Accolades

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Jean Grace

Dietrich School Launches New Writing Institute

The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences recently launched a new writing institute to help create a “more vibrant writing culture” on Pitt’s campus.

The William S. Dietrich II Institute for Writing Excellence, which is rooted in the Department of English’s Composition Program, will help Dietrich School professors advance their writing instruction and help them teach discipline-specific writing in their courses. The new institute will also provide an environment for instructors to share tools that they’ve developed and learn from one another. The center plans to offer workshops for faculty and graduate students working on large projects.

“Writing is important because it allows us to move our ideas forward, to create knowledge, to figure things out,” said Jean Grace (pictured), senior lecturer in the Department of English and director of the Institute for Writing Excellence. “Writing is the life force of the academic community—it’s how we communicate research and advance our fields, how we document our work, how we earn credentials.”

The institute is named for William S. Dietrich II, the late philanthropist and double-degree Dietrich School alumnus who made a historic gift of $125 million to the University to name the then-School of Arts and Sciences to honor his father, Kenneth P. Dietrich. The Dietrich Foundation also gave a generous gift to help create the new writing institute. 

Read more about the new writing institute on the Dietrich School’s website.

A statue of a panther

Pitt Faculty Named 2020 Sloan Research Fellows

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has named three Pitt faculty as 2020 Sloan Research Fellows:

The fellowship, awarded annually to 126 scientists in the United States and Canada, is dedicated for scholars studying chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Since the fellowship was founded in 1955, 38 Pitt faculty have received the honor. 

Winners will receive a two-year, $75,000 fellowship to support their research. 

The Study Lab's wall, decorated with multicolored hexagons

Study Lab Wins Silver Award for Marketing and Communications at CASE

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) announced that Pitt’s Study Lab: Revolutionizing the Story of Academic Success won the 2020 Silver Accolades Award under Institutional Marketing Identity/Branding Programs. 

Study Lab has undergone a rebranding in recent years, resulting in increased student engagement levels. Pittwire wrote about it in November 2019 and the online database company Knack spotlighted the “amazing results” on their blog. The marketing and communications team behind the efforts are being recognized for their work. 

The award recognizes the visibility, support and prestige that marketing and programming bring to their institution. Criteria for the award included quality, creativity, innovation, adherence to professional standards and success in meeting stated objectives. 

The team included Rebecca Farabaugh, communications manager in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences; Marygrace Reder, marketing manager in the Office of University Communications and Marketing (OUCM); and Jane Dudley, designer and assistant creative director in OUCM. 

Toi Derricotte in a gray jacket

Toi Derricotte Wins Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry

Toi Derricotte, professor emerita in the Department of English within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is the 2020 recipient of the Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. 

Derricotte’s sixth and most recent collection of poetry, “‘I’: New and Selected Poems,” was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award.

The award, named to honor the late poet Robert Frost, is presented annually by the Poetry Society of America to recognize the lifetime achievements of an American poet.

Anjali Sachdeva

Anjali Sachdeva Named NEA Fellow in Literature

Anjali Sachdeva, lecturer in the Department of English in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was named a Literature Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The NEA grants fellowships to writers and translators of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction to allow recipients to “set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement.” 

Chosen from nearly 1,700 eligible applicants, Sachdeva is one of 36 creative writing fellows who received a grant of $25,000.

Paul Palevsky

Medical Researcher Paul Palevsky Named President-Elect to Foundation Board

Paul M. Palevsky was recently named president-elect of the National Kidney Foundation’s board

Palevsky is a professor of medicine and clinical and translational science in the renal-electrolyte division at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is chief of the renal section at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

He is internationally recognized as an expert in acute kidney injury and critical care nephrology and has helped lead multiple clinical trials focused on the management of acute dialysis, prevention of acute kidney injury and slowing the progression of diabetic kidney disease. He has published more than 250 original articles, reviews and book chapters and has held multiple editorial positions.

The Cathedral of Learning

Awardees of Excellence in Advising Prize Announced

The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences has named Frayda Cohen and Barbara "Babs" Mowery this year's Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising recipients. 

