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

September 27, 2012

People of the Times

GaskewTony Gaskew, director of Pitt-Bradford’s criminal justice program, is this year’s winner of the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award.

His book, “The Muslim Brotherhood: Reshaping U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-911 World,” centers on his work in Egypt and Israel.

Gaskew has taught at Pitt-Bradford for five years. He designed UPB’s Crime Scene Investigation House.

John Bevan ’12, who nominated Gaskew, said: “He is very helpful and really gets to know his students on a personal level.”


The Office of Public Affairs has won four awards in this year’s local International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) competition.

Pitt winners in the electronic, digital and audiovisual communication/web sites category were:

• The Department of Biological Sciences web site, designed by University Marketing and Communications (UMC).

• The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences web site, designed by UMC.

• The Department of Theatre Arts web site, designed by UMC.

In the writing/speech or script category, Pitt won for:

• “The Intractable Career of James Crow III,” delivered by Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Robert Hill; written by Hill and Diane Hernon Chavis, assistant vice chancellor, executive communications.

Awards will be presented at a dinner tonight.


Pitt-Bradford has named a new associate dean as well as two program directors.

RobarStephen Robar, political science faculty member, has become the new associate dean of academic affairs. Previously, he was the chair of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences. He is the director of the environmental studies program and directs the “Perspectives on the Environment” seminar series and has served as both president and vice president of the Faculty Senate.

He holds a doctorate in political science and environmental policy from Northern Arizona University and was the recipient of the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award in 2010.

BrindaWayne Brinda, faculty member in education, is the new director of teacher education. Brinda will oversee both the elementary and secondary education programs.

Brinda’s teaching and research has focused on adolescent literacy, theatre and Holocaust education. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Prime Stage Theatre in Pittsburgh, which brings works of literature to the stage.

He joined the Pitt-Bradford faculty in 2008.

Brinda has a doctorate in educational leadership from Duquesne and recently earned a certificate for teaching English as a foreign language.

Schumann,BillyWilliam Schumann III, anthropology faculty member, has been named director of the freshman seminar, a required course that assists new students with the transition into a college lifestyle.

Schumann joined the UPB faculty in 2010. He has led students in a research project to gauge local opinions on turning the area into a “hot spot” for trail areas. His focused area of study is on the Appalachian and Welsh regions and their economic development.

He earned his doctorate in anthropology at the University of Florida.


Schuman, JA multicenter and multidisciplinary team that includes Joel S. Schuman, Eye & Ear Foundation Professor and chair, Department of Ophthalmology in Pitt’s School of Medicine, and director of the UPMC Eye Center, has been awarded the António Champalimaud Vision Award from the Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, for its invention and validation of a revolutionary imaging system that reveals vivid details of eye anatomy. The team will share a 1 million Euro prize that will help advance future research and development of the technology.

Champalimaud Foundation President Leonor Beleza said: “The António Champalimaud Vision Award was designed to support those who are contributing to the alleviation of eye diseases and changing science and technology. This year’s award recognizes pioneering work that represents a historical breakthrough. Their efforts are transforming eye care and medicine.”

The technology, called optical coherence tomography (OCT), quickly and noninvasively produces a 3-D map of the eye, particularly the retina. It currently is the most powerful tool available for early detection of diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. The team invented the technology 20 years ago, and OCT now is a standard part of eye care for patients throughout the world.

Schuman worked with engineers and ophthalmology researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California for more than two decades to develop and fulfill OCT’s clinical potential.

Schuman holds secondary appointments at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition jointly run by Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University, and in the Department of Bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering.

He also is interim director of the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration.

A University of Rochester research group also will share in the Vision Award for their application of adaptive optics for cell-scale imaging of the eye.


The Office of Public Affairs has made some staff reassignments.

•  Cara Masset, formerly senior editor of Pitt Magazine, has been named director of News and executive editor of the Pitt Chronicle.

Audrey Marks, senior news representative, is assistant editor of the Pitt Chronicle.

Jolie Williamson, communications manager, is now associate director of publications.

John Ruggieri, production supervisor of printing, now is production/supply manager.

John Schnupp, formerly customer service representative, is the new shipping/supply manager.


bleeKathleen Blee, faculty member in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences sociology department, has won the 2012 Virginia Hodgkinson Research Prize for her book, “Democracy in the Making: How Activist Groups Form.”

The annual prize is awarded by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) to the best book on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector that informs policy and practice. The prize recognizes the pioneering role of Virginia Hodgkinson in research on philanthropy and nonprofit organizations.

The ARNOVA book awards committee said Blee’s book “presents an empirically grounded, theoretically interesting and innovative analysis of fledgling activists groups. The book lays out a strong rationale and clear methodology for the research it presents.”

The committee felt the book “makes important contributions to the literature on grassroots activism and democracy.”

The Hodgkinson prize carries a $1,000 cash award.


davisPaula K. Davis, assistant vice chancellor for Health Sciences diversity, has been named a Dignity and Respect Champion of Pittsburgh.

Davis’s job includes working with diversity recruitment of health professionals and overseeing cultural competency initiatives.

She also leads anti-bullying classes for Pitt staff and faculty and volunteers with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh.

The mission of the Dignity and Respect campaign is to “unify under a shared belief that everyone deserves dignity and respect by encouraging behavioral change in individuals, communities, schools and organizations.”

The campaign originated in 2008 with UPMC’s Center for Inclusion, which introduced a dignity and respect initiative to UPMC employees. The campaign spread to the city and eventually to more than 100 organizations, schools and communities nationwide.

According to co-workers Mario C. Browne and Quinten Brown, who nominated Davis for the Pittsburgh award, “She champions inclusion through multiculturalism and a respect of all people regardless of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation,” they said in their nomination.

“Whether it is through teaching cultural competence to faculty and students or anti-bullying professional development classes, or volunteering in public schools, she ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to personifying the principles of the campaign.”


BanerjeeIpsita Banerjee, a faculty member in chemical and petroleum engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, was among 72 of the nation’s most innovative, young engineering educators selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s fourth Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium next month.

Faculty members who are developing and implementing innovative educational approaches in a variety of engineering disciplines will come together to share ideas, learn from research and best practice in education, and bring about improvement in their home institution.

The attendees were nominated by fellow engineers or deans and chosen from a competitive pool of applicants.

Larry Shuman, senior associate dean for academic affairs and Distinguished Service Professor of industrial engineering at the Swanson school, is chair of the FOEE planning committee.


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