A century of preparing educators: Judith Herb College of Education celebrates 100 years

October 27th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

By Dr. Edward A. Janak
UT associate professor and chair of foundations of education

education-1Throughout its history, The University of Toledo has seen its mission as fulfilling the needs of the city. The Judith Herb College of Education has demonstrated this notion for a century.

UT started as a municipal university — The University of the City of Toledo — one of three such institutions in the state. From its earliest years, UT partnered with the University of Ohio in Miami (later called Miami University) to provide a degree and teacher training: Students would attend UT for three years taking classes from faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences followed by one year at Miami. This was in addition to its Bureau of Research and Public Service that housed a Department of Educational Efficiency Service. Its mission was to serve Toledo’s educational organizations as well as the officers and teachers of the schools in the city.

In 1914, the state of Ohio enacted a new law regulating which universities could produce accredited teachers; only those universities on the state “approved” list could do so. Acting quickly, the University president addressed the Board of Directors reporting that local school districts were requesting UT take steps to become approved. Thus, in March 1916, the Board of Directors created the Teachers College of Toledo University. It started with a faculty of four: Josephine Leach, D.W. Henry, A.W. Trettien (who would become the first dean and serve until 1926) and A.M. Stowe.

education-2Once it was fully established, the college moved ahead rapidly, expanding programs and hiring faculty to satisfy the demand for teachers. In 1917, it added a University Evening High School to provide instruction to adults in the community seeking a high school diploma. In 1919, it changed title from Teacher’s College to College of Education. In 1926, David Henry became dean and would hold the position for more than 20 years. During his tenure, the college would stabilize its program but continue to grow in numbers of students and faculty.

Starting in 1927, the college began offering graduate programs in elementary and secondary education. Its undergraduate curriculum had expanded from a dozen courses to more than 30 offerings, balanced between foundational and pedagogical courses. In the mid-1930s, there was talk of an imminent teacher shortage; the College of Education increased its work to try and satisfy this need. By decade’s end, the college sponsored a Demonstration School to put into practice what it taught.

Education students in 1962

Education students in 1962   

There was a shift in the purpose of schooling nationwide, moving from purely academics to teaching the whole child and schooling for life. As usual, the College of Education kept up with the trends; by the 1940s, there was a rise in vocational education and preparing teachers for the trades of northwest Ohio, physical education, as well as explicitly progressive teaching courses. The college also began offering courses in school administration.

Of course, the decade also saw the horrors of World War II; UT was on the forefront of wartime service offered through its students in all areas. The College of Education joined in by teaching “school the year round” to allow students to matriculate in three years and then enlist with a degree.

As the purpose of schooling expanded and the baby boom created a tremendous need for teachers. By the 1950s, in addition to elementary and high school teachers, the college was producing teachers in vocational education, physical education, business education, home economics and art. The college was experimenting with a series of courses titled Problems in… and Research in…; teachers in the city would partner with a faculty member to work on active research problems impacting daily practice in the classrooms.

Members of the Toledo Student Education Association rode in the 1965 Homecoming parade.

Members of the Toledo Student Education Association rode in the 1965 Homecoming parade.

During that decade, Mary M. Gillham became the head librarian for the University, a position she would hold with pride for years. In fact, Gillham Hall — current home to the Judith Herb College of Education — is named in her honor as the building used to be the library.

As the turmoil of the second half of the 20th century hit the state, the college continued steadfastly producing quality teachers and school administrators throughout the decades. It kept up with the national trends and produced teachers aware of the latest in research and pedagogy.

After operating as a municipal school for more than 80 years, the University became a state institution in 1967. That big change meant a new name — The University of Toledo — and subsidy for students and state support for capital improvement. Enrollment steadily grew, and buildings popped up expanding the campus.

Judith Herb talked with students at the Judith Herb College of Education’s 2006 fall welcome picnic.

Judith Herb talked with students at the Judith    Herb College of Education’s 2006 fall welcome    picnic.   

In 2006, a couple months after the University merged with the Medical University of Ohio, UT graduates Judith and Marvin Herb, and their sons, Thomas and Jon, contributed $15 million to fund numerous scholarships as well as educational assessment support and research initiatives in the College of Education. The Herbs designated $8 million of the gift for the Herb Scholars Fund, with another $4.25 million going to support the Herb Research Initiatives Fund, which bonded together researchers with a common interest in learning. The remaining $2.75 million funded the creation of a faculty development and electronic assessment support system fund. Additionally, to recognize the single largest donation in school history, the college was renamed in honor of Judith Herb.

Julie Kandel, who was a senior majoring in education in 2007, right, gave a tour of Gillham Hall, the renovated home of the Judith Herb College of Education, to Judith Herb, left, and others. The state provided $12.4 million in funding for the renovation of the building, which was rededicated to the college in a special ceremony in August 2007 following the public tours.

