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Professor Promoted by Army to Lieutenant Colonel

Maj. Colby Pepon, professor and chair of The University of Toledo Military Science and Leadership Department, has been promoted by the U.S. Army to lieutenant colonel.

Pepon received a bachelor of science degree in exercise and sport studies from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He also has a master of arts degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Colby Pepon

Pepon

He was commissioned by the Reserve Officer Training Corp at Tarleton State University in 2003.

Pepon joined the UToledo faculty in July 2019 as professor and chair of military science and leadership. He oversees the Rocket Battalion’s effort to enroll, select, educate and inspire cadets in order to become future second lieutenants of the highest character, commitment and competence.

He also instructs Military Science and Leadership Level Four Cadets throughout their transition from Cadet to Army Officer and works directly with UToledo’s University College, campus partners and ROTC program.

“It is truly a privilege to serve as the head of the ROTC program here at UToledo, professionally and personally,” Pepon said. “The Army places great pride in its ability to develop leaders of all ages, race and ethnicities. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can have an impact on the lives of the next generation of Army Officers.”

Pepon will remain at UToledo for the next two years.

“My promotion to Lieutenant Colonel first and foremost, is a credit to my family and their unwavering strength and support,” he said. “On the professional side, I’m indebted to the multiple leaders of all ranks that have provided their mentorship and time. Their counsel has enabled me to accomplish a long-term career goal.”

UToledo a National Leader in Online Quality Matters Certified Courses

The University of Toledo continues to be a leader among U.S. institutions of higher education for the number of online and hybrid courses that have been awarded Quality Matters certification through the rigorous QM peer review process.

UToledo currently has 108 courses certified by the nonprofit organization, the seventh most out of 344 U.S. institutions with QM-certified courses. Eleven UToledo courses have been certified so far in 2020, with additional certifications pending.

“The University of Toledo has placed a significant emphasis on developing online and blended course offerings that meet the highest educational standards,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Our faculty and instructional designers deserve a lot of credit for the work they’ve done to ensure our students receive a top-tier education.”

Quality Matters is the gold standard for benchmarking quality of online and hybrid courses. The organization’s nationally recognized, faculty-driven peer-review process examines a course’s overall design, learning objectives, instructional materials, and student interaction and support.

Dr. Colleen Quinlan, associate professor in the College of Nursing and one of UToledo’s QM-certified peer reviewers, said the certification is an important way to show a course’s added value.

“It’s not enough to say, ‘this is a quality course,’” Quinlan said. “What is the evidence to support this claim? QM certification is the distinction that sets the course apart in a marketplace where students have lots of choices.”

Another benefit of QM certification is that it helps to foster a predictable structure across courses, reducing anxiety about how to participate and interact with the online materials.

“Certified courses should look familiar to students no matter what the subject matter, providing them a sense of security so they can concentrate on learning and achievement,” Quinlan said.

Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College, said getting more faculty familiar with the Quality Matters standards and more courses QM certified has been a consistent priority for UToledo — and has become even more important recently.

“We’ve really ramped up our training for faculty since the pandemic hit. When we were forced to move all instruction online this spring, we were doing the best we could to meet our student’s expectations, but not every course is created with online components in mind,” Kopp Miller said. “These QM-certified courses are specifically designed to follow nationally recognized standards that provide a quality experience for our students.”

Dr. Carmen Cioc, associate professor in the College of Engineering who teaches a pair of QM-certified courses, said she has found the program to improve not only the experience for students, but for instructors as well.

“The benefits for students include the accessibility of online learning while maintaining the same student-centered focus on content they’ve come to expect from in-person education,” Cioc said. “Experience with QM-certified courses has been extremely positive for both me and my students, especially during the required online-learning transition as a result of the ongoing crisis.”

The value of high-quality online learning is becoming increasingly important as new modalities of education are explored amid the pandemic. UToledo also was recently included among the top colleges in the state by Educate to Career in its list of the Best Colleges for Career Planning Curriculum, which used robust software and systems to support distance learning and faculty experience with teaching online among its criteria.

In addition to the 108 courses that have been formally QM certified, UToledo has had 85 additional courses informally meet QM standards through internal review that have not been officially evaluated for certification.

