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Several business programs receive high continental and global rankings from Eduniversal

Eduniversal, a global ranking and rating agency specializing in higher education, has again repeatedly included The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation in its latest listing of Best Business School programs.

The just-published results of the Eduniversal ranking for the 4,000 best masters and MBAs in 32 fields of study worldwide ranks the UT College of Business and Innovation in these programs:

• Master of Business Administration, ranked No. 35 in General Management, North America;

• Human Resources Management, ranked No. 30 in Human Resources, North America;

• Marketing and Professional Sales, ranked No. 37 in Marketing in North America;

• Master in Supply Chain Management, ranked No. 93 in Supply Chain and Logistics, worldwide; and

• Executive MBA, ranked No. 47 in Executive MBA and MBA part time, North America.

In announcing the rankings, Eduniversal stated: “This recognition acknowledges the quality and success your institution has achieved over the past year, to which we measure across three main criteria: The reputation of the programs: highly recognized by recruiting companies and have an active approach toward them; the salary of first employment after graduation: placement of your graduates in the best job positions on the market; and student satisfaction: working to improve your programs by taking into account feedback from your students.”

“We are very excited by these prestigious rankings, which validate the high quality of our faculty and students, as well as the significance of our curriculum,” Dr. Gary Insch, dean of the College of Business and Innovation, said. “The fact that our Supply Chain Program ranked No. 93 in the entire world is a truly remarkable achievement.

“These significant recognitions are among the reasons that many well-known companies come to the UT College of Business and Innovation to find the talent they need,” Insch added. “It reflects very positively on our outstanding quality, and demonstrates the extremely dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by our college and the business community.”

The Eduniversal Evaluation System compiles and analyzes hundreds of data about business schools from global, national and regional higher education systems, taking into account the accreditations, the results of other rankings, and the distinctions obtained in the country of the schools analyzed.

Eduniversal (best-masters.com) has been working since 1994 to provide schools and students with the best information possible in the higher education sector. The Eduniversal ranking is published once a year and was announced at its recent annual world convention.

President to represent MAC on NCAA Presidential Forum

The University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber has been appointed to represent the Mid-American Conference on the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum.

Gaber

The Presidential Forum, which consists of one president or chancellor from each of the 32 NCAA Division 1 Conferences, assists the NCAA Division I Board of Directors in accomplishing its strategic mission and helps ensure that the NCAA core value involving presidential leadership of intercollegiate athletics at the campus, conference and national level is achieved.

“I am honored to represent the Mid-American Conference as the Presidential Forum discusses and provides counsel on the issues facing the NCAA,” Gaber said. “Intercollegiate athletics play an important role in higher education, and I look forward to the opportunity to support our student-athletes and provide input on best practices for our campuses.”

Gaber replaces Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn, who is retiring, as the MAC representative on the Presidential Forum.

UT Upward Bound receives $2 million federal grant

The U.S. Department of Education renewed funding for The University of Toledo Upward Bound program for the next five years.

The program that has been helping local high school students prepare for college and succeed for more than five decades will receive $417,693 a year through 2022 for a total of approximately $2 million.

Students studied Spanish phrases and then played charades, acting out those phrases for their classmates to guess.

“The University of Toledo is committed to helping low-income and first-generation college students succeed,” Pamela Rogers, director of UT Upward Bound, said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to continue impacting the lives of Toledo’s students and plant seeds for higher education. After all, today’s student is tomorrow’s leader.”

The funding allows the program to serve 100 high school students a year.

Rogers said for the last 24 years, 97 percent or more of participants have graduated high school, and the majority go on to college.

UT Upward Bound offers a six-week summer program on campus where students attend academic classes. This year 68 students are enrolled, and last year 60 students participated. Students also will travel to Washington, D.C., this summer to visit colleges and cultural sites.

During the school year, the Upward Bound program offers workshops on taking tests, study skills and interviewing, as well as tutoring and financial aid advice.

“We want to raise high school GPAs to levels that make college entry possible,” Rogers said. “Our goal is to help these students and their families follow their dreams.”

UT athletics announces multi-year partnership with Nike

The University of Toledo Athletic Department has agreed to a multi-year exclusive partnership with Nike beginning July 1, UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced today.

The six-year agreement will make Nike the official athletic footwear, apparel, accessory and equipment brand for all 16 of Toledo’s varsity sports through the 2022-23 season. Previously, UT’s sports programs had separate agreements with various apparel brands.

