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Archive for March, 2010

UT program expands full-tuition guarantee to all Ohio schools

After initially expanding its Blue and Gold Scholar Award Program, part of the UT Guarantee, from six to 21 urban public school districts last year, The University of Toledo will announce another expansion: from 21 school districts to hundreds of them.

Wednesday, March 31, at 11 a.m. in the east lobby of the Memorial Field House, UT officials will announce the expansion of the Blue and Gold Scholar Award Program to include any Pell Grant-eligible seniors with at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average who attend a high school in the state of Ohio or Monroe County, Mich.

“With a successful first year of the Blue and Gold Scholar Award Program completed, we feel we’re ready to expand this program to eligible students from all public and private high schools across the state,” said Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity.

Under the program, UT covers the remaining tuition costs after Pell and state grants are applied to a student’s bill.

Burns said increases to federal Pell Grants embedded in the recently passed health-care legislation will further expand access as more students and families become eligible for Pell Grants due to the tough economic environment.

“It’s been a very hard 18 months. This program will not only help give peace of mind to many families that may have been hit in one way or another by the recession, it will also provide an opportunity for these students to attend the University,” Burns said.

According to Kevin Kucera, UT associate vice president for enrollment services, many districts locally and throughout the state had expressed interest in being added to the program when they heard about it during the last year.

“In short, we heard you,” Kucera said. “Now that we’ve had a chance to evaluate the impact of this year’s Blue and Gold Scholars, it’s clear this expansion is in the best interests of UT, as well as those of students and families across Ohio.

“The cornerstone of UT’s scholarship program is to provide merit assistance to academically talented students regardless of need,” Kucera said. “The unique element of the Blue and Gold Scholar Award is the combination of need and academic achievement.”

Ohio’s Chancellor of Higher Education Eric Fingerhut also praised the program.

“The University System of Ohio is always striving to provide affordable options for higher education,” Fingerhut said. “The University of Toledo’s Blue and Gold Scholar Award is evidence that a high-quality education truly is affordable.”

To qualify for the Blue and Gold Scholar Award, students must graduate with a 3.0 GPA, complete and turn in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, show some level of Pell Grant eligibility, and apply to UT — all by May 1. For more information, contact the UT Office of Undergraduate Admission at 419.530.UTUT (8888). The award does not apply to room or board.

Once at UT, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and complete a minimum of 30 credit hours each academic year to ensure renewal. The scholarship is renewable for four years.

The Blue and Gold Scholar Award Program is part of the University’s UT Guarantee, which also includes the Scholarly Savings Account Program that is aimed at providing financial incentives to students beginning in the eighth grade to academically prepare them for college.

UT to dedicate new $4 million technology business incubator building April 2

The University of Toledo will further augment its business incubation efforts with the dedication of the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex Friday, April 2, at 10 a.m. The new building is located just south of Nitschke Hall Auditorium on Main Campus.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs will join U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Norman Nitschke and C. Robert Sawyer, Chicago regional director of the U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA), for a short ceremony.

The Economic Development Agency provided $2 million toward the project. The grant required a one-to-one match. The state of Ohio provided a match of $1 million. Nitschke, a longtime UT supporter, completed the match with the final $1 million to make the project a reality.

“The University of Toledo has a central role to play in the economic development of the city and the region,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president for research and development. “The generosity of Norm Nitschke and the tireless work of Marcy Kaptur have been essential components of this project and the University’s broader business incubation goals. I firmly believe the EDA will be impressed by the economic return their investment will generate.”

Nitschke said, “This facility will help commercialize countless new and developing businesses that in turn will help lead this region’s economic revitalization.”

Megan Reichert-Kral, UT director of incubation, said the new complex would focus on technology companies, whether they would be companies that outgrew the Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator next door, from University research such as advanced materials and manufacturing in the College of Engineering, or tech companies in the community.

“This new incubator, coupled with our Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator and our Innovation and Minority Business Accelerator located on our Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation, position UT as one of the key partners in the effort to develop high-tech jobs in this region and throughout the state,” Reichert-Kral said.

Reichert-Kral also emphasized the important role local public officials, particularly the Lucas County Commissioners, and the White Paper process from the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce played in strengthening the project.

Michigan attorney to discuss recent U.S. Supreme Court argument

Joel McGormley, an assistant attorney general in Michigan and chief of the attorney general’s appellate division, will speak Thursday, April 1, at The University of Toledo College of Law about his recent case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

McGormley, a 1999 honors graduate from the UT College of Law, will speak at noon in the Law Center Auditorium as part of the “Day After Series,” which features advocates who recently have argued in the Supreme Court. 

