Edward M. Stricker Named University Honors College Dean, Effective July 1

Issue Date: 
May 23, 2011
Edward M. StrickerEdward M. Stricker

Edward M. Stricker—a renowned neuroscience scholar and educator who currently serves as Distinguished University Professor of Neuroscience in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neuroscience and who, throughout his career at the University, has been known for his commitment to instilling in students his appreciation of and enthusiasm for the development of the life of the mind—has been named dean of Pitt’s University Honors College (UHC). His appointment is effective July 1, 2011.

“It would be very difficult to find many other faculty members, here or in other universities, who have built a broad-based record of achievement that equals the record built by Ed Stricker,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “In addition to his outstanding accomplishments in research, he was the founding chair of our Department of Neuroscience and has played a key role not only in building that department but in nurturing cooperative efforts in that important field across our campus and with colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University. Even more important, in terms of his appointment as Dean of our Honors College, is his career-long commitment to teaching and mentoring, which is evidenced by his receipt of the highest teaching honors awarded by our University.”

“I am delighted that Dr. Stricker has agreed to serve as dean of the Honors College and have great confidence that his scholarly leadership, dedication to undergraduate students, and commitment to excellence will serve us well in his new role,” said Patricia E. Beeson, Pitt provost and senior vice chancellor. “He personifies our institutional belief in the value of the highest quality education and the importance of imparting a lifelong interest in learning and research to our students. I very much look forward to working with Dr. Stricker and believe that under his leadership the University Honors College, which already is recognized as one of the finest honors colleges in the country, will continue to foster and inspire excellence.”

Stricker’s Pitt career began in 1971 as an associate professor of psychology and biological sciences; he was promoted to full professor in 1976 and was named University Professor of Neuroscience in 1986. That special faculty rank recognizes eminence in several fields of study, transcending accomplishments in a single discipline. Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, Stricker served as a faculty member at McMaster University. He also has been a visiting professor of psychiatry at both Johns Hopkins and Cornell universities.

Stricker earned BS and MS degrees in chemistry from the University of Chicago and a PhD in psychology from Yale University. He also held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Colorado and the University of Pennsylvania.

Over the past 25 years, Stricker has been instrumental in the development of the University’s nationally recognized neuroscience community. Having served as director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program from 1983 to 1986, he led efforts to establish a Department of Neuroscience in the School of Arts and Sciences, serving as founding chair of that department for 16 years, from 1986 to 2002. He also served as founding director of the Center for Neuroscience and Schizophrenia (now the Conti Center for Neuroscience of Mental Disorders) and, from 1996 to 2002, as codirector of the University’s Center for Neuroscience.

In addition, Stricker has provided leadership to the University more broadly, serving on chancellor’s and provost’s advisory committees and as chair of search committees for the senior vice chancellor for health sciences (1992-93) and the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences (1997).

Stricker is internationally recognized as a leading expert in homeostatic systems, especially the control of fluid ingestion and the kidneys, and their integration by the brain. For 41 years, he maintained an active research laboratory continuously funded through grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) [including 37 years of continuous funding for research on the homeostatic origins of motivation], the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Canada’s National Research Council. He also has received both the prestigious NIMH Research Scientist Award and the NIMH MERIT Award, a symbol of scientific achievement in the research community. His publications include nearly 300 research articles, reviews, and book chapters.

Throughout his career, Stricker has demonstrated a deep commitment to and appreciation for education—particularly undergraduate education—including a belief in the unique benefits that can result from the involvement of undergraduates in research. Inside and outside the classroom, he has challenged students to aspire to excellence and has provided the encouragement and tools necessary for achieving those aspirations. Recognizing the importance of engaging students early in their careers, he has taught introductory neuroscience each academic year since 1971, along with advanced undergraduate and graduate courses.

Stricker also was the founding codirector, in 1992, of the NIMH-funded Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, which facilitates undergraduate engagement with faculty research and was one key to strengthening a culture of commitment to excellence in undergraduate education within the neuroscience community. In recognition of the impact he has had on undergraduate education at Pitt, Stricker has received both the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, recognizing distinguished teaching university-wide, and the Bellet Teaching Excellence Award, which honors teaching excellence in the School of Arts and Sciences. He also was honored for distinguished teaching while serving as a faculty member at McMaster University earlier in his career.

A member of the editorial board for Plenum Press’ Behavioral Neurobiology series since 1990, Stricker also has been on the editorial boards of Appetite and the American Journal of Physiology and was consulting editor for the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. From 1999 to 2002, he was president-elect, president, and past president of the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs.

Stricker’s professional society memberships include the International Congress on the Physiology of Food and Fluid Ingestion, serving as president from 1987 to 1994; Sigma Xi; the Society for Neuroscience; the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior; and The American Physiological Society.

Stricker succeeds G. Alec Stewart, UHC’s dean since its inception, who passed away in April 2010. Pitt professor of economics Steven Husted has been acting as the college’s interim dean since May 2010.