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UT Health transplant surgeon creates concept to solve U.S. kidney shortage

A new approach to kidney transplantation developed by a University of Toledo Health transplant surgeon aims to connect donors and patients around the globe in a way that reduces cost, improves quality, and increases access to life-saving care for people suffering from kidney failure.

Dr. Michael Rees explained the concept of Reverse Transplant Tourism to Jose and Kristine Mamaril, a couple from the Philippines.

Dr. Michael Rees explained the concept of Reverse Transplant Tourism to Jose and Kristine Mamaril, a couple from the Philippines.

Dr. Michael Rees created the concept of Reverse Transplant Tourism as an alternative to the black market of organ trading, known as transplant tourism.

“This revolutionary concept could be an important step in solving the kidney shortage in the United States,” he said. “To some extent, it also will reduce American participation in the exploitive and dangerous international kidney black market as thousands of more kidneys could become available.”

Instead of thinking of the developing world as a place where there are desperate people who will sell their kidneys for money, Rees proposes a new approach where the developing world can be seen as a place where there are desperate patients with kidney failure who need kidney transplants and who have willing, living kidney donors, but insufficient financial resources to pay for their transplant and subsequent immunosuppression.

Jose Mamaril received a kidney transplant in January at UT Medical Center. His wife, Kristine, continued the donor chain for another patient in need.

Jose Mamaril received a kidney transplant in January at UT Medical Center. His wife, Kristine, continued the donor chain for another patient in need.

The first Reverse Transplant Tourism exchange earlier this year successfully connected Jose Mamaril of the Philippines, who has end-stage renal disease but not the means to pay for a transplant or regular dialysis, with an American donor. His wife, Kristine, donated her kidney as part of the exchange that created a donor chain that has already benefited 10 people with kidney failure and promises to help more with another donor waiting to continue the chain.

These patients have benefited from the help of transplant surgeons at The University of Toledo Medical Center, University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Wake Forrest University in Salem, N.C., and Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, Calif.

In the past, barriers to transplantation have been blood type or antibodies. The barrier Rees is working to overcome now is poverty.

The Mamarils would not be considered poor by most standards. They both are college-educated. She is an accountant for Dunkin’ Donuts in the Philippines’ Laguna province where they live, and he operated a taxi business.

But after Jose was diagnosed with kidney failure, the family needed to borrow money and then sell his business, all of their possessions, and their home to pay for expensive dialysis and medications to keep him alive. It was a difficult time for them and their 8-year-old son, John.

“They never gave up on me,” Jose said.

A series of connections between Rees and other transplant surgeons across the world led to Jose coming to the United States as the first Reverse Transplant Tourism beneficiary. He received his new kidney Jan. 22 at UTMC.

“It’s like a miracle it all happened,” Kristine said.

“I’m happy to get this chance at life and to be here for my son,” Jose said.

In some areas of the world, such as where the Mamarils live, there is little problem finding living kidney donors from family or community members, but they cannot afford dialysis or kidney transplantation.

In the United States, the barrier is more supply and demand. In 2014, nearly 5,000 Americans unnecessarily died waiting for a kidney, and there are currently more than 100,000 patients listed on the UNOS deceased donor waiting list. In 2008, that number was at 84,000. In 2013, there were 16,895 kidney transplants in the United States, only slightly more than the 16,521 performed in 2008. Based on these figures, the kidney transplant waiting list has increased by 34 percent since 2008, yet the number of kidney transplants remains virtually unchanged.

But there are enough donor and recipient pairs in developing countries that would allow many Americans who have incompatible donors to receive a kidney through paired exchanges, Rees said. This is especially true if the donor from the emerging nation has blood type O and the recipient falls within the blood groups of A, B or AB, such as the Mamaril family, he added.

Averaged over time, the cost of treating patients with end-stage renal disease with dialysis is three times the cost of treating patients with kidney transplantation. According to Rees’ research, the annual cost of dialysis for a Medicare patient is $90,000 compared to $33,000 for kidney transplantation. Overall, the United States spends some $50 billion treating end-stage renal disease.

The first Reverse Transplant Tourism exchange was funded with $150,000 raised by the Alliance for Paired Donation, which Rees founded. Philanthropy alone cannot support this method, and it has not yet been financially supported by Medicare and health-care insurers under current policies.

