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New dean selected to lead College of Education

An educational psychologist with an interest in enhancing classroom assessment for more effective teaching and learning has been named dean of The University of Toledo Judith Herb College of Education.

Dr. Raymond H. Witte will join UT July 1 from Miami University, where he is professor and chair of the Department of Educational Psychology.


“Dr. Witte is an experienced administrator, having served as department chair and associate dean. He is not only an accomplished scholar as a university professor, he had many years of experience working for public schools before joining academia,” said Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “He has a passion for student success, especially those of first-generation college students. I am glad to welcome him to The University of Toledo and look forward to working with him and the college to further improve our college and our student success.”

“I am honored to be the new dean of the Judith Herb College of Education. I’ve always thought highly of the institution and been impressed with the quality and professionalism of the faculty and the administrators,” Witte said. “I am looking forward to working and collaborating with the distinguished faculty and staff of the college, as well as all the members of the University and Toledo communities.”

Witte joined the faculty of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1999 and held a variety of additional administrative roles, including associate dean, graduate program director, department chair and assistant chair. Prior to his career in higher education, Witte was a school psychologist for the Jessamine County School District in Nicholasville, Ky., where he also directed the kindergarten and preschool programs.

Witte received his PhD and master’s degrees in educational psychology and bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky.

His academic interests include working with students with learning disabilities assisting individuals and their families through transitions. As his career evolved, he became increasingly interested in effective assessment and has written two books and numerous articles on the topic.

Accordingly, Witte said he is a data-driven leader and he looks forward to getting to know the college staff and collaborating with them to ensure strong student enrollment and community partnerships.

Hsu thanked Dr. Virginia Keil for her leadership while serving as interim dean of the Judith Herb College of Education since July 2015.

Three-time cancer survivor headlines event about local cancer care

A three-time cancer survivor and genetic testing advocate who inspired the film, “Decoding Annie Parker,” will share her story at an event to provide information about cancer care in the community.

The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences will host “An Evening With Annie Parker” Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, 601 Conant St.


The event will begin at 4 p.m. with the film screening, followed by a talk from Parker, and will conclude with a panel discussion with experts speaking about genomics, clinical trials, cancer biology and “living the new normal.”

“We are grateful to have Annie Parker join us for this important evening,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “Her story is not only compelling, it is inspiring to cancer survivors and their loved ones, and clinical care teams as well.”

After Parker lost her mother and sister to cancer, and she was diagnosed multiple times personally, she became determined to understand her family’s history with the disease. Parker has survived breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cancer in her liver.

In 1994, she became one of the first women in Canada to be tested for the BRCA1 gene mutation after Dr. Mary-Claire King, a geneticist at the University of California at Berkeley, had discovered the gene is responsible for many breast and ovarian cancers. Parker’s results were positive for the gene. The story was the inspiration for the 2013 film, “Decoding Annie Parker.” Parker also tells her story in her 2014 book, “Annie Parker Decoded.”

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 1.7 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018. The local event is an effort to highlight the different treatments, new research and care options in the area.

“We remain committed to training the next generation of physicians and believe that by continuing to evolve available treatment options and enhancing our education and research, we will be that much closer to finding a cure,” Cooper said.

“An Evening With Annie Parker” is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to hscevents@utoledo.edu or 419.383.6122.

Lane closures expected as work on Bancroft Street to continue

Crews are scheduled to begin relocating and installing a gas line on West Bancroft Street this week.

The work will require some lane restrictions during the day, but two-way traffic will be maintained during the project.

Miller Pipeline will be working on Bancroft between Audubon Place and Cheltenham Road.

The project will continue through April to align with the city of Toledo’s street improvement project, which is scheduled to start in the spring.

“We will keep the campus community up to date on this work and the project in the spring,” Doug Collins, director of grounds and transportation, said.

“In the meantime, we want to remind drivers to slow down,” he said. “We ask everyone to be patient, drive slowly, and be aware of pedestrians and workers.”

Professor honored for pioneering academic contributions

Dr. David Nemeth, UT professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, has received the second annual Kevin O’Donnell Distinguished Friend of Korea Award.

The Friend of Korea Award is dedicated to enhancing cultural awareness and friendship between Americans and Koreans and was founded in 2002 by former Peace Corps volunteers who served in Korea between 1966 and 1981.


Nemeth spent two years on Jeju Island off the southern coast of South Korea with the Peace Corps in 1972. After returning to the United States, he pursued researching, publishing and teaching about Korea.

“I formed a mystical attachment to Jeju Island and a fictive kinship with its inhabitants during my Peace Corps years of service,” Nemeth said. “In addition, I found a moral compass there.

