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— Judith Herb College of Education

University Women’s Commission honors employees, gives scholarships to students

Three UT employees were recognized for exceptional achievement and dedication to the campus community at the 32nd annual Outstanding Women’s Award ceremony.

More than 60 attended the University Women’s Commission program, which was held April 11 in the Savage Arena Joe Grogan Room.

Kelly Andrews, senior associate athletic director who is chair of the University Women’s Commission, told the crowd that since 1987, the organization has honored 173 UT faculty and staff members, and awarded $87,000 in scholarships.

Guest speaker Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, director of foundation and development communications with the UT Foundation, talked about how challenging yourself to go outside your comfort zone can be empowering. The 1983 UT alumna and 2017 Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award winner is the author of “Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares,” which just received a silver medal in the humor category of the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs).

Recipients of the 2018 Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were, from left, Melissa Gleckler, Dr. Revathy Kumar and Dr. Michele Soliz.

The recipients of the Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were:

• Melissa Gleckler, educational technologist with UT Online in University College. She has worked at the University for 11 years. Gleckler won the Ohio Academic Advising Association Excellence Award in 2017, and has presented about advising and learning assessment at national conferences. She is a founding member of the Toledo Academic Advising Association, and she is serving a three-year elected term as co-chair of the communications committee for the Professional Staff Council. The UT alumna received a bachelor of arts degree in communication in 1996, a master of liberal studies degree in 2009, and is working on a PhD.

“She had a wonderful rapport with her students. Her office was next door to mine, and the walls were quite thin. I could hear laughter, sometimes tears and consolation, and lots of encouragement,” one nominator wrote. “Melissa is a proud UT alumna. I have always admired her pursuit of self-improvement and further education. She continuously sought opportunities to add a credential or skill and is pursuing a PhD focused on educational media and technology, with research interests in how course aesthetics and technical design affect the learning experience. As an adjunct instructor, she took pride in enhancing her courses with the latest technology and was passionate about updating the content and course material every semester.”

• Dr. Revathy Kumar, professor of educational psychology in the Judith Herb College of Education. She joined the UT faculty in 2001. Her research focuses on social and cultural processes involved in constructing a sense of self and identity among adolescents in culturally diverse societies. Of particular interest are the roles of teachers, teacher-education programs, schools, communities and families in facilitating minority and immigrant adolescents’ development, learning and motivation. Her work has been published in education and psychology journals.

“Dr. Kumar has started examining the role of mindfulness cultivation among pre-service teachers for enhancing awareness and focusing attention on personal implicit and explicit biases toward poor and minority students. The program of research is both important and relevant because increasing demographic heterogeneity in our country has raised concerns regarding our teachers’ capacity to face the challenging task of teaching culturally diverse students,” one nominator wrote. “She has chosen to develop a line of research particularly aimed at improving undergraduate teacher education at UT and, as responses to her articles indicate, recognized as useful across the nation for constructing teacher education programs that prepare teachers to be effective in the diverse classrooms they will enter.”

• Dr. Michele Soliz, assistant vice president for student success and inclusion in the Division of Student Affairs. During her 17 years at the University, she has worked in the Office of the Provost and served as dean of students. She was chair of the 2017 UT Community Charitable Campaign, which raised $128,934 for nearly 220 nonprofit area organizations. The UT alumna received a master of education degree and a PhD in higher education in 2002 and 2012, respectively.

“Michele has an unbridled passion for helping the students she comes into contact with on campus, as well as those in the community. Her determination and wholehearted desire to help others was apparent to me since the first time we worked together,” one nominator wrote. “She has been a committee member of the Latino Youth Summit and Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program since their inceptions. She is active in the UT Latino Alumni Affiliate, serves as a mentor to African-American female students in the Talented and Aspiring Women Leaders Program, and teaches the course Managing Diversity in the Workplace. Her hours of charitable work confirm she is not only socially conscious, but also invested in the betterment of the world around her.”

