IUPUI is a three-peat winner: Campus receives award for exemplary diversity initiatives

Insight Into Diversity Magazine Honors IUPUI

INDIANAPOLIS — For the third year in a row, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis was selected to receive the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

As a recipient of this national award that honors U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, IUPUI will be prominently featured in the magazine’s November 2014 issue.

“We are pleased to be recognized for all of the energy that has been built into distinct cultures, which has created and instilled diversity into our institution’s consciousness through practices and programs designed for all members of the IUPUI community,” said Karen Dace, IUPUI’s vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion. “While we know there is still much work still ahead of us, we have opened more doors of opportunity for our students, faculty, staff and community partners.”

Insight Into Diversity also recognized IUPUI for its ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity on campus including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community. IUPUI was commended for making strides in the enrollment and graduation of minority students and for putting in place some distinctive diversity initiatives and inclusion programs. Highlights of the recognition include:

Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program: Assists students of color in pursuing and obtaining their college degrees through an intensive retention program that addresses personal, academic and social experiences that have an impact on student success.

  • Office for Veterans and Military Personnel: Provides comprehensive resources to veterans and Veterans Affairs benefit recipients to aid in their overall success as IUPUI students.
  • Diversity Plans: Outlines goals for improving the climate for diversity in each school and administrative unit across campus.
  • Faculty and Staff Councils: Facilitates interaction, addresses issues and motivates, encourages and promotes the professional development of IUPUI faculty and staff. The Faculty and Staff Councils include Asian American and Pacific Islander; Black; Latino; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender; and Native American.
  • Faculty and Staff Diversity Awards: Recognizes faculty and staff who promote a campus climate where diversity is valued, energizes the appreciation of world cultures or champions for social justice.

“We hope the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

Other awards

IUPUI was recently ranked as one of the nation’s top universities, as well as ranked No. 7 “Up and Coming” school and “Best College for Veterans” by U.S. News & World Report in its 2015 edition of Best Colleges. The campus was also recognized for its learning communities and first-year experience for the 13th consecutive year by U.S. News, which highlighted IUPUI for offering programs that help ensure a positive collegiate experience for new freshmen and undergraduates.

For the second year in a row, Minority Access Inc. — a national nonprofit educational organization dedicated to improving diversity in education, employment and research — has recognized IUPUI for its commitment to diversity as a result of the programs and activities it has on campus that both enhance and promote an environment of inclusion.

Additionally, IUPUI was named among the 30 best non-Historically Black Colleges and Universities for minorities in the United States by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, a critical source of news, information and commentary on the full range of issues concerning diversity in American higher education.

‘Woman President’ earns two national awards for IUPUI co-author

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INDIANAPOLIS — Two national professional organizations have named an IUPUI professor and her Colorado State University co-author recipients of top awards in recognition of their book about women and the quest for the U.S. presidency.

Kristina Horn Sheeler, chair and associate professor of communication studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Karrin Vasby Anderson will receive the National Communication Association’s top book award, the James A. Winans and Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address.

Sheeler and Anderson, professor of communication studies at Colorado State University, are also recipients of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender’s 2014 Outstanding Book Award.

Both awards honor the women for their authorship of “Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture,” published last year by Texas A&M University Press.

“We are honored to receive these significant awards,” said Sheeler, who teaches in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “Recognition of this important scholarship on gender and the presidency is one step toward imagining a woman as president. It is not as simple as advising women to run differently; as a culture, we must shift the conversation to include the cultural barriers competent women face when running for executive level office.”

In “Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture,” Sheeler and Anderson discuss the U.S. presidentiality as a unique rhetorical role, reviewing women’s historical and contemporary presidential bids with special emphasis on the 2008 campaign. They also consider how presidentiality is framed in candidate oratory, campaign journalism, film and television, digital media and political parody, all to answer the question “What will it take for a woman to be elected as U.S. president?”

The co-authors argue that “one of the most intransigent barriers to the election of a woman president is the persistence of a broad cultural backlash against female presidentiality” that can be seen in political and popular culture.

Sheeler and Anderson received funding for their research as co-recipients of the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women in Politics.

The women will be honored during an award ceremony Nov. 22 at the National Communication Association’s 100th annual convention in Chicago.

The National Communication Association promotes the appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems.

As National Communication Association award recipients, Sheeler and Anderson “join a venerable group of scholars and educators who have been honored for achieving excellence in research, teaching and service,” association president Kathleen Turner said in the award letter to the co-authors.

