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James Martin, Ph.D., Dean

James R. Martin II is the U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, and the tenth to serve as Pitt’s dean of engineering since 1882. Dean Martin is the overall project sponsor of the Organizational Innovation Lab. As recent department chair and now Dean, he was the first adopter of Complexity Leadership Theory in academic leadership practice. This lab is a Swanson signature initiative to establish world class team that will change the paradigm for educational leadership. The goal is to be recognized globally as the leaders of this new leadership paradigm of the future.

Prior to joining Pitt, Dean Martin served as the Bob Benmosche Professor and Chair of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. At Clemson, Dean Martin led the development of new curricula, establishment of new degree programs and forged new transdisciplinary research collaborations, having secured two institutional National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to implement innovations in engineering programs at Clemson and 60 other engineering schools across the nation. He also developed global partnerships, including a new dual PhD civil engineering degree program with top-ranked Tongji University in China, similar to Pitt’s engineering partnership with Sichuan University. Dean Martin also served as the founding director of Clemson’s Risk Engineering and Systems Analytics (RESA) Center, which serves as a transdisciplinary “collision space” for the interaction of cutting-edge research, academic programs and corporate partnerships.

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Gemma Jiang, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Gemma Jiang is the founding director of the Organizational Innovation Lab at Swanson School of Engineering, and the founding host of Pitt u.lab hub. She holds a PhD degree in Educational Leadership from Clemson University. Prior to taking this position, she completed her postdoctoral work on two large scale NSF grants.

As an action researcher, she believes in integrating research with practice to bridge the “knowing-doing gap". Her primary focus is to apply the latest thinking in research into practice, and to gather data from the frontier of practice to improve theory. The theoretical frameworks she subscribes to include complexity leadership theory, Theory U, systems thinking. She is involved in a wide range of projects from National Science Foundation funded projects with a focus on circular economy, to local foundation funded projects with a focus on the Pittsburgh ecosystem for children thriving.

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Lydia Chlpka, Project Manager

Lydia Chlpka is a project manager for the Organizational Innovation Lab at the Swanson School of Engineering. She is currently a senior undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Music Performance at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also conducts research at the Clinical Neurophysiology Research Lab and works as an editor for The Pitt News.

In her research, Lydia works on loudness-dependence of evoked auditory potentials in schizophrenia, and is interested in many related topics including psychiatry, neurobiology, and neurophysiology. At The Pitt News, Lydia's work involves managing the paper's social media accounts, copyediting weekly publications, contributing to the work of the editorial board, and writing poetry on occasion. She can also be found singing with the Heinz Chapel Choir on campus and preparing for medical school.