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Archive for August, 2011

Medical physics graduate students present work at annual meeting

Doctoral student Bhoj Gautam posed for a photo at at the annual meeting of the American Association of Medical Physicists in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Doctoral student Bhoj Gautam posed for a photo at at the annual meeting of the American Association of Medical Physicists in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Students and faculty from the UT Graduate Medical Physics Program showed strong attendance at the annual meeting of the American Association of Medical Physicists, as they presented eight research papers.

The meeting, held earlier this month in Vancouver, British Columbia, was a joint international conference between the association and the Canadian College of Medical Physics.

The presentation of eight research papers, which were a combination of three oral and five poster presentations, is significant for UT’s program. The students who presented their research were Andrew Cotton, Bhoj Gautam, Xiance Jin, Nava Paudel, Charles Rhodes, Justin Sherman, Nicholas Sperling and Todd White.

“It was an excellent opportunity to let the other conference participants know about my research and to introduce myself in the field of medical physics,” Gautam said.

White also said he felt it was a great honor.

“This conference offered us the opportunity to see what other researchers are doing around the country, to meet other medical physicists in the profession, and to see new and updated products that are being offered on the market,” he said.

“The University of Toledo was presented strongly, and the papers were all received very well,” said Dr. Ishmael Parsai, UT professor of radiation oncology, director of the UT Graduate Medical Physics Program and chief of the Medical Physics Division, who was elected a Fellow of the American Association of Medical Physicists at the conference.

As in previous years, the Toledo Radiation Oncology Physician group generously assisted with travel expenses for students to attend the conference.

UT officials: 2011 employee furloughs may be reduced, possibly eliminated

UT officials are increasingly optimistic that some or all University-wide furlough days could be unnecessary.

As part of the 2012 budget development process, it was announced in June that University of Toledo employees would need to take as many as four furlough days in the week after the Christmas holiday and before New Year’s Day. However, furloughs may prove unnecessary as the financial assumptions the 2012 budget was based on start to firm up.

“Throughout these difficult economic times, furloughs always will be a tool we might have to use to save money without permanently eliminating filled positions, but for the moment we believe the need for furloughs is diminishing,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said.

Jacobs emphasized that while employees University-wide might not see furloughs, there are some employees in collective bargaining units that allow for furloughs in their collective bargain agreements. He recommended employees communicate with their supervisors to more fully understand how the situation will affect them.

Highlighting the development of the Dorr Street Gateway Project and prominent national recognition of UT Medical Center by U.S. News and World Report as the best hospital in the region, Jacobs said there were many positive things happening at the University.

“Hopefully this news on furloughs will provide some measure of relief for members of the UT community as they plan for the holiday season,” Jacobs said. “Thank you all so much for the work you do every day.”

See you at Downtown Coaches Association luncheons

thumb-rocket-color-logo2As The University of Toledo’s athletic teams are about to begin their respective seasons, the Downtown Coaches Association is set to kick off activities for the 2011-12 school year as well.

The first meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 29, in Savage Arena. Head Football Coach Tim Beckman will be on hand to show a video and talk about the upcoming season-opener versus New Hampshire Thursday, Sept. 1.

The Downtown Coaches Association provides its members with exclusive involvement in Toledo athletics.

The primary group events are the weekly Monday luncheon meetings at Savage Arena, which offer the true Rocket fan an inside perspective on everything happening in the UT sports world. Each Monday, Rocket head coaches and student-athletes review the previous week’s contests, talk about upcoming opponents, and answer your questions. It’s your opportunity to get to know UT coaches and student-athletes.

The Monday luncheon meetings begin Aug. 29 and continue until the end of March. The second meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 6, due to the Labor Day holiday and will feature a report on the New Hampshire game and a video preview for Ohio State.

In addition to the weekly meetings, the Downtown Coaches Association also provides assistance to the UT Athletic Department in ways such as:

• Conducting the 50/50 raffle fundraising program at home football and basketball games;

• Organizing a giant reverse raffle fundraiser in the fall;

• Recognizing student-athletes at Monday lunch programs;

• Assisting with Graduate Assistant Scholarships and awards; and

• Providing annual contribution to the Athletic Department of all net proceeds from club fundraisers and operations.

The Downtown Coaches Association asks members for annual dues of $40 for an individual (or $50 for a couple). The membership year begins July 1 and runs through June 30.

To join or learn more about the Downtown Coaches Association, click here or call the Athletic Development Office at 419.530.2510.

