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Postel Appointed UToledo President

Dr. Gregory Postel was named the 18th president of The University of Toledo during a special Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday.

The Board commended Postel for his tireless efforts since joining UToledo in the interim role last July. Board Chair Al Baker noted many of Postel’s accomplishments including successfully leading the safe reopening of campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of fall semester, UToledo has navigated the pandemic utilizing the Rocket Prevention Principles best practices, a proactive surveillance testing strategy and transparent communication. UToledo’s reported positivity rate has remained below the state’s reported positivity rate since tracking began in August.

In addition, Postel was recognized for the stabilization of hospital finances following a tumultuous year for The University of Toledo Medical Center exacerbated by the pandemic. Preliminary FY21 projections indicate a positive turnaround in revenue.

Gregory Postel

Postel

The University’s growing research portfolio continues to grow with several recent multimillion dollar grants announced from the Department of Defense, NASA and NIH, to name just a few. The University’s year-to-date research funding numbers are on track based on last year’s goals.

Postel was actively involved in securing the institution’s second named college – the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation, which was announced in December. He has assisted with a number of other private gifts to support the University.

“We are extremely grateful for Dr. Postel’s leadership during this challenging transition and want to commend all members of our campus community who have stepped up to realize these accomplishments,” Baker said. “Looking ahead, we know that we must continue this momentum if we are to realize our potential as a national, public research university where students obtain a world-class education and become part of a diverse community of leaders committed to improving the human condition in the region and the world.”

Postel has identified eight key initiatives and appointed campus-wide working groups focused on creating a solid foundation upon which to build future growth. The Board applauded Postel for addressing challenges head-on and noted that stable leadership is critical as the University moves forward.

“Dr. Postel’s leadership has been instrumental in stabilizing the institution, but perhaps more importantly, he is actively preparing The University of Toledo for the upcoming Higher Learning Commission visit in November 2021,” Baker said. “After careful deliberation, including consultation with members of the University’s senior leadership team, deans and faculty senate representatives, the Board was honored to appoint Dr. Postel to this position.”

The board unanimously approved a resolution to continue his service to UToledo through June 2025.

“I am truly appreciative of and humbled by the vote of confidence from the Board of Trustees,” Postel said. “I have found The University of Toledo to be an outstanding institution committed to student success. I look forward to working collaboratively with the dedicated leaders across our campuses to continue our positive momentum and achieve UToledo’s full potential.”

Postel 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. Prior to joining UToledo, he served as the senior client partner representing healthcare services and higher education at Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm.

In addition to an accomplished career as an academic interventional neuroradiologist, Postel served 18 years as chair of the Department of Radiology at the UofL School of Medicine and held the positions of vice dean for clinical affairs and chair of the board at University Medical Center in Louisville. He was the founding board chair and later CEO of University of Louisville Physicians. Postel served as interim president of UofL in 2017-18 and also spent four years as its executive vice president for health affairs.

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.

He and his wife, Sally, have twin sons, Alex and Chris.


Special Meeting of UToledo Board of Trustees March 3

BOARD OF TRUSTEES SPECIAL MEETING
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
9 a.m.

Join via Webex:
Meeting number (access code): 160 802 4241
Meeting password: UTBOTSPMTG

Join via Phone:
+1-415-655-0002
Meeting number (access code): 160 802 4241

The Board of Trustees will enter Executive Session
immediately 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 419.530.2410 or via email to meghan.cunningham@utoledo.edu.


Gender Equity Summit to Address State of Women in Toledo

The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women at The University of Toledo is hosting a one-day Gender Equity Summit Monday, March 1.

The inaugural summit, a virtual event with the theme “The State of Women,” is free and open to the public.

“The Eberly Center for Women is bringing local stakeholders and changemakers together to explore the issues women face today and devise strategies to advance gender equity in the Toledo area,” said Dr. Angela Fitzpatrick, director of the Eberly Center for Women. “We will delve into a range of topics including the COVID-19 pandemic, economics, education and racial justice.”

Dr. Melina Abdullah, professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote address titled “Womanist Leadership” at 6 p.m.

The summit also includes panel discussions at 11 a.m., a workshop on how to advance intersectional gender equity at 1 p.m. and a networking session at 3:30 p.m.

The 2021 Gender Equity Summit is sponsored by the Eberly Center for Women, UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Toledo Lucas County Public Library Steinem Sisters Collection, United Way of Greater Toledo, Women of Toledo and YWCA of Northwest Ohio.

To register for the event and view the agenda, visit the Eberly Center website.


UToledo Closed Tuesday, Feb. 16

The University of Toledo will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 16 due to inclement winter weather. Lucas County is currently under a Level 3 snow emergency. Roads are dangerous and closed to non-emergency personnel except for emergencies.

