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Faculty member becomes president of National Economic Association

Dr. Gbenga Ajilore, associate professor of economics, has been elected president of the National Economic Association.

The association is interested in producing and distributing knowledge of economic issues that are of exceptional interest to promoting economic growth among people of color.


Since its founding in 1969 as the Caucus of Black Economists, the National Economic Association has aimed to promote the professional lives of minorities within the field of economics.

“This is an amazing honor especially since I didn’t come from a prestigious graduate program or a top 25 institution,” Ajilore said. “It says a lot about the work I’ve done at UT and the network I’ve been able to build up.”

There are about 200 members in the National Economic Association, which is open to professionals and graduate students in the field of economics and an array of related disciplines. These members work in academia, the private sector and in government around the globe.

Ajilore is on sabbatical as a visiting fellow at the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C., where he is collaborating with experts and scholars in the Justice Policy Center.

“I have been working on issues surrounding police militarization and its impact on local communities,” Ajilore said. “I have completed several papers on the impact of militarization on use of force, both lethal and non-lethal. I also have looked about the effect of racial and ethnic diversity of the acquisition of military surplus.”

Ajilore received his PhD at Claremont Graduate University in California, where his research included public finance and demographic economics.

Grammy Award-winning pianist to play Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Feb. 21

Billy Childs, who took home the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for “Rebirth” last month, will visit The University of Toledo this week.

The five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist will perform at the Department of Music’s Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.


Since his first recordings in the 1980s, Childs has developed into a distinctive and distinguished composer. An accomplished symphonic writer, he has amassed jazz originals that can swing hard, dazzle with intricacy, touch with direct simplicity, or mesmerize with crystalline lyricism.

On his new Mack Avenue debut album “Rebirth,” Childs reaches back to the start of his astoundingly varied musical experience — leading a small jazz band of state-of-the-art musicians with his piano playing.

At his musical core, Childs is an improvising pianist. He has the ability to equally distill the harmonic and rhythmic languages of classical music and jazz into his playing. The wide-ranging vocabulary on the taut track “Tightrope” begs the question of Childs’ love of classical music; “I’m not just jazz,” he stressed.

His insistent pulse and melodically probing introduction to song is a key to his musical identity: welcome extended harmonic possibilities as they come along, take a flexible approach to time, and leave an open door for input from bandmates.

While on campus, Childs also will conduct a free master class at 2 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

A cash bar will be available the night of the concert.

Tickets are $20 each and are available at the door and through the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.ARTS (2787), as well as online at utoledo.tix.com.

All proceeds from the concert benefit the UT Department of Music’s Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Program. This scholarship is awarded to African-American students pursuing a degree in jazz performance at UT.

Stanford professor to give Summers Memorial Lecture

Dr. Roland Greene, Mark Pigott KBE Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, will give the annual Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m. in Libbey Hall.

His lecture, “Inceptions of the English Baroque: Donne and Milton,” will discuss instances of Baroque that are evident in literature from England — specifically John Donne’s love poetry and John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”


The term Baroque is used to describe a prominent art culture that reigned from 1600 till 1750 and is strongly associated with Italian and French art and architecture. However, the term remains difficult to observe and define.

Greene is the author of four books, most recently “Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes,” and is editor of the fourth edition of the “Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.” He was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

He is also the founder and director of Arcade, a digital salon for literary studies and the humanities at arcade.stanford.edu.

Greene received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his PhD from Princeton University.

The free, public lecture will be followed by a reception.

The Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture was established by Marie Summers to honor her son, a member of the UT Department of English from 1966 until his death in 1988. The lecture is designed to bring a distinguished literary scholar, critic or writer to the University.

For more information on the Summers Memorial Lecture, call the UT Department of English Language and Literature at 419.530.2318.

UT Arts Symposium to explore multisensory literacy, learning

The University of Toledo School of Visual and Performing Arts will present a dialogue focused on multisensory literacy and learning in its 2018 Arts Symposium Monday, Feb. 19, in the Thompson Student Union.

People are bombarded daily by a cacophony of stimuli signaling each of their senses. Most often, they involuntarily react to their senses without fully engaging the experience.

The symposium topic discussions will explore how to develop a fuller understanding of human sensory messaging systems, using them to enhance our human experience, as well as strategies and educational approaches that can be utilized to heighten sensory awareness, improve sensory literacy, and enhance learning.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Sara Diamond, president of OCAD University, formerly known as the Ontario College of Art and Design. Located in Toronto, the institution bills itself as Canada’s “university of the imagination.”