Rees argues that by covering the procedure for one donor and recipient from an emerging nation, not only would Medicare help save American lives but also millions of dollars in medical costs over time.

“As the U.S. looks for unique methods to address health-care reform, Reverse Transplant Tourism is one of very few strategies that simultaneously achieves the goals of reduced cost, improved quality and increased access,” Rees said. “In this new approach, everyone wins.”

Med student adds ‘dad of 3′ to his degree

Christopher Johnson was unmarried and childless when he entered medical school in 2011.

That would change quickly.

Chris Johnson holds Madelyn, and his wife, Jillian, has Claire, left, and Sophia. Chris will receive the doctor of medicine degree Friday, May 29, and then study ophthalmology at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial for a year before serving his residency at Loyola University Hines VA Hospital in Chicago.

Chris Johnson holds Madelyn, and his wife, Jillian, has Claire, left, and Sophia. Chris will receive the doctor of medicine degree Friday, May 29, and then study ophthalmology at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial for a year before serving his residency at Loyola University Hines VA Hospital in Chicago.

In 2012, he married Jillian, his girlfriend of three years. Both wanted children and they thought, “Why not start right away?”

“I would say that it doesn’t get any easier as you go further in your training, so we thought we would get started,” said Chris, who is now 26. “We always wanted a good number of kids.”

But he didn’t expect they would have three children in 18 months.

Their oldest daughter, Claire, was born May 17, 2013, which was four weeks before his first set of boards.

“I was doing 12-hour study days,” he said. “The night my wife went into labor, I was studying until 10:30 p.m. and then went to bed. She, of course, went into labor at midnight.”

Their twins, Sophia and Madelyn, arrived Dec. 30, 2014. Before the twins were born, Jillian was put on bed rest while he was interviewing for an ophthalmology residency.

Jillian’s first thought was, “Oh no, what are we going to do?” The next thing that ran through her head was that these babies were “not allowed to be born” until he got home from his interviews.

“But with a little luck and a lot of prayer and extra helping hands, the twins waited another month to bless us with their presence,” Jillian, who works as a claim representative at State Farm Insurance, said. “We were so relieved that they waited until Chris was done with interviews so I had help at home while I recovered.”

Originally, the babies were going to attend his graduation from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences Friday, May 29, at 2 p.m. at Stranahan Theater.

“However, we decided the kids won’t attend the ceremony as I found out it is hours long. We don’t want to torture those around us,” Chris said.

Reactions to their growing family have been varied. Some people think they are crazy. Others ask, “How do you have time to do anything?” Some say, “What were you thinking?” And then the most prying question: “Was this planned?”

“Not 100 percent, definitely not the twin part, although twins do run on my wife’s side of the family,” Chris said.

The couple met during their undergraduate studies at Ohio State University. Chris is from Celina, Ohio, and Jillian is from Sagamore Hills, Ohio. For the most part, they share parenting duties, but Jillian knows how important it is for Chris to do well in school.

After Claire was born, he would hold his daughter while he was studying. She would spit up on his book, which was “the bible of studying for the test,” he said.

“That was a difficult time,” Chris said. “My wife would get up with her a lot so I could focus on studying. Then during rotations, I was getting up three or four times a night with the baby. I wanted to give my wife some sanity.”

Jillian said Claire was a terrible sleeper when she was an infant. For the first month, she got up at every feeding, which was just about every hour around the clock. Eventually, she put Chris in charge of diaper changing and burping.

“We make a really great team, and I could never do it without him,” she said.

When his wife was five months pregnant with the twins, he had to complete a monthlong rotation in ophthalmology in Cleveland.

He remembers saying, “‘My wife is pregnant with twins and home alone with our daughter. What am I thinking?’”

Luckily, the twins were born during his winter break, but he only had six days with them before getting back to work. He can’t remember much from that time. He wasn’t sleeping much, obviously.

“We were up a long time each night,” he said and laughed.

The next step for the family is moving to Indiana for his internship at Ball Memorial in Muncie. After that, he will complete his residency at Loyola in Chicago.

Chris decided to become an ophthalmologist after observing a cataract surgery.

