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— Judith Herb College of Education

Assistant provost receives Hymore Award

Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney, assistant provost for student success and retention in the Office of the Provost, is the 2019 recipient of the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award.

She received the honor named for the longtime executive secretary May 6 at the Outstanding Staff Awards in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center.

Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney received the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award from Wendy Davis, associate vice president and chief human resources officer, left, and University President Sharon L. Gaber.

The award is presented annually to an individual whose work defines the core values of the University in Hymore’s spirit of support, encouragement and service.

“In the two decades Dr. Fischer-Kinney has dedicated to the University, her decisions have always been shaped with the student in mind,” a nominator wrote. “She constantly seeks student feedback on various issues in order to ensure the best outcome for the student. This allows her to stay grounded and make sure decisions are best for the current generation of students.”

Fischer-Kinney has worked at the University 21 years, starting as an academic program coordinator in the Chemical Engineering Department. She also has served as director of student services in the College of Nursing; director of New Student Orientation Programs; associate dean and interim dean of YouCollege; and director of success coaching.

“Dr. Fischer-Kinney is an outstanding supervisor, mentor and student advocate,” a nominator wrote. “She tirelessly champions efforts that impact student success and retention. Additionally, she has transformed the success coaching initiative from a raw idea into a powerful movement that is truly impacting student lives.”

Another noted that in addition to her many responsibilities, Fischer-Kinney always takes the time to serve as a success coach for students each semester.

“Many students struggle to find their ambition, but Dr. Fischer-Kinney helps instill motivation to allow the student to discover their full academic potential,” a nominator wrote. “Regardless of how busy her schedule may be, Dr. Fischer-Kinney always makes time to be there for the student. They value her as an advocate who will help them reflect on their college and life goals, and connect them to the resources and tools. Dr. JFK, as students call her, always carves out time to focus on the individual at hand.

“Success coaching and retention work can be challenging. Every day coaches hear a variety of student concerns or chase after students with assorted academic, financial and personal issues bubbling up. Dr. JFK is committed to an open, candid and warm environment where we can embrace a team approach, lean on each other as needed, and grow from each other.”

Fischer-Kinney received a bachelor’s degree in business administration majoring in marketing, and master of education and doctoral degrees in higher education from the University.

Families invited to Earth and Space Exploration Day at Ritter Planetarium May 18

A graduate student at The University of Toledo who aspires to someday teach at a planetarium went above and beyond to elevate an annual event aimed at inspiring and motivating children to engage with science.

From playing hide-and-seek moon using binoculars to creating a pocket solar system to scale to using a tub of water to explain rising sea levels and climate change, this year’s Earth and Space Exploration Day at Ritter Planetarium will feature a new set of hands-on activities in astronomy and earth science using interactive demonstrations in collaboration with NASA and the National Informational STEM Education (NISE) Network.

Heidi Kuchta received kits from NASA and the National Informational STEM Education Network that will be distributed during Earth and Space Exploration Day Saturday, May 18, at Ritter Planetarium.

Heidi Kuchta, who started working as an assistant at Ritter Planetarium five years ago as a freshman, applied for and secured one of 350 kits distributed nationwide.

“I love that families in our community will have something incredibly interesting to do and stuff to take home,” Kuchta said. “With the support of the NISE Network and NASA, we are able to add a wonderful spark to our annual Astronomy Day by expanding and escalating the overall fun, learning experience for children.”

Earth and Space Exploration Day will take place Saturday, May 18, from noon to 4 p.m. at Ritter Planetarium. The free, public event also will include planetarium shows running in full dome every hour starting at 12:30 p.m., as well as solar observing, weather permitting.

“From the beginning, Heidi has shown tremendous dedication to our outreach efforts,” Alex Mak, associate director of Ritter Planetarium, said. “This workshop is just one example of her ability to expand upon our traditional educational mission.”

Children use binoculars and play hide-and-seek moon with a kit from NASA and the National Informational STEM Education Network.

Kuchta earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and geology from UToledo last year and is pursuing her master’s in an accelerated teaching program in the Judith Herb College of Education.

“A lot of planetariums are in schools, so I thought this innovative path would be a good way to combine education and what I love to do here,” Kuchta said. “At a planetarium, we only have students for a short period of time. They’ll learn here, but, more importantly, it will get them asking questions, expand their curiosity, and maybe nourish the dream of becoming the scientists who get people to Mars or become the first person to walk on Mars.”

Kuchta’s connection to the cosmos began as a baby, according to family legend.

