Bridging The Gap For College Freshmen

iupui_students_generic_2014INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A record number of incoming IUPUI freshmen and international students are attending a unique two-week program designed to help them “bridge” the gap between their high school experience and their first year of college.

Approximately 750 students are enrolled in the University College Summer Bridge Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which runs Aug. 13 through Aug. 24. Summer Bridge students live on campus and attend specialized classes to help them learn about academic expectations, prepare for their initial academic year and become accustomed to the IUPUI campus.

Total participation in the program, which started in 2001, increased from 361 students in 2007 to 607 last summer.

“There has been significant growth of the program and thus, an increase in the number of student participants,” said Heather Bowman, director of first-year programs at IUPUI. “In the past few years, the numbers have almost doubled. There are only a few schools left on campus that don’t have Summer Bridge classes.”

IUPUI has 17 schools offering degrees from either Indiana University or Purdue University. While Summer Bridge is administered by University College, the schools and their academic departments design specific courses for the students pursuing degrees in their programs.

As more of the schools at IUPUI add Summer Bridge opportunities, the program will continue to expand, Bowman said. The Herron School of Art and Design and the Department of Journalism and Public Relations, newly established in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, are new to the Summer Bridge program this year. In addition, all freshman international students are again required to attend Summer Bridge, which has contributed to the growth of the program.

About 17 percent of entering IUPUI freshmen have attended the Summer Bridge program each of the past four years.

Bowman has high expectations for the future of the program.

“Each year, I look forward to watching our participants transform into confident, college-ready students over the two weeks of the program,” she said. “My hope is that one day, all IUPUI freshmen will have an opportunity to participate in a Summer Bridge experience.”

Bradbury lecture celebrates master storyteller’s birthday and legacy


Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Director Jonathan Eller with science fiction and fantasy magazines with Ray Bradbury stories, part of the Bradbury-Albright Collection.

INDIANAPOLIS — Professor Jonathan Eller, director of IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, will present the inaugural Bradbury Lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The lecture, in the West Reading Room of the Indianapolis Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., is free and open to the public.

“Ray Bradbury in the Twenty-First Century” draws on the unique and extensive archives of the Bradbury Center, which is home to the iconic author’s papers, his working library, and a lifetime of his awards and mementos. These materials, recent gifts of the Bradbury family and the author’s longtime friend and bibliographer, Donn Albright, are part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows a Ray Bradbury story,” Eller said. “Generations of school children and college students have read his work in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks; teachers and librarians continue to value his stories and his poetic, metaphor-rich style.”

Bradbury’s stories have a unique staying power in American culture.

“He published more than 400 stories,” Eller said. “And he wove them into such modern classics as ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ ‘The Golden Apples of the Sun,’ ‘The October Country,’ and two enduring titles that emerged from his Midwestern childhood: ‘Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ his classic cautionary tale of censorship and book burning, remains a perennial bestseller more than 60 years after publication.”

Eller’s illustrated presentation will focus on two intriguing questions: How did Ray Bradbury, a child of the Great Depression who never attended college, become one of the best-known American writers of his time? And why does this master storyteller of the 20th century remain a powerful cultural influence today?

The inaugural Bradbury Lecture falls during the author’s birthday week, and Eller plans to schedule subsequent lectures each August as Bradbury’s centennial year — 2020 — rapidly approaches.

Eller said, “He was born in 1920, when the Martian Canals of Percival Lowell and Edgar Rice Burroughs were still high in the American imagination; he passed away in 2012, just as the Curiosity Rover was about to land on Mars, at a site named in Ray Bradbury’s honor.” The center’s holdings include artifacts that have orbited the Earth, and Eller’s lecture will also assess the author’s lasting impact on the American space program.

The timing of the first Bradbury Lecture is especially significant. “Ray Bradbury Unbound,” the second volume of Eller’s three-volume study of Bradbury’s life and career, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in early September. At the same time, Kent State University Press will publish volume two of the Bradbury Center’s “Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury,” a series that recovers the seldom-seen original versions of Bradbury’s earliest published stories.

The Bradbury Lecture also kicks off a campaign to expand the Bradbury Center at IUPUI so that students, researchers and the general public can have better access to the archives and artifacts belonging to one of America’s premier storytellers.

The Bradbury Lecture is presented by the Indianapolis Public Library in conjunction with the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Parking for the Indianapolis Central Library is available via Pennsylvania Street in the library garage for a fee.

For more information about the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, call 317-274-2173 or visit the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies’ website.

