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Outstanding staff members celebrated

Five employees recently received the University’s 2016 Outstanding Staff Awards.

Nearly 40 nominees were honored at a ceremony in the Student Union Auditorium.

Winners this year were:



• Tammy Brittian, administrative assistant in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She has worked at the University 22 years.

“Tammy is a natural-born helper and ridiculous multi-tasker; she’s never too busy to stop the millions of projects she’s simultaneously working on to help anyone who asks,” one nominator wrote. “Tammy emulates our mission by continuing to provide everyone she encounters on a daily basis with the utmost respect. On top of that, she serves as each of these constituent’s personal guide, helping him or her navigate the complex University system.” Another noted, “Tammy pushes herself and leads by example. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her what to do or how to get something done; she’s resourceful and doesn’t stop until she accomplishes what she set out to. Tammy is motivated by organization; the more organized, the better functioning her department.”



• Peggy Ery, publications editor of the Law Review in the College of Law. She has worked at the University for 29 years, first in Carlson Library, then transferring to the College of Law as a secretary before taking on Law Review for the past 22 years.

“As a student-run journal, we all must work as a team, and she is a great silent captain,” one nominator wrote. “She brings with her 22 years of experience and shares her knowledge with all who ask. Because of her dedication and hard work, she holds those around her accountable for their work and expects the highest degree of effort.” Another noted, “She motivates and inspires every member of the Law Review to do our best. Our Law Review is ranked 109th out of more than 500 general journals. Our success and continued excellence as a publication can be directly attributed to Peggy’s dedication. Peggy is always willing to drop her administrative and editorial duties — even if it makes her job harder — to answer editing questions and address managerial concerns.”



• Katherine Goans, associate director of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources. She began her career at MCO in 1975 in Environmental Services, leaving in 1977 to continue her education at UT and start a family. She returned in 1982 to the Medical Records Department. One year later, Goans transferred to her current department as a laboratory animal aide. She has been promoted throughout the years to her current position.

“Dedication, commitment, helpful, pleasant — all of these words describe Kathy. She will be missed when she retires in 2017,” one nominator wrote. “The facilities are well-maintained, and the research animals receive premium care and treatment.” “She began working as an animal care aide before moving into the role of operations manager and in recent years associate director. In each of these roles, she has been an active team member in assisting department staff and UT faculty, staff and students to promote an excellent environment for research involving laboratory animals,” another noted. And another wrote, “She considers no question unworthy of a thoughtful answer and no individual beyond her ability and willingness to train to a successful level of proficiency. Her positive attitude inspires others to believe in themselves.”



• Scott McBride, business services officer in the Department of Environmental Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He has worked at the University since 1994.

“For research, he manages grant paperwork — $2 to $4 million a year — and is responsible for purchasing, accounting, balancing, and then fixing and adjusting to best meet faculty requests when all does not go as planned,” one nominator wrote. “He demonstrates extraordinary creativity to support faculty wishes while always meeting regulations. He confronts challenges with humor and creativity, always with the highest ethical standards.” Another wrote, “Scott has been running the business component of our department since he arrived. And he does so with a smile on his face every day and without complaining. Quite frankly, in our discipline with a combined annual budget of some $3 million in externally funded research and several dozen graduate assistants on the payroll, we would be lost without his competent help.”



• Marissa Reid, success coach in You College. She has worked at UT since 2013. Reid received a bachelor of arts degree in pyschology from the University in 2011.

“When success coaching started, new coaches were faced with the task of building a program from scratch that would retain students and build confident young adults,” one nominator wrote. “Marissa took the initiative right off the bat to begin organizing experiential learning opportunities for You College students. She spent her own personal time organizing, planning and prepping students to experience volunteerism and service learning through the Boys and Girls Club.” “She knows how to connect with her students and even provide tough love when needed,” another noted. “Marissa also gives back to the community, and it is not uncommon to find her at campus events or representing UT on various community groups where she is passionate about helping students be successful at UT.”

New University College to serve adult and undecided students

The new University College will serve adult students pursuing individualized degrees and first-year students exploring the variety of majors The University of Toledo has to offer.

