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UT faculty, students to present diverse water quality research at Great Lakes conference in Detroit

An ongoing study on the height of the annual algal bloom in the water near the Toledo Water Intake in Lake Erie is one of 34 University of Toledo research projects being presented this week at the annual conference of the International Association of Great Lakes Research.

The study, which measures the algal bloom over 24 hours in rough and calm waters, is entering its second year. The goal is to make recommendations to water plant operators on the best time to pump water and reduce intake exposure to microcystin.

Last year, Ken Gibbons pulled up a water sample using a long, white tube that reaches the lake bottom. The water was emptied into the orange bucket held by Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, UT algae researcher and professor of ecology.

“This has the possibility to provide a practical way to protect the public drinking water,” Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, UT algae researcher and professor of ecology, said. “We want to develop a model that tells the water utilities where to expect the algae to be and when to pump more or less to avoid it.”

Graduate student researcher Eva Kramer will present the research, which is titled “Avoiding Harmful Algal Blooms at Toledo’s Drinking Water Intake by Observing Vertical Distribution and Migration,” during poster presentations Wednesday, May 17.

“It’s inspiring to be surrounded by hundreds of people working to understand, protect and restore the Great Lakes from a broad range of backgrounds,” said Kramer, who is pursuing a master’s degree in ecology. “I look forward to hearing their stories and learning from their successes and struggles.”

UT researchers take regular samples near the Toledo Water Intake in Lake Erie.

The annual conference of the International Association of Great Lakes Research is taking place from Monday, May 15, through Friday, May 19, at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

UT researchers will present from diverse areas of study, including economics; engineering; environmental sciences; chemistry and biochemistry; geography and planning; and medical microbiology and immunology.

A full list of the UT researchers and their projects can be found at utoledo.edu/nsm/lec/news/abstracts.html.

Dr. Carol Stepien, Distinguished University Professor of Ecology, and Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, professor and director of the UT Center for Geographic Information Sciences and Applied Geographics, organized a special session titled “Pathways for Invasions Into the Great Lakes: Detection, Monitoring and New Technology” that will run from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 17. Stepien and Czajkowski work with bait shops and fishermen for invasive species prevention.

PhD student researcher Alison Brandel, who works in the lab of Dr. Jason Huntley, associate professor of medical microbiology and immunology, will present a talk titled “Isolation and Characterization of Lake Erie Bacteria That Degrade the Microcystin Toxin MC-LR” Friday, May 19, at 10:40 a.m. during the session titled “Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiatives: Field to Faucet and Beyond.”

During that same session, Dr. Kevin Egan, associate professor of economics, will present “Benefit-Cost Analysis for Policy Options (e.g. Fertilizer Fee, Wetlands) to Reduce Nutrient Runoff” Friday, May 19, at 8 a.m.

Water quality is a major research focus at the University. With $12.5 million in active grants underway, UT is studying algal blooms, invasive species such as Asian carp, and pollutants, and looking for pathways to restore the greatest natural resource for future generations to ensure communities continue to have access to safe drinking water.

Researchers and students help to protect the public drinking water supply for the greater Toledo area throughout summer algal bloom season by conducting water sampling to alert water treatment plant operators of any toxins heading toward the water intake. UT’s 28-foot research vessel enables the University to partner with the city of Toledo and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor the health of the lake and provide real-time data.

The UT Lake Erie Center is a research and educational facility focused on environmental conditions and aquatic resources in Maumee Bay and western Lake Erie as a model for the Great Lakes and aquatic ecosystems worldwide.

Latino Youth Summit set to excite, motivate students for college

More than 500 area students in grades six through 12 are expected to attend the 2017 Latino Youth Summit Tuesday and Wednesday, May 16 and 17, at The University of Toledo.

The program focuses on college preparation and planning, as well as career choices.

“The Latino Youth Summit encourages our young people to consider college and, more importantly, to picture themselves at The University of Toledo someday,” Dr. Michele Soliz, assistant vice president for student success and inclusion, said. “In its 15th year, this is the largest event for Latino youth in the state.”