The Dietrich School's annual award recognizes outstanding faculty and staff academic advising of its undergraduate students.

Cohen is the director of undergraduate studies, senior lecturer, and undergraduate advisor in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program. Mowrey is an academic advisor in the Dietrich School's Academic Advising Center.

Recipients are nominated by fellow faculty and staff, and nominations are supported by the experiences of undergraduate students.

WPTS Radio logo

WPTS Radio Hosts 24-hour Winter Marathon

WPTS Radio, a student-run radio station at the University of Pittsburgh, is hosting a signature programming event of specialty content beginning Friday, Feb. 7.

The Totally '20s Winter Marathon is from noon Friday, Feb. 7 to noon Saturday, Feb. 8. For 24 hours, Pitt students will be on the air broadcasting live music, sports competitions, game shows and more. Tune in on 92.1 FM or iheartradio or wptsradio.org

“This year, we are especially excited to continue the marathon tradition because of an award we won called the Spirit of College Radio Award for an event we did in October,” said station manager Jonah Pfeifer.

WPTS was one of six recipients of the 2020 Spirit of College Radio award. More than 500 stations in 33 countries participated in World College Radio Day on Oct. 4, 2019. WPTS held a 921-minute mini-marathon with news and sports programming, trivia and quiz shows. The College Radio Foundation recognized their efforts as the embodiment of the passion and mission of college radio.

Ann E. Cudd and Greg Scott speaking outdoors

Initiative Advances Public Art on Campus

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd and Senior Vice Chancellor for Business and Operations Greg Scott have formally announced the Art on Campus initiative. Art on Campus aims to audit and catalog the public art at the University’s Pittsburgh campus, as well as make recommendations for future installations.

“Public art makes the campus a more vibrant place to visit, and special for visitors, faculty, staff and students,” said Cudd.

Art on Campus is the first major step in producing a complete inventory of artworks owned by the University. Its work will lay the foundation for harnessing Pitt’s art collections to meet the University’s strategic goals in the Plan for Pitt 2025.

The initiative is steered by a committee including members of the Office of the ProvostUniversity Library System and Department of History of Art and Architecture. “This committee’s passion and strong expertise will help us move great ideas forward,” said Cudd.

Art on Campus aims to create a data collection methodology and apply that methodology to several sites on Pitt’s main campus, including Alumni and Mervis halls. In the first year, special attention will be placed on assessing and cataloguing artworks in outdoor spaces and producing a benchmarking study for the development of a public art plan at Pitt.

Lisa S. Parker and Robert M. Arnold

Bioethics Researchers Elected Fellows to Hastings Center

Lisa S. Parker and Robert M. Arnold were recently elected fellows to The Hastings Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars studying ethical questions in medicine, science and technology that help inform policy, practice and public understanding. They are two of 12 newly elected fellows recognized for their outstanding accomplishments informing scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, science and technology.

Parker is the Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics at Pitt, where she directs the Center for Bioethics and Health Law. She is also a professor of human genetics in Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health.

Arnold is a distinguished service professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and chief of the section of palliative care and medical ethics at Pitt. He also is a member of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law where he coordinates the clinical ethics education programs.

K. Leroy Irvis

Pitt Marks Black History Month with a Series of Events

Pitt’s Black History Month celebrations kick off in earnest this week, with scheduled guest speakers, panel discussions and a step dance performance taking place throughout February.

A full list of programming can be found on Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion site

Highlights include a discussion about the history of African Americans' right to vote and the rise of Black elected officials, taking place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the Community Engagement Center in Homewood, and the release of "Race, Justice, and Activism in Literacy Instruction," a new book by Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the School of Education. Kinloch will discuss the topic at noon Feb. 25 in Room 4303 of Posvar Hall.  

Details are forthcoming for Pitt’s signature K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program, which will be a four-day festival from Feb. 26-29 celebrating art, music and poetry as a form of activism and social justice. In 2008, the University named its annual Black History Month event to honor the memory of the legendary Pennsylvania legislative leader, Pitt alumnus (LAW '54) and emeritus trustee. Irvis (pictured), who in 1977 became the first African American speaker of the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania and the first Black speaker of any statehouse since the Reconstruction Era, sponsored the 1966 bill that made Pitt a state-related institution of higher education.

