2010 September | UToledo News - Part 2

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Archive for September, 2010

Topping $75 million, UT research funding creates jobs, economic boon

External research funding at The University of Toledo reached more than $75 million, a figure UT officials noted supported fully or partially nearly 2,000 jobs.

Dr. Jared Anderson, associate professor of chemistry, loaded an autosampler to generate calibration curves on a gas chromatograph. Since joining UT in 2005, he has received more than $850,000 in external funding for his work.

Dr. Jared Anderson, associate professor of chemistry, loaded an autosampler to generate calibration curves on a gas chromatograph. Since joining UT in 2005, he has received more than $850,000 in external funding for his work.

UT’s fiscal year 2010 funding of $75,160,908 is up $3.6 million from last year’s figure of $71.5 million, a 5 percent increase. Of that total, federal research funding increased to nearly $62.5 million, a number tied directly to the pay of 1,895 individuals, said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president for research and economic development.

“I am very pleased with the sharp increase in awards from federal agencies,” Calzonetti said. “Research and the creation of new knowledge is one of the primary responsibilities of a university. At UT, this effort has led to the creation of thousands of jobs, and we expect to add hundreds more over the next few years.”

Calzonetti said that as newly funded projects are fully developed, UT will add more staffing to support them.

“Building the research enterprise at UT helps to create more local jobs and is another way that the University contributes to local economic development,” he said.

“The strong support for UT’s research programs by Senator George Voinovich, Senator Sherrod Brown and Representative Marcy Kaptur has helped us increase our federal support and open up new relationships with federal agencies. We also appreciate the support of Representative Bob Latta in helping to secure funding for collaborative projects with Bowling Green State University.”

UT’s College of Medicine saw the biggest jump in research, reaching nearly $27 million in 2010 after hitting about $22.5 million last year. The college was at $18.3 million in fiscal year 2008.

UT’s College of Arts and Sciences had more than $22 million in external funding, and the College of Engineering increased more than $1 million to reach $11.6 million in 2010.

Just as important as the funding levels was the way much of that increase occurred, said Dr. James Trempe, interim senior director of research administration, referencing increased collaboration across campuses.

“Our significant increase in external funding offers an example of the effects that the UT-MUO merger has had on research collaborations,” Trempe said. “There were 11 cross-campus collaborations funded in fiscal year 2010, providing clear evidence the merger has created new synergies within the UT research community.”

“So many of the advancements in science, technology and our understanding of the world around us have come from university research,” Calzonetti said, pointing to UT’s prominence in solar and alternative energy as one high-profile example of the way university research can transform a region over time. “We’re going to continue to grow our research base, and our impact on society will be that much more powerful every year.”

Dance of life and death on coffee plantation focus of UT researcher

Life, even at the nearly microscopic level, is all about relationships. Plants, insects and fungi in every sort of ecosystem have developed over time complex, mutually beneficial interactions that allow delicate coexistence.

Dr. Stacy Philpott showed off insect samples.

Dr. Stacy Philpott showed off insect samples.

Enter the human, bearing chemicals. The pesticide/herbicide/chemical fertilizer revolution of the last 60 years has in many cases overridden ecological relationships in the effort to blitz agricultural pests.

Which approach works best? The question is central to a study published in the July/August issue of the journal BioScience. Dr. Stacy Philpott, UT assistant professor of environmental sciences, has been researching an organic coffee farm in Mexico for some 10 years, along with scientific colleagues from the University of Michigan, Dr. John Vandermeer and Dr. Ivette Perfecto. Their findings give a strong nod to natural relationships.

What their research uncovered is an intricate dance of interdependence between an unlikely set of partners: a feisty ant species (Azteca instabilis); the noisome green coffee scale insect; and the predatory lady beetle. All three — plus some potential players waiting for a cue — play critical roles in bringing the coffee crop successfully to market.

The Azteca ants live in trees that shade the human-size coffee shrubs, but regularly interact with the green coffee scale insects that are a major pest of coffee crops. On the organic farm under study, however, ants and scales form a relationship in which the ants protect the scales from predators and parasites. In return, the scales secrete a sweet liquid, honeydew, that’s eagerly taken by the ants.

Azteca ants tend to the green coffee scale insects.

Azteca ants tend to the green coffee scale insects.

The symbiotic interaction, though, is made more complex by a predatory lady beetle: Both adults and larvae feed on coffee scales. Azteca ants can protect scales by fending off adult beetles, but can’t get past the waxy substance covering the larvae. Thus falls many a coffee scale.

