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Director named to lead military, veteran affairs

A U.S. Army veteran has been tapped as The University of Toledo’s new director of military and veteran affairs.

Eric Buetikofer started his new post May 20.

“I have been working with military-connected students in higher education for more than 10 years. My background is in programing, supplemental advising, and recruiting military-connected students,” he said. “I am excited to bring my skills to UToledo and hopefully enhance military services at the University.”

Buetikofer

Buetikofer served as military advisor for nine years at Bowling Green State University, where he implemented several national programs for military-connected students, and was a success mentor/advisor for one year at Owens Community College.

At UToledo, Buetikofer is charged with strategically planning and leading the effort to assist military and veteran students achieve success in the classroom and beyond. Duties also include developing programs and building relationships that continue to promote the University as a military-friendly institution, as well as overseeing the Military Service Center.

“We are happy to have Eric Buetikofer as our director of military and veteran affairs. He is a veteran who has worked in higher education to help military members realize their dreams,” Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College, said. “We are proud The University of Toledo is recognized as a military-friendly institution, and we know Eric will build on that tradition.”

For two years, Buetikofer worked in military intelligence in the U.S. Army. He provided ground surveillance and conducted training sessions while completing a tour of duty in South Korea and temporary duty in Japan.

“When I returned from active duty in the early 2000s, there was very little support for military-connected students in higher education,” Buetikofer said. “As a first-generation college student, like many military veterans, I did not have a lot of guidance on how to navigate higher education. As the new director of military and veteran affairs, I can ensure that today’s military-connected students are fully supported as they pursue education at The University of Toledo.”

A native of Erie, Pa., Buetikofer received a bachelor of arts degree in education from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and a master of arts degree in education from Bowling Green State University in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

UToledo’s ‘Beer Professor,’ alumni entrepreneurs to speak at craft beer lecture and tasting June 13

The community is invited to attend the Craft Beer Lecture and Tasting Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at The University of Toledo Center for Alumni and Donor Engagement, located at 4510 Dorr St.

Dr. Neil Reid, UToledo professor of geography and planning, affectionately known as the “Beer Professor,” will speak about the growth of the craft beer industry and the factors driving that growth. He teaches a class titled The Geography of Beer and Brewing.

Reid

Reid’s latest research about the impact of craft breweries on home values was featured in publications across the country, including Food & Wine magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.

“America is in the middle of a craft beer revolution,” Reid said. “Craft breweries often locate in neighborhoods that were once economically distressed. Thanks to the arrival of the craft brewery and other investments by both the public and private sector, many of these neighborhoods have become revitalized. In fact, our analysis shows living within a half mile of a craft brewery increased the average value of a single-family home by almost 10 percent, using Charlotte, N.C., as a case study.”

Representatives from two Toledo breweries and UToledo alumni also will discuss their journey from home brewers to brewery owners. Keefe Snyder, who graduated from the College of Engineering in 2006 and the College of Law in 2010, is a co-owner of Earnest Brew Works. Aaron Grizaniuk, who graduated from University College in 2005, co-owns Patron Saints Brewery.

The event costs $20 a person and includes eight 3-oz. beer samples and appetizers. The tasting is for people 21 and older.

To register, go to the Alumni Association website or call the Office of Alumni Engagement at 419.530.2586.

The event is hosted by the UToledo Arts and Letters and Engineering Alumni Affiliates.

Entertainment icon Katie Holmes to deliver commencement address May 4

Katie Holmes, a native Toledoan who rose to fame as an actor, producer and director, will return to her hometown to deliver the keynote address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4.

A Notre Dame Academy alumna and international icon of screen, stage and film, Holmes will address 2,078 candidates for degrees — 2,023 bachelor’s and 55 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The University’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled the same day at 3 p.m. in the Glass Bowl, and will commemorate 915 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Analese Alvarez, an educator and musician who has recorded with the Grammy Award-winning rock group Fleetwood Mac, will be the keynote speaker. She is a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the University Views website.

President Sharon L. Gaber will present Holmes with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree before the keynote address.

“The University of Toledo is pleased to welcome Katie Holmes as our commencement speaker to inspire our newest alumni as they celebrate receiving their degrees,” Gaber said. “As a Toledo native with close, personal connections to the University, we are eager for her to share her experiences and accomplishments in the entertainment industry and as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.”

