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Archive for April, 2009

Capitalizing on technology and green efforts for procurement

As of May 1, UT’s Purchasing Services Department and requisitioners of goods and services will handle less paper.

According to Jennifer Pastorek, director of purchasing services, “Lawson is UT’s enterprise resource planning system that provides functionality for the requisitioning, inventory control, purchasing, receiving, asset management and accounts payable activities. To maximize the full functionality of the system, capture UT spending data, and standardize processes between all campuses, we’re requiring that all users and approvers of goods and services use the Lawson e-requisition or requisition self-service system as of Friday, May 1.”

Ongoing training classes are offered through the Purchasing Services Department. To schedule a date and time for training, visit the department’s Web site at http://www.utoledo.edu/depts/purchasing/Lawson.html.

Key benefits to an electronic system include greater efficiency of the procurement process, reduction in the order cycle time from requisition entry to receipt of goods and services, elimination of “lost” paperwork, and support of green initiatives by reducing paper use.

University procurement cards (p-cards) should be used for daily transactions. Departments that do not utilize p-cards will use the Lawson e-requisition system. E-requisitions are required for goods and services that cost $5,000 or more.

According to Pastorek, there are two scenarios that will require the use of paper requisition forms after May 1:

• Emergent need if the Lawson system is unavailable; and

• Split distribution of purchased goods or services among two or more departments.

Electronic requisition forms are available on the purchasing services Web site listed above.

For additional information, contact Pastorek at 419.530.8707 or Patty Owsley, analyst in purchasing services, at 419.530.8701.

Women’s health and beauty day slated for Saturday

Women will get the chance to unwind at the end of the semester at The University of Toledo’s Women’s Health and Beauty Day Saturday, May 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center Maple Room on Main Campus.

“This is a great event to increase awareness on women’s health as well as allow women to relax and be pampered,” said Angie Green, assistant director of programming at the Student Recreation Center.

At the event, Results Salon and Spa will give free hand, arm, neck and shoulder massages, and raffle off a $150 gift certificate.

Two educational lectures on healthy dieting will be provided by Shauna Hill, UT clinical dietician.

In addition, representatives from Nutrilite, XS Energy and Perfect Water will be there giving participant’s natural snacks and drinks to sample.

Premier Design Jewelry also will be there to display and sell its products.

Healthy snacks and beverages will be provided at this free, public event, which is sponsored by the University Women’s Commission.

To make a reservation, contact Erin Chester at 419.383.3543 or e-mail erin.chester@utoledo.edu.

Canaday Center faculty honored for exhibit on disability history

Barbara Floyd and Kim Brownlee have been honored again for their work on the exhibit, “From Institutions to Independence: A History of People With Disabilities in Northwest Ohio.”

Barbara Floyd, left, and Kim Brownlee hold the 2008 Community Access Award the Canaday Center received from the Ability Center of Greater Toledo for the exhibit, “From Institutions to Independence: A History of People With Disabilities in Northwest Ohio.”

Barbara Floyd, left, and Kim Brownlee hold the 2008 Community Access Award the Canaday Center received from the Ability Center of Greater Toledo for the exhibit, “From Institutions to Independence: A History of People With Disabilities in Northwest Ohio.”

They received the Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award at the Academic Honors Reception last week. The annual award recognizes exceptional community-engaged scholarship in research, teaching and/or professional service. Each took home $375 and a certificate.

For the exhibit, Floyd, director of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections, university archivist and professor of library administration, and Brownlee, manuscripts librarian, assistant university archivist and assistant professor of library administration, worked with Canaday Center staff and student assistants about one year preparing archival materials and artifacts the center has collected since 2001 when the Disability Studies Program was established at the University.

In addition, Floyd and Brownlee organized accompanying public lectures that brought authors to campus to talk about their books and the premiere of “My Black Bird Has Flown Away: The Life of Hugh Gregory Gallagher,” an original one-man play by Carlton Spitzer, starring Broadway actor Jeremy Lawrence. The Canaday Center preserves the personal papers of disability scholar and activist Gallagher, who wrote the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.

“The quality of the work can be measured in many ways. The attendance at the exhibit opening, three author talks and the limited-seating dramatic performance was in excess of 500,” one nominator wrote. “The popularity of the exhibit was such that the original ending date of Feb. 27 was pushed back until the end of the semester.”

