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UT researchers’ paper receives award from American Educational Research Association

Dr. Snejana Slantcheva-Durst, a faculty member in the Higher Education Program, and Dr. Mingyang Liu, data systems analyst from Institutional Research, received the exemplary paper award from the Special Interest Groups (SIG): Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education within the American Educational Research Association.

The honor was for their paper on “Confidence to Perform in the Global Marketplace: Constructing and Validating a Survey Instrument for Community College Students.”

Dr. Snejana Slantcheva-Durst, left, and Dr. Mingyang Liu, right, posed for a photo with their award, which they received from Dr. Natasha Jankowski, Special Interest Groups chair of the American Educational Research Association.

The award is targeted for anyone submitting a paper to the SIG track, and eligibility for the recognition requires acceptance of the paper into the SIG program.

“Winning the award reassured me that the research Ming and I did could be of use,” said Slantcheva-Durst, associate professor in the Judith Herb College of Education. “More importantly, I was very happy that it was this specific study that received the award — a study where I worked with someone I have known as a student in the Higher Education Program, then as a PhD candidate in another College of Education program, and then as a colleague. For me, this award reaffirmed the value in collaboration with students and colleagues.”

Their paper focuses on global awareness and the ability to work in an increasingly global environment. They studied college students’ confidence to perform in the global market place and their beliefs in their own abilities to successfully carry out job-related tasks.

“Our goal was to operationalize this concept, and design and test an instrument that gauges that confidence,” Slantcheva-Durst said.

The instrument they developed can be used to assist educators in evaluating the results of their efforts to increase students’ global awareness.

“We hope findings from this paper can offer useful feedback to college internationalization-focused staff in their efforts to assess outcomes of international initiatives for college students, thus supporting program assessment, evaluation of student growth, and institutional decision-making,” Liu said.

Liu and Slantcheva-Durst traveled to New York City to receive their award earlier this month.

“I think this award is very affirming that our research really makes a difference in the field, and I want to continue to pursue this direction in the future as a quantitative researcher in social sciences,” Liu said.

The American Educational Research Association is a national society that strives to advance knowledge to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

West Rocket Drive set to close for construction project

A portion of West Rocket Drive on Main Campus is scheduled to close starting Friday, May 11.

The street will be closed for through traffic from the railroad tracks to West Towerview Boulevard.

Traffic will be able to enter lot 12 by the Law Center, lot 26 by the Student Medical Center, and lot 26E by the Horton International House from the north.

Drivers can detour around the construction via Secor Road and through lot 25 by Rocket Hall.

This closure is expected to run through Friday, June 29, according to Dan Perry, electrical manager with Facilities and Construction.

“Crews are installing a tunnel system between two steam vaults and running new condensate and steam lines,” Perry said.

Softball coach named tops in the conference this year

Kristen Butler has been named Mid-American Conference Softball Coach of the Year by her peers.

Butler has led the Rockets to a 33-19 overall record and a 16-7 mark in conference play.

Toledo was picked to finish fifth in the MAC West Division, but exceeded all expectations by clinching a share of the MAC West title.

Butler reached the 100-career win mark with the Rockets two weekends ago at Central Michigan.

She also has become the first coach at Toledo to win 30 games in a season since 1995 and the first to win 20-plus games in four-straight seasons during the last 21 years.

Butler becomes only the second Toledo head coach to win the MAC award, joining three-time winner Cheryl Sprangel (1985, 1989, 1992).

The Rockets won their first-round game in the MAC Tournament last night in dramatic fashion: Brittney Davis hit her first collegiate home run — a walk-off two-run shot in the 10th inning to lift Toledo to an 8-6 win in Akron.

Toledo advances to the winner’s bracket to play No. 7 seed Northern Illinois today at 3:30 p.m. 

Soccer coach signs contract extension through 2021 season

The University of Toledo and Head Women’s Soccer Coach TJ Buchholz have agreed to a contract extension that will keep Buchholz at the helm of the Rockets through the 2021 season.

“TJ has done a terrific job restoring our program’s championship tradition, and we are extremely pleased to offer him this contract extension,” said UT Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mike O’Brien. “TJ and his staff have established a tremendous culture for our student-athletes both on and off the field since taking over three years ago. Their continued hard work and commitment to success resulted in a Mid-American Conference title and our return to the NCAA Championships last fall. We believe our program will continue to compete for championships in the years ahead.”

