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Student recognized by UTPD for helping lost dog

Miranda Dziobak, third-year biochemistry student, has received The University of Toledo Police Department challenge coin.

The UTPD challenge coin is given to citizens who go the extra mile to help someone in need.

It was a happy holiday for Gizmo, who was found by UT student Miranda Dziobak Dec. 24 and returned to the pet sitter.

On Dec. 24, Dziobak was driving home from her job at Helzberg Diamonds. She was taking Talmadge Road when she saw a strange dark lump in the street. After stopping her car to investigate, she found that it was a small, tan lap dog named Gizmo.

Dziobak attempted calling the number on the dog tag several times, but with no response. She took the dog home for a little while before deciding to take him to the UTPD.

“I honestly just didn’t know where else to take him besides the police station,” Dziobak said. “I really didn’t want to see him go to a shelter because he was seriously so sweet.”

UT Police Chief Jeff Newton shook hands with Miranda Dziobak, a student majoring in biochemistry, after presenting her with the UTPD challenge coin and certificate of appreciation for helping a lost dog named Gizmo.

With the help of UT Police Dispatcher Kendra Ries, Gizmo’s pet sitter, Dr. Paul Schaefer, associate professor and assistant dean for student affairs in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, was contacted.

“I can say that after a lot of panicked searching, hearing from the UT Police that they in fact had Gizmo and he was safe and sound was a moment of true grace,” Schaefer said. “The relief was tremendous as it very much felt like there was going to be a bad ending to this story.”

“We are so grateful that [Dziobak] stopped and saved our silly little dog,” owner Stephanie Scigliano said. “He’s always up for an adventure.”

Dziobak said she wanted to help the dog since she is a huge animal lover and did not want someone to hit him.

“It’s hard to say what the award means to me. I wasn’t expecting anything out of this,” Dziobak said. “I guess it’s nice because it means someone else cares about something that’s really important to me. It’s a restoring-my-faith-in-humanity kind of feeling.”

Ries was impressed with the concern Dziobak expressed over the welfare of the dog and the lengths she went to help.

“She is a breath of fresh air that put Gizmo’s safety and happiness first,” Ries said. “The University should be honored to have students like Ms. Dziobak and should praise her for her actions.”

Toledo Repertoire Theatre to feature play written by UT senior lecturer

Dr. Deborah M. Coulter-Harris has always been intrigued by a good mystery. When she came across the story of the biblical Queen of Sheba, she found herself fascinated by the myth and legend that surrounds her.

“I have relished discovering the many tales of her upbringing, her genetic ancestry, linguistic variations in her name, her cross-dressing, the extent of her empire, and her relations with human men. I believe Sheba could have been Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the first female pharaoh of Egypt,” said Coulter-Harris, senior lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature.

Coulter-Harris

Coulter-Harris’ project on the queen began with a full-length academic study titled “The Queen of Sheba: Legends, Literature and Lore,” published in 2013 by McFarland Publishers. The book went on to receive worldwide distribution, and is now followed by a play, “Sheba Rules.”

“Of course, there are well-known tales of Sheba in the Bible, Qur’an and Kebra Negast, and all of these major tales have different stories about her,” Coulter-Harris said. “In my play, Sheba is a demigod who historically began the tradition of female demigods in classical literature, such as Medea, Niobe and Helen. She is the archetypal Amazonian warrior queen, who even dressed like a man when dealing with politicians and during public appearances.”

If theater-goers are looking for a play with a strong female lead and the ancient struggles of authority, land, gender and sexuality — and how these topics relate to the current political and cultural climate — they need look no further. Sheba’s road to becoming pharaoh and avoiding marriage is described by the Toledo Repertoire Theatre as “a juicy biographical extravaganza.”

Queen Sheba

“I have made her a ruthless, vengeful, ambitious, brave, skillful and brilliant queen who was single-minded in her duty to her empire and her citizens,” Coulter-Harris said of her protagonist. “I have written a violent play, but the reported murders in the play are symbolic of the feminine overthrowing and eliminating the threat of destructive masculine actions: female abuse, greed, and obsession with power.”

The Toledo Repertoire Theatre will host a staged reading of “Sheba Rules” as part of its “Toledo Voices” series, showcasing unproduced works by local playwrights.

The reading will take place Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m. at the 10th Street Stage, 16 Tenth St., Toledo. After the play, the audience is invited to stay to talk with Coulter-Harris, the cast and director.