The nominator also noted two honors the Canaday Center received for the exhibit: the Ability Center of Greater Toledo’s 2008 Community Access Award in recognition of extraordinary efforts to raise awareness and/or improve the lives of persons living with disabilities and an Ohio Public Images Award from the Public Images Network for the promotion of positive awareness of persons with developmental disabilities.

“This exhibit brought together pieces of the hidden history of persons with disability from the scattered pockets of institutional, public, academic and private collections throughout the region to tell a story that has received little scholarly or popular attention,” one nominator noted. “For many students, it was an eye-opening experience to hear these stories for the first time; while for others, it was an opportunity to see their own lives and histories being showcased and not neglected.”

“The publicity generated by the exhibit also has encouraged new donors to contribute their materials to the Regional Disability History Archive, including playwright Carleton Spitzer and the local Knights of Columbus organization,” another nominator wrote. “These additional materials and manuscripts will now be available for future researchers in the Canaday Center.”

A grant from the Office of the Provost’s Academic Excellence Program funded the exhibit.

“From Institutions to Independence: A History of People With Disabilities in Northwest Ohio” will remain on display through Friday, May 8. The free exhibition can be seen in the Canaday Center in Carlson Library on Main Campus Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

University pays tribute to faculty, staff for advising, researching, teaching

UT outstanding advisers, researchers and teachers were recognized last week at the Academic Honors Reception.

Each 2009 award winner received a certificate and $1,500.

Recipients of the Outstanding Adviser awards are:

Filipek

Filipek

Chanda Filipek, academic program coordinator in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. She joined the staff in the College of Engineering in 2007.

“She is so helpful when you need anything about your classes, college life, or if you just need someone to talk to between classes,” one nominator wrote. “She is very approachable and always has a smile on her face, and that really goes a long way.” Another wrote, “She is prompt with inquiries and is always encouraging students to apply for scholarships and research. It is really obvious that she truly cares for students and wants all of us to be successful.” And another wrote, “She treats every student in our department as if they are her only student.”

“I feel it is extremely important to form a solid advising relationship with my students that begins during recruitment and extends through graduation,” Filipek said. “This gives the students a sense of belonging and direction. It also conveys to them that I have a personal interest in their academic success and goals. By allowing myself to be easily accessed by the students and being continually student-centered, trust is developed and trust is the key component to any successful relationship.”

Wilson

Wilson

Dr. David Wilson, associate professor of political science. He joined the University faculty in 1970. He received one of UT’s Outstanding Teacher awards in 1986.

“During the orientation class, he made sure the whole class was not a waste of time but a 50-minute class worth going to,” one nominator wrote. “I found out about a lot of programs that the University offers and just the overall spirit of getting involved. This was very critical for me, too, because I hardly saw what friends I did have so the emphasis to get involved and meet new people on campus while having fun was a huge help.” Another noted, “You can really tell him what’s going on and it seems he has all the answers.”

“The satisfaction which I derive from advising is a reflection of my love of teaching. I view advising as an extension of teaching: both provide an opportunity to impart some knowledge and contribute to the personal and intellectual development of our students,” Wilson said. “An important quality for an adviser is the ability to relate to students. This takes time, effort, patience, and a sense of humor and perspective, but I think above all it requires that you simply like students.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Researcher awards are:

Azad

Azad

Dr. Abdul-Majeed Azad, associate professor of chemical engineering. Since joining the University in 2003, he has become internationally known in the area of nanomaterials for advanced energy systems. His work has contributed to the development and understanding of methods for the generation of clean fuels such as hydrogen using nanomaterials as well as the design and creation of a new family of catalysts and desulfurizers for fuel purification and pollution control systems.

“I have observed him developing himself and establishing a national and international recognition in the area of advance energy systems,” one nominator wrote. “Those systems adapt to the environment using nanomaterials, catalysts and sensors. Such systems have a wide range of applications in the areas of clean energy generation, fuel cells, biotechnology, aerospace engineering and automotive industry.”

Azad has written 87 journal articles, 28 papers in conference proceedings and 13 research reports. He has been awarded two U.S. patents and one Malaysian patent. While at UT, he has filed 12 patent applications and invention disclosures, and has received seven grants totaling $1.2 million as principal investigator and six grants for $5.6 million as co-principal investigator. He recently received the Nano50 award for developing a new nanotechnology-derived process to make hydrogen fuel from a byproduct of steel production.

