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UM Names New Executive VP and COO

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Operating Officer.

UM News

TravisanoCORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2017) – Jacqueline A. Travisano, a business and financial expert in higher education currently at Nova Southeastern University, has been named executive vice president for business and finance and chief operating officer of the University of Miami.

At NSU, Travisano—whose career encompasses 26 years of service leadership at higher education and nonprofit organizations—oversees assets in excess of $1.3 billion and an annual operating budget of $625 million.

In her new position, Travisano will be responsible for all financial functions, including accounting, financial reporting, budgeting and planning; treasury services, (including investing endowment, pension assets and working capital, credit strategies and external financial relationships); information technology; supply chain; campus planning; and facilities design and construction at UM.

Travisano begins her new post on June 1.

Named one of South Florida Business Journal’s Influential Business Women of 2014, Travisano also will oversee campus and facilities management; emergency preparedness; parking; research administration; auxiliary operations, including on-campus retail; entertainment and dining facilities; and human resources.

“Jackie fills a critically important role at the University of Miami that is in direct response to the ambitious goals we’ve established as we move toward our centennial, which is less than a decade away. She will be an integral member of our leadership team who will have a positive impact on the future of our university,” said UM President Julio Frenk, adding that the University found the ideal candidate for the position “right in our own backyard.”

“Dr. Travisano has a strong track record as a successful agent of change,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, who chairs UM’s Board of Trustees. “I am confident that she will be a strong and energetic leader at the U.”

“I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity to join the University of Miami, one of the top research universities in the country,” said Travisano. “This is such an exciting time for the University, and I look forward to celebrating many successes as a member of the ’Cane family.”

David Ertel, chief financial officer and chief strategy officer for health affairs at UM, will continue to serve as interim senior vice president and chief financial officer until Travisano assumes her duties.

Travisano has served as NSU’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2011, setting the overall direction, management, and effective administrative operations of the university in support of its mission, core values, and Vision 2020 initiative. NSU is a private not-for-profit university with more than 23,000 students and graduate programs in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, nursing, education, and business.

Immediately prior to joining Nova, Travisano served as vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer at St. John’s University in Queens, New York.

In 2015, the 1,000 Plus Club for Cancer Research recognized her as Woman of the Year. That same year, she was named Student of the Year by the NSU Abraham S. Fischler College of Education, where she earned a doctorate in higher education leadership.

Three years ago, the National Diversity Council honored her with its Glass Ceiling Award, and in 2013 and 2014 the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County recognized her as one of Broward’s Top 100 Women. In 2012, the Florida Diversity Council honored her as one of the state’s most powerful and influential women.

Travisano’s charitable works include service on the Board of Directors for the ARC of Broward County and the Honorary Board of the Special Olympics of Broward County, and service on the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes of Broward County. Travisano is also an active member of the Royal Dames for Cancer Research. In 2014, she served as chair of the 45th Annual Royal Dames Tiara Ball, raising more than $400,000 for Nova’s Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research.

In addition to her doctorate in higher education leadership from NSU, Travisano is a certified public accountant and holds an M.B.A. from Chatham University and a B.S. in business administration from Robert Morris University.

She and her husband, Peter, live in Davie, Florida, and have four children and two grandchildren.

Posted in Appointments, NewsComments Off

Physics Professor Wins Air Force Grant

By Andrew Boryga
Special to UM News


He Wang

He Wang, an assistant professor of physics, joined the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences just last August but she is already making big waves.

Late last year, Wang was notified that she won a grant from the prestigious 2017 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFSOR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) to continue investigating the potential application of next-generation LEDs, solar cells, transistors, and lasers.

YIP is a research grant award that is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received a Ph.D. or an equivalent degree in the last five years and who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting research.

The objective of the grant is to foster creative research in science and engineering, enhance career development of talented young researchers, and increase their opportunities to recognize and tackle significant challenges in the fields of science and engineering.

Wang’s winning proposal was titled “Structure-Photophysics-Function Relationship of Perovskite Materials.”

Her research focuses on investigating device physics and photophysics of organic and organic-inorganic hybrid optoelectronic materials. In layman’s terms, optoelectronics is the study and application of electronic devices and systems that source, detect, and control light. An example would be solar cells or LED devices.

Wang said she is excited about the award.

“I have been studying these subjects for some time and I look forward to using the resources of this grant to gain even more insight,” she said.

She tunes the structure of thin films comprised of these materials, uses laser spectroscopy to understand dynamics, and combines her knowledge of physics and engineering to think about the potential application of next-generation LEDs, solar cells, transistors, and lasers.

In her proposal for YIP, she focused on studying a new classification of materials associated with this field: organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite materials. Perovskite is a specific type of crystal structure found in materials that can be used for solar cells and LED technology.

Over the course of the next three years, she will use aspects of physics, chemistry, materials science, and engineering to study the fundamental behavior of these materials and what they could possibly be used for in the future.

This will be a continuation of the research she began when she entered Princeton University as a graduate student in 2008. After receiving her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Princeton in 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow in physical chemistry at UC Berkeley for nearly three years before joining the College of Arts and Sciences’ physics department.

There were over 230 proposals for the YIP last year and grants were awarded to just 58 scientists and engineers. In total, these young researchers received $20 million, or $360,000 per winner. The grant is spread out over the course of three years and can be used to support research, hire personnel, and acquire any necessary lab equipment.




Posted in Honors, NewsComments Off

The Iron Arrow Tribe Expands

2017 Iron Arrow Spring Tappings

Click on photo to enlarge.

