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Archive for December, 2019

Free Will Topic of Dec. 12 Talk

The UToledo Humanities Café Series will present a discussion on “Moral and Social Responsibility Without Free Will?” Thursday, Dec. 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Curious Cat Café, 3059 W. Bancroft St.

Dr. Christopher Martin, visiting associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, and director of the UToledo Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities, will speak.

Martin

“One of the central assumptions behind our moral and social attitudes of responsibility is that our actions are in some important respect up to us; that though we chose to do X, we could alternatively have chosen to do Y,” he said. “What if we are mistaken about this? How should we think about moral and social responsibility if our actions are the product of forces outside our control?”

Martin will present a couple arguments supporting the claim there is no free will.

“We will then explore different rationales for why we might imprison someone who could not but have robbed a bank, and whether the altruist deserves praise for an action even if we accept that she or he could not have done otherwise,” he said. “Can our commitment to moral and social responsibility survive without the freedom to choose our actions?”

Refreshments will be provided at the free, public discussion.

For more information, email christopher.martin5@utoledo.edu.

UToledo Increases Efforts to Reduce Waste, Increase Recycling

The University of Toledo is adopting changes to its recycling practices to reduce waste and continue being good stewards of the environment.

“Like other large organizations and communities across the country, we’re shifting our focus from just recycling to — first and foremost — reducing the amount of waste we produce,” said Jason Toth, senior associate vice president for administration. “Continuing to recycle exactly as we’ve been doing for the past two or three decades is simply no longer sustainable.”

“Recycling costs continue to increase due, in part, to the amount of labor it takes to sort and disburse these materials to appropriate places,” said Michael Green, director of energy management for Facilities and Construction. “Therefore, we’re asking everyone to participate in renewed efforts to ensure we’re effectively eliminating waste, and then to also recycle items properly.

“Many employees and students recycle items in the proper blue bins, but then just one person inappropriately tosses in a pop can that’s half full, for instance, the contents of that entire bin ends up in the landfill due to cross-contamination,” Green explained. “It’s too costly to manually sort through hundreds of bins to ensure every item has been recycled appropriately.”

To be more environmentally responsible, UToledo is modifying its approach to recycling and urges all faculty, staff and students to assist as follows:

Recycling stations, which promote streamlined, common area recycling, have been expanded across campuses and are in all University facilities, including residence halls, office and patient care areas. Each station contains four bins — mixed office paper, metal cans (e.g. soda cans), plastic (e.g. water bottles) and landfill (trash). Please read the label atop each bin to ensure you are tossing items into the right bin to eliminate cross-contamination of recycled items.

Blue bin office recycling containers were removed from individual offices over the summer to promote increased use of the recycling stations in order to reduce labor and other associated costs. Please continue to recycle by using these common area recycling stations.

Cardboard recycling – Employees should break down small- and medium-sized boxes and place the flattened cardboard at a recycling station. Be sure to place the flattened cardboard behind the bins so foot traffic is not impeded. For large and oversized boxes, a maintenance/custodial work order should be submitted so Environmental Services may pick up this flattened cardboard from your work area.

“Before you recycle, we all should focus on reducing waste first,” Green noted. “Ways to do that include using your own beverage container instead of buying beverages in disposable cups, avoiding the use of Styrofoam containers for takeout food, and buying used or recyclable products for your residence hall or home.

“If everyone on our campuses used their own washable coffee cup every day, the University could reduce our annual waste by thousands of pounds,” Green said. “And that’s for only one small item that thousands of us use daily, and many of us use multiple times a day. Just imagine what we could do for the planet if we all would eliminate using other disposable products, too!”

Submissions Sought for 2020 Health Science Campus Artist Showcase

Mulford Library is seeking submissions for its 15th Annual Health Science Campus Artist Showcase.

The deadline to apply for consideration to be included in the exhibition is Friday, Jan. 10.

The library is accepting submissions from UToledo faculty, staff and students in the health sciences — nursing, medicine, pharmacy and the health professions — as well as hospital employees.

To be considered for the show, digital images of artwork can be sent to hscartshow@utoledo.edu, along with a submission form that can be found with guidelines on the Health Science Campus Artist Showcase website.