“We are very pleased to be teaming up with Nike for all of our sports,” O’Brien said. “Nike is one of the most recognizable and innovative brands in the world, so we feel this partnership will be very beneficial for our program. Partnering with Nike will also create a consistent brand for our Athletic Department. Many of our student-athletes have told me that they are very excited to be wearing the swoosh on their uniforms, shoes and other apparel.”

“Nike is proud to partner with The University of Toledo Athletic Department,” said Kit Morris, Nike senior director of college sports marketing. “We look forward to outfitting Rocket student-athletes with the best in Nike footwear, uniform and apparel innovation.”
UT will begin rolling out Nike-branded apparel for football and other sports over the upcoming weeks. Rocky’s Locker, the official apparel store of Rocket Athletics located in Savage Arena, also will be featuring new Nike apparel.

“Nike is an incredible athletic brand with strong appeal to our players and fans,” said Football Coach Jason Candle. “Our players are thrilled to be wearing Nike footwear and uniforms this fall. I’m looking forward to a tremendous partnership with Nike and Toledo football in the years to come.”

“I’m excited about making the switch to Nike,” said Cody Thompson, senior football player. “I’ve always been a Nike guy growing up. They’re the alpha dog of the sports world. I can’t wait!”

“Toledo women’s basketball has been with Nike since 2008. We greatly value the quality Nike provides in their shoes, apparel and basketballs,” said Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop. “I’m excited to see our entire athletic department partner with Nike as it unifies our Toledo brand. Not only do our players and coaches appreciate wearing Nike apparel and shoes, but it is also of great value on the recruiting trail. Recruits do pay attention to what you wear, as many players grow up relying on the quality of Nike’s products and have a wish to continue wearing it in the future.”

Men’s Basketball Coach Tod Kowalczyk said, “I am extremely proud of the 15-year relationship I have had with Nike college basketball. Nike is by far the leader in their industry and always has the best product. I can assure you, our players and coaches would not want anything but Nike. We are a proud Nike basketball program.”

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Nike. They are the premier apparel and footwear company in the sports world,” said Track/Cross Country Coach Linh Nguyen. “This partnership shows a continued commitment to being the very best at The University of Toledo. The cross country and track program couldn’t be happier to outfit our student-athletes in the world’s most recognizable brand.”

Nike Inc., based near Beaverton, Ore., is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike Inc. subsidiary brands include Converse, which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories.

University adopts new strategic plan

A new strategic plan will guide The University of Toledo’s priorities during the next five years as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2022.

The plan, called The University of Toledo’s Path to Excellence, was approved Monday by the UT Board of Trustees.

Revised mission, vision and values guide the plan that is organized around five priorities, each with specific goals accompanied by outcomes, metrics and responsible individuals or departments to measure the progress toward achievement of the goal. The plan also includes a number of aspirational goals, including increasing UT’s position into the U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 public, national, research university ranking, which will continue beyond the five-year timeframe outlined in the document.

The new mission of the University: “The University of Toledo is a national, public, research university where students obtain a world-class education and become part of a diverse community of leaders committed to improving the human condition in the region and the world.”

The revised vision is: “The University of Toledo will be a nationally ranked, public, research university with internationally recognized expertise and exceptional strength in discovery, teaching, clinical practice and service.”

The new strategic plan also lists UT’s values: excellence, student-centeredness, research and scholarship, professionalism and leadership, and diversity.

“Thank you to the many constituents who exchanged ideas and debated priorities as we worked together to set our path forward,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This strategic plan outlines the strong future of The University of Toledo and details how we will grow and develop with the support of our dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni and community.”

“I am proud of the inclusive process that created this strategic plan. It will allow us to build on our strengths and address opportunities for improvement as we move UT toward excellence,” said Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “I look forward to working with our faculty and staff on the plan’s implementation and the impact it will have on our future success.”

The collaborative process to create the strategic plan included the input of hundreds of students, faculty, staff and the public who attended discussion sessions and provided feedback on drafts since the strategic planning process began in September 2016.

Hsu led the process with the assistance of Dr. Sharon McDade, a principal and senior executive leadership consultant with Greenwood/Asher and Associates, Inc. Dr. Laurie Dinnebeil, Distinguished University Professor and chair of early childhood, physical and special education, and Dr. Anthony Quinn, associate professor of biological sciences and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, served as co-chairs of the strategic planning committee.

Because students are the center of all UT does, the first strategic priority in the plan is Student Success and Academic Excellence. The plan outlines goals to improve student success, retention and degree completion, and to better prepare students for future academic studies and career success.

The plan prioritizes Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities, listing goals to achieve national recognition for five areas of research excellence, increase prominence for faculty researchers, and improve productivity.

