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Behind the scenes of Art on the Mall

In the pre-dawn hours of the last Sunday in July, the silence on UT’s Centennial Mall is broken: “Y’all ready for this?” rapper Ray Slijngaard of 2 Unlimited asks as the synthesizer-driven psych-up song “Get Ready For This” blares near the Student Union.

“We have a little playlist — Amanda Schwartz in our office puts together a mixture of ’80s jock jam-type/pump-you-up dance music,” Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming, said. “We’re in the bus loop and it’s pitch black, and we’re playing music and dancing and getting into the spirit of things. Everybody’s in a really good mood; we’re all looking forward to Art on the Mall.”

Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming, has helped with Art on the Mall since 2003 and directed the summer favorite since 2008.

Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming, has helped with Art on the Mall since 2003 and directed the summer favorite since 2008.

“Everybody jump, jump, jump, jump,” DJ Kool encourages in “Let Me Clear My Throat.”

“Since we get to campus at 5 a.m., I try to find some music that will wake us up,” Schwartz, associate director of alumni relations, said. “I also start that day with a Monster energy drink.”

C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” is up next.

More than 100 artists will set up booths on Centennial Mall for this year's free art fair.

More than 100 artists will set up booths on Centennial Mall for this year’s free art fair.

“Oh boy, there have been some hot ones,” Abrams-Frederick recalled. “In fact, we were joking about it. Sometimes we bring a change of clothes to freshen up a bit and change.

“I’d take the heat over rain any day of the week; the rain is a killer. We always want to have a beautiful day.”

Here’s to a sun-filled forecast for this year’s event on Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall. The 2016 Art on the Mall is sponsored by The Blade, Huntington, 13 ABC, Buckeye Broadband, 101.5 The River and Homewood Press.

It all began more than two decades ago when participation in the UT Hole-in-One Tournament fell off. Mary Bell, former UT Alumni Association trustee, suggested replacing the golf event with an art fair that would bring graduates and community members to the University’s gorgeous grounds. She aced it.

UT's Centennial Mall is packed for Art on the Mall, which has become a summer tradition.

UT’s Centennial Mall is packed for Art on the Mall, which has become a summer tradition.

“We are very fortunate. Many alumni associations around the country are looking for a signature event that draws a large number of alumni and friends back to campus, and ours is now in its 24th year,” Dan Saevig, UT associate vice president of alumni relations, said. “Art on the Mall brings people onto our beautiful campus, in many cases, for the first time since graduation, and showcases the work of our artists, most of whom have ties to the University.”

More than 12,000 annually frequent the juried art fair, where an average of 110 artists set up booths.

“Centennial Mall is transformed for Art on the Mall: It’s got music floating in the air, the food smells great, you’ve got all these tents, and the people are excited, kids and families, older people — it’s a very welcoming atmosphere,” Abrams-Frederick said.

Art on the Mall Poster 2016“We invite everybody to come back. You don’t have to buy anything. Lay in the grass; people watch. It’s an awesome place to people watch, and I think event guests know that and they come back each year. They can park for free; plus, there is no admission fee, so they have more money to spend at the show if they want to — there are a lot of positives.”

And Abrams-Frederick would know: She has helped with The University of Toledo’s marquee event since 2003 and overseen it since 2008.

Each year, her work on the show begins in January. That’s when artist applications become available through April, and sponsorship development starts.

“Initially, it’s a two-person job,” Abrams-Frederick, a 1992 graduate of the UT College of Arts and Sciences, said. “I couldn’t do this without the assistance of Shirley Grzecki, events coordinator, who keeps all of the artist information organized.”

As the artful day draws near, co-workers in the Alumni Relations Office get in on the action, and more than 150 volunteers help make it all happen.

“The volunteers do a really nice job for us,” Abrams-Frederick said. “Pop sellers, shuttle drivers on golf carts, greeters who stand at each mall entrance and hand out programs and answer questions, artist relief — they walk around and talk to artists, pass out water, they’ll sit at their booth for them if they want to take a break, get something to eat, use the restroom or even get inside a little bit. In the children’s area, we have volunteers who will help the kids with activities, blow up balloons, face paint. We have event setup and teardown. And we have volunteers checking IDs and serving beer in the beer garden.”