Blackboard Recognizes UToledo Online Health Class for Excellence

The Public Health Nutrition class at The University of Toledo has received a Blackboard 2020 Exemplary Course Program Award.

Dr. Debra Boardley, professor in the School of Population Health in the College of Health and Human Services, teaches the course. Dr. Claire Stuve, director of curriculum development, testing services and research in University College, helped design the online class.

“I have found that most nutrition textbooks for graduate level are heavy in chemistry and biology,” Boardley said. “I wanted a course based on science, but was also approachable and useful to students without that background. I focused on the major public health nutrition issues: What is a healthy diet? How does nutrition affect chronic disease? We explored the challenge of obesity and weight management, and we learned about government programs, from food labeling to school lunch, that promote better nutrition in the U.S.”

Boardley wrote all the content for the graduate-level course.

“Then, as I say it, I made the content ‘pretty,’” Stuve said. “I turned what she wrote into videos, images and interactive multimedia using instructional design best practices. We worked together to ensure that the assessments aligned with the learning objectives and that they also were engaging to students.

“Content in any course can be presented in a way that is relatable to students’ real lives, so we made sure that was the case for this course,” said Stuve, who has won two Blackboard Catalyst Awards for creating innovative online classes.

The two worked on the class spring semester 2019. They used a third-party tool to create the modules, which contain flashcards, knowledge checks and avatar simulations. They found some YouTube videos and images that already existed, and they created many new ones. Then the material was embedded in Blackboard and linked with some of Blackboard’s tools.

“Class participation was high,” Boardley said. “I think students were enthusiastic because the topic areas were broad, and they had the opportunity to delve into the aspects that were the most interesting to them.”

“Although the course was designed to captivate students, I think it has the potential to change students’ lives because it is about nutrition, and as Debra says, ‘Nutrition impacts everyone because everyone has to eat,’” Stuve said.

The Blackboard Exemplary Course Program designation recognizes instructors and course designers whose classes demonstrate best practices in four major areas: course design; interaction and collaboration; assessment; and learner support. Courses were evaluated and selected through a peer-review process.

“I am so passionate about providing courses for students that not only intrigue them, but also help students to make positive changes in their lives; I want them to enjoy enriching their lives,” Stuve said. “This award is meaningful to me because it means that we succeeded in creating that type of course and contributed to the University’s online course excellence for which it is known.”

New University Studies Degree Program Launched Online

Starting this fall, UToledo students can enroll in the University Studies Degree Program and earn a bachelor’s degree with a customized plan of study 100% online.

The University Studies Degree Program — formerly known as the Individualized Studies Degree Program — is designed to be accessible for working professionals to help advance their careers.

“This degree program is an attractive online option for those individuals with some college who are looking to complete their degree for career growth, or for adult students looking for a flexible path to begin and complete their degree,” said Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College.

“The University Studies Degree Program allows students to build individualized bachelor’s degrees around their interests and goals,” said Mitch Perez, director of online recruitment in University College.

Working with an academic advisor, students in the University Studies Degree Program develop a plan to earn either a bachelor of arts degree or bachelor of science degree.

“This program is perfect for adult learners, college transfer students and military veterans,” said Shannon Neumann, senior director of academic affairs and online operations in University College. “They can earn credit for relevant volunteer, academic and work experience.”

UToledo’s competency-based education model provides students self-paced online learning that’s personalized and convenient.

“Students in the University Studies Degree Program advance through the courses based on their individual ability,” Perez explained. “Once students master a subject, they advance to the next topic. This allows students the chance to accelerate at their own pace and finish on their terms.”

Graduates from the University Studies Degree Program work in a variety of fields. Recent alumni are administrative analysts, program managers, entrepreneurs, teachers, attorneys and librarians, according to Neumann.

“Past students have developed programs in health; conservation and ecology; human resource development; sports administration; and marketing and communication,” Neumann said.

“This flexible program is a great opportunity for working adults to get a degree — a degree they design and complete online at their own pace when it’s convenient for them,” Perez said.

University Studies is the second full degree program to be added to the University’s competency-based education initiative, joining the College of Nursing’s online RN to B.S.N. program.

“Since the University has reduced the out-of-state surcharge, UToledo online degree programs are now more competitive and attractive to prospective students outside the state of Ohio,” Kopp Miller said. “This coupled with competency-based education options position the University well to build and convert an audience of prospective students.”