The third priority is Faculty, Staff and Alumni with the goal to foster a culture of support and high job satisfaction, increase diversity, strengthen a sense of community and pride, and increase meaningful engagement with alumni and friends.

Building a strong financial foundation is the first goal in the Fiscal Positioning and Infrastructure priority that also sets out to ensure adaptability and sustainability for academic programs, increases in revenue and operating efficiencies, and infrastructure improvements.

The final priority in the strategic plan is Reputation and Engagement. To strengthen this area, goals have been set to improve UT’s national and international reputation and improve ties at local and regional levels, unify the University’s branding and marketing, grow the UT health-care system, increase philanthropy, and promote Rocket athletics.

Each of the goals is accompanied by a measurable outcome. Each outcome starts with a 2016 baseline measurement and identifies a 2022 target. It also identifies the departments or individuals in the University who are responsible for achieving that goal. Success will be regularly monitored using a dashboard. Units across the University are being asked to create complementary strategic plans aligned with the Path to Excellence document to ensure everyone is working together to move the institution forward.

A copy of the plan can be downloaded at utoledo.edu/strategicplan.

Trustees approve agreements with AFSCME, CWA

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved Monday collective bargaining agreements with members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Ohio Council 8 and AFSCME Local 241, and Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4319.

The agreements with AFSCME, which represents about 2,100 employees on the University’s Health Science Campus, were approved by members May 26. A three-year agreement will run through June 30, 2020, followed by a one-year agreement to run from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

The new contract includes a one-time payment of 1.5 percent of the employee’s salary in the first year, which does not affect their base salary, a 1 percent wage increase to their base salary the second year, and 2 percent base salary increases in years three and four.

The three-year agreement with CWA, which represents about 500 employees who provide clerical, maintenance and custodial services primarily on UT’s Main Campus, was approved by membership June 13.

The contract, which is effective Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 30, 2019, includes a one-time payment of $500 upon ratification and one-time payment of $300 in October, which do not impact base salaries. In the second year of the contract, employees will receive a 1 percent wage increase to their base salaries and then a 2 percent base salary increase in year three.

The new agreements with both unions also update contract language to align benefits with University policy and extend the probation period for new employees.

“I want to thank the AFSCME and CWA leadership and their members for their commitment to this University, and we look forward to continued collaboration as we work together to move UT forward,” said Larry Kelley, executive vice president for finance and administration, and chief financial officer.

Basketball coach to participate in NCAA’s Academic Integrity Summit

Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tod Kowalczyk has been selected to participate in an Academic Integrity Summit being held by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Academic Integrity Unit Wednesday, June 21, in Indianapolis.

The goal of the summit will be to develop best practices for member schools concerning how to detect and prevent academic misconduct in online courses. The best practices document that is created would include an educational component and a tool kit to assist in detection of potential NCAA violations involving academic integrity.

Kowalczyk

Rather than creating burdens or new rules for member schools, the resources would be designed to satisfy an appetite on campus for practical guidance on this challenging issue. At this time, the sports of football and basketball will be the focus of this effort; however, the list of sports covered could expand.

“I am extremely privileged and honored to be a part of the first Academic Integrity Summit held by the NCAA,” Kowalczyk said. “There will be many different ideas talked about during this meeting, and I look forward to providing feedback to help intercollegiate athletics.”

Kowalczyk will be joined at the summit by representatives from the Collegiate Commissioners Association Compliance Administrators, National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, National Association for Athletics Compliance, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, National Association of Basketball Coaches and American Football Coaches Association.

Law grad makes history with U.S. Air Force JAG

Even before she received her UT juris doctor May 6, Maysaa Ouza had made legal history. Just before graduation, she was selected as a new U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps attorney — the first Muslim hijabi selected for this role.

Ouza’s family was influential in her decision to pursue a career with the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. Her parents immigrated to the United States, affording Ouza and her siblings opportunities and privileges they might not have received elsewhere. They strongly encouraged her to consider the military as a career.

Maysaa Ouza, who posed for a photo with her juris doctor in front of the Memorial Field House, is the first Muslim hijabi selected as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps attorney.

She also credits her UT College of Law professors and the Office of Professional Development with helping her learn about careers with the various JAG Corps and navigating the competitive application process. She believes that she was the first hijabi applicant to apply for the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps.

“Many people that look like me fear rejection, and thus will not apply for jobs like this,” Ouza said. “I want to break those barriers.”

