IUPUI Represented Picture Perfectly in ‘SONS’

Most journalists are far more accustomed to reporting the news than being a newsmaker.

Vernon A. Williams’ career in journalism, communications, community outreach and volunteerism helped make him a suitable subject in the new photography exhibit “SONS: Seeing the Modern African American Male,” which shows through Oct. 31 at the Indianapolis Central Library. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

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.

Michael Twyman was pleased at the presentation of this photo of him at the “SONS” exhibit in the Indianapolis Central Library. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

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.”

IUPUI Emeritus Professor of History Earns Statewide Recognition

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.

Read the original article from IUPUI News

Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program Aptly Named for Inclusive, Diverse Offerings

Catherine Dobris. Photo courtesy of Catherine Dobris

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.

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsJohn Schwarb

IUPUI Biologists Are Growing ‘mini retinas’ to Better Understand Connection Between Eye and Brain

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.

Axons of retinal ganglion cells, shown in red, derived from human pluripotent stem cells bundle together and navigate their environment using growth cones, shown in green, similar to human development of the optic nerve. Photo courtesy of the School of Science

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.

“Three-Dimensional Retinal Organoids Facilitate the Investigation of Retinal Ganglion Cell Development, Organization and Neurite Outgrowth from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells”is published online in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research journal.

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.

Read the original article from IUPUI News

Intergroup Dialogue Community Showcases Activities and Groundbreaking Certificate Program

From left: Robert Rebein, interim dean of the School of Liberal Arts; Tamara Davis, dean of the School of Social Work; Chancellor Nasser Paydar; David Russomanno, dean of the School of Engineering and Technology; and Thomas Stucky, executive associate dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, cut a ribbon celebrating the deployment of posters about intergroup dialogue at IUPUI.

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.

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsRich Schneider

Hearing Things

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.

Participants:
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

Faculty leaders:
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

‘Frankenstein’ Is On The Move at 200

British history professor Jason Kelly holds a copy of “Frankenstein,” which was first published 200 years ago. Kelly and his students created A Frankenstein Atlas, a website that breaks down all 331 geographic points associated with the 200-year-old book and its creation. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

First published on Jan. 1, 1818, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and its undead monster have been captivating international audiences for two centuries.

The tale has been made into almost 100 movies around the planet — from Boris Karloff’s 1931 classic to 2017’s “Mary Shelley,” which depicted the trailblazing creation of the story in the early 19th century.

With so many reiterations and takes on the book, Jason M. Kelly, an associate professor of British history and director of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, and his spring 2018 “Machines and the Age of Invention” class took a deep read of the book, poring over the many locations visited — or even just mentioned in passing — by Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the numerous other characters. From this, Kelly and his students constructed A Frankenstein Atlas, a living research project that maps 331 locations that reside in the book or were visited by Shelley during the writing process.

“It’s a slowly growing site to learn about ‘Frankenstein’ and explore the many facets of the book,” Kelly said. “In class, it allowed us to think about what kinds of historical sources and methods we use in the context of literary analysis.”

Kelly and his students are still publishing new data to A Frankenstein Atlas. Fueled by Github, other researchers and classes will be able to add new “branches” to the work, allowing the atlas — and the legacy of “Frankenstein” — to grow for another 200 years.

Question: How was the data created to fill and launch A Frankenstein Atlas?

Jason Kelly: The first thing we needed to do was read “Frankenstein.” So we did a group read of the book pretty quickly. Our first pass set the groundwork for our semester-long discussion of the historical context of “Frankenstein.” Each student was assigned two or three chapters, and their job was to code them. I created an online interface and helped them map their data.

Q: What struck you most about the novel while conducting the research?

JK: It’s an epistolary novel, a novel of letters, and it’s a travel journal at the same time. Mary and Percy Shelley, Claire (Clairmont, Mary Shelley’s stepsister) were touring through in 1816. They had been keeping travel journals. You can actually read sections of “Frankenstein” and go back to the travel journals to flesh out the spaces and places they’re talking about.

Because there is a strong geographical element to “Frankenstein,” and we used location as our jumping-off point, which gave us the opportunity to pursue historical geographic information systems approaches. The model that helped shape the project was “Mapping the Lakes,” a project that examined the Lake poets. We borrowed the format and developed it into this pedagogical platform. We made it an open source data set so that people can add to and develop it.

Q: As a professor of British history, how did your travel experience influence the project?

JK: I do a lot of research on the Grand Tour, a one or two year trip through Europe that many British elites took during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. And, fortunately, my research takes to locations across the continent. So, Percy and Mary’s visit to the continent—specifically Lake Geneva where she composed “Frankenstein”—was similar to my other work.

Q: What other sources did you use during your analysis?

JK: In one instance, we pulled data on where historical ice sheets, and we read journals from the 18th and 19th-century scientific expeditions. We even studied where whaling ships were likely to travel. These were the types of information that Mary had access to when she described the ice at the beginning and end of the book. We triangulated these data sets, and when we brought it all together, we were able to get a good sense where Mary was situating the action in the novel. It was a great exercise in the ways that science and literature can come together and talk to each other.

Q: What were your students’ reactions to the book?

JK: They loved it. They arrived with an image of Frankenstein mediated by the movies. But when they read the book, like almost anyone I’ve spoken to who has never read the book before, they said, “Oh, this isn’t at all what I thought it was about.” This is talking about all the same issues we’re grappling with today, like religion, ethics, responsibility and what makes us human. It’s such a contemporary novel, and it’s 200 years old.

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsTim Brouk

Identifying and Working With Community Partners

Community partners are essential to the development of meaningful community-engaged curricular learning experiences.  A well-designed experience includes identifying appropriate community partner(s) and including community partner voice in project planning. In this session, we will discuss some of the important principles of working with community partners as well as key ways in which to find, identify, and connect with community partners for specific course projects.

Registrants are able to connect via Zoom to this workshop.
Register here.

Presented by Morgan Studer, M.A,
Director of Faculty and Community Resources

Friday, November 9th
11:30-1pm
CSL Conference Room
Hine Hall 234D

Jaguars in the City

Students rake leaves and help clean up White River State Park near campus. Photos by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

The annual IUPUI Day of Caring brought hundreds of IUPUI volunteers to 20 different organizations in the community on October 20th, where they each lent a helping hand to help beautify the city.

Students paint a fence in Pocket Park located in Haughville, a neighborhood west of campus. Photos by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Several student groups, including Circle K and the Pre-Dental Club as well as the Women’s Softball team, volunteered their time with community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity of Great IndianapolisHeart and Hands of Indiana, the Department of Public WorksFletcher Place Community Center, and the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana.

IUPUI Works Indy: Melissa McDermott Unites Art and History Interning at the Indiana State Museum

You know internships provide great experience. You also know that Indianapolis provides great opportunities. Put them together, and you have a dynamite combo that prepares you for a lifetime of success.

See how Herron School of Art and Design senior Melissa McDermott colors outside the lines with her internship at the Indiana State Museum.

Melissa McDermott has always wanted to be an artist, but her internship at the Indiana State Museum opened her eyes to the wealth of creative professional opportunities. Video by Myron Russell, Indiana University

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Becky Hart