To learn more, visit the University Studies Degree Program website.

University Honors Faculty, Staff for Advising, Research, Teaching, Mentoring, Outreach

UToledo has announced outstanding advisors, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement for the 2019-20 academic year.

In addition, the inaugural Faculty Mentoring Award has been presented.

“It is important to recognize these dedicated and deserving award recipients, even though we were not able to hold an official ceremony this semester,” Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “These faculty members and advisors exemplify the excellence everyone at The University of Toledo strives for every day.”

A ceremony to celebrate recipients is scheduled to take place during fall semester.

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award are:

Dr. Lorie D. Gottwald, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Dermatology in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. She received her doctor of medicine degree from the former Medical College of Ohio in 1990. Gottwald joined the MCO faculty in 1998.

“It is obvious to anyone who has spent time around Dr. Gottwald how much time and effort she puts toward cultivating success for her mentees,” one nominator wrote. “When one of her students is successful or reaches a goal, she shares that joy with him or her. She is very invested in her mentees.” Another noted, “Dr. Gottwald develops great relationships with her students, especially those interested in dermatology. She is friendly, positive, and always encourages students to pursue their dreams.” Another wrote, “She has frank conversations about strengths and weaknesses, and she is helpful in finding research opportunities.”

Matt Reising, academic advisor for interdisciplinary and special programs, and instructor in University College. He started advising UToledo students in 2016.

“Matt educates and empowers students by listening to them and understanding what their future goals are,” a nominator wrote. “He has a nurturing personality, substantial knowledge about academic pathways, and an overall love for helping students reach their goals.” Another wrote, “Matt creates an environment in which students feel comfortable sharing their goals, fears and concerns. He is a good listener and offers positivity, hope and vision for each of his students.” Another wrote, “I’d be lost without his knowledge and guidance of everything UToledo. I’ve bombarded him with countless emails and calls, and he shows me the way time and time again. Thanks for everything.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award are:

Dr. A. Champa Jayasuriya, professor of orthopaedic research in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. She joined the faculty in 2004 and also holds an adjunct faculty position with the Department of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering.

Her work focuses on injectable bone graft devices to regenerate and repair damaged human bone tissues. She is investigating biocompatible, biodegradable and injectable biomaterials that can be applied for bone regeneration via an arthroscopically administered, minimally invasive procedure. Jayasuriya’s recent research uses a 3D printer to create viable multifunctional bone grafts to regenerate damaged or lost bone tissues. In addition to bone regeneration studies, Jayasuriya’s lab is working on the delivery of drugs, antibiotics, growth factors and cells. She has received $4.6 million for her research and has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, which have approximately 1,750 citations.

Dr. Sridhar Viamajala, professor of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering. He has been at UToledo since 2009.

Viamajala’s research concentrates on sustainable energy production and green engineering. He is working to find a faster, cleaner process to produce fuel using algae without needing to add concentrated carbon dioxide. Viamajala has received nearly $12.1 million in awards for his pioneering work in the areas of algae cultivation, harvesting and conversion. His creative, innovative engineering solutions are aiming for commercial implementation to replace fossil fuels with algal fuels. He has established collaborations with researchers at UToledo, Montana State University and Arizona State University. Viamajala has written more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and technical reports, presented his work at more than 110 conferences, and received 11 patents with colleagues.

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement are:

Dr. G. Glenn Lipscomb, professor of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1994.

Lipscomb has led efforts to engage students in chemical and environmental engineering in projects to provide clean water to communities in need. In 2015, he arranged a partnership between the University and Clean Water for the World, a nonprofit organization, for UToledo students to have a multi-year experiential learning project. Students in the chemical and environmental engineering programs produce and install units that deliver up to 300 gallons per hour of clean water — enough water for a community of up to 600 people. These water treatment systems greatly reduce water-borne diseases. Students also raise funds to travel to villages to install the systems. Thanks to Lipscomb, UToledo students have provided clean water to communities in Guatemala and El Salvador.

Dr. Matt Foss, assistant professor of theatre in the College of Arts and Letters. He began teaching and directing at the University in 2017.

