NEH awards IUPUI-Ivy Tech partnership $119,009 grant to create world religions curriculum

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will work in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College faculty to create 150 course modules on world religions for Ivy Tech humanities classes.Photo courtesy of Center for Interfaith Cooperation.

The NEH, in Washington, D.C., recently announced it has awarded IUPUI $119,009 to conduct “World Religions in Greater Indianapolis,” a two-year study program on contemporary religious traditions in greater Indianapolis for 15 faculty members at the Indianapolis campus of Ivy Tech Community College.

Led by IUPUI professors Edward Curtis and Arthur Farnsley and Ivy Tech humanities chair Jack Cooney, the program will help the Ivy Tech faculty develop course modules on five world religions for the existing Ivy Tech humanities core, including courses on history, literature and cultural anthropology.

“This NEH grant for ‘World Religions in Greater Indianapolis’ exemplifies all we reach for at Ivy Tech Community College as we provide our students with learning opportunities which lead them to flourishing lives as well-educated citizens and as resourcefully nimble employees,” Cooney said. “We are both honored and proud to partner with our teacher colleagues at IUPUI whose vision for this substantial NEH grant is not without regard to our possibilities.”

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, a unit of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will operate the program, which will connect Ivy Tech faculty to experts on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism at IUPUI, Indiana University Bloomington, Butler University and Marian University.

The program seeks not only to bolster humanities content at Ivy Tech but also to create more understanding of Central Indiana’s religious diversity, especially of recent immigrant communities.

“This project will aid faculty in helping students understand the breadth of religious traditions in America and in central Indiana,” IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. “At a time when there are far too many examples of misunderstandings about religions, this is a vital project. I am pleased that the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, one of our outstanding research and public outreach centers, is willing to lead this project.”

Ivy Tech faculty in the program will be introduced to world religious traditions and their sacred texts, and study their significance to U.S. history and culture. After their study of a particular tradition, the faculty will then arrange discussions with members of a recent immigrant community from that tradition. The faculty will create the Ivy Tech course modules as capstone projects based on their comprehensive studies.

Participating religious communities from Central Indiana include Jews from the former Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine; Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic Christians from Latin America; Muslims from West Africa; Hindus from India; and Buddhists from Vietnam.

“We are grateful to all of our community partners for making it possible to bring together Central Indiana’s academic experts and its rich immigrant cultures in a program for Ivy Tech faculty,” said Bill Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts.

NEH grants are among the most prestigious research awards in the humanities. The “World Religions in Greater Indianapolis” program received one of only four grants awarded in the NEH’s “Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges” category, for which there were 46 applications.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

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.

Transfer transformation: IUPUI to study the transfer student experience

Transfer Transformation

Transfer Transformation

 

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has embarked on its first self-study to better understand the way it facilitates the transfer student experience.

Based on its commitment to transfer students and nationally recognized success in enhancing students’ first-year experience — for which the campus has been honored by U.S. News & World Report for 13 consecutive years — IUPUI was one of two institutions nationwide selected to participate in the Foundations of Excellence® Transfer Focus project sponsored by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

The Foundations of Excellence initiative will engage IUPUI transfer students, faculty and staff in honest, candid and meaningful discussions about how to improve the transfer experience.

The initiative launched with a faculty-staff survey and will be followed in November by a transfer student survey. Although the students will not have experienced an entire first year, there are obvious advantages in better understanding the first impressions of transfer students, as well as their pre-enrollment experiences such as admitting, orienting, supporting and advising.

From November through February, various committees will review the survey data, which will be followed by reports in March and April. The project will culminate with an institutional improvement plan designed to achieve higher levels of transfer-student learning, satisfaction and graduation. A report to the campus community is expected in June 2015.

The successful integration of transfer students is central to IUPUI’s mission. Transfer students, who make up more than 1,000 students on campus each academic year, are defined as full- or part-time students who entered IUPUI in the prior academic year with credit from another higher education institution. More than 40 percent of IUPUI’s bachelor degree recipients are transfer students.

“Transfer students are a critically important part of the IUPUI student body,” said Cathy Buyarski, IUPUI’s executive director of student success initiatives. “As indicated in the IUPUI Strategic Plan, we must ensure that students who do not start their college careers with us have every opportunity to become fully engaged in the campus, make connections with our outstanding faculty and staff and participate in innovative learning opportunities including undergraduate research, international study, service learning and internships.”

Research has long indicated that students who are successfully integrated into college are much more likely to succeed. The Foundations of Excellence initiative expands the conversation on student retention and focuses directly on the quality of the transfer experience.

