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— Judith Herb College of Education

UT peace education scholar wins Fulbright grant to Colombia

A peace education scholar at The University of Toledo is heading to Latin America to support the society-wide effort to realize a 2016 peace deal that ended a 52-year civil war in Colombia between the government and the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, or FARC, among other militants.

Dr. Dale Snauwaert, professor of educational theory and peace studies in the UT Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership, was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Award and is spending Sept. 4-18 at the Institute for Bioethics at the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana in Bogota to study and give lectures and workshops on moral theory, environmental ethics and peace education.

Snauwaert

“It will take a generation or two to socially, economically and politically integrate generations of ex-militants into Colombian society,” Snauwaert said. “One of the keys to the success of the peace process, therefore, is peace education.”

The lectures and discussion forums are open to the public, including faculty and students at Pontifica Universidad Javeriana and government officials.

“At this critical stage in the Colombian peace process, an understanding of the philosophy and practice of justice and peace building among the citizenry is essential for its success,” Snauwaert said. “The project will open the institution to an ongoing dialogue regarding peace and justice as well as the recognition of the inclusion of peace and justice studies as a civic responsibility of the university.”

“This is an outstanding award, and Dale is certainly worthy of it. His work in peace education is well-known and respected,” Dr. Raymond Witte, dean of the UT Judith Herb College of Education, said. “A Fulbright recognition is at the highest level, and this speaks directly to the quality of Dale’s work as well as the support from the Judith Herb College of Education and the University at large.”

Peace studies is an interdisciplinary field of study and a learning process designed to develop the capacity of democratic citizens to critically understand and transform all forms of violence and the patterns of thought that justify them, and to envision and pursue a just and peaceful world.

“The primary elements of peace studies focus on the causes that give rise to and sustain violence, approaches to resolving violent conflict, and the articulation and defense of ethical and political principles and values that define the normative conditions of peace, including theories of justice, both ideal and non-ideal,” Snauwaert said.

UT offers an undergraduate minor in peace and justice studies and oversees the Betty A. Reardon Archives, which is housed in the University’s Canaday Center for Special Collections. The collection consists of Reardon’s extensive publications, unpublished manuscripts, curriculum, reports, scholarly presentations, and correspondence from the 1960s to the present about peace studies. The archives of the world-renowned champion of peace education and 2013 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize have been in the Canaday Center since 2009.

Photographer frames memories for Art on the Mall

A stolen moment brought life into focus for Agnes L. Barnes.

In 1985, she and her husband, Chet Barnes, were on vacation in California when their friend’s car was broken into; the thief took her vintage camera, an Argus C3.

Agnes and Chet Barnes hold two of her photographs taken at the Toledo Museum of Art and Wildwood Preserve Metropark. The couple will be at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 29.

“Then I bought a Canon Rebel G,” she said. “Right after that, we went to South Africa, and I got some really nice pictures.”

A photograph of three majestic elephants crossing the road at Kruger National Park. A crouching lion near Johannesburg. Thatched-roof huts in Soweto.

“When people saw the photos from South Africa and commented on how great the pictures were, I realized, well, maybe I have an ability many people don’t have. I was 50 years old before I discovered this,” Agnes said and laughed.

“She never had a lesson in photography. She’s taken pictures, pictures and more pictures,” Chet said beaming with pride. “Her first show was in Sylvania in 1994. We had photos hanging on chicken wire under an umbrella. She won a blue ribbon and sold so many photos.”

More shows and awards followed. And more photos.

Freshly fallen snow on the boardwalk at Wildwood Preserve Metropark. UT’s iconic University Hall bell tower. The colorful animal menagerie mural on the railroad bridge over the Anthony Wayne Trail by the Toledo Zoo. A close-up of a pink rose with dewdrops.

Agnes L. Barnes looked at daisies in her garden. She loves taking photographs of flowers.

“A lot of the photos are serendipity,” Chet said. “I hear all the time, ‘Chet, get the camera.’ I’ll think she’s had enough time for a shot, and I look over and her toes are moving her back and forth: She has to get it just right.”

“I like to capture the beauty for others to enjoy that beauty,” Agnes said.

After Chet retired from Toledo Public Schools in 1996, the couple traveled so Agnes could capture more beauty.

The two have been up and down the East Coast, zooming in on lighthouses and old Southern homes. They went to England and visited quaint villages and gorgeous gardens. Island-hopping on Pohnpei, Guam, Saipan and Hawaii found lush, tropical paradises. And during two weeks in China, Agnes pointed her camera at the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors.

“So many people have told me that looking at my photos is like taking a vacation,” Agnes said.

While her striking images can transport viewers, she didn’t recognize her superpower for years.

“I didn’t look at the camera as an artistic tool; I just looked at it as something to record for future reference,” Agnes said.

“During my early years, I was born in 1937, and then World War II started, and film was very difficult to get. We did not have many pictures of my family growing up. So I made up my mind I was going to make sure I had pictures of my little brother and of my own children someday.”

With her mom’s Brownie camera, Agnes took photos of her baby brother, Paul, who was born in 1950. And then with the Argus C3, she clicked away while her children, John and Beth Ann, were growing up.