Event at IUPUI to focus on advancing education in Burmese community


Students and staff of the Burmese Community Center for Education

INDIANAPOLIS — A half-day event Aug. 15 at IUPUI will focus on education and advancement for the growing Indiana communities of immigrants and refugees from Burma. The Burmese Community Center for Education and the Great Lakes Equity Center at IUPUI are co-hosting the program for invited leaders from the community, school districts from across the state, the Indiana Department of Education and Indiana University.

The Friday afternoon program at the IUPUI Campus Center has three primary goals: Participants will share information to increase awareness and understanding of available educational, cultural and language resources. The group will establish near and long-term objectives and identify strategies and resources to meet them. Finally, inaugurating the Burmese Education Advancement Taskforce, the event will open opportunities for participants to establish new and strengthen existing partnerships.

Burma, officially called the Republic of the Union of Myanmar by the military junta that overthrew the democratic government in 1962, is a country torn by years of warring conflict. Refugees have fled the country over the years, only slowing slightly since the military government dissolved in 2011 following elections that installed civilian leadership.

“In bringing together leaders from community-based organizations, schools, the state department of education and the university, we are creating a space to dialogue about strengthening educational pathways for students from these communities,” said Thu Suong Nguyen, principal investigator for the BCCE Community Self-Empowerment Program and assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the IU School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “An aim of the taskforce is to increase understanding of this multi-ethnic, multi-lingual community, so that communities and schools can work in concert to support students.”

Established in 2010, the BCCE focuses on education, workforce development, family and social health, and housing for the central Indiana Burmese community, estimated at 8,000. Based at the First Baptist Church on the north side of Indianapolis, the BCCE works largely through volunteers from the Burmese community. Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted $600,000 over three years for the BCCE’s Community Self-Empowerment Program, directed by May Oo Mutraw with assistant directors  Neineh Plo and Jerry Htoo. Nguyen and Brendan Maxcy, faculty members in the School of Education at IUPUI, are principal investigators for the grant.

The Great Lakes Equity Center is one of 10 Equity Assistance Centers in the United States that are funded by the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Directed by Seena Skelton, the center seeks to ensure equity in student access to and participation in high-quality, research-based education by expanding states’ and school systems’ capacity to provide robust, effective opportunities to learn for all students, regardless of and responsive to race, sex and national origin, and to reduce disparities among and between groups in educational outcomes. Along with principal investigator Kathleen King Thorius, Nguyen and Maxcy serve as co-principal investigators of the center.

Civic literacy conference aims to provide insight to scholars, general public


Sheila Suess Kennedy

An offhand comment by a student in a class led by School of Public and Environmental Affairs faculty member Sheila Suess Kennedy a few years back is making a difference in IUPUI’s academic circles these days.

Kennedy is a SPEA faculty member and a former executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. She was also a lawyer who served as a corporation counsel for the City of Indianapolis during the William H. Hudnut Administration (1976-92), and she is a passionate advocate for civic literacy.

The student’s remark — she didn’t know the identity of James Madison (the fourth U.S. president) when Kennedy asked a rhetorical question about what Madison would have thought about Internet pornography, based on his constitutional writings — challenged the longtime faculty member to find an answer to the “civic deficit” that affects students and Indiana residents.

To address the problem, Kennedy launched the Center for Civic Literacy in SPEA thanks to an IUPUI Signature Center grant. The center is the organizer for the upcoming “Connect the Dots” Civic Literacy Conference Aug. 22 to 24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

Kennedy also established the new “Journal of Civic Literacy.” Its first issue, published on July 1, featured a cover story by Supreme Court Justice David Souter, in addition to contributions by members of the center faculty and conference leaders.

“Low civic literacy doesn’t just damage the political structure,” Kennedy said. “It makes it difficult to do business and even affects science and medicine, even social work. We want to raise awareness of those issues.”

Kennedy hopes the conference will provide insights about civic life both for scholars and the general public, and offer advances to essential knowledge and skills in what citizens need to know to navigate the 21st century. The center is working closely with the Indiana Bar Foundation, scholars on the IU Bloomington campus, people from other schools and universities and members of the center’s National Advisory Committee, among others.

Kennedy believes the Journal of Civic Literacy could play an increasing role in the success of both the center and the conference.

“Believe it or not, in a world where I thought there was an academic journal for everything, there was no interdisciplinary journal devoted to the role of civic knowledge,” Kennedy said. She believes that the journal can take a holistic look at the role played by civic knowledge across disciplinary domains.

