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

February 9, 2012

People of the Times

CooperRory Cooper, Distinguished Professor and FISA-Paralyzed Veterans of America Chair in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been selected to receive the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mentor Award.

The award, which will be presented to Cooper Feb. 17 during the AAAS annual meeting, honors individuals who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

During his time as a Pitt faculty member, Cooper has mentored nearly 100 undergraduate students, 69 master’s degree students, 37 PhD degree students and 17 postdoctoral fellows; half of these 200-plus students and fellows have come from underrepresented groups.

Cooper came to Pitt in 1994, founding the Human Engineering Research Laboratories. In 1999, the facility became the first, and remains the only, national VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in Pennsylvania.

AsherThe Pittsburgh Foundation announced that Sanford Asher, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded the fourth annual Charles E. Kaufman Award of $50,000 for his developments in chemistry of new materials and spectroscopic techniques for the study of molecules.

The award is presented to an honoree who demonstrates “substantial contributions to science for both the betterment and understanding of human life.” Kaufman, who died in 2010 at the age of 97, established the award in 2008 at The Pittsburgh Foundation “to promote a better and fairer world by supporting those that can make a difference with science.”

Asher pioneered the development of ultraviolet (UV) Raman spectroscopy and the development of photonic crystal technologies. Raman spectroscopy is a technique used to study vibrational modes in a system, and Asher played a major role in pioneering Raman instrumentation and extending its reach over a range of wavelengths, especially in the ultraviolet region.

He also pioneered the use of UV Raman spectroscopy for the study of protein folding, the process by which a protein structure assumes its functional shape or conformation. Protein misfolding is involved in many neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.

Asher currently is working with the Department of Homeland Security to develop a scanner that will detect explosive materials at a distance.

camillus-johnJohn C. Camillus, Donald R. Beall Professor of Strategic Management at the Katz Graduate School of Business, has been awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his post-graduate alma mater, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA). Camillus was a gold medalist in the post graduate program at IIMA.

A member of the Katz faculty since 1977, Camillus is an expert on strategic planning and management control. He has consulted for more than 80 organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, in the manufacturing, chemical and energy industries, as well as government agencies and a wide variety of not-for-profits.

His primary current research project is on the “Business of Humanity.” This project constitutes the basis for a new Katz MBA elective course: The Business of Humanity: Strategic Management in the Era of Globalization, Innovation and Shared Value.

Camillus is a trustee of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and executive vice chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. He has received both the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

derricoiteEnglish department faculty member and poet Toi Derricotte has been elected to the board of chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.

Derricotte is co-founder and director of Cave Canem, a forum for African-American poetry committed to the discovery and cultivation of new voices. She has published several books of poems, including “Tender,” winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize, and a memoir,“The Black Notebooks,” which received the Anisfield-Wolf Award and was a New York Times notable book of the year.

Derricotte also has won awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Pushcart Press and the Poetry Society of America.

At Pitt, she was awarded a 2009 Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award.

Academy of American Poets chancellors, who serve six-year terms, perform several functions. They advocate for the programmatic work of the academy; act as consultants to the organization on matters of artistic direction and programming; elect the recipients of some awards, and serve as ambassadors of poetry in the world at large.

bergerRachel Berger, a pediatrics faculty member in the School of Medicine; director of child abuse research at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, and a member of the child protection team at the Child Advocacy Center, Children’s Hospital, has been appointed to the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection.

The 11-member task force is a panel created by the General Assembly to review state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse.

Berger’s clinical research involves the development of the nation’s first blood test to help physicians screen infants who may be victims of abusive head trauma (AHT), the leading cause of death from child abuse and the most common cause of severe traumatic brain injury in infants. In 2009, Berger received a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a multi-center national study.

In 2011, Berger was the lead author on a multi-center study that  evaluated whether there was a relationship between the economy and the rate of AHT. The study demonstrated that in all three regions of the country that were studied the rate of AHT increased significantly during the 17 months of the recent economic recession compared with the 47 months before the recession.

