Alex John London, the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy, has delivered numerous invited talks in 2019 on ethics and AI in relation to the environment, medicine, finance and autonomous vehicles. He gave the April 12 keynote address at “Pushing the Boundaries: Scientific Innovation and Biomedical Ethics,” a conference at the University of Cincinnati’s Center for Clinical & Translational Science & Training. He will speak at a June 6–7 National Academies public workshop and webcast titled “Algorithms, Air Pollution, and Adverse Outcome Pathways: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Advanced Environmental Health Research and Decisions.” Register for the event or free webinar.
History department faculty members Jay Aronson, Laurie Eisenberg and Michal Friedman, along with graduate Avigail Oren, contributed essays to “Speaking Justice to Power: Local Pittsburgh Scholars Respond to the Tree of Life Shooting.” The project was hosted by the Political & Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR), a publication of Association for Political and Legal Anthropology. Read the essays.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, recently launched his new book, “The Perp Walk,” at a City of Asylum event in Pittsburgh. “Perp walk” is a far too familiar a term for many who have loved ones, or first-hand experience, with criminal defense: the public walk of shame into the police station after being arrested. For Daniels, the title also holds within it a reference to the larger arc of the book — all the guilt and shame for the mistakes we make as we stumble into adult life. Watch Daniels read from “Perp Walk.”
Kathryn Roeder, UPMC Professor of Statistics and Life Sciences, was a keynote speaker at the International Society for Autism Research’s 2019 Annual Meeting. BMC’s On Biology blog published a Q&A with Roeder prior to her talk.
Two members of the Department of Social and Decision Sciences will present at the sixth annual Women in CyberSecurity (WiCys) Conference on March 30. Palvi Aggarwal, a post-doctoral research associate, and Cleotilde Gonzalez, a research professor and member of CMU’s CyLab, will deliver a talk titled “The Role of Deception in Attack Decisions Using Cybersecurity Scenarios.” CMU is co-hosting the conference with WiCys in Pittsburgh this year. Learn more.
Adam Bjorndahl, assistant professor of philosophy, was featured on Course Hero’s Best Lessons series in February for his approach to teaching mathematical models of modal logic. He is a 2018 recipient of the Course Hero-Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for Excellence in teaching. Read the Course Hero feature.
Kenya Dworkin, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and director, CubaCivica, and Robert Cavalier, emeritus faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and director of the Program for Deliberative Democracy, helped to cultivate and support a working group interested in bringing “deliberative forums” to bear on local and national issues in Cuba. This work began in 2013 and culminated in January 2019 with the establishment of a Cuban Centro de Democracia Deliberativa. The center is located in Havana and Camagüey, with several chapters in Pinar del Rio, Ciego de Avila, Santi Spíritu and Isla de La Juventud.
Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian was the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's official opening of its Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. David Danks, Philosophy Department head and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, also spoke on a panel during the MIT event. Danks discussed the interaction between ethics and policy in computer science. Learn more.
Kathryn Roeder gave the 2018-2019 Norman Breslow Endowed Lecture at the University of Washington on Feb 7. She presented the lecture, “Transcriptome: Analysis of Single Cell and Bulk RNA Sequence Data.” The Norman Breslow Endowed Lecture was established in 2006 in recognition of the late Norman Breslow’s contributions to the field of biostatistics. The lectureship is awarded to a biostatistical scholar who has significantly contributed to methodology and applications in the health sciences. Roeder is vice provost for faculty and a professor of statistics and computational biology in the Department of Statistics and Data Science. Learn more.
Edmund Russell, a trailblazer in the field of environmental history, has joined the Dietrich College as a professor of history. Russell’s major research topics have included the environmental and technological history of war, coevolution of human and non-human populations and the environmental and technological history of capitalism. Learn more.
David Shumway, director of CMU’s Humanities Center, was among lead organizers of the fourth annual Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, held March 21–24. The festival, “Smart Talk About Stuff That Matters,” is part of an ongoing collaboration between CMU’s Humanities Center and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Featuring 16 events and one partner event, the 2019 festival included a talk with Kevin Kwan, author of “Crazy Rich Asians,” and core conversations with CMU’s Molly Wright Steenson, journalist and poet Eliza Griswold and entertainer Lee Terbosic. Learn more.
Wilfried Sieg’s paper “The Cantor-Bernstein Theorem: How many proofs?” appeared in the March issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. On March 13, Sieg, the Patrick Suppes Professor of Philosophy, delivered the Ruth Manor Memorial Lecture at Tel Aviv University. His lecture was titled “Thinking, Computing, Thinking or How Mathematics Got its Computations.” Learn more.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies, has been appointed executive director of the national Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) through 2023. The CLTA is the premier international organization for Chinese language teaching and learning. Wu, who has earned a strong international reputation as a leader in chinese studies, plans to bring the CLTA's headquarters to CMU. As executive director, she will oversee the daily operations of the CLTA and represent the association in working with government entities and other academic organizations. Her new role will enable her to have a greater impact on the field of Chinese teaching and learning. Wu also is director of the master's degree program in Second Language Acquisition in the Modern Languages Department.
James Duesing, director of CMU’s Center for Arts in Society, was recently elected to the international advisory board of The Arts in Society Research Network. Founded in 2000, the network offers an interdisciplinary forum for discussion of the role of the arts in society. It is a place for critical engagement, examination and experimentation, developing ideas that connect the arts to their contexts in the world — on stage, in studios and theaters, in classrooms, in museums and galleries, on the streets and in communities. The Center for Arts in Society is a faculty research center affiliated with the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Fine Arts. Learn more.
Cleotilde Gonzalez, research professor of decision science and founding director of the Dynamic Decision Making Laboratory, has been elected to the 12-member governing board of the Cognitive Science Society. The mission of the international society is to promote cognitive science as a discipline, and to foster scientific interchange among researchers in various areas of study, including artificial intelligence, linguistics, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and education. Learn more.
Kathryn Roeder, UPMC Professor of Statistics and Life Sciences and vice provost for faculty, has been named to Clarivate Analytics’ 2018 Highly Cited Researchers list. The list recognizes scientists for exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1 percent by citations for field over a decade (2006-2016) in Web of Science. Learn more about the Highly Cited Researchers List. Roeder’s latest paper, “Semisoft clustering of single-cell data,” was published in the Jan. 8 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Lingxue Zhu and Jing Lei of the Department of Statistics and Data Science were among the paper’s co-authors. Read the PNAS paper.
Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, professor of psychology and director of the Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute, has been named the recipient of the Acoustical Society of America’s Helmholtz Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal in Psychological and Physiological Acoustics and Speech Communication. The award is “for understanding the cognitive and neural bases of speech perception in complex acoustic environments.” Shinn-Cunningham is an ASA Fellow and served as a member of the ASA Executive Council, including a term as vice president in 2016. She was awarded ASA’s Student Council Mentor Award in 2013. Learn more.
Danielle Wenner and Kevin Zollman were named winners of the 2018 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest by the American Philosophical Association. Their winning piece, “How to End International Tax Competition” appeared in the New York Times in November 2017. The contest honors up to five standout pieces that successfully blends philosophical argumentation with an op-ed writing style. Wenner is an assistant professor of philosophy and associate director of the Center for Ethics and Policy. Zollman is an associate professor of philosophy and director of graduate studies in the Department of Philosophy. Read more.
Mara Harrell, teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Philosophy, has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching. The recipient is selected by the American Philosophical Association (APA), the American Association of Philosophy Teachers and the Teaching Philosophy Association. The award recognizes a philosophy teacher who has had a profound impact on the student learning of philosophy in undergraduate and/or pre-college settings. Selected from 39 nominations across the U.S., Harrell will receive $1,000 and a commemorative plaque at the APA’s Eastern Division Meeting in January. Harrell won Carnegie Mellon’s Teaching Innovation Award in 2016 for her development and implementation of argument diagramming as a central tool in teaching Introduction to Philosophy. Learn more.
Simon Cullen’s paper on argument visualization was published in Nature’s Science of Learning. In the paper, “Improving analytical reasoning and argument understanding: a quasi-experimental field study of argument visualization,” Cullen and a team of researchers explored which pedagogical approaches are most effective for cultivating analytical-reasoning skills. They investigated the effectiveness of a 12-week undergraduate seminar in which students practiced a software-based technique for visualizing the logical structures implicit in argumentative texts. Their findings deepen the understanding of how visualizations support logical reasoning and provide a model for improving analytical-reasoning pedagogy. Cullen is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Philosophy. Learn more.
Jason England presented a CMUThink webinar titled “Confounding Fathers: Liberty and Paternalism in American Professional Sports” on Dec. 12. The CMU Alumni Association's CMUThink program provides intellectual experiences for alumni through in-person faculty talks and online webinars. England, an assistant professor of creative writing in the Department of English, highlighted football’s popularity in the U.S. sports landscape and explored why its appeal is mostly confined to its home country. He has written extensively on race, sports and societal issues for publications including Sports Illustrated, The Root and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Learn more about CMUThink.
Jessica Cantlon, Brian MacWhinney and Michael Scheier from the Department of Psychology received professorships during a Nov. 26 ceremony in Posner Center. Cantlon received the Ronald J. and Mary Ann Zdrojkowski Career Development Chair in Developmental Neuroscience. MacWhinney was named the Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, and Scheier was named the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Personality and Health Psychology. Learn more.
Edda Fields-Black recently spoke with Alan Yu of WHYY’s health and science show, “The Pulse,” about the influence of West African irrigation techniques on the rice industry in South Carolina and Georgia. These techniques ensure crops receive a good balance of saltwater and freshwater to stop weeds from growing and to keep the rice alive. Fields-Black is an associate professor of history and a specialist on West African rice farmers, peasant farmers in the pre-colonial Upper Guinea Coast, and enslaved laborers on rice plantations in the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry during the Antebellum period. Find out more.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, and Charlee Brodsky, professor of photography in the School of Design, have collaborated on the exhibit “American Patriot.” The exhibit is comprised of 66 photographs by Brodsky that show American flags that she finds in residential neighborhoods throughout the southwestern Pennsylvania region. Daniels’ poems, which accompany several photographs, are rousing interpretations of Brodsky’s photos. New bodies of work for both of the artists, the photographs and poems are on view in Pittsburgh, for the first time, at JCC Berger Gallery: Robinson Building until Sunday, Dec. 30.
Jim Daniels’ poem “Talking About the Day” from his book “Street Calligraphy” was selected as a featured poem for American Life in Poetry by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 to 2006. Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English in the Department of English. Read more »
Kevin Zollman wrote “What It Means When Scientists Disagree” for Scientific American. In his piece, Zollman discusses scientific disagreements throughout history and what they mean today, including English chemist John Dalton’s proposal that all matter was made up of tiny atoms which was proposed by Democritus — the “laughing philosopher” — centuries earlier. Zollman is an associate professor and director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy. Read his piece »
New research from the Department of Psychology’s Michael Murphy and Sheldon Cohen and University of Pittsburgh’s Denise Janicki-Deverts found that hugs increased positive feelings and reduced negative ones on days when people experienced relationship conflicts. The researchers analyzed data from 404 adults who were interviewed by phone every night for two weeks. Participants were asked about their mood, whether they had experienced conflict and if they had received a hug that day, among other questions. Learn more »
David Danks is part of a team that submitted one of four winning proposals for CIFAR’s open, international AI & Society Call for Workshops competition. His collaborators include Kerstin Vignard of the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research in Switzerland and Ambassador (ret.) Paul Meyer of Simon Fraser University in Canada. CIFAR will provide $50,000 to $80,000 in funding for their workshop, “Regulation of defense and security AI technologies: Options beyond traditional arms control.” The event will bring together AI technologists, arms control practitioners and researchers, and other experts in regulatory and control regimes to develop a better understanding of arms control in the age of AI. The organizers will produce a non-technical, lay publication to inform and engage policymakers, NGOs and the broader public following the workshop. Danks is head of the Department of Philosophy and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology. Learn more »
The American Statistical Association honored Bill Eddy with its 2018 SPAIG award, which recognizes outstanding partnerships between academe, industry and government organizations. Eddy and his collaborators at the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were recognized “for building a statistically sound and scientifically solid foundation for the analysis and interpretation of forensic evidence and contributing to the statistical training of forensic practitioners and legal professionals.” This is the second year in a row Eddy has been honored with the SPAIG Award. In 2017, he accepted the award on behalf of a CMU team for work with the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, National Science Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau. Both award-winning projects were initiated by the late Stephen Fienberg. Eddy is the John C. Warner Professor of Statistics, emeritus. Learn more »
The Department of Psychology's Robert Mason and Marcel Just received a $549,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the brain representations of physics concepts in college students and determine their relation to the students’ academic performance. Although the goal of most educational practices is to advance what students know, this project will assess how the neural growth of the new knowledge is related to performance in course exams. This will build on groundbreaking research that identified the brain representations of elementary physics concepts. Learn more »
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has granted Carnegie Mellon University $225,000 for a prestigious 2019–2020 Sawyer Seminar on “Bread and Water: Access, Belonging and Environmental Justice in the City.” The seminar will bring together a set of international scholars and Pittsburgh-area practitioners to explore policies and practices that promote access to urban food and water systems based on equity, inclusion and resiliency. “Bread and Water” was the brainchild of Abigail Owen, visiting assistant professor of history, and John Soluri, associate professor of history. Other key History Department faculty involved in the project include Joel A. Tarr, the Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History and Policy; Edda Fields-Black, associate professor of history; and Noah Theriault, assistant professor of history. Learn more »
Michael Scheier, the Water van Dyke Bingham Professor of Personality and Health Psychology, has been awarded the American Psychological Association’s 2018 Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. The award, among the highest honors for scientific achievement by psychologists, recognizes senior scientists for distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to basic research in psychology. For the past 40-plus years, Scheier and his colleague, Charles Carver of the University of Miami, who also is being honored by the APA, have been trying to understand the processes that support purposive, goal-directed action and, later, effective self-management. They provided a framework that explains where goals come from, the mechanisms that underlie goal pursuit and what happens when there are difficulties attaining goals. Then, they examined different aspects of the model, most notably, the role optimism plays in overcoming challenging goals. Scheier is the eighth Carnegie Mellon faculty member to receive this lifetime achievement award. Learn more »
Danielle Wenner, assistant professor of philosophy, has been selected as a Caroline Miles Visiting Scholar at the Ethox Centre at University of Oxford. The scholarship is awarded annually to a post-doctoral or early researcher to visit the Ethox Centre, where they will spend up to a month pursuing a research project on a topic relating to one of the centre’s four main research programs: global health ethics, clinical ethics, public health ethics and research ethics. Wenner will focus on questions in research ethics, specifically, a new framework she developed that conceptualizes the ethical obligations of researchers and research sponsors and their moral obligations not only to the subjects who participate in research, but to individuals who will be impacted by the downstream implications of their research. While at the University of Oxford, Wenner will work on how to fill out precisely what those obligations look like.
Colin P. Clarke, an assistant teaching professor in the Institute for Politics & Strategy, testified before the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance on Friday, Sept. 7, in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Clarke began his testimony by defining terrorist financing and placing it in proper historical context. He offered an analysis of how terrorists generate income and how this has changed over time. Clarke also identified current trends in the financing of terrorism, including the so-called crime-terror nexus, and described what he views as one of the most significant threats to international security, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He concluded his testimony with an assessment of the current campaign to counter ISIS finances and the implications for U.S. national security.
Roberta Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan Jr. University Professor of Psychology and Human-Computer Interaction, has been named one of three recipients of the Association for Psychological Science’s 2019 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Awards. The award honors APS members for their lifetime of significant intellectual achievements in applied psychological research and their impact on a critical problem in society at large. Learn more »
Kiron Skinner, the Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named senior policy adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Skinner also will serve as director of policy planning, one of the State Department’s most influential positions. Skinner is the founding director of Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS). The center for research, undergraduate and graduate education focuses on university-wide initiatives in the fields of political science, international relations, national security policy and grand strategy. Learn more.
In September, the world’s most influential behavioral scientists will participate in the inaugural Summit for Financial Services. The elite group includes CMU’s George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology. Loewenstein will join experts Dan Ariely, Hal Hershfield, Nina Mažar, Kelly Peters and others to collaborate with business leaders to apply scientific thinking to business challenges. Learn more.
Robert Cavalier wrote an article about cities as centers for deliberative democracy for the blog Public Agenda. In his piece, Cavalier says whether dealing with climate change, immigration or even trade, cities and metropolitan areas have taken initiatives and formed networks to address pressing social and economic issues. Cavalier is a teaching professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and is currently the director for the department’s Program for Deliberative Democracy, which won a 2008 Good Government Award from the Pittsburgh League of Women Voters. Read the piece »
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English and literary and cultural studies, wrote an entry for the blog Working-Class Perspectives on the impact of the film “Sorry to Bother You.” The movie, Newman says, offers important, pro-union viewpoints that everyone can learn something from. “If you’ve ever walked a picket line you know how it changes your relationship with your co-workers, your job and your street — how being out and loud and proud shows your community that you deserve a better deal, and that everyone else does too,” Newman wrote. Working-Class Perspecitves offers commentary on working-class culture, education and politics. Read the piece »
The Department of Psychology’s Charles Kemp and researchers from the Hebrew University and University of California, Berkley have developed a computational model that explains why languages categorize colors the way they do. The work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a new understanding of the evolution of color naming. Learn more and watch a video.
Carnegie Mellon University has selected Joseph Mertz as interim director of its Information Systems Program (IS) in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, effective July 1. Mertz, a teaching professor in IS and in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, succeeds Randy Weinberg, who has led the program for 18 years and is retiring from CMU in December.
A special issue of the Negotiation and Conflict Management Research journal recently focused on transforming society from theory to practice by celebrating the achievements of the International Association for Conflict Management’s Rubin Award recipients. Linda Babcock, who received the award in 2007 for her professional contributions that emphasized her ability to move effectively and skillfully between theory and practice in professional activities, was featured in the issue with a paper titled, “Linda Babcock: Go‐getter and Do‐gooder.” It was written by CMU’s George Loewenstein and Harvard University’s Max H. Bazerman, Iris Bohnet and Hannah Riley Bowles and outlines Babcock’s contributions to diverse lines of research, her tireless and effective efforts to put the insights of her research into practice and the impact she has had on the co-authors’ lives. Babcock is the James M. Walton Professor of Economics in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Heinz College and head of the Department of Social and Decision Sciences.
Marlene Behrmann has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 William E. Brown Outstanding Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Mentor Award. Students in the MSTP nominated Behrmann in recognition of her extraordinary performance and achievement in mentorship. She will receive the award on Friday, Aug. 3, as part of the MSTP Annual Scientific Retreat. Behrmann is the Cowan University Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and the first female scientist from CMU inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. Her research specializes in the cognitive basis of visual perception, with a specific focus on object recognition.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy Adam Bjorndahl has received the Course Hero-Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching Fellowship. Course Hero provides study aids online, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation administers programs that support leadership development and build organizational capacity in education. Aimed at young faculty members, the program is meant to help tenure-track professors elevate their teaching. Bjorndahl's work focuses on modal logic, game theory and decision theory and formal epistemology.
Michal Friedman, a visiting assistant professor of history, co-organized an international symposium to mark the centennial of the establishment of the modern Jewish community of Madrid, Spain. The symposium, held July 2-4 in Madrid, featured academics, writers and filmmakers from Spain, the U.S., Israel, Italy and Poland, and included panel discussions, roundtables, film screenings and public talks. The participants were received by the director of the Academy of the Spanish Language (Real Academia Española), who discussed the academy´s establishment of a new institute devoted to the study of Judeo-Spanish, the language of the Sephardi Jews. The academy also declared Judeo-Spanish an Hispanic language. Learn more.
After 20 years in the Department of English, Barbara Johnstone retired this spring. A professor of English and linguistics, Johnstone wrote the widely used textbook “Discourse Analysis,” was editor of the journal “Language in Society” and became an expert in Pittsburghese. Johnstone authored “Speaking Pittsburghese: The Story of a Dialect” in which she analyzed the origins of the city’s most iconic words, such as “yinz” and “nebby.” In her retirement, Johnstone will continue her academic research with two forthcoming papers and a book in progress.
Agustin Medici has joined the Dietrich College Dean’s Office as director of financial planning and analysis. Medici, who received his Master of Public Management degree from CMU’s Heinz College in 2011, was previously a financial analyst for the School of Computer Science and an accountant at the Software Engineering Institute.
In a new study published in Nature Genetics, Kathryn Roeder and a team of researchers established a computationally integrated approach to investigate the functional impact of missense mutations in DNA. Their approach analyzed genetic structures of individuals with autism spectrum disorder who had mutations as well as their siblings who did not have the mutations. They found that the framework successfully identified and prioritized missense mutations that contribute to disease or disorder risk. "Identifying genetic mutations that increase the likelihood of disease is a major challenge to progress for personalized medicine. Using a machine learning model that predicts which mutations are likely to perturb the human interactome network, we showed that these mutations are much more likely to occur in autistic children than their siblings,” Roeder said. "This result extends to several other mental disorders suggesting that our finding may have even broader applicability.” Roeder is the UPMC Professor of Statistics and Life Sciences in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The New York Times’ Brent Staples, a member of the editorial board, included Associate Professor of History Lisa Tetrault’s award-winning book, “The Myth of Seneca Falls,” as a reference point in his opinion piece, "How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women.” In the book, Tetrault demonstrates that Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and their peers — who are credited with founding, defining and leading the women's suffrage campaign — gradually created and popularized the original story. She details how they created the legend during the second half of the 19th century in response to the movement's internal politics as well as racial politics following the Civil War.
Chris Warren, associate professor of literary and cultural studies in the Department of English, wrote a piece for Aeon on Network visualisations show what we can and what we may know. Warren co-founded the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project, which reconstructs early modern social networks 1500-1700. His most recent book, "Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680," was awarded the Roland Bainton Prize for Literature.
The May-June 2018 issue of “Exchange,” an early childhood education magazine, featured Sharon Carver, director of the Children’s School. Carver wrote an accompanying article, “Campus Learning Laboratory,” which outlined the school’s 50-year history and what makes it important at the university, in Pittsburgh and for researchers and students worldwide.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, wrote a piece for PublicSource titled, "I’m a slow learner when it comes to race, but I’m trying.” Daniels, who has taught at CMU since 1981, founded the CMU Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards in 1999 and addressed writing about race and using the awards program to give students a safe creative space: "Given my background, I know how easy it is to spout platitudes about unity while safely ignoring personal complicity and complications. When it comes to writing about minorities in America, us white folks quickly become the minority. We have the choice about whether we want to write about race or not, and many of us choose not to wake up those slumbering ghosts in our closets or wherever we've conveniently hid them.”
In April, thought leaders from industry, academia, government and the media gathered to discuss ethical, social and policy issues surrounding emerging technologies at the first Carnegie Mellon University - K&L Gates Conference on Ethics and AI. David Danks, head of CMU's Philosophy Department and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, served as a co-chair of the conference. Danks also attended the “AI for Good Global Summit” in Geneva, Switzerland, and spoke on the benefits of artificial intelligence. The AI for Good series is the leading United Nations platform for dialogue on AI. This year’s summit identified practical applications of AI and supporting strategies to improve the quality and sustainability of life on Earth.
Mara Harrell, teaching professor of philosophy, will be the new editor of Teaching Philosophy. Since 1975, the journal has been a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the practical and theoretical discussion of teaching and learning philosophy.
Alex John London, the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy, co-authored a viewpoint article in PLOS: Neglected Tropical Disease on the ethics of clinical research during public health emergencies.
Earlier this month, George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, and Saurabh Bhargava, assistant professor of social and decision sciences, won the Behavioral Science and Policy Association’s 2018 Best Paper Award for their paper, “Choose to Lose: Health Plan Choices From a Menu with Dominated Choices.”
Roberta Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan Jr. Professor of Psychology, and Larry Wasserman, the UPMC Professor of Statistics and Data Science, have both been named University Professors, the highest designation a faculty member can achieve. The faculty members were nominated and recommended for the title of University Professor by academic leaders and the community of CMU University Professors.
The Wimmer Faculty Fellowships, which are made possible by a grant from the Wimmer Family Foundation, are designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work designing or re-designing a course, innovating new materials or exploring a new pedagogical approach. Robin Mejia, adjunct professor of statistics and data science, was one of five fellowship recipients this year.
Raja Sooriamurthi, a teaching professor in both the Dietrich College and Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, was named the 2018 recipient of the Heinz College’s Martcia Wade Teaching Award. The award, which was created in memory of former faculty member Martcia Wade, is given annually in recognition of outstanding teaching. Sooriamurthi was presented with the award at Heinz College’s diploma ceremony during commencement weekend.
Jesse Wilson, a staff member in both the History Department and the Dietrich College Dean’s Office, earned his earned his master’s degree in user experience design from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design.
Linda Babcock was part of a research team that investigated gender equality in the workplace, specifically with women undertaking necessary job duties without receiving appreciation and which also have no relevance to career growth. Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics and head of the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, is working with organizations from law and consulting firms to government agencies and educational institutions on ways to address the problem.
Gretchen Chapman, professor of social and decision sciences, and a team of researchers investigated the factors that underlie vaccination-related behavior. They found that although vaccination campaigns commonly focus on changing people’s perceptions and attitudes about vaccines, there is little evidence that these campaigns are effective.
Doug Coulson, assistant professor of English, and Gregory Laski, visiting assistant teaching professor, participated in a “Book Salon” conversation on topics related to their recent publications, both of which investigated racial themes in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Correy Dandoy, coordinator of undergraduate programs in the Department of Philosophy, was recently featured in The Piper's staff spotlight. Dandoy advises and helps recruit students in the department’s four majors: philosophy; linguistics; logic and computation; and ethics, history and public policy.
New research from Simon DeDeo, assistant professor of social and decision sciences, suggests that rhetorical innovations may have played a significant role in winning acceptance for the new principles of governance that built the French republic’s foundation. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was a collaboration of historians, political scientists and statisticians.
The 2018 Celebration of Education ceremony will honor four members from the Dietrich College. Aidan Kestigian, a doctoral student in the Department of Philosophy, is this year’s recipient of the Graduate Student Teaching Award. Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) and Institute for Politics and Strategy, will receive the William H. and Frances S. Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching. Kevin Jarbo, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology is the winner of the Graduate Student Service Award. Gary DiLisio, the principal academic advisor for Information Systems, received the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Advising and Mentoring. The college’s teaching award winner, Associate Professor of History Lisa Tetrault, and Wimmer Faculty Fellows will also be recognized at the ceremony.
Baruch Fischhoff was named a 2018 Carnegie Corporation of New York Andrew Carnegie Fellow. He is one of 31 scholars and writers who will receive $200,000 to devote significant time to research, write and publish in the humanities and social sciences. Fischhoff’s project, “Decisions,” will produce a book drawing together his decades-long experiences studying and observing individuals and institutions facing difficult decisions in diverse settings.
Christopher Genovese, head of the Department of Statistics & Data Science, was named the 2018 American Statistical Association’s Statistician of the Year. Genovese received the award for his tireless efforts as department head at a time of unparalleled growth.
A new cross-federal agency effort is underway to consider whether to revamp technology commercialization rules for U.S. national labs. To address the issue, leaders from top federal agencies and Mark Kamlet, Provost Emeritus and University Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, spoke at a symposium “Unleashing American Innovation” that was held in Washington, D.C.
Alex John London, the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy, co-authored an opinion piece for Stat News on his latest clinical trials and ethics research. Read “Cancer Centers Sell Out Science When They Advertise Clinical Trials as Treatment.”
Ph.D. student William Penman from the Department of English won first place and the People's Choice Award at the 2018 Three Minute Thesis Competition. At the competition, doctoral students took the stage to describe their research and its significance in three minutes or less.
Casey Roark, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, was recently selected as an early career policy ambassador by the Society for Neuroscience. The one-year program is open to scientists interested in science policy and advocacy, and provides them with the opportunity to interact with leading neuroscience advocates and the policymakers who make the decisions that determine the future of scientific research.
Why does software cost so much? A team from the Software Engineering Institute is exploring the causes and are being trained by Dietrich College Dean Richard Scheines and the Department of Philosophy’s David Danks, Peter Spirtes, Kun Zhang, Joseph Ramsey and Madelyn Glamour. Learn more about the work.
Kevin Zollman, associate professor of philosophy, received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, which is designed to enable mid-career scholars to pursue systematic training in areas outside of their specializations. The two-year, $190K award will enable Zollman, a philosopher and game theory expert, to study behavioral and complexity economics.
Earlier this month and for the first time in Pittsburgh, the Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference, made up of many satellite events in cities around the world, was held at CMU and hosted by the Department of Statistics and Data Science. Marlene Behrmann, the Cowan University Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and the first—and to-date only—female scientist from CMU inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, gave the opening keynote on her brain research in the pursuit to find a biomarker for autism. Rebecca Nugent, associate department head and director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Statistics, organized the event.
Additionally, Behrmann, Michael J. Tarr, the Kavčić-Moura Professor of Cognitive and Brain Science and head of the Department of Psychology, as well engineers Pulkit Grover and Shawn Kelly received a new grant from the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research to further refine a custom EEG to identify brain injuries that are likely to worsen.
Research recently published in Nature Neuroscience from CMU and the University of Pittsburgh examined the changes that take place in the brain when learning a new task. The team, which included associate professor of biomedical engineering and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition’s Steve Chase, found that the brain operates under a more stringent set of constraints than originally thought, resulting in good learning on the short term, but nevertheless suboptimal performance in controlling the BCI cursor.
English Professor and satirist Gerald Costanzo’s new poetry book, “Regular Haunts,” deconstructs a fleeting, popular and consumer American culture. Published by the University of Nebraska Press and part of the Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry series, “Regular Haunts” contains nearly 30 new poems and a selection of Costanzo’s life’s work.
Foreword Reviews has announced the finalists for the 2017 INDIES Book of the Year Awards, and Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, has two books on the list: “Challenges to the Dream: The Best of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards at Carnegie Mellon University” and “Street Calligraphy.”
Carnegie Mellon is set to host the first “Carnegie Mellon University - K&L Gates Conference on Ethics and AI” conference on Monday, April 9 and Tuesday, April 10. Thought leaders from a variety of industries will explore the ethical, social and policy issues surrounding emerging technologies. David Danks, head of the department of philosophy and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, will be the conference co-chair.
Sharon Dilworth, associate professor of English and the director of the Creative Writing Program, had two new books publish this year. “My Riviera” is a novel set in the mid-century French Riviera, and the short story collection “Two Sides, Three Rivers” is about a dozen Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
Wendy Z. Goldman, the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of History, and Joe W. Trotter, Jr., the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice, wrote a piece about their recently published book, “The Ghetto in Global History.” The book is a product of an interdisciplinary A. W. Mellon Foundation funded Sawyer Seminar on the ghetto that was conducted at Carnegie Mellon during the 2014-2015 academic year.
A team led by Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and Engineering and Public Policy, was part of a team that created an educational technology video game, “Night Shift,” that improves doctors’ recognition and triage of severe trauma patients better than text-based learning. The team and their research, competed earlier this month in #StatsMadness, the bracket-style tournament designed to pick the best ideas in biomedical science, and made it to the third round of the competition.
Alex John London, the Clara L. West professor of Ethics and Philosophy, gave the opening keynote for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Annual Convention Career Fair in Pittsburgh. He spoke on artificial intelligence and ethics.
History Professor Katherine Lynch, recently wrote a piece highlighting the third annual graduate Research Forum. The Research Forum, which has been in existence since the early days of CMU’s Department of History’s Ph.D. program, became a joint enterprise between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon History Departments in 2016. The conference meets during spring semester on alternating campuses.
Psychology Professor Brian MacWhinney has spent the past 30 years researching how we learn, use and understand spoken language. With support from hundreds of researchers in 48 countries, he has built a system called TalkBank, a network of databases that has revolutionized the study of human communication and advanced the development of standards and tools for researchers to use to create, share, search and comment on source materials.
The Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) recently awarded Noémie Ndiaye, assistant professor of English, its annual J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize for distinguished scholarship related to Shakespeare’s life, times and works. Ndiaye earned the award for her dissertation “Marking Blackness: Embodied Techniques of Racialization in Early Modern European Theatre,” which she produced while getting her Ph.D. at Columbia University.
Ph.D. student in the Department of English, Will Penman, won the fifth Three Minute Thesis preliminary round earlier this month. He will be competing next month at the Three Minute Thesis Championship, hosted by the University of Queensland in Australia.
Ph.D. candidate in rhetoric in the Department of English, Maria Poznahovska, was among the recipients of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) grants. Poznahovska earned $750 and a featured spot on one of ATTW's panel presentations during its 2018 conference in Kansas City earlier this month.
Earlier this month, the National Humanities Alliance held their annual meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. David Shumway, professor of English and director of the Humanities Center, and Christopher Warren, assistant professor of English, participated in the events aimed at advocating for federally funded humanities programs, which seemed to have worked. On March 21, Congress released their spending deal, which included $3 million in increased NEH funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018 and other increases for humanities-related initiatives and programs.
Larry Wasserman, UPMC Professor of Statistics and Data Science, presented the 2018 John M. Chermerda Lectures in Science at Penn State University earlier this month. Wasserman gave a public lecture, “The Greatest Debate in the History of Science,” where he discussed the ongoing debate around how to define uncertainty and the practical consequences of using different approaches to uncertainty in statistical methods, for example when analyzing data from drug trials. He also presented a scientific lecture, “High Dimensional Multinomials and Unsmooth Densities.”
Marian Aguiar, associate professor in the department of English, is the author of “Arranging Marriage: Conjugal Agency in the South Asian Diaspora,” a cultural studies book which examines the transnational discourse around arranged marriage as it appears in literature, film, pop culture, policy and the law. She also teaches the course “Love: A Cultural History.”
Saurabh Bhargava, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, co-authored a piece for the Wall Street Journal on “Common Errors When Buying Insurance.” He discussed how consumers can make smarter choices when buying insurance plans and how plan sponsors and the government can help.
Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy, is part of a research team that recently used data from U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2017 Annual Energy Outlook to examine projected power sector carbon dioxide emissions. Their calculations showed that the U.S. can meet and possibly beat the near-term carbon dioxide emission reductions required by the United Nations Paris Agreement.
