Superintendents to discuss public education’s future at annual Cohen Lecture

INDIANAPOLIS — Superintendents from three Indiana school corporations, including the school of education'state’s two largest, will be part of a panel discussing the future of education during the second annual Michael R. Cohen Lecture on Meaning and Motivation in Education.

Presented by the Indiana University School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the panel titled “The Future of Public Education” will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the Indianapolis Public Library Central Library branch, 40 E. St. Clair St. The event is free and open to the public.

The panelists are actively involved in the administration of public education and have been outspoken advocates on behalf of their schools and education in general. The panel includes Lewis Ferebee, superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools, the largest district in Indiana. Before joining IPS in September 2013, Ferebee was the chief of staff for the Durham Public Schools and regional superintendent for Guilford County Schools, both in North Carolina.

Joining Ferebee will be Rocky Killion, superintendent of the West Lafayette Community School Corp. since 2007 and best known for championing public education through the documentary he commissioned, “Rise Above the Mark.” Killion has spoken often in conjunction with film screenings about the challenges facing public education both economically and politically. Last year the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents named him Superintendent of the Year.

Wendy Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools, is also on the panel. Robinson is nationally recognized for expertise in urban education. In 2009, the National Alliance of Black School Educators presented her with the Superintendent of the Year award. She has led the state’s second-largest school district since 2003 and has been in the Fort Wayne schools for nearly four decades.

The discussion will be moderated by Scott Elliot, the founding bureau chief of Chalkbeat Indiana, a nonprofit news organization covering educational change in Indiana.

The Cohen Lecture began last year. It honors professor emeritus in science education Michael Cohen, faculty member at the School of Education from 1968 to 2003. Cohen was selected in 1984 as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon members by their peers in recognition of meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. He wrote an influential elementary school textbook called “Discover Science,” and his research has focused on children and adults’ concepts and misconceptions of science and the environment.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Indiana Urban Schools Association, the Indiana Coalition on Public Education, and WFYI public radio and television in Indianapolis. More details and registration are available online.

Dr. Stephen Selka presents “Mapping the Moral in African Diaspora Tourism in Brazil”

Photo courtesy of Dr. Stephen Selka At 12:00pm on April, 30th the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute will host Dr. Stephen Selka.  His lecture will explore African diaspora tourism in Bahia, Brazil, particularly African American “pilgrimages” to the Afro-Catholic festival of Our Lady of the Good Death (or simply Boa Morte) celebrated every August by women of African descent involved with the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. Although recognized as part of the official heritage of Bahia, Boa Morte occupies a complicated position on the Afro-Brazilian moral landscape. To evangelical Christians, for example, Boa Morte and Candomblé are diabolical; from this perspective, Afro-Brazilian religion is something to leave behind. By contrast, to the extent that the festival of Boa Morte is understood as a celebration honoring the ancestors, it is particularly appealing to African Americans seeking to “recover” their ancestral past. Nevertheless, ancestors are understood to be dangerous and morally unpredictable in Candomblé; therefore Boa Morte is something morally ambiguous for many Candomblé practitioners, contrary to what most African American visitors might expect. Accordingly, this talk focuses on the contested links between heritage, personhood, and morality that are enacted at the festival of Boa Morte.

Stephen Selka is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. A cultural anthropologist, he researches religion, politics, and cultural heritage tourism in Afro-Brazilian communities in northeastern Brazil, where he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork since 1999. His first book, Religion and the Politics of Ethnic Identity in Bahia, Brazil (University Press of Florida, 2007), explores the various ways that Afro-Brazilians in both Christian and African-derived religious communities construct their ethnic identities and struggle against racism.

This public program is part of the Religion and Ethics Roundtables series of the IU Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society. Religion and Ethics Roundtables highlight the work of scholars at IUB, IUPUI, and beyond, with the goal of engaging the IU community and the public in dialogue about important issues at the intersection of religion, ethics, and society.

Dontrell: Talkback

Immediately following the April 12th performance of Dontrell, Who Kissed the SeaLogo of Phoenix Theatre, the Phoenix Theatre and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute will co-host a talkback session to discuss some of the “big ideas” that emerge from the play, including the influence of historical events in shaping our experience, the importance of family in molding our identity, and the role of free will in determining our life’s journey.