Since coming to UToledo, Foss has found opportunities to be involved in the community — and included his students. He has worked with the Toledo Museum of Art on two projects, “Portraits of Toledo” and “The Art of the Cut.” After “Portraits,” the museum requested his assistance with “The Art of the Cut,” an initiative with ProMedica that raised awareness of the role barbershops play in the health and wellness of African-American men. Foss involved students to help stage manage the event, which proved a success in 2018 and was repeated this year. He and students also created puppets of endangered area wildlife and held eco-parades to raise awareness during the Momentum Festival.

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award are:

Dr. Gabriella Baki, assistant professor of pharmaceutics and director of the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program for undergraduates in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She came to the University in 2012.

“I am so lucky to have the opportunity of knowing such an amazing faculty member. Dr. Baki assists us with finding good internship sites and great job opportunities, and she encourages us to attend conferences to become the best version of ourselves,” one nominator wrote. Another noted, “I love that she always welcomes students to her office. Students can come for help, for questions, for guidance, or even candies she keeps stocked. She will always make sure she has time for students.” “Dr. Baki is friendly but respected, challenging but helpful. She encourages her students to work hard and put themselves out there,” another wrote.

Dr. David Gajewski, associate lecturer of mathematics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The UToledo alumnus received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University, where he started to teach in 2009.

“Dr. Gajewski was my favorite calculus teacher in college,” one nominator wrote. “Not only does he have a real passion for the math he teaches, he also really cares about the students in his class. A lot of teachers are intimidating and hard to approach, but with Dr. Gajewski, it is easy to make jokes and be friendly while still respecting the fact he is a professor.” “He explained things so logically that I found I no longer thought of calculus as some alien language. Instead, it made complete sense. I actually started looking forward to class,” another wrote. Another noted, “He even met students who couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving for dinner.”

Dr. David Jex, professor of music in the College of Arts and Letters. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University in 1973 and joined the UToledo faculty in 1983.

“Dr. Jex is extremely warm and inviting. The first time you meet him, it feels like reconnecting with an old friend,” a nominator wrote. “When sitting in class, I can’t help but admire his creative styles in keeping the class engaged and active with each lesson. He is a leader in the Music Department and has gone unnoticed for far too long. It is because of him and his encouragement that I feel like I’m going to be successful in the future.” “As an accomplished composer, Dr. Jex has always been a champion of the creation of new music,” another wrote. “Dr. Jex is well-liked and well-respected by music students and faculty.”

Teresa Keefe, Distinguished University Lecturer of Information Operations and Technology Management in the College of Business and Innovation. She received a B.B.A. and a M.B.A. from the University in 1987 and 1990, respectively, and began teaching at her alma mater in 2001.

“She teaches each concept with the utmost patience and loves to solve problems for each student. I love that she has a lot of knowledge about whatever she teaches and loves to joke around in class,” a nominator wrote. “She teaches with the best material, which is very simple to understand.” Another wrote, “She is an exceptional lecturer; all of the handouts and learning materials were custom-made by her for the specific class and concepts being taught. I learned and retained more information than in any other class that I can recall because the presentation made it a joy, and I always looked forward to class.”

Dr. Kristi Mock, associate lecturer of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She began teaching at UToledo in 2011.

“Despite only having Dr. Mock as an instructor for one semester, her kindness and helpfulness made a huge impact on me,” one nominator wrote. “Something I found incredibly helpful was the amount of resources she provided. Every class, she would come in with a new opportunity — shadowing doctors, scribing jobs, volunteer and internship opportunities — for those of us who desired a job in chemistry.” “Dr. Mock is an incredibly enthusiastic teacher. She is incredibly knowledgeable and describes subjects in many ways so students can better understand. She is very passionate and grounded when she is teaching. She is very approachable and is always there for her students,” another wrote. Another noted, “Moving forward, we all really miss her lectures and her personality.”

Dr. Ozcan Sezer, associate professor of finance in the College of Business and Innovation. He joined the faculty in 2002.

“I am in the Student Managed Portfolio class taught by Dr. Sezer. It has been the most useful class I have taken,” one nominator wrote. “We receive a huge amount of investment knowledge, as well as learning how to work together toward one main goal. This class is a great simulation of the workplace. It is not a regular class; it is real money, which puts a lot of responsibilities on students, but Dr. Sezer set up the class as an amazing learning experience.” Another wrote, “Dr. Sezer is very laid-back, open-minded and friendly, which makes it very easy to communicate with him. And at the same time, you are feeling respected and appreciated for your effort.”

