Three UT employees were recognized for exceptional achievement and dedication to the campus community at the 32nd annual Outstanding Women’s Award ceremony.
More than 60 attended the University Women’s Commission program, which was held April 11 in the Savage Arena Joe Grogan Room.
Kelly Andrews, senior associate athletic director who is chair of the University Women’s Commission, told the crowd that since 1987, the organization has honored 173 UT faculty and staff members, and awarded $87,000 in scholarships.
Guest speaker Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, director of foundation and development communications with the UT Foundation, talked about how challenging yourself to go outside your comfort zone can be empowering. The 1983 UT alumna and 2017 Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award winner is the author of “Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares,” which just received a silver medal in the humor category of the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs).The recipients of the Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were:
• Melissa Gleckler, educational technologist with UT Online in University College. She has worked at the University for 11 years. Gleckler won the Ohio Academic Advising Association Excellence Award in 2017, and has presented about advising and learning assessment at national conferences. She is a founding member of the Toledo Academic Advising Association, and she is serving a three-year elected term as co-chair of the communications committee for the Professional Staff Council. The UT alumna received a bachelor of arts degree in communication in 1996, a master of liberal studies degree in 2009, and is working on a PhD.
“She had a wonderful rapport with her students. Her office was next door to mine, and the walls were quite thin. I could hear laughter, sometimes tears and consolation, and lots of encouragement,” one nominator wrote. “Melissa is a proud UT alumna. I have always admired her pursuit of self-improvement and further education. She continuously sought opportunities to add a credential or skill and is pursuing a PhD focused on educational media and technology, with research interests in how course aesthetics and technical design affect the learning experience. As an adjunct instructor, she took pride in enhancing her courses with the latest technology and was passionate about updating the content and course material every semester.”
• Dr. Revathy Kumar, professor of educational psychology in the Judith Herb College of Education. She joined the UT faculty in 2001. Her research focuses on social and cultural processes involved in constructing a sense of self and identity among adolescents in culturally diverse societies. Of particular interest are the roles of teachers, teacher-education programs, schools, communities and families in facilitating minority and immigrant adolescents’ development, learning and motivation. Her work has been published in education and psychology journals.
“Dr. Kumar has started examining the role of mindfulness cultivation among pre-service teachers for enhancing awareness and focusing attention on personal implicit and explicit biases toward poor and minority students. The program of research is both important and relevant because increasing demographic heterogeneity in our country has raised concerns regarding our teachers’ capacity to face the challenging task of teaching culturally diverse students,” one nominator wrote. “She has chosen to develop a line of research particularly aimed at improving undergraduate teacher education at UT and, as responses to her articles indicate, recognized as useful across the nation for constructing teacher education programs that prepare teachers to be effective in the diverse classrooms they will enter.”
• Dr. Michele Soliz, assistant vice president for student success and inclusion in the Division of Student Affairs. During her 17 years at the University, she has worked in the Office of the Provost and served as dean of students. She was chair of the 2017 UT Community Charitable Campaign, which raised $128,934 for nearly 220 nonprofit area organizations. The UT alumna received a master of education degree and a PhD in higher education in 2002 and 2012, respectively.
“Michele has an unbridled passion for helping the students she comes into contact with on campus, as well as those in the community. Her determination and wholehearted desire to help others was apparent to me since the first time we worked together,” one nominator wrote. “She has been a committee member of the Latino Youth Summit and Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program since their inceptions. She is active in the UT Latino Alumni Affiliate, serves as a mentor to African-American female students in the Talented and Aspiring Women Leaders Program, and teaches the course Managing Diversity in the Workplace. Her hours of charitable work confirm she is not only socially conscious, but also invested in the betterment of the world around her.”The University Women’s Commission also presented $1,000 scholarships to four students. Receiving awards based on academic achievement, support of women’s and gender issues, and campus involvement were Jessica Avery, a senior majoring in history; Hailey Cox, a junior majoring in biology; Shaquira Jackson, a junior majoring in theatre; and Celine Schreidah, a senior majoring in biochemistry.