“I love the combination of medicine and the eyes,” he said. “I will be able to make an impact in people’s lives. Seeing people being able to see again made me love it.”

His mentor, Dr. Gerald Zelenock, professor and chair in the Department of Surgery at UT Health, said Chris is a hard-working and dedicated young doctor.

“He is a very mature student who accomplished much in medical school, which is a challenge as a married student with children.”

By the time he is finished with his residency, Claire will be in school, while his twins will be heading to kindergarten. Jillian said his dedication to education is inspiring.

“Chris is a great example of hard work and dedication for our daughters,” she said. “He is very dedicated to doing well in school and, obviously, as shown by his accomplishments, his hard work has truly paid off, but this is not at the expense of his family. I have never seen a father who is so amazing with his children. I know that the kids have no doubt that they are No. 1 in his life.”

Advanced Leadership Academy enhances futures of UT students

About 100 University of Toledo students from across campus took a major step to enhance their personal and professional lives recently as they participated in the sixth annual Advanced Leadership Academy, which was presented by the College of Business and Innovation.

Dr. Clint Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Management, talked to students attending the Advanced Leadership Academy.

Dr. Clint Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Management, talked to students attending the Advanced Leadership Academy.

Students were invited to participate in the academy based on their academic and professional records of success as well as the recommendations of graduate faculty. Academy members included master’s and doctoral students from most colleges across the University.

“It is always very exciting to bring together some of our best and brightest graduate students from across our campus to link up with outstanding leaders from a wide variety of professions and disciplines,” said Dr. Clint Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Management and Advanced Leadership Academy program coordinator. “It is a unique and true cross-campus learning experience for everyone.”

“This academy exposes students to cutting-edge leadership theory and practices,” he added. “All disciplines, be it engineering, health care, pharmacy, business or science, need strong, effective, character-driven leadership.”

Community leaders participating in a panel discussion during the last class were, from left, Steven Cavanaugh, executive vice president and chief operating officer of HCR ManorCare Inc.; Joseph Zerbey, president and general manager for The Blade and chair of the UT Board of Trustees; and Michael Miller, CEO of Waterford Bank Ltd.

Community leaders participating in a panel discussion during the last class were, from left, Steven Cavanaugh, executive vice president and chief operating officer of HCR ManorCare Inc.; Joseph Zerbey, president and general manager for The Blade and chair of the UT Board of Trustees; and Michael Miller, CEO of Waterford Bank Ltd.

Students had the opportunity to learn success and leadership principles from a diverse group of speakers that included Joseph Zerby, president and general manager for The Blade and chair of the UT Board of Trustees; Steven M. Cavanaugh, executive vice president and chief operating officer of HCR ManorCare Inc.; Dan Rogers, CEO of the Cherry Street Mission; and Chad Bringman, CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“What a phenomenal personal and professional development experience,” said Jenna LaSota, a master of science in biomedical sciences, human donation science, and professional science candidate in the College of Medicine and Life Science and the College of Business and Innovation. “Not only did we learn how to become an emotionally intelligent, results-oriented leader, we were able to hear current leaders from around the area. During each session, the panel discussion participants varied in background, but each of them had invaluable coaching and career advice to share.”

Michael Miranda, a PhD candidate in chemical engineering, noted, “The Advanced Leadership Academy has been a great experience. The program highlighted the qualities that make a successful leader, with emphasis on emotional intelligence, work relationships and public service. The panel discussion gave us insight to successful leadership and their experiences.”

Puja Pradhan, a graduate student in physics and astronomy, said, “I am an international student from Kathmandu, Nepal. I have been at UT for almost five years, and now I am in a stage where I should start looking for the job. So I wanted to take part in this program for my personal development; it really helped me to build self-confidence and better prepared me for the job market.”

Yuriy Romanovich Yatskiv, a graduate student in the field of bioinformatics on Health Science Campus, said, “I would recommend attending to anyone who is serious about their professional future. The Advanced Leadership Academy will teach you and show you what it takes to be a real leader.”

Jangus B. Whitner, a 2016 doctor of pharmacy candidate in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said, “This program opened my eyes to new concepts and shed light on unique ways of thinking about traditional approaches to leadership. The energy of this academy is one that breeds positivity, learning and teamwork. I have already begun reflecting and implementing new habits and methods of leadership into my daily routine.”

