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Celik Receives Presidential Early Career Award

Special to UM News

Nurcin-Celik

Nurcin Celik

Outgoing President Obama honored Nurcin Celik, associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Industrial Engineering, with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Celik is the first University of Miami recipient to be honored with a PECASE. The award recognizes her federally funded research into smart cities – specifically the use of dynamic data-driven multi-scale simulations for distributed energy systems in those cities.

“I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work,” President Obama said when he presented the awards. “These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy.”

Celik is one of 102 PECASE recipients for 2017. The awards recognize some of the nation’s finest scientists and engineers, who show exceptional potential for leadership in advancing scientific knowledge and engineering in the 21st century.

“All of us at the College of Engineering are excited to congratulate Nurcin on this extremely prestigious, well-deserved recognition. This award is a great honor to Nurcin, the industrial engineering department, the College of Engineering and the entire University of Miami,” said Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the University of Miami College of Engineering. “The PECASE is highly competitive, and recognizes not only the excellence and significance of Dr. Celik’s research contributions, but also her potential for future leadership and research impact.”

As part of her presidential award, the U.S. Department of Defense will grant Celik funding of $200,000 per year for five years to advance her research. She will also receive a citation and a plaque.

The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, as well as their commitment to community service – as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

To see the full list of the 102 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, click here.

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Victor Deupi Tapped as CINTAS President

UM News

Victor Deupi

Victor Deupi

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 3, 2017)—Victor Deupi, a Cuban-American teacher of architectural history and theory, design and representation at the School of Architecture, has been elected president of the CINTAS Foundation, which promotes the professional development of Cuban architects, writers, musicians, and visual artists.

“Mr. Deupi brings a new perspective with his distinct background while maintaining an emphatic commitment to each of the four disciplines supported by the foundation,” the organization said in announcing its fifth president.

Deupi, who received a B.S. in architecture from the University of Virginia, a M.S. in architecture from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, previously taught at Fairfield University, the New York Institute of Technology, the University of Notre Dame, and the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture in London. He also has been a “Visiting Critic” at the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech.

The principal focus of his research is on the art and architecture of the early modern Ibero-American world, and mid-20th-century Cuba. His book, Architectural Temperance: Spain and Rome, 1700-1759, was published by Routledge in 2015, and he is currently curating exhibitions on Cuban Architects at Home and in Exile: The Modernist Generation at the Coral Gables Museum, and Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections at the Lowe Art Museum.

He is also editing a book on Transformations in Classical Architecture: New Directions in Research and Practice that is being published by Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers, 2017.

The CINTAS Foundation, established in 1963 with funds from the estate of Oscar B. Cintas (1887-1957), former Cuban ambassador to the United States, has awarded more than 300 fellowships and grants to Cuban artists achieving national and international renown. Several UM faculty members, including Jorge Hernandez, Jose Gelabert-Navia, Tomas Lopez-Gottardi, and Andres Duany, have been among the recipients.

In 2011, the foundation entered into an extended loan with Miami-Dade College’s MDC Museum of Art and Design of nearly 300 pieces by artists of Cuban descent living outside Cuba who have received prestigious CINTAS Fellowships. The museum is housed at the landmark Freedom Tower in downtown Miami.

 

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Faculty Awarded Grants to Advance Scholarship across the Americas

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 12, 2017)—Nine proposals from 25 University of Miami professors have been awarded grants for multidisciplinary research groups and individual projects from the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (UMIA). UMIA grants are intended to encourage interdisciplinary discussion and research on key challenges facing the Americas, including Latin America, the Caribbean, immigrant populations of and in the region, and Miami as a hemispheric hub.

Twenty-two submissions from 67 faculty members were reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee comprised of five faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Miller School of Medicine, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the School of Communication. Among the criteria considered were quality, impact, breadth, innovativeness, inter-disciplinarity, sustainability, and the balance of grant awards among academic units and geographic emphases.

The research groups to be supported by the grants include the following:

Language and Democracy in the Americas:  Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy; Tracy Devine Guzmán, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; Kunal Parker, School of Law, conveners. | Christina Civantos, Ralph Heyndels, Lidiana de Moraes, Department of Modern Languages and Literature, College of Arts and Sciences |Romy Lerner, Gema Pérez-Sánchez, Ileana Porras, School of Law.

