Several IU faculty add their voices to defense of controversial Facebook research study

imagesFive IU faculty have signed on to a statement published in the journal Nature countering widespread criticism of a recent research study of Facebook users.

“We are making this stand because the vitriolic criticism of this study could have a chilling effect on valuable research. Worse, it perpetuates the presumption that research is dangerous,” said the authors of the Nature article, led by Michelle N. Meyer, director of bioethics policy at the Union Graduate College–Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Bioethics Program in New York.

The Facebook study, published June 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, attempted to test whether “emotional contagion” — in which people take on the emotional states of those around them — could occur as a result of changes in the emotional content of Facebook’s news feed.

Working with researchers from Cornell University, Facebook randomly selected 310,000 users. Using automated software, Facebook altered the users’ news feeds to remove a portion of negative content from some users’ feeds and positive content from other users’ feeds. The researchers reported that the changes did have an impact, though small, on the Facebook users’ use of positive and negative words in their own posts.

The study has generated much criticism from those arguing it was unethical manipulation of unwitting users, and that the users should have been advised in advance, similar to the informed consent required in tests of new drugs.

The Nature authors argue that Facebook alters its news feed algorithm on a regular basis, that no one’s privacy was invaded, and research is needed if we are to understand the effects of such services.

“Finding the correct balance between individual privacy and research interests is one of the thorniest problems faced by policymakers, lawyers and ethicists. While I lean towards protecting individual privacy and wish Facebook would do more in that direction the hysteria greeting this research was unwarranted,” said Nicolas Terry, director of the Hall Center for Law and Health at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

“This study got people’s attention because it showed how science, marketing and social media are now joining forces in unexpected ways. I hope Facebook and the public each learned something,” said Eric Meslin, director of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics.

In addition to Terry and Meslin, those from IU signing in support of the statement were Fred Cate, director of the Center for Law, Ethics and Applied Research in Health Information, Peter Schwartz of the IU Center for Bioethics and Ross Silverman of the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

The six Nature authors noted that there was some disagreement among them over the issue of informed consent — the general requirement to advise people participating in clinical trials of the procedures and risks involved in the trial — although none of them thought informed consent was necessary in this case.

“The informed consent issue is complicated,” Meslin said. “According to U.S. research regulations, informed consent wasn’t required since the study did not personally identify the approximately 310,000 people involved.

“But even if the regulations could be interpreted to apply, obtaining informed consent would have made the study virtually impossible to carry out since informing people about its purpose may have affected the way they responded to the manipulated information. Some other form of information sharing was needed: better disclosures up front and better debriefing on the back-end.”

Kelley School leverages Moi University partnership to offer foundational business course in Kenya


Todd Roberson

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Kelley School of Business has developed a 10-week pilot study program designed to impart foundational business knowledge and skills to the people of Kenya through its strategic international partnership with Moi University.

Started in November 2006, the alliance between Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Moi is one of Indiana University’s most significant international collaborations. Building upon the foundation between the medical schools at each university, the partnership has expanded to include a wide range of academic disciplines at IUPUI and Moi, located in Eldoret, Kenya.

Beginning in late September, the Foundations of Social Commerce study program will help participants understand the commercial and social outcomes of business. The pilot program, limited to 50 participants, will be taught by Todd Roberson, senior lecturer of finance at the Kelley School. Roberson believes the long-term value of the study program lies in widening and spreading the level of business discourse among the region’s skilled workers.

“A pottery maker is good at making pottery, but making a good piece of pottery is only part of being commercially successful,” Roberson said. “The pottery maker needs money; he needs to know how to manage money, how to stay out of debt and how to realize that a lot of his or her money can be tied up in pottery sitting on the shelf.

“What we’re trying to do is give people knowledge that will take them from being just good at making pottery to having a commercially viable pottery business,” he said. “We’re talking about basic fundamental knowledge: revenues, expenses, debt, equity, cash flow. We want to make sure that what they’re good at doing they can do in a financially sustainable manner. Ultimately that will enhance their lives.”