In a study published by Frontiers in Psychology, Coty Gonzalez and Prashanth Rajivan identified how adversaries may be more successful when exploiting specific phishing strategies than when they use other less successful ones. In the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Ravijan is a post-doctoral fellow and Gonazlez is a research professor.
Psychology Professor Lori Holt gave a CMUThink Webinar, part of the Alumni Association’s series to showcase faculty research. Holt’s discussion was on "Dispelling the Myths of Dyslexia," and she provided insight into how the pioneering research taking place at CMU is influencing how the world views the disability.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its annual meeting in Austin, Texas from Thursday, Feb. 15 through Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Rob Kass, the Maurice Falk Professor of Statistics and Computational Neuroscience, moderated the scientific session, “Advanced Techniques for Understanding Brain Function.”
Robin Mejia, manager of the Statistics and Human Rights Program in the Center for Human Rights Science, co-edited an edition of CHANCE Magazine focused on the use of statistical analyses in human rights investigations. Read Working Where Statistics and Human Rights Meet.
David Shumway, professor of English and director of the Humanities Center, helped found the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival in 2015 and talked about the festival’s goals, his vision for its future and what he’s looking forward to the most. Read more of what Shumway had to say.
Michael J. Tarr, head of the Department of Psychology and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), was named one of four recipients of the new Kavčić-Moura Professorships, designed to provide sustained, long-term support for scholars across the university whose breakthroughs and discoveries have the potential to impact the world where human life and technology meet.
Celebrating her silver year this year as director of Carnegie Mellon University’s The Children’s School, Sharon Carver has been with the laboratory since 1993 when she carried the torch following founding director Ann Baldwin Taylor’s retirement. Learn more.
Sheldon Cohen has been named American Psychosomatic Society’s 2018 Distinguished Scientist. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Cohen investigates the effects of behavioral factors in immunity and physical disease. Cohen was the first to provide scientific evidence that stress increases susceptibility to the common cold. Learn more.
“Rowing Inland” by Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, was chosen for the 2018 Michigan Notable Books list by The Library of Michigan. Each year the MNB list features 20 books published the previous calendar year, which are about or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a Michigan author. This is Daniels’ 15th book of poetry. Learn more.
Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and Department of Engineering and Public Policy, spoke on February 2, 2018 at Cambridge University for a joint Zangwill and Winton Lecture. He discussed his career with Cambridge University’s David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory, Centre for Mathematical Sciences.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has allocated more than $6.7 million to a team of researchers to fund research into improving the understanding of how social information travels and transforms online. Three members of the team are from Carnegie Mellon University, including Research Professor of Social and Decision Sciences Coty Gonzalez; Research Psychologist Christian Lebiere and Professor of Psychology David Plaut. Learn more.
Ken Koedinger, professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Department of Psychology, accepted the Hillman Professorship of Computer Science in a ceremony Dec. 6 in the Gates and Hillman centers. Learn more.
Ayana Ledford has been selected as a Lead Now Pittsburgh Fellow. Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. launched the major new initiative, Lead Now, to develop and cultivate the region’s ranks of transformational community leaders to help meet the social and economic opportunities and challenges arising from the region’s ongoing resurgence. Ledford is the director of diversity and inclusion in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the founding executive director of Heinz College’s Program for Research & Outreach on Gender Equality in Society (PROGRESS). Learn more.
Researchers Kathryn Roeder, the UPMC Professor of Statistics and Life Sciences and David Choi, assistant professor of statistics and information systems at the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, along with Statistics and Data Science Ph.D. student Fuchen Liu, have developed a new dynamic statistical model to visualize changing patterns in networks, including gene expression during developmental periods of the brain. Learn more.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) recently released a scientific freedom and responsibility statement that supports its mission to promote scientific freedom. This release coincided with this year’s International Human Rights Day. Jay D. Aronson, associate professor of science, technology and society in the Department of History and director of CMU’s Center for Human Rights Science (CHRS), serves on the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (CSFR), which is an Advisory Committee to the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program. CSFR developed the statement, which was also rolled out online resources for scientists, human rights advocates and policy makers. Read more.
Linda Babcock, Saurabh Bhargava, George Loewenstein and Silvia Saccardo and behavioral economics faculty at Carnegie Mellon, are being featured in a university-wide digital marketing campaign to showcase CMU’s unique approach to behavioral economics. Read more.
Kasey Creswell, assistant professor of psychology, received a $1.9 million NIH grant to study alcohol’s effects in young adults. Creswell's research will be the first to evaluate how lab-based findings translate to risk processes outside of the laboratory by assessing drinking experience in daily life using surveys sent to participants’ smartphones. Learn more.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, has recently published his 16th book of poetry, “Street Calligraphy.” Learn more.
David Danks, head of the Department of Philosophy and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, participated in an AI Caucus panel sponsored by SIIA and IEEE, kicked off by Congressman John Delaney, AI Caucus Co-Chair.
Associate Professor of Psychology Anna Fisher recently received an NSF Science of Learning grant. Fisher will continue her work to understand whether design of reading materials for beginning readers can be optimized taking into account children’s developing attention regulation skills. Read more.
For the third time, Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and Department of Engineering and Public Policy, co-organized the National Academy of Sciences Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication. The focus of the seminar, which was held in Washington D.C. on Nov. 16-17, was to inspire novel collaborations and building capacity.
Earlier this month, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) named 36 writers as members of its 2017-2018 class of Creative Writing Fellows — a highly prestigious honor that comes with a $25,000 grant. One of them was Kevin González, assistant professor of English. Read more.
Lori Holt, professor of psychology and a faculty member in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), Matt Lehet, a Ph.D. student in the Psychology Department and Tim Keller, senior research psychologist, were recently part of a team that developed a new approach to how the brain singles out a specific stream of sound from other distracting sounds. Read more.
Rob Kass, the Maurice Falk Professor of Statistics and Computational Neuroscience, was recently featured explaining his belief that brain research is in desperate need of cutting-edge statistics, which can and should supply a crucial link between new, highly complex data and the thorough scientific explanations the research aims to generate. Learn more.
Roberta Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan Professor of Psychology, was recently elevated to a fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organization. Klatzky is a world-renowned expert in cognition, who examines the relationships between human perception and action. She was recognized for her contributions to human visual, auditory and haptic perception in robotics and virtual environments. Read more.
Ken Koedinger, professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Department of Psychology, accepted the Hillman Professorship of Computer Science in a ceremony Dec. 6 in the Gates and Hillman centers. The Hillman Foundation established the professorship in 1986 to enable the university to attract world-class educators and researchers to Pittsburgh, building the region's prestige as a center of teaching and innovation. Read more.
Wilfried Sieg, the Patrick Suppes Professor of Philosophy, has been lecturing in Europe on Hilbert’s axiomatic method, the concept of computation, and the automated search for proofs in logic and mathematics. He did so at conferences in Zürich and Lisbon, at the Institute for Informatics at the University of Bern, and the Department of Mathematics at the New University of Lisbon. During his two-week research visit at the New University, he also gave a mini-course of four lectures on Proof Search. Before coming back to Pittsburgh, he gave the Inaugural Lecture of the Polaris Colloquium at the University of Lille. In November, he was invited to give talks at the Mathematics Department of the University of Notre Dame and also at the Green Center for Systems Biology of the UT Southwestern Medical Center.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis has appointed Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy and the recently appointed Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics, to the Defense Policy Board. The board provides the secretary, deputy secretary and under secretary for policy with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. Read more.
In collaboration with scholars in Iran and Germany, Naoko Taguchi, professor of Japanese and Second Language Acquisition in the Department of Modern Languages, is launching a new journal, “Applied Pragmatics” with John Benjamins. The journal aims to enhance research on acquisitional pragmatics and accepts studies which have strong implications for teaching, learning, and assessing second language pragmatics. The first issue will appear in Spring 2019.
Michael J. Tarr, head of the department of psychology and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), has been selected as a 2017 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of several highly regarded journals, including “Science.” Tarr studies the neural, cognitive and computational mechanisms underlying visual perception and cognition. Read more.
Dan Wall, a Ph.D. student in social and decision sciences, recently had his latest behavioral economics research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Wall’s work is on the cognitive processes underlying intertemporal decision making. Learn more.
Danielle Wenner, assistant professor of philosophy and associate director for the Center for Ethics and Policy, and Kevin Zollman, associate professor of philosophy and the author of “The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting,” recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times on how to end international tax competition. Read more.
Simon DeDeo published two pieces in Nautilus in the past few weeks. First, he wrote, “Is Tribalism a Natural Malfunction?”, a meditation on a series of computer experiments in the study of Prisoner’s Dilemma. Later in October, he wrote, “When Did Tribalism Get To Be So Fashionable?” DeDeo is assistant professor of social and decision sciences and an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute. Read more.
Tim Haggerty wrote an op-ed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the impending decision of Amazon’s second headquarters location and what a high-tech tsunami it could bring. Haggerty is an adjunct instructor of history and the director of the Humanities Scholars Program. Read more.
FOX News Channel (FNC) has signed Kiron Skinner, director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy, as a contributor. In this role, Skinner will offer both foreign policy and political analysis across FNC and FOX Business Network’s daytime and primetime programming. Read more.
Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane and a group of researchers reported on the quality of latent fingerprint analysis, saying that courtroom testimony and reports stating or even implying that fingerprints collected from a crime scene belong to a single person are indefensible and lack scientific foundation. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read more.
Vicki Helgeson, a professor of psychology at CMU, was recently featured in Science Newsline for her contributions as co-author of a paper that appears in the September issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal published by the American Psychological Association. The paper, titled “Close Relationships and the Management of Chronic Illness: Associations and Interventions,” discusses how patients and family members can work together to monitor patients' illness symptoms, keep medical appointments and help the patient stick to medication regimens as a strategy for chronic illness management. Read more.
Helgeson has also recently been named a fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology for her extraordinary, distinctive and longstanding contributions to the science of personality and social psychology. Helgeson’s research focuses on how people adjust to chronic illness and how gender-related traits impact relationships and health.
Correy Dandoy, the Department of Philosophy’s coordinator of undergraduate programs for Dietrich College, was recently published as an author for a chapter in a Student Affairs case study compilation book titled, “Complex Cases in Student Affairs.” Dandoy authored the chapter, “Provisional Admissions Decisions at a Branch Campus.” She examined the ethics of admitting underprepared students at an under-resourced, under-enrolled branch campus of a large university. Learn more.
Faculty of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, Sue-mei Wu, Yueming Yu and Gang Liu successfully hosted the 2017 Chinese Language Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania Autumn Symposium on October 15 at Carnegie Mellon. The symposium celebrated the Association’s 3-year anniversary and had approximately 90 other Chinese educators from Western Pennsylvania in attendance to share their expertise and innovative teaching strategies. Learn more.
A graduate student in the Department of Philosophy, Liam Bright, wrote a blog, “Upholding Standards in Philosophy,” and discusses his thoughts on philosophy remaining a place where strict epistemic standards are celebrated and upheld. Read more.
Researchers led by Marcel Just have developed an innovative and promising approach to identify suicidal individuals by analyzing the alterations in how their brains represent certain concepts, such as death, cruelty and trouble. Just is the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology. Read more.
When 40 Roma families recently sought asylum in a small Pennsylvania town, Emanuela Grama, assistant professor of history, offered to do what was needed most: Listen. Read more.
To combat sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies, Julie Downs and her team have developed an interactive video, Seventeen Days, to help teen girls learn how to make sound decisions during emotionally charged moments. Downs, associate professor of psychology, social and decision sciences, recently presented her work at BrainHub’s Neurons to Neighborhoods event that focused on the teen brain. Learn more.
Jason England, a visiting assistant professor of creative writing, says sports are far more than just games on a field. Recently, England answered questions about the nature of the protests and the racial politics in the NFL. Read the Q&A.
Associate Professor of English Kathy M. Newman, a popular and mass culture expert primarily interested in the relationship between television, film, radio and print media and social and political formations, reflected about what is happening with culture and inequality and the ties back to Marx. She also recently was featured in a panel discussion, “BANNED: Art, Censorship and the First Amendment,” at the Casey Droege Cultural Productions. This discussion was presented by the Arts and the Law Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association, ACLU of Pennsylvania and City of Asylum.
Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, is co-organizing and participating in the National Academy of Sciences Sackler Science of Science Communication III Colloquium on November 16-17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The colloquium will explore ways to build capacity for and foster the use of evidence-based strategies for engaging the public with science and ensuring its appropriate use. Learn more.
Ryan Tibshirani, associate professor of statistics and machine learning, is a member of CMU’s Delphi research group, which has fielded two forecasting systems during the flu season that ended in May. Now, for the third year in a row, forecasts of national influenza activity have proven to be the most accurate among all forecasting systems evaluated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more.
Kevin Zollman, associate professor of philosophy and director of graduate studies, recently gave short presentations on game theory as it applies to everyday life at the Carnegie Science Center as part of its “21+ Game Night” held earlier this month.
Naoko Taguchi, professor of second language acquisition and Japanese Studies, co-authored the new book, Second Language Pragmatics (Oxford University Press). The book presents pragmatics in the context of multilingual societies and diverse contexts of language use, offering a broad perspective on how second language learners develop abilities to achieve communicative goals in a social context.
Recently the Department of English’s Suguru Ishizaki, David Kaufer, Danielle Wetzel and Necia Werner received funding from Carnegie Mellon University’s ProSEED grant program. The grant will be used to help evaluate the effectiveness of a TEL prototype that provides student writers with meaningful and individualized feedback. Kody Manke, visiting assistant teaching professor of psychology and Ken Koedinger, professor of human-computer interaction and psychology, also received funding from ProSEED. They’ve teamed up to test whether students will gain a more robust understanding of scientific principles and methods through active learning that involves key steps of scientific (re)discovery. The grant will be used in an introductory psychology course by contrasting learning from active inquiry and TEL feedback with learning from online videos. Learn more.
Sharon Dilworth, associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program, recently had her play, “A Reason for Moonbeams,” debut at Threadbare Theatre’s New Play Reading Series this month. Learn more.
David Danks, the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology and head of the Philosophy Department, is a panelist this year for one of the sessions at the Thrival Festival, where he will be discussing, “Skynet or Shangri-La? The Role of AI Ethics & Policy in Shaping Our Future.” Danks will alsp speak at the IEEE TechEthics Conference in Washington D.C. on October 13. There will be a series of panels at this conference addressing significant and provocative questions related to artificial intelligence, autonomous transportation, neuroscience and ethics education. Danks will be speaking at the session, “Will Neuroscience Research Lead to Conscious AI?"
Robert Siegler, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, is being honored by the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain as a scientist who has made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain and behavior. His research focuses on how children learn mathematics and how theoretical understanding of mathematical development can be applied to improving that learning. Learn more.
Chris Neuwirth has been named director of the Masters in Professional Writing (MAPW) program in the Department of English. Neuwirth previously served as department head, director of the Rhetoric program and director of the MAPW program.
Michal Friedman, a visiting assistant professor of history, co-wrote the piece, "Spain's Relationship with Jews: It's Complicated."
Jeremy Avigad, professor of philosophy and mathematical sciences, co-organized the conference “Big Proof” this summer, which gathered research from all over the world to explore ways that logical methods in computer science can be used to support mathematical reasoning. Find out more about the conference »
Kevin Zollman will be giving short presentations on game theory applied to everyday life on Sept. 8 at the Carnegie Science Center, as part of their 21+ night series. Zollman is an associate professor of philosophy. Learn more.
Max G’Sell, assistant professor of statistics, received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to understand how the brain perceives and understands the actions, emotions and communications of others. The NSF recently awarded $16 million to 19 cross-disciplinary teams to conduct innovative research focused on neural and cognitive systems. Read more »
Baruch Fischhoff conducted a study with alumna Caitlin Drummond that deteremined that people’s beliefs about scientific topics that are associated with their political or religious identities actually become increasingly polarized with education, as measured by years in school, science classes and science literacy. Fischhoff is the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. Read more about the study »
Associate Professor of English Kathy M. Newman, a popular and mass culture expert primarily interested in the relationship between television, film, radio and print media and social and political formations, reflected on Jerry Lewis' legacy. Read more »
Brooke Feeney, Meredith Van Vleet and Brittany Jakubiak discovered that people with supportive spouses were more likely to take on potentially rewarding challenges and that those who accepted the challenges experienced more personal growth, happiness, psychological well-being and better relationship functioning months later. Their study was pulbished in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Feeney is professor of psychology, Van Vleet is a postdoctoral fellow in CMU’s Relationships Lab and Jukubiak is a graduate student in the Psychology Department. Read more »
Behavioral economists George Loewenstein and David Hagmann believe it’s time to apply recent insights on human behavior to inform and reform health policy. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, and Hagmann is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. Learn more about this study »
As part of the CMU Uplift Challenge, the Institute for Politics and Strategy's Geoff McGovern proposed a creative light display, consisting of forty color-changing illuminated tubes that will be installed between the fourth and fifth floors in Wean Hall. As a study in color theory, the installation presents a continuous pattern that reveals itself as visitors traverse the stairwell. Learn more »
Kathryn Roeder and Larry Wasserman have received endowed professorships from UPMC to fund work in statistics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics to help shape the future of health care. The financial support continues nearly three decades of UPMC’s investment in CMU, which includes the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance, a collaboration between CMU and the University of Pittsburgh that uses data to improve health outcomes and hopes to transform the practice of medicine. Read more »
Alex John London has been appointed the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy. A prominent ethicist who is frequently called upon to address critical problems nationally and internationally, London researches foundational ethical issues in human-subjects research, issues of social justice, the ethics of autonomous technologies and methodological questions in theoretical and applied ethics. Learn more »
Dietrich College Dean Richard Scheines and Simon Initiative Research Scientist Lauren Herckis’ Global Learning Council presentation on "Walking the Talk – Overcoming Barriers to Implementation of Best Practices in TEL for Higher Education" has been making headlines since the late June event. Times Higher Education published "Academics 'Fail to Change Teaching Due to Fear of Looking Stupid,'" which was then picked up by Inside Higher Education, e-Literate and many other blogs and outlets and sparked an intense conversation about why professors do not use TEL tools. To respond to the article, Scheines, Herckis and Joel Smith, distinguished career teaching professor of philosophy, wrote an opinion piece for Times Higher Education, "Failure to Embrace New Teaching Techniques Not Just About Fear of Embarrassment.”
Paul Eiss has received the 2017 Humanities Essay Award from the Mexico Section of the Latin American Studies Association. He was recognized for his article, “Playing Mestizo: Festivity, Language and Theatre in Yucatán,” published in the fall 2016 edition of Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies. Eiss is an associate professor of history in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Department of History's Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg, Paul Eiss, Michal Friedman and John Weigel and the School of Computer Science's Roni Rosenfeld spent eight days traveling through Poland this summer to learn about the country’s Jewish past and present. Read more »
The Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences is honoring Brian MacWhinney as a scientist who has made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain and behavior. MacWhinney, professor of psychology, is a significant force in psycholinguistics, both theoretically and methodologically. He has served the linguistic community by creating and curating numerous language databases. Learn more »
David Kaufer, the Mellon Distinguished Professor of English, co-authored the new book, "Memories of Lincoln and the Splintering of American Political Thought.” In the aftermath of the Civil War, republicans and democrats who advocated conflicting visions of American citizenship could agree on one thing: the rhetorical power of Abraham Lincoln’s life. This volume examines the debates over his legacy and their impact on America’s future.
Statistics Professor Joel Greenhouse recently co-chaired a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee to investigate whether the methods used to evaluate the safety of long-distance trucks and buses were adequate. The committee found that while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) used to identify vehicles at high risk for future crashes is conceptually sound, several features involving its implementation need to be improved. Specifically, the committee proposed that FMCSA develop a more statistically principled approach based on item response theory (IRT) to measure the "safety fitness" of each carrier. IRT models have been applied successfully in informing policy decisions in other areas such as hospital rankings. If the new model is then demonstrated to perform well in identifying motor carriers that need interventions, FMCSA should use it to replace SMS. Find out more »
The Faculty of Humanities at Lund University, Sweden has awarded Baruch Fischhoff with an honorary Ph.D. Established in 1666, Lund University is ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide. Fischhoff is the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and Department of Engineering and Public Policy. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences and awarded the 2017 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science, along with Richard E. Nisbett, of the University of Michigan.
Timothy Verstynen, assistant professor of psychology, has been named a 2017 Young Scientist for the Word Economic Forum. Learn more »
Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy, led a CMU team that analyzed more than a century of power plant construction and retirement data. They concluded that when it comes to the current plans to retire U.S. power plants, we are “running towards a cliff with no fence.” Read more »
Marcel Just has built on his previous work that pioneered using machine learning algorithms with brain imaging technology to "mind read." His latest findings indicate that the mind’s building blocks for constructing complex thoughts are formed by the brain’s various sub-systems and are not word-based. Just is the D.O. Hebb University Professor of Psychology. Learn more »
A team led by CMU Psychologists Michael Murphy and Sheldon Cohen wanted to better understand if specific aspects of the family environment following a separation better predicted children’s long-term health outcomes. They found that adults whose parents separated but did not speak to each other during individuals’ childhoods were three times as likely to develop a cold when intentionally exposed to a common cold virus than adults whose parents had remained together or separated but continued to communicate. Murphy is a psychology postdoctoral research associate, and Cohen is the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology. Read more »
French Teaching Professor Christopher Jones retired June 30 to spend more time at home pursuing his other profession. He will continue writing, playing, producing and marketing his own music in his soundproof, fully equipped recording studio in his backyard. Read more »
Andrew Ramey, who received a Ph.D. in history from CMU, is a new academic adviser for the Department of History. Ramey will advise students in the social and political history and global studies majors.
A new bench has been installed outside of Baker Hall in the late Professor Hilary Masters’ memory. View a photo and stop by to see it.
Erwin R. and Beverly Steinberg planned to leave one last gift, naming Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and WQED as the recipients of a $1 million dollar donation split among the organizations. Learn more »
Obituary: David Fowler, professor of history, emeritus, died July 5 at the age of 92. Before his retirement from CMU in 1996, Fowler taught courses relating to minorities in American history, the American presidency, the development of American society, business history and advertising and the American Constitution. A private ceremony will be held in Pittsburgh, and he will be laid to rest next to his wife, the late CMU English Professor Lois Josephs Fowler. Read his full obituary »
Gloria Hill, who had been a staff member at CMU for 35 years before her retirement in 2015, died Wednesday, May 3. She was 70. Hill joined CMU in 1972 as an adviser. She also served as director of the Carnegie Mellon Action Project (CMAP) and assistant vice-provost for education. In 2008, she became assistant dean of the Dietrich College and director of its Academic Advisory Center (AAC), where she was instrumental in shaping thousands of CMU students’ educations. At the time of her retirement, many believed that Hill’s lasting legacy at CMU and in the Dietrich College would be her devotion to everyone at CMU – students, faculty and staff. John Lehoczky, the Thomas Lord Professor of Statistics who was the Dietrich College dean who appointed Hill as assistant dean, said that her contributions impacted the entire university. “Her expert advice, her management skills and her devotion to the success of all our students will be greatly missed,” said Lehoczky. Read more about Hill’s legacy.
Ignacio Arana Araya, a post-doctoral fellow in the Dietrich College's Institute for Politics and Strategy, contributed an opinion piece to the Washington Post describing the decision-making lessons we can learn from former presidents. Between June 2011 and May 2012, Araya interviewed 21 former presidents of eight Latin American countries who collectively offered five insights into decision making, including leaning on advisers to relieve pressure, listening to alternative viewpoints and mastering when to negotiate and when to retaliate. Read Araya's five lessons.
Felipe Gómez co-edited a book on the celebrated Colombian writer Evelio Rosero. The Spanish-language volume, Evelio Rosero y los ciclos de la creacion literaria (Evelio Rosero and the Cycles of Literary Creation), consists of essays that focus on the points of contact between Rosero’s work and themes of cultural representation, subjectivity and power struggles. Gómez is an associate teaching professor of Hispanic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon. His co-editor, Maria del Carmen Saldarriaga, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and has taught courses for the Spanish program at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. Learn more.
Simon DeDeo recently contributed "What we talk about when we talk about capitalism" to the Oxford Community Press’s OUPblog. In it, he described the findings of a recent study that tracked discussions of capitalism over 200 years in three major newspapers in Britain, America and the Netherlands. DeDeo was most surprised that events, not philosophies, bring words into our daily lives. For example, talk of democracy peaks during wartime, and mentions of capitalism increase during times of economic crisis. DeDeo is an assistant professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. He also leads the Santa Fe Institute’s Laboratory for Social Minds. Read the article.
When Life Strikes the President: Kiron Skinner, director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College, wrote a chapter on President Ronald Reagan for a new book that explores scandal, death and illness in the White House. Published by Oxford University Press, the book offers a new approach to presidential biography, tracing the impact of personal crises and emotional instabilities on presidential decision making and national (and international) outcomes. Learn more.
In a JAMA Viewpoint article, CMU’s George Loewenstein and UCLA's Ian Larkin outline the problems associated with the fee-for-service arrangements that most doctors currently operate under. Such compensation schemes, they argue, create incentives for physicians to order more, and different, services than are best for patients. Loewenstein and Larkin also led a research study in the same issue of JAMA on how restricting pharmaceutical sales representatives’ marketing tactics changes physician prescribing behavior. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences and Larkin is an assistant professor of strategy at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
David Danks, the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology and head of the Department of Philosophy, has been named one of 35 new Andrew Carnegie Fellows by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Danks will use the $200,000 award to explore human trust in the age of autonomous technologies. Well known for using computational cognitive science to develop computational models to describe, predict and, most importantly, explain human behavior, Danks is a leading expert in the ethics of artificial intelligence. As autonomous technologies become more prevalent, Danks said he believes a structure must be established to guide their use, assess their impacts, develop policies and regulations and inform the public. Find out more.
Edward Kennedy is this year’s recipient of the American Statistical Association’s (ASA) David P. Byar Young Investigator Award. The award is given annually to a new researcher in the ASA Biometrics Section who presents an original manuscript at the Joint Statistical Meetings. The award commemorates David Byar, a renowned biostatistician who made significant contributions to the development and application of statistical methods during his career at the National Cancer Institute. Kennedy was recognized for his manuscript, "Robust estimation and inference for the local instrumental variable curve." He is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics.
Tim Haggerty recently contributed an opinion piece to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in which he describes why he hates his computer. Reasons include excessive upgrades and password changes, the end of friendly debates and the loss of time alone and unplugged. He wrote, "As the digital world has evolved, I’ve realized that a steady percentage of my autonomy has been eaten away, so that the damn glowing box — which initially promised freedom (remember the famous '1984' ads and the self-congratulatory list of geniuses from Apple used as its promotion?) has been replaced by a nagging sense of enslavement." Haggerty is the director of the Dietrich College’s Humanities Scholars Program. Read "10 reasons I detest my computer."
CMU's Cleotilde (Coty) Gonzalez, Christian Lebiere and Lujo Bauer are part of a team that has received a $6.2 million Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Department of Defense to prevent cyber attacks. The project, "Realizing Cyber Inception: Towards a Science of Personalized Deception for Cyber Defense," will develop deception tactics based on theories from cognitive science, computational game theory and computer systems engineering. "This new approach to cybersecurity will exploit the psychology of deception to lure attackers into believing that they have successfully compromised a system, while keeping our systems safe," said Gonzalez, research professor of social and decision sciences in the Dietrich College. Lebiere is a research scientist in the Department of Psychology and Bauer is an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and in the Institute for Software Research. Learn more about the grant.
Joe William Trotter, Jr. was recently inducted into the Wall of Honor for Outstanding Graduates at his alma mater, Newcomerstown High School in Newcomerstown, Ohio. He joins Woody Hayes, legendary football player and coach, on the wall in the school's new gymnasium. Trotter is the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice.
Lauren Herckis, a research scientist for the Simon Initiative, is leading an effort to better understand why many of the best technology-enhanced learning resources are being left on the shelf. Through a $1 million, two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2015, Herckis and her team are working to develop strategies around the obstacles blocking the way for educators to adopt proven best-in-practice teaching techniques. As an anthropologist with an archeological focus, Herckis is applying a unique perspective to the project. "Archeologists have developed a tremendous variety of methodological approaches for understanding the ways people engage with tools and materials over a long term. In this case, I am studying how faculty engage with technologies and technological change," Herckis said. Herckis will be speaking on her findings this June at the 2017 Global Learning Council Summit in Berlin, Germany. Learn more.
English Professor Peggy Knapp has announced her retirement after 47 years at Carnegie Mellon. Knapp is known for her exceptional teaching, particularly her classes “The Medieval Semester,” in which students spent the semester learning the reality of the medieval era, and “Shakespeare: Tragedies and Histories.” “Peggy has been a model citizen, serving on virtually all the committees that make academic life possible,” said Andreea Ritivoi, head of the English Department. “From several terms on the university promotion and tenure committee, to being chair of the Faculty Senate, member of the University Education Council, the Trustees Alumni Committee, the University Committee on Academic Integrity, and even the Environmental Action committee — and this is actually a small sample of her service work.” Knapp writes on topics ranging from medieval sagas to current novels, and has published four books, nine volumes of “Assays: Critical Approaches to Medieval and Renaissance Texts” and more than 50 academic articles, and almost 20 reviews. Knapp received CMU’s Ryan Award and the Dietrich College’s Elliott Dunlap Smith Award, both of which recognize distinguished teaching. She has also served as president of the Faculty Senate. Learn more and watch a video tribute to Knapp.
Robert Cavalier will retire this June after 30 years at Carnegie Mellon. As teaching professor of philosophy, emeritus, Cavalier will continue working with Kenya Dworkin, associate professor of Hispanic Studies, to bring deliberative democracy to Cuba. This project and others are the culmination three decades of innovation that Cavalier has spearheaded at CMU—from pioneering computer-assisted instruction and multimedia exploration of hard cases in ethics, to developing online tools for citizen deliberation and designing face-to-face roundtables to create the conditions for informed, well-structured and civil conversations. Cavalier’s deliberative democracy work led to City Council member Dan Gilman (DC’04) proclaiming May 9, 2017 as "Professor Robert Cavalier Day" in the City of Pittsburgh. Read more about the projects Cavalier will continue to pursue.
Danielle Wenner has been selected to participate in the Brocher Summer Residency Program in Geneva, Switzerland, where she will spend July 2018 working on a project titled "Non-Domination and the Limits of Relational Autonomy." She will examine autonomy in transnational gestational surrogacy agreements and in international clinical research, and the relationship between autonomy and the role of social determinants of health—including socioeconomic status and education level—in public health policy. The residency is sponsored by the Brocher Foundation, a Swiss non-profit that supports research on the ethical, legal and social aspects of medical developments and public health policies. The foundation hosts scholars from disciplines including law, anthropology, history, bioethics and philosophy. "A summer residency at Brocher is a tremendous honor," said Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of CMU’s Center for Ethics and Policy (CEP). "Some of the past recipients are among the most accomplished scholars in ethics and health.” Wenner is an assistant professor of philosophy and the associate director of the CEP in the Dietrich College. Learn more about the residency and Wenner's research.
David Danks and Alex John London recently contributed an op-ed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calling for more oversight of self-driving cars. In “Self-driving, but not self-regulating,” Danks and London argued that the current U.S. system of regulation for passenger vehicle safety is not adequate for autonomous vehicles, which operate both as car and driver. They wrote, “Self-driving cars have to determine their own contexts of operation, and we simply do not know how to design, develop or implement regulatory standards for ensuring that autonomous cars can perform these high-level decision making tasks safely and reliably.” Danks is the head of the Department of Philosophy and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology in the Dietrich College, and London is a professor of philosophy and director of the college’s Center for Ethics and Policy. Read the full piece.
Three CMU behavioral economists participated in a Reddit AMA where they discussed active information avoidance and their recent paper on the topic, published in the Journal of Economic Literature. George Loewenstein, Russell Golman and David Hagmann answered questions on everything from how to deal with co-workers who avoid information to what the research says about differences between various demographic groups when it comes to decision making. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Golman is an assistant professor in social and decision sciences. Hagmann is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. Read the AMA.
Marlene Behrmann was one of six internationally acclaimed women scientists whose accomplishments were celebrated at the Inspiring Women in Science event at Brown University.Behrmann is the Cowan University Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology.
In her role as the acting chair of the American Statistical Association's (ASA) Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights, Robin Mejia in conjunction with the ASA urged the government of Greece to stop the prosecution of statistician Andreas Georgiou, who professionalized the country's statistical agency and compiled the country's first accurate debt statistics. A recent press release states Georgiou is being criminally charged for allegedly inflating the Greek deficit and causing damages of 171 billion euro to the Greek state. Although various judicial procedures have concluded the charges against Georgiou are baseless, the charges continue to be revived. Read the press release and the letter to the Greek prime minister. According to Mejia, wrongful convictions also occur frequently in the United States. She recently argued in favor of curbing the misuse of crime scene evidence in U.S. courts in an op-ed published in Nature. She is manager of the Statistics and Human Rights Program in CMU’s Center for Human Rights Science and has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Statistics. Read “Label the limits of forensic science.”
Steven Schlossman, professor of history and director of undergraduate studies, has won the Dietrich College’s 2016-17 Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service. Schlossman has distinguished himself as a scholar in a wide range of social and political history studies including homework in American schooling, juvenile courts and delinquency and the rise of modern golf. He also helped to co-found the ethics, history and public policy major, offered jointly with the Department of Philosophy. Read about the award.
In an opinion piece published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Kevin Zollman discouraged the city’s return to the old “plurality” voting system. He wrote, “Democracy can and should evolve in response to a changing electorate. St. Paul’s willingness to adopt a modern electoral system provides a wonderful example. It would be a shame for the country to lose an important leader of change.” Zollman is an associate professor of philosophy in the Dietrich College. Read the piece.
Danielle Wenner contributed an opinion piece to Daily Nous in response to an editorial that argued against psychologist and philosopher Tania Lombrozo’s hypothesis that philosophical concepts may undermine pro-social behaviors. Wenner is an assistant professor of philosophy and the associate director of CMU’s Center for Ethics & Policy. Read “Don’t Turn It Off.”