She recently was honored as one of Canada’s 150 leading women. Since her appointment in 2005, she has led OCAD University’s evolution to a full university, helping to build its transdisciplinary and research-creation research capacity and infrastructure; integrating STEM subjects; creating its Digital Futures Initiative; launching the Indigenous Visual Culture Program; strengthening its approach to inclusion; and growing its undergraduate and graduate programs in studio art and design.

Diamond is a researcher in media arts history and policy, as well as visual analytics. She has created wearable technologies, mobile experiences and media art. She is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Academy of Artists.

Her talk, “Steam+D — 21st-Century Knowledge,” will take place at 4:15 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

Titles of other sessions include “Shared Fantasies: Becoming Political, Becoming Pedagogical,” “Studio Matrix System: Identifying Motivation and Setting a Course for Creative Artists With Disabilities,” “Multisensory/Multimodal Learning in Community Programs,” and “A Picture’s Worth 500 Typed, Double-Spaced Pages: The Use of Infographics for Improving Student Writing.”

Lance Gharavi, associate professor and artistic director of theatre at Arizona State University, will discuss “Truth, or Something Like It: Science, Art and Narrative” at 10:30 a.m. in Thompson Student Union Room 2592.

An experimental artist, scholar and early pioneer in digital performance, Gharavi specializes in collaborating with transdisciplinary teams of artists, scientists, designers and engineers to create original and innovative works of media-rich, live performance.

He collaborated with EarthScope — the largest solid Earth science project funded by the National Science Foundation — to write a children’s book about earthquakes. Other projects include an ongoing initiative in robotics and performance, a production about the physics of the Earth’s deep interior, and a game-based investigation into the sociology of human space exploration.

Read more about the 2018 Arts Symposium and register for the free event at utoledo.edu/al/svpa/symposium.

Sigma Tau Delta to host Post-Valentine’s Day Poetry Reading Feb. 15

The UT chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, an international honors English society, will host a Post-Valentine’s Day Poetry Reading Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2420.

Attendees will have the opportunity to read their own poem, read someone else’s, or just listen.

The open-mic environment will allow attendees to express their anti-Valentine’s Day poetry, but any and all subjects will be welcomed.

“Our event’s title, Post-Valentine’s Poetry Reading, is meant to reflect our event’s theme,” said Theresa Northcraft, secretary of the UT chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. “We are playing with the stereotype of poets and poetry, satirizing overdone, bleeding-heart love poems in a fun, safe room full of empathetic peers. We’ve picked the day after Valentine’s Day to capture the essence of our anti-message.”

The free event is open to all UT students and aims to assemble and establish Toledo’s community of English enthusiasts and aspiring creative writers.

For more information, contact Sigma Tau Delta at sigmataudeltabetarho@gmail.com.

Reception for foreign language study Feb. 14

The Department of World Languages and Cultures will hold its annual reception for students interested in foreign languages study Wednesday, Feb. 14, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2420.

The event is meant to inform students about career opportunities, internships, scholarships, department programs, and study abroad programs.

There will be presentations by faculty members from each language taught at UT and by a representative from the Center for International Studies and Programs.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and meet informally with advisers and instructors.

“The importance of studying other languages is ever more present in a world that is becoming increasingly global,” said Dr. Juan Martin, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. “To know other languages has many professional advantages, since candidates with languages are better positioned to obtain better jobs in the market, as well as promotions and better salaries.”

Research has shown that studying a foreign language has helped enhance cognitive skills such as memory, listening and analytical skills.

“At the end, we have to think that language is something that we use every day and it is the most distinctive feature that we have as humans, present in almost all our endeavors and very closely interwoven in the human soul,” Martin said.

Pizza and refreshments will be served.

Psychology Department offers research grant for undergraduates

Thursday, March 1, is the deadline to apply for the Department of Psychology Chair’s Minority/Underrepresented Undergraduate Research Grant.

The $500 grant for research expenses is for spring semester.

Eligible students must be racial or sexual/gender minorities who are majoring in psychology. Undergraduate students must have completed at least 24 credit hours, with at least 12 of those being psychology hours.

Those interested must complete an application form and submit two one-page essays — one addressing their commitment to diversity, their background and career goals, and one detailing their research proposals, including how the grant will be used.

“Our hope is that this grant opportunity will encourage our undergraduate students to consider conducting psychological research under the supervision of our faculty members, research that will enhance the human condition. We want to help one of these students to accomplish this goal,” said Dr. Mojisola F. Tiamiyu, associate professor of psychology, director of the Community Psychology Research Lab, and chair of the Psychology Department Diversity Committee.

“Our Psychology Department Diversity Committee is looking forward to reviewing applicants’ materials and selecting the best of the best,” she added.

