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Archive for December, 2009

UT to graduate first PhD student in Biomedical Engineering Program

After successfully defending her dissertation, Archana Bhat will become the first graduate of UT’s joint doctoral program between the colleges of Engineering and Medicine.

Bhat

Bhat

Originally discussed by the Medical University of Ohio and UT prior to 2006, the Biomedical Engineering Program is an example of one of the many positive academic progressions made by the University following the merger of the two institutions.

The doctor of philosophy in biomedical engineering is designed for students with either master’s degrees in engineering or in science fields and centers on several core course requirements in mathematics, engineering and the biomedical sciences. The curriculum also contains an entrepreneurship component. Students take two courses on intellectual property and strategic planning from the College of Business Administration and develop a business plan to commercialize ideas born from their dissertation research.
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The curriculum also offers a PhD program for MD students that are interested in pursuing a dual degree and careers as physician scientists.

The University’s goal for the program is to recruit at least six students per year — a goal that UT is more than likely going to surpass, considering 18 students have enrolled over the program’s three-year history.

For her PhD, Bhat elected to follow the entrepreneurial option, completing two business courses and developing a business plan to commercialize her research on developing artificial bones.

In her business plan, Bhat outlined the steps involved to develop a commercial artificial bone product, which includes development and testing, U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensing, and manufacturing and funding.

“It gives me great pride to be the first graduate of the Biomedical Engineering Program,” Bhat said. “Coming from an engineering background would have made grasping the biological techniques difficult. However, the faculty and staff on the medical campus made learning easier.”

Bhat has accepted employment as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California and will begin her research there this month.

“Archana Bhat’s exceptional abilities point to great success in her new role and bright future as a biomedical engineering researcher,” said Dr. Nagi G. Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering. “It is worth noting that Bhat’s research on artificial bone development will be continued by another gifted student, Hoangha Dao, who joined the Biomedical Engineering PhD Program this fall. Dao has just been awarded a National Science Foundation doctoral fellowship for carrying out this research.”

New look of UT homepage aims to bolster brand, improve user experience

Visitors of The University of Toledo’s homepage will find a new, streamlined look to the site when they visit the page Wednesday afternoon. And it’s one that the Division of External Affairs hopes will resonate with perspective students.

webnew-ut-homepageThe new look of the page, utoledo.edu, was conceived in an effort to better integrate the UT brand identity, while incorporating data collected about user habits and information needs.

“We have leveraged the power of the ‘More’ campaign in a way we hope gives us the ability to highlight the many great things happening at the University,” said Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “The flexibility of the layout and imagery will allow us to adapt for any situation, while providing the users with an enhanced experience as they explore all UT has to offer.”

The project was driven largely by the Division of External Affairs, which includes the Center for Creative Instruction, Enrollment Services, Health-Care Marketing, University Marketing, University Communications and Diversity Recruitment.

Among the new features of the page are the integration of social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, UT journals, and quick links to majors, colleges and online applications.

“Our research showed us that without a doubt, prospective students visiting the site were primarily interested in what majors we offer, as well as how to begin the application process,” said Kathleen Walsh, director of Web development. “By modifying our layout, we were able to make these user priorities more prominent, while showing the breadth of opportunities available inside and outside the classroom.”

Understanding that current members of the UT community are also a primary audience for the homepage, developers integrated an “A-Z” link, through which users can quickly link to any page.

“While we encourage our faculty, staff and current students to utilize the myUT page as their primary UT homepage, we know that often they, and some of our external audiences, need a way to rapidly find a variety of pages,” Walsh said. “We hope this tool meets that need.”

“This page represents a great collaboration between Web designers, marketing professionals, communications strategists, enrollment experts, diversity leaders and beyond,” said Tobin J. Klinger, senior director for university communications. “It would not have been possible without their hard work and commitment to taking our Web presence to a new level.”

“The UT homepage is the primary face to the external community,” Burns added. “This is our primary landing page for prospective students, their parents, potential patients, our alumni and the community, and we hope we have created an exciting gateway to welcome them to The University of Toledo.”

Alumna’s art shown in ‘Shades of Blue’

This untitled work is part of Brenda Price's exhibit titled “Shades of Blue."

This untitled work is part of Brenda Price's exhibit titled “Shades of Blue.”

With a heart to design and a good eye for color coordination, independent artist and University of Toledo alumna Brenda Price began drawing and painting at an early age.

Now, Price uses highly textured applications of color and original artwork in ceramics, sculptures, oils, acrylics and mixed media.