Young artists can make their own creations in the children's area.

Young artists can make their own creations in the children’s area.

“I’ve been helping with Art on the Mall for 10 years,” Sally Berglund, administrative secretary with the UT Foundation and 1990 graduate of the former Community and Technical College, said. “I usually am a greeter or artist relief. It’s great to see all the things that people create.”

“The diversity of the artists and the attractiveness of UT’s beautiful campus are some of the things that make this event so special,” Marcus L. Sneed, associate director of alumni relations, said. This summer will be the eighth time the 2007 alumnus of the College of Business and Innovation will pitch in.

Overseeing the event has its perks.

Stacy Mosetti looked at works by Mr. Atomic at Art on the Mall last year.

Stacy Mosetti looked at works by Mr. Atomic at Art on the Mall last year.

“You get to see the latest, greatest creations that the artists came up with this year. In the jury process, you’ll see images come through and notice new techniques,” Abrams-Frederick said. “And they do change: The artists have a new process that they’re trying, or they have a new theme, different color scheme. It’s really cool to see the differences over the years.”

What has she learned from running the show?

“Events are fun because they change all the time. You can do the same event 10 times, and you will have different results, experiences and outcomes,” Abrams-Frederick said. “People make up a big part of that — different personalities, people’s ideas or expectations might not be the same, so there are always changes. And the one thing that it continually reminds me: You have to be able to roll with it. Everything is fluid.

Glass, jewelry, acrylic, watercolor, woodwork, photography, oil, mixed media and more will be featured at Art on the Mall.

Glass, jewelry, acrylic, watercolor, woodwork, photography, oil, mixed media and more will be featured at Art on the Mall.

“Centennial Mall is a living, breathing thing, and it changes — the location, the land, the shrubbery — it all changes from year to year,” she said, adding that construction projects also can pose challenges.

“The nice thing is: We work with great people on campus — Facilities, Grounds, Student Union staff — who are trying hard to put our best face forward. They all have this feeling that this is an important event, that we’re bringing in a lot of people from the community to campus, we all need to work together.”

“Without the efforts of our sponsors, volunteers and so many UT staffers, a major undertaking like this would not be possible,” Saevig said. “The way the Toledo community responds to Art on the Mall each year is truly special.”

“It’s just an adrenalin rush; it’s a long day, but it’s an awesome day. And after it’s all done, we’ve been known to actually dance in the office,” Abrams-Frederick said then laughed.

Cue up Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)”: “Party people!”

UT Human Donation Science Program celebrates milestone

The only academic program in the country designed to prepare individuals to coordinate and oversee the organ and tissue donation and transplantation process will graduate its 100th student in August.

The graduation celebration and awards night will be Tuesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. at Heatherdowns Country Club and earlier that day, the senior capstone case studies will be presented at 9 a.m. in Collier Building Room 1050 on Health Science Campus.

Lori Rankin moved to Toledo from North Carolina to enroll in UT's Human Donation Science Program.

Lori Rankin moved to Toledo from North Carolina to enroll in UT’s Human Donation Science Program.

The University of Toledo’s Master of Science in Biomedical Science Human Donation Science Program prepares individuals to facilitate the organ donation process from beginning to end. They serve as a liaison between the donor’s family, medical staff, organ procurement organization and transplant center.

“It’s the best job in the world,” said Rachel Baczewski, certified procurement transplant coordinator at Life Connection of Ohio and 2013 graduate of the program. “It’s so rewarding to know that I’m providing comfort to families who have lost a loved one and assisting in saving the lives of other patients. Each family gets a piece of my heart.”

Coordinators must pull together a team of medical professionals, facilitate medical testing, and ensure all laws are followed while compassionately and diplomatically communicating with the donor’s family.