Sheeler and Anderson have also been invited to attend an award celebration during the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender convention Oct. 16 to 19 in the San Francisco area.

The organization seeks to provide a forum for professional discussion, presentation of research and demonstration of creative projects in the areas of communication, language and gender, and to promote recognition of those doing work in this area.

“The committee had glowing things to say about your book and the decision to award you winner was unanimous,” Rachel E. Silverman, organization Book Award Committee chair, said in an award letter to the co-authors.

Culp, Snell earn Fulbright awards

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Amanda Snell of the School of Liberal Arts | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU COMMUNICATIONS

Brian Culp will spend time in Montreal and Amanda Snell in Laatzen, Germany this school year. And despite the fact that Culp is a faculty member and Snell a student, both are helping build IUPUI’s growing role as an international campus.

Culp is a kinesiology expert from the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. Snell is an English major from the School of Liberal Arts, and both are prime examples of the impact of the internationally focused Fulbright Scholar Program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Culp will work with Fulbright Canada partners to examine programs and policies in hopes of improving health and physical activity among youth and other under-represented populations in Montreal, Quebec.

Snell, meanwhile, will be part of an English Teaching Assistant Program in Germany and will teach English and Spanish classes at a high school in Laatzen.

Culp, who earned an American Fulbright Scholar Award, be a visiting research chair in The Person and Society at Concordia University in Montreal, studying social justice promotion in health and physical activity in Montreal, a “City of Design” as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

“Amanda Snell’s recognition as a Fulbright awardee demonstrates the impact of IUPUI’s commitment to global engagement,” said Nasser Paydar, IUPUI executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “Our students increasingly participate in international experiences during their time at IUPUI and are empowered to transform our community and the world after graduating.”

Culp believes he was chosen for his background in several national and international initiatives in addition to assisting with the design of needed programs and policies, and hopes to provide a Hoosier flavor to the international effort.

“Cities in America are becoming more diverse by the day,” Culp added. That creates both opportunities and challenges. “And cities like Montreal already resemble what Indianapolis could look like in 20 years. We would be remiss if we didn’t prepare to meet the needs of our communities from a health, social and economic standpoint.”

Like Culp, Snell’s work in Europe will connect back to her Indiana roots.

She’ll be part of a partnership in which German students learning English will email Indiana high school students studying German. Additionally, she’ll be doing community literacy projects, including working with immigrant adults trying to learn German.

She credited her IUPUI professors for her upcoming role as a Fulbright awardee.

“I am so grateful for my professors in the IUPUI English department, who mentored me inside and outside the classroom by challenging me academically and encouraging me to apply what I am learning in class to impact the community, in my case, through teaching immigrant and refugee language learners,” she said. “These professors have modeled what I strive to provide to my students: high expectations coupled with support and respect for learners.”

IUPUI alumna receives Kennedy Center leadership award for arts accessibility program

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Kristina Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS — An IUPUI alumna recently received a prestigious national award for a project helping to open the world of cultural arts to people with disabilities.

Kristina Johnson, a 2013 museum studies graduate in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is the recipient of a Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Award in recognition of her work with AcessIndy.

Part of IUPUI’s Cultural Heritage Research Center, AccessIndy is a program designed to unite museum and cultural arts professionals as they work toward improving access and inclusion within their organizations. In addition to developing a Web-based resource library, AccessIndy has been offering a series of roundtable discussions for museum and cultural professionals about access and inclusion in the Indiana arts.

“I had discovered NYC’s Museum Access Consortium at the (2012) LEAD conference and used that group as a model for what we’re doing in Indianapolis,” Johnson said. She also credits conference presentations by Betty Siegel, president emeritus of Kennesaw State University, and Lynn Walsh, manager of guest access and inclusiveness at Chicago’s Children Museum, as inspirations for AccessIndy.

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Awards are given to “outstanding arts administrators and institutions whose leadership and work furthers the field of accessibility.” Johnson was one of four recipients honored during the 14th annual LEAD conference held Aug. 1 to 6 in Chicago.

“To the extent that a LEAD Award recognizes not just impact in the community, but outstanding professionals in the field, I can think of no more deserving recipient than Kris Johnson,” said Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, associate professor of museum studies and director of the Cultural Heritage Research Center. “Her work in Indianapolis is a classic example of what happens when seeds are planted in fertile ground. … It has been a catalyst for sharing information across institutions and for individual organizations to build their capacity to be more inclusive and accessible to all audiences.”

