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Arts and Letters

College of Arts and Letters Offers Virtual Showcase During Stay-at-Home Order

The University of Toledo College of Arts and Letters has launched a series of videos on its social media channels designed to showcase the arts and humanities as the community rides out the pandemic at home.

The series, called 2-Minute Desk Sets, is an opportunity to “Stop, breathe, and enjoy something beautiful courtesy of our amazing arts and humanities faculty,” said Dr. Melissa Gregory, associate dean in the College of Arts and Letters.

She summed up the theme of the series: “In these challenging times, let’s share what we love.”

Each week the series will feature one or two videos, one on Monday and another on Wednesday. The video might be of a reading of a famous work or a mini-performance.

On Monday, March 30, Yerra Sugarman, visiting assistant professor of creative writing in the English Department, will share one of her poems, “Hymn.”

For those wishing to follow the series online, go to the College of Arts and Letters Facebook page or the College of Arts and Letters Twitter.

Past videos also are available on the college’s YouTube playlists page. Two videos are there to view. As more videos are released, they will be posted to this site.

UToledo Mental Health Experts Offer Tips to Cope With Coronavirus

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to widen, mental health experts at The University of Toledo say it’s natural for people to feel nervous — but it’s important not to let that fear take over your life.

“With all of the focus on this situation, it is easy to feel threatened and vulnerable,” said Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the UToledo College of Nursing and a clinical psychologist, who has extensive experience in trauma research and disaster mental health. “One of the most important things we need to do to cope with the concern or anxiety all of this might engender is to keep things in perspective and not inflate the risk.”

Unquestionably, the outbreak represents a major public health challenge. On March 11, the World Health Organization officially recognized COVID-19 as a global pandemic, and many states — including Ohio — have issued states of emergency.

While the threat of COVID-19 is real and greater than illnesses such as seasonal influenza, experts say it is important to keep things in perspective. The majority of individuals worldwide who have been confirmed to have the illness suffer from minor symptoms. The World Health Organization says about 80% of cases recover without needing any special treatment.

Experts also say it is important people remember actions being taken by governments and public health officials aren’t being done out of panic, but out of a medically sound strategy to reduce our collective risk.

Here are some additional suggestions from UToledo mental health experts:

Get factual information and take realistic precautions.

Avoid social media in favor of information from reputable sources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and your local health department.

Reputable sources have consistent recommendations, including frequent hand washing, staying home if you’re sick, and not wearing a mask if you are healthy.

“It is completely understandable for those individuals at high risk, those with chronic medical conditions, or older adults to experience more anxiety and/or worry,” said Dr. Jason Levine, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Psychology. “Anxiety in many instances is an adaptive response to threat. It can be motivating and protective. However, overwhelming anxiety can be stifling and cause significant disruption in one’s daily life and functioning.”

Avoid an overdose of media.

Focusing too much on minute-to-minute reporting of the situation can have a negative effect and can increase your feelings of immediate threat and vulnerability. Staying informed is important, but obsessing over media coverage can trigger your fight or flight response to a threat when the actual threat is relatively low.

“Constantly watching TV or reading news reports about the COVID-19 virus can scare you into believing that you need to worry about the virus constantly, right now, this very minute,” Lewandowski said. “Knowing the real facts from reputable sources is important for us to take realistic precautions. Relying only on information from Facebook or other social media platforms is never a good idea. Misinformation abounds on these sites.”

During the Iraq War in 2008, Lewandowski was part of a research team that found that the more people watched the news about the war, the more anxious they felt, and the more mental health symptoms they reported.

Work to keep yourself mentally healthy as well as physically healthy.

Mental health experts say anxiety has a biological purpose, with those feelings helping to push us to take steps to prepare and protect ourselves.

Experts suggest thinking about ways you have dealt with anxiety in the past and being open to exploring new strategies. For example, you might talk to a friend or family member, use mindfulness or meditation, read a book, watch an uplifting movie, or get some exercise.