Winners of the University Women’s Commission $1,000 scholarship were, from left, Celine Schreidah, Jessica Avery, Shaquira Jackson and Hailey Cox.

The University Women’s Commission also presented $1,000 scholarships to four students. Receiving awards based on academic achievement, support of women’s and gender issues, and campus involvement were Jessica Avery, a senior majoring in history; Hailey Cox, a junior majoring in biology; Shaquira Jackson, a junior majoring in theatre; and Celine Schreidah, a senior majoring in biochemistry.

Therapy dog and educator inspire, energize children at local schools

Instant smiles. It’s almost a whiteout inside Reynolds Elementary School.

Hazel, the therapy dog, is in the hallway, and happiness abounds.

Marquis, a student at Reynolds Elementary School, petted Hazel, a therapy dog, as owner Dr. Dawn Sandt watched.

It’s just another day for the sweet, outgoing golden retriever and her owner, Dr. Dawn Sandt, associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Higher Education and Special Education.

“Hazel!” yelled a boy in the preschool special-needs classroom, alerting all to the visitors.

“Do you want to go see Hazel?” teacher Bridget Harding asked as the children walked and crawled toward the therapy dog that laid down and was content literally being the center of attention.

“Get your pets in,” Harding encouraged the kids sitting around their four-legged friend. “Let’s talk about Hazel’s tail today. She’s wagging her tail. When she’s happy, she wags it back and forth. Ricardo, where’s your tail? Do you have a tail?”

Ricardo shook his head no, beaming as he ran his hand over Hazel’s soft coat.

Sandt knelt next to Hazel; she held the dog’s leash and monitored all interactions.

Dr. Dawn Sandt, right, and Reynolds Elementary School teacher Leah Richter, center, watched as Hazel visited Ireland.

Then it was on to a classroom to see medically fragile students.

Hazel walked up to teacher Leah Richter. After soaking up compliments and a few pats, Hazel melted into the floor and flipped over, and Richter obliged with a belly rub.

“That’s her shtick — she says ‘Hi’ and rolls over,” Sandt said and laughed. “She likes it here.”

Watching it all from her wheelchair was Ireland, who could not stop smiling.

“You love it when Hazel and Dawn come!” Richter said to Ireland.

With encouragement from Sandt, Hazel put her paws on the edge of Ireland’s chair — and the girl grinned.

Then it was time to see the younger medically fragile students.

Marquis, a student seated on the floor, clapped and started humming when Hazel trotted into the room.

Paraprofessional Zippy Keith helped Lee grasp a tennis ball to give to Hazel during a recent visit to Reynolds Elementary School.

“We have a gift! We have doggy tennis balls for Hazel,” paraprofessional Zippy Keith announced.

The children took turns tossing the ball for the canine. For the first time, Lee picked up a ball and handed it to Hazel.

Meanwhile, teacher Liz Bishop told Tessa she needed to complete her assignment so she could see Hazel.

“We’re all so happy to see Hazel. We enjoy her,” Keith said as the kids petted the retriever.

“Aren’t you glad you got your work done?” Bishop asked Tessa, who lit up when Hazel gently stood up on the side of her wheelchair.

“Thank you for the visit,” paraprofessional Melissa Falkenberg said as Sandt and Hazel left.

“The best part of making the rounds with Hazel is seeing students progress toward their individualized goals and realizing Hazel did contribute to that progress in some way,” Sandt said.

Paraprofessional Melissa Falkenberg smiled as Hazel took her tennis ball to Dylan. The therapy dog regularly visits Reynolds Elementary School.

Sandt and Hazel have been visiting students at Reynolds Elementary for two years.

“We started in the classrooms where students were medically fragile. Hazel does well in those classrooms because she is willing to initiate contact with the children,” Sandt said. “The children have opportunities to track her with their eyes, reach out to pet her, and grasp and drop a ball for her to retrieve.

“We wanted to go into that classroom because the medically fragile population need intensive interventions, and I thought Hazel could help with communication and social interaction, as well as some range of motion activities.”

