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Archive for July, 2012

UT receives continued accreditation from Higher Learning Commission

The University of Toledo has received continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The University received the official action letter confirming the continued accreditation last week, and the comprehensive evaluation report from the site team has been posted on the UT Self-Study website, www.utoledo.edu/accreditation, for the community to review.

The consultant evaluators who visited campus in February noted in their overall observations, “The team felt that the institution is well-run, well-poised and well-placed to handle the challenges posed by the region and to take advantage of opportunities provided by the region.”

“Successful continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission is something every member of our University community should take pride in,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said. “The positive evaluation is a confirmation of all the hard work of every member of the faculty, staff and administration to carry out our mission to improve the human condition.”

The action letter confirming continued accreditation from the commission is the culmination of years of work that included a comprehensive self-study report and a visit from a team of consultant evaluators to the University in February.

The HLC team reviewed UT’s success in meeting five key criteria: Mission and Integrity; Planning for the Future; Student Learning and Effective Teaching; Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge; and Engagement and Service.

“The HLC consultant evaluators commented that our self-study report was one of the most detailed reports submitted by an institution, which is recognition of the great group of people who worked extremely hard for years to prepare,” said Dr. Dorothea Sawicki, professor of microbiology-immunology, associate dean and vice chancellor of graduate health science, and co-chair of UT’s HLC self-study steering committee. “The University was recognized for the things we do well, and the process helped identify areas that could use more attention, which is important for a higher education institution that is always interested in continuous improvement.”

Several of the HLC’s recommendations already are being addressed by the University, such as successful enrollment management with the move of Enrollment Services to the Office of the Provost to focus more on the retention of students.

The commission also recommended more attention to assessment and general education, which UT is addressing with Dr. Penny Poplin Gosetti serving as vice provost for assessment, accreditation and program review, and the newly revised core curriculum that focuses on core competencies.

Accreditation from the HLC is important in terms of institutional and student eligibility to apply for federal grants, loans and research funds; the ability to take certain state licensure exams; tuition assistance for employees and much more.

“Continued accreditation is essential for the University to deliver quality educational programs and provide important opportunities for our students and employees,” Poplin Gosetti said. “It is a great deal of work and it should be because of the critical importance it has for an institution. The process gives us the opportunity to both evaluate our institution to see what we can do better and sing the praises of what we do well. We have much to be proud of.”

The Higher Learning Commission, founded in 1895, is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. UT has been accredited by the commission since 1922, and the former Medical College of Ohio/Medical University of Ohio had been accredited since 1980.

For more information on the commission, visit ncahlc.org.

Two candidates for provost visit, another scheduled for Tuesday

Two external candidates for provost and executive vice president for academic affairs visited campus last week, and a third internal candidate will go through the process this week.

Dr. Carlo Montemagno, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati, and Dr. Janine Janosky, vice president at Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, were interviewed and held open forums discussing the approaches they would take to leading academic operations on UT’s Main Campus.

Dr. Scott Scarborough, senior vice president and executive director of UT Medical Center, will participate in a forum open to all internal and external constituents Tuesday, July 24, at 2 p.m. in Student Union Room 3018.

Montemagno, who has been with the University of Cincinnati since 2006 when he joined the faculty as a professor of bioengineering, talked about his successes improving the quality of students in his college and building connections with the community.

“As a University, we need reassess the value of our university with regards to our community and make sure we understand that the university is a strategic community partner,” he said. “One of the reasons why I’m here is the leadership that you currently have. It is in line with my vision and beliefs.”

Janosky, who has served as the vice president of Austen BioInnovation Institute since 2010, used the open forum to also talk about her experiences building community around the University of Pittsburgh during her tenure there and efforts to ensure a successful and diverse student and faculty at various organizations.

“With the more mature I become in my life in academia, I see the benefits more and more of having a porous campus,” she said. “It is taking the campus and viewing it as a partner in the community and taking into account the region, the state and beyond.”

Janosky has held several research director positions and was a member of the family medicine and clinical epidemiology faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, she previously was vice provost for research at Central Michigan University, where she also was a professor of mathematics.

Montemagno, in addition to his role with the University of Cincinnati, has been a member of the faculty at the University of California at Los Angeles and Cornell University, and held posts with Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy.

Both candidates answered questions from the UT community about their views on shared governance, approaches to student enrollment and retention, and how they would increase global experiences for students.

Montemagno and Janosky also said during their open forums that they were both first-generation college students who valued the role higher education has in offering opportunities to students.

Scarborough, who is the third candidate for the provost position, has been with UT since 2007 when he accepted the position of senior vice president for finance and administration. He joined UT from DePaul University and prior to that, he worked for the University of Texas System for 10 years.

