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Archive for October, 2015

‘Policing and Race in Post-Ferguson America’ conversation continues Nov. 2

Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at the City Journal, will deliver the second lecture in a two-part series titled “A Conversation on Policing and Race in Post-Ferguson America” at noon Monday, Nov. 2 in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

The free, public lecture is a part of the Stranahan National Issues Forum and is sponsored by the College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.

Since the events in Ferguson, Mo., last year, Americans have seen a steady stream of incidents replayed in video images: the death of Eric Garner in a police chokehold in New York, the killing of a fleeing Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer, and the death in police custody of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, to name a few.

These incidents and others have raised uncomfortable questions about policing in this country. Is American policing infected with racism? Have police gone too far in their willingness to use force? How can we ensure that policing is performed effectively, but also fairly and impartially?

Mac Donald will argue that police departments are the government agencies most dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter by explaining the policing revolution of the 1990s and looking at race, crime and policing statistics.

Her work at City Journal has canvassed a range of topics, including homeland security, immigration, policing and racial profiling, homelessness and homeless advocacy, and educational policy. Her writings also have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The New Republic. She is a frequent guest on FOX News, CNN, and other television and radio programs.

Mac Donald is the author of several books. Her second book titled Are Cops Racist? (2003) investigates the workings of the police, racial profiling, and the anti-profiling lobby’s harmful effects on black Americans. She has frequently testified before Congress.

Mac Donald holds a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University, a master of arts degree from Cambridge University, and a law degree from Stanford University Law School.

In the first lecture Sept. 10, David Harris, who has studied police and their conduct for 25 years, and who has worked with and trained police in departments all over the country, offered his thoughts on racial profiling and various means available to curb police misconduct. He is the Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Harris taught at The University of Toledo College of Law through 2007, where he was the Eugene Balk Professor of Law and Values.

The Stranahan National Issues Forum is a joint program of The University of Toledo College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. It is made possible by an endowment from the Stranahan Foundation.

The forum’s purpose is to address issues of national importance through the lens of the American legal system.

Register your product or service idea for InnovateHER challenge

Do you have a product or service that provides a measurable impact on the lives of women and families?

If so, you could have the chance to compete in the InnovateHER challenge for one of three prizes totaling $70,0000.

The InnovateHER challenge, created by the U.S. Small Business Administration, is a national competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families.

The competition begins with a local round, hosted by The University of Toledo, and ends in a final round with 10 finalists in Washington, D.C. The northwest Ohio regional competition is being held Tuesday, Dec. 1, at UT’s Scott Park Campus.

To compete, register for free at by noon Friday, Nov. 20. Potential participants will have their documents reviewed and local finalists will be chosen on Wednesday, Nov. 25 to present their pitch to a panel of judges at the local competition Dec. 1.

The judges for the regional event are Scott Weiss, CEO of Ocean Accelerator; Gary Insch, dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation; Amy Hall, president and CEO of Ebony Construction; Linda Parra, president at Nuestra Gente Community Projects, Inc.; and Chris Hill, vice president of business banking at Huntington Bank.

Judges will evaluate each pitch based on whether the product or service has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, whether it has the potential for commercialization, whether it fills a need in the marketplace, the overall quality of the pitch, and the overall quality of the company’s business plan.

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, the judges will announce the winner, who receives a $1,000 prize for the local contest and a chance to be selected to compete at the national competition.

For more information, call 419.530.3347.

Media Coverage
La Prensa (Nov. 10, 2015)

UT students to host Oct. 30 event for McKinley Elementary

Students at McKinley Elementary School will make some new friends this week when about 50 University of Toledo undergraduate students take part in a Halloween event Friday, Oct. 30, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the school, 3344 Westland Ave.

The UT students in the Exploratory Studies Program have been working for weeks to plan and organize the service-learning event for the elementary students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Our students are making a real difference in our community,” said Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney, assistant provost for student success and retention. “Through experiential learning events, students are learning the importance of giving back to their community, strengthening their leadership and interpersonal skills, and gaining a sense of confidence and pride not only in our campus community, but our greater community.”

The UT students, dressed in Rocket gear or Halloween costumes, will engage the McKinley students in carnival-style games, activities and crafts while teaching them the importance of a college education. Mascots Rocky and Rocksy also will attend the event.

