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Former Interim President of The University of Louisville Appointed Special Advisor to Board of Trustees

Dr. Gregory Postel to Serve as Interim President of The University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio ­– The University of Toledo Board of Trustees has announced the appointment by unanimous vote of Dr. Gregory Postel as the Special Advisor to the Board of Trustees, effective June 17, 2020. Postel will then become the Interim President upon President Sharon L. Gaber’s departure from the University.

Postel is the former Interim President of the University of Louisville (UofL), as well as its former Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. He has more than 25 years of leadership experience with university operations, academic medical centers and clinical research, as well as university governance, teaching and research.

Gregory Postel

Postel

“Our priority was to hire an interim president with proven leadership ability, demonstrated financial acumen, and experience in all facets of university operations, including medical education and clinical operations, to lead our University after Dr. Gaber’s departure,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “The wealth of experience Dr. Postel brings to the University will be invaluable as we continue to build our national reputation and grow our academic mission of service while addressing the immediate and ongoing fiscal challenges that universities and hospitals across the nation are confronting.”

“As a Board we felt it was critical to find a leader who had the experience necessary to lead the entire University of Toledo enterprise, including our academic institution and our hospital. Dr. Postel checks all the boxes,” said UToledo Board of Trustees Vice Chair Al Baker, who previously served on the Board of Trustees of the former Medical College of Ohio and who the Board elected today as Chair for the 2020-21 academic year that begins July 1. “Dr. Postel has a strong track record of collaboration while providing strong, decisive leadership after careful, intensive listening.”

In addition to serving as Interim President of UofL and its Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Postel had an accomplished career as an academic interventional neuroradiologist, serving 18 years as Chair of the Department of Radiology at the UofL School of Medicine and as Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chairman of the Board of the University Medical Center in Louisville. He was the founding Chairman of the Board and later the CEO of the University of Louisville Physicians.

During his time in leadership at UofL, Postel oversaw the design and implementation of two academic affiliations, including an eight-year, $33 million per year pediatric affiliation with Norton Healthcare and a $23 million per year adult affiliation agreement with KentuckyOne Health. He also led the planning and construction of the $80 million Pediatrics Medical Office Building; the management and board transition at the University of Louisville Hospital; the complete restructuring and implementation of the health sciences center budget and the creation of two consecutive balanced budgets in the context of flat tuition and with no program closures; and the reorganization of the athletics department.

“In an era of declining resources coupled with demands for greater transparency and collaboration, The University of Toledo’s success will depend on leadership that embraces clear communication, strategic planning and the creation of partnerships based on trust,” Postel said. “I know that The University of Toledo has a vital mission and a bright future, and I am honored to have this opportunity to help guide it during this period of transition.”

A graduate of the College of Wooster and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Postel completed a residency in radiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and a fellowship in neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic Foundation.

Postel will succeed President Gaber, who has announced her resignation to become the fifth chancellor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. For as long as Dr. Gaber remains President, Postel will serve only in the capacity of an advisor with the powers and authority of the President retained by Dr. Gaber until the conclusion of her service. Only at that time will Postel become Interim President of the University.

The University plans to launch a national search for its 18th President in the coming months.


Preparing Campus: UToledo Aims to Open Campus in the Fall

The University of Toledo is preparing to open campus for the fall 2020 semester with plans to resume face-to-face instruction.

Following the guidance of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, University officials have been discussing a number of scenarios to safely reopen on-campus operations. Among the considerations are personal protective equipment, the ability to maintain necessary social distancing and contact tracking measures, as well as robust cleaning and disinfecting of all campus facilities.

“We are doing everything in our power to prepare our campuses to open for the fall semester,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “As the state of Ohio has begun a gradual and methodical reopening of the state, we expect to safely resume in-person education at The University of Toledo this fall.”

Teams across the University have been developing plans to reopen the University’s campuses following the March closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These groups are reviewing and preparing plans for all facets of campus operations, including research and sponsored programs, public safety, facilities management, information technology, residence life, dining services, etc. The teams will be recommending a number of new measures, guidelines and precautions needed to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Regular updates continue to be posted on the University’s COVID-19 website. Should state or federal guidance cause a change in the University’s plans for the fall, communication will be shared immediately with the campus community as has been UToledo’s practice throughout the pandemic.