When 11-year-old Beth Ann passed away from leukemia in 1980, those images helped Agnes and Chet.

Agnes L. Barnes’ photographs appear in the book, “Choosing the Gift: Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One.”

“Most of the photos of my children were on slides, which turned out to be a really good thing,” Agnes said. “After Beth Ann’s death, I gave talks on how to help grieving families, and I showed slides of her, plus audio of her, so people would feel like they knew her, and they could see where our grief was coming from. I gave talks for 10 years.”

For nearly a decade, Agnes and Chet facilitated a bereavement group for parents.

And some of Agnes’ breathtaking shots of nature are featured in a book, “Choosing the Gift: Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One,” by Dr. Scott Shepherd and the photographer.

“The majority of the pictures I sell are because they bring back memories to my customers, I do believe,” she said.

Agnes and Chet will return to Art on the Mall Sunday, July 29. The cute couple sporting matching T-shirts that say “Eye-Catching Photos by Agnes L. Barnes” will be among more than 100 artists showcasing their work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the free, juried show on Centennial Mall.

“Art on the Mall is a good show,” Agnes said. “Many of my customers are repeat customers; they return again and again. One lady told me that she has an entire wall that she calls her ‘Agnes wall’ because it is filled with my photos. It’s nice to keep in contact with my customers.”

Chet likes returning to his alma mater each summer; he received a master of education degree and an education specialist in guidance and counselor education in 1973 and 1975, respectfully.

“Every picture has a story,” he said.

“Chet is good at telling stories and keeping people in the booth,” Agnes said and smiled.

A missed photo opportunity is one of his favorite tales.

“The one time we didn’t have a camera was when we met Elvis Presley,” he said. “True story!”

Faculty members receive promotion, tenure

A number of faculty members received tenure and promotion for the 2017-18 academic year approved in April by the UT Board of Trustees.

Faculty members who received tenure were:

College of Law
• Michelle Cavalieri
• Bryan Lammon

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor were:

College of Arts and Letters
• Daniel Hernandez, Art
• Dr. Thor Mednick, Art
• Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, Disability Studies
• Dr. Jason Levine, Psychology
• Daniel Thobias, Theatre and Film

College of Business and Innovation
• Dr. Kainan Wang, Finance
• Dr. Joseph Cooper, Management

College of Engineering
• Dr. Halim Ayan, Bioengineering
• Dr. Eda Yildirim-Ayan, Bioengineering

College of Health and Human Services
• Dr. Aravindhan Natarajan, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. David Heidt, Surgery

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
• Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, Biological Sciences

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
• Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor were:

College of Arts and Letters
• Dr. Mysoon Rizk, Art
• Dr. Sujata Shetty, Geography and Planning
• Dr. Jami Taylor, Political Science and Public Administration
• Dr. Edmund Lingan, Theatre and Film

College of Business and Innovation
• Dr. Margaret Hopkins, Management
• Dr. Bashar Gammoh, Marketing and International Business

College of Engineering
• Dr. Scott Molitor, Bioengineering
• Dr. Sridhar Viamajala, Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Dr. Youngwoo Seo, Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Dr. Devinder Kaur, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
• Dr. Gursel Serpen, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
• Dr. Chunhua Sheng, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
• Dr. Hongyan Zhang, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College of Health and Human Services
• Dr. Tavis Glassman, School of Population Health
• Dr. Sheryl Milz, School of Population Health

Judith Herb College of Education
• Dr. Tod Shockey, Curriculum and Instruction
• Dr. Florian Feucht, Educational Foundations and Leadership

College of Law
• Elizabeth McCuskey
• Evan Zoldan

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. Azedine Medhkour, Neurosurgery

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
• Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Maria Diakonova, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Michael Weintraub, Environmental Sciences

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
• Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry
• Dr. Frederick Williams, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to associate professor were:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. Sumon Nandi, Orthopaedic Surgery
• Dr. Terrence Lewis, Radiology

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.

Football legend, technology expert to speak at UT commencement ceremonies

Chuck Ealey and Dr. Helen Sun will return to The University of Toledo to give addresses during spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 5, in the Glass Bowl.

Ealey, the football star and businessman, will speak at the undergraduate ceremony at 10 a.m. Sun, a technology strategist known for transforming companies, will come out for the graduate commencement at 3 p.m.

There are 3,094 candidates for degrees from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Health and Human Services; Graduate Studies; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College. There are 987 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates, and 2,107 for bachelor’s and associate’s degrees.

The public ceremonies can be viewed live at utoledo.edu/video.

Ealey

UT will award Ealey an honorary doctor of humane letters.

“It is amazing, wonderful and humbling to have the opportunity to speak to the 2018 graduates of The University of Toledo,” Ealey said. “What I want to share is what I have learned — and am still learning — after I graduated. It’s about a legacy dream that can come true.”

He made dreams a reality as the UT quarterback who became a legend leading the Rockets to 35 victories in three seasons and as a trailblazer for African-American QBs in the Canadian Football League.

