Office of the Provost


August 21, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

I am very pleased to announce that Drs. Carey D. Balaban and Laurie J. Kirsch have accepted my offers to become the University of Pittsburgh’s Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Vice Provost for Faculty Development, respectively. These two part-time appointments will replace the full-time position currently held by Vice Provost Andrew Blair. The new division of responsibilities not only maps well to the talents, interests, and experiences of both Carey and Laurie, it will also strengthen the connection of the Office of the Provost to the faculty and will provide wider representation of the University in my office. Dr. Balaban will start in his new position on September 1, 2012; Dr. Kirsch will start on September 1, 2013.

Dr.  Balaban, a Professor of Otolaryngology in the School of Medicine and Director of the Centers for National Preparedness and for Biology of Vibration and Shock Injury, earned his bachelor’s degree in History at Michigan State University and his Ph.D. degree in Anatomy from the University of Chicago. Throughout his career at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Balaban has taken an active role in contributing to the development of the University’s faculty, preserving their rights and responsibilities, and promoting the development of processes that foster excellence in our faculty. In 2009, he was a recipient of an Award for Service in the University Senate. As chair of the University Senate’s Standing Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom, a committee he has served on since 1993, Dr. Balaban has helped individual faculty from across the University understand University policies, has been an advocate for a strong faculty, and has ensured a careful and thoughtful review of faculty appeals.  He also serves or has served on the University’s Entrepreneurial Oversight and Conflict of Interest Committees, the Provost’s Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Freedom, and the School of Medicine’s Standing Committee for Tenured Faculty Promotions and Appointments.  His participation on these committees has deepened his understanding of the faculty in ways that will serve him well in his new position. 

Dr. Balaban joined our faculty as an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine in 1988 after completing his postdoctoral training at the University of Tokyo, serving as an Assistant Professor in Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University.  He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1993 and to full Professor in 2000.  In addition to Otolaryngology, Dr. Balaban holds secondary appointments in Neurobiology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Bioengineering reflecting an interdisciplinary background that connects him with faculty from across the University.

During his twenty-four years at Pitt, Dr. Balaban has built a successful research program with funding from a variety of sources including the NIH, NASA, the Office of Naval Research and several other agencies and corporations. He has extensive experience in conducting multidisciplinary, cross-cutting research in biomedical sciences, engineering and social sciences and has participated in the emerging fields of augmented cognition and neuroergonomics. His over-riding interest has been the formulation of mathematical models, heuristic models and teleological approaches to interpret data from basic science experiments in terms of behavioral and clinical phenomena.  Using this approach, he has examined the interplay between neurological and psychological features of co-morbid aspects of balance disorders, migraine and anxiety disorders.  His recent work is extending the implications of these models to analogous features of mild traumatic brain injury, acoustic trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.  In addition to more than 150 peer-reviewed basic research and scholarly articles and two patents, Dr. Balaban is an author of two books on seventeenth century medicine.  

Dr.  Kirsch, a Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for Professional Programs in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Sciences at Ohio State University, her master’s degree and doctoral degrees in Business Administration at the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota, respectively.  Dr. Kirsch joined our faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Katz Graduate School of Business in 1993, where she was promoted to Associate Professor in 1999 and to full Professor in 2006.  As Senior Associate Dean at the Katz Graduate School of Business, Dr. Kirsch is responsible for the masters’ and executive programs; assists the dean in a wide range of faculty matters including hiring, promotion and tenure processes; and has played a lead role in reorganizing the administrative functions of the school to advance the professional programs and greatly enhance the services provided to students and faculty. Dr. Kirsch will also bring to her new position experience garnered through leadership positions she has held in the Association for Information Systems and the Academy of Management, including serving on executive councils and as the Professional Development Workshop Chair, Program Chair, and Division Chair in the Academy’s Organizational Communication and Information System Division. 

A talented and committed researcher, teacher, and administrator, Dr. Kirsch has been recognized within the Katz School with both the Teaching and Research Excellence Awards. In her nearly twenty-year career at Pitt, Dr. Kirsch has established herself as a leading scholar in the area of information systems. She has been recognized as a Magid Igbaria Distinguished Scholar and appointed a Visiting Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.  Her research focuses on the use and development of information systems with a particular focus on control strategies and the systems development process, the transfer of knowledge in the information systems context, and examining how stakeholders can better manage information systems initiatives and improve software processes.  Her most recent work, funded by the National Science Foundation, investigates the governance, structure and management of large cyber-infrastructure research collaboratory projects. 

During her distinguished career, Dr. Kirsch has provided national leadership to her discipline, serving as senior editor or associate editor for top journals in her field, including past service as senior editor of Information Systems Research and as associate editor for MIS Quarterly and Management Science.  She currently serves on the editorial board of several other leading journals including Decision Sciences, Information and Organization, and the Journal of Strategic Information Systems. She has served in several leadership positions in the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the premier research conference in her field, including Program Co-Chair and on the ICIS Executive Council.  She is currently Co-chair of the ICIS Senior Scholars Consortium.

I am delighted that Drs. Balaban and Kirsch have agreed to serve as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Vice Provost for Faculty Development, respectively.  I have great confidence in their academic, organizational, and research leadership.  They share my commitment to excellence which includes providing an environment where faculty can successfully fulfill their research aspirations and pursue teaching excellence.  I look forward to working closely with them.  


Patricia E. Beeson

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