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Second Diversity Plan to Build on Strategic Successes

The University of Toledo has developed its second diversity plan with engagement from more than 3,100 campus and community stakeholders to advance the progress made during the inaugural strategic diversity plan.

“Diversity, inclusion and equity are core values of our University infused into every action we take,” Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion, and vice provost, said. “We are proud of the strategic ways we have strengthened the environment throughout UToledo campuses over the last three years, and we must continue our critical efforts.”

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established in 2016 with the development of UToledo’s first strategic diversity plan, which expired at the end of 2019. The mission of the office is to ensure every member of the campus community feels included, respected and free from discrimination. It also works to promote a diverse and culturally aware environment that prepares students for success in today’s global world.

The goals in the updated plan, which has a timeline of 2020 to 2023, focus on leadership and accountability, education and awareness, recruitment and retention, and community engagement.

The goals are similar, but not exactly the same as the first diversity plan. For example, the new plan establishes supplier diversity as its own goal rather than it being part of the community goal as it was previously, McKether said.

This second plan also has a greater number of strategies focused specifically on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students.

“Since 2016, we’ve added two key positions, one in Enrollment Management and one in the Provost’s Office, that focus specifically on these areas and reflect the University’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity,” McKether said.

Accomplishments during the first three-year diversity plan include:

• Increasing student, faculty and staff feelings of inclusiveness, according to a campus survey;

• Increasing the African-American student retention rate by 8 percentage points and the Hispanic student retention rate by 5.4 percentage points;

• Reducing the equity gap by 7 percentage points;

• Increasing the African-American six-year graduation rate by 6 percentage points and by 2 percentage points for Hispanic students;

• Expanding the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to include an office on Health Science Campus;

• Establishing diversity plans, committees and leaders in all colleges; and

• Implementing a Dialogues on Diversity initiative.

View the diversity plan on the Office of Diversity and Inclusion website.

UToledo Faculty Athletics Representative Named

Dr. Sharon L. Gaber, president of The University of Toledo, has named Dr. Dana Hollie to serve in the position of Faculty Athletics Representative.

The Faculty Athletics Representative serves as an essential liaison between the University’s president, its athletic department, the Mid-American Conference and the NCAA. Hollie replaces Dr. Mary Powers, professor of pharmacy practice, who concluded her term as Faculty Athletics Representative after serving in that role for the past five years.

Hollie

“Dr. Hollie’s academic background, integrity and knowledge of the University make her an ideal choice to serve as our Faculty Athletics Representative. The University will be well-served by her leadership in collaboration with Athletic Director Mike O’Brien, coaches, academic advisers and student-athletes,” Gaber said. “I’d also like to recognize Dr. Powers for her service in this role and the impact she has had on the University as an alumna and dedicated faculty member.”

Hollie is an associate professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation, and holds the Alan H. and Karen A. Barry Endowed Professor of Accounting Chair in the college. Hollie earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and later earned a master of business administration from George Mason, a master of science in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in accounting from Washington University. She served as a visiting academic scholar with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the 2019-20 academic year.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative for The University of Toledo,” Hollie said. “UToledo has very talented student-athletes and coaches, and serving as the Faculty Athletics Representative provides me an opportunity to be even more engaged with students’ athletic and academic successes.”

UToledo student-athletes have an impressive history of academic accomplishment. The Rockets have earned a collective semester GPA of 3.3 or higher in each of the past three semesters, including a record 3.527 GPA this past spring. Toledo also has been the recipient of the Mid-American Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award in six of the past nine years. That award is presented annually to the conference institution that achieves the highest overall institutional GPA for student-athletes for the academic year.

“The academic success our student-athletes have earned demonstrates our commitment to ensuring their excellence in the classroom,” O’Brien said. “The Faculty Athletics Representative is an important part of maintaining that culture, and Dana’s experience and leadership will only make our team stronger. I would also like to personally thank Mary Powers for her outstanding service and commitment to our athletic program and our student-athletes these past five years.”

UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, TPS to Host Virtual Discussion July 1 About Navigating Social Injustice Amidst COVID-19

The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Toledo Public Schools Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will hold a virtual roundtable titled “Navigating Social Injustices Amidst a Pandemic: Open Roundtable Discussion” Wednesday, July 1, from 5 to 6 p.m. on WebEx.

