Inclusive and Diverse Excellence Award presented at Senate Council

UPSIDE award winners


Members of the Senate Council updated attendees of the Oct. 10 meeting on various Pitt initiatives and events.

In his report, Chancellor Pat Gallagher reviewed ongoing initiatives at Pitt and presented the Office of Human Resources’ Career Transition Project with the 2018 University Prize for Strategic, Inclusive and Diverse Excellence Award, or UPSIDE.

The award celebrates programs that improve minority and women participation at Pitt, Gallagher said. The project was chosen because it provided outreach services to the Pitt community, and helped hire veterans and those with disabilities.

Some of the other initiatives Gallagher highlighted include:

  • The launching of the Panthers Forward Program, a program to assist graduating seniors with student loan debt.
  • The introduction of Pitt Commons, which will create a space for mentoring between students, alumni, faculty and staff.
  • Three centers housed in the University Center for International Studies — the Asian Studies Center; the European Studies Center; and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies — have been tapped to receive six awards from the U.S. Department of Education, representing more than $5.1 million in funding over four years.
  • Neuroscientists at the Brain Institute earned a three-year, $5 million grant from the DSF Charitable Foundation to study neural networks throughout the brain.

Gallagher then spoke on several faculty milestones throughout the Pitt community.

Senate president report

Senate President Chris Bonneau updated members on matters discussed previously in Faculty Assembly.

  • A discussion regarding Pitt’s IP Policy at Faculty Assembly earlier this month prompted Senior Vice Chancellor Rob Rutenbar, working with the Research Committee, to create a short revocation form for previously signed IP agreements.

  • The Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee is working on developing an academic attendance policy that would address situations where potential donations would be subject to the donor having a say in academic issues.

  • The Educational Policies Committee will tackle the issue of bias in student evaluations of professors.

  • There’s a push to make Pitt a tobacco-free campus. Bonneau has been in talks with Staff Council, Pitt administrators, the student government board and others about pushing a resolution out sometime this semester.

Staff council report

Andy Stephany, president of the Staff Council, talked some events the Council held this month in addition to upcoming events.

  • On Sept. 18, the council worked with the Alumni Association Blue and Gold Society to offer the Oakland campus walking tour to help new and existing staff get introduced to Pitt’s history. A second tour is scheduled for Nov. 15.

  • Senate Staff Council officers met with Associate Vice Chancellor Scott Bernotas and several members of the Campus Master Plan facilities design team on Oct. 8, where staff voiced their opinions.

  • Staff Council hosted a mentoring town hall on Oct. 15 with Audrey Murrell, associate dean of the College of Business Administration to help attendees learn about mentoring practices.

  • There was a brown bag hosted on Oct. 12 to welcome Pitt Director of Sustainability Aurora Sharrard and help staff understand better sustainability practices.

The next Senate Council Meeting will take place on Nov. 7.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905.