The notion that there is a school-to-prison pipeline has become part of our commonplace understanding of the social causes of mass incarceration. Far less attention, however, has been given to the consequences of removing access to education from prisons, a movement that has accelerated since the passage of the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, despite the fact that multiple studies have demonstrated the value of education for reducing rates of recidivism. There has been even less public dialogue about the barriers that formerly incarcerated individuals face when they do try to pursue opportunities for education and training on the outside.
At this two-day conference, participants will hear from formerly incarcerated individuals about their struggles to attain educational opportunities, both behind the walls and after release. Attendees will also participate in action sessions, intended to help develop strategies to support reinstating educational opportunities “behind the walls” and to facilitate better access to higher education “on the outside”.
Third-year School of Dentistry student Maria Contreras’ hands-on clinical experience is being sharpened daily in the new IUPUI Fritts Dental Care Center.
The San Cristóbal, Venezuela, native now living in Indianapolis uses an array of tools to make the city’s smiles shine. Most of the tools synonymous with a visit to the dentist are checked out each day from the clinic and returned — scaling tools for removing plaque, resin guns for filling cavities, impression materials and plates for mouth X-rays.
In spring of 1999, Jean Robertson – my wife and a member of Herron’s art history faculty – made plans to participate in Herron’s study abroad trip to China. We were super excited as this would be our first journey to that fabled nation, with its ancient civilization and mysterious present. The trip, organized by Robert Eagerton, then a senior member of Herron’s painting faculty, would be leaving with approximately a dozen adventurous undergraduate students who were excited beyond words.
Then, out of the blue, news broke: On May 7, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the U.S. demolished the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade! Our government quickly apologized, claiming that it was entirely by accident. But tensions between China and the U.S. spiked. Mobs throwing rocks attacked the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The U.S. government issued an official warning against all trips to China by Americans. Our trip to China was scheduled to leave in a matter of days! What did we do?? What should we do???
Eagerton – after conferring with Gary Dow, the translator and native guide who would be accompanying the trip – made the decision: “The trip is on.” One Herron student pulled out, but the rest of us went “all in!” and our trip took off from the Indianapolis airport as scheduled. We were literally the only Americans on the plane. Indeed, we seemed to be the only American visitors in the whole of China! Were we in danger? Did the Chinese despise us?? Were they rude???
To the contrary, the Chinese people we met on the month-long journey showered us with friendship. Everywhere we went, people thanked us for our courage in coming to visit their country at the time of strife.
In this brief recounting, I can’t go in to the details at any length, but a few episodes hint at the generosity of the Chinese people towards us: We (Herron teachers and students) were invited to participate in a practice session with an acrobatic troupe in Beijing. In Hunan, Jeff Dalton and I (Jeff was a ceramics major at Herron at the time; he now teaches at Herron part-time) were invited to play a game of “doubles” table tennis with the president of Hunan Normal University during our week visiting with that university. Jeff had played competitive table tennis (ping pong!) at tournaments in Las Vegas and Detroit. … Me? I simply swung blindly and counted on uncanny good luck to hit the ball and send it back safely over the net. Our Chinese competitors were, in the end, far superior.
I like to think that our gracious defeat helped, in some small way, to heal the wounds between the two nations. Herron to the rescue!!!
Most journalists are far more accustomed to reporting the news than being a newsmaker.
Vernon A. Williams, an IUPUI communications and community engagement strategist as well as a veteran print and broadcast journalist, was placed in that unusual position when put under the studio lights as part of the current exhibition “SONS: Seeing the Modern African American Male,” which shows through Oct. 31 at the Indianapolis Central Library.
Williams’ likeness is among 30 color portraits by Charlotte, North Carolina, photographer Jerry Taliaferro. Williams and Michael R. Twyman represent IUPUI in stoic imagery. IUPUI alumni Gary Gee of the Herron School of Art and Design; Lacy Johnson of the McKinney School of Law; and Vop Osili, who is on the IUPUI Board of Advisors, are featured in the show, too.
“Reflecting on my years of covering the news, you grow accustomed to journalism being a thankless profession,” said Williams with a laugh during a recent visit to “SONS.” “You’re not used to people taking the time to say anything unless they are upset or take issue with a story. So the ‘SONS’ recognition is a rare and humbling acknowledgment.”
The show is part of a series Taliaferro is conducting around the country. Previous “SONS” exhibits showcased African-American men of multiple generations in Baltimore; New York; and Jackson, Mississippi. All of the shows, including the one in Indianapolis, featured 30 men who were nominated by fellow community members. The Indianapolis Central Library edition saw 60 total nominations.