“After Peace Corps, my in-depth studies of Jeju Island, highlighted by many return visits, became a rewarding intellectual obsession that I vigorously pursued while earning my PhD at UCLA.”

Nemeth’s research focuses on cultural geographic studies in Korea, which include diverse yet related explorations into Neo-Confucianism, geomancy, economic-growth ideology and agricultural ecology.

In 1987, Nemeth published a book titled “The Architecture of Ideology: Neo-Confucian Imprinting on Cheju Island, Korea,” which has since been translated into Korean.

“This award in general draws international scholarly and public attention to the profound significance of Korean civilization on the world stage, past, present and future,” Nemeth said. “More specifically, my award celebrates the uniqueness and worth of Jeju Island’s remarkable landscape and culture within Korea.”

Women’s volleyball coach named

Jason Oliver, who has more than 20 years of experience as a coach and a player on the court, has been named the head women’s volleyball coach at The University of Toledo.

Oliver comes to UT from Indiana University, where he spent two years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Hoosiers. Prior to that, he was the head coach at High Point University in North Carolina from 2009 to 2016.

“We are very pleased that Jason Oliver has agreed to lead our women’s volleyball program,” Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “Jason is a proven winner with a highly successful tenure as a head coach at High Point and impactful stops as an assistant coach at Indiana, Dayton and West Virginia.

“Jason has all the qualities we desire in a head volleyball coach,” O’Brien said. “His teams have a history of academic success, and he has a track record of recruiting high-end talent. He will be a terrific teacher and leader for our young women.”

“My family and I are ecstatic to be coming to The University of Toledo,” Oliver said. “I want to thank Mike O’Brien, [Senior Associate Athletic Director] Kelly Andrews and [Deputy Director of Athletics] Dave Nottke for giving me the opportunity to be the head women’s volleyball coach. I think this program has huge potential, and I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get after it. It’s a great move for me and my family, and we’re excited to be a part of a great city like Toledo.”

Oliver’s stint as the head coach at High Point was the most successful in school history. He led the team to a record of 118-103 during his tenure, both the highest win total and winning percentage in program history. He led the Panthers to a Big South Conference Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. Oliver helped his student-athletes achieve 17 all-conference honors, two Big South Freshman of the Year awards, and seven all-freshman team honorees.

Off the court, his teams averaged a 3.1 grade point average over seven years, reaching a high of 3.52 in 2015. Two of his former student-athletes were named College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-Americans, two were named Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year, and eight earned Academic All-Big South distinctions.

Most recently at Indiana, Oliver assisted in leading the Hoosiers to a 21-3 mark in non-conference play over two seasons and coached Jazzmine McDonald to All-Big Ten honors in 2016. As the team’s recruiting coordinator, he helped put together a 2017 class that was ranked in the top 30 by PrepVolleyball. Oliver’s 2018 recruiting class at Indiana was the most highly regarded in program history, with three top 150 players and the 54th best player in the nation.

In Oliver’s three years at the University of Dayton, the Flyers posted an 80-24 record and earned two NCAA Tournament berths. In 2007, Dayton went 33-2 and achieved a No. 12 national ranking from the America Volleyball Coaches Association, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Dayton spent 14 weeks in the top 25 and grabbed a national rating percentage index ranking as high as No. 8 in the country. In 2005, the Flyers set school records in kills (2,143), total attacks (5.523) and assists (1,965). During his tenure, Oliver helped train two Atlantic-10 Players of the Year, two Atlantic-10 Setters of the Year and two Atlantic-10 Rookies of the Year, as well as 11 all-conference performers.

During Oliver’s time at West Virginia University, the Mountaineers recorded their single largest win total in 13 years, improving from a 6-21 record during the 2003 season to an 18-13 record in 2004. Oliver coached two Big East All-Conference players, two academic All-Americans and three All-Big East Academic performers.

Oliver played volleyball at George Mason University, where he was a co-captain and starting setter during his senior year. He led the team in assists and digs per game in 1997. Oliver set a school record of 99 assists in a match and tallied 1,638 assists in a season.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native received his bachelor’s degree in communications from George Mason in 1998 and a master of science degree in athletic coaching education from West Virginia in 2005.

Oliver and his wife, Kelly, recently had a baby boy, Miles.

UT Dancing Rockettes to compete at nationals this weekend

Seventeen University of Toledo students will leap, kick and plié as the Dancing Rockettes compete in the College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship this weekend.

The team arrived early Thursday in Orlando, Fla., and practiced at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney Resort in Bay Lake.