Her exhibit, “Shades of Blue,” is on display through Friday, Dec. 18, in the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, located in Tucker Hall on Main Campus. It can be seen daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Price said she gathers much of the inspiration for her works at times when her thoughts and ideas seem to come together effortlessly, like when she enjoys the early morning scenery.

In the 1990s, Bartz Viviano Flowers & Gifts in Toledo hired Price to design a line of ceramic angels and sculpture figurines titled “Brenda’s Designs.” In addition, Price was named Woman of the Month in Art from the city of Toledo in 2007.

For more information on the free, public exhibit, contact the Catharine S. Eberly Center at 419.530.8570.

Lessons for UT in principles of renowned scientist, rights advocate

The University of Toledo could learn a great deal from the courage and high-minded pursuits of a renowned scientist, educator and human rights advocate, said UT President Lloyd Jacobs as he introduced Dr. Zafra Lerman Dec. 10.

Dr. Zafra Lerman, right, talked to faculty and students in the Chemistry Department as Dr. Nina McClelland, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, listened.

Dr. Zafra Lerman, right, talked to faculty and students in the Chemistry Department as Dr. Nina McClelland, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, listened.

Lerman, distinguished professor of science and public policy and head of the Institute for Science Education and Science Communication at Columbia College Chicago, spoke about her efforts to fight for the freedom and rights of chemists around the world in a lecture titled “Scientific Freedom and Human Rights: A Personal Odyssey.”

“My tenet in life is that science education is a human right that belongs to all and, therefore, I devote a good part of my life to make science education accessible to all, especially the underprivileged,” Lerman said.

The chair of the American Chemical Society Subcommittee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights for more than 20 years, Lerman has risked her life to free scientists detained against their will in China, Somalia, Turkey and the former Soviet Union.

In his opening remarks, Jacobs praised Lerman for the strength of her convictions: “I am proud to share the stage, even for a moment, with someone who possesses that strength in her convictions. I am pleased that Zafra may be a contributor to cartoons that mocked the university president — the quintessence of free speech!

“Zafra’s causes and risk-taking have not been for paltry prizes or trivial purposes,” Jacobs said. “Our own blogs and utterances should aspire to the high purposes that Zafra has espoused. Any hint of racism or mean-spiritedness runs exactly contrary to the high and noteworthy commitments of Zafra Lerman.”

Lerman concluded her visit Dec. 11, touring UT’s Chemistry Department and meeting with students.

Donated equipment to provide protection against cardiac arrest at athletic events

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year and up to 50,000 of these deaths could have been prevented if someone called 911 and started CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) was available for immediate use at the time of the emergency.

Because sports stadiums are in the top five most likely places for cardiac arrest to occur, The University of Toledo has several permanent AED stations to ensure the safety of both student-athletes and fans attending sporting events.

AED stations can be found in the Larimer Athletic Complex in the Glass Bowl, Savage Arena, and on Scott Park Campus, among other locations.

In addition to these permanent stations, the UT Medical Center Heart and Cardiovascular Center recently donated two mobile AED units for use during all athletic events.

These portable AED units are safe to treat sudden cardiac arrest because the devices automatically analyze a victim’s heart rhythm and only allow an electric shock to be delivered when necessary.

“In addition to the continued support of the hospital administration and physicians, the donation of these units will allow for greater coverage while our athletic teams travel in various areas of campus,” said Brian Jones, UT assistant athletic director for sports medicine.

General manager for Rocket Sports Properties named

Dickey

Dickey

Learfield Sports recently appointed Gerry Dickey general manager for Rocket Sports Properties, a locally based entity that manages the multimedia rights and sports marketing for The University of Toledo Athletics.

Dickey most recently served as associate general manager for Learfield Sports’ Cowboy Sports Properties in Stillwater, Okla.; that company represents Oklahoma State University. He replaces Michael Sydlowski, who resigned last month.

“We’re excited to bring Gerry over to our Toledo property and know he’ll do an exceptional job for the University,” said Learfield Sports’ Regional Vice President Laird Veatch. “We already have a great Rocket Sports Properties team in place for him. We also wish former GM Michael Sydlowski well as he pursues other opportunities in the Detroit market.”

UT Athletic Director Mike O’Brien added, “We are pleased to welcome Gerry into the Rocket family. We look forward to a period of exciting growth in University of Toledo Athletics, and we know that Gerry will play a big role in helping us achieve our goals.”