Indeed, the pretty pooch that will turn 4 in August does just that. Tessa communicated with her assistive device so she could see Hazel, and Lee had a breakthrough by picking up a tennis ball.

“The teachers, nurses and I thought that was pretty extraordinary for [Lee], who is medically fragile and also has sensory issues. The nurse said he had never shown that type of initiative before,” Sandt said.

“I like watching the preschool students interact with Hazel,” she said. “This gives the students a chance to learn about dogs, their body parts, how they move, and how to care for them. The preschool students are learning content knowledge — for example, same vs different — and functional skills like waiting their turn, asking permission to pet, communicating their name and Hazel’s name. These are relevant skills they can use in kindergarten and in the community.”

The duo also visits McTigue Elementary School.

“The administration and teachers within Toledo Public Schools have been wonderful to Hazel, and it is work that makes a difference,” Sandt said. “Wherever we go, the teachers appreciate the opportunity to interact with her.”

Dr. Dawn Sandt said Hazel would go home and sleep after visiting children at Reynolds Elementary School.

Dr. Virginia Keil, interim dean of the Judith Herb College of Education, said Sandt and Hazel are an example of how faculty collaborate with Toledo Public Schools.

“Dawn is deeply committed to working with our school partners to provide support for medically fragile children with special needs along with the educators in these classrooms,” Keil said. “Therapy dogs like Hazel are desperately needed to provide affection, comfort and love, which can help to improve the lives of the children they have visited.

“Watching Dawn and Hazel work together to support these children is heart-warming. Their work is an invaluable service to the community.”

“There is growing evidence that animals in school settings have potential benefits on cognitive and socio-emotional behavior, as well as physiological responses of children,” Sandt said. “However, there is a need for a larger evidence base of studies that are designed with more rigor and adhere to strict protocols for human and animal welfare and safety.”

To that end, Sandt is working with Dr. Janet Hoy-Gerlach, associate professor in the UT Social Work Program and author of the book, “Human-Animal Interactions: A Social Work Guide.” They have applied for a grant to explore how therapy dogs can be used in applied behavior analysis interventions for students with disabilities.

Sandt has another golden retriever, Rusty. The 2-year-old is training to be a therapy dog.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else with the time I have on this earth,” she said as she gave Hazel a treat.

UT to stage Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ as theatre in the round

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will stage Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in the round when it presents the play Friday through Sunday, April 6-8 and 13-15, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of theatre and film, will direct the play.

Student cast members rehearsed a scene from “The Tempest.”

“The Tempest” is Shakespeare’s last play and one of his shortest. Lingan said audiences can expect a light, comic treatment of the work that is suitable for all ages.

The plot of the play centers on Prospero, the duke of Milan, and his daughter who find themselves trapped on a deserted island after having been abandoned by his enemies at sea. Among their few provisions are some books on magic, which Prospero calls upon to help him exact his revenge.

Lingan said some believe that the character, Prospero, one of the most famous magicians in all of English literature, was based on the real-life John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I of England. Dee, along with Edward Kelley, is credited with creating Enochian magic, a system of ceremonial magic that also featured a secret language Dee and Kelley claimed to have received from angelic visions.

UT’s production of “The Tempest” is set upon a circular rotating stage that is designed as a magician’s magic circle and features symbols described in Dee’s Enochian manuscripts.

The play also will feature choreography developed by UT alumna Won Hee Kim and original music composed by Scott Hunt, a faculty member of the UT Music Department, who received his master’s degree in music from the University in 2017.

