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Undergraduate students to present summer research at symposium Aug. 4

More than 60 undergraduate students at The University of Toledo spent the past three months delving deep into research projects, including the effect of algal bloom toxins on the development of oysters, a mother’s influence on the accuracy of childhood memories, and the effect of nicotine on ovarian cancer cells.

Two of the students translated Korean plays for presentation to American audiences, and four students participated in the Toledo Internship Program with the city of Toledo.

Business Hlogo 1c BlackStudents will present their work at the End-of-Summer Research Symposium Thursday, Aug. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union. Oral presentations will be in Room 2582; poster presentations will be in Room 2584.

Dr. Andrew Hsu, UT’s new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, will give opening remarks at 9 a.m. Dr. William Messer Jr., UT vice president for research, will address the crowd at 2:20 p.m.

“From molecular and cellular biology to history, these projects encompass a comprehensive mixture of natural sciences, human sciences, engineering, humanities and art,” Dr. Thomas Kvale, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and physics professor, said. “The summer research program is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to transcend the classroom and strengthen critical thinking skills with tremendous support from faculty members who serve as mentors.”

Most of the projects are funded through the Office of Undergraduate Research.

The symposium is free and open to the public.

For a full list of research projects, click here.

Students dig into Toledo’s prehistoric past during Archaeology Field School at Wildwood [video]

If you walk the red trail at Wildwood Preserve Metropark, you may catch a glimpse of University of Toledo students armed with shovels, trowels and dust pans on an archaeological dig.

Dr. Melissa Baltus, archaeologist and assistant professor of anthropology, is running the UT Archaeological Field School on a flat terrace overlooking I-475 as a summer class to combine hands-on learning of archaeology techniques and local history research.

Recent UT graduate Michael Campbell and UT junior Brianna Geer took measurements at the excavation site at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

Recent UT graduate Michael Campbell and UT junior Brianna Geer took measurements at the excavation site at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

“It’s an active field research project to explore our understanding of the prehistoric period of northwest Ohio from right here in Toledo,” Baltus said. “We’re focused on learning more about social interactions between different groups of people and the creation of local community identity during the Late Woodland Period, between A.D. 700 and 1300.”

With permission from the Metroparks of the Toledo Area and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, the UT class is testing the area for evidence of past human habitation, such as house structures or refuse pits.

“Metroparks encourages research, especially where findings will continually build on existing knowledge and assist in the dissemination of information through education,” said Karen Menard, research and monitoring supervisor for Metroparks of the Toledo Area.

Dr. Melissa Baltus, archaeologist and UT assistant professor of anthropology, sifted through the soil from the excavation site at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

Dr. Melissa Baltus, archaeologist and UT assistant professor of anthropology, sifted through the soil from the excavation site at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

“The Metroparks aren’t just preserving the natural environment, they’re preserving cultural resources, too,” Baltus said. “This high, flat area overlooking a stream would’ve been a nice place to live.”

Students are receiving training in excavation techniques, record keeping, artifact identification, processing, cataloguing and classification.

“We’ve already uncovered a few artifacts, including pottery, arrowheads, spear points and small pieces of burnt and broken bones,” said Jacalyn Deselms, a UT graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in sociology. “Those show evidence of hunting and cooking.”

“It’s awesome to be able to do this as an undergraduate,” said Brianna Geer, a UT junior majoring in anthropology, as she scrapes layers of sandy soil with a trowel. “It’s physically rewarding. We’re putting a lot of work into what we’re learning. I want my career to be working at dig sites around the world. I ultimately dream of working in museums and creating my own exhibits.”

“This experience is helping me gain the knowledge and skill set I need to to take me further into archaeology,” said recent history graduate Michael Campbell.

New College of Arts and Letters to advance collaboration opportunities

The new College of Arts and Letters will increase collaborative opportunities for faculty and students across the humanities, social sciences, and visual and performing arts.

The college, which was approved June 20 by the UT Board of Trustees, is a merger of the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and the College of Communication and the Arts.

“The liberal arts are the core of any great university, and bringing closer together the students and faculty from these many disciplines will provide additional opportunities to recognize and enhance those areas of study both at the University and in the community,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said.

Dr. Jamie Barlowe, dean of the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, will serve as dean of the College of Arts and Letters effective July 1.

“The new College of Arts and Letters allows us to recognize, promote and expand cross-disciplinary relationships and opportunities to benefit students,” Barlowe said. “By strengthening our ties, we can build on our current accomplishments and initiate creative new ones.”

The College of Arts and Letters will serve 1,900 students majoring in disciplines such as the humanities, economics, foreign languages, psychology, communication, theatre and music, as well as the more than 14,500 students enrolled in general education classes taught by faculty in the college.