“[The kids] can’t wait to interact with college students,” said John Korenowsky, principal of McKinley Elementary. “They’re heroes to the children. They’re full of questions about college life, and they want to hear more about what it takes to be a Rocket one day.”

Novelist to speak at UT Oct. 30

Bruce Holsinger, a historical fiction, crime and mystery novelist and literary scholar, will speak during “An Evening of Historical Fiction” Friday, Oct. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in Libbey Hall on The University of Toledo’s Main Campus.

“This is a great way to be introduced to a new author you might not have heard about before,” said Dr. Christina M. Fitzgerald, UT professor of English and director of the Humanities Institute.

Holsinger’s new novel, The Invention of Fire, has received starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal and was named an Amazon Book of the Month in April. It is set in medieval London when gun violence in the Western world begins to emerge in society for the first time and follows John Gower, the protagonist, as he investigates the killings caused by a new and terrifying weapon called “handgonnes.”

“Even though he writes about the past, the significance of ‘handgonnes’ to the plot of his current book is very timely,” Fitzgerald said. “Sometimes the study of the past or the creative presentation of it can speak to our own day and age in prescient and important ways, and I think that’s true of Holsinger’s latest book.”

Holsinger teaches courses on medieval and modern literature at the University of Virginia, and has taught historical fiction in a massive open online course called Plagues, Witches and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction.

The free, public event will feature a question-and-answer session moderated by Dr. Ben Stroud, UT assistant professor of English, with a book signing and reception.

YouTube star to visit UT for LGBTQA History Month

Through her online platform, Kat Blaque speaks out about transgender and feminist issues. Her main YouTube channel, TransDIYer, has more than 39,000 followers.

“Her perspective is important because black trans women are the most susceptible to violence in the LGBT-plus community,” said Jack Alferio, president of Spectrum UT. “More than 20 trans women have been murdered in the United States in 2015 alone.


“The University of Toledo is very happy and proud to support the trans women of color community by having Kat Blaque keynote our LGBT-plus History Month.”

Blaque will discuss intersectionality and her experience as a black transgender woman during her presentation 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 in Student Union Room 2591 — topics that she frequents in her YouTube videos.

“As someone with a platform, I feel like it’s important to speak out about the things that impact me and people like me,” she said. “I think we live in a society where we all vaguely understand that certain bad things happen, but don’t often have critical conversations about it that allow people to really understand how these things impact people’s lives. So many people don’t understand how their seemingly harmless joke about black people impacts black people’s lives or how their Caitlyn Jenner costume creates an antagonistic environment for trans people. I believe in encouraging empathy, and I embody too many intersections to not speak out.”

In addition to her work on the video-sharing website, Blaque has animated several short films, including “Sometimes You’re a Caterpillar” by fellow YouTube personality Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey.

Alferio said Blaque was selected as the keynote speaker because she is relatable to college students and her social media platforms are easily accessible for everyone.

For more information on the free, public talk, call the UT Office of Multicultural Student Success at 419.530.2261.

UT Boo Ride to take place Oct. 27 on University Parks Trail

Get on your bikes and ride: Be there for the UT Boo Ride Tuesday, Oct. 27, at noon on the University Parks Trail behind Carter Hall.

This will be the first Halloween-themed bike ride down the trail, according to Neil Tabor, UT sustainability specialist.

“We want everyone to come out dressed in costume and ride,” Tabor said. “The first 150 bicyclists will receive free water bottles courtesy of the UT Student Green Fund.”

In addition, those wearing the 10 best costumes will win Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design T-shirts.

UT students are reminded they can check out a bike through Rocket Wheels, the new sharing program that started last month.

Tabor said this will be the first UT Boo Ride and that officials hope it will become an annual fun event that encourages bicycling, which is good for the environment and for one’s health.

The free, public event is being hosted by the UT Student Green Fund in collaboration with the UT Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design Initiative.

UT leading $10 million NASA project to develop hands-on K-12 science curriculum

A University of Toledo researcher is leading a $10 million NASA project that will transform the way science is taught to students throughout the country.

Kevin Czajkowski, UT geography professor, is spearheading the development of new K-12 science curriculum that relies on hands-on experiments to build knowledge using the resources of NASA and education partners across the country.

