999.

An inaugural dinner and induction ceremony of the 1927 Cornerstone Society took place in May, recognizing 57 individuals and institutions with lifetime giving to Pitt-Johnstown of at least $50,000.

Among them, four donors with lifetime giving totaling $1 million or more received the Gold Level Medallion. Recipients were Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla (honored posthumously), Mark E. Pasquerilla, the Robert M. Smith family and Somerset Trust Company.

UPJ’s second special donor society was introduced on July 17. The inaugural dinner and induction ceremony of the Pillars of Excellence Society recognized 147 individuals and institutions with lifetime giving to Pitt-Johnstown of $10,000-$49,999.


UPJ launched the inaugural Robert M. Smith Academy with a RealWorld college readiness program for local high school students.

The cohort of top-performing rising high school seniors participated in a free three-day residential college experience at UPJ this summer. On campus, students learned about the college application process and financial aid opportunities, participated in a community service project and team-building activities, built leadership and communication skills, focused on values and ethical decision making, explored career opportunities and created goals and personal action plans for their futures. As the cohort moves throughout the academic year, students will have opportunities for dual enrollment, accelerated admission, intensive advising and other support.


The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program ranked Pitt-Johnstown among the top four-year universities in the region for the institution’s impact on mid-career earnings of graduates. The report indicated that UPJ graduates enjoy average mid-career earnings 17.6 percent higher than expected, given a student’s characteristics and the type of institution.

The report attributes UPJ’s high ranking to its focus on natural sciences, engineering technology, business and nursing (STEM fields); UPJ graduates’ 95.8 percent loan repayment rate; and what the report refers to as non-measurable “X-factors” that contribute to student success.


For the 11th consecutive year, The Princeton Review has named Pitt-Johnstown a “Best College in the Northeast.”



The school has established an Energy Law and Policy Institute in partnership with the University’s Center for Energy, the Swanson School of Engineering, the Katz Graduate School of Business, the Graduate School of Public Health, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and others. The institute will develop new courses in the field of energy law; host annual conferences to address issues in energy law and policy; and advance collaborative research and teaching initiatives in the field of energy law.

Adjunct faculty member Kevin Abbott, senior energy law partner at Reed Smith LLP, is the institute’s interim executive director. Abbott, who has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in the oil and gas industry, has taught oil and gas law at Pitt since 2012.


The Pitt Legal Services Incubator is set to open in January. Each year the program will provide office space, technology support and training and mentoring programs to six-eight recent Pitt law graduates who will be developing solo or small-firm practices to provide legal services to underserved communities.

Law professor Thomas Ross will be the program’s inaugural faculty director.

At full occupancy, this two-year program will provide a professional home for 12-16 new lawyers. The incubator attorneys will benefit from one-on-one mentoring relationships with experienced practitioners. The program also will provide training in the relevant areas of law and in the business aspects of developing and growing a successful solo or small-firm legal practice.

The program will use an American Bar Association grant to fund the hiring of an Innovation Fellow, who, in partnership with the law school’s Innovation Practice Institute, will identify and develop ways to deliver services to clients whose incomes are above the cutoff for free legal assistance from legal-services agencies but who cannot afford conventional lawyers’ hourly rates.


4Learning Research and Development Center


LRDC is one of more than 200 organizations in Remake Learning’s network of organizations working together to inspire lifelong learning. The Sprout Fund premiered the first Remake Learning Playbook, a field guide for building and sustaining similar collaborative networks, based on the organizations’ work.



The school has purchased a half-dozen new ultrasound machines to provide students the opportunity to participate in a group of elective courses in ultrasound imaging that are tailored to each year of the MD curriculum.

Through the new electives, first-year medical students can explore ultrasound concurrently with their anatomy and physical examination courses. Second-year students can take a course alongside many of their organ-system courses. Third- and fourth-year students can use an ultrasound elective to augment a clinical rotation.


The school’s curriculum now will include exposure to the concept of social and population medicine. This field of study focuses on understanding how social and economic conditions impact health, disease and the practice of medicine and on fostering conditions in which this understanding can lead to a healthier society. The existing second-year population health course is being expanded significantly to cover these areas.


The school’s PhD program in integrative molecular biology has been updated to reflect the rising importance of integrative systems biology and also to improve the experience for graduate students. The goal of the integrative systems biology (ISB) program is to train students in emerging transformative methodologies that emphasize genomics, proteomics, complex cellular pathways and the dynamics of cellular and organismal function. ISB students operate at the interface between basic benchtop biology, computational analysis of big data sets and the emergence of 21st-century clinical translation. One of the highlights of the revamped program is that students can graduate with a PhD in as few as four years.

