From Humanities: A New Documentary Casts a Light on the 1972 Tragedy at Southern University

Students protest at Southern University in the 1970s.

Much has happened in Edward Pratt’s life since he graduated from Southern University, Baton Rouge’s historically black institution of higher education, in 1975.

After a long newspaper career, he took several public relations jobs, including a stint as SU’s spokesman. Pratt, a 63-year-old husband, father, and grandfather, now works in Louisiana state government and keeps his hand in newspapering as a weekly columnist for his hometown paper, the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Despite the decades that have passed since his time as a Southern student, Pratt mentally revisits the campus every autumn when a grim memory resurfaces.

During Pratt’s first semester at Southern, on November 16, 1972, he was nearby as two fellow students were shot to death during a campus protest. The confrontation between unarmed student protesters and dozens of law enforcement officers, which included men in military-grade gear and an armored car, “was like something out of a bad dream,” Pratt says. An official inquiry traced the gunfire to a group of local sheriff’s deputies who had responded to the demonstration. Students who witnessed the protest, including Pratt, said it had been peaceful, which made the use of force baffling.

No one was ever charged in connection with the incident, which left freshmen Denver Smith and Leonard Brown dead from shotgun wounds. The deaths have haunted Pratt ever since.

He recalls the date of the shootings almost as easily as his birthday or wedding anniversary. Pratt wants others to remember, too—so much so that he typically writes about Smith and Brown each November for his newspaper column or on social media.

“I owe it to Smith, Brown, and their families to remember them,” Pratt wrote last November in his Advocate column. “I was a fellow freshman, and we were in college and had big dreams. They never got to chase theirs.”

Pratt’s efforts to keep Smith and Brown in public memory have now gotten a big boost…

[Read More]

Iraq Study Group Papers of former US Rep. Hamilton now available digitally through IU Libraries

From News at IU Bloomington

The Iraq Study Group Papers of former US Representative Lee Hamilton are now available in digital format from Indiana University Libraries, providing researchers and the public with a behind-the-scenes look at a bipartisan panel that influenced US policy in Iraq.

The collection, donated by Hamilton, consists of the electronic and paper files created by Hamilton and by his senior advisor and special assistant to the study group. The files document the formation of the group, its work, the creation of its final report, and follow-up activities.

“The Iraq Study Group marked a serious effort by Congress to examine the conduct of the Iraq War and to play its proper role by providing oversight of American foreign policy,” Hamilton said. “I am grateful to Indiana University Libraries for digitizing these records and making them accessible, and I hope that students of government and history will learn from them for years to come.”

The papers include notebooks, working papers, office files, meeting minutes, memos, and records of news media coverage of the study group’s work. Archivists have prepared an extensive guide allowing users to find and view a digital image of individual documents from the collection.

“This is an invaluable addition to IU Libraries’ collection of political papers on a topic that dominated the foreign policy debate at the time,” said Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the School of Global and International Studies. “This influential bipartisan commission, whose original membership included two future defense secretaries, gave voice to growing concern about the scope and intensity of the U.S. military commitment in Iraq and the importance of broader diplomatic engagement in the region.”

Carolyn Walters, the Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries, said she appreciates Hamilton’s continued commitment to preservation of committee documentation. She said the Iraq Study Group papers represent the third fully digitized collection in the Modern Political Papers Collection held at the Bloomington campus.

“This digitization and description work – while time-intensive – is important because it makes original, primary-source documents directly available through online access,” Walters said.

The Iraq Study Group was launched in March 2006, growing out of concerns that the United States was on the wrong path three years after it began military involvement in Iraq. Hamilton and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III chaired the 10-member, bipartisan task force, made up of former senators, cabinet members, and presidential advisers.

The group’s final report, issued in December 2006, was 160 pages long and included 79 recommendations. The report had a significant impact on American foreign policy in Iraq.

Four working groups of 44 foreign policy analysts, including staff of the U.S. Institute of Peace, among others, examined American policy in Iraq. The work included nine plenary sessions, a four-day trip to Baghdad, and interviews with over 170 experts, military officers, and political players in Iraq and the region.