“One research center is not going to ‘cure’ a problem of this magnitude,” Kennedy said. “We need to determine what happens to a diverse society when citizens are ignorant of the only thing disparate groups have in common.”

by Ric Burrous

The director of IUPUI’s Office for Women reflects on women’s roles at IUPUI


Under Grove’s guidance, the Office for Women has been active in creating programs and initiatives the empower female faculty, staff and students. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OFFICE FOR WOMEN

A decade can mean a big difference on a college campus. It certainly has for IUPUI’s female faculty and staff and students, according to Kathleen Grove, the director of the campus’s Office for Women since 2004.

Grove should know. Not only has she been the head of the office for 10 years, she was a graduate of the School of Law-Indianapolis (now the Robert H. McKinney School of Law) and has worked at IUPUI for much of her career.

“I’ve been in this role for 10 years and with the university for more than 20, and I believe there is even greater interest coalescing around these (women’s) issues,” Grove said. The push for progress in women’s roles is a vital part of IUPUI’s development, she adds. “These issues are really about how our community develops the talent of all members and ensures opportunity for everyone.”

Grove sensed the possibilities that existed on the campus almost from the first.

“I thought it was a unique and dynamic institution,” she said. “Anything that is good for the development of women is good for the whole community,” and can help widen the circle of inclusion in gathering the best talent for IUPUI. Grove’s training as both a lawyer and counselor helps achieve those goals for the campus she calls her professional home.

“I’m a lifelong learner, so the possibility of working in higher education was attractive to me,” she said. And Grove anticipated the opportunities that might emerge for women. Grove’s background, for instance, fit well with her interest in social justice and the legal and civil rights of women.

“It seemed like a great opportunity to build a diverse and inclusive climate here, and support gender equity in the policies and practices of the university,” she said.

Grove, in return, offered IUPUI a background in both the law and mental health counseling, giving her an intriguing set of skills for the job. In addition, she had worked for a professional education accreditation body, something that gave her valuable insights into the field of higher education.

It’s been a worthwhile partnership. Grove is proud that IUPUI created and maintains an office to address issues of gender equity and the advancement of women.

“There is a growing body of research showing that promoting women to leadership roles can improve the profitability of businesses and that more women faculty members actually help improve students’ academic performance,” she said.

Grove’s work has earned several honors, including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Women’s Studies Association Women’s Center Committee in 2011 and the Staff Council Multicultural Staff Award in 2013.

Grove expects the growth to continue. Executive Vice Chancellor Nasser Paydar recently launched a new task force to review the progress of women at IUPUI over the past 20 years, since the last such task force review took place in 1994.

She is convinced that IUPUI’s history bodes well for the future. “It is important to know one’s history and how we stand on the shoulders of previous generations,” Grove said. “Women have always been important contributors to the growth of IUPUI and the fulfillment of its mission.”

by Ric Burrous

Midwest meadows, Madrid, mapping influence October Herron exhibitions

UntitledBerkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries
Shawn Decker Prairie

Positioned at the intersection of music composition, visual art and performance, Chicago Artist Shawn Decker’s work uses physical and electronic media to investigate the natural and unnatural world.

By way of its most recent stop in Austria, his work Prairie will arrive at Herron School of Art and Design’s Berkshire, Reese and Paul galleries with an opening artists talk and reception on September 26 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Prairie is a large-scale kinetic sound sculpture. This installation presents visual elements that mimic prairie grasses as well as sound elements that evoke sounds of the prairie—from insects to wind playing in the grasses. The irony of a human construction with digital programming that ends up producing a meditative, seemingly natural environment is not lost on the artist.

Basile Auditorium
Artists Talk: Shawn Decker and Lanny Silverman

Joining Decker for a discussion of the current state of contemporary and avant garde art forms will be independent curator Lanny Silverman, formerly curator of exhibitions for the Chicago Cultural Center Department of Cultural Affairs.

Marsh Gallery
Lost in Translation:
Student Work from Herron’s Summer Study Abroad Program in Spain

Professors Anila Agha and Stefan Petranek not only conducted a summer scholarly excursion to Spain, the two will curate a showcase of student sculptures, drawings and photographs compelled by student travel experiences in Madrid and Barcelona. Some of the works were exhibited at the Makers of Barcelona gallery in June 2014, but this exhibit will include work created since the students’ return. Participating artists are: Helen ArthBrianna Campbell,Devan HimstedtJessica KartawichCarolyn KypchikChristine (Jazz) LongMary McClungEvan RiceBrittany Rudolf andHadia Shaikh.