CondeeNancy Condee, a faculty member in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and director of the Global Studies Center, received the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) ninth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures for her book “The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema.” The prize — awarded biennially for an outstanding scholarly work on the linguistics or literatures of the Slavic languages — was presented last month at the MLA’s annual convention.

MLA’s citation for “The Imperial Trace” reads: “The book is an insightful guide to six major post-Soviet filmmakers whose work it explores aesthetically as a function of cinematic style and cultural ideology and historically as an imaginative response to the decay and collapse of the Soviet Union and to the turbulent post-Soviet aftermath.”

Director of Pitt’s graduate program for cultural studies from 1995 to 2006, Condee is a specialist in contemporary Russian culture and cultural politics, Soviet cultural politics, late-Soviet and post-Soviet cinema, imperial and postcolonial theory and Soviet and post-Soviet popular culture. She also is a Pitt film studies program faculty member.

bowlerLeanne Bowler, a faculty member in the School of Information Sciences who leads the school’s library service for children and youth specialization, was recognized recently with the 2012 ALISE/Pratt-Severn Faculty Innovation Award from the Association of Library and Information Science Educators.

The award is designed to identify innovation by full-time faculty members in incorporating evolving information technologies in the curricula of accredited master of library and information science programs.

For her proposal, Bowler described several innovative teaching practices that she implemented in her class, Technology in the Lives of Children and Youth. These technology-based learning activities were designed to aid students investigating the use of new technologies; determining how libraries can use technology to enhance the traditional mission or promoting literacy, and evaluating how technology affects young people’s cognitive and social development.

The Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs announced the 2012 John G. Bowman faculty grants for study abroad. The recipients receive a $2,000 grant to conduct research abroad for a current or soon-to-be-offered class.

The 2012 grantees are: Christopher Drew Armstrong of architectural studies, who will conduct research in the Czech Republic and Slovenia; Joyce Bell of sociology, who will conduct research in the Dominican Republic; Neil Doshi of French and Italian, who will conduct research in France; Bernard Hagerty of history, who will conduct research in Greece, Latvia and Denmark; Hannah Johnson of English, who will conduct research in England; Paula Kane of religious studies, who will conduct research in Italy and France; John Lyne of communication, who will conduct research in Switzerland; Svitlana Maksymenko of economics, who will conduct research in Poland; Sabine von Dirke of German, who will conduct research in Germany, and Amy Williams of music, who will conduct research in Switzerland.

The faculty grants are named for Bowman, Pitt chancellor 1921-45, who was the driving force behind construction of the Cathedral of Learning.

Kathleen AllenKathleen Allen, a faculty member and director of the undergraduate program in the Department of Anthropology, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising.

The Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize, sponsored by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is given annually to a full-time faculty member who has served as a departmental adviser on the Pittsburgh campus for at least three years. The award carries a $4,000 cash prize.

Allen is an archaeologist whose interests focus on the development of tribal societies, regional settlement patterns and contact studies exploring the interface between anthropology, history, ethno-history and archaeology. She was honored for her nearly two decades of academic advising.

HainesKathryn Miller Haines, associate director of the Center for American Music, part of the University Library System, has been nominated for a 2012 Edgar Allan Poe Award for her book “The Girl Is Murder.” Author of several adult mystery books, Haines is one of five writers nominated in the Best Young Adult Mystery category, her first foray into the young adult genre.

The Edgar Awards will be presented April 26 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

Resnick,NeilNeil Resnick, chief of the School of Medicine’s Division of Geriatrics and chief of geriatric medicine at UPMC, and Janice L. Pringle, a faculty member in the School of Pharmacy, have been selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its inaugural group of innovation advisers.

Launched by CMS in October, the innovation advisers program was established to help health professionals deepen skills that would lead to improved patient care and lower costs. The inaugural class announced last month consists of 73 advisers from 27 states and the District of Columbia.


Participants will work with the CMS Innovation Center to test new models of care delivery in their own communities and create partnerships to find new ideas and share them across the United States.

Nearly 1,000 health professionals, including clinicians, health administrators and others, applied to the program. Those chosen will attend in-person and remote meetings to explore health care economics and finance, population health, systems analysis and operations research with a goal to drive delivery system reform, and to improve their own health systems so their communities will have better health and better care at a lower cost.