Register for and access the free, public event on the College of Medicine and Life Sciences website.

“This is an opportunity for members of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences to engage with the community and show support for Toledo Public Schools, students and parents. This aligns with our mission to serve the needs of our community outside the walls of our institution,” said Dr. Kimberly Jenkins, associate dean of diversity and inclusion in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and a moderator of the event.

“We aim to continue the dialogue surrounding social injustice and the protests related to recent police killings, as well as discuss meaningful ways to support our young people in coping with these crises. Dealing with the tragic events of this year in the midst of a pandemic has been especially traumatic. Through this event and upcoming collaborations, we hope to strengthen our support for Toledo-area youth and their families and assure them they won’t face these challenges alone.”

Panelists include:

• Bro. Washington Muhammad, co-founder of the Community Solidarity Response Network;

• Dr. Darren Gordon, UToledo M.D./Ph.D. candidate and former national speaker of the house for the Student National Medical Association; and

• Ashley Futrell, attorney and community advocate.

Moderators will be Jenkins, Dr. Treva Jeffries, assistant transformational leader of equity, diversity and inclusion at Toledo Public Schools, and Dr. Hope Bland, administrator in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Toledo Public Schools.

“The objective of this event is to provide support to our students and staff around the current social unrest while coping with the ongoing pandemic,” Jeffries said. “By including panelists from various fields, a wealth of knowledge will be gained in preparation for a successful transition into the new school year. I am confident that the panelists will provide valuable insight as to how participants can effectively work to eradicate racism in their own space.”

The UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences has a dedicated partnership with Toledo Public Schools, including pipeline programs that provide mentoring, bring students on campus, give them support and tools for success on college admissions and academic and professional development.

Former Toledo Women’s Basketball Player Signs Pro Contract in Italy

Former Toledo women’s basketball player Mariella Santucci has signed a professional contract to play for Passalacqua Ragusa in her home country of Italy.

Santucci becomes the eighth Rocket to play professionally overseas under three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year Tricia Cullop, joining Melissa Goodall (Italy and Spain), Naama Shafir (Israel), Andola Dortch (Belarus), Inma Zanoguera (Italy), Brenae Harris (Spain), Janice Monakana (Great Britain) and most recently Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott (Spain and Great Britain) on that list.

In addition, former Rockets Kaayla McIntyre, Janelle Reed-Lewis, Dortch and Harris currently play for the Toledo Threat, which is part of the Women’s Professional Basketball Organization.

“Since the first day Mariella stepped on campus at Toledo, it was her goal to play professionally,” Cullop said. “I’m incredibly happy to see her goal become a reality. We’re so appreciative of the hard work, dedication and leadership that she brought to our program, and I now look forward to becoming a fan of Passalacqua Ragusa and cheering for her.”

Passalacqua Ragusa plays in Italian-Serie A1, the premier national league for women’s basketball clubs in Italy.

This past year, Santucci averaged 10.9 points, a squad-best 6.3 rebounds, a team-high 5.2 assists and a team-best 1.5 steals in 30.5 minutes per game for Toledo. The only Rocket to start every contest in 2019-20, Santucci led the Mid-American Conference in helpers (160), and she ranked second in assist/turnover ratio (1.70, 160-94), 10th in free-throw percentage (.719, 105 of 146), 12th in defensive caroms (4.77 rebounds per game, 148), and 15th in overall rebounding (194).

A 2019-20 team captain, Santucci scored in double figures on 16 occasions during her final season wearing the Midnight Blue and Gold, the third-highest total on the team, including a career-best 31 points against Miami.

A school-record three-time Academic All-MAC honoree, Santucci wrapped up her collegiate career fifth in program history in career assists (614) and minutes played (3,878), sixth in steals (202), eighth in games played (130) and 24th in points (1,103). She graduated as the only player in school annals to tally at least 1,000 points, 600 assists, 500 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.

UToledo Faculty Members’ Play Wins 6 Theatre Awards in Chicago

The Chicago production of a play written and directed by Dr. Matt Foss and designed by Stephen Sakowski, both associate professors of theatre at The University of Toledo, has won six out of the seven nominations it received for the prestigious 2020 Non-Equity Jeff Awards.

