Alicia Koontz in a green shirt

Alicia Koontz inducted into American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

University of Pittsburgh researcher Alicia Koontz has been inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Koontz is an associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, part of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and associate director for research at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories.

Election to the institute’s College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top 2% of medical and biological engineers. College membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering and medicine research, practice or education and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering, or developing and implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education." 

A sign for the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Joshua Groffman selected for Bradford campus teaching award

Joshua Groffman, assistant professor of music, will receive the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Chairs’ Faculty Teaching Award. Groffman is the director of Pitt-Bradford’s music programs.

Jeff Guterman, associate professor of broadcast communications and chair of the campus's Division of Communication and the Arts, cited Groffman’s creation of a music minor and pep band in 2018 as well as positive teaching reviews and making a point of connecting visiting musicians directly with students in a learning environment.

Groffman is also a prolific composer and active performer. Several performances planned for spring and summer have been postponed, most notably a June pre-premiere workshop of a new opera, “Halcyon.” Groffman now expects that to take place in 2021.

The Cathedral of Learning

Human Resources recognized nationally for COVID-19 resources for supervisors

The Office of Human Resources has been nationally recognized for its guidance in helping supervisors during the COVID-19 crisis.

EAB, a higher education firm, cited Pitt Human Resources in its April 13 article “3 ways to engage staff with excess capacity during coronavirus.”

The article highlights a new framework to help supervisors keep employees engaged and productive during the pandemic. The framework offers tools and tips for supervisors on different ways they can shift their thinking “from challenge mode to opportunity mode,” as their staff’s normal responsibilities and routines may have changed due to the pandemic. The tips are:

  • Think AHEAD: Use this time for long-term, strategic planning.

  • Think BACK: Examine data on previous projects.

  • Think DEEP: Analyze systems currently in place.

  • Think ACROSS: Brainstorm ways to help others in their work.

  • Think GROWTH: Focus on self and team development.

  • Think WELL-BEING: Prioritize physical and mental health.

  • Think NOW: Consider which tasks are critical to tackling immediately.

Visit the Human Resources website for more guidance, and additional COVID-19 resources for faculty and staff.

A University of Pittsburgh-Bradford Sign

Bradford campus named to Transfer Honor Roll

Pitt–Bradford has been named to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society's Transfer Honor Roll in recognition of the dynamic pathways it has created to support transfer students.

Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society for students at two-year colleges and universities. It recognizes four-year colleges and universities deemed most friendly to transfer students. This is the first year that Pitt-Bradford has been recognized.

The Bradford campus was one of only two public universities in Pennsylvania that were recognized.

Pitt–Bradford provides an extensive database of courses at other universities for students to identify potential transfer credit. 

A collection of bottles of hand sanitizer

Chemistry Department making hand sanitizer for community nonprofits

Members of the Department of Chemistry in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences are using their spare time and the department’s extra resources to make hand sanitizer and donate it to local community groups.

Department Chair Sunil Saxena and graduate student Joshua Casto, along with Dietrich School director of shared research support services Peter Chambers, used compounds left in the department to create batches of hand sanitizer that were distributed to the Light of Life Mission in Pittsburgh’s North Side, the Community Engagement Association in Homewood and Meals on Wheels in the Hill District. Saxena said the effort will continue as long as there is a community need.

Bharath Chandrasekaran in a blue collared shirt

Bharath Chandrasekaran appointed to National Institutes of Health study section

Bharath Chandrasekaran, a communication science and disorders associate professor and vice chair of research in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been appointed to a four-year term to serve as a charter member of the Language and Communication Study Section, beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2024. The section is part of the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Members of NIH study sections are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. 

Chandrasekaran’s research examines the neurobiological computations that underlie human communication and learning.

Chandralekha Singh

Chandralekha Singh named president of American Association of Physics Teachers

Chandralekha Singh, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, who is founding director of the Discipline-based Science Education Research Center, has been appointed as the 2020 president of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).

Singh, who had previously served as vice president of the AAPT board of directors, will work to connect physics educators at all education levels and expand professional development activities in ways that encourage inclusion and equity. “These activities can help physics instructors improve students’ sense of belonging and create a low anxiety learning environment in which all students can contribute to physics related discussions without fear of being wrong,” she said.

Pitt-Bradford monument sign

Pitt-Bradford receives national advertising awards

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has received four awards in the 2019 Collegiate Advertising Awards program, which recognizes U.S. colleges and universities for excellence in communications, marketing, advertising and promotions.

Pitt-Bradford received two awards for the materials its admissions counselors use to recruit new students. It received a Gold Award in the Recruitment Series category for a series of brochures, postcards, posters and flyers; and a Silver Award in the Direct-Mail category for a postcard sent to prospective students who originally applied to the University of Pittsburgh and were accepted at Pitt-Bradford.

Pitt-Bradford received another Silver Award in the Brochure-Multiple Pages category for a case statement of support that is being used to raise funds for a new STEM building, which will house two new engineering technology programs—mechanical engineering technology and energy engineering technology—and two existing programs, computer information systems and technology and petroleum technology.

The third Silver Award was in the Newspaper Ad-Series category for print ads published in regional newspapers last spring that featured Pitt-Bradford students and graduates, including Katie Treat, a biology major from Cyclone, Pa, and Kacie Appleby, a criminal justice major from Port Allegany, Pa.