Chinese Studies professors Sue-mei Wu, Yueming Yu, Gang Liu and Haizia Wang organized the first Student Excellence Chinese Writing Contest for K-12 students. Thirty-one students from western Pennsylvania elementary, middle and high schools received the award at a celebration at Sewickley Academy in April. The contest was sponsored by the Chinese Languages Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania (CLTA-WPA), of which Wu is president.
In a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Baruch Fischhoff and his co-author Wändi Bruine de Bruin show how collaborations between psychologists and economists lead to better understanding of such decisions than either discipline can on its own. Fischhoff is the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Institute for Politics and Strategy and Department of Engineering and Public Policy, and Bruine de Bruin is professor of behavioral decision making at Leeds University Business School, who received her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. Read more.
Kathyrn Roeder is part of a team that received a $7 million National Institutes of Health grant for autism genetics research. The award will extend the work of the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC) through 2022. Established in 2010, the ASC collects and shares samples and genetic data from individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Roeder is professor of statistics and computational biology. Learn more.
Kiron Skinner, director of the Dietrich College’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, wrote an opinion piece for Pacific Council in which she argued that technology like automation and artificial intelligence are driving U.S. defense strategy. She noted, “As a tool of war rather than one of its causes, technological innovation will have to be paired with the innovation of ideas, strategy and doctrine.” Read the piece.
Every year CMU recognizes individuals who exemplify the highest standards of excellence and commitment to students. Emily Half, academic program manager, and Ryan Tibshirani, associate professor of statistics, are among the recipients of this year’s Celebration of Education Awards. Half received the Academic Advising Award for her work as an adviser for the undergraduate students in global studies and international relations and politics. Tibshirani was honored with the Teaching Innovation Award for developing the concept of a “course conference” to structure students’ final projects in the Convex Optimization class. This is modeled on the structure of real, high-profile conferences in machine learning, computer science and statistics, encouraging students to improve communication about their work. Learn more about the awards.
Information Systems students showed their advisor, Gary DiLisio, how much they appreciate him in a very unique way — by having T-shirts made with his picture on them. Check them out!
Rebecca Nugent has been named associate head of the Department of Statistics. Department Head Christopher Genovese said, "This is a fitting appointment both in recognition of all that Rebecca contributes to the department and as a testament to her skill and judgment as well as her vision for the department's future." Nugent is also a teaching professor of statistics and director of undergraduate studies.
Kiron Skinner, director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College, wrote an opinion piece for the Hoover Institution on "Moving Forward: The Need For Innovations In Technology And Strategy.” In it, Skinner concludes that "politics, economics, religion, culture, personal ambition, and avarice are enduring causes of war. As a tool of war rather than one of its causes, technological innovation will have to be paired with the innovation of ideas, strategy, and doctrine. These latter factors have more to do with enhancing credible deterrence, peace, and stability than rapidly-changing exotic technologies.” Skinner is also a fellow of the Hoover Institution. Read the piece.
Nichole Argo, a research scientist in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, teamed up with The New School for Social Research’s Nadine Obeid and Jeremy Ginges to better understand group tolerance. Their study of groups in tension or conflict found evidence that people are willing to share a society with those of differing beliefs as long as they believe that those groups share a commitment to universal moral values such as fairness and harm. The findings undermine political claims that conflicts arise because of differences in what they call “binding” values, such as beliefs about God, purity or deference to authority. Members of groups may believe in these things, but they don't necessarily expect others to share those beliefs. Learn more.
As a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research technologist and MRI safety officer, Scott Kurdilla manages day-to-day operations at the Scientific Imaging and Brain Research (SIBR) Center in CMU’s Psychology Department. His responsibilities range from safety training and scheduling to scanner maintenance, quality assurance and metal screening. Read more.
Ayana Ledford has joined the Dietrich College as director of diversity and inclusion. Ledford is a seasoned expert in creating and implementing programs to recruit and retain minorities and women. She participated in Dietrich’s College Conversation in November and is excited to help with a number of suggestions that came out of that conversation. Examples of those include finding or creating training programs for faculty, students and staff that are useful in our context and organizing and facilitating ongoing conversations involving issues of race, gender and religious discrimination. Learn more.
Joanna Wolfe, director of the Global Communications Center and teaching professor of English, won the 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Technical and Scientific Communication Award in the category of Best Article on Pedagogy or Curriculum in Technical or Scientific Communication for "Teaching Students to Focus on the Data in Data Visualization."
English Professor Jon Klancher won the 2016 Jean-Pierre Barricelli prize for his book “Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences. Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age," which was published by Cambridge University Press. As the International Conference in Romanticism describes it, the prize "recognizes exceptional, even ground breaking works in the discipline, and is vetted by scholars from around the world." Previous winners have included Peter Gay, Ian Balfour, Martin Beck, and other such renowned scholars.
Robin Mejia, now the manager of the Statistics and Human Rights Program in CMU’s Center for Human Rights Science, received a Ph.D. in biostatistics in May 2016, inspired in part by the late Stephen Fienberg. Mejia wrote a reflection on part of Fienberg’s legacy for Nature.
Many policies — from medicine to terrorism — depend on how the general public accepts and understands scientific evidence. People view different branches of sciences as having different amounts of uncertainty, which may not reflect the actual uncertainty of the field. Stephen Broomell, assistant professor of social and decision sciences, and Ph.D. student Patrick Bodilly Kane took the first step to understanding more of the whole picture by measuring scientific uncertainty broadly — across many areas of science, not just topics that are typically polarized. Learn more.
Citizen science is not a new concept. The Smithsonian Institute relied on the practice to gather data for a weather project in the mid-1800s. But the digital age has vastly expanded its potential and usefulness. James Wynn, associate professor of English and rhetoric, explores the rhetoric, science and public engagement of it in the new book, "Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement.” Read more.
From the last meals his mother is able to cook and joy rides to Canada, to childhood and the end of it, Jim Daniels circles back to his life in Detroit in his 15th book of poetry, “Rowing Inland.” Similar to many of Daniels’ works, urban and working-class life appear throughout the four sections of the collection. While Detroit shows up in many of Daniels’ pieces, this time around he’s looking at it as both an insider and an outsider. Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English. Learn more about the book and watch a video of Daniels reading a few of its poems.
Joseph B. "Jay" Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics, Emeritus, gave a talk on “Fingerprint Science” at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences last week. In his talk, Kadane showed how a fingerprint analyst may observe common characteristics between the mark left at a crime scene and a fingerprint on file. However, there is no current scientific basis to estimate the number of people who share these characteristics. In particular, there is no science to support the conclusion that only one person, the person whose fingerprint is on file, could have left the mark. Learn more.
Readers consuming fake news, investors ignoring a bear market, Internet users giving away valuable personal data in online quizzes: All of these trends can have dramatic consequences for the individuals involved as well as for society, and none are well explained by traditional economics. George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, discussed his research on these trends and other topics at the Behavioral Insights in Action conference, which celebrated the launch of CMU's new Bachelor of Arts in behavioral economics, policy and organizations. Watch a video or read more.
Edda Fields-Black, associate professor of history, was one of the collaborators who worked to bring "JH: Mechanics of a Legend" to life. The performance depicted John Henry, the super-strong railroad man who died with a hammer in his hand. Learn more.
Rémi Adam van Compernolle, assistant professor of second language acquisition and French & Francophone Studies, has won the 2017 First Book Award from the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL). "Sociocultural Theory and L2 Instructional Pragmatics" was published by Multilingual Matters and was immediately well received, with one reviewer calling it "remarkable." Learn more.
Robert E. Kass, the Maurice Falk Professor of Statistics and Computational Neuroscience, has been selected to give the 2017 R.A. Fisher Lecture at the Joint Statistical Meetings, July 29 - Aug. 3 in Baltimore. The lecture recognizes the highly significant impact of statistical methods on scientific investigations and was established by the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) in 1963 to honor the contributions of Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher and the work of a present-day statistician. Kass has appointments in the Dietrich College’s Statistics Department and School of Computer Science’s Machine Learning Department and is the interim director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. He is the second CMU statistician to receive this honor; the late Stephen Fienberg gave the R.A. Fisher lecture in 2015.
Three CMU learning scientists, Marsha Lovett, Ken Koedinger and Lauren Herckis, were featured on e-literate TV, which is designed to provoke conversations about how technology can be employed in the service of education. Lovett, director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation and co-coordinator of the Simon Initiative, discusses “What is Learning Science from an Educator's Perspective?” Koedinger explores “What Learning Science Tells Us About How to Use Educational Technology.” He is a professor of human-computer interaction and psychology and co-coordinator of the Simon Initiative.Herckis, research scientist for the Simon Initiative, talks about her work in “How Can Learning Science Help Improve Teaching?” Lovett and Koedinger’s videos were also highlighted in a recent EdSurge column on "When Personalized Learning Is a Logical Fallacy.”
David Danks recently contributed an opinion piece to the Conversation. In “Finding trust and understanding in autonomous technologies,” Danks explored the ethical and psychological implications of our trust in autonomous technologies like self-driving cars. “These are devices, so predictability might seem like the key. Because of their autonomy, however, we need to consider the importance and value — and the challenge — of learning to trust them in the way we trust other human beings,” he wrote. “And ironically, the very feature that makes self-driving cars valuable — their flexible, autonomous decision-making across diverse situations — is exactly what makes it hard to trust them.” Danks is the head of the Department of Philosophy and the L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Read the full piece.
English Professor Jane McCafferty's poem was recently published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Read "Do you speak Hafez?"
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, designed her own holiday card depicting the Statue of Liberty in a pantsuit. They became so popular on social media CommonWealth Press turned them into t-shirts and prints.
Correy Dandoy, coordinator of undergraduate programs in the Department of Philosophy, was recently featured in the Observer-Reporter for her work with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Washington County. In addition to being a Big Sister, Dandoy is an active member of the organization’s Washington County Advisory Board along with her husband, Justin Dandoy. Learn more.
Simon DeDeo, an expert in social complexity and a mathematician, has joined the Department of Social and Decision Sciences (SDS). Driven by new theories and big data, DeDeo uses empirical evidence and mathematical models to reveal how people connect and interact, and how those ways change over time. His investigations shed light on the dynamic systems that make up our cultural, business and political worlds. DeDeo, an assistant professor, will teach SDS courses, such as "Social Complexity" and "Bubbles, Norms and Revolutions," where students will study society, culture and human behavior from pre-history to the deep future while applying methods in statistical analysis and data modeling. Read more about DeDeo.
Stephen E. Fienberg, University Professor of Statistics and Social Science at CMU, died Wednesday, Dec. 14 in Pittsburgh. He was 74. An internationally acclaimed statistician, Fienberg was best known for developing and using statistical applications to influence science and public policy in many areas, including aspects of human rights, privacy and confidentiality, forensics, survey and census taking. He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and made theoretical and methodological advances in algebraic and multivariate statistics, followed his wide-ranging curiosity into other disciplines and helped to pioneer machine learning as a field and at CMU. He shared his passion for statistics and his work with his students and junior faculty members, training and mentoring the next generation of statisticians and data scientists. Read more about Fienberg and his legacy »
Jim Daniels and Charlee Brodsky have teamed up to explore the American flag through poetry and photography. Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English in the Dietrich College, thoughtfully explores diverse, sometimes complex, feelings of identity, while Brodsky, a professor of photography in the College of Fine Arts, sensitively captures scenes of the flag in Pittsburgh neighborhoods. "Flags are symbols, but they are also concrete objects that are displayed by a variety of people and institutions in a variety of ways that sparked my imagination as a writer, as an American and as a human being. Fifty stars, thirteen stripes, red, white and blue. That stays the same, but everything else changes from photo to photo, and, I hope, from poem to poem," Daniels said. Read more about the project.
Jane Bernstein recently wrote “How I Helped Tell a Soldier’s Story” for the website Literary Hub. In the piece, she described the relationship she built with Joe, a WWII veteran and former POW, when she spent time teaching him about creative writing. When Joe approached Bernstein for help to tell his story, he had been working for a decade on a manuscript about his experiences in an Italian prison camp during WWII. Bernstein is a professor of English. Read Bernstein’s story.
In a keynote address at a forum on education organized by National Geographic Learning, Carnegie Mellon Qatar faculty member Dudley Reynolds discussed the challenges in constructing an educational system that serves society, operates responsibly and offers an effective curriculum. In particular, he addressed Qatar’s efforts to design an educational system that serves a diverse population and to strike a balance between educating in English and Arabic, emphasizing the need to integrate both English and Arabic learning in schools. Reynolds is a teaching professor of English at CMU-Q and the 51st president of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association. Learn more.
Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College, has been elected to the executive committee of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team. Previously, Skinner joined Trump’s transition team for the National Security Council. She directs CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics and its Institute for Strategic Analysis. Read more.
Following the Dec. 11 screening of “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” neurologist Oliver Sacks' play about a man with visual agnosia, CMU's Marlene Behrmann and Wayne Wu discussed the play, the science and how it relates to their research at Quantum Theatre in East Liberty. Behrmann is the Cowan University Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology and Wu is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and director of CMU’s Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).
Baruch Fischhoff recently contributed an opinion piece to Chemistry & Engineering News (C&EN). In “When are industries judged fairly?” Fischhoff maps out the ways that people rate risks, noting that individuals define risk differently, rely on imperfect mental models and search for patterns to make sense of the world. He concludes that industry representatives should communicate the risks and benefits of technology in accessible language to successfully convince skeptics. Fischhoff is the Howard Heinz University Professor with appointments in the Engineering and Public Policy Departments and the Institute for Politics and Strategy. Read Fischhoff’s piece.
The American Psychosomatic Society has selected J. David Creswell as the recipient of its 2017 Herbert Weiner Early Career Award. Creswell, associate professor of psychology, focuses on how the mind and brain influence stress resilience and physical health. “David is an impressive scientist, collaborator and teacher, and his work is already having an enormous impact on health psychology,” said Michael J. Tarr, head of the Department of Psychology. Creswell is also a faculty member of CNBC and BrainHub. Learn more about Creswell and the award.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell has appointed CMU bioethicist Alex John London to the Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability. As part of the committee, London, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy, will advise, consult and make policy recommendations related to the safety of blood, blood products, organs and tissues. “Modern biomedical practice and research depend on safe availability of blood and tissue samples, which requires policies that balance ethical, scientific, medical and practical issues. Alex will play a crucial role in helping to shape those policies so that they respect all of these different interests,” said David Danks, head of the Department of Philosophy in the Dietrich College. London’s work focuses on foundational ethical issues in human-subjects research, issues of social justice in international contexts and methodology issues in theoretical and applied ethics. Read more.
Rob Kass gave a keynote address at the third annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting workshop on challenges and opportunities in large-scale neural data science. His talk focused on the problem of analyzing neural activity across large networks that evolve while the brain performs different behaviors. Kass is the Maurice Falk Professor of Statistics and Computational Neuroscience, co-director of CNBC and a member of BrianHub’s executive committee. He also has an appointment in the Machine Learning Department. Learn more about the BRAIN Initiative.
David Kaufer co-wrote an editorial for the Conversation that addresses the reasons many people believe Hillary Clinton is inauthentic. In the piece, Kaufer and Shawn Parry-Giles examined this view through the lenses of gender politics, partisan politics, press politics and Clinton’s political guardedness – a theme that also appears in the co-authors’ recent research. In a new study published in the National Communication Association’s Quarterly Journal of Speech, Kaufer and Parry-Giles analyzed Clinton’s two political memoirs using the CMU-developed digital humanities tool, DocuScope, to identify examples of Clinton’s private nature. Kaufer is the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of English in CMU’s Dietrich College and Parry-Giles is a professor of communication at University of Maryland. Read “Why do so many people believe Hillary Clinton is inauthentic?”
Elizabeth (Liz) Cooper was recently hired by the Dietrich College Dean’s office as associate dean for advancement. In the newly created role, Cooper will lead the college’s individual giving and alumni programs and coordinate them with CMU’s overall fundraising efforts. Learn more about Cooper.
Roberta Klatzky will present the keynote address, “Perception and Action in the Wild,” at the Psychonomic Society’s 57th Annual Meeting in Boston, Nov. 17. Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan Jr. Professor of Psychology, will discuss her research, which investigates the relationship between human perception and action, with a focus on touch. Learn more about the meeting.
In a new study, published in the National Communication Association’s Quarterly Journal of Speech, David Kaufer analyzed Hillary Clinton's two political memoirs, “Living History” and “Hard Choices.” He identified two distinct writing styles that share one common theme: Clinton’s guardedness. For the analysis, Kaufer used DocuScope, a CMU-developed digital humanities tool that statistically tags, examines and visualizes rhetorical patterns in text. Kaufer is the Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of English in CMU’s Dietrich College. Read the full study.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies and director of the Masters in Applied Second Language Acquisition in the Department of Modern Languages, was invited by the East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University (OSU) to give lectures at Columbus State Community College (CSCC) and at Ohio State. Her talk at CSCC was titled “Amazing Hands: Teaching Taiwanese Hand Puppet Theater in U.S. Universities” and her talk at OSU was called “When CBI Meets TEL: Robust Content Knowledge and Language Skill Learning.” These two talks highlighted her innovative digital humanities project that integrates ethnographic research with content-based instruction on Taiwanese Puppet Theater and Taiwanese Opera, and her technology-enhanced learning efforts, including her OLI Chinese Online and digital storytelling projects, and her Chinese language and culture learning modules. Learn more about Wu’s projects.
As an adviser at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Edda L. Fields-Black helped develop “The Rice Fields of the Lowcountry” for the museum’s Power of Place exhibit – one of 12 permanent galleries in the only national institution dedicated to documenting African American life and history. Fields-Black is an associate professor of history in the Dietrich College's Department of History. Learn more about Power of Place and Fields-Black’s other projects.
Jim Daniels’ most recent film, “The End of Blessings,” was featured on the season premiere of “Filmmaker’s Corner,” Oct. 29 on WQED-TV. It will also screen Nov. 10 as part of the 35th Annual Black Maria Film Festival at Point Park University. Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, wrote and co-produced the short film based on his poem of the same name. “The End of Blessings” follows an African-American cyclist on his weekly Sunday ride, when he regularly passes an older Italian couple sitting on their porch after church. Learn more about the Black Maria Film Festival.
In a commentary piece for Reuters News, Colin Clarke argued that al-Qaeda is more dangerous than the Islamic State. He wrote, “Al-Qaeda’s ruthlessly pragmatic approach has placed it in a far better position to achieve its strategic objectives. It has proved more effective in taking advantage of U.S. policy in the Middle East, primarily in Syria, to legitimize itself as an armed force and, increasingly, as a viablae political player.” Clarke is a lecturer in the Dietrich College’s Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS). Read the full piece.
Kristina Straub recently contributed to an opinion piece for the Washington Post called “‘Will & Jane’: Making literary celebrity work for the humanities.” In the piece, Straub describes the process of curating the “Will & Jane” exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She credited the experience with reaffirming the importance of the humanities as the core of university life and urged other professors to collaborate in similar ways. Straub is an English professor and director of the literary and cultural studies program at CMU. Read the full piece.
The Statistics Department recently held a two-day event honoring Stephen E. Fienberg, University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Fienberg’s CMU career began in 1980, when the late Morris H. (Morrie) DeGroot, founding head of CMU's Statistics Department, recruited him to join professors William Eddy, Joseph B. Kadane, John Lehoczky, Mark Schervish and a few others in the small department. Since then, Fienberg has served as department head and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (now the Dietrich College), has joint appointments in the Machine Learning Department, CyLab and the Heinz College, and is one of the reasons the Statistics Department has top undergraduate and graduate programs. Read more.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Jay D. Aronson contemplates how the unclaimed remains of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks have been used for political gain over the past 15 years. Aronson, an associate professor of science, technology and society in the Department of History, is the author of the book “Who Owns the Dead? The Science and Politics of Death at Ground Zero.” He is also the director of CMU's Center for Human Rights Science. Read the op-ed.
Marsha Lovett wrote a blog post for The Huffington Post, titled "Relying on 'Smile Scores' To Measure Student Learning Is Not a Good Idea." In her piece, Lovett says that teachers should consider what students should be able to do by the end of the instruction and measure that instead of student enjoyment – ideally by giving students direct performance tasks to complete before and after the instruction. Lovett is the director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation, teaching professor of psychology and co-coordinator of the Simon Initiative. Read the post.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, wrote about an experience he had with discrimination over the summer involving reactions to the Orlando nightclub shooting. "First Person: See something, say nothing? Confront your biases and then tell me about it," appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Daniels founded CMU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards in 1999 to give high school and college students a safe, creative space to share personal encounters with inequalities, and urges students to use the writing contest to confront their biases. Read the full piece.
In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Dov H. Levin analyzes the long history of foreign governments attempting to shape the outcomes of elections in other countries. Levin points out that these strategies are nothing new. In fact, in one of the earliest examples he provides, Levin notes that the French ambassador to the United States published a decree restricting America’s trade with Europe in 1796. Levin is a post-doctoral fellow in the Dietrich College’s Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS). Read the op-ed.
William F. Eddy recently received the Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research by the board of trustees at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Joint Statistical Meeting. A lifetime national associate of the National Academy of Sciences, Eddy is CMU’s John C. Warner Professor of Statistics, emeritus.
David Danks has been named CMU’s first Louis Leon (L.L.) Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology. Danks, head of the Department of Philosophy, uses computational cognitive science to develop computational models to describe, predict and explain human behavior. Thurstone was a pioneer in the fields of psychometrics and psychophysics and an early faculty member in CMU’s Division of Applied Psychology, the predecessor to the current Psychology Department. Learn more about the professorship.
Robert Kass will receive the Maurice Falk Professorship in Statistics and Computational Neuroscience in recognition of his outstanding contributions to statistical theory and applying statistics in neuroscience. Kass joined the faculty in CMU’s Department of Statistics in 1981 and served as department head from 1995-2004. “Rob has had a lasting and significant influence on the field of statistics, across an amazingly wide range of specialties,” said Christopher Genovese, head of the Statistics Department. Read the announcement.
Baruch Fischhoff, the renowned CMU expert in decision science, has joined the Dietrich College’s Institute for Politics and Strategy (IPS). An elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, Fischhoff joined CMU in 1987 as a faculty member in the departments of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy. He is currently the Howard Heinz University Professor. IPS, the Dietrich College’s newest academic unit, serves as a center for research, undergraduate and graduate education and university-wide initiatives in the fields of political science, international relations, national security policy and grand strategy. Read more.
Marlene Behrmann, the Cowan University Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, received the Ladies Hospital Aid Society (LHAS) Excellence in Education Award at its annual Brain Gain Gala. Behrmann, one of the foremost experts in the cognitive neuroscience of visual perception, will wear the voice-activated Brain Dress that she designed and wore to her recent induction into the National Academy of Sciences.
Labor economist John Coleman has died at age 95 of complications related to Parkinson’s disease. Coleman, who became chairman of the Economics Department at Carnegie Mellon (then Carnegie Institute of Technology) in 1955, later served as dean of CMU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (now the Dietrich College.) He is perhaps best known for his book, “Blue-Collar Journal: A College President’s Sabbatical,” which he wrote after working undercover as a farm laborer, a ditch digger, a garbage collector and a cook. Read the full obituary at the New York Times.
What happens when the systems we rely on go haywire? In an op-ed for the Christian Science Monitor, John H. Miller draws parallels between economic market crashes and the behavior of army ants. At any time, Miller notes, the ant colony’s behavior can short-circuit, leading the ants to march themselves to death. He says relying on our current complex economic system without understanding its implications could have similarly catastrophic results. Miller is a professor of economics and social science in the Dietrich College’s Department of Social and Decision Sciences. He is also the author of “A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life and Society.” Read the op-ed.
For the third consecutive summer, Sue-mei Wu, Gang Liu and Haixia Wang conducted a workshop to help train more than 30 new teachers from China, who will teach Chinese language and culture in K-12 and college level programs in Pennsylvania. Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies, showcased her CMU OLI Chinese online project, some Chinese language and culture learning modules and her digital storytelling projects. Liu, associate teaching professor of Chinese Studies, talked about cultural misunderstanding and Chinese teaching and learning. And Wang, an adjunct faculty of Chinese Studies, organized the workshop and helped the new teachers from China get settled in Pittsburgh. The Chinese pedagogy workshop for the University of Pittsburgh’s Confucius Institute was held July 21-29.
Professor of English and Linguistics Barbara Johnstone participated in “Pittsburgh N’at: What Makes Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh” at the Heinz History Center on Aug. 18. Part of the Books of the ’Burgh series and Pittsburgh's Bicentennial Celebration, the event highlighted her work with History Center staff on the book “Pittsburghese,” as well as her previous book, “Speaking Pittsburghese: The Story of a Dialect.”
Joel A. Tarr, the Caliguiri University Professor of History & Policy in the Dietrich College, recently co-authored “Pittsburgh’s illuminating history” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In the article, Tarr traces the history of streetlights in the city, from whale oil to LEDs. Read “The Next Page: Pittsburgh’s illuminating history.”
English Professor Kristina Straub co-curated the new “Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen and the Cult of Celebrity” exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library that examines the figures’ popularity through milestone events and artifacts. The exhibit, co-curated by University of Texas English professor Janine Barchas, runs through Nov. 6. Learn more about “Will & Jane.”
In an NEJM Catalyst article, CMU behavioral economists George Loewenstein and Saurabh Bhargava argue that the best way to address the problems caused by health plan complexity is to simplify and standardize the plans. Loewenstein and Bhargava believe that if all insurance firms were required to offer the same set of simple products, it could help consumers make better decisions and also mitigate the likelihood that firms act to exploit such consumers. Read the full paper.
After a second grade Texas teacher’s new no-homework policy went viral, Steven Schlossman, a professor of history in the Dietrich College, shared his response. He has extensively researched the history of homework as a divisive problem in American schooling between the 1820s and the present. Read Schlossman’s response.
When he’s not teaching in CMU’s Department of Statistics, Visiting Assistant Professor Samuel Ventura works as an analytics consultant with the Pittsburgh Penguins. View a photo of Ventura with the Stanley Cup.
Associate Professor of English Kathy M. Newman addresses the controversy surrounding Anthony Hamlet, the newly hired superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, in an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She argues that Hamlet’s reuse of a line from a Washington Post editorial in his résumé is not plagiarism because he did not attempt to pass off copyrighted work as his own. Read "Plagiarism hysteria strikes Pittsburgh schools."
According to new research from Andy Norman, an adjunct faculty member in the Philosophy Department, the urge to convince others has evolutionary roots. In a paper recently published in Biology & Philosophy, titled "Why We Reason: Intention-Alignment and the Genesis of Human Rationality,” Norman argues that reasoning allowed our ancestors to build and maintain shared outlooks — a necessity for collective societies in which groups hunted for food together, for example. Find out more.
John Pyles collaborated with artist Greg Dunn on “Self Reflected,” Dunn’s most ambitious project to date. The 8’ x 12’ gilded microetching of a sagittal slice of the human brain recently debuted at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia as part of its permanent collection. Pyles contributed his expertise in anatomical and diffusion MRI, as well as images and white matter connectivity data from his own brain. He is a research scientist in the Psychology Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC). Learn more about the project.
Associate Professor of History Edda Fields-Black has been selected for a Senior Ford Foundation Fellowship Award in support of her project, “Requiem for Rice.” Through its fellowship programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to maximize the benefits of diversity at colleges and universities nationwide. A modern take on Verdi's “Requiem," Black’s work also has been chosen as the third and final project in Carnegie Mellon's Center for the Arts in Society's (CAS) Performance Initiative. Learn more about “Requiem for Rice.”
Edward Kennedy is one of five statisticians selected to present their research for the Young Statisticians Showcase held during the International Biometric Conference in Victoria, B.C. More than 50 individuals submitted papers for review. The winning papers were chosen based on clarity, innovation, methodology and application. An incoming assistant professor of statistics, Kennedy presented a paper titled “Semiparametric estimation of the local instrumental variable curve.” Read more about the conference.
New research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and CMU shows that people choose higher-calorie meals when ordering immediately before eating and lower-calorie meals when orders are placed an hour or more in advance. Alongside Eric M. Van Epps, a 2015 CMU alumnus and post-doctoral researcher at Penn, CMU’s George Loewenstein and Julie Downs conducted two field studies examining online lunch orders using an onsite corporate cafeteria. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology and Downs is an associate research professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. Read the study’s findings.
An opinion piece by Baruch Fischhoff recently appeared in the Huffington Post, in which he argues that collective action is essential to bringing needed attention to climate change. “Natural scientists will need to respect the social sciences, not just assume that more evidence will win the day. Social scientists will need to draw on all relevant results, not just their own specialty. Climate activists will need to test their communications, not just trust their hunches about what people need to hear,” wrote Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor in the Dietrich College. Read “Climate Talk” on the Huffington Post.
The University of Miami will host the first annual Digital Humanities and Data Journalism (DH+DJ) Symposium this fall. Scott Weingart, the digital humanities specialist in the Dietrich College, is among the speakers who will deliver talks and workshops on subjects ranging from big data management and analytics to data visualization and mapping. Learn more about the DH+DJ Symposium.
Robert Siegler, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, was honored with an “Hommage,” the French version of a Festschrift, in Aix-en-Provence. Siegler specializes in the cognitive development of problem-solving and reasoning in children. He was recognized for his vast achievements by current and former collaborators, students, post-doctoral fellows and fellow CMU Psychology Department faculty member David Klahr. The event was organized by one of Siegler’s earliest collaborators, Patrick Lemaire. Learn more.
In late May, six faculty members from the Dietrich College’s departments of History and Modern Languages attended the LASA at 50 Congress in New York City. The Dietrich College and departments of History and Modern Languages were major sponsors of the event, and CMU was well-represented with presentations by History Department professors Paul Eiss, Karen Faulk and John Soluri; Modern Languages Department professors Mariana Achugar, Felipe Gómez and Therese Tardio; and David Marshall Struthers, a former Ph.D. student in history. Learn more about the strengths of Latin American Studies at CMU.
English Professor Jane Bernstein wrote an essay for Broadly arguing against the proposed closure of “sheltered workshops” for individuals with disabilities. Though government officials view separate worksites as a civil rights violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Bernstein believes her daughter has gained fulfillment and a sense of purpose from her job. Read “Why Are People Trying to Take My Disabled Daughter's Job Away?”
Soda drinks are under attack in the U.S. and the U.K., but the weapons employed on the two fronts are different. In an opinion piece for “The Conversation,” CMU’s George Loewenstein and the London School of Economics’ Matteo M. Galizzi examine why the U.K.’s approach to soda taxes may have a better chance in achieving the intended goal of reducing obesity. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology in the Dietrich College. Read Loewenstein’s opinion piece.
Oakmont Country Club, the site of the 2016 U.S. Open, is one of golf's greatest treasures. No one knows that better than CMU History Professor Steve Schlossman, a renowned golf historian, scholar and author of "Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer and the Miracle at Oakmont." Learn more and watch a video.
Joseph Kadane recently wrote “An Open Letter to Senator Rand Paul” in the Huffington Post, where he critiques Paul for soliciting funding for an anti-abortion group. In the letter, he describes a long history of failed attempts to legislate morality in the U.S., from Prohibition and illegal gambling to the war on drugs. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus at CMU. Read “An Open Letter to Senator Rand Paul.”
Associate Professor of English James Wynn contributed an essay to the new book, “Science and the Internet: Communicating Knowledge in a Digital Age.” Contributors analyze the rhetorical implications of digital developments in science communication, from live-blogged experiments to citizen science projects. Learn more about “Science and the Internet.”
Professor of Philosophy Alex John London recently published “Accelerated Drug Approval and Health Inequality” in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal. London, who also directs CMU’s Center for Ethics and Policy, argues that the acceleration of the drug approval process may have unintended negative consequences for vulnerable patient populations. Read more.
Associate Professor of English Christopher Warren recently completed a month-long fellowship at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway, where he was one of seven Moore Institute Visiting Fellows. During the fellowship, he worked on a digital humanities project called “Distant Reading the ‘Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB).’” Warren is a co-creator of the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon digital humanities project. Learn more about Warren’s latest project.
The White House released a list of 100 projects that exemplify President Barack Obama’s commitment to reinvigorating U.S. science, technology and innovation efforts. Included on the list is the work by Stephen E. Fienberg and his colleagues to improve the practice of forensic science. “Good science involves the careful gathering and analysis of data. It doesn’t happen with the click of a keyboard or a flash of insight in 45 minutes or less,” said Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Profess of Statistics and Social Science. Read more.
John H. Miller, professor of economics and social science in the Dietrich College’s Social and Decision Sciences Department, recently authored the popular science book “A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life and Society.” Throughout the book, Miller describes the links between honeybees and U.S. politics, among numerous other examples of systems thinking. Learn what honeybees can tell us about Brexit and more.
Dudley Reynolds, teaching professor of English at CMU-Q, recently wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Gulf Times. In “Should Qatari children be educated in English or Arabic?” Reynolds champions the social and cognitive benefits of multilingualism, from sharper mental functioning to being more empathetic to the needs of others. Read the op-ed.
The Celebration of Education Awards recognize distinguished faculty members and educators for their outstanding contributions to the university. Several faculty members from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences were honored at the event. Mara Harrell, associate teaching professor of philosophy, received a Teaching Innovation Award for her development and implementation of argument diagramming in Introduction to Philosophy. Teaching Professor of French & Francophone Studies Christopher Jones also received a Teaching Innovation Award for his role in developing hybrid, online language courses through the Open Learning Initiative (OLI). Beginning with Elementary French I and II, Jones built on the course model to create similar programs in Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. Jennifer Keating-Miller, assistant dean for educational initiatives and English instructor, was one of three recipients of the Team Teaching Innovation Award. Along with John Carson, Regina Gouger Miller Department Head of the School of Art, and Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics, Keating-Miller introduced students to the tumultuous history of Northern Ireland from the 1960s to the present through “Art, Conflict and Technology in Northern Ireland.” Learn more about the Celebration of Education award winners.