“It’s a tough job and organ procurement organizations were seeing a high level of turnover among their coordinating staff,” said Linda Miller, assistant professor and director of UT’s Human Donation Science Program. “We wanted to see better training programs and higher retention rates. We developed this program as a result.”

Students enrolled in the Human Donation Science Program receive a multidisciplinary education covering all components of organ donation and complete coursework in medical science, management, human resources and law. They also receive clinical training and complete two internships prior to graduation.

“I wanted the opportunity to advance in the field of organ donation, so I left my job in North Carolina to come to UT for this program. It was the best decision I ever made,” said Lori Rankin, a student in the program. “I feel I have an even better educational foundation, and I have received excellent training for every aspect of the job.”

Ali Morgillo, senior coordinator at Life Connection of Ohio agreed. She said students who have graduated from UT’s program are better equipped to handle the challenges of the position.

“The program really prepares students for the realities of the job. They have critical clinical background and relationship-building skills and are flexible and driven to do well. They are more successful as a result,” she said.

Eighty percent of the graduates from the program, now in its 13th year, remain employed in the field. Many have been promoted to leadership and research positions. There are only 58 organ procurement organizations in the United States, resulting in a small network of coordinators who come to know each other well.

“When an employer sees that someone is a graduate of UT’s program, they take notice. It makes us very marketable,” said Rankin, who is already pursuing new employment leads.

“Half of our coordinators graduated from the Human Donation Science Program,” said Kara Steele, director of community services for Life Connection of Ohio. “We are seeing a continual increase in the number of registered donors, which should translate into an increase in transplants, and that ups the demand for highly skilled coordinators to facilitate the donation process.”

Ohioans can make the decision to be an organ donor when obtaining or renewing their driver’s license.

“It’s the best way for someone to make their final wishes known,” Morgillo said. “It makes the donation process easier on families when they know it was part of their loved one’s plan to donate their organs.”

It also makes it easier on the coordinators, who see a lot of sadness as a part of consulting with donor families.

“Before I go to work, my daughter tells me to make people happy and fix them,” said Samantha Muir, certified procurement transplant coordinator at Life Connection of Ohio and 2013 graduate. “Getting a letter of appreciation from a donor or recipient family, to hear how you have made an impact on their life, makes the long hours and emotional days worthwhile.”

UT researchers partner with Green Ribbon Initiative to identify invasive plant species

Three University of Toledo researchers have teamed up with the Green Ribbon Initiative to develop a strategy for partner organizations to prioritize and manage invasive plant species common in the Oak Openings Region.

Dr. Jonathan Bossenbroek, professor of ecology, Dr. Todd Crail, UT lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences, and Sara Guiher, a graduate student, are working with the initiative, designed to preserve the natural landscape in the region, to compile a list of what are known as terrestrial invasive plant species. Invasive plant species can be non-native to a region, though only a small percentage of non-native plants qualify as invasive.

UT graduate student Sara Guiher pointed out a black oak at the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Swanton. Black oak is one of the native species that the Green Ribbon Initiative is trying to protect.

UT graduate student Sara Guiher pointed out a black oak at the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Swanton. Black oak is one of the native species that the Green Ribbon Initiative is trying to protect.

“Plants that are able to exclude native plants, take habitats away from native animals, those are the ones we are really trying to address,” Guiher said.

The project began in May 2015 with the identification phase, during which Guiher and Bossenbroek devised an assessment for partner organizations to determine where their priorities for invasive species management should be focused. After figuring which invasive plants each partner organization is dealing with, the goal is to develop best management practices for the conservation of the area. The development of the Oak Openings Region invasive species strategy brings together organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, the Olander Parks System, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, among many others, to make informed decisions about how to control invasive species.

“A big part of this is communication between partners,” Guiher said. “There are all those different agencies, and they each have their own approach; we’re basically trying to bring all of them together and communicate about the spread of invasive plants and decide on consistent strategies to manage them.”