After finishing 18-0 in high school in Portsmouth, Ohio, Ealey received a football scholarship to the University. While earning a business degree in economics, he earned some nicknames for his exploits on the field: Mr. Cool, The Wizard of Oohs and Aahs. With Ealey at quarterback, Toledo went 35-0 from 1969 to 1971. He racked up 5,903 yards in total offense and 54 touchdowns while leading the Rockets to final Associated Press rankings of No. 20 in 1969, No. 12 in 1970, and No. 14 in 1971, finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior year.

Despite the eye-popping numbers, Ealey was passed over as a quarterback in the 1972 NFL draft. Although offered other positions, he was committed to becoming a professional quarterback and elected to go to the Canadian Football League. As a rookie, he led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Grey Cup Championship in 1972 and was named Most Valuable Player. During his seven years in the CFL, he also played for the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

After hanging up his helmet, Ealey was a certified financial planner with Investors Group for 30 years. He recently stepped out of his role as regional director to do more client and corporate coaching. The 1972 UT alumnus also inspires through the Chuck Ealey Foundation, which helps people discover and embrace their undefeated spirit to better themselves and their community.

Sun

Sun, chief technology officer of architecture, engineering and data management at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Chicago, received a PhD in educational technology from UT in 2001. She is an expert in revolutionizing businesses through innovative solutions, including artificial intelligence, cloud, analytics and architecture.

“I’m very excited to be coming back to campus and reflect on how my IT career took shape during the years I attended UT,” said Sun, who developed websites while in graduate school.

“I’ll wrap my speech around three personal experiences: How I started a career in technology — find where your passion lies; how my seemingly diverse career path has taken me to where I am — take risks and never let fear of failure deter you away from opportunities; and who my true hero is throughout these years — don’t let what others do to you change who you are,” she said.

Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase & Co., Sun was vice president for cloud computing, information and architecture at Motorola Solutions Inc. She has held senior leadership positions at some of the world’s most recognizable companies, including Harbor Capitol Advisors, NewEdge Group, Oracle Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc.

At Oracle, Sun became the first woman to achieve Oracle Enterprise Architect status and was honored as Oracle Enterprise Architect of the Year in 2011. In 2016, the Chicago Business Journal named her one of 50 honorees for its Women of Influence Awards.

She is the co-author of “Oracle Big Data Handbook,” “Pro Salesforce Analytics Cloud: A Guide to Wave Platform, Builder and Explorer” and “Master Competitive Analytics With Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.” Sun is a frequent speaker at major conferences and symposia; she gave the keynote address at the Open Group Big Data Conference in 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.

In addition to her passion serving as a mentor for women, Sun was a member of the UT Business Advisory Board from 2012 to 2016. She is co-chair of the Computer Science Advisory Board at Bowling Green State University.

Those planning to attend commencement are advised to use the west entrance off Secor Road and the south entrance off Dorr Street to avoid congestion on West Bancroft Street.

The College of Law will hold its commencement Sunday, May 6, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

And the College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ graduation ceremony will take place Friday, May 25, at 2 p.m. in Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. in Toledo.

University recognizes faculty, staff for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

UT outstanding advisors, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were recognized last week.

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Winners of the Outstanding Adviser Award were Dr. Jerry Van Hoy and Amanda Seabolt.

Amanda Seabolt, academic advisor in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The UT alumna received a bachelor of science degree in biology, a master of public health degree, a master of science degree in nursing, and a graduate certificate in gerontological practice. She will graduate with a doctor of philosophy in curriculum and instruction from the University next month. Seabolt started advising students in 2015, the same year she received one of UT’s Outstanding Staff Awards.

“She is always giving students opportunities, whether it be in getting a new job, joining an organization, or participating in research,” one nominator wrote. “She is always pushing students to do their best.” “She shows great knowledge through her own personal experience and continued education. She never stops learning,” another nominator wrote. “If she doesn’t know something, she doesn’t stop looking until she finds the answer. She is always working for the student. She has been one of the most influential people during my time at the University.”

Dr. Jerry Van Hoy, associate professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Letters. He is co-director of the Program in Law and Social Thought and director of the Master of Liberal Studies Program. Van Hoy joined the University in 2000 and received one of UT’s Outstanding Teacher Awards in 2013.

“He flips the notion that advising is purely transactional on its head by listening to students’ needs and concerns. He helps students develop academic plans that work for them, addressing weaknesses and creating pathways to not only graduation, but to a life after college that students are excited about,” a nominator wrote. Another noted, “As a recent graduate, I faced some distressing events during my capstone project. Dr. Van Hoy provided objective feedback to let me know the problem wasn’t unusual, the troubling issues were not caused by me, and that they were not insurmountable. His advice was calming and reassuring. He was sensitive, diplomatic when needed, and direct as required.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Receiving Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards were, from left, Dr. Vijay Devabhaktuni, Dr. Yanfa Yan and Nicole Buonocore Porter.

Dr. Vijay Devabhaktuni
, professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering. He is executive director of emerging technologies and special advisor to the UT vice president, chief information officer and chief technology officer. Devabhaktuni joined the faculty as an associate professor in 2008.