Students in grades six through eight will be on campus Tuesday. They will visit Ritter Planetarium and the colleges of Engineering; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

High school students will attend the summit Wednesday. They will learn about health careers at the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center on Health Science Campus, as well as stop by the Judith Herb College of Education and the colleges of Arts and Letters, and Business and Innovation on Main Campus.

Richard Santana is this year’s keynote speaker; he will address the students at 1 p.m. each day.

“My story is proof that through adversity, we can still achieve our dreams and go to college,” Santana said.

He will talk about his days as a gang member in California and how he turned his life around. The counselor and educator received a master’s degree from Harvard University and founded Homeboy Goes to Harvard Productions, which focuses on raising awareness about gangs, drug addiction and self-esteem.

In addition, the event will provide financial aid options for college, including a UT scholarship for attending the Latino Youth Summit.

The summit is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Division of Student Affairs.

For more information, call the Office of Multicultural Student Success at 419.530.2261.

UT Medical Center to hold Joint Commission Safety Fair May 23

The University of Toledo Medical Center will hold a Joint Commission Safety Fair Tuesday, May 23, in the Four Season’s Bistro.

The fair is scheduled to run from 2 to 4 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the event in preparation for the upcoming triennial Joint Commission accreditation visit. The accreditation visit is unannounced and will take place prior to Wednesday, Nov. 1. 

The safety fair serves as a way to boost awareness of hot topics to increase compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Topics offered will include: medication management, pain management, fall reduction, appropriate use of restraints, sepsis, suicide precautions, environment of care topics, life safety topics, universal protocol, infection prevention, joint commission accreditation information, and national patient safety goals.   

There will be a station for each topic with activities, prizes and/or treats, ending with ice cream for all participants. 

For additional information, contact Bobbie Jordan, regulatory compliance coordinator, at 419.383.4848.

Strategic enrollment plan focuses on student success, recruitment, academic programs

The University of Toledo’s five-year strategic enrollment plan is posted online for the community to view.

The plan is considered a first version because it’s a comprehensive and continuous process that must relate to ever-changing internal and external environments.

“While it’s a five-year plan, we will assess every year for effectiveness,” Stephanie Sanders, interim vice president for the Division of Enrollment Management, said. “We will assess our results and the market every year to adjust as necessary.”

The situation analysis, which includes UT’s strengths, weaknesses, and understanding what led to a decline in enrollment, is completed.

Sanders said the committee is in the process of developing action plans to address all parts of enrollment, including new and continuing students across all populations. Once the additional action plans are completed, a second version of the strategic enrollment plan will be released.

The committee includes all areas of enrollment management, including admissions offices, new student orientation and financial aid, as well as representatives from academic affairs, student affairs and individual colleges.

“We are engaging lots of people around campus in understanding where we are, how we got here, and developing solutions for the future,” Sanders said. “We are focusing on where there is potential and going after that potential. Student success is our priority. We want to put more programs in place to help increase retention and graduation rates, while growing enrollment and aligning academic program capacity with market demand.”

To view the strategic enrollment plan, click here.

Rockets continue to land impressive Academic Progress Rate scores

The NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures for the four-year period from 2012-13 to 2015-16, and The University of Toledo received very impressive scores across the board.

All 16 UT varsity sports had at least a 965 score, well above the NCAA’s “cut point” of 930, with women’s golf leading the way with a perfect 1,000 mark. Eight other UT sports were at 990 or above: baseball, men’s basketball, men’s golf, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s soccer, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball.

In addition, five Rocket teams — baseball, men’s basketball, football, women’s golf and women’s tennis — had the best APR score in the Mid-American Conference in their respective sports. The UT football program had an APR score of 981, giving it the No. 1 mark in the MAC for the fourth consecutive season. Men’s basketball (990) also led the MAC, while women’s basketball (995) was just five points off the pace set by league leaders Kent State and Miami.

“We are very proud of all of our sports for posting such impressive APR numbers,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “Nine of our sports had APR scores of 990 or above, and all of them were above a 965. Those numbers mean that our student-athletes are doing well in the classroom and, most importantly, are on track to graduate.

“Special recognition should go to our women’s golf program, which has a perfect APR score over the past four years,” O’Brien said. “Also, congratulations to our football program for finishing with the highest APR in the Mid-American Conference for the fourth consecutive season.”