Only employees designated as essential to University operations should report to work.

No classes were scheduled for today as Tuesday, Feb. 16 had previously been a planned instructional break.

The University of Toledo Medical Center, as always, will remain open. Ambulatory care and clinics are closed. Patients will be contacted to reschedule.

Please check utoledo.edu/weather for updates.


Air Force Awards UToledo $12.5 Million to Develop Space-based Solar Energy Sheets

The military is adding fuel to the momentum of physicists at The University of Toledo who are advancing new frontiers in thin-film, highly efficient, low-cost photovoltaic technology to ensure a clean energy future.

The U.S. Air Force awarded UToledo $12.5 million to develop photovoltaic energy sheets that would live in space and harvest solar energy to transmit power wirelessly to Earth-based receivers or to other orbital or aerial instrumentation, such as communications satellites.

UToledo physicists will develop flexible solar cell sheets, each roughly the size of a piece of paper, that can be assembled and interconnected into much larger structures.

Although UToledo’s focus does not include engineering the interconnected arrays, the vision is potentially massive: one space-based solar array could include tens of millions of sheets and extend to sizes as large as a square mile — that’s more than three quarters the size of UToledo Main Campus. One array at this size could generate about 800 megawatts of electrical power — just shy of the power produced by the Davis Besse power plant between Toledo and Cleveland.

Dr. Randall Ellingson, professor in the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy and member of the UToledo Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization

“With 37% stronger sunlight above the atmosphere than on a typical sunny day here on Earth’s surface, orbital solar arrays offer a critical opportunity to harness renewable energy, achieve sustainability goals and provide strategic power for a wide range of orbital and airborne technologies,” said Dr. Randall Ellingson, professor in the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy and member of the UToledo Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization who will lead the five-year project.

“This $12.5 million award recognizes our own University of Toledo as a national leader in solar cell technologies and in photovoltaic energy research,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “UToledo’s broad partnerships with industry, government and academia represent the best of us and will help cement our region as a player for generations to come in solar manufacturing, research and development.”

Building on UToledo’s more than 30-year history advancing solar technology to power the world using clean energy, the physicists will continue developing the material science and photovoltaic technologies that are highly efficient, lightweight and durable in an outer-space environment.

They’re building tandem solar cells — two different solar cells stacked on top of each other that more efficiently harvest the sun’s spectrum — on very thin, flexible supporting materials.

“We have had great success accelerating the performance of solar cells and drawing record levels of power from the same amount of sunlight using the tandem technique with what are called perovskites,” Ellingson said.

Perovskites are compound materials with a special crystal structure formed through chemistry.

The team will sandwich a variety of combinations of solar cells, including perovskites, silicon, cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium selenide, to raise the ceiling on what is achievable.

At the same time, the team will explore lightweight, flexible supporting material to create the large solar cell sheets. Those materials also need to be resilient, ultra-thin and tolerant to high and low temperatures. Semitransparent and very thin ceramic, plastics and glass are under consideration.

“Professor Ellingson and his team have demonstrated their ability to provide the Air Force with outstanding results over the years and the University is pleased that Representative Kaptur prioritizes projects that both advance the nation’s leadership in cutting-edge solar energy technology and provide the Department of Defense with the highest level of support from University research,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UToledo vice president of research.

In 2019 the U.S. Air Force awarded Ellingson’s team $7.4 million to develop solar technology to power space vehicles using sunlight.

“The Air Force has demanding specifications for its spaced-based power systems, and the advances being made in thin-film photovoltaics at UToledo coupled with our new photovoltaic sheets concept provide an avenue to meet them,” said Dr. Michael Heben, UToledo professor of physics and McMaster endowed chair. “The faculty and staff at UToledo’s Wright Center for Photovoltaics are proud to receive this award and excited about the challenge.”

In 2019 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 to the consumer market. As part of the project, Dr. Yanfa Yan, UToledo professor of physics, is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and First Solar to develop industrially relevant methods for both the fabrication and performance prediction of low-cost, efficient and stable perovskite thin-film PV modules.

Also in 2019 UToledo was part of a $3.9 million award led by Colorado State University to collaborate with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, First Solar and the University of Illinois at Chicago on a U.S. Department of Energy-funded project to improve the voltage and power produced by cadmium-telluride-based solar cells.

UToledo’s Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization is a founding member of an organization called the U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium, which is focused on moving a breakthrough new technology out of the lab and into the marketplace to enhance economic and national security. Partners include the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.; Washington Clean Energy Testbeds at the University of Washington; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and six domestic companies that are working to commercialize the technology.

The University created the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization in January 2007 with an $18.6 million award from the Ohio Department of Development in response to a proposal led by Dr. Robert Collins, Distinguished University Professor and NEG Endowed Chair of Silicate and Materials Science. Matching contributions of $30 million from federal agencies, universities and industrial partners helped to launch the center, which works to strengthen the photovoltaics and manufacturing base in Ohio through materials and design innovation.

