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August 29, 2013

What’s New at Pitt: People

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The hustle and bustle that marks the beginning of the academic year has returned: The proliferation of laundry carts and upperclass student volunteers pointing the way to newcomers and their families during Arrival Survival.

But for many at Pitt, the hazy days of summer have been anything but lazy: Facilities were renovated; faculty and staff came and went; academic programs were established.

The University Times asked deans and other unit heads “What’s New at Pitt?” The summaries that follow are overviews of school news based on material submitted by the units. Information previously published in the University Times was not included here.

The listings were coordinated by Kimberly K. Barlow and Marty Levine.


hollandArts and sciences

Wesley Hiers will join the sociology department as a post-doctoral fellow.

Amanda Forest, Melissa Libertus, Benjamin Rottman and Aidan Wright have joined the psychology department as assistant professors.

Forest, whose PhD is from the University of Waterloo, has research interests in close relationships; emotional expressivity and self-disclosure; self-esteem; embodied cognition; mood contagion, and interpersonal communication.

Libertus was a postdoctoral fellow at  Johns Hopkins. She earned her PhD in psychology and neuroscience at Duke.  Her research focuses on the neural and behavioral basis of numerical cognition; development of quantitative understanding; developmental cognitive neuroscience; individual difference in math achievement; relationship between working memory, attention and mathematical abilities; and the temporal dynamics of attentional processing.

Rottman’s research interests include causal learning, reasoning and judgment and medical diagnosis and decision-making.

Wright’s PhD is from Penn State.

Faculty hired in the Department of Political Science include assistant professors Sharece Thrower and Victoria Shineman.

Thrower completed her PhD in political science at Princeton.

Her research focuses on how presidents strategically employ executive orders and agency rulemaking as substitutes for policymaking. She is working on projects examining the president’s strategic use of proclamations and memoranda.

Shineman completed her PhD in politics at New York University in 2013 and was a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton during the 2012-13 academic year.

Her current research compares the effects of various stimuli that motivate political participation. She studies the effects of different mobilization strategies on the frequency of participation itself and the second-order effects that result from engaging in participation.

Hao Xu joins the mathematics department this fall as a professor. Xu comes to the University from Harvard.

He holds a PhD in mathematics from Zhejiang University. Xu’s research concentrates on complex geometry, algebraic geometry and graph theory.

Also new to the mathematics faculty is lecturer Alexander Borisov, whose PhD is from Penn State.

car familyTwo tenure-stream assistant professors have joined the Department of History of Art and Architecture. Jennifer Josten, who received her PhD from Yale, works in the modern/contemporary period in Latin America. Shirin Fozi, who earned her PhD at Harvard, is a student of 11th- and 12th-century mortuary sculpture and ritual in Germany and France.

Christopher Nygran, whose PhD is from Johns Hopkins, also has been hired as an assistant professor but will be on leave in academic year 2014.

Daniel Balderston, Mellon Professor of Modern Languages, is beginning a term as chair of the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures. He taught graduate courses as a visiting professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata this summer.

Tania Pérez Cano, who holds a PhD from Iowa, joins the department as visiting lecturer in Spanish. She recently defended a dissertation on representations of ecological crisis in poetry, film and comics from Latin America and Spain.

Nausica Marcos Miguel, whose PhD is from Pitt, joins the department as a visiting lecturer/language coordinator.

Two visiting lecturers have joined the faculty of the German department for academic year 2014. Stefan Bronner, whose PhD is from the University of Bamberg, and Erin Kelly, whose PhD is from the University of California-Irvine, will be teaching courses in the beginning and intermediate language sequence as well as courses on Germany today and on Kafka.

Lina Insana, associate professor of Italian, begins a term as chair of the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures.

John Walsh is a new assistant professor of French. Walsh, whose PhD is from Harvard, comes from the College of Charleston. He is a scholar of Francophone Caribbean and African literature, Haitian culture and history and postcolonial theory.

Natalie Cleaver, whose PhD is from Berkeley, will be a postdoctoral associate in Italian this academic year. Her work focuses on the relationship between medieval and early modern culture, including changing practices of reading and interpretation.

Todd Reeser, professor of French, begins a term as director of the University’s women’s studies program.

Aide Esu of the University of Cagliary, Italy, will be an Italian Fulbright Distinguished Scholar here in the spring term. Esu will teach a course on democracy in Italy during her time at Pitt.

Two lecturers have joined the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

Mi-Hyun Kim, previously a visiting lecturer, will continue to teach Korean language and linguistics courses and serve as the program coordinator in the department. Her PhD is from Hawaii, and she has taught there and at Harvard.

Stephen Luft, whose PhD is from Ohio State, will fill a newly created position that includes teaching Japanese language courses and advising department majors.

