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May 1, 2014

People of the Times

Margo B. Holm, professor emerita in the Department of Occupational Therapy, received the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Award of Merit on April 5. The award is the highest AOTA honor bestowed and was conferred on Holm for her contributions to the profession.

For 45 years, Holm has been a global leader in occupational therapy research and education.

She was a 2010 Fulbright Scholar, facilitating the development of a graduate occupational therapy program in Jordan, and has served as an international consultant to occupational therapy practitioners, educators and researchers in Canada, Germany, Jordan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Sweden and Taiwan.

She has contributed to the development of graduate educational programs in the United States, ensuring that these programs’ curricula are aligned to the highest standards of occupational therapy education. She is notable for her participation in programs and research to develop health care policy.


FloraFang-Yi “Flora” Wei, a Pitt-Bradford faculty member in broadcast communications, has received UPB’s 2014 Chairs’ Faculty Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching. Wei was chosen for the award by the chairs of Pitt-Bradford’s five academic divisions.

In choosing an award recipient, the chairs review letters of recommendation, student evaluations of teaching, syllabi and grade distribution. They also consider the teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and their advising and dedication in working with students beyond the classroom in activities such as internships and research projects.

The award, now in its 13th year, is open to any full-time faculty member who has taught at Pitt-Bradford for at least three consecutive academic years.

During her tenure, Wei has taught public speaking, organizational communication, quantitative research methods, mass media culture and society, mass media effects, communication research methods, broadcasting and social media.


SteinBob Stein has been named interim director of Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence. He succeeds institute founder Ann Dugan, who stepped down after 20 years.

Stein has been with the institute since 2005 and has held various leadership roles, most recently serving as director of the institute’s information technology consulting practice, which he launched in 2007.


Wahed_AbdusAbdus Wahed, a faculty member in the Department of Biostatistics, received the American Statistical Association (ASA) Pittsburgh Chapter Statistician of the Year Award at the group’s annual banquet. The award was established in 1969.

Wahed was honored for his accomplishments in theoretical research, applied statistics, teaching, mentorship, professional service and institutional service.

He is an expert in methods for design and analysis of adaptive treatment experiments. He is involved in the summer institute of biostatistics program for undergraduate students, and is director of the department’s Ph.D. program. He received the 2010 James L. Craig Award for Teaching Excellence from the Graduate School of Public Health.

He also was the 2012-13 president of ASA’s Pittsburgh chapter.


Pitt-Greensburg faculty members past and present were honored at UPG’s April 26 commencement ceremony.

PrellwitzThe Pitt-Greensberg Alumni Association honored John H. Prellwitz, a faculty member in communications, with the 2014 PGAA Outstanding Faculty Award.

Prellwitz helps students to understand the art of persuasion and rhetoric through his classes in advertising, public relations, film and propaganda, visual rhetoric and public speaking.

A faculty member since 2005, he serves as co-adviser for the campus chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Honor Society. Prellwitz’s classes, which incorporate service learning opportunities, provide students with hands-on experience in advertising and public relations by having them work on projects for community clients.

Larry J. Whatule, faculty emeritus in humanities, was awarded the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.

Whatule, a retired professor of English, began teaching at Pitt-Greensburg in 1968. He also served for eight years (1968-76) in a part-time capacity as UPG’s public relations officer.

In 1975, he was named UPG’s director of admissions and financial aid and served in that capacity until 1994, when he returned to teaching full-time.

He retired in 2009.

The recipient of the 2001 Distinguished Teaching Award and the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award for his “demonstrated excellence in classroom instruction as well as to the development of students,” Whatule also served two terms as president of UPG’s Faculty Senate.

He also was a co-author of the proposal that resulted in the approval of a major in the humanities area concentration and the author of the proposal for UPG’s communication major.


M. Najeeb Shafiq, a faculty member in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies, is the 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Journal of Education Finance Award of the National Education Finance Conference. The winning article was “Accounting for Risk of Non-Completion in Private and Social Rates of Return to Higher Education.”

The award is given annually to authors whose Journal of Education Finance article embodies extraordinary rigor and relevance to the field of education finance. Recipients are selected by a committee of senior scholars.

Shafiq wrote the article with Robert Toutkoushian and Michael Trivette.

The Journal of Education Finance is a leading journal in educational finance and economics.

—Compiled by Alex Oltmanns


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

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