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UToledo Student Awarded International Research Grant to Study Black Urban Agricultural Experience

Brittany D. Jones, a Ph.D. candidate in The University of Toledo Spatially Integrated Social Science Doctoral Program in the College of Arts and Letters, is one of four winners of a 2020 MAXQDA Research for Change Grant from VERBI Software and the Global Nature Fund.

Her research project is titled “Empowerment Through Consumption: Land Banks, Land Ownership and Black Food Geographies.” Her co-advisors are Dr. Neil Reid and Dr. Sujata Shetty, professors in the UToledo Department of Geography and Planning.

Jones

Jones will explore the urban agricultural experience and Black foodways in Toledo and Dayton, two Ohio cities that saw a large influx of African Americans during the Great Migration. They are also legacy cities, meaning they lost a significant amount of population and economic viability after the decline of manufacturing in the region. She plans to look at land use and barriers to urban agriculture in these cities and how it impacts African American communities.

In recognizing Jones as a grant recipient, VERBI noted, “We were greatly impacted by Mrs. Jones’ story and how her life history has inspired her to pursue food system and sovereignty studies. With her project, she aims to uncover racialized hypocrisies embedded within both the local and global food system, which is now as relevant as ever. Mrs. Jones is a first-generation Ph.D. student in her family, and we are glad to be able to support her.”

Jones said in her master’s program, she began to fully understand the nutritional problems of the world she grew up in were rooted in systemic causes. In applying for the grant, Jones said she hopes her work will not only suggest solutions, but improve research methodology.

“Research for change means more than just finding solutions to a complex problem, [it] embodies the [grassroots] efforts of providing resources and realistic methods that can be easily replicated and adapted, all the while acknowledging cultural differences/expectations, which is crucial to long-term change,” Jones said.

Dr. Beth Schlemper, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Geography and Planning, said she believes Jones’ doctoral course work helped her win the grant.

“It makes me happy because I taught the Ph.D. students, who took advanced qualitative methods for spatially integrated social science students, how to use MAXQDA [research software], and she was inspired to use the software in her research methods and apply for this grant.”

Jones agreed: “The skills I acquired through my degree program have allowed me to confidently apply for opportunities best fit for my research. It has taught me that, as a doctorate student, you are the CEO of your degree and must stand in your truth as a contributor to universal knowledge, especially as a scholar of color.”

The $1,600 grant includes a two-year student subscription to MAXQDA Analytics Pro software, two online trainings with certified MAXQDA trainers, a registration waiver to the MAXQDA International Conference in Berlin, and full tech support. In addition, Jones’ research will receive international exposure through MAXQDA promotions.

“This software is highly used to fully integrate qualitative data analysis into your research and is especially popular with mixed methods researchers,” said Jones, who is a graduate research assistant in the University’s Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center and president of the UToledo Graduate Student Association.

Read more about Jones’ research project on the MAXQDA website.

Rec, Fitness Centers to Reopen

The Student Recreation Center will reopen Monday, Aug. 10, at noon, and the Morse Fitness Center will reopen Monday, Aug. 17, at 6 a.m.

Both centers will follow guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Individuals must practice social distancing, and face coverings are required in the facilities, including workout areas.

Staff members will regularly clean all high-touch surfaces, and hand sanitizing and cleaning stations will be located throughout the facilities for members to apply before and after using equipment.

In addition, Recreational Services staff members will wear face coverings and have temperature checks.

Guest passes will no longer be available; you must be a member to use the facilities. Visit the Recreational Services website for more information.

“As we reopen, I want to ensure you the health and safety of our UToledo community is our highest priority,” Demond Pryor, director of Recreational Services, said. “We will continue to align our recommendations for reopening and operating Recreational Services with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, UToledo, and local agencies.”

For more information, visit the Recreational Services website and check out its frequently asked questions section.

UToledo Issues Updated Travel Advisory, Encourages Registration of Travel

The University continues to strongly encourage all faculty, staff and students to avoid out-of-state and international travel. If individuals do travel, the University is strongly encouraging them to voluntarily register their travel plans through Dec. 31, 2020. Individuals who did not previously register travel may also use the form to report their return.

In response to Gov. Mike DeWine’s recent travel advisory, individuals arriving from states reporting a positive COVID-19 testing rate of 15% or higher will be asked to quarantine for 14 days before returning to work, per U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, class or other on-campus activities.

The protocol applies to students, staff or faculty who are entering Ohio after having traveled from or through any state on the list maintained by the Ohio Department of Health.

Additionally, the University is following CDC recommendations and asking that students and employees who are returning from international travel quarantine for 14 days before returning to work, classes or other on-campus activities.

