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Archive for January, 2016

Recreational therapy recognized as a best value degree program

The University of Toledo offers the country’s best value degree in recreational therapy, according to College Values Online.

UT’s bachelor of science degree in recreational therapy is listed No. 1 by the website in its rankings of the 30 best parks, recreation and leisure degree programs in the United States.

College-Values-Online-Top-Degree-Programs-2016-300x292UT ranked highest based on the criteria of low tuition, high return on investment, high percentage of students receiving financial aid, and the number of minors, concentrations and areas of emphasis offered within the program.

“Parks, recreation, tourism and hospitality is a massive global industry, and a degree from a reputable university in your specific area of interest can get you off to a great start,” College Values Online editors wrote. “In today’s economy, with student debt piling up ever higher on graduates, value is an important consideration. Cost, financial aid, program flexibility, and return on investment are all major concerns. That’s why we focus not just on the quality, but the value of the degree programs in our ranking.”

The editors noted UT’s Recreational Therapy Program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions, and offers concentrations in pre-occupational therapy, therapeutic arts, geriatrics, pediatrics and communication.

College Values Online’s mission is to provide assistance in selecting the best college for each individual situation by offering rankings of schools and various degree programs.
Visit collegevaluesonline.com for additional information.

American Red Cross invokes blood donations for annual drive

Will you meet the challenge?

The provocation can be found on numerous posters calling for people to donate blood this month at the American Red Cross blood drives at The University of Toledo.

Am-Red-Cross-logo_0Donors can give on the following dates:

• Monday, Feb. 1 — Student Union Ingman Room, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, Feb. 2 — Student Union Ingman Room, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Wednesday, Feb. 3 — Brady Engineering Innovation Center, Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex Room 1000, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Thursday, Feb. 4 — UTMC Morse Center, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“We cannot manufacture blood, and someone throughout the U.S. receives a blood product every two seconds,” said Jennifer Hughes, donor recruitment account manager of the American Red Cross Western Lake Erie Region. “Recipients can range from those that suffer from a blood disorder or disease, trauma patients, burn victims, and those impacted by cancer. Each blood donation has an impact on up to three lives, so it is a great way to give back to the community.”

Due to the severe weather across the nation in recent weeks, the American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood. More than 300 drives across 20 states were canceled, resulting in more than 9,500 uncollected donations, taking away from the already low winter supply.

“You never know when you or a loved one will need blood products,” said Diane Smith, donor recruitment account manager of the American Red Cross Western Lake Erie Region. “If more healthy people donated, we would never have to worry about whether our hospitals have enough inventory.”

The goal is to collect more than 160 pints from Main Campus and 34 pints from Health Science Campus.

While an appointment is not necessary, it is encouraged. To schedule an appointment, donors should visit redcross.org and enter a sponsor code — UTMAIN for Main Campus or UTMED for Health Science Campus. Donors also can call 1.800.RED.CROSS. A valid photo ID is required to give blood.

A limited number of free T-shirts will be available for donors on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Hughes at 419.764.4168 or jennifer.hughes@redcross.com or Smith at 419.205.8178 or diane.smith2@redcross.org.

Undergraduate students design exhibition featured at Toledo Museum of Art

The best way to prepare for life after college is to get hands-on experience. That’s the philosophy of a UT class working with the Toledo Museum of Art.

Featuring numerous print pieces depicting cities — grand views from famous boulevards to glimpses of anonymous corners — the Toledo Museum of Art’s exhibition “The City” is filled with unique prints of bustling metropolises. What’s more, the exhibition was curated by the UT Art Museum Practices class.

Crystal Hand, left, and Alyx Smith, both students in the Art Museum Practices class, and Dr. Thor Mednick, assistant professor of art history, checked out the Toledo Museum of Art Hitchcock Gallery.

Crystal Hand, left, and Alyx Smith, both students in the Art Museum Practices class, and Dr. Thor Mednick, assistant professor of art history, checked out the Toledo Museum of Art Hitchcock Gallery.

Students were responsible for creating the themes for the exhibit and choosing relevant work to display from the museum’s permanent collection of prints, in collaboration with staff members from the museum. They then wrote labels for the works, and the copy was reviewed by the museum’s managing editor. Finally, they planned the sequence of the pieces in the gallery.

