Where else can the public listen to insights from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, internationally-renowned activists and even those who have walked in space?
Where else is ground-breaking research in photovoltaics (the science of transforming solar energy into usable energy), the mysteries of Lake Erie and the wonder of faraway cultures conducted?
Where else can people gather in a community setting to grow a flower or a food crop and discover its worldwide impact even as they feel the silk of the soil on their fingertips?
Indeed, the College of Arts and Sciences has been a hub of excellence, achievement and service for 100 years. As the College reflects on a storied anniversary, however, those who guide the next generation of leaders have already turned their focus to the future.
“It is our people who build the success of our students, our sister Colleges and The University of Toledo as an institution of excellence,” said Dr. Nina McClelland, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our faculty and staff are committed to UT's mission of improving the human condition.”
McClelland heads a College that includes 19 departments and 10 research centers and institutes. The dean, who earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at UT, is energized by daily developments within the College. The department of geography and planning is currently engaged in multiple freight data acquisition, management and analysis projects that track maritime, highway and railroad transport patterns in tandem with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute and several Midwest universities.
The College continues to be on the forefront of Northwest Ohio's emergence as a leader in alternative energy, as well. The research and entrepreneurial efforts of photovoltaics faculty members were crucial in forming the foundation for UT's future Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation, which will establish The University as a leader in energy innovation in a campus setting.
Last spring, another unique project came to bloom in the form of an outdoor classroom garden. In a truly “green” setting where gardening tools outnumber laptops, community members are encouraged to dig alongside faculty and students, and academic courses emphasizing sustainable agriculture are conducted in the sunshine.
With the spirit of celebration in the air, the College has chosen to share its successes with the community that has supported its efforts for the last century.
Programs featuring several noteworthy speakers, educators and scientists have been planned through spring 2010. Highlights include public forums with internationally recognized scientist and human rights activist Dr. Zafra Lerman in December, former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Jack Lousma in January and renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, author and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Ben Carson in April.
These presentations follow a string of recent programs that have brought preeminent speakers to UT, including Nobel Prize winners Elie Wiesel and Toni Morrison, Pulitzer Prize winner and Newsweek editor Jon Meachum, environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr. and Black Entertainment Television (BET) personality and former UT student Jeff Johnson.
As the College enters its 101st year, McClelland said faculty and staff are committed to supporting President Lloyd Jacobs' goal of elevating UT to the status of a tier-one institution.
“We are the stewards of nearly 4,000 students, various research and collaborative initiatives and outreach programs that stimulate interest and enthusiasm about higher education,” McClelland said. “We can't rest on our laurels when there's so much more to accomplish.”