“It will take all of us — working together — to create and maintain a safe campus environment this fall,” Bjorkman said.


UToledo Announces Interim Leadership Plans

The University of Toledo has contracted with the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) Search firm to assist with hiring an interim president to assume the institution’s chief leadership role following the departure of President Sharon L. Gaber announced last week.

“The Board has expressed support for the University’s current leadership team and the dedicated faculty and staff who are all working incredibly hard to continue our academic mission in service to our students,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “Our priority is to hire a strong interim president with demonstrated financial and leadership skills to lead our campus during this transition.”

AGB Search specializes in executive leadership searches exclusively for higher education, including interim positions. The firm has a strong reputation within the industry for identifying strong candidates — recently retired or late-career professionals — who are prepared to step in quickly and assist with a leadership transition.

The firm’s managing principal and UToledo alumnus, Dr. Roderick McDavis, will lead the search. An experience higher education administrator himself, he has served as the president at a number of higher education institutions, including Ohio University, University of Minnesota, Boise State University, Seminole State College and Florida State College at Jacksonville. He earned his Ph.D. in counselor education from The University of Toledo.

The University is expected to launch a national search for the next president in the fall. The UToledo Board of Trustees has committed to keeping the campus and greater Toledo communities informed throughout the process.

“As stewards of one of Ohio’s largest public research universities, I can’t imagine a more important responsibility,” Pisanelli said. “At the same time, we will continue to address the immediate and ongoing fiscal challenges that universities and hospitals across the nation are confronting including exploring all options regarding the future of UTMC.”


UToledo Board of Trustees Meeting May 1

SPECIAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UToledo Board of Trustees
will conduct its meetings remotely.

Friday, May 1, 2020
10 a.m. Special Board of Trustees Meeting

Join via Phone:
+1-415-655-0002
Meeting number (access code): 733 155 167

The Board of Trustees will immediately enter Executive Session upon convening
the meeting to discuss the employment and compensation of a public employee.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Marketing and Communications by calling 419.350.3879 or via email to meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.


University of Toledo Board of Trustees to Consider Leadership Transition Options

Following the announcement of President Sharon L. Gaber’s appointment as the fifth chancellor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, The University of Toledo Board of Trustees will convene a special meeting in the near future to consider transitional leadership options to ensure a seamless transition as the University prepares for a national presidential search.

Known for her focus on student success, interdisciplinary research and advancing the University’s reputation as a nationally recognized public research university, Gaber has served as the president of The University of Toledo since July 2015. She announced Tuesday that she has accepted the leadership position of UNC Charlotte.

Sharon Gaber

Gaber

In a letter to campus, Gaber thanked members of the University community for their hard work, dedication and support. “Together, we have made great strides to improve student success and elevated the national stature of UToledo.”

During her tenure, UToledo has significantly increased student retention and graduation rates; strengthened research efforts; and added programs and training to improve diversity, inclusion and sexual assault awareness.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank President Gaber for her leadership, service and commitment to our mission to provide a world-class education for tomorrow’s leaders,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “Together, we have celebrated many accomplishments and faced challenges head on. We wish her nothing but success in her future endeavors.”

Pisanelli added, “As stewards of the University and the state, we will continue to focus our efforts on addressing the fiscal challenges that universities and hospitals across the nation are confronting including exploring all options regarding the future of UTMC.”

“Challenges remain for all of higher education, but I remain confident that UToledo’s future is brighter than ever,” Gaber said. “I am certain that with the Board’s leadership they will not only find the next president that the University deserves, but also that the University will continue the momentum to become an even stronger institution.”


COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance Available for UToledo Students

The University of Toledo is coordinating emergency financial assistance programs for current students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through existing financial aid processes.

“We know many of our students are struggling due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and want to get this financial relief to them as quickly as possible,” said Gina Roberts, assistant vice president of enrollment management. “We’ve compiled emergency funds available for students and have streamlined the application process to expedite the distribution in an effort to assist as many students as possible.”

CARES Funds

UToledo is expected to receive $13.5 million in funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help mitigate financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this total, $6.7 million will be used to immediately assist current students experiencing financial hardships caused by the pandemic. The funding can be used for immediate needs, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare.