The color portraits reside in a gallery space, while some black-and-white shots are in the library’s lobby. Video interviews were posted on the subjects as part of the show. Twyman, an adjunct faculty member in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, was delighted to find his name under a promotional sign reading “I am a philanthropist.”
The teaching side of Twyman’s philanthropic career is something he cherishes.
“I learn so much more from my students than what I could ever impart to them,” Twyman said. “We’re always teaching each other. I enjoy having the classroom as a laboratory for just the generation of ideas and solutions around how we can be more responsive to community needs.”
While teaching his current courses — Race, Social Justice and Philanthropy as well as Diversity and Culturally Responsive Philanthropy — Twyman has cultivated an impressive career in Indianapolis. He is the owner of InExcelsis, a private consulting firm that works with companies to maximize performance, and is the founding Indiana director for the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, where he managed a multimillion-dollar grant portfolio. Twyman was honored for his work with the trust in the form of the Dr. Michael R. Twyman Endowment Fund with the Indianapolis Marion County Library Foundation.
“It’s full-circle,” said Twyman regarding the familiar venue that is hosting “SONS.” “A lot of the work I support here is trying to provide access to underrepresented communities in Indianapolis so they can take advantage of the wonderful programs and services that are here at the central library and all of the neighborhood branches.”
As the first black reporter for the Gary Post-Tribune, Williams broke barriers and news. His decade at the daily — along with years in radio broadcasting — built a foundation for a career that flourished at IUPUI.
Williams found his niche in the Office of Community Engagement.
“It was a natural progression in my career since I have been seriously involved in community service since high school,” Williams said.
Williams’ decades of volunteerism were fueled by his wealth of contacts, ideas and faith. Helping people through mentoring, scholarships, communications expertise or just meeting people at their needs is his primary passion.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. I believe my life and career have been blessed so I can be in a position to bless others,” Williams explained. “You work without expectation or anything reciprocal — just fulfill a need. You don’t wait for cameras or spotlights or stages or plaques. You just do it.”
In the Office of Community Engagement, Williams’ desk has been busy during the 50th Anniversary year. An author of four books, he is putting the finishing touches on the script for a play to debut in January. The production is based on the 2010 Paul R. Mullins and Glenn S. White tome, “The Price of Progress,” looking at the history of the cultural scene of Indiana Avenue before, during and after IUPUI’s construction.
While his career was always meant to showcase others, Williams is proud to be a part of “SONS” and to be counted among outstanding Indianapolis men.
“To be on the side of ‘Hey, we like your body of work. We think you’ve made a difference.’ It’s a very humbling experience,” Williams said. “I view whatever I do as a manifestation of my godly assignment — an effort to be ‘kingdom-minded’ in my approach to life.”
Robert G. Barrows, IUPUI professor emeritus of history, was announced as the winner of the Indiana Historical Society’s 2018 Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award. The former Department of History chairman has contributed to an awareness and appreciation of Indiana’s history — locally, statewide, regionally and even nationally — for decades. In publication, teaching and service, Barrows has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of Indiana’s history.
The award is given annually to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the field of history. Barrows was honored during the Indiana Historical Society’s annual Founders Day dinner Nov. 5 at the Glick Indiana History Center.
Barrows received his undergraduate degree from Muskingum University before earning his graduate degrees at Indiana University.
Universities around the country have long offered courses under the umbrella of “Women’s Studies.” At IUPUI, the label fit, considering classes such as “Women in Art,” “Women and Literature,” and “Women and Politics.”
But as offerings have expanded in scope, not to mention number, more-inclusive names than “Women’s Studies” have begun to emerge. The new title of “Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies” in the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, approved by the IU Board of Trustees over the summer, now captures what is currently taught and has an eye on the future.
“Just in observing everything going on in our culture, in academia and even in my own classroom, the time had come to reconsider whether ‘Women’s Studies’ was the most inclusive title for the studies we offered at IUPUI,” Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program director Catherine Dobris said.
The name-changing process began in earnest two years ago, as graduate assistant Rachael Hernandez helped compile a survey of similar program names from colleges and universities around the country. Names such as “Gender and Women’s Studies” at the University of Illinois, “Gender and Sexuality Studies” at Northwestern University, and “Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies” at the University of Iowa showed there was a broad range of acceptable titles.
From there, faculty, students, staff and the community were surveyed, and productive discussions followed.
“Eventually, it seemed like ‘Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies’ was representing both what we’re doing currently and ways in which we hope to grow the program,” said Dobris, who is also an associate professor of communication studies.
A strong focus will continue to stay on women-related issues, while expanded offerings will address issues of gender and sexuality. Other cross-listed courses under the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies banner include “Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace,” “Class, Race, Gender and Work,” and “Gender and Society.” The hope is that the new program name, which offers a minor and individualized majors, will be a tool in recruiting new students.