The program will be broken into five two-week modules, with each module composed of four sessions. Each session will cover a different business topic, from identifying needs, opportunities and commercial basics, to understanding more complex issues like capital structure, commercial funding and growth models.

Participants will have access to instructor-provided video files, readings, slides, spreadsheets and case studies, which they will study on their own schedules. Once per week, students will attend a live session conducted remotely by Roberson.

Though items such as a scientific calculator or proficiency in Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint are recommended, the only required material for the course is a reliable Internet connection.

The Foundations of Social Commerce study program is the inaugural collaboration between Moi University and the Kelley School of Business, and the first in a series of planned study programs that will fall under a broader business education program known as “The Business of Peace Through Prosperity.” The program will lay the framework for future study programs that will delve deeper into specific subjects like finance, marketing and operations management.

Participants who successfully finish Foundations of Social Commerce will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from the Kelley School, and they will be eligible to enroll in future program offerings.

“This represents a real step up in the training opportunities that we can offer people in Western Kenya,” said Ian McIntosh, director of international partnerships at IUPUI. “One of the critically identified needs in Kenya is training people in a way that gives them the opportunity to lift their standard of living. This is about giving people the basic entrepreneurial skills to do that.”

While many American colleges and universities are involved in humanitarian or aid projects in Kenya and other African nations, the focus on imparting business knowledge offers a change in thinking about how to better the lives of those living in developing countries.

“Kelley is unique in its focus on peace and prosperity through commerce,” Roberson said. “Lots of people are talking about food security and medical care. But you don’t hear a lot of people talking about commerce as a way to solve social issues.

“The way the wind is blowing in the developing world, instead of giving people money, you give them skills,” he added. “Commerce is the route to peace and prosperity. You can find endless support for that. And Kelley wants to be part of that.”

Demonstrating extraordinary generosity through legacy gifts


Alumna Doris J. Brinkman (1950s) remembered Herron in her estate plans Image Herron staff

Ordinary people are demonstrating extraordinary generosity by leaving legacy gifts to Herron in their wills and estate plans. Each of their stories represents something important to them. Because of their commitment to Herron’s mission, their priorities will continue, and their gifts will remind us that we, too, can make a difference in the lives that follow.


Read about some of Herron’s friends and alumni who have done just that:

Ruth Lilly
Robert B. Berkshire
Doris Brinkman
Harry and James Esamann
Frank and Katrina Basile
Edith Moore

How do you get started?

Think beyond cash gifts made today. Options include a simple directive in your will or naming Herron as a beneficiary of your life insurance, pension plan, IRA or trust. Click here for bequest language.

As a professional school of Indiana University, Herron works closely with the IU Foundation as it stewards and maintains your gift. To learn more about other types of gifts and various ways to give visit IUF’s website.

Have you already remembered Herron in your plans?

Perhaps you have already remembered Herron in your will or estate plans. If so, we invite you to notify Herron’s Office of Development so that we can celebrate with you. We can help document your gift to help ensure your intentions are carried out in the future.

As always, your support may be given anonymously, if you prefer. Simply notify Herron’s development staff about your philanthropic plans.

Want to learn more?

Herron’s staff and faculty look forward to learning about your philanthropic plans today so that your generosity can be recognized during your lifetime. To learn more about leaving a legacy at Herron School of Art and Design, contact Kim Hodges at (317) 278-9472 or or Glennda McGann at (317) 278-9477 or

First Herron Open: Mini Golf Mega Art an unqualified success


(r to l) IUPUI alumnus Carlos Knox, player development with the Indiana Fever; Herron Dean’s Advisory Board member Conrad Piccirillo; his daughter, Caitlyn Piccirillo; and Indiana Fever star forward Tamika Catchings enjoying the Herron Open. Image John R. Gentry Jr.

