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March 5, 2015

Chancellor’s awards: Faculty

A dozen Pitt faculty members are recipients of the 2015 chancellor’s awards for research, teaching and service.

Receiving the 2015 Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award are John M. Wallace Jr., professor in the School of Social Work, and Evan Waxman, associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology in the School of Medicine.

Each awardee receives a $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant in support of his public service.

Receiving the 2015 Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in the senior scholar category are: Jane Cauley, professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the Graduate School of Public Health; Kenneth F. Schaffner, distinguished professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and Rocky S. Tuan, distinguished professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the School of Medicine. In the junior scholar category, winners are Marlene Cohen, assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience in the Dietrich school, and Kirk Erikson, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the Dietrich school.

The award consists of a $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant in support of the awardee’s research.

Receiving the 2015 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award are: Gretchen H. Bender, senior lecturer in the Department of History of Art and Architecture in the Dietrich school; Giselle G. Hamad, associate professor in the Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine; Joseph J. McCarthy, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering; Melissa S. McGivney, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics in the School of Pharmacy, and William C. Pamerleau, associate professor in the Division of Humanities at Pitt-Greensburg.

The prize consists of a $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant in support of the awardee’s teaching.

Public service awards

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Awards recognize substantial, continuing public and community service contributions. The awards are open to any full-time faculty member who has served at the University for at least three years.

“This award underscores our high institutional priority to utilize the expertise of the University to address social problems in ways that are consistent with the University’s teaching and research functions. Your individual efforts stand as an inspiring example of contributions that far exceed the traditional duties expected of a faculty member,” Gallagher wrote to the winners.

WallaceJohn M. Wallace Jr.

Gallagher cited Wallace’s prior honors including his appointment to the University’s Philip Hallen Endowed Chair in Community Health and Social Justice and the National Urban Affairs Association’s Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award, and his work with Operation Better Block in Homewood, the Youth Futures Commission and as senior pastor of the Bible Center Church.

“However, it is your work on the Homewood Children’s Village (HCV) that I find to be particularly praiseworthy,” Gallagher wrote, citing Wallace’s work in gathering a team that replicated the ideology and practices used in the Harlem Children’s Zone.

“HCV provides full-service community school coordinators, transportation and harm-reduction specialists to mitigate the impact of violence on educational success, and a litany of evidence-based initiatives to encourage educational success,” Gallagher wrote. “As the HCV board president, you continue to work tirelessly to reweave the fabric of the Homewood neighborhood.”

Evan Waxman

waxmanGallagher made note of Waxman’s impact on the service mission of the ophthalmology department and of the University, and awards including the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology’s Humanitarian Service Award, the regional Jefferson Award for Public Service and the School of Medicine’s Humanism Honor Society.

“However, it is your work with the Guerrilla Eye Service (GES) that I find to be most praiseworthy,” Gallagher wrote. “As founder and director of the GES, you deliver eye care to the indigent population in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. The GES provides a model for improved access and capacity building in communities of need by bringing a vital service to areas where it is not readily available, as well as providing an exceptional learning experience and exposure to the rewards and challenges of practice in underserved environments for residents and students.”


Research awards

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award is open to any tenured or tenure-stream, full-time faculty member who has served at least three years at Pitt. Up to five awardees are chosen in junior and senior scholar categories.

Senior scholars are faculty members who have achieved preeminence in their field and have compiled a substantial and continuing record of outstanding research and scholarly activity.


Jane Cauley

The chancellor commended Cauley’s research on topics relevant to public health issues, her mentorship skills and achievements including leadership roles in professional societies such as the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the American College of Epidemiology, the American Public Health Association, the Endocrine Society and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

“With your consistent record of outstanding research and persistent funding over the past 28 years, it is evident that you will continue on this trajectory of innovative and high quality research,” Gallagher wrote.

SchaffnerKenneth F. Schaffner

Gallagher noted Schaffner’s work as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health and on the International Society for Bipolar Disorders diagnostic guidelines committee.

The chancellor wrote: “A hallmark of your research is your close engagement with the scientific communities whose work you seek to understand. You are a philosopher who is sought after by the biomedical and psychiatric communities to work with them and advise them.”

Rocky S. Tuan

Rocky TuanThe chancellor cited Tuan’s extensive record of more than 500 publications and more than 26,500 citations, as well as honors including the Marshall Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research.

