The University of Pittsburgh has appointed Frits Pil to the special faculty rank of Distinguished Service Professor in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, effective May 1, 2022. Pil is Professor of Organizations and Entrepreneurship and the Henry E. Haller Jr. Faculty Fellow for Distinguished Service.

As Chancellor Patrick Gallagher noted in his letter awarding the rank, this appointment, “constitutes the highest honor that the University can accord a member of the professoriate.” In Pitt Business, Pil is the first faculty member in 33 years to earn this distinction since the late Robert Perloff was named Distinguished Service Professor of Business Administration and of Psychology in 1989.

Arjang A. Assad, the Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean of Pitt Business, congratulated Pil and announced the appointment with the following message:

“Since joining our faculty in 1996, Frits has clearly established a record of distinguished service. Moreover, in carrying out these service roles – assigned or volunteered – he always performs thoughtfully, with careful consideration for the relevant stakeholders. 

Pitt Business Service

Frits’ service within Pitt Business is extensive. He has served or is serving on all of the key standing committees of the school. As director of Instructional Innovation and Faculty Development, he developed a portfolio template that is now used in all Promotion and Tenure cases to better capture instructional contributions. He developed a mentorship program for junior faculty, a teaching effectiveness program for graduate students, and faculty training on new instructional approaches – well before the pandemic hit.

He has organized training for faculty and staff on recognizing mental health challenges of our students and facilitating access to help. He has served as our key liaison to the University Center on Teaching and Learning. Frits also has played an integral role in our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion efforts, organizing training sessions and working closely with the University’s Office of EDI on our customized certification program for all faculty and staff.

University Service

Frits has been especially active and visible in service to the University. To my mind, what stands out is the breadth of his service to the University. He held a joint appointment in the Provost’s Office as the first Provost Faculty Fellow. He contributed to the University’s Middle States Reaccreditation team and participated in the development of the Plan for Pitt. For 10 years, he also has been active on the University research council. In another wide-ranging effort, he convened the chairs of diversity committees from all the schools to share diversity-related data and best practices. As the pandemic started, he organized a University-wide Zoom community for faculty and staff to support each other.

Research and Teaching

While designed to recognize distinguished service, the qualifications for this award also include evidence of excellence in research and teaching. Frits’ research on organizational innovation, learning, and change is well-known to his colleagues at our school and in the scholarly community. He also has been an outstanding teacher at Katz, consistently winning teaching awards for the past 15 years. As one of the top-rated faculty in the business school, he consistently gets teaching ratings between 4.8 and 5.0 – as well as appreciation from students and alumni.

As Distinguished Service Professor, Frits brings honor to the school and its faculty. In addition to our congratulations, I believe that he deserves our sincere gratitude and thanks.”