Holmes

Holmes is an internationally recognized film and television actor, producer and director, as well as a Broadway actor and an entrepreneur.

An exceptional student at Notre Dame Academy, Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred to embark on an entertainment career. She made her feature film debut in “The Ice Storm” in 1997, then established herself as a rising young actor the next year in the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” For six years, she played Joey Potter, a character still recognized in pop culture.

Holmes has appeared in supporting or starring roles in more than 30 films and television programs, including acclaimed performances as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in “The Kennedys” and “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” Hannah Green in “Wonder Boys,” Rachel Dawson in “Batman Begins,” April Burns in “Pieces of April,” Rita Carmichael in “All We Had,” and Paige Finney in “Ray Donovan.”

Her credits as a director and producer include “All We Had,” “Touched With Fire,” “The Romantics” and “The Kennedys: Decline and Fall.”

Holmes made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in 2008 and played the role of Lorna in “Dead Accounts” in 2012.

As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed and designed a well-received fashion line, Holmes & Yang, with Jeanne Yang, from 2009 to 2014.

Her philanthropic efforts include the Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization Holmes co-founded in 2009 that increases access to dance education in the United States. She also supports the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes; Love Our Children USA, a national nonprofit organization that fights violence and neglect against U.S. children; Raising Malawi, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children in extreme poverty through health, education and community support; and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.

Alvarez

Graduate ceremony speaker Alvarez has been an educator for nearly two decades and is a candidate for an education doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native has enjoyed an outstanding career teaching high school music, highlighted by leading her previous school’s music department to become a Grammy Signature Schools recipient in 2015. She has continued teaching music while pursuing her doctorate at UToledo by serving as a graduate assistant for the Rocket Marching Band and athletic bands since 2015.

Alvarez”s long career as a musician includes recording with Fleetwood Mac on “The Dance” and appearances on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and Nickelodeon’s “The Big Help.” She also was a member of the Los Angeles Laker Band, a subset of the University of Southern California’s Trojan Marching Band. She has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including The Desert Winds and the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble.

A volunteer club advisor for Gay Straight Alliances, Alvarez co-chaired the Southern Nevada chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and served the Gay and Lesbian Center of Las Vegas. During the past year, she has been executive director at Equality Toledo, where she has worked to support the local community.

Alvarez earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California and a master of music degree from Northern Arizona University, both in music education.

UToledo’s spring commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

UToledo’s College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Angelita Cruz Bridges, a 2000 graduate of the College of Law who serves as an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will give the commencement address.

The next week — Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena. Dr. Scott Parazynski, a physician and inventor whose career included serving 17 years as an astronaut, during which time he flew five space shuttle missions and conducted seven spacewalks, will be theutoledo.edu/commencementrmation, visit the commencement website.

Faculty, staff members honored for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

University outstanding advisors, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were recognized last week.

Kupresanin

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Max Kupresanin, academic advisor in University College. He received bachelor of arts and master of public administration degrees from the University and worked at his alma mater as a teaching assistant in 2009 and 2010 before joining the staff in 2014.

“Students put their trust in Max that he will be able to guide them down the path of exploratory studies and into a major that works for them,” one nominator wrote. “As a UToledo grad himself, he knows how campus life and academic life merge to create challenges for students. Max makes sure his students always know he is available with questions and concerns — whether they are about advising or not.” Another noted, “Max thoroughly enjoys working with students. Max is visibly passionate about our student population. He is frequently seen in Rocket Hall walking students to Financial Aid, Student Disability Services and the Counseling Center.”

Kissoff

Dr. Nicholas V. Kissoff, associate professor of engineering technology and undergraduate director of the Construction Engineering Technology Program in the College of Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1999. Kissoff received bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering and a doctorate in engineering science from the University.

“Working one on one with all students, whether they are straight out of high school or a transfer student like myself, Dr. Kissoff provides a game plan of classes that is easily laid out so the student can set forth short- and long-term goals to help attain the main goal of graduating with the construction of engineering degree,” one nominator wrote. “He provides all resources available to his students from the inception in the Construction Engineering Technology Program. He informs the students of all possibilities within the program, and steps and tips to help us long after we graduate to be successful engineers.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The cardiologist joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1994. Cooper was appointed interim chair of the Department of Medicine in 2012 and was named to the permanent post in April 2013. From 2002 to 2012, he served as chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and from 2008 to 2011, he also was director of the UToledo Heart and Vascular Center. He was named medical dean in 2014. Cooper has 95 peer-reviewed publications in print.

