Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

September 3, 2009

What’s New? Things

new-thingsIn the School of Arts and Sciences, the architectural studies program has established a two-track major. The design track prepares students who seek to apply to master’s in architecture programs; the preservation track is for students who have an interest in the preservation of historic sites and neighborhoods. Information on the new curriculum is available at


The Department of Studio Arts collaborated with the University Honors College in the pilot offering of a two-week summer field studies course for studio arts majors in Wyoming. Four students created and presented creative projects including painting, drawing, sculpture and video inspired by their experience of place/space of the property and the fossils, plants, animals and traces of human presence they found on the prairie.


With funding from the Provost’s Office and with the support of the dean of Arts and Sciences, Jean Grace, associate director of the Writing Center, and Beth Matway, chair of the College Writing Board, are coordinating a new undergraduate tutoring program that will support the teaching of writing in the disciplines, especially the natural and social sciences.

Participating departments (biological sciences and psychology) selected undergraduate writing fellows from among their own majors to serve as writing tutors in designated lower-level courses. The fellows received training from the Writing Center, but their work will take place within their own departments, with the aim of helping freshman and sophomore students learn to write in discipline-specific genres.

This fall, students seeking help at the Writing Center’s satellite location in Hillman Library will need to schedule an appointment as they do to see consultants at the main Writing Center office. Starting Sept. 8, Writing Center personnel will be on hand in the Hillman Library dissertation alcove from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Students can schedule appointments online at


A fall screening of the new film, “A Shot Felt Around the World,” is planned on campus by the English department and film studies program. The film about Jonas Salk and the discovery of the polio vaccine began as a project in the “Topics In Film: Making The Documentary” course taught by visiting senior lecturer Curt Kurlander.

With support from the University, the Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation, the Elsie Hillman Foundation, the R.K. Mellon Foundation, The Colcom Foundation and a number of individuals, the short has been turned into a 55-minute version for television. The project involves collaboration among the University, the Steeltown Entertainment Project and WQED.

With support from The Grable Foundation and The R.K. Mellon Foundation, this year’s English/film studies class has begun work on a film about Bill Strickland and the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. Pitt students are working on a trailer based on footage shot last November with the help of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and WQED.


The Department of Athletics has planned a number of new pregame events in connection with each home football game this season. Among these are:

• Two hours prior to kickoff: the Panthers Prowl, where fans can greet the team as they arrive outside Gate A at Heinz Field, followed by a pregame band concert.

• Thirty minutes prior to kickoff: the Pitt Marching Band performs an on-field pregame show.

Additional details on pregame football activities are available at


Pitt-Bradford has added a minor in international business, which had been available as a concentration within the business major. The minor combines courses in world geography, international management, global economic systems, international finance and international marketing with a language requirement and a study-abroad experience of at least four weeks.

UPB President Livingston Alexander and his wife, Evelyn, have established a fund to provide scholarships for students who need to work their way through college. The Livingston and Evelyn Alexander Presidential Labor Scholarship Fund will complement the UPB’s federal work-study program by adding student work positions both on campus and in the community. The fund is part of a larger program to make money available for students who work on the campus. During the past year, Pitt-Bradford allocated $60,000 to provide scholarships for student work on campus.


A new global management major for undergrads in the College of Business Administration is being introduced this fall. The major adds coursework in global policy, economics, regulations and operations to core material on traditional management theory and practice and requires students to gain conversational proficiency in a non-native language and to complete a study-abroad experience.

An undergraduate certificate in supply chain management administered through CBA and the Swanson School of Engineering is being introduced this fall. The certificate aims to give business and engineering graduates the fundamental technical and analytical skills for understanding global supply chain management and making better business decisions.

The Katz Graduate School of Business is offering a new global supply chain management certificate for MBA students. The program provides the broad business knowledge and technical expertise required to manage supply chain activities within a global business enterprise.

Also being offered for the first time this fall to MBA students is the technology, innovation and entrepreneurship certificate. Aimed at students whose career goals include business development, product development, project management, customer/supplier relations or consulting, this certificate involves students in hands-on projects related to technological innovation and new business development.

The Katz school also has launched a 30-credit Master of Science in Accounting program designed to prepare students from different educational backgrounds, including those with little or no previous coursework in accounting, to take the certified public accountant exam and increase their employment marketability.


The Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education (CIDDE) is offering a new “do it yourself” CourseCast system this fall. The latest version of Panopto CourseCast enables individuals to make media recordings (synchronized audio, video, PowerPoint, screen capture, etc.) without assistance from Instructional Media Services staff, and consequently without incurring charges.)

Instructors can learn to use the DIY system in CIDDE’s Faculty Instructional Development Lab, borrow equipment from media services staff and record, upload and edit their own material.

Also new at CIDDE is a recent CourseWeb upgrade. The move in May to Blackboard version 8 includes a rewritten grade center, offering improvements in functionality. Training for faculty is available through CIDDE. Details are available at

The annual Teaching Excellence Fair sponsored by the Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence in conjunction with CIDDE has been renamed to better reflect the showcasing of new technologies, teaching-related topics and ACIE Innovation in Education grant projects. This year’s Teaching Excellence Showcase is set for Oct. 21 in the Alumni Hall Connolly Ballroom.


The School of Education has launched the Leadership Initiative for Transforming Schools (LIFTS), a redesigned 15-month principal certificate program. LIFTS grounds the personal and professional growth of aspiring school leaders in three themes: ethics, inquiry and integrity. Presented in a cohort, executive format, LIFTS incorporates collaboration with units within the education school and across the University to teach the study areas, including the Institute for Learning, the Learning Policy Center and the Center for Executive Education at the Katz Graduate School of Business.

The school will co-host the American Educational Studies Association’s 2009 conference Nov. 4-8 at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown. Faculty and students at Pitt and Duquesne have organized sessions todiscuss the challenges facing the Pittsburgh region and the creative ways community organizations have responded to these challenges.

The school will begin celebrating its 100th anniversary year in March with a nationally recognized speaker at the Council of Graduate Students in Education’s annual research conference.


The College of General Studies is bolstering its offerings of health-related academic programs by reintroducing its Bachelor of Science in health services degree. Like the Bachelor of Arts in health services degree, the BS is designed to give students the skills to succeed in jobs related to health care management and provision.

The BS is a degree-completion program aimed to help licensed allied health professionals and individuals with an associate’s degree in allied health fields (such as diagnostic medical sonographers, radiological technologists, respiratory therapists, medical laboratory technicians and dietetic technicians) quickly to earn a bachelor’s degree so they can advance their careers.


Pitt-Greensburg staff continue work on the redesign of the campus web site, UPG’s Office of University Relations and Institutional Advancement is working with University Marketing Communications in Pittsburgh to develop the new look. Expected completion is mid-fall.

UPG has received a $2,825 grant from the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh for the purchase of a sonic dismembrator. This equipment will support the biochemistry and cell biology courses as well as research by chemistry faculty and students.

The Greensburg campus also received a $10,000 grant from the Buncher Family Foundation to support the green scholar program. The program will provide opportunities for Pitt-Greensburg’s best students to acquire research experience by working with faculty on scholarly projects.

UPG has re-established its Institute for Continued Learning. Plans are underway for a fall workshop, which will focus on forensic accounting and auditing, and a spring seminar about Thru the Fields Farm, a four-year archaeological dig in Ligonier Township conducted by Pitt-Greensburg faculty and students.


The School of Information Sciences is developing the Mellon Diversity Initiative, a series of summer institutes to recruit graduate students and faculty members from underrepresented groups to the field of information sciences. The institutes will focus on promising juniors and seniors in college who demonstrate strong potential to earn doctoral degrees and become faculty members. The program is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This fall, SIS is offering a new special topics course, Literacy in the Information Age. The focus of the class is to introduce students to two central ideas: genre and provenance, and to explore the strengths and limits of different types of information.


Pitt-Johnstown now is offering Bachelor of Science degrees in biochemistry and computer engineering technology. The campus also has begun offering an applied computer science track as part of its existing computer science degree.

These are the first degree programs to be added at UPJ since 1997 and were developed as part of the campus’s recently implemented strategic plan.

Beginning this academic year, UPJ is offering first-year students an opportunity to explore the four levels of engagement that are components of the school’s signature RealWorld Action program. Alumni and community leaders are among the mentors who will provide students with real-world perspectives in their primary area of interest.