Garrett Keeton, who anticipates graduating from the Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration Joint Degree Program in 2016, said, “I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude at the privilege of being involved in such a wonderful experience, and I would be remiss if I did not note Dr. Longenecker first and foremost. He contained such energy and zeal that it would have been a difficult task to not be motivated and enthusiastic. The greatest point, in my opinion, was made by panelist Dr. [Thomas] Schwann [chief of staff of UT Medical Center, the S. Amjad Hussain Professor of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and division chief of cardiothoracic surgery, and director of UT Health’s Heart and Vascular Center] when he discussed the concept of servant leadership and how it becomes an essential part of being a results-driven manager.”

Longenecker thanked Michael Miller, CEO of Waterford Bank Ltd., for his ongoing support of this year’s Advance Leadership Academy.

Miller said, “As a two-time graduate of the College of Business and Innovation, it is great to give back to this terrific institution, which has had a powerful impact on my life and career.”

Longenecker also extended his thanks to Dr. Gary Insch, dean of the College of Business and Innovation, for his strong support for the academy.

UT Medical Center volunteers thanked at luncheon

Volunteers make a significant impact at The University of Toledo Medical Center through their service to more than 118 departments.

Pat Windham, who was the first president of the Satellites Auxiliary and now a board member of the organization, left, and Teresa Puglisi, corresponding secretary for the auxiliary’s advisory board, were among many volunteers who attended the luncheon.

Pat Windham, who was the first president of the Satellites Auxiliary and now a board member of the organization, left, and Teresa Puglisi, corresponding secretary for the auxiliary’s advisory board, were among many volunteers who attended the luncheon.

UTMC has more than 250 active volunteers who provide an average of 4,000 hours of monthly service.

To thank them for their service, UTMC hosted a luncheon during National Volunteer Week in the Faculty Club at the Radisson Hotel on Health Science Campus.

“Volunteers are an integral part of UTMC,” said Amy Finkbeiner, service excellence operations manager at UT Health. “During National Volunteer Week, we recognize them for the contributions they make every day here at the hospital.”

According to Finkbeiner, volunteers provide an extra level of care and service to patients, understand and empathize with families and visitors, provide support services for hospital and University staff, and assist with research in various laboratories and facilities.

Speakers at the luncheon included Dave Morlock, CEO of UT Health and executive vice president of finance and administration; Tony Urbina, service excellence officer; Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites Auxiliary; and Mario Toussaint, senior director of operations for dining, retail and clinical nutrition.

For more information about the UTMC Volunteer Services Program, contact Finkbeiner at amy.finkbeiner@utoledo.edu or Patty MacAllister at patricia.mac2@utoledo.edu or 419.383.6336.

UT’s Army ROTC trains leaders

Since 1947, the Army ROTC at The University of Toledo has commissioned more than 2,000 lieutenants.

Cadet Pvt. Marcus Masello, a freshman majoring in information technology, held the Rocket Battalion colors during a recent training exercise on platoon movement.

Cadet Pvt. Marcus Masello, a freshman majoring in information technology, held the Rocket Battalion colors during a recent training exercise on platoon movement.

Today, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Rocket Battalion has more than 80 cadets who are learning what it takes to be a leader, whether or not they continue in the military.

“There’s no typical cadet,” said Maj. Chris Mugavero, professor and chair of the UT Department of Military Science. “Any student on campus can start; they might not all become officers, but they can come and learn leadership and discipline.”

Mugavero said the focus of ROTC is more about helping students to learn leadership than it is about learning military techniques. The program even has a few international students who are participating in the leadership training classes even though they can’t join the military.

Most of the cadets begin ROTC their freshman year, focusing their freshman and sophomore years on taking classes and learning the ropes as far as military etiquette goes. When cadets become juniors, they take on leadership roles and guide the freshmen and sophomores.

Juniors typically plan a lot of the physical training and labs, and seniors oversee those plans and run committees and groups to plan other activities. Labs typically involve tactical military training, but also are focused on giving upperclassmen the chance to lead a team of their peers.

“We use small unit infantry tactics as the vehicle to leadership development,” Mugavero said. “It’s more about seeing how [cadets] react to problems than it is about infantry tactics.”

