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Archive for January, 2012

Exhibit spotlights artistic talents of health science professionals

“On River Road in Waterville,” watercolor, by Dr. Paul Brand, associate professor of physiology and pharmacology, is one of more than 50 works on display in the Health Science Campus Artist Showcase.

The seventh annual Health Science Campus Artist Showcase is on display on the fourth floor of Mulford Library through Tuesday, Feb. 21.

The exhibit features more than 50 pieces, including photography, paintings and multimedia work, contributed by more than 20 artists.

“It’s interesting for attendees because all of the artists are students, staff and faculty in the health sciences fields,” said Jodi Jameson, an instructor in the College of Nursing and librarian at Mulford Library, who is a member of the artist showcase committee. “The showcase is a nice way to highlight the creative and artistic talents of our campus.”

An opening reception for the Health Science Campus Artist Showcase will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Roy Schneider, manager of medical illustration at the UT Center for Creative Instruction, will be the featured speaker.

"The Brooklyn Bridge," photo, by Gretchen D'Arcangelo, a student in the College of Pharmacy

“The reception is for the artists and their friends and family as well as the rest of the UT community,” Jameson said. “All are welcome to join us for the reception in recognition of the artists.”

Visitors can view the works during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to midnight; Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight.

For more information on the free, public exhibition, click here.

Research connections promoted through new Nexus program

A new program at The University of Toledo will provide faculty, staff, students and the public a way to make the connections between different disciplines.

Sponsored by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Nexus will give faculty members an opportunity to showcase their research. The program will occur monthly through April, with plans to pick up again in September for the following academic year.

Brief, timed presentations will be given. Five to six faculty members will present six-minute explanations of their scholarship with the intent to introduce their research to colleagues and students in other departments and colleges.

Nexus was developed by Dr. Elsa G. Nadler, director of grants development, and Dr. James Trempe, vice president for research.

“The importance of introducing a new program like this to UT is that it provides a way for faculty to meet other researchers like themselves,” Nadler said. “All scholarship in any given evening will have at least some tenuous connection.”

The title for the program was chosen after a search of the many synonyms for “connections.”

“Innovations often arise from tenuous connections between disparate disciplines,” Trempe said. “Our hope is that Nexus will lead to connections and innovations at UT.”

The first Nexus event will take place Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. in Libbey Hall.

For more information on the free, public program, contact Nadler at elsa.nadler@utoledo.edu or 419.5305302.

Lake Erie Center director to discuss Maumee Bay problems, solutions

Local artists and researchers have come together to celebrate the nearby ecosystems in Maumee Bay and promote awareness about preserving them.

Dr. Carol Stepien, shown here accepting the 2011 Ohio Lake Erie Award presented last fall to the UT Lake Erie Center for its conservation efforts, will give a talk Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Owens Community College.

“Maumee Bay,” an exhibit that includes more than 20 works of art, including pieces from Barbra Miner, UT associate professor of art, is on display in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Walter E. Terhune Gallery at Owens Community College. The artworks include photography, ceramics and mixed media about the bay’s ecosystem.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Dr. Carol Stepien, director of the UT Lake Erie Center, will give a free, public talk at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the Terhune Gallery. Her talk, “Biology, Problems and Solutions for Maumee Bay: A View From the Lake Erie Center,” will outline the issues of concern in Maumee Bay in regards to sedimentation and agriculture and ways for others to help.

“A main goal of the UT Lake Erie Center is to build public awareness of the increasing severe pollution and sedimentation issues in the Maumee Bay,” Stepien said. “Over the last 10 years, the water quality and environmental conditions of western Lake Erie have steadily declined to the point that we are at a crisis.”

According to Stepien, the American public feels a disconnect with science and the environment and are unsure of ways in which they can help.

“The ‘Maumee Bay’ art exhibit provides a tangible way for the public to blend both art and science in one setting,” she said. “The blending of the two can help people see other perspectives and help them become aware of positive actions to take.”

“Maumee Bay” can be seen through Friday, Feb. 10; gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

UTMC’s patient experience transformation on cover of leading industry publication

As word of The University of Toledo Medical Center’s success has continued to spread, one of the premier industry publications that evaluates and reports on patient satisfaction has taken notice. The Press Ganey magazine Partners features UTMC and iCARE University as the cover story on its January/February issue.

