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UToledo Health Specialty Programs Move Up in U.S. News Rankings

Health specialties at The University of Toledo improved their place in the U.S. News & World Report list of the top graduate programs in the nation.

The recently released 2021 Best Graduate Schools edition lists the doctorate program in occupational therapy at 36, up from 37 last year. It is the first accredited, entry-level, occupational therapy doctorate program at a public institution in Ohio and the U.S., and includes intensive course work, clinical training and service learning.

Pharmacy is ranked No. 57, up from 60, and the graduate program in clinical psychology improved five spots to 138.

Also, tax law jumped 21 spots from 153 last year to 132 this year.

U.S. News ranks programs on criteria such as acceptance rate, GPA, student-faculty ratio, grant funding and peer assessment, among other indicators.

UToledo Law Student Becomes First Black Editor-in-Chief of 52-Year-Old Law Review

Second-year law student Damon Williams made history as he was selected to be the next leader of The University of Toledo Law Review.

Williams will be the first black student to hold the prestigious position of editor-in-chief in the publication’s 52-year history when his term begins later this year.

Williams

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have been afforded,” Williams said. “Becoming the first editor-in-chief with African-American heritage is an amazing milestone, and I am beyond honored.”

The law review, which was first published at the UToledo College of Law in 1969, is a student-run journal written by law professors, judges and students.

“I am delighted that Damon was selected as editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review,” D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law, said. “He’s exceptionally bright and will be an excellent leader. Although we wish this milestone would have happened sooner, his selection is encouraging as it reflects progress.”

“This is but a step in what I hope to be a continuing process for The University of Toledo,” Williams said. “I am striving to help foster subsequent diversity milestones and continued Law Review success, and I look forward to my future collaboration with community members.”

Law Review members are selected as editor-in-chief after a highly competitive, in-depth interview process. The elections committee considers academic performance, writing ability as demonstrated by their academic writing and editing throughout the year, and leadership potential.

“From a technical perspective, Damon’s formal yet graceful writing style and his superior academic performance made him a competitive candidate among his peers,” said Lindsey Self, law student and the current editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review. “He demonstrates conviction in his vision for the journal but is unafraid to take calculated risks. Damon’s writing and leadership demonstrate a unique balance between sensibility and practicality with inventiveness and ingenuity — a balance that is difficult to find in practice, let alone law school.”

Williams, who also serves as president of the Black Law Students Association, was born and raised in Toledo. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and master’s degree in forensic science at Bowling Green State University.

He hopes his law degree will help him facilitate the social and political changes he wants to see in the world. Although he is still figuring out his next steps, Williams is considering a federal clerkship or doctor of juridical science.

“This is much bigger than me alone,” Williams said. “I have a fantastic executive board in Hayley Mise, Cameron Morrissey, Kate Murray and Morgan Isenberg. Their continued excellence and support are essential to the success of the Law Review. In addition, Lindsey Self has been a shining north star, guiding me toward the path to success.”

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.

UToledo Spotlights Unlikely Friendship Sparked by Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Case

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage five years ago in its landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case.

This week the named parties on opposing sides of one of the most important Supreme Court rulings in recent history will be at The University of Toledo to discuss the case and their resulting friendship.

Obergefell

Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff who sued the state of Ohio for refusing to recognize his marriage on his husband’s death certificate, and Rick Hodges, the defendant and UToledo alumnus who served as director of the Ohio Department of Health at the time of the case, will take the stage for “Finding Friendship in a Contentious Place: A Conversation With Obergefell and Hodges From the Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case on Same-Sex Marriage” Thursday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law, will moderate the free, public event presented by The University of Toledo Law Review.

Rob Salem, professor and dean for diversity and inclusion at the College of Law, will provide legal commentary of the challenges same-sex couples still face five years after the decision.

Hodges

“We’re honored to host these guest speakers not just because of their prominent role in a landmark Supreme Court case, but because they embody the spirit of civility and celebration of differences,” Salem said.

Obergefell works as an LGBTQA+ activist and serves on the Board of Directors for Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, the oldest and largest national nonprofit organization that advocates for and provides services for LGBTQA+ older Americans. Obergefell co-authored the book “Love Wins” with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Debbie Cenziper.

Hodges is an executive in residence and visiting professor at Ohio University. He also is the director of the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health. Hodges is a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He earned his master’s degree in public administration from UToledo in 1991.

