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Archive for June, 2018

Two faculty members recognized by Ohio Arts Council

Dr. Jim Ferris, professor and Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, and Dr. Benjamin Stroud, associate professor of English, are recipients of the Ohio Arts Council’s 2018 Individual Excellence Award.

The Individual Excellence Awards are peer recognition of creative artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community.

These awards support artists’ growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.

“It’s an honor to receive the Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council,” Ferris said. “Making poems is a lot of fun all by itself, and having my work recognized by my peers is a great bonus.”

“It’s a really nice thing to happen,” Stroud said. “You submit your work anonymously, and send it off and hope. For the panel to choose your work is really gratifying. And it’s great that Ohio continues to support artists and the arts in this way.”

Applications for the $5,000 awards are accepted in the categories of choreography, criticism, fiction/nonfiction, music composition, playwriting, and poetry.


Ferris has a passion for poetry and uses his words to influence his commitment to diversity and inclusion within the Toledo community.

His books include “Slouching Towards Guantanamo,” “Facts of Life: Poems” and “The Hospital Poems.” The Lucas Count poet laureate also is the author of “Laborare,” a poem he wrote by request for Wade Kapszukiewicz and read when the new mayor of Toledo was sworn in.

“Words are one of the most important ways we clothe ideas,” Ferris said. “Poetry can help people find better ways not only to experience this world, but to imagine new ways of being in the world.”

Ferris said he plans to use this accomplishment as motivation to follow his passions and enhance his commitment to the community.

“Making poems that are meaningful to people is important to me,” Ferris said. “I try to do work that is useful, and making compelling experience with language is one of the most useful things we humans can do.”


Stroud specializes in creative writing and 20th-century American fiction.

“Writing is in part about making sense of some aspect of the world that surrounds us by building a little world in a story,” Stroud said. “It’s that chance to build these worlds and keep thinking about the people who inhabit them that’s always drawing me back to the page.”

Stroud is the author of the story collection titled “Byzantium,” which won the 2012 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Fiction Prize and was selected as a Best Book of the Summer in 2013 by Publisher’s Weekly and the Chicago Tribune.

His stories have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, One Story, Electric Literature, Boston Review and more.

UT, AAA to host seminar June 21 on self-driving buses as future of public transportation

The University of Toledo College of Engineering and AAA Northwest Ohio are hosting the third in a series of free, public talks to educate consumers about how smart vehicles will impact the world.

The seminar focused on public transportation and self-driving buses is from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, June 21, in UT’s Nitschke Auditorium.

Speakers will include Jim Gee, general manager of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority; Chris Pauly, director of business development in North America for NAVYA; and retired Lt. Col. John Tucker, sales specialist for Path Master Inc.

All speakers also will participate in a panel discussion with Dr. Eddie Chou, UT professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Transportation Systems Research Lab, and Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, UT associate professor of geography and planning.

“Self-driving buses that are wirelessly connected with riders could provide convenient, flexible and affordable service as an alternative to driving,” Chou said. “Public transportation will continue to be an important part of the mobility solution, but it needs to adapt and embrace new technologies and paradigms and perhaps form public-private partnerships to provide desirable services.”

NAVYA, a manufacturer of fully autonomous, fully electric 15-passenger shuttles and six-passenger taxi cabs, will have an autonomous, driverless bus with no steering wheel parked at UT.

“Ever-advancing technology is bringing autonomous vehicle technology to our roadways, perhaps quicker than some may have anticipated,” Edgar Avila, AAA executive vice president, said. “Public self-driving shuttle buses are already in use across the country, like the AAA-sponsored bus offering service in Las Vegas and the electric shuttle that began offering rides on the University of Michigan campus this spring.”

“The steps taken today will positively impact the community by enhancing safety and improving mobility as this region progresses toward the connected and autonomous technologies of the future,” Tucker said.

Register for the free, public seminar online at utoledo.edu/engineering/webforms/TTTWJune.html.

Upcoming topics in the series will include infrastructure and government regulation in September and accessibility in November.

President’s contract extended through 2023

In a strong show of support for The University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber’s leadership, the UT Board of Trustees approved Monday an amended contract to continue her presidency for the next five years.

The term of the amended contract is from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2023. Her original contract was set to expire in June 2020.


“Dr. Gaber’s leadership has put UT on a positive trajectory toward the ambitious goal of being a top public research university, and the campus is energized because of the great work underway to support our students and the Toledo community,” Board Chair Steven Cavanaugh said.

The amended and restated employment agreement updates the president’s base salary and includes specific performance metrics aligned with the University’s strategic plan. The president’s overall compensation is directly tied to achievement of the metrics.