In November, UTMC’s push to improve patient satisfaction landed UTMC and iCARE University a mention in The New York Times.

Dr. Scott Scarborough, senior vice president and executive director of UTMC, said the story speaks to the journey the hospital has started, changing a culture that always has provided great care, but not always great patient experiences.

“We have always had great clinical outcomes, and recently we received an honor from U.S. News and World Report, which ranked us No. 1 in the Toledo area, but our patients sure weren’t seeing us that way,” Scarborough said in the article. “We looked at where we stood in the state of Ohio, and we were 140th out of 147 hospitals on HCAHPS [Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems]. We were saving people’s lives, yet they were walking away angry. We had to learn how to save lives and still treat people like human beings.”

HCAHPS is a government survey tool used to gauge patient satisfaction.

“We were told [changing the culture] is a three-year journey to turn this thing around,” Scarborough said. “Things really got moving only a year ago when we brought in the best patient experience director we could find in Ioan Duca.”

Duca, who was leading a similar transformation at Oakwood Healthcare System in southeastern Michigan before he came to UTMC, established iCARE University to help teach caregivers how to reduce patients’ anxiety, increase the clarity of their own communication, and to focus on the patient, not on their own stress.

“More than anything,” Duca said in the article, “you just see a difference in how employees look. They used to look down when they walked, now they are looking up.”

Duca said the recognition by Press Ganey proves UTMC is making great strides.

“To have the premier industry publication in patient satisfaction hold you up as an exemplar serves as third-party validation that we’re on the right track,” he said. “But as the article makes clear, we’re only about a third of the way to where we ultimately want to be — where the patient is at the center of every action we take and every decision we make.

“UTMC’s effort is on the map nationally now, and we have to live up to our potential. And with Scott Scarborough’s leadership, I know we will.”

UT Medical Center sets 2012 goals designed to increase patient satisfaction

The University of Toledo Medical Center has made great strides in its efforts to improve patient satisfaction and continues those efforts to narrow the gap between clinical outcomes and the patient experience.

The center has set a Service Excellence Strategy for 2012 that includes reaching a 50th percentile ranking in a national survey of patients rating their hospital stay. Some of the aspects surveyed include communication with nurses and doctors, quietness of the hospital, and if patients would recommend the hospital to others.

“We have seen positive results from the changes we have implemented to enhance the patient experience to be as high-quality as the clinical care that has always been offered at the UT Medical Center,” said Ioan Duca, UT service excellence officer. “We are going to build upon this success to continue to work together as a team to ensure every patient has a pleasant experience while receiving care at our hospital.”

Last year, the medical center launched an internal iCARE University dedicated to training employees on improving patients’ experiences. The curriculum focused on soft skills such as communication, active listening, personal stress management and empathy. More courses will be added this year related to customer service and for managers to work more effectively with their employees.

A focus of 2012 will be working together as a team and improving communication among physicians, residents, nurses and staff for integrated care delivery, Duca said.

“The culture at UT Medical Center is really becoming all about putting patients first,” Duca said. “We will continue that cultural transformation and engage all of our physicians and employees to work together to serve our patients.”

Service excellence action teams will be tasked with identifying tactics and strategies to improve the patient experience.

Student-athletes post record 3.167 GPA last semester

UT student-athletes earned a collective grade point average of 3.167 in the 2011 fall semester, the highest mark in school history.

The previous record was 3.166, set in spring 2011. It is the third time in the last four semesters that UT student-athletes have broken the GPA record.

The 3.167 GPA also marked the sixth consecutive semester that UT student-athletes have earned a combined GPA of 3.1 or higher, and the 11th time in the last 13 semesters above a 3.0. Additionally, 11 of UT’s 15 sport programs had team GPAs of 3.0 or above, and every program had a team GPA of at least 2.7.

