2009 February | UToledo News







Archive for February, 2009

Women’s volleyball coach resigns to take position at Illinois



UT Women’s Volleyball Coach Kent Miller resigned today to accept a position as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois, UT Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced.

O’Brien added that a national search for Miller’s replacement will begin immediately.

“I want to thank Kent for his 12 years of service to the University,” O’Brien said. “His teams competed hard, and they were always one of our department’s top performers in the classroom. We wish him and his wife, Melissa, nothing but the very best at the University of Illinois.”

Miller served as the Rockets’ mentor for the last 12 seasons from 1997 to 2008 and helped the program establish 11 team and 14 individual school records during his tenure.

Highlighting Miller’s career was the 2005 squad that posted an 18-13 ledger and advanced to the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals. The Rockets also registered UT’s best conference winning percentage (.563) in school history that season with a 9-7 win-loss mark, and notched the Midnight Blue and Gold’s first two MAC Tournament triumphs ever. Miller also posted UT’s first winning record in conference play with a 10-8 ledger in the 2001 campaign, which included the second-best overall winning percentage (.607) in program history with a 17-11 mark.

“Joining the staff of Kevin Hambly at Illinois is an opportunity to work with one of the premier volleyball programs in the country,” Miller said. “Kevin and his predecessor, Don Hardin, have created a truly unique culture, and I am excited to become a part of it.

“At the same time, this is an extremely difficult time to leave The University of Toledo,” Miller continued. “The renovations to Savage Arena have created the best environment for our student-athletes in the MAC, if not the region. The returning players on this team are quality individuals — on the court and off. Combined with the incoming class of 2009 recruits, this team is poised for significant improvement and success. I look forward to following their progress next season and in the years to come.”

Miller added, “I would like to thank Mike O’Brien, Kelly Andrews and the entire department for their support throughout my tenure at Toledo. I will always cherish my time as a Rocket.”

Academics were a primary focus for the Rockets under Miller. His teams registered the Athletic Department’s highest semester GPA on four occasions, including the squad’s best ever 3.657 GPA in spring 2006 to help give UT the highest team GPA in NCAA Division I volleyball in the 2005-06 academic year.

On an individual basis, former Rocket Kate Bean was a two-time first-team selection for ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-America squad in 2005 and 2006. She was the first volleyball player in school history to earn Academic All-America accolades.

‘All-Star’ employees recognized by University

webllstarpicture-1Earlier this month some of the most talented athletes in the NBA where chosen to showcase their talents in the 2009 All-Star Game in Phoenix. Just three days later, Savage Arena was host to a different group of all-stars — modest individuals who often go unrecognized for their contributions to the campus community — UT employees.

The men’s home basketball game Feb. 18 marked the launch of a special program titled “UT All-Stars” to recognize faculty and staff celebrating employment anniversaries ranging from five to 40 years.

These employees are being recognized for their service to the University with up to four free tickets to a men’s or women’s basketball game, access to a special section of seats for each home basketball game in Savage Arena, food vouchers and coupons, and acknowledgement at halftime.

“We chose to offer each of these individuals something most of us have a shortage of in our lives — an afternoon or evening out with family or friends,” said Esther Fabian, UT director of health-care marketing, who oversaw the anniversary program.

Employees celebrating an anniversary of 20 years or more will receive a UT fan jersey with their name and number of service years on it.

In addition, a Web page has been dedicated to honor employment anniversaries. Go to www.utoledo.edu/serviceawards to see a list of all being recognized, video interviews, and a special video from President Lloyd Jacobs.

Campus safety is community concern

As an institution that strives to be open to its community, UT sometimes walks a fine line between accessible and vulnerable.

Calling attention to this delicate balance was last month’s arrest of a man who resided intermittently in the North Engineering Building on Main Campus.

The UT Police Department arrested the man after responding to a tip.

“In our environment, we generally start the day early and stay open late to accommodate our students, faculty members and others in our community,” Chief of Police Jeff Newton said. “It’s important that we not depend just on security personnel. We all need to be aware of activities and people around us.”

Newton encourages students, faculty and staff to contact the Police Department if suspicious activity is observed.

“What is suspicious activity? That’s a good question,” Newton said. “A general rule of thumb is if you don’t feel comfortable with behaviors you see, whether it’s someone trying to access a restricted area or something that seems out of place, call the police at 419.530.2600.”