“All these organizations have their own properties and their own, sometimes different management goals — the metroparks have a different mission than the Nature Conservancy, different from the Department of Natural Resources — trying to find a framework for dealing with terrestrial invasive species is what we’ve been asked to do,” Bossenbroek said.

Bossenbroek said his experience includes similar projects geared toward aquatic invasive species, such as the zebra mussel. His work has always included examination into spread of invasive species into the environment they might take over, which translates to this project on terrestrial invasive species as well.

“You use the same tools, the same types of analyses, to predict where things are going to live and how they get around,” Bossenbroek said. “There are usually two ways they move around: They get moved around naturally — birds, wind, streams — or by people. A lot of invasive species are easily transmitted by people.”

The next phase of the partnership will include digital modeling situations, in which variables such as topography and vegetation can be manipulated to figure out ideal habitats for invasive plant species. This type of model was what Bossenbroek said he used when examining aquatic invasive species.

“The next step is the modeling using software; taking those variables and possible vectors and trying to determine where the plant species may establish in the region, which will streamline the process,” Guiher said. “We can’t necessarily cover all the partners’ land, but we can try to give them guidance as to where those plants might show up.”

To learn more about the Green Ribbon Initiative, visit the Oak Openings Region’s website at oakopenings.org/about.

UT startup company participates in government contract to develop new radiation detector

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded two Toledo area companies a contract to develop a new device that could enhance security at ports and monitor the more than 17 million land, sea and air shipping containers in transit each day.

Lucintech logoLucintech, a University of Toledo LaunchPad Incubation startup company owned by UT Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy Al Compaan, will work with Lithium Innovations Co. LLC to create a lightweight, portable, sensitive and low-cost radiation detector that can discover neutrons in industrial shipments entering the country.

Lithium Innovations, a Toledo-based company, will provide foil that is nearly 100 percent lithium-6, an isotope that captures neutrons to start the detection process.

“The neutron subatomic particles are very difficult to detect and can penetrate a meter or more through steel or concrete,” Compaan said.

This collaboration leverages each local company’s technologies recently developed for applications outside of radiation detection.

“We are following on our successful exploratory work, which demonstrates a new approach to high-efficiency neutron detection,” Compaan said. “Neutron detectors are also important for oil and gas exploration, as well as nuclear medicine.”

“Advanced screening is an important component of domestic security,” Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said. “I am especially pleased that two northern Ohio companies are collaborating to produce a nationally significant, state-of-the-art technology that enhances our nation’s security efforts.”

Compaan has been leading a research effort for nearly 30 years in thin-film photovoltaic materials and devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity. His company Lucintech is developing and scaling up innovative processes for making solar windows and sunroofs for vehicles.

Lithium Innovations, which is led by CEO Ford Cauffiel, leads this Phase II Homeland Security Small Business Innovation Research project. The company supplies pure lithium sources for use by manufacturers of dynamic windows that darken by applying a small voltage.

UT to host International Youth Academy July 24-Aug. 6

The UT Center for International Studies and Programs, in conjunction with Toledo Sister Cities, will welcome students from around the world for the 2016 International Youth Academy, which will take place from Sunday, July 24, through Saturday, Aug. 6, on Main Campus.

This summer’s program will host 32 students:16 from Pakistan, 10 from Japan and six from China.

Business Hlogo 1c Black“The high school students have the opportunity to experience campus life by residing in one of our residence halls and engaging with The University of Toledo students,” said Sara Clark, director of global initiatives in the UT Center for International Studies and Programs. “We have two full weeks planned; program highlights include targeted English second language instruction and development of cultural awareness through outings to Toledo Mud Hens games and the Toledo Art Museum, to name a few. 

“We are pleased to continue this partnership with Toledo Sister Cities International,” Clark said. “There is no better way to showcase what our city has to offer than allowing young people to experience it firsthand.”

A cultural program for high school-aged youth from around the world, the International Youth Academy allows participants to improve their conversational English while having fun, developing new understanding of teens from different cultures, and gaining lifetime friendships.