Reid

Reid

Dr. Neil Reid, associate professor of geography and planning. He joined the UT faculty as an assistant professor in 1991 and was named associate professor in 1997. He has served as a faculty research associate, interim director and director for the Urban Affairs Center, and director of the Master of Liberal Studies Program. Reid has emerged as an internationally recognized authority on cluster-based economic development, which is a strategy that emphasizes collaboration between business, academe and the community as the foundation for a region’s economic development efforts.

“Dr. Reid’s research is being applied to improve economic conditions in new and creative ways. His work has successfully bridged the gap between the academy and the wider world,” wrote a nominator. “These accomplishments are all the more relevant to the directions and mission of The University of Toledo as his efforts focus on engaging the entities that can create and stimulate economic growth.”

His research has received more than $1.8 million in federal funding. Reid recently was appointed to the executive committee of the European ProCluster Association (EPROCA) and to the EPROCA team that will train European cluster managers this year. He is a co-founder of the Maumee Valley Growers Association and serves as the North American editor for the new journal, Regional Science Policy and Practice.

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher awards are:

Fritz

Fritz

Dr. Paul Fritz, associate professor of communication. He came to UT in 1980 as an assistant professor and was named associate professor in 1985.

“I took only one class with Dr. Fritz, Interpersonal Communication, yet it had the most impact of any class I took while at The University of Toledo,” one nominator wrote. “In my profession as a police officer, communication is essential. The way I listen and speak with people can either escalate or hopefully de-escalate a situation.” Another noted, “Dr. Fritz teaches his class how to effectively use communication in job situations and in their everyday lives. He does this by sharing real-world experiences and incidents in the workplace and then showing how to deal with those situations.”

“In every class, UT students insist that I answer the question ‘How can we use this course in the real world?’ To answer that question, I need to visualize the communication problems my students endure and design helpful solutions helpful for them,” Fritz said. “The best teacher is he who never forgets what it was like to be a student.”

Harmych

Harmych

Dr. Sally Harmych, lecturer in biological sciences. She received her bachelor and doctoral degrees from the University in 1992 and 2000, respectively. In 2003, she began teaching as a visiting assistant professor at her alma mater and was promoted to lecturer in 2006.

“Dr. Harmych deserves this award because she is a teacher who comes to class with a great attitude,” one nominator wrote. “Her lectures engage the students on subjects that would be boring in any other class. She cares that each student fully understands the material that is covered in the course.” Another wrote, “She may not realize it, and, having hundreds of students in one class, may not think she has an impact on anyone. In my other classes — the ones with only 20 students — I do not have the same relaxed, excited, can’t-wait-to-go-to-class ambition that I do when I think of my biology class.”

“This is such an honor and a complete surprise!” Harmych said. “My teaching philosophy has always been that the student comes first. So that even in a classroom of 300 students I try to make sure every student feels like they are a part of the discussion.”

Kamm

Kamm

Dr. James Kamm, professor of engineering technology. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1974 and was promoted to professor in 1994.

“It was clear that he not only strove to teach but to develop students into engineers,” wrote one nominator. Another noted, “He shows a great interest in the students; that they recognize this is highlighted by the number of graduates who stay in touch with him after gaining their degrees.” Another wrote, “Several years after I graduated, I contacted him about becoming a professional engineer. He spent time with me by e-mail, phone and weekends going over materials that I had long given up to the scholastic world.”

“Students have enjoyed me and benefited from me, but I have enjoyed and benefited from them. Their questions are often the source of new research. Sometimes they ask questions that I’ve thought about at times and then given up on. So I take time to think about them again and see if I can go any further now,” Kamm said. “It is a great job that I have that I can pursue problems for no other purpose than that they need an answer. Usually though, if there is resolution, the whole matter will find its way into my courses.”

Malakpa

Malakpa

Dr. Sakui Malakpa, professor of early childhood, physical and special education. He joined UT in 1986 as assistant professor, was named associate professor in 1990 and professor in 1998.

“His teaching strategies are fantastic,” one nominator wrote. “He makes learning the most difficult things easy and interesting, and he incorporates everyday life experiences and humor into the course. He is a very compassionate and understanding teacher that inspires me and makes me want to learn.” Another wrote, “Dr. Malakpa is very understanding and willing to work with me. He will take away from his home life to help me understand the material, and he calls from home to make sure that I am where I am supposed to be in the course content.”