The college will include a School of Visual and Performing Arts, and Debra Davis, currently the dean of the College of Communication and the Arts, will serve as director and continue to build relationships in the community and support programming.

The college administration will consist of a senior associate dean and two associate deans. Dr. Barbara Schneider will serve as the senior associate dean, a title she currently holds in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, and will focus on communication, humanities and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Holly Monsos will be the associate dean focusing on the arts, continuing a similar role she holds as an associate dean in the College of Communication and the Arts. The final associate dean will focus on social and behavioral sciences. That position has not yet been filled, but it will be a promotion of an existing UT faculty member, Barlowe said.

Faculty committees from each of the colleges are continuing to work through the summer on a new constitution and bylaws for the college, faculty council and committee on academic personnel.

Barlowe joined UT in 1990. She was the founding chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and also is a professor in the Department of English.

She was named an associate dean in 2011 and became interim dean later that year. Barlowe, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University, was appointed dean in May 2012.

Faculty certified through Pathway to Master Online Instructor Program

Three University of Toledo faculty members recently received special certification to teach their students online.

By completing the Pathway to Master Online Instructor Program, launched in August by UT Online, Dr. Claire Stuve of UT Online, Dr. Ruthie Kucharewski from the College of Health Sciences, and Dr. Daniel French from the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences are licensed to provide quality online education for students in the University’s fully online programs. Barbara Mauter of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning completed the program as well, in October 2015.

UT online screen shotThese instructors followed the steps laid out by Pathway, including lessons in online teaching, Americans With Disabilities Act compliance, online course design, and the Quality Matters peer review process and rubric, and are certified Master Online Instructors.

“The Pathway Program was designed to help faculty develop the knowledge and skills needed to design quality online courses and deliver effective online instruction with technology,” Phoebe Ballard, director of instructional design and development, said.

“I decided to take the Pathway courses because I wanted to broaden my understanding of instructional design in the humanities and provide the best online experience possible for UT students,” French said. “The online learning component of higher education is the future, whether it be in a face-to-face, blended, or all-online environment.”

In the course design portion of the program, instructors are introduced to the Backward Design method. The Backward Design framework begins with the identification of the desired results, with an emphasis on student learning, according to Ballard.

“They’re able to design effective online courses by applying the concepts of Backward Design and alignment,” Ballard said. “First, they develop measurable learning objectives. Next, they determine the acceptable evidence in the form of authentic assessment. Finally, they develop engaging instructional materials and active learning activities, all in support of those measurable goals.”

“As a professor, it’s my nature to want to learn, so I signed up for the courses so I could improve my online teaching abilities and increase my level of understanding course design so that I can challenge and meet the needs of my students,” Kucharewski said.

The ability to take these courses in a largely online format is also a benefit to instructors.

“By participating in these courses as an online student, they have a deep understanding of what it takes to be an effective facilitator of online learning,” Ballard said. “They develop a deep understanding of the unique needs of the online learner and the kind of support online learners need in order to be successful.”

The differences in student needs are further highlighted by the Americans With Disabilities Act course, which looks to close the gaps in education for those with distinctive learning needs.

The now-certified faculty members agree that these courses provide a more comprehensive look at student needs in the online environment.

“I learned a lot and it was definitely a worthwhile experience, because I have now experienced online learning as a professor and a student, and I understand teaching online so much more than ever before,” Kucharewski said.

“We owe our students learning outcomes that make a difference in their lives, and the Pathway Program goes far to accomplish this goal,” French said. “UT Online is an incredible asset that everyone should take advantage of.”

If faculty would like to learn more about the Pathway Program, they are encouraged to contact Ballard at phoebe.ballard@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4379.

Trustees approve budget, College of Arts and Letters

An operating budget that positions The University of Toledo for success for the coming year and into the future was approved Monday by the UT Board of Trustees.

The $737.8 million operating budget is conservatively based on flat enrollment for the coming academic year as part of the institution’s efforts to strengthen its financial foundation. Reflected in the budget are the stabilization efforts called for by UT President Sharon L. Gaber earlier in the year for a 1.5 percent reduction to the operating budget for fiscal year 2016 and 3 percent to the entire budget for fiscal year 2017, which reduced operating expenses by about $12 million.

Business Hlogo 1c BlackThe 2016-17 budget includes no undergraduate tuition and general fees increases and no increase in graduate tuition, with the exception of a 2 percent increase for the Doctor of Pharmacy Program. Trustees previously approved a 2 percent increase in residence halls fees, and the budget includes a 2 percent increase in meal plan fees to cover increased costs.

Professional staff will receive a 2 percent wage increase; however, senior administrators will defer 2 percent increases until January contingent on positive enrollment growth. Pay increases for union salary groups are included in the budget according to collective bargaining agreements.

