Government Relations


Congresswoman to host retired general for energy discussion Nov. 20
By Meghan Cunningham : November 19th, 2015

General Wesley ClarkCongresswoman Marcy Kaptur will host retired NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Wesley Clark for a discussion on America’s energy independence Friday, Nov. 20, at 1:30 p.m. in the Nitschke Hall SSOE Room (1027).

The hour long free, public event will include a question-and-answer session with the audience.

As a former director of strategic planning and policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Clark has a unique perspective on the connections between global conflict and energy development and infrastructure. During his speech, he will share insights drawn from 34 years of service in the U.S. Army and his role as the former NATO supreme allied commander.

Frank J. Calzonetti, Ph.D., Vice President of Government Relations/Chief of Staff gave testimony before the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on February 12, 2015.   (Please see the testimony below)

Chairman Hill, members of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, thank you for providing us the opportunity to testify to you on a matter of grave importance to the State of Ohio. My name is Frank Calzonetti and I am the Vice President for Government Relations and Chief of Staff to the President of The University of Toledo. Joining me are Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences and Dr. Hans Gottgens, Professor and Associate Chair of the UT Department of Environmental Sciences.

The University of Toledo is a state-assisted higher education institution serving approximately 20,000 students with over 85% of these students coming from the State of Ohio. With over 300 academic programs across a broad range of disciplinary areas, UT is one of a select number of universities in the nation to offer programs in arts and science disciplines, business, education, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, social services, and pharmacy. In addition, UT has its own research hospital.

UT has made strategic investments to build research strengths in areas important to our region. One area in which we stand tall nationally is our depth in water and environmental research and issues relating to the health of the Great Lakes. We have faculty expertise across our diverse campuses with specialized centers and laboratories including our Lake Erie Research Center with its research vessels, our imaging centers, our GIS and remote sensing laboratory, and our Legal Institute for the Great Lakes that provide support for research and engagement on water and Great Lakes issues. I invite each of you to visit our Lake Erie Research Center today so you can see what a valuable asset this is to our state.

So when the August, 2014 water crisis hit Toledo, UT was in an excellent position to provide expert local support to our community in explaining causes of the problem, the implications of the problem, ways to improve water treatment and testing, and ways to address the problem in the future. In fact UT has been monitoring algal blooms on Lake Erie since 2002.

UT was the only public research university directly affected by the water crisis, resulting in the closure of the campus and a rescheduling of procedures at the UT hospital. At the recommendation of UT Interim President Nagi Naganathan, I organized the UT Water Task Force within days of the crisis pulling together over 20 faculty experts from campus as well as experts from BGSU. Four days after the event we held a public forum on campus where UT and BGSU experts provided information to the public and media on the problem and answered questions on the cause of the problem, the health impacts relating to compromised drinking water, and whether the regional water supply was in jeopardy. This event drew over 250 people as well as local, state, national and international media attention.

We organized the task force in subcommittees to address important elements of the problem. These are: (1) Land Use and Water Quality; (2) Water Treatment, Infrastructure and Testing; (3) Policy, Economics, Law and Public Education; and (4) Toxicity and Specific Health Concerns. Each subcommittee prepared plans to address the water quality challenge. When Chancellor Carey announced that the Ohio Board of Regents would dedicate $2 million to the state’s research universities to tackle the problem, UT was already organized with well thought-out plans on ways to move forward. He convened a water quality committee of faculty experts from throughout Ohio to put forward proposals to begin immediately to address the problem. Indeed, of the $2 million in the Chancellor’s funds, $832,000 is dedicated to projects led by UT. While all of the Chancellor’s projects are meritorious, UT believed that additional funding was necessary for a comprehensive look at the Maumee River Watershed so we dedicated $200,000 of university funds to study this issue as well as to provide more support for medical-related projects.

UT is able to provide you with the best scientific and legal advice on almost all aspects of this problem, from the causes of the algal blooms, the migration of the algae, how algal blooms result in microcystis entering the water supply, ways to treat water, and the health effects to both healthy residents and those with compromised liver and kidney function. Our faculty members collaborate with experts at other universities in Ohio, throughout the nation, and throughout the world. But now we will just provide testimony of direct interest to your committee by inviting Dr. Tom Bridgeman and Dr. Hans Gottgens to summarize work on the algae tracking in Lake Erie and on issues relating to the Maumee River Watershed.

Chairman Hill and members of the Committee, I would now like to have Dr. Bridgeman introduce himself.