The cast features UT students Kurt T. Elfering, a junior majoring in religious studies, as Prospero; Faith Murphy, a sophomore theatre major, as Caliban; Kenzie N. Phillips, a junior majoring in theatre with a minor in environmental science, as Ariel; Becca M. Lustic, a sophomore theatre major, as Miranda; Michael R. Miller, a sophomore majoring in bioengineering, as Ferdinand; Josh Keidan, a doctoral student in the Judith Herb College of Education, as Gonzalo/Spirit/Reaper; Kevin Upham, a junior theatre major with a minor in visual arts, as Antonio/Spirit/Reaper; Bryan Harkins, a senior theatre major, as Sebastian/Spirit/Reaper; Drew Michael Young, a senior theatre major, as Alonso (King)/Spirit/Reaper; Hanna L. Gerlica, a sophomore majoring in pharmacy, as Francisco/Master of the Ship/Spirit; Shaquira Jackson, a junior majoring in theatre performance, as Ceres/Boatswain/Spirit; Alexis Johnson, a senior theatre major, as Adrian/Iris/Spirit; Michael James Vanderpool, a senior majoring in theatre with a minor in music, as Trinculo/Spirit; David Wanhainen, a philosophy major, as Stefano/Spirit; and Emily E. Meyer, a senior majoring in theatre with a minor in Japanese, as Spirit.

Rounding out the cast are Keely-Rain Battle, a 2015 alumna who received a bachelor of arts degree in theatre, as Juno/Spirit, and Grace E. Mulinix, a student at Toledo Early College High School, as Spirit.

Making it happen behind the scenes are Daniel Thobias, assistant professor of theatre, set designer; Katelyn Justice, freshman theatre major, assistant set designer; Caribbea Danko-McGhee, 2013 UT alumna who received a bachelor of arts degree in theatre, as props designer/master; Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of theatre, as lighting/sound designer; Ryan Peters-Hieber, junior theatre major with design and tech concentration, assistant lighting designer and associate sound designer; Holly Monsos, associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and professor of theatre, costume designer; Logan Fleming, freshman theatre major, assistant costume designer; Sean P. Freeman, a sophomore majoring in economics, stage manager; and Emily R. Wemple, English major with a minor in theatre and Spanish, assistant stage manager.

Tickets are $8 for students and children; $10 for UT faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $15 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or order online at utoledo.tix.com. Tickets also will be available at the door. 

Reflections on China: Teaching English, touring with Yale Alley Cats, showing Rocket pride

Since October 2017, I have had the opportunity through the support of a company called Education Group Central to teach middle school students in China English as a second language online. The experience was enriching as I would often pick up the guitar and teach the students a new American song. I never thought I would have the opportunity to visit and see them face to face.

On March 10, I was invited to travel on my first visit to China in order to meet all my students whom I had been teaching on the screen. The experience was surreal. I’m sure it was the same for them. As we all met each other for the first time, we were star-struck; it was like we met someone we had only been watching in the movies.

Jeremy Holloway took a selfie with some of his students.

My classrooms were in multiple cities all over China, so I visited them all. The first stop was in Beijing, then by plane to Zhongshan. From there, I traveled by train to Guiyang, then to Xi’an, and then back to Beijing.

I had the opportunity to visit the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. I also had the opportunity to see the Terracotta Army Sculpture Museum in Xi’an. I tried everything from hot pot and Chinese burgers to Peking duck. It was phenomenal. Since some of the distances between cities was farther than a trip from New York to Orlando, Fla., I had the opportunity to experience all kinds of climates from areas with the same temperature as Toledo to areas with T-shirt weather and palm trees.

I visited the schools and taught each class one lesson, and then we had time for questions and answers. Most of the students asked me about my experience in China, what cities I visited, and how I liked the food. I felt like a celebrity as they crowded around me to ask for my autograph. A very humbling experience indeed, but we all enjoyed ourselves.

Jeremy Holloway took a selfie with the Yale Alley Cats on the Great Wall of China.

What made my experience very unique on top of visiting the students — I was placed on a tour with a group called the Yale Alley Cats. The team of undergraduate male Yale students is part of a group that started at the school in 1943. It was fascinating to spend time with these students and ask them questions about their experience applying and getting into Yale. Some of the students shared how they took the SAT and the ACT 19 times before entering, and another student said he only took the test a couple of times, but wrote a good essay. The students were extremely talented in different ways, from knowing two or three languages to their well-mannered behavior everywhere they went.