The contract extension for Gaber was approved as part of the Board of Trustees’ annual review of the University’s leader in which they praised the positive momentum of the institution.

“I am thankful to have the support of the Board of Trustees to continue to lead this fantastic university,” Gaber said. “It truly is a team effort to work together collaboratively to make progress on achieving our strategic priorities. I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish these past three years, and I’m excited about what we can achieve in the years ahead.”

The Board commended Gaber’s commitment to student success, noting that student retention rates at UT are the highest in at least 18 years, and the largest number of candidates for degrees in at least 20 years participated in spring commencement.

The new Toledo Tuition Guarantee was recognized as a positive initiative to provide more transparency to students and their families. In addition, UT was recognized this year for its value by several external sources. Schools.com ranked UT Ohio’s best four-year college when analyzing criteria such as affordability, flexibility and student services. The website LendEDU also ranked UT the top Ohio public college for the lowest student debt.

The trustees specifically noted the improved research portfolio of the institution. The total number of research award dollars is at a five-year high. The board noted that three researchers were named Fellows of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and several UT students were awarded highly competitive scholarships, including the Goldwater Scholarship and a Sarnoff Fellowship.

Also enhancing UT’s reputation is the strong athletics program with two new Mid-American Conference Championships by the football and women’s soccer teams. UT was awarded the Jacoby Trophy as the top women’s athletic program in the MAC and, in the fall, all student-athletes achieved a record high combined GPA of 3.29.

Individually, Gaber was named one of the top five higher education leaders to watch. She was appointed to the NCAA Strategic Planning Committee and the Inter-University Council Executive Committee, and serves on the MAC Finance Committee, of which she will be the chair next year.

This year the University also received the largest gift in UT’s history from Welltower, which gave UT real estate and a headquarter building valued at $30 million. It will serve as an additional campus where the Division of Advancement will continue to build relationships with alumni and donors. The number of donors to the institution grew by more than 10 percent this year.

The increase in philanthropic support and additional initiatives have put UT in a strong financial position, confirmed by the University’s bond rating being reaffirmed by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. UT approved this year a new contract with the American Association of University Professors, one of five bargaining agreements approved in the last two years. A new transportation partnership with TARTA will save the University approximately $2 million by not replacing the aging bus fleet while extending free bus rides to students, faculty and staff throughout the community.

As part of the performance review, the board voted to give the president a performance incentive per her hiring contract. The funding comes from unrestricted funds that were generated from investment earnings and allocated to a Board of Trustees account with the UT Foundation.

UT recognizes areas of research excellence

The University of Toledo has identified three areas of research excellence as it pursues its goal of achieving national recognition for contributions to advancing knowledge.

UT’s current areas of research excellence identified by the University Research Council and endorsed by external reviews are:

• Astronomy and Astrophysics;

• Solar Energy, Water Quality and Sustainable Technologies; and

• Cell Architecture and Dynamics.

“These areas emerged from a yearlong review process and were selected because of the highly accomplished faculty members UT has in these areas who are recognized nationally for contributions to their fields of study,” Vice President for Research Frank Calzonetti said. “Identifying these areas of excellence will help promote the University’s standing as a strong research university and create opportunities for collaboration.”

This will be a continual process with ongoing invitations to consider new areas and to update existing areas of excellence, Calzonetti said.

UT astronomers have produced groundbreaking discoveries in the origins of stars and star clusters. They have access to highly competitive time on the world’s best telescopes, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory. UT also is a partner with Lowell Observatory, which provides guaranteed access to the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona. The University regularly engages undergraduate and graduate students in research projects with that telescope.

The strength of the University’s astronomy and astrophysics program was recognized nationally in 2016 when UT was selected to join the prestigious Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, which includes many of the country’s top programs.

Solar energy, water quality, and sustainable technologies were identified in part due to the University’s strong reputation in research, development, and commercialization of thin-film photovoltaic technologies. For example, in solar energy, Dr. Yanfa Yan, Ohio Research Scholar chair and UT professor of physics, has one of the strongest publication records among researchers in his field.

The UT Lake Erie Center receives attention for its work studying harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and its efforts to protect the quality of the region’s drinking water. Additional faculty members are making important contributions to green chemistry and other sustainability studies.

The cell architecture and dynamics category recognizes the basic science researchers involved in the study of the cell and its structures to better understand cell movement and how that affects disease progression. For example, Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, associate professor of biological sciences, has three active National Institutes of Health grants to study the migration of cancer cells away from the primary tumor and their subsequent metastasis to distant organs.

