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August 28, 2008

What's New? Things

The proliferation of roof-top car carriers. Closed streets. Laundry carts everywhere. All the signs that a busy new academic year is upon us once again.

But for many in the Pitt community, the hazy days of summer have been anything but lazy: facilities were renovated; faculty and staff were hired; new academic programs were established.

The University Times asked deans and other school officials to provide a brief look at “What’s New? People, Places and Things” in their areas. What follows is not all-encompassing, but rather an overview of school news based on material submitted.

Information previously published in the University Times was omitted.

What’s New? Things

A number of new language courses are among the classes approved in the School of Arts and Sciences for the spring term. Xhosa 2, 3 and 4; Egyptian 1, 2 and 3; Iraqi 1, 2 and 3; Moroccan Arabic 1, 2 and 3 and an introduction to Arabic linguistics will be available. New linguistics courses on deaf culture and the deaf and society also are planned.

New religious studies classes include a course on martyrs and martyrdom and a course on the religions of ancient Egypt.

New major programs include a bachelor of science in political science and bioinformatics. New minors are available in Chinese and in Africana studies.

History faculty member Patrick Manning will present his inaugural lecture as Mellon Professor of World History at 4 p.m. Oct. 14 in a location to be announced. Manning’s topic is “Human Migration: Disciplinary Contributions to History.”

Manning, along with other speakers from the University and from the field of world history, will offer remarks at the opening of the World History Center at Pitt on Oct. 16.

Pitt’s Department of Athletics has extended the discount period to the end of the month for Pitt and UPMC faculty and staff to purchase season tickets for football at a 20 percent discount. Single-game ticket sales begin Aug. 31.

Athletics also has expanded and added to its pre-game slate of activities for Panther home football games. New and expanded tailgate options start three hours prior to kickoff. Pitt’s “World’s Largest Family Tailgate” on Art Rooney Avenue has added a giant video board, live entertainment and food vendors.

New tailgates include a student-oriented “Great Lawn Tailgate” near Jerome Bettis’s Grille 36, an invitation-only pregame tailgate in the white tent on the great lawn for special guests, and a Pitt band tailgate for band alumni, families and friends at the corner of Tony Dorsett Drive and General Robinson Street.

The traditional March to Victory led by the Pitt Marching Band one hour prior to kickoff has a new starting location on Tony Dorsett Drive near the band tailgate.

Ticket information and details on game day events can be viewed by clicking on “Game Day Central” at

The finance faculty in the Katz Graduate School of Business have redesigned the curriculum to enable students in the new financial analysis lab’s Wall Street-like setting to sharpen their skills by using the same real-time information used by investment bankers and financial professionals.

Pitt-Bradford’s Bromeley Family Theater is launching a new children’s matinee series featuring performances of classic children’s novels. The children’s series will include culturally diverse programs in support of schools’ curriculums. Elementary shows include a study guide for teachers.

The New Horizons School matinee series will feature “Charlotte’s Web” on Oct. 9 and “Nate the Great” on Jan. 22.

The new elementary shows have been joined with a program that presents live theatre at a reduced price to high school students.

For older students, a matinee performance of “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” directed by Kevin Ewert, associate professor of theatre, will be offered Nov. 19. A school matinee of the spring production by the Division of Communication and the Arts will take place April 1. That offering has yet to be announced.

The campus is phasing out its computer science program and launching a bachelor of science program in computer information systems and technology.

The new major will be housed in the school’s Division of Management and Education.

The new program will emphasize the Internet and database technology. Students will develop web pages and web applications. They also will take courses in networking, computer security, systems administration, electronic commerce, supply chain management and multimedia applications. A required three-credit internship will be a component of the program.

In addition to computing courses, students will be encouraged to complete a minor in either business management or entrepreneurship.

UPB has purchased two computerized mannequins — an infant and an adult — for its new nursing simulation lab. Nursing professors program the mannequins to demonstrate various types of medical distress, including a heart attack, and then to respond to how the students treat the emergency. The mannequins can be programmed to talk, breathe, turn blue if the oxygen level decreases, and dilate their pupils. The adult mannequin’s gender also can be changed.

School of Education faculty will participate in the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Clinical Guidelines for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction expert panel. John Jakicic, professor in the Department of Health and Physical Activity, will lead the faculty group, which is charged with writing the evidence-based clinical guidelines for the NIH.