“Science is much more fun when you do science,” Czajkowski said. “It is not enough to conduct preplanned experiments in the classroom or a lab and expect the students to follow the steps and get excited about scientific discovery. We need to get more students outside taking real observations in the world around them so they can use the data that they collected themselves to answer questions and solve problems.” NASA

UT’s project is one of 27 funded with a $42 million commitment from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate to engage learners of all ages in NASA science education programs and activities.

“NASA seeks to innovate, explore, discover and inspire, and these selections build upon a legacy of excellence from our science education community,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate. “STEM education is the enabler of future space exploration and these awards, together with efforts in NASA’s Office of Education and other partners, will advance STEM efforts in this country, improve U.S. scientific literacy and help to inspire our nation.”

“This project is a perfect example of the innovative research underway at The University of Toledo that advances knowledge in ways that have profound impacts on our world,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Dr. Czajkowski’s work will inspire students across the country to make scientific discoveries in the world around them. These real-life experiences will spark the imagination of the next generation of scientists, engineers and doctors.”

The project, called “MISSION EARTH: Fusing GLOBE with NASA Assets to Build Systemic Innovation In STEM Education,” will leverage the resources of both NASA and Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE), which is an international science and education program that connects students, teachers, scientists and citizens from different parts of the world to conduct real, hands-on science about their local environment and put in a global perspective. 

The idea is to use GLOBE resources to get students out taking observations that they can then use with NASA satellite imagery to answer their own research questions, Czajkowski said.

“It is important for students to have the opportunity for trial and error, to do outside measurements in an environment where they cannot control all the variables but need to account for them in their data,” he said. “It’s about changing the curriculum for the next generation of science standards.”

For example, as a GLOBE scientist Czajkowski worked with an educator in the Dominican Republic whose class embarked on a surface temperature project using an infrared thermometer to observe temperatures around the school and compare those from a grassy field to those in a parking lot. The paved surfaces were more than 42 degrees hotter than the grass, which posed a problem for the playground on an artificial surface that absorbs and stores heat. The experiment continued with the class looking for ways to reduce the heat and that lead the school to paint the playground surface green, which was successful in reducing the heat some 37 degrees.

Part of the appeal of the MISSION EARTH project, Czajkowski said, is the diversity of the partners with expertise in different levels of education. Along with UT that has expertise in middle school project-based science, the partners include: WestEd, a research and service agency in San Francisco with expertise in high school career readiness; Boston University that has expertise in elementary and college engineering practices; and Tennessee State University will provide its expertise in college service learning. University of California, Berkeley, NASA Langley Research Center and the technology company Raytheon also are partners on the project.

Together they will build a K-12 progression of activities that build upon each other as the students complete each grade. The learning materials will be provided, and teachers will be supported and engaged throughout the program.

MISSION EARTH also will connect students with GLOBE’s new citizen science initiative and provide service experiences for undergraduate students studying to be teachers.

Working with Czajkowski at UT will be Glenn Lipscomb, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and Mark Templin, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Other partners on the project are Peter Garik, Bruce Anderson and Magaly Koch of Boston University; Svetlana Darche and Matt Silberglitt of WestEd; Ronald Cohen of UC Berkeley; David Padgett of Tennessee State; Jessica Taylor of NASA Langley Research Center; and David Overoye of Raytheon.

Click here for NASA news release and video featuring astronaut John Grunsfeld.

Media Coverage
The Blade (Oct. 27, 2015)
NBC 24 (Oct. 27, 2015)
13 ABC, WTOL 11 and NBC 24 (Oct. 28, 2015)
The Sacramento Bee (Oct. 28, 2015)
Daily Journal (Oct. 28, 2015)
News-Herald (Oct. 28, 2015)
WKSU (Oct. 28, 2015)
Sidney Daily News (Oct. 28, 2015)
The Washington Times (Oct. 28, 2015)
Independent Collegian (Nov. 11, 2015)

UT leading $10 million NASA project to transform K-12 science curriculum

A University of Toledo researcher will transform the way science is taught to students throughout the country with a $10 million grant from NASA.

Kevin Czajkowski, UT geography professor, is leading the development of new K-12 science curriculum that will have students do hands-on observations and projects utilizing NASA satellite imagery and discoveries.