Pitt-Johnstown is extending outreach to military veterans through its MountainCat veterans program. Among the benefits offered to veterans are accelerated admission review and application fee waivers, priority registration, deferred tuition payments, credit evaluation, a veterans’ support group, free on-campus parking and a single point-of-contact for administrative and student services.


The School of Law has created the Innovation Practice Institute, the school’s first foray into building curricular, extra-curricular, clinical and quasi-clinical offerings to train law students as counselors for innovation. The institute, directed by Pitt law graduate Max F. Miller, offers a holistic range of services and to students who want to be a part of the innovation culture in the region.

As part of the institute, two courses are being introduced this fall: Commercializing New Technologies and Understanding the Legal Services Marketplace.


Changes are in store for instructors who use the services of the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching. Requests for student opinion of teaching questionnaires now will be done completely online. OMET also is changing the programs it uses to conduct the surveys and score classroom tests. Beginning this fall, surveys will be conducted using a commercial program from Scantron called Class Climate. Scantron’s ParScore program will be used to scan and score the objective classroom tests.


This year the School of Nursing is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Since the School of Nursing’s first graduating class in 1943, more than 12,000 students have become Pitt nurses.


A pharmacy business administration area of concentration has been established within the School of Pharmacy’s doctoral program. Students will be introduced to key elements of pharmacy administration and management, such as health policy, health finance, marketing, medication safety, decision analysis and information management.


The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs now offers students the opportunity to earn a certificate in international development and Asian affairs from Kobe University Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies in Japan while completing their Master of International Development, Master of Public and International Affairs or Master of Public Administration degree. Students completing this certificate program will study at GSPIA for two semesters and spend the summer term studying in Japan. Students will pay only Pitt tuition while in Japan, will have reasonably priced housing arranged by Kobe University and will have their airfare paid by GSPIA.

A newly formed partnership with the University of Geneva now provides GSPIA students with the opportunity to earn an IOMBA — an International Organizations MBA — along with an MPIA or MID in just 28 months. Students would complete their first year at GSPIA, their second year in Geneva and then return to GSPIA for one final semester.

The goal of the program is to place GSPIA students in internships or jobs with prominent international organizations and non-governmental organizations operating in Geneva, which is home to dozens of international groups, including the U.N. Development Program, the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.

The European Union studies summer program in Brussels offers students the ability to study, in English, the emergence of a united Europe at the Free University of Brussels. GSPIA students can earn internship credit for the experience and are eligible to apply for two $5,000 merit-based fellowships from Pitt’s European Union Center of Excellence, a co-sponsor of the program.

The program features seminars with a wide range of EU officials and leading experts on the EU from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as site visits to major EU institutions and organizations involved in European integration. It is supplemented by cultural and social events in and around the city as well as a field trip to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

GSPIA has created the Center for Disaster Management to train the next generation of managers, policymakers and analysts who will be responsible for disaster risk reduction and management in public, private and nonprofit organizations. Center director Louise Comfort is developing a coherent approach for research and analysis of policy issues related to disaster risk reduction and management across interorganizational, interdisciplinary and interjurisdictional boundaries.


The Office of the Registrar plans to implement student self-registration this October across the Pittsburgh campus. The program was piloted last academic year by some students at the Swanson School of Engineering and at the regional campuses.

Self-registration is among the features available in the upgraded PeopleSoft system. The self-registration procedure is similar to online shopping. Class selections are placed into a virtual cart and, when the schedule is complete, the student “checks out” and is registered. The process can be completed in about three minutes, according to the Registrar’s office.


The Small Molecule Biomarker Core was established through a partnership of the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. SMBC will be housed in the School of Pharmacy.

The core provides the expertise and equipment necessary for the discovery and quantitative measurement of small molecular weight biomolecules in clinical samples. The highly sensitive and specific techniques employed will allow the clinician to measure multiple biomarkers in a given sample, maximizing the ability to link basic science with clinical outcomes. Professors Samuel Poloyac and Beth Minnigh are the core director and core supervisor, respectively. Information about the core may be found at


The School of Social Work is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its doctoral program. During this year-long celebration, the school will showcase the work of some of the program’s more than 300 graduates, including sponsoring a lecture series of alumni speakers. The celebration will include an anniversary reunion on Oct. 16 and 17.