“I think we did really well,” said Alyx Smith, a fourth-year art history student in the class. “There’s a lot of work in a small space, but it doesn’t look too busy. I wouldn’t change anything. I really like how it looks.”

Working with the Art Museum Practices class was a New Media Design Practices course, which was responsible for creating exhibition graphics for print and web interfaces.

“The City” was curated by students in the UT Art Museum Practices class, with assistance from their peers in a New Media Design Practices course.

“The City” was curated by students in the UT Art Museum Practices class, with assistance from their peers in a New Media Design Practices course.

“I really liked being able to work directly with the art museum,” said Emily Rose, a fourth-year new media design student. “I was able to take pictures of the installation of the show, which was really neat because usually you never get to see that process.”

The exhibition implementation course is the third in a series of four classes that comprise the art museum practices concentration, a self-selected area of study for students who want a career in an art museum. Throughout the series, students have the opportunity to meet museum professionals and learn the various responsibilities of a museum worker.

“Rather than a primarily theoretical or speculative approach, we attempt to prepare the students for the actual working life of a museum professional,” said Dr. Thor Mednick, assistant professor of art history, who taught the Art Museum Practices course.

The City sign by Emily RoseRose said her experience working on the exhibition will help her grow her wedding photography business: “It also looks good on a resumé saying that you were able to work with a major art museum.”

“The whole reason I picked this University is because of this concentration,” Smith said. “I want to go into exhibition design, so this was perfect. Having the opportunity to design an exhibition and do a whole show is something not a lot of people have the chance to do, especially as an undergraduate.”

The free, public exhibition is on display in the Toledo Museum of Art Hitchcock Gallery through Sunday, Feb. 14.

In association with the exhibit, the films “Chinatown” and “Blade Runner” will be featured in the Toledo Museum of Art Little Theater in January. Students will introduce the films and discuss their relationship to the city theme.

For more information, visit toledomuseum.org/exhibitions/the-city.

Leadership training connects UT Health directors, managers

A group of directors and managers at UT Health is learning how to become effective leaders through biweekly training.

The goals of the Leadership Breakfast Series, held by UT Health’s Service Excellence Department, are to improve leadership skills, provide networking opportunities with those in similar positions, and share learning experiences with each other.

Robin Horani, administrative director in Revenue Cycle, center, talked at a recent Leadership Breakfast as, from left, Christina Powlesland, nurse manager in the operating room, James Seiwert, director of patient financial services, and Holly Hill, coding manager in Health Information Management, listened.

Robin Horani, administrative director in Revenue Cycle, center, talked at a recent Leadership Breakfast as, from left, Christina Powlesland, nurse manager in the operating room, James Seiwert, director of patient financial services, and Holly Hill, coding manager in Health Information Management, listened.

The first session of the series started last March, the second session started in May, and the third session started in August. The program has grown from 12 directors and managers to a group of 31.

“This series has allowed me to build relationships and connect with my counterparts, and have the opportunity to reach out to others for guidance and support,” said Angela Ackerman, director of outcome management.

Joshua Krupinski, assistant director for food and nutritional services, also values the connections he developed through the training.

“Having this opportunity to really dive in and connect with leaders across the different departments was truly engaging,” Krupinski said. “It was astonishing to see how leaders that are seemingly worlds apart can have such shared vision and passion for their people, the University and our community.”

The next round of training started in January, including Leadership Breakfast Series I and II for those who have completed the first training.

“The opportunity to learn with colleagues and engage in a universal vision has been instrumental to the culture at UT,” said Corey Overmyer, director of therapy services. “The professional growth achieved by this group during the breakfast series will drive this organization forward toward a bright and positive future for years to come.”

Tony Urbina, service excellence officer and facilitator of the Leadership Breakfast Series, emphasized the importance of developing a team atmosphere and taking the time to invest in each other.

“A team atmosphere doesn’t just happen; it’s one of those things you need to cultivate,” Urbina said.

In addition to creating a support system among directors and managers at UT Health, Urbina said he also plans to build a mentorship program for employees at all levels.

Ice age science: UT geologist receives national fellowship for glacier, climate change research

For 26 years, Dr. Timothy Fisher has clocked countless helicopter hours flying to frozen lakes across Canada and the northern United States to study the effects of ancient glaciers.