But the one thing I learned from them that was fascinating was their common decisions in choosing Yale because the university let them pursue the arts along with STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math and medicine). They shared how they felt other Ivy League schools only cared about the academics, but Yale strongly encouraged a balance of pursuing the arts like singing, dance, languages, etc., along with their academic interests. What I realized the most was the students were passionate about something they studied, and they credited that passion to why they really got accepted to Yale.

After I shared with them my joy of singing, they also graciously let me lead one of their songs during a dinner together. I sang “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys with the Yale Alley Cats.

Sporting one of his favorite UT T-shirts, Jeremy Holloway had his photo taken on the Great Wall of China.

I was proud to represent The University of Toledo with these students. I shared with one Yale student how my father worked at The University of Toledo just so I could have the opportunity to go to school, and I feel like I am living out a legacy. My story was well-received, and it felt good to form a mutual relationship with these students through my story.

Something the Yale students attribute to their success in academics is something that I believe successful UT students can also attest to. It was refreshing to hear that their success in their academics at Yale, in their opinion, is still dependent on their involvement in student activities and groups on campus. None of the students thought it a good idea to lock themselves in a room and study all day. In fact, they shared how they met their best friends in this Yale singing group and that when they feel stressed from the heavy work they have to do, the time with their Alley Cat friends melts away their stress and gives them the balance and the fortitude they need to excel in their academics.

Most importantly, I find it crucial to understand that the name of a university is only relative to the goals you want to accomplish. I want University of Toledo students to understand how our pride in our university makes us stand side by side with the best of them. I would encourage each UT student to become crystal clear about his or her goals and treat The University of Toledo as a Harvard student treats Harvard because they understand that the university never made the people, but the people always make the university. Go Rockets!

Holloway is a doctoral student in the Judith Herb College of Education. Last year, he was honored with the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, which recognizes Toledo community members 39 or younger who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities. The UT alumnus received a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a bachelor of education degree in 2005, and a master’s degree in English as a second language in 2014.

Women & Philanthropy to donate 1,000 books to second-grade classrooms

Women & Philanthropy and the Judith Herb College of Education at The University of Toledo are donating approximately 1,000 books to Toledo Public Schools.

The books will be distributed to 33 second-grade classrooms at 19 TPS schools.

Marcy McMahon, the chair of Women & Philanthropy, and Dr. Romules Durant, TPS superintendent, will present the books to representatives of each school Thursday, March 15, at 10:30 a.m. at Old Orchard Elementary School.

“Second grade is a critical year for learning to read,” said Dr. Thea Sawicki, chair of the Holiday Project for Women & Philanthropy and professor in the UT Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. “Choosing one grade to focus on allows us to support more schools.”

As part of its 2017 Holiday Project titled “Encouraging Early Literacy,” Women & Philanthropy partnered with the UT Judith Herb College of Education to raise funds to provide scholastic books for elementary classrooms in TPS schools. Women & Philanthropy will continue to raise funds throughout 2018 with the goal of donating books to all second-grade classrooms in each of the 40 TPS schools this year.

“Our faculty is deeply committed to working collaboratively with our school partners to improve early literacy,” said Dr. Virginia Keil, interim dean of the UT Judith Herb College of Education. “Our partnership with Woman & Philanthropy has allowed the college to work with TPS leaders to place high-interest books in second-grade classrooms. We hope that making books readily accessible to students will encourage reading and ultimately help to improve academic achievement.”

“We are incredibly grateful that the UT Judith Herb College of Education and Women & Philanthropy have chosen to support classrooms throughout TPS schools, including Old Orchard, which is right in the neighborhood of the University,” Durant said. “As a College of Education graduate, I’m especially proud of this partnership to serve our students.”