In a traditional integrative studies graduate program, students begin by reviewing basic biology and completing other required courses. For as much as the entire first year, students take part in extended laboratory rotations, exposing them to multiple disciplines and potential mentors before deciding on a research project. Now, first-year ISB students take Approaches in Systems Biology, a core course that teaches students how to attack complex problems using integrated, multidisciplinary approaches. Early in that first year, students also begin six-week rotations through research labs, which translates to a more rapid progression to their dissertation research and, ultimately, to the PhD.

The ISB curriculum allows students to tailor their education by choosing from dozens of electives in courses that reflect the full range of research at the School of Medicine. Elective courses include Developmental Neurobiology, Viral Pathogenesis, Molecular Pharmacology and Historical Perspectives in Neuroscience.


On Oct. 8, the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute (UPBI) will host its inaugural Brain Day (, a scientific symposium held in conjunction with Pitt’s annual celebration of science and technology: Science 2015 — Unleashed!

Brain Day aims to educate the neuroscience community about UPBI’s neuroscience research programs, provide an opportunity to meet members of the institute and explore research partnerships that will lead to the development of new ways to treat brain diseases and disorders. Activities will begin at Alumni Hall with a Science 2015 session on neuroscience, followed by the Dickson Prize in Medicine Lecture by Karl Deisseroth of Stanford. The afternoon program includes an advocacy luncheon with hosted discussions by neuroscience and disease-specific experts, opportunities to explore partnerships and tours of Pitt laboratories and facilities.



The School of Nursing is partnering with GetWellNetwork’s O’Neil Center to create a nurse scholars fellowship program. It will provide nursing PhD students with an opportunity to collaborate with O’Neil Center leaders, clinical experts and researchers in the field of patient-family engagement. Up to two doctoral candidates will be selected annually to participate in this one-year fellowship, which will include mentoring by Pitt nursing faculty and O’Neil Center researchers, as well as completion of a scholarly project in a real-world setting. The fellowship will advance knowledge and understanding of the relationship between patient engagement and outcomes, translating patient engagement theory into health care management and the development and impact of patient-facing technology. Pitt mentors for the program are faculty members Annette De Vito Dabbs and Heidi Donovan.

Pitt Alumni Association

The Pitt Alumni Association hosted a six-city, three-week tour, “Pitt on the Prowl” (, in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; New York; Ft. Lauderdale; Atlanta; and Pittsburgh to introduce new head football coach Pat Narduzzi to alumni and fans. More than 1,000 alumni participated in the events and had an opportunity to meet Narduzzi and have their photo taken with him.


Provost’s Office

Pitt’s Year of the Humanities website is live at A kick-off celebration is set for 4 p.m. Sept. 22 in the O’Hara Student Center ballroom. Pitt nursing alumna Theresa Brown will read from her second book, “The Shift,” followed by a reception and book signing.


Social Work

Because systems of care are changing rapidly and social workers are playing an essential and increasingly valued role on interdisciplinary health care teams, the School of Social Work has launched two fellowships: The Ida Maud Cannon Fellowship in Integrated Healthcare and the Juanita C. Evans fellowship program.

The federally funded Cannon fellowship will support 31 students with $10,000 stipends during academic year 2015-16 to complete second-year field placements in approved integrated health care settings.

The Evans fellowship, for joint degree public health/social work students who have a community, organization and social action concentration in social work, is part of a Health Resources and Services Administration-funded leadership in public health social work education program. Ten Evans fellows will be awarded $10,000 stipends during their concentration field placement year.


In response to Pennsylvania’s Act 31, which requires training in recognizing and reporting child abuse for all professionals in the state who regularly come in contact with children, the school’s Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center has developed a free three-hour training program, “Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse: Mandated and Permissive Reporting in Pennsylvania.” It can be found at


The social work and education schools will be offering a new jointly administered Master’s in Social Work and Certificate in Secondary Education program. Traditionally, both social workers and educators have been deeply involved in working with children and families at risk so graduates of the program will be suited for professional teaching roles that will provide the opportunity to design and administer creative approaches to the changing needs of children in urban schools.




UPT faculty, staff, students and alumni participated in the Titusville Oil Festival Parade held Aug. 8.

Dean David E. Fitz made a special appearance during the festivities as the campus mascot, Pounce.


After a six-year hiatus, women’s volleyball is returning to the campus as an intercollegiate sport. UPT will play its first season in the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference this year.


UPT has contracted with cable provider Campus Televideo Digital Services, which will expand channel options to more than 70.


University Center for International Studies

UCIS has named Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, as the inaugural global studies faculty fellow for academic year 2016.

The yearlong global studies faculty fellowship provides an enhanced opportunity for an outstanding Pitt global studies colleague to implement a major project or event that promises to have a significant impact on his or her field.