“Equally impressive is that your tenure at the NIH [National Institutes of Health] heralded the initiation of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research and education within the NIH Intramural Research Program,” Gallagher wrote, adding that the committee noted Tuan’s appointment as founding director of the School of Medicine’s Center for Military Medicine Research, Health Sciences in 2012 and his subsequent success in facilitating federal and private funding for battlefield injury-related research including traumatic brain injury, vision restoration and mobility.

Junior scholar awardees are faculty who have demonstrated great potential as scholars and have achieved some international standing. Candidates must have received their highest degree no more than 12 years before their nomination.

cohenMarlene Cohen

Gallagher recognized Cohen’s research as “scientifically rigorous, highly creative and novel” work that is making a substantial impact on the field of sensory processing and perception. “Not only have you been extremely successful in obtaining funding for your research, but you have also amply demonstrated that you are an independent, creative and talented scientist who is emerging as one of the true leaders in your field,” he wrote.

Kirk Erikson

EricksonGallagher said Erikson’s research is notable for its methodological rigor as well as for its broad public health implications.

“You have had an impact in the training of neuroscience. Your graduate and undergraduate classes on the fundamentals of neuroscience and specifically fMRI have consistently received outstanding student reviews and changed the culture of training in your department,” Gallagher wrote.


Teaching awards

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award is open to any faculty member who has served full-time at the University for at least five years, provided that he or she has been active as a teacher. Up to five awardees are chosen each year.

In his letters to the teaching award winners, Gallagher commended their efforts as “an inspiring example of excellence in the role of University teacher.”


Gretchen H. Bender

In his letter to Bender, Gallagher acknowledged her prior Dietrich school awards including the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising and the Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award.

“As director of undergraduate studies, you have transformed your department’s undergraduate program and in the process become one of the very best and most popular teachers in your department,” he wrote, citing Bender’s innovations in using teaching assistants as peer mentors and in implementing the “HAAARCH!!!” celebration of undergraduate student work and the “Why History of Art and Architecture Matters (WHAAM)” service-learning course.

Giselle G. Hamad

HamadGallagher noted that the Department of Surgery had awarded Hamad its Richard L. Simmons Mentorship Award and its Excellence in Teaching Award, and that the medical school had recognized her as Clinical Educator of the Year and appointed her to the Academy of Master Educators.

As director of surgical education, Hamad helped develop the simulation center for laparoscopic and endoscopic skills training, and as associate residency program director and fourth-year surgery acting internship director devoted time to residency advising, student mentoring and shadowing. Given that surgeons rarely have time off from their clinical responsibilities, Gallagher noted, “these accomplishments further illustrate your remarkable commitment and productivity in the realm of education.”

Joseph J. McCarthy

McCarthyGallagher acknowledged McCarthy’s prior teaching awards, including the Swanson school’s Outstanding Educator Award. “You are not only one of your school’s most inspiring teachers, but are also widely recognized for your groundbreaking programmatic efforts in the field of education,” he wrote, citing McCarthy’s nationally known work on the Pillars of Chemical Engineering program that focuses on block scheduling and knowledge integration.

Melissa S. McGivney

mcgivneyIn his letter to McGivney, Gallagher took note of her Community Residency Preceptor and Preceptor of the Year awards given by the American Pharmacists Association.

“You are a recognized leader in the development of patient-centered pharmacy practice in the community,” Gallagher wrote, commending McGivney for her role in developing a community pharmacy post-PharmD residency program, a community pharmacy research fellowship program, a shared research course for community pharmacy residency in Pennsylvania, a research training course for faculty of other pharmacy schools, and modifications to Pitt’s PharmD curriculum.

William C. Pamerleau

pamerleauGallagher’s letter to Pamerleau cited accolades including the Pitt-Greensburg Excellence in Teaching Award. He noted Pamerleau’s teaching in philosophy as well as in cross-disciplinary courses with other faculty in English writing, biology and sociology and collaboration in UPG’s common text project in 2000 and 2001, its Humanities Academic Village (2001-03) and the La Cultura programming committee (2003-12).

“Your educational efforts have significantly shaped both your division’s educational programming and your campus’ goals in the areas of liberal arts education, interdisciplinary studies and global awareness,” the chancellor wrote.


The award winners were recognized at the Feb. 28 honors convocation and will be honored later at a private reception.

—Kimberly K. Barlow