April 1, 2020
Associate dean of student affairs hired at Pitt–Bradford
Pitt–Bradford has hired Michele Cruse as its associate dean of student affairs and experiential education.
The associate dean position is a restructuring of a position occupied by Holly Spittler for 37 years. Spittler retired in 2018. In the newly reconfigured position, Cruse oversees career services, judicial affairs, first-year experience and orientation, leadership development, community engagement and student engagement in the Office of Student Affairs.
Cruse comes to Pitt-Bradford from Portland (Ore.) Community College, where she served as the dean of student development. A native Pittsburgher, Cruse earned her bachelor’s degree in public administration at Pitt, a master’s degree at Portland State University and a doctorate in education at Oregon State University.
In addition, Reid Helford has been hired to offer career strategies and professional development for students. Helford is a sociologist who earned his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Kentucky and his master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from Loyola University Chicago.
March 23, 2020
History professor advocates for the humanities on Capitol Hill
Ruth Mostern, associate professor in the Department of History in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of the World History Center, advocated for the importance of federal funding for the humanities on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at the Humanities Advocacy Day on March 10.
Mostern had the opportunity to talk to congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle about humanities research at Pitt — including the World Historical Gazetteer, a World History Center project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mostern serves as the project’s principal investigator.
“I am teaching Environmental History this semester, and even before the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, students were exploring questions that are urgent for the present moment,” said Mostern. “This is a chance to make sure that our congresspeople understand how the humanities transforms their districts and the whole world through education, outreach, and new insights about human past and futures.”
March 18, 2020
Bradford’s Exercise is Medicine on Campus program honored
The American College of Sports Medicine has recognized Pitt-Bradford’s Exercise is Medicine on Campus program as a Gold campus under the leadership of Mark Kelley, assistant professor and director of the Exercise Science Program.
Exercise is Medicine on Campus calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff and students to work together toward improving the health and well-being of the campus community.
Pitt-Bradford has implemented the Physical Activity Vital Sign, created a referral system between Health Services and the Exercise Science program, and held the fourth annual Exercise is Medicine on Campus week in October. Other activities include educational sessions for students about the importance of physical activity and numerous health assessments throughout the year.
March 9, 2020
Dean Kinloch releases new co-edited book advocating for social change
Valerie Kinoch, dean of the School of Education, has released a new co-edited book titled, "Race, Justice, and Activism in Literacy Instruction." It advocates for social change by encouraging educators to engage in equity and justice-centered literacy work.
“This book serves as a conversation into how and why we must engage in this work and it contributes to ongoing discussions about how this work could look in schools and communities,” said Kinloch, who is also an American Educational Research Association fellow and the vice president of the National Council of Teachers of English.
The book was co-edited with Tanja Burkhard, postdoctoral associate in the School of Education, and Carlotta Penn, director of community partnerships in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. Leigh Patel, associate dean for equity and justice for the School of Education, also contributed to the book.
March 3, 2020
Center for Governance awarded State Department grant
The Center for Governance and Markets has received a grant from the U.S. Department of State through the American Councils for International Education to build a partnership developing public administration and public policy education. The project, Developing Public Administration Education in Kazakhstan, will support the efforts of the School of Law and Public Policy at Narxoz University in Almaty, Kazakhstan, strengthen its public administration and public policy curriculum. The grant will serve as the for the development of longer-term research collaborations between the University and CGM.
The grant was the result of U.S.-Kazakhstan University Partnerships grants. Funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan, the projects aim to enhance teacher preparation for English language teaching and learning, teaching and assessment methods for better-quality student outcomes, faculty research and personnel development, and policies, practices, and administrative structures to support effective and sustainable partnership activity between U.S. and Kazakhstan higher education.
March 3, 2020
Pitt-led study leads to method to calculate stress on rails
A study led by Pitt researchers calculating stress on railways was recently published in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, Diagnostics and Prognostics of Engineering Systems.
The study was led by Piervincenzo Rizzo, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Pitt in the Swanson School of Engineering, and senior author on the paper, and Stanford University researcher Amir Nasrollahi, who was previously a Ph.D. candidate and then post-doctoral researcher in Rizzo’s Laboratory for Nondestructive Evaluation and Structural Health Monitoring Studies.
The two developed a nondestructive evaluation method to measure stress in rails, with the eventual aim of calculating when the ambient temperature will be problematic.
March 3, 2020
Solar project selected for U.S. Department of Energy prize
A project developed at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has been selected for the American-Made Solar Prize, a U.S. Department of Energy competition designed to incentivize entrepreneurs toward U.S. solar energy innovation and manufacturing.
The project is led by Paul W. Leu (pictured), associate professor of industrial engineering; Sajad Haghanifar, a doctoral candidate in Leu's lab; and Sooraj Sharma, a senior studying materials science and engineering who began developing this project in 2018 through the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation Undergraduate Summer Research Program. The team is evaluating new methods to improve the top glass sheet in solar panels.
The project is one of 20 that has made it to this round out of the 120 submissions, chosen for the novelty of the solution and how impactful it would be against the problems facing the solar industry. Each team will receive a $50,000 cash prize and is eligible for the next round of the competition, which rewards a cash prize of $100,000 and up to $75,000 in vouchers. The final phase of the competition will select two final projects to win a $500,000 prize in September 2020.