In the past, the showcase has featured artwork in a variety of media, including photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, jewelry, quilting, multimedia, graphics, wood carving and more.

Artists will be notified by email if their work is accepted into the show by Wednesday, Jan. 15.

The showcase will be on display from Feb. 17 through April 8 on the fourth floor of Mulford Library.

Questions about the exhibit can be directed to Jodi Jameson, assistant professor and nursing librarian at Mulford Library, who is a member of the artist showcase committee, at 419.383.5152 or jodi.jameson@utoledo.edu.

Bus Services Between Semesters Announced

Classes will not be in session from Monday, Dec. 16, through Monday, Jan. 20, for winter break. As a result, parking and the University bus schedule will be affected.

Gold, Blue and Scott Park routes will not run from Saturday, Dec. 14, through Sunday, Jan. 19.

Service on Monday, Jan. 20, will start at 5:20 p.m. for the Scott Sunday Evening Route only.

Service between Main and Health Science campuses will not be affected. For more information on Route 3, visit the Parking and Transportation Services’ website.

The last day to ride the Blue, Gold and Scott Park route is Friday, Dec. 13.

Students with an “F” permit who park in area 21 (Scott Park) and want access to their vehicle over winter break should move it by Friday, Dec. 13.

Students with an “F” permit may park on Main Campus starting Friday, Dec. 13, at 4 p.m. During finals week, those with “F” permits can park in “D” lots. Vehicles should be moved back to Scott Park Campus by the first day of classes Tuesday, Jan. 21, by 8 a.m.

For more information, email Parking and Transportation Services at parking@utoledo.edu.

Families Set to Celebrate Commencement Dec. 14

More than 2,000 students at The University of Toledo will graduate at commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 14, in Savage Arena.

The University is holding two ceremonies to include both undergraduate and graduate students from each of the colleges.

A total of 2,070 degrees will be awarded: 1,474 bachelor’s degrees, 426 master’s degrees, 104 doctoral degrees, 41 associate’s degrees, 15 education specialist degrees and 10 graduate certificates.

The 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize all Ph.D. candidates and graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Engineering; Judith Herb College of Education; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The 1 p.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees from the colleges of Business and Innovation; Health and Human Services; Nursing; University College; and Medicine and Life Sciences.

Commencement is always a time to celebrate with family. Their support is critical to achieving success. For several students walking across the stage this year, family was literally at their side for the journey.

Lori and Jordan Boyer in 2001 and 2019

At 48 years old, Lori Boyer is set to take the stage and grasp her diploma on the same day as her son, Jordan.

Lori, a preschool teacher, started taking classes at UToledo in 1990, but stopped to raise her three children.

After returning in January to cross the finish line, the UToledo employee at the Early Learning Center is graduating from University College with a bachelor’s degree in an individualized program of early childhood education and educational leadership. Her son is graduating from the College of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering technology.

“I am proud to share this special moment with my oldest son,” Boyer said. “It’s important to me to prove to all of my children that you can accomplish anything no matter what point you are in life. I accomplished something I set out to do a long time ago, and it has the potential to take me in different directions in my career.”

Fall commencement also is a family affair for a brother-and-sister duo who worked side by side as undergraduates in the same exercise biology research lab.

Nicole and Dylan Sarieh

Dylan and Nicole Sarieh, two-thirds of a set of fraternal triplets, both chose to study exercise science as pre-med students in the College of Health and Human Services, while their brother studies business at UToledo.

Together, Dylan and Nicole researched the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle growth under the guidance of Dr. Thomas McLoughlin, associate professor in the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, in order to help clinicians develop ways to help patients grow stronger after suffering from muscle loss.

“The opportunity to do real, meaningful, hands-on work in the lab definitely built our confidence and opened our eyes to what is important,” Dylan said about his undergraduate research experience. “My sister and I both plan to next go to medical school. She wants to be a dermatologist, and I want to be a general physician.”

“Whether at home, in the classroom or in the lab, I always had someone I could lean on who was tackling the same challenges,” Nicole said. “Putting our two brains together — even during car rides — made a big difference in our success.”