Acclaimed statistician Larry Wasserman has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors a scientist can receive, for his distinguished research. Wasserman's work spans theoretical and applied statistics. He focuses on the intersection of statistics and machine learning, which is becoming increasingly important in the era of big data as both work to analyze data for high-dimensional problems. Find out more.
Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin Zollman wrote an op-ed that appeared in the LA Times. In “Why both Trump and Cruz can claim to represent the majority of Republicans,” Zollman notes that with more than two candidates, it is possible for one candidate to have the largest number of votes while not having a majority. He draws from game theory to propose alternative voting systems that eliminate this paradox, though he acknowledges that all voting systems can be manipulated by strategic voting. “Our current system is far more broken than it has to be. It allows candidates such as Trump and Cruz to both claim to represent the majority of their party, and it allows them to both be right,” Zollman wrote. Read the op-ed.
Marlene Behrmann designed and wore a voice-activated "BrainDress" to her National Academy of Sciences induction ceremony and a CMU event honoring her accomplishments. Behrmann worked with Sophie Hood, who earned her master's degree in costume design at CMU, to select a fabric that would accommodate LED bulbs that light up based on positive (blue) and negative (red and yellow) voice tones. Behrmann is the first woman at CMU to be inducted into the NAS. Watch the video. Behrmann, the Cowan Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Psychology Department, was also one of three CMU faculty members to receive the elite distinction of University Professor, the highest academic accolade a faculty member can achieve at Carnegie Mellon. Learn more.
Lisa Tetrault, associate professor of history, is among 78 new speakers appointed to the Organization of American Historians’ (OAH) Distinguished Lectureship Program for 2016-2017. These scholars join more than 400 other OAH Distinguished Lecturers who speak to audiences nationwide each year at museums, libraries, universities, community centers, churches and synagogues. Founded in 1907, the OAH is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship. With more than 7,800 members from the U.S. and abroad, OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching and presentation of American history, encouraging wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of history practitioners. Learn more about the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program.
Teaching Professor of Russian Charlene Castellano has been a fixture of the Dietrich College’s Department of Modern Languages for more than 25 years. In recognition of her retirement this month, Castellano was interviewed by the Dietrich College News about her many roles in the department since she came to Carnegie Mellon in 1990, from co-founding and co-leading the Russian Studies Program to teaching many Russian language and culture courses. Read a Q&A with Castellano.
Alex John London will appear at the fourth bi-annual Uppsalaforum research conference in Uppsala, Sweden. London, professor of philosophy in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director of CMU’s Center for Ethics and Policy, will present “Ethical and methodological considerations for pharmacovigilance with accelerated release of medicines” on Monday, May 30. View the conference agenda.
Associate Professor of History Nico Slate is one of over 40 artists and scholars participating in Crosslines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality at the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building in Washington, D.C. Slate’s research is the inspiration for a performance piece created by a dancer who specializes in Bharatnatyam, a classical South Indian form; after each performance, Slate will participate in a discussion about his research and the significance of the dance. The cultural festival runs from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on May 28-29. Learn more about Crosslines and view a full list of participants.
Jeffrey Williams, professor of English, recently interviewed Tamara Draut for Public Books. Draut is a policy expert and social critic at Demos, a progressive think tank. In “The New Working Class,” Williams talks with Draut about her latest book, “Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America” and her role as a public intellectual shaping the discourse around class issues. Read “The New Working Class.”
Assistant Professor of Philosophy Adam Bjorndahl has been named one of the 2016-2017 Wimmer Faculty Fellows at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation. In Bjorndahl’s game theory course, he aims to help students better grasp the underlying principles of game theory by playing and analyzing games. He plans to develop course modules to introduce students to rational decision-making processes, starting with simple games like Rock, Paper, Scissors and increasing in complexity as the course progresses. An Eberly Center consultant will help Bjorndahl develop course materials, assessments and teamwork strategies to achieves his learning objectives and actively engage students in the classroom. When the fellowship is completed, Bjorndahl will be recognized at the 2016 Celebration of Education event. Now in its 11th year, the Wimmer fellowship is supported by a grant from the Wimmer Family Foundation. Learn more about Bjorndahl’s fellowship.
Kiron Skinner, director of the Dietrich College’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, wrote an opinion piece for Forbes on Donald Trump and the presidential election. In “The Beginnings of a Trump Doctrine,” Skinner writes, "Just maybe, though, there is more intentionality to the presumptive Republican nominee’s foreign policy than the pundits and critics realize.” Read the full piece.
Linda Babcock recently visited the White House for a series of events surrounding Equal Pay Day. Among other activities, Babcock participated in a panel discussion on Gender Diversity and Pay Equity. Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics and head of the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, focuses on negotiations and dispute resolution research with specific attention to gender differences in negotiation and how people react when women negotiate. She also has an appointment in the Heinz College.
Kiron Skinner, director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College, has been appointed co-chair of the Security and Exception Working Group of the Social Science Research Council’s Anxieties of Democracy Initiative. The Anxieties of Democracy program is a major new initiative for the council and was developed through a set of convenings of leading thinkers from a range of fields. Skinner will co-lead the working group with NYU’s Samuel Issacharoff. Learn more.
Ken Koedinger, professor of human-computer interaction and psychology, is one of three keynote speakers who presented at the Learning@Scale Conference in Edinburgh, April 25-26. He was joined by Sugar Mitra, professor of educational technology at New Castle University, U.K., and Mike Sharples, chair in educational technology at the Open University, U.K. Learning@Scale refers to new approaches for students to learn and for teachers to teach, when engaging large numbers of students either in a face-to-face or remote setting. Koedinger's talk is titled "Practical Learning Research at Scale." Learn about the conference.
As part of CMU’s DNA Day celebration on April 25, Norman Bier (DC’99), executive director of the Simon Initiative, and Dietrich College Dean Richard Scheines participated in videos where they each answer the question: “What’s in your DNA?” Watch Bier’s video. Watch a video featuring Scheines and Dietrich College undergraduate students.
Alex John London, an acclaimed bioethicist, has been appointed to the Committee on Clinical Trials During the 2014-15 Ebola Outbreak by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The committee will explore and analyze the scientific and ethical issues related to vaccine and therapeutic drug design, conduct and reporting in response to the West African epidemic. London, professor of philosophy and director of CMU’s Center for Ethics and Policy, researches foundational ethical issues in human-subjects research, issues of social justice in international contexts and methodology issues in theoretical and applied ethics. Find out more.
Assistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition and French and Francophone Studies Rémi Adam van Compernolle co-edited “Authenticity, Language and Interaction in Second Language Contexts” with Janice McGregor, assistant professor of German at Kansas State University. The book addresses basic questions of what comprises authentic languages, who is deemed an authentic speaker and how authenticity is achieved. Joan Kelly Hall, professor of applied linguistics at Penn State University, reviewed the book. She wrote, “Second language teachers and researchers of second language acquisition will find [this book] an indispensable resource.” The book was published by Multilingual Matters. Read more.
Joanna Wolfe, a teaching professor of English in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, authored a paper that was recently selected as the Denice Denton Best Paper of the Women in Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Educators (ASEE). Wolfe is the lead author of the paper, titled “Teamwork in Engineering Undergraduate Classes: What problems do students experience?” The paper will be presented at the ASEE Annual Conference this June in New Orleans.
Associate Professor of English Richard Purcell co-edited “21st Century Perspectives on Music, Technology, and Culture” with Richard Randall, the Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor of Music Theory in the College of Fine Arts. The anthology is the culmination of Listening Spaces, a project under CMU’s Center for the Arts in Society’s (CAS) Media Initiative. Purcell and Randall collected essays from 11 cultural studies scholars, musicians, music preservationists and philosophers on subjects ranging from music industry labor and privacy issues to the ways we interact with music in our cars and workplaces. “We were looking for a mix of contributors that represented a range of expertise and disciplinary backgrounds to give readers a very broad sense of the impact music has on many fields of study,” said Purcell, who contributed “A Brief Consideration of the Hip-Hop Biopic” to the collection. Essays by Randall (“A Case for Musical Privacy”) and Associate Professor of English Kathy M. Newman (“Headphones Are the New Walls: Music in the Workplace in the Digital Age”) are also included in the anthology, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan. Learn about the digital music revolution.
Kiron Skinner met Nancy Reagan in 1994 when the former first lady gave Skinner nearly exclusive access to President Ronald Reagan’s private papers. Skinner, director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, used those papers to co-write The New York Times bestseller "REAGAN: A Life in Letters.” The book provides an unprecedented look at more than 70 years of Reagan's life through his personal correspondences to friends and family, statesmen, celebrities, children and ordinary citizens. Following Reagan’s death, Skinner gave several interviews to CNN, MSNBC, KABC, WESA and others. Listen to Skinner on WESA.
Academics, journalists and pundits have long mined President Barack Obama’s 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” for information that would point to his political beliefs, but few analyses have approached the book as a literary work — until now. In “Barack Obama’s Literary Legacy: Readings of ‘Dreams from My Father,’” Associate Professor of English Richard Purcell and co-editor Henry Veggian have collected a group of essays that highlight Obama’s literary influences and merits as a writer. In the memoir, Obama refers to significant works like Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” as well as writers including James Baldwin and Dante. “It’s an incredible piece of writing that illuminates how literary-minded he was as a writer,” Purcell said. The anthology was published by Palgrave Macmillan, which released Purcell’s “Race, Ralph Ellison and American Cold War Intellectual Culture” in 2013. Learn more.
Associate Professor of English and Rhetoric James Wynn was among the distinguished scholars who gathered for a symposium at the University of Nevada, Reno, exploring the role of rhetoric in the debate over climate change. In a talk based on his forthcoming book, “Citizen Science in the Digital Age,” Wynn asked whether citizen science can unite groups with differing opinions and help them develop mutual understandings of important issues, including climate change. “Unless the media cover citizen science projects in some balanced way, these initiatives won’t make the impact we want them to have,” Wynn said. Read more about the symposium.
Alex John London, professor of philosophy, is the 2015-2016 winner of the Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. London, who also directs the Ethics, History and Public Policy major and the Center for Ethics and Policy, came to Carnegie Mellon in 2000. Since then, he has developed and taught courses on topics including theoretical and applied ethics, political philosophy and medical ethics. His work in the latter field has significantly impacted the teaching of ethics, at CMU and at the national level. As co-editor of several editions of “Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine,” London has helped shape bioethics curricula for medical students, updating the volumes to include contemporary, real-world moral dilemmas as they relate to healthcare. Learn more about London and the Elliott Dunlap Smith Award.
Danielle Wenner, assistant professor of philosophy, was featured on the American Philosophical Association (APA) blog in an installment of its early-career research spotlight. Wenner’s work focuses on the intersection of global justice and bioethics, and argues against the exploitation of research subjects in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). According to Wenner, research in these parts of the world is not ethically justified unless the knowledge produced is meant to improve these communities. In an interview on the blog, Wenner describes this and other aspects of her work. Read the full interview at the APA blog.
Assistant Dean for Educational Initiatives, Jennifer Keating-Miller, recently co-authored an op-ed that appeared in the Post-Gazette. In “The Easter Rising, 100 years later,” Keating-Miller, who also teaches in the Department of English, and Colin McCabe, distinguished professor of English and film at the University of Pittsburgh, describe the history of violence in Ireland that began 100 years ago with the Easter Rising led by Patrick Pearse. In the opinion piece, the authors state, “This was not the age of YouTube or even television. And yet, Pearse understood the poignancy and potency of performance, the ways in which public displays of violence would mobilize support for the national cause.” In light of recent terrorist attack in Brussels, Keating-Miller and McCabe note, “Pearse’s commitment to the centrality of martyrdom and the rejection of Anglo-Saxon modernity in favor of an imagined pure Gaelic past clearly prefigures the use of martyrdom videos and the appeal to an imaginary era of pure sharia law.” Read “The Easter Rising, 100 years later.”
Debby Gerhardt has been appointed director of data analysis and reporting for the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In this new role, Gerhardt is responsible for collecting, compiling and helping to analyze data for both the Dietrich College Dean’s Office and the Academic Advisory Center (AAC). This new position follows Gerhardt’s long history working in the AAC, most recently as the assistant director and academic advisor.
Dudley Reynolds recently delivered opening remarks at the International Conference on English Language Teaching at Qatar University. Reynolds stated that English language teaching “empowers individuals in a world where multilingualism is not just an asset or expectation, it is a necessity.” Reynolds is a teaching professor of English at Carnegie Mellon Qatar and president-elect of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International. He asserted that TESOL International is committed to supporting the highest quality of teaching, a goal that depends on the collaboration of policymakers, educational providers and professional associations. “This conference is an example of such collaboration, and I applaud you,” he said.
George Loewenstein has received an honorary doctorate in behavioral economics from the City University of London. Loewenstein, one of the founders of the field, received the honor for his many major research contributions that have focused on applying psychology to economics, including decision-making over time, the role of emotion in decision-making and “out of control” behaviors such as impulsive violent crime and drug addiction. He is also one of the early proponents of a new approach to public policy called "asymmetric" or "libertarian" paternalism, and his most recent research focuses on applications of behavioral economics to public policy, with special emphases on health and climate change. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology. Read a City News Q&A with Loewenstein.
CMU's Vincent Aleven, David Klahr, Ken Koedinger and Carolyn Rose recently attended and presented their accomplishments at a three-day National Science Foundation conference celebrating the achievements of the NSF's six Science of Learning Centers, including CMU and the University of Pittsburgh's LearnLab. The presentations on the center's educational research accomplishments underscore the importance of establishing a sustainable science of learning community to produce breakthroughs that impact education. LearnLab is a partner of the Simon Initiative, which harnesses a cross-disciplinary, learning-engineering ecosystem that has developed over several decades at CMU with the goal of measurably improving student-learning outcomes. Find out more.
Don Taylor, an adjunct instructor in the Information Systems (IS) program, has been selected for the role of vice chancellor in the health sciences for commercial translation at the University of Pittsburgh. In this position — which begins July 1 — Taylor will build research linkages to industry in order to accelerate sponsored research and the commercialization of life sciences technologies, from medical devices and therapeutics to healthcare information systems. Taylor will also be appointed associate professor of biomedical informatics within Pitt’s School of Medicine and will take on the new roles in addition to his current teaching position at CMU. A 1999 graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s IS program, Taylor is a serial life sciences entrepreneur who co-founded his first company, Net Health Systems, as an undergraduate student. He earned his M.B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in bioengineering from Pitt, and for the past five years he’s been employed as an executive in residence by the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse. “There’s no doubt the linkages between the two universities, UPMC, the Dietrich College IS program and the Heinz College will be strengthened substantially,” said Randy Weinberg, teaching professor and faculty director in the information systems program. “We look forward to continued and productive collaboration.”
Associate Professor of Philosophy Kevin Zollman and co-author Paul Raeburn apply game theory strategies to common parenting dilemmas in “The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting: How the Science of Strategic Thinking Can Help You Deal with the Toughest Negotiators You Know - Your Kids." Through case studies, the book addresses specific issues that pop up at various developmental stages, starting at five years old and continuing through the teens. "[Game theory] has been used to understand how animals search for food, how stores price their products and how people find their life partners," said Zollman. "It's only natural that game theory should work for one of the toughest aspects of our lives - dealing with our children." Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the book is slated for release on April 5. It is available for pre-order on Amazon. Read an excerpt from “The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting” in Scientific American Mind.
Fewer women than men pursue computer science, but correcting that imbalance won't be accomplished by making coursework less strenuous. Rather, the culture must change. So says "Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University," a new book by Carol Frieze and Jeria Quesenberry. In their book, Frieze, director of the school's Women@SCS organization, and Quesenberry, associate teaching professor of information systems in the Dietrich College, outline the cultural makeover that took place in CMU's School of Computer Science, a top-ranked program that consistently attracts and graduates a higher percentage of female computer scientists than the national average. “This was not a small intervention that occurred in a few months, but a sustained effort to make a change in the culture,” said Quesenberry. Learn more about “Kicking Butt in Computer Science.”
The National Science Foundation has awarded Jing Lei and Ryan Tibshirani Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards. Lei and Tibshirani, both assistant professors in the Statistics Department, each received five-year, $400,000 grants for their projects “Modernizing Classical Nonparametric and Multivariate Theory for Large-scale, High-dimensional Data Analysis” and “Locally Adaptive Nonparametric Estimation for the Modern Age — New Insights, Extensions, and Inference Tools,” respectively. The CAREER Award is the NSF’s most prestigious honor designed to support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through their outstanding research and excellent teaching. “These CAREER awards are a testament to the innovative contributions that both Ryan and Jing are making in their research,” said Christopher R. Genovese, head of the Statistics Department. “They are emerging leaders in the field, and their work is advancing our understanding of statistical inference with large, complex and high-dimensional data." Find out more.
Mariana Achugar, associate professor of Hispanic Studies and second language acquisition in the Department of Modern Languages, recently authored “Discursive Processes of Intergenerational Transmission of Recent History: (Re)making Our Past.” In the book, Achugar turned to family conversations, history textbooks, popular culture and other transmission tools to learn how information is being presented, received and used to make sense of the Uruguayan Dictatorship of the 1970s and ’80s. Ruth Wodak, emeritus distinguished professor of discourse studies at Lancaster University, said, “This is an excellent book – a must-read for scholars and students alike who want to understand the complex dynamics of memory, history, trauma, politics and discourse.” Find out more.
The National Academy of Sciences will award John R. Anderson with the 2016 Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences for his “foundational contributions to systematic theory and optimality analysis in cognitive and psychological science and for developing effective, theory-based cognitive tutors for education.” Anderson, the R. K. Mellon University Professor of Psychology and Computer Science, will receive the prize — a gold-plated bronze medal and $100,000 — at the academy’s annual meeting on Sunday, May 1, in Washington, D.C. Anderson is best known for creating the Adaptive Control of Thought (ACT) cognitive models. Using the models, Anderson led a team that built an intelligent computer tutor to teach algebra to high school students. The program solved mathematical problems like students did and was so successful that a spinoff company, Carnegie Learning, developed computer tutors as a commercial product. To date, hundreds of thousands of students have benefited from these interactive systems. Find out more.
Saurabh Bhargava, an assistant professor of economics in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, has been named a visiting scholar for the 2016-2017 academic year by the Russell Sage Foundation. During his time in residence, Bhargava will pursue research that reflects the foundation’s commitment to strengthening the social sciences and improving social and living conditions in the U.S. Find out more.
Jing Lei, an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics, has won the 2016 Noether Young Scholar Award. The Noether Awards were established in 1999 as a tribute to the late Gottfried Emmanuel Noether, whose family presented the American Statistical Association with an endowment fund to recognize distinguished researchers and teachers in the statistics field. As part of the award, Lei will present a special lecture this summer at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Chicago. Find out more about the Noether Awards.
Rachel Mennies Goodmanson, adjunct instructor in the English Department, was named a finalist in the 2015 National Jewish Book Awards. Her first collection of poems, “The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards” was recognized in the poetry category. Now in its 65th year, the National Jewish Book Awards is North America’s longest running awards program in the field of Jewish literature. Read more about Goodmanson’s book.
Kiron Skinner, director of the Dietrich College’s Institute for Policy and Strategy, attended the State of the Union Address this past Tuesday night as a special guest of Keith Rothfus, the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. Skinner, pictured at right with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, said, "It was amazing to see democracy in action. I’m a Republican who cares more about the American process than political parties, and I admire and respect the president. I disagree with some of his policies but he has a fundamental impact on our political system," she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Rémi Adam van Compernolle, assistant professor of second language acquisition and French & Francophone Studies, recently authored his second book. "Interaction and Second Language Development: A Vygotskian Perspective" addresses the role of communicative interaction in driving various dimensions of second language development. Learn more about van Compernolle’s new book.
George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, wrote an opinion piece for CNN on the Powerball and how buying a ticket is a terrible deal and an unlikely way to land people in the billionaire club. "In fact, from an actuarial perspective you would have done better to put your hard-earned money into the plummeting stock market at the beginning of the year than to spend it all on Powerball tickets, which, despite the enormity of the jackpot prize, is anyway a less attractive deal once you take into account the huge tax hit, the fact that you will probably be splitting it with other winners and the loss of 30-40% if you choose to take it all immediately instead of in payments over time,” Loewenstein wrote. Read “Why we play the Powerball.”
Professor of English Jeffrey Williams recently authored “Empire of Letters” in the Chronicle of Higher Education. In the essay, Williams profiles Tom Lutz, the editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB). Williams suggests that, since launching in 2012, the LARB has developed its own unique brand of literary criticism as well as a new funding model for such work. Read “Empire of Letters.”.
Jay Aronson, associate professor of science, technology and society, authored an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In “Reducing the harm: the limits of the city’s marijuana decriminalization law,” Aronson claims that, though marijuana decriminalization is a positive move for Pittsburgh, more work needs to be done to ensure that the policy achieves its intended effects, including improved relationships between local law enforcement and the African-American community. The op-ed was based on similar findings from five seniors majoring in ethics, history and public policy, who recently presented their research to Pittsburgh City Council. Read the op-ed.
Andy Norman, special faculty in the Philosophy Department, published an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled “Paris and the seeds of radicalization.” In his commentary, Norman proposes that we develop “a shared ‘ethics’ of belief… creating a culture that dissolves bad ideas before they harden into ideologies.” Learn more about accountable talk and how it can help prevent ideological extremism.
Associate Professor of History Edda Fields-Black received a Small Arts Initiative grant from the Heinz Foundation. The grant will support her Center for the Arts in Society project “Requiem for Rice,” which is slated to premiere in October 2017 in Charleston, S.C. A collaboration between the Colour of Music, Charleston’s Black Classical Music Festval and the Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum, “Requiem for Rice” uses classical music to honor “those enslaved, exploited and brutalized” on rice plantations. Learn more about the project.
Associate Professor of Economics in the Heinz College and Dietrich College’s Department of Social Sciences Lee Branstetter recently published an op-ed on CNBC.com. In the piece, titled “Is big pharma on drugs?”, Branstetter argues that the American pharmaceutical industry would be well-served to accept the data protection rules set forth by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Read “Is big pharma on drugs?”
Adam Hodges, visiting assistant professor of English at CMU-Q, recently chaired the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting in Denver, where he presented a paper entitled “Language and Racism.” Hodges’ current research examines the role of language in enacting and perpetuating racism, such as in mainstream media reactions to high-profile cases like the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Learn more about the AAA annual meeting.
Assistant Professor of History Christopher Phillips recently authored an op-ed in The New York Times. In “The Politics of Math Education,” Phillips addresses reforms in math education and questions what constitutes rigorous thought. Read his op-ed.
A team of behavioral economists led by George Loewenstein investigated whether the common assumption that defaults don’t work if people are aware of them is true. They found that warning people that they were about to be nudged, or informing them after the fact and allowing them to change their decisions, did not significantly diminish the effectiveness of the default option. In addition to Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, David Hagmann, a graduate student in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, participated in the study. Learn more.
The 2015 LogiCIC Workshop in Amsterdam last month highlighted two Philosophy Department faculty members among its 12 invited speakers. Professor Kevin Kelly and Associate Professor Kevin Zollman participated in the workshop on reasoning in social context, described as “a forum to exchange ideas and explore new territory in which it is clear that logic can make a difference.” Read the full list of speakers and learn more about the workshop. Zollman also recently published an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled “Welders vs. philosophers.” The title refers to Sen. Marco Rubio’s comment at a recent Republican presidential debate. “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less [sic] philosophers,” Rubio said. Zollman argued that both vocations are valuable and emphasized the ways in which philosophers work in tandem with scientists, mathematicians and more to help solve our society’s most pressing political and social problems. Read “Welders vs. philosophers.”
Kathryn Roeder, vice provost for faculty and professor of statistics and computational biology, has been named Statistics Chair-Elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2015. Elected candidates will be announced in late December and will begin their terms in February 2016. View the full slate of candidates and learn more.
Stephen Brockmann, professor of German, has authored his fifth book, titled "The Writers’ State: Constructing East German Literature, 1945-1959." The book, released by Camden House Publishing, explores the interplay between literature, culture and German national identity. “The culture of the immediate postwar period in both parts of Germany [East and West] was far richer and more nuanced than has generally been acknowledged,” Brockmann said. Read more.
Jay D. Aronson, associate professor of science, technology and society in the Department of History and director of the Center for Human Rights Science (CHRS), secured over $1 million in funding for the center. The support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Oak Foundation and Humanity United will allow the center to develop new ways of collecting, processing, archiving and analyzing large volumes of user-generated photographic and video evidence. The hope is to give these organizations access to the kinds of technologies and methods currently only available to military, corporate and intelligence personnel. Find out more.
Sam Ventura, visiting assistant professor of statistics, participated in this year’s Mortar Board Turkey for a Day philanthropy event. The friendly competition pitted professors against each other with the ultimate goal of raising money for a charity of the winner’s choice. Ventura raised $1,000 for the Mario Lemieux Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds for cancer research and patient care. The catch? He spent a day teaching in a turkey suit! Learn more about the Mario Lemieux Foundation.
Zeinab Ibrahim, teaching professor of Arabic at CMU-Q, was one of several individuals chosen by the Qatar National Research Fund to showcase her significant societal, academic and policy contributions at the World Innovation Summit for Education. Ibrahim presented a project titled “Advancing Arabic Language Learning in Qatar.” She is the head of a research team that is working to introduce educators to updated teaching methods and linguistic theories that deal with learning and language acquisition. Learn more about CMU’s presence at the 2015 summit.
Lori Holt, professor of psychology, received a 2015-2016 James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowship to support her research on the cognitive aspects of auditory processing. The fund was established in 1942 to support scientific research and disseminate knowledge to advance the development of psychological science. Holt will use the funding to develop new experimental approaches in the field of auditory cognitive neuroscience. “Our experimental approaches have yet to fully tap into the complexity of real-world perceptual processing,” Holt said. Learn more.
Wilfried Sieg, the Patrick Suppes Professor of Philosophy, recently delivered the John Patrick Crecine Distinguished Lecture in Social Sciences at CMU-Q. The lecture is named in honor of the dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences from 1976 to 1983. Sieg spoke about the move from mathematical thinking to computing and back to thinking, an evolution that has uncovered a refined proof search procedure. This in turn has been used as the basis for dynamic intelligent tutoring to support students’ efforts to learn logical and mathematical argumentation. Learn more about Sieg and his work.
Stephen Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, was recently featured in an interview on StatisticsViews, a website designed for professional statisticians, analysts and students as a clearinghouse of statistical research. In the interview, Fienberg discussed his educational background and career path, including his work at Carnegie Mellon, Big Data and the future of the statistics field. Read more.
Norman Bier wrote a paper for Biomedical Computation Review in which he outlines how CMU’s learning engineering approach can be applied to develop technology-enhanced learning tools and courses in bioinformatics, biomedical data science and related fields. Bier is director of the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) and executive director of the Simon Initiative. Read "Engineering the Learning Process: Leveraging Science and Technology for Effective Instruction.”
Emily Lindsay, a Ph.D. student in psychology, has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 American Psychological Association (APA) Dissertation Research Award. The Dissertation Research Award program assists doctoral students of psychology with research costs. Lindsay will use the $1,000 grant to continue studying mindfulness meditation and its relationship to improved mental and physical health. Find out more about her research.
Mara Harrell, associate teaching professor of philosophy, has been named the first Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Innovation Scholar. The award was established to recognize a teaching track faculty member who is doing high quality and innovative educational research with high potential impact. Harrell’s research focuses on teaching students to analyze and construct arguments. She works to continuously improve learning outcomes, in line with the university's Simon Initiative. Learn more.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, wrote and co-produced “The End of Blessings,” a short film based on his poem of the same name, which premiered at the 2015 Three Rivers Film Festival in November and placed second in its short film competition. “The End of Blessings” follows an African-American cyclist on his weekly Sunday ride, when he regularly passes an older Italian couple sitting on their porch after church. The nuanced interactions among the three individuals form the heart of the story, which was filmed in Polish Hill and inspired by Daniels’ own bike rides through Oakland. Find out more.
Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Philosophy, spoke at a public workshop titled “Clinical Trial Designs for Infectious Diseases,” presented by the Food and Drug Administration in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The workshop, held in Bethesda, Md., addressed the scientific, ethical and practical issues considered in the choice of specific trial designs for vaccines and therapeutic products. This workshop followed London’s opening keynote address at the 15th International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP) annual meeting in Prague, Czech Republic. He delivered the keynote, “Beyond Protection: The Integrity of Science as a Fundamental Ethical Concern.” Find out more about the meeting.
Dudley Reynolds, teaching professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, presented a keynote address to an audience of 500 teachers at the TESOL Kuwait Conference on Saturday, Nov. 7. “What Shape is Your Teaching In? Taking Stock and Making Plans in an Age of Innovation” opened the final day of the three-day conference. Reynolds is president-elect of the TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association. Find out more.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies and founder and president of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania (CLTA-WPA), has been actively promoting quality Chinese education during her more than two decades of teaching. She recently conducted a workshop on “Chinese Language Teacher Preparation for the Global Era” at the University of Pittsburgh for more than 65 attendees. She also co-organized the CLTA-WPA 2015 Autumn Symposium at Penn State University in mid-October. The symposium featured several research and panel presentations, roundtable discussions, a book exhibition and membership meeting. More than 70 Chinese educators attended the symposium. Learn more about the CLTA-WPA.
David Danks, head of the Department of Philosophy and a professor of philosophy and psychology, co-authored an op-ed that appeared on Slate. The piece, titled “Fight ISIS by Thinking Inside the Bot,” addresses ways in which artificial intelligence can be utilized to distract ISIS recruiters on social media. Danks and his co-authors propose the development and use of linguistically sophisticated chatbots to disrupt recruitment efforts. “In short, we need chatbots that can ‘speak’ in the different idioms and dialects of a range of social classes, educational levels, and sophistication, from a variety of places.” Read more. Danks also recently spoke at the Future of Just War Conference in Monterey, Calif. Danks, who looks at how humans and machines interact in instances of cyberconflict, presented "Cognitive Challenges to Proportionality & Discrimination in Cyberconflict” with Joseph Danks of the University of Maryland – also a co-author on the Slate piece. Learn more about the conference.
Nico Slate, associate professor of history, has published the new book, “The Prism of Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and the Colored World of Cedric Dover.” In this innovative ‘biography of race,’ Slate explores the concept of colored solidarity as enacted in Dover’s life as well as the ideas and relationships that connected him and four of his closest African American friends and colleagues. Learn more about the book. View photos from Slate’s CMU book celebration.
Kevin González, assistant professor of English, is featured in Ploughshares Solos Omnibus Volume 3. His longform story, “Villa Bohème,” will appear in the third print compilation of the series, based out of Emerson College in Boston. Set at a Puerto Rican motel—the titular Villa Bohème—the story centers on Tito, the fourteen-year-old son of the motel’s owner, who “begins to make his way into adulthood, serving drinks, reading Judy Blume books in secret, fantasizing about the sexy bartender and navigating the heady atmosphere of Puerto Rican politics.” Read more.
Rebecca Nugent, teaching professor of statistics, received the Waller Education Award from the American Statistical Association (ASA). Named for Ray Waller, the retired executive director of the ASA, and his wife Carolyn, the award honors individuals for innovation in the instruction of elementary statistics. Learn more.
Kathryn Roeder, professor of statistics and computational biology, is participating in a scientific advisory panel that will convene in November to study the “female protective effect,” one potential explanation for the lower incidence of autism in females. Launched by the Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding autism research, the Autism Sisters Project will study unaffected sisters of individuals with autism. The goal of the initiative is to build a genetic database that researchers can use to discover how to harness the protective factor to help people with autism of both sexes. Lean more.
Kiron Skinner, director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy, recently co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Post. The piece, titled “What Bill O’Reilly’s new book on Ronald Reagan gets wrong about Ronald Reagan” dismantles common misconceptions about Reagan’s presidency. Read more.
Ken Koedinger will deliver the opening keynote speech at the first Open edX Universities Symposium on Nov. 11 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Koedinger’s research aims to understand human learning and create educational technologies that increase student success. He is widely known for developing cognitive models and cognitive tutors, computer simulations of student thinking and learning, and software applying artificial intelligence to guide students through problem-based learning. Koedinger is a professor of human-computer interaction and psychology and a co-coordinatior of CMU’s Simon Initiative. Learn more.
Sue-mei Wu has received funding from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCKF) for the project "Weathering the Storm: Hand Puppet Theater and Taiwanese Opera Amid Social Change in Taiwan." In December 2014, Wu received the CMU Berkman Faculty Development Funding to support her research on these two performance forms. With the support of CCKF and the Berkman funds, Wu will conduct ethnographic fieldwork and develop interactive online Hand Puppet Theater and Taiwanese Opera language and culture learning modules that incorporate artifacts and insights from the fieldwork. Wu is a teaching professor of Chinese Studies in the Modern Languages Department, and is currently teaching Chinese Folk Performance Traditions, a course that incorporates elements of her fieldwork research, technology and hands-on activities into an engaging and innovative language and culture learning experience for students. Find out more.
Joel A. Tarr, the Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History & Policy, authored an op-ed in the Oct. 11 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The opinion piece addresses the role of railroads in improving air quality. Read “Railroads should join civic groups in a mission to improve air quality.”
Gabrielle Eichmanns Maier, associate teaching professor of German, has authored a new textbook titled Deutschland im Zeitalter der Globalisierung (Germany in the Age of Globalization) for advanced learners of German. Released by Yale University Press, the book “is the first attempt within the realm of German Studies to offer a teaching aid on a phenomenon that has become a buzzword in the second decade of the 21st century and that is changing our immediate surroundings, as well as the world, in an unprecedented way.” Learn more.
Jay Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus, blogged for the Huffington Post on the Republican Party’s leadership challenges within the federal government. Read “Governing the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Giovanni Puppo, an Italian instruction in the Department of Modern Languages, has now worked at Carnegie Mellon University for 40 years. Learn more.
Rob Kass, professor of statistics and machine learning, has been appointed interim co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), succeeding Marlene Behrmann who has stepped down to focus on her research. Kass is one of the world’s foremost experts on using statistics in neuroscience, a key component of CMU’s approach to brain research. An academic unit within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a joint program with the University of Pittsburgh, the CNBC integrates Pitt’s strengths in neuroscience with CMU’s strengths in psychology, cognitive science, computer science, biological sciences, engineering and statistics. Learn more.
