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Archive for May, 2017

New dean selected to lead UT College of Engineering

A civil and environmental engineer with a focus on design and construction innovation and safety will join The University of Toledo as the leader of the College of Engineering effective Aug. 1.

Dr. Michael Toole comes to UT from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Over his 18 years at Bucknell, he served as professor of civil and environmental engineering, associate dean of engineering, director of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program and director of the Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management. During the current academic year, Toole has been a faculty fellow associated with the Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence at Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Architectural Engineering.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Michael Toole to The University of Toledo,” Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “His robust experience in higher education, the private sector and the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps will enhance and strengthen our commitment to research and training in the College of Engineering.”

Dr. Michael Toole

“I can’t wait to begin working with the excellent faculty and staff at UT to help provide quality engineering education that strengthens the Toledo region, as well as our nation,” Toole said. “The commitment on campus to achieve excellence in both teaching and research is inspiring. The strong co-op program, extensive research facilities and wonderful ties with regional industry partners make this opportunity very compelling.”

Prior to Bucknell University, Toole worked at Packer Engineering as director of construction systems and vice president of HomeCAD; Ryland Homes as purchasing and construction services manager; Tonyan Composites Corporation as president and co-founder; Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an instructor of business and technology strategy; Brown and Root Services Corporation as project manager; and the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps as assistant resident officer in charge of construction and company commander in a SEABEE battalion.

Toole earned a PhD in technology strategy and a master’s in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Bucknell University.

Toole is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program Steering Committee, the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Society of Engineering Education. Toole won teaching awards at MIT and Bucknell and received two best paper awards from ASCE.

“My primary goal for the foreseeable future is to strengthen the scholarly profile for UT’s College of Engineering,” Toole said. “Securing funded research is an integral part of our mission because acquiring new knowledge leads to vibrancy within classrooms and throughout campus.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Steve LeBlanc for his leadership as interim dean of the College of Engineering since January,” Hsu said. “Dr. LeBlanc and the engineering faculty have made tremendous progress in moving the college forward.”

UT class to investigate mock crime scene at Wildwood May 23

Consider it CSI: UT.

University of Toledo students studying criminal justice and paralegal studies will get a dose of reality as part of a pioneering summer course titled Criminal Forensics and Trial Practice.

It’s a collaboration between the Paralegal Studies and Criminal Justice programs.

Students are placed on prosecuting and defense teams and assigned as crime scene investigators, paralegals and attorneys. They are responsible for investigating a mock homicide, indicting a suspect and conducting a trial.

The exercise begins with a fake crime scene at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 23 at the southwest corner of Wildwood Metropark near the maintenance building. Sixteen undergraduate students plan to spend up to 10 hours at the site.

The students will test their knowledge of forensic principles, such as securing a crime scene, photographing and collecting evidence, blood spatter analysis and interrogation, with the guidance of John Schlageter, director of the UT Paralegal Studies program and a former attorney who practiced in Ohio and Michigan, and Andrew Dier, director of the UT Criminal Justice program and a retired UT police officer.

“This is an opportunity for students to step out of the traditional classroom setting and practice hands-on skills that they will use in their careers,” Schlageter said.

A mock jury trial will be Thursday, June 22 in the McQuade Courtroom located inside the Health and Human Services building on the UT Main Campus.

At the trial, students will test their knowledge of trial procedure, including the preparation and examination of trial witnesses, how to make a closing arguments and rules of evidence.

“Following proper procedure from the very beginning at the crime scene could be the deciding factor in a guilty verdict from a jury,” Dier said. “This is practical training to put the students in real situations and force them to make mistakes here because in the real world of law enforcement, we get one shot to do it right, one bite of the apple.”

UT researchers study red-headed woodpeckers to solve mysteries of the charismatic, declining species

The red-headed woodpecker’s feisty, loud personality fits the reputation of crimson-maned creatures, but the student researcher gently holding the bird bucked the trend.

University of Toledo graduate student Kyle Pagel was calm, steady and methodical as he banded the woodpecker’s legs with tiny, colorful identifying rings and looped a miniature backpack armed with a light-level geolocator and pinpoint-GPS around its legs.