For some graduates, they found love and are starting their own family.

McKenna Wirebaugh completed a co-op at the BP Whiting Refinery in Whiting, Ind. This photo shows Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

McKenna Wirebaugh, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, met her soon-to-be husband at UToledo. Both she and Travis Mang, her fiancé, will receive degrees Saturday.

Turns out, planning their upcoming wedding is the only item left on the to-do list. Wirebaugh secured a full-time job as a process engineer at BP’s Cherry Point Refinery in Blaine, Wash., located about 40 minutes south of Vancouver. She is scheduled to start her new job in March, about a month after her honeymoon.

“I chose to go to UToledo because of the mandatory co-op program in engineering,” Wirebaugh said. “It guaranteed I would have a paycheck while in school and build my resumé. I’m grateful for my decision because it ended up launching my career.”

Wirebaugh completed four co-op rotations with BP while at UToledo. She also helped build a water purification unit that was sent to Ecuador through the nonprofit organization Clean Water for the World.

Her favorite experience as a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College was a class focusing on creativity. For a group project on the dangers of cell-phone use, they brought in a PlayStation 2 system and challenged students to text and drive on Mario Kart without crashing.

“My professors have truly cared about me inside and outside of my academic career,” Wirebaugh said. “I don’t see the friendships I’ve made here ending anytime soon.”

In the event of inclement weather, the approximately two-hour commencement ceremonies will be moved to Sunday, Dec. 15.

For those unable to attend, the ceremonies will stream live at video.utoledo.edu.

For more information, go to the UToledo commencement website.

University Opens New Germ-Free Research Facility

The University of Toledo is expanding its microbiome research capabilities with the creation of a new germ-free laboratory that will provide unique opportunities for scientists investigating the link between gut bacteria and chronic conditions such as hypertension.

Researchers in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences have been at the forefront of innovative research that suggests the particular makeup of our individual gut bacteria has major implications on our health.

Doing the honors to mark the creation of a new germ-free laboratory on Health Science Campus were, from left, Scott Bechaz, associate director of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources; Dr. Lisa Root, attending veterinarian and director of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources; Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, director of the UToledo Microbiome Consortium; Dee Talmage, chair of Women & Philanthropy; Marja Dooner, chair of the Women & Philanthropy Grants Committee; Dr. Bina Joe, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology; and Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs.

The research is particularly promising with relation to high blood pressure — so much so that the University has recognized the work among its spotlight areas of unique distinction.

“We have been working with available models asking as many research questions as we can. We are getting definitive links, but we haven’t yet found definitive answers for mechanisms,” said Dr. Bina Joe, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. “It is our hope this new lab will help provide those answers and open avenues for new therapeutic methods.”

By studying germ-free animal models that completely lack microbiota, Joe and other UToledo researchers will seek to further their understanding of how the colonies of tiny organisms that call our bodies home benefit or harm human health.

The project received $65,000 in grant funding from Women & Philanthropy and matching funds from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

While germ-free models are used for a variety of research applications, UToledo’s lab will be one of the only academic sites in the country with germ-free rats, which Joe said more closely mimic human disease states.

Preliminary work on the new Women & Philanthropy Germ-Free Facility for Biomedical Research is underway, with the facility expected to be up and running in 2020 under the guidance of Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, director of the UToledo Microbiome Consortium.

“The Women & Philanthropy grant is what is fueling this. We’re extremely grateful for their investment,” Joe said. “I think they see the value in promoting a woman scientist, and they see the value in the technology. We at The University of Toledo want to remain the first to fully understand these links and mechanisms in order to develop new clinical approaches. Rather than taking pills and monitoring your blood pressure every day, you might eventually be monitoring your microbiota and transferring beneficial ones as needed.”

“Women & Philanthropy is proud to be a part of such critical research and cutting-edge technology here at The University of Toledo,” Dee Talmage, chair of Women & Philanthropy, said. “It is a pleasure to support this important medical research, particularly when it has such a national impact.”

