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Christine Solie Joins Pitt as Communications Director for CFO Office
The Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer has appointed Christine Solie as communications director. In her role, Solie will develop a communications strategy for the SVC/CFO office, managing presentations to the Board of Trustees and enhancing communications within the office, as well as in responsibility centers supported by the SVC/CFO office.
Solie comes to Pitt from PNC Financial Services Group, where she oversaw financial communications. Her background includes internal and external communications responsibilities at Ford Motor Credit and Nationwide Insurance, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University. Additionally, Solie is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt.
Human Resources Names Mark Burdsall Assistant Vice Chancellor of Consulting Services
The Office of Human Resources (OHR) is pleased to announce that Mark Burdsall will hold the new position of assistant vice chancellor of consulting services. According to Vice Chancellor Dave DeJong, a new consulting services unit will be composed of the compensation, employee and labor relations and organization development departments.
Burdsall has served OHR and Pitt for 22 years, leading countless organizational transformations in schools and departments across the University to better utilize existing resources and measure the true needs of each unit to achieve their goals. Burdsall has previously held the roles of director of compensation and most recently director of organizational development.
Marc Coutanche Named Rising Star by Association for Psychological Science
Marc Coutanche, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), has been named an Association for Psychological Science Rising Star.
The Rising Star Award is granted to post-PhD psychological research scientists early in their careers for their innovative work influencing their field of study with encouragement for future contributions.
Coutanche heads the Learning in Neural Systems LeNs Lab at the LRDC. His research focuses on the cross between neuroscience and psychology, specifically learning, memory consolidation, sleep, perception and computer science. He uses cognitive experiments, brain imaging and sleep studies to examine human cognition and the brain.
Jamie Hanson Wins American Psychological Foundation Award
Jamie Hanson, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), is the recipient of the 2019 American Psychological Foundation Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award.
The Fantz Award recognizes young researchers in psychology who have accomplished basic scientific research or scholarly writing in perceptual-cognitive development and the development of selective attention, and have investigated and written about the development of individuality, creativity and free-choice of behavior.
Hanson’s research focuses on how children and adolescents learn about their environments, how early life stressors impact their developing brains, and how brain changes can result in negative outcomes. His program consists of working with families, collecting data, connecting with communities and sharing information about brain and behavioral development.
Events and Programs Honor Martin Luther King Jr. During Social Justice Week
A number of signature happenings at Pitt are scheduled for the coming week to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Check out the events calendar for details and see below for highlights.
Kicking it off is the MLK Day of Service on the national holiday, Jan. 20. The Office of PittServes has hit their registration limit with 900 students, faculty, staff and neighbors who are going out into greater Pittsburgh area communities to help make this “a day on, not a day off.”
Other Social Justice Week events include a symposium of talks on intersectionality and marginalization; an interfaith service; a luncheon honoring senior vice chancellor for engagement and secretary of the Board of Trustees Kathy Humphrey; and a career conference.
Find details at Student Affairs’ website.
At the regional campuses, the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville will join the Titusville YWCA, the United Way of the Titusville Region and St. James Episcopal Church to celebrate the life and impact of Martin Luther King Jr. Held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in the church’s parish hall, the event is free and open to the public, and will include a dinner of soup and salad.
Students at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg are invited to participate in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Caring on Jan. 20.
Allison Shertzer Awarded Grant to Study Housing Market Past for Better Future
Allison Shertzer, associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Economics, recently received a three-year, $607,000 National Science Foundation grant to examine the evolution of real estate values and the standard of living in the U.S. over the period of 1880 to 1990.
Shertzer and her team will combine state-of-the-art methods in housing price index construction with newly digitized newspaper archives, with the goal of making important improvements over existing housing price series.
“We can't really understand what is happening in today's housing economy or make predictions for the future, unless we understand how the price of housing moved during booms and busts of the past,” she said.
Pittsburgh Among Cities with Greatest Longevity
Besides being the third most livable city in the U.S., Parade listed Pittsburgh as one where residents have a higher chance of reaching their 100th birthday.
Parade cited health care as Pittsburgh’s new economic driver, but also mentioned “culture and top-notch education at all ages.”