Cadet Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Ball, a junior with an independent studies major, led a recent training exercise on platoon movement.

Cadet Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Ball, a junior with an independent studies major, led a recent training exercise on platoon movement.

On top of training and leadership exercises, cadets still have to attend their regular classes in order to get their degrees.

“The beast of being an ROTC cadet is finding that balance between being a normal college student and being in ROTC,” said Cadet Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor Mathews, a senior majoring in nursing. “It’s about finding balance, time management, and not biting off more than you can chew.”

Instructors in ROTC typically help students accomplish that by making sure the cadets aren’t overwhelmed.

“The instructors know the students and we sit down with them individually, look at their schedules, and make sure that we’re not crushing them with ROTC stuff,” Mugavero said.

During their junior year, the cadets decide their future in the Army, Guard or Reserves — though they aren’t required to continue in the military, nearly all of them do and a majority of them go into the Guard or the Reserves.

ROTC trainingOf the 15 cadets graduating this year, eight plan to go into the Guard or Reserves. Mathews is one of those cadets; she will join the Reserves so that she can put her nursing degree to work.

The other seven, including Cadet Operations Sgt. Maj. Clint Kasperski, a senior business student, will go active duty in the Army. Kasperski joined ROTC his junior year after walking into the ROTC building one day to talk to a recruiter.

Even with a later start than most of his class, Kasperski said he always felt welcome in the battalion.

“Prior to joining the program, it wasn’t weird for me to walk around by myself and do my own thing,” Kasperski said. “Now it’s very rare that I walk around without somebody else from the program.”

Mathews said her experience has been similar throughout her time in ROTC.

“The battalion in itself is a close-knit family,” Mathews said. “We spend a lot of time together — whether it’s during class or at training events. You get to know everybody on a personal level as well as a professional level.”

Both students say their time in ROTC has allowed them to grow in many ways.

“What impresses me the most about the program is that it’s a lot of what you put into it,” Kasperski said. “If you take advantage of opportunities it provides, there’s really not a lot of things in your way on the path to success.”

Lecturer shows how mindfulness practices increase creativity, productivity

At The University of Toledo, students are gaining a skill that’s unique in many ways — how to tap into their creativity using mindfulness practices.

Jay Rinsen Weik, UT lecturer in the Department of Music and Zen teacher, got comfortable for a segment for his online class Mindfulness and Creativity.

Jay Rinsen Weik, UT lecturer in the Department of Music and Zen teacher, got comfortable for a segment for his online class Mindfulness and Creativity.

The Mindfulness and Creativity Initiative, led by UT Senior Lecturer Jay Rinsen Weik, is relatively new at the University but growing rapidly. It involves using mindfulness — the ability to be in the moment, focused and aware — to be more creative and innovative.

“The best creativity comes from a mind that is clear,” Weik said. “What I’m doing is taking these two different fields and showing that they are integrated.”

This initiative allows Weik to combine two of his passions. A senior lecturer in the Department of Music, Weik teaches musical improvisation and jazz, but he also is a recognized American Zen teacher.

Part of the initiative involves hosting symposia, workshops and panels. Weik will host a free, public panel discussion on the initiative and its future at UT Tuesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

The panel discussion, called Mindfulness, Creativity and the Zen Arts Ensemble, will feature Dr. Wesley Bullock, UT associate professor of psychology; Irene Alby, UT lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film; and Michael Leizerman, attorney.

Weik will give an overview of the initiative at UT, and each panelist will discuss its application to his or her field.

Another part of the initiative is a course that Weik teaches on Mindfulness and Creativity, which focuses on introducing mindfulness through meditation and breathing methods. Though the practices are based on Eastern traditions, the class does not have a religious connotation.

The class is housed in the Department of Music and offered in the summer, but beginning next fall it will be a general education course. It also may become the first of a few courses offered within a mindfulness and creativity minor available to all majors that would include other relevant curriculum and a capstone class.

“This is a multidisciplinary effort with very enthusiastic support across different colleges,” Weik said. “I think that’s significant.”

Those who wish to take the course, which is worth three credit hours and offered entirely online, can sign up for it this summer using CRN 42452 or email jay.weik@utoledo.edu for more information.