He is a renowned expert in computer-aided design, machine learning, modeling, optimization and simulation as applied to electromagnetics, big data, biomedical engineering, cyber security, energy efficiency, virtual reality, wireless sensor networking, image and signal processing, and more. Since 2009, the National Science Foundation has supported his work. While at UT, he has received about $2 million in funding from more than 30 external grants and has published more than 80 papers. According to Google Scholar, Devebhaktuni’s work has been cited 3,200 times since 2013.

Nicole Buonocore Porter, professor of law in the College of Law. She joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 2007.

Porter is a nationally recognized scholar on the employment rights of women and individuals with disabilities. She is the author of a disability law casebook, published by a leading legal academic publisher, and is the co-editor of a forthcoming book titled “Feminist Judgments: Employment Discrimination Opinions Rewritten.” Her published articles address the persistent pay gap between men and women, discrimination against workers with caregiving responsibilities, and the employment rights of individuals with disabilities. Her work has been cited more than any other faculty member in the UT College of Law, and she is frequently invited to speak at symposia and national conferences. In addition, Porter was invited to join the Labor Law Group, a prestigious organization that produces scholarship on labor and employment law.

Dr. Yanfa Yan, professor of physics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the UT faculty in 2011.

For two decades, Yan has been researching photovoltaics, solar fuels and energy storage techniques using a combination of theory, material synthesis, device fabrication, and material and device characterization. He has written or co-written more than 350 articles and has given more than 50 invited talks. According to Google Scholar, Yan’s work has been cited 16,868 times. His work has been funded with more than $5 million from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Office of Naval Research and private industry.

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were Dr. Susan Batten and Kenneth Kilbert.

Dr. Susan Batten
, professor in the College of Nursing. She joined the University in 1995.

Batten coordinates patient intake for the UT Community Care Clinic at Cedar Creek Church, provides care during Labre Traveling Clinic in south and east Toledo, and for migrant workers at their resident camps in northwest Ohio. She also has mentored nursing, medical and pharmacy students during annual medical missions to Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti. Batten has worked with more than 1,000 UT students with her community outreach and service projects. Their work has impacted more than 4,000 chronic disease patients in northwest Ohio, 500 immigrant workers and their families in rural Ohio, and more than 40,000 patients in Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti.

Kenneth Kilbert, professor and director of the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes in the College of Law. He joined the University in 2006.

A scholar of environmental law, Kilbert’s work focuses on water issues affecting the Great Lakes region. Since 2006, he has planned UT’s annual Great Lakes Water Conference, which addresses legal and policy issues important to the region and its water resources. Each year, the conference draws approximately 300 guests and garners extensive media coverage. In addition, Kilbert has received multiple grants to study harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. His scholarly work increases awareness, promotes best practices, and suggests legal solutions to address the algal bloom problem.

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Kara Bruce, professor in the College of Law. She joined the faculty in 2010.

“Professor Bruce exemplifies everything a professor should be — teacher, mentor, friend,” a nominator wrote. “Professor Bruce strives to engage her students while teaching difficult, sometimes less-interesting classes. She provides practical examples, makes jokes, and she goes out of her way (sometimes at the expense of getting behind schedule) to make sure we all understand what she is teaching. Honestly, I wish I could take Professor Bruce for every class in law school.” “Professor Bruce is excellent at taking complicated and challenging material and making it manageable for her students. She presents the material in a way that acknowledges the difficultly without making it seem daunting,” another wrote. “Not only is she passionate about students passing her class, she is passionate about making her students pass the bar.”

Dr. Edward Cancio, associate professor of special education in the Judith Herb College of Education. He came to UT in 2007.

“Dr. Cancio has been the most knowledgeable and inspiring professor I have had in my four years at UT. Every week Dr. Cancio showed the same passion for the subject that he taught and brought out the best from my classmates and I. It is easy to see from his lectures, published articles, and just speaking to him that Dr. Cancio is an expert in his field and was happy to pass his knowledge on special education to the class,” one nominator wrote. “Dr. Cancio’s class focused on teaching students with emotional behavioral disorder, which is one of the most intimidating sections of special education. After taking his class, I know that I am more than prepared to go into this field.”

Elyce Ervin, senior lecturer in the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Health and Human Services. She has been teaching at the University since 1999.

“I had Elyce Ervin for Anatomy and Physiology, which has never been so easily comprehendible than it was in her class. She provided mini-activities every other class that helped us to understand the material. She also provided great lecture notes that were organized and easy to keep up with. The notes were fill-in, which helped people pay attention in her class. She would always ask if anyone had any questions in between every slide to ensure we were understanding the material,” one nominator wrote. “The one thing that makes Elyce Ervin stick out is how she is continuing to have an impact on me. She is without a doubt one of the best people I have met in my life.”

Dr. Jackie Layng, professor of communication in the College of Arts and Letters. She has taught at the University since 1997.