Black History Month is celebrated every February to acknowledge the contributions of those of African descent to our nation’s life and culture.

Nicole Mitchell plays the flute in a red jacket

Nicole Mitchell Named United States Artists Fellow

Pitt Jazz Studies Director Nicole Mitchell has been named a 2020 United States Artists (USA) Fellow—an honor accompanied by a $50,000 cash award to use as she wishes. She is one of 50 national artists across 10 disciplines to win the award this year. 

“I was driving when I got the phone call and became so flustered I had to pull the car over,” Mitchell said with a laugh, recalling the day she received the news.

In making the announcement, USA President and CEO Deanna Haggag said of this year’s fellows: “Each and every one of them stands out as a visionary influence in their respective field.” 

Mitchell took up the position of Jazz Studies director in January 2019. 

She is a member of the We Have Voice Collective, a national group of musicians, performers and scholars who draw attention to inequity in the music industry. On Jan. 17, three other collective members joined her at Pitt’s Bellefield Auditorium for a panel discussion and concert, a premiere performance for collective members. She also is collaborating in Pitt’s K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program in late February and with Manchester Craftsman’s Guild for student workshops this spring. Mitchell is also looking into a community-focused Jazz and Creative Music Intensive for women and girls.

As far as the USA award, Mitchell is again thinking about helping emerging artists.

“I feel really humbled by this and want to use it to make impact,” she said. “My dream would be to use part of it to create a new grant program for artists who are just at the edge of doing great things.”

Ryan McGarry

Ryan McGarry (MED ’09) Produces New Netflix Original Series

The new Netflix documentary series “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” is earning buzz. Fast Company called it “required viewing,” saying it “couldn’t have come at a more crucial time with the recent coronavirus outbreak.”

Ryan McGarry (MD ’09), an emergency medicine doctor, Pitt School of Medicine alumnus and cinematographer, is behind the series as an executive producer. This summer, he invited Pitt Anthropology Chair Bryan Hanks to play a role in setting the stage for the series: The first episode opens at an unmarked grave site near Pittsburgh where an unknown number of bodies are buried—victims of the 1918 pandemic flu. Hanks and a team of Pitt students use ground-penetrating radar to estimate about how many people were buried there. 

McGarry, now a faculty member at Cornell University, said he wanted an excuse to get back to Pittsburgh and feature Pitt experts in this docuseries. Check out the new show on Netflix and learn more about his first big experiment, Code Black, in Pitt Med magazine.

Aurora Sharrard

Aurora Sharrard to Serve on Sustainability Advisory Council

Pitt Sustainability director Aurora Sharrard has been named to a two-year term on the advisory council of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. 

Established in 2005, AASHE is comprised of over 900 members in 20 countries worldwide. The organization’s mission is to inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.

Jamie Ducar

Jamie Ducar Earns Second Micro-Credential in Community Engagement

Jamie Ducar, director of community engagement in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations, has earned a micro-credential in Community Engagement Fundamentals through Campus Compact's Community Engagement Professional Credentialing Program. 

Ducar earned this micro-credential by demonstrating her “competency to effectively and elaborately [summarize] the foundations of the field and breadth of community-engaged work it encompasses.” 

This the second micro-credential Ducar has earned from Campus Compact, a national coalition of over 1,000 colleges and universities “committed to the public purses of higher education.” She is one of only two individuals who have earned micro-credentials in Community Engagement and Community Partnerships. 

Lina Dostilio, Pitt’s assistant vice chancellor for community engagement, helped develop the set of key competencies that are required to obtain this micro-credential and is a member of Campus Compact’s Content Advisory Board.

Kori Krueger

New Paper Offers Insight to Why Couples Post Pictures Online

An article published online earlier this month in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin is one of the first studies to examine the reasons people post pictures of themselves with significant others on online profiles. It’s a well-known and widely-practiced behavior—but the motivations behind the behavior, and its consequences, have received limited research attention until now. 