“Dr. Cooper is a gifted and rigorous scientist whose research has truly changed the paradigm in the field of hypertension and cardiac research. His innovative work has shifted the focus from the heart to the kidneys as an important and significant and treatable contributor to illness burden in hypertension, renal failure and cardiac events,” a nominator wrote. “Many patients’ lives will be saved, and much future understanding of the complex interactions between the kidney, the heart and vascular disease has been opened up as a result of his extensive body of research.”

Dr. Youssef Sari, professor and vice chair of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, and professor of medicinal and biological chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He joined the University in 2010. Sari has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles.

His research has contributed significantly to the field of drugs of abuse, including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine; currently, he is focusing on the neuropharmacology of opioid addiction. Sari’s research involves investigating potential therapeutic drugs for the treatment of drugs of abuse. He was the first investigator to demonstrate that two key transporters can be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of drugs of abuse, specifically in alcohol dependence. In addition, he has tested and found several drugs that have the ability to increase the expression and functionality of these transporters in animal models. The long-term goal of Sari’s research is to find potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of patients suffering from addiction to these drugs of abuse. “In my 40-plus years [in higher education], I’ve not known anyone who works harder and is more focused on drug and alcohol research, including mechanisms of neurotoxicity, than Youssef,” one nominator wrote. “He is at the cutting edge of his field and looks to be a research leader for many years to come.”

Dr. Jami K. Taylor, professor of political science and public administration in the College of Arts and Letters. Since joining the UToledo faculty in 2009, she has become a respected scholar on transgender politics and public policy with an impressive list of accomplishments: authoring a book and editing a book that were both published by the University of Michigan Press; writing 14 peer-reviewed articles and 11 book chapters; and serving as an associate editor for an encyclopedia of LGBT politics that is being published by Oxford University Press.

“Professor Taylor’s work is path-breaking, widely cited and influential. She has established a substantial national reputation as the leading scholar of transgender rights policy in just 10 years at UToledo,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Dr. Taylor is the country’s single highest regarded scholar working on transgender public policy; she is also a nationally recognized expert in the broader political science subfield of LGBT politics. A quick glance at her CV helps explain why this is the case: She is at once a prolific scholar, producing an enormous amount of peer-reviewed publications each year, and also produces work of such high quality that it is accepted for publication in highly regarded journals and presses and cited frequently by other scholars in our subfield.”

Receiving Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards were, from left, Dr. Christopher Cooper, Dr. Jami K. Taylor and Dr. Youssef Sari.

Bellizzi

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

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Joe Schmidt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

They are coordinators of Saturday Morning Science, a public outreach lecture series covering diverse topics in science, medicine and engineering, ranging from the physics of baseball to the Flint water crisis to the search for extrasolar planets. The program began in 2005; Schmidt took over coordinating the series in 2008, and Bellizzi has been co-director since 2011. “Over the past six years, attendance has grown dramatically from a small grassroots following to an average audience approaching 150 attendees per presentation,” one nominator wrote, noting the series has relocated twice to accommodate the growing numbers. Speakers include UToledo faculty and other academic researchers, NASA scientists, best-selling authors, and staff members of the Toledo Zoo, Toledo Refinery, and National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Schmidt

“This kind of scientific outreach benefits all participants,” a nominator wrote. “Researchers and other presenters get the satisfaction of sharing their experience and their passion while honing a distinct set of communication skills to make their presentation understandable by a nontechnical audience. Audience members gain knowledge, insight and inspiration. It is the intention of the program to broaden public awareness, literacy and appreciation of the methods and results of science in the hopes of encouraging students to enter scientific careers and citizens to support policies that promote scientific research and discovery.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Bellizzi is the man,” one nominator wrote. “I really have a genuine respect for him. Intelligent, passionate and fair — that’s the type of professor he is. Biochemistry is a difficult course, but he really made me love it. He understands the material and breaks it down for us in ways to comprehend. Things he taught me stuck with me because he teaches in a manner that allows you to understand the material not just memorize it.” Another noted, “He is outstanding not only that he teaches well, but he is always well-prepared. I could always approach him whenever needed to solve any problems related to fields of studies. He will always try to help even though he is not teaching you in the semester. He is a gentleman and deserves to be an outstanding teacher.”

Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres, associate professor of political science and public administration, and director of the Global Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters. She has been at the University since 2011.

“Dr. Cáceres is one of the most personable, influential faculty members at the University. I had the pleasure to attend her Principles of Comparative Politics course; it was a rather black-and-white course, but she taught it in such a colorful, lively way. She recognizes students’ strengths and weaknesses early on and determines strategies for their betterment,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Jetsa has exhibited compassion and care for not only me, but many students. She has helped me become a better student by motivating me to work toward my goals.” Another wrote, “Jetsa is the professor every student wishes to have and the mentor a person needs; she is an admirable person.”

Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. A member of the UToledo faculty since 2004, Elahnia is director of the Dynamic and Smart Systems Laboratory.

“I was told by three teachers that I would never make it in engineering,” a nominator wrote. “Then I took a class taught by Dr. Elahinia. I had never had a teacher explain complex material so thoroughly and in a way that everyone could understand. He would stop and ask those who struggled how he could change his method to help them. I have never had a more attentive professor. His belief in me gave me confidence that I belong in engineering. That confidence and belief in me shaped my career. I am a mechanical design engineer for a global company in its research and development department. I know Dr. Elahinia has helped more students than just myself; he is deserving of this award.”

Dr. Karen Green, assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation. She has taught at the University since 2015.

“Dr. Green has been a catalyst in the Accounting Department,” one nominator wrote. “She solely developed a new Certified Public Accountant review course that allows master of accounting students to complete their CPA exams. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the program.” “With Dr. Green’s guidance, many students have the competitive advantage of simultaneously testing for the CPA and earning a master’s degree, both before diving into our careers, and we know this is a luxury not available to many young professionals in the accounting field,” another wrote. “Dr. Green is more than a professor; she has become a trusted advisor, cheerleader and reliable friend to all of us. She provides support, guidance, encouragement and direction to all students who cross her path.”

Bryan Lammon, associate professor of law. He joined the College of Law in 2013.

“I have had Professor Lammon for several classes, and I cannot say enough positive words for how he conducts his class sessions,” one nominator wrote. “He actively engages with all of his students and makes the extra effort to ensure that everyone has a complete understanding of the lectures before moving on. His classroom demeanor is always personable and professional, which makes going to his classses that much more enjoyable.” Another noted, “He has an excellent work ethic, is a great teacher, and he is very friendly, yet with a professional attitude.” “Professor Lammon is one of the most approachable professors I’ve encountered. He is so passionate about the subjects he teaches and it truly shows each class,” another wrote. “It is very clear that he truly enjoys watching his students succeed.”

Dr. Heather Sloane, assistant professor of social work in the School of Social Justice in the College of Health and Human Services. She joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Sloane is a perfect example of what a social worker looks like,” one nominator wrote. “She is patient, kind and sincere in all of our encounters, and she is juggling several different projects with grace and a positive attitude.” “Dr. Sloane is such a loving, thoughtful, selfless professor,” another nominator wrote. “She goes over and beyond to ensure the needs of the students are met.” “Despite all her accomplishments, Heather never acknowledges her success and doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves,” another noted. “She is a behind-the-scenes person and the reason why so many things exist. She is the definition of humility. She deserves this award more than I can express.”

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Bryan Lammon, Dr. Heather Sloane, Dr. John Bellizzi, Dr. Karen Green and Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres.

National science leader and Toledo native to deliver UT commencement address Dec. 15

The head of the nation’s oldest and one of its most prestigious laboratories will return home, as Toledo native Michael Witherell is set to deliver the address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15.

Witherell, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Berkeley, Calif., will address 1,474 candidates for degrees, including 1,437 bachelor’s and 37 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Savage Arena on Main Campus.

Witherell

UT’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled at 8 a.m. in Savage Arena and will commemorate 641 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Md Kamal Hossain, emerging cancer researcher and candidate for a doctoral degree at the University, will be the speaker.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the UT Views website.