The ants’ success at repelling another scale enemy, a parasitic wasp, inadvertently chases away other wasps that attack beetle larvae, adding to the system’s complexity.

The ants have their own enemy: a parasitic fly that can limit their presence in the ecosystem. Likewise, the lady beetles can make an impact on ant numbers by preying on the scales and limiting the amount of available honeydew. Using simulation models, the research team discovered how the highly patterned dance might end: If ants are widespread over the entire farm, lady beetles disappear because the adults can’t secure sufficient food. Without ants, though, the beetles also are doomed because their larvae are killed by the parasitic wasps.

Perfect balance is achieved when the ants are limited by beetles and parasitic flies. Both ants and beetles thrive, the latter keeping the crop-damaging scale insects under control.

But wait — scale insects also can be attacked and killed by white halo fungus, naturally limiting the ant population in isolated patches of the coffee farm. That same fungus, though, is an enemy of coffee rust, a disease that in the past wiped out entire coffee-growing regions. The rust exists in Central and South America; white halo fungus is a powerful rust eradicator only in places where it’s already mounting a major attack on scales — places most likely to be where the indefatigable Azteca ants are protecting their honeydew-producing scales.

The complexity of the relationships on the successful coffee farm in southern Mexico wouldn’t have become clear without close research, Philpott said. “Studying these interactions is important for understanding how ecosystems work, especially how agricultural systems work,” she added. “Industrial agriculture is largely aimed at the target pests — controlling an insect or fungal disease by applying something. It wreaks havoc on biodiversity, and causes loss of habitat, contamination and related health problems.

“One solution to these problems is looking at this extremely complicated agricultural system that has so many interlinking components and asking how we can achieve natural disease- and pest-control.”

The research paper represents 10 to 12 years of work, she said, for the scientific team, their students and interns who’ve been making yearly visits to the farm in Chiapas. It’s also been a shared educational experience for local farm workers who have years of experience in handling the coffee seedlings. “They began to interact with us and learn more about the biology of the ecosystem, and we’ve been doing educational activities with the children of the 30 families who live on the farm,” Philpott said. “Although there are very few educational opportunities in Chiapas, the families see these organisms daily and have an intuitive understanding of the relationships between them.

“We describe those relationships from a scientific standpoint. It’s interesting to see how the knowledge from their standpoint and ours often reaches the same conclusions.”

UT, Mix 95.7 to bring national radio talk show host to Toledo to ‘Save Our Kids’

Baisden

Baisden

With the help of WIMX-FM Mix 95.7, the Mentoring Collaborative at The University of Toledo and Toledo Public Schools are teaming up with radio talk show host Michael Baisden and his One Million Mentors Tour to raise awareness about mentoring and help recruit mentors for Toledo children.

The Michael Baisden Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to help eliminate illiteracy in the United States. Baisden launched the One Million Mentors Tour to Save Our Kids this year to inspire one million community members to become mentors.

“Mentors are needed everywhere,” said Sheila Doles, program facilitator for the Mentoring Collaborative. “There are no levels for who does and does not need a mentor. It doesn’t matter if you are homeless or a high-level professional; everyone can benefit from having a mentor.”

The UT Judith Herb College of Education became the primary sponsor for the campaign after Doles reached out to Baisden about the need for mentors in the Toledo area.

The seven-month, 72-city national bus tour will stop in Toledo Tuesday, Sept. 21, at the Erie Street Market. The radio show will air from 3 to 7 p.m., followed immediately by a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. when the public is invited to attend and participate.

“We hope to raise mentoring awareness in Toledo and to collaborate with other organizations,” Doles said.

The event will promote a partnership between the Mentoring Collaborative, the Judith Herb College of Education, the College of Pharmacy and Toledo Public Schools. Each will have informational tables set up at the town hall meeting.

The partnership is important because University mentors are starting to really reach out to students from Toledo Public Schools, said Larry Sykes, a member of the Toledo Board of Education.

“It’s easy to find tutors, but mentors are different. It’s more difficult to find a mentor,” Sykes said. “We hope that every child has a mentor, or at the very least every child who needs one most. Statistics show that when children have a mentor in their lives, they do much better.”

For more information on Baisden, visit www.onemillionmentors.com or contact Doles at sdoles@utoledo.edu or 419.381.3280. Visit the Mentoring Collaborative website at www.utoledo.edu/offices/mentoring to get connected locally.