Women & Philanthropy, which was founded in 2006, has gifted more than $424,000 in grants across campus and has 80 active members consisting of both UT alumni and community members.

Staff Leadership Development Program to improve careers, UT’s future

The University of Toledo has launched its inaugural class of the UT Staff Leadership Development Program to cultivate high-potential emerging leaders who, in the years ahead, may assume leadership roles, as well as grow in their current positions.

“In alignment with UT’s strategic plan to foster a culture of excellence for our faculty and staff, we’ve launched this program to provide a more formal process for career development for employees at all levels throughout the University,” said President Sharon L. Gaber.

“The program is designed to assist participants with honing leadership skills, as well as to expose them to cross-campus networking and dialogue with many current leaders,” stated Wendy Davis, associate vice president for human resources and talent development.

“A selection committee chose this first class based on their leadership potential and selected individuals from across all campuses, as well as from many different job categories throughout the organization,” Davis explained. “In addition to experienced UT faculty and leaders who guide class discussions, this diversity helps to ensure participants are exposed to many different perspectives on any given topic.”

The program, which launched in October 2017 and concludes in October 2018 with a capstone project, requires members to spend approximately three hours each month discussing topics such as fiscal responsibilities; human resources policies and procedures; health-care operations; student recruitment and enrollment management; creating a culture of customer service; ethical leadership; career success; and legal issues in higher education.

“These individuals also are required to complete summer reading assignments on various leadership topics,” said Carrie Herr, director for the Center for Continuous Improvement, who was instrumental in developing the curriculum. “I see much potential in this first class. The skills they hone over the next several months should have a significant impact on UT throughout the next decade and beyond.”

The cohort selected for the inaugural class of UT’s Staff Leadership Development Program are Cristina Alvarado, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Stefanie Bias, Neurosciences; Stacey Jo Brown, Legal Affairs; Candace Busdiecker, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Lori DeShetler, Judith Herb College of Education; Josh Dittman, Intercollegiate Athletics; Kelly Donovan, Controller’s Office; Shelly Drouillard, Career Services; Jamie Fager, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Beth Gerasimiak, Office of the Provost; Melissa Hansen, Medical Education; Heather Huntley, Office of the Provost; Angelica Johnson, College of Arts and Letters; Deirdre Jones, Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales in the College of Business and Innovation; Vickie Kuntz, Engineering Career Development Center in the College of Engineering; Sara Lockett, Purchasing/Finance; Elliott Nickeson, Registrar’s Office; Daniel Perry, Facilities and Construction; Tiffany Preston-Whitman, University College; Jason Rahe, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions; Staci Sturdivant, College of Health and Human Services; Craig Turner, College of Business and Innovation; and Matthew Wise, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions.

“It is wonderful to see the University focus so many resources on developing the next generation of leadership in higher education,” said Dr. Jenell L. S. Wittmer, associate professor of management, who facilitates sessions on communication with diverse groups and emotional intelligence. “The participants bring their work experiences into the classroom, and they are learning from each other. This program is a perfect example of the positive transformation underway at UT.”

Toledo Public Schools superintendent to speak at UT Black History Month kickoff

“A Different World: Honoring Our Past, A Journey to Our Future” is the theme of The University of Toledo’s 2018 celebration of Black History Month.

“The 1990s played a large role in our generation,” said Guyton Mathews IV, a graduate student pursuing a master of liberal studies degree, who is chair of the Black History Month Committee. “When the Black History Month Planning Committee met, many theme options were discussed, but we all kept coming back to the hit ’90s television show, ‘A Different World.’

“We decided to add the tagline ‘Honoring Our Past, A Journey to Our Future’ to show that we do respect and acknowledge what has been done in the past and the groundwork that has been laid for our advancement,” Mathews, a graduate assistant for African-American Initiatives in the Office of Multicultural Student Success, said. “While there are some issues that we still face that can be related to the past, our adversity is different.”