Witherell, a distinguished physicist, educator and science leader, developed the foundation for his future at Toledo’s St. Francis de Sales High School. Salutatorian at age 15, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in experimental physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After a distinguished career as a university professor performing research in particle physics, he devoted himself to leading large research institutions.

In 2016, Witherell was named director of Berkeley Lab, the oldest of the 17 labs in the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories systems. Berkeley Lab is a global leader in fundamental and applied scientific research in physical, biological, energy, computing and environmental sciences. The lab’s employees have earned 13 Nobel Prizes and played a role in the discovery of 16 elements on the periodic table, among its honors. The lab is managed for the DOE by the University of California.

“Our mission at Berkeley Lab is solving the nation’s most challenging problems through great scientific and technological discoveries. I believe that the national assets in addressing these problems include public universities and the students whom they are educating,” Witherell said.

Before joining Berkeley Lab, Witherell spent six years as director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. He was vice chancellor for research at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he also held a presidential chair in the Physics Department.

His primary research interest is in studying the nature of dark matter. He was a contributor to the LUX experiment, which in 2016 published the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter. He is now part of an international research team that is building a successor to LUX, known as LZ, which will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive. Data collection is expected to start in 2020.

Witherell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and serves on the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

“As a nationally recognized, public research university, The University of Toledo is pleased to have Dr. Witherell as our fall commencement speaker. Research not only helps us to discover new knowledge that advances all areas of study, but also instills critical thinking skills that our students can use to approach problems systematically and come up with solutions that improve everyday life,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We look forward to Dr. Witherell sharing his insights with our graduates, especially since he grew up in Toledo and has since made tremendous contributions through research.”

Witherell’s personal success can be traced back to the Glass City, as well. He and his wife, Elizabeth Hall Witherell, head of the Princeton Edition of Henry Thoreau’s writings, grew up in the same west Toledo neighborhood and were high school sweethearts. They have a daughter, Lily.

“The foundation for my career and life was my extended family in Toledo,” Witherell said. “Their support and the value they put on education and public service were central to my personal and professional development.”

Hossain

Hossain, the graduate ceremony speaker, is a native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who came to UT as an industrial pharmacist with a passion to develop innovative medicines.

“I’ve always been interested in studying health-related fields due to the suffering of people in my homeland from different types of disease,” Hossain said. “My focus is to develop a specific targeting approach for a more effective cancer vaccine. My research examined the utilization of a natural antibody already present in human serum that makes the vaccine more convenient to target tumor cells.”

He is a candidate for a doctor of philosophy degree in medicinal chemistry in UT’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

UT’s fall commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

The College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Later that week — Friday, May 10, at
4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena.

For more information, visit the UT commencement website.

Staff Leadership Development Program’s first cohort graduates

Twenty-one University of Toledo staff members who were in the Staff Leadership Development Program’s first cohort graduated Nov. 8 and were officially recognized at a luncheon held in their honor in the Thompson Student Union.

The program was launched in 2017 based on feedback gathered during the strategic planning process from employees who wanted a formal pathway to grow professionally.

“I’m very proud of this inaugural class,” said President Sharon L. Gaber. “No one can ever change the fact that each of them was a member of our first cohort, marking a milestone not only in their tenure with UT, but also in the University’s history.”

“Our goal for this program is twofold — to help candidates grow in their existing positions, as well as to prepare them for expanded leadership roles at UT in the future,” noted Wendy Davis, associate vice president and chief human resources officer.

The one-year Staff Leadership Development Program includes complimentary courses, lectures, assessments and experiential learning facilitated by UT senior leaders, faculty and other subject matter experts.

“Each participant was carefully selected by a multidisciplinary team and completed all required assignments, readings and a capstone project in order to graduate,” said Carrie Herr, director of the Center for Continuous Improvement, who has oversight of the program.

The program has been very well-received, with members of the first cohort representing a wide range of staff positions and departments across UT campuses, according to Herr.

“I would definitely recommend this program to others,” said Kelly Donovan, who works at UT Medical Center. “I was able to foster great relationships with future leaders from various departments, plus had access to our current leaders. And the program instilled leadership skills and confidence that I’ll be able to use for future career goals.”

