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UToledo to Honor Holocaust Survivor With Book Release Celebration, Endowed Professorship

The University of Toledo is honoring the life and legacy of the late Philip Markowicz, a Holocaust survivor who was a cherished member of the Toledo Jewish community.

During the virtual event “An Evening in Honor of Philip Markowicz” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13 on Zoom, UToledo and Markowicz’s children will celebrate the release of his book recently published by The University of Toledo Press titled “Losing God in Translation: A Study of the Hebrew Bible” and announce an endowed professorship in Judaism and Jewish Biblical Studies established in his name.

Register for the virtual event at the UToledo College of Arts and Letters website.

Philip Markowicz

“The University of Toledo College of Arts and Letters is grateful for Mr. Markowicz’s many contributions to this community and the generous gift his family has made to establish the Philip Markowicz Endowed Professorship in Judaism and Jewish Biblical Studies,” Charlene Gilbert, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said. “This gift serves as a permanent testament to the scholarship he sought to pursue before his dreams of being a biblical scholar were destroyed by the brutality of the Nazi invasion of Poland.”

Markowicz’s children, Dr. Allen Markowicz and Professor Sylvia Markowicz Neil, together with their spouses Hindea Markowicz and Daniel Fischel, have for the past decade supported a UToledo faculty position in Jewish studies. They and others in the community donated more than $250,000 to fund the new endowed faculty position in Markowicz’s name, and the family will match additional contributions up to $125,000.

“This gift has been fundamental in supporting our efforts to increase our offerings in the study of Judaism and to continue Philip Markowicz’s legacy of scholarship of the Hebrew Bible,” Dr. John Sarnecki, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, said.

The event also will feature a keynote lecture by Dr. Yonatan S. Miller, assistant professor of religious studies and the new Philip Markowicz Endowed Assistant Professor who also prepared and edited Markowicz’s new book.

Markowicz was born in 1924 in Przerab, Poland. The son of a rabbi, Markowicz was known as a Talmud prodigy but his yeshiva education was interrupted by the Nazi invasion of Poland.

He survived the ghetto of Lodz, several concentration camps including Auschwitz, and a death march. Nazis murdered his entire family with the exception of his brother.

After being liberated by the Allies, Markowicz met and married his wife, Ruth, in a Displaced Persons camp and started their family and emigrated to Toledo, where – with no connections or resources – Markowicz trained himself in electronics and created a thriving business.

Philip continued his passion for Torah study and wrote extensively in his retirement. He published an autobiography, “My Three Lives,” in 2010, and completed the manuscript for “Losing God in Translation” shortly before he died in 2017.

The publication of his new book inaugurates a new series from The University of Toledo Press with the imprint of the University’s Center for Religious Understanding.


UToledo Students Host Dialogue on Diversity to Discuss Black Lives Matter Movement

The University of Toledo is continuing its Dialogues on Diversity series with a conversation organized and hosted by students.

The next virtual town hall in the series titled “Black Students Matter: Finding Our Way in the Revolution” will take place 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3 and can be accessed on WebEx using the access code 172 033 9974. The meeting password is DoD7. Join by phone at 415.655.0002.

The discussion will be moderated by Emir Moore, UToledo graduate student in the Master of Business Administration program and graduate assistant for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with participants including:

  • Tulani Black, president of the Association for the Advancement of African American Women;
  • Anthony Gennings, student trustee on the UToledo Board of Trustees;
  • Dominga Grace, organizer of Toledo Together; and
  • Nadia Shelton, president of the National Panhellenic Council.

“Since students are back on campus and settled into the fall semester, we thought that it was important to provide a platform for students’ voices to be heard,” Moore said. “This conversation will provide student leaders an opportunity to share their thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and racial equity in our society and on our campus.”

This is the seventh in a series of recent virtual Dialogues on Diversity since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by a police officer, sparking protests against systemic racism across the country.


UToledo Astronomer Awarded NSF Grant To Study Role of Galactic Winds in Galaxy Evolution

An astronomer at The University of Toledo is combining several techniques to take a high-precision look at how our Milky Way and other galaxies formed and changed after the Big Bang billions of years ago.

