Accolades

Shawn Ellies in his police uniform

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.

Matt Sloan

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." 

John Oyler smiling

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.

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.

Clapp Hall

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.

The Cathedral of Learning behind a field with small American flags standing upright

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. 

Raja Adal in a light dress shirt

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.

Bopaya Bidanda

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.

A statue of a panther

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. 

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.

Toi Derricotte in a gray jacket

Toi Derricotte wins lifetime achievement award in poetry

Toi Derricotte, professor emerita in the Department of English within the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is the 2020 recipient of the Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. 

Derricotte’s sixth and most recent collection of poetry, “‘I’: New and Selected Poems,” was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award.

The award, named to honor the late poet Robert Frost, is presented annually by the Poetry Society of America to recognize the lifetime achievements of an American poet.

The Study Lab's wall, decorated with multicolored hexagons

Study Lab wins Silver Award for marketing and communications at CASE

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) announced that Pitt’s Study Lab: Revolutionizing the Story of Academic Success won the 2020 Silver Accolades Award under Institutional Marketing Identity/Branding Programs. 

Study Lab has undergone a rebranding in recent years, resulting in increased student engagement levels. Pittwire wrote about it in November 2019 and the online database company Knack spotlighted the “amazing results” on their blog. The marketing and communications team behind the efforts are being recognized for their work. 

The award recognizes the visibility, support and prestige that marketing and programming bring to their institutions. Criteria for the award included quality, creativity, innovation, adherence to professional standards and success in meeting stated objectives. 

The team included Rebecca Farabaugh, communications manager in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; Marygrace Reder, marketing manager,  and Jane Dudley, designer and assistant creative director, both in the Office of University Communications and Marketing.

Anjali Sachdeva

Anjali Sachdeva named NEA Fellow in Literature

Anjali Sachdeva, lecturer in the Department of English in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences,was named a Literature Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The NEA gives fellowships to writers and translators of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction to allow recipients to “set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement.” 

Chosen from nearly 1,700 eligible applicants, Sachdeva is one of 36 creative writing fellows who received a grant of $25,000.  

The Cathedral of Learning

Dietrich School Excellence in Advising awardees announced

Frayda Cohen and Barbara "Babs" Mowery have been named recipients this year's Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. 

The Dietrich School's annual award recognizes outstanding faculty and staff academic advising of its undergraduate students.

Cohen is the director of undergraduate studies, senior lecturer, and undergraduate advisor in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program. Mowrey is an advisor in the Dietrich School's Academic Advising Center.

Recipients are nominated by fellow faculty and staff, and nominations are supported by the experiences of undergraduate students.

Paul Palevsky

Medical researcher Palevsky president-elect of National Kidney Foundation Board

Paul M. Palevsky was recently named president-elect of the National Kidney Foundation’s board

Palevsky is a professor of medicine and clinical and translational science in the renal-electrolyte division at the School of Medicine and is chief of the renal section at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

He is internationally recognized as an expert in acute kidney injury and critical care nephrology and has helped lead multiple clinical trials focused on the management of acute dialysis, prevention of acute kidney injury and slowing the progression of diabetic kidney disease. He has published more than 250 original articles, reviews and book chapters and has held multiple editorial positions.

Lisa S. Parker and Robert M. Arnold

Bioethics researchers elected Fellows to Hastings Center

Lisa S. Parker and Robert M. Arnold were recently elected fellows to the Hastings Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars studying ethical questions in medicine, science and technology that help inform policy, practice and public understanding. They are two of 12 newly elected fellows recognized for their outstanding accomplishments informing scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science and technology.

Parker is the Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics at Pitt, where she directs the Center for Bioethics and Health Law. She is also a professor of human genetics in Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health.

Arnold is a distinguished service professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and chief of the section of palliative care and medical ethics at Pitt. He also is a member of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law where he coordinates the clinical ethics education programs.

Nicole Mitchell plays the flute in a red jacket

Nicole Mitchell named United States Artists Fellow

Pitt Jazz Studies Director Nicole Mitchell has been named a 2020 United States Artists (USA) Fellow — an honor accompanied by a $50,000 cash award to use as she wishes. She is one of 50 national artists across 10 disciplines to win the award this year. 

“I was driving when I got the phone call and became so flustered I had to pull the car over,” Mitchell said with a laugh, recalling the day she received the news.

In making the announcement, USA President and CEO Deanna Haggag said of this year’s fellows: “Each and every one of them stands out as a visionary influence in their respective field.” 

Mitchell took up the position of Jazz Studies director in July 2019. 

She is a member of the We Have Voice Collective, a national group of musicians, performers and scholars who draw attention to inequity in the music industry. 

As far as the USA award, Mitchell is thinking about helping emerging artists.

“I feel really humbled by this and want to use it to make impact,” she said. “My dream would be to use part of it to create a new grant program for artists who are just at the edge of doing great things.”

Aurora Sharrard

Aurora Sharrard to serve on sustainability advisory board

Pitt Sustainability director Aurora Sharrard has been named to a two-year term on the advisory board of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. 

Established in 2005, AASHE has more than 900 members in 20 countries worldwide. The organization’s mission is to inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.

Ryan McGarry

Med school alum McGarry produces new Netflix original series

The new Netflix documentary series “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” is earning buzz. Fast Company called it “required viewing,” saying it “couldn’t have come at a more crucial time with the recent coronavirus outbreak.”

Ryan McGarry, an emergency medicine doctor, Pitt School of Medicine alumnus and cinematographer, is behind the series as an executive producer. This summer, he invited Pitt Anthropology Chair Bryan Hanks to play a role in setting the stage for the series: The first episode opens at an unmarked grave site near Pittsburgh where an unknown number of bodies are buried — victims of the 1918 pandemic flu. Hanks and a team of Pitt students use ground-penetrating radar to estimate about how many people were buried there. 

McGarry, now a faculty member at Cornell University, said he wanted an excuse to get back to Pittsburgh and feature Pitt experts in this docuseries. Check out the new show on Netflix and learn more about his first big experiment, "Code Black," in Pitt Med magazine.

Max Schuster

Education’s Schuster selected for Emerging Faculty Leader Academy

Max Schuster, a faculty member in the higher education management program at the School of Education, was recently selected for the 2019-20 NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy.

The academy is a one-year program designed for early-career faculty in student affairs and higher education graduate programs. Highly selective in nature, the academy only admits seven faculty each year from higher education institutions around the country.

“Being selected for this academy is really an honor and an awesome opportunity to learn and grow alongside new colleagues, collaborating on new ideas that move student affairs graduate programs forward, as well as generating synergy around new teaching and research projects,” said Schuster.

NASPA, which supports student affairs administrators in higher education, has 15,000 members from 1,200 institutions around the world.

The Emerging Leadership Academy was created to provide a high-impact mentoring opportunity for faculty members who have demonstrated early promise.

Read more here.