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June 23, 2016

UHC dean to step down

—Edward Stricker, UHC dean

University Honors College Dean Edward M. Stricker has announced plans to step down and return to the Department of Neuroscience faculty in fall 2017. A search committee will be formed this fall to identify a new UHC dean.

Stricker was named dean of the honors college in 2011 by then-chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. Stricker followed economics professor Steven Husted, who served as interim dean following the death of UHC’s founding dean, G. Alec Stewart, in 2010.

Stricker told the University Times: “I am grateful to Mark Nordenberg and (Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor) Patty Beeson for the opportunity to serve as dean for these five years. It’s been a very interesting experience, with many unforeseen highlights such as interacting with good people at the top of the administrative pyramid, meeting wonderful students and faculty who I never would have met had I remained in the Department of Neuroscience during this time, and working with (Academic Assistant to the Dean) Peter Koehler, (Assistant Dean) Gordon Mitchell and the staff of the UHC in developing ideas about education that are much broader than the ideas I had as a faculty member and department chair.”

In a prepared statement, Beeson said: “It has been my pleasure to work with Dean Stricker. … His impact on the growth of the honors college and the entire University through his role on the Council of Deans cannot be overstated. I am pleased that he will continue his academic career here at Pitt for the foreseeable future.”

Among Stricker’s accomplishments at UHC, he:

• Instituted the honors college faculty fellows, an honorary appointment for faculty who have contributed to the work of the honors college.

• Created health professions advising and academic community engagement advising for students.

• Formed the UHC Board of Visitors, an advisory panel made up of alumni with UHC ties.

• Expanded the Brackenridge research fellowships from a summer program to a year-round undergraduate research program.

• Expanded honors housing from 500 to 700 students.

Stricker, who has been a Pitt faculty member for 45 years, offered honors sections of his Introduction to Neuroscience course for 25 years prior to becoming UHC dean and has continued to teach honors courses throughout his tenure as dean.

In recent years, he has taught a two-credit Topics in Neuroscience Research course (an abbreviated version of the four-credit introductory neuroscience course), and in spring 2016 co-taught a new Discourses in Human Knowledge course with Paul Bové of English and Seymour Drescher of history.

He plans to continue teaching the two-credit course in fall and the team-taught course in spring 2017.

Stricker joined Pitt as an associate professor of psychology and biological sciences in 1971 and rose to full professor in 1976.

In 1986, he was named a Distinguished University Professor of Neuroscience and became the founding chair of the Department of Neuroscience, a position he held until 2002.

Stricker also was the founding director of Pitt’s Conti Center for Neuroscience of Mental Disorders and was co-director of Pitt’s Center for Neuroscience.

Among Stricker’s Pitt honors are a 1992 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and a 2001 Bellet Teaching Excellence Award.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

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