During Tuesday’s panel discussion, Weik also will discuss the Zen Arts Ensemble, a professional music group he put together with some of his colleagues. The ensemble plays entirely in the moment using mindfulness, with very little guidance.

“It’s an incredible manifestation of the creative process,” Weik said. “The music just kind of arrives.”

Student selected for a 2015-16 Fulbright to Germany

Neil Hetrick, a senior majoring in multi-age education (pre-kindergarten through 12) and German at The University of Toledo, has been selected to receive the Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Germany.

Neil Hetrick posed for a photo in front of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany.

Neil Hetrick posed for a photo in front of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany.

He will participate in the English Teaching Assistant Program, which places Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide help to the local English teachers. Those in the program help teach English while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

Hetrick’s love of exploring his world and of Germany started in high school.

“During high school, I participated in a foreign exchange program in Germany for a year. This experience was my first brief exposure to all the world has to offer,” he said. “It invigorated my drive for academic success and became my motivation to continue on into college.

“Throughout my studies, I had another opportunity to travel to Germany for a semester abroad and it solidified my love for this country and its culture. By receiving this Fulbright grant for an English teaching assistantship, it truly is a dream coming true.

“This statement might be a little cliché, but I have really devoted a lot of time and energy to equip myself with the skills and expertise to become a positive impact in the local and global community,” Hetrick added.

“It is my hope that Fulbright will provide me with the opportunity to continue improving myself, while also allowing me to make a greater difference on the international community — living in, growing and influencing the target culture Auf ein spannendes Jahr [on an exciting year]!”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs.

During their grants, Fulbrighters live, learn and work with people of the host country. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs. Through engagement in the community, the individual will interact with his or her hosts in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding.

“The Center for International Studies and Programs and the UT Fulbright Interview Committee are ecstatic that Neil was accepted for this exceptional experience and prestigious program,” said Michelle Ploeger, international education specialist in the Education Abroad Office. “This opportunity will enable Neil to not only continue his personal, academic and professional growth, but will provide an unprecedented occasion for him to share American culture and values with German students, professors, teachers and the community. He will be an excellent ambassador for UT and the United States.”

She encouraged anyone interested in studying abroad to attend the Fulbright U.S. Student Program Workshop Monday, April 6, from 2 to 3 p.m. in Student Union Room 2592.

“Your international journey can start during your undergraduate studies. Don’t miss out on the opportunities to study abroad. We often find that study abroad is a launching pad for future international opportunities, and Neil is a perfect example of this,” Ploeger said.

Applicants for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program include graduating seniors and those who have recently received bachelor’s degrees; graduate-level candidates demonstrating the capacity for independent study or research, together with a general knowledge of the history, culture and current events of the countries to which they are applying; and young professionals, including writers, creative and performing artists, journalists, and those in law, business and other professional fields.

Benefits for all Fulbright U.S. student grants include round-trip transportation to the host country; funding to cover room, board and incidentals based on the cost of living in the host country; and accident and sickness health benefits.

Associate professor uses residency in Italy to collaborate on book

Writing a book can be a significant challenge no matter the circumstances, but imagine doing so on an emerging topic of research while competing with scholars across the globe for financial support from a prestigious foundation. Now imagine the difficulty of collaborating on the project with three other researchers — partners who are spread around the globe.

Dr. Barbara Alice Mann worked on a project focusing on international massacres in Italy in November thanks to the Bellagio Resident Fellows Program.

Dr. Barbara Alice Mann worked on a project focusing on international massacres in Italy in November thanks to the Bellagio Resident Fellows Program.

Not only did Dr. Barbara Alice Mann do all of this last semester, she helped to compile the research into a book over the span of just 15 days.

Mann, associate professor of humanities in the Jesup Scott Honors College, participated in the Bellagio Resident Fellows Program in Italy in November. She was there as a contributing author on a project focusing on international massacres.

The team has been working for the last five years to examine Tasmanian, North American, South African, and Napoleonic French colonial massacres between 1780 and 1820.

“We have been seeking to distinguish massacre from genocide — in assessing what constitutes massacre, its purposes, architects, initiators, effects, targets, and ultimate outcomes — looking for consistent patterns to see what conclusions might be drawn about them,” Mann said.