“I want to thank President [Sharon L.] Gaber, Mike O’Brien, and [Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator in Intercollegiate Athletics] Kelly Andrews for their strong belief in what we are building within our soccer program,” Buchholz said. “I also want to thank [Interim Assisant Soccer Coach] Paul Smith, [Assistant Soccer Coach] Jessica Nei and [Associate Head Athletic Trainer] Gretchen Buskirk for all their hard work. This extension completely validates the great efforts our staff is putting in for our success, and I am grateful to have them a part of our team. 

“Lastly, none of this would be possible without the amazing student-athletes I have the opportunity to coach at Toledo,” Buchholz said. “Our players inspire me daily to be at my best, and I am fortunate to work with such a tremendous group of people.”

Buchholz was named the Rockets’ head coach in May 2015 and guided UT to its fifth MAC Championship last fall. Toledo posted a 12-8-3 overall record and a 6-3-2 league mark in 2017, highlighted by a pair of overtime victories in the MAC Tournament.

The Rockets picked up numerous individual accolades in 2017. Senior midfielder Isa Echeverri was named first-team All-MAC, becoming the first player in program history to be honored as an all-conference player in each of her four seasons. Echeverri also was named to a pair of all-region teams in her final two seasons at UT. Senior defender Chiara Paradiso and junior forward Hannah Scafaria were second-team selections, while redshirt freshman goalkeeper Madison Perrin was named to the all-freshman team.

Buchholz said he is extremely appreciative of the support he has received since being hired prior to the 2015 campaign and is looking forward to continue to build for future success.

“Three years ago, Mike and Kelly provided me a tremendous opportunity, and they tasked our staff with bringing a MAC Championship back to the soccer program,” Buchholz said. “Our players and staff worked relentlessly and committed to our culture the past three years to make a championship a reality.

“The University of Toledo is a special place, and I am thankful and blessed to guide the Rockets for many more years to come. This extension shows our current players and our future recruits what a strong commitment there is for the direction of the Toledo Soccer program.” 

Buchholz has recorded more than 200 wins in 16 seasons as a men’s and women’s head coach at the collegiate level. His achievements also include the unique success of taking teams to the national tournament at the NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics levels.

A native of San Bernardino, Calif., Buchholz received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Northwestern (Iowa) College in 1999 and a master’s degree in sports management from California (Pa.) University in 2008.

UT golfer ties for 18th place at NCAA Madison Regional

UT junior Pinyada Kuvanun finished in an 18th-place tie after carding an even-par 72 in Wednesday’s final round of the 2018 NCAA Madison Regional in Verona, Wis.

Kuvanun ended the tournament with an even-par 216 (73-71-72) and was just three strokes away from qualifying for a playoff to reach the NCAA Championships.

Pinyada Kuvanun finished her season with a school-record 72.8 stroke average.

She was at two-over par through 13 holes of Wednesday’s round, but registered two birdies down the stretch to get back to even-par. She was tied for third in the tournament in par-three scoring at even-par and finished with 38 pars, eight birdies and eight bogeys.

A first-team All-Mid-American Conference honoree, Kuvanun concluded her season with a school-record 72.8 stroke average.

Oregon State’s Nicole Schroeder finished atop the individual leaderboard at 10-under par 206 (68-66-72), two shots in front of Ohio State’s Jaclyn Lee (71-68-69=208) and Duke’s Leona Maguire (74-65-69=208).

No. 4 Duke captured the team title at 14-under par, nine strokes in front of No. 31 Virginia and 12 ahead of No. 6 Southern Cal.

Also qualifying for the 2018 NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Okla., were No. 12 Arizona State (-1), No. 44 Ohio State (-1) and No. 13 Northwestern (Even).

The tournament field at the University of Wisconsin’s par-72, 6,313-yard University Ridge Golf Course included 24 top 100 players, with Kuvanun ranking 84th in Golfstat’s rankings.

Outstanding staff members celebrated

Five employees received the University’s 2018 Outstanding Staff Awards.

More than 20 nominees were honored at a ceremony April 26 in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center.