“Dr. Layng has by far been the most knowledgeable and personable professor I have had at UT. Her classes always push me to do my best work and achieve professional-level skills. Many times her class assignments seem intimidating at first, but Dr. Layng is always available to guide students throughout the process,” a nominator wrote. Another noted, “Selfless, dedicated, inspiring, caring: If you asked me to list all of the amazing things about Jackie, I think it’d be impossible because she’s had such a profound impact on my life. She genuinely cares about her students. Her constant words of encouragement, honest critiques, and passion for her career genuinely keep me going, and I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.”

Dr. Kim E. Nielsen, professor of history, disability studies, and women’s and gender studies in the College of Arts and Letters. She joined the faculty in 2012.

“Dr. Nielsen creates a classroom atmosphere that makes all of her students feel comfortable to share stories, ideas and opinions. She listens to every student and encourages all of her students to have a voice,” a nominator wrote. Another noted, “Dr. Nielsen goes out of her way to make sure every student succeeds. Her sense of humor makes every class intriguing and makes me want to learn more. I wasn’t much of a history buff until taking classes with her and hearing her passionate views. Dr. Nielsen is always available when you need her. She always comes to class with a smiling face even considering the boatload of other work she has to do. I wish I could have her for more classes.”

John J. Schlageter III, senior lecturer in the Paralegal Studies Program housed in the School of Social Justice in the College of Health and Human Services. He is a graduate of the UT College of Law and has been teaching at the University since 1998.

“He is truly the best professor that I had throughout my college career — always willing to listen, help in any way he can, and truly do everything in his power to help you begin your career in law,” one nominator wrote. Another noted, “Professor Schlageter goes above and beyond to help the students achieve great success in the paralegal classes. He always offers support, help and resources. He strives hard to make sure all students find a good quality internship. He always checks in on students and always offers support.” Another wrote, “He listens to every concern and teaches with such a passion. You can tell John loves what he does. He has helped myself and many others land jobs.”

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Elyce Ervin, Dr. Jackie Layng, John J. Schlageter III, Dr. Kim E. Nielsen, Kara Bruce and Dr. Edward Cancio.

Distinguished University Professors also were recognized at the ceremony:

Dr. Abdollah Afjeh of the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in the College of Engineering;

Dr. Paul Hong of the Department of Information Operations and Technology Management in the College of Business and Innovation; and

Joseph Slater of the College of Law.

Read more about them here.

And Distinguished University Lecturers were honored:

Amy O’Donnell of the Department of Management in the College of Business and Innovation;

Sherry Tripepi of the School of Social Justice in the College of Health and Human Services; and

Sara Yaklin of the Department of English in the College of Arts and Letters.

Read more about them here.

University Women’s Commission honors employees, gives scholarships to students

Three UT employees were recognized for exceptional achievement and dedication to the campus community at the 32nd annual Outstanding Women’s Award ceremony.

More than 60 attended the University Women’s Commission program, which was held April 11 in the Savage Arena Joe Grogan Room.

Kelly Andrews, senior associate athletic director who is chair of the University Women’s Commission, told the crowd that since 1987, the organization has honored 173 UT faculty and staff members, and awarded $87,000 in scholarships.

Guest speaker Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, director of foundation and development communications with the UT Foundation, talked about how challenging yourself to go outside your comfort zone can be empowering. The 1983 UT alumna and 2017 Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award winner is the author of “Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares,” which just received a silver medal in the humor category of the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs).

Recipients of the 2018 Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were, from left, Melissa Gleckler, Dr. Revathy Kumar and Dr. Michele Soliz.

The recipients of the Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were:

• Melissa Gleckler, educational technologist with UT Online in University College. She has worked at the University for 11 years. Gleckler won the Ohio Academic Advising Association Excellence Award in 2017, and has presented about advising and learning assessment at national conferences. She is a founding member of the Toledo Academic Advising Association, and she is serving a three-year elected term as co-chair of the communications committee for the Professional Staff Council. The UT alumna received a bachelor of arts degree in communication in 1996, a master of liberal studies degree in 2009, and is working on a PhD.

“She had a wonderful rapport with her students. Her office was next door to mine, and the walls were quite thin. I could hear laughter, sometimes tears and consolation, and lots of encouragement,” one nominator wrote. “Melissa is a proud UT alumna. I have always admired her pursuit of self-improvement and further education. She continuously sought opportunities to add a credential or skill and is pursuing a PhD focused on educational media and technology, with research interests in how course aesthetics and technical design affect the learning experience. As an adjunct instructor, she took pride in enhancing her courses with the latest technology and was passionate about updating the content and course material every semester.”

• Dr. Revathy Kumar, professor of educational psychology in the Judith Herb College of Education. She joined the UT faculty in 2001. Her research focuses on social and cultural processes involved in constructing a sense of self and identity among adolescents in culturally diverse societies. Of particular interest are the roles of teachers, teacher-education programs, schools, communities and families in facilitating minority and immigrant adolescents’ development, learning and motivation. Her work has been published in education and psychology journals.