Similar to the Tony Awards in New York, the Jeff Awards recognize Chicago’s top theater each year.

This battle scene is from the 2019 production of “All Quiet on the Western Front” at the Red Tape Theatre in Chicago.

“This is the first time a production that began in this department has ever gone on to a professional version and several professional awards,” said Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of UToledo’s Department of Theatre and Film. “We are extremely proud of Matt Foss and his team.”

“All Quiet on the Western Front” won for Best Production of a Play and for Best Ensemble —two of the top awards in Chicago theater each year. Two UToledo alumni, Austin Rambo (Theatre 2019) and Bianca Caniglia (Environmental Science and Women’s Studies 2018), were part of the Chicago production’s ensemble cast.

The production also was won awards for Best Choreography (Leah Urzendowski) and Sound Design (Dan Poppen).

Sakowski received the award for Best Lighting Design of the year, and Foss the prize for Best New Work.

Foss adapted Erich Maria Remarque’s historic novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” for the stage, and it premiered at The University of Toledo with a student cast in fall 2018 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, the war in which the novel is set.

The professional premiere of the play featured a unique collaboration between The University of Toledo co-producing the production with Red Tape Theatre and the Greenhouse Theatre Center — two professional companies in Chicago. UToledo’s support resulted in an extension of classroom learning in a professional setting, with Sakowski and a number of former students also participating in the project. The opening of the production culminated in a showcase event highlighting the UToledo College of Arts and Letters’ commitment to the arts, student experiences and innovation.

In 2019, the play received the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, recognizing the year’s outstanding new work premiered at a college or university.

More information about the 47th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards can be found at jeffawards.org.

Rockets Move to Digital Ticketing for Athletic Events

The University of Toledo Athletic Department has announced it will transition exclusively to digital ticketing for all ticketed athletic events, beginning with the 2020 football season. All season tickets, single-game tickets and parking passes are now fully digital and accessible via smartphones.

Digital ticketing provides the ultimate in convenience and increases safety by eliminating the physical handling of tickets. Digital ticketing also reduces frequent issues related to paper tickets, including theft, lost tickets, shipping delays, and the need for an early confirmation of a shipping address. Other advantages feature the ability for ticket purchasers to easily transfer tickets and manage their account via a smartphone.

Digital ticketing is the safest, quickest, most cost-efficient and sanitary way for Rocket fans to receive their season tickets, mini-plan tickets, single-game tickets or parking passes. With this new process, fans can download and store their tickets to their smartphone, transfer tickets to a friend via text at the push of a button, and manage their account utilizing the new My Account 2.0 page when logging into their account on utrockets.com/myaccount.

“Many of our fans have already been using digital ticketing, so they are familiar with its many advantages over paper tickets,” said Deputy Athletic Director Dave Nottke. “We truly believe digital ticketing will enhance the game-day experience for fans and will allow us to provide improved customer service.”

For assistance or questions, go to UTRockets.com/digitalticketing, call the Rocket Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653), email at athleticticketoffice@utoledo.edu, or stop by the ticket office during normal business hours.

To renew or purchase 2020 Toledo football season tickets, go to the Toledo Rockets website.

Volunteers Needed for Marketing Photoshoot

Volunteers are needed to participate in a Rocket Restart photoshoot as the University prepares for a safe return to campus for the fall 2020 semester.

The Office of University Marketing and Communications is looking to highlight students, faculty and staff interacting safely on campus wearing masks and practicing social distancing to update UToledo’s promotional materials.

Sign up online to participate in the photoshoot scheduled for Tuesday, June 30 in Centennial Mall on Main Campus.

UToledo Food Pantry Receives USDA Grant: Free Produce Available for Students, Employees

The University of Toledo Student Food Pantry is receiving 1,000 pounds of free fruits and vegetables each week through 2020 thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Apples, oranges, carrots and celery valued at $2,800 are delivered weekly through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, also known as the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, according to Benjamin R. Weiner, coordinator of student advocacy.