“My mom took me to a planetarium at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History when I was a few months old because she was chaperoning a trip for one of my older siblings,” Kuchta said.

Ritter Planetarium proved to be the deciding factor in choosing a college.

“During a campus tour, I was hooked when we walked through the planetarium and checked out the telescope,” Kuchta said.

Kuchta helps put on planetarium shows that explain current celestial phenomena and leads tours from different groups of visitors ranging from residents of a senior center to a preschool class. She also helps create content.

“Heidi is creative, energetic, and always willing to find new ways to help people learn more about the universe,” Mak said. “She has a bright future.”

Entertainment icon Katie Holmes to deliver commencement address May 4

Katie Holmes, a native Toledoan who rose to fame as an actor, producer and director, will return to her hometown to deliver the keynote address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4.

A Notre Dame Academy alumna and international icon of screen, stage and film, Holmes will address 2,078 candidates for degrees — 2,023 bachelor’s and 55 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The University’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled the same day at 3 p.m. in the Glass Bowl, and will commemorate 915 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Analese Alvarez, an educator and musician who has recorded with the Grammy Award-winning rock group Fleetwood Mac, will be the keynote speaker. She is a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the University Views website.

President Sharon L. Gaber will present Holmes with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree before the keynote address.

“The University of Toledo is pleased to welcome Katie Holmes as our commencement speaker to inspire our newest alumni as they celebrate receiving their degrees,” Gaber said. “As a Toledo native with close, personal connections to the University, we are eager for her to share her experiences and accomplishments in the entertainment industry and as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.”

Holmes

Holmes is an internationally recognized film and television actor, producer and director, as well as a Broadway actor and an entrepreneur.

An exceptional student at Notre Dame Academy, Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred to embark on an entertainment career. She made her feature film debut in “The Ice Storm” in 1997, then established herself as a rising young actor the next year in the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” For six years, she played Joey Potter, a character still recognized in pop culture.

Holmes has appeared in supporting or starring roles in more than 30 films and television programs, including acclaimed performances as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in “The Kennedys” and “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” Hannah Green in “Wonder Boys,” Rachel Dawson in “Batman Begins,” April Burns in “Pieces of April,” Rita Carmichael in “All We Had,” and Paige Finney in “Ray Donovan.”

Her credits as a director and producer include “All We Had,” “Touched With Fire,” “The Romantics” and “The Kennedys: Decline and Fall.”

Holmes made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in 2008 and played the role of Lorna in “Dead Accounts” in 2012.

As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed and designed a well-received fashion line, Holmes & Yang, with Jeanne Yang, from 2009 to 2014.

Her philanthropic efforts include the Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization Holmes co-founded in 2009 that increases access to dance education in the United States. She also supports the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes; Love Our Children USA, a national nonprofit organization that fights violence and neglect against U.S. children; Raising Malawi, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children in extreme poverty through health, education and community support; and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.

Alvarez

Graduate ceremony speaker Alvarez has been an educator for nearly two decades and is a candidate for an education doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native has enjoyed an outstanding career teaching high school music, highlighted by leading her previous school’s music department to become a Grammy Signature Schools recipient in 2015. She has continued teaching music while pursuing her doctorate at UToledo by serving as a graduate assistant for the Rocket Marching Band and athletic bands since 2015.

Alvarez”s long career as a musician includes recording with Fleetwood Mac on “The Dance” and appearances on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and Nickelodeon’s “The Big Help.” She also was a member of the Los Angeles Laker Band, a subset of the University of Southern California’s Trojan Marching Band. She has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including The Desert Winds and the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble.

A volunteer club advisor for Gay Straight Alliances, Alvarez co-chaired the Southern Nevada chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and served the Gay and Lesbian Center of Las Vegas. During the past year, she has been executive director at Equality Toledo, where she has worked to support the local community.

Alvarez earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California and a master of music degree from Northern Arizona University, both in music education.

UToledo’s spring commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

UToledo’s College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Angelita Cruz Bridges, a 2000 graduate of the College of Law who serves as an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will give the commencement address.

The next week — Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena. Dr. Scott Parazynski, a physician and inventor whose career included serving 17 years as an astronaut, during which time he flew five space shuttle missions and conducted seven spacewalks, will be theutoledo.edu/commencementrmation, visit the commencement website.

Professor named American Council on Education Fellow

Dr. Robert A. Schultz of The University of Toledo Judith Herb College of Education has been named a Fellow of the American Council on Education (ACE) for 2019-20.

