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UT professor’s film on Flint water crisis receives PBS distribution

The National Educational Telecommunications Association has contracted with Holly Hey, UT professor of film, for exclusive public television distribution rights of her film, “Crossing Water — Flint Michigan — 2017,” a documentary about the ongoing water crisis.

Hey worked with the nonprofit service organization Crossing Water to highlight the continuing needs and challenges facing the residents of Flint and the social service volunteers who help them.

The film will broadcast regionally for the first time on WNED in Buffalo, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 11, at 5 p.m.

Katherine Larsen, senior director of radio/TV programming for WNED, said Hey’s film is a “great program on an ongoing issue. Clean water is vital to our communities, especially in the Great Lakes region.”

Flint made national news in 2014 when the city’s emergency manager switched the source of the city’s water, plaguing residents with a host of immediate and toxic problems, including deadly bacteria, outbreaks and deaths from Legionnaires’ disease, and the widespread presence of lead in the city’s drinking water.

Hey

In the film, Hey highlights the work of Crossing Water, which brings together social workers and other volunteers to provide water, services, and access to resources to the hardest hit residents of Flint. Hey weaves together multiple stories of Crossing Water volunteers, staff and Flint residents, creating a portrait of what it is like to live within an ongoing systemic disaster.

Michael Hood, executive director of Crossing Water, called the film “a sobering story of the Flint water crisis.”

Hey believes all Americans should care about Flint because it’s a crisis that is indicative of the future for many U.S. communities. According to CNN, more than 5,300 municipalities around the country are in violation of lead rules.

“Eventually, systems will fail in any community, systems essential to human life like water and power. We can’t ignore that we are all vulnerable to such collapse, wherever we live in America,” said Hey, who is head of the Film/Video Program in the Department of Theatre and Film in the College of Arts and Letters.

Hey directed the documentary, which she co-produced with Lee Fearnside, associate professor of art at Tiffin University.

Learn more about the film and watch a trailer at crossingwater.movie.

New staff appointed to Office of the Provost

The Office of the Provost has appointed three new associate vice provosts to continue to make progress on the University’s strategic plan.

Following the recent retirement of three senior academic administrators, there was an opportunity to realign the structure of the positions in the Office of the Provost along the priorities of the University’s strategic plan, said Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“In the Division of Academic Affairs, we have made excellent progress on the implementation of the strategic plan,” Hsu said. “With the appointment of these highly qualified administrators who are joining the Office of the Provost team, we will continue to make progress in the priority areas of student and faculty success.”

Bartell

Dr. Denise Bartell is joining the University Aug. 1 as associate vice provost for student success to replace Dr. Steve LeBlanc, who retired from that position. Bartell comes from the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay, where she served as director of student success and engagement, and associate professor of human development and psychology.

In her role, Bartell will oversee the offices of Success Coaching and Academic Support Services, and lead the University’s efforts to support undergraduate student retention and degree completion, including efforts in the areas of advising, orientation, first-year experience, academic enrichment, and the blending of curricular and co-curricular learning.

Schneider

Dr. Barbara Schneider, senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Letters, and associate professor of English, has been appointed to serve as associate vice provost for faculty development, effective Aug. 20. The position is open following the retirement of Dr. Connie Shriner, who had served as vice provost for faculty development, assessment, program review and accreditation.

In her new role, Schneider will provide leadership for faculty professional development initiatives related to student success, including high-impact teaching practices and pedagogies of engagement. She will provide oversight of the Teaching Center and the Office of Classroom Support, and will be responsible for the implementation of the University’s strategic plan goals on faculty development related to student success.

Thompson

In addition, Dr. Amy Thompson, director of the Center for Health and Successful Living in the College of Health and Human Services, and professor of public health, now serves as interim associate vice provost for faculty affairs. She was appointed to that role July 9. Thompson provides oversight of the faculty orientation program, the UT faculty leadership institute, and the University’s faculty awards program. She also works closely with Dr. Jamie Barlowe, interim vice provost for faculty affairs, on additional faculty initiatives related to the priorities of the University’s strategic plan.