Trustees also approved a Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion. The plan is the culmination of an eight-month process led by Dr. Willie McKether that engaged students, faculty, staff and members of the external community. McKether will lead the implementation of the plan as he starts his new role as vice president for diversity and inclusion July 1.

In addition, the Board of Trustees also approved the new College of Arts and Letters, which is a merger of the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and the College of Communication and the Arts.

The college will be led by Dr. Jamie Barlowe, who is currently the dean of the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, who said the merger provides opportunities to recognize, promote and expand cross-disciplinary relationships and opportunities to benefit students. The college will include a School of Visual and Performing Arts, and Deb Davis, currently the dean of the arts college, will serve as director.

The College of Arts and Letters will serve 1,900 students majoring in disciplines such as the humanities, economics, foreign languages, psychology, communication, theater and music, as well as the more than 14,500 students enrolled in general education classes taught by faculty in the college.

UT alum to launch new book

University of Toledo alumna Jasmine Shea Townsend will launch her new book, The Adventures and Shenanigans of Bastien Falco, on Friday, June 24, at 2 p.m. in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor of Carlson Library.

The free, public event will include readings of selections from the book by Townsend.

book launch with author photoDescribed by Townsend as a comedic fantasy novel, the book follows the adventure of Prince Bastien and his manservant, Sandy, as they seek revenge for the murder of the prince’s bride-to-be on their wedding day. In the process, the prince and Sandy are kidnapped by a mysterious woman and her gang of bandits.

Townsend received her bachelor of arts degree in creative writing from UT in 2013 and her master of arts degree in literature in 2015 also from the University.

Previous works by Townsend have received Mill Magazine’s spring 2014 fiction award and a second-place award for a short story in 2015 from the Toledo Writers’ Workshop.

Refreshments will be served. Copies of the book will be available at the event for $10.

For more information, contact the Canaday Center at 419.530.2170.

UT duo collaborates on reflective publication

“I guess I didn’t realize everybody’s kitchen didn’t sometimes smell like oil paint and turpentine, and that it was unusual that sometimes when you got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, your mom would be up at two in the morning painting,” Tim Sanderson reflected with a smile.

He cites his mother as a major influence for his interest in art.
“She would let you know if your art needed work, but she’d do it in a way that made you think, ‘Yeah, I can fix that.’”

“Schweinlebensraum” (“Living Space for Pigs as Pigs”), an original futuristic drawing by Tim Sanderson, was inspired by the counterfactual conjecture “If pigs could fly …” to accompany Dr. David Nemeth’s piece titled “Space, Time and Pig.”

“Schweinlebensraum” (“Living Space for Pigs as Pigs”), an original futuristic drawing by Tim Sanderson, was inspired by the counterfactual conjecture “If pigs could fly …” to accompany Dr. David Nemeth’s piece titled “Space, Time and Pig.”

Sanderson, college computing administrator, and Dr. David Nemeth, professor of geography, have worked collaboratively on several projects while at The University of Toledo — Nemeth writes, and Sanderson illustrates the sardonic works.

The pair most recently teamed up for their third collaborative piece; this one is about wild pigs. Nemeth explained that he examines what it would be like if pigs were free beings, rather than factory farmed for the sole purpose of being eaten.

“I took the popular idiom ‘If pigs could fly,’ which would mean something is totally impossible,” he said. “And yet, pigs can fly through technology and science, with planes and such. So, I’m thinking perhaps they can fly above their conditions of pigs as pork, and become pigs as pigs again.”

Sanderson recalled when Nemeth reached out to him about his most recent work: “When I asked what he needed me to draw, he said he wanted a post-modern, flying pig, and I told him I wasn’t even sure what that means.”

But Nemeth liked what Sanderson came up with, and the flying pig was included.

“The University is a real intellectual community, which is what a university is supposed to be,” Nemeth said. “It’d be great if we could make this a real collaborative, creative community.”

“Space, Time and Pig” will be published in Ecology, Conservation and Management of Wild Pigs and Peccaries (Cambridge University Press) later this year.

Students recognized at Shapiro writing contest gala

Top winners of the Shapiro Writing Contest and Shapiro Revision Contest from all academic disciplines were honored at the recent Shapiro Writing Contest gala.

There were 57 winners out of nearly 200 entries, and the top two winners of each Shapiro Writing Contest category were invited to the gala. Each winner received a certificate and prize money deposited into their student account.

“The submissions this year were truly impressive in their level of critical thinking as well as their academic and aesthetic value. I think for all of us who teach in the English Department, it is very rewarding to be able to recognize our students for the good work they do,” said Suzanne Smith, chair of the Shapiro writing contest committee.