Christina Hoenig of Cambridge University joins the Department of Classics as an assistant professor in the tenure track. Her research focuses on the Roman and Greek philosophical writers from the 1st century BC to Late Antiquity.

John Newell, whose PhD is from Pitt, will be a visiting lecturer in classics this year. He will be teaching Greek tragedy, Greek prose and classical myth and literature, among others, and will facilitate the Archaeological Institute of America’s Pittsburgh chapter that works with the department.

Among new assistant professors in the Department of Communication are David Marshall and E. Johanna Hartelius.

Marshall, a historian of rhetoric, comes from Bielefeld University in Germany, where he was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. Originally from New Zealand, Marshall received his PhD in history from Johns Hopkins.

Hartelius taught at Northern Illinois University and pursues a research program that retrieves concepts from the rhetorical tradition to inform analysis of expertise in public culture. She holds a PhD in communication from the University of Texas.

headscarvesPaul Johnson joins communication as a lecturer and associate director of debate. He holds a BS in political science from Pitt and an MA in communication studies from Iowa, where he currently is completing his doctoral dissertation.

Michelle Granshaw joins the Department of Theatre Arts as an assistant professor. Granshaw received her PhD in theatre history, theory and criticism from the University of Washington. Her research interests include American theatre and popular entertainment, diaspora and global performance histories, performance and the working class and historiography.

Stacey Cabaj joins the department as a full-time lecturer on performance. She holds an MFA in theatre pedagogy, with an emphasis on voice and speech, from Virginia Commonwealth University. At VCU, she taught voice and speech, creative processes and contemplative practices and public speaking. She will be voice coach for “In the Heights,” produced by the University of Pittsburgh Stages.

Terrell Hardcastle is the department’s newest teaching artist. He is an award-winning stage performer and voice-over artist. His awards include three Carbonells with nine nominations.

Gianni Downs joins the faculty as a lecturer, focusing on scenic design. Downs has worked with a number of professional theatre companies, including The Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, The City Theatre, Prime Stage Theatre, The Stoneham Theatre, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, Off The Wall Productions and the Point Park Playhouse REP, among others. Downs is the recipient of a Kevin Kline Award in Excellence in Scenic Design.

Kenra Rai joins the department for the spring semester as a visiting lecturer and costume designer. Rai earned an MFA in costume design from Penn State and is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. She received the 2012 Helen Hayes award for Outstanding Costume Design. In addition to designing, she has worked as an adjunct professor at Gallaudet University, a draper at Washington National Opera and a costume shop manager at Taproot Theatre.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy welcomes two new faculty members. David Nero will join the department in September as an instructor. He comes from the University of Toledo where he received his PhD in physics.

David Pekker will join the department in January. Pekker received his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech.

Alexander Deiters joins the Department of Chemistry faculty as a full professor. Deiters and his research group come from North Carolina State. Deiters received his doctoral degree from the University of Münster, Germany, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas-Austin and at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.  His research interests are synthetic chemistry, synthetic biology and chemical biology, and range from methodology development for natural product synthesis and the discovery of new therapeutic agents to protein and nucleic acid engineering.

Kabirul Islam comes to chemistry as an assistant professor. He completed his doctoral studies at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He has held postdoctoral positions at Rockefeller University and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Islam’s research will combine his expertise in organic synthesis, mechanistic biochemistry and proteomics to study the role of epigenetic mechanisms in human health and disease.

The department also welcomes Hannah Morris, Tamika Madison and Gregg Huston as undergraduate teaching faculty. Morris, whose PhD in chemistry is from Pitt, will join the department as a lecturer. Madison, who also completed her PhD studies at Pitt, will be a laboratory instructor. Huston, who holds an MS from West Virginia University, also will be a laboratory instructor.

New staff in chemistry include graduate administrator Christie Hay; payroll/personnel administrator Patty Freker, and machinists Shawn Artman and Josh Byler, both of whom work in the consolidated Dietrich school machine shop.

Tymofiy Mylovanov joins the Department of Economics as an assistant professor. He most recently was a visiting faculty member at Penn. Mylovanov earned his PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  His research focuses on mechanism design and other economic theories of asymmetric information.

Other new faculty in economics include assistant professor Federio Zincenko, whose PhD is from UCLA, and associate professor Mehmet Ekmekci, whose PhD is from Princeton.

bookstoreGeri Allen joins the Department of Music as an associate professor from the University of Michigan. She completed her MA in ethnomusicology at Pitt.

Allen is a jazz pianist and composer, a performance teacher and a scholar of jazz history. She has performed many genres of jazz; as a scholar, she is especially recognized for her reflections and analysis of the life and music of pianist Mary Lou Williams.