He will discuss his March 29 argument before the Supreme Court as lead advocate in Renico v. Lett, a double jeopardy case under the Fifth Amendment. The Renico case involves the question of when a state trial judge can properly declare a mistrial in response to a jury’s expressed failure to reach a unanimous verdict.

As division chief of the Michigan attorney general’s appellate division, McGormley oversees the handling of all of the state’s habeas corpus litigation in federal district court and the subsequent appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, as well as the criminal appeals to the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court for the state’s 56 smallest counties. 

For more information on the free, public event, contact Daniel J. Steinbock, associate dean for academic affairs of The University of Toledo College of Law, at 419.530.4107.

Astronomy researcher challenges star cluster lifecycles



A University of Toledo researcher is challenging the long-held belief that large clusters of stars exist for billions of years.

The existence of such large globular clusters in the Milky Way galaxy and many other nearby galaxies led to the belief that once formed, such massive clusters would be nearly impossible to destroy, but Dr. Rupali Chandar, UT assistant professor of astronomy, says that massive clusters that survive could actually be rare, with most rapidly falling apart.

Chandar received a National Science Foundation Career Award of nearly $729,000 over five years to test a new theory about the life cycle of star clusters. Most stars are believed to form in clusters, within giant clouds of cold and dense molecular gas. Little, though, is known about the clusters’ subsequent survival. The research project is called “The Life Cycle of Star Clusters: New Windows Into Star Formation and Galaxy Evolution.”

By studying star clusters in a number of galaxies, Chandar and her team are finding many huge young clusters that are only millions of years old, but few such clusters that are older. So either there was an extreme ramp-up in the formation of these clusters during a time representing the last 0.1 percent of the age of the universe, or the large clusters really don’t endure.

“The conventional wisdom has been that when these monsters form, they will be nearly impossible to destroy, hanging around for billions of years. It took us awhile to wrap our minds around the fact that 80 or 90 percent of them may actually be destroyed quite quickly, after only 10 million years,” Chandar said. “We’re starting to think those old large globular clusters that we see are just the skeletal remains of a much larger population, the lucky survivors.”

If Chandar’s team continues to find mostly young clusters as they expand their studies to more galaxies, about 30 in all, the next questions to delve into are why the lucky few have lasted billions of years and what causes most to quickly disperse.

Dr. Karen Bjorkman, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department, said Chandar’s research has generated a lot of discussion in the astronomy community.

“Rupali has brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the department, and her research is creating a lot of waves and is challenging us to think differently about the formation of star clusters in galaxies,” Bjorkman said.

The Career grant also includes an outreach component, for which Chandar is developing a workshop to train middle school teachers to instruct students about the universe beyond our solar system, using lessons that students will find fun as well as educational. She also is organizing a day for middle school students to come to campus to learn about science and math with hands-on activities.

Chandar’s data comes from large telescopes on the ground, such as those located in Hawaii and Chile, and also from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope as she works with other research teams to look into those findings.

Most recently, she was involved with the Hubble discovery of ancient galaxies coming together in the Hickson Compact Group 31. It is believed that the coming together of galaxies was common in the universe’s formative years, but this discovery shows a nearby example that is happening before researchers’ eyes at a time when the merging of multiple galaxies is much more rare.

“I’m lucky to have access to some of the best data in the world, taken both from space and ground-based telescopes, and to be working on research that has generated a lot of discussion among astronomers,” Chandar said.

Strategic planning committee continues work

The strategic planning committee is moving closer to a rough draft of a recalibrated strategic directions document.

At the strategic planning committee meeting on Friday, the more than 100-member group of faculty, staff, students and community members reviewed revisions to the six goals of the 2007 “Directions” document that subcommittees have been working on for the last two months.

The strategic planning committee is aiming to revise the 2007 “Directions” document to account for real, supposed and probable economic, technological and social challenges, and to more closely align UT’s strategies to those of the University System of Ohio. This is the third time the entire group has met.

The six revised goals, though still considered drafts, read as follows:

I. The undergraduate academic programs at UT will be regionally distinguished and highly ranked nationally. The undergraduate experience will provide exceptional student-centeredness and a learner-driven focus, which combine to ensure a personally satisfying, professionally relevant and affordable education.

II. The graduate and professional academic programs at UT will be widely distinguished and highly ranked nationally. These programs will be known for high quality while maintaining accessibility, affordability and engagement. Science and professional programs will have high visibility.

III. We will enhance the University of Toledo’s standing as a major metropolitan research university with internationally recognized areas of research, scholarship, and creative activity.