Johnson launched AccessIndy in November 2012. She plans to expand the program as a statewide resource for all cultural arts professionals in Indiana and continue promoting the program as a model for other regions across the U.S.

The LEAD Award “is probably the most meaningful award I could have received because it’s a big ‘thumbs up’ from people whom I deeply admire and validates that I’m on the right track in my career,” Johnson said. “That being said, I’m not doing this work all by myself. I have the support of the Cultural Heritage Research Center, the museum studies program, the Indiana Arts Commission and many museum professionals in Indianapolis. I see this award as a spotlight on Indy as an emerging epicenter of progress in the movement to broaden access and inclusion in the cultural arts.”

2014-15 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Competitions Now Open

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The American Council of Learned Societies

ACLS is pleased to announce that the 2014-15 ACLS fellowship competitions are now open. ACLS offers fellowship programs that promote the full spectrum of humanities and humanistic social sciences research and support scholars at the advanced graduate student level through all stages of the academic career. Comprehensive information and eligibility criteria for all programs can be found at www.acls.org/programs/comps.

Application deadlines vary by program:

September 24, 2014
ACLS Fellowships (the central program)
ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowships
ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships
Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships
Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars

October 1, 2014
Luce/ACLS Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants in China Studies
Luce/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in China Studies
Luce/ACLS Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants in China Studies
Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society (grants for planning meetings, workshops, and conferences)

October 22, 2014
Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Buddhist Studies
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collaborative Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

November 1, 2014
African Humanities Program

January 14, 2015
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Visiting Professorships in Buddhist Studies

March 2015 (date TBA)
ACLS Public Fellows

The American Council of Learned Societies is the leading private institution supporting scholars in the humanities. In the 2013-14 competition year, ACLS awarded over $15 million to nearly 300 scholars worldwide. Recent fellows’ profiles and research abstracts are available at www.acls.org/fellows/new. The 2014-15 season promises to be equally successful!

With best wishes,

Matthew Goldfeder
Director of Fellowship Programs
American Council of Learned Societies
fellowships@acls.org
www.acls.org

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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. http://indianapublicmedia.org/arts/brunswick-billiards-iupui-team/

Gov. Pence recognizes 2014 class of Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows

389647_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Ten aspiring teachers — including an oil industry engineer and a product development and quality control officer from the manufactured housing industry — will enroll at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as members of the 2014 class of Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows.

Now in its sixth year at IUPUI, the Woodrow Wilson program is designed to prepare recent college graduates or working professionals with strong backgrounds in the STEM fields  – science, technology, engineering, and math — to teach in high-need secondary schools.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation recently named a class of 45 2014 Indiana fellows. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence recognized the selected fellows June 9 during a Statehouse press conference attended by officials from the foundation, IUPUI and the other participating universities: Ball State University, Purdue University, University of Indianapolis and Valparaiso University.

“Attracting talent in science, technology, engineering and math to the teaching field will help our students better understand and be successful in these fields, which are so important to our state’s future success,” Pence said.

The Woodrow Wilson program at IUPUI is an interdisciplinary program between the IU School of Education, Purdue School of Science and Purdue School of Engineering and Technology. The IUPUI program offers a residency in which students are paired with a master teacher as a mentor for an full academic year.

“We feel this is the best way to prepare exemplary and experienced teachers for today’s diverse schools,” said Pat Rogan, executive associate dean of the IU School of Education at IUPUI. “Our program has been successful in preparing a total of 66 secondary STEM teachers over the course of five years, and these teachers have secured jobs in high-need schools — primarily in Marion County.

“We continue to attract incredibly talented candidates who want to teach in high-need schools.  Our program prepares them to be successful via in-depth content expertise and leading-edge teaching and learning practices, intensive clinical experiences, strong mentorship and support during their first three years of teaching — all in partnership with our middle and high school partners.”

The teaching fellowship, started in Indiana, is now established in Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey and Georgia. Each Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow receives $30,000 to complete a specially designed, leading-edge master’s degree program based on a yearlong classroom experience. In return, fellows commit to teach for three years in the Indiana schools that most need strong STEM teachers. Throughout the three-year commitment, fellows receive intensive ongoing support and mentoring.

“At IUPUI, we have designed our Woodrow Wilson STEM teacher preparation program to reflect teaching as a practice-based profession, much like a medical residency,” said Kathy Marrs, director of the IUPUI Woodrow Wilson Program. “Woodrow Wilson fellows at IUPUI complete a master’s degree program that combines a solid academic base, a strong one-year clinical teaching residency in our local urban schools, a three-year new teacher induction experience, and ongoing opportunities such as Project Lead the Way or special education dual certification.”