“Solar electricity now competes economically with fossil-fueled and nuclear electricity while avoiding significant atmospheric carbon emissions which drive climate change,” Ellingson said.

“UToledo has assisted in driving down the cost of solar,” Heben said. “Over the past 15 years the cost of solar has been reduced by a factor of 10, while the amount of solar annually deployed has grown by a factor of 100, currently amounting to about 2% of the U.S. electricity supply. Importantly, the transition to clean solar electricity that is occurring also is creating tremendous new job growth opportunities in many parts of our economy.”

 


Vaccine Clinic at UTMC Postponed Due to Weather

The COVID-19 vaccine clinic scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16, at The University of Toledo Medical Center Outpatient Pharmacy is postponed to Wednesday, Feb. 17, due to the anticipation of significant snowfall.

Individuals who were scheduled to receive a dose of the vaccine during Tuesday’s clinic should report to the UTMC Outpatient Pharmacy on Wednesday at the same time.

UTMC also is working to contact impacted patients directly using the contact information supplied upon registration.

For more information about the University’s vaccine program as one of Ohio’s vaccine providers visit utoledo.edu/coronavirus/vaccine.


UToledo Hosts Dialogue on Diversity to Discuss COVID-19 Vaccines and the Black Community

The University of Toledo is continuing its Dialogues on Diversity series with the next virtual town hall in the series titled “COVID-19 Vaccines and the Black Community” taking place 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 on Webex.

“There are clear and well-documented historical reasons that Black folks may be apprehensive about vaccines and healthcare in general,” said David Young, director of Toledo Excel and Special Projects at UToledo. “At the same time, COVID-19 has ravaged our communities, and we need to find the most expedient way to eradicate it. Our intent is not to convince or persuade anyone, but rather to provide facts and a transparent dialogue.”

Participants include:

  • Dr. Joan Duggan, infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at UToledo;
  • Dr. Kimberly Jenkins, associate dean of diversity and inclusion in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences;
  • Dr. Anthony Pattin, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at UToledo;
  • Dr. Rachel Dudley, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies at UToledo;
  • Gwendolynn Gregory, director of nursing, clinical and community wellness services at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and program director of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center; and
  • Rev. Willie Perryman, president of the Toledo chapter of the NAACP and pastor of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church.

The UToledo Office of Diversity and Inclusion collaborated with Brothers on the Rise, Sister Circle and the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences to organize the event.

This is the 11th town hall in the 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.

The University of Toledo is a community that celebrates and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. As an institution, we remain committed to building an inclusive environment free of racism, sexism, bigotry and other negative influences.


NASA Extends UToledo-led Project Innovating K-12 Science Curriculum

In partnership with NASA and its additional $11.4 million in support, a researcher at The University of Toledo is expanding his work to transform how K-12 science is taught in the U.S. using more hands-on experiments and direct observations to solve environmental problems.

NASA extended for five years the UToledo-led project, which began in 2015 with $10 million in funding.

Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, professor of geography and planning

Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, professor of geography and planning in the UToledo College of Arts and Letters, is spearheading the development of new curriculum that relies on helping learners of all ages do real science using the resources of NASA and education partners across the country.

An average of 5,000 students each year participated in the project over the last five years from across the country.

“The main goal of our program is to have students create and do real science projects — authentic science, not something staged in a lab,” Czajkowski said. “Some of the projects students have done are very cutting edge.”

For example, a high school student in Toledo worked with an air quality scientist at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia to look at how forest fires in California affect the air quality in Ohio.

“Working with a national expert in the area of air quality, the local teenager collected and analyzed data. The team discovered the forest fires made our skies murky, milky white in Toledo, but didn’t affect air quality at the surface,” Czajkowski said.

During the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 2019, the program enlisted local middle and high school students in a competition to recreate the historic lunar landing using robots and drones.

Plus, every year students from Ohio and Michigan ranging from kindergartners to college seniors come to UToledo to present research projects related to the Earth’s environment. The most recent conferences have continued virtually during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Being science literate is to be able to ask questions and find out information, gather data and analyze the results,” Czajkowski said. “Our project also is a way to encourage students to pursue STEM degrees.”

UToledo’s project is one of 27 funded with an annual $39 million commitment from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate to implement the next phase of Science Activation — a community-based approach to connect NASA science with students.

“NASA science seeks to serve new communities and expand connections with our premier scientists and engineers. We do that through innovative partnering, and I couldn’t be prouder of the cadre of awardees,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

The UToledo-led project, called “MISSION EARTH: Fusing GLOBE with NASA Assets to Build Systemic Innovation In STEM Education,” leverages 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 it in a global perspective.