At times, Newton said, UT’s buildings are used for shelter. When apprised of these situations, officers make contact with the person in question, run a background check for warrants or arrests, then transport him or her to a shelter, if appropriate.

Several guidelines for staying informed and alert are posted on UT’s Web site at www.utoledo.edu/depts/emergency/SafeguardYourself/BeAwareBeAlert.html.

As with the arrest in the North Engineering Building, Newton said tipsters are important to keeping UT secure.

“We checked the man’s location the night before his arrest,” Newton noted. “We didn’t find him at that time, so we went again the next morning.

“The best security plans rely on community involvement,” he continued. “If we don’t take basic measures, such as keeping doors secure, reporting suspicious activities and being aware of people around us, it hampers the effectiveness. We all need to take responsibility.”

Kidney recipient to tell survival story

Did you know there are more than 2,500 people in Ohio waiting for a new kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, lung or intestine?

donatelifelogocolorrgb1The UT chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has invited two-time kidney transplant recipient Tifiro Cook to share his experience with organ donation for its Do It Now College Challenge for Donate Life Ohio and Second Chance Trust Fund.

Cook will talk about the importance of registering as an organ and tissue donor Friday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room on Main Campus.

“So many people’s lives are hanging by a thread with organ donation being their only hope,” he said.

Cook became ill with a renal disease and received one of his sister’s kidneys in 1993.  That kidney failed four years later due to rejection.

He then waited 15 years and received his second transplant in 2007 through a new process called paired donation.

Paired donation is a procedure that allows individuals who wish to give a kidney to their loved one but cannot because they are incompatible. The donor and recipient are matched with another incompatible donor/recipient pair and the kidneys are exchanged between the pairs.

National Geographic made a documentary of Cook’s journey through this paired donation process at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

The Do It Now Ohio College Challenge is a competition among state schools in order to increase registered organ and tissue donors. The UT chapter of PRSSA has been challenged to register 10,347 new donors by the end of April.

To register as an organ and tissue donor, go to www.doitnowohio.org/ut and click on “register now.”

For more information on this free, public event, contact Brittany Black of the UT-PRSSA at 419.340.5878.

First Jefferson Awards honoree exemplifies student volunteerism

Even after she had the medallion in her hand, Emily Stinehart could scarcely believe it.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs had presented her with the University’s first Jefferson Award for community service in front of family, friends and fellow volunteers. She’d posed for photos and been interviewed by a member of UT’s student media corps.

As she sat for her last interview during an eventful day, Stinehart smiled with wonder and said, “I still can’t believe it. I’m so glad my colleagues thought I was deserving of this.”

Emily Stinehart receives the University's first Jefferson Award from President Lloyd Jacobs.

Emily Stinehart receives UT's first Jefferson Award from President Lloyd Jacobs.

Stinehart, a junior, was lauded with UT’s inaugural Jefferson Award for her outstanding acts of volunteerism through the Circle K organization. Circle K is part of the local Kiwanis group that fosters community service in partnership with several local programs, including the Josina Lott Center, the Ronald McDonald House, Read Around the World and more.

Stinehart’s nomination cited her activities at the Josina Lott Center, Toledo Head Start Program, Cherry Street Mission and Six Cent Initiative, among others, stating, “She seems to simply relish the fact that she has created a nurturing and warming relationship in a world that can be distant and cold at times. Her mentality of pure selflessness, ambition and optimism has rejuvenated and even inspired me and countless others to think less of self and more of goodwill and compassion.”

Part of Stinehart’s motivation to give, she said, can be traced back to generosity her family received during challenging times. When both of her parents lost their jobs a few years ago, she said the kindness of the Weston community helped keep them afloat.

As a student at Otsego High School, she joined the Otsego Book and Media Club.

“We’d go out and buy materials to make hats and scarves for kids who needed them,” Stinehart remembered, adding she volunteered at local coat checks, recycling events, bake sales and library programs.

“I wanted to give back to those who had helped my family.”

The history major juggles class work, two part-time jobs, and volunteer and leadership roles within Circle K. She is current district secretary and is running for lieutenant governor in the northwest Ohio district.