“I hope that we are increasingly welcoming, that students will see something in it for them that they wouldn’t have seen previously,” Dobris said.
The IUPUI Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies advisory board also helped in the instituting of the new name. It includes Janice Bankert-Countryman, instructor in Women’s Studies and Communication Studies; Obioma Nnaemeka, Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures; Nancy M. Robertson, associate professor of history and philanthropic studies; and Aimee Zoeller, lecturer in sociology and coordinator of the Women’s Studies minor at IUPUC.
INDIANAPOLIS — IUPUI biologists are growing ‘mini retinas’ in the lab from stem cells to mimic the growth of the human retina. The researchers hope to use the research to restore sight when critical connections between the eye and the brain are damaged. These models also allow the researchers to better understand how cells in the retina develop and are organized. These results are published online in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research journal.
The lab-created mini retinas, called retinal organoids, are collections of cells that grow in a manner similar to how the retina develops in the body. The retinal organoids are created in an IUPUI biology department research lab using human pluripotent stem cells, or hPSCs, which can be derived from adult skin cells.
Jason Meyer, an associate professor of biology in the School of Science at IUPUI, is using the retinal organoids to better understand retinal ganglion cells, or RGCs, which provide the connection between the eye and the brain. These cells project long axons to transmit visual information. When that connection is disturbed, a person loses sight.
“In the past couple of years, retinal organoids have become a focus in the research community,” Meyer said. “However, there hasn’t really been any emphasis on those retinal ganglion cells within these mini retinas, the retinal organoids, so this study is not only looking at how the retinal organoids develop and organize but also exploring the long axons they need in order to connect with the brain.”
RGCs are the cells primarily damaged by glaucoma, a disease that affects about 70 million people worldwide and is the second leading cause of blindness.
“There’s a lot we have to understand about these cells outside of the body before we can put them into humans for transplants and treating those diseases,” said Clarisse Fligor, a biology graduate researcher and first author on the paper. “This research is looking at ways that we can encourage growth of these cells for possible cell-replacement therapies to treat these different injuries or diseases.”
Fligor looked through different growth factors involved in RGC development and found that a protein called Netrin-1 significantly increased the outgrowth of axons from these cells.
“This protein is not expressed long term; it is most prominently during early human development,” Meyer said. “Once the retina is established, it’s not as available, which is why retinal ganglion cells usually can’t fix themselves. Strategies so far to replace retinal ganglion cells by transplanting new cells have not been able to restore those connections because the body itself doesn’t produce these signals.”
The researchers hope this study is an important step toward using lab-grown cells for cell-replacement purposes.
“If we want to be able to use these cells for therapies and encourage the proper wiring of these cells within the rest of the nervous system, perhaps we need to take a page out of the playbook of human development and try to re-create some of those features ordinarily found during early human development,” Meyer said.
In addition to Fligor and Meyer, IUPUI and Indiana University authors on the study are Kirstin B. Langer, Akshayalakshmi Sridhar, Priya K. Shields, Michael C. Edler, Sarah K. Ohlemacher and Chi Zhang. Other authors are Daniel M. Suter and Yuan Ren of Purdue University and Valentin M. Sluch and Donald J. Zack of Johns Hopkins University.
The study was supported in part by the National Eye Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the Indiana Department of Health Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Fund.
About the School of Science at IUPUI
The School of Science at IUPUI is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service in the biological, physical, computational, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The school is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana’s effort to expand and diversify its economy.
JagStart is an annual elevator pitch competition sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research that pits contestants against the clock to pitch their original ideas to a panel of judges. Students are invited to submit their ideas for innovative new products, new business ventures, or compelling solutions to social challenges.
Register now to attend one of the offered JagStart Launch Sessions–learn how you can engage with local business mentors to help you refine your idea, and learn how to prepare a great entry!
JagStart Launch Sessions
University Library, UL 1126
The Intergroup Dialogue community at IUPUI held a showcase Sept. 18 to celebrate activities completed during a Welcoming Campus Initiative grant project, including launching the first undergraduate certificate in intergroup dialogue at a college or university in Indiana.
At the showcase in University Hall, Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar praised the project, saying, “When we started the Welcoming Campus Initiative, we had certain things in mind. We wanted to empower our faculty, staff and students to work together and bring positive change.”
“The Intergroup Dialogue project truly emphasizes the goals of the initiative,” Paydar said. “You’ve created a major project, and you’re making a major impact going forward.” Some of the standout features of the Intergroup Dialogue initiative include its multidisciplinary nature, its capacity to help students develop skills that will prepare them for success in a diverse workforce, and its being both a philosophy/theory and a practice framework of education for certificate-seeking students.