The National Science Foundation awarded Dr. Anne Medling, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, a three-year, $332,964 grant to study the way gas — the fundamental building blocks of stars — gets blown out of galaxies by strong winds.

The scientist will use resolved spectroscopy – splitting the light from a galaxy into many different colors – to track the causes and effects of galactic winds, which are driven by black holes and star formation.

As part of the project, Medling’s team also will use their research to develop a public show for the UToledo Ritter Planetarium, titled “The Secret Lives of Galaxies,” which also will be available to other planetariums around the world in both English and Spanish.

“Extreme winds driven by bursts of star formation or active supermassive black holes can eject gas from a galaxy, but weaker galactic winds are more prevalent and their long-term impacts on galaxy evolution may be significant,” Medling said. “Our method allows us to detect those weaker winds.”

Medling will use the Sydney-Australian Astronomical Observatory Multi-object Integral-Field Spectrograph Galaxy Survey data to identify gas outflows and quantify the effects of winds on their host galaxies using a 3D shock diagnostic that can trace gas outflows up to two orders of magnitude weaker than standard methods.

Those data will be linked with near-infrared observations using the Rapid Infrared Imager Spectrometer on the Lowell Discovery Telescope in Arizona and molecular gas observations using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile.

The combined datasets will provide three independent tracers of shocked gas: optical emission, near-infrared molecular hydrogen lines and carbon monoxide emission.

“By looking at so many galaxies at this level of detail, our team will study how galaxies move from youth – blue and star-forming – into their old age – red and no longer able to form new stars,” Medling said.


UToledo Launches Dashboard to Report Positive COVID-19 Cases On Campus

The University of Toledo has launched a public dashboard to provide transparent information about the prevalence of COVID-19 within the UToledo community.

The dashboard, which will be updated weekly, provides information about the number of positive cases among faculty, staff and students across the University. It also includes a snapshot of the University’s current cleaning and disinfectant supplies, as well as enhanced cleaning procedures.

“As the University continues to navigate this pandemic, we want to share what we know about the prevalence of COVID-19 within our campus community,” UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel said. “By building this dashboard, we’re also giving ourselves a better understanding of how cases on campus compare to the community around us, and what data-driven adjustments we may need to make to protect the health of our entire community.”

UToledo’s dashboard is part of a refreshed coronavirus website that details the University’s response to the pandemic.

The positive cases are reported using data from a variety of sources, including tests conducted by The University of Toledo Medical Center on behalf of the University, self-reported cases, and the voluntary surveillance testing of asymptomatic faculty, staff and students.

Recognizing that employees and students may have sought testing through their own healthcare provider, UToledo is closely working with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and other public health agencies to receive updated reports of all cases connected to the University.

UToledo has COVID-19 testing available on both Main Campus and Health Science campus through UTMC for all symptomatic employees and students, with test results available in as little as 24 hours. Through a partnership with Azova, the University began voluntary random surveillance testing of asymptomatic faculty, staff and students on Aug. 19.

Additionally, the University is testing all student-athletes upon their return to campus. Surveillance testing of student-athletes will continue throughout the fall semester.

The University is encouraging faculty, staff and students to self-report positive cases in order for the University to more quickly provide appropriate resources and take precautions to keep campus safe.

Should a student require self-isolation due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, UToledo has set aside alternative housing to protect the health and safety of all students.

UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel, M.D., explains the dashboard data.

UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel, M.D., explains the dashboard data and how this information is being used by University leadership to make decisions to keep our campus community safe and healthy.


UToledo to Host Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony For New Solar Array on Health Science Campus

A new 2.3-acre, 337-kilowatt solar array on Health Science Campus is expected to save The University of Toledo nearly $30,000 a year while increasing the amount of renewable energy powering the University.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the HSC Tech Park Solar Field will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25 at its location off of Arlington Avenue along Main Technology Drive near the Facilities Support Building. Parking is in lot 44E.