The person selected as UT’s next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs will succeed Dr. William McMillen, who is retiring after 30 years with UT and the former Medical College of Ohio/Medical University of Ohio.

Feedback about the candidates for provost can be sent to Joel Epstein, executive search consultant with Waverly Partners LLC at jepstein@waverly-partners.com; Susan Palmer, UT trustee and chair of the Provost Advisory Search Committee at spalmer@toledomuseum.org; and UT President Lloyd Jacobs at Lloyd.Jacobs@utoledo.edu.

‘The Relevant University’ to air July 24

Tune in to “The Relevant University” Tuesday, July 24, at 7 p.m. on AM 760 WJR.

This month, Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs, looks into the trend of more adult students returning to the classroom to accomplish their goals of earning a college degree.

In this month’s episode:

• Dr. Clint Longenecker, UT professor of management and an authority on leadership, talks about education as an important component of success.

• Eric Summons, an organizational psychologist, shares his expertise on workplace productivity.

• Adult college student Blake Russell provides insight into what it’s like to return to campus at age 29.

• And Eric Hoover, a reporter with The Chronicle of Higher Education, discusses the larger national picture on adults returning to the college classroom.

The University and Detroit’s WJR Radio produce the monthly, hourlong program that explores the critical role higher education plays in our world.

Listen at www.utoledo.edu/therelevantuniversity.

Rockets to host Eastern Washington in 2013

The University of Toledo will host Eastern Washington in football Sept. 14, 2013. It will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Eastern Washington is an NCAA Division I school competing in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Eagles were 6-5 in 2011, following a 2010 season when they went 13-2 and defeated Delaware, 20-19, to claim the FCS national championship.

“We are very pleased to add Eastern Washington to our 2013 home football schedule,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “The Eagles have one of the premier programs in the FCS, so we are looking forward to hosting them in the Glass Bowl.”

“Eastern Washington is an outstanding FCS program that will provide a definite challenge for our team,” added Head Coach Matt Campbell. “We have a lot of respect for Coach Beau Baldwin and the job he and his staff have done.”

The EWU game completes the 2013 non-conference schedule. The Rockets also will host Navy Oct. 19 and travel to Florida Aug. 31 and Missouri Sept. 7.

Lot 25 now open for Gateway business parking only

Beginning next week, vehicles that park in lot 25 by Rocket Hall may be ticketed unless they are Gateway patrons parked in designated spaces.

Parking in lot 25 will not be available to University of Toledo guests until around mid-August; however, Gateway patrons may park in the green-lined spaces. Rocket Hall visitor and handicap parking is located in lot 27 near Ottawa House.

Faculty, staff and students should continue to park in lot 26 near the Student Medical Center.

Vehicles parked in any space that does not have green lines started receiving warnings Wednesday, July 18. Beginning Monday, July 23, they will be ticketed.

Finishing touches are being put on the lot, which has been repaved and restructured to add 178 parking spaces. Other improvements include pedestrian walkways from Gateway businesses to residence halls on West Rocket Drive; numerous landscaped, curbed islands; a raised concrete crosswalk and drop-off entrance to Rocket Hall; LED parking lights; and a University transit stop at the Gateway Project.

Questions should be directed to Parking Enforcement at 419.530.4100 or ParkingEnforcement@utoledo.edu.

Library concerns about open-access publishing revealed in survey

A survey conducted by The University of Toledo Open-Access Steering Committee discovered that many of the participants had misunderstandings of the open-access method of publishing their research.

The committee, organized by Lucy Duhon, scholarly communications librarian and chair of the library faculty, surveyed UT faculty, researchers and teaching assistants on Main and Health Science campuses in an effort to gauge their interest in and understanding of open access, which is a method of sharing scholarly information, research and knowledge with few or no limitations or restrictions.

One of the main concerns faculty members had with publishing their research in an open-access journal, rather than a subscription-based journal, was the thought of articles not being peer-reviewed.

According to the survey, 77 percent of respondents said that being published in a respected peer-reviewed journal is very important, particularly when a faculty member is up for tenure or promotion.

The truth is many open-access journals are actually peer-reviewed, according to library officials.

Another concern expressed by faculty members surveyed is the protection of their intellectual property, a concern shared by 46 percent of the participants. But library officials noted the publication of articles in an open-access journal often makes plagiarism easier to detect and easier to prove.

Out of the 83 respondents to this survey conducted last fall, 51 percent considered it very important to be published in the most highly ranked journals in their fields, and many did not know of any open-access journals in their field.

The Directory of Open-Access Journals, available at www.doaj.org, lists thousands of peer-reviewed journals in use, library officials noted. Also some subscription-based journals are becoming “hybrid” journals that utilize both subscriptions and open access.

