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February 16, 2017

Chancellor announces faculty award winners

The 2017 chancellor’s awards for distinguished teaching, research and public service honored 10 faculty.

Distinguished teaching award winners are:

Sean Garrett-Roe, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences;
Melissa Marks, associate professor in the Division of Behavioral Sciences, Pitt-Greensburg;
John Schumann, associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology, School of Medicine; and

Cindy Skrzycki, senior lecturer in the Department of English, Dietrich school.


Distinguished research award winners are:

In the junior scholars category:
Kara Anne Bernstein, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, and
Haitao Liu, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, Dietrich


In the senior scholars category:
Mark T. Gladwin, distinguished professor and chair in the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine;
Thomas W. Kensler, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, School of Medicine; and
Ronald Stall, professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health.


The distinguished public service award winner is:

Anthony S. Novosel, undergraduate adviser and senior lecturer in the Department of History, Dietrich school.

Awardees will be recognized Feb. 24 at the University’s annual honors convocation.



The Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award honors teaching excellence.

Full-time faculty members with at least five years’ service at the University are eligible, provided they have been active as a teacher and have not won the award previously.

Up to five awardees are chosen each year. Each award consists of a $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant to support the faculty member’s teaching activities.

Sean Garrett-Roe

Sean Garrett-Roe

Garrett-Roe was recognized for his work with the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) approach, which uses a flipped classroom model, multisensory input and incorporates technologies to encourage students to engage, derive and interpret the materials of physical chemistry.

He has also shared his pedagogical models in such venues as Pitt’s Summer Instructional Design Institute and the American Chemical Society’s national meeting.

The chancellor in his letter stated: “[Y]ou make a challenging subject ‘come alive’ for

your students, which enhances their ability to fully engage with and retain the principles you are teaching. Additionally, you have had a lasting impact on your colleagues both within and outside the Department of Chemistry, by teaching them how to incorporate the POGIL approach into their courses.”

Melissa Marks

Melissa Marks

Marks’ previous awards include the 2009 University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Alumni Association Outstanding Education Award, the 2013-14 Pitt-Greensburg Distinguished Teaching Award and the Pennsylvania Association of College Teachers of

Education Teacher Educator of the Year that same year. Marks’ role in developing an education minor and major earned her the 2010 University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg President’s Medal.

The chancellor’s letter noted: “As the director of the Secondary Education Program, you continue to develop innovative programs and opportunities to foster experiential learning for your students. … [Y]our commitment to teaching and creating engaging situations in and out of the classroom is deeply appreciated by your students and colleagues.”

John Schumann

John Schumann

Schumann won the 2002 Sheldon Adler Award for innovation in medical education and the 2008 Kenneth E. Schuit Award recognizing him as a “Dean’s Master Educator.”

The chancellor’s letter praises him for “your impact on students through a problem-based learning approach … [which] earned you the Faculty Appreciation Award from the students of the School of Dental Medicine five times and the Excellence in Education Award from the students of the School of Medicine twelve times. As the director of numerous courses, you have continued to mentor and develop students of medicine and dental medicine.”

The letter also notes Schumann’s “very positive student and peer evaluations, which include expansive comments of praise and recognition.”

Cindy Skrzycki

Cindy Skrzycki

Skrzycki was recognized for her English department work with the 2012 Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award. She teaches such courses as Statistics in Journalism and Boot Camp: Write Now, which emphasize experiential and exploratory education.

“Through your commitment to experience-based learning and impact beyond the classroom,” the chancellor’s letter says, “including diverse student internships with nationally recognized publications and organizations, you continue to mentor and prepare students for careers in the midst of the digital transformation of journalism.”



The Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award recognizes outstanding scholarly accomplishments. Full-time faculty members who are tenured or in the tenure stream are eligible is they have served at least three years here.

