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August 30, 2007

What's New? – Things

The African studies program, in conjunction with the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa and The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, is planning a Teach Africa Youth Forum Oct. 30 in which students in grades 6-12 may interact with African studies faculty, policy makers, experts from Africa, African artists and the local African community.

African studies also has planned a China-Africa Connections workshop Nov. 15 to discuss characteristics of the relationship between China and Africa and how relationships are being built. Area teachers and students are the target audience for the forum.

Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program grants were awarded to Pitt’s African studies and UCIS’s global studies program.

The African studies grant allowed teachers from Washington County to travel to Ghana to develop new Africa-focused curricula for use in their classrooms.

The global studies program on Islam, the West and the Muslim world took teachers from Pennsylvania and Ohio to Egypt to facilitate curricula expansion in Islamic studies.


The Asian Studies Center, the School of Education, the Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs will hold a symposium on the relationship between the United States and the Koreas Nov. 10 and 11 in Frick Fine Arts auditorium.

The symposium will focus on culture, economy, security and education — four areas of mutual importance to the United States, North Korea and South Korea. The event is aimed at faculty and students, but will be open to the general public.


Pitt-Bradford has launched new minors in entrepreneurship and in finance.

In addition, UPB’s Office of Outreach Services has teamed with the Erie office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop and market training programs focused on workplace safety and health hazards. The agreement calls for Pitt-Bradford and OSHA to arrange courses in topics such as process safety, oil and gas well drilling safety, confined space hazards and their related OSHA standards. OSHA officials will take part in Outreach Services conferences, classes and workforce education events. In addition, the entities will share information among OSHA personnel and industry safety and health professionals regarding occupational safety and health best practices.

UPB’s Hanley Library has teamed with the Friends of the Bradford Area Public Library and the campus’s Spectrum Series to bring the national One Book movement to Bradford. The community-wide initiative encourages people of all ages to read. The group has chosen the novel “City of Light” by Lauren Belfer as its first selection. Events related to the novel are planned throughout the academic year, culminating with an appearance by the author on March 31.


The Department of Biological Sciences will celebrate its 30th birthday Sept. 14-16. Events include a scientific symposium, social activities and award presentations. Information is available online at


Sharon Allen, chair of the board of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, will visit the Katz Graduate School of Business on Sept. 29. She will present a keynote address on ethics, leadership and the values-based organization at 1:45 p.m. in the Alumni Hall 7th floor auditorium. The event is open to the campus community.


Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) has updated its annual software CD for students, staff and faculty. It includes anti-virus and anti-spyware tools, various web browsers and other packages. In addition, the CD allows users to configure their computers to connect to PittNet in the residence halls and Wireless PittNet anywhere on campus.

CSSD’s printed software buyer’s guide, containing information on software available to faculty, staff and University units at reduced costs, has been replaced with an online version available at

CSSD also has contracted with IBM to provide a new enterprise storage solution for University enterprise computing resources. The system will provide centrally managed disk storage for more than 325 terabytes of academic and administrative data now kept separately for each system.

Campus-wide wireless service on the Pittsburgh campus was completed well ahead of the January 2008 target date with the Aug. 20 addition of service in the Cathedral of Learning, Sennott Square and Mervis Hall. The only exception on the Pittsburgh campus is the Information Sciences building, which is undergoing network compliance changes. The University plans to complete the addition of wireless service on Pitt’s regional campuses by next June.

CSSD representatives came home with awards received in June at the Computerworld annual laureates medal ceremony in Washington, D.C. They received awards for “University Enterprise Backup Service Provides Efficient Data Storage and Recovery” and “Supporting University Applications Through Enterprise Monitoring,” both nominated by Microsoft Corp.

The PeopleSoft Student Administration System was upgraded in May, making it easier for students, faculty and staff to use the system. In addition to an improved user interface, the features include an improved student service center and a new faculty service center. More information is available online in the Student and Faculty Services communities in


The Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education is testing a planned upgrade to the Blackboard course management system this fall.

More than two dozen courses will utilize the pilot version of Blackboard as a test while new training programs are developed in anticipation of an across-the-board move to an upgraded version in January.

Approximately 3,000 courses will utilize Blackboard in some way this term, up from about 2,500 last year.


The School of Dental Medicine recently implemented a school-wide electronic health records system. The secure system is HIPAA-compliant and encompasses all functions of the school from student and patient records to clinic and administrative management. Over the next two years, the school plans to upgrade all hardware in the school’s clinics to support the digital system.


The School of Education is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh schools to develop a science and technology high school that is slated to open in 2008.

The goal is a school that will provide students interested in science and technology with a rigorous education that prepares them for a solid university program in science or engineering.