UT graduate student Kyle Pagel holding red-headed woodpecker

“The woodpecker is wearing it like a climbing harness,” said Pagel, who is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental sciences at UT. “The backpack is so thin and light that it doesn’t inhibit flight or movement.”

The bird that flies freely once again from tree to tree isn’t the scarlet mohawked woodpecker regularly spotted in backyards. The red-headed woodpecker is about the size of a robin or ten times larger than a warbler.

This 70-gram, boldly patterned “flying checkerboard” is the seventh bird of its kind in a week that the UT team has examined at Oak Openings Metropark, taken a blood sample from, and outfitted with tracking technology to identify migration routes.

“This is such as photogenic, popular species, it’s surprising how little is known about them,” Pagel said. “It’s fascinating to work with such a charismatic bird.”

Red-headed woodpecker at Oak Openings Metropark

Pagel, along with UT ornithologist and assistant professor Henry Streby, launched a study this month of red-headed woodpeckers that could last up to ten years and solve many mysteries about the species.

For the next several weeks, the birding team’s office will be located throughout the Oak Openings region, including sites along Girdham Road and Jeffers Road at Oak Openings Metropark in Swanton, Ohio. They expect this year to put tracking technology on 20 adult red-headed woodpeckers in Ohio and 20 in Minnesota, and on another 25 juveniles in each of those states.

“They’re in extreme decline, especially in the Midwest and Great Lakes area, maybe because of habitat loss and changes in their food supply,” Streby said. “We’re lucky to have Oak Openings just west of Toledo because it’s a place where red-headed woodpeckers seem to be doing relatively well. We want to figure out what’s working here and see if we can offer recommendations for habitat management elsewhere.”

UT ornithologist and assistant professor Henry Streby setting up the mist net

Every morning the team sets up mist nets and uses recorded calls, drums and decoy birds to attract the woodpeckers.

Researchers are using blood samples to analyze DNA and hormones, as well as measure stress, immune system condition and aging.

The miniature backpack weighs about two grams and uses a light-level geolocator to gather data about when the birds go in and out of tree cavities each day. Pinpoint GPS, like on a cell phone, will tell the researchers where the birds traveled.

“Red-headed woodpeckers are inconsistent,” Streby said. “Some years they migrate for the winter, some years they don’t. We want to know why. We also want to know where they go when they’re not here on their breeding grounds. It could only be as far south as Kentucky or Tennessee. That is what we will learn for the first time when we recover the backpacks from the birds.”

Food availability, specifically acorns, is one of the factors being observed at Oak Openings this season, as well as reproductive success and genetics.

“We’re studying all of this without knowing whether these woodpeckers are going to leave or not,” Streby said. “It’ll take several breeding seasons to be able to analyze their habits and help us know what needs to be done to conserve the species, especially in places where the populations are shrinking.”

Streby also has been studying golden-winged warblers for five years using light-level geolocators that weigh less than half a paper clip to track migration patterns. The songbirds, which are about the size of a ping pong ball, travel thousands of miles once they leave their spring and summer nesting grounds.

New dean selected to lead UT College of Arts and Letters

An award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and scholar of women’s and gender studies will join The University of Toledo to lead the College of Arts and Letters.

She also is a familiar face on campus.

Charlene Gilbert

Charlene Gilbert returns to UT from Ohio State University at Lima where she has served as dean and director since 2014, as well as professor in the Departments of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her appointment is effective July 10.

Prior to Lima, Gilbert worked at UT for seven years as professor and chair of the UT Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, founding director of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and director of the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women.

“The University is excited to welcome Charlene Gilbert back to Toledo,” Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “Her excellent, diverse experience and enthusiasm for student and faculty success will be strong assets as dean of the College of Arts and Letters.”

“I am honored to have been selected as the next dean of the College of Arts and Letters,” Gilbert said. “This is an inspiring time for The University of Toledo, and it is clear to me that the College of Arts and Letters will be a critical part of the University’s highest aspirations for the future.”

Gilbert was a documentary filmmaker and professor at American University in Washington, D.C., from 2001-07 in the School of Communication.