Statement of Dr. Thomas Bridgeman

Chairman Hill and members of the Committee, my name is Tom Bridgeman. I am an Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences and have been conducting research on Lake Erie’s algal blooms for over a decade and spend many days collecting samples directly from the lake. I would like to inform the Committee of work to be undertaken through Chancellor Carey’s funds on providing better monitoring and more advanced warnings of harmful algal blooms that may affect water supplies.

At present, water utilities that draw source water from Lake Erie are severely limited in their ability to adjust treatment levels quickly enough to neutralize algal toxins during Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). One of the primary limitations is a lack of advance warning of high algae and microcystin toxin levels before they reach water intakes. Currently the only warning available is the real-time data provided by water quality sensors deployed near the Toledo water intake. Since mid-August 2014, these sensors have proved extremely useful in giving utility managers a few hours advance notice of high HAB concentrations, allowing them to adjust treatment as needed. The first major objective of this project is to extend this early-warning capacity to 12-24 hours by placing in situ sensors up to 8 miles away from intakes in areas where high toxin levels tend to develop during blooms.

The real-time notification system and additional warning time we propose will allow managers to respond more efficiently to impending pulses of high-toxin water approaching their intakes and to avoid costly overtreatment of water when it is not necessary (up to $10,000 per day). A second important limitation on water treatment utilities’ ability to deal with HABs is a lack of information on what environmental conditions cause HAB cells to produce toxins and to release toxin into the water via cells rupturing or exuding toxin – which affects the treatment response needed at the plant. Therefore the second major objective of this project is to investigate environmental variables (such as phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations, and vertical mixing) that may provide insight on conditions that promote the production and release of algal toxins.

In addition to the major objectives I just described, the state funding will allow us to build on 13 consecutive years of HAB size estimates in western Lake Erie, for modeling and long-term trend detection. We will also be able to investigate relationships between nutrient concentrations and HAB development by tracking algal nutrient concentrations and HAB biovolume in Maumee Bay. Furthermore, we will help to refine remote sensing methods for HABs by comparing algal and physical data to vessel-based radiometer lake surface measurements and data from remote sensing platforms (we have a developing collaboration with NASA, with pending commitment from NASA to support one University of Toledo graduate student on this project). We will also provide HAB and environmental data to refine and calibrate ecosystem models (in collaboration with OSU) and will be working with colleagues in the UT College of Engineering in evaluating the accuracy of ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) microcystin toxin tests for high toxin concentrations found in western Lake Erie via comparison with advanced LCMSMS (Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry) measurements.

Given the limitation of time and budget, this project will focus on improving advance notice of HABs approaching the Cities of Toledo and Oregon water intakes. However, all HAB data will be publicized and publically available via our website. Water utility managers along the Ohio and Michigan shorelines of western Lake Erie will be contacted and invited to subscribe to bulletins and alerts. The systems created and lessons learned can be transferred to other water utilities in the future. Future projects will also incorporate particle-tracking hydrodynamic models (currently run by NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory) with our lake data to predict and visualize the movement of HABs for the benefit of water utilities throughout the western basin of Lake Erie.

This project will operate in parallel and in collaboration with a similar project being conducted on Sandusky Bay by BGSU and Kent State University and will share data and expertise. Certain components such as work done by OSU Stone Lab and remote sensing (by Richard Becker at UT and researchers at KSU) involve both projects but must be done separately due to the geographical distances involved. HAB early-warning information generated by both projects will be presented as a unified product for the benefit of water utility managers and Ohio citizens.

The ultimate solution to the HAB problem in Ohio will be to prevent HABs by preventing algal nutrients from entering our tributaries and lakes from surrounding watersheds. However, this solution may take several years to accomplish. In the meantime, water utilities and Ohio residents must be protected from potentially toxic water supplies through a combination of advance warning of HABs approaching intakes and appropriate testing and treatment within the water plants. Presently, a variety of empirical and ecosystem models are capable of approximate predictions of annual bloom size based on springtime tributary discharge. However, our experience with Lake Erie HABS from 2011-2014 has demonstrated that for water utilities, understanding the movement and behavior of blooms on time scales of hours to days and spatial scales of a few miles is even more important than the overall size of the bloom. The results of our project will give water utility managers more time and data to make effective treatment decisions. Overall, the project results will contribute an additional safety factor to water supplies affecting >500,000 Ohio residents.