“Dr. Kumar has started examining the role of mindfulness cultivation among pre-service teachers for enhancing awareness and focusing attention on personal implicit and explicit biases toward poor and minority students. The program of research is both important and relevant because increasing demographic heterogeneity in our country has raised concerns regarding our teachers’ capacity to face the challenging task of teaching culturally diverse students,” one nominator wrote. “She has chosen to develop a line of research particularly aimed at improving undergraduate teacher education at UT and, as responses to her articles indicate, recognized as useful across the nation for constructing teacher education programs that prepare teachers to be effective in the diverse classrooms they will enter.”

• Dr. Michele Soliz, assistant vice president for student success and inclusion in the Division of Student Affairs. During her 17 years at the University, she has worked in the Office of the Provost and served as dean of students. She was chair of the 2017 UT Community Charitable Campaign, which raised $128,934 for nearly 220 nonprofit area organizations. The UT alumna received a master of education degree and a PhD in higher education in 2002 and 2012, respectively.

“Michele has an unbridled passion for helping the students she comes into contact with on campus, as well as those in the community. Her determination and wholehearted desire to help others was apparent to me since the first time we worked together,” one nominator wrote. “She has been a committee member of the Latino Youth Summit and Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program since their inceptions. She is active in the UT Latino Alumni Affiliate, serves as a mentor to African-American female students in the Talented and Aspiring Women Leaders Program, and teaches the course Managing Diversity in the Workplace. Her hours of charitable work confirm she is not only socially conscious, but also invested in the betterment of the world around her.”

Winners of the University Women’s Commission $1,000 scholarship were, from left, Celine Schreidah, Jessica Avery, Shaquira Jackson and Hailey Cox.

The University Women’s Commission also presented $1,000 scholarships to four students. Receiving awards based on academic achievement, support of women’s and gender issues, and campus involvement were Jessica Avery, a senior majoring in history; Hailey Cox, a junior majoring in biology; Shaquira Jackson, a junior majoring in theatre; and Celine Schreidah, a senior majoring in biochemistry.

Therapy dog and educator inspire, energize children at local schools

Instant smiles. It’s almost a whiteout inside Reynolds Elementary School.

Hazel, the therapy dog, is in the hallway, and happiness abounds.

Marquis, a student at Reynolds Elementary School, petted Hazel, a therapy dog, as owner Dr. Dawn Sandt watched.

It’s just another day for the sweet, outgoing golden retriever and her owner, Dr. Dawn Sandt, associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Higher Education and Special Education.

“Hazel!” yelled a boy in the preschool special-needs classroom, alerting all to the visitors.

“Do you want to go see Hazel?” teacher Bridget Harding asked as the children walked and crawled toward the therapy dog that laid down and was content literally being the center of attention.

“Get your pets in,” Harding encouraged the kids sitting around their four-legged friend. “Let’s talk about Hazel’s tail today. She’s wagging her tail. When she’s happy, she wags it back and forth. Ricardo, where’s your tail? Do you have a tail?”

Ricardo shook his head no, beaming as he ran his hand over Hazel’s soft coat.

Sandt knelt next to Hazel; she held the dog’s leash and monitored all interactions.

Dr. Dawn Sandt, right, and Reynolds Elementary School teacher Leah Richter, center, watched as Hazel visited Ireland.

Then it was on to a classroom to see medically fragile students.

Hazel walked up to teacher Leah Richter. After soaking up compliments and a few pats, Hazel melted into the floor and flipped over, and Richter obliged with a belly rub.

“That’s her shtick — she says ‘Hi’ and rolls over,” Sandt said and laughed. “She likes it here.”

Watching it all from her wheelchair was Ireland, who could not stop smiling.

“You love it when Hazel and Dawn come!” Richter said to Ireland.

With encouragement from Sandt, Hazel put her paws on the edge of Ireland’s chair — and the girl grinned.

Then it was time to see the younger medically fragile students.

Marquis, a student seated on the floor, clapped and started humming when Hazel trotted into the room.

Paraprofessional Zippy Keith helped Lee grasp a tennis ball to give to Hazel during a recent visit to Reynolds Elementary School.

“We have a gift! We have doggy tennis balls for Hazel,” paraprofessional Zippy Keith announced.

The children took turns tossing the ball for the canine. For the first time, Lee picked up a ball and handed it to Hazel.

Meanwhile, teacher Liz Bishop told Tessa she needed to complete her assignment so she could see Hazel.

“We’re all so happy to see Hazel. We enjoy her,” Keith said as the kids petted the retriever.

“Aren’t you glad you got your work done?” Bishop asked Tessa, who lit up when Hazel gently stood up on the side of her wheelchair.

“Thank you for the visit,” paraprofessional Melissa Falkenberg said as Sandt and Hazel left.

“The best part of making the rounds with Hazel is seeing students progress toward their individualized goals and realizing Hazel did contribute to that progress in some way,” Sandt said.

Paraprofessional Melissa Falkenberg smiled as Hazel took her tennis ball to Dylan. The therapy dog regularly visits Reynolds Elementary School.

Sandt and Hazel have been visiting students at Reynolds Elementary for two years.

“We started in the classrooms where students were medically fragile. Hazel does well in those classrooms because she is willing to initiate contact with the children,” Sandt said. “The children have opportunities to track her with their eyes, reach out to pet her, and grasp and drop a ball for her to retrieve.