Basile Gallery
Reagan Furqueron

A solo exhibition will feature new works by Director of Foundation Studies and Assistant Professor Reagan Furqueron that explore the ideas of transition and mapping through a sculptural approach to making—a departure from Furqueron’s usual making mode.

Study: “The Bible in American Life”

UntitledThe year 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. It also marked the beginning of a three-year Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI ) study of the Bible’s place in the everyday lives of Americans.

With a $507,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture – a program of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI – set out to answer questions of how, where, when and why ordinary Americans use the Bible.

According to findings made public online in the 44-page “The Bible in American Life” report, the four-centuries-old King James Version of the Bible is far from dead. Despite its archaic language and a market flooded with newer, more modern English translations, more than half of the individuals and two-fifths of the congregations surveyed still prefer the King James Bible.

And of those surveyed, African Americans reported the highest levels of Bible engagement.

Seventy percent of all blacks said they read the Bible outside of public worship services, compared to 44 percent for whites, 46 percent for Hispanics and 28 percent for all other races.

Bible memorization is highest among black respondents, 69 percent, compared to 51 percent among white conservative Protestants and 31 percent among white moderate/liberal Protestants.

“There are no measures, individually or in congregations, where ‘black’ is not strongly correlated with the most conservative, most active, most involved level of scriptural engagement, no matter which other group comes closest,” the report says.

“If one wanted to predict whether someone had read the Bible, believed it to be the literal or inspired Word of God, and used it to learn about many practical aspects of life, knowing whether or not that person was black is the single best piece of information one could have.”

The report first looks at the practice of scripture reading in the United States, and then explores eight measures among those who read the Bible, such as Bible translation used; scripture memorization habits; favorite passages; and race.

Roughly half of Americans have read religious scripture outside of a public worship service in the past year. For 95 percent of those, the Bible is the scripture they read.

What did the study reveal about Bible readers?

Most of those people read at least monthly, and a substantial number – 9 percent of all Americans – read every day.

Women were more likely to read than men; older people were more likely to read than younger; Southerners were more likely to read than those of any other region.

The percentage of verse memorizers among Bible readers (48 percent) equates to roughly a fourth of the American population as a whole, or nearly 80 million people.

Psalm 23 – which begins “The Lord is my shepherd” – was the most popular Biblical passage.

Younger people, those with higher salaries and, most dramatically, those with more education among the respondents read the Bible on the internet or an e-device at higher rates.

The written report, based on survey questions on both the General Social Survey (1,551 individuals) and the National Congregations Study III (denominations represented among the General Social Survey respondents), is the first stage of the study and offers sociological data about the role of the Bible.

“Historians and sociologists have been working for years to understand how religion is lived out on a daily level,” said Philip Goff, executive director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and one of the three principal investigators who led the study. “This gives us a good snapshot of the practice of Bible reading. That should also help ministers understand the people in their pews.”

Goff’s co-investigators are Arthur Farnsley, associate director of the center; and Peter Thuesen, chair of the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI.

full article found here

Liberal Arts celebrates successful 2014 Campus Campaign


Members of the Planning Committee at the 80’s-Themed Faculty/Staff Campaign Kick-off Party

One hundred and thirty-four Liberal Arts faculty and staff members contributed to the 2014 Liberal Arts Campus Campaign raising $88,142 for scholarships, research, departmental and school initiatives, and events.  Thanks to the generosity and commitment of the faculty and staff, 2014 totals were up from last year in both donors and donations, and toppled the 2013 donation record of $77,734.23. To date, IUPUI has raised over one million dollars as part of the 2014 Campus Campaign.

The Department of Sociology once again achieved 100% participation with all department faculty and staff giving during the campaign. The Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics were among the other top departments.

“Our colleagues within the School of Liberal Arts are among the most generous and steadfast contributors to the School, especially to the scholarships and awards that support our students’ success and the memorial funds that remember those whom we worked with in the past,” said William Blomquist, dean of the School.  “This year’s campaign sets a new benchmark for the participation and contributions of our faculty and staff.”

“This was my first year on the Campus Campaign Committee and I was impressed by the dedication of both staff and faculty to making the campaign a success,” said Dr. Arthur Farnsley, Research Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. “A lot of serious planning went into the kick-off event as well as the day-to-day management.”

