Tag Archive | "Office of the Provost"

‘Make a Career Out of Making a Difference’

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‘Make a Career Out of Making a Difference’

Activist and community organizer Alicia Garza stresses the need for a richness of ideas to help solve society’s problems.  

By Megan Ondrizek
UM News

#BlackLivesMatter's Alicia Garza addresses students at the Shalala Student Center.

#BlackLivesMatter’s Alicia Garza addresses students at the Shalala Student Center.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 10, 2017)—In a visit originally planned for Black Awareness Month, Alicia Garza—social justice activist, community organizer and co-founder of Black Lives Matter—told the story about the movement and its impact on society Thursday evening at the University of Miami.

But she was focused on the future.

“It’s 2017… Four years since Black Lives Matter came onto the scene,” Garza said. “We’re at a different moment now. It’s time for us to pivot into ‘what are we going to do,’ not just how we got here.”

Introduced by student Gabrielle Hand, Garza addressed an audience of more than 150 students, faculty members, and staff gathered in the Donna E. Shalala Student Center grand ballroom.

“I understand blackness as a political language. The only identity politics moving through this country right now are the politics of white identity. Everything black is cool right now, except for black people,” Garza said, eliciting applause, snaps, and excitement from the crowd.

And while Garza hopes that society can eliminate the use of race as a political language, she doesn’t want to live in a color-blind world. “I do want to be seen,” she said.

Addressing the students in the room, Garza urged them to act.

“We need your minds to figure out the biggest problems that our society faces today—your wisdom, your talents, your skills. We need your brilliant minds with some sense of right and wrong,” she said. “Ask yourself: ‘What do I want my legacy to be?’ And know that you can make a career out of making a difference.”

Garza is currently the special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She has been named to the Politico50 Guide of Thinkers, Doers, and Visionaries Transforming American Politics, among other honors.

Earlier in the day, Garza spoke as a guest lecturer for the Black Lives Matter interdisciplinary course called “Race, Class, and Power: University Course on Ferguson and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement,” taught at the Miami Law School by Professor Osamudia James.
The evening lecture was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Division of Student Affairs, Student Life, Multicultural Student Affairs, and Housing and Residential Life.

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#BlackLivesMatter Co-Creator Alicia Garza to Speak at UM

Garza-AliciaFaculty, staff, and students are invited to  a special lecture by Alicia Garza, social activist and co-creator of the #BlackLivesMatter movement on Thursday, March 9  at 7 p.m. in the Shalala Student Center Grand Ballroom. As co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Garza has helped transform what was once a viral hashtag and social media force into a grassroots national organization and global human rights movement. In her talks, Garza shares her unflinching call to action against discrimination in the U.S. while galvanizing individuals to fight for freedom and justice for all black lives. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and is free of charge.

This event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Division of Student Affairs, the Department of Student Life, Multicultural Student Affairs, and Housing & Residential Life. If you have any questions, contact the Department of Student Life by emailing studentlife@miami.edu or calling 305-284-2805.


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Provost Named President of George Washington U


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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Call for Applications and Nominations for the 2017 Faculty Learning Community

The Office of the Provost is pleased to invite applications and nominations for the 2017 Faculty Learning Community (FLC). This year, there will be distinct FLC groups around three themes: 3D Scanning, Printing, and Visualization; Flipped and Active Learning; and Student Generated Media.

The deadline for applications is Friday, December 16. 

The FLC program was the focus of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). FLCs give faculty members from all disciplines the knowledge, skills, and pedagogical support to improve their teaching and enhance the learning environment.

The University regards FLC membership as an acknowledgment of excellent, innovative, and effective teaching. It is open to all full-time University faculty who are engaged in undergraduate teaching. Faculty who are selected will be designated as FLC Fellows and will receive a one-course teaching reduction in the Fall 2017 semester. In addition, each FLC group will share a pool of funds (approximately $6,000) to draw upon for either a group investment or smaller individual purchases that support their theme.

The FLC Fellows will meet during the Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 semesters, and will participate in weekly discussions, workshops, and a virtual community. They also will be expected to incorporate active-learning concepts into an existing or new course, utilize emerging tools/technologies as part of the course, assess active-learning outcomes, and teach the enhanced course at least three times during the five years after their FLC is concluded.

Learn more about the 2017 Faculty Learning Community program and download an application.




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Scholars Honored for Their Pioneering Achievements


Scholars Honored for Their Pioneering Achievements

UM News

Scholarly Activity2

President Julio Frenk and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, at center, honor the recipients of the Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity, from left, Peter Minnett, (who was away and impersonated by his mask-wearing chair, Dennis Hansell) and Xue Zhong Liu, and, from right, Francisco M. Raymo.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 1, 2016)—An otolaryngologist who has identified new genes for different forms of hearing loss, a chemist who contributed to the explosion of molecular logic gates, and an oceanographer who specializes in remote satellite sensing of critical sea-surface temperatures are the recipients of the 2016 Provost’s Award for Scholarly Activity.

Xue Zhong Liu, professor of otolaryngology and vice chair for research in the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology; Francisco M. Raymo, professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Peter Minnett, professor of ocean sciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science were honored last Friday by Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM President Julio Frenk, and Vice Provost for Research John Bixby during a ceremony in the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center.