Schultz

The professor of gifted education and curriculum studies, and chair of early childhood, higher education and special education, is one of 39 to receive the distinguished designation.

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model.

More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of Fellows having gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

“The ACE Fellows Program epitomizes ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of leaders to innovate and adapt, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” ACE President Ted Mitchell said. “Each year I am impressed by how many former Fellows are named to prominent leadership roles, which makes it even more exciting to meet each new cohort. I’m left wondering, ‘Where will these Fellows end up?’”

“I am honored to have been selected as an ACE Fellow and to serve The University of Toledo in this capacity,” Schultz said. “The program and training will provide a broad array of resources and experiences that are sure to be transformative in my growth and development as a leader.

“I want to thank President [Sharon L.] Gaber for her support and encouragement to pursue this unique and prestigious opportunity,” Schultz added.

Schultz has been a faculty member at the University since 2001. In addition to professor and chair, he serves as director of the Honors Program in the Judith Herb College of Education and is the assessment liaison for the University-wide Visual Literacy Consortium. He also is a member of The University of Toledo Leadership Institute class of 2018.

He was nominated to be an ACE Fellow by a senior administrator at the University and completed a rigorous application process.

The ACE Fellows Program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses, and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at another higher education institution to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.

During the placement, Fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institutions, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concern for their home institutions and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the placement.

At the conclusion of the year, Fellows return to their home institutions with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacity-building efforts, along with a network of peers across the country and abroad.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn from and broadly explore leadership with top officials at another college or university,” Schultz said. “This will be an exciting and transformative experience as I continue my career in higher education.”

He is an alumnus of the University of Akron, where he received bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in biology/chemistry and cytology, respectively, and a master of arts degree in education. Schultz also received master of art and doctoral degrees in gifted education and curriculum and instruction, respectively, from Kent State University.

Rocket club to compete in National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships this week

The Rocket Disc Golf club will travel to Appling, Ga., to compete in the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships Wednesday, March 27.

Club members will leave Tuesday, March 26, to arrive in time for the event, which will take place at the International Disc Golf Center. UToledo is one of 34 universities from across the country that will hit the course.

Rocket Disc Golf qualified for nationals with a second-place finish at the Great Lakes Collegiate Open earlier this month at Deerfield Nature Park in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

“Thankfully, Chris Wojciechowski, Rocket Disc Golf No. 1 player, shot the hot round of the day to secure a berth for us,” said Aaron Chelchowski, president and founder of the club. “Our team is getting ready, and we are excited to show the rest of the schools that are going to nationals that we are to be taken seriously.”

The team consists of Chelchowski, a senior majoring in sales and marketing; Wojciechowski, a Ph.D. student in measurement; Ryan Rau, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in education and leadership; and Alex Phillips, a senior majoring in professional sales.

“It has been a whirlwind starting this club in time to compete this year,” Rau said. “An absolute round of applause to Aaron Chelchowski for all the hard work and hours of time he has put into this. He has truly been the thrusters that have propelled this rocket of a club.”

After qualifying for nationals, the club had to figure out how to make the trip happen. Rau and Chelchowski went into fundraising overdrive and received more than $1,000 in less than one week via GoFundMe. Donations came in from UToledo alumi, family, and disc golfers from collegiate programs around the country.

“This club raised more than $2,000 in funding through shirt sales and disc sales through a partnership with Discraft Discs, the world leader in disc sports, before ever getting to the first budget allocation meeting,” Wojciechowski said. “The club has staying power and will be a part of the fabric of the University for years to come.”

Students who want to get involved with the Rocket Disc Golf club can email Chelchowski at aaron.chelchowski@rockets.utoledo.edu or rocketdiscgolf@utoledo.edu.

Canine in training on campus through Rocket Service Dogs

She was one of the most popular residents in Ottawa House West: an energetic blonde with sparkling brown eyes and an outgoing personality.

“Aspen is why most people come to our room,” Alana Shockley, a sophomore majoring in communication, said and then laughed while petting the Labrador retriever.

Aspen, center, was happy to pose for a photo Courtney Koebel, left, and Alana Shockley of Rocket Service Dogs in Ottawa House West.

The 1-year-old dog definitely turned heads and made a lot of friends.

“Some people ask, ‘How did you get a dog in a residence hall?’ And we explain she’s a service dog in training,” Courtney Koebel, a sophomore majoring in education, said. “Some ask if they can pet her, and we have to calm her down first.”

