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March 19, 2009


Faculty members at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences who recently were honored include:

Sheila Pratt, associate professor, has been appointed as the editor-in-chief for the American Journal of Audiology, one of the primary publications of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Judith L. Dodd, adjunct assistant professor, has been awarded the 2008 Copher Award, the highest award bestowed upon a member of the American Dietetic Association. The award citation noted that the award was presented in recognition of Dodd’s “distinguished service to the association and the profession. She is recognized as a leader with extraordinary compassion, diplomacy and charm while being an advocate for the association and a model of highest quality professional practice and ethics.”


Jessie Van Swearingen, associate professor, was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Worthingham fellows are honored for demonstrating advancement of the profession of physical therapy in at least one of the four domains of research, education, practice or advocacy; and providing frequent and sustained contributions (leadership, influence, and achievements) to advance the profession.


Peter Brusilovsky, associate professor at the School of Information Sciences, has been nominated by the Association for Computing Machinery as a senior member. Senior member status recognizes those ACM members with at least 10 years of professional experience and five years of continuous professional membership who have demonstrated performance that sets them apart from their peers.

For 2008, there were 162 scholars from universities, research institutions and corporations who were honored. ACM is the largest international educational and scientific computing society for computing educators, researchers and professionals.

Brusilovsky is known for his research in the areas of adaptive web-based systems, adaptive hypermedia, adaptive interfaces, intelligent tutoring systems and shells, student and user modeling, human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence.

He serves as associate editor of the recently introduced journal, the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies. Previously, he was awarded the E.T.S. Walton Visitor Award sponsored by the Science Foundation-Ireland as well as several fellowships including the James S. McDowell Fellowship (U.S.), the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (Germany) and the Royal Society Ex-Quota Fellowship (U.K.).


Jean Truman, assistant professor of nursing at Pitt-Bradford, will receive the 2009 Chairs’ Faculty Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.

Truman was chosen for the award by the chairs of Pitt-Bradford’s five academic divisions, who reviewed letters of recommendation, student evaluations of teaching, syllabi and grade distribution. They also considered the teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and their advising and dedication in working with students beyond the classroom in such activities as internships and research projects.

The award, now in its eighth year, is open to any full-time faculty member who has taught at Pitt-Bradford for at least the last three academic years.

“I am humbled to receive this award,” Truman said. “I can appreciate that each student learns in his or her own way, and I try to incorporate a variety of learning styles for my students to help them understand nursing concepts. My goal for the nursing program at Pitt-Bradford is to graduate students who can critically think in the clinical arena to be able to provide safe and competent care to those entrusted to them.”

In addition to working with computerized mannequins, Truman has created a web-based tutorial that allows students to explore various kinds of irregular heartbeats. She has used volunteers to portray burn victims to expose her students to a situation in which they would have to handle a severe burn.

Truman also coordinates Pitt-Bradford’s associate of science in nursing program. She continues to work as a nursing supervisor at Bradford Regional Medical Center.

Truman will receive her award during the campus’s April 9 honors convocation.


Patrick Loughlin, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been elected to the 2009 American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Class of Fellows.

The citation on behalf of Loughlin’s election as AIMBE fellow reads: “For significant contributions in time-varying signal processing and modeling of physiological systems, including human postural control and anesthetic delivery.”

Loughlin is the 22nd Pitt bioengineering faculty member to be elected to AIMBE Fellowship.

Loughlin is associate editor and member of the editorial board for the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Transactions on Biomedical Engineering; past chair of the signal processing chapter of the IEEE (Pittsburgh section), and member of the technical committee on acoustic signal processing of the Acoustical Society of America.

He was awarded the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in 1999.


Andrew E. Taslitz, Welsh S. White Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, has been elected to a three-year term on the governing council of the American Bar Association’s criminal justice section. The council decides which law reform proposals the section will make, what advisory committees it should create and what educational efforts it should undertake. The council also is responsible for the section’s finances and its public relations efforts. Taslitz’s term begins in August.

His writings have centered on search and seizure issues, wrongful convictions, sexual assault, hate crimes legislation, freedom of speech, the expressive function of law, statutory interpretation methods and scientific and character evidence.


Jane Feuer, professor of English, has received the Fulbright German Distinguished Chair in American Studies for 2009-10.

The Fulbright distinguished chairs program comprises approximately 40 distinguished lecturing, distinguished research and distinguished lecturing/research awards. This is the only such award for Germany. Candidates must be eminent scholars and have a significant publication and teaching record.

The Distinguished Chair in American Studies was established in Germany in 1996 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the worldwide Fulbright program.

The chair has been committed to the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen until academic year 2011-2012. The Tübingen Distinguished Chair is a new joint initiative of the Fulbright Commission in Berlin and the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. The American studies program in Tübingen is establishing a new integrative interdisciplinary MA and PhD program which, in addition to American literary and cultural studies, will include American history, political science, sociology, law, art history and media studies.

Feuer’s main areas of interest are film, popular culture, television and cultural studies.


The executive board of the School of Pharmacy’s American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) has honored Sharon Connor, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, as Faculty Member of the Year for 2009. The award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding contributions and service to the APhA-ASP chapter’s projects and events.

Connor is director for the program for pharmaceutical care to underserved populations (PPCUP). She coordinates the course, Pharmaceutical Care to Underserved Populations, which focuses on pharmaceutical access using service-learning as a teaching method. She also promotes service-learning through internships.

PPCUP partners with the program for health care to underserved populations in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UPMC and Health Care for the Homeless in Pittsburgh to optimize prescription access and provide pharmaceutical care to low-income, uninsured and homeless patients.


Lance Davidson, assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for his project titled, “Physical Shaping of Mesenchymal Tissues.”

Davidson works collaboratively with engineers and biologists to integrate molecular genetic details of morphogenesis with cellular and tissue mechanics, with the aim of helping to design better artificial tissues and to identify the mechanical sources of birth defects.

Funding for his project begins in July through NSF’s Integrative Organismal Systems in the Directorate for Biological Sciences.

In 2006, Davidson was named to the Faculty of 1000 — Biology, an online research service that reviews papers published in the biological sciences.

That year he also was named associate editor of Cell Communication and Adhesion, a central forum for the rapid publication of manuscripts, reviews and conference reports covering all aspects of receptor-based cell recognition and signaling.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

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