The identification of these areas of research excellence and a plan to advance them is part of the University’s strategic plan. As part of the process to identify existing strong research programs, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs also recognized spotlight areas of unique distinction, areas of emerging research excellence, and areas of future opportunity.

The spotlight areas of unique distinction include programs that have received national recognition with strong faculty leadership, but with few faculty experts on campus currently advancing that field of study. Those spotlight areas identified are:

• Human Trafficking, led by Social Work Professor Celia Williamson and supported by the UT Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute;

• Disability and Society, which includes Professor Kim E. Nielson, who is the author of the only book to cover the entirety of American disability history titled “A Disability History of the United States.” UT also offers the only humanities-based undergraduate degree in disabilities studies; and

• Hypertension and Precision Medicine, led by Distinguished University Professor Bina Joe, a recognized leader in the field of genetic determinants of high blood pressure.

Identified areas of emerging research excellence are those with growth opportunities based upon the significance of their work to science and society. The areas that could benefit from further development are:

• Legacy Cities, which includes a collaborative group of faculty members across the social sciences who study how former industrial cities that experienced massive decline are being reinvented, and

• Cancer, Immune Therapy and Precision Molecular Therapy, which features advances in targeting specific genes or proteins for more effective and less invasive treatment options.

Lastly, areas of future opportunity were identified where a group of faculty members are working in an area of emerging importance in science, technology and society. The areas that could gain recognition through focused investment are:

• Vector Biology, which studies mosquitos and other insects that transmit diseases and affect public health;

• Smart Transportation, which includes advances in autonomous vehicles;

• Data 2 Decision, which is the study of big data and how it is used, analyzed and protected;

• BioPsychoSocial Determinants of Chronic Disease, which studies the economic and social conditions that impact health factors, such as the work underway by UT’s opioid task force; and

• Community-Based STEAM, which features community partnerships, such as with the Toledo Museum of Art, that advance the arts and promote continued education. STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“The University of Toledo has strong research programs across the institution,” said Jack Schultz, senior executive director for research development. “Our goal with this process was to identify those areas with a high level of recognition at the national level. We look forward to exploring opportunities to elevate their standing and bring more attention to these areas of research excellence.”

The identification of the University’s focus areas does not imply that research without these designations will be unsupported. The University values all faculty research and the contributions each faculty member makes in their fields.

Trustees approve 2019 operating budget

The UT Board of Trustees approved on June 18 the University’s operating budget for fiscal year 2019 that includes the new Tuition Guarantee plan for incoming students and no tuition increase for continuing undergraduate students.

The $750 million operating budget is based on stable student enrollment and reflects efforts the University has taken to control costs, such as savings from last year’s Voluntary Separation Incentive Program and health-care savings generated by encouraging employees to use UT’s pharmacies.

The new Tuition Guarantee goes into effect for the 2018-19 academic year and allows new degree-seeking undergraduate students to pay the same tuition and general fees from their first day of college through graduation four years later. On-campus housing and meal plan rates also are guaranteed for four years; however, residence hall space cannot be guaranteed beyond a student’s second year due to high demand from first- and second-year students.

An undergraduate tuition freeze continues for the fourth consecutive year for students enrolled prior to summer 2018 who are not included in the Tuition Guarantee program. The budget includes a 2 percent increase in the graduate tuition rate, with additional increases in some specific graduate programs. The trustees previously approved a 2 percent increase in housing and meal plans to cover increasing costs of operations.

The budget reflects wage increases for professional staff and faculty members who are not part of a bargaining unit. The increases are based on salary levels in which individuals with a salary greater than $100,000 will receive a 1 percent wage increase; employees who make between $75,000 and $100,000 will receive a 1.5 percent raise; and those who make less than $75,000 will receive a 3 percent wage increase. University employees who are members of unions will receive increased compensation as determined by their collective bargaining agreements.

The Board of Trustees elected officers for the 2017-18 year. Mary Ellen Pisanelli will serve as chair, and Alfred A. Baker will serve as vice chair.

The June meeting completed the board service of Joseph H. Zerbey, former president and general manager for The Blade, who was appointed to the board in 2009. Lucas D. Zastrow, a student trustee in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, also was recognized for his two years of service to the board.

Use app to navigate campus during road construction

The University of Toledo is using the map and traffic navigation app Waze to keep visitors up to speed on the numerous road construction projects occurring on and near campus.

The free mobile application available in the App Store and Google Play provides timely traffic and road information to give users the best routes to get to where they need to go.

“We are excited about the improvements to campus, but understand how the temporary closures are making it difficult for our campus community and visitors to navigate their way around campus,” said Bonnie Murphy, associate vice president for auxiliaries. “By using the Waze app, we can provide up-to-date information for the best ways to access and enjoy campus during this construction period.”

