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Archive for February, 2013

UT, Lourdes University holding international art contest

This spring, The University of Toledo and Lourdes University will present the Fourth National Restorative Justice Conference at the UT Medical Center Hotel Wednesday through Friday, June 19-21.

restorative artNearly 500 leading international academics, practitioners and activists in the fields of restorative and racial justice are expected to come together to focus on “Keeping It Real — Race and Restorative Justice.”

A new component of the national conference is the “Justice Through Our Eyes” art program. Designed to capture the essence and soul of justice in its truest form through the eyes of our youth, the program is calling for students from kindergarten through higher education to create a work of art that answers the question: “What does justice mean to me?”

Entries will be accepted through Friday, March 15. Students may create the artwork using the medium of their choice and can upload jpegs or gifs of the artwork at lourdes.edu/restorativejustice.

There is no fee to enter, and students from around the world may enter as many times as they wish.

All artists’ submissions will be included in the 2013 Fourth National Restorative Justice Conference program. One winning entry from each category — kindergarten to eighth grade and high school to higher education — will be chosen by a panel of art and social justice professionals.

The two winning students will receive $500 Visa gift cards that can be used for art supplies, and each will be acknowledged during the conference’s opening session. The winning entries also will be posted at restorativejusticenow.org and appear on billboards in and around the Toledo area courtesy of Lamar Advertising Co.

“We are excited to add this component to the national conference and look forward to viewing and sharing the views of our youth as expressed through their artwork,” said Dr. Morris Jenkins, co-chair of the conference and professor and chair of the UT Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work.

For more information on the “Justice Through Our Eyes” art program or the National Restorative Justice Conference, contact Co-Chair Gina Paris, UT instructor of criminal justice and social work and Lourdes University instructor of sociology and justice studies, at 419.277.0568 or restorativejusticetoledo@gmail.com.

Spring break to bring new, larger email system for students

When students return from spring break, there will be a better email system put in place with new features.

On Monday, March 4, The University of Toledo will begin upgrading the rockets.utoledo.edu email system to a version built on Microsoft Office 365. The upgrade is expected to be finished by Wednesday, March 6. During this time, students will not be able to access and use their email.

Some of the features students will see include 15 more gigabytes of space and access to Microsoft Office tools online. This will help students create reports and presentations, collaborate with classmates, and share and edit documents from their Windows phone, iPhone, Android phone, Symbian phone, BlackBerry, PC and Mac.

At first, students will have two separate accounts with the same username and password — an Office 365 account that allows access to Microsoft Office and a personal Microsoft account that offers access to an online drive called “SkyDrive” and use of Microsoft Messenger. Both accounts will receive the same emails and only have different features, but UT hopes to merge the two by fall semester.

If students change their passwords for their UT accounts, it will update the Office 365 accounts but not the “SkyDrive” accounts. This upgrade is usable on any web browser, though it will require students to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 or higher or Microsoft Outlook 2007 or 2010.

If problems are experienced, visit ithelp.utoledo.edu, call 419.530.2400 or 419.383.2400, or email ithelpdesk@utoledo.edu.

Administrator to present, learn at education conference

This March, The University of Toledo’s Angela Paprocki, assistant provost for student success, will present at a conference alongside other well-known speakers and educators, including Bill Gates, chair and co-founder of Microsoft.



The SXSWedu conference will take place Monday through Thursday, March 4-7, in Austin, Texas. It is a part of South by Southwest, which seeks to drive meaningful conversation and collaboration around promising practices and tools for improved learning.

Paprocki will present a session titled “More Diplomas: College Supports in the Digital Age” with Dr. Colleen Carmean, assistant chancellor at the University of Washington, and Jill Frankfort, co-founder of Persistence Plus. Persistence Plus is a platform that uses text messages to send academic “nudges” to students to remind them of important deadlines, including exam and project due dates.

“This is a really great way to encourage students to stay focused on their academic goals,” Paprocki said. “I’m exploring the feasibility of integrating it here at UT.”

Paprocki is committed to finding innovative strategies and solutions to engage and retain students by implementing similar platforms. Her goal is to leverage emerging technology to foster academic success, which is a part of what she will present at the conference.

She and her team have developed a virtual adaptive software lab, pioneered the use of a virtual reality platform to create a unique orientation experience, and implemented the use of an innovative software solution for idea management (a virtual suggestion box), all designed with one social media that students can use to communicate with the UT community.

“While I’m excited to be presenting, I’m also very eager to collaborate and learn from other professionals and policy leaders who are all committed to improving education,” Paprocki said.

The sessions at the conference cover a wide array of topics, including assessment, best practices, big data, emerging technology, learner analytics and pedagogy.