The U.S. Air Force JAG Corps appealed to Ouza for several reasons. Public service and service to her community have long been important to her, and she will have the opportunity to serve her country as a military lawyer. Additionally, the JAG Corps provides its lawyers with opportunities to gain experience in numerous areas of law, including legal assistance, criminal law and military operations law — to name just a few. This exposure to multiple practice areas also was of interest to Ouza, as was the fact the Air Force is the youngest branch of the U.S. armed forces.
According to Ouza, there are similarities between life in the military and wearing the hijab — both require lives of structure and discipline.

“My hijab is an asset to the Air Force, not a liability,” she said. “The defining aspect of my character is my unwavering dedication to leading a life of structure and immense discipline. Capitalizing on these characteristics, it made intrinsic sense to serve our country.”

While attending the UT College of Law, Ouza was a leader in several student organizations.

“Maysaa was a quiet force during her time at the College of Law,” said Kate O’Connell, assistant dean for student affairs. “She served as president of the International Law Society, vice president of the Criminal Law Society and vice president of Delta Theta Phi. This past year alone, Maysaa was largely responsible for planning a number of meaningful, timely and topical events at the College of Law.”

Furthermore, Ouza was a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office. She also made clear her desire to give back to her community, earning a UT College of Law Public Service Commendation and serving as a Law and Leadership Institute instructor.

Professor Benjamin Davis taught Ouza Contracts during her first year at the College of Law and interacted with her on a regular basis thereafter. “While she had such a strong sense of purpose, she was always personable with a warmth about her that made her stand out,” he said. “I am overjoyed she is becoming a JAG, and she is not just going to break down barriers, but thrive.”

University finalizing 2018 operating budget

As it awaits a final budget from the state of Ohio, The University of Toledo plans to shift the adoption of its 2018 operating budget until July 6.

UT leadership will ask the Board of Trustees during its regularly scheduled meeting on June 19 to adopt a one-month budget to bridge the gap between the end of the current fiscal year on June 30 and the adoption of the new budget.

Following approval of the state of Ohio biennium budget before July 1, UT will present its budget for the 2017-18 to the board at a special meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 6, in the Driscoll Alumni Center Schmakel Room.

“The state provides important funding sources for the University and given the unforeseen state revenue issues and a number of provisions in the pending state budget that could affect UT, it is important that we have all the details before we present a fiscal year budget to our board,” said Larry Kelley, executive vice president for finance and administration, and chief financial officer. “It has been at least 12 years since we have seen this level of uncertainty stretching into mid-June.”

During the last 18 months, the University has made strides in reducing costs and generating new income, Kelley said. UT is positioned well to adopt an operating budget that puts the institution in line to meet opportunities and challenges in the coming year.

Professor, students on team selected to participate in $5 million national solar competition

A University of Toledo physics professor and students are members of a Toledo team awarded $60,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in a $5 million prize competition called the Solar in Your Community Challenge.

The team, which is named Glass City Community Solar, aims to expand solar electricity access to low- and moderate-income residents. It’s comprised of community partners, including UT, Vistula Management Co., the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the city of Toledo.

UT senior Evan Nichols was interviewed by NBC 24 about the Solar in Your Community Challenge.

Glass City Community Solar is one of 35 teams nationally to be selected to receive seed funds from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to support project planning and to raise awareness. All teams will compete for $1 million in prizes, which will be awarded by judges based on each project or program’s innovation, impact and replicability.

Over the next 18 months, Glass City Community Solar will demonstrate innovative financing for commercial solar installations.

“It is extremely exciting for us to be able to have a hand in a project that has so much potential to benefit families by reducing electric bills, as well as educating the Toledo community about the use of renewable energy,” said UT student Blaine Luszcak, who is co-president of the UT student group called Building Ohio’s Sustainable Energy Future.

Glass City Community Solar will develop 300- to 750-kilowatt photovoltaic systems on rooftops and vacant lots to serve low- and moderate-income housing across the metro Toledo area. The cost savings will reduce electricity expenses and also support residents interested in pursuing education and training in the solar energy field.

“Our students will benefit tremendously from these real-world photovoltaic projects as they create an extended learning lab that will result in several large, operational photovoltaic power systems,” Dr. Randy Ellingson, UT professor of physics, said.

“We are thrilled that our team was selected to join the challenge,” said John Kiely, president of Vistula Management Co. and the team leader of Glass City Community Solar. “Our projects will benefit the people of Lucas County, and bring The University of Toledo’s leadership and passion for photovoltaic technology to real-world applications that benefit the people in our community that need it most.”

Find more information about the competition at solarinyourcommunity.org.