Women & Philanthropy has allocated up to $65,000 for 2020 grants to be awarded next spring. Learn more on the Women & Philanthropy website.

Health Information Administration B.S. Core Courses Certified

It’s official: All 15 online classes in The University of Toledo’s Health Information Administration Program have received national Quality Matters certification.

Two more online classes in the program recently received Quality Matters certification: Ambulatory Clinical Classification Systems and Services, and Integrative Capstone Experience.

That means the UToledo Health Information Administration Program for a bachelor of science degree is the first undergraduate program at the University to have all core courses certified by Quality Matters.

“We are so proud to have another online degree program with all required courses certified by Quality Matters,” Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College, said, noting classes for a master of arts degree in recreation administration were certified last year. “Our faculty are ensuring their online classes meet the nationally recognized Quality Matters peer review process so they are delivering the best online courses for UToledo students.”

Marie Janes and Nilgun Sezginis, senior lecturer and associate lecturer in the School of Population Health, respectively, have been working on receiving this distinction for the online classes in the Health Information Administration Program since 2016. To date, their program has the most Quality Matters-certified classes.

Janes said the Quality Matters certification demonstrates the program has the correct level of teaching materials, course expectations are clear, and the curriculum produces learning outcomes that can be measured.

Sezginis, who also is a doctoral candidate in the UToledo Health Education Program, said, “The students are receiving the best quality education and learning opportunities because we are making sure that all of our courses are meeting national standards.”

The University has 95 online courses certified by Quality Matters. Janes with eight classes and Sezginis with seven courses have the most individual course certifications.

Quality Matters is a nonprofit organization that provides standards for courses and program review to support quality assurance goals. A recognized leader in quality assurance for online education, its mission is to promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning nationally and internationally through the development of current, research-supported and practice-based quality standards and appropriate evaluation tools and procedures.

The organization also provides recognition of expertise in online education quality assurance and evaluation along with professional development in the use of rubrics, tools and practices to improve online education.

Official Quality Matters course reviews coordinated through UToledo Online are conducted by a team of certified peer reviewers who teach online and have been trained and certified by the organization.

The review process centers around the application of the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric. The standards outlined in the rubric were developed and are periodically revised based on research and established standards in the fields of instructional design and online learning.

Any UToledo faculty member interested in learning more about the official Quality Matters course review process are encouraged to visit UToledo’s Does Quality Matter?

UToledo Study Estimates Impact of Opioid Epidemic at $1.6B in Northwest Ohio

Fatal overdoses tied to Ohio’s ongoing opioid epidemic cost the metropolitan Toledo economy $1.6 billion and more than 2,000 jobs in 2017, according to a new study by The University of Toledo.

At $1.6 billion, the total economic impact of the opioid epidemic is equivalent to approximately 4.5% of the region’s gross domestic product — or roughly the same amount of economic activity generated annually by the entire private construction industry.

“The University of Toledo has an important role to play in addressing the major issues that affect northwest Ohio and beyond,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This research provides another piece of the puzzle as we work together to confront the opioid epidemic.”

The research was led by Dr. Oleg Smirnov, associate professor of economics, in close collaboration with members of The University of Toledo Opioid Task Force.

“Over a relatively period of short time, the number of deaths from opioid overdose has skyrocketed, and the crisis doesn’t show any signs of abating,” Smirnov said. “This report helps give us a better understanding of how the epidemic affects our region and also provides a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of our community’s ongoing response.”

Among the report’s key findings:

• Fatal opioid overdoses directly resulted in $1.27 billion in lost economic output in 2017.

• Each overdose death costs the economy $8.67 million.

• The indirect, or spillover, effects of fatal opioid overdose were $329.2 million in 2017.

• Premature deaths caused by the opioid epidemic cost metropolitan Toledo the equivalent of 2,082 jobs in 2017.

• While Narcan is relatively expensive at approximately $130 per dose, there is clear evidence the economic benefit outweighs the cost of administering the drug.

“These new findings add valuable context to our understanding of and response to the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, vice provost for faculty affairs, professor of public health, and co-chair of the UToledo Opioid Task Force. “The research can be used to advocate for funding that goes toward prevention efforts and treatment of opioid use disorder. It also can be used to inform local businesses how this epidemic is affecting the job market and creating financial loss in the community.”