Tickets are $5 and may be purchased by calling 419.243.9277 or at toledorep.org.

Honors students to participate in service learning over spring break

Instead of heading to Miami Beach or the Bahamas for spring break, 20 Jesup Scott Honors College students will travel to Nicaragua and Guatemala to work with “dump dwellers.”

Dump dwellers are people who live in dumps and make their living by picking through the refuse and collecting plastic containers, recyclable materials and anything else they can sell.

The Jesup Scott Honors College has been working with the organization International Samaritan. The Ann Arbor-based philanthropic group works to raise awareness about dump dwellers and to improve conditions for those in the developing world, with a major focus in the Latin Central American countries.

“I am very excited to spend spring break doing service learning abroad,” said Ashley Diel, a third-year communication student. “I studied abroad last semester and am excited to be traveling again, as well as to have the opportunity to have a positive impact on someone’s life.”

Diel and her peers will leave Saturday, March 4.

The service-learning trips have been offered for the past eight years due to student interest, said Dr. Page Armstrong, associate lecturer and director of the Honors College Living and Learning Community. 

“We asked students what else they wanted to have in their honors experience, and one of the first things they said was that they would like to do more community service not just here, but abroad as well,” Armstrong said. “These trips really are student-directed.”

Students will work to improve local schools while in Nicaragua and Guatemala. In the past, students have helped to build kitchens, bathrooms and a nursery. They also will have the opportunity to teach in the classroom.

“It is a life-changing experience,” Armstrong said. “When most people come back, something in their life has changed.”

International Samaritan’s mission is to raise awareness in the United States about the living conditions of the poor in garbage dump communities in the developing world, and to help alleviate poverty in these areas by providing education, infrastructure and health care, among other things.

UT alumna leads public art project at Toledo Correctional Institution

Criminal justice reform is in the spotlight. Across partisan lines, public figures are talking about a need to reform criminal justice policy, especially sentencing and the prison population.

Standing in front of the mural painted by incarcerated participants was revealed were, from left, Matt Taylor, Emily Numbers, Yusuf Lateef and Rachel Richardson. The four, who worked together to make the project happen, spoke at a press conference when the work was revealed.

Standing in front of the mural painted by incarcerated participants was revealed were, from left, Matt Taylor, Emily Numbers, Yusuf Lateef and Rachel Richardson. The four, who worked together to make the project happen, spoke at a press conference when the work was revealed.

The United States holds 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but 22 percent of its prisoners, according to the Sentencing Project. Roughly 2.2 million people are incarcerated in prisons and jails — a 500 percent increase in the last 40 years — and the effects on children, families and neighborhoods are even farther-reaching. Poor people and people of color are disproportionately impacted. These circumstances, among others, have prompted conversations at the national level about the state of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Community artists, organizers and incarcerated people completed a public art piece inside the walls of Toledo Correctional Institution to contribute to that dialogue at the local level.

The project, a 6-foot-by-14-foot mural, was developed by community art coordinator Emily Numbers in collaboration with People for Change, Art Corner Toledo, and artists Matt Taylor and Yusuf Lateef. A public unveiling was held in November in the lobby of One Government Center.

People for Change is comprised of incarcerated individuals and UT faculty, students and alumni who organize educational initiatives inside the Toledo Correctional Institution. It is an alumni group of the national Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project, in which university students take a course inside a prison alongside incarcerated people. Other People for Change initiatives include workshops, community speakers and an academic library.

Numbers took the Inside/Out class as a UT student in 2013. Since then, she has been a part of the People for Change alumni group.

Incarcerated individuals worked on the mural at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

Incarcerated individuals worked on the mural at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

“The Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project opened my eyes to the talent, intellect and desire to make positive change that exists within prisons, and introduced me to the vast injustice that is mass incarceration in the U.S.,” she said.

Numbers, who became interested in the concept of art as a catalyst for social change as a law and social thought student at UT, designed the project to humanize the prison population and to promote civic dialogue on issues surrounding incarceration. The art was painted on a series of 21 2-foot canvasses due to limitations on materials allowed in the prison.

“I learned about the principles of community-based art in Thor Mednick’s Arts Diplomacy class at UT, in which we painted a mural with artist Dave Lowenstein and community members at the Frederick Douglass Center. The elements of dialogue, participation and collaboration were key aspects that I wanted to keep central to this project,” Numbers, communications and public relations specialist in the College of Engineering, said.

art-close-upTaylor, Lateef and Rachel Richardson, director of Art Corner Toledo, got involved when Numbers invited them to speak to the workshop group about their art in the community. After that initial meeting last spring, the three decided they wanted to continue their involvement with the project. Numbers’ vision and coordination, Taylor and Lateef’s expertise, Art Corner Toledo’s community connections, and the dedication of the incarcerated participants came together to result in this work of collaborative, community art.