For those unable to attend, the event will stream live on the UToledo Alumni Association website.

Trustees Approve Housing, Meal Plan Rates

The University of Toledo continued its practice of making room and board decisions ahead of the annual budgeting process to provide prospective and current students more time to make decisions about their plans for the upcoming school year.

The housing and meal plan rates approved during Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting are effective for the fall 2020 semester.

Trustees approved a 3.1% increase in meal plans to cover increasing costs of operations equal to the consumer price index. The increase is between $25 to $66 per semester depending on the meal plan.

The University also is working closely with Student Government to update meal plan options, which students have requested. The four meal plan options for the 2020-21 academic year will include one all-you-care-to-eat plan and the other three plans will provide more flexible options for using meal swipes and dining dollars throughout the week.

On-campus student housing will increase an average of 2.95%, depending on the residence hall and type of room selected by the student. For example, a standard double room will increase between $120 to $290 per semester depending on which residence hall it is located.

The new room and board fees are for students who are not part of an existing Toledo Tuition Guarantee, for which room and board rates are guaranteed for four years as part of the program. The rates apply to continuing students and those entering the third cohort of the Toledo Guarantee.

Trustees also approved three faculty members being named Distinguished University Professors and sabbatical leaves for 23 faculty members. The newest Distinguished University Professors recognized for their exemplary teaching, research, scholarship and professional service are Eric Chaffee of the College of Law, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia of the College of Engineering and Dr. Melinda Reichelt of the College of Arts and Letters.

UToledo College of Law, Marietta College Establish 3+3 Partnership

The University of Toledo College of Law and Marietta College, a private liberal arts college in Ohio, announced a 3+3 Program partnership to offer Marietta College students a faster path to complete their law degree.

3+3 is an accelerated J.D. program that allows select undergraduate students at partner institutions to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in just six years instead of seven. Students not only save a year of tuition and housing costs, but also enter the job market sooner.

Announcing the new 3+3 Program partnership between the UToledo College of Law and Marietta College were, from left, D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the UToledo College of Law; Dr. Karen S. Bjorkman, UToledo provost and executive vice president for academic affairs; Dr. William N. Ruud, president of Marietta College; and Dr. Janet L. Bland, provost and dean of faculty at Marietta College.

Students who qualify for the latest 3+3 Program must first complete three years of undergraduate course work at Marietta College. In their junior year, students will take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and complete a College of Law application. Students will begin legal courses at the UToledo College of Law during what typically would be their senior year.

“Marietta College is committed to providing access to top-notch educational opportunities for all of our students,” said Dr. William N. Ruud, Marietta College’s 19th president and former dean of The University of Toledo College of Business. “This 3+3 law school opportunity is a creative partnership for both Marietta College and The University of Toledo College of Law that helps students better manage the cost of higher education, while obtaining an amazing education from two outstanding institutions.”

“We are excited to strengthen our relationship with Marietta College,” said Geoffrey Rapp, associate dean for academic affairs and Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values at the UToledo College of Law. “We look forward to providing a shorter path to a law career for outstanding Marietta College students.”

The UToledo College of Law was one of the first law schools in Ohio to launch a 3+3 Program. In addition to Marietta College, the college has partnered with several undergraduate institutions across Ohio, Michigan and Indiana: the UToledo College of Arts and Letters, Adrian College, Indiana Tech University, Lourdes University, Siena Heights University, Trine University and the University of Findlay. Continued growth is anticipated over the next few years.

UToledo Law Scholar’s New Book ‘Originalism’s Promise’ Illuminates Constitution

In the midst of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and heading into the 2020 presidential election, a constitutional law scholar at The University of Toledo released a new book providing the first natural law justification for an originalist interpretation of the American Constitution.

In “Originalism’s Promise: A Natural Law Account of the American Constitution” published by Cambridge University Press, Lee Strang, John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values in the UToledo College of Law, provides a summary of the history of constitutional interpretation in the United States and writes a thorough and detailed description of how originalism operates in practice.

Strang

“This book provides an argument for how Americans should interpret the Constitution and offers a way out of the bitterness exemplified by the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Strang said. “Faithfulness to the Constitution’s original meaning is supported by sound reasons, reasons that help all Americans achieve their own human flourishing.”

The College of Law is celebrating the book’s release with a book launch that features a lecture by Strang Wednesday, Jan. 29, at noon in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium. The free, public event will be followed by a book signing.