“What I valued most was learning about so many different facets of higher education, from human resources and recruitment to student affairs, legal and financial matters,” said Craig Turner, who works in the College of Business and Innovation. “I also had the opportunity to gain insights firsthand from UT’s leaders, such as Dr. Gaber, Provost Andrew Hsu and Dr. Chris Cooper, in addition to meeting new colleagues from throughout our campus community.”

In addition to Donovan and Turner, first cohort UT Staff Leadership Development graduates are Stefanie Bias, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Stacey Jo Brown, Office of Legal Affairs; Candace Busdiecker, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Lori DeShetler, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Josh Dittman, Intercollegiate Athletics; Shelly Drouillard, Career Services; Jamie Fager, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Beth Gerasimiak, Office of the Provost; Melissa Hansen, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Heather Huntley, Office of the Provost; Angelica Johnson, College of Arts and Letters; Deirdre Jones, College of Business and Innovation; Sara Lockett, Purchasing/Finance; Elliott Nickeson, Internal Audit and Compliance; Daniel Perry, Facilities and Construction; Jason Rahe, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions; Staci Sturdivant, College of Health and Human Services; Tiffany Whitman, University College; and Matthew Wise, Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions.

A second cohort began course work in October and will graduate in November 2019.

Members of the first cohort to graduate from the Staff Leadership Development Program posed for a photo last month with President Sharon L. Gaber, seated center, and Lawrence R. Kelley, executive vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer, second from left seated, and Carrie Herr, director of the Center for Continuous Improvement, seated between Kelley and the president.

UT among schools named Best for Vets

The University of Toledo has again been recognized as a top school for supporting student veterans.

UT is among 208 schools receiving the Best for Vets 2019 designation, according to the Military Times.

“We are happy to help our service men and women who enroll at The University of Toledo, and this Best for Vets designation recognizes our commitment,” Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College, said. “It is an honor to help our veterans succeed.”

“Military Times’ Best for Vets designation is trusted throughout the veteran community as the mark of excellence for schools and other organizations that work with veterans, service members and military families. It can’t be bought with advertising dollars — unlike some other supposedly veteran-friendly rankings — only earned through a record of steadfast service and dedication to those who have served,” said George Altman, Military Times editor in charge of the rankings.

“Fewer than half of the roughly 500 colleges and universities that competed for the recognition earned the right to call themselves Best for Vets in 2019,” he added. “Their efforts should be commended.”

The rankings are based on the results of Military Times’ annual survey — a comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement — as well as a detailed review of public data collected by federal agencies.

Military Times’ annual survey asks colleges and universities to disclose academic outcome and input data; describe many aspects of veteran culture on campus; and document a wide array of services, special policies, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties. Military Times also factors in data from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, as well as three Education Department sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Center, College Scorecard data and the Cohort Default Rate Database.

See the 2019 Best for Vets list on Military Times’ website.

Online, blended learning to be discussed at forum Oct. 31

“The Future of Online and Blended Learning” will be the topic of the Future of Higher Education Forum Wednesday, Oct. 31.

The program will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Health and Human Services Building Rooms 1711A and B.

Dr. Claire Stuve, curriculum developer and technology researcher in University College, and Dr. Ruthie Kucharewski, professor and chair in the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, will lead the session.

They will discuss integrative technology to deliver online and blended learning, as well as emphasize meeting Quality Matters standards.

“Delivering engaging classes in an innovative way for our students is of utmost importance,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, interim associate vice provost of faculty affairs and professor of public health. “We encourage faculty members to attend this forum so they — and their students — can benefit from the expertise offered by Dr. Stuve and Dr. Kucharewski.”

In 2017 and 2018, Stuve won Blackboard Catalyst Awards, which recognize faculty who have gone above and beyond in using technology in innovative ways from impacting the student experience to building exemplary courses. At UT, her responsibilities include creating a research-based curriculum that incorporates emerging technologies and evaluating data on new and redeveloped courses. Her research interests focus on using technology to foster engagement and applying the principles of good course design.

Kucharewski was the 2016 recipient of the DiAnne Masztak Award for supporting online learning in a distinguished fashion and for her commitment to online teaching. She also earned the online Master Teacher certification in 2016. Kucharewski is an online course reviewer for Quality Matters, an independent organization that reviews web courses based on a series of quality indicators and provides feedback to colleges and universities. In 2017, she became a Quality Matters Master Reviewer for online learning courses.

