IUPUI announces new degrees focused on law in liberal arts and informatics

imagesThe Indiana University Board of Trustees has approved a proposal for two new degrees at IUPUI: One prepares undergraduate students for careers as paralegals, and the other provides a path for students to transition rapidly into in-demand and well-paid information technology jobs.

IUPUI will ask the Indiana Commission for Higher Education for final approval to offer the degrees beginning in the fall.

“These programs are the latest examples of IUPUI’s tradition of developing distinctive programs that respond to student demand and meet employer needs,” said IUPUI Executive Vice Chancellor Nasser Paydar.

The proposed Bachelor of Arts in law in liberal arts degree expands the certificate in paralegal studies now offered by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, providing students with additional education and training and the baccalaureate degree increasingly required by employers. Students in the past could take the certificate in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree in another discipline. But that required at least six courses beyond their degree, which burdened students with added expense and time.

The degree will provide students with the theoretical and conceptual components of the law and an introduction to the court system and legal procedures. Students will develop practical, real-world legal skills with courses in legal research, legal writing and litigation skills. In addition, students will be able to tailor the curriculum according to their own interests by selecting a number of elective courses from various legal specialties, including criminal law, family law, estate law and a variety of business law courses.

The second new program is a master’s degree offered by the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. The proposed Master of Science in informatics offers specializations in data analytics, biomedical informatics, knowledge and information management, and user experience design.

The goal of the Master of Science in informatics is to enable students to apply informatics in their respective disciplines. To achieve that goal, the department proposes first to establish the new degree itself, providing specializations from within the school; and then to offer interdisciplinary five-year B.S./M.S. programs and dual degrees with other schools at IUPUI to meet the competitive requirements of Indiana’s job market.

Informatics has become not only an integral part of many disciplines and professions but also an essential skill for graduates.

The Master of Science in informatics will expand career opportunities of undergraduate students and degree holders in nontechnical disciplines by enabling them to apply information technology skills to their own field or to transition into information technology fields.

Curtis awarded for NEH Summer Seminar about Muslim American Identity

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Edward E. Curtis IV

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in Washington, D.C, has announced that Edward Curtis, Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies, has been awarded $114,438 to conduct a national seminar for school teachers on “Muslim American Identities, Past and Present.”

The three-week seminar, which will take place on the IUPUI campus in the summer of 2015, will give sixteen school teachers from around the country the opportunity to explore the history and diverse cultures of Muslims in the United States.

Participants will study thirty primary source documents, hear from two visiting experts, make field trips to two local mosques, and use the resources of the IUPUI University Library to complete individual research projects.

“My primary goal,” said Curtis, “is to nurture an environment of deep intellectual engagement and active learning in which school teachers can answer a key question of our historical moment: what does it mean to be both Muslim and American?”

In order to answer that question, Curtis will emphasize the impact of gender, race, ethnicity, and religious interpretation in the making of Muslim American identities.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, which has offered numerous seminars and professional development opportunities for young scholars and school teachers, will support the logistical aspects of the program.

Funding for NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes is provided by the federal government, and grants are awarded through a rigorous and selective process of peer review.

“Understanding the rich diversity of Muslim American identities in a balanced and informed manner,” Curtis concluded, “can be a powerful means of bridging cultures inside the United States and beyond.”