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February 19, 2015

People of the Times

The Office of the Provost and Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation have announced the recipients of the 2015 faculty fellowships in sustainability.

Each will receive a one-year fellowship with $25,000 in annual support and the option for renewal for an additional year. Fellows are expected to contribute to research within and across disciplines during the fellowship period and will develop new sustainability-related courses.

Daniel Bain, Department of Geology and Planetary Science in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, conducts research in catchment hydrology, trace metal biogeochemistry, urban and riparian systems, and fluvial geomorphology.

He is building an interdisciplinary team of Pitt researchers who can respond to requests for sustainability research and collaboration originating from government and other agents outside of the University. Maintaining an available, established research team will allow Pitt to leverage its extensive knowledge to participate in collaborative team research, particularly on sustainability issues.

Bain also is developing a research and training program focusing on sustainable responses to the infrastructure crisis in urban systems. Graduate student-centered research teams that develop out of this training program will work in partnership with local organizations to forge data-driven responses to the challenges facing implementation of sustainable solutions.

He received a PhD in geography and environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2004 and joined the Pitt faculty in 2007.

Walter Carson, Department of Biological Sciences in the Dietrich school, conducts research on the impact of herbivory on the diversity of tropical forests in Central America, the evaluation of underlying causes of failed oak regeneration in West Virginia, and the evaluation of biodiversity collapses among numerous old-growth forests in Pennsylvania. In collaboration with the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia, Carson is testing the ways in which exotic plant species such as purple loosestrife can invade and dominate novel habitats.

Carson is tackling threats to habitat sustainability and biodiversity using a broad framework grounded in policy research. In collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Forest Service and six other regional universities, he is leading a landscape-scale study to address the ecological and conservational impacts of salvage logging (i.e. the harvesting of trees following large windstorms).

Carson received his PhD from Cornell in 1993 and joined the University faculty in 1994.

Jeremy Weber, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, who also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Economics in the Dietrich school, investigates energy and natural resource economics, development and agricultural economics, and applied microeconomics.

He is researching the impacts of policies regulating the generation and management of public revenues from natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale.

He will engage researchers from the natural and engineering sciences to assess how the pace of drilling in shale — and the public revenues generated from it — likely will evolve over time. Weber will present his research to Pitt’s Center for Metropolitan Studies, making his findings accessible to state and local officials and broadening the University’s reach in sustainability issues. He also will publish a dataset of impact-fee monies and spending across Pennsylvania’s counties and municipalities, encouraging research across disciplines and universities.

He received his PhD in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 and joined Pitt’s faculty in 2014.


Rick HenkerNursing’s Richard Henker has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO), a nonprofit agency dedicated to improving the availability and quality of health care through the education and training of the health workforce in resource-scarce countries.

Henker, a faculty member in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia, has volunteered with this group since 2004, teaching and training nurse anesthetists in hospitals in Thailand, Bhutan and Cambodia. In 2009, he was honored with HVO’s Golden Apple Award in recognition of his work at Cambodia’s Angkor Hospital for Children.


Robert Brandom, distinguished professor of philosophy and a fellow in Pitt’s Center for the Philosophy of Science, has won a 2015 Anneliese Maier Research Award, presented by Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The award carries with it a prize of 250,000 euros, or about $300,000, and recognizes researchers “from abroad from the fields of the humanities and social sciences whose scientific achievements have been internationally recognized in their research area.”

Brandom explained that researchers do not apply for academic awards like the Humboldt. Instead, winners are selected by a committee.

“The awards are, in effect, lotteries for which one buys the ticket with one’s life’s work. Their meaning does not consist in the recognition they accord — agreeable as that is — but rather in what good one can do with them,” Brandom said.

To that end, he will use a significant portion of the prize to support the rising generation of philosophical researchers. Some money will help fund a year’s study at the University of Leipzig for one of his Pitt doctoral students. In addition, several German postdocs from Berlin will come to Pitt’s Department of Philosophy for one year to study and enrich its PhD program.

Brandom has dedicated his career to exploring the philosophy of language, the mind and  logic, as well as German idealism and neo-pragmatism. Among his books are “Making It Explicit” and “Between Saying and Doing: Towards an Analytic Pragmatism.”

Brandom has taught at Pitt since 1976.

In 2004, he won the $1.5 million A.W. Mellon Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.


Three members of the marketing faculty at the Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration are ranked in the top 20 worldwide for research productivity, according to the American Marketing Association (AMA)’s annual review of the top marketing publications.

They are J. Jeffrey Inman, associate dean for research and Albert Wesley Frey Professor of Marketing; Cait Lamberton, faculty member in business administration and Katz Fryrear Faculty Fellow, and Andrew T. Stephen, faculty member in business administration and Katz Fellow in Marketing.

Each was ranked No. 19 in the 2014 author productivity list compiled by AMA’s doctoral student special interest group DocSIG. The ranking is based on the number of publications by a faculty member in the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Marketing Research, and Marketing Science, 2010-14.

Katz was one of only seven schools to have three or more professors ranked in the Top 50.

AMA DocSIG also compiled a 2014 productivity list for universities as a whole. Pitt was ranked No. 17 in the world; Katz professors contributed 32 publications in these marketing journals.


School of Education faculty member Anna Arlotta-Guerrero, Department of Psychology in Education, has been elected to a committee for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. She will serve on the committee for the “Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success.”


Education faculty member Kelliann Davis, Department of Health and Physical Activity, has earned fellow status in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The purpose of ACSM fellowship is to encourage high standards of professional service, recognize professional achievement in the related disciplines of sports medicine via education, and demonstrate an interest in and/or contribution to the goals of sports medicine.


The American Heart Association recognized nursing faculty member Salah Al-Zaiti with the Martha N. Hill New Investigator Award sponsored by the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing and the Go Red for Women Campaign.

The award recognizes the contributions of young investigators in understanding, preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases. Al-Zaiti was nominated for his work on “The Role of Heart Rate Variability in Predicting Sudden and Non-sudden Cardiac Death in Ischemic Heart Disease.”


Coro Pittsburgh presented Kevin Kearns, faculty member in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, with a 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Individual Leadership Award Jan. 23.

The award recognizes persons who are role models of values-based leadership.

According to Coro, “Kevin Kearns not only demonstrates values-based leadership in his own work and service but successfully instills those values in those around him.”


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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