Statement of Dr. Hans Gottgens

Chairman Hill and honorable members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to address the committee today. My name is Hans Gottgens and I am a Professor and Associate Chair in the University of Toledo’s Department of Environmental Sciences. My background is in environmental engineering sciences with a specialization in wetlands ecology. I hold a Ph.D. degree from the University of Florida, edit an international, peer-reviewed journal on Wetlands Ecology and Management, and worked for years with farmers in the area of soil and water conservation through the Florida Department of Agriculture. Northwest Ohio and the Maumee River basin have been my home for more than 20 years.

My goal is to highlight the recent initiatives sponsored by The University of Toledo to help improve management of the Maumee River watershed, the main source of nutrients leading to the formation of harmful algal blooms (HABs) on western Lake Erie each summer. I will focus particularly on wetlands and the role they may play in a solution to these HABs. Clearly, this is a large-scale environmental problem and its solution requires a large-scale approach with a long-term focus.

In early August of 2014, nearly half a million residents of northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan lost access to safe drinking water for two days due to elevated levels of microcystin, a cyanobacterial toxin, in the water supply exceeding the 1 μg/L safety limit for drinking water established by the World Health Organization. This crisis refocused attention on the recurring large HABs in Lake Erie, the region’s source of drinking water. These blooms, dominated by the toxin-producing Microcystis aeruginosa, are not a new phenomenon and appear to be getting more prevalent. They are stimulated by nutrient loading, particularly in the form of dissolved phosphorus and nitrogen. In fact, the four largest HABs since the mid-1990s in the western basin of Lake Erie have occurred during the past six years.

This cyanotoxin crisis also refocused attention on activities that contribute to the nutrient loading and corrective measures. Clearly, this is not a new issue in the western Lake Erie basin nor is this unique to this region. Emphasis is generally placed on the activities of both farmers and urban residents in the basin. Less consideration is given to where these farmers farm and where these urban residents live. In the case of the Maumee River watershed, these activities occur in a region that was historically a very large wetland (the Great Black Swamp). As such, drainage is essential and downstream water quality problems, including cyanotoxins, are likely. Returning some wetlands to the Maumee River basin to help improve water quality deserves serious consideration.

Much has been published about the role wetlands play in water quality improvement. Several scientific journals devote attention to this topic. The effectiveness of wetlands to treat nutrient-rich runoff depends on the hydrology, soils, topography, nutrient loading rates and climate of the basin. Different designs may be used including in-stream vs. floodplain wetlands, constructed or natural systems, and subsurface-flow or surface flow designs. Each design, in turn, may differ in substrate quality (e.g., sand, gravel, peat), water depth and depth variation, plant community composition, inflow/outflow configuration and parameters that support ancillary objectives (e.g. mosquito control, wildlife habitat, education and aesthetics). Investigating which wetland designs have the greatest potential for leading to improved nutrient abatement in the Maumee River basin is a necessary first step.

Taking advantage of work done by Daryl Dwyer, one of my colleagues at UT, we will use experience with a new system of wetlands installed recently in Maumee Bay State Park, to assemble the best possible wetland designs for the Maumee River basin to help ameliorate cyanotoxin problems downstream. We will formulate how such wetlands should be managed and monitored to maximize long-term nutrient abatement. And, we will identify suitable treatment sites within the basin based on where land with proper access is available and where treatment would be appropriate.

Other land-use projects sponsored by UT, carried out by my colleagues in collaboration with other state universities, include updating our watershed models that address the impact of land use on water quality within the Maumee River watershed. These updates include new field observations and satellite data from Landsat 8, launched in 2013. These models need accurate spatial information on topography, soils and land use of the watershed in order to work properly. They also need accurate information about best management practices, such as crop type, tillage practice, and buffer strips so that the scenarios that are run are as accurate as possible.

We will also establish a citizen science project through the UT’s Lake Erie Center engaging teachers and students within the Maumee River watershed. Through teacher training sessions, teachers will learn how to engage their students to take water quality observations, use geospatial technologies to visualize the data, analyze water quality data, present their results through an inquiry-based research project, and share data with other schools to investigate the sources of nutrients within the Maumee River watershed. This program will be run in conjunction with our participation in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, a worldwide, hands-on school-based science and education program.

In summary, this is clearly a large-scale environmental problem. Its solution requires a large-scale, watershed approach that addresses the sources of the problem, identifies the best ecological solutions, and helps educate the next generation. This includes bringing back some of the wetlands that existed in the basin historically. I thank the committee for allowing me time to represent The University of Toledo.