The recipient of the inaugural Faculty Mentoring Award is:

Dr. Maria Coleman, professor and chair of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, and associate director of the Polymer Institute. She joined the University in 1998.

“I have worked with Dr. Maria Coleman since 2003. She began serving as my mentor when I arrived on campus and began my tenure-track position. We also have collaborated on research and co-mentored many women in engineering,” a nominator wrote. “She is an approachable, nonjudgmental and thoughtful mentor. She has always been more than willing to help, intervene on behalf of, and to advocate for her mentees. Dr. Coleman has been a longstanding and excellent mentor to several current and former women in the UToledo College of Engineering.”

94-Year-Old Boxing Legend Dies From COVID-19 Weeks Before Graduation

Carmen Williamson didn’t go down without a fight.

The 94-year-old student at The University of Toledo and one of the nation’s top amateur boxers during the 1940s and 1950s lost his last bout in a hospital room.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit utoledo.edu/commencement to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

Williamson, who eventually hung up his boxing gloves and traveled the globe as a prominent judge and referee representing the United States during Olympic and World Championship competitions, died last week from COVID-19, less than a month shy of graduation.

The first African-American man to officiate boxing in the Olympics — for which he received a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games — was scheduled to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from University College on May 9.

Williamson has five daughters, including Dr. Celia Williamson, Distinguished University Professor and director of the UToledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

“My dad loved education and was so proud to be finally getting his degree,” she said. “He was very strong. He fought lots of fights through the decades. He was living his best life – still driving and going to school and independent.”

Celia last saw her dad in March when Toledo City Council recognized him as part of Black History Month with a proclamation honoring his achievements.

Carmen and Celia Williamson at Toledo City Council

Carmen Williamson, 94, right, was recognized in March by Toledo City Council with a proclamation honoring his achievements as part of Black History Month celebrations. His daughter, Dr. Celia Williamson, UToledo Distinguished University Professor, joined him at the council meeting.

Born in Toledo in 1925, Williamson was raised by a single mom. He dropped out of high school to work and help the family.

“Back then there weren’t any avenues for young black men. Boxing was a way out of the streets that also taught you discipline and nutrition,” Celia said. “They lived in a high-crime area where it was pretty dangerous in poverty and racism. Instead of getting himself in trouble and to protect himself from trouble, he used his time to box.”

The 112-pound boxer ended his amateur career in the ring with a record of 250 wins and 14 losses.

Instead of pursuing a professional career, Williamson started working with troubled youth in the community and trained them to be boxers.

“Many were successful and owe the positive turn in their life to their mentor and coach,” his daughter said.

Carmen Williamson boxing

Carmen Williamson, who was preparing to graduate from University College with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, right, was one of the nation’s top amateur boxers during the 1940s and 1950s. He went on to serve as a prominent judge and referee representing the United States during Olympic and World Championship competitions.

Williamson, who served in the U.S. Navy and later earned his GED in his 60s, retired after working for nearly half a century as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army’s automotive tank division in Warren, Mich.

“He had a desk job. He wore a suit and tie to work every day,” Celia said. “He worked for 42 years and only missed two days of work. At his retirement party, his co-workers joked, ‘If there was a blizzard, Carmen would be here.’ He was happy to have a job and get his GED.”

In the 1980s, Williamson became involved with USA Amateur Boxing.

He developed a curriculum and began to travel all over the world teaching the sport to young men and preparing them to compete with other countries.

“My dad visited nearly 100 countries, but I’m especially proud that he volunteered to take on assignments in dark, warn-torn countries like Sierra Leone,” Celia said. “White trainers wouldn’t go there, so he trained African and Caribbean men to compete.”

In 1984, Williamson officiated the Olympic Games in Los Angeles and was given an honorary gold medal as the first African-American official to receive this honor.

Olympic Gold Medal

In 1984, Carmen Williamson officiated the Olympic Games in Los Angeles and was given an honorary gold medal. He was the first African-American official to receive this honor.

“He has helped countless young men in Toledo and all over the world find focus and discipline in their lives,” Celia said. “His Olympic gold medal is a symbol that he achieved greatness. My dad is my hero and an American hero.”