Doctoral candidate awarded $12,000 research grant

Park

Park

Kihyun Park, a PhD student in the UT College of Business and Innovation, was awarded a $12,000 research grant for his dissertation on supply chain resilience.

The award is granted by the Institute for Supply Management, the largest supply management association in the world.

Park was one of two $12,000 grant recipients in the annual Institute for Supply Management Dissertation Grant Competition, one of the most prestigious grant programs in the field. Park’s dissertation is titled “Flexible and Redundant Supply Chain Practices to Build Strategic Supply Chain Resilience: Contingent and Resource-Based Perspectives.”

“I am invited to two conferences to present my dissertation,” Park said. “The organization that presented the grant also has a publication called the Journal of Supply Chain Management, and they have invited me to submit my dissertation there.”

He will present his dissertation at the Annual North American Research Symposium in Tempe, Ariz., in March and at Institute for Supply Management Annual International Supply Management Conference in Baltimore in May.

Park’s field of study is operations management and supply chain management. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea.

He has studied at The University of Toledo since fall 2007 and will graduate this fall. While attending the University, he has taught several courses, including Operations Management and Business Statistics.

Park will begin teaching at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh during fall semester as an assistant professor of operations management.

UT student-created website encourages safe online commerce

classiphixcom_orderStudents wanting to buy or sell used textbooks or find a new roommate have a website designed just for them by a University of Toledo graduate. Go to Classiphix.com.

The website for UT students to post ads to sell or find used items was founded in 2009 as MyCollegeStuff.net when then-student Dane Theisen thought he and his peers needed something better than craigslist.org to buy, sell and trade items.

“Students were putting a lot of time and effort into making flyers to post on bulletin boards around campus,” he said. “I thought there had to be a better way to do it.”

The site was designed to help create a safer and more secure environment for UT students to buy and trade online. MyCollegeStuff.net this year was rebranded as Classiphix.com.

“We received an investment, so I used a majority of that money for rebranding,” Theisen said. “I wanted to make it much more professional.”

Rebranding included a new name, a new website design, and a new mascot: a small orange and white fox with a graduation cap called Classifox.

The site, which requires a college “.edu” email address to register, has a designated meeting spot in Rocket Hall for safety purposes. Posts are not restricted to buying and selling.

“One of our biggest sections is the community section of the site,” Theisen said. “Students can post events or find things that are happening on campus.”

Also new this year is a discount card students can use at businesses and restaurants around Toledo, mainly in the UT area.

Second annual Music Fest to feature pop-rock band Cartel

Did you attend last year’s Music Fest? Did you have fun rocking out to We the Kings? Then you’ll love the band headlining this year’s Music Fest: Cartel, which is touring the Midwest with We the Kings and other groups.

music-fest-adMusic Fest 2011, The University of Toledo’s second annual free, public concert, will be held Wednesday, Aug. 31, in the field across from Memorial Field House on Main Campus.

In addition to the American pop-rock headliner, this year’s lineup includes a variety of artists, from ’70s soul and funk to an up-and-coming country singer.

“After the success of last year’s Music Fest, we want this to be an annual event at the University,” said Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “We hope Music Fest will join the ranks of our other proud traditions. It’s a great way for students to join the community to enjoy something together.”

The outdoor concert will kick off with singer-songwriter Abigail Stauffer. Other performers will include country singer Glen Templeton, jazz artist Alexander Zonjic, and the funk band Ohio Players. WXUT, the student radio station, will provide entertainment between sets.

The night will conclude with a colorful fireworks display after a performance by the headliner, Cartel, which is known for its song, “Honestly,” from its 2005 debut album, Chroma. The band since has released two albums, Cartel in 2007 and Cycles in 2009.

The schedule will be:

• 2:45 p.m. — Abigail Stauffer

• 4:15 p.m. — Glen Templeton

• 5:30 p.m. — Pep rally for the UT football team

• 6 p.m. — Alexander Zonjic and Friends

• 7:45 p.m. — Ohio Players

• 9:30 p.m. — Cartel

• 10:45 p.m. — Fireworks

Click here to read more about the artists and see videos.

In addition to an outdoor concert, Music Fest serves as a community event to get students and the community excited about the school year on the eve of the first football game of the season. The pep rally with the Rockets’ football team will take place at 5:30 p.m. with the players, Head Coach Tim Beckman, cheerleaders, the Rocket Marching Band and Rocky the Rocket to help both the team and fans get psyched up for Toledo’s first game Thursday, Sept. 1, against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.