“The students truly are my source of energy and joy,” Malakpa said. “No matter what mood I’m in, when I enter the class, I’m alive and animated.”

UT monitors swine flu situation

The University of Toledo Department of Infectious Diseases is asking the UT community to take simple, everyday steps to prevent contracting and spreading swine flu.

The illness, a respiratory disease commonly found in pigs and caused by type A influenza, has recently been spreading between humans in Mexico and the United States. No cases of swine flu have been documented or reported at UT or the surrounding area.

Nevertheless, Dr. Julie Westerink, chief of infectious diseases, said adopting common-sense hygiene practices can help decrease the threat of swine flu.

“Washing your hands often is probably the most effective preventative measure,” Westerink said. “Also, covering your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze will help stop the spread of germs.”

Westerink added that not touching your eyes, nose and mouth and avoiding contact with individuals infected with the illness also will help.

She recommended that all nursing staff and physicians get fit tested at the present time with a N-95 particulate respirator if not fit tested in the last year. Contact 419.383.5069 for fit-testing locations and times.

Swine flu is characterized by much of the same symptoms as the form of influenza often found in humans. Fever, coughing, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue are the most common symptoms. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting, but these are associated with respiratory symptoms if they are caused by swine flu.

Additional information about the disease can be found through the following links:
UT Safety and Health: http://www.utoledo.edu/depts/safety/Hospital_Emergency_Planning.html
Lucas County Health Department: http://co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=1603
Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/general_info.htm

UT to honor emeritus faculty member and trustee with endowed professorship

Hussain

Hussain

The important role that Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, trustee and professor emeritus of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, has played during his years with the former Medical College of Ohio and now The University of Toledo is well-known. Now the University is preserving his legacy through the creation of a new endowed professorship.

The S. Amjad Hussain Endowed Professorship in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery will be a valuable resource to bring a nationally renowned faculty member to campus who will focus on research and educational programs in cardiac surgery, bolstering an already strong department.

“The professorship that will bear Dr. Hussain’s name will be a pillar of excellence at The University of Toledo,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, Health Science Campus provost, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. “We are proud to honor his legacy at the University in this way, and hope that others will want to be a part of this tribute by helping to grow the endowment for this professorship. We have here a man who could justifiably be called a renaissance man and a polymath.”

The Hussain family has made a foundational pledge of $500,000 to help start the endowment, which will require $1 million to fund it in perpetuity.

“Dr. Amjad Hussain has given so much of himself to this institution, as both an integral member of our College of Medicine faculty and a member of our board, that it is our pleasure to pay tribute to his accomplishments through the creation of this professorship,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. “Over his career, Amjad has redefined what it means to dedicate yourself to an institution, and this professorship will serve as a reminder to us all of what we should strive to be.

Born in the frontier town of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan, Hussain graduated with distinction from Khyber Medical College in 1962. He received general surgery training at MCO and thoracic and cardiovascular surgery training at Wayne State University. He returned to Peshawar in 1970 and taught at his alma mater for four years, before returning to Toledo to start a private practice in 1975.

Upon his return to Toledo, Hussain held a clinical appointment at MCO in the Department of Surgery and returned annually to teach at his alma mater in Peshawar for the past 35 years. He was named professor emeritus by MCO at the time of his retirement in 2004.

The author of more than 50 scientific papers, 10 books and an op-ed columnist for The Blade for nearly 20 years, Hussain is an accomplished surgeon, researcher and teacher who has held many leadership positions, including president of the Academy of Medicine of Toledo and Lucas County, the Toledo Surgical Society, the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America and Khyber Medical College Alumni Association. He’s also an internationally recognized explorer.

The University is also affirming Hussain’s legacy by introducing an annual lecture focused on the history of medicine. The inaugural S. Amjad Hussain Annual Lecture in the History of Medicine and Surgery will take place Aug. 24.

Astronomer to talk about star formation at Turin Memorial Lecture

Gordon

Gordon

Dr. Karl Gordon, assistant astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, will present the Turin Memorial Lecture, “Dust Processing in Galaxies Due to Massive Star Formation,” Thursday, April 30, at 4 p.m. in McMaster Hall Room 1005 on Main Campus.