The creation of University College, which was approved April 18 by the UT Board of Trustees, is a merger of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning and YouCollege with UT Online.

Kopp Miller

Kopp Miller

“Serving students is the mission of all colleges at The University of Toledo and by organizing University College in this way, we will enhance how we can serve adult learners and students who are undecided about their areas of study,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said.

Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education and director of the Center for Successful Aging, will serve as dean of University College, which will be in place July 1.

“University College provides access and support to students to ensure they are successful in meeting their goal of a college degree,” Kopp Miller said. “We will provide a supportive temporary home for students who are still exploring the many majors that we offer at UT, and our goal is to successfully get them into their permanent home. And adult learners balancing work, family and other obligations will find the services they need in University College.”

The about 700 students in the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning and the about 1,700 students in YouCollege will be enrolled in the new University of College.

The College of Adult and Lifelong Learning was created in 2010 as an evolution of a previous University College to focus services for adult students. Through a program called prior learning assessment, UT offers adult learners the ability to earn college credit for life experiences using portfolios, standardized testing and industry certification to determine college credit. The college’s degree programs include individualized studies, professional studies and liberal studies.

Since 2013, YouCollege has served students in the Department of Exploratory Studies who are undecided about their majors or working on requirements to get into the program of their choice.

University College’s academic units will be organized into a Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and Special Programs, and a Department of Exploratory Studies.

Dr. Dennis Lettman, who serves as dean of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning, is retiring at the end of the academic year after 27 years of service to UT. Julie Fischer-Kinney, who serves as interim dean of YouCollege, will continue in her role as assistant provost for student success and retention leading the University’s success coaching program, which will be organized in a Center for Success Coaching.

The University offers more than 500 online courses through UT Online, which also will be part of University College. UT Online includes the departments of Learning and Academic Technology, Instructional Design and Development, Faculty Services and Help Desk, and Compliance and Assessment.

UT’s military affairs, testing and workforce development services also will be offered through the college.

“University College truly serves the entire University through the services that it provides,” Kopp Miller said.

Kopp Miller joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1991 and has held a number of faculty appointments and administrative roles at UT. With a scholarly expertise in the area of gerontology, she teaches in the Department of Public Health and Preventative Medicine.

She received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Bowling Green State University.

Trustees approve new University College

A new University College that will merge the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning and YouCollege with UT Online was approved Monday by the UT Board of Trustees.

University College, which will be established July 1, will be led by Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education and director of the Center for Successful Aging.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“University College truly serves the entire University through the services it provides, as well as being a home for students who are still exploring the many majors offered by The University of Toledo,” Kopp Miller said. “Our goal is to provide the services students need to help them be successful.”

The about 700 students in the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning’s individualized studies degree programs and the about 1,700 students in YouCollege’s Department of Exploratory Studies will be enrolled in the new University College.

University College also will oversee the University’s more than 500 online courses, as well as provide UT’s military, testing and workforce development services.

UT expands Starfish technology that is making a difference for students

This past spring, The University of Toledo implemented a tool to help student success and retention. Less than a year later, UT has won a national award for it and is looking to expand it.

The tool is Starfish Early Alert and Connect, a platform that helps students find resources to ensure they are getting what they need to be successful.

Starfish logo copyUT began using the software in spring 2015, focusing on first- and second-year students, transfer students and students within three key courses — English Composition I, Mathematical Modeling and Problem Solving, and College Algebra. All 1000-level courses, these were the starting point because of their broad impact and the faculty’s willingness to participate.

Starfish works by providing students with a success network, which includes their instructors, success coach and other campus resources. Through timed Starfish Early Alert progress surveys, instructors can provide positive feedback or raise concerns about students in their class, which either rewards them with a kudos email or connects them with the resources they need to be successful.

The goal with these initial courses was to improve the success rates in English and math from the prior spring semester, and UT exceeded its goals. Success in English Composition I went up 5 percent over the previous year, College Algebra increased by 7 percent, and Mathematical Modeling and Problem Solving by 16 percent.