The new UT mascot will join in the fun with the official debut of Rocky the Rocket’s new friend, Rocksy. Students and fans voted for her name in July, and Rocksy was the fan favorite with the most “love” votes — 863 of 1,779.

“Music Fest 2011 offers performances for all musical tastes, the debut of our new mascot who will head out into the community to represent and promote UT, and a fun pep rally to pump up our Rockets and encourage people to stay in town over the Labor Day holiday weekend and cheer them on at the game,” Burns said. “We have a lot to celebrate at UT and are excited to bring the community on to campus for this annual event to help us do that.”

The event is sponsored by the Office of External Affairs, Office of the Dean of Students, UT Culture Ambassadors, Campus Activities and Programming, WXUT, Toledo.com, Yark Automotive, Learfield, The Blade, Buckeye Cablesystem, Verizon, Campus Oasis and Olde Towne University Apartments.

UT and RGP joint venture, Rocket Ventures, accelerates economic development

University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises and the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) have formed a new joint venture designed to help entrepreneurs more quickly turn their ideas into jobs. Innovation Enterprises is the University’s not-for-profit economic development arm.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs, left, read from a joint services agreement he signed Aug. 18 along with, from left, Rick Stansley, chair of the board for Innovation Enterprises, UT's economic development arm; David Waterman, chair of the board of the Regional Growth Partnership; and Dean Monske, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership. UT Innovation Enterprises and the Regional Growth Partnership have come together to form Rocket Ventures LLC, a joint venture designed to enable more resources to directly go to help entrepreneurs and economic development and reduce duplicative services.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs, left, read from a joint services agreement he signed Aug. 18 along with, from left, Rick Stansley, chair of the board for Innovation Enterprises, UT's economic development arm; David Waterman, chair of the board of the Regional Growth Partnership; and Dean Monske, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership. UT Innovation Enterprises and the Regional Growth Partnership have come together to form Rocket Ventures LLC, a joint venture designed to enable more resources to directly go to help entrepreneurs and economic development and reduce duplicative services.

The new entity, Rocket Ventures LLC, will help companies commercialize their technology, support new technology-based firms, and provide seed funding to attract external investment in companies served by the 18-county northwest Ohio footprint.

“The goal is to create jobs. We’re trying to create a single front door for entrepreneurs that allows them to move seamlessly between the expertise and resources offered by both the RGP and UT, through Innovation Enterprises,” said Rick Stansley, who is chair of the new five-member Rocket Ventures LLC board. Stansley also chairs the Innovation Enterprises board.

The joint venture, an equal partnership between the RGP and UT Innovation Enterprises, brings together the talent, assets and resources from both organizations. The RGP previously housed Rocket Ventures, a $22.5 million pre-seed, early-stage venture capital firm. Funding for Rocket Ventures comes from private investment and grant dollars through the Ohio Department of Development’s Third Frontier Program, which is a $2.3 billion initiative to create new technology-based products, companies, industries and jobs.

Business development personnel and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) from Rocket Ventures join the new organization and UT Innovation Enterprises is providing access to physical incubation space, the University’s successful tech transfer division and the UT Innovation Enterprises investment fund.

Stansley said the business model will focus on an EIR hands-on approach, providing more effective and efficient business services to tech-based clients. The two most important issues for early-stage companies, according to Stansley, are management expertise and money. Through this joint venture, the opportunity for both increases dramatically, he said.

Officials said combining all business development services into a single entity will provide a better front door for entrepreneurs. The new partnership will help accelerate the process to make new companies self-sustainable as Rocket Ventures LLC Entrepreneurs-in-Residence work with firms to establish goals and set benchmarks, such as the amount of venture capital needed or a date by which a CEO needs to be hired.

Both Rocket Ventures LLC and UT Innovation Enterprises will retain the independence of their separately operated venture funds. They will collaborate to offer new technology businesses with innovation and business development services spanning from lab to launch.

“Universities are called on today to play an active role in the economic development of their communities,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. “We do that primarily by producing a well-educated class of men and women each year to enter and provide leadership in the work force. But at The University of Toledo, we’ve also embraced a much more direct strategy of economic development during the past five years, and this closer partnership with the Regional Growth Partnership only enhances these efforts.”

Jacobs said the creative assistance of Lisa Delp from the Ohio Department of Development was key to the joint venture’s success. Delp serves as entrepreneurial services and incubation program manager for the department.