Also new in music is lecturer Neil Newton, whose PhD is from the University of Auckland.

The English department has hired five new tenured/tenure-stream faculty members.

Terrance Hayes, professor in poetry in the African-American style, comes to Pitt from CMU. Hayes, a National Book Award winner, earned a master’s degree in fine arts at Pitt.

Three new assistant professors are from Columbia University. Tyler Bickford, 20th-century children’s literature and childhood studies; and Autumn Womack and Imani Owens, both African-American literature and culture.

Owens will be a post doc at Princeton this year, coming to Pitt in 2014-15.

Also coming in 2014-15 will be Yona Harvey, assistant professor in poetry in the African-American style. Harvey, a CMU faculty member, is spending the upcoming academic year working on a book project. Her MFA is from Ohio State.

Non-tenure stream faculty joining the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences this fall include the following lecturers:

•  Ellen Kelsey in biological sciences. Her PhD is from the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

•  Paul Elliot Johnson in communication. His MA is from the University of Iowa.

Thumrongsak Kosiyatrakul in computer science. His PhD is from Syracuse.

•  Alison Patterson in English. Her PhD is from Pitt.

Randy Scott Smith in history. His PhD is from Pitt.

Jonathan Smart in linguistics. His PhD is from Northern Arizona.

Also, Carl Kurlander has been named senior lecturer in English. His PhD is from Duke University/University of Bath, England.

New assistant instructors in linguistics are Chris Ortiz, whose master’s degree is from Wheaton College Graduate School; Ece Ulus, whose MA is from Pitt, and Rasha Al-Hashimi, whose MEd is from Carlow.

New tenure/tenure-stream faculty in the Dietrich school include Rob Ruck, who has become a full professor in history. His PhD is from Yale.

Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education

CIDDE has added staff members Joseph Horne as director of instructional services, Lauren Herckis as coordinator of teaching assistant services and Erin Kleinman as a teaching and learning consultant in CIDDE’s instructional design group.

trafficDental medicine

Faculty member John J. Baker will retire at the end of 2013. Part-time dental medicine faculty member Joshua Marvit assumes a full-time faculty position in Baker’s stead.

Richard Bauer has joined oral and maxillofacial surgery as an assistant professor, replacing Sarah Davies, who resigned her full-time position in December to teach part-time.

Paul Moore has resigned as chair of the dental anesthesiology department; Joseph Giovannitti will be interim chair.

Bernard J. Costello, director of the residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery and director of the fellowship in pediatric and craniofacial surgery at Children’s Hospital, will assume the role of director of translational research.

Mary Marazita, chair of oral biology, is stepping down as associate dean for research.

Kelly Williams, assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics/Preventive Dentistry, has agreed to serve as associate program director for the residency in periodontics.

Other full-time faculty beginning service at the school are Petr Pancoska and Pingan Fang, research associate professors in oral biology; Matilda Dhima, visiting associate professor, and Nicholas Mangini in prosthodontics.


Suzanne Lane has been appointed chair of the Department of Psychology in Education. Lane, who earned her doctorate at the University of Arizona, joined the Pitt faculty 27 years ago.

Her research focus is on technical and validity issues related to large-scale assessments.

Richard Correnti has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Policy. Correnti has been an assistant professor and research scientist in LRDC for six years.

Correnti’s research aims to inform policy debates regarding approaches to improving teaching at-scale, with primary emphasis on schools serving at-risk populations.

Kevin Crowley has been promoted to professor in learning sciences and policy. Crowley’s research interests include the role of informal learning settings in facilitating children’s early engagement with science, art and technology; museums as learning environments, and the ways to design connected systems of experiences that support lifelong learning in science, technology and the arts.

Crowley splits his time between the School of Education and LRDC, where he is director of the Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments. This term, Crowley will be a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo.

New faculty in the School of Education are:

• H. Richard Milner IV, the Helen Faison Chair in Urban Education, professor of education and director of Pitt’s Center for Urban Education. Milner was the Lois Autrey Betts Associate Professor of Education and Human Development, associate professor of education and founding director of the learning, diversity and urban studies program at Vanderbilt.

Milner’s research, teaching and policy interests include urban education, teacher education, African-American literature, English education and the sociology of education.

He has authored five books including “Start Where You Are But Don’t Stay There: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today’s Classrooms.”

Milner earned his PhD in educational policy and leadership from Ohio State.

• Michael Lovorn, assistant professor in social studies. He earned a PhD in social studies education at the University of Tennessee.

Lovorn spent more than a decade in public middle- and high-school classrooms and nearly the same amount of time in university-level teacher development programs. His research is focused on best instructional practices in social studies, teaching and learning culture and social studies around the world and humor in the classroom.