Her documentary films have been screened nationally on PBS and in film festivals across the country. Some of her best-known works include “Homecoming: Sometimes I Am Haunted by Memories of Red Dirt and Clay,” about African-American farmers and their struggle after the Civil War to own and farm land in the rural South, and “Children Will Listen,” which is about elementary school children planning and performing a junior production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Her current projects include an experimental documentary on the international prototype for the kilogram and a documentary on Mary Fields, a female pioneer known as “Stagecoach Mary” who has ties to Toledo.

Gilbert is a past recipient of Harvard University’s Radcliffe Fellowship, the Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship and American Council on Education Fellowship.

She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Yale University and a master of fine arts in film and media arts from Temple University.

“The College of Arts and Letters has an incredibly talented community of faculty, staff and students,” Gilbert said. “I am looking forward to joining this community and building on the strong legacy of excellence that can be found in all of the departments and schools within the college.”

Once Gilbert’s appointment begins at UT, Dr. Jamie Barlowe will join the Provost’s Office full-time as interim vice provost for faculty affairs.

UTPD officers to participate in active shooter training exercises on campus

The University of Toledo Police Department is conducting active shooter training exercises throughout the month of May that emphasize the role of the first officer to respond to an emergency situation.

Media are invited 9-11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 18 at the former Main Campus Child Care Center near the south entrance of campus off of Dorr Street and Parking Area 9.

Most of the training will be contained inside the building. However, officers will be practicing entry into the north side of the building in the morning.

The community may see police cruisers with emergency lights on as officers practice their approaches in the parking lot. Signs will be posted that say, “UT Police Training Event.”

The training program called RAIDER, which stands for Rapid Deployment, Awareness, Intervention, Decisiveness, EMS and Recovery, provides the tactical skills necessary for the first officer responding to an active shooter situation to be able to intervene immediately in order to reduce the number of casualties.

The training provides officers with the mental and physical skills to draw the attention of the active shooter away from the potential victims, confuse and frustrate the shooter, and successfully neutralize the situation.

UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences to host Commencement May 26

Internationally renowned minimally invasive surgeon Dr. Mehran Anvari will serve as the commencement speaker for The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences graduation ceremony 2 p.m. Friday, May 26 at the Stranahan Theater.

There are more than 200 candidates for degrees, including 162 for a doctor of medicine degree, ten for a doctor of philosophy degree; 29 for master’s degrees; and four graduate certificates.

Anvari, one of the first surgeons in Canada to use robotics in surgery who also won a NASA award for his part in developing an automated robot used for detecting the early stages of breast cancer, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of science.

Dr. Mehran Anvari

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Anvari serve as the speaker for our upcoming commencement,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “His impressive body of work, particularly in minimal access techniques, should serve as an example to our graduates that pushing boundaries and finding new and innovative methods to replace established practices can lead to better, more positive outcomes.”

A tenured professor and chair in minimally invasive surgery and surgical innovation at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Anvari is the founding director of the McMaster Institute for Surgical Invention, Innovation and Education, the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery and the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation.

“It is an honor to be invited to speak at the commencement of The University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences,” says Anvari. “My talk will focus on how innovation is an essential ingredient for social and economic progress and can solve the problems facing our global community. It should be a goal for all students and drive our future academic and professional endeavors.”

Anvari is a pioneer in his field. He is the founding director of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery and scientific director and CEO of the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation, affiliated with McMaster University and St. Joseph Healthcare Hamilton.

In 2003, he established the world’s first telerobotic surgical service linking St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and a community hospital.

In addition, Anvari has authored over 120 publications and has been an invited lecturer numerous times on the outcomes and evidence for the increasing use of laparoscopic esophagogastric and bowel surgery as well as on the use of robotics in surgery.


New dean selected to lead UT College of Nursing

The future of nursing education at The University of Toledo will be in the hands of a leader and scholar with a passion for pediatrics whose research focuses on helping children and families cope with traumatic situations.

Dr. Linda Lewandowski is selected to join UT as the dean of the College of Nursing effective July 10.

Lewandowski comes to UT from the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing where she served as professor of nursing and former associate dean for academic affairs and graduate program director.

“I am proud to welcome Dr. Linda Lewandowski to The University of Toledo as dean of the College of Nursing,” Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “Her extensive experience in patient care, nursing education and research will advance and strengthen our commitment to research and training high-quality, versatile health-care providers who will make a difference in the community.”