Art Corner Toledo helped secure funding from the Lucas County Commissioners, who have a current focus on criminal justice. The Art Supply Depot and the UT Inside/Out Project in the College of Arts and Letters also provided support for materials and supplies.

Over several brainstorming sessions with the artists, organizers and incarcerated participants, the group arrived at the final design for the piece. The imagery was ultimately inspired by the sharing of poetry written by incarcerated individuals and represents the experience of incarceration and the aspirations of the group. Viewers’ perspectives place them at the bottom of a well, looking up toward a bright opening. Both flowers and weeds fill the bottom of the well, and one determined vine makes its way into the light. Several bees are included in the image, both coming and going from the viewer’s perspective.

“To the incarcerated participants, the well represents the physical limitations of the maximum security prison in which they reside, as well as the social barriers that may have led them to the circumstance of incarceration,” Numbers explained. “The flowers indicate the possibility for life and beauty to thrive in unexpected places, and the bees represent the exchange of ideas necessary for that hope to thrive. The bees can be interpreted as teachers, family members or volunteers, for instance, who refuse to turn a blind eye to the damages done by incarceration, and who refuse to turn their backs on individuals who will ultimately return to our community.”

The piece is accompanied by a collective poem written by the incarcerated participants, elaborating on the visual metaphor.

All of the incarcerated participants in this workshop have taken college-level courses through the UT Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project. Many of the discussions leading to the design were centered on the concept of education as the key to reaching post-incarceration aspirations.

Dr. Renee Heberle, professor of political science, brought the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project to the University in 2010.

“Inside/Out and People for Change give UT students and incarcerated students a unique opportunity to engage and learn with individuals they might otherwise not only never meet, but would perhaps, otherwise, stigmatize and fear,” Heberle, coordinator of the program, said. “It has literally changed lives and career paths of students, on the inside and the outside. The innovative pedagogical model and ongoing opportunities for engagement beyond the classes cultivate democratic and collaborative skills as students confront issues related to social justice and create social change.

“This mural represents the underlying principles and values of Inside/Out in the collaborative process of its creation, while being a beautiful and aesthetically important work of art on its own terms.”

The art made its debut at One Government Center and is now hanging at the Lucas County Common Pleas Court. It will be installed in public spaces in Toledo. After completing its tour around the city, the work will be donated to a local organization selected by the participants.

“It is the intention of the incarcerated participants that this public art project will serve as a sign of hope for all viewers who may face barriers or confines of their own,” Numbers said.

“As the project travels around Toledo, it carries hope for the transformation of the criminal justice system, hope for incarcerated people seeking meaning and growth despite their circumstances, and hope for anyone facing conditions that confine, imprison or isolate.”

Physician warns cuddling while sleeping can get on your nerves

With winter here and the mercury dropping, you may be tempted to snuggle a little closer to your partner overnight. But one University of Toledo Medical Center physician warns your warm and snuggly sleep position could cause nerve problems.

Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, said a condition called radial nerve palsy could develop when the radial nerve is compressed near the elbow.

cuddlingThe radial nerve runs along the underside of the arm and controls the movement of the triceps muscle and is responsible for enabling extension of the wrist and fingers. It also controls sensation in part of the hand.

“Radial nerve palsy is often referred to as honeymoon palsy, due to the closer sleeping habits of newlyweds,” he said. “When your partner falls asleep while laying on your arm, the radial nerve and surrounding muscles are compressed, which can cause numbness and prolonged tingling in the fingers or even restrict movement in the hand or wrist.”

Wrist drop is a rare, but a disabling condition that causes paralysis of the muscles that normally raise the hand at the wrist and can make it difficult to move the hand or fingers.

Radial nerve palsy is treated by supporting the wrist with a brace or splint and through physical therapy that helps to maintain muscle strength and reduce contracture. The nerve usually recovers within a few weeks, but in some cases it could take four to six months. Extreme cases, including wrist drop, could require surgery.

Ebraheim said the best way to avoid developing these conditions is to re-evaluate the way you sleep.

