Pitt establishes task forces, working groups to plan fall semester

Chancellor+Patrick+Gallagher+said+Friday+that+the+University+will+offer+guidance+to+the+community+in+early+June+and+again+in+early+July.

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Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said Friday that the University will offer guidance to the community in early June and again in early July.

By Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

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It will take a village to figure out what Pitt’s operations will look like in the fall, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Formally established over the last several weeks, three task forces, and 20 working groups within those task forces, will investigate many different aspects of what life at the University could look like. These panels will examine how Pitt could deliver its education, how and when buildings can reopen, the ways in-person research can take place and many more topics. Community members can submit feedback to the task forces online.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said Friday that the University will identify specific strategies to respond to different possible health scenarios for the fall, and then offer guidance in early June so faculty and staff can prepare for the upcoming academic year. He added that by early July, Pitt will share “explicit guidance” with students so they can begin to make plans for the fall.

A task force co-chaired by Provost Ann Cudd and James Martin II, the dean of the Swanson School of Engineering, is leading the effort on determining what a Pitt education will look like this fall. This task force will deliver a report to the chancellor on May 29 with recommendations, following part of the spring semester and the entire summer semester taking place online.

The panel has also designated three scientific advisers to provide counsel — Dr. Donald Burke, the dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Public Health, Mark Roberts, a professor and chair of Health Policy and Management, and LuAnn Brink, the chief epidemiologist at the Allegheny County Health Department. Students do not sit on the task force’s executive committee, but are represented on each of the five working groups.

The members of the task force’s executive committee are:

  • Mary Besterfield-Sacre, the director of the Engineering Education Research Center and co-chair of the educational technology and teaching working group
  • Cynthia Golden, the associate vice provost and executive director of the University Center for Teaching and Learning and co-chair of the educational technology and teaching working group
  • Kenyon Bonner, the vice provost and dean of students and chair of the out-of-the-classroom experiences working group
  • James Martin II, a co-chair of the housing and health working group
  • Stephen Wisniewski, the vice provost for budget and analytics, and a co-chair of the housing and health working group
  • Joe McCarthy, the vice provost for undergraduate studies and co-chair of the undergraduate studies working group
  • John Twyning, an associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and co-chair of the undergraduate studies working group
  • Eleanor Feingold, the executive associate dean of the Graduate School of Public Health and co-chair of the graduate studies and research working group
  • Nathan Urban, the vice provost for graduate studies and strategic initiatives, and co-chair of the graduate studies and research working group
  • Ariel Armony, the vice provost for global affairs
  • Marc Harding, the vice provost for enrollment
  • Laurie Kirsch, the vice provost for faculty affairs, development and diversity
  • Lucy Russell, the vice provost and chief of staff
  • Louise Sciannameo, the assistant provost for strategic communications
  • Nancy Tannery, an assistant provost
  • Paul Supowitz, the vice chancellor for community and governmental relations
  • Mike Ringler, the senior director for federal relations
  • Chris Bonneau, the president of the University Senate and a professor of political science

A task force led by Rob Rutenbar, the senior vice chancellor for research, will formulate options on how to restart research at the University. This task force will explore various different aspects of research on campus, such as clinical activity in the School of Medicine, research that requires the use of animals, remote research and restarting major laboratories on campus.

The members of the task force’s executive committee are:

  • Rob Rutenbar, the senior vice chancellor for research
  • N. John Cooper, the deputy vice chancellor for research
  • Mike Holland, the vice chancellor for science policy and research strategies, and co-chair of the logistics restart working group
  • Jennifer Woodward, the vice chancellor for sponsored programs and research operations, and co-chair of the logistics restart working group
  • Michelle Amato, the chief of staff to the senior vice chancellor for research
  • Bill Yates, the co-director of the Office of Research Protections and and co-chair of the animal resources restart working group
  • Barbara Barnes, the associate vice chancellor for health sciences industry relations and continuing education
  • Steve Reis, the associate vice chancellor for health sciences clinical research
  • Jeremy Berg, the associate senior vice chancellor for health sciences science strategy and planning, and co-chair of the School of Medicine restart working group
  • Bill Madden, the associate senior vice chancellor for health sciences administration

A task force led by David DeJong, the acting senior vice chancellor for business and operations and the vice chancellor for human resources, will draw up recommendations on how to best support employees and run on-campus operations. This task force will examine the occupancy readiness of office buildings and residence halls, preparing dining facilities, how to provide parking and transportation services, as well as childcare for employees.

The members of the task force’s executive committee were not immediately available. The task force’s working groups, and their chairs, are:

  • Victoria Lancaster, the director of shared services for the Office of Human Resources and chair of the workplace considerations in transition working group
  • Dan Fisher, the assistant vice chancellor for operations and maintenance and co-chair of the ready to occupy and operate buildings working group
  • Will Mitchell, the facility services director and co-chair of the ready to occupy and operate buildings working group
  • Joe Beaman, the dining services director and chair of the returning dining facilities for full operations working group
  • Kevin Sheehy, the assistant vice chancellor for auxiliary operations and finance, and the chair of the parking and transportation working group
  • Maureen Beal, the associate vice chancellor for financial operations and chair of the human resources, financials and risk management working group
  • Deb Kollar, the director of health sciences planning and management, and chair of the health sciences faculty and staff human resources working group
  • Mary Beth McCulloch, the University Childcare and Development Center director and chair of the childcare working group

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