The report’s calculations are based on data from the Ohio Department of Health’s Ohio Public Data Warehouse, which documented 147 fatal opioid overdoses in Lucas, Wood, Fulton and Ottawa counties in 2017. Data from 2017 is the most recent finalized figures available.

State records show those four counties had 22 deaths attributed to opioid overdose in 2007. The state data relies on the official cause of death listed on state-issued death certificates and differs slightly from fatal overdose data from local sources.

“While it may seem morbid to put a price on human life, there are established economic models that show how an individual’s premature death ripples through the economy,” Smirnov said. “This report shows just how costly each death is to our entire community, on top of the personal loss of a friend, brother, sister or parent. The opioid crisis may appear hidden to some, but it affects all of us.”

To calculate the economic cost of a fatal opioid overdose in metro Toledo, researchers began with a federally established finding that a premature death has an economic cost of $9.4 million. By adjusting for northwest Ohio’s lower per-capita income and lower cost of living, they arrived at a figure of $8.6 million per premature death and $1.27 billion in lost economic output in 2017.

Each fatal overdose also hurts the economy indirectly. As spending and demand for goods and services shrink, employers may begin to reduce staffing. In turn, individuals who have lost their jobs cut back on their own spending. UToledo researchers calculated those indirect, or spillover, effects cost the local economy $329.2 million in 2017, while reducing full-time equivalent employment by 2,082 jobs.

The total economic burden in UToledo’s report does not include calculations from non-lethal overdoses. While those incidents do have costs associated with them — emergency room visits, criminal justice proceedings and mental health services, for example — the spending stays within the local community.

The report also offers some hints that the region’s response to the opioid epidemic is making a difference.

For example, a comparison of overdose-related 911 calls received by Lucas County dispatchers in 2016 and 2017 to the total number of overdose deaths in those years found the mortality of opioid overdoses declined from 8% in 2016 to 6% in 2017.

Researchers attribute that to first-responders dealing with opioid overdose more effectively, particularly with the use of naloxone.

UToledo’s research also supports the notion that the expanded use of naloxone prevents not only additional deaths, but also significant damage to the local economy.

While first responders in Lucas County administered an estimated $1 million-plus worth of naloxone in 2017, a single premature death would have cost the regional economy $8.6 million.

Access the full economic impact report online at utoledo.edu/economic-impact/opioids.

President, Dean Named YWCA Milestone Honorees

The University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber and College of Graduate Studies Dean Amanda Bryant-Friedrich are being recognized by the YWCA of Northwest Ohio for their leadership and empowerment of women.

The YWCA announced on Dec. 4 that Gaber has been named the recipient of the 2020 Milestone Award for education and Bryant-Friedrich is the recipient for science.

The UToledo leaders will be recognized at the 25th Annual Milestone Awards scheduled to take place Thursday, March 12, at 11:30 a.m. at the Seagate Center in downtown Toledo.

The Milestones Awards Luncheon was established in 1996 to recognize women of northwest Ohio who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities and who, through their efforts and accomplishments, have opened doors for other women to achieve their potential. The awards recognize women for their contributions in the arts, business, education, government, sciences, social services and volunteerism.

Gaber

Bryant-Friedrich

Cram Jam to Take Place Dec. 8

Students: See you at Cram Jam! Be there Sunday, Dec. 8, from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union South Dining Hall.

Cram Jam gives students a chance during finals week to take a break and relax with a late-night breakfast.

“The Cram Jam will provide students an opportunity to de-stress before exams,” said Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, vice president for student affairs and vice provost. “Student success and well-being are among my top priorities.”

The menu will include eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, hash browns, cereal, muffins, fruit, salad and pizza.

“Additionally, this is the perfect time for faculty and staff members to interact with students in a relaxed setting and to wish our Rockets good luck on upcoming final exams,” Cockrell said.

Students must bring Rocket ID for admission.

Fore more information, call the Division of Student Affairs at 419.530.2665 or email studentaffairs@utoledo.edu.