“We are learning from past global climate change to predict what might happen in the future,” Fisher said. “I have disproven common assumptions in the scientific community by coring into the bottom of snow and ice-covered lakes for sediment samples to reconstruct and understand conditions on planet Earth more than 10,000 years ago.”

Fisher

Fisher

One of the world’s largest geological societies recently honored The University of Toledo geology professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences as one of the best in his profession by electing him as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA), an association with more than 26,000 members in 115 countries. The association promotes geoscience research, discovery and stewardship of the Earth.

“This is quite an honor,” Fisher said. “The GSA fellowship carries weight over the quality of my work to reconstruct past positions of receding glaciers and glacial lake levels to decipher whether there is a relationship with climate records in the Greenland ice cores. This adds more confidence to what I do, and perhaps I will be more aggressive applying for research grants.”

Fisher was nominated for his “significant contributions to the understanding of Glacial Lake Agassiz, the Great Lakes and associated environments,” according to the GSA award. “His field work, which spans several Canadian provinces and northern states, has led to publications that change the way we think about the history of some of the predominate landscapes of North America.”

“I am very pleased to congratulate Dr. Fisher on his election as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America,” Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said. “His selection is a recognition of his outstanding work in improving our understanding of glacial landscapes, including our own Great Lakes. It also provides additional evidence of the excellent faculty members we are fortunate to have here at The University of Toledo.”

Dr. Timothy Fisher and fellow researchers used a hydraulically assisted Livingstone corer to recover sediment cores from lake ice on Skeptic Lake in Ontario. Conducting the work were, from left, Dr. Tom Lowell, professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati; Fisher; and UT graduate students Henry Loope and Bruce Skubon.

Dr. Timothy Fisher and fellow researchers used a hydraulically assisted Livingstone corer to recover sediment cores from lake ice on Skeptic Lake in Ontario. Conducting the work were, from left, Dr. Tom Lowell, professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati; Fisher; and UT graduate students Henry Loope and Bruce Skubon.

Fisher has written 67 peer-reviewed publications to argue ideas in his areas of specialty, including the history of Great Lakes sand dunes and how they serve as a record of climate variability. One article published in the Journal of Paleolimnology recently was named one of the top 10 most cited papers in the scientific publication in 2014.

Fisher’s main research focus has been on the problems of a long-gone glacial lake in north-central North America known as Lake Agassiz, which filled with meltwater at the end of the last glacial period over an area more than three times larger than the modern Great Lakes combined.

“Lake Agassiz doesn’t exist anymore. Remnants of the glacial lake are in Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba,” Fisher said. “The controversy lies in where all of that freshwater went at the end of the last ice age. Did it drain into the Arctic or North Atlantic oceans, slow down the Gulf Stream and trigger rapid climactic shifts in the Northern Hemisphere? That’s now unlikely because the drainage outlet routes are too young. My age control data from coring lakes leads me to believe it’s possible that much of the freshwater from Lake Agassiz evaporated.”

The scientist is working to document a chronology of when and how glaciers retreated to understand the relationship between lake levels and past climate changes.

“I am working on big questions, such as if that relationship is cause and effect,” Fisher said. “This is background for trying to understand climate change in the future.”

As debate rages worldwide over warming temperatures, Fisher said. “We won’t see a similar glacial cycle again. The chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere has forever changed with the steady influx of greenhouse gases.”

Click here to read more about Fisher and his research.

24-Hour Plays to spotlight student creativity Jan. 30

Students will unleash their own brand of creativity when The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film hosts the annual 24-Hour Plays, to be presented Saturday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

The event is being coordinated by the UT chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre fraternity.

24 Hours PlaysFor the performers, the mayhem will begin the night before on Friday, Jan. 29, when students are divided into teams whose members collaborate to write, produce and rehearse the play. They have until just before showtime Saturday to pull it together for performance.

“It’s always amazing to me how the deadline crunch squeezes out some of the most creative juice from our students. They always have a blast doing it, and audiences always enjoy it, too,” said Dr. Edmund Lingan, UT associate professor and chair of theatre and film. “Most of the plays end up being short comedies, but not always. You just never know exactly what they’re going to come up with, but it’s always a fun time.”