“The University of Toledo and Toledo Sister Cities International have a long-standing relationship; this relationship has evolved into a partnership to implement the International Youth Academy program,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, UT assistant vice provost for international studies and programs. “This program provides us the opportunity to showcase the city of Toledo, as well as The University of Toledo. The city of Toledo has a great wealth of opportunities to offer the international community, and this program allows us to gain exposure in the international arena.” 

“Toledo Sister Cities International is proud of its nationally acclaimed alliance with The University of Toledo’s Center for International Studies and Programs,” said James Hartung, vice president of the Toledo Sister City Board of Trustees. “In my mind, there is no greater pride than the pride I ascribe to our UT/Sister Cities co-sponsorship of the International Youth Academy. Our shared commitment to creatively foster the development of a corps of young citizen-of-the-world diplomats through the International Youth Academy exemplifies the synergy between UT and Sister Cities.”

The International Youth Academy is a cultural two-week program that enriches high school students’ global awareness and English language. The program is designed for students to share their thoughts and experiences with teenagers from other countries. American youth diplomats work side by side with students to assist them with English, learn about the students’ traditions and culture, and share interests. English classes, language games, cultural activities, field trips and hands-on team-building events all aid in improving students’ conversational English.

For the second year, The Blade is supporting the International Youth Academy. The Blade staff will provide education on the concept of free press and teach interviewing and reporting skills. 

Events coordinator zooms in for Art on the Mall

It’s not unusual for Michele “Mickey” Ross to hop in her car, Canon XSi riding shotgun, and go for a drive. 

That’s how she found a small, dilapidated dwelling and gas pump one snowy day in Sylvania. And on a fall jaunt through Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse, she spotted horseback riders on a leaf-covered trail.

Michele “Mickey” Ross displayed some of her photography that she will have in frames, on coasters and notecards, and as prints at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31.

Michele “Mickey” Ross displayed some of her photography that she will have in frames, on coasters and notecards, and as prints at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31.

“I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time,” the events coordinator in the Special Events Office said. “A lot of photography is patience and sometimes luck. You have to be willing to just sit and observe — especially with nature. You can see so much more that way.”

Armed with her camera, Ross captures places many area residents are familiar with and frames them in a new way.

“You can go to the same park every day and see something different each time; it’s just how you’re looking at things, whether it’s a bird or a turtle or a frog or flowers,” she said. “Nature changes so rapidly that there’s always something different to look at — always.”

Michele “Mickey” Ross took this photo titled “Ice Tree” at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Michele “Mickey” Ross took this photo titled “Ice Tree” at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Her favorite locales to wander and shoot include area parks, gardens and the Toledo Zoo.

At the zoo, she caught a cormorant careening its neck to preen with an orange autumnal sky reflected in the water, as well as a regal eagle perched by evergreen sprigs. After an ice storm, she ventured carefully to Olander Park in Sylvania and clicked in the cold; the result was a stunning image of a tree encased in a shimmering frozen glaze.

“It’s almost cathartic. I get lost when I go out and photograph. I can be out for hours and not even know it because there’s so much to look at and so much to see,” Ross said.

She’s had an artful eye for years.

“I’ve always loved taking photos,” Ross recalled. “But I think I was getting frustrated because it seemed like I was in a rut.”

So four years ago, she joined the Toledo Camera Club and the Photo Arts Club of Toledo. That’s when she got serious about her passion.

“The clubs have challenges and assignments, and it makes you get out there and think,” Ross said. “Members critique the shots each time, and I think that’s helped me grow and progress as a photographer because it’s given me things I never would have thought of to do.”

“Bald Eagle” was photographed by Michele “Mickey” Ross at the Toledo Zoo.

“Bald Eagle” was photographed by Michele “Mickey” Ross at the Toledo Zoo.

And she’s had the chance to work with some surreal subjects, including a fairy statue submerged in an aquarium filled with a carbonated drink — a sprite in Sprite.

“I won a few awards at the photo clubs, and I thought, you know, maybe I can try to sell the photos and see what happens,” she said. “And my family encouraged me, too.”