IV. We will be distinguished for our student-centeredness and for our vibrant programs and environment that enhance the sense of community on our campuses and in the surrounding areas.

V. We will be nationally recognized for our high-quality clinical enterprise and as a transformative force in the ongoing evolution of regional and national health-care delivery systems. We will continue to work toward distinction aspiring to status as a “top 100 tier” academic medical center, and in so doing meet or exceed prudent fiscal targets. As such, the clinical enterprise will remain an integral part of our academic mission, our community engagement and our fiscal well-being.

VI. We will enhance our community engagement to drive the revitalization of the region’s economic, educational, health, cultural, environmental and civic quality of life with a keen awareness of global scope, national relevance and regional impact.

Each goal contains more specific sub-goals, strategies for reaching the goals, and metrics for measuring the progress being made on each goal.

Dr. Jamie Barlowe, co-convener of the strategic planning committee and professor and chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, said the group is making great progress.

“The hard work that goes into this and the way people are committed to this institution … it’s amazing,” Barlowe said. “We have a full rough draft two months into the process. That’s enormous progress.”

Barlowe said the next stage of the revision is for the work groups to make sure they have “value-added” measures in their strategies and metrics.

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘What have we done to positively impact student learning?’” Barlowe said. “We need to be certain that our measurements are more than a simple ‘Did we do it?’ statement.”

You can learn more about the strategic planning process and progress, read the full versions of each draft goal, and learn how to join the committee to share your voice at utoledo.edu/strategicplan.

Also, participate in weekly discussions on the strategic plan on Facebook or on Epsilen.

The next meeting of the whole strategic planning committee will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, April 30, in the Mulford Library Café.

Forum to analyze citizen, professional journalism in age of Internet

“A Nation of Watchdogs: Citizen Journalists and Traditional Journalists” will be discussed at the 11th Annual First Amendment Freedom Forum, which will take place Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m. in The University of Toledo’s Law Center Auditorium.

“Cell phones, Twitter, Facebook and cheap video cameras have empowered ordinary people to serve as journalists, who record history as it occurs and then share it with the public,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication, who helped organize the event. “Citizens mean well, but they often lack training in journalism and do not check facts, worry about distortion, or dedicate their professional life to serving the public.

“Sometimes, these folks get the message right and offer invaluable eyewitness accounts, but as the lines blur between citizen and traditional journalism, the public is often challenged to determine whom to believe.”

Scheduled to be panelists for the forum are Michael S. Miller, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Toledo Free Press; Lisa Renee Ward, Toledo blogger (Glass City Jungle) and champion of citizen journalism, and Maggie Thurber, communication consulting firm owner, former public official and blogger (Thurber’s Thoughts). Joe Griffith, editor-in-chief of The Independent Collegian, will serve as the moderator.

“The human inclination to seek ‘news’ to support personal opinions that bloggers also champion could result in a nation of misinformed people ill-prepared to participate in democracy. Democracy cannot exist without an informed citizenry,” Kilmer said. “The press plays a watchdog role to prevent the government, big business or any other power broker from taking advantage of public resources or denying anyone constitutional rights.”

She was quick to add that the battle for the First Amendment is an ongoing fight.

“The battle for the First Amendment is never over partly because polarizing public opinion eliminates respect for diverse ideas,” Kilmer said. “Just the other day, The New York Times reported that Google stopped service in mainland China because the government was censoring sites. China has banned Facebook, Twitter and YouTube hoping to control citizen ‘news’ from China to the rest of the world.”

For more information on the free, public forum, contact Kilmer at paulette.kilmer@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4672.

Lectures to explore opportunities, programs in chemistry

The UT Chemistry Department will hold two lectures next week that are part of its Program for Academic Excellence titled “Leaders of the Global Scientific Community.”

Dr. Luis Echegoyen, director of the Division of Chemistry at the National Science Foundation (NSF), will talk about “NSF Chemistry Division: Programs and Opportunities” Wednesday, March 31, at 4 p.m. in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories Room 1059 on Main Campus.

“The Chemistry Department faculty have in recent years received six prestigious NSF Career Awards and three major instrumentation grants,” said Dr. Jon Kirchhoff, UT professor and associate chair of chemistry. “Dr. Echegoyen’s visit is a great opportunity to show him firsthand the excellent research being conducted in our laboratories and the positive impact that NSF support has had on our undergraduate and graduate programs.”

The National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950, is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all government-supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

Dr. Bradley Miller, director of the Office of International Activities at the American Chemical Society, will discuss “U.S. Efforts to Celebrate the 2011 International Year of Chemistry” Thursday, April 1, at 4 p.m. in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories Room 1059.

