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Archive for May, 2011

‘Lost chapters’ of Malcolm X’s biography to be discussed

downloadedfileThere’s more to the story of Malcolm X’s life that is being revealed with the lost chapters from The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley.

Detroit attorney and author Gregory Reed, who acquired the three “lost chapters” of the autobiography at an auction of Haley’s estate, will speak about them at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21, in Toledo’s Wayman Palmer Community YMCA, 2053 North 14th St.

The free, public event, hosted by Dr. Morris Jenkins, UT associate professor of criminal justice, will include a discussion and question-and-answer session.

Jefferson Award honoree champions student health

President Lloyd Jacobs, left, recognized Dr. Tavis Glassman as the Jefferson Award Champion last month.

President Lloyd Jacobs, left, recognized Dr. Tavis Glassman as the Jefferson Award Champion last month.

Dr. Tavis Glassman literally lived his commitment to community service from 2008 to 2010.

During two academic years, the Jefferson Award “Champion” honoree immersed himself in UT’s student population as the University’s first Faculty in Residence, living among underclassmen in MacKinnon Hall.

Creating monthly educational programs that included “Sex, Lies and Chocolate” and “Sex, Drugs and Dead Celebrities,” Glassman sparked ongoing dialogues with students, many of whom were living away from home for the first time.

“If you do a dry, discussion-type presentation, students tend to run the other way,” Glassman, a native Coloradoan who moved to northwest Ohio in his teens, said. “I’d start a list of celebrities who’ve died as the result of alcohol or substance abuse with people like Marilyn Monroe, but when I got to Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson, students would sigh with strong emotion.”

Glassman, an assistant professor of health education, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT, with an additional master’s degree from Ohio State University and a doctorate from the University of Florida. He specializes in college health issues, an interest that began during his undergraduate studies at UT.

“With alcohol, I thought it was part of the college deal, like everyone else,” Glassman said.

Once he realized that alcohol-related issues were the No. 1 cause of death in his peers, he’d found a calling.

“Some young people just don’t know what can happen with alcohol,” he said. “They think everyone drinks, which isn’t the case. They don’t realize the problems alcohol can cause to their health, their academic success, and to society in terms of crime and health-care costs.”

As a member of UT’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Prevention Committee, Glassman has taken an active role in crafting an amnesty policy to encourage students to report substance abuse, a tobacco policy that restricts use on Main Campus, and a variety of events promoting awareness and education.

Last year, more than 500 people, mostly students, took part in a program that challenged participants to reduce or abstain from consuming alcohol for 30 days.

“The goal wasn’t abstinence as much as it was awareness of students’ own behaviors,” Glassman explained. “Some students are completely unaware of how much they drink and how it becomes immersed in their social lives. Some who finished the challenge were really surprised. The affect was pretty profound.”

Glassman said the committee will offer the challenge again this fall and welcomes sharing it with other institutions.

His Jefferson Award nomination notes that Glassman’s efforts have contributed to a decrease in high-risk drinking behaviors among UT students: “Dr. Glassman spends a great deal of time outside regular work hours mentoring students and staff so we at UT may affect real change through collaboration and environmental efforts.”

Glassman, who’s been at UT for three years, sees unlimited opportunities to explore, educate and promote safer health practices among college youth.

“I’m really just a health zealot interested in how health systems and cultures affect people,” Glassman said. “Unfortunately, there’s always something new to be addressed as far as health issues are concerned.”

UT renews exchange program with English university

Dr. Brian Ashburner and Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, second and third from left, posed for a photo with University of Salford colleagues, from left, Darren Brooks, Martin Hall, Judith Smith and David Storey.

Dr. Brian Ashburner and Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, second and third from left, posed for a photo with University of Salford colleagues, from left, Darren Brooks, Martin Hall, Judith Smith and David Storey.

The University of Toledo has renewed its commitment to an international exchange program that immerses students in a year of advanced science education in England.

UT administrators traveled to the University of Salford, located in northwest England outside Manchester, last month to renew a memorandum of understanding with the school for another five years to continue the exchange program that began in 1984.

“I’m delighted this important exchange program has enjoyed such a rich history and that both institutions are committed to see it continue,” said Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, UT vice provost for graduate affairs and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, who directed the program for 20 years. “The opportunity to live in another country that is quite diverse is an exposure in global citizenship that you just can’t match.”

Since the UT-Salford Exchange Program began 27 years ago, more than 200 students from each institution have participated.

Each year an average of eight to 10 UT science majors, primarily biology/pre-med students, spend their junior year at Salford taking upper division lecture and lab “modules.” UT students study with peers from all over the globe during their exchange year in England. Salford students also come to UT during their second year to experience science education in the United States.