According to the University of California, Irvine, talking to neighbors ranked high among habits of those over age 90. Parade highlighted that “community engagement is rich in this city’s distinct and tight-knit neighborhoods,” with Squirrel Hill residents having an average life expectancy of 86 years old.
Education’s Tessa McCarthy Receives National Research Award
Tessa McCarthy, assistant professor in the School of Education, received the 2019 Alan J. Koenig Research in Literacy Award.
The award, which is one of the highest honors that can be given to educators of people with visual impairments, is granted to one person every two years.
McCarthy, who teaches courses in the Vision Studies program in the School of Education’s Department of Instruction and Learning, focuses the majority of her research on the mechanical and pedagogical aspects of teaching Braille reading.
The School of Education is one of a few dozen higher education institutions in the United States that offer degree and certification programs for educators in vision studies.
Channing Moreland Named Inaugural Director for SHRS Wellness Pavilion
Moreland most recently served as clinical assistant professor in SHRS’ clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling graduate program. She also served as program coordinator for the Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program at the Hiram G. Andrews Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Set to open in 2020, the Wellness Pavilion will offer student-led and faculty-supervised sessions and services free of charge to the community, including interactive classroom instruction and activity; clinical services like therapies and counseling; and special events such as health fairs, demonstrations and health screenings.
“Channing’s extensive community-focused experience, project management skills and research interests in mentorship, minority leadership and multicultural counseling will be great assets to the Wellness Pavilion,” said Patty Kummick, executive director of SHRS internal and external relations. “I’m confident that, under Channing’s capable leadership, the Wellness Pavilion will flourish and will quickly become a place for residents of the greater Homewood community to seek health and wellness services and information.”
Samantha Ford Joins Office of Sustainability as Project Coordinator
Samantha Ford joins the Office of Sustainability as sustainability projects coordinator. This new position expands the University-wide Pitt Sustainability team, providing greater support for the Pitt Sustainability Plan’s goals and strategy. Ford will help coordinate sustainability projects campus-wide, including leading the Pitt Green Office and Green Lab programs; supporting zero waste events and initiatives; and communicating Pitt’s leadership and innovation across the equity, environmental and economic spectrum of sustainability.
Ford’s professional and educational experience includes environmental analytics, embodied energy of technologies, wildlife conservation and biophilic resiliency initiatives that benefit both people and the planet. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and psychology and is pursuing a master’s in sustainability at Chatham University. Before entering graduate school, Ford was a research associate in the Department of Family Medicine.
Ford is excited to be part of the university-wide Pitt Sustainability team supporting the mission of balancing equity, environment and economics to ensure current and future generations can thrive. If you are interested in getting involved to further the culture of sustainability at Pitt or becoming a Pitt Green Office or Green Lab, please contact Ford at Samantha.E.Ford@pitt.edu.
Matthew Rendulic Appointed Assistant Director of Real Estate Development
The Office of Planning, Design and Real Estate in Business and Operations has appointed Matthew Rendulic to the new position of assistant director of real estate development. In his role, Rendulic will support campus-wide strategies for real estate, including new development initiatives and opportunities that will advance the University's mission.
Rendulic previously served as a project manager in the Office of Facilities Management where he directed capital construction projects at Pitt.
Jodi Cardone Joins Pitt as Director of Real Estate Administration
Jodi Cardone has joined the Office of Planning, Design and Real Estate in Business and Operations as director of real estate administration. In her role, Cardone oversees the University’s real estate and leasing portfolio, including contract management and assessment of new development opportunities.
She joins Pitt from the UPMC Corporate Real Estate team and brings demonstrated experience in commercial leasing, property management and market analysis.
Pittsburgh Named One of the World’s Smartest Cities
Pittsburgh has been named one of the world’s smartest cities, as part of Newsweek’s 2019 Momentum Awards.
According to Newsweek, each city that made the list is “doing something bold and unique that is leading us into the land unknown.”
Newsweek noted that Pittsburgh has “undergone a dramatic environmental and technological transformation over recent years,” mentioning the city’s efforts in sustainability as well as several successful smart city projects.
Lina Dostilio Leads Study on Hyperlocal Community Engagement
Lina Dostilio, associate vice chancellor for community engagement, published a new study in conjunction with her work as the inaugural fellow with the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), with support by the Kresge Foundation.
