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April 3, 2003

Arts and sciences names Bellet teaching award winners

Two Pitt Faculty and College of Arts and Sciences faculty members were named winners of the 2003 Tina and David Bellet CAS Teaching Excellence Awards. Three other faculty will be honored as Bellet award finalists.

The annual teaching awards were established in 1998 with a $200,000 donation from the Bellet family to recognize outstanding and innovative teaching in undergraduate Arts and Sciences.

This year’s winners are: James Seitz, Department of English, and Peter E. Siska, Department of Chemistry.

The three finalists are: David Birnbaum, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Douglas Chew, Department of Biological Sciences, and Donald Egolf, Department of Communications.

Each award recipient will receive a cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 in support of his teaching. Finalists receive a $250 Pitt Book Center gift certificate.

• Seitz has been a member of the English department faculty since 1992. He serves as director of composition, chair of the University Writing Board and a member of the CAS Curriculum Implementation Committee.

A 2001 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching scholar, Seitz’s teaching responsibilities range from general education requirements for CAS students to senior-level electives for majors.

He has taught Basic and General Writing, as well as courses in special topics, such as Literature for Adolescents, Writing About London, Writing, Rhetoric, Performance and American Fiction, and courses in British Literature, such as The “Foreigner” in London.

• Chemistry’s Siska has served on the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Programs, the CAS Curriculum Review Committee, the Honors College Advisory Council and the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Instructional Excellence.

He has received several acknowledgments for excellence in teaching, including the Student Government Board Faculty Honor Roll Award, Golden Key National Honor Society Honorary Faculty Inductee and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. His teaching responsibilities include undergraduate courses in the areas of general and physical chemistry; his duties included supervising undergraduate research students. Siska has been a member of the Pitt faculty since 1971.

• Birnbaum joined the Pitt faculty in 1989 and is chair of Slavic languages and literatures. He is a 2000 recipient of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages Award for distinguished contributions to the profession.

He has served on the CAS Ad hoc Advisory Committee on Foreign Language Study and as supervisor of the Undergraduate Russian Language Program. He teaches undergraduate courses in the reading, morphology and syntax of the Russian language, as well as the popular course on Russian fairy tales.

• A Pitt faculty member since 1992, Chew was named to the 2000 Student Government Board Faculty Honor Roll and is a 1999 recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award for his work with local high school science teachers.

He also is responsible for the Summer High School Institute for DNA Technologies and the High School Biology Research Camp.

Chew teaches undergraduate lab courses in cell biology and biochemistry, as well as supervising undergraduates as part of the Undergraduates Teaching Undergraduates Program in the biological sciences department.

• Egolf is a 2001 recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. A Pitt faculty member since 1966, he has served on the communications department’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the University Classroom Technology Advisory Committee and the Information Technology Advisory Committee.

Egolf is a recognized expert on web-based instruction and the use of technology to enhance instruction, and is author of an undergraduate text on small-group learning.

He teaches undergraduate courses in interpersonal, small group, organizational and nonverbal communication.

The Bellet award recipients and finalists will be honored at a dinner April 5 in the Schenley Ballroom of the Holiday Inn University Center.

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