The IUPUI program is the only Woodrow Wilson Fellowship program in the country that offers dual certification in both STEM and special education certification.

The 10 IUPUI 2014 Woodrow Wilson teaching fellows, listed with previous graduation dates and majors, are:

  • Jonathan Bernardi: Amherst College ’99, Russian
  • Justin Bush, IUPUI ’13, biology
  • William Johnson: Purdue University ’07, mechanical engineering technology
  • Danielle Lord: Albion College ’08, geological sciences; University of New Mexico ’13, M.S., earth and planetary sciences
  • Tamara Markey: Purdue University ’94, industrial engineering
  • Donovan McCubbins: Bellarmine University ’13, chemistry
  • Taylor Mobley: Indiana University Bloomington ’14, chemistry
  • Katherine Russo: Indiana University Bloomington ’12, human biology
  • Daryl Traylor: Eastern Kentucky University ’13, biology; IUPUI ’14, M.S., biology
  • Lauren Wyatt: IUPUI ’13, biology

Library dean’s ‘landmark’ article chosen for College & Research Libraries 75th anniversary issue

205249_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Readers of College & Research Libraries have selected an article written by IUPUI University Library Dean David W. Lewis as one of seven “landmark” articles to be published in a special journal for the association’s 75th anniversary.

Originally published in July 1988, Lewis’ article “Inventing the Electronic University” foreshadowed many of the key technologies, such as the digital collection, that University Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the campus are leveraging today to effectively engage with students and the wider community.

Lewis argued that the rapid evolution of information technology employed in teaching, learning and research presages a “fundamental change” in higher education that will require academic libraries to be less concerned with “the automation of old systems” and more concerned with the “restructuring of institutions.”

“David Lewis’ innovation and leadership have a lasting legacy in IUPUI’s pioneering efforts to integrate information technology across the academic enterprise, especially in University Library,” said Nasser Paydar, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “He is most deserving of this recognition as a national thought-leader and author from College & Research Libraries’ 75-year history.”

Lewis is also Indiana University assistant vice president for digital scholarly communication and as such has responsibility for advancing the university’s  efforts to foster open access to scholarly research by developing new models for scholarly publication that enable scholars, and their collective communities, to re-assert control over rights to scholarship literature.

In March, the editorial board and past editors of College & Research Libraries identified 30 articles from the journal’s history, including Lewis’, as finalists for publication in the special issue scheduled for March 2015. Readers were asked to select six articles from the 30, plus a reader’s choice, for publication.

College & Research Libraries is the official scholarly research journal of the Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. More than 300 readers voted on the landmark articles. The chosen articles will also be a topic for discussion at the Association of College Research Libraries 2015 Conference in Portland, Ore.

“Reviewing every article published in the journal since 1939 reminded the editorial board of the incredible contributions that our authors have made to research and practice in academic librarianship over the past 75 years, and we are looking forward to reflecting on those contributions and considering what they mean for the future of research in our field with the publication of this special issue in March 2015,” said C&RL Editor Scott Walter of DePaul University.

Located at 755 W. Michigan St. in the heart of the IUPUI campus, University Library is a public library, serving nearly 1 million visitors a year, 10 percent of them community users. University Library supports students and faculty across all of IUPUI’s more than 200 degree programs with research expertise and a wide array of resources. Any resident of Indiana is eligible for an IUPUI University Library card.

IUPUI Africana Studies Program receives award from National Council for Black Studies

385606_w296INDIANAPOLIS — The Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has received the Mary McLeod Bethune and Carter G. Woodson Award for Outstanding Service in the Promotion of Social Responsibility in Africana Studies from the National Council for Black Studies.

The award was presented at the 38th annual National Council for Black Studies Conference in March in Miami, Fla. IUPUI’s Africana Studies Program served as the local co-host of the council’s 2013 conference, along with IU Bloomington, Notre Dame and Purdue universities.

“This award acknowledges the collective efforts of Africana studies faculty, students and staff who played strategic roles in the local conference planning as well as their active participation in the NCBS conference that was held in Indianapolis last year,” said Bessie House-Soremekun, director of Africana studies and professor of political science and Africana studies. “We are deeply humbled to receive this prestigious award named in honor of two great exemplars of social responsibility, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Dr. Carter G. Woodson.”