Patricia Maurides, adjunct professor of art, has received the 2015 Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) Friend of the Year Award. Maurides frequently integrates her interests in molecular genetics and psychology by probing issues of identity and origins in her art practice. She also develops and teaches classes such as “Art and Biology,” a studio laboratory art course, “Neurophoto” and “Art and the Brain.” The award recognizes Maurides’ contributions to the Pittsburgh neuroscience community through both scientific and artistic literacy. Learn more.
In a poetry book review of "Bartran's Garden" in The Los Angeles Review of Books, contemporary poet Lisa Sparr calls Carnegie Mellon University Press "one of the country’s most respected university presses” and praises the press’ founder and director, English Professor Gerald Costanzo, for maintaining “an abiding devotion to the publication of poetry” and for being the press’ “presiding spirit.” In describing CMU Press' latest poetry book by Eleanor Stanford, Sparr says "the primal matter of Stanford’s poems is the body, particularly the female body, and its vicissitudes, capacities, betrayals, and desires.” Find out more.
Kiron Skinner, foreign policy adviser for Republican presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul, is quoted in a New York Times Magazine article about what a new conservative foreign policy would look like. Of Paul’s foreign policy, Skinner says, “He’s trying to provide a corrective to both the Bush and Obama administrations, in which we use American military power responsibly and when there’s a clear understanding of what’s needed.’’ Skinner is director of the Dietrich College's Institute for Politics and Strategy. Read “Between Iraq and a Hawk Base.”
English Professor David Shumway’s 2014 book, “Rock Star: The Making of Musical Icons from Elvis to Springsteen,” is making headlines again, this time by receiving its first academic review. In the book, Shumway investigates the rock star as a particular kind of cultural construction, different from a mere celebrity. A review in the Journal of American History calls “Rock Star” a “minor masterpiece” and says that Shumway's "critical assessments succeed in rewarding readers with original insights in virtually every paragraph.” Find out more.
When Jay Kadane arrived at CMU in the early 1970s, Pittsburgh was experiencing the “glory days” of Steelers football. In a new piece for the Huffington Post, Kadane blogs about how he went from being a fan of the sport that “galvanized the city” to no longer being able to watch it because of safety issues. Read "Confession of an Ex-Football Fan."
Laurie Heller, associate teaching professor of Psychology, is one of 10 CMU faculty members who earned Google Research Awards for Summer 2015. The one-year awards are unrestricted gifts to universities to support the work of world-class full-time faculty members at top universities around the world. The grants cover tuition for a graduate student and provide both faculty and students the opportunity to work directly with Google researchers and engineers. Learn more.
Danielle Wenner, assistant professor of philosophy, contributed a piece to Daily Nous on the practice of unfair prescription drug prices by pharmaceutical companies. Wenner wrote about how fairness demands more than the absence of coercion. “The liberal political tradition lauds the principle of respect for individual autonomy and the rights of persons to engage in free transactions,” she wrote. “But absent social structures that function to ensure a sufficient baseline of well-being to all and to prevent the leveraging of monopolies over needed goods, individual autonomy and the right to freely transact are valuable only to those bargaining from the position of power.” Daily Nous is a news site for philosophers. Read more.
Jennifer Keating-Miller has joined the Dietrich College as its new assistant dean for educational initiatives. Previously, she served as CMU’s associate director of undergraduate research and national fellowships. In that role, she administered programs like SURG, SURF and ISURG and helped students apply for nationally competitive fellowships, such as the Churchill Scholarship and Rhodes Scholarship. Keating-Miller also worked closely with Dietrich College associate deans Joseph E. Devine and Brian Junker to create, launch and mold the college’s Honors Fellowship Program. In its second year, the program is part of the college’s Senior Honors Program and is designed to give students a head start on their thesis development. Find out more about Keating-Miller and her new position.
Psychology Professor Ken Kotovsky co-wrote “Heterogeneous Simulated Annealing Teams: An Optimizing Search Algorithm Inspired by Engineering Design Teams,” a paper that won a Reviewers’ Favourite Award at the 2015 International Conference on Engineering Design in July in Milan, Italy. Kotovsky’s co-authors were CMU Mechanical Engineering Professor and Co-Director of the Integrated Innovation Institute Jonathan Cagan and Ph.D. student Chris McComb.
The Simon Initiative has hired Kimberly P. Law as a learning engineer. Law joins CMU as part of the university’s efforts to better understand and develop strategies to overcome the roadblocks to using technology-enhanced learning (TEL) resources. This work and new position is supported by a two-year, $1 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the organization’s largest award to CMU. Law, who previously served as the cyber technology coordinator and STEM bridge director at the National STEM Consortium, will lead the development of new and innovative TEL courses and support materials in statistics and computer science. She also will explore best practices and barriers to the creation and adoption to these tools. The courseware will be developed by taking advantage of Open Learning Initiative (OLI) processes and resources and will use a science and team-based approach to improve interactive higher education online courses. Find out more.
Ana Maria Ulloa, senior associate dean of students in Columbia University’s School of General Studies, will join the Dietrich College as assistant dean and director of the Academic Advisory Center (AAC) on Oct. 1. The AAC is the “home base” for all Dietrich College students before they declare a major. The second largest academic unit at CMU, the Dietrich College offers more than 60 majors and minors, ranging from creative writing and cognitive science to philosophy and decision sciences. "She has wonderful energy, intellectual vitality, down-to-earth competence and the sort of empathetic talent that will make her an excellent colleague, leader and adviser," said Dietrich College Dean Richard Scheines. Ulloa succeeds Gloria Hill, who retired at the end of July. Find out more.
After six years as academic advisor in the AAC, Gary DiLisio has moved to the Information Systems Program office as senior academic advisor. DiLisio will replace Carol Young, who is also retiring after 19 years of service to the university, including 5 years most recently as senior academic advisor in the Information Systems program.
Alicia Davin has joined the AAC as an academic advisor. Davin comes to Carnegie Mellon and the Dietrich College from the University of Pittsburgh, where for the past five years she has served as academic advisor. Davin brings a broad range of experience that maps extremely well onto existing roles for AAC advisors, as well as others that the AAC plans to undertake and expand.
In a podcast for the UK’s Chawton House Library, English Professor Kristina Straub talks about her upcoming exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library on the celebrity of Jane Austen and William Shakespeare. Listen to Straub at 12:45.
The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) has named Stephen E. Fienberg as the recipient of the 2015 Jerome Sacks Award for Cross-Disciplinary Research. The NISS, which is dedicated to strengthening and serving the national statistics community, established the award to honor Sacks as its founding director. It recognizes sustained, high-quality cross-disciplinary research involving the statistical sciences. Nell Sedransk, acting director of the NISS, said Fienberg was selected “for a remarkable career devoted to the development and application of statistical methodology to solve problems for the benefit of society, including aspects of human rights, privacy and confidentiality, forensics, survey and census-taking.” She also praised him for his “exceptional leadership in a variety of professional and governmental organizations, including the founding of NISS.” Fienberg is the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science in the Dietrich College. He has additional appointments in the Machine Learning Department and Cylab and is the co-director of the Heinz College's Living Analytics Research Center. Find out more.
Kiron Skinner, who previously worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, discussed the 2016 campaign on Australia’s ABC News Breakfast program. Skinner is the director of the new Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College. Watch the interview.
Christine Hucko, communications and external relations coordinator for the Department of Modern Languages, had a piece published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on how the mall of her childhood has fallen on hard times. Hucko, who lived in Germany from 2008-2010, wrote that when she returned and visited the mall, it was mostly abandoned. Read Memories of Century III Mall.
Timothy Ruff has joined the History Department as a senior administrative coordinator.
Andy Norman, special faculty in the Department of Philosophy, wrote an opinion piece on his humanist self-discovery. “The Cowboy, the lesbian and the humanist" appeared in Scientia Salon and Machines Like Us. Norman also has become one of the most widely read authors on Academia.edu, where more than seven million academics publish their work. He has risen into the top 1 percent of contributors. See his profile.
Assistant English Professor Kevin A. González’s piece, “Palau," was published in the Summer 2015 issue of Ploughshares. The issue features wildly imaginative fiction stories selected by acclaimed novelist and short story writer Lauren Groff, who said that she was looking for work that "is written with blood or bile or choler, not necessarily sweat alone.” González received his bachelor's degree in creative writing from CMU. The issue is available in print and on Kindle and Nook. Find out more.
Mara Harrell, associate teaching professor of philosophy, was featured in a CBS Detroit article about her fall course on the popular TV show "The 100." 80105 Freshman Seminar: Philosophy and The 100 will be offered to Dietrich College first-year students and will examine philosophical issues raised in the science fiction show. The show’s creator and executive producer Jason Rothenberg noticed the course and Harrell invited him to guest lecture. While it’s unclear if he will in fact come to campus, the CW show has another CMU connection: alumnus Javi Grillo-Marxuach is a writer. Find out more.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies, and fellow faculty members Gang Liu, assistant teaching professor of Chinese Studies, and Haixia Wang, adjunct faculty of Chinese Studies, (l-r), participated in the 2015 summer Chinese pedagogy workshop for the University of Pittsburgh’s Confucius Institute. The workshop (July 27-31) helped to train and orient 35 new teachers from China who will teach Chinese language and culture in K-12 and college level programs in Pennsylvania. Read more.
James Wynn, associate professor of English, recently taught “Academic Writing in the American University” at Beihang University in Beijing, China. Beihang University is one of China’s leading universities on education and research. Learn more.
Obituary: Hilary Masters, an acclaimed writer and beloved professor, died Sunday, June 14. He was 87. Masters joined CMU’s English Department in 1983 and spent the past 32 years inspiring students. A mainstay in the Creative Writing Program — one of the oldest undergraduate programs of its kind— Masters taught courses, such as Survey of Forms: Fiction and the Personal Essay Writing Workshop, most recently as last semester. Among his numerous awards and honors, he received the American Academy of Arts Award for Literature in 2003.
“Our undergraduate creative writing majors were fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from a consummate writer who was also an extraordinary teacher and mentor,” said Chris Neuwirth, head of the English Department.
“He cared about writing, he cared about stories. He would entertain us with anecdotes about his life, his years at Brown and his trips to France where he often rented a car and drove the blue roads, stopping at truck stops for incredible meals. Most of all he cared about students learning the craft. He wanted them to appreciate the world of fiction, the difficulty of the business but the joy of getting a piece exactly as they first envisioned it,” said Sharon Dilworth, associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program.
After 35 years at CMU, Gloria Hill will retire at the end of July. Hill, assistant dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director of the Academic Advisory Center, has been instrumental in shaping thousands of CMU students’ educations. "Gloria brought a wonderful presence to the advising center,” said Dietrich College Dean Richard Scheines. “She was warm, welcoming, and full of energy, but also quite calm and wise. I feel a bit deprived to only get a year to work with her, but she has definitely earned a little down time!” Learn more about Hill.
Ricky Law, assistant professor of history, has been selected as one of the 2015-2016 Wimmer Faculty Fellows at CMU’s Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation. This program is designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work with an Eberly consultant to design or redesign a course, innovate new materials, or explore a new pedagogical approach. Law will redesign his “Global Histories” course, a large, introductory course enrolling undergraduates from a variety of disciplines and employing a large number of graduate teaching assistants. His proposed redesign addresses both of these student populations. First, he plans to integrate film into his course so that students can use it as a medium for both examining and portraying the past. The Eberly Center will assist Law in developing instructional materials and assignments to achieve this goal. Second, he will implement a course-specific, pedagogical training system for the graduate teaching assistants leading discussion sections in the course. Eberly colleagues will provide support to Law and the graduate students in the design and implementation of this system. Learn more.
Kathyrn Roeder, professor of statistics and computational biology, was named vice provost for Faculty. Roeder served as director of Graduate Studies and associate head of the Department of Statistics from 1996-2011. As vice provost for Faculty, she will help to develop policies and practices that attract and retain diverse, world-class scholars in all of Carnegie Mellon's fields and disciplines. She will work to oversee all areas of faculty affairs with particular focus on recruitment and retention, the reappointment, tenure and promotion process, academic human resources issues, faculty programs, academic unit hiring plans with an eye toward excellence and diversity (inclusive of dual career solutions), and serve as a liaison to faculty related university committees. Learn more.
Linda Babcock, whose research intersects economics and psychology, has been selected to head the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. She succeeds Paul Fischbeck, who has been interim head for the past year. Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics, focuses on negotiations and dispute resolution research with specific attention to gender differences. She is the co-author of “Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide,” which was named one of Biz Journals’ 20 Most Important Business Books Ever Written. In it, she describes her research on initiating negotiations and explores the societal factors that hold women back from asking for what they want. She also holds an appointment in the Heinz College, where she served as acting dean from 2000-2001. “Linda Babcock is a perfect person to lead the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at this time. Not only is she a world-famous scholar on negotiation, but she is also an excellent leader. Having worked in both Heinz and Dietrich, she has a broad perspective on CMU. She will strengthen an already excellent department, and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with her in the Dietrich College,” said Richard Scheines, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Find out more.
Independence Day was extra special this year for Caroline Acker (right). The City of Pittsburgh declared July 4, 2015, “Dr. Caroline Acker Day” to recognize the longtime history professor for her outstanding scholarship and many contributions to the Pittsburgh community. The proclamation was sponsored by CMU Alumnus and City Councilman Daniel Gilman (DC’04), who majored in ethics, history and public policy. Find out more.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage nationwide, Jay Kadane wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post titled “Religious Liberty and Gay Marriage.” In it, Kadane examines the implications the decision has for people who have religious or other objections to gay marriage. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read the piece.
A new book by Assistant Professor of English Christopher N. Warren discloses how a Bush Administration lawyer misinterpreted cultural history to justify War on Terror activities such as waterboarding and secret prisons. In researching “Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680,” Warren discovered writings on 16th-century international law by the future Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo, who is best known as an author of the so-called “torture memos.” Yoo’s commentaries, published while Yoo was a law professor at University of California, Berkeley in 1997, argued that international law did not apply to non-state combatants. The Bush Administration’s controversial “torture memos” of early 2002 would argue the same. Published by Oxford University Press, “Literature and the Law of Nations” shows that international law today owes many of its most basic ideas to early modern culture. "Today’s international law isn’t perfect, but we do it a profound disservice unless we acknowledge that it has deep historical roots and that it’s shaped and been shaped by a rich cultural history,” Warren said. Read more.
Edda Fields-Black has been awarded an “Investing in Professional Artists Creative Development Grant” from the Pittsburgh Foundation and an “Advancing the Black Arts Artist Grant” from the Heinz Foundation to support her Center for the Arts in Society (CAS) project, "The Requiem for Rice." Fields-Black, associate professor of history, is using the project to bring the records, stories and lives of Africans enslaved on low country rice plantations to life. Learn more about The Requiem for Rice.
Jim Daniels appeared on the May 30th episode of “A Prairie Home Companion” and read five of his Detroit-inspired award-winning poems: “My Father Worked Late,” “Wheels,” “Factory Love,” My Grandfather’s Tools” and “Anthem.” Watch a video of Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, on the show. Additionally, Daniels’ latest book of short stories, “Eight Mile High,” won the silver 2015 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) for regional fiction. The IPPY Awards honor the year’s best books from independent and small press publishers. In “Eight Mile High,” Daniels uses 14 short stories to tell stories about Eight Mile Road, the infamous stretch of concrete that divides Detroit racially and culturally. Learn more about the book.
Gail Tooks, who has worked for the History Department for 27 years, will retire at the end of July. Tooks started as the receptionist for the department, then took over the graduate coordinator position before becoming business manager.
Alex Imas, assistant professor of social and decision sciences, was named to Pacific Standard’s "The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30” list. The magazine, designed for opinion leaders, policymakers and concerned citizens who are interested in developing solutions to some of the world’s toughest social and environmental problems, included Imas on a list full of "rising stars whose careers promise to make a lasting mark.” Read more.
English Professor David Kaufer was selected as the 2014-15 Wilson T.S. Wang New Method College Visiting Professor in Language Education at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Kaufer, who is currently in China teaching English for the new Joint Institute of Engineering Program between CMU’s College of Engineering and Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, gave a general talk to the university community about language education, a more specialized talk to the English Department and met with faculty and students about English education curriculum and policy at CUHK and in Hong Kong. For the university lecture, Kaufer focused on Classroom Salon, which leverages the power of social media to create online learning communities. The department talk focused on the text analysis — DocuScope — environment Kaufer co–developed with Suguru Ishizaki, associate professor of English.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies in the Modern Languages Department and founder and president of CLTA-WPA (The Chinese Language Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania) co-organized a successful CLTA-WPA Spring Symposium at the University of Pittsburgh on April 12 for about 80 Chinese educators. Activities included paper presentations, a general membership meeting and open forum, and a book exhibition. The CLTA-WPA, established on May 4, 2014, has already attracted over 140 members. It aims to provide a forum for exchanging information, expertise and ideas related to teaching and learning Chinese, thus serving the community by promoting quality Chinese education for K-16 in the Western Pennsylvania area. Wu also has devoted herself to creating innovative Chinese online curricula for the PSLC and OLI Chinese Online courses at CMU, and for Pearson’s MyChineseLab. Her online curriculum development work, research and mentorship are highly regarded both nationally and internationally and have had a significant impact on the field. Last March, she was nominated for the national Pearson Cite 2015 Excellence in Online Teaching and Administration Award.
Department of Modern Language professors Mariana Achugar, Kenya Dworkin and Felipe Gómez, the founders and leaders of El Circulo Juvenil de Cultura, a Hispanic Studies outreach program, hosted a workshop on “Sueños Digitales,” or “Digital Dreams,” for 20 Spanish-speaking children this semester. Instead of just using digital technology, Circulo Juvenil received funding from the Sprout Fund and Remake Learning Digital Corps to teach the local children simple programming skills and how Web pages work. Circulo Juvenil will share some of what was accomplished through the workshop at the Digital Corps Spring Party from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 30 in the Hill District. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more.
After 23 years, G. Richard “Dick” Tucker is retiring from Carnegie Mellon. Tucker, the Paul Mellon University Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages, received top teaching awards from both the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and CMU. He also served as head of the Modern Languages Department, interim dean of Student Affairs, associate vice provost for education for Carnegie Mellon Qatar, interim dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar and Title IX Coordinator. Learn more about Tucker’s legacy, view photos from a celebration held in his honor and read what others shared about him.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiled English Professor Gerald “Jerry” Costanzo as a “Newsmaker You Should Know” for knowing that he wanted to be a teacher since age 10. In addition to teaching in the English Department, Costanzo founded and still directs the Carnegie Mellon University Press and has published more than 400 poems, articles and literary essays as well as seven of his own poetry collections. Read more.
While suicide rates in children younger than 12 have remained steady for the past 20 years, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics is the first to observe higher suicide rates among black children. Led by CMU’s Joel Greenhouse and researchers at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s, the National Institute of Mental Health and The Ohio State University, the report’s analysis showed that suicide ranked 14th as a cause of death among 5- to 11-year-old black children from 1993-1997 but rose to ninth from 2008-2012. For white children, suicide ranked 12th from 1993-1997 and 11th from 2008-2012. Rates have remained stable in Hispanic children and children of other races. Greenhouse is a professor of statistics in the Dietrich College. Read more.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has awarded a five-year, up to $20 million grant to establish a Forensic Science Center of Excellence. Based at Iowa State University, it will include researchers from Carnegie Mellon University; the University of California, Irvine; and the University of Virginia. Its primary goal will be to build a statistically sound and scientifically solid foundation under two branches of forensics: pattern evidence (including fingerprints and bullet marks) and digital evidence (including data from cell phones and computers). “For all too long those of us in the academic research community viewed the phrase ‘forensic science’ as an oxymoron,” said Stephen E. Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science. “With the special attention that we now plan to focus on the empirical and statistical foundation for various forms of pattern evidence and for digital evidence in our new Center of Excellence, we hope to collaborate with the forensic community to change this perspective. CMU’s strength in both statistics and our collaborative environment will be key components in the success of this enterprise.” Learn more.
Sophie Lebrecht, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and Tepper School of Business and co-founder of the CMU BrainHub startup Neon Labs, was named one of Fast Company’s 2015 Most Creative People. Read more.
Andreea Deciu Ritivoi has been selected to lead CMU's English Department, a renowned leader in professional, technical and creative writing as well as rhetoric and literary and cultural studies. Effective July 1, Ritivoi, professor of English, will succeed Chris Neuwirth, who has served as department head since 2009. “Professor Ritivoi will be a wonderful leader. She is fully credible in all three areas in our English Department: creative writing, literary and cultural studies and rhetoric,” said Richard Scheines, dean of CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “She has begun to branch out into digital humanities, a nationally growing field in which Carnegie Mellon is poised to be a natural leader, and she has already done excellent work on globalization and identity, as well as the role of art in social controversy. Andreea is an interdisciplinary scholar in the finest tradition of Carnegie Mellon.” Read more.
Statistics Professor Brian Junker has been playing banjo with other string instrument enthusiasts every week at the Schenley Park Visitors Center. Junker’s weekly jam session on any given Thursday from noon to 1 p.m., includes an engineering manager from Apple’s CMU offices, a paleobotanist and educator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and a visual artist from the South Hills. The group provides lively background music for the lunch crowd. You can listen to Junker and other members of the Thursday group play their music Saturday, March 28 on WRCT radio during a morning family entertainment show called the “Saturday Light Brigade." Learn more.
Scott Sandage reviewed two books for The New York Times: "Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be” and "The End of College.” Sandage writes that they are "two deeply felt, intentionally provocative alternatives for college applicants worried about getting into their first choice and parents worried about paying for it: Frank Bruni’s exhortation to go elsewhere and Kevin Carey’s invitation to go online.” Sandage, associate professor of history, is a cultural historian who specializes in 19th century United States and the changing aspects of American identity. Read the reviews.
María del Mar Rosa-Rodríguez has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to participate in the NEH Summer 2015 Institute, "The Alhambra and Spain's Islamic Past," in Granada, Spain. Designed for college and university teachers, the institute will use the magnificent 13th-14th-century Alhambra palace complex in Granada to study Spain’s engagement with its diverse cultural and religious history. Rosa-Rodríguez is an assistant professor of Hispanic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages.
Three leading cognitive scientists from Carnegie Mellon are questioning the gender representation of invited contributors in the special February 2015 issue, “The Changing Face of Cognition,” published by the international journal Cognition. In an opinion piece to appear in Cognition, Roberta Klatzky, Lori Holt, and Marlene Behrmann write that they were “struck by the fact that among the 19 authors listed for the 12 articles, only one female author was present.” According to 2013 statistics from the National Science Foundation, more than 50 percent of Ph.D. degrees in cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, neuropsychology and experimental psychology were awarded to women. Yet, invitations to contribute do not necessarily reflect this gender parity. In their piece, the authors examine the gender distribution of the editors and authors for the four most recent special issues of Cognition and find a prevailing male dominance. The authors argue that although authorship should not be based on the number of men and women in the discipline, the contributions and vision of female scientists should not be ignored. Learn more.
Following their opinion piece Klatzky, Holt and Behrmann wrote a blog for the Huffington Post on “Getting Women Into Science-Filled Rooms.” In the piece, they describe why they are voicing their opinions about women’s participation in science, concluding, "We on our part will continue fueling the process — in our roles as researchers, mentors, teachers, and advocates, and we will encourage our male and female colleagues at Carnegie Mellon and beyond to do the same.” Read the piece.
Kiron Skinner participated in a Q&A with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Eric Heyl about the Dietrich College’s new Institute for Politics and Strategy, which she will direct. Skinner, who currently directs the Center for International Relations and Politics (CIRP), talked about the basis for the institute, the challenges she sees getting it off the ground and potential collaborations the institute could have with other academic institutions and research organizations. Read the Q&A.
The Organization of American Historians has named “The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898” by Lisa Tetrault (right) as the winner of its inaugural Mary Jurich Nickliss Prize in U.S. Women’s History. The award is given for the previous calendar year’s most original book — one that is path-breaking work or challenges and changes widely accepted scholarly interpretations in the field. In the book, Tetrault, associate professor of history, demonstrates that Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and their peers — who are credited with founding, defining and leading the women's suffrage campaign — gradually created and popularized the original story. She details how they created the legend during the second half of the 19th century in response to the movement's internal politics as well as racial politics following the Civil War. Learn more.
Chad Schafer has been elected co-chair of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Informatics and Statistics Science Collaboration. Starting in 2022, the LSST will digitally image the sky every night for a decade. The massive camera will gather roughly 30 terabytes — or 30,000 gigabytes — each night, creating “big data” for astronomy like never before. To help prepare for the data challenges, Schafer, associate professor of statistics in the Dietrich College, will lead the team to develop new methods to analyze and gain scientific insight from the data collected. Read more.
History Professor Jay D. Aronson and Senior Ethics, History and Public Policy Major Christophe Combemalewrote an opinion piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on how the City of Pittsburgh can balance privacy and public safety. Their suggestions stem from a semester-long project that Aronson led with 10 ethics, history and public policy seniors last semester. At the invitation of City Councilman Dan Gilman (DC’04), the Dietrich College students researched the history of surveillance technology, analyzing how similar cities have implemented different tools and policies and developing recommendations for Pittsburgh. Then, they presented their findings to City Council, Debra Lam, director of the city’s Department of Innovation and Performance, and Pittsburgh’s new Chief of Police Cameron McLay. Read "Keeping an eye on Pittsburgh:We can learn a lot from other cities’ surveillance policies.”
Joel Greenhouse, professor of statistics, was elected to the Executive Board of the International Biometric Society, an international society promoting the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences, including agriculture, biomedical science and public health, ecology, environmental sciences, forestry and allied disciplines.
Robert Siegler, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, presented an engaging look at numerical development and cognition in the 2015 Robbie Case Memorial Lecture hosted by the Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw Centre at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (ICS). Siegler’s visit attracted a full house of interested researchers, graduate students, teachers and academics from across the province and as far away as California. Siegler was a close friend and colleague of Robbie Case, a world-renowned leader of research into children’s mathematical development and former ICS director, who died in 2000. Siegler’s talk, "An Integrated Theory of Numerical Development: Following in the Footsteps of Robbie Case," highlighted some of Case's lifelong contributions to numerical cognition research, including “integrating Piagetian and information processing insights into a classic theory of cognitive development,” while being a “devoted mentor” and “setting the standard as a gentleman and a scholar.” Learn more.
Christopher J. Phillips, who will join the History Department as an assistant professor in the fall, wrote a piece for TIME Magazine on teaching methods for old and new math. Phillips, who is completing a postdoctoral fellowship at NYU, is author of the book, "The New Math: A Political History." Read the TIME piece, "The New Math Strikes Back."
Carnegie Mellon has selected Donna Harsch to head its History Department, effective July 1. Harsch, a political and social historian of modern Germany, succeeds Caroline Acker, who has led the department since 2011 and is retiring from CMU. "Professor Harsch will be an excellent successor to Caroline Acker, who did a terrific job of quite selflessly leading the department for the last four years of her career at Carnegie Mellon," said Richard Scheines, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Donna's work on Germany is first rate, and she has proved to be a versatile and wide-ranging scholar of the 20th century. I am excited to work with her, in particular on a passion of mine that she shares: to feature history prominently in interdisciplinary projects spanning the Dietrich College as well as the rest of Carnegie Mellon," Scheines said. Learn more.
Joel Tarr wrote an article for New America on the Pittsburgh region’s historical identification with energy resources and environmental degradation and what that means for the future. Tarr, the Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History and Policy, wrote, "Does the history of energy development in the state have any implications for the present natural gas boom? I believe that there are a number of analogies between then and now that are worth exploring. The echo between past and present shows that concerns about the environmental impacts of natural gas development today could have been anticipated by looking at Pittsburgh’s history." Read "Learning from Pittsburgh’s Energy History from Westinghouse to Marcellus."
Effective Feb. 16, Scott Weingart joined CMU and the Dietrich College as the university's first digital humanities specialist. Weingart is part of the team that CMU is forming to train its humanities Ph.D. students in digital scholarship and technology-enhanced learning (TEL), and to support research in these areas. His hire follows a five-year, $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to transform graduate education in the humanities. In his new role, Weingart, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in information science and history of science at Indiana University, will support digital humanities research at CMU, fostering collaboration across campus. He will teach a weeklong summer workshop that all humanities Ph.D. students and interested faculty will take to become fundamentally literate in digital humanities. He also will serve as an internal consultant, teaching faculty how to use computational techniques in their research. Learn more.
Stephen Fienberg has been selected to give the R.A. Fisher Lecture at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings in North America. The lectureship was established in 1963 by the North American Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) in recognition of the British statistician Ronald Aylmer Fisher. It is considered a very high recognition of achievement and scholarship in statistical sciences and recognizes the highly significant impact of statistician methods on scientific investigations. Fienberg is the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences.
The literary journal “Ploughshares” has released “Villa Bohème” by assistant professor of English Kevin A. González in the latest of its digital-first series of individual long stories. Villa Bohème is a Puerto Rican motel where, in the words of one of the "strays" who have assembled there, "the people are biding their time." They drink, they play darts, they wait on the beach for something to happen. This washed-up place is run by a washed-up lawyer with one remaining client, and into it steps Tito, the lawyer's son, 14 years old, smart and surly, fleeing his mother and her annoying boyfriend. Among the various lost people who inhabit the motel, Tito begins to make his way into adulthood, serving drinks, reading Judy Blume books in secret, fantasizing about the sexy bartender, and navigating the heady atmosphere of Puerto Rican politics. Villa Bohème is available on pshares.org and Kindle for $1.99. Gonzalez is an alumnus of CMU, having received his bachelor's degree in creative writing and international relations in 2003.
Mark Kamlet and Kiron Skinner co-wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times’ Room for Debate section on whether or not going global is good for U.S. colleges. Kamlet and Skinner wrote, "Done right, the global university is good for Americans. Spending time at their universities in other countries better prepares U.S. domestic faculty and students for working in a global context.” Kamlet is a University Professor of economics and public policy and provost emeritus. Skinner is associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the Center for International Relations and Politics. Read "U.S. Universities Going Global Is Vital to Society.”
Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy, wrote an article for SciDev.Net on how scientists can effectively communicate their work. Fischhoff wrote that the key is listening. Read “Four Steps For Effective Science Communication.”
Linda Benedict-Jones, adjunct professor of history and the curatorial chair of exhibitions & curator of photography at the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), has organized her final major exhibit for CMOA. "Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals,” which ran through Feb. 16, is a definitive retrospective of the groundbreaking photographer. Benedict-Jones is incorporating the exhibit into her class, "Photographers and Photography since World War II.”
January 2015Obituary: Lois Josephs Fowler, professor of English, emeritus, died Dec. 28. She was 89. Fowler, who joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1961, inspired and mentored generations of students and has often been referred to as an "unforgettable" teacher. Read more.
Following President Barack Obama’s decision to “normalize” relations with Cuba, Robert Cavalier wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about how deliberative democracy forums can and have been helping Cubans learn more about incorporating constitutional ideals into their society. Cavalier is a teaching professor of philosophy and director of CMU’s Program for Deliberative Democracy. Read “Pittsburgh Goes To Cuba: Deliberative Democracy Could Be One Of Our Most Valuable Exports.”
Joseph B. Kadane, a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, recently wrote about the Senate Intelligence Committee report and its findings that the U.S. government tortured those captured in the War on Terror. Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus, said the debate is missing an important point, and that “torture is wrong, no matter who does it and what the circumstances are.” Read “On Torture.”
At the invitation of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, John R. Anderson will participate in the White House Workshop on Bridging Neuroscience and Learning on Friday, Jan. 23 in Washington, D.C. The workshop's goals are to identify research gaps and innovations in research methodology and data analysis, and to generate ideas for effectively disseminating information to the broader public, such as individuals and schools. Anderson, whose human thought and cognition research has revolutionized how we learn, is one of 28 experts in neuroscience, cognitive science, developmental psychology and other relevant disciplines who will participate in the workshop. The R.K. Mellon University Professor of Psychology and Computer Science, Anderson is renowned for his work that combines cognitive psychology and computer science to understand how the brain works, how people learn and how computer-based instructional systems can be used as educational aids. Read more.
Gerry Balbier, formerly with the Heinz Endowments, has joined the university as executive director of the BrainHubSM initiative. Balbier will work with faculty to attract increased research funding and visibility for CMU brain research and create opportunities for faculty interaction that can lead to new collaborations. He has already convened the first of what he hopes to be regular “BrainHub Exchange” gatherings of BrainHub-related faculty from across the colleges and departments included in the initiative. Balbier earned a master’s degree in public management at CMU's Heinz College.
English Professor Jim Ray Daniels' "Eight Mile High" has been named to the Library of Michigan's 2015 Notable Books List. The annual list features 20 books published in the previous calendar year that are about Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a Michigan author. This is the second consecutive year that Daniels has been named to the Michigan Notable Books List; his poetry book, "Birth Marks," was honored in 2014. In "Eight Mile High," Daniels, who was born and raised in Detroit, uses Eight Mile Road, the infamous stretch of concrete that divides Detroit racially and culturally, as the setting and main character. Through 14 short stories, Daniels connects characters by specific places, such as the fictitious Eight Mile High School and the always-open restaurant, the Clock. The white working-class community defines the individuals — even those who leave town — as they navigate work and love, change and loss, as best as they can. Read more.
Two books authored by Linda Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics at the Heinz and Dietrich colleges, have been recognized among "the most important business books ever written" by Ed Stych, national special section editor at The Business Journals. The books are "Women Don't Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation — and Positive Strategies for Change" and "Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want." Both books were co-authored by Sara Laschever, who along with Babcock was a founding faculty member of Carnegie Mellon's Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women.
Jay D. Aronson participated in AAAS’ Science & Human Rights Coalition Meeting: Big Data & Human Rights in Washington, D.C., last week. Aronson moderated a panel discussion on "Human Rights Implications of Big Data." Aronson is associate professor of science, technology and society in the Department of History and director of CMU’s Center for Human Rights Science. Learn more about the meeting and watch videos from the event.
Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy, spoke at the Institute of Medicine workshop on "Financial Incentives to Support Unmet Medical Needs for Nervous System Disorders." London participated in a panel discussion on "New or Existing Regulatory Approval Pathways." Read more.
Obituary: Michel Fougères, associate professor emeritus of French who joined the CMU faculty in 1969, died on Nov. 16. Fougères was known for having a close relationship with his students and for developing a self-paced French program of studies in which students could learn French independently and meet individually with him. Christian Hallstein, teaching professor of German, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that "Fougeres had as many as 50 independent study students enrolled at a time along with traditional classroom students." Read the full obituary.
Dudley Reynolds, teaching professor of English at Carnegie Mellon in Qatar, has been named President-elect of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association, the largest professional association of its kind. Reynolds will be sworn in as President-elect at the annual conference in Toronto in March. In March 2016, he will become the 51st president of the association that aims to advance professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide. He will serve as past president from March 2017 - March 2018.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, has won second prize in the 2014 Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) Cengage Learning Award for Innovative Excellence in the Teaching of Chinese as a Foreign Language competition. Her project was titled "The Chinese Folk Performance Curriculum: Leveraging Technology, Balancing Learners’ Content Knowledge and Language Proficiency." The project showcases the integration of advanced technology into a course that introduces Chinese representative folk arts, including opera, puppetry, storytelling, music and instruments, folk beliefs and temple festivals. This award is designed to encourage CLTA members to contribute to the improvement of Chinese Foreign Language (CFL) education in the United States through the design, development and application of new pedagogy, innovative classroom practices, and teaching tools (e.g. multimedia). Wu’s innovative idea and contribution to foreign language education were nationally recognized as she received the award at the CLTA Annual Meeting at the CLTA/ACTFL conference, Nov. 21-23, in San Antonio, Texas. Wu created, designed and taught the Chinese Folk Performance course at CMU.
Mariana Achugar, assistant professor of Hispanic Studies and second language acquisition and author of "Piropos as Metaphors for Gender Roles in Spanish Speaking Cultures,” participated in an expert panel for Cosmopolitan Magazine to explore how piropos — a form of flirtatious street talk typically considered complimentary — affect Latinas. Read more.
Following Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s resignation, Kiron Skinner wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times’ Room for Debate section on the kind of leader President Obama needs to choose as his successor. Skinner is associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU’s Center for International Relations and Politics. Read "A Secretary of Defense With a Doctrine Could Help Obama." Skinner also co-wrote an opinion piece with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita for The National Interest Magazine on the security challenges facing the U.S. and strategies the government could use to resolve them peacefully. Bueno de Mesquita is a professor of politics at New York University. Read "Red, White and Peaceful: Advancing U.S. Security through Peaceful Means.”
Anna V. Fisher has received a James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Science Initiative in Understanding Human Cognition-Scholar Award to provide an alternative theoretical account for advanced cognitive development. Fisher, associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will use the six-year, $600,000 award to continue her research into the emergence of higher-order cognition in the course of child development. "Anna is a superb young scientist who is challenging conventional wisdom on how children learn to reason about the world around them," said Michael J. Tarr, head of the Department of Psychology. "This prestigious award is a clear signal that her innovative theories are having a significant impact on the field and she is poised, with the generous support of the McDonnell Foundation, to make many more game-changing advances regarding our understanding of how children think and learn." Learn more.
Alex Imas has won the Distinguished CESifo Affiliate Award, given annually to a young economist for displaying scientific originality, policy relevance and quality in behavioral economics. CESifo is a research organization in Europe that combines theoretically oriented economic research with leading empirical work from around the world. Imas, assistant professor of social and decision sciences in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, won for his paper "The Realization Effect: Risk-Taking After Realized Versus Paper Losses," in which he explored how prior losses influence a person's subsequent risk attitudes. Imas, who just joined the CMU faculty after spending the 2013-14 academic year as a postdoctoral fellow in the Social and Decision Sciences Department, is interested in behavioral and experimental economics, particularly how social concerns and emotions influence decision-making and preferences. Learn more. The Society for Judgment and Decision Making also selected Imas as the 2014 winner of its Hillel Einhorn New Investigator Award. The award is presented each year to honor the best paper by a young researcher. Read more.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Andreea Deciu Ritivoi a research fellowship to explore how the concept of "captive nations" emerged in early Cold War political discourse, and how their liberation only appeared as an American responsibility. Ritivoi's project, "Captive Nations: American Democracy in the Cold War and the Politics of Rescue," will begin in January 2015. Ritivoi is a professor of English. Learn more.
Roberta Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, co-wrote an article for IEEE Computer on how “surface haptics,” the real-time control of the lateral forces acting between a fingertip and a touch surface, could eventually allow touch screens to be used without relying on visual feedback. J. Edward Colgate, a professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern University was the co-author. Read the article.
Kathryn Roeder has received Penn State University’s Outstanding Science Alumni Award. One of four 2014 recipients, Roeder is being honored for the work she has done in statistical genetics and the genetic basis of complex disease. Her research team has published extensively on methods for gene mapping and the genetics of autism. The Board of Directors of Penn State's Eberly College of Science Alumni Society established the award to recognize alumni who have a record of significant professional achievements in their field and who are outstanding role models for students. Roeder is professor of statistics and computational biology at CMU. Read more.
English Professor Kristina Straub is curating an exhibit for the Folger Shakespeare Library titled "Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity." Debuting in fall 2016, the exhibit will coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the upcoming bicentenary of Austen’s death. The exhibit, which will include much more than books, will explore how Shakespeare was celebrated 200 years ago in order to compare public spectacles like Garrick’s Jubilee and Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery to today’s media celebrations such as BBC "bonnet dramas" made from Austen’s works. Learn more.
Mark Roth, an award-winning senior staff writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English, will receive the 2014 Friend of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) Award from Carnegie Mellon and Pitt during a dinner on Friday, Oct. 17. Roth is being recognized for his cutting-edge journalism that brings current science and medical issues to the public's attention. This first Friend of the CNBC Award coincides with the center's 20th anniversary celebration, which is being marked with a series of events on the CMU and Pitt campuses Oct. 17-18. "Mark Roth does more than just report on medical and science news. His attention to detail, quest to uncover all pertinent information, and commitment to explaining complex issues in a way that is understandable and relatable greatly impacts the Pittsburgh community and his readers across the globe. We are thrilled to present him with this award to recognize his efforts to share important science with the public," said CNBC co-directors Marlene Behrmann of CMU and Peter Strick of Pitt. Learn more.
GENETICS, the flagship journal of the Genetics Society of America, has selected Kathryn Roeder to be an associate editor. Roeder is professor of statistics and computational biology and a leading expert on statistical genomics and the genetic basis of complex disease. Learn more.
Joel Tarr, the Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History and Policy, wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the history of pedestrian safety in Pittsburgh. Read the piece.
English Professor David Shumway, who recently authored “Rock Star: The Making of Musical Icons from Elvis to Springsteen,” marked Bruce Springsteen's 65th birthday with op-eds in USA Today and Reuters.com. In USA Today, Shumway writes," At age 65, Bruce Springsteen remains what Eric Alterman called him in 2001, an 'icon in American culture.' His reaching this milestone is an occasion to reflect on how stardom in America has changed over the course of his lifetime. In 1949, it was much more glamorous and lucrative to be a movie star than a popular singer. … By 1975, when Springsteen became a star … rock stars had replaced movie stars at the top of the celebrity pyramid. By the time Springsteen had risen to fame, rock stars had transformed the very nature of stardom itself." In Reuters.com, Shumway writes: "At 65, Springsteen’s status as a cultural icon is not in doubt. His politics have become clearly aligned with the left. Yet he is beloved by many who do not share such views — perhaps most prominently by Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Springsteen’s significance to people in many walks of life was illuminated by how often he was cited in the brief biographies of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in The New York Times. Moved by this, Springsteen produced his 2002 album, 'The Rising,' a widely praised commemoration of 9/11. The fact that a rock singer could play this role and that a rock ‘n’ roll album was accepted as an appropriate commemoration demonstrate the cultural legitimacy both have achieved."
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, Gang Liu, assistant teaching professor of Chinese Studies, and Haixia Wang, adjunct faculty of Chinese studies, participated in the 2014 summer Chinese pedagogy workshop for the Universi-ty of Pittsburgh’s Confucius Institute. The workshop, held July 16-31, helped to train and orient 27 new teachers from China who will teach Chinese language and culture in K-12 and college level programs in Pennsylvania. Wu presented perspectives on Chinese language teaching and how to teach Chinese characters and pronunciation in U.S. classrooms. Liu talked about the in-tegration of cultural content with language teaching, and Wang helped organize the workshop and helped the new teachers get settled. Wu (founder and president), Liu (treasurer) and Wang are all members of the non-profit organization CLTA-WPA (The Chinese Language Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania). CLTA-WPA aims to serve the community by promoting quality Chinese education for K-16 in the western Pennsylvania region.
Lauren Shapiro, adjunct professor of English, won the 2014 Late Night Library's Debut-litzer Award in poetry for her book "Easy Math." Debut books first published in North America be-tween January 1 and December 31 of the previous calendar year are eligible in creative nonfic-tion, fiction and poetry categories. Marcus Jackson, a creative writing professor at Rutgers Uni-versity, whose poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Harvard Review and many other publications, was the poetry judge.
Kathryn Roeder gave the Seaver Distinguished Lecture at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Seaver Autism Center on Thursday, Sept 11. Her talk was titled "Networked As-sisted Analysis Helps Reveal the Genetic Basis of Autism." Roeder is a professor of statistics and computational biology and a leading expert in statistical genomics and the genetic basis of complex disease.
Previous research has shown that individuals with supportive and rewarding relationships have better physical and mental health and lower mortality rates. However, exactly how meaningful relationships affect health has remained less clear. In a new paper, Carnegie Mellon's Brooke Feeney and University of California, Santa Barbara's Nancy L. Collins detail specific interper-sonal processes that explain how close relationships help individuals thrive. Published in "Per-sonality and Social Psychology Review," Feeney and Collins emphasize two support functions that relationships provide; point out when relationships can do more harm than good; and high-light areas where further research is necessary. "Relationships enable us to not only cope with stress or adversity, but also to learn, grow, explore, achieve goals, cultivate new talents and find purpose and meaning in life," said Feeney, associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Learn more.
In a special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Baruch Fischhoff, Julie Downs, Alex Davis and Gabrielle Wong-Parodi outline the need for better science communication; how to communicate scientific uncertainty; how to use narratives to communi-cate science effectively; and the benefit of using principles of behavioral science to communi-cate. Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy (EPP), co-wrote the issue's introduction and, along with Davis, a research scientist in EPP, wrote a paper on "Communicating Scientific Uncertainty." Downs, as-sociate researcher in social and decision sciences, authored a paper on "Prescriptive Scientific Narratives for Communicating Usable Science." Wong-Parodi of EPP, along with Ben Strauss of Climate Central, contributed a paper titled "Team Science for Science Communication." Learn more.
Jay Kadane, a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, compares the situation involving a police officer shooting a young African-American man in Ferguson, Mo., to events that have happened in Pittsburgh and the culture that creates them. Read "It Isn’t Just Ferguson." Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus.
Following President Barack Obama’s decision to authorize air strikes and humanitarian aid to protect American personnel and assist Iraqi forces in their fight against the extremist fighters known as ISIS, Kiron Skinner wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times titled "Airstrikes, Sure; but What About a Strategy in Iraq?” Skinner, a foreign policy expert who was a member of the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the wars in Iraq and Af-ghanistan, is associate professor of social and decision sciences in the Dietrich College and di-rector of CMU’s Center for International Relations and Politics. Read the piece.
Robert Cavalier, teaching professor of philosophy and director of the Program for Deliberative Democracy, chaired a panel at the National Academy of Public Administration Social Equity Leadership Conference held at the University of Pittsburgh last week. The panel discussion was titled “Approaching Economic Inequality through Deliberative Democracy” and featured experts from Everyday Democracy, Public Agenda and the National Issues Forum. For more information, visit http://www.selc.gspia.pitt.edu/.
CMU’s George Loewenstein and Pitt’s Daniel Mosse wrote an opinion piece for the New York Daily News on how relying on smartphones causes us to lose sight of the pleasures of life. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology and Mosse is the chair of Pitt's Computer Science Department. Read “Slaves to our smartphones.”
To mark the 10th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s death, Kiron Skinner wrote an opinion piece for Forbes Magazine on how Reagan transformed the "peace through strength" mantra into a grand strategy. Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the Center for International Relations and Politics, is the co-author of The New York Times bestseller "REAGAN: A Life in Letters," which provides an unprecedented look at more than 70 years of Reagan's life through his personal correspondences to friends and family, statesmen, celebrities, children and ordinary citizens. Read her latest op-ed, "The Most Misunderstood And Least Appreciated Aspect Of Ronald Reagan's Legacy."
Skinner, also a foreign policy expert, appeared on several national and international programs discussing the militant situation and crisis in Iraq. Skinner, who was a member of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory panel, under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, gave interviews to BBC WorldWide News — both TV and radio — Sky News and Bloomberg Businessweek. She appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s show to discuss President Obama’s foreign policy strategy. (Watch the video.) Additionally, she wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times on what should be done to stabilize Iraq and stop the insurgents’ march. Read "Honor the Sacrifice of Our Troops."
The United States Golf Association (USGA) profiled Steve Schlossman and his recent trip to St. Louis Country Club. Schlossman, professor of history, was there to interview players for an upcoming book on the history of the Curtis Cup. Read "Professor Writing the Book on Curtis Cup."
Jim Ray Daniels' new book, "Eight Mile High," was released July 1. Through 14 short stories in the book, Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English, connects characters with specific places in Detroit, such as the fictitious Eight Mile High School and the always-open restaurant, the Clock. The white working-class community defines the individuals as they navigate work and love, change and loss, as best as they can. Daniels, an award-winning author, poet and screenwriter, experiments with different writing styles as he puts the small community under a microscope. Learn more and watch Daniels read excerpts from the book.
The new Thomson-Reuters list of the world’s Highly Cited Researchers in sciences and social sciences published features eight Carnegie Mellon faculty, including George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology. The list includes names of 3,200 highly cited researchers in 21 fields of the sciences and social sciences whose papers were in the top 1 percent by citations for field and year indexed in the Web of Science. The 2014 list was based only on citations in papers published between 2002 and 2012. Details on the criteria and method for creating the list are available here.
The story of how the women's rights movement began at the 1848 Seneca Falls convention is actually just a cherished American myth. In "The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898," Lisa Tetrault demonstrates that Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and their peers — who are credited with founding, defining and leading the women's suffrage campaign — gradually created and popularized the original story. Tetrault, associate professor of history, details how they created the legend during the second half of the 19th century in response to the movement's internal politics as well as racial politics following the Civil War. Read more.
From prohibition and marijuana to gambling and gun laws, Jay Kadane explores how society at times attempts to regulate other people’s lives in a blog post for the Huffington Post. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read "The Limits of the Criminal Law." Kadane also tackled the immigrant children situation for the Huffington Post, writing, "The arrival of large numbers of children on our doorstep is not a physical menace to us. Nor is it an unsustainable financial burden. It is not a legal or bureaucratic matter either. Instead, it is a moral issue of how we choose to define ourselves as a country." Read "Who Are We, Anyway?"
For the federal BRAIN Initiative to be successful, statistical research must play a role, according to a white paper from the American Statistical Association (ASA), written by a working group chaired by Rob Kass. In response to calls from the National Science Foundation and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the ASA asked Kass, professor of statistics and machine learning and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), to lead the working group in detailing the ways statisticians can contribute to this important new federal initiative. The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) aims to produce a sophisticated understanding of the link between brain and behavior and to uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders. Kass and the committee contend that meeting those complex challenges will require "scientific and technological paradigms that incorporate novel statistical methods for data acquisition and analysis." Kass is a leading expert on using statistics in neuroscience. Learn more.
Tim Haggerty wrote an article for the film journal "Bright Lights" exploring how HIV and AIDS have been portrayed in movies and across different races and demographics. Haggerty is the director of the Dietrich College's Humanities Scholars Program and a leading expert on cultural roles for men and policy issues concerning sexuality. Read "The American Epidemic: AIDS in (Recent) Cinema and History."
Stephen E. Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, testified before the U.S. Senate on how the federal government can strengthen its research portfolio and capitalize on research and development (R&D) investments. Fienberg served as a member of the National Research Council's (NRC) Committee on Assessing the Value of Research in Advancing National Goals. The NRC is the operating division of the National Academies — the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. Fienberg shared highlights of the committee's report, "Furthering America's Research Enterprise." He outlined the committee's findings on how scientific research impacts society and how all efforts should best be measured for accountability. "If we cultivate talent, provide adequate and dependable resources, and invest in a diversity of basic research, fresh discoveries will continue to power our economy and to enrich our lives in unpredictable and unimaginable ways," Fienberg said. Read more.
Cleotilde (Coty) Gonzalez has been selected to serve on the Human Factors Committee of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. OSAC is working to develop standards and guidelines for the forensic science community to improve the quality and consistency of its work. Gonazalez, associate research professor of social and decision sciences, will provide input on issues related to human factors, such as systems design and its relation to human performance, and ways to minimize cognitive and confirmation bias and mitigate errors in complex tasks.
Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of CMU’s Center for Ethics and Policy, co-authored an opinion paper in the July 17 issue of Nature about a recent Facebook study that unknowingly put nearly 700,000 of the social networking site’s users in a psychological experiment. The piece argues that claims in the media that the study was scandalous or an egregious breach of research ethics are overblown. Read more.
In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning film "On the Waterfront," Associate English Professor Kathy M. Newman, a labor issues expert, reflects on the film in "Revisiting 'On the Waterfront,'" an opinion piece published in "Jacobin Magazine." Newman notes that the movie's central theme — oppressive and dangerous working conditions for dock and other laborers — still persists today. "For most people 'On the Waterfront' is just a great film, but if you go deeper and know how [Director Elia] Kazan snitched on his friends and made the politically conscious movie to justify actions that can't be justified, it becomes much more," Newman said. "But even more so, that view pushes aside the real fundamental labor problems that it brought to life — some that still plague dock and other labor workers. We've lost sight of the film's true origins, which were trying to do something to get Americans focused on the dangerous working conditions and unfair hiring processes that led to corruption." Read Newman's piece.
Barbara Johnstone, professor of rhetoric and linguistics in the Department of English and author of "Speaking Pittsburghese: The Story of a Dialect," is the dialect coach for the Steeltown Film Factory’s production of "Franksgiving." In this role, Johnstone is teaching Pittsburghers how to speak with a Pittsburgh accent.
David Klahr, the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Cognitive Development and Education Sciences, was featured in a podcast for People Behind the Science on his research that looks at how children learn science and how to help them think scientifically. Listen to the podcast.
Roberta Klatsky was featured in a Psychological Science article on "Making the Most of Science, In and Out of the Classroom" for how she teaches fundamental concepts in cognitive psychology and then gears the rest of the course to how those concepts — perception, cognition, memory, learning, language, and emotions — are applied. Klatzky is the Charles J. Queenan Professor of Psychology. Read the article.
Naoko Taguchi, associate professor of Japanese and Second Language Acquisition, received the TOEFL Committee of Examiners grant that supports her research investigating the predictive validity of the TOEFL iBT test in English-medium universities in Japan and Qatar. The TOEFL iBT test measures an individual's ability to use and understand English at the university level. Taguchi will work with multiple data set to examine the relationship between admission TOEFL scores and academic success among students in English-medium context.
Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the Center for International Relations and Politics, wrote two opinion pieces on Russian President Putin and the Ukraine. For Forbes Magazine, Skinner wrote "As Putin's Confidence Grows, Cold War Concerns Gain Credibility.” She penned "Credible Leadership Should Seek More Than Containment” for the Hoover Institution.
Mariana Achugar presented a paper at the Latin American Studies Association International Congress in Chicago on May 22. She participated on the "Panel on Chile and Uruguay 40 years later: Inter- and Intra-generational transmission of memory in the post-dictatorship." This congress has a special theme, Democracy & Memory, marking the 40th anniversary of the repressive military rule in the Southern Cone region and numerous other countries in Latin America during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and extending into the 1990s. Achugar is associate professor of Hispanic Studies and Second Language Acquisition.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, has established The Chinese Language Teachers Association of Western Pennsylvania (CLTA-WPA, http://clta-wpa.org) to help advance the teaching and research of Chinese language and culture in western Pennsylvania. Wu, founder and president of CLTA-WPA, and fellow faculty members Yueming Yu (vice president) and Gang Liu (treasurer), organized a successful inaugural conference at Carnegie Mellon on May 4. The conference theme was “Chinese Language Teaching and Learning in the Global Context.” Seventy Chinese teachers registered for the conference, in which activities included paper presentations, a general membership meeting and open forum, student performances, a book exhibition and a drawing for prizes. CLTA-WPA is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, academic and educational organization. It aims to provide a forum for exchanging information, expertise, ideas, experiences, and materials related to teaching and learning Chinese, thus serving the community by promoting quality Chinese education for K-16 in the western Pennsylvania.
English Professor David S. Kaufer has been selected as one of two 2014 Fellows of the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA). RSA is the national academic association for scholars of rhetoric, the art of effective communication. Fellows are designated by the society to honor outstanding and long-lasting scholarship in rhetorical studies as well as to recognize those who "have worked to increase the visibility and influence of rhetorical studies through public lectures, teaching, advocacy or other activities." Kaufer joins 20 current RSA Fellows. Read more.
Three recent pieces by award-winning English Professor Hilary Masters have been included on three of the past four Best American Essays' Notable lists. The list annually features a selection of the year's outstanding essays of "literary achievement that show an awareness of craft and forcefulness of thought." The 2013 Notable List contained Masters' "Amelia Earhardt's Last Landing," which was originally published in the Sewanee Review. 2011's list included "Looking Back," published in Provincetown Arts, and the 2010 edition listed "In the Cards," which first appeared in the Prairie Schooner. "Best American never tells you when you are nominated," said Masters, who has written 10 novels. "A former student saw the 2013 list and told me. I looked it up, and discovered two more — a pleasant surprise." Learn more.
Stephen Broomell, assistant professor of social and decision sciences, teamed up with researchers in 24 countries to measure how well policymakers and the public understand statements that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses to describe scientists' research findings. Broomell and the research team found that scientists describing phenomena such as global warming would be better served by using both numbers and verbal terms to communicate their findings. "Supplementing standard language with numeric values clarifies the amount of uncertainty a scientist is dealing with for most individuals around the world," Broomell said. "This is precisely the type of communication strategies required to effectively convey information about climate science as well as many other uncertain global issues." Learn more.
Jim Daniels' "Birth Marks," the poetry collection that captures the gritty culture of working-class urban life, has won two prestigious awards: the 2014 Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards’ Poetry Gold Medal and the 2014 Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. The IPPY Awards, considered the "world’s largest book awards contest," attracted more than 5,000 entries from 35 countries. The Poetry Gold Medal is the top poetry prize awarded. Binghamton’s Kessler Poetry Book Award is annually given to a book of poems selected by the judges as the strongest poetry collection published in the previous year. "Birth Marks" is Daniels' 14th collection of poetry. Detroit born and raised, he uses the 39 poems to take readers on a tour of post-industrial Detroit and Pittsburgh to tell the tales of cities and their residents who came out swinging when the economy collapsed around them. Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English. Learn more.
Russell Golman, director of the Dietrich College’s Quantitative Social Science Scholars (QSSS) Program, and academic adviser Kathleen Conway have joined QSSS students Colleen Hamilton, Stanley Krasner, Richa Mohan, Steven Wang and Hannah Worrall to create a new video promoting the QSSS program and to help explain the program to prospective students. The QSSS program is a unique opportunity to help outstanding undergraduates acquire advanced quantitative technical skills they can use to impact society as entrepreneurs, policymakers or social scientists. Watch the video at http://youtu.be/pCXhFXLD2G4.
Philosophy Professor Steve Awodey has received a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) to reshape the foundations of mathematics by developing a new approach that allows for large-scale formalization and computer verification. The award, part of the highly competitive Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program, is one of 24 issued this year totaling $167 million over five years. The grant will allow Awodey and his research team to continue building on his groundbreaking discovery in 2005 of "Homotopy Type Theory," a deep and surprising connection between abstract, mathematical geometry and computational logic. Learn more.
Linda Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics in the Dietrich College and Heinz College, wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe on how Nazereth College rescinded a job offer to a woman who tried to negotiate over email. The piece, titled “Why Leaning In Can Backfire,” was co-authored by Catherine H. Tinsley, professor of management at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business; Hannah Bowles, senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard University; Andrea K. Schneider, professor of law at Marquette University; and Laura Kray, professor of leadership at University of California at Berkeley. Read the opinion piece.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote a blog post for Working-Class Perspectives on a Target corporation video that contained anti-union messages. Newman wrote about the role of cultural artifacts — art, film and music — and how they contribute to attitudes about labor. Read “Which Side is Culture On?” Newman also was interviewed for The Guardian about the anti-union video. Read "Why Target's anti-union video is no joke.”
Jay Kadane, a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, wrote a piece examining recent Supreme Court decisions in the Affordable Care Act and Citizen United cases and their impact on corporations. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read “The Religious Beliefs of Corporations.”
David Klahr, Audrey Kittredge, Ran Liu and Derek Lomas recently participated in the fourth annual Latin American School for Education, Cognitive and Neural Science in Uruguay. Klahr, the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Cognitive Development and Education Sciences, is a faculty member for the school and also serves on its planning committee. Previous schools were held in Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Kittredge, postdoctoral research fellow in the Psychology Department, returned as an alumnus of the school this year to describe how her experience has influenced her career path. Liu, a psychology graduate student who focuses on high order auditory processing, plans to shift her research toward the learning sciences and attended the school as a student. Lomas, a PIER (Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research) graduate student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, gave one of the main talks at the event. His talk focused on his work to incorporate basic learning science research into commercially viable educational games. For more information on the Latin American School for Education, visit http://2014.laschool4education.com/.
Will Crichton, a sophomore computer science major who is considering a double major in Chinese studies, won first prize in the junior level group in the 5th Annual “Chinese Bridge” Eastern USA Competition March 30 in New York. Crichton competed in the Chinese Proficiency Competition against 24 other finalists who were selected from preliminary competitions in 10 Northeastern states, including Pennsylvania. As a first-prize winner he can apply for a full scholarship to study in China for six-to-twelve months and a free trip to Beijing to observe the Grand Final Chinese Bridge Competition. Organized by the Confucius Institute at Pace University, the competition celebrates the talents and accomplishments of college students who are learning Chinese language and culture. The contestants were required to give a speech in Chinese and present a Chinese cultural talent. Crichton gave a speech on “The Rhythm of My Life” and demonstrated a traditional Chinese performance art, Kuaibanr (bamboo clapper). He was advised by Yueming Yu, teaching professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages, and Chinese instructor Haixia Wang.
Brian Junker has been selected as a 2014 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow for his notable and sustained research achievements in applications of statistics in education research, psychology and the social sciences. Junker, one of 22 scholars honored this year, will be inducted on Friday, April 4 at the AERA annual meeting in Philadelphia. Junker is a professor of statistics and associate dean for academic affairs for the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Learn more about Junker.
English Professor Kathy Newman wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe titled “The LEGO Movie may be anti-business but kids need to hear it.” In the piece, Newman concludes, “Indeed, it may be true that 'The LEGO Movie' and many other animated children’s films present a dim view of corporate America in order to champion creativity and play. But the main message our kids are getting from everywhere else is: Be quiet, sit still, and follow the rules. So if you want to raise real revolutionaries — truly innovative, creative individuals who will grow up to be confident, happy, healthy adults — open the door, shoo the kids outside (and away from the LEGOs), and tell them, 'Play well.'" Read her commentary.
Christina Fong, senior research scientist in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, wrote an opinion piece for Business Management Daily on her research that showed that sharing personal information via social networks can lead to hiring discrimination. Read "Rethink using social media to learn about job candidates."
In his latest blog post for the Huffington Post, Jay Kadane analyzes Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Crimea and the Russian State's ongoing quest to expand politically and territorially. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read "Understanding Putin."
Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy, presented Allegheny College's Lehman Medical Ethics Lecture on Wednesday, March 12. The lecture was titled “IRBs, What Are They Good For? Absolutely Nothing? Individual Integrity vs Institutional Design.” Before researchers can conduct a study involving human participants they must submit their protocol to an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Recently, a number of critics have challenged the value of IRB review and charged that requiring it represents a violation of First Amendment rights that has had disastrous effects on academics and society as a whole. London’s talk examined some of these criticisms and challenge the idea that the most basic function of IRB review is to protect research participants.
Psychology Professor Michael F. Scheier was recently recognized by two leading psychology journals for having two top-cited papers. Scheier’s 1985 landmark paper “Optimism, Coping and Health: Assessment and Implications of Generalized Expectancies” is the American Psychological Association’s Health Psychology journal’s fifth-most downloaded article during the past three months among papers published since 1982. The paper provides a theoretical rationale for understanding why optimism might be beneficial for health and describes an initial version of a scale measuring dispositional optimism that has become one of the most popular ways to test for optimism and pessimism. The other papers in Health Psycholgy’s top five were all published within the last 10 years, making Scheier and co-author Charles S. Carver’s work stand out even more. Scheier’s second paper, “Optimism,” with Carver and Suzanne C. Segerstrom, is one of the five top-cited papers published in the Clinical Psychology Review from 2009-2013. “Optimism” explains why optimists tend to fare better than pessimists economically, in relationships and with general well-being. It points out that the behavioral patterns of optimists appear to provide models for living that others can learn from. Learn more about Scheier.
Joe W. Trotter, Jr. will give the University of Pittsburgh's 20th Annual E.P. Thompson Memorial Lecture on April 3. His talk, "The History That Doesn't Go Away: African American Urban Life and Labor Since the Atlantic Slave Trade," will be drawn from a synthesis of black urban workers from the colonial era to the present that he is currently completing. Trotter is the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice and director of the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE). For more information on the event, visit http://www.history.pitt.edu/news/lectures/.
Marlene Behrmann will receive the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professorship in Cognitive Neuroscience in recognition of her outstanding contributions to understanding the psychological and neural bases of visual processing. Behrmann joined the Department of Psychology faculty in 1993 and is widely considered to be one of the foremost experts in the cognitive neuroscience of visual perception. In January, she became CMU's co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), a joint institute between CMU and the University of Pittsburgh devoted to investigating the neural mechanisms that give rise to human cognitive abilities. "Marlene Behrmann is a gifted researcher, educator and leader, and her work in cognitive neuroscience, especially visual perception, is of great importance because it is not only laying a foundation for understanding many aspects of human cognition but is also deepening our understanding of disorders like autism and face blindness," said John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Learn more about Behrmann.
In honor of its centennial, the U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is developing a list of "Books that Shaped Work in America." Labor issues expert and associate professor of English Kathy M. Newman has been selected as a contributor. Read her list at http://www.dol.gov/100/books-shaped-work/newman.htm.
English Professor David Shumway will lead discussions for a series titled "From Romance to Intimacy: Changing Stories of Love, Courtship and Marriage" on Sundays at the Peters Township Public Library. Participants will read three selected novels that have been paired with a film, then explore how the film adaptations update, diminish or alter the novels’ visions of love. Sessions will be held from 7 - 8:30 p.m. as follows:
- Feb. 9 – “Emma” by Jane Austen and the 2005 film “Clueless.”
- March 2 – “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the 2013 film “The Great Gatsby.”
- April 6 – “The Maples Stories” by John Updike and the 1979 made-for-television movie “Too Far to Go.”
- Registrations will be accepted at the library circulation desk for individual sessions at $10 per session or $25 for all three sessions.
Roberta Klatzky will receive the Charles J. Queenan Professorship of Psychology in recognition of her outstanding contributions in human perception and cognition research. Klatzky, who joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1993, investigates perception, spatial thinking and action from the perspective of multiple modalities, sensory and symbolic, in real and virtual environments. Her research has been instrumental to the development of telemanipulation, image-guided surgery, navigation aids for the blind and neural rehabilitation. "Carnegie Mellon has been a leader in the cognitive sciences for nearly 65 years, and Roberta Klatzky is one of the reasons we continue to be at the forefront," said John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "It's fitting that she is honored for her tremendous impact as a scientist and educator with a chair in Charles Queenan's name — a longtime supporter of CMU and our innovation in research." Read more about Klatzky.
Timothy Verstynen has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation for his project "Action Binding During Long-term Sequential Skill Learning: Computational and Neural Mechanisms." Verstynen, assistant professor of psychology and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, will use the five-year, $507,836 award to study how the brain learns complex sequential skills, similar to learning to play a melody on the piano. He will do this by using a combination of computational modeling, behavioral analysis and neuroimaging to look at how the sequences of concepts — such as reading notes on a sheet of music — are learned differently than sequences of actions — such as hand movements on the keys. He will then look at how those types of learning are represented in the brain. Verstynen's findings will be used to optimize training programs for skilled learning across many domains, including educational environments and clinical rehabilitation centers. Learn more.
J. David Creswell has been selected to receive the 2014 Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of health psychology. The annual award from the American Psychological Association honors career scientists for contributions made in the first nine years after receiving their doctoral degree. Creswell, an associate professor of psychology and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition in the Dietrich College, focuses on how the mind and brain influence physical health and performance. A major portion of Creswell's work examines stress, coping and intervention strategies. He has done extensive research on understanding how mindfulness meditation reduces stress and improves overall health, including how it reduces loneliness in older adults and delays disease progression in HIV-positive adults. Creswell also focuses on how self-affirmation reduces stress. Read more about Creswell.
In his latest blog post for the Huffington Post, Jay Kadane writes about domestic and foreign policy agreements between distrusting parties, such as the debate over funding the U.S. Government and the talks between Iran and the UN Security Council. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read "The Politics of Interim, Confidence Building Agreements."