This conversation will be moderated by Dr. Ronda Henry Anthony, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and Public Scholar of African American Studies and Undergraduate Research in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. She is the author of Searching for the New Black Man: Black Masculinity and Women’s Bodies, published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2013. She writes on African American literature, gender, and race.

Tickets for the April 12th performance of Dontrell can be purchased here.

INconversation with Nathan Alan Davis

Join us, on April 9th, for an INconversation with playwright Nathan Alan Davis, Nathan Alan Davis.  Photo courtesy of inside.iub.eduwhose play “Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea” will be featured at the Phoenix Theater April 9-26. Nathan received his MFA in playwriting from Indiana University in 2014 and is currently a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Julliard.

The discussion, moderated by Modupe Labode, IUPUI’s Public Scholar of African American History and Museum Studies, will center around themes of memory, identity, African-American history, and the different ways we understand these ideas–through history, through theater and art, through material culture and family stories.

Nathan’s plays have also been produced, presented or developed at Baltimore Center Stage, Chicago Dramatists, San Diego Rep. and Source Festival (DC). Other honors include: Jerome Fellowship finalist, Heideman Award finalist and Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist. Learn more.

INconversation is an Indiana Humanities program. This event has been supported by the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, and is held in partnership with the Phoenix Theater

Chinese public scholar Na Li discusses state of public history in China

Na Li, a Research Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities 8fb17ab0ab2b7b82969e5788675af52eand Social Sciences (IAS) at Chongqing University in China working to establish public history in China as an organizer of a Public History Faculty Training Institute, will be visiting Indianapolis April 7- May 1 doing research in the National Council on Public History (NCPH) archives housed in the IUPUI Special Collections and Archives.

Na Li, or Lina as she calls herself in English, earned a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Toronto and a Masters from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Public History. Her research focuses on public history and urban preservation. Her first book, Kensington Market: Collective Memory, Public History, and Toronto’s Urban Landscape (University of Toronto Press, 2015) incorporates collective memory in urban landscape interpretation, and suggests a culturally sensitive narrative approach (CSNA) to urban preservation. Her articles have appeared in The Public Historian, Public History Review and The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning. She contributes to a better understanding of public history on an international scale.

Na Li is also the International Affiliate of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University (Canada), and Research Fellow of Australian Centre for Public History at University of Technology Sydney (Australia). In her role as a Research Fellow at Chongqing University and Adjunct Professor at Shanghai Normal University (China), Na Li is pioneering to establish public history in China. She has organized the first National Conference on Public History in China (2013) and the first Public History Faculty Training Program in China (2014). She is completing her second book An Introduction to Public History (Chinese).

As part of her stay in Indianapolis, she will be presenting a talk about the “state” of public history in China, the goals of her public history faculty training program, and what she hopes to accomplish with her research in the U.S. Her talk, which is an official Intern Seminar, will be Friday, April 10, 2:00-3:15 pm, Faculty Lounge, Cavanaugh Hall, Room 508. Seating is very limited, so please RSVP to Philip Scarpino by April 9.

Kennedy ‘defending reason’ in Last Lecture

Sheila Seuss Kennedy

The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” goes to the heart of political philosophy: what should that village look like?

What is the common good? What is the nature of mutual social obligation? What sort of social and political arrangements are most likely to promote and enable — in Aristotle’s term — human flourishing? Perhaps most importantly, do we live in an era when such questions have largely been abandoned?

Sheila Suess Kennedy of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs will explore these and other questions in “Defending Reason in an Unreasonable Time” during IUPUI’s 2015 Last Lecture at 2 p.m. March 27 in the Campus Center Theater.

Kennedy has been at IUPUI since 1998, rising to her role as a professor of law and public policy in SPEA and as director of the Center for Civic Literacy.

The Last Lecture offers the university community the opportunity to hear reflections on life’s lessons and meaning from a retired or current IUPUI colleague of exceptional merit.

Reservations are required. RSVP online by March 23, or call Angie Vinci-Booher at 317-274-4500.

Kennedy says she has lived through the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, the ’60s, the sexual revolution, the gay rights movement, recent decades of religious zealotry that might be characterized as “America’s most recent Great Awakening,” and a dizzying explosion of new transportation and communication technologies. All those experiences have given her perspectives she will share on issues such as social justice, education and the nature of the common good.