Winners this year were:

Tiffany Akeman, clerkship and curriculum coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She has worked at the University since 2010. She received a master of public health degree and a certificate in gerontological practice from UT in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

“As one of her direct and immediate supervisors, I can state that every time I go to Tiffany asking her to help with some work, she welcomes the request, accepts to do the work with a smile, gets the job done as quickly as possible, and most importantly, conveys a feeling that she is happy to do that job. This indicates to me that she loves what she is doing,” a nominator wrote. “Moreover, she is efficient, logical in her approach to any work, focused, and task-driven. She is highly detailed-oriented, student-centered and a professional. She loves to help all who are in her circle.” Another noted, “Her help in almost every aspect of my and my colleague’s daily work tasks cannot be overestimated. She is always willing and capable to help, no matter how much time and effort is required. Her ability to think through all little details makes her truly invaluable for management of any function.”

Dan Kall, law registrar in the College of Law. He joined the UT staff in 1994. He received a bachelor of science degree in computer science and a master of arts degree in liberal studies from the University in 1995 and 2016, respectively.

“Dan goes above and beyond in answering questions, finding solutions, and maintaining a sense of calm during stressful situations, including finals and class scheduling. Dan not only partners with other staff members and faculty, but he provides students with a ‘compass’ to guide us through our academic pursuits. Dan never fails to answers calls and emails, even on breaks and weekends, to make sure that students feel supported,” one nominator wrote. “Dan inspires those around him to strive for their own personal best and models that through his own actions. Dan is professional, kind, empathetic and knowledgeable. For many of us, he has served as a mentor and counselor when we are trying to navigate through a difficult time with courts’ schedules and final grades.” “Dan Kall demonstrates personal commitment to the College of Law by his dedication on weekends, holidays and evenings to keep students up to date on grade postings. He is always quick to respond to any and all concerns that students have,” another noted.

Renee Mullins, custodial worker in the Savage & Associates Business Complex. She has worked at the University since 2015.

“Renee has great ideas to motivate and help her coworkers. If there is an issue in the building, like a needed repair or if you see a better way to achieve quality work, she alerts her manager. Renee has really single-handedly turned this high-profile building into one the students, professors and employees can be proud of,” a nominator wrote. “Renee has a notebook with all events and activities in her building so she does not forget a detail. All her closets are neat and tidy. Even her trash container is clean; she stated that she keeps it clean because students and guests see it in the hall and it reflects on her cleaning. She comes in early, stays late, works through lunch if needed all because she loves The University of Toledo.”

Lucy Salazar, custodial worker in the Collier Building on Health Science Campus. She started working at the University in 2010.

“Her responsibilities include the first floor which encompasses our lobby, large lecture halls, restrooms and other first-floor classrooms. I am so pleased to be able to nominate Lucy because she goes above and beyond her duties, and is a shining example of someone who takes great pride in her work, strives to do her best, and understands the importance of her role, realizing that the first impression visitors may have of our campus is when they enter the Collier Building,” a nominator wrote. “Lucy acknowledges everyone she sees. She is warm and kind and has a smile that resonates warmth and caring. She understands the importance of her work and takes it to heart. I wish there were more employees like Lucy in every department so our students, patients, staff and faculty could witness someone who genuinely cares about the work she does.”

Jeannie Stambaugh, secretary in the Department of Economics. She joined the UT staff in 1989. She received an associate’s degree in secretarial technology from the University in 1980.

“Jeannie is the heart and soul of the Economics Department, and she has been for decades. Jeannie is the main reason for the collegiality within the department. She radiates positive energy and enthusiasm every day. Her interactions with everyone, always, are unequivocally friendly and helpful. Jeannie has established a rapport with all 12 faculty in the department and with all the students. Jeannie demonstrates extraordinary personal commitment because this is not a job to her; we are her second family,” a nominator wrote. “She comes in every day with her long list of tasks to do and then manages to complete the tasks while being interrupted every 15 minutes by a faculty member, student, delivery, phone call, and she somehow gets it all done. Our department would literally come to a standstill without her. Jeannie goes so far beyond her ever-expanding responsibilities in her care and concern for everyone who enters her office.”

President Sharon L. Gaber, left, posed with the 2018 Outstanding Staff Award recipients, from left, Lucy Salazar, Tiffany Akeman, Jeannie Stambaugh, Renee Mullins and Dan Kall.

Advisor honored with Hymore Award

Dr. Lisa Bollman, academic advisor in the Department of Communication, is the 2018 recipient of the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award.