“People should be mindful of their sleep position to reduce the risk of nerve injury,” Ebraheim said. “It’s best to avoid positions that place pressure on the upper arm either from snuggling up with a loved one or sleeping with your arm curled under your head.”

Pancreatic cancer survivor credits aggressive, unconventional treatment at UT in successful fight

Gerri Musser of Oregon, Ohio, didn’t think she would be around to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with her family.

“I am very lucky to be alive,” Musser, 62, said. “The odds were overwhelmingly against me.”

Dr. Changhu Chen and Gerri Musser posed for a photo in the Edge Radiosurgery Suite in UT Medical Center’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center. Under Chen’s care, Musser received a 10-day, high-dose, targeted radiation treatment for a tumor in her pancreas, liver, stomach and bile duct.

Dr. Changhu Chen and Gerri Musser posed for a photo in the Edge Radiosurgery Suite in UT Medical Center’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center. Under Chen’s care, Musser received a 10-day, high-dose, targeted radiation treatment for a tumor in her pancreas, liver, stomach and bile duct.

The day-care worker and great-grandmother of seven believed she was delivered a death sentence when doctors diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer in August 2015.

“You hear awful stories about how it’s too late when symptoms of pancreatic cancer surface — people died within weeks,” Musser said. “I was at stage IV when they found it. The shocking diagnosis sounded like instantaneous death. They gave me six months to live.”

Musser said her cancer journey started when she couldn’t keep any food down and lost 23 pounds in six weeks. She went to her family physician to find out why she was so sick.

“The ultrasound discovered a tumor the size of a cantaloupe in my pancreas,” Musser said. “I was immediately referred to the Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo to see a specialist.”

Surgical oncologists took her into surgery, but couldn’t remove the tumor because they discovered it also had spread to her liver, stomach and bile duct.

Dr. Changhu Chen, radiation oncologist at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center and professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology in the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, said Musser had a less than 5 percent chance of survival.

“After the surgery, I told them three times, ‘I want to live, I want to live, I want to live,’” Musser said. “I will do whatever I have to do.”

The primary tumor in Musser’s pancreas continued to grow despite chemotherapy, so Chen and staff at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center guided Musser through what Chen calls “unconventional treatment.”

“This is an exceptional case,” Chen said. “She responded so well, you could call it a miracle.”

Musser underwent a 10-day, high-dose, targeted radiation treatment.

“We offered Gerri a 10-day course of high-dose, intensity-modulated radiation therapy using a technology called stereotactic radiosurgery,” Chen said. “Instead of the traditional treatment of low doses on a region of the body for 25 to 30 days, we focused specifically on Gerri’s tumor for 10 minutes a day for 10 days with more than double the dosage using our Edge Radiosurgery Suite. We have had this machine for more than two years and have extensive experience with this fast and safe treatment.”

“It was aggressive treatment, and I’m happy to say it worked,” Musser said. “Dr. Chen dropped an atomic bomb on that big tumor in my pancreas, and the tumor has resolved. I had no side effects. I’m in a remission state and check in with my doctors every other month to make sure it doesn’t come back.”

Chen said Musser’s tumor is the largest for which he has had success using this treatment for pancreatic cancer. This technique is normally used for tumors less than 2 inches in size.

“Pancreatic cancer is a very deadly disease,” Chen said. “There has been no big breakthrough in treatment, no discovery of a method for early detection. I am glad we had good results from a devastating diagnosis in Gerri’s case.”

Chen said the Dana Cancer Center has had many successful treatments for patients with cancers other than pancreatic cancer using expertise and technology in radiation therapy at UT.

Musser, whose hair is growing back, savored every minute celebrating Christmas with her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“I had great doctors, and I’m feeling good about making a fresh start for the New Year,” Musser said. “It’s a long road. I’m not done yet. It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. However, I am prepared to fight again because I’d like to see my great-grandchildren grow up.”

Alumna’s gift makes holiday bright for one UT student

Daniela Somaroo hopped in her car Dec. 18 in Detroit and drove down I-75 to visit friends in Toledo — and to make one special delivery.

First stop for the UT alumna: the home of Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs.

Dr. Sammy Spann and Daniela Somaroo smiled for the camera.

Dr. Sammy Spann and Daniela Somaroo smiled for the camera.

She handed Spann a check for $4,000, a donation to the Center for International Studies and Programs.

“He immediately rejected it, which I expected was going to happen,” Somaroo recalled. “And I said, ‘No, this is something that I really need to do, and I’m not going to take it back because this could help somebody else.’”

