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Faculty-Student Academic Support Grants

Professor Brian Beaton. 2013 Faculty Award recipient.

A grant of up to $2000 will be awarded to enable faculty to enlist student research in the Dick Thornburgh archives for the benefit of a new or existing course. The student will gain valuable experience working with primary source material.

The Thornburgh Archive includes for example

  • Early Pittsburgh history. (circa 1960’s)
  • Years as Governor of Pennsylvania.  (1979-1987)
  • Years as Attorney General of the United States. (1988-1991)
  • The Three Mile Island Nuclear accident. (1979)
  • Political campaigns. (1965-1990)
  • Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (1990)
  • United Nations Leadership. (1992)
  • WorldCom bankruptcy. (2002)

Selection Criteria

Selection of the award will be based on the following criteria: Sound relevant topic; Degree of incorporation of archival material into the overall curriculum; Clarity of the stated schedule, budget, and development plan for the curriculum.


This grant is available to any faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh and its regional campuses.  Eligible expenses may be used for student research support, research stipends, direct expenses in utilizing the archives, and direct expenses for curriculum development.; Eligible activities include new course curricula or significant modification to existing course curricula.

Application Link

Congratulations to past award recipients


 Jennifer Murtazashvili, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Murtazashvili will use the Thornburgh Archive to develop a series of four case studies that will become a critical part of two management/governance courses in GSPIA.  Of the four cases developed, two will be based on domestic issues and two will be based on international issues.  Policy case studies will analyze how the Governor was involved in making difficult policy choices and analyze the cost-benefit calculus employed.  Management case studies will focus on how the Governor affected the public sector reform.  These cases will focus on stakeholder analysis to understand how the governor affected change in large bureaucracies.  These case studies will not only be utilized in GSPIA coursework, but they will be made public on a website where they can be downloaded, free of charge, by instructors around the world for incorporation into management and public policy courses.

 Andrew Rose, Associate Professor and Department Head of the Civil Engineering Technology Dept. at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  Dr. Rose will use the Thornburgh Archive to research the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act which was enacted following the 1977 Johnstown flood.  This law became effective on July 1, 1979, less than six months after Thornburgh began serving as Governor.   Research will be done on how Governor Thornburgh and his administration took responsibility for implementing the law, supported the agencies tasked with enforcing the law, and supported dam safety and rehabilitation within the Commonwealth.  The materials from this research will be incorporated into a 4-credit required course taken in the Junior or Senior year by Civil Engineering Technology majors on the Johnstown campus.


Brian Beaton, Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.  Professor Beaton will use the Thornburgh Archives to research materials for a new graduate course he is developing at the School of Information Sciences.  The Archive collection from the time period when Governor Thornburgh served as the Governor of Pennsylvania will be used to develop case studies and a primary source document reader for students to use throughout the course for a fuller sense of Pennsylvania's recent history of economic reinvention with a particular emphasis on Pittsburgh. News release article.

Richard Joyce, Attorney and Counselor at Law.  The Governor Thornburgh Case Study Project will analyze the role of conflict resolution and negotiation skills in governance and public service.  The research portion of the study will utilize the Dick Thornburgh Papers housed by the Hillman Library to identify episodes within Governor Thornburgh's public service career that highlight the importance of conflict resolution and negotiation skills. News release article.

The Honors College course on law in public service titled, “Legal Issues in Public Service,” was taught by attorney Richard Joyce in Spring 2014.  Mr. Joyce is an adjunct professor in the College of Legal Studies. His research was incorporated into his course and included episodes of leadership from the archive that illustrate the importance and texture of skills in conflict resolution and negotiation across Thornburgh’s roles as Governor of Pennsylvania, Attorney General of the United States, and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Joseph Hornack, adjunct professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, has used the award to fund research at the Hillman Library’s archive center in the areas of origin of the principles underlying in the American with Disabilities Act (ADA); the political and legislative history of the ADA; and comparative analysis of the ADA with both the laws of other nations as well as international law on the subject of the rights of persons with disabilities. News release article.


Richard Cox, professor in the School of Information Sciences, has incorporated research from the archives into the course Archival Access, Advocacy, and Ethics.  Graduate students used the Thornburgh collection to develop information packets for use by college students to highlight the value of archival records in understanding legal, public policy, and other high-profile cases. News release article.

Rosemary Hoffman, assistant professor in the School of Nursing’s Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, has incorporated research from the archives into the course Leadership, Healthcare Policy, and Finance. Hoffman and a graduate student have developed a multimedia case study analyzing the impact of Three Mile Island on health care policy development,potential health effects, and changes in the nuclear industry - especially emergency response. News release article.

Mark Magalotti, senior lecturer in the School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and coordinator for the Graduate Program in Transportation Engineering, has incorporated research from the archives into the course Urban Transportation Planning. A graduate student researched and wrote a case study on the short and long term impact of the Three Mile Island crisis on public policy for transportation planning for nuclear plant disasters.  The case study was used in the course as a real-world example of how case studies are structured and completed. News release article.

Anibal Perez-Linan, associate professor in the School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Political Science, has incorporated research from the archives into the course Comparative Politics.  Governor Thornburgh’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1989 was used as the basis for class discussion on the contradiction between totalitarianism and the rule of law. Students were required to write an essay using papers and video from the archives on the contradiction between totalitarianism and the rule of law in today’s post-totalitarian China. News release article.