His lecture will deal with interstellar dust found in the space between stars in a variety of galaxies, including the Milky Way galaxy. This dust consists of tiny particles made of heavy elements that were produced by earlier generations of stars. The dust plays a central role in the formation of subsequent generations of stars and Earth-like planets.

Gordon will present evidence that the nature of this dust is not the same everywhere and that the observed differences in the sizes and compositions of the dust grains may be a result of energetic processes related to ongoing star formation in galaxies. This suggests that dust undergoes a high degree of processing in interstellar space long after the original grains have been produced.

According to Dr. Adolf Witt, professor emeritus of astronomy, the talk will be a research colloquium, primarily of interest to physicists and astronomers, but it will highlight some significant research contributions made by Gordon using a variety of instruments, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope and several large ground-based instruments.

“We are happy to recognize Gordon’s impressive research successes following his PhD work at The University of Toledo, and we are proud of his accomplishments,” Witt said.

Gordon graduated with a PhD in physics and astrophysics from UT in 1997 and went on to post-doctoral training at Louisiana State University and the University of Arizona.

While at UT, Gordon will receive the John J. Turin Award for Outstanding Career Accomplishments.

The lecture and award are named after Turin, who was chair of the UT Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1942 to 1972 and dean of the Graduate School from 1969 to 1973.

Prior to the talk, there will be a reception with refreshments in McMaster Hall Room 4009.

For more information on the free, public lecture, contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy at 419.530.2241.

Staff member wins collegiate blogging contest

When Deanna Woolf started blogging a couple years ago, she thought it was a great way to write about things she loves.

Woolf

Woolf

She never thought it would land her some cash.

But the senior marketing specialist in the University Marketing Office is the winner of the onlinecollege.org’s 2009 Education Blogger Scholarship worth $1,500.

Woolf’s blog is called “The Old College Try,” and her winning entry is titled “Marketing Higher Ed: Top Distance-Learning Marketing Challenges.” Read it here.

“The topic of marketing challenges developed from what was going on that week at UT with distance-learning programs and from some conversations with colleagues,” she said.

“I was struck by the fact that we tend to think of marketing challenges as things going on outside of an institution — things like prices for ads, audience preferences and the like,” Woolf said. “But when I really started to ask questions and listen to those who know, I found out that many of the challenges come internally before an ad or brochure is even created. Just goes to show you that the front lines staff knows best, and that marketers should always take time to gather those insights.”

Matt Herzberger from BlogHighEd.org, Stewart Foss from eduStyle and Karine Joly from Collegewebeditor.com were the judges for the contest. They reviewed posts from the 20 chosen finalists and scored each based on originality, what was learned from the blog, and if the copy was engaging.

Woolf decided to enter the contest because she likes to blog about all aspects of marketing in higher education, including distance learning. “The higher ed blogging community is awesome to be a part of; people support each other by posting, commenting and sharing links. I just looked at this as another extension of it.”

She said she was surprised to learn of her victory.

“I was so excited to win the contest, I honestly didn’t think I had a shot,” Woolf said. “I’ve been blogging since the summer of 2007, but my blog is certainly not the most updated or best designed one out there. I just write when I feel like it, and I write what I’m passionate about. So ‘The Old College Try’ as the blog’s title is not only referencing the subject of higher education, it also relates to my feelings when I started the blog — I was just going to give it my best and see what happened. It’s been an awesome experience since then.

“I am so grateful and thankful for winning. I truly am blessed.”

UT staff member sights rare mountain bluebird in Ohio

University Photographer Daniel Miller took this shot of the mountain bluebird near Oak Openings Preserve Metropark.

University Photographer Daniel Miller took this shot of the mountain bluebird near Oak Openings Preserve Metropark.

Pat Pulcini squints toward the sky. Her hand rests on her brow, blocking the sun’s reflection off the wings of screeching F-16 fighters leaving the Toledo Express Airport behind her. Unimpressed, Pulcini turns her sights away from the steel birds and back to her search. She’s looking for something quieter, something more tranquil, more exhilarating — a Sialia currucoides, the mountain bluebird.

Earlier this month Pulcini, technology director for the College of Pharmacy, was the first to publicly proclaim the sighting of a mountain bluebird in Oak Openings Preserve Metropark.

The bird, a small, brilliant sky blue thrush with a lighter-blue chest, white underbelly and a thin, pointed black bill, had never before been sighted and documented in northwest Ohio. From the western edge of Nebraska to the coast of California and up into Alaska, the bird resides in large numbers in the Western part of the country, but has only ever been seen one other time in Ohio (1989), and never before in this region.