New research from CMU's George Loewenstein and Georgetown University's Sunita Sah examines situations in which professional advisers have the ability to avoid conflicts of interest (COIs) — such as doctors who can decide whether to meet with and accept gifts from pharmaceutical companies. Published in Psychological Science, Loewenstein and Sah found that when COIs can be avoided, disclosure successfully deters advisers from accepting COIs so that they have nothing to disclose except the absence of conflicts. Loewenstein is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology at CMU, and Sah is assistant professor of strategy, economics, ethics and public policy at Georgetown. Read more.
Stephen Fienberg, the Maurice Faulk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, has been named to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) newly created National Commission on Forensic Science. The commission is part of a new initiative to strengthen and enhance the practice of forensic science and is made up of 30 members who were chosen from a pool of 300 forensic service practitioners, academic researchers, prosecutors and defense attorneys. Fienberg will be the commission's only statistician. The members will create guidelines concerning the intersections between forensic science and the criminal justice system and develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Attorney General, including uniform codes for professional responsibility and requirements for formal training and certification. Read more.
Fienberg also is the editor of the "Annual Review of Statistics and its Application," one of the newest journals published by Annual Reviews. In the first volume, he wrote an essay titled "What is Statistics?" He traces statistics as a discipline from the mid 17th century through the present and evaluates the future of the field and the role of applications in it. Read his essay and the entire first volume of the new journal at http://www.annualreviews.org/toc/statistics/1/1.
Jim Daniels' collection of poetry titled "Birth Marks" has been named to the 2014 Michigan Notable Books list. The annual list announced by the Library of Michigan features 20 books published in the previous calendar year that are about Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a Michigan author. Growing up as the son and grandson of autoworkers in Detroit left an imprint on Daniels. In "Birth Marks" he captures the gritty culture of working-class urban life. He uses the 39 poems to take readers on a tour of post-industrial Detroit and Pittsburgh to tell the tales of cities and their residents who came out swinging when the economy collapsed around them. Read more about Daniels and "Birth Marks."
Alex John London and Jay D. Aronson were at the Hague in the Netherlands at the beginning of November to speak at The Missing: An Agenda For the Future, a high-level international conference that is bringing together experts from around the world to discuss missing and disappeared persons from armed conflicts, human rights abuses, disasters, migration, human trafficking, organized crime and other cases. London, professor of philosophy, and Aronson, associate professor of history, presented a session on standards, ethics and data protection. Read more about their work.
The Creative Writing Program introduced new faculty members Kevin González and Lauren Shapiro to the campus and Pittsburgh communities with a special reading in November. González, who received his bachelor's degree in creative writing and international relations from Carnegie Mellon, is an assistant professor of English who currently teaches the Beginning Fiction Workshop and Beginning Poetry Workshop. Shapiro, an adjunct professor of English, holds degrees from Brown University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches creative writing and poetry courses. Read more and view photos from the reading.
Kasey Creswell, assistant professor of psychology, is the lead author of a teen drinking study that will be published in an upcoming issue of Clinical Psychological Science. The study found that compared to their peers who drink only in social settings, teens who drink alone have more alcohol problems, are heavier drinkers and are more likely to drink in response to negative emotions. Furthermore, solitary teenage drinkers are more likely to develop alcohol use disorders in early adulthood. Read more.
Chante Cox-Boyd, associate teaching professor of psychology, participated in WQED's televised panel session on "Portrayal and Perception: African-American Men & Boys," a multiple-part series that explores how the media portrays African-American males and how society views them as a result. The episodes also report on people and organizations working to spotlight positive rather than negative images. Watch the panel session.
In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, Associate History Professor Lisa Tetrault appeared on "BackStory with the American History Guys," a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Tetrault, who specializes in U.S. Women's history, spoke about the rise of women orators in the Lyceum movement of the late 19th Century. Listen to her interview.
Kathryn Roeder, professor of statistics, was part of a research team that pinpointed which cell types and regions of the developing human brain are affected by gene mutations linked to autism. Roeder, a world-renowned expert on statistical genomics and the genetic base of complex disease with an emphasis on autism, looked for unusual clustering of a targeted list of autism genes in a map of the brain. The map was determined by BrainSpan, a digital atlas of where genes are expressed in the human brain over the lifespan. Read more.
Elisabeth Kaske, associate professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, has received a Taiwan Fellowship to conduct research at the Institute of Modern History of Academia Sinica during 2014 on her book project, "Deploying Symbolic Capital: The Economy of Office Selling in Late Qing China." For more information, visit http://taiwanfellowship.ncl.edu.tw/eng/about.aspx.
In his latest blog post for the Huffington Post, Jay Kadane imagines that it is 2016 and Israel and Palestine are at peace. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read Imagining Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
The Romantic era may be best known for artistic free expressions, but a new book by Carnegie Mellon English Professor Jon Klancher shows how the period during the 18th and 19th centuries transformed the arts and sciences into the disciplines used today. Published by Cambridge University Press, "Transfiguring the Arts and Sciences: Knowledge and Cultural Institutions in the Romantic Age" offers an original study of how new research and educational organizations reconstructed the idea of knowledge, revealing a more complicated history between the arts and sciences than previously thought. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/september/sept20_jonklancherbook.html.
Chris Jones, teaching professor of French and computer-assisted language learning, gave a keynote address at the annual Eurocall (European Association for Computer-Assisted Language Learning) meeting held at the University of Evora in Portugal on Sept. 12. His talk, titled "Fulfilling the Promise of Web Delivered Language Instruction: Progress in Student Tracking and Modeling," discussed his recent work in the context of the French Online / Open Learning Initiative course to implement the Learning Dashboard reporting system. The system takes interaction data categorized by learning objective, subjects it to mastery analytics and presents the results to both students and instructors in user-friendly fashion.
CMU's Michael J. Tarr and Pitt's Peter L. Strick wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on how Pittsburgh is poised to benefit from the federal BRAIN initiative. Tarr and Strick point out that "the neuroscience community in Pittsburgh is vast, highly accomplished and a major contributor to neuroscience training, research and clinical care." Tarr is the CMU co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), a joint program between CMU and Pitt that is devoted to investigating the neural mechanisms that give rise to human cognitive abilities. Strick is the Pitt CNBC co-director. Read "Brain gain: How our region will benefit from the federal BRAIN initiative."
Kathy Newman, associate professor of English, wrote a post for Working Class Perspectives on how the Netflix TV series "House of Cards" is relevant to those interested in working class issues, including an inside look at Washington politics and how modern unions operate. Read "Playing the Union Card: A Big Emmy Win for Netflix’s 'House of Cards'"
Selma Limam Mansar, associate teaching professor of information systems at the CMU Qatar campus, has been elected president of the Qatar Chapter of the Association for Information Systems, the world's largest information systems community. Mansar will be leading local information systems scholars and practitioners in information systems research and development. Divakaran Liginlal, associate teaching professor of information systems at the Qatar campus, is the secretary of the chapter, while Maher Hakim, visiting associate teaching professor of information systems, is the director of outreach. Khaled Al Share of Qatar University is the president-elect.
Assistant Professor of History Ricky Law has been awarded the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize by the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. The prize recognizes the best doctoral dissertations on German history written at North American universities on all aspects of German history. Normally, two dissertations are recognized each year, but this year Law is the sole winner.
For the second straight year, Baruch Fischhoff, a leader in bringing together the social, behavioral and decision sciences into the emerging area of the science of science communication, co-organized a conference at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that included scientists with stories to tell and scientists who can help them to tell those stories. The colloquium attracted more than 500 scientists and communicators, with more than 10,000 watching live webcasts. CMU also was represented by Julie Downs, associate research professor of social and decision sciences, and Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, a research scientist in engineering and public policy. Fischhoff is the Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy. Read more and watch videos of the conference sessions at http://www.hss.cmu.edu/pressreleases/pressreleases/sciencecommunication.html.
A new book by Associate Professor of English Richard Purcell reveals another side of Ralph Ellison, a writer — like others during the Cold War — who was supported by covert government funds to function as a literary ambassador at home and abroad. "Race, Ralph Ellison and American Cold War Culture" looks at the period following World War II when writers and literary critics — both black and white — debated how African-Americans were represented in literature, which was referred to as the "Negro Problem." As the Cold War unfolded, many of the debates began to appear in journals, conferences and other events that were directly funded by U.S. and British intelligence agencies. Purcell used never before published materials from Ellison's papers at the Library of Congress to fully understand the acclaimed literary figure's thinking of the Negro Problem within the shadow of governmental influence. "Many critics gloss over or downplay this aspect of Ralph Ellison's career," Purcell said. "It's an example of the political usages of literary culture. Ellison's work gives us the opportunity to tell a story about race and racism during the Cold War that is complicated and messy." Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/october/oct17_purcellbookcoldwar.html.
Kiron Skinner addresses the alleged U.S. policy of monitoring the phone conversations of world leaders in a New York Times opinion piece titled, “Diplomacy Requires Trust Among Allies.” Skinner is associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the university’s Center for International Relations and Politics. Read the piece at http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/10/24/if-were-spying-are-we-still-allies/diplomacy-requires-trust-among-allies.
Psychology Professor Marlene Behrmann has been appointed co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC). She succeeds Michael J. Tarr, who will step down to become head of CMU's Psychology Department. Both appointments are effective Jan. 1, 2014. Read about Behrmann’s appointment as co-director of the CNBC. Read about Tarr, who will succeed Michael Scheier as the new head of the Psychology Department.
In 2012-13, Steve Awodey, professor of philosophy, organized a special year devoted to the topic "Univalent Foundations of Mathematics" for the Institute for Advanced Study's School of Mathematics. The research program was centered on developing new foundations of mathematics that are well suited to the use of computerized proof assistants as an aid in formalizing mathematics. Awodey wrote about the year for the institute's newsletter, which can be found at http://www.ias.edu/files/pdfs/publications/letter-2013-summer.pdf.
In a new paper published in Science, CMU's Alex John London and Jay D. Aronson and Pitt's Lisa S. Parker argued that international structures are needed to promote more equal access to forensic identification technologies, ensure their fair and efficient use, and provide uniform protections to participants following large-scale conflict and disaster. London, the lead author and professor of philosophy, also spoke with NPR about how after disasters, DNA identification is helpful but often too pricey. London also directs the university's Center for Ethics and Policy. Aronson is associate professor of science, technology, and society within the Department of History and director of the Center for Human Rights Science, and Parker is associate professor of human genetics at Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/september/sept12_accesstodna.html.
Kevin Zollman, associate professor of philosophy, wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in which he applied game theory to the crisis in Syria. Read "Applying game theory to Syria: International norms tend to dissolve if they are not enforced" at http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/applying-game-theory-to-syria-702675/.
Alex Hills, distinguished service professor of engineering and public policy, has published a new book about the awe-inspiring work of some Carnegie Mellon students in CMU’s Technology in the Global Community program, directed by Joseph Mertz, associate teaching professor in Heinz College and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The just-released book, "Geeks on a Mission," tells of experiences that changed the students' lives as they donated their summer vacations to work in developing nations around the world.
During a recent visit to India, Associate Teaching Professor of Information Systems Raja Sooriamurthi gave a talk to students and conducted a workshop for faculty on an emerging pedagogical approach to problem-solving and critical thinking termed "Puzzle-Based Learning." Sooriamurthi gave a talk on the learning continuum of "Puzzle-Based, Problem-Based, and Project-Based learning" to 200 undergraduate and graduate computer science students at Kalasalingam University. He also ran a three-hour workshop on the "Pedagogy of Puzzle-Based Learning" at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University. The workshop was attended by faculty of the university and nearby colleges from disciplines in the arts, sciences and engineering.
Chad Schafer, associate professor of statistics, wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled "Data Driven: Why statistics is 'sexy'" to explain why Hal Varian, Google's chief economist, says statistician will be "the sexy job in the next 10 years." Schafer also points out general misconceptions about the field of statistics. This year (2013) has been designated the "International Year of Statistics" to highlight the central importance of statistics in managing a 21st-century data overload. Read Schafer's piece.
Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the university's Center for International Relations and Politics, was a panelist for a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Town Hall Meeting on national security. Skinner joined former Pennsylvania Governor and the first Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and others for a discussion titled "How Safe Are We?" Post-Gazette Executive Editor David Shribman moderated the talk. Skinner also recently wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on "Assessing the True Terror Threat."
Statistics professors Robert E. Kass, Larry Wasserman, Christopher Genovese, Stephen E. Fienberg and Kathryn Roeder were honored at the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) — the largest gathering of statisticians held in North America. The meetings were held Aug. 3-8 in Montreal.
- Kass received the Outstanding Statistical Application Award from the American Statistical Association (ASA) for his paper "Assessment of Synchrony in Multiple Neural Spike Trains Using Loglinear Point Process Models."
- Wasserman was invited to give the annual Reitz Lecture, which serves to clarify the relationship of statistical methodology and analysis to other fields.
- Genovese was elected a fellow of the ASA for outstanding professional contributions to, and leadership in, the field of statistical science.
- To celebrate Fienberg's 70th birthday, two special sessions were held: "Would the Real Steve Fienberg Please Stand Up: Getting to Know a Population from Multiple Incomplete Files" and "Session in Honor of 70th Birthday of Stephen E. Fienberg and His Nearly 50 Years of Statistical Practice."
- As a past winner of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) Award for the best statistician under the age of 40 and in honor of the 50th anniversary of COPSS, Roeder was invited to participate in a panel of past COPSS Award winners to discuss the "Past, Present and Future of Statistics."
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, had his poem "American Cheese" featured on the Aug. 19 episode of the Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, a daily radio program and podcast of poetry and historical interest pieces, usually with a literary significance. Read or listen to the poem at http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2013/08/19.
James Wynn, associate professor of English, recorded a video interview for the Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology (ARST) on his rhetoric of science research. The video is part of the ARST Oral History Project, which was conceived to document the institutional history of the organization and the larger intellectual history of the rhetoric of science, technology and medicine. Watch the video at http://youtu.be/QEYiTJWZ-aQ.
In his latest blog post for the Huffington Post, Jay Kadane writes about the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in the Citizen's United case, which decided that corporations are persons entitled to free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution. Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus. Read "Finishing the Second American Revolution."
Cleotilde (Coty) Gonzalez, associate professor of social and decision sciences, has been elected as a fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). The HFES promotes the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings that are applicable to the design of systems and devices of all kinds. Gonzalez uses cognitive modeling, fMRI imaging and other methods to investigate decision-making in complex dynamic environments.
Statistics Professor Joel B. Greenhouse, director of the master's degree program in statistical practice, wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post dismissing claims made in the Harvard Business Review and New York Times that suggest no universities are currently addressing the need for "Big Data" scientists. Greenhouse dismisses that data science is a new field by pointing out that statisticians have been conducting collaborative research, designing studies, analyzing data and developing new statistical theory for massive amounts of data for decades. For example, CMU's Department of Statistics has been making contributions in Big Data applications, such as genomics, astronomy and finance. Read more.
Statistics Professor Kathryn Roeder has been chosen to receive the Janet L. Norwood Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Statistical Sciences. The Norwood Award, named after the first woman commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a past president of the American Statistical Association (ASA), is given annually by the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health to recognize contributions to statistical sciences by women. Roeder has played a pivotal role in developing the foundations of DNA forensic inference. Her current research focuses on statistical genomics and the genetic base of complex disease with an emphasis on autism. Read the full announcement.
Scott Sandage, associate professor of history, discussed the rise of credit-rating agencies in the mid-19th century and the indignation many Americans felt at this new assessment of their "credit-worthiness" for "BackStory with the American History Guys," a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Listen to his interview.
Karim Kassam, assistant professor of social and decision sciences, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on his latest research that identified emotional states on the basis of brain activity. Read "Mapping Emotions in the Brain."
Richard Scheines and the late Steven Klepper were recently honored by the American Statistical Association (ASA) for their OLI course, "Empirical Research Methods for the Social Sciences." The course was named an honorable mention in ASA's first Causality in Statistics Education Award, which is aimed at encouraging the teaching of basic causal inference in introductory statistics courses. Scheines is professor and head of the Department of Philosophy; Klepper was the Arthur Arton Hamerschlag Professor of Economics and Social Science.
Statistics Professor Christopher Genovese and Scott Berry (DC'94) have been elected fellows of the American Statistical Association (ASA) for outstanding professional contributions to, and leadership in the field of statistical science. Genovese is being recognized for fundamentally important contributions to statistical theory and methodology and their applications to diverse scientific problems; for using scientific problems to inspire new statistical theory; for innovation in statistical pedagogy and for service to the ASA. Berry is being honored for outstanding contributions to innovative design and analysis of clinical trials, including a highly regarded textbook and an award-winning ASA short course; for excellence in the development and dissemination of Bayesian methods with applications in medicine and sports; for mentoring others in the statistical science community; and for service to the ASA. Read more.
Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane recently wrote two blog posts for the Huffington Post, one titled "Man and Machine" on technology, drones and warfare, and another one on marriage equality, titled "Gay Marriage Is Coming to a State Near You." Kadane is the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote a blog for Working Class Perspectives on “Mad Men, Capitalism, and the Schizophrenia of Social Class.” Read it at http://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/mad-men-capitalism-and-the-schizophrenia-of-social-class/.
Stephen Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, gave an interview to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on how, for over four decades, he has lived and breathed statistics, using it to explore everything from lizard populations in the Bahamas to how to build a better census. Fienberg also talks about how, throughout the process, his work has helped create better methods for conducting surveys and understanding the data they provide. Listen to the interview.
Edda Fields-Black, associate professor of history, spoke at the Heinz History Center on Saturday, June 29, for "Gun Shoot at Bay Point: The Civil War, Port Royal Experiment & The Making of the Gullah/Geechee." Fields-Black discussed how the Port Royal Experiment answered the "Negro Question," proving freed Blacks would work, go to school, and fight for their freedom and for the Union. She also discussed how, during the Civil War period, Blacks in the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands became harbingers for four million people who were still enslaved and became what we refer to today as the "Gullah/Geechee."
Rémi A. (Adam) van Compernolle, assistant professor of second language acquisition and French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, co-edited a special issue of the journal Language Teaching Research on Sociocultural Theory and L2 Pedagogy. To read the issue, which is available through CMU's subscription, visit http://ltr.sagepub.com/content/current.
Gregory Wheeler, a visiting associate professor in the Philosophy Department, participated in the World Science Festival in New York City, May 29-June 2. Wheeler was a panelist in one of the festival’s premier sessions titled “Architects of the Mind: A Blueprint for the Human Brain,” which was moderated by Bill Weir of ABC News. Wheeler has been a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, a senior research scientist in artificial intelligence and member of the board of directors at the Center for Artificial Intelligence Research at the New University of Lisbon. For more on the festival, including a video of the panel session, go to http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/events/architects_of_the_mind.
On Monday, June 3, Tim Verstynen gave a talk on "The Living Dead Brain: What Human Brains Teach Us About Zombie Minds" at the Carnegie Science Center. Verstynen is an assistant professor of psychology and member of the Center of the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).
Steven Klepper, the Arthur Arton Hamerschlag Professor of Economics and Social Science, died Monday, May 27, at age 64. A renowned teacher and researcher, Klepper's pioneering work integrated elements of traditional economic models with evolutionary theory, bridging gaps between the study of entrepreneurship and mainstream economics. Read the full obituary.
Baruch Fischhoff and Tamar Krishnamurti wrote an opinion piece on their research that studied the influence of teens' decision-making with respect to Plan B, an emergency contraception pill for women. Contrary to the consistent assumption that young teens may use Plan B because of their cognitive limitations, they found that adolescents are more competent in thinking about their decisions than people may think. The piece was published in Pacific Standard Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Huffington Post. Fischhoff is the Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy. Krishnamurti is a postdoctoral fellow within Engineering and Public Policy and the Tepper School of Business.
National security and political strategy expert Kiron Skinner wrote an opinion piece for CNN.com titled, "Margaret Thatcher led in fighting terrorism." Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, writes that Thatcher gave crucial support to anti-terror efforts, backed Ronald Reagan's retaliation against Libya and was an early, prescient voice on terrorism's threat to the West. Read the piece.
Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy, will speak at the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues meeting on April 30. The commission is holding the meeting to inform the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics how the research community can use data to improve health care. London will address the obligations that researchers owe to study participants and the obligations clinicians owe to their patients. The event will be available via a live webcast. For more information, visit http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/april/april22_londononbioethics.html.
The university’s Celebration of Education recognizes the accomplishments of faculty who exemplify Carnegie Mellon University's standards of excellence in education. Dietrich College is well represented in this year’s awards: Dean John Lehoczky will receive the Robert E. Doherty Award for Sustained Contributions to Excellence in Education; Rebecca Nugent, associate teaching professor of statistics, will receive the Dietrich College Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Teaching and Educational Service and Julie Bowman, a Ph.D. candidate in Literary and Cultural Studies within the Department of English, won the Graduate Student Teaching Award. The awards will be held on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in Rangos 1 and 2, University Center. A reception will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the awards ceremony will start at 5:00 p.m.
Carol Hamilton, former assistant professor of English, died April 10 after a long battle with cancer. Hamilton most recently was a lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh. She published a wide range of writing, including scholarly articles, arts reviews, op-ed pieces and two chapbooks of poetry. She also published poems in many literary journals, including "The North American Review," "Poetry Miscellany," "Salmagundi" and "The Paris Review." A book of poems, "Blindsight," was published in 2005 by Carnegie Mellon University Press. A memorial was held on Sunday, April 21 in the Rachel Mellon Walton Room, Posner Hall. Read the obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at http://bit.ly/15lWwfG.
Marian Aguiar, associate professor of English, wrote an op-ed, “Stories from the train,” for Indian Express, one of India’s top read newspapers. Publication of the piece, which is based on Aguiar’s first book, “Tracking Modernity: India, Trains, and the Culture of Mobility,” coincided with India’s current railway budget proposal. Read the op-ed at http://www.indianexpress.com/news/stories-from-the-train/1079057/0.
Dawn Winters, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, has received a $5,000 award from the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in recognition for her research on women’s local activism during the mid-19th century Temperance Movement. Read more at http://www.hss.cmu.edu/pressreleases/pressreleases/dawnwinters.html.
Christopher Warren, Mike Finegold and Cosma Shalizi have teamed up with Georgetown University’s Daniel Shore for the project “Six Degrees of Francis Bacon.” In the project — which has been supported by a Google Faculty Research Award — Warren, Finegold, Shalizi and Shore will combine technology and text to digitally reconstruct the early modern social network so that scholars and students all over the world will be able to collaborate, revise, curate and critique. Warren is an assistant professor of English, Finegold is a visiting assistant professor of statistics and Shalizi is an associate professor of statistics. Read more at http://sixdegreesoffrancisbacon.com/.
John R. Anderson, whose human thought and cognition research has revolutionized how we learn, has been selected to receive the Association for Psychological Science's (APS) William James Lifetime Achievement Award for Basic Research. The award, APS's highest honor, recognizes Anderson's profound impact on the field of psychological science and his significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology. His work combines cognitive psychology and computer science to understand how the brain works, how people learn and how computer-based instructional systems can be used as educational aids. In the 1990s, Anderson led a team that created an intelligent computer tutor to teach algebra to high school students. The program actually thought like a teenager and was so successful that a spinoff company, Carnegie Learning, developed computer tutors as a commercial product. To date, more than half a million students in 2,600 schools around the U.S. have used the tutoring software. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/march/march11_johnanderson.html.
Huiwen Li, instructor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages and a Chinese calligrapher, recently had several pieces of work shown at The Duquesne Art Show, hosted by Duquesne University’s McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, and the journal “:Lexicon.” Next semester, Li will be teaching a course at CMU on Chinese calligraphy. To view one of his pieces, visit http://www.hss.cmu.edu/pressreleases/pressreleases/huiwenli.jpg.
The City of Pittsburgh declared Tuesday, March 19 “Dr. Lori Holt Day” to recognize her for winning the prestigious National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award. The honor is given annually to two psychology researchers under the age of 40 to recognize extraordinary scientific achievement and to further promote empirical research on the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. Holt, who is being honored for “studies advancing our understanding of the sensory and cognitive processes that are fundamental to the perception of speech,” will receive the award on April 29 in Washington, D.C. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/january/jan7_loriholt.html.
Jendayi Frazer, distinguished service professor in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Heinz College, wrote an opinion piece for the Daily Nation about Kenya’s recent presidential election. Frazer was a leading architect of U.S.-Africa policy over the last decade, most recently serving as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from August 2005 to January 2009. Read “ICC has fallen from high ideals of global justice, accountability” at http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/-/440808/1722100/-/k4rufnz/-/index.html.
George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Psychology and Economics, wrote an opinion piece for the NY Daily News about NYC Mayor Bloomberg's proposed plan to ban the display of cigarettes in stores. Loewenstein writes that the proposal shows that the "mayor is not only a business whiz, but an astute student of human psychology." Read "Bloomberg, champion of choice" at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bloomberg-champion-choice-article-1.1293096.
Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, wrote an op-ed for the NY Times Room for Debate section that marked the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq. Skinner, a foreign policy and political strategy expert, argues that "a serious bipartisan consensus on U.S. military power appears in the making." Read "One Bright Spot in All This" at http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/03/19/the-iraq-war-was-it-worth-it/ten-years-after-iraq-bipartisan-consensus-on-defense-spending.
Kevin Zollman has received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project “Incentives, Diversity and Scientific Problem Choice.” Zollman, an associate professor of philosophy in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will use the five-year, $400,000 award to investigate the economics of science to further understand the relationship between scientists and the incentives they face to secure funding, publish papers and receive promotions. He will connect existing studies that use an economic methodology to understand problem choice in order to explore the effects of incentives in science. The results of his work will include tools developed to help scientific policymakers evaluate the effect of different incentive systems. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/march/march26_kevinzollman.html.
At a time when the U.S. government is contemplating changes to federal guidelines governing research with humans, serious questions are being raised about the role of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in overseeing such research. Particularly, critics have cited lost time, money and even lives under a system that they claim consumes scarce resources and stifles academic freedom. In response, defenders of the IRB system point to the need to protect research participants from abuse. Carnegie Mellon's Alex John London, an internationally renowned expert in research ethics, is calling for a system that works for all stakeholders. In a paper published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, London argues that both sides of this debate are in danger of undermining aspects of the current system that are critical to its success. Read the full story at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/february/feb22_researchethics.html.
Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus, wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times on how the Argentinean government is repressing statisticians from publishing accurate inflation numbers. Kadane, who is also the chair of the American Statistical Association Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights, again briefed Congress on this issue. Read the opinion piece, "Numbers Racket in Argentina."
Leshu Torchin, the 2012-2013 Humanities Center Senior Research Fellow, has written a new book, "Creating the Witness: Documenting Genocide on Film, Video and the Internet." In it, Torchin broadly surveys media and social practices around it to investigate the development of popular understandings of genocide over the past century. The book’s introduction has been published to the Re.Framing Activism blog at http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/activistmedia/2012/12/creating-the-witness/.
Jendayi Frazer participated in a panel discussion on the upcoming presidential election in Kenya on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the Brookings Institution. The panel, titled " Kenya Decides: The 2013 Presidential Election," was moderated by Voice of America’s Vincent Makori. Additional panelists included Mwangi Kimenyi, director of Brookings Africa Growth Initiative, and Karuit Kaninga from the University of Nairobi. Frazer, a distinguished service professor in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Heinz College, was a leading architect of U.S.-Africa policy over the last decade, most recently serving as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from August 2005 to January 2009. Previously she was senior director and special assistant to President George W. Bush at the National Security Council. As the lead U.S. envoy to Africa, Frazer was instrumental in resolving the crisis following Kenya’s 2007 presidential election. Read the full story at http://www.cmu.edu/cipi/news-events/2013/130221_CIPI-Director-participates-in-Kenya-Decides-panel-at-Brookings.html.
George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Psychology and Economics, was profiled on the blog "InDecision" as part of its new series on research heroes. For the piece, Loewenstein answered questions about his career, and the Wall Street Journal's Gerald F. Seib and David Wessel recommended the Q&A in their daily roundup of what they were reading. To read the blog post, visit http://indecisionblog.com/2013/01/09/research-heroes-george-loewenstein/. Additionally, Loewenstein recently participated in a Science Magazine online chat on conflicts of interest in academia. Read a transcript of the chat at http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/01/live-chat-conflicts-of-interest.html/.
Alex John London, professor of philosophy and director of CMU’s Center for Ethics and Policy, is a member of the Working Group on the Revision of the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) 2002 International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects. These guidelines are considered the most important international guidelines for the ethical conduct of research with human subjects, second only to the Declaration of Helsinki. For more information, visit http://www.cioms.ch/index.php/12-newsflash/221-the-first-meeting-of-the-new-cioms-working-group-on-research-ethics-was-held-4-5-september-2012-in-geneva. Also, London recently participated in two high profile meetings concerning medical ethics. In December, he spoke at the World Medical Association Expert Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, on the vision of the Declaration of Helsinki, a statement of ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Earlier this month, he traveled to France to participate in a World Health Organization (WHO) consultation about the ethics of placebo controls in vaccine trials.
Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, Emeritus, will return to Washington. D.C., Jan. 31 to again brief congress on the situation in Argentina, where the government is repressing statisticians from accurately reporting inflation numbers. Kadane initially briefed lawmakers in December 2012. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/january/jan26_kadanecongress.html.
Psychology Professor Lori Holt, a a specialist in auditory cognitive neuroscience, has been named a 2013 winner of the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award for “studies advancing our understanding of the sensory and cognitive processes that are fundamental to the perception of speech.” The prestigious honor, which includes a $50,000 prize, is given annually to two psychology researchers under the age of 40 to recognize extraordinary scientific achievement and to further promote empirical research on the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. As director of CMU’s Speech Perception and Learning Laboratory, Holt investigates how the brain interprets sound to solve problems related to speech perception and communication disorders. Read the full story at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/january/jan7_loriholt.html.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote a post for the Working Class Studies Blog that explores what the popular TV show "Downton Abbey" says about the current American class system. Read "Upstairs, Downstairs, Downton: What Downton Abbey Can Tell Us about Class in America Today" at http://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/upstairs-downstairs-downton-what-downton-abbey-can-tell-us-about-class-in-america-today/.
Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, briefed D.C. lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Dec. 6, on how Argentina’s government is suppressing statisticians and the accurate reporting of the country’s inflation numbers. Kadane, who in January 2013 will become chair of the American Statistical Association’s Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights, will urge them to implement policies that will protect statisticians from persecution and protect the international economy. Read the full story.
Karen Faulk, visiting assistant professor of history, has written a new book on social activism in Argentina. “In the Wake of Neoliberalism: Citizenship and Human Rights in Argentina” was published as part of Stanford University Press’ Series on Human Rights. Read more about the book.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote a post for the Working Class Perspectives blog titled “Restoring Traditional America.” In the piece, Newman finds comparisons to President Obama’s tax plans and the features of the working class of the 1950s and '60s.
Jendayi Frazer, Distinguished Service Professor in the Dietrich College and Heinz College, spoke at Brown University’s Achebe Colloquium on Africa last week. The colloquium convened an international group of scholars, and officials from African governments, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and other organizations for two days of discussions on strengthening democracy and peace in Africa. Frazer, the director of CMU’s Center for International Policy and Innovation (CIPI), delivered remarks during the “Governance, Security and Peace in Africa” forum. Read more about the forum. Frazer also joined actor Ben Affleck and others to brief the House Armed Services Committee on the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read more.
History Professor Wendy Goldman has been awarded an honorable mention for this year’s Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History for her latest book, "Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin’s Russia." The Zelnik prize is sponsored by the Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of California, Berkley. It is awarded annually by the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies for an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the field of history.
Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences, director of CMU’s Center for International Relations and Politics (CIRP) and the university’s national security adviser, served as an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. As part of her efforts to support Romney, Skinner attended the third presidential debate held on Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 22. Read about her experience behind the scenes in this article. Skinner also published opinion pieces, “Why I Support Mitt Romney” in Foreign Policy Magazine and “Win Over the Blacks Via the Military” in the New York Times, and appeared on several media outlets, including Al-Jazeera and WQED’s “The Road to the White House.”
William F. Eddy, the John C. Warner Professor of Statistics, has chosen to accept Emeritus status. Since joining Carnegie Mellon in 1976, Eddy has worked in a variety of disciplines, with research covering theoretical probability, statistics and applied problems. His research has focused on the data generated by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a technique used by cognitive neuroscientists to chart brain activity. A distinguished scholar, Eddy has published more than 100 research papers and authored or edited 20 books and monographs. Eddy was honored at a reception on Friday, Nov. 2. Read more at http://www.hss.cmu.edu/pressreleases/pressreleases/billeddy.html.
On Oct. 23, Joseph B. (Jay) Kadane, the Leonard J. Savage University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences, emeritus, was named Statistician of the Year by the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association for his outstanding contributions to the field of statistics.
Sue-mei Wu, teaching professor of Chinese Studies in the Dietrich College’s Department of Modern Languages, served as conference chair for the 2012 Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) annual conference, Nov. 15-18 at the Philadelphia convention center. CLTA is a professional organization devoted to the study of Chinese language, culture and pedagogy. With approximately 1,000 regular members and 800 additional affiliated members through seven regional associations, CLTA is the largest organization for teachers of Chinese outside China. Wu is on the CLTA’s Board of Directors and also has served as CLTA fundraising chair for two years.
Suguru Ishizaki, associate professor of English, was recently awarded the Rudolph J. Joenk Award at the IEEE Professional Communication Society Conference. The award recognizes the best paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication during the previous year. Ishizaki also gave a keynote presentation at the conference on his development of assessments for measuring student learning in information design. CMU’s Department of English will host IEEE PCS in 2014.
Stephen E. Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, wrote a letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regarding the paper’s headline for a story in the jobless rates. In the letter, Fienberg wrote, "Politics may be politics, but please don't blame the statisticians." Read more at http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/dont-impugn-the-employment-stats-messengers-656868/#ixzz29lCK7mTL.
Leshu Torchin, research fellow within the Humanities Center, attended Occupy Film Festival and wrote two blog posts on her experience for Souciant, an online magazine for culture and politics. Read the pieces at http://souciant.com/2012/09/all-protest-no-porn/ and http://souciant.com/2012/09/occupy-the-film-festival-part-ii/.