But he wasn’t done. In 2000, the 74-year-old recipient of the African-American Sports Legend Award went to college.

“My dad first wanted to make sure he paid for my college before it was his turn,” Celia said. “He just wanted the education. A degree from The University of Toledo was the goal. I remember he took an Africana studies class and flew to Africa to look around, bring things back and give them to the class. He would sit in the front row. He loved education.”

During his last semester, the coronavirus pandemic spread to the United States and Toledo.

As campus closed and professors starting teaching classes remotely, Williamson was in and out of the hospital. At first, doctors thought he had a rare kind of pneumonia.

“When we found he tested positive for the coronavirus, doctors tried experimental drugs,” Celia said. “He did have diabetes, so I think his age and condition contributed to what happened. But it was a terrible situation. We couldn’t be by his side. The doctors and nurses were his family for the end.”

Celia and her sisters, left to grieve while social distancing, plan to host a memorial service once the pandemic clears and everyday life resumes.

But it turns out their dad did leave them one more success to celebrate.

The Provost’s Office will be asking the UToledo Board of Trustees at its next meeting to award Carmen Williamson’s degree posthumously.

“I was disappointed for him because he was there. He was taking his final three classes,” Celia said. “But he did it. Living or dead, doesn’t matter. He’ll have the degree he earned. That’s what he always wanted. We are grateful and hope he inspires another generation to work hard and take care of themselves and their families.”

UToledo to Present Saturday Morning Math Sessions

The University of Toledo will offer six lessons on real-world math Saturday mornings starting Feb. 1 in Memorial Field House Room 1240.

These free, public sessions will begin at 11 a.m.; no registration is required to attend.

Following the success of UToledo’s Saturday Morning Science, faculty from University College and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics decided to create a program for the public that would present basic mathematical ideas in simple ways.

The sessions were designed to prove that mathematics can be simple and fun. The programs are for people considering attending college; parents of potential students who are concerned about college-level mathematics; people who realize it’s important to understand mathematics but never “got it” or have forgotten how mathematics work; and people who want to learn some new ideas.

Organizers stress math is not mysterious or impossible to understand; anyone who knows how to add, subtract, multiply and divide has the skills to be good at math.

Listed by date, the hourlong Saturday Morning Math sessions will be:

Feb. 1 — “Numbers You Can Touch and Some You Can Eat.” This session will cover the basics — fractions, exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction.

Feb. 15 — “Let’s Go Shopping” will discuss percents, increases, decreases, markups, discounts and taxes.

Feb. 29 — “Growth and Decay of Candy.” Exponentials, logarithms, growth, decay, effects of inflation, population trends and more will be explored.

March 21 — “Life Isn’t Fair” will spotlight ratios, proportions, probability, odds, and why the lottery isn’t a path to riches.

April 4 — “Lies and Statistics.” Mean, median, mode, distributions, normal curves, and how numbers can be misleading will be the topics of this session.

• April 18
— “What’s Slope Got to Do With It?” Graphs, slope, rates of change, maximums, minimums, and predicting the future will be covered in this hour.

Those who attend will receive free access to ALEKS, a web-based educational program for K-12 and college mathematics, to practice their skills at home.

For more information, visit the Saturday Morning Math website.

Using Visual Literacy in the Classroom

“Visual literacy is not just about art …”

We’ve all heard the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Learning to read those pictures gives us advantages in both work and life. The University of Toledo and Toledo Museum of Art’s Visual Literacy Initiative is paving the way for what it means to speak visual.

Visual literacy is defined as being able to read, comprehend and use visual images effectively. The initiative provides faculty with visual literacy tools to prepare students for the future. To date, the initiative has advanced student learning across all disciplines by launching visual literacy modules for UToledo faculty to use with their students.

UToledo students visited the Toledo Museum of Art for a visual literacy exercise called Back to Back Drawing.

“Visual literacy is not just about art. It’s about understanding the world around us through observation, critical thinking, perspective and collaboration in a vast world of images and visual stimulation,” Dr. Heidi M. Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College, said. “To communicate successfully in our increasingly image-saturated culture, we must also learn to read, understand and critique images — to become literate in visual language.”

The ability to speak visual will be important in all fields of study and employment whether it’s to read and design schematics, visualize problems and solutions, see data, diagnose patients, interpret clinical images, or communicate information.