Education Dean Alan Lesgold serves on the steering committee for the high school reform task force. The committee has played an important role in developing the overall plan for a new set of effective, motivating high schools of which the science and technology school will be the first. It also has helped shape a new curriculum and program called Ninth Grade Nation that is designed to bring students from divergent backgrounds together as effective learning teams, to smooth the transition to high school and to provide a practical civics education to ninth graders that emphasizes the practice of good citizenship and an understanding of how the local and regional communities work.

Pitt’s Institute for Learning is focusing on improving principals’ ability to be leaders of learning, foster professional development of their teachers and improve the curriculum of the Pittsburgh schools.

Work is beginning on efforts led by the School of Medicine to improve science education throughout the Pittsburgh schools and to develop a health careers high school.

On another front, the school is expanding the higher education management program in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies to include a new center for community college leadership. The center will be led by Stewart Sutin, former president of Community College of Allegheny County.

Sutin will create two new classes, “Fundamentals of Community College Leadership” and “Strategic Leadership of Community Colleges.” The program will consider incorporating a variety of learning experiences including distance learning, and credit and non-credit coursework.

Sutin also expects to develop collaborations with the region’s community colleges. The new center will work with school districts and businesses to develop strategies to enhance the learning and retention of students through grade 12 and steer them toward occupations with high regional demand. He also foresees research opportunities for faculty through service learning and internships.


Among the new School of Engineering course offerings available this fall is a graduate-level class in biomedical computing taught by Allen Cheng. The introductory course explores principles of designing computing systems and devices that can be implanted or attached to the human body to sense, collect or process various physiological and neuro-physiological signals useful in proactive health monitoring and disease treatment.

Engineering also has added a new mine ventilation engineering course that will be taught by Anthony T. Iannacchione. The three-credit class being introduced this term will provide the skills needed to analyze and design ventilation systems for underground mines based on health concerns for workers, regulatory requirements, conditions in the mine and delivery of air to various workplaces.


Pitt-Greensburg has added 19 minors to its curriculum: accounting, education, history, political science, psychology, sociology, English literature, English writing, gender studies, history of art and architecture, music, philosophy, Spanish, theater, actuarial sciences, chemistry, computer science, environmental science and statistics.

This summer, UPG hosted 16 high school physics and chemistry teachers in a program called “The History and Fate of the Universe,” a series of three-day workshops designed to provide teachers with enhanced knowledge and appropriate laboratory equipment related to topics in physics.

The regional campus also opened a new student-run radio station. To listen to a broadcast online, access the web link:


The Health Sciences Library System has added a new class to its schedule of courses: “The Wow Factor: Creating Posters With PowerPoint.” A complete schedule of HSLS training courses is available at


The School of Information Sciences has signed a memorandum of understanding with Siam University, Bangkok, Thailand, to further cooperation on a number of research, curricular and personnel fronts. SIS and Siam University have agreed to exchange academic personnel for both teaching and research purposes. They also are pursuing the exchange of students for short-term study and research opportunities.

SIS also introduced a new track of study in the master of science in information science program, called telecommunications and distributed systems, that will give students the skills and knowledge to deploy, design and manage distributed applications across networked systems.

Students can select from courses in telecommunications, network design, network management, client-server systems, database management, web technologies and standards, e-business, wireless networks, application development for mobile devices, Internet-based GIS and network security.

In June, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the Free Library of Philadelphia $999,980 to fund 25 students over a two-year period as they earn their master of library and information science degrees via Pitt’s FastTrack MLIS online education program. FastTrack MLIS offers the ALA-accredited master’s degree program through web-based asynchronous delivery.


The Johnstown campus has introduced two new academic minors in psychology and music.

Plans are in the works for a week-long celebration of the 80th anniversary of the founding of Pitt-Johnstown. Events during the week of Sept. 23-29 will include the installation of Jem Spectar as campus president.


The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing has approved the School of Nursing’s new neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) master’s program as an extension of its pediatric nurse practitioner program. The two-year NNP program, which will enroll its first students this fall, was developed in partnership with level III neonatal intensive care units at Children’s and Magee-Womens hospitals.

The primary goal of the new NNP program is to prepare nurse practitioners to function in an expanded role that includes managing the health care needs of high-risk infants, their families and children up to 2 years of age, in collaboration with neonatologists and other pediatric clinicians.

Due to increasing levels of responsibility of the advanced practice nurse (APN), current plans call for master’s-level APN degrees to be retired by 2015 and converted to the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, increasing educational preparation in these programs from two years to four years.


The School of Pharmacy has developed a combined PharmD/PhD offering designed to optimize the students’ training experience and to sustain the students’ interest in graduate research during their years in the professional program. Upon completion of the PharmD degree, students will be granted expedited admission into the PhD program in the pharmaceutical sciences. PhD program students will be employed as part-time pharmacists in the drug use and disease state management and pharmacy operation areas with UPMC.