Healthcare providers working at The University of Toledo Medical Center are excluded from these protocols to ensure adequate staffing of key positions within the hospital.

The University is working with residential students who may need to quarantine after returning to campus this fall. As the University has previously communicated, students will not be penalized if they must miss class due to an illness or the need to quarantine. The Office of Student Advocacy and Support will assist students with making any necessary arrangements, and all materials will be accessible remotely.

UToledo has arranged for alternative housing and food delivery service for residential students who require a quarantine period.

Students living off campus are asked to quarantine after arriving at their personal residence.

Employees who are asked to quarantine should speak with their supervisor about the possibility of a remote work arrangement. In the event that an employee’s job responsibilities cannot be facilitated remotely, the employee will need to submit leave to cover the time off.

For guidelines and tips on self-quarantine, visit the Ohio Department of Health website.

College of Graduate Studies Interim Dean Announced

Dr. Barry Scheuermann will lead the College of Graduate Studies while a search is conducted for the next dean.

Scheuermann’s appointment as interim dean was effective Aug. 3, following Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich’s resignation.

Scheuermann

Scheuermann, who joined the UToledo faculty in 2003, is a professor of exercise science and recently served as the interim dean for the College of Health and Human Services while the search was conducted that brought Dr. Mark A. Merrick to UToledo to serve in the dean role.

“I sincerely appreciate Barry stepping in again to serve our UToledo community and provide some continuity of leadership among our academic deans in this period of transition,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We wish Amanda well in her new opportunity at Wayne State University and thank her for her research and leadership contributions during her tenure at UToledo.”

Dialogue on Diversity to Address Role of Black Women in Movements Toward Equity

The University of Toledo is continuing its Dialogues on Diversity series with a conversation on the role of Black women and non-Black allies in movements toward equity in the U.S.

The next virtual town hall in the series titled “Sister Circle: Resistance and Resilience, Then and Now” will take place Thursday, Aug. 6, at 5:30 p.m. and can be accessed on WebEx using the access code 160 061 5758. The meeting password is DoD:5Sister. Join by phone at 415.655.0002.

The discussion to be moderated by Malaika Bell, program manager in the UToledo Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is an invitation for the public to join a meeting of the Sister Circle, a group of diverse women from both Main Campus and Health Science Campus who have been meeting weekly for the past several months to promote positivity.

“During our next meeting of the Sister Circle, we invite the community to participate in a conversation about the role that Black women have played in movements toward equity in our nation, how we can truly practice radical self-care, and what we want from our non-Black allies,” Bell said.

Participants will be:

• Charlene Gilbert, dean of the UToledo College of Arts and Letters;

• Dr. Monica Holiday-Goodman, associate dean for Health Science Campus Student Affairs and Diversity, and UToledo professor of pharmacy practice; and

• Tinola Mayfield-Guerrero, immersed vocational rehabilitation counselor in partnership with UToledo.

This is the fifth in a series of recent virtual Dialogues on Diversity in the more than two months since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis when a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, sparking protests against systemic racism across the country.

Parking Permits Available for Fall Semester

Parking permits for fall semester will be available soon through the MyParking website.

Students and graduate assistant permits will be available for purchase beginning Saturday, Aug. 8. Students may apply the charge to their student account until Aug. 14, after which credit card and e-check will be the only payment options.

Employees who purchased an annual or semester permit by credit card last academic year will need to purchase a new permit for the 2020-21 academic year. No action is needed for those employees who purchased their permit through payroll deduction with continuous parking permit registration.

Parking enforcement for permit violations will be enforced at the start of the academic year Monday, Aug. 17. As a reminder, your license plate should be facing the drive aisle. If you do not have a front plate, do not back in or pull through a space.

Parking and Transportation Services has moved locations and can be accessed in Thompson Student Union Room 1550. Contact the office at 419.530.4100 or parking@utoledo.edu.

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.

Hypertension Researcher Earns Prestigious NIH Award

A hypertension researcher in The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences has received a prestigious career development grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Cameron McCarthy, a postdoctoral to faculty fellow, is one of a small number of researchers in the country to receive the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). The grant is meant to transition promising postdocs into independent, tenure-track faculty members.

McCarthy, who joined the College and Medicine and Life Sciences in 2018, is focused on the connection between hypertension and premature aging of the vascular system.

Cameron McCarthy and Jonnelle Edwards in lab

Dr. Cameron McCarthy, a postdoctoral to faculty fellow in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, works in the lab with Jonnelle Edwards, a Ph.D. student in the molecular medicine track. McCarthy recently received the National Institutes of Health Pathway to Independence Award.

