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Assistant provost named interim dean of students

In his new role as interim associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, Dr. Sammy Spann will encourage students to get engaged on campus.

Spann, who has served The University of Toledo for 15 years most recently as assistant provost for career services, experiential learning and international programs overseeing the Center for International Studies and Programs, was appointed to the role effective July 15.


“We are fortunate to have someone with Sammy’s commitment to students and passion for higher education on our campus. He will be an enthusiastic champion for student success as dean of students,” said Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, interim vice president of student affairs.

Spann, who has 18 years experience in higher education, joined UT in 2002 as director of Camp Adventure, a service-learning program he continues to be involved with today. Throughout his tenure at UT, he also has served as executive director of student engagement and assistant provost for international studies and programs.

“I look forward to working closely with students and my colleagues across the University to enhance the student experience here at UT,” Spann said. “I am passionate about getting students involved on campus and connected to opportunities to reinforce their education through real-world experiences. This is an exciting opportunity to help students be successful through those efforts.”

Sara Clark, director of global engagement and education abroad, will serve as the interim director for the Center for International Studies and Programs.

Spann is a UT alumnus receiving his PhD in special education from the University. He also has a master’s degree in special education and behavior disorders from the University of Northern Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences from Fort Valley State University in Georgia.

Prior to joining UT, Spann was a recruiter and retention specialist for Fort Valley State and a supervisor of education practicum experiences at Northern Iowa.

Retirement reception June 1 for senior VP of student affairs

A retirement reception for Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president of student affairs at The University of Toledo, will be held Thursday, June 1, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Schmakel Room.

Patten will retire in June after more than a decade at the University.


“I have enjoyed my time at UT, have created many great memories, and feel our team has accomplished much,” Patten said. “I am looking forward to the future.”

“For 11 years Dr. Kaye Patten has provided strong leadership for the Division of Student Affairs,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “On behalf of our UT community, I thank her for all she has done and wish her the best upon her well-deserved retirement.”

Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, will serve as interim vice president of student affairs effective June 1. 

Interim VP of student affairs named

The University of Toledo Division of Student Affairs is transitioning through a leadership change.

Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, will serve as interim vice president of student affairs effective June 1. Dr. Kaye M. Patten will retire in June.


“I have enjoyed my time at UT, have created many great memories, and feel our team has accomplished much,” Patten said. “I am looking forward to the future.”

“For 11 years Dr. Kaye Patten has provided strong leadership for the Division of Student Affairs,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “On behalf of our UT community, I thank her for all she has done and wish her the best upon her well-deserved retirement.”

A retirement reception for Patten will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1, in the UT Driscoll Alumni Center Schmakel Room.

“Dr. Phillip ‘Flapp’ Cockrell has proven himself to be a strong leader with a commitment to student success, and I appreciate his willingness to step into the role of interim vice president to continue the progress being made in the Division of Student Affairs and to fulfill the University’s mission for a student-centered environment,” Gaber said.

“I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to working with the administration and faculty in looking for ways to enhance student success as it relates to the student experience at the University,” Cockrell said.

The offices and departments that make up the Division of Student Affairs include the Office of the Dean of Students; Office of Residence Life; University Counseling Center; Office of Multicultural Student Success; Office of Recreation; Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards; Office of Student Involvement and Leadership; Office of Student Advocacy and Support; Toledo Excel; and Upward Bound.

Cockrell joined UT as associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students in April 2016. Cockrell has several years of experience working in student affairs at various universities. Most recently, he served three years as associate vice provost for student affairs and dean of students at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

His prior student affairs experience also includes work in various positions at Mississippi University for Women, Ohio State University and Florida International University.
Cockrell toured and studied institutions of higher learning policies and practices abroad in England, Scotland and Ireland. 

He received his bachelor of science degree in family studies from Mississippi University for Women in 2003. Cockrell obtained a master of science degree in educational leadership and student affairs from Florida International University, followed by a doctor of philosophy in urban higher education from Jackson State University.

AVP/director of residence life named

Valerie Simmons-Walston is UT’s new associate vice president of student affairs and director of residence life.

She started her new post Jan. 9.


“Ms. Simmons-Walston brings a wealth of student affairs experience to her new role at UT,” Dr. Kaye M. Patten, vice president for student affairs, said. “In her most recent role as dean of students at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, she oversaw Residence Life staff, Career Services, Judicial Affairs, Office of International Studies, and the Office of Military/Veteran Affairs.”

“I am excited to be at The University of Toledo,” Simmons-Walston said. “I’ve enjoyed my first month on campus, and I look forward to learning more about this institution and getting to know more students, staff and faculty.”

Simmons-Walston said she is learning more about University’s academic culture daily.

“Working with multiple offices campus wide, it is my goal to collaboratively serve our students well and retain them through graduation,” she said. “I anticipate more opportunities to work with faculty and partner with my fellow colleagues in Student Affairs to develop and support innovative, noteworthy leadership programs for our students. It is our responsibility to ensure that our students graduate with a prepared advantage over their peers at other institutions.”