The UToledo Student Food Pantry is receiving 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables weekly through the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

“We are extremely grateful for this grant. Our goal has always been to continue to improve the human condition by addressing the food insecurities within our community,” Weiner said. “Our hope is that this grant will continue to support our Rocket family through an extremely difficult time.”

Students, staff and faculty will need to provide their Rocket ID number, as well as their address, phone number and household size.

“That data will help us better understand food insecurity at UToledo,” Weiner said.

The Student Food Pantry is located in Thompson Student Union Room 2504 and is open Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We ask that you please wear a face cover; if you do not have one, we are able to provide you a disposable face cover,” Weiner said. “We only allow one person in the pantry per visit and are strictly encouraging the social distancing guidelines in place for community members waiting in line.”

“We are here to support each and every Rocket,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, associate vice president and dean of students. “Every little bit counts, and this grant shows us we can continue to create positive change for our community.”

Weiner said students are utilizing the USDA grant so much, the University has gone from 500 pounds to 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables weekly.

In addition to this grant, students also benefit from a meal recovery program called Rocket Fuel, which is designed to offer meals and reduce food waste from catered events on campus. Students can sign up through InvoNet by searching Meal Alert and receive a text notification when food is ready.

For more information on the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, Rocket Fuel or the Student Food Pantry, visit the Office of Student Advocacy and Support website.

Report on UToledo Board of Trustees June 22 Meeting

Due to an unprecedented level of uncertainty due to the dual impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the fiscal challenges at the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC), The University of Toledo received an update on the fiscal year 2020 budget and announced that it is moving forward to prepare for on-campus instruction in August with a temporary three-month budget for the start of fiscal year 2021.

SAFE RETURN TO CAMPUS

University leaders shared details of the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the June 22 Board of Trustees meeting. The Rocket Restart plan developed by the institution’s pandemic planning teams aligns efforts to prepare for students’ safe return to campus with guidance from public health officials, as well as UToledo’s own health and safety experts. The fall semester has been adjusted to begin on Aug. 17 on the advice of experts in infectious disease and public health. Additional details including prevention principles, testing and contact tracing are also outlined in the plan.

“We all realize that campus will look different when everyone returns, but I am confident that the 2020-21 academic year will continue the positive momentum of the last several years,” UToledo President Sharon Gaber said. “We look forward to safely returning to campus to continue our operations and provide a high-quality education to our students.”

FY 2020 BUDGET UPDATE

The Board was provided an update on the financial performance of the University and UTMC through May. As previously reported, and pre-COVID-19, UTMC’s budget shortfall was $12.68 million through the second quarter in December and $14.97 million through February. Factoring in the negative effects of the pandemic, as well as the CARES Act relief received by UTMC to alleviate some of the impact of COVID-19, UTMC’s deficit for fiscal year 2020 through May is more than $25.4 million. UToledo expects to once again call upon University of Toledo Medical Assurance Company, LLC (UTMAC) funding in the amount of $12.5 million to cover a portion of the hospital’s losses. Transfers from UTMAC, an insurance captive that covers UT Physicians, have been necessary in fiscal years 2015, 2018 and 2019 to address the hospital’s budget shortfalls which have totaled more than $14.5 million in the aggregate for those three fiscal years.

Also, it was reported that in addition to UTMC’s budget deficit, the University’s Auxiliary budget, which covers housing, dining and other operations, had a deficit of approximately $7.4 million through May 2020. More clarity is expected on the overall consolidated University budget shortfall for fiscal 2020 in July.

Facing budget shortfalls in both FY 2020 and FY 2021, the Board learned how University leaders have been working to address the deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other market forces, and how they have had to make difficult decisions regarding operational budget cuts across the institution. Among these cuts are a number of personnel reductions totaling approximately $20 million. University leaders are continuing their efforts to deliver a balanced budget as required by law, despite the shortfalls.

TEMPORARY FY 2021 BUDGET APPROVED

Due to the uncertainty of both future UTMC operations and the effects of COVID-19 University wide, the Board of Trustees chose to approve a $171.8 million three-month temporary operating budget at the meeting, in order to provide guidance for University operations from the start of the next fiscal year on July 1 through the end of September. The Board expects to consider a permanent budget for the complete fiscal year at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board on Sept. 21.