Up to five awardees are chosen in two categories:
Junior scholar awardees include faculty members who, by virtue of the exceptional quality of their early contributions, have demonstrated great potential as scholars and have achieved some international standing. Candidates for this award must have received their highest degree no more than 12 years before the time of nomination.

Senior scholar awards are given to those who have compiled a substantial and continuing record of outstanding research and scholarly activity. Nominees must have achieved pre-eminence in their field and be recognized in letters of support from national and international leaders in the field.

Each award consists of a $2,000 cash prize plus a $3,000 grant to support the faculty member’s teaching and research.


Junior Scholars

Kara Anne Bernstein


Bernstein’s award notes that she previously received the Stand Up to Cancer Innovation Grant and the 2016 American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, signaling her place as a young scientist of note who regularly is invited to speak at national and international conferences.

“Kara is one of the most exceptional and talented young scientists that I have encountered throughout my career as a cancer researcher,” writes one peer in support of her nomination, while another said: “[Kara] is a delight to interact with, engaging and excited about not just her own science but everything else going on around her. She is clearly on a trajectory that will ensure prominence in this field in the years to come.”

The chancellor’s letter added its own praise for her accomplishments: “Your strong work ethic, promoting quality and timely research, can be seen in your 23 peer-reviewed publications, six review articles, and an impressive record of grant awards for your research … An effective mentor and teacher to a diverse range of students, from post-doctoral fellows to high school students from minority and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, you have successfully integrated your mentorship and the productive operations of your laboratory, [with] a number of your students contributing to papers published from your laboratory.”

Haitao Liu

Haitao Liu

Liu is cited by the awards committee for “your paradigm shifting research in the area of graphitic carbon materials, and your contributions to the area of DNA nanotechnology … [Y]ou are a recognized growing leader in your field with a bright future.”

Liu’s research has earned the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award. He has given more than 30 invited talks at conferences and University colloquia; received $2.1 million in federal funding; and published 52 peer-reviewed articles, which have been cited 2,900 times. Liu also is a member of the Scientific Reports editorial board, and received an invitation to serve as a guest editor for Chemistry Materials.

In support of his nomination, Liu’s peers noted: “Haitao has bravely established several creative new research directions, suggesting the ability to sustain a long and productive research effort. His achievements to date and his promise for the future identify Haitao as an emerging star in nanofabrication and nanocrystal science.” Another wrote: “[Haitao’s] research is quite unique among hundreds of other research groups working on nanomaterials; in my opinion, he is one of the top researchers in his age group within the very big nanoresearch community.”


Senior Scholars

Mark T. Gladwin

Mark T. Gladwin

Gladwin was cited for major discoveries with tremendous impact in vascular medicine, which have triggered the development of new fields of research, including nitrite biology and hemolysis-mediated vascular disease.

He is labeled “a true leader” by the chancellor, who also notes that “your enthusiasm and collaboration skills are not only said to inspire and energize those around you, but have led to the implementation of highly successful innovations, causing the continued growth of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Medicine as a nationally renowned clinical and research center. As a dedicated clinician whose work has produced numerous clinical trials, you continually attend in the ICU, while training the next generation of physicians on rounds. The high respect you promote among your colleagues due to your passion, diligence and genuine joy for research have resulted in over 200 invitations to speak nationally and internationally, more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and over 100 reviews and commentaries.”

The award letter also quotes unnamed peers who supported Gladwin’s nomination: “Dr. Gladwin is, truthfully, phenomenal… He is one of the true ‘luminaries’ in the NO (nitrite and nitric oxide) field. And is a true ‘triple threat’ — leading in academic, clinical and research arenas alike at the highest possible level” and “Dr. Gladwin is an outstanding and innovative researcher and a dynamic and visionary leader. I can think of no one more deserving of the honor.”

Thomas W. Kensler

Thomas W. Kensler

Kensler is praised by the awards committee for his scientific contributions in chemoprevention, and his extensive research funding from the National Cancer Institute as well as decades of funding from the National Institutes of Health.