For those wishing to participate in the 24-Hour Plays, sign-up sheets are available on the Alpha Psi Omega bulletin board in the Center for Performing Arts near the vending machines.

Tickets to the 24-Hour Plays are sold in advance or at the door for $10 general admission and $5 for students, children, seniors, members of the military, and UT faculty and staff. Advance tickets are available through the Center for Performing Arts Box Office by calling 419.530.ARTS (2787) or online at utoledo.tix.com.

UT’s surgical residency program ranked No. 14 in country

Newly released research shows that surgical residency programs should be valued for their outcome-based measures, not just their reputation.

This bodes well for The University of Toledo’s surgical residency program, which ranks 14th when looking at outcomes.

“This solidifies what we already know about UT’s surgical residency,” said Dr. Munier Nazzal, professor of vascular surgery, director of the General Surgery Residency Program, and chief of the Division of Surgical Education at The University of Toledo Medical Center. “We offer an excellent surgical residency program that results in our alumni contributing to articles, grants and clinical trials in the surgical field.”

The article in the Journal of Surgical Education stated that reputation alone doesn’t do justice for a residency’s quality when comparing surgical residency programs across the country. For instance, Columbia University Medical Center ranked 26th for reputation, but fell to No. 133 for its outcomes ranking. UT had an even larger discrepancy with reputation of 205th.

The research was compiled through publicly available data from all 218 eligible general surgery residency programs. To generate an outcomes-based program ranking, surgery programs were evaluated according to an average percentile that was calculated using board pass rates and the prevalence of alumni publications. This information was compared against peer nominations generated through a 2014 national survey that asked 17,000 verified physicians to rate as many as five residency programs.

“Our residency has changed over the past few years,” Nazzal said. “The most important step was to improve the educational part of the residency training. We shifted from ‘service providers’ to ‘balanced education, research and service’ with well-defined programs of research, teaching and education. The collective efforts of the teaching faculty and the open-door policy to all residents improved communication with residents and, thus, their performance. Continuous improvement and innovation is our goal to become the best in the field.”

The article stated that the mean board pass rate of the 218 programs was 72 percent, and 60 programs were placed in the 75th percentile or above for the number of articles, grants or clinical trials authored by program alumni. UT was among those in the 75-plus percentile.

Nazzal said UT’s carefully designed surgical residency program, which has 32 residents, allows residents to get into respectable fellowship programs. The residency was further improved by offering training in and outside of UTMC.

“Focusing on research as part of education helped put our residency program on the map of education and training and introduced us as a program of high caliber into the surgical education community in the country,” he said.

UT to dedicate new research lab created with help of $250,000 gift from Shimadzu

The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will celebrate the dedication of a new state-of-the-art research laboratory created with the help of a leading scientific instrument company Thursday, Jan. 28, at noon in Health Education Building Room 103 on Health Science Campus.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean Johnnie Early and a representative from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will give remarks at noon followed by an open house for the Shimadzu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence.

Shimadzu donated more than $250,000 to help UT pay for several new instruments, including a mass spectrometer that is capable of analyzing samples with a high degree of accuracy and unmatched speed.

“This donation will help UT train the scientists of tomorrow with cutting-edge technology,” Phil Martin, life science account manager with Shimadzu, said. “The liquid chromatograph mass spectrometer can analyze a wide array of sample types, including biological and environmental, with great speed, accuracy and ease-of-use. The LCMS-8050 will open new avenues of teaching and research, including drug discovery and metabolism, disease biomarkers, and oxidative damage to DNA. This technology also can be used to monitor water quality and detect dangerous algal toxins in Lake Erie faster and with more accuracy than other techniques.”

“Shimadzu’s goals are very strongly aligned with UT’s in striving to best prepare the next generation of pharmacists, researchers and scientists to improve the world,” Gaber said. “On behalf of The University of Toledo, I want to extend sincere thanks to them for their generous contributions and collaboration.”

“Through this partnership, state-of-the-art equipment for pharmaceutical analysis will be available to students, faculty and members of the corporate sector, all with the support of trained and knowledgeable experts in the area of pharmaceutical research,” Early said.