In addition, a 15-member international technical assistance team led by four professors from the School of Education will develop policy reform strategies to help the government of Vietnam overcome the disparities that exist where ethnic minority status, gender and socioeconomic status limit student access and attainment at the secondary-school level. Professors W. James Jacob, David M. Berman, Donald B. Holsinger and John C. Weidman will participate in the strategy sessions. The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank.

The College of General Studies will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the annual Student Government/Alumni Council pre-fireworks homecoming reception Oct. 24.

The CGS Student Government will sponsor a networking social on Sept. 17 where students in the college can meet and talk with current student leaders as well as alumni. The CGS Alumni Council will be distributing lapel pins and CGS 50th anniversary T-shirts at the social.

Pitt-Greensburg is introducing a four-year BS degree program in chemistry and a Chinese language course this fall.

The campus also established The Ben Franklin Society, which prepares students to compete for national awards.

Swipe-card access has been expanded over the summer to include the College Park Apartments, Willow Hall and the residential portion of the Living Learning Center at Pitt-Johnstown. Last summer, all first-year residence halls were equipped with the same swipe-card access.

The online FastTrack MLIS program at the School of Information Sciences (SIS) has been expanded to include the specialization in archives, preservation and records management. This program is being offered online beginning this fall.

Students will gain theoretical and practical knowledge about records and record-keeping systems, electronic records management, archival appraisal and access, the history and evolution of record-keeping systems, digital preservation and preservation management of library and archives collections.

The 2008-09 season of Pitt’s Kuntu Repertory Theatre will spotlight four plays by the late Rob Penny, Kuntu’s longtime playwright-in-residence and faculty member in Africana studies.

The season consists of: “Diane’s Heart” (Oct. 16-Nov. 1); “Clean Drums” (Jan. 22-Feb. 7); a double bill of the one-acts, “Pain in My Heart” and “Reachings” (April 2-April 18), and “Among the Best” (May 28-June 13). For information call 412/624-7298.

The School of Law has added four tracks to its health law certificate program for JD students:

• Administration, finance and governance focuses on the “business of health law”— health care financing, credentialing of health care professionals and government regulation of the health care system.

• The bioethics track focuses on legal aspects of ethical issues arising between doctors, patients, families and the state.

• Global health and human rights encompasses three domains: the impact of health policies and programs on human rights; the impact of human rights abuses on health, and the role of international human rights law in advocating for improvements in human health and human well being.

• The public health track focuses on the health of populations, as opposed to the health of individuals. Consequently, public health law focuses on legal aspects of public health practice and the consequences of law on the public’s health.

In April, the School of Nursing’s neonatal nurse practitioner and clinical nurse leader areas were changed from specialties to areas of concentration.

The neonatal nurse practitioner area of concentration prepares nurse practitioners who manage the health care of high-risk infants, their families and children up to 2 years of age. This expanded role is performed in collaboration with neonatologists and other pediatric clinicians.

The clinical nurse leader area of concentration focuses on experienced staff nurses who want to assume a leadership role by remaining at the bedside.

The School of Pharmacy is offering a master of science in pharmacy administration program. The program is designed for individuals entering careers in which they will be managing pharmaceutical care delivery systems. Students completing this program will be prepared to assume leadership positions in hospital systems and retail pharmacy chains.

The school also is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

The Graduate School of Public Health also is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

GSPH is offering two new doctoral degree programs:

• A DrPH program in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. The program emphasizes environmental health practice, policy and management with a focus on applied sciences and problem solving.

• A PhD in health services research and policy through the Department of Health Policy and Management. Health services researchers analyze the cost, access and quality of health care systems. Individual students can focus their research on policies at the national, state and local levels; on the management and operation of organizations or public health agencies, or on the experience of individual users of health care and public health services.

GSPH also has launched a first-of-its-kind certificate program in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health and wellness. The program, part of Pitt’s Center for Research on Health and Sexual Orientation, is designed to help students gain a multidisciplinary perspective of LGBT health that can be applied to a broad array of public health professions. The certificate program is co-sponsored by the school’s departments of epidemiology, behavioral and community health sciences, and infectious diseases and microbiology.

GSPH Dean Donald S. Burke, in his role as Pitt associate vice chancellor for global health, has instituted a student global travel grant program. The grants are to be used for ground and air transportation to and from a project site, lodging and meal expenses while participating in a project, visa and immunization expenses and other direct project-related expenses.