“There are lay theories that people don’t really think about what they post online, that they just post whatever pops into their head at any given time and that they’re not really thoughtful about the long-term effects of those things,” said Kori Krueger (pictured), a graduate student in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts Sciences’ Department of Psychology and the paper’s first author. “Our findings suggest that there may be a more strategic reason that some people post couple photos, display their relationship status and mention their romantic partner in social media posts,” said Amanda Forest, a faculty member in psychology, Krueger’s advisor and co-author on the paper. Forest’s work looks at interpersonal communication and close relationships. 

“It really seems to be a way to protect your relationship from outside interference,” Krueger said.

The Cathedral of Learning

Pitt Law Signs Accelerated Admissions Agreement with Bloomsburg University

Pitt’s School of Law is once again offering qualified students from Bloomsburg University (BU) an Accelerated Law Admissions Program (ALAP) that will save them a full year of tuition and costs.

Pitt and BU signed an agreement Jan. 22 that will allow BU students who have earned at least 90 credits and have completed all major and general education requirements by the end of their junior year, to apply for law school admission, as if it was their final year of undergraduate study. Pitt Law will assess those students as if they were ordinary applicants, but it will waive the usual requirement to have completed a bachelor’s degree before admission. The student’s first year of law school will double as their senior year of college.

This allows those students to achieve a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years instead of seven. 

Said Pitt Law Dean Amy Wildermuth: “We have had several excellent Bloomsburg graduates as students at Pitt Law and this program will strengthen the terrific pipeline between our two schools. Most importantly, both Bloomsburg and Pitt are eager to find ways to help students reduce their overall debt. By decreasing the number of years a student spends in school, this program will have a significant and meaningful impact.”

Pitt Law already offers its ALAP to students at the University’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences and its College of Business Administration. The program is also available for students from Washington and Jefferson College and Carlow University.

Hickton in a dark blue blazer and light blue tie

Pitt Cyber Launches Task Force to Prevent Bias in County’s Decision-making Tools

The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security announced the creation of the Pittsburgh Task Force on Public Algorithms on Jan. 22, 2020. The task force, convened with support from The Heinz Endowments, is a coalition of researchers, educators, community service providers and public and private sector stakeholders that seeks to establish best practices and practical guidelines for the use of municipal decision-making algorithms. The task force is supported by an advisory panel featuring representatives from Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh.

The group will use a combination of community outreach meetings and public comments posted on its website to assess county residents’ major concerns with municipal decision-making algorithms. In summer 2021, it will publish a full report of its research and recommendations for best practices for the technology.

“Increasingly, algorithms are being used to facilitate efficient government. We need to ensure that historical discrimination and existing inequities are not reinforced,” said Pitt Cyber Founding Director and Task Force Chair David Hickton (pictured). “Pittsburgh should lead the way in effective and fair oversight of these systems. We can be a national model, ensuring algorithmic accountability and equity for all residents.”

Max Schuster

Max Schuster Selected for Emerging Faculty Leader Academy

Max Schuster, assistant professor of practice in the School of Education, was selected for the 2019-2020 NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy, an honor given to only seven faculty members across the country each year.

The highly selective academy is a one-year program designed for early career faculty in student affairs and higher education graduate programs. The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, which supports student affairs administrators in higher education, has 15,000 members from 1,200 institutions around the world.

Schuster (EDUC ’17G) manages the Master of Education in Higher Education program in the School of Education. Read more about Schuster and the Leader Academy.

statue thumbnail

Teaching Center Honors Four with Advancing Educational Excellence Award

The University Center for Teaching and Learning recognized Charline Rowland, teaching consultant; Mark Vehec, web developer; Robin Albright, senior instructional designer; and Tahirah Walker, manager, of teaching support, for earning its 2019 Advancing Educational Excellence award.

The annual honor is a peer-driven award that recognizes teaching center staff members who exemplify the values of the center, demonstrate a positive attitude and commitment to responsibilities, and make above-and-beyond contributions to the University.