With the telltale beating of a drum, the approach of a solemn procession, and a tap on the shoulder with an iron arrow, 41 members of the University of Miami community were inducted last week into the University’s most prestigious honor society, which recognizes those who exemplify love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship, and humility.

Pictured above are members of Iron Arrow’s Spring 2017 Tapping Class, which includes:

Vedant Achraya
Suzanne Aldahan
Norman Altman
Susanna Alvarez-Diaz
Christa Anderson
Mary Balise
Nathan Bates
Jacob Beck
Braxton Berrios
Alexandra Bicki
Adam Bright
Megan Brown
Michael Gittelman
Avisha Gopalakrishna
Peri Green
Valerie Halstead
Demetrius Jackson
Lee Kaplan
Natalie Laboy
Chiara Lazzereschi
Rick Lin
Megan Lipsky
Gerard Loisel
Karyn Meshbane
Nidhi Patel
Coleman Reardon
Ana Regalado
Robert Renfro
Nigel Richardson
Arrix Ryce
Amanda Saab
Jackie Safstrom
Alessandria San Roman
Jennifer Shiroky
Yash Soni
David Steinberg
Linet Suarez
Stephen Symes
Kay Tatum
Phallon Tullis-Joyce
Andrea Vorlicek

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UM Community Engaged in Provost Search

By Meredith Camel
UM News


UM President Julio Frenk outlined five attributes the University requires of its next provost.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2017)—The executive vice president and provost is the University’s chief academic officer and a principal voice on all aspects of daily activity and future progress. To garner feedback from the UM community about the kinds of skills, experience, and qualities the University’s next provost should embody, members of the Provost Search Committee held town hall meetings on March 20 and 21 on all three campuses, as well as in an online chat session.

Thomas J. LeBlanc will step down this summer after 12 years as UM’s executive vice president and provost to become president of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This accomplishment demonstrates that UM is “seen not only as a magnet for talent but also as a purveyor of talent for other universities,” UM President Julio Frenk told participants at the Coral Gables town hall.

In his remarks, Frenk outlined five attributes the University requires of its next provost: stellar academic achievement; an appreciation for the breadth and depth of fields at a comprehensive research university like UM—and commitment to building bridges between them; a keen understanding of challenges in higher education, including diminishing research funding, rising costs of education, and health care industry changes; a proven record as an innovator; and a relentless commitment to diversity.

Deans, students, and faculty and staff members who attended the town halls shared their top priorities for the next provost with select members of the search committee, chaired by Eduardo Alfonso, director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The ability to find new strategies for funding research and scholarship was a hot topic among participants, as was the call for someone who will be transparent amid the tough choices integral to the role. Additional recommendations included support for technology and other classroom upgrades, the ability to motivate faculty members to embrace innovations in pedagogy, a global outlook and proficiency with international communities, and a management style that embraces the University’s DIRECCT values (diversity, integrity, responsibility, creativity, compassion, and teamwork).

To nominate a candidate or for more information, visit the Executive Vice President and Provost Search website.

Posted in NewsComments Off

Three Faculty to Present ’Cane Talks on Cuba

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 16, 2017) – A Grammy Award-winning Afro-Cuban jazz pianist and composer; a religious studies scholar whose interests include Latino/Latina, Latin American, and feminist theologies; and the director for a repository of materials and scholarship on the history Cuban theater will illuminate Cuba’s rich cultural heritage and what it means for the world during the next series of ’Cane Talks on Thursday, April 13 at 6 p.m. in the UM Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center. The three talks will be from 6-7 p.m., followed by a Q & A from 7-7:30 p.m.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba, a lecturer of studio music and jazz in the Frost School of Music who was born in Havana to a musical family, will combine performance and reflection to trace some of the influences that have shaped his work, beginning in Cuba and spanning the globe, when he presents “La Musica en Mi” as one of the talks in this latest series, titled “Improvisation, Beauty, and Resilience: Three Talks on the Culture of Cuba.”

In her talk, “Masking the Virgin Mary,” Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, a professor of religious studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, will discuss how La Caridad del Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba, is a symbol of that country’s identity, and the complexity and resilience of its religious traditions.

And in “Theater and Reconciliation: The Power of the Digital Diaspora,” Lillian Manzor, associate professor and chair of modern languages and literatures and director of UM’s Cuban Digital Theater Archive, will talk about the roles that theater and digital culture play in building community across the fraught borders of time, space, and nations.

A Q & A moderated by School of Communication Dean Gregory Shepherd will follow the talks, prior to which a faculty reception will be held at 5 p.m. in the Hurricane 100 Room at the Watsco Center.

Tickets to the talks at the UM Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center are free but seating is limited.

Unveiled in late January 2016 during the week of inauguration-related activities for UM President Julio Frenk, ’Cane Talks are lively 10-minute presentations by leading thinkers in the UM community illuminating big questions we face in the next century.

The inaugural 10 ’Cane Talks are available for viewing at canetalks.miami.edu.

Other UM events focusing on Cuba:

  • Yoani Sánchez, a UM Distinguished Presidential Fellow and internationally acclaimed independent journalist, will speak on “Women in Contemporary Cuba: Challenges and Opportunities during Times of Change” on Thursday, April 20 at 6 p.m. at the Newman Alumni Center. The lecture and Q & A are in Spanish; translation services available on request. For tickets, click here.
  • Two current exhibitions at the Lowe Art Museum showcase Cuban artists: Unconscious Thoughts Animate the World and Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections. For information, visit the museum website.

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