“Emily has really stepped up in leadership,” said Julia Martin, business and economics librarian in Carlson Library and faculty adviser for Circle K. “I see it in how she interacts with the other students. She’s a leader in both word and deed.”

Stinehart enjoys spending time with people at the Josina Lott Center, a home for those with mental retardation and developmental disabilities, where she has established meaningful relationships.

“I went there once after I’d had a really bad day,” Stinehart recalled. “Some residents don’t have a lot of visitors and look forward to our visits. They totally brightened my day. I left with a completely different outlook.”

After earning her baccalaureate degree, Stinehart will pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice, English or history. She’d like to join a community service organization once she establishes her career so she can continue to serve.

When asked why volunteerism has become such an important part of her life, Stinehart had a simple answer: “I love seeing people smile.”

Industrial engineering major to be phased into mechanical engineering degree

Beginning in fall 2007, the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME) suspended admission of students into the bachelor of science in industrial engineering degree program.

“The number of undergraduate students majoring in industrial engineering has dwindled for quite some time and after unsuccessful recruiting efforts to increase enrollment, we decided it made the most sense to suspend the major and ensure our current industrial engineering students are able to earn their BS degrees,” said Dr. Brian Randolph, associate dean in the College of Engineering.

The vast majority of undergraduate students in the MIME Department are mechanical engineering majors and, according to Randolph, new students will still be able to take industrial engineering courses, creating a specialization in industrial engineering within their mechanical engineering major.

“We continue to have a strong industrial engineering master’s degree program that mechanical engineering graduates can pursue,” Randolph said. “In fact, many of our mechanical engineering graduates have careers in the industrial engineering sector and do very well.”

MIME Professor and Chair Dr. Abdollah Afjeh said that mechanical engineering and industrial engineering are very complementary in their application.

“Mechanical engineers are the ones who design a product or the machine that will create the product. Industrial engineers plan the layout of the plant and design the efficiencies of workflow and supply chains for the product,” Afjeh said.

“Both sets of skills are needed in the workplace and with the success of our mechanical engineering graduates in industrial engineering careers, I think it is clear this administrative change will not diminish in any way the career options for UT MIME students.”

Afjeh echoed Randolph in emphasizing a commitment to industrial engineering students that there would be no interruption or delay in their graduation as they pursue degrees.

Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering, said the industrial engineering undergraduate degree suspension was an example of the flexibility needed for many organizations in changing times.

“There will always be a need for University of Toledo engineers, and as realities around us change, we will design programs that meet the evolving needs of our students and the economy they will enter upon graduation,” Naganathan said.

UT brings the Congo to campus

"The Photo He Gave Me" by Stephanie Matthews

"The Photo He Gave Me" by Stephanie Matthews

Although the Congo is one of the wealthiest nations in natural resources such as diamonds, copper and minerals, it is also one of the poorest with more than one million people dying every year from malnutrition, starvation and disease.

Come experience life in the Congo through inspirational Congolese artworks on display in the UT Office of Multicultural Student Services in Student Union Room 2500 on Main Campus.

In celebration of Black History Month, the office is showing the art exhibits, “Children of the Congo” and “Art of the Congo.”

“Children of the Congo,” a photo exhibit by UT alumna Stephanie Matthews, was created in an effort to encourage greater understanding of the culture and spirit of Congolese children.

Matthews presents the photos without frames and glass covers so nothing stands between the viewer and images.

"Dance of Three Birds"

"Dance of Three Birds"

Story cards are placed among the staggered images so viewers can try to understand the realities the children face.

One of Matthews’ cards reads, “Fifty percent of those between 1 and 5 will die to malnutrition, starvation or disease. I am painfully aware that in one year’s time upon return to their nation, some of these children may not be alive.”

The “Art of the Congo” exhibition contains mixed-media artworks from several Congolese artists. The works depict African life and landscapes and are made from copper, leather and sand.

“This exhibit introduces viewers to the talents of the Congolese people,” said Nina Grant, senior director of the Multicultural Student Services Office. “It shows how a Congolese person interprets life.”

“Art of the Congo” is on loan from the African Cultural Initiatives for Peace and Development and support from UT’s Students in Free Enterprise. The pieces are for sale to provide financial assistance to the Congolese artists.

The exhibits can be seen Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Thursday, March 5.