Individually, 24 student-athletes posted perfect 4.0 GPAs, while nearly 38 percent (135 of 357) earned a spot on the dean’s list by garnering at least a 3.50 GPA. Additionally, a record 63.9 percent of UT student-athletes achieved a 3.0 grade point average or better for the 2011 fall semester, the 16th consecutive semester in which at least half of Rocket student-athletes earned a 3.0+ GPA.

“Our student-athletes continue to raise the bar when it comes to academic achievement,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “To earn a combined 3.1 GPA for six consecutive semesters is truly impressive. Our student-athletes should be commended for their hard work and dedication, as should everyone who plays a part in their academic success — the coaches, our athletic department academic staff and our University faculty members.”

Women’s volleyball had the highest team GPA at 3.613, followed by women’s soccer with 3.584 and women’s golf at 3.496. Tennis had the highest GPA for a men’s team with 3.386

2011 Fall Semester GPAs 3.0+

Women’s Volleyball 3.613
Women’s Soccer 3.584
Women’s Golf 3.496
Women’s Swimming & Diving 3.450
Softball 3.406
Men’s Tennis 3.386
Women’s Cross Country 3.378
Baseball 3.280
Women’s Basketball 3.193
Women’s Track & Field 3.163
Men’s Golf 3.099

Shafir to return to Rockets in 2012-13

Good news for Rocket nation: Senior Naama Shafir has announced that she will apply for a medical hardship and plans to return to the women’s basketball team for the 2012-13 season.

Naama Shafir announced last week that she will apply for a medical redshirt and return to the basketball court for the 2012-13 season.

“I was in shock at first and didn’t know what to do,” Shafir said. “I thought there was no chance I was going to come back. After a couple of weeks, though, I started to think that’s not how I want to finish here. I still feel like I have a lot to give. I’m excited to come back for another year with amazing fans, an amazing team and coaches.”

The three-time All-Mid-American Conference selection was lost for the 2011-12 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during UT’s 69-58 win at Indiana Nov. 25.

Shafir, who had started 106 consecutive games prior to the injury, was averaging 9.3 points, a squad-best 3.5 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.5 rebounds in 25.0 minutes per game this season.

“I’m so proud of Naama because she handled all this with great maturity,” Toledo Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop said. “I’m glad she took some time so she made the right decision that she’s comfortable with instead of rushing into a decision.”

Last season, the point guard averaged a team-high 15.3 points, a squad-best 5.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 30.8 minutes per game. She finished third in the MAC in assists (34th in NCAA), seventh in assist/turnover ratio (1.09) and 10th in scoring, en route to earning first-team all-league honors.

Shafir was a key component in the Rockets capturing the 2011 WNIT and claimed tourney MVP recognition after scoring a career-high 40 points in a victory over USC in the championship game April 2 in Savage Arena.

The native of Hoshaya, Israel, sits fourth in UT annals in assists (569), fifth in free throws made (441), eighth in scoring average (13.7 points per game) and free-throw percentage (76.8 percent, 441 of 574), ninth in steals (168) and 10th in points (1,452).

Strategic planning improvements key to Higher Learning Commission progress

Astute strategic planning is a key component to success.

In the early 2000s, administrators at The University of Toledo and the Medical University of Ohio were acutely aware of the fact. A few years before the 2006 merger, each institution had received word from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools that strategic planning processes needed improvement.

UT and MUO promptly created initiatives to strengthen strategic planning. When the institutions merged to form a new University of Toledo, the momentum gained from each entity’s progress toward more comprehensive strategic planning was evident.

Bryan Pyles, associate vice president for finance, led a team evaluating UT’s progress toward continuing accreditation from the HLC. His subject, Criterion 2: Preparing for the Future, dealt heavily with UT’s progress in strategic planning, among other guidelines.

“Shortly after the merger, the president led a strategic planning initiative, and a few years later it was followed up with another strategic planning initiative that resulted in a document called Directions 2011,” Pyles said. “It was very easy for my team to say that strategic planning had once been a weakness, and now it’s become a real strength.”

Strategic planning is one of several facets the HLC targets in assessing an institution’s preparation for the future. Others include:

• The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends.

• The organization’s resource base supports its educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.

• The organization’s ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.

• All levels of planning align with the organization’s mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that mission.

