2015-2016 Faculty and Staff Updates

by John Conroy

The Faculty and Staff Updates article was originally featured in the Fall 2016-Winter 2017 School of Education News magazine.

Assistant Professor Tom Akiva was awarded the 2016 Scholar Award by the American Educational Research Association’s Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group.

Richard Altenbaugh, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies, wrote a book, The Last Children’s Plague: Poliomyelitis, Disability, and Twentieth-century American Culture. Published by Palgrave Macmillan, the book focuses on the impact of polio on victims and their families as well as how it tied into the social history of the development of the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

Professor Stephen J. Bagnato, Jr. was invited to become a member of the national expert advisory board for the recently funded National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NC ECDTL). The national nonprofit ZERO TO THREE established NC ECDTL to advise the federal government on policy implications, evidence-based practices, and effective professional development approaches for early childhood intervention programs. In addition, Bagnato served as cocreator and chair of the Pitt/Pennsylvania State University research summit Re-inventing Tomorrow’s Schools: Innovations in Pennsylvania through Community-University Partnerships, held at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, Pa., May 15–17, 2016. The partnership aims to increase networking and research opportunities by showcasing innovative initiatives among universities and their community partners.

John Conroy, the school’s manager of marketing communications, was named president of the Midday Toastmasters Club and began his role on July 1, 2015. The group, which meets every Wednesday in Oakland, is part of Toastmasters International, which was founded in 1924 as an organization dedicated to communication, leadership, and public speaking skill development. Conroy also earned a Competent Communicator award by completing all the speech projects in Toastmasters International’s Competent Communication manual.

Patricia Crawford, associate professor in and associate chair of the Department of Instruction and Learning, received an honorable mention from the Association for Childhood Education International as part of its Distinguished Education Research Article Awards.

Jorge Enrique Delgado, an adjunct instructor in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies and a 2011 PhD graduate of the School of Education, has been elected secretary/treasurer of the Education and Education Policy Section of the Latin American Studies Association. He also is cochair of the Higher Education Special Interest Group of the Comparative and International Education Society.

Department of Instruction and Learning Chair and Professor Rick Donato was selected as a recipient of the 2016 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. This award recognizes University of Pittsburgh faculty members who demonstrate outstanding mentoring of graduate students seeking a research doctoral degree.

Assistant Professor Gina Garcia has been selected as an awardee in the Ford Foundation 2016 Postdoctoral Fellowship Competition. This fellowship is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In addition, Garcia was awarded a National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, which supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research, for the 2017–18 year.

Department of Health and Physical Activity Assistant Professor Bethany Barone Gibbs has been selected as a fellow of the American Heart Association.

Amanda Godley, an associate professor of English education and language, literacy, and culture, has been awarded a 2016 Spencer Foundation Midcareer Grant, one of only seven recipients in the nation. The grant will fund her research into micro- level patterns of teacher and student discourse and interaction. In addition, she was named coeditor of the journal English Teaching: Practice & Critique.

Katrina Bartow Jacobs, a visiting assistant professor in language, literacy, and culture, was elected secretary/treasurer of one of the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) special interest groups. Jacobs also was selected to receive this year’s Outstanding Service Award from the journal Urban Education.

Department of Health and Physical Activity Chair and Professor John Jakicic has been appointed to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell. As part of the advisory committee, he will collaborate with 16 other national experts—leaders in the fields of exercise science and public health—to produce the 2018 edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, a nationally recognized resource for health professionals and policymakers. Jakicic also gave a keynote address at this year’s American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Summit Exposition in Orlando, Fla.

Associate Professor Louise Kaczmarek a special education program faculty member was appointed to the Watson Institute’s Board of Trustees. The Watson Institute is an educational organization made up of special education schools and resources for children with special needs.

Professor and Department of Administrative and Policy Studies Chair Mary Margaret Kerr has been elected to serve on the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial Board of Directors. Kerr began her term in 2016 and is focusing primarily on the memorial’s new learning center.