Julie Kandel, who was a senior majoring in education in 2007, right, gave a tour of Gillham Hall, the renovated home of the Judith Herb College of Education, to Judith Herb, left, and others. The state provided $12.4 million in funding for the renovation of the building, which was rededicated to the college in a special ceremony in August 2007 following the public tours.

“The University of Toledo’s mission, especially that of the College of Education, was at the heart of our decision to make this pledge,” Judith Herb, a 1961 UT education graduate, said in 2006. “Marvin, our sons and I believe deeply in the power of education. If we can help to make a difference in the lives of some future educators, we are proud to do so.”

Following two years of major renovations, Gillham Hall, a building that has been a cornerstone of Main Campus since 1952, was rededicated in 2007. The state of Ohio provided $12.4 million in funding for the project. The building’s exterior remained primarily untouched while the interior was completely revamped. Gillham Hall opened fall semester that year with state-of-the-art classrooms that range in capacity from 18 to 40 students; a 75-seat tiered multipurpose auditorium/classroom/meeting room; three technology support center computer labs; a doctoral dissertation presentation/defense conference room; department suites that include student learning community space; and a brick entryway that offers the opportunity to inscribe dedications.

At this moment, the college is anticipating how it can satisfy the needs of 21st century schools in support of the mission of the comprehensive university. It is finding innovative ways to prepare educators for pre-kindergarten through university classrooms, as well as supporting those already teaching by offering programs that include:

  • Traditional undergraduate programs credentialing teachers in early childhood, elementary, middle childhood, career and technical education, adolescence to young adult education, special education interventionist, as well as the areas of art, foreign language and music;
  • Nontraditional certification via LAMP — Licensure and Master’s Program;
  • College Credit Plus teacher credentialing programs in biology, chemistry and English;
  • Endorsements in reading, preschool special needs, early childhood generalist (grades 4-5), and transition to work;
  • Online programs include master’s degrees in educational technology as well as early childhood education, special education, and certificates in virtual educator, peace education, diversity, and educational assessment;
  • On-campus certificates in culture and change in institutions and interprofessional teaming in early childhood education;
  • Principal and school district leader licensure programs;
  • A full slate of master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees in all areas, including higher education, to prepare those working in colleges and universities; and
  • Innovative centers such as the Center for the Advancement of Professional Learning Communities and Virtual Collaboration, the Center for Education in Targeted Violence and Suicide, the Daso Herb Center for Advanced Research in Education, and the Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Action.
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Revved up: Assistant dean pays tribute to alma mater with Rocket Room

October 27th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

By Vicki L. Kroll

donovan1One look at Donovan Nichols’ Rocket Room and it’s clear: He’s got spirit; yes, he does.

The assistant dean for student involvement and leadership exudes enthusiasm explaining how he put together the ultimate UT fan zone.

“The whole idea has been 14 years in the making,” he said looking around his basement walls emblazoned with UT jerseys, ticket stubs, posters, stories and more. “But actually putting this together took about five months.”

donovan2He pointed to a wooden sign featuring old Rocket and UT logos that bookend the stenciled name “Rocket Room.”

“That sign is actually what started the whole idea. When I was a student, I was walking around with Tom Trimble [then associate director of the Student Union] in Rocky’s Attic, and this sign was sitting in a corner,” Nichols recalled. “Tom said it was a sign that was hanging in Rocky’s Attic in the 1980s, and he said, ‘We’re probably going to throw it out.’ And I said, ‘No, you’re not.’”

It was 2002 when Nichols rescued the relic and stored it at his parents’ house until now.

“Back then, I said, ‘When I have my own house, I’m going to create a Rocket Room. I’m going to carpet it with field turf and put that sign in it.’”

donovan4With a head’s up and permission from Athletics, Nichols snagged pieces of turf in April during the Glass Bowl renovations. Prepping it for installation took most of the summer.

“The turf fibers are about an inch long with about a half inch of infill — sand granules and rubber pellets to make it feel more like real grass — so I had to get all of that infill out,” he said.

After power-washing and scrubbing the turf, Nichols cut and put pieces together to resemble a field with help from his girlfriend, Alycia Demey; friend and UT alumnus, Rob Bleile; and father, Tom Nichols.

The bar features a piece of the blue rocket from the center of the field. “I was lucky enough to get that piece, so I wanted to showcase it,” Nichols said.

Collecting UT memorabilia started during his undergraduate days when he helped establish a tradition. The year was 2000, and Nichols and his friend, Jason Rodriguez, created Blue Crew.

donovan5“Blue Crew’s first game ever was traveling to Penn State. There were four of us that went. About 92,000 people were in the stadium, and only about 2,000 of which were Toledo fans, but we were louder the entire game,” Nichols said pointing to a story about UT’s upset of the Nittany Lions, 24-6. “That was a really cool experience for me because that was the founding of Blue Crew.”