His presentation will outline the origins, purposes and planned domestic and global activities of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry and the opportunities it creates to excite and capture the public’s imagination as to chemistry’s role in everyday life, its potential solutions to addressing global challenges, and help in achieving the United Nation’s millennium development goals.

For more information on the free, public lectures, contact Kirchhoff at jon.kirchhoff@utoledo.edu or 419.530.1515.

Symposium to focus on vascular, endovascular interventions

The UT Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and Toledo Hospital’s Jobst Vascular Center will present the Ninth Vascular and Endovascular Interventions Symposium Thursday and Friday, April 15 and 16.

webvascular-final-brochure-1The conference will take place in the Dana Conference Center on Health Science Campus.

Leaders in the field of vascular surgery will discuss advances in vascular and endovascular interventions and noninvasive evaluation of vascular disease.

The two-day conference is designed to bring updates to health-care professionals who deal with vascular disease; these include vascular surgeons, general surgeons, radiologists, cardiologists, internists, nurses, vascular laboratory technologists, and residents in general surgery, vascular surgery and cardiology.

Costs for UT and ProMedica Health System faculty, staff and allied health-care professionals are $100 for both days or $75 for one day. For physicians, the cost is $150 for two days and $100 for one day.

Registrations are requested by Thursday, April 1. For more information on the symposium and continuing medical education credits, go to cme.utoledo.edu and look under “upcoming events.”

For more information, contact Becky Roberts at 419.383.4237 or becky.roberts@utoledo.edu.

Blackboard server back online, some data lost

The Blackboard server was back online Tuesday afternoon following about a day and a half of service disruption due to a technological failure.

“Thanks to the overnight work of Academic Support, the Blackboard servers are now back online and ready for use,” wrote Dr. Ben Pryor, assistant vice president for learning ventures in a memo to the campus community. “I once again would like to express my regret about this situation and assure you that we will be taking steps to mitigate the effects of technological failures in the future.”

In the memo, Pryor outlined some of details and issues students might face as they enter the system:

“First, however, it is important that you understand some of the consequences of this event:

• The servers were restored using files that were backed up over three successive days, according to the following schedule:

— Courses starting with A, B, D, E, F, G = Mar. 15

— C, I = Mar. 16

— H, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z = Mar. 17
That means that data changes in the course between that date and today’s restoration are lost. Students who took quizzes in geology on the 16th, for example, will not have their scores recorded along with the restored data.

• Any discussion postings, notes, files, etc. added to the site between the day of your backup and today will not appear on the course.

• Students who were scheduled to take quizzes or exams during the outage will not have had access to notes or lectures. I urge accommodation for students in this position and recommend that this event be treated much like we would treat a snowstorm’s effect on a face-to-face course.”
Pryor thanked the campus community for its patience.

“We have tried very hard to address student concerns via e-mail, chat, phone and Facebook,” he wrote. “I am committed to helping faculty deal with this disruption through short-term measures, and more importantly through long-term strategies to enhance and increase the kinds of technologies that can help us to communicate with students.”

Those with questions or concerns are urged to work with their individual professor or contact Pryor at ben.pryor@utoledo.edu.

Forum designed to discuss, explore African affairs

Are you a member of The University of Toledo community? Do you have any intellectual or professional interest in African affairs?

If so, the UT Africana Studies Program will be holding regular forums to discuss various topics and issues related to African affairs.

“We want to end the experience where those interested in Africa at UT work in isolation,” said Dr. Rubin Patterson, interim director of the Africana Studies Program and professor of sociology. “The forums will establish more of a critical mass whereby the scholarly impacts of our works can be enhanced above and beyond individuals working in isolation.”

The initial meeting, which will be scheduled between Monday, March 29, and Friday, April 2, will serve as a way to identify, bring together and support UT students, faculty and staff members whose work involves Africa.

Those interested in attending are asked to send days/times when they would be able to meet next week to tamara.golkiewicz@utoledo.edu.

Ultimately, the forums will help students become future professionals who specialize in various countries, regions and issues in Africa.

“Many major institutions are in constant need of individuals with both a broad knowledge of Africa and some specific expertise on diverse aspects within a given country or region,” Patterson said. “Unfortunately, not many UT students have been prepared to work at institutions with respect to Africa. The forums, under the auspices of Africana studies, seek to alter this situation.”

In addition to forums, the Africana Studies Program will host brown-bag discussions, which will include speakers on various topics concerning Africa.

For more information on these free, public events, contact tamara.golkiewicz@utoledo.edu.