Building upon the Language and Democracy discussion group and conference organized and hosted at the University of Miami in 2013, the project will examine how linguistic diversity challenges, enriches, empowers, and endangers democratic projects and processes across diverse temporal and geographic contexts.

Toward a Geographic Clearinghouse of Intimate Partner Violence Services and Community Determinants in Miami-Dade County:  Justin Stoler, Department of Geography and Regional Studies, College of Arts and Sciences | Jessica Williams, School of Nursing and Health Studies |Donna Coker, School of Law | Nick Petersen, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences.

The project creates an Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) knowledge base that will serve as an important public resource for linking IPV and health care providers, and act as a reference guide for local residents in need of assistance. The clearinghouse will also provide a platform for future research exploring disparities in community-level IPV indicators and resources.

The University of Miami-Organization and Method College Collaboration to Establish a Multifaceted Research Infrastructure for Public Health: Viviana E. Horigian, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, convener. |Eddy Pérez, Miller School of Medicine, Organization and Method College of the Dominican Republic | Hermes Florez, Kathryn McCollister, Sunil Rao, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine | Nelson Arboleda, country director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dominican Republic.

The project generates dialogue and collaborative exchange leading to the formulation of research questions, design, and methods for studying cardiovascular disease in the Dominican Republic.

In addition to the research groups, the faculty members below received grants to initiate or continue individual research projects.

Conquering Distance: Argentina and the Fortunes of Steam-Age Globalization, 1860-1910: Eduardo Elena, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences.

The Novel 1960s: Form and Sensibility in Caribbean Literary Culture:  Donette Francis, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences.

Empowering Local Comadronas in Indigenous Guatemala: A Tool for Sexual and Reproductive Health: Victoria Orrego Dunleavy, Department of Communication Studies, School of Communication.

Does Democracy Breed Relief? Governance, Mosquito Abatement, and Zika in the Americas: Michael Touchton, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences.

Blood and Stone: Afro-Cuban Religious Interventions for HIV Awareness, Education, and Treatment: Martin Tsang, University of Miami Libraries.

In addition, Patricia Saunders, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences, was the recipient of the grant for a Book Manuscript Workshop. Her book, under contract with Rutgers University Press, is entitled Buyers Beware: Epistemologies of Consumption in Caribbean Popular Culture.

“Faculty grants play a key role in advancing scholarship and strengthening the University’s focus on Latin American and Caribbean studies,” said Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul, UMIA director. “We are excited to support these multidisciplinary projects that address a number of challenges across the Americas.”

UMIA’s mission is to create and share knowledge bridging the Americas, strengthening the myriad areas of the University of Miami undertaking research pertaining to the hemisphere.

 

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Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul Honored with Fairchild Garden’s Philanthropy Award

UM News

FairchildPhilanthropyAward

From left are Susan Abraham, Barbara Hevia, Brittany Lopez Slater, Daisy Johansson, Marisa Toccin Lucas, Felicia Marie Knaul, Swanee DiMare, Ana Milton, Lydia Touzet, and Frances Sevilla Sacasa.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 11, 2017)Dr. Felicia Marie Knaul, director at the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and professor at the Miller School of Medicine, received the Fairchild Philanthropy Award at the 6th Annual Splendor in the Garden hosted by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Knaul was joined by seven of South Florida’s leading women in garnering this year’s award, given in recognition of their contributions to the community.

“It is a great honor to receive this award and join such an outstanding group of philanthropists. Fairchild is a tremendous asset to our community and our world,” said Knaul. “Its efforts to protect and promote biodiversity and conservation are critical to reducing the effects of climate change in South Florida and beyond. President Frenk and I are very grateful to Fairchild for its wonderful collaboration with the University of Miami, especially in preserving the trees and beautiful orchards of Smathers Four Fillies Farm.”

One of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world, Fairchild is dedicated to exploring, explaining, and conserving the world of tropical plants. In addition to honoring members of the community, its annual awards ceremony features tours of its gardens and a fashion show organized by Neiman Marcus Coral Gables.

Among the event’s honorary co-chairs this year was Swanee DiMare. She and her husband, UM Trustee Paul DiMare, are long-time supporters of the University

This year’s honorees also included Susan Abraham, A.B. ’80, Daysi Johansson MSED ’89, A.B. ’88, Brittany Lopez Slater, Marile Lopez, Ana Milton, BSEE ’87, J.D. ’93, Marisa Toccin Lucas, and Silvia Rios Fortun. Previous honorees include former UM President Donna E. Shalala.