His recent work has involved engaging high school students in activities that develop their historical thinking and historiographical analysis skills.

• Rachel E. Robertson, assistant professor in special education. Robertson graduated from Vanderbilt with a PhD in special education and behavior disorders. Her doctoral experience included a research fellowship at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center where she provided training and consultation in class-wide behavior interventions.

Robertson had a postdoctoral fellowship at the Watson Institute in Sewickley.

She was a certified behavior analyst for Allegheny County and an assistant professor in special education at Duquesne University. Her current research focuses on parent- and teacher-implemented behavioral interventions for children with autism.

• Ashley N. Woodson, assistant professor in social studies in the Department of Instruction and Learning.

Woodson is a graduate of Michigan State with a PhD in curriculum instruction and teacher education with focal areas in history and social studies education; race, culture and equity in education, and critical studies.

Woodson’s research interests and professional interests include critical race pedagogy, urban teacher preparation, student empowerment and teaching about the African diaspora.

• Amber Jean-Marie Pabon, who has joined the Department of Instruction and Learning as an assistant professor in English education. Pabon graduated from the City University of New York with a PhD in urban education and a certificate in Africana studies. Her doctoral experience included an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship and a MAGNET Dissertation Fellowship for her research on the educational life histories and pedagogical practices of African-American male teachers in urban schools.

Her areas of research interest include literacy practices of adolescents in urban communities; critical literacy curriculum development and urban English teacher preparation, philosophy and pedagogy.


Sanjeev Shroff, Distinguished Professor and Gerald E. McGinnis Chair of Bioengineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, has been named chair of the Department of Bioengineering.

He will succeed Harvey S. Borovetz.

Shroff received his PhD in bioengineering from Penn. He joined the Swanson school in 2000. He was appointed professor of medicine in the School of Medicine and senior investigator in the Magee-Women’s Research Institute in 2001, core faculty member in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2002 and associate chair of bioengineering in 2008.

Yadong Wang has been promoted to professor of bioengineering.

Anne M. Robertson has been promoted to professor of mechanical engineering.

Visiting assistant professor Kilichan Gurleyik and research assistant professor Justin Weinbaum have joined the faculty in the Department of Bioengineering.

Gurleyik has a diverse background in electrical and electronics engineering, biomedical engineering and imaging science both in academic and industrial arenas. Gurleyik completed his graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He will be education director of the department’s Center for Medical Innovation.

Weinbaum earned his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis and, funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, he classified the elastic fiber component MAGP-1 as a new member of the matricellular protein family.

Weinbaum aims to understand how the native extracellular matrix directs cellular behavior and to develop new treatments for degenerative disease.

Joining the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering are assistant professors John Keith and Giannis Mpourmpakis.

Keith, who also is an R.K. Mellon Faculty Fellow, did graduate research using first principles quantum chemistry to model solution phase organometallic catalysis at the California Institute of Technology, where he received his PhD in chemistry.

Subsequently, he was an Alexander von Humbolt postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ulm, Germany.

Prior to joining the Swanson school, Keith was an associate research scholar at Princeton where he mentored graduate students, was a lecturer and did research within a collaborative AFOSR-MURI program to better understand rhenium catalyzed Co2 reduction to CO and pyridinium catalyzed Co2 reduction to methanol.

Mpourmpakis earned his PhD in theoretical and computational chemistry from the University of Crete, Greece. Prior to joining the Swanson school, Mpourmpakis was a senior researcher at the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation at the University of Delaware.

Joining the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are assistant professors Kyle Bibby, Andrew Bunger and Na Wei.

Bibby earned his PhD at Yale. His research interests center around understanding the presence, ecology and diversity of microorganisms, such as viruses and bacteria, in an environmental engineering context.

Bunger earned a PhD in geological engineering from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining Pitt, he served as research group leader, research project leader and research scientist at Australia’s largest science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. His research has focused on using experimental, analytical, and numerical methods to understand the basic mechanisms that determine how hydraulic fractures grow through rocks.

Bunger has a secondary appointment in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

Wei earned her PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Prior to joining the Swanson school, Wei was a postdoctoral research associate at UIUC’s Institute for Genomic Biology and its Energy Bioscience Institute, where her research included metabolic engineering for renewable biofuel/value-added chemical production. Wei is interested in understanding and manipulating microorganisms and their communities to harness microbial power in applications of environmental engineering.

New in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is assistant professor Irvin R. Jones Jr., who is the electrical engineering undergraduate program coordinator.

Jones received his PhD in computer engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has been involved in undergraduate educational program development at the U.S. Air Force Academy and in undergraduate and graduate program development at the University of Denver. His recent research has been in power systems and in systems engineering tools and also in intelligent systems, autonomous navigation and control.