Application materials should be submitted electronically in PDF format to mojisola.tiamiyu@utoledo.edu.

For more information on the grant, contact Tiamiyu at mojisola.tiamiyu@utoledo.edu.

Staff Leadership Development Program to improve careers, UT’s future

The University of Toledo has launched its inaugural class of the UT Staff Leadership Development Program to cultivate high-potential emerging leaders who, in the years ahead, may assume leadership roles, as well as grow in their current positions.

“In alignment with UT’s strategic plan to foster a culture of excellence for our faculty and staff, we’ve launched this program to provide a more formal process for career development for employees at all levels throughout the University,” said President Sharon L. Gaber.

“The program is designed to assist participants with honing leadership skills, as well as to expose them to cross-campus networking and dialogue with many current leaders,” stated Wendy Davis, associate vice president for human resources and talent development.

“A selection committee chose this first class based on their leadership potential and selected individuals from across all campuses, as well as from many different job categories throughout the organization,” Davis explained. “In addition to experienced UT faculty and leaders who guide class discussions, this diversity helps to ensure participants are exposed to many different perspectives on any given topic.”

The program, which launched in October 2017 and concludes in October 2018 with a capstone project, requires members to spend approximately three hours each month discussing topics such as fiscal responsibilities; human resources policies and procedures; health-care operations; student recruitment and enrollment management; creating a culture of customer service; ethical leadership; career success; and legal issues in higher education.

“These individuals also are required to complete summer reading assignments on various leadership topics,” said Carrie Herr, director for the Center for Continuous Improvement, who was instrumental in developing the curriculum. “I see much potential in this first class. The skills they hone over the next several months should have a significant impact on UT throughout the next decade and beyond.”

The cohort selected for the inaugural class of UT’s Staff Leadership Development Program are Cristina Alvarado, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Stefanie Bias, Neurosciences; Stacey Jo Brown, Legal Affairs; Candace Busdiecker, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Lori DeShetler, Judith Herb College of Education; Josh Dittman, Intercollegiate Athletics; Kelly Donovan, Controller’s Office; Shelly Drouillard, Career Services; Jamie Fager, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Beth Gerasimiak, Office of the Provost; Melissa Hansen, Medical Education; Heather Huntley, Office of the Provost; Angelica Johnson, College of Arts and Letters; Deirdre Jones, Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales in the College of Business and Innovation; Vickie Kuntz, Engineering Career Development Center in the College of Engineering; Sara Lockett, Purchasing/Finance; Elliott Nickeson, Registrar’s Office; Daniel Perry, Facilities and Construction; Tiffany Preston-Whitman, University College; Jason Rahe, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions; Staci Sturdivant, College of Health and Human Services; Craig Turner, College of Business and Innovation; and Matthew Wise, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions.

“It is wonderful to see the University focus so many resources on developing the next generation of leadership in higher education,” said Dr. Jenell L. S. Wittmer, associate professor of management, who facilitates sessions on communication with diverse groups and emotional intelligence. “The participants bring their work experiences into the classroom, and they are learning from each other. This program is a perfect example of the positive transformation underway at UT.”

‘Mysticism and the Mass’ topic of UT Center for Religious Understanding lecture

The University of Toledo Center for Religious Understanding will host a lecture titled “Mysticism and the Mass” Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

The lecture will be given by Dr. Peter Feldmeier, who is the Thomas and Margaret Murray/James J. Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies at UT.

“The topic is central to Catholic spirituality, and I think something that would be interesting, perhaps entertaining, and educational about the dynamics of the spiritual life,” Feldmeier said. “Mysticism is a topic of great fascination and broad interest in our society, though widely misunderstood or too loosely used. But mysticism, uniting with God in a profoundly transformative way, is one of the great possibilities for the human soul, and some argue the deepest religious aim.”

Feldmeier earned his PhD in Christian spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., and his research areas of interest include Christian spirituality, comparative theology, Buddhist-Christian dialogue and religious mysticism.

He is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the College Theology Society, the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and the American Academy of Religion.

“Those attending will learn a great deal about what’s really going on in this most essential sacrament,” Feldmeier said. “They will also learn about mysticism in general and about how sacred rites can make present the very realities they symbolize.”

The free, public lecture will be followed by a dessert reception.

For more information, email the UT Center for Religious Understanding at cfru@utoledo.edu.

Piano events this weekend canceled

William Wellborn will not be visiting The University of Toledo for the Dorothy MacKenzie Price Piano Series Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 3 and 4.

The San Francisco pianist is ill.

The master class and concert will be rescheduled if possible.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Boyd, UT professor of piano, at michael.boyd@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2183.