“We wanted to go into that classroom because the medically fragile population need intensive interventions, and I thought Hazel could help with communication and social interaction, as well as some range of motion activities.”

Indeed, the pretty pooch that will turn 4 in August does just that. Tessa communicated with her assistive device so she could see Hazel, and Lee had a breakthrough by picking up a tennis ball.

“The teachers, nurses and I thought that was pretty extraordinary for [Lee], who is medically fragile and also has sensory issues. The nurse said he had never shown that type of initiative before,” Sandt said.

“I like watching the preschool students interact with Hazel,” she said. “This gives the students a chance to learn about dogs, their body parts, how they move, and how to care for them. The preschool students are learning content knowledge — for example, same vs different — and functional skills like waiting their turn, asking permission to pet, communicating their name and Hazel’s name. These are relevant skills they can use in kindergarten and in the community.”

The duo also visits McTigue Elementary School.

“The administration and teachers within Toledo Public Schools have been wonderful to Hazel, and it is work that makes a difference,” Sandt said. “Wherever we go, the teachers appreciate the opportunity to interact with her.”

Dr. Dawn Sandt said Hazel would go home and sleep after visiting children at Reynolds Elementary School.

Dr. Virginia Keil, interim dean of the Judith Herb College of Education, said Sandt and Hazel are an example of how faculty collaborate with Toledo Public Schools.

“Dawn is deeply committed to working with our school partners to provide support for medically fragile children with special needs along with the educators in these classrooms,” Keil said. “Therapy dogs like Hazel are desperately needed to provide affection, comfort and love, which can help to improve the lives of the children they have visited.

“Watching Dawn and Hazel work together to support these children is heart-warming. Their work is an invaluable service to the community.”

“There is growing evidence that animals in school settings have potential benefits on cognitive and socio-emotional behavior, as well as physiological responses of children,” Sandt said. “However, there is a need for a larger evidence base of studies that are designed with more rigor and adhere to strict protocols for human and animal welfare and safety.”

To that end, Sandt is working with Dr. Janet Hoy-Gerlach, associate professor in the UT Social Work Program and author of the book, “Human-Animal Interactions: A Social Work Guide.” They have applied for a grant to explore how therapy dogs can be used in applied behavior analysis interventions for students with disabilities.

Sandt has another golden retriever, Rusty. The 2-year-old is training to be a therapy dog.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else with the time I have on this earth,” she said as she gave Hazel a treat.

UT to stage Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ as theatre in the round

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will stage Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in the round when it presents the play Friday through Sunday, April 6-8 and 13-15, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of theatre and film, will direct the play.

Student cast members rehearsed a scene from “The Tempest.”

“The Tempest” is Shakespeare’s last play and one of his shortest. Lingan said audiences can expect a light, comic treatment of the work that is suitable for all ages.

The plot of the play centers on Prospero, the duke of Milan, and his daughter who find themselves trapped on a deserted island after having been abandoned by his enemies at sea. Among their few provisions are some books on magic, which Prospero calls upon to help him exact his revenge.

Lingan said some believe that the character, Prospero, one of the most famous magicians in all of English literature, was based on the real-life John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I of England. Dee, along with Edward Kelley, is credited with creating Enochian magic, a system of ceremonial magic that also featured a secret language Dee and Kelley claimed to have received from angelic visions.

UT’s production of “The Tempest” is set upon a circular rotating stage that is designed as a magician’s magic circle and features symbols described in Dee’s Enochian manuscripts.

The play also will feature choreography developed by UT alumna Won Hee Kim and original music composed by Scott Hunt, a faculty member of the UT Music Department, who received his master’s degree in music from the University in 2017.

The cast features UT students Kurt T. Elfering, a junior majoring in religious studies, as Prospero; Faith Murphy, a sophomore theatre major, as Caliban; Kenzie N. Phillips, a junior majoring in theatre with a minor in environmental science, as Ariel; Becca M. Lustic, a sophomore theatre major, as Miranda; Michael R. Miller, a sophomore majoring in bioengineering, as Ferdinand; Josh Keidan, a doctoral student in the Judith Herb College of Education, as Gonzalo/Spirit/Reaper; Kevin Upham, a junior theatre major with a minor in visual arts, as Antonio/Spirit/Reaper; Bryan Harkins, a senior theatre major, as Sebastian/Spirit/Reaper; Drew Michael Young, a senior theatre major, as Alonso (King)/Spirit/Reaper; Hanna L. Gerlica, a sophomore majoring in pharmacy, as Francisco/Master of the Ship/Spirit; Shaquira Jackson, a junior majoring in theatre performance, as Ceres/Boatswain/Spirit; Alexis Johnson, a senior theatre major, as Adrian/Iris/Spirit; Michael James Vanderpool, a senior majoring in theatre with a minor in music, as Trinculo/Spirit; David Wanhainen, a philosophy major, as Stefano/Spirit; and Emily E. Meyer, a senior majoring in theatre with a minor in Japanese, as Spirit.