He also has had industrial engineering experience at Hewlett-Packard, Bell Communications Research and Sony Technology Center.

New in the Department of Industrial Engineering is associate professor Joel M. Haight, who earned a PhD in industrial and system engineering at Auburn. He most recently was chief of the human factors branch at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s Pittsburgh Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, where he managed 35-40 researchers in the areas of ergonomics, cognitive engineering human behavior and training. Haight also served as a faculty member in energy and mineral engineering at Penn State and was a manager and engineer at Chevron Corp.

Joining the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science are assistant professors Markus Chmielus and David Schmidt.

Chmielus earned a degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Stuttgart in Germany then worked on magnetic shape memory alloys (MSMAs) in single and polycrystalline form, as bulk, wire, thin film and foam at Boise State. At the Helmholtz Center Berlin for Materials and Energy (HZB) in Germany he analyzed the microstructure based on their composition and shape and other properties of MSMAs while working on his PhD in a collaboration among the HZB, the Technical University of Berlin and Boise State.

As a postdoctoral associate at Cornell, he led the ultra-high vacuum lab and produced, processed and characterized metal and piezoelectric thin films, their microstructure and phase or texture transformation and other properties.

Schmidt received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University. Before his doctoral studies, Schmidt held several positions in the aerospace, defense and manufacturing industries. His early career concentrated on simulation technologies at ANSYS.

Schmidt’s primary interest has focused on the integration of engineering design, manufacturing and computational methods. His recent research experience has been in the areas of middle-ear gas exchange mechanisms, multi-scale tissue biomechanics, robotic-assisted surgery and trachea stenting devices based on an emerging class of biodegradable magnesium alloys.

Health and rehabilitation sciences

New faculty in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences include instructors James Bakey, Krystal Eaton, Andrew Simpson and MaDonna High, and assistant professors Jeffrey Parr, Meleesa Wohleber and Amit Sethi.

New staff members are Samantha Jakiel, Chazz Williams, William Anderton, Debra Utterback, Brandon Vernon, Katie Frushour and Laura Waterstram.

Housing, Food Service and Panther Central

Matt Walaan is the new business and personnel manager.

dogHumanities Center

External fellows at the University’s Humanities Center are:

• Senior fellow Wlad Godzich, distinguished professor in the Department of Literature at the University of California-Santa Cruz, who will be in residence during the fall term.

• Early-career fellow Vaughn Rasberry, assistant professor in English at Stanford, who will be in residence during the 2013-14 academic year. His project is “Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in the African-American Literary Imagination.”

Internal fellows in the fall term are:

Thora Brylowe of English, whose project is “The Sister Arts as Cultural Practice: 1760-1820.”

Mazviita Chirimuuta of history and philosophy of science, whose project is “Outside Color: Perceptual Science and the Revision of Color Ontology.”

Joshua Lund of Hispanic languages and literatures. His project is “Eccentrics, Ecstatics and the Political Unconscious: The Other Prose of Travel in 19th-Century Latin America.”

Internal fellows in the spring term will be:

Neil Doshi of French and Italian languages and literatures. His project is “Staging the Novel: Performance Cultures and Contemporary Francophone Algerian Fiction.”

Vincent Leung of history. His project is “The Politics of the Past in Early China.”

Ryan McDermott of English. His project is “The Drama of Vernacular Theology: From York to Bale to Shakespeare and Marlowe.”

Information sciences

In September, assistant professor Brian Beaton will become the director of the Sara Fine Institute.

The institute promotes multidisciplinary studies of users of online information, digital information production and use, and the impact of information technology on scholarly communications.

Beaton joined the faculty in 2012 and has built research and education programs around science and technology studies, the role of information in society and web-based citizen science.

Dmitriy Babichenko, Yu-Ru Lin and Balaji Palanisamy are new faculty members.

Babichenko, professor of practice, will teach courses on object-oriented programming, systems analysis and system design in the undergraduate program and will supervise the internship program. Babichenko brings corporate IT experience from Litigation Solutions, Alcoa, Mediasite, US Information Systems and Logicon Syscon.

Lin and Palanisamy, both assistant professors, will offer courses in the undergraduate and graduate information science and technology programs.

Lin was a postdoctoral research fellow at the College of Computer and Information Sciences at Northeastern University and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University.

She received her PhD in computer science with a concentration in arts, media and engineering from Arizona State.

Her research interests include human and social dynamics and computational approaches to mining and visualizing large-scale, time-varying, heterogeneous, multi-relational and semi-structured data.