“Try to develop a new routine and not fall into unhealthy practices like binge eating or drinking more,” said Dr. Cheryl McCullumsmith, professor and chair of the UToledo Department of Psychiatry. “Eating healthy, engaging in exercise, getting enough sleep, and maybe trying some new relaxation apps on your phone are ways you can stay physically and mentally healthy.”

Have and be a support network.

It’s important to maintain contact with family, friends and co-workers. Reach out. Keep in touch with and check on people who are particularly at risk or isolated and alone to help them stay connected and supported. Using FaceTime or other video-chatting apps may help to decrease feelings of isolation.

With disruptions in schedules, cancellations and other social distancing measures, it can be easy to fall at loose ends. Besides keeping up with your schoolwork or working from home on your job, figure out how you can use this time as an opportunity to do things you might not have had time for in a normal course of events.

Get help if you need it.

While some anxiety and nervousness are natural, mental health experts say if you find yourself panicked or if your fear about the situation is enough that it begins interfering with daily responsibilities and functioning, it would be wise to consider a consultation with a primary care or behavioral health provider.

“It can be helpful just to have someone to talk to about our concerns and anxieties. Some people who have a history of mental health issues or who are already feeling overwhelmed by life challenges may find their anxiety or depression heightened during a stressful period such as this,” McCullumsmith said.

UToledo Launches New Degrees in Data Science and Analytics

Due to skyrocketing demand from employers for data-savvy professionals, The University of Toledo is offering two new undergraduate degrees in data science and analytics.

Beginning in fall 2020, the University will debut a bachelor of arts degree in data analytics in the College of Arts and Letters, and a bachelor of science degree in data science in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“The ability to interpret large quantities of data, translate insight, and understand broader implications is critical to success in modern organizations throughout every industry,” Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “These degrees will give our students a competitive edge in our rapidly changing economy driven by big data and the increasing exchange of information as part of our everyday life and culture.”

Employment in data science is expected to grow nearly 20% between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The undergraduate programs prepare students for employment in positions dealing with big data and data analysis in nonprofit, government and business environments. They share a core set of courses in econometrics, geographic information systems, data visualization and ethics.

UToledo is enrolling students to start in the fall semester who are interested in learning how to make informed, mathematically valid and ethically sound decisions based on the analysis of data.

The bachelor of arts degree in data analytics has an emphasis on social sciences and will prepare students for careers that focus on interpreting and applying structured data for clients who can use the data to make decisions.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the data analytics degree draws on the wide range of expertise in the College of Arts and Letters, from the social sciences to philosophy and visual arts. It includes courses in social statistics and quantitative research methods; computer science and engineering technology; and research and writing for different audiences.

“Focusing on important social, behavioral and cultural contexts, this experience will empower students to better understand the results of their work and to better communicate those results to their employers, policymakers or others in need of the information, especially nonprofit organizations that desperately need individuals trained to use data effectively in order to better leverage their resources as they work to solve challenging problems,” Charlene Gilbert, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said.

The bachelor of science degree in data science is designed to prepare students for careers that involve statistical tools to extract meaning from large data sets for specific applications. It includes courses in calculus; statistics and probability; object-oriented programming; and machine learning.

The data science degree emphasizes the analysis of data in the applied sciences with training in math and computer science to develop data from different sources and apply the results in fields ranging from astronomy to the environment to human health and beyond.

“In the past few years, our ability to collect detailed data has dramatically expanded, impacting every area of modern life,” Dr. John Plenefisch, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said. “However, our ability to extract useful information from this sea of data has lagged because we simply don’t have enough data scientists. This new degree program will help our students gain the knowledge, skills and experience that will position them to succeed in this expanding career area.”

Beyond the undergraduate degrees, UToledo also offers master’s degree programs in business analytics in the College of Business and Innovation; a minor in data science in the College of Health and Human Services; a minor in data analytics in the College of Arts and Letters; and a concentration in data science in mathematics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Facebook Journalism Project Topic of March 5 Talk

An Emmy Award-winning freelance journalist is coming to The University of Toledo this week.