APR is a gauge of every team’s academic performance at a given point in time. Points are awarded on a semester-by-semester basis for eligibility, retention and graduation of scholarship student-athletes. A score of 1,000 is considered perfect. Sports that fail to reach the “cut point” (930) can be penalized with the loss of scholarships, practice restrictions and post-season bans. The APR data released May 10 is a cumulative figure taken from the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

To see more statistics, click here.

Employees invited for ‘Rocket Recess at Work’ May 17, May 25

Who says that recess should be left to elementary school? This is the same question that was asked by Healthy U, UT’s voluntary wellness program for employees, when Rocket Recess at Work was created.

“[The goal is] to provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to take a stress and activity break in their day to improve their physical and mental health,” said Andrea Masters, assistant director of Rocket Wellness.

Rocket Recess at Work will be comprised of open play activities such as bean-bag toss, chess, giant Jenga and bocce ball, as well as team events like kickball, tug of war, yoga and four-square volleyball. Team events require an RSVP from the event page by Tuesday, May 16; click here.

Prizes, including yoga mats, duffle bags and farmer’s market tokens, will be available to win throughout the day.

“It is a perfect opportunity to have some fun with colleagues and get some activity in,” Masters said.

After working up an appetite playing kickball, employees can grab lunch from Rosie’s Rolling Chef, Nacho Danny or Displaced Chef food trucks, which will be parked on Centennial Mall.

Even if employees can’t make it out to the events, they can still get in on the fun by downloading a Healthy U bingo card from the event page. After completing a row of spaces that include prompts such as “get 7-8 hours of sleep on a week night,” “pack your lunch instead of going out,” “drink 64 ounces of water in one day,” and “participate in a charitable or community event,” employees can send in their completed bingo card and be entered into a raffle.

“We realize some employees may not be able to participate due to work obligations, but we don’t want them to miss out on the opportunity to win prizes and participate in healthy activities. The bingo card can be completed at their own pace and convenience,” Masters said.

Rocket Recess at Work will take place Wednesday, May 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

A similar event will be held on Health Science Campus Thursday, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more details on either event, bingo card download and RSVP information, click here and scroll to Rocket Recess at Work.

Glacity Theatre Collective to explore artificial intelligence

It’s the age of artificial intelligence, and 85-year-old Marjorie — a jumble of disparate, fading memories — has a handsome new companion who’s programmed to feed the story of her life back to her.

The Glacity Theatre Collective will present “Marjorie Prime” Friday through Sunday, May 12-14, in the Center for Performing Arts Studio Theatre.

Mark Owen and Jennifer Nagy Lake rehearsed a scene from the Glacity Theatre Collective’s production of “Marjorie Prime” with Barbara Barkan in the background.

Curtain time is 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Barbara Barkan will play Marjorie, and Tanner DuVall will be her friend in Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer-nominated work that explores memory and identity, love and loss, and the limits — if any — of what technology can replace.

Jennifer Nagy Lake, former UT theatre student, and Mark Owen also are in the cast.

Jeffrey J. Albright, former UT theatre student, is directing the production.

James S. Hill, UT professor emeritus of theatre, is the scene designer for the play. Holly Monsos, associate dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts in the College of Arts and Letters, professor of theatre, and executive director of the Glacity Theatre Collective, designed the costumes.

Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance online at glacity.tix.org. Student tickets are $10 with a valid ID and are available only at the door.

For more information, go to glacity.org.

UT ranked 66th in nation for technology transfer, commercialization

The University of Toledo is ranked 66th in the nation by the Milken Institute’s Center for Jobs and Human Capital in its list of Best Universities for Technology Transfer.

The 2017 report focuses on innovative discoveries at public and private research universities that lead to new products and a rise in entrepreneurial success and regional economic impact through job creation and growth.

The ranking measurements include a four-year average of research expenditures, patents, licenses executed, licensing income and start-up companies. The University Technology Transfer and Commercialization Index uses data from 2012 to 2015.

In fiscal years 2012 through 2015, the University received 258 invention disclosures and entered into 59 option or license agreements. Eleven start-up companies were established to commercialize UT technology.

