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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.


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, 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?

Staff Leadership Development Program’s first cohort graduates

Twenty-one University of Toledo staff members who were in the Staff Leadership Development Program’s first cohort graduated Nov. 8 and were officially recognized at a luncheon held in their honor in the Thompson Student Union.

The program was launched in 2017 based on feedback gathered during the strategic planning process from employees who wanted a formal pathway to grow professionally.

“I’m very proud of this inaugural class,” said President Sharon L. Gaber. “No one can ever change the fact that each of them was a member of our first cohort, marking a milestone not only in their tenure with UT, but also in the University’s history.”

“Our goal for this program is twofold — to help candidates grow in their existing positions, as well as to prepare them for expanded leadership roles at UT in the future,” noted Wendy Davis, associate vice president and chief human resources officer.

The one-year Staff Leadership Development Program includes complimentary courses, lectures, assessments and experiential learning facilitated by UT senior leaders, faculty and other subject matter experts.

“Each participant was carefully selected by a multidisciplinary team and completed all required assignments, readings and a capstone project in order to graduate,” said Carrie Herr, director of the Center for Continuous Improvement, who has oversight of the program.

The program has been very well-received, with members of the first cohort representing a wide range of staff positions and departments across UT campuses, according to Herr.

“I would definitely recommend this program to others,” said Kelly Donovan, who works at UT Medical Center. “I was able to foster great relationships with future leaders from various departments, plus had access to our current leaders. And the program instilled leadership skills and confidence that I’ll be able to use for future career goals.”

“What I valued most was learning about so many different facets of higher education, from human resources and recruitment to student affairs, legal and financial matters,” said Craig Turner, who works in the College of Business and Innovation. “I also had the opportunity to gain insights firsthand from UT’s leaders, such as Dr. Gaber, Provost Andrew Hsu and Dr. Chris Cooper, in addition to meeting new colleagues from throughout our campus community.”

In addition to Donovan and Turner, first cohort UT Staff Leadership Development graduates are Stefanie Bias, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Stacey Jo Brown, Office of Legal Affairs; Candace Busdiecker, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Lori DeShetler, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Josh Dittman, Intercollegiate Athletics; Shelly Drouillard, Career Services; Jamie Fager, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Beth Gerasimiak, Office of the Provost; Melissa Hansen, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Heather Huntley, Office of the Provost; Angelica Johnson, College of Arts and Letters; Deirdre Jones, College of Business and Innovation; Sara Lockett, Purchasing/Finance; Elliott Nickeson, Internal Audit and Compliance; Daniel Perry, Facilities and Construction; Jason Rahe, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions; Staci Sturdivant, College of Health and Human Services; Tiffany Whitman, University College; and Matthew Wise, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions.

A second cohort began course work in October and will graduate in November 2019.

Members of the first cohort to graduate from the Staff Leadership Development Program posed for a photo last month with President Sharon L. Gaber, seated center, and Lawrence R. Kelley, executive vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer, second from left seated, and Carrie Herr, director of the Center for Continuous Improvement, seated between Kelley and the president.

State awards UT $287,405 to continue Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office awarded The University of Toledo a $287,405 grant to continue operations of the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, which was created three years ago to help victims of sexual violence and raise awareness.

The center recently expanded outreach and awareness services to UT Health Science Campus.

The new funding is part of $111.8 million recently announced to support more than 400 crime service providers through the Victims of Crime Act and State Victim Assistance Act.

“We are grateful for the state’s support to help maintain the important services the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness provides to survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual harassment,” said Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the UT Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness. “We help victims by offering trauma-informed individual counseling, as well as advocacy and support services to all faculty, staff and students in the UT community.”

“These grants will help provide comprehensive care and critical services for victims of crime,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who is governor-elect of Ohio. “The funding will support and expand existing programs throughout Ohio and allow new, innovative programs to develop.”

The funding is part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative, which DeWine created in 2015 to determine how grant funds could best be spent to serve victims of crime. The funding goes toward providing services to domestic violence victims, victims of sexual assault or human trafficking, and child victims.

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.

Forum to focus on assessing, communicating research efforts

This month’s Future of Higher Education Forum will cover “Measuring and Communicating Your Research Impact.”


The session will take place Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 9 to 11 a.m. in Health and Human Services Building Room 1711.

Dr. Beau Case, dean of University Libraries and director of the UT Press, and Dr. Christopher D. Ingersoll, vice provost for health affairs and dean of the College of Health and Human Services, will lead the forum.