UPMC and the School of Pharmacy each will receive a stipend of up to $20,000 from the program to support Resnick and Pringle’s participation in the program. The program is funded through the Affordable Care Act.

Two Swanson School of Engineering civil and environmental engineering faculty members recently were honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Jorge_AbadJorge D. Abad was named a co-recipient of the 2011 Wesley W. Horner Award, which recognizes papers that have contributed to the areas of hydrology, urban drainage or sewerage.

Abad and University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign co-authors published “Modeling Framework for Organic Sediment Resuspension and Oxygen Demand: The Case of Bubbly Creek in Chicago” in the Journal of Environmental Engineering. The study modeled combined sewer overflow events and their impact on dissolved oxygen levels in the short-term (hours or days) in Bubbly Creek.

The award will be presented in May at the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dan_BudnyDaniel Budny, who also is academic director of the freshman engineering program at the Swanson school, was named the 2011 Professor of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Pittsburgh section.

Budny’s academic and professional interests are in the fields of basic fluid mechanics and in the development of programs that assist entering freshmen by providing counseling and cooperative learning environments for the standards set in their first- and second-semester engineering courses.

The award will be presented Feb. 18 at the ASCE Pittsburgh section awards banquet.

Two political science faculty members recently were honored.

Jon HurwitzJon Hurwitz and co-author Mark Peffley of the University of Kentucky shared the Robert E. Lane Book Award for the best book published in the field of political psychology for their book “Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites.” The award is granted by the American Political Science Association.

Hurwitz researches political behavior including topics such as public opinion; attitude formation and change, and political psychology. He has studied American public opinion on racial issues, with particular attention to racial stereotyping and how individuals’ stereotypes of other races affect their attitudes toward various policies such as crime control, welfare and affirmative action.

George KrauseGeorge Krause has been named the winner of the 2012 Herbert Simon Award given by the Midwest Public Administration Caucus.

The award is given annually to a mid-career political scientist for significant contributions to the scientific study of bureaucracy.

Krause’s core research interests are in the field of American politics, with subfield interests in public bureaucracy, executive politics, political organizations and political economy. His current research activities focus on understanding the causes and consequences of bureaucratic leadership in U.S. federal government agencies during the administrative presidency era.

McGivneyThe American Pharmacists Association (APhA) announced that Melissa Somma McGivney, a faculty member in pharmacy and therapeutics and director of the School of Pharmacy’s community pharmacy practice residency program, is the 2012 recipient of the Community Pharmacy Residency Excellence in Precepting Award.

McGivney was selected in recognition of her work to establish and grow the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/APhA community practice residency program and to promote and advocate for community pharmacy residency education and training.

Established in 2003, the APhA Community Pharmacy Residency Excellence in Precepting Award recognizes a community pharmacy residency director or preceptor who has demonstrated excellence in precepting, mentoring, leadership and community pharmacy residency program administration.

The award will be presented to McGivney next month at APhA’s annual meeting.

New head football coach Paul Chryst has added three more coaches to his staff: defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield, receivers coach Bobby Engram and secondary coach Matt House.

Last season, Breckterfield coached the defensive line at UCLA. He coached at Weber State in 2009 and Montana in 2010. Breckterfield was a third-team All-American defensive end at Oregon State when Chryst was the team’s offensive coordinator. Breckterfield played for five seasons in the Canadian Football League.

Engram, a former Penn State star wide receiver, last season served as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers following a 14-year playing career with three NFL teams.

House has spent the past four seasons in the NFL as a coaching assistant with the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers. He also coached at Buffalo University, 2006-07.

Chryst is expected to hire a running backs coach to reach the full complement of nine assistants.

Eddie Faulkner, hired by Chryst Jan. 12 as the running backs coach, left to coach tight ends at the University of Wisconsin, it was announced this week.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

We welcome submissions from all areas of the University. Send information via email to:, by fax at 412/624-4579 or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall.

For submission guidelines, visit

Leave a Reply