English Professor David Shumway wrote an op-ed for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette titled “Let’s Hear It for the Humanities.” Shumway, who wrote the piece in part to recognize the English Department’s Literary and Cultural Studies Program’s 25th anniversary, explains how our society depends on citizens who understand the world and can adapt as the future unfolds. Read the piece at http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/lets-hear-it-for-the-humanities-655524/.
Sharon Carver, director of the Children’s School, was among experts on a panel to promote children’s television on Oct. 12 at WQED Multimedia in Pittsburgh. The panel is part of Prix Jeunesse “Suitcase," a free screening and discussion series built around outstanding and innovative programs from the international children’s television festival. The workshops provide an oppotunity to view award-winning children’s television from around the world, and learn about different cultures and social issues.
English doctoral candidates David Haeselin and Sheila Liming created the video “Tributaries” to chart the development of the Department of English’s Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS) Program. The film premiered at the LCS 25th anniversary celebration last month. It features English faculty members Jon Klancher, Peggy Knapp, Richard Purcell, David Shumway, Kristina Straub and Jeffrey Williams as well as Paul Smith from George Mason University and Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library and former associate professor of English at CMU. To watch the film, visit http://youtu.be/vlhDGatz-yc.
To celebrate Independent Film Week (Sept. 16-20, 2012), English Professor David R. Shumway discussed the works of legendary filmmaker John Sayles on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Peters Township Public Library. Sayles, considered the very model of the contemporary independent filmmaker because he raises the funds for his films himself, was the focus of Shumway’s latest book. In “John Sayles,” Shumway writes about how Sayles has used his freedom to write and produce films with a distinctive personal style and clearly expressed political opinions.
At the end of September, Mariana Achugar, associate professor of Hispanic Studies and second language acquisition, will give the closing plenary session at the Latin American Association of Systemic Functional Linguistics’ VIII International Congress on Language and Society in Montevideo, Uruguay. Achugar’s talk is titled “The Intergenerational Transmission of Recent Past: Learning About the Dictatorship in Uruguay.” She is also organizing a special panel at the conference on “Recontextualization of Recent Past: Multisemiotic Social Practices.” For more information, visit http://alsfaluruguay.wix.com/8congreso#!__english/presentation.
Recent TV ads encouraging American workers to do "radical" things such as use their vacation days and take lunch breaks have received a lot of attention from columnists at The New York Times to popular bloggers. Associate Professor of English Kathy M. Newman takes on the topic in her latest post for the Working Class Perspectives blog. In "Take Back Your Vacation," Newman outlines the controversy and describes what it does to define American workers today. Read the piece at http://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/take-back-your-vacation/.
Jonathan Cagan, the George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Psychology Professor Ken Kotovsky and former Ph.D. student Katherine Fu won the Best Paper Award at the 2012 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Design Theory and Methodology Conference in Chicago. The paper is titled "The Meaning of 'Near' and 'Far': The Impact of Structuring Design Databases and the Effects of Analogy on Design Output." Co-authors also included Joel Chan and Christian Schunn of the University of Pittsburgh and Kristin Wood from SUTD, Singapore. This is the second best paper award won by Cagan and Kotovsky this summer and the third time in the last five years that Cagan has won this conference prize.
Statistics Professor Brian Junker has been appointed associate dean for academic affairs for the Marianna Brown Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In this role, Junker will chair the Dietrich College Council and take a leadership role in administrating college curriculum, programs and policies. Junker succeeds Kristina Straub, professor of English, who was associate dean for academic affairs from July 2002-July 2012. "As an outstanding researcher and a gifted educator, Brian Junker is ideally suited for the associate dean position," said John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College. "He has devoted a significant part of his career to educational research, so he will have an important impact on both the undergraduate and graduate education programs of the Dietrich College." Read the full story at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/august/aug23_brianjunker.html.
Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the Center for International Relations and Politics, has been named the university’s adviser on national security policy. Skinner, a renowned expert in international relations, U.S. foreign policy and political strategy, will build on the growing and diverse network that Carnegie Mellon has with the national security community in Washington, D.C. — both inside and outside of government. She is the first person to hold this position at CMU. “Kiron Skinner is well-respected and well-connected within the national security community, and she consistently attracts top-level officials to CMU for talks and technical briefings in areas in which Carnegie Mellon excels, such as robotics, cyber security, public policy and information technology,” said CMU President Jared L. Cohon. “Kiron is also a leader in shaping new educational programs to prepare emerging military and national security leaders for the evolving technical and policy challenges they will face. I expect the entire university to benefit from having her in this new role.” Read the full story.
Timothy Verstynen, a new faculty member within the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education for his research on the zombie brain. Read “Young Neuroscientists’ Popular Zombie Study Frightens Their Advisers Most of All.”
Sophie Lebrecht, postdoctoral fellow within the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) and Tepper School of Business, was one of three participants chosen to speak at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) one year anniversary celebration of its Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program. I-Corps is designed to help researchers explore the economic potential of basic science research. Through the program, Lebrecht, along with her CMU team of Michael J. Tarr, Babs Carryer and Thomas Kubilius, received a six-month, $50,000 grant to apply knowledge of how the brain’s visual perception system unconsciously affects preferences to the online video market. The team launched the start-up neonlabs to create a Web-based software product that selects a thumbnail based on neuroimaging data. At the meeting in Washington, D.C., Lebrecht spoke of her experiences with the program and outlined neonlabs’ next steps to an audience of NSF staff, government leaders, potential funders and the media. For more information, visit http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/may/may23_brainresearch.html.
Associate Professor of English Kathy M. Newman, one of the country’s most foremost experts on the life and career of Ernest Borgnine, wrote an opinion piece for the New Haven Register to mark his death. Newman is writing a book about the ways in which workers were portrayed in the 1950s, and many of the chapters in her book circle back to Borgnine, who played the “working stiff” that he became so famous for in the Oscar-winning “Marty” (1955) as well as “The Whistle at Eaton Falls” (1951), “The Catered Affair” (1956) and “The Rabbit Trap” (1959). Read “Borgnine an icon of great American working class” at http://nhregister.com/articles/2012/07/12/opinion/doc4fff4827b64c0786017294.txt.
Marcel Just, a leading neuroscientist who focuses on how language comprehension and problem-solving emerges from brain processes, has been selected to receive the Society for Text and Discourse Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. The society's most prestigious award is given to honor scholars who make outstanding scientific contributions to the study of discourse processing and text analysis, and to recognize excellence in research, mentoring and advancements to the field. Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology and director of the university's Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, will receive the award at the society's annual meeting this week in Montreal. Read the full story.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote an opinion piece for the Post-Gazette following legendary actor Andy Griffith’s death. Read “If Andy ran in Mayberry today: Big money could crush his hopes of being sheriff.”
English Professor Kristina Straub has received a Folger Fellowship to study for two months next spring at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. Straub will use the time to study adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays on the 18th-century London stage. In particular, Straub will focus on adaptations, which took extreme liberties with Shakespeare’s work. Read more.
English Professor David Shumway has received a Fulbright Grant for the upcoming academic year. Shumway will spend the year teaching American Studies at two universities in Spain — the University of Barcelona and the Autonomus University of Barcelona. Read more.
Jendayi Frazer, distinguished service professor in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Heinz College, has accepted an invitation to join the board of Dominion University in Accra, Ghana. Frazer will serve on the university’s Governing Council with 13 other board members, including Justice Emile Francis Short, a former head of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana and a member of the United Nation’s International Tribunal that investigated war crimes in Rwanda, and Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank’s outgoing vice president for Africa. Frazer, the leading architect for U.S.-Africa policy over the past decade, also spoke at the High Level Conference on Democracy and Governance in Rwanda on June 30 as part of the nation's 50th anniversary of independence.
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation based in New York City and Houston has launched a new K-12 education tool called the Education Resource Information Navigator Project (ERIN Project). Robert Siegler, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, and Lisa Fazio, a postdoctoral fellow in the Psychology Department, contributed to the creation of the tool, which is designed to provide a broad overview of the national education landscape and help educators dive into important issues in education reform. "The ERIN Project assembled a leading group of scholars to survey the research on the most pressing and sometimes controversial issues in education policy. The result is an invaluable tool for policymakers, researchers and the general public," said Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. "The ERIN Project doesn't claim to offer the definitive answer on what works in education, but it provides easy access to resources so that people can make their own reasoned judgments based on the best information available." For more information or to use the tool, visit http://www.erinproject.org.
Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy, was part of the National Research Council that studied the safety of offshore drilling and production companies. The council released its report this week and recommends that the government modifies oversight practices to ensure safety. According to Fischbeck, “The old way of doing things with just checklist inspections may be thought of as an easy way of measuring safety regulations, but they are simply not effective. We have to get people to think about safety and work to change the culture within these organizations. Companies are going to need to take risks to be more safe." Read the full story.
“Assessing Typographic Knowledge Using Time Tests,” a paper by Associate English Professor Suguru Ishizaki, was selected to receive the Rudolf Joenk Award for Best Paper in Transactions in 2011 by the Editorial Advisory Board of Transactions on Professional Communication.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, was recently awarded three book awards for two books published in 2011. His poetry collection, “Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry,” won the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2012 Gold Medal for Poetry and the 2012 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence from the Paterson Poetry Center. “Trigger Man: More Tales of the Motor City,” Daniels’ latest book of short stories, was the winner of the Midwest Book Awards in the Fiction: Short Story/Anthology category. Read the full story.
To gauge the current state and work to improve the future of science communication, Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy, co-chaired a Sackler Colloquium on “The Science of Science Communication,” May 21-22 at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C. More than 450 experts attended the sessions to discuss empirical social, behavioral and decision science research in science communication. Additional speakers included CMU’s David Klahr, the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Cognitive Development and Education Sciences; Wandi Bruine de Bruin, associate professor of social and decision sciences and of engineering and public policy at CMU; Princeton’s Daniel Kahneman, who received an honorary degree at CMU's 2012 commencement; The New York Times’ David Pogue; and PBS Newshour’s Miles O’Brien. For more information and videos of the presentations, go to http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/june/june5_communicatingscience.html.
David Klahr's pioneering research into the relationship between children's cognitive development and educational practice is celebrated in a new book, "The Journey From Child To Scientist: Integrating Cognitive Development and the Education Sciences." Klahr's influential work combines the two previously independent fields of study by joining a detailed understanding of children's reasoning and skill acquisition with the role of education in influencing and facilitating scientific explorations. Published by the American Psychological Association, the volume provides a blueprint for improving STEM education. The book is edited by CMU's Sharon Carver and CMU alumnus and Stanford Associate Professor Jeff Shrager. Robert Siegler, CMU's Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, authored the first chapter, "From Theory To Application and Back: Following in the Giant Footsteps of David Klahr." Klahr is the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Cognitive Development and Education Sciences. Read the full story.
Nico Slate, assistant professor of history, wrote the book "Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India." In the book, Slate argues that South Asians and African Americans learned from each other in ways that not only advanced their respective struggles for freedom, but also helped define what freedom could and should mean. For more information on "Colored Cosmopolitanism" visit http://www.amazon.com/Colored-Cosmopolitanism-Shared-Struggle-Freedom/dp/0674059670.
Paul Hopper, Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, will retire from teaching this June after spending 22 years with the Department of English. Hopper has lectured at universities throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and South America. For CMU students of professional writing, Hopper literally "wrote the book" on grammar, and many alumni report that they continue to reach for his book "A Short Course in Grammar." "I have been very, very happy at CMU," Hopper said. "It really has been the ideal place for me." Read more about Hopper at http://www.cmu.edu/hss/english/newsletter/spring_2012/paul-hopper-to-retire.html.
David R. Shumway, professor of English and director of the Humanities Center, has written a new book titled "John Sayles." Shumway profiles the contemporary independent filmmaker and how he has used his freedom to write and produce films with a distinctive personal style and clearly expressed political opinions. For more information, visit http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/april/april5_shumwaysayles.html.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote an essay titled "You Are Not Alone" for the "Observer" section of the Chronicle of Higher Education on strategies for finding time to write. Read the piece at http://chronicle.com/article/You-Are-Not-Alone/131323/#disqus_thread.
Jendayi Frazer, distinguished service professor in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Heinz College, spoke to CrossTalk TV about the Kony 2012 debate. Frazer was the leading architect of U.S.-Africa policy over the last decade. Watch the interview at http://youtu.be/W7jf-JdbpFI.
“Arab Women in Arab News: Old Stereotypes and New Media,” a new book authored by Amal Al-Malki, David Kaufer, Suguru Ishizaki and Kira Dreher, has been published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing. The book addresses how western stereotypes affect how Arab women are portrayed in the western news media. Al-Malki is an assistant teaching professor of English and Dreher is a visiting instructor of English at Carnegie Mellon Qatar. Kaufer is a professor of English and Ishizaki an associate professor of English on the Pittsburgh campus. Read more.
Bonnie Youngs, teaching professor of French and Francophone Studies, has been awarded the 2012 Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students describe Youngs as engaging, passionate, challenging, and caring as a teacher, adviser and mentor. They appreciate the feedback she provides them to support their academic progress and personal development, and many comment on her special combination of rigor and high expectations with approachability. Read more about Youngs and the award at http://www.hss.cmu.edu/pressreleases/pressreleases/2012edsaward.html.
Stephen Fienberg, the Maurice Falk University Professor of Statistics and Social Science, has received a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)-Census Bureau Research Network for a project on "Data Integration, Online Data Collection and Privacy Protection for the 2020 Census." Fienberg and his team will conduct research on three basic issues of interest related to collecting census data: privacy, costs and response rates. They will address the practical problems of ensuring confidentiality and privacy while still producing useful statistics for public and private purposes. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/march/march1_stephenfienberg.html.
Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign, Newt 2012, has named Kiron Skinner the new national co-chair for its Women with Newt Coalition. Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, will provide Newt 2012 with expertise in the areas of international relations, security policy and political strategy. In November 2011, Skinner joined Gingrich's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/march/march2_skinnerwithnewt2012.html. Skinner was also recently featured on The Root, a leading online source of news and commentary from an African-American perspective. Read the article, in which she challenges the notion of a GOP problem with women voters, at http://www.theroot.com/views/kiron-skinner-wants-you-stand-newt
James Wynn, associate professor of English and rhetoric, has authored "Evolution by the Numbers: The Origins of Mathematical Argument in Biology." The book explores how biology became infused with mathematics. Wynn takes readers back to when biologists did not believe math could contribute to solutions to biological problems, specifically questions dealing with heredity and variation. Drawing on the work of Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel, Francis Galton, Karl Pearson and Ronald Fisher, Wynn shows the progression and regression of math’s acceptance. He also demonstrates how these individuals’ rhetorical savvy, or lack thereof, influenced its ascension or descent. Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/march/march1_jameswynnbook.html.
In her new book "Globalization and Global Justice: Shrinking Distance, Expanding Obligations," Carnegie Mellon's Nicole Hassoun examines how the world becoming more interconnected changes international institutions' duties to the world's poor. Hassoun, assistant professor of philosophy within the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, argues that there are significant obligations that must be met to aid the impoverished. "When you witness a woman in the Philippines picking up garbage from the garbage dump she lives in to sell to recyclers, it raises pressing questions about global justice," said Hassoun. "International institutions must help their subjects avoid the kind of poverty that undermines their ability to reason and plan. Otherwise, people cannot even object to their rules." Read more at http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2012/march/march6_nicolehassounbook.html.
Yona Harvey, assistant teaching professor of English and director of the English Department’s Creative Writing Program, kicked off the Silk Road Reading Series on March 21 with poet Leslie "Erza" Smith. The series is a venue for Pittsburgh artists to share work in a judgment-free, open-mic setting. Harvey’s forthcoming book of poetry is titled "Heming the Water."
George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology, co-authored a new study that found that mentoring provides health benefits for African-American veterans with diabetes. Read more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/uops-prf031912.php.
Susan G. Polansky has been reappointed as head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Modern Languages. Her second term will begin July 1. During her first term, Polansky, a teaching professor of Hispanic studies, worked to broaden the department’s global education initiatives by creating a new Masters Program in Applied Second Language Acquisition, enhancing faculty and student involvement in community outreach activities and increasing study abroad participation. She also led the launch of an Arabic program, which now offers advanced level courses. Read more about her reappointment.
Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, was on "The Poet and The Poem from the Library of Congress" with Philip Levine, the 18th Poet Laureate of the U.S. on Feb. 22. "The Poet and the Poem" series is in its 35th year on public air and is nationally distributed by NPR. You can also listen to a podcast of Daniels’ readings and career retrospective at http://www.loc.gov/poetry/poetpoem.html.
Joe W. Trotter, the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice, has co-authored a new book chronicling the photography of Charles "Teenie" Harris, famous for capturing the essence of African-American life in Pittsburgh. "Teenie Harris, Photographer: Image, Memory, History" was published in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Press and the Carnegie Museum of Art. In addition to Trotter, the book's co-authors include Cheryl Finley, assistant professor of art history at Cornell University, and Laurence Glasco, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. Read more about Trotter and the book.
Kate Hamilton, a Ph.D. student in the Department of English’s Literal and Cultural Studies Program, won the best graduate student essay award from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS). Hamilton’s essay, “She ‘came up Stairs into the World’: Elizabeth Barry and Restoration Celebrity,” won the Macaulay Prize. She will be presented with her award at the ASECS annual conference.
Each year Dietrich College selects one of its graduate students for the Dietrich College Graduate Student Teaching Award to recognize excellence, dedication, and innovation in teaching. For the 2012 award, English Department PhD. candidate Heather Steffen, and Modern Languages Ph.D. candidate Yun (Helen) Zhao have been selected as co-winners. Read the full story.
Associate English Professor Jane McCafferty's new novel, "First You Try Everything," tells the story of a collapsing marriage and a wife determined to save it. Set in Pittsburgh, McCafferty uses both main characters' perspectives to explore the challenges they each face now that their once tight bond over shared ideals has evaporated. "I wanted to study heartbreak, and how the grief of heartbreak can feel like a form of madness," she said. "I was also interested in exploring how two point of view characters can amplify and contradict each other's stories." Read the full story.
Jendayi Frazer, director of the Center for International Policy and Innovation and a distinguished public service professor, and E. Gyimah-Boadi, executive director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, have edited a new book publshed by CMU Press, titled "Preventing Electoral Violence in Africa." The publication, which coincides with a number of recent tense, highly contested elections, offers timely guidance on what can be done to prevent violence from disrupting elections in Africa. Frazer spoke about the book at two events in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, and in Pittsburgh on Jan. 24. Read the full story.
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art Susanne Slavick and English Professor and poet Terrance Hayes participated in “Occupy Your Mind Pittsburgh: Expand * Engage * Imagine,” an event that considers the future of the Occupy Movement. Slavick and Hayes also will participate in “Disarming Words,” a Space Gallery event at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 29. Slavick will speak about her recent book and art project, “OUT OF RUBBLE,”which presents international artists who consider the causes and consequences of war, its finality and future, moving from decimation and disintegration to the possibilities of regeneration and recovery. Hayes, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for poetry for his book “Lighthead,” will read from his poetry collection.
In December, Cleotilde Gonzalez, associate research professor of social and decision sciences, spoke at the International Conference on Decision Making at the University of Allahabad’s Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences. The conference brings researchers from psychology, neuroscience, engineering, science and economics to a common platform to try and understand human decision making behavior from multiple dimensions.
In a blog post for Working Class Perspectives, Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English and labor issues expert, looked at the Christmas season a little differently than most. Newman explains it as a season filled with opportunities to discuss iconic characters such as Santa, Rudolph and Frosty in the context of work, capitalism and the working class. Read "Working Christmas" at http://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/working-christmas/.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," Christopher Warren, assistant professor of English, wrote an oped titled, "O Brave New World," which was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Read it at: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11304/1186315-109-0.stm.
Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, has been tapped by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to advise him on matters of national security and foreign policy. Skinner attended the GOP presidential debate on Nov. 22 in Washington D.C. as part of Gingrich's campaign team. Read more.
Additionally, Black America Web profiled Kiron Skinner as a “foreign policy whiz.” In the article, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita said of Skinner, “"Whether working for a Democrat or a Republican, she's someone who ought to be in some president's senior advisory team, either as secretary of state, or as a national security adviser, or director of intelligence. I have no trouble seeing her in a second Obama administration or a Gingrich administration or a Mitt Romney administration. She would be good for the country." Read the profile.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, recently wrote a blog post for Working Class Perspectives on "Hollywood and the Working Class." Read and comment on the piece.
The Hastings Center, the world's first research center devoted to bioethics, has elected Alex John London to its fellowship. London, an associate professor of philosophy and director of CMU's Center for Ethics and Policy, is one of the organization's 195 international fellows whose work in numerous fields has been influential in the field of bioethics.
In early November, Larry Wasserman, professor of statistics and machine learning, gave the Challis Lectures at the University of Florida. Wasserman lectured on "The High Dimensional Revolution" and "Estimating Filaments and Manifolds." View videos of his lectures.
English Professor Hilary Masters' latest novel, "Post: A Fable," has won a USABookNews.com Best Books 2011 Award. USABookNews.com, the premier online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced winners in more than 140 categories covering print, e-books and audio books. Master's "Post: A Fable" won the literary fiction category. Read more.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote an opinion piece for the New Haven Register about her experience marching alongside striking clerical and maintenance workers at Yale 20 years ago. Read “20 years after GESO strike, many of goals accomplished".
Richard Purcell, assistant professor of English, and Richard Randall, assistant professor of music theory, have been co-awarded a three-year Media Initiative Grant from the Center for the Arts in Society. This grant will support their project "Listening Spaces," which seeks to understand the overwhelming impact technology has had on our social and personal interactions with music. The three-year project will bring together departments and schools across CMU via workshops, symposia and special events.
Jendayi Frazer, distinguished service professor with appointments in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Heinz College, wrote a blog post for Africa.com titled "The Nobel Prize and Liberia's Noble Rise." Frazer was the leading architect of U.S.-Africa policy over the last decade, most recently serving as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from August 2005 — January 2009 and previously as the U.S. ambassador to South Africa. Read her post.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, recently wrote two posts for the Working-Class Studies blog: "On Violence and Class Warfare" and "Upsetting the Apple Cart".
English Professor Linda Flower and Associate English Professor James Wynn participated in a professional writing symposium, titled "Engaging the Public: Rhetoric and Professional Writing in the 21st Century," at Washington & Jefferson College on Saturday, Oct. 1. Flower gave a keynote address on "Leadership and the Professional Writer: Calling a Community Think Tank." Wynn was a panelist in a discussion of the "Rhetoric of Science."
Amy Wells, administrative coordinator for the Department of History, was recognized for outstanding dedication at the 2011 Andy Awards. Read about it.
A paper co-authored by Mechanical Engineering Professor Jonathan Cagan, Assistant Professor in Social and Decision Sciences Golnaz Tabibnia and Ph.D. student Brian Sylcott recently won the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Design Theory and Methodology Conference Best Paper award for "Understanding of emotions and reasoning during consumer tradeoff between function and aesthetics in product design." The award was given on Tuesday, Aug. 30 in Washington, D.C.
To commemorate Labor Day, Public Radio’s “The Writers’ Almanac with Garrison Hughes” featured “Short-order Cook,” a poem by Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English. Read the poem.
English Professor Terrance Hayes, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for poetry, will participate in the 2011 National Book Festival at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hayes will give a presentation on poetry and prose from 1:55 – 2:40 p.m. on Sunday, Sept 25, followed by a book signing from 3 - 4 p.m. The event’s honorary chairs are President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. For complete details, visit http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/.
Psychology Professor Brian MacWhinney received the inaugural Roger Brown Award from the International Association for the Study of Child Language at its recent meeting in Montreal. He was honored for his role in the development of the Competition Model, which provides a theoretical and empirical integration of the fields of child language learning and second language acquisition, and for establishing the Child Language Data Exchange System and TalkBank databases. These international databases provide the major source of data on spoken language that has stimulated the new wave of data-driven, usage-based models of language learning. For more on MacWhinney, visit http://psyling.psy.cmu.edu.
The American Statistical Association (ASA) announced the winners of its annual awards. Anne-Sophie Charest, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Statistics, was awarded the Edward C. Bryant Scholarship Trust Fund Award. The award honors an outstanding graduate student who is studying survey statistics.
English Professor Hilary Masters will launch his new novel, “Post,” at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 31 at the Monterey Pub, 1227 Monterey St. on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Masters will be reading a section of the book that serves as a metaphor for the novel. The section is the recreation of a passenger pigeon hunt and netting in about the 1890s. The bird became extinct in 1914.
Kendra L. Gaither, executive director of CMU’s Center for International Policy and Innovation, was recently elected to a five-year term on the Council on Foreign Relations. The council’s Stephen M. Kellen Term Member Program encourages promising young professionals from a variety of disciplines to engage in a sustained conversation on international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. Gaither’s expertise is in international economics and trade, with a focus on Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
With the major motion picture “Horrible Bosses” in theaters this summer, mass and pop culture expert Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, explored what bosses mean to society, how that meaning has changed over time and how different classes of workers relate to bosses in a blog post for “Working-Class Perspectives.” Read her post, “Jerk in Charge”.
In June, English Professor Terrance Hayes participated in a new annual writer exchange program between literary organizations in Pittsburgh and Belgium. City of Asylum/Pittsburgh and Passa Porta established a month-long writers swap to build a familiarity between the two regions.
Kiron K. Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU’s Center for International Relations and Politics, wrote an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review titled “American Exceptionalism.” Skinner is a world-renowned international relations, foreign policy and political strategy expert.
Horacio Arló-Costa, professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon, died July 14 at age 54. A renowned logician and philosopher, Arló-Costa's innovative research crossed many different fields, including formal epistemology, artificial intelligence, behavioral decision research and cognitive neuroscience. At the time of his death, he was preparing a book, titled "Three Essays in Formal Epistemology: Normative and Bounded Models of Rationality." Arló-Costa is survived by his wife, Claudia Arló of Argentina, and his mother, Arminda Costa, of Uruguay. The Department of Philosophy and the Center for Formal Epistemology will hold a memorial conference for Arló-Costa sometime in the late fall. For more: http://www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2011/July/july20_arlocostaobituary.shtml.
The Association for Psychological Science has named J. David Creswell a 2011 Rising Star. Creswell, assistant professor of psychology, was one of 18 psychological researchers profiled for making great advancements in science at a young age. Creswell’s research focuses on how the mind and brain influence our physical health and performance, particularly with stress and coping interventions. Read Creswell’s profile.
On Tuesday, May 24, Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, gave a talk on “The Legacy of Louis de Rochement: Why Film Scholars Have Overlooked This Hollywood Outsider: at the Newington Historical Society near Portsmouth, NH.
Yona Harvey, assistant teaching professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program, has been awarded a fellowship by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), one of the world’s most prestigious artist communities. The fellowship will allow Harvey to focus on her own creative projects at the VCCA’s working retreat for visual artists, writers and composers.
Jiashun Jin, associate professor of statistics, has received a fellowship with the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS). IMS selects fellows to honor outstanding research and personal contributions that keep IMS in a leading role in the field of statistics and probability. Jin’s current research is in large-scale inference and massive-data analysis, which are frequently found in many scientific areas, such as genomics, astronomy, functional magnetic resonance imaging and image processing.
Michael Witmore, a former associate professor of English at Carnegie Mellon, has been named director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare materials. Witmore, who will assume the post July 1, will be the sixth director in the library’s 79-year history. Witmore is a scholar of Shakespeare and early modern literature as well as a pioneer in the digital analysis of Shakespeare’s texts.
Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy, wrote an opinion piece for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled “The emotions of nuclear experts.” In the op-ed, Fischhoff, a world-renowned risk communication expert, describes how the technical experts at Fukushima Dailchi are under great stress, which undoubtedly affects their emotions. He argues that a better understanding of these emotions — and how to respond to them appropriately — could improve the nuclear energy industry’s communication problem with the public.
G. Richard Tucker, the Paul Mellon University Professor of Applied Linguistics and interim dean of Carnegie Mellon in Qatar, gave the opening plenary speech at the TESOL (Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages) Conference last Friday (April 8) at the College of the North Atlantic Qatar. In Tucker’s talk, “A Rationale for Developing Additive Bilingualism in Our Students,” he said learning a second language may improve creativity and cognitive flexibility.
Karen S. Schnakenberg (MM ’68, HS ’96), teaching professor and director of Professional and Technical Writing in the Department of English since 1995, has announced she will retire on June 30. Necia Werner, who served as assistant director of Professional & Technical Writing from 2006-2010, will serve as interim director for the 2011-2012 academic year. Hilary Franklin will continue as assistant director. Schnakenberg is a recipient of the National Council of Programs in Scientific and Technical Communication (CPSTC) Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her contributions to curriculum and programs at Carnegie Mellon, to CPSTC, and to the entire field of professional and technical writing.
Andreea Ritivoi, an associate professor in the English department, has received a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend for her book manuscript "Prophets in Another Land: The Stranger Ethos in American Political Discourse." The book examines the rhetorical strategies used by famous foreign intellectuals who immigrated to the United States after World War II and played a crucial role in shaping American postwar politics.
Laurie Z. Eisenberg, teaching professor of history, has received the 2011 Primary Source Teaching Award by the Center for Research Libraries. The award is given for the best use of primary source documentation in an undergraduate teaching context. The course that Eisenberg is being honored for is on the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, often referred to as the Six Day War.
"Beautiful Thing," a poem by Jim Daniels, was chosen by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book to be included in the 2011 Penn State Public Poetry Project. The project seeks to make poetry more prominent in the daily lives of Pennsylvanians by placing poems in public places, such as public and school libraries, restaurants, bookstores, coffee houses and other businesses. This year, the project produced four posters. Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, and three other poets read together at the poster unveiling on March 28 in State College. View Daniels' "Beautiful Thing" poster.
What constitutes torture? A new study co-authored by George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology at CMU, demonstrates just how subjective and biased such judgments can be. The study suggests that the inability to empathize with those suffering pain may prohibit one's ability to identify torturous acts.
A new book by CMU Postdoctoral Fellow Adam Hodges explores how the Bush administration effectively mobilized support for the war on terror through language. Published by Oxford University Press, "The War on Terror Narrative: Discourse and Intertextuality in the Construction and Contestation of Sociopolitical Reality" analyzes the president's speeches along with dialogue in the media and among citizens to illustrate how the narrative was rhetorically built and reaffirmed — as well as challenged and contested.
Lee Branstetter, associate professor of economics at Heinz College with a joint appointment in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, has been selected to join the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers next year. Branstetter's research interests include international economics, industrial organization and economic growth in East Asia, with a particular focus on China and Japan. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank and the Advanced Technology Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce and was a visiting fellow of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade, and Industry in Japan.
On Thursday, March 31, Joe Trotter, the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice and head of the Department of History, will be recognized by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota as an Alumnus of Notable Achievement. Additionally, Trotter was appointed to the Senator John Heinz History Center’s Board of Trustees as vice chair.
Kathy M. Newman, associate professor of English, wrote a blog post to mark the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Fire in New York City that killed more than 145 garment workers. Read Newman's post, "Mourning and Organizing".
Stephen Brockmann, professor of German, has received a Fulbright award to participate in a Fulbright German Studies Seminar in Germany this summer. The seminar’s topic is German national identity and the question of ethnicity in an increasing globalizing world. Read more about Brockmann, who is also the president of the German Studies Association, and his current work.
Sharon Carver, teaching professor of psychology and director of the Carnegie Mellon University Children's School, has been named the winner of the 2010-2011 Elliott Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS). "Sharon Carver represents the ideal Carnegie Mellon professor," said H&SS Dean John Lehoczky. "She is a major national researcher in child development and child education. She is a brilliant, well-organized classroom teacher, and in both large and small classes, she is devoted to all of her students and their learning." Read more.
Kari Lundgren, a Ph.D. candidate in rhetoric in the Department of English, has been invited to participate as a Leader of Tomorrow in the 41st annual St. Gallen Symposium this May in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Lundgren was one of 100 young students and researchers selected to be part of the "knowledge pool" on the basis of her association with the 2011 symposium topic, "Just Power." Leaders of Tomorrow engage in critical dialogue with the 600 political and business leaders from more than 60 nations who attend the symposium. For more information, visit: http://www.stgallen-symposium.org/en/Leaders-of-Tomorrow/Knowledge-Pool.aspx.
Kiron K. Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of CMU's Center for International Relations and Politics, wrote an opinion piece for the National Review Online titled "Ronald Reagan and the African American." In the article, Skinner describes the former president's vision of outreach. A renowned Reagan expert, Skinner also recently participated in the Ronald Reagan Centennial Conference hosted by the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. Watch a video of the discussion on "Reagan, Partisan Politics, and Foreign Policy" at http://millercenter.org/academic/reagancentennial/video.
Modern Languages Ph.D. candidate Shuai Li has been named the winner of the 2011 H&SS Graduate Student Teaching Award. Li is expected to receive his doctoral degree in Second Language Acquisition in May and is described by his faculty, peers and students as an exceptional teacher and educator who consistently excels in the classroom and in the design of his curricula. Additionally, Li has become a significant professional influence among his graduate student peers who say he is generous with time, genuine in concern for their growth and development as educators and quick to share materials and techniques that he has developed and found useful and effective.
George Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Economics and Psychology, has been elected as a fellow to the Econometric Society, an international society committed to the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics. Loewenstein's research addresses consumer decision-making, privacy issues and behavioral economics. He was one of 16 new fellows elected.
The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) has announced that Terrance Hayes' latest book of poetry, "Lighthead," is a finalist for its 2010 awards. The NBCC awards honor the best literature published in English in six categories - autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Hayes won the National Book Award for "Lighthead" this past November. Read more.
In English Professor Jim Daniels' latest book of poetry, "Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry," he tackles a variety of topics from living in Detroit and Pittsburgh and differences between childhood and parenthood, to meditating on memory and loss and confronting issues in everyday life. He also riffs on popular music with "Esperantos," poems attempting to capture what is universal about music, and introduces a new character - "the Tenured Guy" - to examine some of the less noble aspects of academia. For more: http://www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2011/February/feb1_jimdaniels.shtml.