They will discuss measuring and communicating research as it relates to journal, author and article impact. In addition, they will demonstrate how to use these measures while seeking tenure and promotions.


“Research plays a vital role in the academic life of most faculty members. This session is designed to show faculty how to harness that hard work, how to effectively talk and write about it, and how to leverage that work when it comes to promotions and tenure,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, interim associate vice provost of faculty affairs and professor of public health.

The Future of Higher Education Forums are coordinated by the Office of the Provost in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the University Teaching Center.

Register for this month’s program and read more about the Future of Higher Education Forums, including how to submit proposals for upcoming events, at the Office of the Provost website.

UT to host statewide National Student Speech Language Hearing Association Conference

The University of Toledo will host the 13th annual Ohio National Student Speech Language Hearing Association Conference Saturday, Nov. 10.

It is UT’s first time hosting the event independently. In addition to UT’s own students, more than 130 undergraduate audiology and speech-language pathology students from across the state are registered to attend.

Dr. Jenn Glassman, UT assistant professor of speech-language pathology, said the event will provide educational and networking opportunities for students, as well as allow the University to showcase its Speech-Language Pathology Program and Clinic.

“For us, it’s a great way to make a good impression on students thinking about graduate school,” Glassman said. “It’s also a great opportunity for attendees to meet students from other universities as well as engage with community organizations and representatives from our state and national organization.”

The theme of this year’s conference is based on the core values of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association Chapter — integrity, education, service, diversity, leadership and collaboration. A number of vendors will be on hand to provide information about their services and products.

“The students get a lot of hands-on experience with things they wouldn’t necessarily have in the typical undergraduate curriculum,” Glassman said.

The University of Toledo is one of 14 universities in the state with National Student Speech Language Hearing Association chapters. In total, the organization has more than 13,000 members.

The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union.

UT research links states’ medical marijuana laws with increased use among college students

A University of Toledo study has found college students in states that have legalized medical marijuana are twice as likely to use the drug than students living in states that broadly prohibit marijuana.

Those students also are more likely to use marijuana on campus and believe their peers would be more accepting of their use of the drug than their peers in states that do not allow medical marijuana.

“Medical marijuana laws have to some extent normalized marijuana use,” said Dr. Tavis Glassman, a professor in the UT School of Population Health and one of the study’s authors. “The presence of permissive laws may lead some people to believe incorrectly that the drug is not harmful.”

Glassman worked with Dr. Amy Thompson, interim associate vice provost of faculty affairs and a professor in the UT School of Population Health, and Dr. Alexis Blavos, who earned her PhD at The University of Toledo and is an assistant professor at the State University of New York, to analyze a 2013 survey of more than 34,000 college students from 37 states about their drug usage.

The UT researchers separated out the approximately 3,100 students who were attending school in states with legalized medical marijuana to compare their experiences against those students who did not reside in states with medical marijuana laws.

They identified a number of correlations between more permissive marijuana laws and increased drug usage.

Among their findings:

• Students attending college in states that allow medical marijuana were twice as likely to have used marijuana in the last 30 days than those in states without medical marijuana laws.

• Students attending college in states that allow medical marijuana were significantly more likely to use tobacco, cocaine, opiates and synthetic designer drugs.

• Students attending college in states that allow medical marijuana reported higher rates of negative consequences associated with their substance use, regretting their actions, and suffering academic challenges.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.

“There’s this momentum to pass medical marijuana laws throughout the country, and there’s often not enough research being done on what the side effects can be,” Thompson said. “However, there is some related research by others that has found an increase in emergency room visits and mental health issues.”

The researchers said the findings highlight the need for more robust programming on drug and alcohol education and prevention on college campuses, as well as for state legislators to more deeply consider the direct and indirect health outcomes associated with passing medical marijuana laws.

“The take-home message of this is that, in some ways, when people have more access to marijuana, it creates more of a social norm that it’s OK to use it, so we see usage go up as a result,” Thompson said. “Just because something is legalized or considered to be a prescription-type drug doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or healthy for recreational use. There are health risks associated with its use.”

Public health grad student gets real-world experience volunteering at refugee camp

James Papadimos had been to Greece before, but he was not prepared for what would confront him when he arrived in Samos, a small island in the Aegean Sea that has become a temporary home to thousands of refugees who have fled their home countries because of war, political instability or persecution.

A master of public health student at The University of Toledo, Papadimos flew halfway across the world in August to volunteer his time and public health knowledge in one of Europe’s busiest reception centers for migrants and asylum seekers.