“The program really provides a unique experience to be immersed in another culture for a full year,” said Dr. Brian Ashburner, UT associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and current director of the program. “The students get a chance to explore another culture while spending the year focused on the advanced science curriculum that prepares them well to continue their studies in graduate or professional school.”

Nearly all alumni of the program pursue and succeed in graduate and professional programs at prestigious institutions. About 10 percent of the Salford exchange students return to UT to pursue their advanced degrees.

Students need to have at least a 3.2 GPA their freshman year at UT to qualify for the exchange program and begin the application process, which includes an essay and letters of recommendation, their sophomore year.

The program is structured in a way that students register through UT for their courses abroad, which allows them to keep their financial aid and does not impact their time to degree. UT students also have the opportunity for travel throughout the United Kingdom and Europe as part of this well-established exchange with the University of Salford.

For more information, contact Ashburner at brian.ashburner@utoledo.edu.

New online ID/Rocket Card ordering system allows personalized photos

Ordering a new Rocket Card is now just as simple as updating a profile on Facebook or other social network.

ids1The University of Toledo ID system has been automated to allow all students and employees to receive a new Rocket Card by logging into the myUT portal with their UTAD and password, which automatically inputs name, Rocket number and other information. The user then picks which campus he or she would like to pick up the ID/Rocket Card, uploads a photo, and submits the order.

Student accounts automatically will be charged for the ID when the request is submitted. Employees needing a replacement card will have to pay the board-approved fee with a check when they pick up their ID. There is no fee for an employee’s first ID card or when a title or department is changed.

“This is another way the University is making its services more customer focused,” said Joy Gramling, director of auxiliary services. “We know people do not like waiting in line to have their photo taken for their ID. This offers a convenient way for students and staff to easily upload a recent photograph that they like anytime from home.”

The photos uploaded for the ID cards need to be professional and free of any items on the head, such as hats, and nothing covering the face, such as sunglasses. It also needs to be a recent photo that shows the whole face, not just a profile.

The upgrade to the ID system also includes new Rocket Cards. All cards now carry both the UT and UT Medical Center logos. The unique 16-digit number that was tied to the student accounts, which used to be printed under the photo, has been removed as a safety measure to prevent issues of theft or misuse.

Every ID card also includes a red barcode that is needed for access to some University systems. Putting that barcode on every ID card will eliminate the need to issue new cards when, for example, medical students enter clinical rotations and need access to the electronic medical records system at UT Medical Center, Gramling said.

If your student or employee Rocket Card is accurate now, there is no need to get a new card.

After the Rocket Card is ordered online, students or employees will receive an e-mail within three business days letting them know their new ID is ready to be picked up. You will need a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to pick up the Rocket Card.

New ID cards also have been created for the outside customers to the Student Recreation Center, UT Physicians and merchants who do regular business with the University.

Rocket baseball receives NCAA recognition for academic excellence

thumb-rocket-color-logo1The NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Recognition Awards Tuesday and The University of Toledo baseball squad was among the teams finishing in the top 10 percent of division schools in its sport.

The Rockets registered a score of 988 out of 1,000 to earn acknowledgment for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

“We’re very pleased that our program’s academic efforts are being recognized,” UT Head Coach Cory Mee said. “We work extremely hard in this area and it’s nice to see that hard work payoff.”

“We are very proud of the work in the classroom of the student-athletes in our baseball program,” said Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “Cory and his staff should be commended for their efforts in guiding and mentoring their team, both on the field and off.”

APR is a gauge of every team’s academic performance at a given point in time. Points are awarded on a semester-by-semester basis for eligibility, retention and graduation of scholarship student-athletes. A total of 1,000 is considered a perfect score. The APR data is a cumulative figure taken from the 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and the 2009-10 school years.

The Rockets will wrap up their regular season this weekend at Ball State in a three-game Mid-American Conference series. The West Division rivals will play single contests Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 19-21. Action will begin at the ball diamond at 3 p.m. the first two days and 1 p.m. in the regular-season finale.

Massage therapy offered at Main Campus Medical Center

The Main Campus Medical Center is offering expanding wellness services for all University faculty and staff.

“Wellness is the new trend in health care, and being an advocate for your own health is so important for prevention,” said Vicki Riddick, director of the Office of Community Wellness and Health Promotion.

Services that are being offered at the Main Campus Medical Center are:

• Personal wellness profile;

• Total cholesterol and glucose screenings (non-fasting); and

• Massage therapy.

Most people know that massage therapy is useful for relaxation, but Riddick said there are numerous other benefits, including:

• Relieving muscle tension;

• Improving immune function;

• Combating depression;

• Improving mental focus and attitude; and

• Decreasing symptoms of headaches/migraines, insomnia and arthritis.

There are two licensed massage therapists, Vicki L. Feit and Hieu Ngyuen, who will provide massage therapy at the Main Campus Medical Center Employee Clinic.