UToledo’s partners in the project during the last five years 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 which provides its expertise in college service learning. University of California, Berkeley, NASA Langley Research Center and the technology company Science Systems and Applications Inc. (SSAI) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center also are partners on the project.

The team will expand to include more schools and locations around the U.S. through 2026.

“We’ve already started a Great Lakes campaign, working with Defiance College, Northern Michigan University and State University of New York at Fredonia,” Czajkowski said. “Our idea is to have these new partners duplicate what we’re doing here at UToledo and at Boston University, Tennessee State, West Ed and UC Berkely in California. All of us are creating hubs and then working with other partners in our area. We find that you need a local person to work with the teachers and students.”


UToledo Hosts Dialogue on Diversity Jan. 26

The University of Toledo is continuing its Dialogues on Diversity series with the next virtual town hall in the series titled “The Path Forward — The Constitution and the Fragility of Democracy” taking place 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 on Webex.

“We are quite fortunate to have such distinguished scholars here at the University who are able to help us better understand the constitutional questions and concerns raised by the events of Jan. 6,” said Charlene Gilbert, dean of the UToledo College of Arts and Letters. “Higher education has an important role to play in defending our institutions and our modern democracy. I look forward to hearing the expert insights of our panelists and to an inclusive and informative discussion.”

Gilbert will moderate the discussion with participants including:

  • Jeff Newton, UToledo Police chief and director of public safety;
  • Dr. Sam Nelson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration;
  • D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law;
  • Benjamin Davis, professor of law; and
  • Dr. Monita Mungo, assistant professor of sociology.

This is the 10th 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.

The University of Toledo is a community that celebrates and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. As an institution, we remain committed to building an inclusive environment free of racism, sexism, bigotry and other negative influences.

 


UToledo Lake Erie Center to Outfit Floating Laboratory for Science Cruises

The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center and its scientists will engage local teachers and hundreds of middle and high school students in hands-on learning on a new floating laboratory on the Maumee River.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded UToledo a nearly $80,000 grant to fund the STEM educational project titled Maumee River FLOWS —floating laboratory on watershed science.

During a “Saturday Morning Science” cruise on the Sandpiper during the summer of 2019, Bridgeman explains to passengers how UToledo monitors the health of Lake Erie and its tributaries.

A central feature of the project is to transform the large Maumee River tour boat, the Sandpiper, into a laboratory for science and art classes by equipping it with sensors, sampling gear and water-testing equipment. Data available from NOAA buoys in nearby Lake Erie and U.S. Geological Survey river gauge stations will allow students to engage with live river and lake data throughout the year.

The funding, which runs through October 2022, also covers the cost of an estimated 30 science cruises aboard the Sandpiper during the 16 months of the project, which can accommodate about 600 students in total.

“Our goal is to foster in teachers and students an awareness and sense of connection with and responsibility for the waters of the Great Lakes,” said Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, professor of ecology and director of the UToledo Lake Erie Center.

“Hundreds of school-age children cross the Maumee River every day, yet have never had the opportunity to venture onto the river or touch the water. Many have never even seen Lake Erie, a mere five miles downstream. We want to get students out on the river, touching the water and becoming aware of its influence on their Great Lake.”

Focused on schools in and near the downtown area along the Maumee River, the project is joined by local partners including Toledo Public Schools, Toledo School for the Arts, Maritime Academy of Toledo, Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District, Partners for Clean Streams and the Sandpiper.

The Lake Erie Center plans to train 10 middle school and high school teachers to use the scientific equipment on board the Sandpiper and provide context to the adventure on the water when the class returns to school.

“The 2014 ‘Toledo Water Crisis’ made everyone in the region aware of the problem of harmful algal blooms, what we call HABs,” Bridgeman said. “Many residents, however, remain unaware of the central role of the Maumee River in gathering agricultural HAB-causing nutrients from the watershed and delivering them to Lake Erie and of the urban effects on the river stemming from storm-water drains, road salt runoff and sewage treatment plant outflows.”

Students will reflect and present their “meaningful watershed educational experience” through science presentations or artistic media.

Students and teachers also will work on stewardship action projects that focus on urban effects on waterways, such as labelling and protecting street storm drains, installing rain barrels and rain gardens, designing alternate parking lot salting schemes, or stream litter removal.

The project is designed to accommodate social distancing and safety procedures required by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The passenger deck of the Sandpiper is an ideal platform for a socially distanced learning experience,” Bridgeman said. “Designed to carry 100 passengers, the Sandpiper can carry up to 50 passengers with social distancing and an ideal class size of up to 30 students.”

The Lake Erie Center is UToledo’s freshwater research and science education campus focused on finding solutions to water quality issues that face the Great Lakes, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species and pollutants.