UT recognized as state forerunner in transportation, logistics

The University of Toledo is leading the charge in Ohio to develop new innovations in transportation and logistics.

UT is working on many projects across a broad range of the transportation sectors, including highways, rail and intermodalism, maritime, and air transportation. Transportation systems provide unparalleled access to jobs, recreation, education, health care, and the many other activities that sustain the economy and enrich lives.

Some of the cutting-edge research being done at the University to improve transportation in state projects such as short sea shipping, which is transporting goods over the Great Lakes instead of by congested highways, intermodal development and using alternative fuels comprise.

“Our hope is to make the community and the state say, ‘I have a transportation issue, where can I go? The University of Toledo,’” said Richard Martinko, director of the UT Intermodal Transportation Institute and UT Federal University Transportation Center. “We want to be a catalyst to the community and align directly with our UT relevant University strategic plan.”

The state recently recognized what is being done at UT when Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut named The University of Toledo a Center of Excellence in Transportation and Aerospace.

“In competing for outside research funding, top faculty and high-tech jobs, it is critical for Ohio’s colleges and universities to focus their unique strengths to incite innovation and keep fast-growing companies and talent in our state,” Fingerhut said.

A total of six Centers of Excellence in Transportation and Aerospace were recognized at different universities throughout Ohio. Other centers are located at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Dayton, Ohio State University and Wright State University.

Ohio has 180 public airports, eight interstate highways, 36 freight railroads and 25 waterfront ports, giving it a competitive advantage for importing and exporting both within the community and nationwide.

This also gives UT ample opportunities to continue to create new developments for the future, Martinko said, adding that being recognized as a Center of Excellence in this area gives the University credibility and traction in the state.

As a Center of Excellence, UT will partner with the state and use its academic resources in transportation and logistics to create jobs and strengthen Ohio’s ability to create new developments in commercialization.

This is the University’s third Center of Excellence. UT was acknowledged as a Center of Excellence in Advanced Energy in October and a Center of Excellence in Biomedicine and Health Care in February.

Memorial Field House wall provides glimpse of UT history

Concerts and sporting and political events are chronicled on a wall on the second floor of the Memorial Field House.

Concerts and sporting and political events are chronicled on a wall on the second floor of the Memorial Field House.

If you are new to The University of Toledo or maybe just to the renovated Memorial Field House, then you might have noticed something different in that building this year.

A new historic mural depicting the history of UT and the Memorial Field House stretches the length of the hallway on the second floor across from the auditorium entrance.

“This is the cherry on the sundae as far as completing the Field House goes,” said Michael Green, manager of mechanical engineering and energy for UT Facilities and Construction. “There is so much history here it’s unreal. It was a big decision to pick and choose what would make it onto the mural.”

The colorful wall is an artistic timeline of the history of the University and specifically the Field House. It includes large photos of historic campus events and quotes from famous visitors to the building.

Renovated in 2008, the building houses a state-of-the-art classroom center.

When it was completed in 1931, the Memorial Field House was the largest multipurpose facility on campus and was home to countless sporting events, concerts, political rallies and demonstrations, commencement activities and more.

“Believe it or not, the Field House actually had dirt floors when it was first built,” said Barbara Floyd, director of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections and university archivist. “When basketball games were held, they would replace the dirt with wooden slabs for the players to play on.”

In the 1950s, a permanent floor was installed.

“Under Coach Bob Nichols, the UT basketball team was the team of the city; they had fans packing the Field House every night,” Floyd said. “According to Coach Nichols, the fans were so close to the floor that you could almost feel the contact.”

Events like the first international wrestling meet made history at the Field House when athletes from the Soviet Union finally were allowed to come to the United States and compete.

Sporting events were not the only happenings that packed the Field House. Music legends Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Temptations, Simon & Garfunkel, Roy Orbison, Kenny Rogers and many more rocked the building.

“Back then, the Field House was a key place that really brought in the entertainment,” Floyd said. “These artists were just performers at the time, but now they are today’s icons.”

In addition to sporting events and concerts, the Field House served as a political venue for then Vice President Richard Nixon’s visit Oct. 26, 1960, and the demonstration held by UT students in protest of the Kent State shootings in 1970.

“Memories are what the Field House is all about,” Floyd said. “The wall is a great way to honor the history we have here. Even though the original structure of the Field House still stands, the building can start to take on new meanings.”

New director of UT Counseling Center aims to make students aware of services

The University of Toledo is welcoming a new leader to the Counseling Center.