Associate Professor Sean Kelly has been named an Outstanding Reviewer for 2015 by AERA’s Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis journal. He also has been elected to a two-year term as chair of the Sociology of Education Special Interest Group of AERA.

An alumnus of the School of Education counselor education program made an annual gift to the School of Education in honor of Shelly Kinsel, an admissions specialist in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. Kinsel had been helping the alumnus to complete state certifications so that he could return to rehab counseling.

Department of Psychology in Education Professor Suzanne Lane coedited the second edition of Handbook of Test Development. Published by Routledge and coedited by Mark Raymond and Thomas Haladyna, the book was released in September 2015.

Teresa Phipps Lane, a technology support specialist in the School of Education, was awarded the Newman Award for International Intergenerational Project Initiatives through Pitt’s University Center for International Studies. The award supports programmatic development that enriches “the lives of local people in a developing country.” Lane traveled to Bolivia in June 2015 to work with indigenous Quechua elders and children to write a trilingual children’s book.

ReneĢe and Richard Goldman Dean Alan Lesgold received the Voice of Advocacy Award from the Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents on December 2, 2015, at the forum’s fall retreat at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. The forum established the Voice of Advocacy Award in 2012 to “acknowledge exceptional leadership and advocacy” by practicing and retired administrators and educators, higher education faculty members, and others.

Assistant Professor Michael Lovorn was elected president of the National Social Studies Supervisors Association, which is an affiliate organization of the National Council for the Social Studies and serves K–12 and higher education social studies supervisors, leaders, and teachers across the United States.

Professor Rich Milner has been selected as a 2016 AERA fellow. The 2016 fellows were nominated by their peers; selected by the AERA Fellows Committee; and approved by the AERA Council, the association’s elected governing body. Milner also was ranked on the 2016 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings through Education Week. This was Milner’s fourth year on the list.

Associate Professor Maureen McClure was named a National Education Finance Conference Distinguished Fellow Award recipient, one of the highest recognitions in the field of education finance. She also was honored with a proclamation by the Allegheny County Council at its meeting on March 8, 2016, for the award.

Assistant Professor Amber Pabon served as executive secretary of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Black Caucus for the 2015–16 academic year. In this role, Pabon, who also is a faculty fellow in the Center for Urban Education, directed communications of the caucus and collaborated with the NCTE secretary, the Conference on College Composition and Communication secretary, and the communications secretary.

Assistant Professor Lindsay Page was ranked on Education Week’s 2016 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings. The ranking system recognizes university-based scholars in the United States who are contributing most substantially to public debates about education and offer a gauge of the public influence education scholars had in 2015. A paper cowritten by Page, “Compared to What? Variation in the Impact of Early Childhood Education by Alternative Care-type Settings,” was awarded the AERA Division H Outstanding Publication Award for 2016 in Category 1a: Applied Research, Advances in Methodology.

Research Associate Professor Jill Perry edited a new book, The EdD and the Scholarly Practitioner. The purpose of the book is to highlight the efforts of the members of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate to prepare scholarly practitioners in the field of education leadership.

Associate Professor Jennifer Lin Russell was named to AERA’s American Educational Research Journal editorial board for a one-year term. As a board member, she will review manuscripts in her area of expertise and offer advice to the writers.

Fiona Seels, the School of Education’s admissions and enrollment systems administrator, was elected the new parliamentarian of Pitt’s Staff Association Council.

Associate Professor Cynthia Tananis received a 2015 Award for Service from the Senate of the University of Pittsburgh. Members of the senate’s executive committee unanimously selected Tananis for the award, which recognizes her service as a faculty member and the roles she has taken on within the senate.

Associate Professor Ming-Te Wang has been designated a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, the primary professional organization of psychology researchers.

Professor John Weidman was appointed to the advisory board of the UNESCO Regional Center of Quality and Excellence in Education in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The center offers services in research and development along with technical consultation for educators, policymakers, and educational institutes to fulfill quality and excellence in the 21st-century education systems of the Arab World.


JOHN CONROY is manager of marketing communications for the Pitt School of Education.