Donald (D.A.) Henderson will deliver the 2008 John C. Cutler Memorial Lecture in Global Health Sept. 23. Henderson, who is at the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC and a professor at GSPH and the School of Medicine, is best known for leading the global effort to eradicate smallpox, an effort he describes as “a remarkable victory for international public health.”

His address is titled “The Eradication of Smallpox: What We Should Have Learned … but Didn’t.”

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs will host several events during homecoming weekend, Oct. 24 and 25.

GSPIA’s master of international development program has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) following a two-year accreditation process. In addition, the master’s of public administration program has been re-accredited by NASPAA for an additional seven years.

The School of Social Work will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of its PhD program this fall. Pitt’s doctoral program is the second oldest such program in the country.

A new Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) program is being introduced by Student Affairs this fall to complement students’ academic studies.

The program encourages students to engage in learning experiences outside the classroom that will help them in their personal and professional development.

Students who choose to participate will be required to attend a specific number of events designed to foster growth in nine key areas: leadership, developing a sense of self, career preparation, participation in the University community, sharpening communication skills, understanding and respecting diversity, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, demonstrating service to others and cultivating an appreciation for the arts.

Pitt’s Computing Services and Systems Development has customized software that will allow students to track their progress in each category through Students will have the ability to register for programs, track their attendance and ultimately generate a transcript.

Students also will receive a green cord of distinction to wear at commencement.

Student Affairs will enhance its career services this fall by adding the Student Employment and Placement Assistance Office. SEPA staff will work with prospective employers to help Pitt students land internships and full-time jobs in key markets around the country. Offices on the second floor of the William Pitt Union are being remodeled and a search for a full-time director is underway.

The Career Services Office will be renamed the Career Development Office to reflect the types of services it will provide to students, including assistance with selecting a major or career; resume development and cover letter writing; networking and interviewing skills, and preparing for graduate, law, medical or professional school.

Pitt will host its largest on-campus job fair ever this fall noon-6 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Petersen Events Center. More than 250 employers are expected to be represented.

The University Library System has streamlined PITTCat’s request function. The new “Get it!” request, introduced in mid-July, replaces several separate request forms.

The Get it! service allows library patrons to request online delivery of journal articles or physical delivery of other library materials to library locations throughout ULS. Faculty can use the form to have library materials delivered directly. Get it! also will allow requests for non-circulating library materials. In those cases, patrons will receive email notification advising when the item is available for use at a reference desk or other designated area.

ULS also has made chatting with its librarians more convenient. A new widget has been added to the Ask A Librarian area of the ULS web site to enable users to chat with a librarian without launching their own instant messaging programs. The Ask A Librarian service also allows users to contact library staff by phone or email.

ULS is hosting an exhibition, “Discovering K. Leroy Irvis,” in the K. Leroy Irvis Reading Room on the first floor of Hillman Library, adjacent to the African-American Collection.

The exhibit, on display throughout the current academic year, features photographs, correspondence and other material from Pitt’s archival collection of Irvis’s papers. The first African-American Speaker of the House of a state legislature since the Reconstruction period, Irvis was Pittsburgh’s representative in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives during the 1970s and 1980s.

Students in the School of Information Sciences (SIS)’s collections conservation course, taught by Jean Ann Croft, ULS head of Special Collections and Preservation and a SIS adjunct professor, produced the exhibit.

The Oakland Task Force distributed green reusable grocery bags to returning students to kick off its “Go Green Oakland” educational campaign. The bags contained a resource guide highlighting green initiatives of Oakland’s educational institutions, eco-friendly businesses and regional environmental organizations.

The Oakland Task Force is a partnership of more than 25 institutions, community organizations, businesses and public agencies working to improve the Oakland neighborhood.

As of Aug. 11, Pitt employees in Mechanicsburg and Pittsburgh who are paid via direct deposit will receive travel and business (T&B) expense reimbursements via direct deposit to the same account.

In addition to being faster and more convenient for recipients, the change is expected to cut processing costs by eliminating the need for some 42,000 paper checks per year, according to the Payment Processing department’s web page.

Direct deposits of T&B reimbursements will be done each Friday for T&Bs received in Payment Processing by Wednesday. Employees will be emailed a deposit notice when a transaction is completed.

Enrollment forms for direct deposit are available at

The Office of Residence Life has added three new living and learning communities (LLC), bringing the total number of specialized living areas to 15. New this fall for upperclassmen are the Multicultural LLC, the Business Research LLC and the Leadership LLC.

More information on the program can be found at

—Kimberly K. Barlow & Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 41 Issue 1

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