Settling down is just one thing Shockley and Koebel worked on with Aspen.

“We are trying to teach her commands — sit, stay, kennel — and to get her to focus,” Koebel said. “It’s going well. She has a good work ethic, but she gets distracted sometimes.”

Koebel and Shockley welcomed their four-legged roommate last fall. They are members of Rocket Service Dogs, a University organization partnering with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence and the Ability Center of Greater Toledo to encourage students to foster and train dogs.

“We were trying to figure out how to get more involved on campus and were looking at all the organizations,” Shockley said. “And once we saw Rocket Service Dogs, we fell in love because we’re really crazy animal lovers, it’s dogs, and we’re helping people.”

Students in the organization take an orientation and policy class through Rocket Service Dogs, and then a handling course taught by Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence.

Aspen is the first canine to live and train in a residence hall through Rocket Service Dogs.

It took a year of planning between the University, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence and the Ability Center of Greater Toledo to make the placement possible, according to Josephine Biltz, a third-year student majoring in biology and president of the Rocket Service Dogs.

“Aspen seemed to really like the residence hall from the second she walked in, and I think it was a really great atmosphere for her to be exposed to a lot of different people,” Biltz said.

While Aspen wasn’t ready to attend class on campus with Shockley and Koebel, she did go to school once a week. Every Friday, the trio headed to Flower Hospital for class with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence.

“We practice attention, loose-leash walking. Sometimes they teach us new commands, and then we’ll practice old commands,” Koebel said. “We work on Aspen’s attention, get her to focus for long periods of time, so she’ll be able to come to University classes with us. And sometimes instead of class, we’ll have outings. We’ll go out with [Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence] to a public place to see how she reacts.”

Praise and rewards bolster Aspen’s desire to please — and learn.

“We usually give her small treats to motivate her; sometimes we just use her kibble,” Shockley said. “We bought her some little Milk-Bones, and she really likes those.”

“When you’ve been working with her for a while and she finally understands what we’re trying to do, it’s rewarding to see her get excited,” Koebel said. “She really likes treats, so she’s kind of always excited.”

Aspen recently moved on to continue training through Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence’s prison program, where she was paired with an inmate.

While their time working with the Lab was brief, Koebel and Shockley will remember Aspen and her goal.

“Depending on how well Aspen does and if her attention span gets longer, she could be paired with someone with a disability,” Shockley said. “But if not, she’ll be a therapy and emotional support animal.”

“It makes me feel good that I’m able to help someone who has a disability and can’t help themselves, so it’s cool to know I’m part of the process to help make their life a little bit easier,” Shockley said.

Learn more about Rocket Service Dogs at facebook.com/rocketservicedogs, or email rocketservicedogs@gmail.com.

UT Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth to serve up inspiration

“Onward and Upward: Persisting Through Barriers and Obstacles” is the theme of The University of Toledo’s 35th annual Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth Saturday, Jan. 26.

Sponsored by Toledo Excel and the UT Joint Committee, the conference for seventh- and eighth-graders, high school students and parents will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

“The conference provides parents with methods to help students plan for their academic and professional futures,” David Young, director of Toledo Excel and Special Projects, said. “And we teach students to anticipate potential obstacles to achieving their goals and equip them with the skills necessary to overcome those obstacles.”

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, a distinguished student success scholar, will give the keynote address.

Strayhorn is the founding chief executive officer of Do Good Work Educational Consulting LLC, and professor of urban education and interim vice president of academic and student affairs at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tenn. The authority on equity and diversity has written several books, including “College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success.” He is known for using the hashtag #DoGoodWork on social media.

“Many underrepresented students find that their success is hindered by barriers and obstacles that they did not create. With this year’s conference, we wanted to make it clear to them that they could be successful in spite of those barriers,” Young said. “Dr. Strayhorn is nationally recognized for his work with underrepresented students, and we felt he was the ideal choice to give the keynote address.”

Also scheduled to speak is Christopher Scott, founder of Reach to Teach National, an organization that provides motivational service to youth throughout the country. The Cleveland, Ohio, native is the author of “7 Secrets to Surviving College.”

Scott

“Chris is someone who we are very familiar with as he is a UT alum and also worked in our Office of Admission after graduation,” Young said. “We will be using his wonderful book as part of our Toledo Excel curriculum and are excited for him to lead a session for our parents and students on academic success and persistence.”