“We have been transparent about the need to address the deficits caused by UTMC operations, the COVID-19 pandemic and other market forces, but despite our efforts to date there continue to be numerous factors outside of our control that require clarity,” said Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO Matt Schroeder.

The temporary budget sets tuition for the year. The incoming class is the third cohort of new degree-seeking undergraduate students in the Tuition Guarantee, which will see a 4.1% increase that will remain unchanged for four years. Other adjustments include a 2% increase for continuing undergraduate students not part of the guarantee and a 2.5% increase for most graduate and professional programs, as well as differential tuition increases in selected graduate and professional programs. The housing and meal plans for the upcoming year were previously approved by the Board of Trustees.

The temporary budget assumes declines in enrollment and state support due to the pandemic and continued losses incurred by UTMC.

RFP PROCESS UPDATE

The Board was also provided an update on the ongoing request for proposals (RFP) process.

Through its advisors, UToledo is currently reviewing the submissions received from the RFP process for a potential transaction for UTMC. With the help of Kaufman Hall, a leading advisor for hospitals and health systems, the University sought a potential acquisition, lease, management agreement or other transaction. The RFP was issued April 16 and responses were due June 10.

While it is the University’s standard RFP process to not release details of the proposals until they have been evaluated, it was shared that UToledo’s advisors from Kauffman Hall engaged more than 40 health systems and other organizations across the country throughout the process.

“We have a responsibility to the University, our community and the state to explore all options for the future of UTMC. The Board has been working for more than two years exploring possible solutions for the hospital,” UToledo Board of Trustee Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “We are doing our due diligence and remain committed to addressing this issue recognizing that the hospital’s current state is placing an unsustainable financial strain on the University enterprise. We know that there are difficult decisions ahead, but I want to reassure the campus and community that we are continuing to evaluate all possible solutions and will not make a decision in haste. “

STATE AUDITOR’S REPORT UPDATE

In an effort to continue to be transparent in regards to UTMC’s financial challenges and calls from members of the community questioning our fiscal realities, President Gaber asked that the Ohio Auditor of State review the finances of both UTMC and the College of Medicine and Life Sciences since the 2015 implementation of the College’s Academic Affiliation with ProMedica. Due to the immediate nature of the fiscal emergency facing the University’s community hospital, the most prudent option at this time was to engage with the Ohio Auditor of State to perform agreed upon procedures of the last five fiscal years as well as the current fiscal year through March 31, 2020 as prepared by CLA, our independent audit firm.

“We are pleased, however not surprised, that the procedures completed by the Office of the Ohio Auditor of State identified no material causes for concern,” said Schroeder. “The identification in the FY 2015 financial statements of a more appropriate way to present the dividend from the UTMAC to address UTMC shortfalls provided an opportunity to more clearly communicate that necessary financial support. The audit also reviewed and determined that all payments from ProMedica included on the College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ income statements accurately reflected actual payments received under the Academic Affiliation based on the cumulative number of resident transfers.”

Math Camp Helps Students Assess and Improve Skills Starting June 29

Math Camp 2020, an intensive, six-week review of skills and concepts hosted by faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is scheduled for June 29 to Aug. 6.

Each week, the camp’s instructional sessions will be held Monday to Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. via online video conference.

While Math Camp is designed with incoming freshmen in mind, any students wishing to improve their math skills are welcome to attend. Planned session topics include rational equations and expressions, exponents, polynomials, geometry and many others.

Registration for Math Camp 2020 is $75 and includes all instructional sessions. Applications and payments are due by Friday, June 26.Math Camp Graphic

“For students, getting placed correctly is key to succeeding in that first college-level math course,” said Kevin Gibbs, a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and one of the instructors for Math Camp. “Math Camp aims to fill in missing bits of knowledge that might keep students from thriving in their studies.”

The course includes short lectures, demonstrations and discussions along with one-on-one preparation for the ALEKS® placement test, which UToledo uses to provide a current measure of students’ skills to place students in the appropriate mathematics courses. ALEKS® uses adaptive questioning to determine what students know and don’t know about a topic.

For more information on Math Camp 2020, students are encouraged to contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at mathcamp@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.2249.