“This was an unexpected blessing,” Spann said of the generous donation. “This will be used to help a young lady from Haiti who was getting ready to go home due to lack of funds. Now she can take classes next semester.”

Two years ago, Somaroo was that young lady lacking funds for school.

“During my last semester, the government body that administers currency exchange in my country wasn’t approving the release of dollars for me to be able to pay for school anymore,” the native of Caracas, Venezuela, said. “And, of course, if you don’t pay your last semester, you don’t get your diploma. That was my concern: If I didn’t have my diploma, I wouldn’t be able to submit my paperwork for a work visa.”

Somaroo was at the Center for International Studies and Programs and happened to see Spann.

“Like the awesome person Sammy is, he asked, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Were you able to pay for your semester?’ I wasn’t going to lie to him, and I told him I was still about $4,000 short, and I was graduating in four days,” Somaroo said. “I can walk in the ceremony, but I wouldn’t receive my diploma.

“So he talked to Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, who is also a great person, and he said, ‘Hey Cheryl, can you find $4,000 for Daniela’s account?’ And then he said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve graduated.’ That was just a shocker. Things like that don’t happen all the time. It was a life saver. I am forever indebted to him.”

It was December 2014, and Somaroo received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Then she landed a job as a service engineer at Honeywell International Inc. and moved to Merrillville, Ind. For the past couple months, she’s been filling in at the company’s Detroit office.

“Sammy didn’t say it was a loan,” she said. “But I made myself a promise once he gave me that money to pay for the semester; I told myself I had to pay it back somehow someday. It took me two years, but I made it.”

Spann was moved to tears by the gift and posted about it on his Facebook page.

Comments poured in: “So awesome people like her still exist. Wow!” “She truly has a heart of gold.” “Thank you so much for showing love to our students.” “What an inspiration. I can’t wait to give back to the Center for International Studies and Programs!” “It is so amazing to see Rockets helping Rockets!” “Thank you for reaching back and investing in others!”

Somaroo was surprised by the post — and the comments.

“It was just extremely overwhelming. I didn’t expect anything. Sammy’s thank-you and knowing where that money is going to were more than enough, and I told him that,” she said. “The amount of comments and love I’ve received from that post — my heart is full.”

Tax-deductible gifts to benefit UT students and programs can be made at https://give2ut.utoledo.edu or by calling 419.530.7730.

Women & Philanthropy marks 10 years of leadership

Although volunteerism by women has long played a part in nonprofit organizations, a focus on the role of women in charitable giving is a relatively newer phenomenon.

In 2001, no university-based women’s philanthropy programs existed in the Toledo region. At that time, Dr. Janet Krzyminski, a UT alumna, was a director of development at The University of Toledo and working on her dissertation. Her research focused on local women’s viewpoints regarding the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities of philanthropy.

women-philanthropy-logo“The overarching result was that charitable organizations and universities were not paying much attention to women donors as a group. We weren’t recognizing their interest or potential,” she said. “This provided a platform and eventually gave legs to a new organization centered at UT.”

UT’s Women & Philanthropy, a collaborative effort of area women and the University’s Division of Advancement, is marking its 10th year as a community of female philanthropists supporting the mission and goals of The University of Toledo.

Outgoing president Marianne Ballas, who has led the group since its inception, said the goal has been to raise the awareness of women in the community and to guide and support them in the art of giving back.

“We are committed to exposing our members to the University by promoting Women & Philanthropy’s first grant in 2008 that provided the glass sculpture, ‘A University Woman,’ by Tom McGlauchlin. The group has provided 15 grants totaling nearly $400,000 for educational programs and taken part in grant dedications,” she said. “It is inspiring to visit and experience the amazing facilities and programs that are offered right here in Toledo. We are so proud of UT, and we want to share it to enhance the community appreciation of UT’s incredible importance and contributions.”

The 2016 Women & Philanthropy grants were awarded to the Instrumentation Center for the construction of an interactive display titled “Living Science: The Ever-Changing Periodic Table,” and an active learning center in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The group also participates in a holiday project, including purchasing hats and mittens for at-risk children, refilling items for the UT student food bank, and distributing stuffed animals for children at UT Medical Center through the Satellites Auxiliary.

Ballas noted that members have not only made financial investments, but also personal investments. “What we have done as a group of women has created and nurtured some deep lifelong friendships. Although we are a very diverse group, we really like and appreciate each other,” she said, “and we enjoy giving back.”

