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Inside WFU

Wake Forest news for faculty and staff

Black History Month events begin Feb. 1; new website offers details

bhmstickerWake Forest’s Intercultural Center and the Black History Month Committee have announced a month of Black History Month events and activities on the center’s website.

Kicking off the month will be a Feb. 1 event in The Pit featuring student performers, notable University black alumni displays and cuisine from the African Diaspora.  The event will start at 6 p.m.

The month’s keynote event will feature the national co-chairs of the recent Women’s March in Washington, D.C.  The event will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 in Wait Chapel.  Participating in a moderated discussion will be Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez.

Other events and activities planned for February include a Black Professionals Forum; an opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Greg Ellison, author of “Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men,” a book; an address by Payton Head, who was the student government president at the University of Missouri during the 2015 campus protests; a dedication ceremony at Maya Angelou Residence Hall; and much more.

For details, visit

Faculty, staff invited to nominate candidates for student trustee

The Wake Forest Student Life Committee (SLC) is inviting faculty, staff and students to nominate candidates for the position of student trustee on the Wake Forest Board of Trustees. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Feb. 8.

The student trustee position is open to rising, full-time junior and senior students at Wake Forest.

Nomination forms are available at

Candidates for the student trustee position on the 2017-18 board of trustees will be informed of their nomination and asked to consider submitting an application.  The applications must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. Feb. 10. Application are available at

Annually, the Student Life Committee screens applicants and selects finalists for consideration by the trustees.  The new student trustee will be named in April and will begin serving on the board during summer 2017.

Q and A with Engineering Chairwoman Olga Pierrakos

pierrakos-picture_head-shotOn Tuesday, Wake Forest University announced the appointment of Olga Pierrakos as founding chair of the Department of Engineering. One of Wake Downtown’s new anchoring academic programs, undergraduate engineering classes will begin this fall. The following Q&A with her has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What appealed to you about the opportunity to become Wake Forest’s first chair of engineering?

A: It’s a great opportunity to start a brand new engineering program anywhere, and starting a new engineering program does not happen every day. The fact that it’s happening at Wake Forest, an institution with a renowned national reputation in the context of an authentic liberal arts education is a tremendous opportunity. It is an honor and privilege for those that get to be part of it, including me.

Q: What is your vision for the engineering department at Wake Forest?

A: My vision is to build a top-notch undergraduate engineering program that others look to as an exemplar model of innovative engineering education. I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot (from mistakes too) in being a founding faculty member of the James Madison University (JMU) engineering program. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. To get a chance to build a new engineering program for a second time and at Wake Forest is truly an honor.

When I started as a founding faculty member and as an assistant professor at JMU, it was exciting and scary at the same time. To start a new engineering program at Wake Forest, I am not scared but thrilled. At JMU, I’ve touched almost every aspect of building a new program: curriculum, hiring, building facilities, accreditation, assessment, recruitment, mentoring, research, etc. At the National Science Foundation, where I am currently serving as a Program Director, I also see the innovations in undergraduate engineering education every day. It’s transformational to recognize which institutions are doing things right, which innovations we may choose at Wake Forest and maybe even which ones we can make even better.

I really believe in liberal arts education. How do you produce engineers that don’t just have the technical skills to deal with the complexities of the problems they’re going to have to face in a global context? How do you teach students to solve problems and understand the needs of humanity, the ethical implications, the responsibility and the privilege that comes with making the kinds of decisions that they will have to make as engineers? They must truly understand the systems they will impact and how their decisions will change the world around them. Continue reading »

Open house to be held Feb. 1 at police department’s new home

Wake Forest University holds its annual Commencement ceremony on Hearn Plaza on Monday, May 16, 2011.

Chief Regina Lawson

The Wake Forest University Police Department is hosting an open house Feb. 1 at Alumni Hall, where it recently moved its administrative offices from the H.S. Moore Building.

The police department is inviting students, faculty and staff to Alumni Hall to help the department celebrate having its first new home since the 1980s.  An open house will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.

Visitors, including off-campus community partners, will be taken on guided tours following brief opening remarks by various speakers and a ribbon cutting formally opening the department’s new offices.  Light refreshments will be served.

Speakers include President Nathan O. Hatch and Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue.

During the winter break, the police department moved into Alumni Hall, where University Advancement and Parking and Transportation are also located.

Continue reading »

WISE 2017 Conference registration ends Jan. 30

This is a guest post from the Center for Global Programs & Studies:

logo-with-tag-line-for-nametags-version-2The WISE Conference, Feb. 8-10, is for faculty and staff seeking to incorporate more intercultural competency methods into their teaching and interactions with students. The Center for Global Programs & Studies is pleased to host our 9th annual conference focused on intercultural learning for international educators across the nation.  Wake Forest faculty and staff may attend at no cost.