For the study, Dostilio focused on hyperlocal engagement, or “instances in which post-secondary institutions have strategically organized community engagement efforts to focus on a bounded area within a larger city or metropolitan region in ways that enhance the institution’s ability to form partnerships and advance community development.”
The benchmarking report examined the hyperlocal practices of 22 CUMU institutions with a total of 26 engagements across 33 sites—including Pitt’s Community Engagement Center in Homewood.
The report also “catalogs the diversity of hyperlocal engagement strategies and investigates which areas of community capacity were of interest to hyperlocal engagements.” Read the full report.
“To me, the benefits of a hyperlocal engagement are the ability to have a sustained institutional platform for partnership, to be able to grow alongside community anchors, and to think together about how we dream and build the future," said Dostilio. "A university’s future is intertwined with the futures of its surrounding communities.”
Dostilio’s research team included the following Pitt community members:
- Mary Ohmer, associate professor in the School of Social Work
- Kara McFadden (GSPIA '19), alumna of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
- Carrie Finkelstein, graduate student in the School of Social Work
Pediatrics Researcher John V. Williams to be Presented Award for Scientific Contributions
John V. Williams was recently announced as the recipient of the 2020 Norman J. Siegel Outstanding Science Award by the American Pediatric Society for “his considerable contributions to pediatric science.”
Williams is the division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Henry L. Hillman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Immunology; professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and director of the Institute for Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity in Children (i4Kids).
Williams is an international leader in the field of respiratory virus biology, particularly human metapneumovirus (HMPV), and a recognized researcher and contributor to leading scientific journals. He will be presented the award on May 3 during the APS Presidential Plenary at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2020 meeting in Philadelphia.
Read more about Williams and the American Pediatric Society's honor.
Kenneth Jordan's Paper on Hydration, Surfactants Published in PNAS
Kenneth Jordan, Richard King Mellon Professor and Distinguished Professor of Computational Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, is part of the research team behind the paper “Molecular-Level Origin of the Carboxylate Head Group Response to Divalent Metal Ion Complexation at the Air-Water Interface,” published in the July edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences.
The paper examines at a microscopic level the hydration of a model surfactant system. Surfactants such as soaps have one end that is attracted toward water, with the other end being attracted to oily substances.
Valerie Kinloch Served as Keynote for Equity Summit
The summit drew school district leadership from across Pennsylvania to “learn best practices, network with others and engage in discussions on how to develop a culturally responsive and inclusive school environment.”
The summit was held in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 15.
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Celebrates 50th Anniversary
The University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences turns 50 this year.
The school began as one of the smallest schools on Pitt’s campus in 1969 and has grown to be one of the most prominent today.
“We are fortunate that the leadership in SHRS sees the challenges as opportunities to demonstrate our collective innovation in educational delivery. This is especially evident as we boldly move into the arena of distance education,” said Anthony Delitto, who has served as the school’s dean since 2015.
Read more about the school over its half-century existence in the latest edition of FACETS, SHRS’s magazine.
Pitt Collaboratory Releases Paper on Water Issues
The Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach has released a white paper outlining key challenges to water quality research, monitoring and improvement in the region. The collaboratory, founded by faculty out of the Department of Geology and Environmental Science in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, recommended coordinated regional efforts to test waterways for a broader range of pollutants and increased public awareness surrounding water quality issues. The paper, “Water Quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Knowledge Gaps and Approaches,” is the second of three examining knowledge gaps surrounding water issues within the region.
Taryn Bayles Awarded for Excellence in Teaching
Taryn Bayles, vice chair for education and professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, recently received the James Pommersheim Award for Excellence in Teaching Chemical Engineering. The award recognizes departmental faculty in the areas of lecturing, teaching, research methodology and research mentorship of students.
Bayles’ research focuses on engineering education, increasing awareness of the engineering field and understanding how to help students succeed once they choose engineering as a major. She co-authored the INSPIRES (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering and Science) curriculum, which introduces high school students to engineering design through hands-on experiences and inquiry-based learning.
Read more about Bayles and the award on the Swanson School's website.