James Papadimos, UT master of public health student, held a baby, Amir, in Samos. He traveled to the small island in the Aegean Sea in August to help provide medical care to refugees.

“When I arrived, what I saw was surreal,” Papadimos said. “There are so many people there. The conditions were deplorable at best. It was tough to see.”

The camp at Samos functions as a receiving area where new arrivals are identified and vetted as they hope to gain asylum. But with authorities struggling to find accommodations on the Greek mainland, many refugees stay at the overcrowded camp for long periods of time.

In July, the United Nations Refugee Agency reported there were 2,600 people at Samos — the most recent figure available.

And new arrivals come daily to the island, which sits just a mile from Turkey. Samos is the second busiest receiving center among Greece’s Aegean islands this year, according to the UN. Together, all of Greece’s Aegean islands averaged nearly 900 arrivals per week from the beginning of August to mid-September, according to the UN. The refugee aid agency said Syrians and Iraqis come in the largest numbers.

As of mid-September, more than 18,000 refugees and migrants were residing on the Aegean islands, the UN said, with roughly 600 a week receiving authorization to move to the mainland.

James Papadimos took this photo of a refugee camp on Samos.

Papadimos, who did his undergraduate work at Ohio State University before returning to his hometown for his graduate education, has long focused on humanitarian issues. While at Ohio State, he formed a student organization to raise money for mosquito nets to fight malaria in Africa. At UT, Papadimos helped organize the donation of refreshed patient simulators to the University of Athens Medical School.

As he followed news of the refugee crisis, he was struck by how Greece — a country dealing with significant financial strain — had taken in so many refugees.

“When I heard about this as someone who wants to be a physician, someone who wants to care for humanity and just a proud Greek-American, I wanted to go over to help,” he said.

During his three-week stint on Samos, Papadimos helped local physician Dr. Manos Logothetis conduct medical and wellness checks and vaccinate children, as well as taught English and distributed food. But his education in public health proved crucial when an outbreak of tuberculosis and hepatitis A tore through the camp. Papadimos conducted a needs assessment and located the source of the outbreak, which was contained.

“It was firsthand experience,” he said. “You feel like you’ll never get that as a student, but I did. I got legitimate field experience, and my public health knowledge helped me tremendously. I’ve had excellent teachers here. They’re fantastic.”

Papadimos intends to apply to medical school after completing his master’s degree and continue his humanitarian work.

“That will be part of my life as a physician. I’m here to help as many people as I can,” he said. “If I’m so fortunate to be able to be a medical student, to be a physician, I’ll do all I can to give back and utilize the skills I’m taught to help people.”

Online, blended learning to be discussed at forum Oct. 31

“The Future of Online and Blended Learning” will be the topic of the Future of Higher Education Forum Wednesday, Oct. 31.

The program will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Health and Human Services Building Rooms 1711A and B.

Dr. Claire Stuve, curriculum developer and technology researcher in University College, and Dr. Ruthie Kucharewski, professor and chair in the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, will lead the session.

They will discuss integrative technology to deliver online and blended learning, as well as emphasize meeting Quality Matters standards.

“Delivering engaging classes in an innovative way for our students is of utmost importance,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, interim associate vice provost of faculty affairs and professor of public health. “We encourage faculty members to attend this forum so they — and their students — can benefit from the expertise offered by Dr. Stuve and Dr. Kucharewski.”

In 2017 and 2018, Stuve won Blackboard Catalyst Awards, which recognize faculty who have gone above and beyond in using technology in innovative ways from impacting the student experience to building exemplary courses. At UT, her responsibilities include creating a research-based curriculum that incorporates emerging technologies and evaluating data on new and redeveloped courses. Her research interests focus on using technology to foster engagement and applying the principles of good course design.

Kucharewski was the 2016 recipient of the DiAnne Masztak Award for supporting online learning in a distinguished fashion and for her commitment to online teaching. She also earned the online Master Teacher certification in 2016. Kucharewski is an online course reviewer for Quality Matters, an independent organization that reviews web courses based on a series of quality indicators and provides feedback to colleges and universities. In 2017, she became a Quality Matters Master Reviewer for online learning courses.

The Future of Higher Education Forums are coordinated by the Office of the Provost in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the University Teaching Center.

Register for this month’s program and read more about the Future of Higher Education Forums, including how to submit proposals for upcoming events, at utoledo.edu/offices/provost/future-of-higher-education-forum.