“I feel very honored and privileged to be joining the UT community,” Lewandowski said. “Visionary and action-oriented new University leadership; leading-edge, innovative educational facilities; well-established interprofessional collaborative education programs; and talented and compassionate faculty, staff and students are some of the strengths that drew me to this position.”

Personally, this move brings her much closer to family.

“I grew up in Michigan and am looking forward to coming back to the Midwest,” Lewandowski said. “The fact that my daughter, son-in-law and grandchild – with another on the way! – live not too far away in the Detroit area is certainly a plus. I am looking forward to more frequent ‘grandma-time.’”

Lewandowski said she believes that universities play vital roles in advancing the health and well-being of communities, while providing meaningful and real-world learning experiences for students.

“Helping address and manage tough challenges, such as the growing opioid epidemic which affects families of every socio-demographic group, through our research, education and service activities is one example of how we can help make a difference in the State of Ohio as well as the nation,” Lewandowski said.

Lewandowski worked in a joint position at Wayne State University College of Nursing and Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 2003-12 as the Elizabeth Schotanus Endowed Professor of Pediatric Nursing and assistant dean of family, community and mental health.

While teaching at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing from 1993-2002, she was promoted to associate professor. Lewandowski also served as associate director for training and education from 2001-02 at the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence.

Lewandowski also held several positions at Yale University School of Nursing from 1981-93, including assistant professor, research associate and acting department chair. She additionally completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical psychology at Yale.

Lewandowski worked as a staff educator and resource nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at Mount Zion Hospital and Medical Center in San Francisco and in the pediatric intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Lewandowski earned a PhD in clinical psychology and master’s in psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also holds a master’s in pediatric critical care nursing from the University of California San Francisco. Lewandowski earned a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Michigan.

She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and holds leadership posts in national and international nursing organizations.

“I wish to thank Dr. Kelly Phillips for her leadership as interim dean during the last two years,” Hsu said. “Together with the nursing faculty, Dr. Phillips has made tremendous progress in moving the college forward.”

May UT Board of Trustees Meetings


Monday, May 15, 2017
Driscoll Alumni Center, Schmakel Room
12:30 p.m. Clinical Affairs Committee Meeting
1 p.m. Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting
1:15 p.m. Finance and Audit Committee Meeting
1:30 p.m. Trusteeship and Governance Committee Meeting
1:45 p.m. Board of Trustees Meeting
A luncheon for the trustees will be held at noon in the Driscoll Alumni Center Board Room.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Communications by calling 419.530.2077 or via email

UT faculty, students to present diverse water quality research at Great Lakes conference in Detroit

An ongoing study on the height of the annual algal bloom in the water near the Toledo Water Intake in Lake Erie is one of 34 University of Toledo research projects being presented next week at the annual conference of the International Association of Great Lakes Research.

The study, which measures the algal bloom over 24 hours in rough and calm waters, is entering its second year. The goal is to make recommendations to water plant operators on the best time to pump water and reduce intake exposure to microcystin.

“This has the possibility to provide a practical way to protect the public drinking water,” Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, UT algae researcher and professor of ecology, said. “We want to develop a model that tells the water utilities where to expect the algae to be and when to pump more or less to avoid it.”

Graduate student researcher Eva Kramer will be presenting the research, which is titled “Avoiding Harmful Algal Blooms at Toledo’s Drinking Water Intake by Observing Vertical Distribution and Migration,” during poster presentations on Wednesday, May 17.

“It’s inspiring to be surrounded by hundreds of people working to understand, protect and restore the Great Lakes from a broad range of backgrounds,” said Kramer, who is pursuing a master’s degree in ecology at UT. “I look forward to hearing their stories and learning from their successes and struggles.”

The annual conference of the International Association of Great Lakes Research is from Monday, May 15 through Friday, May 19 at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

UT researchers will be presenting from diverse areas of study, including economics, engineering, environmental sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, geography and planning, and medical microbiology and immunology.

A full list of the UT researchers and their projects can be found at

Dr. Carol Stepien, Distinguished University Professor of Ecology, and Kevin Czajkowski, professor and director of the UT Center for Geographic Information Sciences and Applied Geographics, organized a special session titled “Pathways for Invasions into the Great Lakes: Detection, Monitoring and New Technology” that runs from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 17. Stepien and Czajkowski work with bait shops and fishermen for invasive species prevention.