Palanisamy earned his PhD in computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on developing new systems, techniques and models to address the emerging challenges of performance, cost-efficiency and privacy in distributed and cloud computing systems.

volunteer carInstitutional Advancement

Chris Bell joined the office as senior executive director for central giving and communications in July.  He will manage annual giving programs and the communications and marketing department.

Bell returns to the University’s development office after having served as chief development consultant to Global Links, vice president of external relations at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and as the associate vice president for development at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. He also has held development positions at Point Park University and Saint Vincent College.


Professors William Luneburg and Stella Smetanka were granted emeritus status in July.

Smetanka, founder of Pitt’s Health Law Clinic, has a long history of public service and legal teaching. She is a 2004 recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award and a member of the board of directors of Neighborhood Legal Services Association.

Luneburg has taught here since 1978. He became known for his research in environmental law, litigating environmental cases on behalf of local and regional environmental organizations. In 1997 he joined the EPA’s subcommittee for ozone, particulate matter and regional haze implementation programs (part of the EPA’s Clean Air Act advisory committee), which prepared the groundwork for implementation of tighter national ozone and particulate matter standards.

Social innovation and entertainment law expert Stephanie Dangel is the executive director of the Innovation Practice Institute, effective July 1. Dangel comes to IPI from the Steeltown Entertainment Project, a social enterprise dedicated to building a sustainable entertainment industry in the Pittsburgh region, where she was president of the board of directors and director of business and legal affairs.

A Rhodes scholar, Dangel earned a degree in modern history from Oxford and her law degree from Yale.

She interned at what is now K&L Gates and completed clerkships with U.S. District Court Judge Pierre N. Leval and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun before returning to Pittsburgh, where she spent six years at K&L Gates as a practicing attorney.

Law faculty member Haider Ala Hamoudi was appointed associate dean for research and faculty development in July, succeeding David Harris.

Learning Research and Development Center

Research scientists Melissa Libertus and Benjamin Rottman, both assistant professors in the Department of Psychology, are new faculty in LRDC.


Mark J. Shlomchik has been named chair of the Department of Immunology in the School of Medicine. He succeeds Olivera J. Finn, founding chair of immunology, who is continuing her research into peptide vaccines against pancreatic and colon cancers here.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research at Children’s Hospital has named medicine faculty members Stephen Maricich and Timothy Sanders as the first physician-scientists in its Mellon Scholars Program, which enables promising individuals in the early stages of their careers to pursue potential breakthrough research projects in biomedicine.

Peter L. Strick has been appointed chair of the Department of Neurobiology, succeeding Susan Amara, who took leave from the University earlier this year to become scientific director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

New faculty in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery include full-time assistant professors Kelley A. Anderson and Melissa L. McLane in the Division of Primary Care Sports Medicine and full-time assistant professor Albert Lin and clinical assistant professor Stephen J. Rabuck in the Division of Sports Medicine.

Erin Janna Whitaker Reynolds is a new instructor in the department’s sports medicine/concussion division and Jeffrey M. Manway was hired as a clinical instructor in the foot and ankle surgery division.

Nationality Rooms Programs

Maryann Sivak is the new assistant to the director. She was member of the Czechoslovak Room committee and has served on the Ruth Crawford Mitchell Scholarship selection committee for many years.

Sivak is fluent in Czech, Slovak and Russian and conversant in Polish and Ukrainian. She holds a BS in business from the State University of New York and has extensive experience with nonprofits.

Kyle Bishop is the administrative assistant at the front desk. Bishop, who worked for WPTS as a sports commentator while a student at Pitt, where earned his degree in creative writing.


The School of Nursing faculty has added new assistant professors: Salah S. Al-Zaiti, Manjulata Evatt, Judith Tate and Jane Guttendorf in acute and tertiary care; Mary Jo Cerepani, Shareen Milligan, Susan Wesmiller and Timothy Coleman in health promotion and development, and Ja Hyun Kang in health and community systems.

Public health

Three new faculty members have joined the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences: Christina Mair, an assistant professor; Tiffany Gary-Webb, an associate professor and associate director of the Center for Health Equity, and Supriya Kumar, a visiting research assistant professor, most recently in the Public Health Dynamics Lab.


Jeanne Garver has been named director.

She and her team are responsible for the annual $1.1 billion in wages and benefits for Pitt, related entities and the University of Pittsburgh Physicians Common Paymaster. Payments are issued to approximately 25,000 faculty, staff, student employees and temporaries each year.

Garver has been payroll operations manager at Pitt since 2005. Prior to joining the University, Garver was payroll manager and benefits analyst at Michael Baker Corp. She spent the early part of her payroll career at ADP as a major accounts manager and a client services supervisor.

Garver has a BS in business administration (accounting) from Indiana University, and is a certified payroll professional.