Democratic strategist advocates for compromise
By Meghan Cunningham : January 27th, 2015

Paul BegalaDespite how it might appear, American politics right now are not as divided as they have ever been, but there is a strong resistance to compromise that is causing a gridlock in Washington, political strategist Paul Begala said in a speech Wednesday at The University of Toledo.

In his talk peppered with jabs at his Republican counterparts, the former adviser to President Bill Clinton said politicians need to be open to other opinions and work together to move the country forward.

His visit to UT was part of the Jesup Scott Honors College Lecture Series.

Begala noted how intense political polarity led to the Civil War, and mentioned an instance in the past where a congressman bludgeoned another with a cane on the Senate floor over a difference of opinion.

“So we’re not the most polarized we’ve ever been, but we are the most paralyzed, at least in modern times,” he said.

Begala told a story about how even during Clinton’s impeachment process, he worked with Newt Gingrich and other Republicans to double funding for the National Institutes of Health. But now? Politicians don’t make the deals. Government has grinded to a halt and compromise has become a dirty word, he said.

“We are rewarding shutdowns and showdowns instead of compromise,” he said.

Part of the problem, he noted, is a diverse media pallet where people can choose to get their news from a source they agree with, rather than being challenged with a different perspective. Another concern is politicians pandering to their gerrymandered bases.

As the demographics of the country continue to change, politicians need to embrace the adapt-or-die model, and so far Democrats are adapting better than Republicans, Begala said. Embracing the rising American electorate — young people, Latinos and unmarried women — will lead to future successful elections.

But success in office to get things done will continue to require collaboration. Begala suggested nonpartisan investments in the sciences or infrastructure as good opportunities to start to come together. But, he said, it is up to the voters to demand that principled compromise.

The final lecture in the second annual series will be from Toledo Museum of Art Director Brian Kennedy, who will speak Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. in Doermann Theater. Visit for more information.

Law alumnus serving as arbitrator at Winter Olympics
By Staff : Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Matthew Mitten saw action even before the 2014 Winter Olympic Games began.

Matthew MittenThe 1984 graduate of the UT College of Law and professor of law and director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School is in Sochi, Russia, serving as an arbitrator.

He is on a team of nine arbitrators, all lawyers, judges or law professors from around the world who specialize in sports law and arbitration; they will settle any dispute related to the Olympic Games. This special international tribunal, called the Court of Arbitration for Sport ad hoc Division, has operated at every Summer and Winter Olympic Games since 1996.

Mitten and two other arbitrators heard the Games’ first case Feb. 3: A female athlete sought to represent Austria in the women’s freestyle ski halfpipe, claiming she had been misled into believing she had been selected for its Olympic team. The panel rejected the application because the Austrian Ski Federation did not recommend that the Austrian Olympic Committee nominate her for its Olympic team because of sports performance concerns.

He arrived in Sochi late last month.

“I appreciate this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity very much,” Mitten said.

“It’s been an incredible experience meeting people from all over the world — especially our Russian hosts, who’ve been so welcoming — and seeing firsthand the power of international sports competition to unite the world’s diverse cultures,” he said.

During the games, Mitten plans to watch some stellar competition: “I’m looking forward to attending the opening ceremony, the Russia-USA men’s ice hockey game, bobsled and ski jumping, among other events.”

“Arbitrating at the Winter Olympics is just one of the amazing and unanticipated places a UT law degree has taken our graduates,” said Daniel Steinbock, dean of the College of Law.

“Professor Mitten is universally regarded as one of the most knowledgeable sports law experts in the country,” said Geoffrey Rapp, UT professor of law, who teaches sports law. “It’s no surprise that he’s been selected to play such a prominent role at a time when the whole world will be watching.” 2014 olympics logoMitten, a leading sports law scholar, has authored Sports Law in the United States (Wolters Kluwer 2011), and co-authored a law school textbook, Sports Law and Regulation: Cases, Materials and Problems (Wolters Kluwer 2013), which is in its third edition, and an undergraduate and graduate textbook, Sports Law: Governance and Regulation (Wolters Kluwer 2013).

“It’s been a wonderful experience for my students this past semester, and in years past, to take a class at Toledo in which the casebook’s lead author was a UT grad,” Rapp added.