Ayres

Margaret “Peg” Traband, senior vice provost of academic affairs, was the third administrator who retired in June from the Office of the Provost. Dr. R. William Ayres has been promoted to that position.

Two deans also have taken on additional responsibilities in the Division of Academic Affairs.

Bryant-Friedrich

Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, dean of the College of Graduate Studies, has been appointed to also serve as vice provost for graduate affairs. She serves as the liaison between the Office of the Provost, the college deans and graduate program directors. Bryant-Friedrich also monitors the implementation of strategic plan priorities as they relate to graduate student enrollment and retention.

Ingersoll

Dr. Christopher Ingersoll, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, has taken on additional responsibilities as vice provost for health science affairs. He serves as the liaison between the Office of the Provost and the deans of the four health science-related colleges, and he monitors the implementation of college-level strategic action plans as they relate to the University’s strategic plan.

Glacity Theatre Collective to present world premiere of ‘Wilkes’

A U.S. citizen is accused of a heinous crime, but rather than receiving a trial by jury as constitutionally mandated, he is condemned to death by a military tribunal.

No, it’s not 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11; it’s 1865, and the accused is the man who helped John Wilkes Booth escape after his assassination of the president of the United States.

“Wilkes,” a fast-paced contemporary play to be premiered by the Glacity Theatre Collective, tells the story of the planning and assassination of Abraham Lincoln, as well as the ensuing manhunt after Booth escaped.

The story is told from the perspective of Davey Herold, who was a close friend of Booth and a co-conspirator in the assassination plot. Following his capture with the injured Booth after 12 days on the run, Herold was tried by military commission as a domestic terrorist rather than in a court of law, a denial of his rights as a U.S. citizen.

“The play is an exploration of the origins of a continuing legal issue in our country — can citizens be defined as ‘terrorists’ and therefore denied their right to a trial by their peers? Our country has long grappled with where to draw the line between criminal behavior and terrorism — as Davey Herold’s story vividly illustrates,” playwright James Stover said.

He explained that though laws were created following the execution of the Lincoln co-conspirators so that such a thing would never happen again, in 2001, as part of the Patriot Act, these laws were superseded.

Featuring a cast of three, the 70-minute play is filled with action, suspense and a history lesson relevant today. Daniel Schweikert plays John Wilkes Booth, Jackson Howard is Davey Herold, and Bryan Harkins, a UT theatre student, is Frederick Stone.

The design team includes James S. Hill, UT professor emeritus of theatre; Kelly McBane, UT lecturer in theatre and film; Stephen Sakowski, UT assistant professor of theatre and film; and Kevin Upham, UT theatre student.

“Wilkes” stars, from left, Bryan Harkins (Stone), Jackson Howard (Davey) and Daniel Schweikert (Booth).

Stover, who was a visiting assistant professor in the UT Theatre and Film Departmetn in 2016 and 2017, is directing the production, which will be stage-managed by Tori McBean.

“Wilkes” will run Friday through Sunday, July 27-29, and Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 2-4, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre on UT’s Main Campus. All performances will be at 8 p.m. except Sunday, July 29, which will be at 2 p.m. Doors will open one half hour prior to curtain.

Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance online at here. Student tickets are $10 with a valid ID and are available only at the door.

For more information, go to glacity.org.

Art on the Mall to return to campus July 29

Art on the Mall will take over UT’s Centennial Mall Sunday, July 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This summer marks the free, public event’s 26th year of showcasing a variety of art on Main Campus. Attendees will have the opportunity to view all kinds of art, including acrylic, glass, jewelry, mixed media, photography, pottery and more.

“We welcome and encourage everyone to attend one of northwest Ohio’s signature art shows,” said Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming in the UT Office of Alumni and Annual Engagement. “It’s a great way to spend a summer day — looking at amazing artwork on our beautiful campus.”

A total of 115 artists will have artwork for sale by cash, or guests can pay using a credit card at the artist’s booth or credit card station located in the Thompson Student Union.

Representatives from the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art will jury the works with prizes being awarded to the top artists. UT’s Best of Show award will be given to an artist with an affiliation to the University; students, faculty, staff, retirees, alumni and parents are eligible for this honor.