Scott received a bachelor of science degree and a master of education degree in education theory and social foundations from the University in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

Toledo Excel was established in 1988 to help underrepresented students, including African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, for success in college. Through summer institutes, academic retreat weekends, campus visits and guidance through the admission process, students increase their self-esteem, cultural awareness and civic involvement.

Toledo Excel is part of the Office of Multicultural Student Success, which is in the Division of Student Affairs. The UT Joint Committee includes representatives from the University, Toledo Public and Parochial schools, and civic and community leaders from the city of Toledo. The mission of the committee is to bring together people in the community interested in the education of underrepresented youth. The UT Joint Committee also serves as an advisory board and support system for Toledo Excel.

Advance reservations for the free, public conference are encouraged; visit the Toledo Excel website or call 419.530.3820.

National science leader and Toledo native to deliver UT commencement address Dec. 15

The head of the nation’s oldest and one of its most prestigious laboratories will return home, as Toledo native Michael Witherell is set to deliver the address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15.

Witherell, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Berkeley, Calif., will address 1,474 candidates for degrees, including 1,437 bachelor’s and 37 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Savage Arena on Main Campus.

Witherell

UT’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled at 8 a.m. in Savage Arena and will commemorate 641 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Md Kamal Hossain, emerging cancer researcher and candidate for a doctoral degree at the University, will be the speaker.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the UT Views website.

Witherell, a distinguished physicist, educator and science leader, developed the foundation for his future at Toledo’s St. Francis de Sales High School. Salutatorian at age 15, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in experimental physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After a distinguished career as a university professor performing research in particle physics, he devoted himself to leading large research institutions.

In 2016, Witherell was named director of Berkeley Lab, the oldest of the 17 labs in the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories systems. Berkeley Lab is a global leader in fundamental and applied scientific research in physical, biological, energy, computing and environmental sciences. The lab’s employees have earned 13 Nobel Prizes and played a role in the discovery of 16 elements on the periodic table, among its honors. The lab is managed for the DOE by the University of California.

“Our mission at Berkeley Lab is solving the nation’s most challenging problems through great scientific and technological discoveries. I believe that the national assets in addressing these problems include public universities and the students whom they are educating,” Witherell said.

Before joining Berkeley Lab, Witherell spent six years as director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. He was vice chancellor for research at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he also held a presidential chair in the Physics Department.

His primary research interest is in studying the nature of dark matter. He was a contributor to the LUX experiment, which in 2016 published the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter. He is now part of an international research team that is building a successor to LUX, known as LZ, which will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive. Data collection is expected to start in 2020.

Witherell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and serves on the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

“As a nationally recognized, public research university, The University of Toledo is pleased to have Dr. Witherell as our fall commencement speaker. Research not only helps us to discover new knowledge that advances all areas of study, but also instills critical thinking skills that our students can use to approach problems systematically and come up with solutions that improve everyday life,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We look forward to Dr. Witherell sharing his insights with our graduates, especially since he grew up in Toledo and has since made tremendous contributions through research.”

Witherell’s personal success can be traced back to the Glass City, as well. He and his wife, Elizabeth Hall Witherell, head of the Princeton Edition of Henry Thoreau’s writings, grew up in the same west Toledo neighborhood and were high school sweethearts. They have a daughter, Lily.

“The foundation for my career and life was my extended family in Toledo,” Witherell said. “Their support and the value they put on education and public service were central to my personal and professional development.”

Hossain

Hossain, the graduate ceremony speaker, is a native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who came to UT as an industrial pharmacist with a passion to develop innovative medicines.

“I’ve always been interested in studying health-related fields due to the suffering of people in my homeland from different types of disease,” Hossain said. “My focus is to develop a specific targeting approach for a more effective cancer vaccine. My research examined the utilization of a natural antibody already present in human serum that makes the vaccine more convenient to target tumor cells.”

He is a candidate for a doctor of philosophy degree in medicinal chemistry in UT’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

UT’s fall commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

The College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Later that week — Friday, May 10, at
4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena.

For more information, visit the UT commencement website.

UT one of top schools in country for Quality Matters-certified online classes

When it comes to offering online courses certified by Quality Matters, The University of Toledo is one of the top schools in the country.

With 32 courses certified this year, UT offers 85 Quality Matters-certified classes. That ranks the University 15th in the nation when it comes to offering Quality Matters-certified courses.

Earlier this year, the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Health and Human Services was the first at UT to have an online degree program with all required courses certified by Quality Matters for a master of arts degree in recreation administration.