While at the Bellagio Center, she worked with fellow scholars Dr. Philip Dwyer and Dr. Lyndall Ryan, professors in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle in Australia, and Dr. Nigel Penn, professor of historical studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

In Italy, the team members combined their knowledge to define and assess the colonial massacres executed against indigenous peoples by European explorers in North America, Tasmania, South Africa and Eastern Europe. This topic forms the subject of their forthcoming book, The Dark Side of Empire: Colonial Massacres, 1780-1820.

“Had it not been for the Bellagio residency, pulling all this together from the four corners of the world would have been almost insurmountably difficult,” Mann said.

The team members arrived at the Bellagio Center having already completed their assigned research into the topic and then “pounded out the entire draft” of the manuscript into a “smooth, accessible treatment,” Mann said.

The program has been funded through the Rockefeller Foundation and is designed to foster focused, goal-oriented work in a serene environment — providing the opportunity to establish new connections with fellow residents.

Past applicants accepted into a residency program with the foundation include scholars, artists, thought leaders, policymakers and practitioners who share in the foundation’s mission of promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world.

“The four of us were able to draft the entire book jointly in the three weeks we were in Bellagio,” Mann said. “Now we are revising, adding citations, et cetera, and figure to have that all done in March.”

Once the final draft is finished, they plan to send the book to readers in preparation for contacting publishers, starting with Harvard and Yale University presses, with the goal to have the book in print by the end of the year.

University sets goals for sustainability in new plan

At the University, blue and gold continue to make green with UT’s new sustainability plan.

SEED logoAfter two years of collecting data, researching and collaborating, the plan is ready for action and focuses on four major goals: active engagement; energy and water efficiency and conservation; zero waste; and carbon neutrality.

“We wanted to create a large plan that would guide our actions for the next several years,” Brooke Mason, UT sustainability specialist, said. “And we’re hoping it will be an evolving plan that will constantly be looked at and revised.”

The first goal, active engagement, focuses on getting the campus population involved with the University’s sustainability practices. Engagement will be tracked by the percentage of UT’s population that the Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design (SEED) Initiative interacts with directly.

SEED’s goals are to increase engagement by 10 percent by 2020, 20 percent by 2025, 30 percent by 2030 and 40 percent by 2035. Some projects already involve the campus community, including BlackoUT, a residence hall energy competition, and Friday Night Lights, where student volunteers turn off lights in academic buildings each week.

“I think the biggest part of the plan is the engagement piece,” Mason said. “I hope that by using our partnerships and getting more students involved, we can make a significant change on campus.”

The second goal is energy and water efficiency and conservation, which involves reducing energy use, increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing water consumption, and increasing the use of grey water, which is wastewater that is clean enough to be recycled onsite and used for things such as toilet flushing.

Along with decreasing energy use, UT is hoping to expand its use of natural sources of energy like wind, photons and earth-generated thermal energy transfer. The University already uses a cogeneration plant at the Computer Center, steam and chilled water lines, natural gas, solar panels, and wind turbines.

SEED web pageGoal three is zero waste, which is defined as diverting 90 percent or more of the solid waste generated on campus from landfills through recycling, repurposing, reusing and composting. In the plan, UT wants to achieve this goal by increasing recycling on campus by 2 percent annually, increasing item reuse, and decreasing excess purchasing.

According to the plan, diverting waste from landfills is not only environmentally responsible, but economically beneficial for the University. When solid waste is no longer going to a landfill, UT no longer has to pay for that service, saving thousands of dollars.

Last year, Rocket Recycling increased the University’s recycling rate from 14.7 percent to 18.2 percent and brought in $38,000. The University also created five student jobs and one full-time job for recycling on campus and installed 11 water bottle refill stations.

The fourth and final goal is carbon neutrality, which is defined as having no net greenhouse gas emissions. The University will accomplish this by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent annually, reaching carbon neutrality by 2058.

Several projects — many of which are in progress — will help the University to accomplish these four goals.

Over time, the goal of expanding the bicycle-sharing program is to help reduce the need for the bus loops, which operate for approximately 122 hours each week during spring and fall semesters. Replacing 17 vehicles of the UT fleet with newer, more efficient models also will reduce emissions.