The first Herron Open: Mini Golf Mega Art, which took place in early June, was an unqualified success. Nearly 200 attendees were on hand to play the nine-hole miniature golf course inside Eskenazi Hall, created by teams of Herron students and faculty. The Herron Alumni Association designed a hole, too. It won the People’s Choice Award. The Sculpture Department’s hole, which came complete with students dressed as moles, won the Chairs’ Choice Award.

The event netted more than $30,000 in new scholarship support for Herron students.

Herron Open: Mini Golf Mega Art was selected as a NUVO Top Pick of the Week and featured in the Indianapolis Star’s 10 Things To Do. It was also covered by the Indianapolis Recorder, WTHR’s sports reporter Rich Nye, and mentioned on WFYI’s The Art of the Matter.

One thing is for sure (although at press time we don’t know exactly when) the event will return!

Central Indiana Community Foundation helps Herron’s art therapy program produce a skilled and in-demand workforce

UntitledJob placement is 100 percent for the first cohort of eight graduate students who earned a master’s degree in Art Therapy from Herron School of Art and Design this May, said Juliet King, program director and professor of Art Therapy. Launched only two years ago, the program has developed vigorously, in large part due to philanthropic support from individuals and foundations.

The Frank Curtis and Irving Moxley Springer Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, put its support into bringing together Herron students—who must complete 1,000 hours of supervised, clinical training as part of their degrees requirements—and community members who can benefit from art therapy services.

Herron’s Art Therapy program is one of only 34 two-year, full-time, residential programs in the country—offering graduate art therapy education in preparation for the dual credentials of Registered Art Therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Herron currently is working with nearly 30 community organizations to pair its art therapy students with programs that serve youths, adults, the aged and other vulnerable populations. Qualified professionals must supervise Herron’s students in a clinical setting. That requires investment.

Andrew Black, a grants officer of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, said “The Art Therapy grant was in alignment with The Frank Curtis and Irving Moxley Springer Fund because it promotes the making of art and provides important health and social services to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of people of all ages, many of whom are dealing with significant physical and/or mental health challenges.”

Frank began work at Eli Lilly and Company in 1937. He and his wife, Irving, became incredibly generous philanthropists. Both are now deceased, but their fund, established in 1998, will continue in perpetuity as they wished.

King said, “It’s exciting to see the full cycle of the impact of the program. We are helping children and adults cope with illness, injury and trauma while the graduate students gain the academic experience necessary to become a trained professional and contribute to the workforce of Indiana and beyond.” She added, “We are grateful to the Frank Curtis and Irving Moxley Springer Fund and CICF for the assistance in successfully developing the program.”

The program’s first eight graduates are Linda Adeniyi, Uriah Graham, Amy Granger, Katherine Hearn, Amanda Krieger, Heidi Moffat, Hillary Timmerman and Natalie Wallace. These alumni were hired by providers including Adult & Child Community Mental Health, MENTOR Network, Midtown Community Mental Health, Season’s Hospice, Legacy House, Meridian Health Services and Gallaudet University that provide school- and home-based counseling, health therapy and hospice care.

Nine students are projected to graduate in 2015 and 13 in 2016.

Black added, “Not only does this therapy provide counselors, therapists, or case workers with an additional and often times necessary alternative method for communication, it also provides some of our most vulnerable populations with a creative outlet that promotes self-expression, increases their ability to cope with their circumstances or challenges, and ultimately aids in their rehabilitative progress and contributes to their quality of life.”

To learn more about supporting Herron’s Art Therapy Program, contact Kim Hodges, Office of Development, at 317-278-9472 or

Furniture Design graduate students imagine a new version of Brunswick Billiard’s most iconic pool table

UntitledBrunswick Billiards President Brent Hutton approached Herron School of Art and Design to connect with the talented faculty and students in its Furniture Design Program. The task? To reimagine the Gold Crown pool table for its sixth edition. The Gold Crown is Brunswick’s most iconic table—preferred by the pros and tapped by Hollywood to serve as the centerpiece of such classic movies as The Color of Money and The Hustler.