Paprocki also is excited to participate in a keynote discussion with the co-founder of Coursera and edX President on massive open online courses, a rapidly growing trend designed to offer large-scale participation through the Web.

“There are so many good things that could be of such value to us,” Paprocki said. “I want to bring back as much as I possibly can so I can share it.”

Enrollment in Professional Staff Association Sick Leave Bank open in March

Open enrollment for the Professional Staff Association’s Sick Leave Bank will take place from Friday, March 1, through Sunday, March 31.

The bank is a voluntary program open exclusively to Professional Staff Association (PSA) members on all UT campuses. Eligible employees are defined in PSA bylaws as “all non-bargaining unit employees on all campuses whether salary or hourly, classified or unclassified, full or part time, excluding those with faculty rank.”

According to Deb Sobczak, chair of the PSA Sick Leave Bank, the bank collects one-time, voluntary donations of sick time from PSA personnel to assist those who may be stricken with catastrophic injury or illness.

“It’s a way to help our colleagues bridge a gap of time between the exhaustion of their benefits from sick, personal and vacation days and when they qualify for long-term, permanent disability benefits,” Sobczak explained. “The bank is used only for PSA Sick Leave Bank members with personal catastrophic illness or injury.”

She said full-time PSA members may donate 16 hours and part-time members may donate eight hours of personal sick time to the bank, which is administered by Human Resources. Participants donate the time only once, no matter how long they continue their employment at the University.

To enroll, go to utoledo.edu/depts/hr/forms/labor.html, look under the Sick Leave Bank — PSA heading and then click on the PSA Sick Leave Bank 2013 donation form link. Mail the completed form to PSA Sick Leave Bank, care of Deb Sobczak, Mail Stop 608, by March 31.

Additional details, including links to the sick leave policy and the list of current sick leave bank members, are available here.

UT adds new commencement ceremonies due to increase in graduates

Due to larger graduating classes, the colleges of Nursing and Engineering will hold individual commencement ceremonies this year.

The College of Nursing will host a combined convocation and commencement ceremony Friday, May 3, at 1 p.m. in Savage Arena.

The College of Engineering will host a convocation and commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4, at 3 p.m. in Nitschke Hall Auditorium.

The commencement ceremony for the colleges of Business and Innovation, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Visual and Performing Arts, and Languages, Literature and Social Sciences will be held Sunday, May 5, at 9:30 a.m. in Savage Arena.

The commencement ceremony for the Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service and the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning will be held Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. in Savage Arena.

“We have the pleasant problem of graduating a larger class of students this spring and as a result, we want to be sure as many family members and friends of our graduates can watch their loved ones graduate,” said Dr. Scott Scarborough, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

In addition, the commencement ceremony for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will take place Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. in Savage Arena. The commencement ceremony for the College of Law will take place Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. in the Student Union Auditorium, and the commencement ceremony for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will take place Friday, June 7, at 2 p.m. in Stranahan Theater.

Owens-Illinois partners with UT College of Engineering to advance glass research

Owens-Illinois Inc. and The University of Toledo College of Engineering have signed a three-year agreement that will enhance research at the company’s new R&D Collaboration Center.

Scheduled to be completed by fall, the R&D Innovation Center will produce sample glass containers using new manufacturing technologies and product designs being tested by the company. UT will contribute state-of-the-art equipment to the effort as well as graduate student support from its Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

“We are excited about the opportunity to use UT’s state-of-the-art equipment to help us advance our understanding of basic principles,” said Dr. Kimberly Houchens, vice president of R&D for Owens-Illinois. “Our scientists will benefit from the help of UT graduate students, who will leverage the University’s extensive laboratory capabilities.”

The UT College of Engineering Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department has considerable experience developing and characterizing other types of sustainable materials.

“This partnership with Owens-Illinois will give us an opportunity to expand our efforts and add glass to our materials experience, giving our students new opportunities to learn and grow,” said Dr. Maria Coleman, professor and co-director of UT’s Institute for Sustainable Engineering Materials.

According to Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering, the partnership is an important one.

“Particularly in times when resources are tight, public-private partnerships provide opportunities beyond what either organization can accomplish alone. We’re proud of our long relationship with Owens-Illinois and this new collaboration only strengthens that bond,” Naganathan said.

The agreement covers salary and fees for graduate research assistants to partner with O-I scientists and engineers. The budget also covers the purchase of newly available equipment specific to characterize glass, and fees to use UT’s existing equipment, including X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy instruments.

‘Rockets for the Cure’ raises more than $19,800

The UT women’s basketball team made another record-setting contribution to Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Northwest Ohio at its sixth annual “Rockets For the Cure” game. The Rockets raised $19,845 for breast cancer research.