She added she plans to continue attending athletic events: “The energy surrounding the games is contagious.”

In 2012, Simmons-Walston received Brenau University’s Haggerman-Thompson Excellence Award for her work with students, faculty and staff.

Prior to joining Brenau University, Simmons-Walston worked at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.H. Early in her career, she was employed by the Norfolk Public School System in Norfolk, Va.

The Cleveland native received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Kent State University and a master of arts degree in counseling from Hampton University. Simmons-Walston is working on her dissertation for a doctorate in education from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Housing and dining fees to increase next academic year

The University of Toledo is planning modest increases to the fees charged for living and eating on campus to ensure UT continues to provide high-quality service to students.

The UT Board of Trustees approved Monday a 2 percent increase in residence hall fees and a 1 percent increase in dining fees beginning fall semester 2017 to cover increasing costs of operations.

The adjustments were made now to give students and their families more time to plan ahead for the upcoming academic year.

The changes in housing fees represent an increase of up to $95 per semester depending on the residence hall. Dining costs will increase up to $12 per semester according to the meal plan selected.

Late-night exam breakfast Dec. 11 canceled

A Late-Night Exam Breakfast event scheduled for 10 p.m. to midnight Sunday, Dec. 11 in the Ottawa East Dining Hall, has been canceled due to inclement weather.

Celebrate Right to Read at Banned Books Week Vigil Sept. 29

University students, faculty and staff, and area citizens will celebrate the right to read and think freely during the 19th annual UT Banned Books Week Vigil Thursday, Sept. 29, on the fifth floor of Carlson Library.

The free, public event will begin at 9 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. Throughout the day, 20-minute presentations will focus on censorship and the importance of freedom of expression.

Banned books week 2016_Poster.jpgAll day, free snacks and light refreshments will be available, and door prizes — including donated banned books and UT items — will be given out to make the event fun as well as educational for the audience.

UT faculty and area teachers are invited to bring classes; attendance vouchers will be available at the freedom of expression festival.

“I hope the UT Banned Books Week Vigil raises awareness of the importance of reading to our democracy,” Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication, who coordinates the event, said. “Without reading freely, citizens could not think freely and, therein, would not ask the questions that lead to reform and a better nation. I hope the event gives students a fun break from their routines and enlarges their understanding of the First Amendment.”

Topics and speakers for the event will be:

• 9 a.m. — “Read On, Everybody! Welcome to Our Annual Celebration of Free Inquiry” by Barbara Floyd, interim director of University Libraries and director of the UT Press, and Dr. Jeffrey Wilkinson, professor and chair of communication.

• 9:30 a.m. — “Free Expression and the Inside-Out Prison Exchange” by Emily Numbers, community and public relations specialist in the College of Engineering, and community art coordinator.

• 10 a.m. — “Stereotyping Indigenous Peoples in Children’s Books” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor of women’s and gender studies.

• 10:30 a.m. — “Censorship and Media Ethics” by Sarah Ottney, former editor of the Toledo Free Press, which closed in 2015.

• 11 a.m. — “The Not-So-Free Press: Global Media Troubles,” Arjun Sabharwal, associate professor and digital initiatives librarian.

• 11:30 a.m. — “W.W. III: The War Against Women” by Warren Woodberry, Toledo author.

• Noon — The Dr. Linda Smith Lecture: “Owning the Words: Intellectual Property, First Amendment Law, and the Parlous State of Free Speech” by Dr. Sam Nelson, associate professor and chair of political science and public administration.

• 1 p.m. — “Lifting the Veil: Banning the Graphic Novel Persepolis” by Dr. Matt Yockey, associate professor of theatre and film.

• 1:30 p.m. — “Revealing the Hidden Rules of Broadcast News” by Lou Hebert, Toledo broadcaster and historian.

• 2 p.m. — “Words” By Dr. David Tucker, professor of communication.

• 2:30 p.m. — “Oops! When lol Posts Backfire” by Jessica Harker, editor-in-chief of The Independent Collegian.

• 3 p.m. — “Jeopardy!” led by The Independent Collegian staff.

• 3:30 p.m. — “The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs,” an episode of “South Park” in which J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is revisited.

• 4 p.m. — “What? Can You Teach THAT?” by Cindy Ramirez, Bedford High School English teacher.

• 4:30 p.m. — “Banned Songs” by Dr. Edmund Lingan, associate professor and chair of theatre and film.

Banned Books Coalition logoKilmer said this Banned Books Week Vigil would not be possible without help form generous sponsors: Ann Lumbrezer; Aramark; Barry’s Bagels; The Independent Collegian; Lambda Pi Eta, UT Communication Honor Society; UT Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America; Mitchell and Kelley Auctioneers; New Sins Press; Phoenicia Cuisine; Barnes & Noble University Bookstore; UT Campus Activities and Programming; UT Center for Experiential Learning and Career Development; UT Counseling Center; UT College of Arts and Letters; UT Jesup Scott Honors College; UT Department of Art; UT Department of Communication; UT Department of English Languages and Literature; UT Office of Multicultural Student Success; UT Federal Credit Union; UT Toledo Friends of the Library Foundation; UT Foreign Languages Department; UT General Libraries; UT Greek Life; UT Marketing and Communications Office; UT Office of the Dean of Students; UT Student Government; UT Theatre and Film Department; UT Starbuck’s; UT School of Visual and Performing Arts; and WXUT radio station. She added a special thanks to the UT Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.