In 2013, the UT graduate who received a bachelor’s degree in 1976 returned to her alma mater and made her debut at Art on the Mall.

“It was cool because I actually did pretty well, and I was surprised,” she said. “I had never done an art show before, it was my first one.”

Last year, Ross introduced a new item to showcase her photography: coasters.

“I was trying to come up with something that was a little more cost-effective for the normal person to buy,” she said. “I got online, looked around, and I saw coasters.”

“A Day at the Park” was taken by Michele “Mickey” Ross at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse.

“A Day at the Park” was taken by Michele “Mickey” Ross at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse.

Pretty and practical, but finding a process to produce the coasters took some time.

“Through my own process, I finally found a way to get it to work so that it wouldn’t be tacky and it wouldn’t look tacky,” Ross said and laughed. “And it would be water-resistant so it could be used as a coaster.”

No surprise, her coasters featuring UT photos proved popular her second year at Art on the Mall and sold quickly.

Ross does take requests. Folks who stop by her booth have asked for shots of Toledo landmarks, including Tony Packo’s, the Rosary Cathedral, and Fifth Third Field and all things Mud Hens, as well as lighthouses, trains and various animals.

“There are a lot of things here in the area to focus on that people look at and say, ‘Oh yeah, I know where that is.’ In fact, when people come up at the art fairs and shows, they have fun looking at things and saying, ‘Now where’s that?’ ”

Ross will be at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free juried art show will be held on Centennial Mall.

“I know they try to have alumni or people affiliated with UT at the event, and I think that adds to the flavor of it,” she said.

In her office, Ross has a few photos that she has taken, as well as several shots that she is in alongside celebrities who appeared in Centennial Hall/Savage Arena, where she worked for 25 years. 

And there is quote from one of her favorite photographers, Ansel Adams: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

“I don’t have a lot of equipment; it’s expensive. And like they say, it’s not the camera, it’s the shooter. You can make beautiful photographs with anything, even a point and shoot,” Ross said. “I’d like my photos to make people feel good, and I hope that they realize they are not random shots, that some thought was actually put into them.”

UT nursing program receives accreditation

The University of Toledo’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and post-graduate Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Certificate Program were granted accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education following an onsite review in November. The accreditation is for five years to June 2021.

college of nursing logoUT’s Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is designed to take nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing to the highest level of clinical practice in order to meet the increasing complexities and challenges of the nation’s health-care environment.

“UT has the only advanced practice nursing program in our region, and this accreditation places our program at the leading edge of nurse training,” Dr. Kelly Phillips, interim dean of the College of Nursing, said. “Nurses who receive the doctor of nursing practice degree are poised to be leaders in the health-care field.”

The Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice Program offers specialization options in adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

“In providing a variety of training options, we are meeting the needs of patients who need specialized care,” Phillips said.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is an autonomous accrediting agency that ensures the quality and integrity of nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and nurse residency programs.

Price change for reserved spots first step in move to demand-based parking system

Parking Services is developing a new parking system to be implemented for 2017-18 that will give employees and students options for different levels of permits to park on campus.

The first step in moving to the new demand-based model from the current zone-based parking system will begin this fall with parking spaces marked with a license plate number. The cost of an annual permit for those parking spaces assigned to a specific license plate will increase to $300 for those who currently qualify.

parking imageThe University is working with SP+, a national parking consultant firm, to move to a demand-based model beginning in fall 2017.

“Instead of setting fixed parking fees determined by a student or employee classification, demand-based parking provides the customer more choices in parking and assesses the value of parking according to demand with prime campus locations requiring a premium parking permit,” said Sherri Kaspar, public safety support services manager. “Demand-based parking can effectively redistribute parking around campus, which will help reduce the frustration of searching for a spot while providing our students and employees the best fit for their needs.”

The Office of Public Safety will continue to meet with constituent groups and provide updates throughout the year on the move to a demand-based parking system.

For more information about parking registration and services, visit utoledo.edu/parkingservices.