The project, called “MISSION EARTH: Fusing GLOBE with NASA Assets to Build Systemic Innovation In STEM Education,” is one of 27 funded with a total of $42 million through NASA’s Science Mission Directorate to engage learners of all ages in NASA science education programs and activities.

Czajkowski will be joined by UT President Sharon L. Gaber for an announcement of the research project at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27 next to the Ottawa River on Main Campus behind the Student Union (click this link for map). UT students will demonstrate the hands-on science activities proposed, including water samples from the river, soil samples and surface temperatures using an infrared thermometer.

In the event of inclement weather, the news conference will take place in Student Union Room 2582.

Media Coverage
The Blade (Oct. 27, 2015)
NBC 24 (Oct. 27, 2015)
13 ABC, WTOL 11 and NBC 24 (Oct. 28, 2015)
The Sacramento Bee (Oct. 28, 2015)
Daily Journal (Oct. 28, 2015)
News-Herald (Oct. 28, 2015)
WKSU (Oct. 28, 2015)
Sidney Daily News (Oct. 28, 2015)
The Washington Times (Oct. 28, 2015)
Independent Collegian (Nov. 11, 2015)

Activist/author to visit UT Oct. 29 and discuss LGBT troops in U.S. military

Dr. Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, which commissions and distributes research on gender, sexuality and the military, will speak Thursday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100 at The University of Toledo.

He will discuss why the U.S. military within the last decade has changed 200 years of its official policy to become more inclusive for the LGBT community. He also will address how this change in policy came about and what more can be done to ensure the rights of LGBT personnel in the U.S. military.



“We are honored to have Dr. Aaron Belkin, a foremost scholar and researcher of LGBTQ experiences in the military, giving our annual lecture,” said Dr. Renee Heberle, UT professor of political science and director for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. “His theoretical framework and critical thinking about masculinity and the implications of LGBTQ inclusion in the military will make his talk all the more challenging and interesting to our community.

“This event is a fitting conclusion to LBGTQ History month as that history is full of struggle and fascinating dilemmas regarding how to live in and change a heteronormative culture. LBGTQ inclusion in militarist projects is a site of intense debate among activists. Dr. Belkin will help the larger community of northwest Ohio understand some of those debates.”

From the 2011 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s 2015 announcement of a working group to study how to end the transgender ban in the U.S. military, tremendous strides have been made in the last decade for members of the LGBT community wishing to serve in the U.S. military, Heberle said.

“Dr. Belkin will attempt to explain these changes in official policy, drawing on a range of cultural, political and organizational factors,” she said. “Dr. Belkin is especially interested in helping us understand the activist and organizational strategies that have resulted in these vast changes.”

A noted author, activist and scholar, Belkin’s most recent book is titled Bring Me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Façade of American Empire, 1898-2001.

Since 1999, he has served as founding director of the Palm Center, which The Advocate named as one of the most effective gay rights organizations in the nation. Belkin has appeared on CNN, PBS, ABC News and Fox News.

Cancer survivors, families invited to Halloween party

The scariness of cancer will take a backseat to the fun of Halloween at a party for cancer survivors and their families.

The University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living is hosting a Halloween party at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Health and Human Services Building, Suite 1100, on Main Campus.

The free event is open to local cancer survivors and their families. The evening will include pumpkin carving, snacks, movies and other Halloween-related activities.

“We wanted to do something fun with family and kids,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, co-director of the Center for Health and Successful Living. “We wanted to give them something else to focus on other than cancer, and provide these families an opportunity to see what we offer at the center.”

Thompson said too often the family members of cancer survivors are overlooked when it comes to getting support. She once had a husband say to her, “I wish you would do something for me.”

“When cancer affects one person, it affects the whole family,” Thompson said.

The Center for Health and Successful Living, which opened in October 2013, offers a variety of low-cost health promotion and disease prevention services, including health coaching, health screenings, case management, customized exercise programs and support groups.

Reservations are appreciated, but they are not necessary. Call 419.530.5199 or email

Media Coverage
13 ABC (Oct. 27, 2015)
13 ABC and NBC 24 (Oct. 29, 2015)
NBC 24 (Oct. 30, 2015)