Throughout the event, guests can listen to live jazz with performances from UT student and alumni groups Minor Frett and the Twenty TwentyFour.

Food and beverages will be for sale throughout the day from vendors that will include Big C’s Smoked Barbeque, Karen Anne’s Kettle Corn, Opa! Gyros, Java Sensations/Let’s Go Nuts, Quinn’s Concessions, Jeanie’s Comfort Cuisine, Snowie Daze, the Petite Fleet, and K & K Concessions.

A beer and wine garden will be at Art on the Mall and offer a selection of adult beverages for guests 21 and older with a valid ID. This year the show will feature three varieties of craft beer from one of the area’s newest establishments, Patron Saints Brewery on Bancroft Street.

In addition, faculty and students from UT’s Ceramics Program in the Department of Art will demonstrate their skills in front of the Thompson Student Union and give guests the chance to “throw a pot.” The UT art students also will have a booth with their work available for sale.

And an area for young artists will allow children to create their own masterpieces.

Free parking for the event will be available in lot 1 south, lot 1 north and lot 13 with a golf cart shuttle service to transport guests and their purchases to and from Centennial Mall if needed.

Art on the Mall is supported by community sponsors 13abc, The Andersons Inc., The Blade, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Mail It, The University of Toledo Federal Credit Union and 101.5 The River.

For more information on Art on the Mall, contact Abrams-Frederick at 419.530.4316 or ansley.abrams@utoledo.edu.

Dean appointed to WGTE governing board

Charlene Gilbert, dean of the UT College of Arts and Letters, has been named a director of the governing board of WGTE Public Media.

She is one of four new directors whose terms began July 1 and will run through June 30, 2021.

Gilbert

Gilbert has 20 years experience as an independent documentary filmmaker, teacher and scholar.

Her documentary films have been screened nationally on PBS and in film festivals across the country. Some of her best-known works include “Homecoming: Sometimes I Am Haunted by Memories of Red Dirt and Clay,” which is about African-American farmers and their struggle after the Civil War to own and farm land in the rural South, and “Children Will Listen,” which is about elementary school children planning and performing a junior production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Gilbert is a past recipient of Harvard University’s Radcliffe Fellowship, the Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship and the American Council on Education Fellowship.

She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Yale University and a master of fine arts in film and media arts from Temple University.

‘Handwritten Dreams Project’ exhibit closes

The UT Department of Art has announced Leslie Adams’ solo exhibition, “The Handwritten Dreams Project,” has closed.

The artist’s reception and accompanying lecture scheduled for Friday, July 6 (rescheduled from June 1), at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Little Theater also has been canceled.

As a result of the continuing air conditioning and ventilation issues in the Center for the Visual Arts on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus, the exhibition, organized and curated by Gallery Director and Assistant Professor Brian Carpenter, was removed recently due to extreme temperature and humidity conditions in the building. An expert in the field of conservation was consulted and recommended that the work be moved to a safer, climate-controlled environment.

According to Barbara WF Miner, professor and chair of the UT Department of Art, “The Handwritten Dreams Project” is a tour de force and the department is committed to working with Adams to find a time and venue to present the interactive exhibition in Toledo.

Adams said, “It was an incredible honor to be invited by my alma mater to exhibit ‘The Handwritten Dreams Project’ at the Center for the Visual Arts. I am disappointed that it cannot happen at this time — particularly as the debate on the teaching of cursive is unfolding in our state legislature. However, I am committed to and look forward to sharing my love of handwriting, drawing, and dreams with my community in the future.”

Adams received a bachelor of fine arts degree from UT in 1989.

UT team receives research award at international Biodesign Challenge Summit

UT students who thought outside — and inside — the hive won the Outstanding Field Research Award June 22 at the Biodesign Challenge Summit in New York.

“Apigiene Hive: Rethinking Bee Hygiene” was selected for the honor that recognizes a team that takes the initiative to go into the field and interview experts as well as potentially affected communities in order to find and understand the social impacts of their project.