Lynn Walsh, former president of the Society of Professional Journalists, will give a free, public talk about the Facebook Journalism Project Thursday, March 5, at 6 p.m. in Rocket Hall Room 1530.


The Facebook Journalism Project was created in January 2017 to ensure that quality news thrives on Facebook. The project focuses on three pillars: collaborative development of new products; tools and training for newsrooms; and tools and training for people.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

In 2018, Facebook partnered with SPJ to train a network of professionals to teach Facebook tools for journalists at conferences, workshops and newsrooms around the country. Facebook and SPJ are committed to creating opportunities for journalists everywhere to learn about the ways Facebook tools can help create and share much-needed works of journalism, as well as engaging the public in the stories about their communities.

“We are very fortunate to offer this national program to our students,” said Dee Drummond, a senior lecturer in the UToledo Communication Department. “At a time when many people are getting their news from social media, it’s critical that journalists understand all the tools available on Facebook and how to ethically and accurately use those tools to present factual information.”

Drummond heard Walsh at the SPJ Excellence in Journalism conference in San Antonio last September. Walsh has an extensive background in journalism and is a national leader in the effort to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public.

Walsh has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level, as well as in Ohio, California, Texas and Florida.

“I think anyone would enjoy and learn from her presentation — whether or not they are interested in a journalism or media career,” Drummond said.

Students can support excellent journalism and fight for their right to know by becoming a member of the Facebook Journalism Project, giving to the Legal Defense Fund, or giving to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. For more information, visit the Facebook Journalism Project website or the SPJ website.

Democracy in Zimbabwe and South Africa to be Discussed March 4

The UToledo Humanities Café Series will present “Race, Land-Ownership and Democracy in Zimbabwe and South Africa” Wednesday, March 4, at 5:30 p.m. at the Curious Cat Café, 3059 W. Bancroft St.

Dr. Shingi Mavima, UToledo assistant professor of history, will lead the discussion.


“South Africa and Zimbabwe bear the distinction of having been “settler colonies” during the age of African colonialism, and their eventual transition to democratic rule and independence were achieved only near the end of the century, and with great conflict,” Mavima said.

The legacy of colonialism lingers in the countries, especially with regard to race and the ownership of land.

“We will explore how the colonial origin of these countries impacted the political, racial, democratic and land-ownership issues that continue to frustrate their progress to this day,” Mavima said.

Refreshments will be provided at the free, public discussion, which is sponsored by the UToledo Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities.

For more information, contact Dr. Christopher Martin, visiting associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, and director of the UToledo Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities, at christopher.martin5@utoledo.edu.

Feb. 27 Event to Discuss Studying Abroad in Spain This Summer

Students have the chance to learn a language, make new friends, earn three credits, and live in Toledo, Spain, from June 28 to July 24.

Learn more about this study abroad opportunity at an information session Thursday, Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2420.

The Department of World Languages and Cultures will provide refreshments at the event. Prospective students are encouraged to attend the session and hear about the class offered through UToledo and El Programa Español en Toledo.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to either begin your study of the Spanish language or continue to develop your language skills in the beautiful historical city of Toledo in the heart of Spain,” said Dr. Linda Rouillard, professor of French and chair of the World Languages and Cultures Department.

The summer program will take place at the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo. The four-week study of the Spanish language and culture will allow time for cultural discovery and excursions.

Applications are due Wednesday, April 1.

For details or to register for the Feb. 27 information session, contact Rouillard at linda.rouillard@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2029.

Distinguished University Professors Announced

Three Distinguished University Professors were named in honor of their exemplary career achievements in teaching, research, scholarship and professional service.

The newest faculty members with the honorary title, who were approved and recognized by the Board of Trustees Feb. 10, are:

• Eric Chaffee, professor of law in the College of Law;

• Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering; and

• Dr. Melinda Reichelt, professor of English in the College of Arts and Letters.