Members of the UT community can encourage visitors to download the app before coming to campus. The University also will continue to communicate road closures through UT News.

The ongoing road replacement of Bancroft Street is expected to last until November.

On the west side of Main Campus, a portion of West Rocket Drive is closed from the railroad tracks to West Towerview Boulevard for the installation of a new tunnel system for condensate and steam lines. The street is expected to be closed to through traffic through Friday, June 29, and drivers need to detour around the construction via Secor Road and through lot 25 by Rocket Hall.

The east and west parking garages also are planned to be closed through early July for annual restoration work.

Former Rocket named to New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame

The New Orleans Saints announced that former Rocket wide receiver Lance Moore will be inducted into their Hall of Fame in a ceremony Friday, Sept. 14. 

Moore played 11 seasons in the NFL (2005 to 2015), nine of them with the Saints. He caught 360 passes in his pro career, including a career-high of 78 in 2008.

Former Rocket Lance Moore made this spectacular catch for a two-point conversion in Super Bowl XLIV. The photo appeared in Sports Illustrated.

He battled injuries throughout most of 2009, but came back in time to help New Orleans win Super Bowl XLIV. His acrobatic snag of a two-point conversion was key in the Saints’ 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. 

Moore played for the Rockets from 2000 to 2003, earning first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors in his junior and senior seasons.

As a junior, he set then-UT records for receptions (103), receiving yards (1,194) and TD receptions (9). His biggest game came in a 35-31 win over No. 9 Pittsburgh in which he caught the game-winner in the corner of the end zone in the waning moments of the contest.

As a senior, Moore caught 90 passes for 1,189 yards, setting the school mark for TD receptions with 15, including three scores in Toledo’s 35-27 win over Miami in the 2004 MAC Championship Game.

He also was an excellent student, earning Academic All-America honors as a senior in 2004.

Moore was inducted into the Varsity T Hall of Fame in 2011.

Baseball player named third-team All-American

Former Toledo baseball player Ross Adolph was named a third-team American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-American on Saturday.

Adolph becomes the sixth All-American in program history, joining Roger Coe (1974), Mitch Maier (freshman 2001, 2003-04), Sean Dobson (2004), AJ Montoya (freshman, 2015), and John Servello (freshman, 2018).


Adolph, a first-team American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-Region selection, recently became the 46th player in school history taken in the Major League Baseball draft. The 12th-round selection by the New York Mets wrapped up one of the best seasons ever by a Toledo hitter.

The first-team All-Mid-American Conference and All-MAC Defensive Team selection tied the program’s single-season home run record in 2018 with 15, tied for most in the league. He also led the MAC in RBIs (56) and was tops on the squad with 50 runs scored, 69 hits, 12 stolen bases, a .654 slugging percentage, and a .445 on-base percentage. He became the first Rocket with double-digit home runs since 2010 (Jared Hoying and Dan Sherwood, 10).

The Findlay, Ohio, native was one of two MAC players named an All-American by American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings, joining former Kent State pitcher Joey Murray.

UT runner to throw out first pitch at Mud Hens’ game

Senior distance runner Janelle Noe will throw out the first pitch at the Toledo Mud Hens’ game Saturday, June 16, in honor of “You Will Do Better in Toledo Night.”

She also will be presented with a jersey from the club as part of the ceremony. Game time is 7 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. Toledo will face the Louisville Bats.


Noe is being honored for her recent triumph on the track along with her perseverance since coming back from a 2016 incident that left much of her body covered in severe burns. The 2018 outdoor track and field season has seen Noe cut her 1500m time down to a program-best 4:10.83.

Most recently, Noe took 11th place at last week’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., earning Second-Team All-America honors.

“I never thought I’d throw out the first pitch at a Mud Hens’ game or any baseball game, so that’s really cool,” Noe said. “I feel really honored that they want me to do it on ‘You Will Do Better in Toledo Night.’”

“Janelle’s story of perseverance and triumph exemplifies exactly what we are celebrating — extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in our community,” said Tyler Clark, special event and game day presentation coordinator for the Toledo Mud Hens.

UTMC recognized for outstanding stroke care

UT Medical Center again has been recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for outstanding stroke care with the Get With the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus award.

The award recognizes UTMC’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines according to the latest scientific evidence.

The hospital earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for at least the last two calendar years. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

In addition, UTMC this year received the Target: Stroke Elite Plus award, recognizing hospitals achieving Time to Intravenous Thrombolytic Therapy less than or equal to 60 minutes in 75 percent or more of applicable acute ischemic stroke patients treated with IV tPA and door-to-needle time.