Strang, who was a visiting fellow at the James Madison Program at Princeton University during the 2018-19 academic year, has published dozens of articles in the fields of constitutional law and interpretation; property law; and religion and the First Amendment.

“In this presidential election year, my goal is to inform Americans as they debate the Supreme Court’s future,” Strang said. “‘Originalism’s Promise’ is the product of more than 20 years of thinking through two common American commitments. First, Americans strive to be faithful to our Constitution. Second, and following the Declaration of Independence, many Americans are committed to some version of natural law. Together, these commitments suggest that Americans of all stripes should utilize originalism to interpret our common Constitution.”

The UToledo College of Law awarded Strang the Faculty Scholarship Award in 2019 for “Originalism’s Promise.” He was the recipient of The University of Toledo Outstanding Faculty Research and Scholarship Award in 2017.

In 2015, Strang served as a visiting scholar at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution.

Strang said the inspiration for writing the book stems from his experiences as a younger person attending political events with his parents, his education as a law student, and how vigorously Americans disagree about how to interpret the Constitution.

“I listened as politicians and activists argued that the Constitution supported their positions, so this book grew out of an attempt to identify how Americans can ascertain which claims are correct,” Strang said. “Also, as a student taking constitutional law classes, we did not study the Constitution’s text, structure and history. I remember we nearly always read Supreme Court opinions, which themselves rarely paid attention to the Constitution’s text. This book both criticizes and supports aspects of that educational approach.”

One of Exonerated Central Park Five to Speak at Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth

Dr. Yusef Salaam, whose story is documented in the 2019 Netflix series “When They See Us,” will give the keynote address at The University of Toledo’s 36th annual Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth Saturday, Jan. 11.

Salaam was one of five teenagers of color, ages 14 to 16, wrongfully convicted of the 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park. More than a decade later, a murderer and rapist serving a life sentence confessed to the brutal crime, and DNA evidence cleared the five, who were exonerated.

Salaam

Sponsored by Toledo Excel and the UToledo Joint Committee, the conference for seventh- and eighth-graders, high school students and parents will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

“Social Justice: A Community Enterprise” is the theme of this year’s event.

“Dr. Salaam understands better than most that we have systems in this country that do not work equally for all of its citizens,” David Young, director of Toledo Excel and Special Projects, said. “However, he has dedicated himself to changing those systems as one of the leading advocates in the nation for criminal justice reform and change.”

In 2012, filmmaker Ken Burns made a documentary detailing the travesty; “The Central Park Five” chronicled the case from the perspective of the teens whose lives were changed by the miscarriage of justice.

Two years later, the quintet agreed to an approximate $40 million settlement from New York City to resolve the civil rights lawsuit over their arrests and imprisonment for the attack that made headlines around the globe.

Their story continues to educate and open eyes. “When They See Us,” a four-part miniseries, was released this year by Netflix and has received numerous awards.

“Since the day we were wrongfully arrested, others controlled the story about us without ever seeing us,” Salaam, an Innocence Project board member, said at the nonprofit legal organization’s 2019 gala.

Since his release more than two decades ago, Salaam has become an activist and inspirational speaker who addresses injustice and the importance of education, and facilitates discussions on race and class, prison reform, and capital punishment.

“This conference will educate students and parents about their basic rights and also advocate all attendees to be change agents where needed,” Young said. “We hope this will encourage a community and collective effort where social justice is needed.”

Following the keynote address, Salaam will participate in a panel discussion on social justice and criminal justice reform. He will be joined by RaShya Ghee, UToledo graduate, adjunct professor at the UToledo College of Law, and staff attorney at Advocating for Opportunity; Albert Earl, cultural educator and prevention education specialist; and UToledo Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Jeff Newton. Rhonda Sewell, manager of external and governmental affairs at Toledo Lucas County Public Library, will moderate the session.

Toledo Excel was established in 1988 to help underrepresented students, including African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, for success in college. Through summer institutes, academic retreat weekends, campus visits and guidance through the admission process, students increase their self-esteem, cultural awareness and civic involvement.

Toledo Excel is part of the Office of Multicultural Student Success, which is in the Division of Student Affairs. The UToledo Joint Committee includes representatives from the University, Toledo Public and Parochial schools, and civic and community leaders from the city of Toledo. The mission of the committee is to bring together people in the community interested in the education of underrepresented youth. The UToledo Joint Committee also serves as an advisory board and support system for Toledo Excel.