March 3, 2020
Sotomayor-Miletti receives prestigious international literary award
Áurea María Sotomayor-Miletti, professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, received the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize in the essay category.
Established in 1959, the award is considered the oldest and most coveted prize in literature in Latin America—much like the Pulitzer Prize in the U.S., according to Sotomayor-Miletti.
Sotomayor-Miletti received the literary award for her work titled “Apalabrarse en la desposesión (Ley, arte y Multitud en el Caribe Insular).” She accepted her award earlier this year in Havana, Cuba.
February 28, 2020
Pitt-Bradford building earns campus’ first LEED status
The Pitt–Bradford’s newest residence hall, the 170-bed Livingston Alexander House, has earned silver-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the first building on the campus to achieve LEED certification.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification that takes into account sustainability considerations that include green construction practices, water and energy efficiency and more.
“It’s about caring for the environment,” said Rick Esch, vice president of business affairs at Pitt–Bradford. “Climate change is real. When you build sustainable buildings, it benefits the environment, the health of residents and the health of those constructing and making the materials that go into a LEED-certified building.”
February 28, 2020
Jaime Booth honored for her work with teens
Jaime Booth, an assistant professor of Social Work, was recently awarded the Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research at the organization’s national conference in Washington, D.C. She was recognized for using innovative approaches in her research, much of which involves young people in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“I’m engaging with new technology to answer traditional social work questions,” she said of her work.
Booth and Rosta Farzan, associate professor of computing and information, along with other partners, are spearheading a pilot project called Data Forerunners. Close to 20 high school students from the Hill District and Homewood are using public data to explore issues in their communities, ranging from crime rates to commuting habits to affordable housing.
Now she is immersed in the SPIN Project, or Spaces and People in Neighborhoods for Positive Youth Development. Nearly 80 Homewood teenagers, carrying mobile devices equipped with a special app, responded to several surveys a day that asked how they felt about where they were. Did they feel respected? Are there people around that could help them if they need it? A survey at day’s end asked how they felt that day and if they had used any substances. The teens themselves are assisting with the data collection and Booth and the teens will present the findings this spring at local community centers.
“We want to understand how spending time in safe and risky spaces impacts these young people’s levels of stress and substance abuse,” said Booth. “The ultimate goal is to increase their access to safe spaces while addressing those spaces that are stressful.”
Booth and Khirsten Scott, assistant professor of English, also are developing H.Y.P.E. Media, a literacy program in which youth are taught the skills needed to engage new media to rewrite neighborhood narratives for community change.
February 25, 2020
Pitt Logistics and Printing Services recognized with Life'sWork award
Life'sWork has recognized Pitt's Logistics and Printing Services team with a Business Partner of the Year Award for its partnership and collaboration under the leadership of Matt Sloan, director of the team. Life'sWork of Western PA is a nonprofit organization that focuses on supporting individuals with disabilities to strengthen their workplace abilities, build life skills and develop meaningful relationships in compassionate, inclusive and equitable communities.
Life'sWork clients worked with the Logistics and Printing Services at the Pitt Surplus Property warehouse on electronic waste and technology recycling projects, where they assisted in disassembling hard drives as a last line of defense for data security. According to the Life'sWork announcement, the Business Partner of the Year Award honorees "made a commitment to diversity and inclusion by supporting our clients and our mission in many ways."
February 25, 2020
Ellies appointed chair of American Society of Industrial Security chapter
The American Society of Industrial Security Pittsburgh chapter has named Shawn Ellies (GSPIA ’08, EDUC ’15), commander of the Pitt Police and director of security, as the chair of the local chapter, leading more 200 members. Additionally, Ellies is a ASIS Certified Protection Professional, having completed a comprehensive certification program recognized as the gold standard for security management professionals worldwide.
Ellies oversees the University’s integrated safety and security needs. He has been a member of the Pitt Police Department for the past 23 years in public safety leadership roles including patrol officer, shift sergeant, shift lieutenant, administrative lieutenant, commander of the special emergency response team and commander of operations.
He served in the U.S. Army for 23 years. He earned a doctorate degree in administration and policy studies from the Pitt School of Education , a masters degree in public policy and management from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and a masters degree in leadership and management from Duquesne University.
Ellies chairs the Veterans Community group on Pitt’s campus.
February 19, 2020
Fellowship established to honor longtime engineering professor Oyler
The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of the Swanson School of Engineering has established the John F. Oyler Fellowship, honoring the longtime Swanson School professor.
The fellowship will provide full tuition support for a graduate student specializing in structures or solid mechanics, with preference for students entering the Engineering Accelerated Graduate (EAGr) program.
It is funded by a gift from the John Francis Oyler and Nancy Lee Victoria Fleck Oyler Foundation.
John Oyler was a professor at Pitt for 25 years before retiring in 2018. He began his teaching career after 40 years in industry, where he worked for Dravo Corp., Daxus Corp., and his own consulting firm, Oyler Consulting Services. During his time at Pitt, he taught Statics, Mechanics of Materials, Materials of Construction, and Senior Design Projects.