As Pyles and his team gathered information for the 57-page section addressing Criterion 2 in UT’s self-study report, the University’s action during the economic downturn already had made a case for readiness during challenging times.

“Our conclusion is that UT is well-positioned to be successful,” Pyles said. “We had a bit of a debate; how can we say this when we’re constantly talking about challenges of the budget? But when you look at our financial performance over the last couple of years, we’ve done very well. The changes we’ve made in the budget process to evaluate our resources allocations are in line with our strategic plan, and we’re making investments to ensure we’re successful in our strategic initiatives.”

Significant progresses in the areas of global expansion, campus infrastructure, technological readiness and student-centeredness also are documented throughout the self-study report. The expansion of programs into the Middle East and Far East represent UT’s commitment to being a global leader. Enhanced technologies have allowed UT to offer an array of online programming as well.

“We do a lot more online than almost any other public school in the state of Ohio,” Pyles said.

With progress also came opportunities for improvement. Pyles cited examples in the area of student-centeredness, where documented problems with student services were met with the reorganization of Rocket Solution Central, enhanced online capabilities and diversity initiatives that have furthered UT’s stated goal of creating “an organizational culture that is welcoming to all individuals regardless of their age, color, ethnicity, gender, religion, disabilities, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity and national origin.”

Pyles said the accreditation process isn’t finished even after representatives from the commission complete their on-site survey Feb. 27-29.

“I think the self-study report is exceptional,” Pyles said. “It’s a great document for someone who wants to discover what our institution is about. But it’s also a reminder that we have to go back and identify the areas we found to be opportunities for improvement so we can continue to work on them.”

Pyles’ Criterion 2 team members were Marcia Culling, William Fall, Dr. Shanda Gore, Dr. Johan Gottgens, Brenda Grant, Dr. Thomas Gutteridge, Dan Klett, Brenda Lee, Dr. Susan Pocotte and Dr. Ellen Pullins.

ACT prep course to be offered at UT

The University of Toledo is offering an intensive ACT prep course for high school students from Thursday, Feb. 16, through Tuesday, March 27, in order to prepare them for the April exam.

This customized course consists of 16 hours of test preparation (two nights per week for four weeks) and six hours of pre- and post-testing.

Taught by certified teachers, this face-to-face ACT prep course will help students prepare for all four sections of the test, plus the optional writing section. Students enrolled will have access to two official retired ACT tests. In addition, students will receive data reports from pre- and post-testing targeting specific areas they need to focus on.
Students also will receive two textbooks that include test-taking strategies, quizzes, additional practice tests, and a review of skills needed to achieve a high score on the ACT.

The cost for this course is $249. Fees include pre- and post-tests with diagnostic feedback, student workbooks, certified instruction, UT parking, taxes, and shipping and handling.

Children of UT alumni and employees will receive a discounted cost of $199.

“UT can help all students reach their potential. The prep class will offer students the opportunity to identify their strengths and their weaknesses, giving them the ability to focus on the areas that need improvement,” said Julie Radwanski, program coordinator in the Learning Enhancement Center. “This, in turn, is going to reduce anxiety about taking the test. The less anxious students are, the better chance they have of doing well on the exam.”

The course will be held on UT’s Main Campus in the Learning Enhancement Center, located in Carlson Library Room 0200.

Deadline to register is Tuesday, Feb. 7. Class size is limited. To learn more on how to register, click here.

For additional information, contact Radwanski at 419.530.2449 or julia.radwanski@utoledo.edu.

Dana Center construction to close building, tunnel access

Construction crews will begin the project of converting the Dana Conference Center into a new cancer center Monday, Jan. 23.

While contractors work, the Dana Center will be closed, and there will not be access from the building to the tunnel system underneath Health Science Campus. The closure also will impact access into Dana from the tunnels at the Y split to Kobacker Center.

Individuals who park in Lot 46 near the Dana Center and use the tunnel system to reach other buildings will need to take the sidewalk on the east side of Dana to the south entrance of Ruppert Health Center to access the tunnel system.

Signs will be posted at the buildings and doors impacted by the closures. See tunnel access directions.

The Dana Center and tunnel access from the building will be closed through the end of the construction project, which is expected to be three to six months.