Members of the UT team — from left, Madeline Tomczak, Jesse Grumelot, Domenic Pennetta and Lucya Keune — posed for a photo with the Outstanding Field Research Award they won June 22 at the Biodesign Challenge Summit, which was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Members of the UT team are Madeline Tomczak, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science in May; Domenic Pennetta, a sophomore majoring in art; Jesse Grumelot, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in bioengineering; and Lucya Keune, a senior studying visual arts.

The four were in New York for the award ceremony and exhibition with Brian Carpenter and Eric Zeigler, assistant professors in the Department of Art in the College of Arts and Letters, who taught the Biodesign Challenge class spring semester.

“We are very proud of our UT students,” Carpenter said. “This challenge is fantastic. It encourages students to think creatively, take risks, and gather science and data. They realize their designs can work.”

“This competition was such an incredible opportunity for our students,” Zeigler said. “For UT to win an award our first year in the challenge shows the dedication and creativity of our students.”

Solving problems creatively is what the Biodesign Challenge is all about. The Genspace NYC program offers college students the chance to envision future applications of biotechnology by working together interdisciplinarily.

At UT, the Biodesign Challenge class brought together students majoring in art, bioengineering and environmental science, as well as peers from the Jesup Scott Honors College.

UT went head to head against 29 schools from across the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Japan and Scotland. Six awards were presented at the challenge.

“This was an incredible win on a world stage. Our students competed against teams from New York University, Rutgers, the University of Sydney, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Ghent University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgetown. It was our first time out of the gate, and UT took an award,” said Barbara WF Miner, professor and chair of the UT Department of Art. “We are ecstatic!”

“[The 30] finalists were selected from a pool of 450 participants,” Daniel Grushkin, founder and director of the Biodesign Challenge, said. “I firmly believe that they are leading us into a sustainable future with their visions.”

The UT team wanted to help the bee population and created additions for the popular Langstroth hive to fight one of the insect’s biggest foes: mites.

A fibrous brush filled with zebra mussel powder at the hive entrance targets Varroa destructor mites on the surface of adult bees. The insects will clean off the powder — and the mites — and leftover powder will help kill the intruders inside the hive.

And to tackle the Acarapis woodi mites, which invade the hive and lay eggs, the team turned to a natural deterrent: mint, which was infused with the wax frames.

At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the UT students presented their project to more than 200 scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and artists.

“Our students’ design is economically feasible; beekeepers would just add two simple modifications to their existing hives,” Zeigler said. “It’s a happy solution, and one that could have tremendous market impact all over the world.”

“Eric, the students and I want to thank the University for its support,” Carpenter said. “We wouldn’t have been able to develop this class without assistance from the College of Arts and Letters; the Jesup Scott Honors College; the College of Engineering; the Department of Art; and the Department of Environmental Sciences. We’re already looking forward to next year’s challenge.”

Filmmaking workshop to take place this summer at UT

Visual Storytellers: Own Your Narrative will be held from Monday, July 9, through Friday, July 20, at The University of Toledo Center for Performing Arts.

This workshop is a filmmaking summer camp for high school juniors and seniors who wish to grow their narrative video-making skills. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students will learn to conceptualize, write, light, shoot and edit films, with an emphasis on creating visually. The camp will help students grow creatively while also allowing them to experience college-level seminars lead by Quincy Joyner, assistant lecturer in the UT Theatre and Film Department.

Workshop objectives include articulating the components of a story, character and narrative; explaining the effectiveness of communicating visually; and conceiving, designing and communicating a story while cinematically employing practical filmmaking techniques.

Students also will have the opportunity to learn about narrative storytelling, understanding the frame, lighting, video editing and more.

The cost of this workshop is $350 and is due Monday, July 2. The fee covers all materials that students will need, and lunch also will be included each day.

To register for this event, click here.

Two faculty members recognized by Ohio Arts Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ferris

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

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

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

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

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

Stroud

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

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

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

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

Bee proactive: UT students to compete in Biodesign Challenge in New York

A team of University of Toledo students is buzzing with excitement, preparing to compete against 29 schools in the Biodesign Challenge Summit in New York this month.

The four students will present “Apigiene Hive: Rethinking Bee Hygiene” at the international contest Thursday and Friday, June 21-22, at the Museum of Modern Art.