“The stage is being set for the mainstreaming of the open-access model of publishing,” Duhon said. “Publishers, even traditional ones, are beginning to recognize that the tide is moving inevitably in this direction, and universities all over have already adopted policies making open access the preferred mode of scholarly communication and preservation.”

A majority of the survey respondents considered the discoverability of their work by a wide audience and the citing of their work by other researchers very important. “The whole point of publication is to reach a wide audience,” one of the respondents wrote.

Some of the survey participants are using open access to reach wider audiences; 47 percent reported having published articles in open-access journals, and 24 percent used open-access publications in their own research.

Duhon also said there’s a good chance the Federal Research Public Access Act will be passed in the future, immediately broadening the amount of taxpayer-funded research made available to the public. “The pieces are coming together from many different angles,” she said.

The survey was conducted as part of the fifth annual Open-Access Week, an international event sponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, in October 2011. UT’s Open-Access Steering Committee will be planning events for this fall’s Open-Access Week.

To see more of the survey’s results, visit Carlson Library’s blog at mulford.utoledo.edu/carlsonblog or openaccessweek.org to learn more about Open-Access Week.

Jefferson Award nominations due July 23

Do you know this month’s Jefferson Award “Champion” honoree?

The July honoree could be a colleague who serves meals at a homeless shelter, gives “haircuts” at an animal shelter, or coaches at a community center.

If you know an unsung hero who dedicates his or her time to community service, submit a nomination on UT’s Facebook page or directly to UT’s Jefferson Awards page.

Nominations for the July honoree are due Monday, July 23.

This month’s Jefferson Awards “Champion” could be someone you know — nominate today!

Astronomy researcher receives prestigious award for investigation, education

A University of Toledo faculty member has been selected as a 2012 Cottrell Scholar in recognition of his passion for both research and education.

Dr. J.D. Smith, UT associate professor of astronomy, was named a 2012 Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement for his investigative work and teaching.

The prestigious award, which includes a $75,000 grant, was given by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement to Dr. J.D. Smith, UT associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The Research Corporation for Science Advancement, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, awards only professors in their third year of a tenure-track appointment. It recognizes outstanding young faculty in the fields of astronomy, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry or physics who excel in both research and teaching, and who show exceptional potential in both areas.

Smith was the only recipient in astronomy this year, and one of only 11 awardees, who hailed from institutions that included Cornell, Yale, CalTech and UCLA.

He will use the award to support two projects, one research-based and one educational, that he proposed to the Research Corporation for Science Advancement last summer.

For his research project, Smith plans to study “How Galaxies Die and Why,” investigating when and how galaxies stop producing stars or “die.” Smith explained that galaxies normally are forming new stars from reservoirs of gas and dust, but can stop quite abruptly and for very poorly understood reasons.

In order to conduct his research, Smith plans to utilize the Herschel and Spitzer space observatories, along with ground-based telescopes, to follow the gas and dust in galaxies transitioning from a star-forming state to “red and dead,” a term used by astronomers because of the red appearance of old stars. With an international group of collaborators, Smith has helped discover a new population of such rare but important galaxies.

“We’ve found a new way to identify galaxies undergoing this transition, and now we’re trying to study in particular not what’s happening to the aging stars within them, but what becomes of all this raw material, the stellar fuel itself,” Smith said.

By following the fuel for the first time, Smith hopes to gain insight into the processes that control the life and death of all galaxies in the universe, including our own.

For his educational project, Smith wants to improve the impact of elementary astronomy labs, both at UT and beyond.

“We’ve taught introductory labs in astronomy very much the same way for probably 25 years,” Smith said. “The techniques used are often quite outdated, so that in many ways students are not fully engaged by the material.”

Smith said he hopes to move a number of the labs into UT’s Ritter Planetarium to utilize the unique capabilities of the new SciDome XD full-dome digital projector, a major renovation completed last year. He plans to share these lab modules with other institutions equipped with similar full-dome projectors.

With his astronomy colleagues, Smith also plans to continue hosting international astrophysics conferences at UT, following up the very successful “WittFest” meeting held on campus in 2010 in honor of Dr. Adolf Witt, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Astronomy.

Smith is one of three Cottrell Scholars from UT since the program’s inception in 1994. Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, won the award in 1999 in the field of astronomy, and Dr. Ale Lukaszew, UT assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, won in 2004 in the field of physics.

This month, Smith will join other Cottrell Scholars in Tucson, Ariz., to discuss their research and collaborate on bringing that research into the classroom.

“In the end, research is about people — people curious about or even driven by a fundamental desire to understand the universe around them,” Smith said.

Roles of lifetimes challenge students in medicine, theatre

“Mrs. Vasquez, the test results came back from the lab, and I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

Kelly Dooley, left, and Andrea Harris created a medical interview that provides a professional stretch for both.