It was the Rocket Fanatic group from the 1990s that inspired Nichols and Rodriguez to start the masked spirited squad.

“We wanted to create something that emulated the Rocket Fanatic group, but do something that would continue the spirit even after we graduated,” Nichols explained. “So we decided to wear the masks and wigs so we would cloak our identities because it wasn’t about us being the spirited students, it was about having the positive energy and the positive spirit always represented at the University.”

He still radiates that energy and excitement for the Rockets and his alma mater. Standing by his Blue Crew uniform, he said, “My mask is signed by Chester Taylor, who was one of the great UT football players. I have a poster of him and a jersey. He was a running back for the Minnesota Vikings and a couple other NFL teams. I try to pay tribute to some of the players who were around when I was a student because I knew some of them. In the stairwell, there’s a poster of [quarterback] Bruce Gradkowski and [wide receiver] Lance Moore, both who were students when I was around, and I have pictures of them in the NFL as well to display their success.”

donovan3Then there’s a white football shirt with a midnight blue No. 16, which was worn by the quarterback known as the “Wizard of Oohs and Aahs.”

“I wanted to highlight Chuck Ealey because it’s incredible the accomplishment that he had; he’s the only collegiate quarterback in history to go undefeated. From 1969 to 1971, the Rockets went 35-0,” Nichols said. “And he was undefeated in high school, too.”

That sense of history is everywhere in the Rocket Room — the sheet music for “Fair Toledo,” the alma mater, is framed, along with “U of Toledo,” the fight song. Also under glass is the UT Traditions brochure Nichols created after more than 500 hours of research on the school’s history.

“I wanted to walk down memory lane and teach some UT history, and display why people should be proud of The University of Toledo,” he said. “Hopefully, the Rocket Room will inspire more people to show their pride in the institution.”

After graduating with honors with a bachelor of arts degree in communications in 2004 and a master of education degree in higher education in 2006, Nichols stopped to say goodbye to Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president of student affairs.

donovan6“She went over and took this [2005 GMAC Bowl Championship poster] off her office wall and gave it to me and said she appreciated everything I had done for the University. I was moving to Las Vegas, so it was a piece I took with me. And when I worked in Georgia, it was with me there, and now it’s back with me at home.”

“Donovan was one of the most passionate UT students. He started Blue Crew, created the Rocky doll, was Student Government president,” Patten said. “It’s so nice to have him back where he belongs to inspire that same love for the University in our students.”

“I always thought it would be fun to come back to UT to work, but I didn’t necessarily have a plan to come back. I knew I could show my Rocket pride wherever I went. When I worked in Las Vegas, I created an alumni chapter out there,” he said. “But it feels comfortable in Toledo; I’m home.

“I think if I had a Rocket Room like this in any other city, it wouldn’t be as cool,” he added and laughed. “At least here, a lot of people can come over and see it and appreciate it. Go Rockets!”

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Homecoming 2016 in Pictures

October 27th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Events

With Rocky’s 50th birthday party as the theme, Homecoming 2016 was a picture-perfect success.  The annual Homecoming Gala on Friday – in front of a packed Student Union Auditorium crowd – recognized outstanding alumni from each UT college as well as the recipients of the Gold and Blue T and Edward H. Schmidt Outstanding Young Alum awards.  Saturday’s Schmakel Homecoming Parade featured the largest turnout ever, with upward of 10,000 packing Bancroft St. and the Old Orchard parade route.  More than 4,300 alumni and friends jammed into the Koester Alumni Pavilion before the game which is a record for the facility.  A standing-room only crowd of more than 30,000 was on hand to watch the Rockets defeat the school down south.  And let’s not forget the many reunions held which included Greek organizations, cheerleading, tennis, the Class of 1966 and the Golden Alumni Society.

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Check out UT’s story

October 27th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

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School of Visual and Performing Arts Survey

October 27th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni


The University of Toledo School of Visual and Performing Arts is participating in the 2016 Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) – a one-of-a-kind survey that explores the lives of arts alumni nationwide. SoVPA is partnering with SNAAP to learn more about its alumni’s experience studying the arts. If you’re a UT visual and performing arts alumni, have you received your SNAAP invitation yet? If not, email your contact information to snaapsrv@indiana.edu.

You can help us understand how your education shaped your experience, and how you’ve used what you learned—in your work, in your life. Your experiences and ideas will help shape programs for students at UT and in arts education nationwide

Alumni completing the survey will have access to a site to see how their educational and career experiences compare with alumni from across the country. See where other arts graduates live, where they work, what they earn and how their arts educations have influenced their lives.

If you have not received your SNAAP invitation, make sure that you are on the list by sending your contact information to snaapsrv@indiana.edu. If you haven’t updated your information with the UT Alumni Association in a while, you should do so, but to receive a survey invite, email snaapsrv@indiana.edu. Also, please share this article with fellow UT visual and performing arts alumni.

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