There were 15 categories students could enter. Top winners in each category were:

Composition I Non-Research
Donna Provolish
Rebekah Stevens

Composition I Research
Tayler Reese
Alyssa Schad

Composition I Common Read Non-Research
Tyler Cordell
Morgan Romaker

Composition I Common Read Research
Jasmine Hoskins
Tyler Cordell

Composition II Non-Research
Nabeelah Shaheen
Paul Miller

Composition II Research

Melody Beerbower
Luke Skrowronek

Professional and Technical Writing
Yasmina Ahmad
Zachary Matzinger

Undergraduate English as a Second Language

Julie Schmidt
Mahdya Aldahnim

2000-Level Undergrad Literature
Kayleigh O’Shea

2000- to 4000-Level Writing and Linguistics

Erin Bruggeman
Katherine V. Davis

Poetry

Zainab Hussein
Alison Mejias Santoro

Prose
Samantha Rhodes
Tyler Shipley

3000- to 4000-Level Undergraduate Literature
Katherine V. Davis
Melody Flick

Honors Thesis

Melissa Gressman
LaVelle Ridley

Graduate Language and Literature

Patrick T. Cook
Rebekah M. Phillips

A full list of winners can be found here.

In addition to these winners, the English Department scholarship winners, the Outstanding Student in English Award winner, the Richard M. Summers Graduate Essay prize winner, and the top five winners of the Shapiro Revision Contest were recognized at the gala.

The awards are possible thanks to an endowment by Dr. Edward Shapiro, UT professor emeritus of economics. Shapiro had a love for writing and donated the funds used for the contests to reward and recognize UT students for their good writing.

UT to host GLOBE Midwest Regional Science Fair May 14

The University of Toledo will host the GLOBE Midwest Region Science Fair Saturday, May 14, as students will share what they’ve learned from their research on the Earth’s changing climate conditions.

About 25 students joined by their teachers will present their research projects from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Student Union on the UT Main Campus. Students will then hear a keynote address presented remotely from Thailand by researchers there studying mosquitos and participate in student and teacher activities. An awards presentation will take place at 3 p.m.

GLOBElogo_color-arc_lgGlobal Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, known as GLOBE, is an international science and education program that connects students, teachers, scientists and citizens from different parts of the world to conduct real, hands-on science about their local communities and put in a global perspective. In partnership with leading science organizations such as NASA and the National Science Foundation, the GLOBE Program sparks student curiosity and interest in science.

The Midwest region of the GLOBE Program includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

“This is a great opportunity for students to practice the skills they’ve learned through their involvement in the GLOBE Program and apply them to address real-world problems,” said Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, UT professor of geography and planning and GLOBE scientist. “Through doing hands-on scientific inquiry, these students create solutions as they gain a better understanding of our global environment.”

EPA awards UT nearly $500,000 for invasive species prevention in Great Lakes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded The University of Toledo nearly $500,000 to prevent invasive species from entering the Great Lakes through bait shops, outdoor outfitters, pond suppliers and pet stores.

The project funding is part of $12.5 million in 2016 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants announced May 4 by the U.S. EPA and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Stepien

Stepien

“We want to block potential pathways for invasive fish and mollusk species that can cause billions of dollars in economic damage,” said Dr. Carol Stepien, director of the UT Lake Erie Center and leader of the two-year project. “Retailers, customers and even taxonomic experts are often unable to distinguish these non-native species from native species at early life stages — as eggs, larvae or fry. Many minnows in a bait store may appear alike, including invasive Asian carp. Plus, buyers sometimes release non-native pets, bait and other organisms into waterways, which can have unpredictable and widespread effects.”

Stepien is working with Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, UT professor of geography and planning, and director of the UT Center for Geographic Information Sciences and Applied Geographics, and Dr. Andrew Solocha, UT associate professor of finance. 

The team will use UT’s newly developed DNA diagnostic tests to analyze fish and mollusks purchased from retailers.

Researchers will detect invasive species, diagnose supply chain sources, and pilot a voluntary “Invasive Free” certification program for retailers.

“We also will survey hundreds of fishermen and businesses to help close the ‘door’ to this avenue into the Great Lakes,” Stepien said. “Accurate detection within the marketplace is critical to maintaining long-term ecological health. Within two years, we plan to launch a public education campaign.”

The EPA has awarded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants to UT researchers for several projects over the last few years, including development of the early detection DNA technology for high-risk invasive species, as well as wetland restoration that helps prevent bacteria from entering Maumee Bay.

“With support from a strong alliance of bipartisan senators, representatives, states, tribes, municipalities, conservation organizations and businesses, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will keep making strong investments to resuscitate the lakes,” said Cameron Davis, senior advisor to the U.S. EPA administrator.