Bollman received the honor named for the longtime executive secretary April 26 at the Outstanding Staff Awards in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center.

President Sharon L. Gaber, right, presented the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award to Dr. Lisa Bollman, academic advisor in the Department of Communication, next to a photo of the honor’s namesake.

The award is presented annually to an individual whose work defines the core values of the University in Hymore’s spirit of support, encouragement and service.

“Lisa Bollman works with 350 Department of Communication students to ensure all students are scheduled in the appropriate courses, doing well in their classes by following up on any issues, and acting as more than an academic advisor by listening to their woes as well as successes during their college career. And she does all of this with a smile on her face and a good word for all the students who walk through her door or call her on the phone,” one nominator wrote.

“I will often hear a student thank her profusely for her assistance and direction, saying they walked in confused and left with a clear goal in mind for college as well as beyond. Without Lisa’s unfailing efforts, many of our students would not be successful in college.”

Bollman joined the University staff in 1996. Bollman joined the University staff in 1996. A UT alumna, she received a bachelor of arts degree in communications and Spanish in 1994 and a doctor of philosophy degree in 2009.

“Lisa is directly responsible for working with Department of Communication students to ensure retention and graduation. Lisa meets the students where they are, often traveling to other venues to assist and ensure students are registered in the necessary classes they need,” a nominator noted.

“Lisa will often see students through her lunch hour, or see students when they don’t have an appointment to make sure every student is properly served. Lisa will work on Saturdays to attend Rocket Launch or Experience Days, giving up time with her family to ensure students have all the necessary details to make informed decisions about their college career.”

UT’s main north entrance to close for road construction

The intersection at Bancroft Street, University Hills Boulevard and North Towerview Boulevard is scheduled to close for two weeks starting Friday, May 11.

The city of Toledo announced the closure as replacement of the road on Bancroft continues.

Detour signs will be posted, and electronic message boards are alerting drivers of the closure.

Students, employees and visitors to Main Campus should use the west entrance off Secor Road, the south entrance off Dorr Street, or the east entrance off Douglas Road.

Local traffic will be able to use Bancroft up to the closure; however, no traffic will be able to travel through the intersection.

This will allow for both north and south lanes of the street to be replaced, according to Doug Collins, director of grounds and transportation.

If all goes as scheduled, the intersection is expected to reopen Friday, May 25.

While the city is replacing the road at the intersection, the University will work on North Towerview Boulevard, which is scheduled to be closed from Bancroft Street to East Centennial Drive through Monday, June 11.

“We thought it was a good time to repave North Towerview Boulevard, add a sidewalk to the east side of the road to align with the new crosswalk that will be added to Bancroft Street, and make some landscaping enhancement,” Collins said.

Access to parking lots 1N, 1S and 2 will be maintained during the project, he added.

UT golfer to compete in NCAA Madison Regional

Junior Pinyada Kuvanun will represent The University of Toledo women’s golf program this postseason when she competes in the 2018 NCAA Madison Regional hosted by the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

The tournament will be held Monday through Wednesday, May 7-9, at the par-72, 6,313-yard University Ridge Golf Course.

Junior Pinyada Kuvanun’s 72.9 stroke average is the best in the Rockets’ 23-year program history.

Kuvanun is the second Rocket to compete in a NCAA event in the program’s 23-year history. Sathika Ruenreong was the first UT women’s golfer to earn a regional berth when she participated in the Shoal Creek Regional in 2016.

A two-time All-Mid-American Conference selection, Kuvanun enters the regional after posting a school-record 72.9 stroke average (surpassing Ruenreong’s 73.8 mark) and tying school records for best 18-hole (67) and 54-hole (210) stroke totals.

The Khonkean, Thailand, native notched third-place showings or better in her final three tournaments. Kuvanun placed second at the Dolores Black Falcon Invitational (April 7-8) at one-over par, third at the Lady Buckeye Invitational (April 14) at one-under par, and third at the Mid-American Conference Championships (April 20-22) at even-par. Her play at the MAC Championships helped the Rockets register a second-place finish for the fourth time in the last six years.

The NCAA Madison Regional features 18 teams and six individuals. The top six teams and the top three individuals not associated with one of those squads will advance to the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, Okla. Six teams and three individuals also will advance from the San Francisco, Austin (Texas) and Tallahassee (Fla.) Regionals.