But on this brisk, sunny, Thursday morning in April, less than two weeks after Pulcini initially discovered it, the mountain bluebird happily sits out in the open atop a flower just outside the entrance to Oak Openings.

“The planes don’t seem to bother him,” Pulcini said, looking at the bird through her tripod-mounted scope.

Pat Pulcini kept tabs on the mountain bluebird since she first spotted it earlier this month at Oak Openings Preserve.

Pat Pulcini kept tabs on the mountain bluebird since she first spotted it earlier this month at Oak Openings Preserve.

People don’t seem to bother it either. Half a dozen or so other bird watchers, or birders, crowd the shoulder of Route 295, take pictures and stalk the bluebird as he flutters from moth mullein to moth mullein. That’s just a fraction of the crowd Pulcini said flocks to this forking of Route 295 and Wilkins Road on the weekends, looking to catch a glimpse.

Marianne Duvendack, one of those fellow birders, said Pulcini took quite a risk when she posted her sighting on Rarebird.org, an Ohio birder message board.

“She’s got some chutzpa for putting this out there,” she said. “She put her life on the line, OK. You don’t just go around telling people you saw a mountain bluebird in Ohio.”

Pulcini said she is not very well-known among area birders and was a bit worried about a possible backlash from the birding community if her sighting was wrong. When she eventually worked up the courage to make the claim, the trepidation could be felt in the very first line of her post.

“Now I know that this is a real rarity for this area, but…” she wrote.

Pulcini went on to explain that when leaving Oak Openings with her husband, Curt, on April 5, she spotted the small, bright blue bird flying from a small tree to the top of a flower.

“It doesn’t belong here,” she said. “But, I just thought there wasn’t anything else it could possibly be.”

After the posting, it didn’t take long for others to notice, and Pulcini’s worst fears weren’t realized. Her sighting was real.

After a few pictures and confirmation from the birding elite, interest exploded. News of the finding made its way into The Blade, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Columbus Dispatch and the Chicago Tribune online.

“People are coming from all over to see this bird,” Pulcini said. “Even if they’ve seen it elsewhere in the country, they have to come to say they saw a mountain bluebird in Ohio.”

It’s a need she understands. After a bird feeder gift from in-laws got her and her husband into birding, Pulcini has been traveling to see birds. She’s migrated as far as Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica just for the chance to spot something exotic.

“I just enjoy watching them,” Pulcini said. “Equipment wise, it’s a cheap hobby, and I think it’s becoming more popular.”

The seven people standing on the side of a highway in northwest Ohio watching the every move of a small bluebird is testament to that.

“Some people think birders are kooks,” Pulcini said. “And I don’t know — I guess I probably am a little bit.”

At press time, the bird had not been sighted since April 17.

Rocket-2-Rocket Peer Mentorship Program to benefit first-year students

The University of Toledo will offer a new program to increase retention and help first-year undergraduate students.

The Rocket-2-Rocket Peer Mentorship Program will pair all students admitted under the 2009-10 UT Guarantee Scholarship with a trained peer mentor. All other first-year students will be given the opportunity to sign up during summer Rocket Launch orientation sessions.

“The 2010 academic year will be the pilot for Rocket-2-Rocket,” said Jeff Witt, director of the UT Student Recreation Center and lead staff member for the program. “We are planning on providing peer mentors to around 400 first-year students. That means we need around 200 trained peer mentors and around 80 faculty and staff mentors for next year.”

As part of the program, student leaders serving as peer mentors will interact with their assigned peers and provide assistance and support when needed.

In addition, peer mentors will be assigned their own faculty or staff mentor to help support and encourage student leaders to persist and succeed at UT.

“Rocket-2-Rocket is designed to not only support first-year students, but to support their mentors as well,” said Michele Martinez, interim dean of students. “Many of our UT faculty and staff already mentor students on an informal basis. This program is just an organized extension of that great work.”

Two informational meetings will be held for those interested in the program — Tuesday, April 28, and Wednesday, April 29, from noon to 12:40 p.m. in Student Union Room 3016 on Main Campus.

For more information, contact Witt at 419.530.3700 or jeffery.witt@utoledo.edu or Martinez at 419.530.5323 or michele.martinez@utoledo.edu.