Three Distinguished University Professors were honored and approved by the UToledo Board of Trustees. They are, from left center, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Eric Chaffee and Dr. Melinda Reichelt. To Commemorate the moment, they were joined by, from left, President Sharon L. Gaber, UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli and Provost Karen Bjorkman.

“Being named a Distinguished University Professor is The University of Toledo’s highest permanent honor bestowed upon a faculty member,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are proud of these outstanding faculty members who contribute so much in the classroom and in their fields. The impact they have on our students is immense.”

Chaffee joined the University in 2013. He is a nationally recognized scholar of business law and has written extensively about securities regulation, compliance, and the essential nature of the corporate form. He has presented on these topics at prestigious schools, including Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley, and has published in numerous top-tier journals.

He is the co-author of three books, including a forthcoming title published by Cambridge University Press, and he is a founder of the National Business Law Scholars Conference, the premier conference in the business law field. In addition, Chaffee has served as chair of multiple sections of the American Association of Law Schools — positions elected by his peers.

“The Distinguished University Professors that I have encountered during my time at UToledo have all been phenomenal people,” Chaffee said. “I am deeply honored to receive this award. I am very grateful to all of those individuals who have supported me and challenged me to be more during my career, especially my colleagues at the College of Law.”

During his time at the College of Law, Chaffee has received four teaching awards thanks to votes from law students. He also has written and spoken extensively about the importance of incorporating transactional skills into law school curricula.

Elahinia is a global leader in advance manufacturing of shape memory alloys with applications in energy, medical, and mobility applications. He brought his expertise in smart and active materials to UToledo in 2004. During his tenure at the University, he has received more than $13 million in sponsored research funding for 36 projects as principal investigator. Sponsors of his work include the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Ohio Board of Regents.

With his students, Elahinia has authored or co-authored three books, seven book chapters and more than 100 journal articles. These publications have been cited more than 4,700 times. He and his students have presented nearly 280 conference papers. Elahinia has 19 invention disclosures.

“The scholarly success of my group is due to the dedication of my students and research scholars, eight of whom have become professors in other universities around the country,” Elahinia said. “I am honored and humbled by the recognition. Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with a very talented group of students and colleagues inside and outside of the University who have been very supportive. This recognition belongs to them all.”

A strong mentor, Elahinia has supervised nearly 20 visiting scholars and postdoctoral researchers. He received the University’s Faculty Research and Scholarship Award in 2017 and the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2019.

Reichelt became a faculty member in the Department of English Language and Literature in 1997. She teaches linguistics and English as a second language writing. Additionally, Reichelt directs the University’s English as a Second Language Writing Program.

Her research focuses on the role of English and English-language writing instruction around the world, including in Germany, Turkey, Poland, Spain, Cuba and the United States. She co-edited two books, “Foreign Language Writing” and “L2 Writing Beyond English.” Reichelt also has published in various edited collections and prestigious journals, including Composition Studies, Modern Language Journal, World Englishes, Foreign Language Annals, and the Journal of Second Language Writing.

“I am pleased to receive this honor and am grateful to my family, colleagues and students,” Reichelt said.

She has presented her work at conferences in China, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Cuba, Ukraine and the United States. Her international reputation has led to delivering keynote addresses at several global conferences. Reichelt has received two Fulbright Scholar awards, and she serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Second Language Writing.

Yoga With Lola This Semester

She proved to be such a popular four-legged yogini last year that the Department of World Languages and Cultures will present Yoga with Lola again this semester.

Sessions with the department’s emotional support dog will take place in Memorial Field House Room 2420:

Lola, the emotional support dog of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, presided over a yoga session in December. Two sessions were held to help students and employees relax and take a mental health break before finals last semester.

• Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 25 and 26, from 2 to 3 p.m.;

• Wednesday, March 25, from 3 to 4 p.m.; and

• Tuesday and Wednesday, April 28 and 29, from 2 to 3 p.m.