Dickey earned his bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and his master’s degree in sport administration from the University of Tennessee. He and his wife, Shelley, have four children: one girl, Kyndal, 9; and three boys, twins Caden and Caleb, 6, and Cody, 4.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Dickey said. “I look forward to working with all the great people at The University of Toledo and sharing in their vision for success.”

Learfield Sports, multimedia rights holder to more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations, titles the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup in partnership with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today. It is the operating unit of Jefferson City, Mo.-based Learfield Communications Inc., which made its initial foray into the world of sports marketing in 1975 as the radio rights holder for the University of Missouri.

Additionally, Team Services LLC, a Learfield Sports company, specializes in venue naming rights, marketing research and sales consultation.

For more corporate information and to see a complete listing of Learfield Sports’ collegiate portfolio, visit www.learfieldsports.com.

UT professor leads coordination of $1.7 million grant on climate change solutions

While a debate continues to rage in political circles, in scientific circles there is little question that climate change is occurring and that human activities are a major cause of the problem. Despite that certainty, solutions to combat and reverse these changes are not always obvious.

Jorgensen

Jorgensen

“Most of the solutions you hear about are really efforts to harm the environment more slowly than we have been [doing] in the past century,” said Dr. Andrew Jorgensen, UT professor of chemistry.

Jorgensen studied climate change during a recent sabbatical in Washington, D.C., where he took the lead in preparing a grant proposal for members of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) to create a global online community, providing information and resources to faculty members teaching various aspects of climate change.

The National Science Foundation funded $1.7 million over three years for a nationwide cyber-enabled learning community for solutions to climate change, dubbed CAMEL (Climate, Adaption and Mitigation e-Learning).

“The impacts of climate change are incredibly interdisciplinary,” Jorgensen said. “Certainly the natural sciences play a key role, but also sociology, economics, political science, law and the humanities as you look at ethical implications of climate change.”

Since no single faculty member can be an expert in all these areas, there is a natural demand among professors for teaching materials in their non-specialty  areas, Jorgensen said.

CAMEL will utilize NCSE’s Web-based information sharing platform, the Encyclopedia of the Earth (www.eoearth.org) and dedicated Web portals created for this purpose.

Content would include video clips, digital renderings and models, articles and other materials to help faculty “prepare the next generation of citizens for a set of environmental and societal issues that will really be theirs to deal with,” Jorgensen said.

He said his sabbatical opened many opportunities for him that not only strengthened his knowledge of climate change but also facilitated the start of a process that will allow him and others associated with NCSE to address the issues through education. An earlier grant of $180,000 grant from NASA allowed the team to begin their work

“Climate change is so much more complicated than I could have imagined,” Jorgensen said. “The consequences are very uneven, depending on geography and societal factors, and people’s understanding of the dangers of climate change can vary greatly depending on your point of view.

“But during my time in Washington, I was able to go hear leaders in the field, including the president’s science adviser, and to be a part of a broad community dedicated to the study of environmental issues,” he said. “It gave me a much deeper appreciation for what will be needed for the global community to slow and combat a problem my children and grandchildren will ultimately be left to confront.”

Department of Art to showcase works by alumni

The UT Department of Art will host a juried exhibition of the work of its alumni from Friday, Dec. 4, through Sunday, Jan. 10, in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

webalumnititle2“The Alumni Invitational Exhibition” is a featured event in the yearlong centennial celebration of the College of Arts and Sciences.

A number of the artists will be on hand to discuss their works at an opening reception Friday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the gallery.

Thirteen artists will display a total of 18 pieces in media ranging from sculpture to drawing to digital media.

While the University has held alumni exhibitions in the past, this is the first exhibition to be juried by an outside adjudicator. Dr. Amy Gilman, assistant director of collections for exhibitions and associate curator of modern and contemporary art for the Toledo Museum of Art, judged the works.

“I very much enjoyed my time getting to know the breadth and quality of work being produced by graduates of the program here,” Gilman said. “It is always difficult to make final decisions about what to include, and this was a particular challenge … The overarching goal is to single out the highest quality, irrespective of media, and to end with a group of works that highlight individual achievements and also hang together as an exhibition.”

Debra Davis, professor and chair of art, added, “As faculty, we pride ourselves on [our students’] continued successes and artistic endeavors. We have nurtured, encouraged and questioned them throughout their degree programs; seeing them return as practicing artists is our greatest reward. These artists fulfill our mission to engage the human spirit and enrich our collective experience.”

Alumni with works in the exhibition are Ani Avanian, Michael Douglas, David J. Eichenberg, Mary Gaynier, Laura Bella Gibson, Erika Karl, Courtney E. McManus, Zane Pappas, Chad Alan Rimer, Amy Krusinski Sinbondit, Adam Shiverdecker, Timothy A. Stover and John C. Whelan.