Through this initiative, IUPUI will ensure the continued development of transfer students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with the campus’s philosophy and mission: to advance the state of Indiana and the intellectual growth of its residents to the highest levels nationally and internationally through research and creative activity, teaching and learning, and community engagement.

The Foundation of Excellence project was developed and piloted with the support of The Atlantic Philanthropies and Lumina Foundation for Education.

Karen Dace to be appointed IUPUI vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Chancellor and IU Executive Vice President Charles R. Bantz has announced Karen Dace as IUPUI’s next vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion effective Sept. 3, pending approval by the Indiana University Board of Trustees.

Dace, who most recently served as deputy chancellor in the Division of Diversity, Access and Equity at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was selected after an extensive national search, chaired by IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Dean Augustine Agho. Dace fills the role currently held in an interim capacity by Zebulun Davenport, vice chancellor for student life.

As vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, Dace will serve as the campus’ senior diversity officer and oversee the Multicultural Success Center and Adaptive Educational Services. Additionally, Dace will facilitate the institutionalization of structures that advance equity and diversity within IUPUI units and initiate change in the cultures and climate of IUPUI.
“Having a senior-level administrator focused at the campus level on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion has already produced gains for IUPUI in recent years,” Bantz said. “Professor Dace has 14 years’ experience as a chief diversity officer at two public universities, published research on diversity-related topics and demonstrated an exceptional ability to build relationships across constituencies. She is a thoughtful, experienced and dedicated leader whose definition of diversity is as broad as it is inclusive — just what a campus as large as IUPUI needs to advance our diversity goals.”

In addition to her role as deputy chancellor at UMKC, Dace is also an associate professor in the Department of Communications. She was recently asked by colleagues in the School of Education to teach a class titled “Race and Diversity in Higher Education.” While at UMKC, Dace has received nearly $1.7 million in grants to enhance a supportive environment for diversity.

Dace is the District 5 regional director for the Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and she has authored or co-authored 12 publications since 1987. Before her work at UMKC, Dace was the associate vice president for diversity at the University of Utah.

“I am excited about the opportunity to become part of the IUPUI effort to enhance diversity through collaborations on and off campus,” Dace said. “My meetings with IUPUI leadership, students, faculty and staff; the diversity, equity and inclusion professionals already in place; and members of the surrounding community demonstrated a great commitment and vision for this initiative, and I look forward to working with everyone as we, together, strive to make IUPUI a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Dace received her Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts and her Master of Arts in mass communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and her Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Iowa.

U.S. Institute of Peace grant will fund international forgiveness workshop, lecture at IUPUI

Published: December 18, 2012

The director of international partnerships at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will use a $2,000 grant from the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support initiative of the United States Institute of Peace to explore a novel approach to achieving peace and reconciliation on the global stage.

Ian McIntosh said a daylong workshop on “forgiveness in international perspective” will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, 1100 W. 42nd St. in Indianapolis. Two survivors of mass genocide who are also advocates of “unilateral forgiveness” will lead sessions about this approach.

The advocates are Kizito Kalima, a Rwandan genocide survivor, and Eva Kor, a Holocaust survivor best known for her documentary film, “Forgiving Dr. Mengele.” Both live in Indiana and participated in a 2011 event supported by the Office of International Affairs in Indianapolis commemorating the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda.

A public lecture also will take place at 4 p.m. Feb. 5. at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Kalima and McIntosh, who is also an adjunct professor of anthropology and associate director of the Confucius Institute, will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of using unilateral forgiveness to achieve long-term peace in a case study from Rwanda.

“The workshop and lecture will be inspirational for our campus and community, especially for international students and the African Diaspora,” McIntosh said. The IUPUI African Student Association will co-sponsor the event.

“USIP is pleased to support organizations like IUPUI and their contribution to the national conversation around international conflict — and methods for resolving those conflicts nonviolently,” said Jim Marshall, president of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

The U. S. Institute of Peace is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. The institute works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs and enhance national security. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in Baghdad, Iraq, and Kabul, Afghanistan.

As part of its congressional mandate, the U.S. Institute of Peace devotes a portion of its budget to support organizations that will advance the field of conflict management by developing new techniques, establishing best practices and professionalizing the field through education and training. The Public Education for Peacebuilding Support is a program of the U.S. Institute of Peace administered by the Institute of International Education.

For more information on the workshop and lecture, contact McIntosh at imcintos@iupui.edu or 317 274-3776.