“I received an outstanding, well-rounded education from the UT College of Law that well-prepared me for a variety of professional experiences as an attorney, law professor and international sports arbitrator,” Mitten said. “The guidance and support I received as a law student and throughout my career from faculty members such as Ron Raitt, Rhoda Berkowitz, Marshall Leaffer and Howard Friedman — and others — has been invaluable.”

Mitten has published articles in several of the nation’s leading law reviews as well as in medical journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine. He is a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the American Arbitration Association’s Commercial Arbitration, Olympic Sports, and United States Anti-Doping Agency panels, and the Ladies Professional Golfers Association’s Drug Testing Arbitration panel.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will operate in Sochi through Sunday, Feb. 23. According to the applicable rules, when an arbitration request is filed by a games participant, the president of the court ad hoc division sets up a panel of either one or three arbitrators. A hearing is then rapidly convened, at which all parties, witnesses and potentially affected third parties are given the opportunity to express their legal arguments and to produce evidence. Generally, the ad hoc division will render its decisions within 24 hours.

Founded in 1984, the Court of Arbitration for Sport is a permanent arbitration institution that specializes in the resolution of sports law disputes. It has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Former MCO student now Army surgeon returns from Afghanistan
By Haraz N. Ghanbari : Friday, November 8th, 2013

In one of Afghanistan’s most remote provinces situated along the southeastern border with Pakistan, a graduate of the former Medical College of Ohio spent several months treating the casualties of a decade-long war.

Dr. Daniel G. McCulloughDr. Daniel G. McCullough, a recently promoted major in the Army Reserve, deployed to Afghanistan in the latter months of 2012 as one of three doctors assigned to the 691st Forward Surgical Team.

“Trauma surgery was mostly what I did there,” McCullough recalled. “When the weather was good, the troops would go out and do stuff — trauma would depend on how busy they were.”

As more U.S. and coalition troops rotate out of Afghanistan, more of the daily fighting against terrorists is done by Afghan troops. McCullough said as a result of the shift in roles, there were fewer American casualties; most of his patients were Afghan soldiers, Afghan police and members of the local population.

McCullough earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Miami University of Ohio in 1993. In 2001, he graduated as a medical doctor from MCO and then completed his surgical residency in 2006. In 2007, the Ohio native completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at the University of Virginia.

For the last six years, he has been in private practice, licensed in Maryland and Delaware, specializing in bariatric and minimally invasive surgery.

The son of former MCO President Frank S. McCullough, who was an Air Force medical doctor in the early 1970s, the younger McCullough joined the Army in August 2011 through a direct commission.

“MCO has a fabulous trauma program — for better or worse, I was exposed to a lot of trauma and a lot of vascular surgery, both of which were of critical importance for the Army,” McCullough said. “My private practice is all elective surgery — bariatric surgery, minimally invasive using video cameras and robots. Trauma is a completely different creature.”

The majority of the injuries McCullough treated while deployed were gunshot wounds and blast injuries often sustained from improvised explosive devices. Most patients would arrive via helicopter within 30 minutes of injury, and the mission of McCullough and the medical team he worked with was to stabilize, treat and transfer the patient to the next highest level of care.

Forward surgical teams typically include 20 staff members consisting of four surgeons, three registered nurses, two certified registered nurse anesthetists, three licensed practical nurses, three surgical technicians, three medics, one administrative officer and one detachment sergeant.

When McCullough talks with medical students, he often advises them to go where their heart is and not do what they think is going to have the best lifestyle.

“Where young doctors run afoul and have an unhappy career is when they choose a job because their mentor, their parent or their wallet told them to take a job,” McCullough said.

The pay of a military doctor varies based on rank and the number of years of military service, but often doesn’t compare to higher pay of a civilian counterpart in private or general practice.

“I knew I had something the military needed and was happy to give back,” McCullough said. “From a rewarding life experience, it’s definitely worth every minute of it.”

Currently assigned to the 48th Combat Support Hospital headquartered at the Capt. John Smathers Reserve Center near Fort Meade, Md., the major said he anticipates being deployed again in early 2014 for his second Operation Enduring Freedom mission.

McCullough and his wife, Dr. Sophia McCullough, a practicing pediatrician and graduate of MCO, live in Maryland with their three children.

UT designated as Innovation and Economic Prosperity University

The University of Toledo is one of 16 public institutions in the nation recognized by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) for strong commitment to economic engagement.

The designation as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University acknowledges schools working with public and private sector partners in their states and regions to support economic development through a variety of activities, including innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and work force development, and community development. 