Dr. Romules Durant, superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, will give the keynote address at the Black History Month Kickoff Luncheon Saturday, Feb. 3, at 11:30 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Alexis Means of 13 ABC will emcee the event, which will include singing and dancing performances. A lunch will be provided for those who RSVP by Tuesday, Jan. 30, at utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/omss.

“Black History Month is a time to remember and celebrate the achievements of black men and women who have shaped our history whether locally, nationally and internationally,” Durant said. “My ultimate goal is that I can inspire someone toward greatness by sharing the challenges I’ve faced and the goals I’ve accomplished.”

A Toledo native, Durant is a graduate of Waite High School and UT. He received bachelor of arts, master of arts and doctoral degrees in education from the University in 1998, 2002 and 2007, respectively. Since 2000, he has worked at Toledo Public Schools as a teacher, administrator and assistant superintendent; he became the district’s 30th superintendent in 2013.

Durant

“I’m honored to be the keynote speaker at The University of Toledo’s Black History Month kickoff luncheon,” Durant said. “As a proud UT graduate, I look forward to anytime I can support or give back to my alma mater.”

A former member of the UT Alumni Association Board of Trustees, Durant received the Judith Herb College of Education Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2015.

Listed by date, other events will include:

Wednesday, Feb. 7

• Black History Month Trivia, 8 to 10 p.m., Thompson Student Union Room 2591. Join the Office of Multicultural Student Success, the Black Student Union and the Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program for questions about black history, as well as the Black Card Revoked game.

Monday, Feb. 12

• “Black GirlZ Rock,” 6 to 9 p.m., Thompson Student Union Ingman Room. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. will honor women on campus who have made an impact on UT students. Appetizers will be served.

Tuesday, Feb. 13

• “Black Love Is Raw,” 7 to 8 p.m., Thompson Student Union Room 2584. Presented by the Association for the Advancement of African-American Women and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., this event will offer a safe place to have a discussion about love. There will be activities to facilitate the dialogue.

Thursday, Feb. 15

• Black History Month Art Exhibit, 3 to 5 p.m., Thompson Student Union Trimble Lounge. The Office of Multicultural Student Success is inviting artists to share their works relating to black history and culture in a museum-style setting.

Tuesday, Feb. 20

• Name That Tune: Black History Month Edition, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thompson Student Union Room 2591. Teams will compete in a multiple round competition to guess songs from the 1960s to the present. Winners will receive a prize from the Office of Multicultural Student Success.

Friday, Feb. 23

• Black Student Union Fashion Show, 7:30 to 10 p.m., Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 VIP available at Ask Rocky. General admission at the door will be $15.

Monday, Feb. 26

• Black History Month College Preview Day, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Thompson Student Union. High school students can visit campus and learn about college life from members of several multicultural student organizations. For more information, call the Office of Multicultural Student Success at 419.530.2261.

All events are free unless otherwise noted.

For more information, contact the the Office of Multicultural Student Success at 419.530.2261.

Panel presentation to explore peace studies, peace education

The UT Peace Fellows will hold a meeting and panel presentation focusing on the topic of peace and justice issues Monday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. in Gillham Hall Room 5300.

The free event is open to students from any academic discipline, as well as campus and community members.

The UT Peace Fellows is a group of faculty, students and community members that meets three times a year to discuss current events, theory and research in peace studies and peace education, and how a community can contribute to help create a more peaceful and just society.

“We work together to bridge academic interests related to peace studies, to aid in the promotion of peace-related programs and events on campus, and to foster the roots of peace and justice into the core of the UT mission and culture,” said Dr. Dale T. Snauwaert, professor of philosophy of education and peace studies.

The event will allow attendees to participate in group discussions and exchange ideas and research related to the topic of peace and justice issues.

Feature presentations will be given by Dr. Jeannine Diller, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, and Dr. Hans Gottgens, professor of environmental studies.