Also honored at the ceremony were five recipients of the Provost’s Funding Award, bestowed for the first time, and 61 recipients of the Provost’s Research Awards, announced earlier this year.

“It is my distinct privilege to be here today to acknowledge the life-changing work these award recipients conduct on a daily basis,”  Frenk said in offering his thanks and congratulations to all the awardees. “One of our aspirations is to be an exemplary university and that begins with you—you are an example to your colleagues and peers, your students, and our greater society.”


President Julio Frenk and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc, center, and Vice Provost for Research John Bixby, left, honor the inaugural  recipients of the Provost’s Funding Award, from left, Neil Schneiderman, Victoria Behar Mitrani, Michelle Waks Galloway, W. Dalton Dietrich, and Fabrice Manns.

The funding award was established to recognize productivity in research, as evidenced by sustained, peer-reviewed, extramural funding, and, as what Bixby called “a stealth goal,” to identify faculty who have the ability and willingness to mentor other faculty. The inaugural recipients are: W. Dalton Dietrich, professor of neurological surgery and scientific director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; Fabrice Manns, professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering and professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute; Victoria Behar Mitrani, professor and associate dean for the Ph.D. program and research in the School of Nursing and Health Studies; Neil Schneiderman, the James L. Knight Professor of Health Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Miller School of Medicine; and Michelle Wachs Galloway, professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The annual Awards for Scholarly Activity recognize UM faculty who have demonstrated excellence in research by either a single unique achievement or years of high-quality scholarly productivity. Nominated by their deans and selected by a committee composed of previous awardees, this year’s recipients all have sustained, pioneering research accomplishments in their respective fields.

Liu, who is also a professor of human genetics, biochemistry, and pediatrics, has devoted his career to identifying new genes for different forms of hearing loss, the understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of genetic deafness, and the improvement of the clinical diagnosis/management of deaf patients.

He is the founder of the Miami Molecular and Clinical Otogenetic Programs, the most comprehensive research and patient care program for patients with genetic hearing loss in the world. His team has discovered 15 percent of all the new genes related to deafness in the world, and his innovations have led to exciting new ways to enhance our understanding of normal hearing and genetic aberrations that result in hearing impairments.

Liu is also known for his career-long, exemplary translational research on hereditary hearing loss from basic sciences to clinical application (bench to bedside) and, for the past three years, ranking in the top 1 percent of National Institutes of Health-funded physician-scientists in the auditory field.

As the author of more than 150 scientific papers and book chapters in highly impactful journals, including Nature GeneticsLancet, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Liu has made landmark contributions to auditory science and his work has been cited over 4,000 times.

A professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences, Minnett was unable to attend the ceremony so his chair, Dennis A. Hansell, accepted the award in his behalf—his face covered with a Minnett mask. The real Minnett has studied satellite oceanography for more than 30 years, concentrating primarily on the remote sensing of sea­-surface temperatures from satellites and ships, the microscale effects occurring at the sea surface, and the physics of the Arctic.

He and his team deploy highly calibrated Fourier Transform Infrared Interferometers on ships to measure the emission spectra from the ocean and atmosphere. The data sets support research into the physics of the ocean surface and air‐sea exchanges, and are considered among the most important in climate change research.

Minnett, whose three decades of sustained, high-quality research are evidenced by more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, has an “h-index” of 33, according to Google Scholar. In 2008, he was elected as the Science Team Chair of the International Group for High Resolution Sea‐Surface Temperature (GHRSST).

The recipient of many awards, including the 2014 and 2003 NASA Group Achievement Awards, he is on the editorial board of Surveys in Geophysics and associate editor of Remote Sensing of Environment. He also has held editorial responsibilities for the Oceans Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing (2007- 2013); the Cryosphere Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing (2007- 2013); the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology (2004-2007); Remote Sensing of Environment (1999 – 2008); and Atmosphere-Oceans (2000-2001).

Over the past 15 years, Raymo, who holds six patents on technologies at the intersection of the biological, chemical, and materials sciences, has established an international reputation and a vigorous research program combining chemical synthesis, photochemistry, and supramolecular chemistry. His early research articles in PNAS and the Journal of the American Chemical Society contributed to the explosion of the general area of molecular logic gates.

These publications, together with his invited review in Advanced Materials, which already has been cited more than 400 times, are milestones in the field and helped establish Raymo’s international visibility early in his career. So, too, has a Career Award from the National Science Foundation, which has continuously supported his research since.

Altogether, his research has been cited as many as 11,907 times and his current h-index is as high as 58. The scientific impact of his findings is also evidenced by the invited lectures he delivered at the main international conferences in his research area, including the Gordon Research Conference on Photochemistry and the Gordon Research Conference on Artificial Molecular Motors and Switches.

This year’s Provost’s Research Awards, which were announced in January, are providing salary support and direct research costs to 61 faculty representing 32 departments in seven schools and colleges on the Coral Gables and marine campuses for a wide range of research projects—from the Effects of Anthropomorphizing Nature on Perceptions of Climate Change to The Film Music of Alberto Ginastera during the Perón Years.

The funding is awarded in three categories based on discipline: the Max Orovitz Research Award in Arts and Humanities; the James W. McLamore Research Award in Business and the Social Sciences; and the Research Award in the Natural Sciences and Engineering. Read more about the awards and view a list of this year’s awardees.

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