Edwards

Edwards

Dr. Stanley Edwards joins the University from the Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Edwards grew up in New Haven, Conn., but has spent the last 20 years in Ohio. He has worked in private practice, with a team on a suicide hotline, and at children and adult mental health centers.

The new director said he is excited to partner with the University and is looking forward to “being in an environment that values and provides opportunities for growth and development.”

“The main thing I want to accomplish is making the Counseling Center more a part of the University community and increasing the partnership with students,” he said. “One problem I’m hearing is that students aren’t very aware of all that the center has to offer.”

The UT Counseling Center, which is a part of the Division of Student Affairs, provides initial mental health screenings and individual, couples and group counseling at no cost for full-time students.

The Counseling Center also offers a 24-hour crisis intervention service for students experiencing severe emotional distress and serves as a psychological consultant to faculty, staff and University organizations.

Communication between a student and staff member of the Counseling Center is confidential.

“I am excited to attract a person with Dr. Edwards’ education and professional experiences,” said Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, vice president for student affairs. “I look forward to him providing the leadership for the University Counseling Center.”

He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University. In 2004, he was licensed as a clinical psychologist.

Edwards and his wife, Melanie, have been married 12 years. They are the parents of three boys, ages 7, 5 and 10 months.

“I’m thrilled to be at The University of Toledo, and thrilled to work with the student population in any way that I can,” Edwards said.

The Counseling Center is open weekdays from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more on the center, go to www.utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/counseling.

Contact the Counseling Center at 419.530.2426 or stop by Rocket Hall Room 1810.

UT pushes pedal power with new bike pad

The University of Toledo will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Sept. 16, to open a new bicycle pad on Main Campus.

The event will take place near the West Parking Garage between MacKinnon Hall and Wolfe Hall at 2:30 p.m. Matthew Rubin, president of UT’s Student Government, will be on hand to cut a green ribbon representing the environmental significance of the project.

“We’ve noticed an increased number of people riding their bikes to campus, which fits perfectly with our initiatives to promote healthy, eco-friendly practices,” said Jeff Newton, UT chief of police. “We wanted to provide a private, protected area for our students and staff to park their bikes, secure their helmets and other supplies, and take a rest before they make their way to work or class.”

Security is enhanced by surveillance cameras, card-reader access and enclosed fencing, Newton added.

The pad holds 65 bicycles and includes lockers and benches.

If the bike pad is well-utilized, Newton said additional pads will be installed on Main Campus and Health Science Campus.

Community Health Project allows medical students hands-on summer experience

It’s their last free summer of college and they could spend it doing anything they want.

UT medical students Anne White and Ernest Oh posed for a photo with children they worked with this summer at the Anne Grady Center in Toledo.

UT medical students Anne White and Ernest Oh posed for a photo with children they worked with this summer at the Anne Grady Center in Toledo.

That summer between their first and second year in The University of Toledo College of Medicine is really the last time medical students can take off to travel or spend significant time with relatives before they begin year-round clinical rotations.

But some students choose to spend that time working in the area through the Community Health Project program that pairs them with organizations that include the Area Office on Aging, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and the Toledo Board of Community Relations.

“Of course doctors take care of the medicine, but through this summer program medical students are also learning about compassion and the working with people aspects of health care,” said Jennifer Low, who served as student director of the program and was responsible for recruiting students, getting them placed, and planning the annual banquet to celebrate the program, which took place Sept. 8.

This summer about 20 of the 180-student class participated in a Community Health Project with 13 area organizations. During the eight-week program that serves as a work-study, students learn to interact with different populations and get a better understanding of patients and how to be better patient advocates, Low said.

Anne White, who just started her second year of medical school, participated in the Community Health Project working in the Prescribed Pediatric Center of the Anne Grady Day Program taking care of the young children in the infant room.

“I had been thinking about a career in pediatrics because I love children and babies, but I wasn’t sure how I would respond to sick children who would rely on me for their care,” White said. “But I had a really positive experience there and learned that I can keep my emotions in check and do what I can to help.”

The program serves as an asset to students, but also to the organizations where they offer assistance.

Steven Kiessling, executive director of Camp Courageous in Whitehouse, said the three to five students who are placed with his organization each summer as counselors are invaluable.

“They bring a great energy to camp,” he said. “Many of our counselors are in college or a little younger, so the medical students bring more life experience and really serve as mentors in addition to working so well with our campers.”

The camp for children with special needs, founded in 1963, provides the traditional summer experience that includes art projects, nature hikes, sports and other activities. Kiessling said the approach medical students take to working with the children, some of whom need 24-hour and one-on-one care, is both professional and fun.