Assistant professor of nursing works on project for Sigma Theta Tau International’s Leadership Academy

This year, Dr. Temeaka Gray was selected as one of 13 Scholars of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, granting her a spot in the 2016-17 Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy.

Gray, an assistant professor in The University of Toledo’s College of Nursing, has been a member of the society since 2012.



The academy’s goals include fostering academic success, promoting nurse faculty retention, and facilitating personal leadership development, all of which are explored by projects completed by each scholar.

“The purpose of the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy is actually to expand the scope of influence and grow nurse faculty leaders — the project is a vehicle for that,” said Gray, president of the Zeta Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing at UT.

As part of the academy, Gray has designed a project around the topic of communication in the workplace, with the objective of recognizing best practices in communication and shared governance for faculty and administration. This is a topic in which Gray said she had much experience, co-authoring two chapters in academic works, one regarding communication and the other on shared governance in the workplace.

“A lot of the time, people are talking and not listening, but the most effective communication takes place when they listen as well as talk,” Gray said. “One of the pieces that I’ve seen through my literature review said that, in a shared governance environment, sometimes people just don’t know what their duties are. Do they have input in everything? Do they act through committees? I want to know what people think about communication, what they think shared governance means, and what perceptions of the best way to have conversations are.”

Participation as a scholar in the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy includes intensive four-day workshops, one this year and one next, and a presentation on the final project at the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing Biennial Convention in Indianapolis.

Gray said even being selected was a tremendous opportunity and, once she found out she had been one of 13 global applicants chosen, the idea of being able to confer with other nurses and like-minded professionals at a greater level was an exciting prospect. The first of the four-day workshops took place in March, and Gray said the highly immersive experience was driven by self-reflection and a close look at the operating style within the academy.

“They equipped us with a journal, so we were critically looking at ourselves as people. We used tools like the leadership practice inventory and strengths finder to assess strengths and weaknesses and, based on that, where we can to improve,” Gray said. “These workshops were from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. over four days. The leadership meetings included administrative people for the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, the leadership mentors, the faculty advisors and the scholar.”

The opportunity of being invited to participate in a program like the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing is one she hopes others in her field take.

“I always stress this to nursing students because, at that time, you don’t understand what it truly means to be recognized like this,” Gray said. “By the time I was working, to be recognized at that level was so important because it was meaningful. We go around doing what we do because it’s what we do; seeing that other people recognize it is really amazing.”

She added, “Organizations that focus on professions and disciplines like nursing are actually driven by what you do. It’s a networking opportunity; you have the opportunity to learn from other people and their experiences.”

To learn more about the Scholars of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing at UT, visit zetatheta.nursingsociety.org/home.

Law associate professor selected for Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum

Evan Zoldan, an associate professor in the UT College of Law, was selected to participate in the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum June 28-29 at Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn.

Zoldan, who received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and joined the UT faculty in 2012, is the first faculty member from the UT College of Law to be selected for this prestigious event.



“I am delighted that Professor Zoldan’s paper was selected for the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum,” said UT Law Dean D. Benjamin Barros. “This is a great honor for Professor Zoldan and is a reflection of the quality of his writing and his ideas.”

According to the organizers of the forum, the goal is to “encourage the work of scholars recently appointed to a tenure-track position by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange.” Between 12 and 20 young scholars — all with seven or fewer years of teaching law — are selected to present their papers at this annual event. Senior scholars provide comments on the selected papers, and one of the forum’s aims is to help connect newer and more seasoned legal scholars.

Zoldan’s paper, “The Equal Protection Component of Legislative Generality,” describes an under-explored aspect of constitutional law and theory.

“Our commitment to equality is compromised by the ability of Congress and state legislatures to target named individuals for special treatment that is not applied to the population generally,” Zoldan wrote. “This article describes how the Equal Protection Clause can be read to contribute to a constitutional value of legislative generality — that is — a value that suggests that targeted legislation should be disfavored simply because of its particularized effect.”