That total surpassed funds raised last year: $18,010. The event steadily has grown, raising $11,393 in 2010 and $14,366 in 2011.

rocketcureThe pink Nike jerseys that UT players wore were made just for the Feb. 16 game. Six of the uniforms that were auctioned off after the contest went for more than $1,000; Naama Shafir’s uniform brought in a high of $2,000.

WTOL news anchor Chrys Peterson, the guest emcee for a fifth consecutive year, announced raffle winners during timeouts and also told the crowd of 5,712, fourth largest in school history, more about Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Most in the crowd wore pink, including many who donned “Rockets for the Cause” T-shirts.

Honors College students to help in Nicaragua over spring break

Instead of heading to the beach for spring break, 10 Jesup Scott Honors College students are going to Nicaragua to assist “dump dwellers.”

Jeanetta Mohlke-Hill posed for a photo with students at the Reina Sofia Elementary School during the Honors College’s trip to Nicaragua last year.

Jeanetta Mohlke-Hill posed for a photo with students at the Reina Sofia Elementary School during the Honors College’s trip to Nicaragua last year.

Dump dwellers refers to people who build their houses on and live in garbage dumps, where they make a living collecting and re-selling recyclable items found in the mountain of trash.

“There are dumps literally the size of the UT campus,” said Dr. Page Armstrong, director of the Honors College Living and Learning Community. “Our primary goal is to get children out of the dump and into a primary or secondary education.”

This is the third year Armstrong and students from the Honors College will go to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.

The Honors College has been working with International Samaritan. The Ann Arbor-based philanthropic group works to raise awareness about dump dwellers and to improve conditions for those in the developing world, with a major focus in the Latin Central American countries.

There are 10,000 people living in the LaChureca Garbage Dump in Managua, according to the International Samaritan website.

Some of the efforts of human rights groups like International Samaritan have been apparent in recent years, as the Nicaraguan government has felt enough international pressure to begin cleaning up dumps.

During their overseas trip, Armstrong said UT students will work with Reina Sofia Elementary School students, as they have done in the past. Two years ago, UT students helped the school build a nursery and last year a kitchen.

“We are trying to build a sustainable relationship with the school,” Armstrong said. “This way they will know that every year a group of students will be visiting from UT.”

This year, honors students plan to teach the Nicaraguans how to build hydroponic systems so they can have a green, self-sustaining way to grow vegetables and raise fish. It will be a vitally important service, as LaChureca Garbage Dump lies near the toxic Lake Managua.

The systems will be built out of readily available pieces, scraps, old piping and other equipment that can be found in the dump. Students already have been briefed on how to make hydroponic systems sustainable and to show the Nicaraguans how the pipes and tanks should be put together.

Two area high school students will join the honors students on the trip. Armstrong said that in the future, she will look to get more local high schools involved.

“It has always been good to get students with different backgrounds involved,” said Samantha Meiers, a senior in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, who attended past trips to Nicaragua. “Because students in the Honors College are from all different majors and backgrounds, we all had to work together. We all have different skills, so not one person dominated the group. It was a very rewarding trip.”

Nominations sought for Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award

Nominations are being accepted for the Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award.

Take a few minutes to recognize a deserving colleague who has distinguished himself or herself through exceptional community outreach and excellence in community-engaged scholarship, whether in research, teaching or professional service.

Each recipient of the Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award will receive a $750 award. Up to two awardees will be chosen.

The Rathbun Excellence Award was endowed through a generous and growing gift from Edith Rathbun and further gifts from campus and community donors. It recognizes outstanding outreach and engagement scholarship in any field, discipline or area at The University of Toledo. Full-time faculty members in all colleges are eligible to receive the award.

The deadline to submit nominations is Tuesday, April 2.

The one-page nomination form is available here.

Winners will be recognized at the UT Outstanding Awards Reception, which will take place Monday, April 22, at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room.

The selection committee is composed of faculty members who served on the scholarship of engagement subcommittee of UT’s former Council on Outreach and Engagement, and former award recipients.

For more information, contact Penny Thiessen in the Office of Research and Innovation at penny.thiessen@utoledo.edu or 419.530.6171.

African Americans with disabilities in Antebellum South topic of talk

“What ‘Ability’ Is: Disabled African Americans Finding Power in the Antebellum South” will be discussed Thursday, Feb. 28, at 4 p.m. in University Hall Room 4180.

Dr. Jennifer Barclay, a faculty member of the History Department of the University of Akron, will be the speaker.

She has held fellowships in African-American studies at Case Western Reserve University Reserve and the University of Virginia. Barclay completed her doctorate in history at Michigan State University in 2011.

The free, public lecture is sponsored by the Disability Studies, Africana Studies and Master’s in Liberal Studies programs in conjunction with the departments of History, Sociology and Anthropology, and Women’s and Gender Studies.