Through the school’s Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life, 11 furniture design graduate students got the chance to create a new version. The Basile Center pairs Herron students and faculty with real client projects. Everyone involved gets an education in the process.

Brunswick views pool as a more than a game. Each pool table is a finely crafted piece of furniture, so the pairing was perfect.

Over the years, Hutton’s exposure to Herron as a Bedford, Indiana native and an alumnus of Indiana University has made a favorable impression. He has spent lunches between business meetings in Indianapolis at Herron, looking at student work. “The thing I remembered most is the freshness of the ideas,” he said. “I really did not see that anywhere else, and at the time I was traveling to New York and Chicago.

“The fit for me,” Hutton continued, “was, unlike an industrial design school, this was studio design, and I thought leading edge in terms of art and thinking.” Hutton considered the leap he was about to take working with students. “It was a risk we took,” he said, “but I tell you, it could not have worked out any better.”

Guided by faculty members Cory Robinson, Katie Hudnall and Glen Fuller, a detailed specification provided by Brunswick and their own research, the students had the opportunity to work on a project that would have been an exhilarating and challenging assignment for a seasoned professional—refreshing the Gold Crown’s appeal to a tech culture and a female audience while retaining its iconic brand attributes.

At the end of June, three finalists remained; Sam Ladwig, Shelley Spicuzza and Colin Tury. When the designs were presented to a gathering of Brunswick Billiards’ top retailers, they met with an enthusiastic response. The students will gain more than a hefty notch on their belts; the first place designer wins an award of $2,500, and the two honorable mention designers will walk away with $500 each. A decision about which design goes into production is expected later this summer. We’ll keep Herronline readers updated as this story develops. Click the link below to hear an interview with the finalists produced by James Gray of WFIU radio.

Funding Opportunities for Research Commercialization and Economic Success (FORCES)

imagesThe FORCES program is designed to support IUPUI researchers in the successful transformation of their research findings into commercially viable outcomes. The key goals of FORCES are to support: 1) realization of short-term projects that will enhance commercial value of IUPUI intellectual property assets, by facilitating commercialization of inventions, technologies, or other intellectual property derived from existing research projects, and 2) development of research initiatives that show great promise for commercialization of the research outcomes. The next RTR application deadline is September 15, 2014For grant guidelines and application forms, go to

Enhanced Mentoring Program with Opportunities for Ways to Excel in Research (EMPOWER)

imagesThe Enhanced Mentoring Program with Opportunities for Ways to Excel in Research (EMPOWER) has been developed to support IUPUI faculty who are historically underrepresented and/or excluded populations in their discipline or area of scholarship and historically denied admission to higher education or that discipline, 1) to become successful in sponsored research and scholarly activity, and 2) to achieve significant professional growth and advancement. The program sustains mentorship opportunities through the EMPOWER Grant Program, supporting achievement of excellence in research and scholarly activity, and optimal attainment of academic career goals and objectives. The next EMPOWER application deadline is September 5, 2014. For grant guidelines and application forms, go to http://res!

At IUPUI ‘green energy’ center, baked beans are more than food

photo3At IUPUI’s engineering school, Peter Schubert offers a glimpse into the future of green energy.

The engineering professor pokes his head in a fuel cell lab. There, researchers are trying to replace hydrogen in fuel cells with ethanol, by fermenting food waste.

“We thought baked potatoes would be the best, but baked beans trounced ‘em,” Schubert says.

He cuts across a corridor to a battery lab, where the goal is to improve lithium batteries. One approach uses air instead of liquid in the battery’s internal workings, so it doesn’t explode as readily, Schubert explains.

From there it’s off to a manufacturing space along Michigan Street where a team built a biomass gasifier, a complex machine worthy of a Rube Goldberg contest. It can make hydrogen from corn stalks or other plant material and also generates enough heat to supply hot water or space-heating needs for a home or business.

“You could run a farm with energy from waste,” Schubert says, pointing to the contraption.