The UT Dancing Rockettes posed for a photo last year in the Glass Bowl.

“What’s really exciting for us this year is they built a new arena specifically for cheer and dance competitions, and college nationals is the first competition they’re having at this complex,” Devon Hays, coach of the Rockettes, said.

UT qualified to hit the floor at nationals by attending a four-day camp last summer at East Tennessee State University.

“Any college or university is welcome to register to compete at nationals,” Hays said. “We are in NCAA Division 1-A, so we compete against teams from across the country that are also Division 1-A schools.”

Presented by the Universal Cheerleaders Association and Universal Dance Association, the national competition will feature jazz, hip-hop and pom dance categories. In addition, cheer and mascot contests will take place.

“Pom is what we compete; it’s a mixture of jazz dancing with cheer or pom motions,” Hays said.

Rockette Kaylee Hull executed a jump in the Glass Bowl.

The Dancing Rockettes are scheduled to perform their two-minute routine Saturday, Jan. 13, at 7:42 a.m.

“It’s the most jam-packed two minutes that you can imagine,” Hays said and laughed.

“We have a couple skills we’ve really been working on, drilling down so we nail them at competition,” she said. “We have some aerial cartwheels — that’s a no-handed cartwheel that a handful of our girls do that they’ve really been working hard on. And we have a big team turn sequence that we’ve been spending a lot of time making sure everybody is hitting their spot exactly on time.”

Hays said the Rockettes will be among some 20 teams in their Division 1-A category.

“We’re the third team to go in the prelims Saturday morning, so there’ll be a lot of teams after us that we’ll be able to watch and see our competition,” she said.

Teams will find out Saturday afternoon if they advance to the finals, which will take place Sunday.

Founded in 1961, the Rockettes were among the first recognized collegiate dance teams in the country.

“That’s a very cool piece of history we have. It’s crazy because we’ve been around so long, but we’re so new to the competition world. This is only our third year competing,” Hays said.

“I want the team to be proud of what they’re putting on the competition floor. Being on that competition floor is a chance for us to have fun and showcase everything we’ve worked really hard for this year,” she said. “We have so much talent. I want them to be proud of everything they’ve achieved. On top of that, I want them to understand they’re paving the way for the future and legacy of this program.”

In her third year as coach of the Rockettes, Hays graduated from UT in 2012 with a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing and entrepreneurship. The former UT cheerleader helps run her family’s Mini Motions Dance Center in Toledo.

“It’s been exciting for me to come back and grow the dance team,” she said.

Affiliated with the UT Rocket Marching Band, the Rockettes step it up at football games during fall semester and also perform at Mid-American Conference home basketball games in spring semester.

Community to honor civil rights leader at 2018 MLK Unity Celebration

The community will come together Monday, Jan. 15, to honor civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 17th annual Unity Celebration.

“Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere: Unifying the Community Voice” is the theme of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Celebration that will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. in Savage Arena on The University of Toledo Main Campus. The public event will include a free community lunch following the celebration.

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and UT President Sharon L. Gaber will hold a news conference Friday, Jan. 12, at 10 a.m. in the mayor’s office in One Government Center to invite community members to attend the annual event.

“Unifying our community, our families and our neighborhoods is of critical importance. I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the important tradition of remembering the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Kapszukiewicz said. “This year marks the 50thanniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, so I think it is particularly important to reflect on his life, his accomplishments, and the profound impact he has had on the world.”

“Although Dr. King’s voice was silenced a half century ago, today his message still resonates,” Gaber said. “UT is proud to host this opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate and be inspired by his passionate call for equality and love and his dream for a better tomorrow.”

The Unity Celebration will feature a performance from Douglas Tappin’s “I Dream: The Story of a Preacher From Atlanta” with an introduction featuring members from the Toledo Opera chorus with special guest soloist Darnell Ishmel. The new rhythm and blues opera, which focuses on the 36 hours leading up to King’s assassination 50 years ago, will be performed locally in April when the Toledo Opera production comes to the Valentine Theatre.

The event also will include remarks from elected officials, performances by UT student Jalen Welborn, the Toledo School for the Arts, the Scott High School Marching Band and the United Vision Baptist Church Choir, and recognition of the recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship and the African-American Leadership Council of United Way Scholarship Awards.

Football team earned record 3.001 GPA in fall semester

The University of Toledo football players had a team grade point average of 3.001 last fall, marking the first time in school history the Rockets have finished above a 3.0 GPA in the fall semester.

The only other time the team achieved a 3.0 GPA was spring semester 2013 when the Rockets earned a 3.027 mark.