“Drs. Diller and Gottgens will speak about their scholarship, which is situated in different disciplinary areas, yet they will both highlight how peace and justice issues impact their scholarship, teaching and service to the community,” said Dr. Florian Feucht, associate professor of educational psychology and peace education. “The speakers are examples for how peace and justice connects and impacts our daily work and local community.”

The Peace Fellows is affiliated with a new undergraduate minor in peace and justice studies at the University. The minor includes four core courses and two electives that students can take from across campus.

“By completing the peace and justice studies minor, students gain a deep understanding of the meaning of peace as not merely the absence of violence, but more broadly as the presence of justice, human rights, ecological sustainability and human security,” Snauwaert said. “Students understand and are able to apply and create just and effective responses to threats to and violations of peace and justice on all levels of human society from the local to the global.”

The program also offers access to resources such as the Betty A. Reardon Collection in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections in Carlson Library, as well as a peace studies and peace education library housed in Gillham Hall.

For more information about the event or about the peace and justice studies minor, contact Snauwaert at dale.snauwaert@utoledo.edu.

New dean selected to lead College of Education

An educational psychologist with an interest in enhancing classroom assessment for more effective teaching and learning has been named dean of The University of Toledo Judith Herb College of Education.

Dr. Raymond H. Witte will join UT July 1 from Miami University, where he is professor and chair of the Department of Educational Psychology.

Witte

“Dr. Witte is an experienced administrator, having served as department chair and associate dean. He is not only an accomplished scholar as a university professor, he had many years of experience working for public schools before joining academia,” said Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “He has a passion for student success, especially those of first-generation college students. I am glad to welcome him to The University of Toledo and look forward to working with him and the college to further improve our college and our student success.”

“I am honored to be the new dean of the Judith Herb College of Education. I’ve always thought highly of the institution and been impressed with the quality and professionalism of the faculty and the administrators,” Witte said. “I am looking forward to working and collaborating with the distinguished faculty and staff of the college, as well as all the members of the University and Toledo communities.”

Witte joined the faculty of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1999 and held a variety of additional administrative roles, including associate dean, graduate program director, department chair and assistant chair. Prior to his career in higher education, Witte was a school psychologist for the Jessamine County School District in Nicholasville, Ky., where he also directed the kindergarten and preschool programs.

Witte received his PhD and master’s degrees in educational psychology and bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky.

His academic interests include working with students with learning disabilities assisting individuals and their families through transitions. As his career evolved, he became increasingly interested in effective assessment and has written two books and numerous articles on the topic.

Accordingly, Witte said he is a data-driven leader and he looks forward to getting to know the college staff and collaborating with them to ensure strong student enrollment and community partnerships.

Hsu thanked Dr. Virginia Keil for her leadership while serving as interim dean of the Judith Herb College of Education since July 2015.

U.S. News recognizes UT online programs

The University of Toledo provides one of the best online bachelor’s programs, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

UT is ranked 125 out of 357 institutions in the 2018 Best Online Programs ranking, an increase from last year’s place of 142 out of 311 programs.

U.S. News assessed schools based on student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

“This ranking is recognition of the high-quality distance learning curriculum and the strong support services we provide to our students,” UT Provost Andrew Hsu said. “Recognizing that many prospective students, particularly working professionals returning to the classroom, enjoy the flexibility and convenience of online classes, we will continue to enhance and improve UT’s programs offered online.”

“The best online programs rankings offer adults the information needed to identify programs that best suit their life and career goals,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “The top programs not only demonstrate strong academics, but also create learning environments that are particularly well-suited to remote students.”

The UT Judith Herb College of Education also was ranked 107 out of 309 for its online graduate education program. UT’s ranking improved from last year’s rank of 109 out of 278 on that Best Online Education Programs list, which evaluates programs on student engagement, student services and technology, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

UT’s College of Education launched this academic year the first online PhD program approved in Ohio. The Curriculum and Instruction: Special Education Doctoral Degree Program is designed for those who specialize in early childhood special education who are looking to take the next step in their careers.

For additional information about the U.S. News rankings, click here.