“We decided to focus on bees because of the recent problems with colony collapse disorder,” said Madeline Tomczak, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science in May.

“And we simply found those tiny yellow-and-black insects adorable,” added Domenic Pennetta, a sophomore majoring in art. “By focusing on bees and their problems, we could help both bees and apiarists here in Ohio, and also have solutions that could potentially be used to benefit others around the globe.”

Solving problems creatively is what the Biodesign Challenge is all about. The Genspace NYC program offers college students the chance to envision future applications of biotechnology by working together interdisciplinarily.

At UT, the Biodesign Challenge class in spring semester brought together students majoring in art, bioengineering and environmental science, as well as peers from the Jesup Scott Honors College.

“The really wonderful part about participating in this challenge is it started with the students — they approached us about having the class,” Eric Zeigler, associate lecturer in the UT Department of Art, said.

“One thing we thought was paramount in teaching this class: We were their peers. We were in the trenches with the students, asking questions, learning together,” Brian Carpenter, lecturer and gallery director in the UT Department of Art, said. “It’s been so inspiring. I tell everyone this is my favorite class I’ve taken.”

Carpenter and Zeigler will travel with the team to the Big Apple, where the UT students will vie with teams from across the country, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Japan and Scotland for awards, including the Animal-Free Wool Prize sponsored by PETA, Stella McCartney and Stray Dog Capital.

“These finalists were selected from a pool of 450 participants,” Daniel Grushkin, founder and director of the Biodesign Challenge, said. “I firmly believe that they are leading us into a sustainable future with their visions.”

Tomczak and Pennetta worked with Jesse Grumelot, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in bioengineering, and Lucya Keune, a senior studying visual arts, to create additions for the popular Langstroth hive to fight one of the bees’ biggest foes: mites.

“A fibrous brush filled with zebra mussel diatoms will target Varroa destructor mites on the surface of adult bees,” Grumelot said. “In addition, mint-infused wax frames will eliminate Acarapis woodi mites, as well as Varroa destructor juveniles.”

“We researched the problem, talking to specialists and professionals, and focused on natural ways to give bees a better environment to thrive,” Keune said.

Part of that new environment includes placing a brush at the hive entrance to use what beekeepers call the sugar shake — but in a new way. To encourage bees to be more hygienic, beekeepers sometimes put powder sugar on the insects so they’ll clean off the sweet stuff — and the nasty Varroa destructor mites.

“We use powdered zebra mussel to increase hygiene behaviors, which in turn helps kill the mites,” Tomczak said.

The zebra mussel powder acts like diatomaceous earth, which, when crushed, can be used as a treatment for fleas and ticks on household pets.

“Since diatomaceous earth is often from oceanic rocks, we wanted to bring this part of the hive closer to home by looking at Lake Erie,” Tomczak said. “Zebra mussel shells are abundant and easy to collect, and can be ground down to a fine powder.”

The powder is then baked, sterilized, and made finer with a mortar and pestle. It will prompt the bees to clean up and get rid of the mites, and it will help kill any mites inside the hive.

And to tackle the Acarapis woodi mites, which invade the hive and lay eggs, the team turned to a natural deterrent: mint.

“We wanted to avoid the chemical sprays that can be harmful and stressful to the bee colony,” Keune said. “We learned mint is used to fight mites; it’s better for the bees and the honey.”

“Our new hive features starting frames of beeswax infused with natural corn mint and peppermint,” Grumelot said. “This method is a more accurate way to focus on the mite infestation, and it avoids spraying the entire hive, leaving the honey untouched and the bees happy.”

In New York, the UT students will present their project to more than 200 scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and artists.

“This is a great resumé-builder for our students,” Zeigler said. “Their design is economically feasible; beekeepers would just add two simple modifications to their existing hives. It’s a happy solution, and one that could have tremendous market impact all over the world.”

“This challenge is fantastic. It encourages students to think creatively, take risks, and gather science and data. They realize their designs can work,” Carpenter said.

“I hope that by participating in this challenge that others will begin to look at relevant issues critically and try to find better solutions in creative ways,” Pennetta said.