The free, public exhibit can be seen Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information, visit the UT Department of Art at www.utoledo.edu/as/art.

Book looks at how citizen-to-citizen communication changed gun policy

Patrick

Patrick

If you read the newspapers and watched network news during the last few decades, you would have anticipated a growing chorus for tighter and stricter U.S. gun control. But the opposite has happened. Dozens of states have approved the right for licensed persons to carry concealed weapons.

Dr. Brian Anse Patrick, associate professor of communication, investigates this social paradox in his new book, Rise of the Anti-Media: In-Forming America’s Concealed Weapon Carry Movement.

According to Patrick, instead of the traditional, vertical model of the media informing the masses, the concealed-carry movement relied on horizontal communication between groups of citizens who banded together to lobby politicians from the grassroots, while informing their movement via their own “anti-media” systems, as Patrick terms them.

gun-book-cover“These were the very first people to go online. They were the first to effectively take advantage of desktop publishing and e-mailed newsletters. These people informed themselves of what was happening in local and state politics and lobbied for change,” Patrick said. “Once you were reading about these gun-rights efforts in the mass media newspapers, it was too late to counter the changes.”

Patrick’s book emphasizes the impotency of large media organizations — even at a time before their demise was predicted nightly on blogs — as the reporting on gun issues and culture of the time had little relation to the changes in law and the shift of society’s mood.

“There was a decision among many of these local and regional citizen groups to move incrementally as they lobbied for concealed carry,” Patrick said. “They would target local politicians they saw as obstacles and vote them out of office. And in local and state elections, a few hundred or a few thousand votes can be determinative.”

Further, Patrick said, while the national lobbying group the National Rifle Association certainly played a role, many of the advocates for concealed-carry laws were not raised with a tradition of gun ownership or hunting in their home.

“You have business women, minority and immigrant populations — not necessarily the types of people you think of when you think ‘gun culture’ — all joining together to push elected officials to either join the effort to establish concealed-carry law or at least get out of the way.

“Look around. Advocating gun control is a losing political issue right now,” Patrick said, “and if you’ve only been reading national mass media for the last few decades, you’d have no idea how that could have happened.”

Rise of the Anti-Media is published by Lexington Books and is Patrick’s second book; he is working on his third.

Asian Studies Institute retreat highlights learning opportunities at UT, in China

The Asian Studies Institute of The University of Toledo recently sponsored Asia Forum, its annual retreat, in the Student Union.

Students, faculty and administrators attended the Asian Studies Retreat last month.

Students, faculty and administrators attended the Asia Forum last month.

More than 60 people ate pan-Asian snacks while listening to presentations by faculty members and cultural performances by students in the Asian Studies Program.

Dr. Tom Gutteridge, dean of the College of Business Administration, Dr. Johnnie Early, dean of the College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Gene Chang, director of the Asian Studies Institute and professor of economics, greeted guests as they arrived at the social and informative event.

Faculty representatives Dr. Russell Reising, professor of English, and Dr. David Davis, professor of political science, as well as student representatives Melvin Barnes and Rosemary Sorg, gave short speeches on the Asian Studies Program.

Reising told the audience about how he became interested in Asian studies when he was a student and also introduced new Asian studies courses on Chinese literature. Barnes, who just graduated from the Asian Studies Program and has received a scholarship from Yanshan University in China, spoke about his personal experiences in the program at UT and his plans to pursue advanced studies in China.

“Russ and Melvin spoke enthusiastically about their studies here at UT and at Chinese universities, where UT students have excellent opportunities to expand their cultural and educational horizons,” Chang said. “They encouraged others to pursue their interest in Asian studies.”

Presentations by other faculty members covered a range of topics.

Dr. Udayan Nandkeolyar, associate professor of information operations technology management, gave a detailed comparison of Indian and American politics and culture. Dr. Bill Hoover, professor emeritus of history, gave an interesting talk on the technology of Japanese toilets.  Chang discussed the Chinese economy and Sino-American economic relations.

The retreat concluded with a Chinese tea ceremony performed by student Shi Xiaoye and a demonstration of ancient Chinese musical instruments by student Jiang Qi.

“The Asian Studies Program at The University of Toledo is a vital effort drawing on faculty around the University to provide an interdisciplinary education in Asian studies,” Chang said.

For more information about the Asian Studies Institute, contact Chang at gene.chang@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4677.