“The University adopted Quality Matters in 2011, and our faculty members have really embraced it,” Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College, said. “More than 50 UT faculty members have chosen to ensure the quality of their online courses through the nationally recognized and faculty-driven Quality Matters peer review process.”

Quality Matters is a nonprofit organization that provides standards for courses and program review to support quality assurance goals. A recognized leader in quality assurance for online education, its mission is to promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning nationally and internationally through the development of current, research-supported and practice-based quality standards and appropriate evaluation tools and procedures.

The organization also provides recognition of expertise in online education quality assurance and evaluation along with professional development in the use of rubrics, tools and practices to improve online education.

“I would highly recommend this experience to any instructor who wants to deliver quality online learning,” said Susan Parks, UT associate lecturer of curriculum and instruction in the Judith Herb College of Education. “The feedback that I received helped me to improve my course design, create clearer expectations, and incorporate best practices.”

Official Quality Matters course reviews coordinated through UT Online are conducted by a team of certified peer reviewers who actively teach online and have been trained and certified by the organization.

The review process centers around the application of the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric. The 42 standards outlined in the rubric were developed and are periodically revised based on research and established standards in the fields of instructional design and online learning.

“I think the Quality Matters process made me a better course designer and instructor,” said Dr. Judy Lambert, UT professor of educational technology. “The Quality Matters rubric was especially helpful as a guide while designing courses, and the external review process provided additional evaluations pointing out areas which needed improvement.”

“The constructive criticism provided by the review teams, coupled with the praise for areas that met the expectations of the rubrics, provided valuable recommendations addressing course design, communication, competencies, technology, accessibility, usability and more,” said Marie Janes, UT senior lecturer in the School of Population Health. “With each certification, I could see a marked improvement in the student learning outcomes, a measurement that is undeniably the most useful type of data for faculty.”

Any UT instructor interested in learning more about the official Quality Matters course review process are encouraged to visit UT’s Does Quality Matter?

UT Leadership Institute 2018-19 class announced

Last year, 21 faculty from across the University participated in the second year of the UT Leadership Institute.

The program was launched in fall 2016 by UT President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu to provide professional development to help prepare future academic leaders.

“We started this program to help our fantastic faculty members develop into future academic leaders,” Gaber said. “We believe the UT Leadership Institute accelerates success in higher education administration.”

“For faculty who are interested in exploring leadership opportunities in higher education administration, participation in the UT Leadership Institute is an excellent opportunity,” Hsu said. “Our third cohort of faculty represents faculty from eight colleges and University Libraries. I look forward to the many contributions they will make as emerging leaders of the University.”

Following a competitive application process, a third cohort of 22 faculty members was selected to participate in this year’s UT Leadership Institute. This year’s participants are:

• Dr. Ammon Allred, Philosophy, College of Arts and Letters;

• Dr. Jillian Bornak, Physics, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics;

• Dr. Lucinda Bouillon, School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Services, College of Health and Human Services;

• Dr. Maria Coleman, Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering;

• Dr. Joan Duggan, Medicine, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Kevin Egan, Economics, College of Arts and Letters;

• Dr. Michael Ellis, Medicine, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Rodney Gabel, School of Intervention and Wellness, College of Health and Human Services;

• Dr. David Giovannucci, Neurosciences, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Lynn Hamer, Foundations of Education, Judith Herb College of Education;

• Dr. Dana Hollie, Accounting, College of Business and Innovation;

• Dr. A. Champa Jayasuriya, Orthopedic Surgery, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. David Kennedy, Medicine, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Lisa Kovach, Foundations of Education, Judith Herb College of Education;

• Sarah Long, School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health and Human Services;

• Julia Martin, University Libraries;

• Amy O’Donnell, Management, College of Business and Innovation;

• Dr. Jorge Ortiz, Surgery, College of Medicine and Life Sciences;

• Dr. Youssef Sari, Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences;

• Dr. Rebecca Schneider, Curriculum and Instruction, Judith Herb College of Education;

• Dr. Qin Shao, Mathematics, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and

• Dr. Puneet Sindhwani, Urology, College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

The first meeting of this year’s UT Leadership Institute cohort was held Oct. 5 and will be followed by monthly meetings throughout the academic year.

Participants will discuss various aspects of leadership in higher education and engage in discussions with members of the UT leadership team and invited speakers, with presentations focusing on leadership styles, critical issues facing administrators, funding, and diversity and inclusion.

President Sharon L. Gaber, second row standing at right, posed for a photo with most of the members of the 2018-19 class of the UT Leadership Institute during last month.