The keynote speaker will be Amer Ahmed, director of intercultural teaching and faculty development at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

It will be held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Winston-Salem.  Shuttles will be available. A detailed schedule for shuttles will be distributed prior to the conference.

Register now using our designated Eventbrite page for Wake Forest faculty, staff and students. Registration closes Monday, Jan. 30, at 4 p.m.  Preview descriptions of conference sessions on the WISE website.  The conference’s schedule and much more is on the website.

If you have any questions about WISE 2017 or are interested in a pre-conference workshop, please contact us at or 336-758-5994.

We look forward to the insightful contributions of Wake Forest faculty and staff to the conference discussions in February.

Wake Forest names founding engineering chair

This announcement was emailed to faculty and staff on Jan. 24 by Provost Rogan Kersh and Dean of the College Michele Gillespie:

Greetings faculty and staff colleagues,

We are delighted to inform you that, after an extensive national search, Wake Forest has appointed Dr. Olga Pierrakos as founding chair of the Department of Engineering. We will make a public announcement later this morning.


Dr. Olga Pierrakos

Dr. Pierrakos currently serves as Program Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where she manages a $100 million portfolio to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at two- and four-year colleges and universities by improving curricula, instruction, laboratories, infrastructure, assessment, diversity of students and faculty, and collaborations.

She is also Associate Professor of the Department of Engineering at James Madison University (JMU), where she helped establish the department in 2008. Dr. Pierrakos developed the engineering course sequence for students, taught a wide range of the courses offered, mentored students in a liberal arts environment and oversaw an exemplary ABET accreditation process — all vital experience for her pivotal role at Wake Forest.

Dr. Pierrakos’s expertise in building a successful engineering department from the ground up, her deep appreciation for a blended engineering and liberal arts curriculum, and her passion for strengthening undergraduate STEM programs across higher education made her uniquely suited to fill this key leadership position at Wake Forest. We look forward to her guiding us through the process of developing an innovative, inclusive, and nationally recognized undergraduate engineering program as an extension of our commitment to liberal arts education at Wake Downtown.

We also wish to express our gratitude to members of an exceptional search committee, chaired by Keith Bonin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics. Other committee members include Rebecca Alexander, Professor of Chemistry and Director of Academic Programming for Wake Downtown; Michael Gross, Assistant Professor of Chemistry; Pete Santago, Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science; and Emmanuel Opara, Professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Graduate Program Director for the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.

This signature appointment comes at a time of great excitement and momentum for the blending of STEM and liberal arts education at Wake Forest. Additional information about Dr. Pierrakos will be available today at and


Rogan Kersh, Provost
Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College

Proposals funded: Bonin, Kim-Shapiro

Congratulations to Keith D. Bonin, professor of physics, whose proposal entitled “Real-Time Dopamine Signaling and Ethanol Drinking Behavior” has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by (subaward/subcontract from) Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFU funding agency).

Congratulations to Daniel B. Kim-Shapiro, professor of physics, whose proposal entitled “Antidote for Inhaled CO Poisoning Based on Mutationally Engineered Neuroglobin” has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by (subaward/subcontract from) University of Pittsburgh (WFU funding agency).

Information Systems announces new services

This is a guest post from Mur Muchane, associate vice president for information technology and chief information officer. It was also emailed by Information Systems to students, faculty and staff on Jan. 23:

Information Systems is pleased to announce several significant service improvements that make getting answers to your technology questions easier, faster and more efficient than ever before.

The Information Systems website is now your one stop shop for everything IT. Access Live Chat, search using our responsive search bar, explore Services, read recent help articles, announcements and alerts. Visit our new site to explore all it has to offer and while you are there, join our social media network to stay connected.

Live Chat

Service Desk representatives are available MondayFriday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to answer your questions and concerns. We are now just a click away.

Service Desk

Our new onsite tech shop provides the ability to repair computers onsite, thus decreasing the amount of time you have to wait. The redesign of the work space allows for a more collaborative work environment, ensuring that staff are visible and readily available to serve our walk-in customers.

Wake Downtown Support

Immediate technical assistance is available through “Dexter,” a video portal that can connect you to a representative at the Service Desk, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If you have questions concerning this message or need assistance, please contact the Information Systems Service Desk at or 336-758-4357 (HELP).

January 2017 staff milestones

See a list of staff milestones in January 2017:

Continue reading »

January 2017 faculty milestones

See a list of faculty milestones in January 2017: Continue reading »