Former UM President Donna E. Shalala was among the 2015 honorees.

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Provost Named President of George Washington U

UM News

thomas-j-leblancCORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 6, 2016)—Thomas J. LeBlanc, the energetic, gifted, and seasoned academic leader who brought a distinctive administrative style to the University of Miami in his role as executive vice president and provost for the past 12 years, will step down by August 1 to become president of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

As UM’s executive vice president and provost, LeBlanc oversees 11 schools and colleges, research administration, academic and student affairs, admissions, research funding, and expenditures.

“Tom has been a great partner and friend throughout my presidency, starting from his service as interim president prior to my arrival. Although we will miss him, we are very proud of this new recognition of his accomplished career,” said UM President Julio Frenk. “Given his outstanding record during his 12 years as UM provost, his appointment as president of a major university was an expected development. Tom is tenacious, rigorous, and gregarious, challenging us always to be our best selves, in the classroom, in the lab, and in the community. He has played a crucial role in developing the Roadmap to Our New Century, and I know he will remain focused on the work ahead of us during his remaining time on campus.”

“What a great distinction for a great leader of the academy,” said Richard D. Fain, chair of UM’s Board of Trustees and chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. “Tom has been dedicated, innovative, and energetic in his quest to make the University of Miami a pillar of academic and scholarly excellence. We congratulate him as he embarks on this next great challenge.”

When LeBlanc arrived at UM in 2005 from the University of Rochester, where he served as vice provost and the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty, he helped usher in a relentless march toward improvement across domains in academics, infrastructure, and research.

The quality of students at UM improved significantly during his tenure, with a mean standardized test score of 1325 (on an ACT/SAT concordance scale) and freshmen retention rates well above 90 percent.

He helped transform the undergraduate curriculum at the University, playing a pivotal role in launching the Cognates Program of General Education, which allows students to explore the University’s array of schools and colleges by choosing cognates—sets of at least three related courses—that tap into their individual interests and career goals.

LeBlanc, who holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has published extensively in that field, was the chief architect of UM’s 10-year “Accelerating Ambition” strategic plan, which called for an investment of $2.75 billion in faculty, research infrastructure, graduate programs, undergraduate education, and facilities—areas that thrived under his watch. He helped build a budget that targeted increased funding for student aid, doubling the number of Hammond Scholars (first-generation and minority students) and enhancing graduate education, as well as expanding resources for intercollegiate athletics.

New centers and institutes opened during his tenure. The University of Miami’s Center for Computational Science, for example, which brings enormous super-computing power to bear on many of the pressing problems of the 21st century and beyond, was conceived and funded by LeBlanc. He was instrumental in the creation of UM’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement, which connects students, faculty, and community to promote positive social change in South Florida.

UM’s infrastructure expanded considerably on all three campuses under LeBlanc, as the School of Architecture, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Education and Human Development, Frost School of Music, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Miller School of Medicine, and Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science all unveiled new building projects, as well as extensive renovation projects like the Cox Science Complex, the new arts facility, and the historic preservation of the Campo Sano original administration building.

During LeBlanc’s tenure as provost, UM also rose in the national rankings. In the 2017 issue of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges,” the University is ranked 44th among national universities.

Research funding grew steadily under LeBlanc. This past fiscal year, funding for over 2,100 externally funded projects grew to $323.8 million in sponsored grants and contracts.

“The University of Miami has given me so much more than I could ever hope to repay, through the professional opportunities and close friendships developed over the past 12 years. My wife and I have grown to love the University, the city of Miami, and the wonderful people of South Florida,” said LeBlanc. “As we look forward with excitement to the tremendous opportunity at George Washington University, we will leave with many fond memories, warm friendships, and pride in the progress that we have all forged together. Go ‘Canes!”

President Frenk will consult with the Faculty Senate and Board of Trustees on the formation of a search committee to recruit LeBlanc’s successor.

“Tom and Anne have been an integral part of the Miami Hurricanes family, and I know everyone will join me in expressing our gratitude and very best wishes for their new endeavors at George Washington University,” said President Frenk.

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