A comprehensive pharmacy management curriculum at the PharmD, residency and master’s degree levels has been implemented to meet expected demand for pharmacy leaders. In addition to more management content, a management pathway has been developed. This consists of additional elective courses in which students can learn about leadership and management as well as courses for young entrepreneurs. Students will be able to complete experiential rotations that are concentrated in management.

Students who develop a greater interest in pharmacy management now have the option to continue their studies at an advanced level. PharmD graduates can enter the two-year pharmacy management residency, which has been developed in collaboration with UPMC.

Additionally, a master’s of public health with a concentration in pharmacy administration has been developed in collaboration with the Graduate School of Public Health. The program allows students either to combine their residency with an advanced degree or matriculate into the MPH program independently. The combination residency-MPH program is designed to allow students to complete the program in two years.

Samuel Poloyac, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, received $486,817 from the National Institutes of Health for a triple quadruple mass spectrometer for shared use. Investigators in pharmacy, the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine and the Department of Chemistry now will have access to this state-of-the art mass spectrometer.

The third annual Great Lakes Symposium, organized by the School of Pharmacy graduate students, was held at Salk Hall on July 27-29. Scientists from universities and pharmaceutical industries presented their research and views of global pharmaceutical development in seminars and small discussion groups. The focus areas included drug delivery, pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism, pharmacometrics, proteomics and medicinal chemistry, structural biology, pharmacogenomics and regulatory affairs.


At the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the interactive, Intelligent Spatial Information System (IISIS) is in the final stages of implementing its disaster response prototype. IISIS is a computer software-driven database that allows emergency response personnel to input detailed data on disaster conditions. This database streamlines the decision-making process and is meant to improve communications systems during emergencies. It was developed by GSPIA and the Department of Computer Science.

On Sept. 30 IISIS will perform its first field demonstration with communities in the Monongahela Valley and will be implemented fully this fall.


The Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) received full re-accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health in July. GSPH opened its doors in 1950 and was accredited soon thereafter. Out of the nation’s 38 accredited schools of public health, GSPH ranks third in funding dollars from the National Institutes of Health.


The School of Social Work is working with Allegheny County leaders in a major effort that examines recidivism of former inmates. Under the leadership of Hidenori Yamatani, associate dean for research, researchers are collaborating with county executives to ascertain the relative impacts of social support, professional service interventions, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health and physical health service provision and informal helping.

School faculty are working with local social service agencies and county officials to assess and develop resources available to deal with the upcoming issues related to gambling and gambling addictions.


The Summer Language Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary by hosting 108 students, 41 of whom finished their studies abroad. SLI offered three levels of Russian and Bosnian Croatian-Serbian, and introductory courses in Bulgarian, Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian and Hungarian. It also offered “Russian for Heritage Speakers,” a course funded by a Fulbright-Hays grant.


Career Services in the Division of Student Affairs has upgraded its employment database. It no longer has PantherTRACS, but now offers a system called “FutureLinks.” The office has a new Pitt portal site for students with numerous features to help them locate summer jobs, internships and full-time employment as well as information for researching career options and employers.

Career Services has added a product called Optimal Resume with which a student can create a professional resume and put it on a web site for potential employers.

This summer the Office of International Services (OIS) began offering personalized shuttle service to all of its new international students who fly into Greater Pittsburgh International Airport.

OIS also hosted a summer picnic in Schenley Park for more than 500 new and current graduate and undergraduate international students.

Residence Life opened three new living-learning communities in Pennsylvania Hall. These special residence hall communities are collaborations between Residence Life and an academic unit. The three new communities include the French language and culture community, the Italian language and culture community and the engineering research community.

The Counseling Center’s sexual assault services is enhancing its peer education program to confront not only the issue of sexual assault but dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. The peer education program is a collaborative effort between students in Greek life and those in the general population. In addition, a new student organization is being formed as a part of this project. The students will be responsible for developing and implementing programs for Sexual Assault Awareness Week, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and other campus-wide events.

The Counseling Center also is expanding the “Stress Free Zone” in the lower level of the William Pitt Union, where students can take advantage of stress-free programs and services, such as chair massages, meditation and relaxation biofeedback.


An offshoot organization of Pitt-Titusville’s Alumni Association has launched a new scholarship plan for Titusville Area High School graduates. The Titusville Promise, in conjunction with UPT, will provide support to allow graduates of the high school to attend UPT tuition-free. Titusville high school graduates must reside in the district and meet UPT admissions criteria to qualify. Once enrolled, recipients must complete 12 credit hours per semester and remain in good standing.

To date, the Titusville Promise has raised more than $40,000 in scholarship funds.

—Peter Hart & Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 40 Issue 1

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