Dean Monske, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership, anticipates Rocket Ventures LLC serving as the primary resource for tech-based companies and service providers across the entire region, from Auglaize to Sandusky counties. “This truly is a valuable resource that all counties should utilize to best spur technology commercialization and create a knowledge-based economy.”

A touch of massage offers many health benefits

Licensed Massage Therapist Hieu Nguyen gave a massage to UT Police Lt. Julie Rightnowar.

Licensed Massage Therapist Hieu Nguyen gave a massage to UT Police Lt. Julie Rightnowar.

It started with some kinks in her neck.

Like many, Julie Rightnowar, lieutenant in the UT Police Department, had localized tightness in one area. Her choice of treatment was to schedule a massage at the UT Medical Center on Main Campus.

“I felt stress in my shoulders and neck,” Rightnowar said. “I pointed it out and, after the massage, the tightness was completely gone. I felt like a million dollars when I left the medical center.”

Licensed Massage Therapists Vicki Feit and Hieu Nguyen have heard similar stories. Since UT began offering massage in April, they’ve seen many clients with shoulder and neck strains.

“We give attention to any soreness or tightness the client tells us about but, as a whole, our clients generally leave feeling relaxed and refreshed,” Feit said. “The benefits increase each time you have a massage.”

Feit and Nguyen practice the traditional Swedish method of massage. There are several different techniques, but research shows general “touch therapy” has numerous health benefits, including:

• Stress relief;

• Managing anxiety and depression;

• Pain relief;

• Decreasing blood pressure;

• Boosting the immune system;

• Treating injuries, stiffness and overall discomfort;

• Increasing circulation; and

• Enhancing sleep.

“The stress of college life from all perspectives can put you under pressure,” Nguyen said. “A lot of my clients have told me they’ve been looking for something like this.”

Rightnowar has had three massages at UT within the past few months and compares them to restorative medicine, “like vitamins or exercise. It’s a way to turn off your mind for awhile, stop the spinning and thinking, and do something good for your body.”

Michelle Peterson, wellness coordinator in UT’s Office of Community Wellness and Health Promotion, initiated the service with the Department of Family Medicine as part of ongoing efforts to utilize campus resources toward preventive care.

“Everyone has stress in their lives — work, home and everywhere in between,” Peterson said. “Having a massage is like a mini-vacation from the pressures of everyday life. You really feel wonderful afterward!”

An hourlong massage costs $50, but Peterson said a back-to-school special will be offered through Friday, Sept. 30: a 50 percent discount for new clients and “buy one, get one free” for established clients.

The service is offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in half-hour and hourly sessions. Currently, it is open only to UT faculty, staff and students, but Peterson said evening hours and service for extended family members may be offered in the future.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 419.530.3451.

UT receives $10 million grant to improve science education for children

Nurturing a young child’s natural curiosity and developing an interest in discovery and science are important, but often overlooked in early childhood education.

UT faculty members, from left, Dr. Scott Molitor, Dr. Joan Kaderavek and Dr. Charlene Czerniak, along with Toledo Public Schools Curriculum Director Robert Mendenhall, spoke at the press conference last week to announce the $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to start the NURTURES Program.

UT faculty members, from left, Dr. Scott Molitor, Dr. Joan Kaderavek and Dr. Charlene Czerniak, along with Toledo Public Schools Curriculum Director Robert Mendenhall, spoke at the press conference last week to announce the $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to start the NURTURES Program.

The new NURTURES program led by The University of Toledo will transform the way preschool through third-grade science is taught in the greater Toledo area by engaging young students and their parents and teachers.

UT and its numerous community partners celebrated the beginning of the NURTURES program and the $10 million grant recently received from the National Science Foundation last week at a press conference at Apple Tree Nursery School, located in the UT Childcare Center on Main Campus.

“Children are naturally curious and always want to know ‘Why?’ or ‘What if?’ We need to nurture that curiosity and encourage them to ask questions and explore. That is what science is,” said Dr. Charlene Czerniak, UT professor of curriculum and instruction and the lead investigator on the research project. “This program engages the students, teachers, parents and the community in a comprehensive model to make science education a priority for young people so they will continue to study science and later pursue scientific careers.”

NURTURES, which stands for Networking Urban Resources with Teachers and University enRich Early Childhood Science, is a partnership led by the UT Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service and the UT College of Engineering, in collaboration with Toledo Public Schools (TPS), area nursery schools and day cares, and other science and community organizations.