Advance registration for the free, public conference is required; go to the eventbrite website.

For more information, email Young at david.young@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.3820.

Princeton Review Names UToledo College of Law in Top 10 List of Best Law Schools for Women

The University of Toledo College of Law is one of the best law schools in the country for women in a prestigious ranking that focuses on student experience and success.

The Princeton Review, which again selected the UToledo College of Law in its list of the top 167 law schools in the country titled “Best Law Schools 2020,” ranked the UToledo College of Law No. 5 on the national list of the top 10 law schools with the “Greatest Resources for Women.”

In addition, the Princeton Review once again named UToledo College of Law No. 1 in Ohio and Michigan for most accessible professors; UToledo tied for No. 1 in Indiana for faculty accessibility.

“What makes the UToledo College of Law special is that faculty members are deeply involved in their students learning and professional development from day one,” said Geoffrey Rapp, associate dean for academic affairs and Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values. “Our faculty get to know our students – where they are from, where they want to be, and what kind of law they aspire to practice. This puts them in a position to provide support to help students reach their goals.”

The Princeton Review identified which law schools offer the greatest resources for women based on the percentage of the student body who identify as women, as well as on student answers to a survey question on whether all students are afforded equal treatment by students and faculty regardless of their gender.

The college scored 97 in the “Professors Accessible” category, which is based on how students rate the accessibility of law school faculty. The ratings are scored on a scale of 60 to 99.

“Every aspect of the school strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and personal attention,” said a surveyed student. Students also spoke overwhelmingly of the school’s obvious care and concern for their future, and the faculty’s “willingness to sit and chat with students about class at any time, while connecting what we learn to real-life use.”

“We recommend The University of Toledo College of Law and every one of the 167 law schools we selected for our 2020 list as an excellent choice for a student aspiring to earn a J.D.,” said Rob Franek, editor-in-chief of the Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review’s 80-question student survey asked law school students about their schools’ academics, student body and campus life. It also included questions for the respondents about themselves and their career plans. The student surveys for this edition were conducted during the 2018-19, 2017-18 and 2016-17 academic years.

The company also selected schools based on an analysis of institutional data collected from surveys of law school administrators during the 2018-19 academic year. The institutional survey, which numbered more than 200 questions, covered topics from academic offerings and admission requirements to data about currently enrolled students as well as graduates’ employment.

“What makes our ‘Best Law Schools’ designations unique is that we also take into account the opinions of students attending the schools about their campus and classroom experiences,” Franek said. “For our 2020 list, we surveyed a total of 19,000 students at the 167 schools.”

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company. Every year, the company helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in-person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House.

Report Examines State Progress in Implementing Great Lakes Compact

The University of Toledo College of Law’s Legal Institute of the Great Lakes released a new report assessing the progress each of the eight Great Lakes states has made in implementing the terms of the 2008 interstate compact that ushered in a new era of water management and conservation in the Great Lakes region.

While the overall assessment is positive, the report identifies critical areas for improvement within each state.

Ken Kilbert, UToledo professor of law and director of the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes, is the principal author of the white paper titled An Assessment of the Great Lakes States’ Implementation of the Water Management and Conservation Provisions of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.” The report provides a state-by-state assessment of how Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are carrying out the water management, conservation and efficiency provisions of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.

Forrest Miller, a third-year UToledo law student, and Aubrey Merkle, a second-year UToledo law student, are co-authors of the white paper. This project afforded them the opportunity to enhance their substantive knowledge of water law and related fields, as well as their legal research, writing and analytical skills.

The report is particularly timely. This December, each state is required to report on its implementation of water management, conservation and efficiency programs under the compact. The states’ reports are subject to review by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council, which will determine whether state programs meet compact provisions and will make recommendations to those that do not.

“The compact not only banned most new diversions of water outside the Great Lakes basin, it also required the states to undertake stronger programs for management and conservation of waters within the basin,” Kilbert said. “In order to fulfill the promise of the compact, it is essential that the states carry out their obligations to implement its terms.”

The Legal Institute of the Great Lakes is a multidisciplinary research center within the College of Law. The research project was funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation.

Kilbert joined UToledo College of Law faculty in 2006. He teaches environmental law, natural resources law, administrative law, civil procedure and water law. As director of the institute, Kilbert organizes the annual Great Lakes Water Conference, which this year is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 8.