Yona Harvey

Yona Harvey wins fellowship for poetry

Yona Harvey, faculty member in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English, has been awarded a fellowship from the George A. and Eiiza Gardner Howard Foundation at Brown University for the 2020-21 academic year.

The foundation awards a limited amount of fellowships annually “for independent projects in selected fields, targeting its support specifically to early mid-career individuals, those who have achieved recognition for one major project.” Harvey has won a fellowship in the poetry category.

An assistant professor in the Writing Program, Harvey is the author of the poetry collection “Hemming the Water,” winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. Her second poetry collection, “You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love,” is set to be released later this year.

A student walking on a sidewalk

Carbon commitment committee named

A Carbon Commitment Committee has been established in support of the Pitt’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2037.

Director of Sustainability Aurora Sharrard will chair this subcommittee of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Sustainability.  

Carbon Commitment Committee members are:

  • Jennifer Barnes, supplier diversity and sustainability coordinator, Purchasing

  • Scott Bernotas, associate vice chancellor, Facilities Management

  • Melissa Bilec, deputy director, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Brendan Fouracre, Executive Associate Athletic Director for Capital Planning and Projects and Facility and Event Operations, Athletics

  • Max Harleman, PhD candidate, Graduate School of Public & International Affairs

  • Mike Holland, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy & Research Strategies, Research

  • Katrina Kelly, assistant research professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Mary Beth McGrew, associate vice chancellor, Planning, Design and Real Estate

  • Ellen Oordt, undergraduate student, Ecology & Evolution '22

  • Rebecca Roadman, senior HR project manager, Human Resources

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced the accelerated carbon neutrality goal, timed to align with Pitt’s 250th anniversary in 2037, in conjunction with the signing of the Second Nature Climate Leadership Statement and Carbon Commitment. The University is on a trajectory to meet the 2018 Pitt Sustainability Plan goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and energy use 50 percent by 2030 (from a 2008 baseline), while producing or procuring at least 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

A panther statue fountain

Water Collaboratory publishes paper on regional flooding

The Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach, which was founded in January 2018 by faculty out of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Geology and Environmental Science with support from the Heinz Endowments, has released the white paper report “Flooding in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Knowledge Gaps and Approaches.”

The paper’s recommendations are based on a meeting of regional stakeholders that included representatives from the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, and over 50 participants from NGOs and local residents. Its recommendations include targeted assessments of urban watersheds to understand the true costs of flooding, the creation of a regional- or multi-municipality stormwater utility district and increased observation of tributaries. The paper is the third of a series designed to assess knowledge gaps related to regional water resources.

Emily Murphy in a blue collared shirt and dark jacket

Emily Murphy named distinguished fellow of American Academy of Physician Assistants

Emily Murphy, assistant professor of physician assistant studies in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been recognized as a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. 

This honor is bestowed in recognition of exceptional leadership, contributions to the physician assistant profession and community service.

Murphy is also vice chair for academic and administrative affairs and director of the physician assistant studies program. Her clinical background is in neurosurgery, interventional radiology and pulmonology. Murphy currently holds a clinical appointment in addiction medicine with a private physician group. 

Douglas J. Weber inducted into medical and biological engineering elite

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Douglas J. Weber, associate professor of bioengineering, to its College of Fellows.

Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is composed of the top 2% of medical and biological engineers. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering and medicine research, practice or education” and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education."

Weber was nominated, reviewed and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for “outstanding contributions to neurorehabilitation engineering, translational neuroscience and leadership in the field of neural engineering.”

J. Jeffrey Inman

J. Jeffrey Inman named fellow of the Society for Consumer Psychology

J. Jeffrey Inman, associate dean for research and faculty and professor of Marketing in the Katz Graduate School of Business has been named a fellow of the Society for Consumer Psychology.

One honoree is named each year in recognition of unique and outstanding contributions to the field of consumer psychology.

“It’s humbling and flattering to be selected by my peers for a prestigious recognition such as this,” said Inman, who presented a Fellow’s Address at the Society’s annual meeting in early March.

Inman was president of the society in 2017 and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Consumer Psychology 2005-2017.

He is currently editor-in-chief of the Journal of Consumer Research, has published more than 50 articles and has more than 11,000 Google Scholar citations. His current research includes cutting-edge consumer-technology interaction and applied consumer behavioral theory in health care.

Read more about this honor.

Judith Camarda

Staff member gets crafty to make masks for health care workers

Judith Camarda, payroll specialist in Facilities Management, has been a seamstress since her mother taught her the craft when she was 12 years old. Over the years, she has sewn clothes for herself and her daughter, as well as household décor like curtains and pillows.

Now, she’s putting her talent to use making masks for health care workers fighting COVID-19.

Camarda saw an interview with a New York-based physician talking about the need for supplies like masks. “I thought, ‘I can do that,’” she said, having all the needed supplies already.

Through Pittsburgh-based crafts store Firecracker Fabrics, Camarda found Maskmakers PGH, an effort led by nonprofit Radiant Hall. The artists’ organization coordinates all logistics, including pick up and distribution. All Camarda has to do is make 50 masks.

She’s up to 35 so far. “It was so frustrating to see that our medical people don’t have what they need, but this was a small way I can help, and it does make you feel better to help.”

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.

Mostern in a black and white top

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.”

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.

Kinloch in a pink shirt speaking at a podium

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.

Read more about Kinloch’s new book and a recent book launch event at Pitt.

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.