Charlene Gary, secretary in the World Languages and Cultures Department, and certified yoga instructor, will lead the sessions.

“We invite students and employees to bring their mats to an easy flow yoga class. No experience or flexibility is needed,” Gary said. “Or feel free to bring a blanket to meditate.”

Lola also will be accepting visitors during the sessions.

“Stop by to meet Lola and take a break,” Gary said. “Research shows pets have amazing healing powers, including lowering blood pressure and calming anxiety. Take a few minutes out of your busy schedules to make a new friend or two.”

Those who wish to reserve a space for their mats are asked to visit the Yoga With Lola website.

For more information on the free sessions, contact Gary at charlene.gary@utoledo.edu.

Pianist to Play Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Feb. 19

The University of Toledo Department of Music will welcome jazz pianist Ellen Rowe as the guest artist for the 2020 Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Wednesday, Feb. 19.

She will take the stage at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.


Her program will feature selections by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Irene Himmelhoch, Bronislaw Kaper and Ned Washington, and Nacio Herb Brown and Gus Kahn, as well as three original compositions.

Rowe is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Rayburn Wright and Bill Dobbins. Prior to her appointment at Michigan, Rowe served as director of jazz studies at the University of Connecticut.

She has performed at jazz clubs and on concert series throughout the United States and has toured in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, South Africa and Australia. Also active as a clinician, Rowe has given workshops and master classes at the Melbourne Conservatory in Australia; Hochshule fur Musik in Cologne, Germany; Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway; and the Royal Academy of Music in London. In addition, she has appeared as a guest artist at festivals and Universities around the country.

CDs out under her name include “Sylvan Way,” “Wishing Well,” “Denali Pass” and “Courage Music.” Her 2019 project, “Momentum — Portraits of Women in Motion,” features Ingrid Jensen, Tia Fuller, Marion Hayden and Allison Miller.

Rowe’s compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by jazz ensembles and orchestras around the world; these include the Village Vanguard Orchestra, BBC Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Navy Commodores, Berlin and NDR Radio Jazz Orchestras, London Symphony, DIVA and the Perth Jazz Orchestra. Many of these works can be heard on recordings, including “Leave It to DIVA,” “The Perth Jazz Orchestra,” “Bingo” by The Bird of Paradise Orchestra, and “I Believe In You” by DIVA. She recently was a composer-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

When not leading her own trio, quartet or quintet, Rowe is in demand as a sideman, having performed with a wide variety of jazz artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Tim Ries, Tom Harrell, John Clayton and Steve Turre. She also was a guest on two installments of Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” on National Public Radio.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the UToledo Art Tatum Memorial Scholarship program.

Tickets — $15 for general admission, and $5 for students, children and seniors — will be available at the door, but purchasing them in advance is recommended. Go to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website or call the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.ARTS (2787).

UToledo Student Artwork on Area Digital Billboards in February

In collaboration with Lamar Outdoor Advertising, University of Toledo Department of art students are displaying their work on digital billboards in the area through the end of February.

Barry Whittaker, associate professor of graphic and interactive design, who coordinated the project, said this is the sixth year UToledo art students have been invited to have their work displayed.

The digital billboard locations are at the Anthony Wayne Trail at City Park, Alexis Road at Lewis Avenue, Monroe Street at Laskey Road, Byrne Road at Airport Highway, Monroe Street at Douglas Road, Erie Street at Monroe Street, Erie Street at the Anthony Wayne Trail, I-75 at Monroe Street, I-75 at I-280, and Reynolds Road at Glendale Avenue.

Works on billboards were created by Austin Baker, Donna Beauregard, Tenayah Bowmer, Jason Chappuies, Alaina Coote, Justin Fisher, Lindsay Haynes, Emilie Mitchell, Jazele Rabbani, Jane Sullivan, Lydia Yant and Tara Yarzand.

To see the images in this year’s exhibition, visit the online photos on the Art Department’s Facebook page.