Smith plans to host an event tentatively titled “Coevality: Ethical Being in a Time of Total Change.”


The Center for Russian and East European Studies (REES) received two new U.S. Department of Defense-funded Project GO grants for 2015-16, totaling nearly $500,000. These grants will continue intensive summer Russian course offerings for nationally recruited ROTC students at the 1st-3rd year levels while adding several program components: academic year online language sustainment courses for ROTC students who completed a summer program, plus a 4th-year study-abroad course in summer 2016 featuring homestays and internship or volunteer placements with local organizations in Narva, Estonia.


REES’s National Endowment for the Humanities-funded “Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges” project with the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) will enter its second phase in 2015-16. The 15 CCBC faculty participants will attend a monthly speaker series featuring videoconferences with faculty from REES’s partner universities in Eastern Europe, as well as U.S. embassy-organized discussions with groups of citizens from countries such as Serbia and Bosnia. The CCBC faculty then will develop original course modules focusing on East European cultures.


New deadlines for Study Abroad are Sept. 25 for spring semester programs; Nov. 6 for spring break programs; and Jan. 15 for summer and fall 2016 semester programs.


Department of Anthropology faculty members Andrew Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart will lead Pitt in the Pacific, a study-abroad program being offered for the first time next spring. Partnering with the University of Otago, the program will leverage Strathern and Stewart’s expertise on the Pacific region while students study topics including Pacific history and culture; peace and conflict; and medicine, ritual and environmental change in New Zealand, Samoa and the Cook Islands.


Introduction to Study Abroad is a new one-credit, spring-semester course that helps students maximize their study abroad experience.  Students will gain pre-departure knowledge of cultural values and diversity, the role of the individual in the global community, and how studying abroad can further academic progress and personal development.

Sarah Wagner, director of the Vira I. Heinz program for women in global leadership, will teach the course.


University Honors College

The first two of six Beckman Scholars began their research this summer under a three-year Beckman Scholars Program Award granted to the University in February by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The program, overseen by UHC, is designed to help prepare undergraduate students for graduate-level study and careers in the life sciences.

Beckman scholars conduct independent research projects under the guidance of one of 15 approved faculty mentors from the Department of Bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering or from the biological sciences, chemistry or neuroscience departments in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.


A trio of sculptures titled “Emerald City” has been installed on the first floor of Hillman Library.

A trio of sculptures titled “Emerald City” has been installed on the first floor of Hillman Library.

University Library System

ULS and the Health Sciences Library System are managing a University-wide initiative to encourage researchers to sign up for ORCID iD.

An ORCID iD number is a unique and persistent identifier that can help make a researcher’s scholarship easier to find and attribute. For details visit


A trio of sculptures, collectively titled “Emerald City,” has been installed on the first floor of Hillman Library. The works, from New York-based artist Jeffrey Maron, were a gift to the library from the Hillman Foundation and family.


Twenty-five new block power charger portable batteries are available for checkout at Hillman Library.



ULS will offer workshops on the following topics:

— Introduction to Tableau: A Data Visualization Tool for Non-CS Researchers and Students.

— Introduction to OpenRefine.

— Bibliometrics, altmetrics and social networks to support your research career development.

— The Open Movement in Higher Education.

— Introduction to Spatial Analysis.

— Personal Digital Archiving: A Primer.

— Using EndNote and Mendeley to Build Bibliographies.

— Academic Integrity @ Pitt Workshop Series for International Graduate Students.

For details, visit


ULS is planning separate events at Hillman Library for faculty, graduate students and undergraduates to discuss the library system’s many tools and services in support of teaching, learning and research, and to learn what the University community needs and wants from Pitt’s libraries.

The “Hillman Alfresco: Party on the Plaza” for undergraduates is set for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. today, Sept. 3, on the plaza.

“Graduate Students Pints & Pies” is set for 4-7 p.m. Sept. 15 in G49 Hillman.

For faculty, “Join the Library for Wine, Cheese and Conversation” is set for 4-7 p.m. Sept. 29 in the Thornburgh Room on the library’s first floor. (RSVP to


ULS has bibliometrics tools and services that help researchers manage their research personas, identify sources of citations, interpret metrics and tell the story of the impact of their research. Contact Berenika Webster, head of the ULS strategic assessment unit, at


ULS has created a Digital Scholarship Commons space in G49 Hillman Library. The commons houses ULS’s digital scholarship service department, which offers support, technology and expertise around research data management; the use of digital tools and methods for scholarship; the process of acquiring, cleaning, shaping and describing data; digitization and the creation and use of digital collections; geographic information systems; digital and web-based scholarly communication and digital stewardship — the curation and preservation of digital content.


ULS has purchased additional self-service scanners for each floor of Hillman Library and one each for the engineering and business libraries.




Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 1

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