“They help us a great deal,” he said. “We really rely on them.”

The Community Health Project was established in 1993 by students in the Medical College of Ohio. The goal of the program is to offer firsthand experience in addressing health issues that impact the medically underserved and provide the students a broader understanding of socioeconomic, cultural and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s health.

English professor to be remembered Sept. 19

Martin

Martin

A memorial service for Dr. Wallace D. Martin, UT professor emeritus of English, will be held Sunday, Sept. 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion.

Martin died July 26 at age 77.

He joined the University in 1961 as an instructor, was promoted to assistant professor in 1962, to associate professor in 1965, and to professor in 1969. He taught courses in Modernism and Literary Theory.

A member of several University committees, he was given an Outstanding Faculty Research Award in 1986. He retired that year as professor of English, but continued to teach and publish as a professor emeritus through spring 2010. Martin was one of the English Department’s most productive scholars, steadily publishing in premier literary journals, including PMLA and Comparative Literature.

Faculty stakeholder meetings to be held on strategic plan organizational structure proposals

The Strategic Planning Committee will hold faculty input and feedback sessions on the draft of the recalibrated strategic plan Thursday, Sept. 16, and Friday, Sept. 17.

The two four-hour sessions are designed to allow faculty members another opportunity to participate in the evaluation of the draft of “Directions 2010” and provide feedback to the committee.

The Sept. 16 meeting will be held in the Savage Arena Grogan Room and run from 8 a.m. until noon. Click here to add this event to your Outlook calendar.

The second session on Sept. 17 will be held in the Dana Conference Center Williams and Defiance Rooms on Health Science Campus from 1 to 5 p.m. Click here to add this event to your Outlook calendar.

Interested participants are asked to RSVP with the desired session(s) to Marcie Ferguson at marcie.ferguson@utoledo.edu.

Elements of the most recent draft of the document will be discussed at each meeting; this will include the somewhat controversial discussion document from the Implementation Committee on Strategic Organization, which is one of 10 working groups of the Strategic Planning Committee.

At the latest meeting of the entire strategic planning group, Dr. Jamie Barlowe, co-convener of the Strategic Planning Committee and chair and professor of women’s and gender studies, and Dr. Beverly Schmoll, dean of the College of Health Science and Human Service and convener of the Committee on Strategic Organization, discussed the thought process behind the strategic organization work group’s proposal.

Watch a video of that discussion below
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTvOWEPGXJI

The proposal works from the dean level up and suggests creating a “college within a college” structure, in which three overarching colleges would house the current 11 colleges at the University. Each college would then be encouraged to look at its own structure individually.

Barlowe said the Committee on Strategic Organization group started the process of proposing a reorganization by looking at what The University of Toledo does.

“[The purpose of this was] to think about us,” she said. “What do we do? How do we educate? How do we provide care? How do we connect? What are we stewards of? What do we need to change? What are we really good at? How do we get better?

“[At UT] we have liberal education, we have science and health-care education, and we have professional education,” Barlowe said. “So we thought if you have those three big prongs, what if you had a model with three ‘uber’ colleges that represented that?”

In the proposed model, the deans of each current college would rotate into a position of executive dean in the appropriate umbrella college and work to provide greater opportunities for collaboration between faculty, cross-educational programs for students and other initiatives that improve interdisciplinary interactions.

Participants acknowledged the proposal has been met with some confusion and controversy since it was first unveiled in early July. An ad hoc committee from the College of Arts and Sciences has submitted a secondary proposal that looks at that college’s specific structure.

According to the secondary proposal, “The Committee on Strategic Organization merely ‘rearranged departmental boxes.’ It failed to provide any structure to promote the desired ‘cross-pollination.’” The ad hoc committee’s suggestion would create three campus-wide associate deans designed to fill that perceived void.

At the latest Strategic Planning Committee meeting of the whole, the group decided to fold the Arts and Sciences ad hoc committee into the Committee on Strategic Organization working group so that both proposals could be evaluated together.

“We are, in fact, very grateful to the ad hoc committee,” Barlowe said. “It’s such an interesting proposal. It filled in some gaps in our proposal and that’s what that conversation creates.”

The organizational discussion is only one part of the overall strategic planning process, which has been ongoing for more than six months.

If you’d like to get involved and add your voice to The University of Toledo’s strategic plan, attend a stakeholder meeting or go to utoledo.edu/strategicplan.