“With your move beyond basic science to clinical application,” the chancellor’s award letter continues, “your work as a clinician is exceptional, with highly successful and groundbreaking clinical trials in China, which led to your recognition by Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang of China as a recipient of the prestigious Friendship Award. Always willing to collaborate and assist anyone in need, you are an excellent mentor and role model to your over 35 pre- and postdoctoral trainees, as well as an inspiration to thousands of young scientists and many of your colleagues.”

Kensler also was recognized for publishing more than 400 highly cited, peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals.

One letter of recommendation from a peer noted that “Tom has repeatedly demonstrated that he is an excellent researcher, mentor and colleague who continues to engage in high-level, relevant, cutting-edge science that sets the standard in [his] field. He has unquestionably made great contributions to the advancement of basic and translational biomedical research, and has devotedly trained many researchers.”

Ronald D. Stall

Ronald Stall

Stall was selected for this award in recognition of his “pioneering efforts in the field of HIV prevention and LGBT health,” the award letter notes. He is praised as a leader in the development of behavioral risk reduction interventions because he has directed this field to examine HIV from new angles. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, and the ICI Web of Science chose him as one of the 200 most cited researchers in the social sciences across several years.

The award letter also cites his work among the group of scientists who built the Center on LGBT Health Research: “[I]t has now become one of the leading centers for the study of LGBT health disparities in the world, and home to the only T32 training program from the National Institutes of Health” that focuses on HIV prevention among men who have sex with men, a group that now suffers approximately two-thirds of all new HIV infections in the U.S. “A caring mentor who pushes his students to their greatest potential, you share not only insight, but include your students as authors and co-authors in the majority of your LGBT Health Research Center papers.”

One of the support letters for Stall’s nomination states that “Ron is not only an outstanding scientist, who has had a major global impact on the fields of HIV and LGBT health through his research program, his impact has also been felt through the work of students, colleagues and researchers around the world who have been inspired by this vision.”



The Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award recognizes outstanding public service contributions. Any full-time faculty member who has served for at least three years at the University is eligible.

Up to five awardees may be chosen each year. Each award consists of a $2,000 cash prize plus a $3,000 grant to support the faculty member’s public service activities.

Anthony S. Novosel

Anthony S. Novosel

Novosel is being honored for “the important impact that you have had on communities and students in

Northern Ireland and on the ongoing peace process,” the chancellor’s letter states. “Through oral histories, presentations, writing, panel discussion, friendships and mentorships you have had a powerful positive impact on political factions, communities and students.”

Novosel’s work with the Business Education Initiative (now called Study USA) is cited. The initiative arose out of the Northern Irish Peace Process in 1994 and gives students from Northern Ireland opportunities for international study. Since 1996, Novosel has assisted and counseled nearly 2,000 young people who have visited the United States and returned to help shape the future of Northern Ireland. Students here at the University also are said to have benefited from Novosel’s deep knowledge of Northern Ireland culture and political landscape.

“Your passionate engagement in Northern Ireland led you to activities which have helped heal factional divides,” the letter continues. “Over the past 40 years you developed friendships across the political spectrum and listened carefully to the stories of combatants and past and present leaders in that divided country. One of your Northern Ireland colleagues described you recently as ‘One of the best informed academics understanding the causes of conflict in Ireland and the recent period referred to as the Troubles.’ Your research on the ‘Troubles’ and especially your study of Loyalism and Loyalists gave you valuable insights that you have shared with Loyalist and Republican communities in many forums. In doing this, you have helped overcome negative stereotypes by using your knowledge to help others understand the complex history of Northern Ireland factionalism.”

One result, noted in Novosel’s award, was his 2013 book, “Northern Ireland’s Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism.” Novosel also created community forums with the aim of healing Loyalist and Republican divisions and encouraging their journey toward peace.

Additional details on award criteria are available under the “guidelines” tab at

—Marty Levine 

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