“I was pleased to see the University was ranked in the top 75 Best Universities for Technology Transfer by the Milken Institute,” Stephen Snider, UT associate vice president of technology transfer, said. “This wouldn’t be possible without the participation of faculty, staff and students throughout the institution who help our office to protect and transfer novel innovations to the commercial marketplace.”

According to the report, “More than 1,000 firms were launched in fiscal year 2015 through [technology transfer offices] at research universities, with more than 70 percent of start-ups located in the same state as the affiliated university.”

“The University of Toledo’s Technology Transfer Office has been one of the top performers in the state for many years under the leadership of Stephen Snider,” Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president of research, said. “We are proud to support faculty and students who are coming up with creative ways to solve problems and helping generate high-tech jobs.”

Ohio State University is ranked No. 55 on the Milken Institute’s list. Ohio University is ranked No. 113 and University of Dayton No. 200. The University of Utah is No. 1.

For the entire report, click here.

Sign up to race for UT team at Dart Frog Dash May 20

As the weather in Toledo begins to warm up, natives have started to look for ways to spend more time outside and be active.

The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women and UT’s Healthy U are collaborating to form Dart Frog Dash Team #UToledo for UT faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.

The Toledo Zoo, in partnership with Medical Mutual and other sponsors, will host the 2017 Dart Frog Dash, a 5K race/walk that focuses on regional conservation initiatives. The event will take place Saturday, May 20, at 8:30 a.m.

“Dart Frog Dash focuses on regional conservation initiatives, including our native prairie program,” said Mary Fedderke, director of institutional advancement at the Toledo Zoo. “We’ve installed 30 acres of native prairies throughout the region. The prairies benefit the environment in many ways, including increasing biodiversity, supporting native species like pollinators, and filtering rain water helping clean Lake Erie.”

This is the first year The University of Toledo will have its own team at the 5K at the zoo.

In 2016, there were 2,100 participants at the Dart Frog Dash, as well as more than 5,000 supporters on the zoo grounds. This year, the goal is to have 2,500 registered participants.

“New and experienced runners, as well as walking families, will all have a great time at this historic venue. The serious runner should know this is a U.S. Track and Field certified event, and newbies will appreciate being with the community we love and enjoying our zoo in a new way,” said Vicki Riddick, UT director of service excellence and senior wellness officer. “UT faculty and staff should all look forward to a day of exercise, fun and family time. All family and fans that come to support you may stay on zoo grounds for the rest of day for free.”

Events on race day will include the 5K race/walk, which is plotted on residential streets surrounding the Toledo Zoo, and a Kids’ Fun Run, set up entirely on zoo grounds. Top participants in the 5K race will receive a trophy and a free zoo membership. Age group awards also will be issued.

“The Eberly Center for Women is glad to have this opportunity to collaborate with the UT Healthy U Program and the Toledo Zoo,” said Dr. Shanda Gore, associate vice president of the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women and the Minority Business Development Center. “The Dart Frog Dash is a great chance for UT faculty and staff to get some exercise and bring their families out to our amazing zoo for fun.”

For more details, including registration, maps and directions, visit toledozoo.org/dartfrog.

UTPD officers to participate in active shooter training exercises on campus

The University of Toledo Police Department will conduct active shooter training exercises throughout the month of May that emphasize the role of the first officer to respond to an emergency situation.

The first exercise will take place Wednesday, May 10, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the former Main Campus Child Care Center near the south entrance of campus off Dorr Street and also in Parking Area 9.

Most of the training will be contained inside the building. However, officers will be practicing entry into the north side of the building.

The community may see police cruisers with emergency lights on as officers practice their approaches in the parking lot. Signs will be posted that say, “UT Police Training Event.”

Two more training exercises will be held at the same time and location Thursday, May 18, and Friday, May 26.

The training program called RAIDER, which stands for Rapid Deployment, Awareness, Intervention, Decisiveness, EMS and Recovery, provides the tactical skills necessary for the first officer responding to an active shooter situation to be able to intervene immediately in order to reduce the number of causalities.

The training provides officers with the mental and physical skills to draw the attention of the active shooter away from potential victims, confuse and frustrate the shooter, and successfully neutralize the situation.