Kennedy has a breadth of personal and professional experience that can rival anyone; she has been a lawyer (both in law firms and for the city of Indianapolis), a businesswoman, an author of nine books, a columnist for the Indianapolis Business Journal, a blogger on her own website and others, executive director of the Indiana affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union and a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Last Lecture is sponsored by the Senior Academy, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Indiana University Foundation. For additional information, contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 317-274-4500.

 

NEA Chair Jane Chu to Present at Arts Symposium at IUPUI

 Jane Chu Image courtesy NEA

Indiana University alumna Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, will join arts leaders from around the country at a symposium in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 7.

The theme is “Community Engagement and Development Through the Arts” and it is led by arts administration faculty at the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“This is a great way to honor the work of Dr. Chu and a chance to share the experiences and insights of arts leaders from across the U.S. whose work is directly tied to the quality of life and development of their cities and regions,” SPEA’s Michael Rushton said.

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Basile Auditorium at the Herron School of Art and Design on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. It is open to the public, but organizers request attendees RSVP to soprsvp@iupui.edu.

Chu has been chair of the National Endowment for the Arts since June and formerly served as president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. She earned her doctorate in philanthropic studies from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis.

Chu will speak about the direction of the NEA as it relates to creative placemaking, including trends and plans for the future. Her address will follow a symposium with two panels. SPEA IU Bloomington professor Joanna Woronkowicz will moderate the first panel on the role of arts organizations in community engagement. Panelists include:

  • Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts in Nebraska.

Rushton will moderate the second discussion on the role of arts funders with panelists:

  • Jennifer Cole, executive director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.
  • Karen Gahl-Mills, executive director of the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture in Cleveland.

At the conclusion of the IUPUI symposium, Chu will travel to Bloomington for a visit to the Jacobs School of Music and to attend an IU Opera Theater production of “South Pacific.”

Chu’s visit to Indiana will also include a meeting with all current NEA grantees in Indiana and a site visit to the Indianapolis Art Center with the Indiana Arts Commission, as well as meetings with SPEA IUPUI students and with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s students, board of visitors, faculty and staff.

This is her second recent visit to the region; she delivered the IU Bloomington 2014 winter commencement address in December.

Support for the symposium has been made possible by grants from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, USA Funds, Tom and Bonnie Reilly, and the Ball Brothers Foundation, as well as from IUPUI. The host organizations for the Chu visit include SPEA IU Bloomington, SPEA IUPUI, Herron School, Indiana Arts Commission, Jacobs School of Music at IU Bloomington, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

To attend the symposium, RSVP to Nancy Bell by March 1.

 

Steward Speakers Series brings Hollywood to Indianapolis

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Two acclaimed TV and film personalities are headed to Indianapolis to take the podium as guest speakers for the 2014-15 Steward Speakers Series.

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey

The Steward Speakers Series presents award-winning actress Viola Davis and popular talk show and game show host Steve Harvey as keynote speakers for the lecture series that seeks to enhance the community by providing opportunities to engage with America’s best leaders and brightest luminaries.

Davis, currently starring in the ABC hit “How to Get Away With Murder,” is the featured speaker for the March 2 talk. Harvey, who has found success as an actor, writer and producer, as well as TV host, will headline the April 20 lecture.

Activities during both evenings include dinner from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the second-floor ballroom at the Marriott Downtown, 350 S. Maryland St.

During the March 2 lecture, Davis will discuss her career and how overcoming adversities and preconceived restrictions have all contributed to reinforcing her abilities as an artist and to her becoming a stronger woman.

The Tony Award-winning actress was thrust into the spotlight after her Oscar-nominated portrayal of Aibileen Clark in “The Help,” a big-screen drama about the struggles of black housekeepers working for white families in 1960s Mississippi.

In addition to hosting his TV shows, Harvey is a fashion entrepreneur and bestselling author. The 2012 box office hit, “Think Like a Man,” was adapted from Harvey’s No. 1 book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”

While he is known as a funny man, Harvey’s serious side shows in his longtime dedication to philanthropy. His current projects include The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men, a camp that shares insights and manhood skills with teenage boys who are without fathers.

Tickets for each dinner and the following lecture are $100 per person. They can be purchased online.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is a title sponsor for the Steward Speakers 2014-2015 season that opened with Nov. 20 and Feb. 9 events featuring Michael Eric Dyson and T.J. Holmes as guest speakers.

The Steward Speakers Series provides continuous education and awareness to Indianapolis residents interested in empowerment topics. The program allows the community to dialogue on important issues of the day with celebrities, leaders and experts in particular fields.