The School of Pharmacy has added faculty in several departments. Xiaochou Ma joins pharmaceutical sciences as an associate professor, while Olufunmilola Odukoya is a new assistant professor in pharmacy and therapeutics, and Larry Kobulinski is a new instructional development specialist.

Shannon L. Young is the new executive assistant to the dean.


Tracee Howell joined the Office of the President this summer as executive associate to campus president Livingston Alexander. Howell previously taught American literature and composition and was a consultant in the UPB Writing Center. Prior to her faculty appointment, Howell was assistant to the president for communications at the University of Buffalo.

Jessica Taylor was promoted to fill the position of director of housing. She joined Pitt-Bradford in 2011 as a residence life coordinator.

Lu Chen and Jun Liu will be Confucius Institute scholars at Pitt-Bradford this year. They will teach Chinese language and culture to Pitt-Bradford students and present seminars and noncredit courses to the community.

Shailendra Gajanan was promoted to professor of economics and will chair UPB’s Division of Management and Education.

New full-time faculty members at UPB are assistant professors Patricia L. Brougham of criminal justice; John J. Crawford of business management; Helma de Vries-Jordan of political science, Anna K. Lemnitzer of art, Denise A. Piechnik of biology and James M. Salvo of speech communication.

Also new are Shelly R. Klinek, visiting assistant professor of health and physical education; John S. Liberatore, visiting instructor of music; Mark H. Morrison, visiting instructor and interim director of the Mathematics Center, and Orin A. James, instructor of biology.

Andy Spring has been named head coach for the Pitt-Bradford women’s bowling team’s inaugural season, which begins this fall.

In nine years as varsity boys’ and girls’ bowling coach at Allegany-Limestone Central School in Allegany, N.Y., Spring has led the teams to a combined 15 Cattaraugus County League championships.

Spring’s own bowling honors include two 300 games.


Christina Guzik joined the Office of University Relations and Institutional Advancement as its secretary.

Kathleen Fennell transferred from the Pittsburgh campus to manage the UPG bookstore.

Paula Torcaso has joined UPG’s athletic department as an assistant softball coach.

Mary Anne Koleny is now director of the UPG Office of Human Resources.


Joining the UPJ faculty this fall are assistant professors Laura Auginbaugh of nursing; Ryan Bird, Ryan Coppage and Marsha Grimminger of chemistry; Jeremiah Coldsmith of sociology; Christopher Coughenour of energy and earth resources; Cristina DeDiana of business/accounting; Jeremy Justus of English literature; Maher Murad of engineering technology; Stephanie Stilling of psychology, and Travis Stouffer of business/MIS.

Also new to the UPJ faculty are nursing instructors Elizabeth Katrancha and Diana Schroeder and laboratory instructor of biology Marissa Brainard.

Pitt-Johnstown has named former West Liberty University assistant coach Mike Drahos its head women’s basketball coach.

Drahos began his coaching career at his alma mater, Bethany College, as an assistant in the men’s basketball program.

A two-time PAC Player of the Year and three-time First Team all-conference selection at Bethany, Drahos was named to six All-Region teams over the course of his career and was a two-time NCAA Division III Honorable Mention All-American.

He holds a master’s degree in legal studies from West Virginia University.

Sabrina Lane has been named head coach of Pitt-Johnstown’s first women’s softball team.

Formerly head coach at St. Francis University and Saginaw Valley State University, Lane most recently was director of softball at ERA Sports. There she expanded softball program offerings in Johnstown and Altoona and founded ERA’s first softball team, the Flood City Elite.

She earned a master’s degree in communication studies at Edinboro, where she began her coaching career as a graduate assistant coach. She then was an assistant coach for the Danish national team.

As head coach at St. Francis, Lane was named Northeast Conference Coach of the Year in 2008. Following the 2008 season, she was an assistant coach for the professional softball Philadelphia Force in Allentown.

Assisting Lane will be Amber Maurer, a four-year letter-winner in softball and two-year letter-winner in basketball at Greater Johnstown High School, who plans to major in nursing at UPJ.


Parris Carter, former director of campus activities and village adviser at Pitt-Greensburg, has been appointed executive director of student affairs at UPT.

Carter earned a master of education degree from Wright State University.

He most recently worked at Wilberforce University in Ohio, where he served in a number of capacities, the last being dean of students.

At Pitt-Titusville, Carter will oversee student affairs, student activities, residence life, counseling and health services and intramural and recreational activities.

Kristi L. Peters has been named visiting assistant professor of chemistry at UPT.  Peters earned her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Mary Jane Daugherty and Patricia McClain have joined the Pitt-Titusville faculty as full-time nursing instructors.