To learn more about Women & Philanthropy, contact Chris Spengler, director of advancement relations, at chris.spengler@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4927.

VP/chief information officer on cover of technology magazine

Bill McCreary’s unorthodox road to the top information and technology post at The University of Toledo and his leadership on campus spanning from administrative support to virtual reality is featured on the front page of Toggle Magazine.

Toggle is a quarterly journal for technology executives highlighting the vital role that technology plays in companies and organizations.

toggleThe story about McCreary, who oversees all information technology, hospital systems and academic technology needs at UT as vice president and chief information and technology officer, is titled “Bringing Private Sector IT Expertise to the Academic Realm.”

Before arriving at UT in 2012 to pursue a PhD in artificial intelligence related to simulation and game design, McCreary retired from a 45-year career in the private sector.

“I came here as a student, not a c-level executive,” McCreary told Toggle. “The retirement plan was to do my PhD work, but after I was here about a year, the University discovered me and asked me to get involved.”

McCreary came out of retirement to work as chief technology officer, and in 2015 he absorbed the responsibilities of chief information officer to fill a vacancy.

McCreary told the magazine that his typical work day at UT leading a team of more than 300 people includes anything from product pricing and network router changes to game development, augmented reality and the management of cadaveric specimens.

The magazine touts the consolidation of all of those tasks under one manager as a way to maximize the institution’s overall IT efficiency.

Efforts to commercialize the classroom were a major focus of the feature story as McCreary oversees the Center for Creative Instruction, the Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio, and the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

According to the magazine, the merger of the groups enables the Division of Technology and Advanced Solution “to build leading edge interactive simulations and gamified products that deploy on the web, 3D/VIR and head mounted displays using augmented as well as virtual reality.”

Toggle shines the spotlight on the revenue-generating possibilities of UT’s products and services that pursue academic goals, such as business, sales and medical training software like the Manufacturing Simulation Game, a first-person, video game-like perspective to help train workers in a manufacturing plant, or the Salesworld family of games that allow students to gain simulated sales leadership experience.

“It’s configurable so you can grow different types of sales people with different personality traits,” McCreary told Toggle. “Students play six games throughout their academic careers and then when they graduate they’ll have a resumé that complements their internships in the real world by launching them into tough situations that would take years to experience.”

McCreary told Toggle, “I have not found anybody who has a job quite like this at the university level.”

Click here to read the full story in Toggle Magazine.

Division focused on advanced simulation technology for enriched learning

A strategic merger of key technology units at The University of Toledo is driving developments in advanced clinical and academic simulations for enriched learning for students across campus.

The Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions is comprised of the Department of Information Technology, the Center for Creative Instruction, the Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio, and the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

Christa Goodson, who is majoring in information technology, tested the Salesworld Leadership simulation game developed by UT’s Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio and the Center for Creative Instruction.

Christa Goodson, who is majoring in information technology, tested the Salesworld Leadership simulation game developed by UT’s Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio and the Center for Creative Instruction.

The synergy achieved by joining these groups positions the University as a leader in technological capability, according to Bill McCreary, UT vice president and chief information and technology officer, who created the division in 2015.

“This combined team of web developers, animators, 3D modelers, software engineers, game designers and various information technology professionals is building innovative new content for enhancing the educational experience across the University,” he said. “We are developing new interactive digital content to engage students and provide a unique learning experience to help them achieve success in their fields of study.”

The division is developing software for UT’s Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales. Students have been testing the software this fall.

“Students have been practicing real-life scenarios in a sales management simulation,” said Dr. Ellen Pullins, Schmidt research professor of sales and sales management. “This program should really challenge students’ critical thinking skills and will ensure they are even better prepared when they start their careers.”

It is McCreary’s goal to continue to expand content to each college on campus and to meet the students where they are.

“Students shouldn’t have to come to a single location like the simulation center for this type of training,” he said. “It has to be for everybody, and it has to be portable. We are building this content for students to use the software on computers and headsets in their classroom at any campus location.”

The new technology could lead to a revenue source for the University, McCreary said. The division already has begun fostering partnerships to create and develop advanced digital content for local businesses and the national education market, and has created a virtual anatomy and physiology program for publisher McGraw-Hill.

The division has oversight of nearly every piece of computing technology on campus. The team of about 300 people, half of which are UT students, provides a variety of services for students, faculty, clinical professionals and staff.

“This unique collaboration also allows our staff within the Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions to explore different areas of technology and provides career-development opportunities,” McCreary said.