The 2013 National Council for Black Studies conference, at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, had the second highest attendance in the organization’s history. The conference, which featured more than 400 concurrent sessions, drew on the diverse talents of IUPUI Africana studies faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the Indianapolis community. Professor Monroe Little served as chair of the local arrangements committee, and IUPUI senior Kendrea Williams and graduate assistant Juhanna Rogers provided invaluable service as members of the local arrangements committee.

IUPUI and Indianapolis community members also presented papers and served as volunteers at the conference. House-Soremekun presented a welcome speech at the opening reception at the Madame Walker Theatre Center. Three IUPUI students — Stella Brown, Leon Bates and Gregory Efiom — were inducted into the National Council for Black Studies National Honor Society.

The National Council for Black Studies was founded in 1975 by African American scholars who believed in the importance of providing scholarly information on the historical contributions of Africa and the experiences of African descended people in the African Diaspora. It has emerged as one of the most respected professional organizations in the United States dedicated to engendering an ongoing respect for people of African descent.

IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI recognizes three with alumni awards

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAINDIANAPOLIS — Sheila Gilbert dedicates her life to helping the poor. Charity Counts brings educational opportunities to Indianapolis. Brian Denton puts his statistical skills to work in the medical field.

Their accomplishments are unique, but they are connected by their liberal arts education. And on May 9, Gilbert, Counts and Denton were honored with IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI Alumni Awards.

“Sheila Gilbert, Charity Counts and Brian Denton are three wonderful examples of liberal arts alumni making a difference,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts. “It’s a joy to recognize their career and community achievements and add them to the rolls of accomplished alumni of the school.”

Each year the Liberal Arts Alumni Association recognizes alumni and friends of the School of Liberal Arts for their achievements and service. The Distinguished Alumni Service Award recognizes outstanding alumni who distinguish themselves either professionally or by giving extraordinary service to the school/university. The Early Career Achievement Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in a profession or for service to the school/university; graduates within 15 years of degree completion are eligible for this award.

Gilbert received the Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Service Award for her work with people in need. Counts and Denton received the Early Career Achievement Award for success in their respective career paths and contributions to their alma mater. The awards were presented as part of the school’s annual celebration of its graduating classes, which took place at the Indianapolis Arts Garden.

Honorees were nominated by faculty, community members and alumni, and selection was made by the Alumni Association Board.

More information about the honorees:

Sheila Gilbert (BA sociology, 1978; MA public and environmental affairs, 1983)

Sheila Gilbert is the national president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She is a past president of the society’s Indianapolis Council and currently facilitates its educational program, Changing Lives, a 26-week training and educational program that helps low-income families exit poverty.

She was a St. Mary of the Woods College adjunct faculty member and previously served as director of Project CLASS, a career development and work experience program of Indianapolis Public Schools for more than 800 economically disadvantaged adults.

“She is the unpaid servant leader of an organization that yearly provides more than half a billion dollars’ worth of goods and services to people in need in the United States,” said Robert White, professor and chair of sociology. “I cannot conceive of an alumna who brings more honor to the IU School of Liberal Arts than Sheila Gilbert.”

Charity Counts (MA museum studies, 2008)

Charity Counts is the associate vice president of exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Since receiving her master’s degree, she has been active with the Museum Studies Program as a donor, guest presenter and internship mentor.

While a student, she published the article “Spectacular Design in Museum Exhibitions,” which became a cover story in Curator: The Museum Journal, the top peer-reviewed publication in the field.

“Ms. Counts embodies the spirit and purpose of the liberal arts and brings that knowledge to her everyday work,” said Elizabeth Wood, associate professor and director of museum studies. “Her attention and commitment to intellectual pursuits and leadership in the field indicate the strength of an early and distinguished career.”

Counts is credited for developing strong relationships for the Children’s Museum with content providers such as Lego, National Geographic and Nickelodeon, as well as negotiating exhibitions such as the Terra Cotta Warriors from Xi’an, China.

Brian Denton (BA economics, 2002; BA German/political science, 2003; MA economics, 2005; BS mathematics, 2009)


While working on his master’s degree, Brian Denton discovered a passion for statistics and computer programming. Since then, Denton has used his extensive training to build a career as a statistician.

He spent two years as a statistical research assistant at the prestigious Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York. While there, he helped develop new techniques to predict and classify genetic mutations and liposarcoma subtypes based on clinical and gene expression data.

“Brian has made impressive strides early in his career,” said Paul Carlin, professor of economics. “He has been and remains a strong supporter of the Department of Economics’ mission.”

Denton currently works as a computational statistician for Eli Lilly and Co, and serves on the Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council.