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Faculty Tenure and Promotion Books


In 2015, The University of Toledo President Dr. Sharon Gaber, initiated the tradition of inviting faculty granted promotion and tenure to select a book that has been influential in their lives. A copy of each book has been purchased for the collection, and includes a physical and digital book plate honoring the faculty members’ achievement. This guide contains a list of books with personal statements provided by the honorees.


The Concept of Law

“I first read this book while I was in law school. It introduced me to some of the perennial problems surrounding law’s legitimacy and has influenced the course of my research.”

Evan Zoldan
College of Law
Associate Professor
Granted Tenure, 2017

Birds of Michigan

“In reading and using this book in the last few years, I re-learned the importance of being present and aware, regularly unplugging from technology, and enjoying the outdoors, even if for a few minutes to spy a fancy bird.”

Kathryn Eisenmann
College of Medicine & Life Sciences
Department of Cancer Biology
Promoted to Associate Professor, 2016

Contributions of Voice Research to Singing

“This was one of the first books to feature a physiological look into the aspects of singing that also incorporated x-rays and video strobe. It literally changed the way we discuss singing and vocal health.”

Denise Bernardini
College of Arts & Letters
Department of Music
Promoted to Associate Professor & Granted Tenure, 2017

The Hunger Games

"In reading this series, I continue to be both disappointed and inspired by humans. The need to control and suppress others is still rampant in our society. The strength, hope, desire and dedication that the oppressed have to overcome in order to fight for equality for all gives me hope and keeps me fighting for the equal and fair treatment of all humans."

Diane M. Cappelletty
College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Department of Pharmacy Practice
Promoted to Professor, July 2015

The Truth of the Matter

“Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam wrote this book and it was a big influence on me when I was young. Whitlam was a Rhodes Scholar known for his eloquence and communication skills. His elected Government was fired by Sir John Kerr (the Queen of England's representative) in 1975. The dismissal pushed Australia into a political and Constitutional crisis. The way the book was written, as much as what it said, impressed me. He wrote memorable sentences that made an impression on the reader. I wanted to write like that.”

Mark Sherry
College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Promoted to Professor, 2015

Tao Te Ching

“I first read the Tao Te Ching in my early twenties and found some of the philosophical concepts within useful to sustaining a career in organic chemistry. Organic chemistry is a highly creative endeavor once the chemist has mastered the myriad of intellectual and technical details which are also required for success. Organic chemists are essentially ‘molecular artists’ that create new forms of matter. Sometimes, nature provides us with an example of a complex molecular material that we would like to recreate. Other times, we are asked to design materials that arise solely from our imagination with the expectation that they will serve some useful purpose. We create these new materials from more basic materials. Often, there are many approaches or chemical pathways we could choose to attempt the synthesis. There may be many steps in the pathway we design and the process is a like a journey. Every step is challenging and there is a search for simplicity in the pathways we design. Many times, as we work through a pathway we encounter barriers to progress. It can almost seem as though we are working against the natural flow of nature. If we are rigid in our thinking and we just keep trying the same approach over and over, we may get nowhere. However, if we are flexible, step back and reflect on our pathway, design an alternate pathway, and continue the journey we are far more likely to arrive at our goal. We need to be flexible yet persistent, similar to the way in which water is malleable yet though its unceasing action will carve a valley through a mountain.”

Steven J. Sucheck
College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Promoted to Professor, 2015

The Old Man and the Sea

“This classic gives insight into what it means to truly struggle and fight to stay on course. In the end we may not always win the struggles we encounter but by perseverance and the ensuing character we develop will be a true measure of our success.”

Andrea Kalinoski
College of Medicine and Life Sciences
Department of Surgery
Granted Tenure and Promoted to Associate Professor, 2015

The Brain That Changes Itself

“A summary of the discoveries and astounding results based on brain plasticity. Daily learning and growth is possible at any age or stage in your family life or life as a faculty member.”

Matthew W. Liberatore
College of Engineering
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Granted Tenure, 2015

Lord of the Flies

“This book has influenced me as a young person to appreciate living in a civilized society governed by laws.”

Tomer Avidor-Reiss
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Department of Biological Sciences
Granted Tenure, 2015

Being black, living in the red : race, wealth, and social policy in America

"I read Being Black, Living in the Red many years ago, as part of my undergraduate studies in sociology. Its premise is that the American legacy of racial wealth inequality drives racial disparities in education, employment, and family structure. This book was my first real exposure to the powerful role that financial security plays in all of our lives. A financial safety net, whether it is equity in a home, an emergency fund in the bank, or parents who can help in a pinch, allows some people to weather financial hardships. These same hardships can spell financial ruin for people without such protections.

After reading this book in college, I went on to receive a law degree and work as a bankruptcy attorney in a Chicago law firm. My choice to transition to an academic career was driven by an interest in studying how bankruptcy interacts with these issues of wealth and economic stability. Although many find the concept of bankruptcy to be distasteful, I think of it as the financial safety net of last resort. Those who are suffering under debt can find a fresh economic start, and sometimes preserve their wealth in bankruptcy. My research aims to defend these protections against creditors who exploit weaknesses in the bankruptcy process for individual gain."

Kara J. Bruce
College of Law
Promoted to Professor & Granted Tenure, 2016

The fountainhead

"The book that is still one of my favorites to date, and probably changed the way I think about myself and my world, is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. This work, at a younger time in my life, made me realize the importance of following my beliefs and dreams, even if it means that I may stand alone. This book was instrumental in shaping my idea of selfishness versus selflessness."

Debra S. Harmening
College of Health and Human Services
School of Intervention and Wellness
Promoted to Associate Professor & Granted Tenure, 2016

The Edge of the Sea

“My father was a biologist and had a copy of this book in our library. It was a companion of mine during family vacations at my grandfather's beach house on Cape Cod and as I explored the salt marshes and tide pools at the rim of the ocean. These experiences, along with a healthy diet of good old science fiction stories, codified my desire to become a scientist. Although my scientific interests led me away from a planned career as a marine biologist, I feel this book recounting the life and death struggles of tiny invertebrates in the face of the immense powers of tide and time have served me well as I ponder my life as an academic!”

David R. Giovannucci
College of Medicine and Life Sciences
Department of Neurosciences
Promoted to Professor, 2015

Molecules That Changed the World

“This book details the structures, chemical synthesis, biological relevance, and historical details of over 40 important molecules that played significant roles in human history. It should be of much interest to a broad range of readers, such as chemists, pharmacists, biologists, and clinicians.”

Jianglong Zhu
College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Promoted to Professor, 2017

The Origin of Species

“In this book, Darwin sets forth detailed evidence to explain one of the biggest questions in biology, that is, where did all of these plants, animals, insects and bacteria come from? It is clear that the idea of evolution was not Darwin’s alone, but the extent of the evidence presented illustrates a realization of the societal impact and anticipated resistance to this revolutionary idea.”

William Taylor
College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Department of Biological Sciences
Promoted to Professor, 2017

Silent Spring

“This book inspired me to pursue graduate studies in environmental engineering, because it celebrated and deftly articulated the confluence of scientific research and environmental justice. Often referred to as the ‘Mother of the Modern Environmental Movement,’ Rachel Carson was a pioneer for women in science.”

Cyndee Gruden
College of Engineering
Department of Civil Engineering
Promoted to Professor, 2017