Used to be the engineering school at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis didn’t delve deeply into R&D. Faculty and staff focused on teaching and would leave the research to the main Purdue campus in West Lafayette. But that’s changing, in large part thanks to the Lugar Center for Renewable Energy headed by Schubert, who comes from private industry and has an Edison-like inventive urge.

Since becoming the center’s director in late 2011, Schubert has grown its research staff to 44 and brought on board 13 entrepreneurs-in-residence (mostly retired scientists and business types). The research has spawned four start-up companies and almost more projects than Schubert can track.

The center accounted for almost a third of the 54 patent applications and 69 invention disclosures coming out of IUPUI’s engineering school last year. Both the invention and patent counts have more than doubled since 2010, said David Russomanno, who’s overseen a growth spurt at the school since taking over as dean four years ago.

Last year the school expanded into the $27 million Science and Engineering Laboratory Building, where the Lugar energy center was given two labs and brand new office space.

For Schubert, who holds a Ph.D. in engineering from Purdue and is a prolific inventor with over 40 patents to his name, directing the Lugar energy center seems a perfect fit.

“He’s a brilliant man. He’s involved in so many areas of renewables. He is way out on the cutting edge,” said Lee Saberson, a retired engineer for Emerson Electric and other companies who consults with the center as an entrepreneur-in-residence.

Schubert developed an interest in green energy out of self-interest. He got his driver’s license in the 1970s when the Arab oil embargo sent pump prices soaring.

“Just when I’m about to drive, there’s no gas,” he recalls. Later, the teen-aged Schubert was chagrined to read a flyer about how the Soviet Union was out-distancing the United States in nuclear fusion, and his career in energy research was sealed.

Schubert spent 22 years at auto parts maker Delphi Electronics in Kokomo (becoming a member of its hall of fame) and five years at the original Packer Engineering in Naperville, Ill. At Packer, Schubert had a loose leash to do research that “helped society.” Among his work: designing space-based solar power systems and getting a patent on turning asteroids into silicon.

When Packer auctioned off much of its intellectual property in 2012, Schubert used $10,000 in university funds to buy the hydrogen storage and other technologies he helped develop while working there. Those patents are now driving some of the research at the Lugar energy center.

“What are the large problems facing humankind? I always thought energy is at the heart of it,” Schubert says. “My overriding passion is developing technologies that help humans live in peace. It’s just a blast. I have fun every day.” As for his research staff, “We’ve got some really awesome people here.” he says.

Russomanno says the Lugar energy center under Schubert “really has been a catalyst for increasing the awareness of the work we are doing around energy.”

“Peter brings a lot of enthusiasm to the directorship. He is a great ambassador.”

The center gets its name from Lugar, the six-term U.S. senator from Indiana who retired from the Senate last year. He used his clout in Congress to direct federal funding to IUPUI to pay for research on lithium ion batteries and fuel cells. They remain a focus of the center’s research.

Lugar’s name lends the center credibility and helps with fundraising, says Schubert. At least some of the time. Last year Schubert sought donations to endow a chair at the center and no one donated. This year Schubert is taking a different tack, asking for money from utilities around the state to fund renewable energy research. At least one has agreed to write a check, he says.

What the center really needs to distinguish itself, Russomanno says, is a multi-million-dollar grant that would fund a significant project with multiple researchers.

But even with a retired U.S. senator on your masthead, that’s hardly a given. Energy research grants are among the most competitive to land, with fewer than one in ten federal applications approved, Russomanno says.

That’s why the center also aims to commercialize its research. Saberson says he has high hopes for the commercialization of a circuit, developed by one of the center’s researchers, that efficiently converts solar-energy-derived DC power to AC. The circuit allows solar panels to feed power back into the electrical grid.

“We’re excited that it’ll be commercially very viable,” says Saberson, who’s helping publicize the circuit to potential users and investors.

The IUPUI engineering school’s most successful commercial spin off was educational software called ANGEL Learning that one of its professors created. The course management software, used by high schools and colleges, was bought in 2009 by Blackboard Inc. for $95 million.