Even seasoned medical professionals may dread the moment when those conversations with their patients become necessary. Training helps, which is why all disciplines of medical study include interviewing classes. Optimum realism is provided by standardized patients: individuals trained to simulate symptoms or issues likely to be encountered in actual clinical settings.

At UT, physician assistant students have been finding those simulations intense, challenging — and a surprising amount of fun — thanks to an interdisciplinary collaboration between the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The result is a professional encounter between students of Dr. Vivian Moynihan, assistant professor of physician assistant studies, and those of Irene Alby, associate lecturer of theatre. The physician assistant students are enrolled in Moynihan’s Principles of Interviewing and Medical History class; the theatre students provide the syndromes, symptoms, concerns, questions and sometimes feisty opinions of the standardized patients.

“The theatre students’ participation have made the course almost entirely experiential, which a medical interviewing course needs to be,” Moynihan said. In a team approach, two physician assistant students conduct the interview, two others serve as peer evaluators; at the next interview, roles are reversed.

The most challenging interviews — those involving a patient’s sexual history, for instance, or ones conveying a negative medical outcome — are included.

“It’s a great way to practice such situations in a safe environment,” Moynihan said. “The teams didn’t know what the bad news would be until they walked in the door, then it was changed when the teams flipped. That allowed a wide range of emotions.

“The theatre students did not make it easy for the physician assistant students — and physician assistant students thought it was great.”

Physician assistant student Kelly Dooley recalled the unexpected realism when an actor played it angry: “I don’t know what came over me. I held it together during the interview, but afterwards I started crying because I was unprepared for that kind of emotion. It’s not you, it’s just that patients can be feeling bad, not in a great mood. It was awesome, working on communicating with them.”

From Alby’s perspective, the class is an opportunity for actors to hone their craft: “The use of standardized patients — and in other fields, mock trials and business simulations — are real ways that actors can find work.”

When Moynihan initially called with the idea, Alby said, the two immediately connected: “We decided we had to make it happen.”

The theatre students who participated in spring semester, she added, began by providing backstories for the medical scenarios Moynihan had created. “When you play a hostile patient, an actor wants to know the reason for the hostility,” Alby explained.

“Our goal was to be as honest as possible. Acting is always about reality, but there are different styles of acting — some with heightened reality, some that are funny. In this case, the students had to be absolutely real without any of the craft showing.

“Sometimes, real can be pretty extreme, but there had to be the sense each interview was reality, happening at that moment.”

Moynihan, who previously had relied on second-year physician assistant students to serve in the roles, praised both the increased realism and the intensity of the experience for both groups of students in the class, which will next be offered fall semester.

“The sense was that this was real,” she said. “The physician assistant students really valued the upperclassmen helping, but they’d act with an eye toward the medical technicalities. With the theatre students, it’s much more like a real patient interview.”

“You could see [the physician assistant students] nail something the second time that they’d missed the first time, or becoming more humanized rather than completely medical,” said Andrea Harris, a theatre/film major who participated. “And as actors, we were being challenged, growing in our characters. In one case, I had to find ways to portray pain I had never felt. There was a lot of improv in what we did.”

Alby, who has developed a theatre course devoted to standardized patient service, speaks for all actors when she exulted, “Finally, there’s an understanding that the type of skills we have are compatible with a field that on the surface seems so different.”

Kobacker Center hosts summer camp for troubled children, seeks school supply donations

The Kobacker Center on The University of Toledo Health Science Campus is hosting a summer camp for students who struggle academically and socially to help prepare them for a strong start to the new school year.

The Eight Weeks of Summer Fun Program, which began June 18 and runs through Aug. 16, has 40 students participating in new lessons each week; topics being covered include character building, social skills, decision making, manners, rules of safety, professions, the Olympics and more.

Campers also have a special day to look forward to each week, such as a cookout that allows family members to experience the program with the students and a day when the fire department and police department visit to discuss safety.

“Our ultimate goals for these kids would be a successful start of the upcoming school year with increased confidence in their abilities to do well,” said Karon G. Price, agency executive director of behavioral health-care services at the Kobacker Center.

The Kobacker Center specializes in helping children with severe emotional troubles such as intense anger, chronic depression and thoughts of suicide. Individual treatment planning allows families to begin to understand the emotional and physical reasons for such problems.

At the end of camp, staff members are hoping to give campers a book bag full of school supplies for the upcoming academic year. The Kobacker Center is seeking donations of neutral color book bags, folders, glue/glue sticks, scissors, crayons, markers, pencils, pens and notebook paper. Donations can be dropped off at the Kobacker Center on Health Science Campus.

For more information or to make a donation, contact Price at 419.383.5419 or karon.price@utoledo.edu.