“The solar field project is complete and we are working with a local utility provider to get the field operational and tied into the grid,” Jason Toth, senior associate vice president for administration, said. “This work represents a unique collaboration between students, faculty, an outside donor and UToledo to support sustainability on our campus.”

First Solar, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar cells and a company with deep ties to UToledo, donated 365 kilowatts of its Series 5 modules valued at $192,000 to the University in 2017. Approximately 10% of the donated modules are being reserved for maintenance.

A senior design team made up of UToledo students studying mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering worked with UToledo Facilities and Construction to identify the site and prepared construction engineering drawings with assistance from JDRM Engineering. The UToledo Student Green Fund approved spending $350,000 to cover the costs to install the array. The construction contract was awarded to Solscient Energy LLC after a public bidding of the project.

The projected electrical production over the 25-year life of the system will be more than $700,000, enough to power about 60 homes annually.

“The University of Toledo continues to reduce its carbon footprint and strengthen its commitment to a clean energy future,” said Dr. Randy Ellingson, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Thanks to First Solar’s generous donation of modules and UToledo working to keeping costs down, the array will produce some of the lowest cost solar energy in the state of Ohio. We are excited to connect our students to these solar projects. They gain valuable experience with this fast-growing energy technology that generates nearly carbon-free electricity directly from sunlight.”

Based on avoided combustion of fossil fuels, the array will prevent the release of approximately 6 million kilograms of carbon dioxide while generating approximately 10.5 gigawatt hours of clean electricity for Health Science Campus.

A portion of the value of the electricity generated will go to a UToledo fund for use on future renewable energy projects.

Building on its more than 30-year history advancing solar technology to power the world using clean energy, UToledo researchers are pushing the performance of solar cells to levels never before reached.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded UToledo $4.5 million to develop the next-generation solar panel by bringing a new, ultra-high efficiency material called perovskites to the consumer market.

The U.S. Air Force also awarded UToledo physicists $7.4 million to develop solar technology that is lightweight, flexible, highly efficient and durable in space so it can provide power for space vehicles using sunlight.

Plus, the U.S. Department of Energy last year awarded UToledo physicists $750,000 to improve the production of hydrogen as fuel, using clean energy – solar power – to split the water molecule and create clean energy – hydrogen fuel.

These activities involve collaboration with U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, U.S. companies and universities, and enable the UToledo Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization to continue strong international leadership in the field of solar electricity generation.


Dialogue on Diversity to Address Intersection of LGBTQIA+, Black Lives Matter

The University of Toledo is continuing its Dialogues on Diversity series with a conversation on the complexity of identities, what that means for agendas of justice movements, and how they can be effective allies for each other.

The next virtual town hall in the series titled “ALL Black Lives Matter: An LGBTQIA+ Dialogue” will take place 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20 and can be accessed on WebEx using the access code 160 849 0975. The meeting password is DoD6. Join by phone at 415.655.0002.

The discussion will be moderated by Sheena Barnes, executive director of Equality Toledo, with participants including:

  • Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair of the UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies;
  • Veralucia Mendoza, regional field manager at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio;
  • LaVelle Ridley, a 2016 UToledo alumnus who is a Ph.D. candidate in women’s studies at the University of Michigan; and
  • Dr. Michele Soliz, UToledo associate vice president for student success and inclusion.

“To assert that ALL Black lives matter is a way to highlight the diversity inside African-American communities and advocate for the liberation of all: queer, female, immigrant, transgender, non-Christian or having a disability,” Barnes said. “For me, it means working always for a deeper and broader understanding of multiple and intersecting sites of oppression, especially the ingrained and difficult to upend white supremacy in our culture. I believe supporting the Black Lives Matter movement is a way to support ending all oppression, with a necessary emphasis on racial oppression.”


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

A graduate student at The University of Toledo was awarded a competitive grant to look at land use and barriers to urban agriculture in Toledo and Dayton and how it impacts African-American communities.

Brittany D. Jones, a Ph.D. candidate in the UToledo 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 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.