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Columbia, Md.) is the American subsidiary of Shimadzu Corp. (Kyoto, Japan). A global leader in analytical technologies, Shimadzu is proud to produce its most innovative technology in America. The LCMS-8050 is built in Shimadzu’s U.S. manufacturing facility, located in Canby, Ore.

“The company has a history of identifying researchers who are doing cutting-edge work at institutions poised to make an impact on the training of students,” Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, UT associate professor of medicinal and biological chemistry, said. “I have been delighted to work with Shimadzu over the years to make this relationship a reality.”

Lecturer to teach mindfulness practices Feb. 2

Inhale, be aware, exhale.

Mindfulness — the ability to be in the moment, focused and aware — is a practice that requires dedication and one that UT Senior Lecturer Jay Rinsen Weik recommends starting with a face-to-face interaction with an instructor.

Jay Rinsen Weik, UT lecturer in the Department of Music and Zen teacher, got comfortable for a segment for his online class Mindfulness and Creativity.

Jay Rinsen Weik, UT lecturer in the Department of Music and Zen teacher, got comfortable for a segment for his online class Mindfulness and Creativity.

Luckily, his upcoming lecture, “Zen Mindfulness,” could serve as that first step. The free, public lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. will be in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

After a brief musical introduction, Weik plans to talk about the practice of mindfulness and teach some basic meditations for people to implement in their daily lives.

The talk will be an extension of the Mindfulness and Creativity Initiative that Weik directs at the University.

“The initiative brings together two important aspects of human fulfillment,” he said. “One of them is creativity studies, which is ridiculously relevant no matter what field we’re talking about. The other is mindfulness. That’s the ability to be present to one’s experience — really powerfully present. Creativity is the currency of progress, and mindfulness is the currency of peace.”

Both are developable and trainable, according to Weik, who also serves as an American Zen teacher. By practicing meditational exercises daily, mindfulness can alleviate stress and reduce suffering — producing a tangible difference in a person’s life.

“The more of us that are healthy, that are creative, that are fulfilled, the better it is for all of us.”

He uses the analogy of a person who has only eaten junk food his entire life. By just cutting out a little junk food and replacing it with nutritious food, the person would see an immediate difference in his life. Mindfulness works similarly, requiring regular practice and dedication to make an impact.

In addition to talks like this, Weik teaches a course called Mindfulness and Creativity at UT focusing on introducing mindfulness through meditation and breathing methods. While the class is based on Eastern traditions, it doesn’t have a religious connotation. If the “Zen Lessons” talk interests listeners, Weik recommends this course as a next step as it is a general elective and open to any UT student.

A reception will follow the talk. Free parking will be available in the Law Center’s parking areas: 12, 12S and 12W.

The lecture is sponsored jointly by the UT Mindfulness and Creativity Initiative and the UT Center for Religious Understanding. It’s made possible by the University’s College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, the Toledo Community Foundation, and other local individuals, families and corporations that support the Center for Religious Understanding.

For more information, contact Weik at jay.weik@utoledo.edu or the Center for Religious Understanding at 419.530.6187 or cfru@utoledo.edu.

zen poster

UT campus master planning team to present findings at two informational sessions

The University of Toledo’s campus master planning team will hold two forums next week to discuss initial findings about the use of UT facilities.

UT’s Facilities and Construction staff, working with consultants from SmithGroupJJR, spent fall semester gathering input and ideas about the use of space on the University’s campuses from students, faculty, staff and the local community. Interviews, focus groups and open forums held throughout October provided an opportunity for stakeholders to offer opinions, ask questions and raise concerns about instructional space, housing, recreation and community use of campus facilities.

“The team has completed their analysis and is eager to share what they’ve learned about how well we’re using our classrooms and teaching labs, the facility conditions of all of our buildings, the natural resources of each campus, parking, transportation patterns, and other ways to understand our campuses,” said Jason Toth, UT associate vice president for facilities and construction. “Our next step is to talk about where UT facilities are now and where we go from here.”

The master planning team will hold the sessions to share the common themes they identified and their findings from examining the University’s facilities and to share next steps. Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited and encouraged to attend either presentation:

• Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room.

• Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium.

The campus master planning team will be on hand at both sessions and includes representatives from UT Facilities and Construction, and consulting group SmithGroupJJR.

For more information about the University’s master planning process or to contribute input online, visit utoledo.edu/facilities/master-plan.