“We had success because of multiple interventions,” said Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney, assistant provost for student success and retention, and interim dean of YouCollege. “I attribute our success to the faculty in those departments, the success coaches who were reaching out to the students when alerted by the faculty, our Learning Enhancement Center for providing tutoring and math study tables, and other resources on campus such as the Counseling Center.”

In September, UT was awarded the Starfish 360 Rising Star Award, and was one of only three winners across the country and the only four-year public institution.

Winning has brought national attention to UT’s student success and retention practices, and Fischer-Kinney has been asked to speak at multiple conferences for the National Academic Advising Association.

“I think through our success with Starfish, it has put our institution on a national platform,” Fischer-Kinney said. “I’ve been contacted by many schools about how we were able to achieve that success in math and English.”

One of the main factors that contributed to UT winning this award is the focus not only on academics, but on the overall experience students have. In particular, financial aid has been integrated because many students struggle with that process.

One campaign in particular was to alert students to holds on their account before they became an issue. In spring, 1,301 students had a past due balance hold and another 129 students had missing transcript holds; all remedied their past due balances, and 99 percent were able to fix their missing transcript holds.

“Students were responding in real time to what was going on so that they could continue to register for classes and move forward in their academic studies,” Fischer-Kinney said.

This fall, Starfish was expanded to Mathematics for Liberal Arts, a few sections of Calculus With Applications to Business and Finance, and a section of Single Variable Calculus I. In spring, English Composition II may be added to the early alert progress surveys, and academic advisers will be incorporated into the platform.

Other areas of campus that are being integrated into Starfish this year are Student-Athlete Academic Services, Greek Life, College Credit Plus students, International Students, Student Involvement, Residence Life, Career Services and more.

When students log in to the software, they are able to instantly connect with individuals in their network that can help them succeed. They also can see an A-Z listing of the resources available to them on campus such as student involvement and counseling services.

Students don’t necessarily have to log in to Starfish to gain from it — each student receives an email whenever something requires attention — but the platform provides a lot of extra resources for them. They also can update their profile with a picture and cell phone information for text alerts to their phone.

“It does not replace people, and it does not replace relationships or conversations,” Fischer-Kinney said. “It’s simply a tool to help us communicate and identify students in need so that we can have those conversations.”

UT students to host Oct. 30 event for McKinley Elementary School kids

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade at McKinley Elementary School will make some new friends this week.

Approximately 50 University of Toledo undergraduate students in the Exploratory Studies Program are taking part in a Halloween event Friday, Oct. 30, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at McKinley Elementary.

These UT students have been working for weeks to plan and organize the service-learning event.

“Our students are making a real difference in our community,” said Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney, interim YouCollege dean and assistant provost for student success and retention. “Through experiential learning events, students are learning the importance of giving back to their community, strengthening their leadership and interpersonal skills, and gaining a sense of confidence and pride not only in our campus community, but our greater community.”

The UT students, dressed in Rocket gear or Halloween costumes, will help McKinley students enjoy carnival-style game, activities and crafts while teaching them the importance of a college education.

“This is a chance to not only give back to the greater Toledo community, but to also build some leadership skills among our students,” said UT Success Coach Marissa Reid, who is helping the college students operate the event.

The Exploratory Studies Program students have had some help; offices in Rocket Hall participated in a building-wide candy drive for treats to pass out at the event, and vans provided by UT’s Center for International Studies and Programs will transport the college students to McKinley for the afternoon. Mascots Rocky and Rocksy are slated to make an appearance at the event as well.

“[The kids] can’t wait to interact with college students,” said John Korenowsky, principal of McKinley Elementary. “They’re heroes to the children. They’re full of questions about college life, and they want to hear more about what it takes to be a Rocket one day.”

For more information, contact Reid at 419.349.7485 or Korenowsky at 419.671.3750 or jkorenow@tps.org.

UT Retirees Association recognized as affiliate of year

They’ve done it again. Members of the The University of Toledo Retirees Association (UTRA) pitched in and helped the UT Alumni Association and their former employer.

For those efforts, UTRA was named the 2014 Alumni Association’s Affiliate of the Year. It’s the second time in three years the organization has received the designation.