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.


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 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6 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 College of Arts and Letters;
  • Monica Holiday-Goodman, associate dean for Health Science Campus Student Affairs and Diversity, and 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.


Special UToledo Board of Trustees Meeting July 20

SPECIAL BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING
Monday, July 20, 2020
4 p.m. Special Board of Trustees Meeting

Join via WebEx:
Meeting number (access code): 160 998 7770
Meeting password: BOTSPMTGJULY20

Join via Phone:
+1-415-655-0002
Meeting number (access code): 160 998 7770

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.


UToledo Postpones RFP Process; Continues Hospital Stabilization Efforts

The University of Toledo, after consultations with the Board of Trustees, announced Thursday, July 16, that it is postponing the Request for Proposals (RFP) process indefinitely, and will focus our immediate efforts on stabilizing the University of Toledo Medical Center’s (UTMC) fiscal challenges. The RFP was one aspect of the University’s ongoing research to explore all possible options for the future of the hospital.

University officials and hospital leadership have been working tirelessly to address the sustainability of the medical center, including amending UTMC’s medical bylaws, enhancing partnerships with the Toledo Clinic and working on a number of business efficiency and cost reduction strategies.

“There has been much public discussion about the fiscal challenges facing our hospital. This is indeed a challenge we must address, and we will continue to do so,” UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel said. “We recognize the important role of the hospital in our community and are doing our due diligence to address the impact of the hospital’s current financial condition on the University enterprise, while thoughtfully determining the best long-term solution.”

Hospital leadership has made progress in its short-term stabilization efforts which provide an opportunity to focus immediate efforts on caring for the community during the midst of this unprecendented COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the Board of Trustees vote to amend the hospital’s medical bylaws in March by removing the faculty-appointment restriction for practicing physicians, there are now 16 Toledo Clinic physicians credentialed at UTMC. Hospital leaders have been working collaboratively with the Toledo Clinic to explore partnership opportunities in key practice areas, including hematology, oncology, cardiology and infusion services.

“Our hospital serves a critical role in our community as evidenced by the leadership role we’ve played during this pandemic,” UTMC CEO Rick Swaine said. “We were the first location in northwest Ohio capable of testing samples for COVID-19, and continue to be the central testing site for our region.”

“We appreciate the ongoing support of our elected officials and our community. UTMC is your community hospital and we are honored to care for you. As we look to grow our way out of these fiscal challenges, we need your continued support for our services and those of our highly trained physicians.”

As part of the hospital’s ongoing business strategy assessment, UTMC continues to grow its primary care marketshare and anticipates adding two family medicine physicians within the next quarter. UTMC has also recently hired two critical care specialists, an electrophysiologist and a new transplant surgeon. In addition, UTMC is the only hospital in the Toledo metro area that offers kidney transplants, and has been performing these since 1972.

UTMC’s increased focus on safety in recent years has had a dramatic impact improving the care received and overall experience of patients in the hospital. Since 2017, overall infections and infection rates have decreased by more than half and UTMC improved from 80th in 2017 to 8th in 2019 in the overall safety ranking by Vizient, a national network of healthcare organizations working to improve healthcare performance. In the last year alone, UTMC decreased blood stream infections by 90%, readmissions by 10% and overall mortality by 10%.

Additionally, UTMC’s request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a rural designation change was approved for FY 2021. This redesignation impacts the hospital’s reimbursement rates better aligning them with the actual cost of care in our region, and is expected to provide $5 million in additional reimbursement.

While ProMedica Toledo Hospital remains the area’s academic medical center as defined in the Academic Affiliation Agreement with the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, UTMC continues to serve as a teaching hospital for UToledo learners enrolled in the University’s many health professional programs.

“There are a number of challenges ahead and we can’t lose sight of our primary role as an educational institution; however, we also recognize that our community needs our hospital and we need them to support us by continuing to use our services. We must increase our patient volume to find a sustainable solution,” Postel said. “This will take all of us, working together, to find the best solution.”