PhD student researcher Alison Brendel, who works in the lab of Dr. Jason Huntley, associate professor of medical microbiology and immunology, is presenting a talk titled “Isolation and Characterization of Lake Erie Bacteria that Degrade the Microcystin Toxin MC-LR” at 10:40 a.m. Friday, May 19 during the session titled “Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiatives: Field to Faucet and Beyond.”

During that same session, Dr. Kevin Egan, associate professor of economics will present “Benefit-Cost Analysis for Policy Options (e.g. fertilizer fee, wetlands) to Reduce Nutrient Runoff” at 8 a.m. Friday, May 19.

Water quality is a major research focus at UT. With $12.5 million in active grants underway, UT is studying algal blooms, invasive species such as Asian carp, and pollutants and looking for pathways to restore our greatest natural resource for future generations to ensure our communities continue to have access to safe drinking water.

Researchers and students help to protect the public drinking water supply for the greater Toledo area throughout summer algal bloom season by conducting water sampling to alert water treatment plant operators of any toxins heading toward the water intake. UT’s 28-foot research vessel enables UT to partner with the city of Toledo and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor the health of the lake and provide real-time data.

The UT Lake Erie Center is a research and educational facility focused on environmental conditions and aquatic resources in Maumee Bay and western Lake Erie as a model for the Great Lakes and aquatic ecosystems worldwide.

Girls in Science Day at UT May 10

More than 140 sophomore high school girls will visit The University of Toledo Wednesday, May 10 when prominent female scientists and engineers across the region will introduce them to the exciting world of science and technology careers through hands-on experiments and demonstrations.

The eighth annual Women in STEMM Day of Meetings, which goes by the acronym WISDOM, will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on UT’s Main Campus and Health Science Campus.

UT faculty and industrial professionals from Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Spartan Chemical Co. Inc., will help inspire a passion for science careers by exploring the tools of the trade. The visiting high school students will also get to interact with female graduate students in the various areas in science, engineering and the health sciences.

The girls will carry out investigations in a number of areas, including physics and astronomy, chemistry, biology, engineering, pharmacy and medicine.

Activities for students will include building solar cells, using liquid nitrogen to make objects float in the air, swabbing their cheeks for a DNA sample, building a motor, generating electricity on a bike, making biodiesel fuel, using patient simulators to practice patient interventions, and making lip balm (see schedule below).

During lunch in the Brady Center on the Engineering campus the students will learn about coding and its importance for future careers in STEMM.

“Girls are just as interested in science and technology as their male peers, but the number of girls that make it to college to pursue a major and get a job in a STEMM field is not growing as we need it to do,” said Edith Kippenhan, senior lecturer in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, director of WISDOM and past president of the Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science. “Women approach problems differently, and they come up with different, equally valid solutions. We need them in the workforce to better design products and solutions for the various problems facing our society and our planet.”

Students from Toledo Public, Washington Local and Oregon Schools, as well as from the Toledo Islamic Academy and Wildwood Environmental Academy, will participate in WISDOM at the University.

“It is our goal to show the students they have a real and doable pathway to their dream career in STEMM,” Kippenhan said. “It is our hope that a visit to UT for events such as WISDOM will inspire them to embrace science and technology, and turn their dreams into reality.”

The event is hosted by the Northwestern Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science. Sponsors include Marathon Petroleum Corp., Columbia Gas, Spartan Chemical Co., Toledo Section of the American Chemical Society, the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, and the UT Colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Photo/video opportunities include:

  • Building solar cells: 9 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. in Thompson Student Union Room 3016 on UT’s Main Campus;
  • Using liquid nitrogen to float objects: 9 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. in Thompson Student Union Auditorium on UT’s Main Campus;
  • Building motors: 10:25 a.m. in Brady Engineering Innovation Center on UT’s Main Campus;
  • DNA sampling: 9 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. in Thompson Student Union Room 3018 on UT’s Main Campus; and
  • Making lip balm: 9:10 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. in Health Education Building Room 019 on UT’s Health Science Campus.