Daugherty will teach mental health nursing, adult medical-surgical nursing and fundamentals of nursing. She earned her MSN at Carlow and has acute-care experience in adult medical-surgical nursing and psychiatric nursing.

She has been a staff nurse, head nurse, nurse manager and patient advocate at UPMC Northwest.

McClain will teach family mental health nursing, adult medical-surgical nursing and the critical care/community course. She also earned her MSN at Carlow.

She has been a critical care nurse at UPMC Northwest and a licensed practical nursing instructor for the Warren branch of the Venango Technology Center.

Stephen Allen has been named head coach of Pitt-Titusville’s men’s basketball program. He was head coach of the Medaille College men’s junior varsity basketball team and head coach for the Buffalo (N.Y.) Storm AAU Basketball Club.

Allen earned a master’s in education degree with a focus on special education from Medaille.

carts & volunteersPublic and international affairs

Martin Staniland, professor of international affairs and director of the international affairs program, has been named an associate dean. He earlier served as interim dean and interim associate dean. He twice has received the school’s Joseph Pois Award for Distinguished Service.

Staniland joined the faculty in 1984.

He earned his  PhD in social and political sciences from the University of Cambridge, as well as an MA in African studies from the University of Ghana.

His research and teaching interests are in international political economy and development theory.

Social work

Valire Carr Copeland was appointed associate dean for academic affairs after six years as director of the school’s doctoral program.

Copeland joined the Pitt faculty in 1993. Her primary research interests are access to health and mental health services for women and children. She has taught across the school’s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral program levels and has a secondary appointment in public health’s Department of Behavior and Community Health Sciences.

Copeland received her MSW, PhD and MPH from Pitt.

Christina E. Newhill, professor of social work, succeeds Copeland as doctoral program director. A member of the faculty since 1990, she spent seven years as chair of the direct practice concentration in the MSW program.

Newhill’s primary research interests are community mental health services, the treatment of individuals with serious and persistent mental illness and improving the assessment of violent behavior.

She earned her doctorate in social welfare from the University of California-Berkeley.

Also in social work:

• Gerald Cochran was appointed assistant professor. Cochran had been at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. His area of expertise involves identifying and studying appropriate care for underserved populations in health-care settings, with particular emphasis on individuals who misuse drugs and alcohol. Cochran’s work aims to improve substance abuse prevention and treatment services provided in health-care settings.

• Yodit Betru is a new assistant clinical professor and agency coordinator for the child welfare education for leadership program with teaching responsibilities in the MSW program. Her clinical experience includes working in schools, shelters, jails, public child-welfare and therapeutic services in both community and private practice settings. Betru’s professional interests include child welfare workforce development and retention, services for transitionally homeless women and traumatic stress.

• John Wallace has been promoted to full professor.

• Sara Goodkind has been promoted to associate professor with tenure.

• Rachel Fusco has been appointed chair of the direct practice concentration. Fusco’s practice experience has been focused on vulnerable children and families. Her current research focuses on the mental health of young children in the child-welfare system.

• Bobby Simmons, who has been a field-education coordinator/instructor, has been named director of career services and alumni affairs. He has teaching responsibilities in both the BASW and MSW programs. His area of interest is mental health.

• Deborah Robinson, a medical social worker at Alma Illery Medical Center in Homewood, joined the school as field education coordinator and director of the home and school visitor program in the Office of Field Education.

• Amy DeGurian, previously the Hartford program coordinator for the school, has become a field education coordinator.

• Summer Kirven and Sarah Schreiber are research assistants with the Ascend program, working under the leadership of Shaun Eack. Kirven holds a BS in intelligence and national security.  Schreiber is a recent Pitt graduate with a BS in neuroscience.

Theresa Fabrizio was promoted to admission and financial aid coordinator.

• Laura Stephany is the new senior administrative assistant for the child welfare education and research programs.

• Alison Potter is the new administrative assistant at the Center on Race and Social Problems.

James P. Huguley is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center on Race and Social Problems and School of Social Work. His research focuses on promoting high academic achievement and other positive youth outcomes among African-American students across school, family and community contexts.

University Club

New staff include Robert Reese, general manager; Shirley Horn, director of sales and catering; Cory Hart, membership and marketing manager, and Ryan Dodge, restaurants manager.

The club is embarking on a new membership and awareness campaign.

University Library System

Justin Mitchell is the 2013-14 diversity fellow in the research and educational support unit. Prior to pursuing his MLIS degree at Pitt, he received his master’s degree from the University of Cambridge. Mitchell will work in the ULS information literacy program and be a liaison to the English department.

Urban studies program

Michael R. Glass has joined the program as a lecturer. He received a PhD in geography from Penn State. He has wide-ranging research interests in North American and international urbanism.

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Filed under: Feature,Volume 46 Issue 1

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