The 2014 Liberal Arts Faculty/Staff Campus Campaign Committee included Beth Goering (Communication Studies), Yaa Akosa Antwi (Economics), Amy Bomke (World Languages and Cultures), Monroe Little (History),  Art Farnsley (Religious Studies/Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture), Larry Zimmerman (Anthropology/Museum Studies), Kenzie Latham (Sociology), Michelle Ruben (Philosophy), Louise Watkins (Sociology), Cliff Morlan (Africana Studies/Latino Studies/Native American Programs), Rick Bein (Geography), Megan Liu (Institute for American Thought), Caitlin Jewitt (Political Science), Sarah Harrell (English), and Laura Danielson (The Polis Center).


E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles “What Makes us Human?”

Entanglements Lecture Series
E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles, “What Makes us Human?”
October 8, 2014 | 7:00-8:45
Indianapolis Central Library, Clowes Auditorium
$35 general admission | $15 students

When did we become human? Are human and animal societies that much different? Do we already live in an age of cyborgs?

E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles visit Indianapolis as part of the new IAHI Entanglements Lecture Series.  Entanglements brings together scientists, humanists, and artists to discuss “big questions” that affect all of us.

At our inaugural event, E.O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist, will join Katherine Hayles, specialist in the culture of cyborgs and virtual bodies, in a conversation that will take us on a journey to answer one of humanity’s most fundamental questions: “What makes us human?”

Over the course of this evening, Wilson and Hayles will discuss the evolution of human consciousness, the relationship between biology, society, culture, and technology, and the future of humanity.  This will be an event that changes the way you think about yourself and your world.

EO WilsonDr. E.O. Wilson is Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University.  He is a two time Pulitzer Prize winner, a National Medal of Science awardee, a Crafoord Prize recipient (given by the Academy in fields of science it does not cover by the Nobel Prize), and a TED Prize Winner.  In fact, he has received over 100 awards throughout his career. He is the author of numerous books, including Sociobiology, The Ants, The Diversity of Life, Consilience, The Social Conquest of Earth, and Letters to a Young Scientist.  During his career he has explored the biggest questions through the littlest creatures — ants. He is a prominent environmental advocate, and in March 2014, the government of Mozambique opened the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory in Gorongosa National Park — a tribute to Wilson’s worldwide impact.

Katherine HaylesDr. Katherine Hayles is Professor of Literature at Duke University.  Her book, How We Became Posthuman, published in 1999, was named one of the best 25 books of 1999 by The Village Voice and received the Rene Wellek Prize for Best Book in Literary Theory.  She is the author of multiple books, including The Cosmic Web, Chaos Bound, Writing Machines, How We Think, and My Mother Was a Computer.  A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEH Fellowships, a Rockefeller Residential Fellowship, and a National Humanities Center Fellowship, Dr. Hayles  is a leading social and literary critic with interests in cyborg anthropology, digital humanities, electronic literature, science and technology, science fiction, and critical theory.

The Entanglements Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Efroymson Family Fund, the IU School of Dentistry, and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

This event is a collaboration between the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana Humanities, and the Spirit and Place Festival.

logo image

Notre Dame historian and professor to discuss ‘The Bible Then and Now’ in public talk

INDIANAPOLIS — Noted historian and National Endowment for the Humanities medal recipient Mark Noll will deliver a public talk Thursday, Aug. 7, as part of the IUPUI Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture’s The Bible and American Life Conference.

Noll will present “The Bible Then and Now” at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 125 Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. Registration is not required for this keynote talk, which is open to the entire Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus as well as the general public.

Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. His numerous books include “The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith” (InterVarsity Press, 2009); “God and Race in American Politics: A Short History” (Princeton University Press, 2008); and “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis” (University of North Carolina Press, 2006). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2006 he received the National Endowment for the Humanities medal at a White House ceremony.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture is part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The Bible and American Life Conference, taking place Wednesday through Friday at Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre, is the second stage of a project that seeks to provide the first large-scale investigation of the Bible in American life.

Earlier this year, the center released the first part of the project: a report based on a national survey of American Bible reading. Among its many findings, the study discovered:

•    There is a 50/50 split among Americans who read any form of scripture in the past year and those who did not.

•    Among those who read any form of scripture in the past year, 95 percent named the Bible as the scripture they read.

•    Despite the proliferation of Bible translations, the King James Version is the top choice — and by a wide margin — of Bible readers.

•    The strongest correlation with Bible reading is race, with African Americans reading the Bible at considerably higher rates than others.

•    Bible readers consult scripture for personal prayer and devotion three times more to learn about culture war issues such as abortion, homosexuality, war or poverty.
A conference schedule and registration information are available online.