“Hypertension is a major risk factor for some of the leading causes of death worldwide,” McCarthy said. “I promote the idea that arteries and vasculature from young people with hypertension look like arteries and vasculature from older people. There are things going on in hypertension that cause the arteries to age much more quickly than they should.”

More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, but only about a quarter of those individuals have their blood pressure under control.

McCarthy’s work is aimed at better understanding the mechanisms of why people develop high blood pressure and establishing novel therapeutics to treat the condition. Specifically, he’s studying how autophagy — the body’s natural process for recycling old and damaged cellular components — decreases in individuals with hypertension.

“When autophagy goes down, all of a sudden that cellular recycling doesn’t work as well. You have a buildup of damaged cargo sitting there in the cell causing dysfunction,” he said.

McCarthy is examining whether increasing autophagy in the liver can stimulate the body’s production of beta hydroxybutyrate — a chemical that may encourage the dilatation of blood vessels to lower blood pressure and decrease the premature aging associated with hypertension.

One of McCarthy’s mentors at UToledo is Dr. Bina Joe, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Joe was the first researcher to explore beta hydroxybutyrate as a potential weapon against high blood pressure.

Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, is also mentoring McCarthy as part of the NIH grant.

The NIH Pathway to Independence Award provides up to five years of support, beginning with a two-year mentored research and career development phase. The final three years of support are contingent on the recipient securing an independent tenure-track research position.

“We are thrilled about this because it matches what we created with our Postdoctoral to Faculty Fellow position,” Joe said. “The cream of the crop among postdocs get these grants. Cameron is a brilliant guy — very organized, focused, knows what he wants to do, and works toward it. He’s passionate about what he does in the lab.”

Men’s and Women’s Basketball Season Tickets on Sale Aug. 3

The University of Toledo Athletic Department announced that 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball season tickets will go on sale Monday, Aug. 3.

With the schedules of games to become available soon, fans can expect to see a full slate of Mid-American Conference rivals and non-conference foes in 2020-21. Last year, the men’s team ranked second in MAC attendance, while the women’s squad led the league in attendance for the 30th straight year and finished 26th nationally.

Season ticket plans are available with pricing options to fit all budgets. Reserved seating in the upper level for men’s basketball starts at $80 ($5.30 per game). Lower Level general admission seats for women’s basketball are only $95 ($6.33 per game). Exclusive discounts also are available for youth (12 and younger) and full-time University employees and retirees.

Senior guards Marreon Jackson and Spencer Littleson will lead a deep, athletic men’s squad in 2020-21. Jackson earned second-team All-MAC honors last year after averaging 19.8 points per game and setting a school record with 99 three-point field goals. Littleson also averaged in double digits at 10.5 points per game and will be joined in the backcourt by 2019-20 All-MAC Freshman Team member Keshaun Saunders (7.7 points per game).

The Rocket women return eight letter winners from last year’s squad that finished the season strong by upsetting No. 1 seed Central Michigan in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals. The backcourt trio of senior Tatyana Davis, sophomore Quinesha Lockett and sophomore Sophia Wiard are expected to lead Toledo’s attack in 2020-21.

Season ticket benefits:
• Order before Sept. 4 to receive a complimentary Savage Arena replica.

• Complimentary general admission parking (Rocket Fund donors receive premium parking).

• Ticket exchange program — swap out tickets for games you cannot attend.

• Discount to Rocky’s Locker Team Store.

• Special discounts from corporate partners of the UToledo Athletic Department.

• Invitations to various Athletic Department special events throughout the year.

• Pre-sales for special events.

For more information or to purchase season tickets, visit the Rocket Ticket Office at the Sullivan Athletic Complex in Savage Arena, call or text 419.530.GOLD (4653), or go to the Toledo Basketball Ticket Central website.

Swimmer, Diver Named Scholar All-Americans

University of Toledo diver Joelle Gallais and swimmer Izzy Jones have been named to the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American Team.

The award recognizes student-athletes who achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and were invited to compete at their respective national championship.

Gallais earns Scholar All-America honors for the second time, while this is the first such award for Jones. Both Gallais and Jones garnered Academic All-Mid-American Conference honors this season as well.

Gallais, a sophomore, posted a 3.75 GPA this past semester as a bioengineering major, and Jones, a junior, recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA and graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

The Toledo swimming and diving team turned in a combined GPA of 3.742 this past spring semester, with nine members achieving a flawless 4.0 mark.

As a whole, Rocket student-athletes posted a combined GPA of 3.527, the highest combined semester GPA ever for UToledo athletics.