“Visual literacy is a way to engage students to begin the process of deep learning and creative thinking,” Dr. Arun Nadarajah, UToledo professor of bioengineering, said.

There are new University of Toledo courses that focus exclusively on visual literacy in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, the Honors College, and the College of Arts and Letters.

Shari Norte, assistant lecturer in the School of Exercise Rehabilitation Sciences, left, and Mirta Parodi, senior lecturer of Spanish, participated in a visual literacy activity that challenged teams to build something with Legos and write instructions so others could replicate the same object.

All faculty now can include visual literacy in their courses using modules and exercises to support instruction while achieving student learning outcomes. The modules are made to be easily adaptable and span across all disciplines.

“We’re all visual learners. These modules are a great way to infuse our already vital subject areas with more active learning strategies that increase visual literacy,” Dan McInnis, assistant lecturer in the Jesup Scott Honors College, said. “The visual literacy modules and exercises assist me as a faculty member to deliver specific skill sets to students, giving them conduits to stronger visual understanding.”

One module from the initiative titled Infographic Creation and Interpretation “is designed to meet student learning outcomes and provide students with an understanding of the use of infographics for communicating complex ideas efficiently and effectively.” Students also have shared their experience with this module. One student said, “This module taught me that we process pictures faster than words, so by having a picture represent information, people want to share.” Another student said, “Infographics should be an aid to help us tell a story.” Not only did this module teach students how to interpret and read infographics, it taught them how to create their own infographics. A student reflected on his experience: “The module put the ‘common sense’ of visual interpretation into words. It helped me understand why we need concise, accurate and appealing infographics beyond ‘they look nice and are easy to understand.’”

Another student said, “I feel more confident when analyzing an infographic. I look at its content, the structure of the image, how clear it is, if it’s simple, how did they emphasize on the problem. For the design, I pay attention to the colors, if it’s attractive, how easy it is for me to digest and retain the information provided.”

The visual literacy modules and exercises are made available through the Visual Literacy webpage or Blackboard. To access the visual literacy modules and exercises through Blackboard, use the Faculty Support tab on the top of your Blackboard page to find Other Resources and select the Visual Literacy link. Visual literacy will then show up as one of your organizations below your courses. You’ll find instructions on how to use the modules and exercises there.

Campus community members are invited to explore visual literacy modules and exercises during open houses:

Friday, Jan. 31, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Nitschke Hall Room 5013;

Friday, Feb. 28, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Center for the Visual Arts Conference Room on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

Friday, April 24, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in MacKinnon Hall Room 1370.

An extended workshop also is planned for Friday, March 27, from noon to 3 p.m. in Toledo Museum of Art Room 128.

Register to attend an open house or workshop on the University Teaching Center website.

To inquire more information about the Visual Literacy Initiative and its campus-wide efforts, visit the Visual Literacy Initiative website or contact visualliteracy@utoledo.edu.

Mejias Santoro is an academic and adult programs coordinator at the Toledo Museum of Art.

High School Students to Experience Cadet Life at UToledo

Several area high school juniors and seniors will report to The University of Toledo Thursday, Jan. 23, for the ROTC Program’s Cadet for a Day.

Cadet For A Day is an event open to college and high school students who want to experience Reserve Officers’ Training Corps life at UToledo.

The event is designed to answer questions for prospective students who are considering entering the military upon completion of their degree.

“Our goal is to provide college and high school students with an overview of the Army ROTC Program at The University of Toledo,” Phil Stevenson, scholarship and enrollment officer in the Department of Military Science, said. “These aspiring college and high school students will have the chance to meet with UToledo cadets and Military Science Department faculty and staff, and tour our beautiful campus.”

Following a reception and lunch, the students will hear about the UToledo Army ROTC Program and learn about Army ROTC scholarships.

After touring ROTC facilities and UToledo’s Main Campus, the students will have the opportunity to attend a leadership lab at the Student Recreation Center, where the battalion will participate in the high ropes course and rock climbing wall.

“We hope this day will give college and high school students a look at what the UToledo Army ROTC Program is all about and how it can support undergraduate and graduate education goals of University students who are considering a future as an Army officer,” Stevenson said.

For more information, contact Stevenson at philip.stevenson2@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4696.

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?