Proceeds from that academic success story paid handsome dividends to the engineering school. It used $5 million from the Angel Learning commercialization to help pay for the Science and Engineering Lab Building.

Schubert has little doubt one of the Lugar energy center’s research projects could pay off in a similar way. Maybe that crazy biomass gasifier will catch the eye of a moneyed investor. Or his researchers will perfect a way to replace expensive platinum in fuel cells with ethanol from leftover baked beans.

Call Star reporter Jeff Swiatek at (317)444-6483. Follow him on Twitter: @JeffSwiatek

NEH Challenge Grants

NEH LogoNEH challenge grants are capacity-building grants, intended to help institutions and organizations secure long-term support for their humanities programs and resources. Through these awards, many organizations and institutions have been able to increase their humanities capacity and secure the permanent support of an endowment. Grants may be used to establish or enhance endowments or spend-down funds that generate expendable earnings to support and enhance ongoing program activities. Challenge grants may also provide capital directly supporting the procurement of long-lasting objects, such as acquisitions for archives and collections, the purchase of equipment, and the construction or renovation of facilities needed for humanities activities. Funds spent directly must be shown to bring long-term benefits to the institution and to the humanities more broadly. Grantee institutions may also expend up to 10 percent of total grant funds (federal funds plus matching funds) to defray costs of fundraising to meet the NEH challenge. Because of the matching requirement, these NEH grants also strengthen the humanities by encouraging nonfederal sources of support.
Award Amount:
NEH will offer successful applicants a matching grant. The requested grant amount should be appropriate to the humanities needs and the fundraising capacity of the institution. The federal portions of NEH challenge grants have ranged in recent years from $75,000 to $500,000. Requests for more than $500,000 are unlikely to be funded at that level. Note that the program encourages requests for smaller grants for sharply defined purposes.
NEH challenge grants assist institutions in developing sources of support for humanities programs, and fundraising is an integral part of the long-term planning that challenge grants require. Persons raising the funds as well as those who will be directly responsible for the humanities programs should be fully involved in the planning from the outset. Grant recipients must raise, from nonfederal donors, three times the amount of federal funds offered. HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and two-year colleges, however, are required to raise only two times the federal amount.
With the exception of elementary and secondary schools (public or private) and school districts, any U.S. nonprofit institution (public agency, private nonprofit organization, federally recognized Indian tribal government) working wholly or in part with the humanities may apply for a challenge grant. Affiliated institutions (for example, a university museum) should consult with NEH staff on questions of separate eligibility. Institutions that support research, education, preservation, and public programming in humanities disciplines are eligible to apply for an NEH challenge grant.
Limitation:  One per campus  
Institutions may apply for only one NEH challenge grant in a calendar year.
To apply for IU Internal competition:
For consideration, submit the following documents electronically to Etta Ward,, by October 1, 2014 for internal competition.
·         1-2 page research statement briefly describing the proposed project, especially its humanities content, and the humanities credentials of the scholars and other staff who would be involved in planning and implementing the project. Also include plans for raising matching funds. Limitation does not include references.
·         A Letter from the Chair or Dean
·         2-3 page abbreviated CV for the PI
NOTE: Since this program requires a substantial fund raising activity, it is recommended that each Center or unit (department or school) works with the IU Foundation prior to the internal competition.

IU Internal Deadline: 10/1/2014

Preliminary Draft Deadline: 3/24/2015
Prospective applicants who wish to submit a preliminary draft proposal should do so four to six weeks before the application deadline.
NEH Proposal Deadline: 5/5/2015
Brief Description:
NOTE UPDATED INTERNAL DEADLINE: The NEH Program Officer indicated that selected applicants should begin raising required matches as early as December.
Updated guidelines will be posted at least two months in advance of the deadline listed. In the meantime, please use the guidelines for the previous deadline, to get a sense of what is involved in assembling an application.