Read more here.
February 19, 2020
Michael Bridges to head Teaching Commons
Michael Bridges has joined the University Center for Teaching and Learning as director of the Teaching Commons.
Bridges will assume responsibility for leading efforts in teaching innovation, faculty development, consulting, course design and development, assessment, diversity in the curriculum, and other teaching and learning initiatives.
He previously served as executive director, Online Learning and Strategy at Duquesne University. In addition, he is an adjunct professor of Management and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has also held positions at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, the Software Engineering Institute, and the Department of Psychology.
February 19, 2020
Clapp Hall renovation awarded LEED Silver Certification
The Clapp Hall renovation has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.
It’s the latest among a dozen Pittsburgh campus projects that have received a LEED designation from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The $34 million Clapp Hall project brought new infrastructure, interior renovations and exterior upgrades to the building that houses the Department of Biological Sciences.
Classrooms, laboratories, conference and seminar rooms, support spaces and offices were renovated; mechanical, electrical, plumbing and telecommunication systems were replaced; and a new fire suppression system was installed. The building’s elevator and restrooms were modernized to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Outside, doors, windows and roofing were replaced and the exterior was cleaned and repainted.
Features contributing to the LEED certification were energy-efficient lighting, water-saving plumbing fixtures, a demand-control ventilation system and a lab exhaust energy recovery system. More than 95% of construction waste was diverted from landfills, 90% of existing building elements were reused and 36% of building materials were regionally manufactured. Clapp Hall also features bike storage and changing rooms for commuters and an indoor air quality system throughout the entire building.
Clapp Hall, part of the Life Sciences Complex, opened in 1956.
February 19, 2020
Pitt earns 2020-2021 military-friendly designation across campuses
The University of Pittsburgh has been recognized for its support for students in the military community.
For the ninth consecutive year, the University’s Pittsburgh campus has been recognized as a 2020-2021 Military Friendly Top 10 School.
Also receiving recognition for the 2020-2021 year:
Pitt-Greensburg, Military Friendly
Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, Bronze status
Pitt-Bradford, Bronze status
Pitt-Johnstown, Military Friendly
The Military Friendly Schools survey is “the longest-running most comprehensive review of college and university investments in serving military and veteran students.” Institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,000 schools participated in the 2020-2021 survey with 695 earning the designation.
Military-affiliated students at Pitt are supported by the Office of Veterans Services, Pitt Vets and other entities across all campuses.
February 14, 2020
Raja Adal receives NEH grant
Raja Adal, assistant professor in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences' Department of History, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
NEH grants support innovative digital projects for the public, humanities initiatives on college campuses and infrastructure projects at cultural institutions.
As a Fellow for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan, Adal will use this grant to support his project “The Typewriter and the History of Writing Technologies in Japan,” which includes research and writing for a future book.
Adal is one of only seven scholars Pennsylvania — and the only researcher at Pitt — to receive this award.
February 13, 2020
Bidanda elected president of Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
Bopaya Bidanda, chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been elected president of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), the largest professional society dedicated to industrial engineering.
New officers are elected by the institute’s professional members and serve for three years, with terms beginning on April 1. Bidanda's is one of three seats filled in the annual election; he is joined by Ronald Askin (Arizona State University) as senior vice president of publications and Rohan Shirwaiker (North Carolina State University) as senior vice president of operations.
Bidanda has been an IISE Fellow since 2002 and won the IISE’s Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award in 2013.
February 12, 2020
Three Pitt professors named 2019 Sloan Research Fellows
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has named three Pitt faculty as 2019 Sloan Research Fellows:
Susan Fullerton Shirley, an assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering was recognized for advancements in the field of chemistry.
Michael Hatridge, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences was recognized for advancements in the field of physics.
Robin E.C. Lee, an assistant professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology in the School of Medicine was recognized for work in the field of computational and evolutionary molecular biology.
The fellowship, awarded annually to 126 scientists in the United States and Canada, is dedicated for scholars studying chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Since the fellowship was founded in 1955, 38 Pitt faculty have received the honor.
Winners will receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship to support their research.
February 7, 2020
Center for Medical Innovation gives grants to three pilot programs
In its eighth year of pilot funding, Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $47,500 to three research groups through its 2019 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals:
“A Structurally and Mechanically Tunable Biocarpet for Peripheral Arterial Disease”: For the development of a material and method of deployment of specialized materials that coat the inner lumen of synthetic vascular grafts. The coating will greatly improve the viability and anti-thrombogenic properties of long stent grafts which overlap flexible joints.
“Ex-Vivo Heart Perfusion System for Human Heart Support, Resuscitation, and Physiologic Testing”: For the development of a system for preservation of explanted donor hearts suitable for transplantation. Includes means to verify the heart’s mechanical and biological viability to improve recipient response.
“In Vivo Efficacy of an Antibacterial and Biocompatible Polymeric Nanofilm on Titanium Implants”: For the development of biocompatible, anti-biofilm coatings for orthopedic use, especially in children.
Find more information on the Swanson School of Engineering website.