The “Pathways to Community Inclusivity Through Dialogue” project team hosted activities around campus to usher in IUPUI’s 50th Anniversary celebration and contribute to making IUPUI a more inclusive, welcoming campus. The team planned to conduct 50 activities beginning in August 2017 but ended up hosting more than 60 events that supported four key outcomes:
Increased campus engagement with sustained dialogues that promote an inclusive campus and foster cultural diversity and social justice.
Increased clarity of how systems and structures impact cross-cultural awareness and communication across campus.
Increased clarity of — and elimination of — communication boundaries for both majority and minority groups so they can talk and listen to each other in an open environment before drawing conclusions.
Better-informed campus units on issues of social justice and identity so they can develop more-effective diversity plans and move toward collective action for change.
The 60 activities impacted more than 1,250 people across campus and provided more than 1,575 hours of direct engagement to foster opportunities for dialogue and inclusivity.
A total of 50 posters focusing on the four stages of intergroup dialogue — creating meaning, examining identity, having difficult conversations and building alliances — have been deployed throughout campus.
Thirteen students have enrolled in the 12-credit interdisciplinary certificate in intergroup dialogue since it was launched in 2017. The certificate is housed in four IUPUI schools: Liberal Arts, Public and Environmental Affairs, Social Work, and Engineering and Technology.
The certificate enables students to receive academic credit for learning transferable skills in intercultural communication, conflict resolution, civil discourse and leadership, and it serves IUPUI’s strategic plan goal to promote an inclusive campus culture.
Upon completion of the certificate program, students will be able to demonstrate leadership capabilities to support others through intergroup conflicts and to help them better function as teams, corporate citizens and community members.
The showcase featured elements that foster effective dialogue — food, art and music. The art and music were produced by students from Herron and the music therapy program in the School of Engineering and Technology.
There were also three short demonstrations: one designed to show how people can be encouraged to share more truth and inspiration with one another; another that explored the social identities of participants; and a third composed of faculty, staff and students who offered information about intergroup dialogue at IUPUI and shared their experiences as participants.
Carolyn Gentle-Genitty, assistant vice president for university academic policy and project leader for the Pathways to Community Inclusivity Through Dialogue project, thanked all of those who supported or engaged with the Intergroup Dialogue program. She encouraged students to sign up for the certificate and invited members of the IUPUI community to join the Intergroup Dialogue community.
During the Fall 2018 semester, graduate students in Herron’s MFA program in Visual Arts have worked in collaboration with students in Music Technology to plan “HEARING THINGS” – a project that explores the use of elements of sound and movement in visual art and music. The project unpacks its title in a multitude of forms and formats, Hearing Things implies the use of sounds from the uncanny (he was “hearing things”), to the mundane (e.g., rumors), to music and musical instruments (hearing “things”). The project references contemporary issues, such as how the natural environment as well as the social media environment in which we live are impacted by rising and changing levels of sounds. Last but not least, the project explores how the domains of contemporary visual art and music now overlap in the experimental use of new technologies and in the creation of unique sonic and visual spaces.
HEARING THINGS is an interdisciplinary collaboration involving 6 graduate students from Herron School of Art + Design and 6 graduate/undergraduate students from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Music Technology. The project culminates in two innovative public events:
Thursday, November 15, 6 – 8 pm, Eskenazi Fine Arts Center, ECHO GALLERY
There will be a public presentation for the exhibition HEARING THINGS, featuring sonic and kinetic collaborative artworks, plus live music/sonic performances, & (light) refreshments.
Friday, November 30, 7:30 pm, Auditorium (room 152) in IUPUI Informatics and Technology Building
There will be a live multi-media performance, HEARING THINGS, featuring students and faculty from the Department of Music Technology, led by Professor Scott Deal, along with visual effects and video created as a collaboration of students from Herron and Music Technology.
Arun Berty, Music Technology
Harry Chaubey, Music Technology Kennedy Conner, Fine Arts, Herron
Chris Higgins, Music Technology
Frank Mullen, Fine Arts, Herron
Hailey Potts, Fine Arts, Herron
Adam Rathbun, Fine Arts, Herron
Will Simms, Music Technology
Krishna Sridharan, Music Technology
Sarah Strong, Fine Arts, Herron
Denise Troyer, Fine Arts, Herron
Xiaochang (Kerry) Wang, Music Technology
Scott Deal, Prof. of Music Technology
Ben Martinkus, teaching faculty and technician, Photo and Intermedia Craig McDaniel, Prof. of Fine Art
Hope to see you there!
Correction: the poster should read department of music and arts technology, not school of music and arts technology