Rounding out the cast are Keely-Rain Battle, a 2015 alumna who received a bachelor of arts degree in theatre, as Juno/Spirit, and Grace E. Mulinix, a student at Toledo Early College High School, as Spirit.

Making it happen behind the scenes are Daniel Thobias, assistant professor of theatre, set designer; Katelyn Justice, freshman theatre major, assistant set designer; Caribbea Danko-McGhee, 2013 UT alumna who received a bachelor of arts degree in theatre, as props designer/master; Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of theatre, as lighting/sound designer; Ryan Peters-Hieber, junior theatre major with design and tech concentration, assistant lighting designer and associate sound designer; Holly Monsos, associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and professor of theatre, costume designer; Logan Fleming, freshman theatre major, assistant costume designer; Sean P. Freeman, a sophomore majoring in economics, stage manager; and Emily R. Wemple, English major with a minor in theatre and Spanish, assistant stage manager.

Tickets are $8 for students and children; $10 for UT faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $15 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or order online at utoledo.tix.com. Tickets also will be available at the door. 

Reflections on China: Teaching English, touring with Yale Alley Cats, showing Rocket pride

Since October 2017, I have had the opportunity through the support of a company called Education Group Central to teach middle school students in China English as a second language online. The experience was enriching as I would often pick up the guitar and teach the students a new American song. I never thought I would have the opportunity to visit and see them face to face.

On March 10, I was invited to travel on my first visit to China in order to meet all my students whom I had been teaching on the screen. The experience was surreal. I’m sure it was the same for them. As we all met each other for the first time, we were star-struck; it was like we met someone we had only been watching in the movies.

Jeremy Holloway took a selfie with some of his students.

My classrooms were in multiple cities all over China, so I visited them all. The first stop was in Beijing, then by plane to Zhongshan. From there, I traveled by train to Guiyang, then to Xi’an, and then back to Beijing.

I had the opportunity to visit the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. I also had the opportunity to see the Terracotta Army Sculpture Museum in Xi’an. I tried everything from hot pot and Chinese burgers to Peking duck. It was phenomenal. Since some of the distances between cities was farther than a trip from New York to Orlando, Fla., I had the opportunity to experience all kinds of climates from areas with the same temperature as Toledo to areas with T-shirt weather and palm trees.

I visited the schools and taught each class one lesson, and then we had time for questions and answers. Most of the students asked me about my experience in China, what cities I visited, and how I liked the food. I felt like a celebrity as they crowded around me to ask for my autograph. A very humbling experience indeed, but we all enjoyed ourselves.

Jeremy Holloway took a selfie with the Yale Alley Cats on the Great Wall of China.

What made my experience very unique on top of visiting the students — I was placed on a tour with a group called the Yale Alley Cats. The team of undergraduate male Yale students is part of a group that started at the school in 1943. It was fascinating to spend time with these students and ask them questions about their experience applying and getting into Yale. Some of the students shared how they took the SAT and the ACT 19 times before entering, and another student said he only took the test a couple of times, but wrote a good essay. The students were extremely talented in different ways, from knowing two or three languages to their well-mannered behavior everywhere they went.

But the one thing I learned from them that was fascinating was their common decisions in choosing Yale because the university let them pursue the arts along with STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math and medicine). They shared how they felt other Ivy League schools only cared about the academics, but Yale strongly encouraged a balance of pursuing the arts like singing, dance, languages, etc., along with their academic interests. What I realized the most was the students were passionate about something they studied, and they credited that passion to why they really got accepted to Yale.

After I shared with them my joy of singing, they also graciously let me lead one of their songs during a dinner together. I sang “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys with the Yale Alley Cats.

Sporting one of his favorite UT T-shirts, Jeremy Holloway had his photo taken on the Great Wall of China.

I was proud to represent The University of Toledo with these students. I shared with one Yale student how my father worked at The University of Toledo just so I could have the opportunity to go to school, and I feel like I am living out a legacy. My story was well-received, and it felt good to form a mutual relationship with these students through my story.

Something the Yale students attribute to their success in academics is something that I believe successful UT students can also attest to. It was refreshing to hear that their success in their academics at Yale, in their opinion, is still dependent on their involvement in student activities and groups on campus. None of the students thought it a good idea to lock themselves in a room and study all day. In fact, they shared how they met their best friends in this Yale singing group and that when they feel stressed from the heavy work they have to do, the time with their Alley Cat friends melts away their stress and gives them the balance and the fortitude they need to excel in their academics.

Most importantly, I find it crucial to understand that the name of a university is only relative to the goals you want to accomplish. I want University of Toledo students to understand how our pride in our university makes us stand side by side with the best of them. I would encourage each UT student to become crystal clear about his or her goals and treat The University of Toledo as a Harvard student treats Harvard because they understand that the university never made the people, but the people always make the university. Go Rockets!

Holloway is a doctoral student in the Judith Herb College of Education. Last year, he was honored with the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, which recognizes Toledo community members 39 or younger who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities. The UT alumnus received a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a bachelor of education degree in 2005, and a master’s degree in English as a second language in 2014.