“The University of Toledo cares about your health and encourages you to call and take advantage of these wonderful services,” Riddick said.

For more information or to make an appointment, call the Main Campus Medical Center Employee Health Clinic at 419.530.3581.

The power of ‘Yes’ leads to Carnegie Hall

Dr. Ben Pryor, dean of the College of Innovative Learning and assistant vice provost, and UT alumnus Pete Cross rehearsed with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra at the Peristyle while projections designed by UT film major Brandon Boettler played behind them.

Dr. Ben Pryor, dean of the College of Innovative Learning and assistant vice provost, and UT alumnus Pete Cross rehearsed with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra at the Peristyle while projections designed by UT film major Brandon Boettler played behind them.

The phone rang early last August; it was Bill Connor from CAPA, the group that manages the Valentine Theatre, where the Glacity Theatre Collective performs. He said the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) needed a theater component for a piece they wanted to do in the spring; it was going to be big, but he couldn’t say much then. Would Glacity and/or UT be interested? I said, “Yes.”

That “yes” led to a lunch meeting with the president and conductor of the symphony and I learned more of the details — that the “theater component” was a play and a symphony by Tom Stoppard and André Previn called “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” and that it would be performed in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle and at Carnegie Hall in New York as part of a new festival. Did I think I could put a group together to do it? Again, I said, “Yes,” and went back to my office to e-mail my UT and Glacity colleague, Cornel Gabara, who was in Italy: Could I count on him to direct? Another “Yes.”

Dave DeChristopher, UT theatre instructor, and Toledo Symphony Orchestra Conductor Stefan Sanderling are seen in this rehearsal scene.

Dave DeChristopher, UT theatre instructor, and Toledo Symphony Orchestra Conductor Stefan Sanderling are seen in this rehearsal scene.

Months later, we were at the Peristyle. “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” is quite a unique piece, and the difficulties involved in staging it have caused it to be infrequently performed, even more infrequently with the full orchestration as originally composed. But it’s a privilege to do anything by playwright Tom Stoppard, and we were thrilled to work with the symphony. Assistant Professor Gabara, lighting designer and UT Visiting Assistant Professor Donald Robert Fox and I had been in weekly production meetings by conference call with Tim Lake, UT alumnus and TSO stage manager, and the other members of the symphony’s production team. The actors rehearsed daily for two weeks, but now we had just six and a half precious hours of rehearsal to integrate the actors and the musicians into one coherent piece.

The Peristyle performances went very well. Audience members, who as symphony patrons were somewhat startled to see actors talking to the musicians, interrupting the music, and running around the stage at a concert, adjusted to the oddity of the piece and responded positively.

This was the flyer listing dressing room assignments at Carnegie Hall.

This was the flyer listing dressing room assignments at Carnegie Hall.

Friday morning, the company gathered at Toledo Express Airport for the charter flight to NYC. The largest instruments — everything bigger than a cello — traveled to New York by truck, but all other instruments went through security screening along with their musicians. The cellos were called first, and other instruments followed. After wrestling the huge suitcase holding all the costumes out of my car, I was happy to turn it over to the baggage handlers.

After the flight came the bus ride to the hotel — and an evening off in the city. Load-in at Carnegie started at 8 a.m. Saturday, with a tech/run-through rehearsal scheduled for 3:30 p.m. I had my wardrobe duties to attend to — unpacking, pressing, arranging wig prep for actress Pamela Tomassetti, and other highly glamorous jobs. On our way into the hall, we saw a flyer on the bulletin board listing our dressing rooms, and we couldn’t resist taking a photo.

The floor where the dressing rooms are is lined with pictures of those who have performed or spoken there. Such illustrious company we were keeping! To see my own name taped to a dressing room door in Carnegie Hall was, as my students would say, “pretty awesome.”

The rehearsal went well. Those who were not too nervous to eat headed over for TSO’s dinner. And then it was 7:30 p.m.

The sound quality on the dressing room monitor was not good enough for us to hear exactly what was said as President Kathy Carroll and the TSO were introduced, but there was no way to miss the roar of enthusiasm when the audience was asked to “show some hometown spirit.” The musicians tuned, there was applause as conductor Stefan Sanderling walked out, a moment of silence, and then the opening notes of Shostakovich began to play. Since our piece was in the second act of the program, I stayed backstage with the actors in case there were last-minute problems. There were none; the actors went through their warm-up routines while Gabara paced. At intermission, I applied the maestro’s mime face makeup and headed out to the house to watch the show.

Cornel Gabara, UT assistant professor of theatre and Glacity Theatre Collective artistic director, posed for a photo with actor Yazan “Zack” Safadi during the flight to the Big Apple.