Jim Lapp, president of the UT Retirees Association, left, accepted the banner proclaiming the group as the UT Alumni Association’s Affiliate of the Year from David Dobrzykowski, president of the UT Alumni Association.

Jim Lapp, president of the UT Retirees Association, left, accepted the banner proclaiming the group as the UT Alumni Association’s Affiliate of the Year from David Dobrzykowski, president of the UT Alumni Association.

The announcement was made at the UT Alumni Association’s annual meeting held earlier this month at the William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion.

“This honor reflects the hard work of many individuals and is a testament to the involvement of our membership in the University and Toledo communities,” said Jim Lapp, UTRA president, who retired in 2005 as assistant director of the Division of Student Success in University College.

Each year, UT Alumni Association Affiliates compete for this award. The selection committee evaluates the affiliates on a number of factors, including service to the Alumni Association, the University and the community; collaboration with other organizations and affiliates; scholarships supported; and sponsored events and programs.

Representing all retirees from the University and from the former Medical College of Ohio, UTRA organized nearly 40 events. The group counts 1,100 active, dues-paying members.

“The number of events, programs and trips that we continue to sponsor is a big factor in this award,” Lapp said. “Since last spring, we have arranged more than 35 activities that have been attended by well in excess of 1,000 of our members and their guests. Plus, we continue to have our monthly game days and the monthly social luncheons.”

In addition to keeping in touch, members value giving back to the University.

“As a group, the UT Retirees Association raised more than $10,500 for two scholarships — one for Main Campus, the other for Health Science Campus — which now have endowments totaling more than $60,000,” Dan Saevig, UT associate vice president of alumni relations, said when announcing the honor.

Members also are generous with their time. UTRA members have donated hundreds of hours of volunteer service to the University and Toledo community.

“We are thankful for the UT Retirees Association’s continuous support and so proud of all efforts by its members,” Saevig said.

Walk-In Wednesdays for academic advising to begin Nov. 6

Students who have quick questions for academic advisers won’t have to make an appointment to get answers, thanks to Walk-In Wednesdays, an advising initiative that will be launched Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Continuing students who are enrolled can go to their specific college’s Student Services Office on Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to receive advising on a first-come, first-served basis.

Some issues that can be covered in the short meetings include questions about a student’s academic program or academic resources; details on degree audit reports; advice on making an academic decision such as summer classes, adding minors or taking a withdrawal; clarification of an academic policy or procedure; or help with deciding between a prepared list of options for the next semester. Students also can make an appointment for an extended meeting with an adviser.

“Walk-In Wednesdays will really optimize the advising process for our students, who often are faced with decisions that don’t require a long session with their adviser,” said Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, senior vice president for the student experience. “The advisers on duty can answer questions quickly and allow students to move forward on their academic journey.”

Adding that students had been requesting such a service, she said, “We’re excited to be able to respond to their academic needs.”

She offered as well: “So they can make the most of Walk-In Wednesdays, we’re recommending that students prepare their questions in advance.”

Student Services offices for the participating Main Campus colleges are:

• College of Adult and Lifelong Learning: Rocket Hall Room 1300;

• College of Business and Innovation: Stranahan Hall North Room 3130;

• College of Communication and the Arts: University Hall Room 3000;

• College of Engineering: Bioengineering — Nitschke Hall Room 5051; Chemical Engineering — Nitschke Hall Room 3050; Civil Engineering — Nitschke Hall Room 3006; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science — Nitschke Hall Room 2008; Engineering Technology — North Engineering Room 1600; Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering — Nitschke Hall Room 4006;

• College of Health Sciences: Gillham Hall Room 3100;

• College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences: University Hall Room 3000;

• College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics: University Hall Room 3000;

• College of Nursing: Carlson Library Room 0095;

• College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences: Wolfe Hall Room 1227;

• College of Social Justice and Human Service: Gillham Hall Room 3100;

• Jesup Scott Honors College: University Hall Room 3000;

• Judith Herb College of Education: Gillham Hall Room 3100; and

• YouCollege: Rocket Hall Rooms 1830-1840.

Questions about Walk-In Wednesdays can be directed to the individual colleges.