“The health and viability of Toledo and the region are inextricably linked to The University of Toledo,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said. “UT is proud to be a good community partner to support the growth and prosperity of Toledo and northwest Ohio.”

“The APLU Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation and awards program has enabled universities to shine a spotlight on the work they’re doing, both internally on their campuses and externally with their communities, to promote economic engagement — and to demonstrate more clearly with government and the private sector the public benefit of universities,” said Douglas Banks, associate vice president for economic development at UMass and co-chair of the Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program.

“Unlike a more traditional competition, this process led the universities to work together and learn from one another — sharing tools, tips and techniques for promoting strengths and tackling areas of improvement. A learning community was created that has led to a stronger grasp of why university economic engagement matters.”

In addition to UT, the institutions in the inaugural class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities are Boise State University, California State University at Fresno, Northern Illinois University, Ohio State University, State University of New York, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati, University of Georgia, University of Idaho, University of Memphis, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Oklahoma and Washington State University.

Applicants for the new Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation conducted a self-study developed by the APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity and solicited input from external stakeholders. The applications were scored by a panel of reviewers representing other universities and also national partners. Scoring was based on a range of criteria emphasizing universities’ development of their economic engagement enterprise, their planning efforts around economic engagement, strategic communications around these efforts, and participation in encouraging economic engagement among peer institutions.

Among UT’s positive contributions noted were the commitment of the president to economic development in the region, local talent development, and its technology transfer and commercialization program.

The designation reflects the University’s broad contributions to the regional economy and particularly the leadership shown by UT in working with community partners in developing a shared vision to move the region forward as a vibrant innovation-based community. The merger of UT with the former Medical University of Ohio, the growth of research programs, the technology transfer contributions of its research centers, the faculty work on community challenges, and its arts and humanities contributions have made the institution a stronger force to contribute to positive economic change in the region.

Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president for government relations, noted the participation of community leaders in the preparation of the documentation for APLU that led to this designation.

“In preparing our submission, we are very grateful to the many local government and community leaders who gave us their time to provide candid comments on how UT contributes to regional innovation and prosperity and ways we can work together for a more prosperous community,” Calzonetti said.

“We’re helping to provide tools to universities to help them become even more economically engaged with their communities, which is a core value of public institutions,” APLU President Peter McPherson said. “Universities are economic engines that not only directly employ people, but also generate research-based innovation and technical expertise that allow businesses to start up, grow and thrive. This designation recognizes universities that are really stepping up to strengthen their local economy.”

UT only school to send students to national political seminar
By Casey Cheap : Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Nine University of Toledo students had the chance to review the 2012 presidential election last semester without the 24-hour cable news analysis.

A UT law and social thought class was able to view the election through the eyes of academic scholars, as the University was the only school to send students to attend a national conference at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio.

The one-day conference was held Nov. 16 and consisted of presidential scholars from all over the country.

Although the academic conference targeted those in the political science field as opposed to students, the conference worked perfectly for potentially planning other curriculum in political science as well as law and social thought, according to Dr. Renee Heberle, associate professor of political science.

“We wanted to expose the students to a formal academic conference,” Heberle said. “We want to show them what critical analysis of contemporary politics looks like from an academic perspective as opposed to the perspective of the talking heads and pundits on cable television.”

Heberle said the event was scheduled in conjunction with Constitution Day and viewing the presidential debates. Every student involved wrote a paper on the experience for the class.

“The students were interested in this enough to take a full day and go to this conference,” she said. “I was impressed with their professionalism. UT and the Provost’s Office are giving students the opportunity to do something normally only a private liberal arts college will do.”

Some of the topics discussed at the conference included President Barack Obama’s strengths and weaknesses regarding leadership of his cabinet, the role former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism played during this election cycle, and how former President Bill Clinton aided President Obama’s re-election.

Kayla Notheis, a junior studying social work, said the conference was interesting and had a deep educational value.

“There were a variety of topics such as Obama’s psychology and Mitt Romney’s religion as well as Obama’s stance on gay marriage and the role of a rhetorical president,” she said. “I am very glad to have had the opportunity to broaden my perspectives on political science through this experience.”

Nick McCullough, a freshman studying political science, said that he found the evolution on President Obama’s views on gay marriage to be fascinating.

“It was definitely interesting looking at the election from a purely academic point of view,” McCollough said. “It was a great trip where we got the full view of both the candidates outside of party politics.”

Last Updated: 11/24/15