RockeTHON fundraiser brings in more than $23,000

In just 24 hours, RockeTHON participants raised $23,592 last month.

That amount blew away the fundraising goal of $16,000 as indicated by the #16k1Day social media campaign.

Dr. Kaye Patten made a donation for #16k1Day to Pie a Blue Key member, which was Alex Wisniewski.

Dr. Kaye Patten made a donation for #16k1Day to Pie a Blue Key member, which was Alex Wisniewski.

“It was honestly inspiring to see so many students and even University employees get involved with the campaign,” said Sean Reck, overall director of RockeTHON. “This large increase from last year’s one-day fundraiser to this year’s — about $10,000 — illustrates how much potential this dance marathon program has at this University.”

President Sharon L. Gaber, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Kaye Patten and Head Football Coach Jason Candle were among those who got involved with #16k1Day.

This fundraiser was one of many for RockeTHON to help reach the overall goal of $130,000.

“If the students, faculty, staff and community members continue to commit themselves to RockeTHON like they did February 18, we could witness some huge accomplishments worthy of national recognition,” Reck said.

RockeTHON’s final fundraising event, a 13-hour dance marathon, will take place Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Learn more about RockeTHON, join or donate at mercyrockethon.com.

Student Part-Time Job Fair to be held Aug. 28; prep sessions available Aug. 25

Looking to build your resumé or gain extra spending money? Go to the Part-Time Job Fair Friday, Aug. 28, in the Student Union Ingman Room from noon to 4 p.m.

“Employers are looking for not only that degree and credentials, but for experience as well,” said Sabina Elizondo-Serratos, associate director of the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services.

The job fair will feature various campus student employment opportunities, as well as community and campus federal work-study jobs.

“This year we are combining our community work-study job fair along with the part-time job fair,” Elizondo-Serratos said. “We are inviting community agencies and nonprofits on campus to interview our work-study students and hopefully get them connected so they can get that hands-on learning experience in the community.”

The event will feature student employment opportunities several the following campus entities:

• Aramark;

• College of Natural Science and Mathematics;

• Department of Art;

• Department of Foreign Languages;

• Institutional Advancement;

• Jesup Scott Honors College;

• Office of Student Experience;

• Office of Student Involvement;

• Transit Services and more.

“Working on campus, you get 20 hours a week, but employers realize you’re a student so the departments will work with students’ schedules; that’s something you don’t always get off campus,” said Joshua Vail, student employment specialist in the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services.

Community and campus federal work-study jobs opportunities include:

• Food for Thought;

• Kids Unlimited;

• MetroParks of Toledo;

• Nightingales Harvest;

• School for Autistically Impaired Learners;

• Toledo Botanical Garden;

• Toledo Campus Ministry;

• Toledo Museum of Art; and

• United Way.

“A number of our students are awarded federal work-study,” Elizondo-Serratos said. “It’s a mutually beneficial experience for both the community agencies and the students.”

Students should bring resumés and wear professional attire at the event.

Six pre-fair one-hour prep sessions are available to students Tuesday, Aug. 25. Those who qualify for federal work-study status must attend. Register here.

“We will go over interviewing tips that students should know about, resumés to make sure it’s presentable, and professional attire to make sure that students understand what that is and should be,” Elizondo-Serratos said.

For more information, visit the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services in Student Union Room 1533 or call 419.530.4341.

Division of Student Affairs adds associate vice president

When Virginia Speight assumes the position of associate vice president for student affairs April 1, it won’t be an entirely new hat to wear.



“Because I’ll continue to serve as director of residence life, I’ll be able to keep drawing on the wealth of valuable experiences as I take on the more comprehensive duties of associate vice president,” she said.

“Working with the thousands of students as well as the many resident advisers who have lived in the residence halls was an amazing foundation for me professionally. They probably taught me more than I taught them.”

As associate vice president, Speight will be able to apply that experience to all the departments and programs under the Student Affairs umbrella, working with directors, managers and the dean of students to identify current needs, anticipate developing trends, and keep the far-ranging division nimble.

“This new position is a natural progression for Virginia,” noted Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, senior vice president for the student experience. “She already has a deep understanding of our resident students’ needs that has made her a vital member of the Student Affairs team.

“Now we’ll be relying on her to build on that understanding as she works closely with our other areas.”

Speight will continue to report to Patten Wallace as she takes on her new responsibilities. She anticipates opportunities, she said, to work more comprehensively with staff and students across the division.

Speight added, “It’s typical to say you’re excited about a new position, but it’s so true for me because as associate vice president I expect to be able to reach many more people.”