The Center on Race and Social Problems will host a conference on “Race in America: Restructuring Inequality,” June 3-6, 2010. The conference has as its goal to bring about greater equality-of-life outcomes for all Americans. It will bring together a multi-racial group of educators, researchers, students, leaders of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, public officials, community leaders and interested citizens to promote a restructuring of our society to be more racially equitable. National and local experts will examine patterns of racial and ethnic disparities across a number of areas. Specifically, the conference will focus on seven areas: economics; education; health; mental health; families, youth and the aged; intergroup relations, and criminal justice.


The Office of Freshman Programs in the School of Arts and Sciences has launched a freshman common reader program this fall. Students enrolled in the Introduction to the Arts and Sciences and Freshman Seminar courses will read and discuss the same text as part of their coursework.

A committee of faculty and staff in the School of Arts and Sciences chose the book “Reinventing Knowledge: From Alexandria to the Internet” by Ian McNeely with Lisa Wolverton as the inaugural text based on its interdisciplinary appeal of content and potential for inspiring discussion.

Other events planned around the common reading program include film screenings and mini-lectures by faculty members who will expand on the ideas presented in the book, essay contests and a Scrabble tournament with the final four participants invited to dine with McNeely.


Pitt-Titusville has been an active participant in the region’s 17-month-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the oil industry that continues through the end of 2009. The campus hosted several Oil 150 Celebration events including the Oil Pioneer’s Symposium, The Broadhurst Family/Eat’n Park Music Festival and the Ida Tarbell reception.

In addition, faculty and staff labored over the summer months on a float for the Aug. 29 Oil 150 Parade, which began on the UPT campus. Nearly 100 units, including the UPT cheerleaders and the Pitt Pep Band, were entered in the parade, which was themed, “America’s Energy — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

The Titusville campus also has completed a web site upgrade. Hundreds of new pages were created or redesigned in an effort to accommodate the expansion of UPT’s growing academic programs, showcase the campus’s physical improvements and feature student organizations and activities.

Serving on the web site upgrade task force were John Mumford, executive director of enrollment management; Lori Brown, director of computing and telecommunications; Tammy Knapp, director of public/alumni relations; Colleen Motter, director of continuing education, and UPT webmaster Roger Trask.

The new site can be viewed at


The African studies program in the University Center for International Studies has launched two study abroad programs in Africa. The inaugural “Swahili Language and Culture Immersion” in the Karagwe district in northern Tanzania kicked off in June with five students participating. A new study abroad in Ghana will be offered each spring beginning in 2010.

The European Union Center of Excellence/European Studies Center now is offering a graduate certificate in European Union studies for students from all disciplines. The certificate has its own course, language, research paper and co-curricular requirements; a graduate or professional degree is a prerequisite.

The EUCE/ESC also recently began participating in the EURO challenge program, a national competition to test 9th and 10th grade public high school students’ knowledge and understanding of the European economy and the EURO, sponsored by the EU Commission Delegation in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Treasury Department.

In June, EUCE/ESC collaborated for the first time with the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in hosting its annual policy conference. The focus was on “Accessibility in the Context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Transatlantic Perspectives.”

EUCE/ESC associate director Timothy Thompson and assistant director Stephen Lund have been key organizers of the recently initiated Modern Europe Learning Community (MELC), which helps undergraduates explore ways their interest in Europe might translate into academic choices.

MELC includes a community freshman orientation course on “Europe and the Modern World,” as well as a trip to New York City that includes visits to the United Nations; the Institute of International Education, where students learn about study and internship abroad opportunities and resources for funding study abroad, and the EU Delegation to the UN, where the students meet with a senior official.

In October and November, the Center for Russian and East European Studies will collaborate with EUCE/ESC to hold a series of Pitt events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communist regimes throughout East Central Europe.


The University Library System has revised its tutorial for searching University library materials using PittCat Plus. The tutorial, available at, also covers subscribing to RSS feeds, exporting citations and linking to articles in PittCat Plus.


The Faculty and Staff in Service to Community program, formerly the Pitt Volunteer Pool, now is recruiting for a wider range of the Office of Community Relations’ activities.

To join, send your name, campus address, phone number and email to, or call 4-7709.

—Kimberly K. Barlow & Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 42 Issue 1

Leave a Reply