The Madison field includes seven top 30 teams (according to Golfstat rankings): No. 4 Duke, No. 6 USC, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 13 Northwestern, No. 20 Illinois, No. 23 Purdue and No. 27 Iowa State. The field also includes 24 top 100 players, with Kuvanun ranking 84th in Golfstat’s rankings. Duke’s Leona Maguire is the top player in the field at No. 9 nationally.

Kuvanun has collected a team-best seven top five and eight top 10 showings, as well as 17 rounds of shooting par or better this season. In her two-year career at The University of Toledo, Kuvanun has registered 11 top five and 16 top 10 finishes, as well as 26 rounds where she shot even-par or better.

She represented Thailand at the 2017 Summer World University Games in Taipei City, Taiwan. Kuvanun was part of a three-golfer squad and tied for 13th place individually to help Thailand to a fifth-place showing. She carded rounds of 75-71-75 to finish at five-over par 221 in the competition.

UT student selected for Fulbright Award

Soon-to-be-UT graduate Kristen Murray is undoubtedly the best argument for making sure to check junk email folders.

Murray, who will graduate May 5 with a bachelor of arts degree in global studies, received a prestigious gift last week — an email from J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board representatives notifying her that she’d been selected a Fulbright student ambassador to Mexico.


“I’d been waiting to hear because it’s been hard to plan the next year until I knew,” Murray, a Toledo native, said and chuckled. “My friend had just asked about it and said, ‘Whatever happens, happens for a reason,’ and there was the letter in my junk mail.”

Murray will be an English teaching assistant in a yet-unassigned area of Mexico from September 2018 to May 2019. The Bowsher High School graduate also submitted a plan to create a volleyball team in her Mexican community or participate in an existing program.

“They really want you immersed in the local community when you’re not teaching,” Murray said. “I played volleyball and coached seventh grade, freshman and varsity while in college, so it will be a great way to tie together all of my passions.”

The Fulbright Award is named for former U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, who in 1945 introduced a bill to promote goodwill between the U.S. and other countries. Today, the program awards 3,500 student scholarships each year in research, study and teaching to 140 countries.

Being selected a Fulbright scholar is a competitive and, as Murray discovered, a lengthy process. She applied in summer 2017, was notified that she was a finalist in January (via an email in her junk folder), and endured a tough interview before receiving last week’s notification.

Murray’s global studies advisor, Dr. Jetsa Cáceres, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, said the award will have benefits beyond her time in Mexico.

“It’s a huge deal,” Cáceres said, noting that only 54 Fulbright Awards to Mexico are offered. “It gives students an opportunity to live abroad for a year and experience cultures, languages and opportunities they’ll never get in a classroom.

“Fulbright scholars have gone on to be Nobel prize winners, leaders in business, government and academia, and global trailblazers. If I was on a hiring committee and I had a choice of a candidate who had a Fulbright experience and one who did not, I’d choose the Fulbright scholar without even thinking.”

The Fulbright Award is another step toward Murray’s eventual goal of working in the U.S. Department of State with a specialty in Latin-American relations. She’s had internships in Peru, Cuba and Ecuador, and was elected by the Organization of American States as an international observer of the Ecuadoran election process in 2017.

Calling the experience “amazing,” Murray recalled, “I got to see firsthand one of the cornerstones of democracy, a presidential election in a different country. I got to talk to everyone in the town where I was living about the elections, including different groups such as Afro-Ecuadorans and indigenous Ecuadorans about the political climate and how it affected them.”

Murray understands the current U.S. political climate will be a topic of keen discussion once she arrives in her assigned city.

“I definitely think I’ll get a lot of questions about the current administration and the situation here in the U.S.,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I should go. I think it’s important that people judge our country not only on news and policy, but from meeting me as a U.S. citizen and knowing me as an actual person.”

This summer, she’ll study for her GRE so she can apply to graduate schools in December. She plans to earn a master’s degree in Latin American affairs.

With an “about 80 percent” fluency in Spanish, Murray also intends to use her time in Mexico to master the language while immersing herself in the culture of its people.

“I think it’s important to understand the countries we’re creating policies with and making deals with,” she said. “A lot of times, the voices of those who are most affected by policy are left out of the discussion. I want to try to change that.”