Over the summer, UT replaced four boilers in Savage Hall, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 566 metric tons and saving the University more than $128,000 each year. Improving the efficiency of the steam system would cut costs of basic maintenance and prevent leaks, saving more than $122,000 annually.

Each year, the University generates approximately 219 tons of food waste that can be composted and used to replace the current synthetic fertilizer used on campus.

Last summer, UT replaced the lighting fixtures with more efficient lighting throughout the University, which will save more than $116,000 each year and reduce metric tons of carbon dioxide by 1,478.

Other projects include a heating, ventilating and air conditioning reduction (HVAC) policy, installing new HVAC sensors, building a solar field on Health Science Campus, creating and implementing student and faculty-led initiatives, toilet and urinal retrofits, a carpool program, paper use reduction, recycling and composting programs, and education.

Though organized by SEED, the plan could not have come to fruition without citywide collaboration, Mason said. Primary contributors include Facilities and Construction, Transit Services, civil engineering and sustainability engineering classes, the Student Green Fund, and the city of Toledo.

“I couldn’t have done it without the help of the committee and my student interns,” Mason said. “These are really lofty goals, but if we work together even accomplishing half of them, we will have made a huge impact on the University and our environment.”

To learn more about sustainability at The University of Toledo or to get involved in the goals of the plan, visit utoledo.edu/sustainability.

Two online courses recognized nationally for quality

With an ever-growing list of online course offerings, The University of Toledo is striving to make each a high-quality learning experience for every student.

QMRecognized_2014aTwo online courses are the first at UT to be recognized by Quality Matters, a peer review process designed to certify the excellence of online and blended courses. One of these courses is Grief and Bereavement Issues in Older Adulthood, developed by Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, associate provost for online education, and designed by Christopher Prevette, instructional designer.

The other course is the Learning Ventures Online Teaching Certificate, developed by Phoebe Ballard, senior instructional designer and coordinator of special projects, and Dr. Mingli Xiao, senior instructional designer. Xiao and Ballard also were winners of a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course last summer for this class.

“We work so closely with faculty in helping them to build their online courses,” Ballard said. “By participating in the Quality Matters certification process as faculty, we are able to communicate the value of that process more effectively.”

In the last decade, the numbers of online classes at UT have more than doubled. Just this semester, there are more than 12,700 enrollments in 531 different online courses. It’s no doubt there is quantity, but Quality Matters allows UT to focus on the value of these courses.

“Our goal in adopting Quality Matters was to make sure that we’re hitting key benchmarks in the development of quality online learning experiences for students,” Ballard said. “Ultimately, it comes down to the student.”

There are more than 800 institutions affiliated with the Quality Matters program, and Ohio has the largest statewide consortium with 65 member institutions. UT became a part of the Ohio Learning Network’s Ohio Quality Matters Consortium in 2011.

The review process through Quality Matters begins with a look at Course Overview and Introduction, Learning Objectives, Assessment and Measurement, Instructional Materials, Course Activities and Learner Interaction, Course Technology, Learner Support, and Accessibility and Usability. Within these eight standards are 43 specific standards that further break down what an online course needs to be effective.

“The rubric was developed using literature on online learning,” said Peter You, director of instructional design and development. “It’s supported by that literature and research.”

Each standard is worth a certain number of points based on how thoroughly the course meets those requirements. The total amount of points possible is 99, which is the score both UT courses received.

“Even though I received 99 out of 99 points, the review that I got back was phenomenal,” Kopp Miller said. “We still went back and made a lot of changes and enhancements.”

Kopp Miller said she’s hoping to have five to seven courses peer-reviewed this semester. Faculty who wish to have their courses reviewed can either use the Quality Matters self-review system or submit their courses for official review.

“From an instructor and designer point of view, it’s a good starting point to use Quality Matters,” Xiao said. “Using the Quality Matters standards helps create a successful student learning experience.”

Priority is given to courses that are recognized as general education classes, large enrollment courses, master classes, required courses of fully online programs and to faculty who have completed Quality Matters training.

Those who wish to be trained as a Quality Matters peer reviewer or have their online courses reviewed can do so by contacting their instructional designer. UT currently has 14 certified peer reviewers.

If you are unsure who your instructional designer is, click here.