The Future of Higher Education Forums are coordinated by the Office of the Provost in collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the University Teaching Center.

Register for this month’s program and read more about the Future of Higher Education Forums, including how to submit proposals for upcoming events, at utoledo.edu/offices/provost/future-of-higher-education-forum.

UT faculty member wins second Blackboard Catalyst Award

Dr. Claire Stuve was among honorees from around the world who were recognized during Blackboard’s annual conference this summer in Orlando, Fla.

It was the second year in a row the curriculum developer and technology researcher for University College won a Blackboard Catalyst Award.

Stuve

Stuve was honored in the category of exemplary course, which recognizes faculty and course designers who develop exciting and innovative classes that represent the very best in technology and learning.

Since its establishment in 2005, the Blackboard Catalyst Awards have honored innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice.

Recipients of the awards are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts.

The awards program honors clients who have gone above and beyond in using technology in innovative ways from impacting the student experience to building exemplary courses.

Since 2011, Stuve has been a staff member and an adjunct professor in University College; she joined the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an adjunct in 2016.

Her responsibilities as curriculum developer and technology researcher in University College include creating a research-based curriculum that incorporates emerging technologies and evaluating data on new and redeveloped courses.

Her research interests include using technology to foster engagement and applying the principles of good course design.

“I love technology and the impact it can have on learning,” Stuve said. “So I’m interested in finding out what technologies have the biggest impact, how I can help students learn better and increase retention, and how I can help students have fun.”

She is also a campus liaison for New Media Consortium and a Quality Matters Certified Master Reviewer. And she is a master’s student in UT’s Public Health Program. The UT alumna received a bachelor’s degree in physics, a master’s degree in instructional technology, and a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction.

The course she is being recognized for this year by the Catalyst Awards is called Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Training, which is designed to teach faculty how to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra with students and how to incorporate it into their curriculum.

As an undergraduate student, Stuve struggled with her work, motivating her to help future students who may be struggling become successful while also teaching faculty how to ensure their students’ success.

“Part of helping students be successful is helping faculty be better teachers and know themselves how to help struggling students,” she said. “Therefore, I wanted to design a course where I could teach faculty how to use innovative and fun technology to help students.”

The training course utilizes innovative technology through advanced multimedia, simulations and web conferencing, and was the first course of its kind offered at UT that incorporated training simulations.

Stuve explained how she recognizes every student is different and learns differently, so she tries to incorporate numerous teaching methods that present content in multiple ways. She also makes it her mission to ensure students are having fun when they’re learning.

“I’m honored to have won a Catalyst Award for a second year because it reaffirms to myself that I am making a difference and that what I do is helping students,” she said.

UT professor to be promoted by Army to lieutenant colonel

Maj. Michael Penney, professor and chair of the UT Military Science and Leadership Department, will be promoted by the U.S. Army to lieutenant colonel Friday, July 6.

The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in Thompson Student Union Room 2592.

Penney

Penney is originally from North Texas and received a BBA from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. Since then, he has earned master’s degrees from both Webster University and the Army’s School of Advanced Military Science.

He was commissioned by the Army’s Officer Candidate School in 2002.

Penney came to UT from Carson, Colo., where he served from 2014 to 2017. His time there included two operational deployments — to Europe and to Afghanistan.

Last July, Penney joined the UT faculty as professor and chair of military science and leadership.

Through his department chair position, Penney oversees recruiting, retention, preparation and leadership development of cadets along their path toward their goal of being awarded a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves or the Army National Guard.

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

“My role as head of the ROTC program here at UT is one of the most important and rewarding jobs the Army has given to me to this point,” Penney said. “Leader development is crucial in the Army of today, and having some impact on the lives of future Army leaders is one of the best jobs.”

Penney will remain at UT for one more year and then take command of a battalion in South Carolina.

“This promotion to lieutenant colonel is an important one along the path to reaching my ultimate Army career goals,” Penney said. “But when I think about my nearly 16 years of commissioned service, I think more of those who have helped me along the way; specifically, those who I have served alongside and those who I have had the honor to lead at some point, and, most importantly, my family.”