Pioneering engineer, professor Anne Hiltner dies

Anne Hiltner.

Anne Hiltner, Case Western Reserve’s first female professor of engineering and an internationally recognized scientist and engineer, died Monday after a courageous battle with illness. She was 69.

“Our campus has lost a remarkable academic leader,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “As a woman in the sciences and engineering, Professor Hiltner’s entire career served as an inspiration to others. As a researcher of extraordinary ingenuity and accomplishment, she transformed her field. Her impact on the university, and on students and colleagues worldwide, cannot be overstated. We will miss her.”

Professor Hiltner came to the university in 1967, after earning a doctorate in physical chemistry from Oregon State University. She served as a research associate for one year with chemistry professor Irvin M. Krieger, and then joined the laboratory of professor Eric Baer, who was chairman of the Department of Macromolecular Science at the time. The connection with professor Baer proved fortuitous, as the pair forged a powerful scientific collaboration that persisted to the present. They also discovered personal compatibility, marrying in 1999.

“The dream of every faculty member is to try harder, harder,” Baer said. “She always climbed mountains.”

From the very beginning, Baer recalled, his colleague was committed to excellence. Whether working in the laboratory, writing papers or advising graduate students, Hiltner remained laser-focused. “She was a projects person,” Baer said.

In 1974, Hiltner became the university’s first female member of the engineering faculty when she became an assistant professor of macromolecular engineering.

Even with all of the recognition, Baer said, “her greatest joy was her involvement with the graduate students.  She loved the creative, productive side of her work.”

Hiltner did not want formal remembrances or donations made in her name, Baer said. The greatest tribute others can make to Hiltner, he explained, is to continue her creative mission through their academic work. Read more.

University and Harbin Institute of Technology in China Sign Agreement

Faculty members from Case Western Reserve and HIT.

Tuesday, in a signing ceremony in Adelbert Hall, Case Western Reserve University and Harbin Institute of Technology, in Shenzhen, China, agreed to establish an undergraduate-graduate degree program with the purpose of promoting educational exchange and cooperation between the two institutions.

The cooperative program will focus on degree programs in engineering, but could be extended to include other majors.

Students will earn a bachelor’s degree from Harbin Institute of Technology, where they will study for three years. In their fourth and fifth years, the students will come to Case Western Reserve to complete their undergraduate degree and earn a master’s degree granted by the Case School of Engineering.

“The engineering school feels the agreement’s international and collaborative qualities contribute to the greater university’s strategic plan,” says Dean Norman Tien.

Campus News

Information Technology Services has scheduled a planned interruption of services for PeopleSoft HCM (Human Capital Management) between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. This is to allow Information Technology Services to perform regularly scheduled vendor supplied maintenance. This maintenance includes benefits updates in advance of open enrollment, routine tax table updates and enhancements to Careers (eRecruit). If you have additional questions about this outage please contact the ITS Help Desk at 216.368.4357 or go to


Opposing sides of the health care reform discussion will meet next week during a free, public program presented by Case Western Reserve University. Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher, whose states have taken different constitutional positions on health care legislation, will join the discussion, called States’ Uprising: The Constitutionality of Health Care Reform. The event will take place at 4 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Case Western Reserve School of Law. For information, call 216.368.1723.

For Faculty and Staff

The Staff Advisory Council is creating an ad hoc committee tentatively called Climate and Work Environment Committee. The purpose of this ad hoc committee will be to communicate information and address changes that will affect staff because of the Climate Action Plan that is being implemented on campus. Anyone interested in being part of this committee should contact Kathleen Dowdell for more information.

For Students

Many study abroad opportunities are available to students over winter, spring and summer breaks.  All are three-credit courses open to all undergraduate and graduate students.  An information meeting will take place 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. on Thursday at Thwing in Meeting room C, and a table will be set up in the atrium at Thwing on Sept. 17.

Programs offered through the Department of Bioethics include the following: winter break in San Jose, Costa Rica (includes an optional week of service learning through the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning before the course) and spring break courses in Paris, Amsterdam, Salamanca and Buenos Aires.  Go online for more information or contact Michelle L. Champoir, director of International Education Programs for the Department of Bioethics, at 216.368.5377 or by email.

Programs offered through the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences include the following: winter break in Bangladesh (register for fall course); Spring break in Guatemala, Turkey, Sub-Saharan Africa,The Netherlands and Ecuador (May).  With the exception of  Netherlands, all are approved as global and cultural diversity electives.  Go online for more information or contact Deborah Jacobson, director of International Education Programs for the Mandel School, at 368.6014 or by email for details.


The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) will be holding a barbecue and corn hole event outside of Leutner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 12.  All students are encouraged to stop by and learn more about the organization, while enjoying some free food and fun (If the event is rained out, a sign will be posted outside of Leutner with the new location).


CWRU Young Americans for Liberty will be hosting Michael F. Cannon from the Cato Institute at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in Nord 310B. He will be speaking on the health care reform law that was passed last March and what it means for health care providers and patients. Cannon is the director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and is co-author of Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It. He holds a bachelor's degree in American government from the University of Virginia, and master's degrees in economics and law & economics from George Mason University.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

Et al.

Pedram Mohseni.

Pedram Mohseni, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science,
has received an Investigator-Initiated Research Award (IIRA) from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) in the area of psychological health/traumatic brain injury (PH/TBI). The $738,273 award will fund a 4-year interdisciplinary project titled, A Brain-Machine-Brain Interface for Rewiring of Cortical Circuitry after Traumatic Brain Injury in collaboration with professor Randolph J. Nudo in the Molecular and Integrative Physiology Department at Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC). By capitalizing on recent advancements in designing neuroprosthetic devices, Mohseni’s group will develop a miniature, multichannel, implantable microsystem to detect action potentials in one area of cortex and then stimulate another cortical area with a pre-determined delay.

Sept. 10, 2010

A daily newsletter published by the Office of Marketing & Communications, Case Western Reserve University. Submit items for inclusion to:

In the News

City Club Forum: Amending the State Constitution , Sept. 1, 2010
Jonathan Entin, Professor of law and political science at Case Western Reserve University, believes that Ohioans have cluttered up the state constitution with narrow-interest, overly technical amendments better left to the legislature. The Ohio constitution could be written in pencil; there have been 10 amendments in the last eight years, most recently to allow casinos in our state. Compare that with the U.S. Constitution, amended only 27 times since 1787. Entin joins the conversation at the Cleveland City Club. Listen.

New dual recognition mechanism found in TB, Sept. 10, 2010
Scientists from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have made a new discovery that offers hope for new approaches to the prevention and treatment of TB. For the past 15 years, Drs. Clifford Harding and W. Henry Boom of Case Western Reserve have been seeking the answer to how the organism survives in the human immune system for so many years. The team's discovery of a novel mechanism that may contribute to immune recognition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is published in the September issue of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

Veteran federal prosecutor Ann Rowland is captain of the team handling the corruption probe,  Sept. 9, 2010
Ann Rowland, a Case Western Reserve School of Law graduate, is the lead prosecutor in the Cuyahoga County corruption probe. She grew up in Shaker Heights and graduated from Case Western Reserve University, where her late father Vernon "Fritz" Rowland was a psychiatry professor. Rowland remained at CWRU for law school.

Higher Ed News

Can the Humanities Survive the 21st Century?

Chronicle of Higher Ed, Sept. 5, 2010
Frank Donoghue, an associate professor of English at Ohio State University, writes: “What has happened is that the center of gravity at almost all universities has shifted so far away from the humanities that the most pertinent answer to the question ‘Will the humanities survive in the 21st century?’ is not ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but ‘Who cares?’ ”