“We’re very proud of what our team was able to achieve in the classroom this past semester,” said Head Coach Jason Candle. “To win a MAC Championship and earn a team GPA over a 3.0 in the same semester is a tremendous accomplishment. That says a lot about the character and commitment of our student-athletes.

“I’d also like to thank Ericka Lavender and her staff in Student-Athlete Academic Services for their great support, as well as all the faculty, staff and volunteers who help support our academic efforts,” Candle added.

In addition to a 3.0 GPA, the Rockets landed 13 players on the 2017 Academic All-Mid-American Conference team, while senior wide receiver Cody Thompson was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team.

There were 13 Rockets who began the 2017 season having already received their bachelor’s degrees, the third highest total in the country. An additional nine Rockets graduated in December.

U.S. News recognizes UT online programs

The University of Toledo provides one of the best online bachelor’s programs, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

UT is ranked 125 out of 357 institutions in the 2018 Best Online Programs ranking, an increase from last year’s place of 142 out of 311 programs.

U.S. News assessed schools based on student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

“This ranking is recognition of the high-quality distance learning curriculum and the strong support services we provide to our students,” UT Provost Andrew Hsu said. “Recognizing that many prospective students, particularly working professionals returning to the classroom, enjoy the flexibility and convenience of online classes, we will continue to enhance and improve UT’s programs offered online.”

“The best online programs rankings offer adults the information needed to identify programs that best suit their life and career goals,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “The top programs not only demonstrate strong academics, but also create learning environments that are particularly well-suited to remote students.”

The UT Judith Herb College of Education also was ranked 107 out of 309 for its online graduate education program. UT’s ranking improved from last year’s rank of 109 out of 278 on that Best Online Education Programs list, which evaluates programs on student engagement, student services and technology, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

UT’s College of Education launched this academic year the first online PhD program approved in Ohio. The Curriculum and Instruction: Special Education Doctoral Degree Program is designed for those who specialize in early childhood special education who are looking to take the next step in their careers.

For additional information about the U.S. News rankings, click here.

Rockets earned school-record 3.290 grade point average fall semester

UT student-athletes earned a combined grade point average of 3.290 in fall semester. It is the highest department semester GPA in school history, eclipsing the previous mark of 3.270 set last spring.

It is also the sixth consecutive semester in which UT student-athletes have earned a semester GPA above 3.2, and the 18th straight semester of at least a 3.1 GPA.

“Once again, we would like to commend our student-athletes for achieving another record-setting semester in the classroom,” Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. said. “Their consistent level of academic achievement is a point of great pride for them, as well as our entire University. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication, as well as the outstanding support they receive from our Student-Athlete Academic Services staff, our faculty and our coaches. Their dedication really helps make a difference.”

“I would also like to congratulate Head Coach Nicole Hollingsworth and our women’s golf program for recording the highest team GPA for the second straight semester.”

This past semester, 20 Rockets graduated with their degrees. Individually, 38 student-athletes earned president’s list honors with a perfect 4.0 GPA, while nearly 35 percent (130 of 374) earned a spot on the dean’s list by garnering at least a 3.50 GPA, and 71 percent (268 of 374) achieved a 3.0 grade point average or better for fall semester.

“My staff and I continue to be impressed by the individual and team success of our student-athletes,” said Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services Ericka Lavender. “As the overall reputation and academic standards of The University of Toledo continue to increase, we continue to see our student-athletes rise to the highest level and compete in the classroom with the overall student body.”

Fourteen of UT’s 16 varsity teams had combined GPAs of at least 3.0, and all 16 sports had at least 2.9 GPA. Women’s golf set the pace for the second consecutive semester with a team GPA of 3.776, nearly breaking the school record it set last spring when the Rockets achieved a 3.780 GPA. Women’s volleyball (3.677), women’s cross country (3.619), men’s golf (3.553), women’s soccer (3.538) and women’s tennis (3.519) also were above 3.5 as a team this past fall.

Toledo 2017 Fall Semester Team GPAs
Overall Department GPA: 3.290
Team GPAs

Baseball: 3.376
Men’s Basketball: 2.961
Men’s Cross Country: 2.939
Football: 3.001
Men’s Golf: 3.553
Men’s Tennis: 3.370
Women’s Basketball: 3.378
Women’s Cross Country: 3.619
Women’s Golf: 3.776
Women’s Soccer: 3.538
Softball: 3.308
Women’s Swimming & Diving: 3.467
Women’s Tennis: 3.519
Women’s Indoor/Outdoor Track: 3.364
Women’s Volleyball: 3.677