Students enrolled for spring 2020 who received a federal Pell Grant will receive a one-time grant of $500, and no application is required. About one-third of the federal relief dollars will be used to prioritize aid to these students.

All current students need to use the existing Rocket Aid application to request CARES funds. To be eligible to receive CARES funding, a student needs to be eligible to receive federal aid by having a valid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or equivalent documentation on file. The Office of Student Financial Aid will determine eligibility based on guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education.

CARES funding applications will be processed as quickly as possible to get this emergency aid to students as soon as possible. UToledo’s goal is to process the first awards by the end of the week.

The new federal relief dollars available are in addition to the more than $1 million in emergency aid that has already been awarded to UToledo students.

Rocket to Rocket Fund and Other Emergency Aid Available

In recent weeks individuals and organizations on campus and in the community have made generous donations to help students who need financial assistance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign surpassed its goal two months ahead of schedule, raising more than $93,000 thanks to the generosity of more than 590 donors.

Student leaders also donated $187,000 of their unused funds that had been planned for spring events and activities.

And Team Sports, a local sportswear company and longtime support of Rocket athletics, has raised more than $7,000 through the sale of face masks that feature the Toledo Rocket logo and “Toledo Rocket Strong” T-shirts.

Those donations support the Rocket to Rocket Fund that provides relief of up to $500 for students who need help paying for housing, utilities, car repairs, medical bills, food and toiletries.

In addition, the Eberly Center for Women has set aside $20,000 from its Center for Women Progress Fund to provide grants of up to $1,000 for students, prioritizing those who are caring for children or experiencing intimate partner violence.

And the Office of Student Financial Aid also makes available $1.4 million in emergency aid available for students each year from donor supported funding accounts.

Each student who submits a Rocket Aid application will be evaluated individually to identify funding sources available to help them with expenses and keep focused on their studies.

“Once a student submits the Rocket Aid application, our team will review their situation and identify the best options for emergency aid, access to federal student or parent loans, financial planning assistance or referrals to community resources,” Roberts said.

The Financial Emergency Intervention Program and Rocket Aid application process was formalized earlier this academic year to help organize the financial assistance options available to students.

It is even more important now to follow this process, Roberts said, because there are a number of financial resources available to assist students facing financial hardships because of the current pandemic.

“By having all of these assistance programs coordinated we can get students aid more quickly and make our dollars stretch farther to help more students,” Roberts said.


University of Toledo Announces Next Steps for UTMC

Recommendations include short-term stabilization efforts and steps toward a long-term solution

Citing ongoing fiscal challenges, exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of Toledo will seek requests for proposals for a potential acquisition, lease, management agreement or other transaction of its community hospital.

“We are undertaking this process to be responsive to the community’s concerns about access to healthcare and the University’s economic realities. We remain challenged as a small, independent hospital,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We hope that a solution emerges that addresses both of these concerns.”

In moving forward with examining all options for the hospital, University officials announced a planned public request for proposal (RFP) process during Monday’s regularly scheduled board meeting. The RFP to seek possible partnerships or sale of the University of Toledo Medical Center hospital (UTMC) is being finalized and is expected to be posted this week, with qualifying criteria needed to participate in the process. University officials have been keeping the Governor’s office informed, most recently communicating to the Chancellor of Higher Education, Randy Gardner, who the Governor designated as the University’s contact for this issue. An update on the RFP process is expected at the Board’s next regular meeting scheduled for June 22.

The University’s decision to move forward with an RFP process followed a financial update presented by Rick Swaine, UTMC’s current CFO and incoming CEO, who noted the hospital continues to struggle financially with the losses at the close of February at nearly $14.8 million. Preliminary implications of the COVID-19 response, including the state’s order to suspend all elective procedures, has substantially increased the financial strain on UTMC.

The RFP process also follows short-term stabilization efforts. On March 9, 2020, the Board of Trustees amended UTMC’s medical bylaws by removing the faculty-appointment restriction for practicing physicians. This has resulted in 12 additional community physicians applying for practicing rights at UTMC.