Cornel Gabara, UT assistant professor of theatre and Glacity Theatre Collective artistic director, posed for a photo with actor Yazan “Zack” Safadi during the flight to the Big Apple.

The acoustics at Carnegie truly are amazing. The symphony sounded fantastic, and the actors were clear and easy to understand.

As actor Zack Safadi sang his last line, “Everything will be all right,” and the last instrumental notes died away, I switched my attention to the audience reaction. A large number of audience members immediately leapt to their feet, others quickly followed, and the applause was strong and sincere. Sanderling, actors in tow, was called out for four bows; on the third bow, he brought Gabara with him, and all gestured out to the house, where composer André Previn sat. Previn waved back, smiling, pleased with the debut of his composition, 40 years after he wrote it, at Carnegie Hall.

Then it was backstage to pack up the costumes and accessories, which had to be loaded on the truck before our four-hour performance-and-strike window closed, and then on to a party at the Russian Tea Room.

There’s been a lot of positive press about the performance. In addition to the review in The Blade, excellent reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. If you weren’t there (or even if you were), you can hear the performance and an interview with Gabara on WGTE’s website, wgte.org.

And all I had to do was say, “Yes.”

Monsos is associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and executive director of the Glacity Theatre Collective. She designed the costumes and props for the production.

UT Board of Trustees discusses budget, approves faculty workload policy

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees discussed Monday a draft budget for fiscal year 2012 that addresses a $20.5 million reduction in operating dollars from the state.

The board also authorized Chairman C. William Fall to enter into negotiations to extend the contract of UT President Lloyd Jacobs until June 30, 2016, and approved Dr. William McMillen to serve as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

When the University began the budgeting process earlier in the year, a $20 to $40 million reduction in state support was anticipated. The most recent state budget includes a $20.5 million reduction in operating dollars, which combined with increased operating expenses created a $32.4 million budget challenge. The University also received a $15 million reduction in state capital dollars.

The recommended budget includes a 3.5 percent undergraduate tuition increase. Tuition and fees for graduate and professional programs could increase 5 to 6.5 percent, depending on the program.

A new Faculty Workload Policy approved by the board on Monday also will help address the budget constraints, University leaders said.

The resolution raises the standard teaching load to 27 credit hours per nine-month year, which will be effective August 2013, and also authorizes the president to raise the standards for granting research and service assignments to offset those hours.

Jacobs thanked everyone who worked to formulate the budget and commended their solutions to balance a budget with such a magnitude of challenges.

The Board of Trustees will consider the $800.5 million budget at its June 20 meeting.

The unanimous vote by the board asked Fall to negotiate an agreement that would keep Jacobs at UT through June 30, 2016. The president’s current contract expires in November 2013.

“President Jacobs has demonstrated himself to be an outstanding leader,” Fall said, “and when we, as a board, looked at his accomplishments in academic and student affairs, in finance, in clinical affairs and in outreach to the community, we all felt his continued leadership will be critical to the University’s future success.”

McMillen, who has served as provost on an interim basis, had planned to retire, but agreed to delay his retirement and accept the position, which Jacobs publicly thanked him for doing.

The Board of Trustees also heard reports on graduate education at the University, an update on the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process, and updating the core curriculum.

New provost has familiar face

McMillen

McMillen

The University of Toledo’s provost for the next year will hit the ground running, having served in the role on an interim basis for the last year.

During the May 16 meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Lloyd Jacobs announced that Dr. William McMillen, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, will delay his planned retirement to serve in the role permanently.

“He is the very best choice,” Jacobs told the board, noting that the decision follows a national search in which candidates from a diverse array of experiences, backgrounds and disciplines were given consideration.

“Bill is willing to put off his retirement, after extensive negotiations with his wife,” quipped Jacobs. “He has a proven track record of success, and we can look forward to him capitalizing on that success in the weeks and months to come, for the ultimate benefit of the University.”

“This is a critical time in the history of The University of Toledo,” McMillen said, “and I’m eager to play a role in shaping UT’s tomorrow, to borrow a phrase from on ongoing Higher Learning Commission accreditation.

“I would like to thank President Jacobs and the board for this vote of confidence,” McMillen added. “I look forward to continuing our good work as we take on some major institutional initiatives.”

Application fee deferred for new undergrad applicants

For the summer 2011, fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters, The University of Toledo will no longer require the $40 application fee due at the time of submitting the online application for undergraduate admission.

All prospective undergraduate students who complete and submit an online application no longer see the payment form or information. Instead, the application fee will be applied to the first semester invoice only for students who are admitted and enrolled at the time of billing.

The online applicants only will be charged if they are admitted and enrolled for the semester.

This change is effective for summer 2011, fall 2011 and spring 2012. Extending to future semesters will be discussed prior to the release of the online 2012-13 undergraduate application.

This change does not apply to the graduate application.