The program will begin at Apple Tree Nursery School, a few Toledo Public Schools buildings, and a local Head Start provider and then expand to include more teachers and educational environments.

“Apple Tree has a long history of working with University faculty to better understand and support children’s learning, and we are happy to be a pilot site for the NURTURES program to help science come alive to our students,” Director Sherry Roush said.

“The goals of NURTURES are entirely in line with initiatives at Toledo Public Schools to improve science education along with math and reading,” TPS Superintendent Dr. Jerome Pecko said. “The mix of teacher education, parent involvement and community events is a complete package to engage children’s interest in the world of science.”

During the course of the five-year project, students, parents and teachers will gain valuable information to improve the interest and achievement in science for about 11,000 students in the greater Toledo area.

Summer institutes will provide the professional development needed for science educators to develop challenging inquiry-based, age-appropriate science instruction that also integrates reading and math. The training will reach a total of 495 teachers, principals and directors in at least 50 community-based early care and education programs and 300 K-3 classrooms.

Teachers will learn skills to help engage families in formal and informal education, which also will be supported with seven annual community science events that will reach about 10,000 families during the course of the project through partners such as the Toledo Zoo and Imagination Station.

Young children largely have been ignored in many science education reform efforts, Czerniak said, and the hope is that NURTURES will provide information on the approaches that incorporate the best creative and innovative strategies for learning.

The partners in NURTURES are Toledo Public Schools, Apple Tree Nursery School, the East Toledo Family Center Day Care, the Toledo Day Nursery, Olivet Nursery, Fairgreen Nursery, the Toledo Catholic Schools, UT Ritter Planetarium, Imagination Station, Toledo Zoo, Toledo Metroparks, Toledo Botanical Gardens, Toledo Grows, Lourdes College Nature Laboratory, Challenger Learning Center, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Toledo-Lucas County Library and WGTE Public Media.

UT FacebookApp launched

webfacebook_posterConnecting with students and encouraging involvement — UT has an app for that.

“The University of Toledo is always looking for innovative ways to engage students early in their academic journey, and the UT FacebookApp does just that,” said Angela Paprocki, division director of student success and retention.

The implementation of the FacebookApp has been a joint effort between the Learning Collaborative and the College of Innovative Learning.

“The goal is to help students connect with each other early, to foster academic interest through learning communities, and increase overall student engagement,” Paprocki said.

“The UT FacebookApp leverages a popular social media platform, as it was originally conceived in the academic environment, to connect students with common academic and social interests,” she said. “Using the UT FacebookApp, the University is intentionally trying to promote peer connections, create a sense of belonging, encourage interest in learning communities, and enhance students’ own interests. Connecting students who may be in the same major, live in the same city or reside in the same residence hall fosters the student engagement process.”

Not only can the UT FacebookApp provide an opportunity to welcome new students and ease their transitions to college, but it also can benefit undergraduate students as they progress through their academic journeys at the University.

“Student engagement can lead to increased student success and retention. Research shows that students who engage early with their University and develop meaningful relationships are more likely to complete their degrees than their peers who do not,” Paprocki said.

Undergraduate students will be invited to join via their Rocket emails; however, if a student inadvertently deletes the email and would still like to add the app, he or she can go to FacebookApp.utoledo.edu to join the community.

“You may be wondering what sets the UT FacebookApp apart from various other UT Facebook pages. Facebook pages are designed to disseminate information to a wider audience and are often used as a marketing channel, much like a website,” Paprocki explained. “On the other hand, Schools on Facebook is an application designed to build community amongst college students, driving friendship and engaging students with the University throughout their academic journey.

“These efforts are very different but complement each other well.”

Additionally, the UT FacebookApp provides a safe space for students to connect and interact, since only admitted and enrolled students can add it. This also ensures student information is kept private, secure and remains FERPA-compliant.

For inquiries regarding the UT FacebookApp, contact FacebookApp@utoledo.edu.

UT FacebookApp is a third-party application created by Inigral, which has allowed the University to create a private, branded social network for UT students that will engage them in ways Facebook pages and groups alone cannot.

Inigral was named one of the 10 most innovative companies in education by Fast Co. “for creating Facebook apps that help students stay in college by connecting them to a community of students who share their interests.” Inigral also received the first-ever venture investment from the Gates Foundation. Learn more about the company at www.fastcompany.com.