UTMC leadership also continues to work on a number of cost reduction strategies, including reviewing and reassessing all contracts and adjusting staff levels to align with the current needs during this pandemic response.

“We have committed to being as transparent as possible as we work through the RFP process and the cost reduction strategies,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “As stewards of the University and the state, we must consider all options.”

The University previously shared at the February Board of Trustees meeting that UTMC’s losses for fiscal year 2018 totaled $3.5 million and grew to $7 million in fiscal year 2019.


April UToledo Board of Trustees Meeting

BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING
Monday, April 13, 2020
Join via WebEx:
Meeting number (access code): 201 075 706
Meeting password: utbot413

Join via Phone:
+1-408-525-6800
Meeting number (access code): 88268413

11 a.m. Clinical Affairs Committee Meeting
11:15 a.m. Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting
11:30 a.m. Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
11:45 a.m. Trusteeship and Governance Committee Meeting
12 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Marketing and Communications by calling 419.530.2410 or via email to meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.


President Recognizes Leadership in Action Amidst Global Pandemic in Annual Address

In her fourth annual State of the University address delivered via video amid the global coronavirus pandemic, University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber recognized the resilient leadership of the campus community to stay true to our mission amidst difficult circumstances.

The speech was shared with campus via email April 7 at the same time it was planned to be an in-person event before the COVID-19 outbreak required social distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus. The State of the University video address is available online.

President Sharon L. Gaber delivers a virtual State of the University address amid the global coronavirus pandemic. In her fourth annual address, the president recognized the resilient leadership of the campus community.Intro slide for video

“Despite these unprecedented times, our role as a public research university is more important than ever,” Gaber said. “We are educating the next generation of critical thinkers and innovative leaders, advancing knowledge through groundbreaking research, and serving as a strong community partner with our region and our state.”

Following a theme of “Proving Resilience: Leadership in Action,” the president highlighted success stories from the academic year and positive momentum that indicates a bright future ahead. Gaber discussed ways UToledo is innovating educational programs, how students are succeeding like never before, growth in research excellence, and ways the University is supporting our communities.

Reflecting an ongoing, campus-wide commitment to student success, Gaber underscored the University’s record-high six-year graduation rate of 51.7% after fall 2019 commencement. UToledo surpassed the target rate of 50% listed in the Strategic Plan three years ahead of schedule.

The president also recognized faculty researchers who continue their important work to apply for grants, test theories and publish papers even though we are not on campus.

“Our researchers are leaders in their fields facing the world’s most urgent problems head on, with a cross-disciplinary approach and innovative solutions,” Gaber said. “In just the first six months of this year, we received $32.2 million in competitive research awards, an increase of nearly 24% over this time last year.”

The University’s growing partnerships with the U.S. Department of Energy national labs after hosting a National Lab Day in October was featured in a video story about Dr. Michael Weintraub, a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, who is researching the terrestrial aquatic interface. Another video story shared the student success story of Naba Rizvi, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in information technology following internships with Google and Adobe and another opportunity lined up at Microsoft.

The University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was lauded throughout the president’s address. She recognized faculty and staff for finding innovative ways to make resources available to students remotely and highlighted how faculty experts are helping the community better understand the impact of this pandemic on our health and the economy.

“These may be challenging times, but we’re in this together,” Gaber said. “Thank you for all you’ve done, and continue to do, for The University of Toledo. I am so proud of how you’ve stepped up — as students, as faculty, staff, alumni and community members — to not only ensure that our academic mission continues forward, but also realizing that our collective sacrifices are for the greater good of our region.”


April Special UToledo Board of Trustees Meeting

BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UToledo Board of Trustees
will conduct its meetings remotely.

Monday, April 6, 2020
4 p.m. Special Board of Trustees Meeting

Join via WebEx:
Meeting number (access code): 475 896 455
Meeting password: mdVFqDXJ864

Join via Phone:
+1-415-655-0002
Meeting number (access code): 475 896 455

The Board of Trustees will immediately enter Executive Session upon convening
the meeting to discuss trade secret under the Ohio Uniform Trade Secret Act,
O.R.C. Section 1333.61, et. seq. and the sale of property.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Marketing and Communications by calling 419.530.2410 or via email to meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.