For more information on these free, public exhibits, contact Grant at 419.530.2261.

Help center for new myUT student portal up and running

The help center for the newly streamlined myUT student portal is online and available for use.

The Web site provides links to technical assistance resources, access to new tutorial videos and descriptions of ways to simplify content customization.

A video tour of the new features included in the myUT portal redesign also is available.

The help center can be used by visiting myUT.utoledo.edu/helpcenter.

UT extends soccer coach’s contract through 2014

The University of Toledo and Women’s Soccer Head Coach Brad Evans have agreed to a six-year extension to his contract, Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced today.

Head Soccer Coach Brad Evans talked to his team during a timeout.

Head Soccer Coach Brad Evans talked to his team during a timeout.

Evans’ current contract was due to expire at the end of 2009 season; Evans’ new contract with UT runs through the 2014 soccer campaign.

“Brad has built a national-caliber program while being the head coach at The University of Toledo,” O’Brien said. “Obviously winning three-consecutive MAC [Mid-American Conference] titles is a part of that, but also his student-athletes consistently finish with one of the top team GPAs in the department as well. We’re pleased about this commitment to Brad and look forward to him being with us for many years to come.”

“My wife, Kristen, and I are thrilled with the generosity of this extension,” said Evans, who owns a 78-65-16 overall win-loss mark in eight seasons at UT. “For Mike [O’Brien] and Dr. [Lloyd] Jacobs to show this kind of faith in me is extremely gratifying and rewarding.

“Clearly, I owe a sincere thank-you to those who work so hard every day to make UT soccer the best program it can become, including my coaches and the support staff,” Evans said. “Most importantly, I would like to thank the student-athletes who work tirelessly at becoming the best people and soccer players they can. Their dedication and commitment to the program inspires me every day.”

In 2008, the Rockets appeared in their third consecutive NCAA Tournament and finished the season with a 16-5-1 overall record and 8-2-1 in the MAC. Toledo earned the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning the MAC Tournament for a third consecutive year, becoming only the second league school to accomplish such a feat. Evans’ team set school records in wins, shutouts (12) and goals-against average (0.94) en route to its first regular-season league title. On an individual basis, UT saw five players earn All-MAC accolades, including conference player of the year, forward Molly Cornwell, for the second-consecutive season, as well as freshman of the year, goalkeeper Vicki Traven.

In the classroom, Toledo was recognized for having a top 10 team grade point average in the nation for the third straight year. The Rockets posted a 3.46 overall GPA to rank 10th among Division I programs, led by senior Laura Mecklenborg, who earned a spot on the third team of the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV Women’s Soccer squad.

In 2009, Evans and the Rockets will return 18 letter winners, including nine starters. Toledo will open its fall season at DePaul Friday, Aug. 28.

New format for town hall meetings emphasizes viewing via Web

When the next town hall meeting gets under way, organizers are hoping there will be fewer people in the room, but far more participating and watching from their desks.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 11 a.m., the meeting will debut in a new format, broadcast from Field House Room 1050 via the Web.

“One thing that we have come to realize over the course of the years we have conducted town hall meetings is that it is often difficult to drive attendance,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “However, we believe there is an ever-growing group that is viewing the meetings via our Web site. This new format recognizes that reality and is designed to significantly enhance the viewing experience.”

President Lloyd Jacobs or a member of the senior leadership team will host each meeting in front of a studio audience consisting of institutional leaders and members of the campus community who desire to participate in person.

“We have a limited number of seats available for those wishing to bring topics to the fore in person, as well as those who are likely to be needed to respond to questions. We are still encouraging people to participate in person, but we recognize that it’s a lot to ask people to stop working and spend an hour away from their desks,” Burns said.

Questions can be submitted in advance or during the meeting to townhallquestions@utoledo.edu or by calling 419.530.2675.

“Our set will include a computer with e-mail access so that anyone watching via the Web can submit a question even as the meeting takes place. Not unlike the in-person format, the president or others will be able to respond to questions in real-time, without the need for students, faculty and staff to take the time out of their day to physically travel to the meeting,” Burns said.

The meeting can be viewed at video.utoledo.edu. It will be available for viewing a short time after at utoledo.edu/offices/president/townhall.

For more information, contact the University Communications Office at 419.530.2675.