Hamilton represented Indiana’s 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1999. He gained a reputation for foreign policy expertise, statesmanship, and a nonpartisan approach to solving problems. He served as co-chair of the joint House and Senate committee investigating the Iran-Contra Affair in 1987-88 and as vice chair of the 9/11 Commission in 2002-04. He is founder and senior advisor at the Center on Representative Government at IU Bloomington.

The Iraq Study Group papers are part of the IU Libraries’ Modern Political Papers Collection. The collection also includes Hamilton’s congressional papers and 9/11 Commission papers as well as congressional papers of former Senators Richard Lugar and Birch Bayh, press and political files of former Governor and Senator Evan Bayh, and other sets of documents.

From NUVO: Adrian Matejka named Indiana Poet Laureate

Adrian Matejka just might be the first Indiana poet laureate who can give you in-depth instruction in rap poetics — it’s a subject he teaches at IU Bloomington —and the sonnet structures of Charles Baudelaire. The Indiana Art Commission announced Matejka’s selection as poet laureate on Monday, Dec. 11.

Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany, but he’s spent half his life in the Hoosier state. A graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, he’s now the Lilly Professor / Poet-in-Residence at his alma mater. Matejka is currently working on a new collection of poems, Hearing Damage, and a graphic novel.

His most recent book of poetry is entitled Map to the Stars, which relates to his growing up in Indianapolis in the ‘80s. But when NUVO writer Dan Grossman talked to him in Oct, 2015, he had just published The Big Smoke, a book of poems on Jack Johnson, who became the first African-American heavyweight boxing world champion (from 1908 – 1915.) In that interview, Grossman asked him what drew him to Johnson, who was also the subject of a 2004 Ken Burns documentary entitled Unforgivable Blackness… [read more]

From Indiana Public Media: New Course Aims to Fill Skills Gaps in Growing Craft Beer Industry

The number of craft breweries in Indiana has nearly tripled since 2011, and an increasing number of people are hoping to make a career out of the growing industry. But only a small number actually have the skills necessary to land a job brewing beer or running a taproom. A new IUPUI class aims to change that. … (Steve Corbin and his wife) plan to open a brewery here within the next year. They’re calling it Feed Store Beer Company — an homage to the building’s history. … It’s an ambitious venture for a couple with no background in the industry.

So the Corbins participated in a new program at IUPUI to try and prepare themselves for the job. It’s one of several courses Craft Brewery Consultant and Educator Ron Smith teaches. The seven-day ‘Essentials of Brewery Operations’ certificate program is a crash course in everything from world beer styles to the legal issues that need to be considered when running a brewery. “We do focus pretty heavily on brew deck, actually brewing operations,” Smith says. “But we also get into cellaring and packaging and sanitation issues and lab processes and tests and quality control stuff and taproom operations and a little bit of marketing and sales and the actual kind of business side.”

[Read More]

Sea-level rise threatens archaeological and historic sites

Joshua Wells [photo courtesy of IUSB]
From News at IU.

Rising sea levels resulting from climate change will threaten vast numbers of archaeological and historic sites near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southeastern United States, according to a study co-authored by Indiana University researchers.

The study finds that a rise of 1 meter in sea levels, widely expected by the end of this century using accepted climate models, would submerge over 13,000 recorded archaeological sites, including more than 1,000 listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Every archaeological site is like a unique experiment that provides information about the particular people who lived in a particular area,” said co-author Joshua Wells, associate professor of anthropology and social informatics at IU South Bend. “Every time one of those is lost, that’s another set of knowledge that is washed away.”

In addition to Wells, co-authors include 2017 Ph.D. graduate Kelsey Noack Myers and doctoral student R. Carl DeMuth of IU Bloomington. Other authors are at the University of Tennessee, Northern Kentucky University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the California-based Alexandria Archive Institute.

The results, published in the journal PLOS One, come from analysis of data collected by the Digital Index of North American Archaeology. The index, known as DINAA, is a collaborative project by IU South Bend, the University of Tennessee and the Alexandria Archive Institute that aggregates archaeological and historical data sets from numerous sources.

Wells said archaeologists have historically thought sites were vulnerable to human disturbances like construction and looting. But sea-level rise is a new threat, one the researchers could analyze by combining climate projections with DINAA data.

“I think we were surprised by the scale,” Wells said. “We knew it would be significant, because throughout humanity’s existence, coastlines have been popular places for people to live. But we had no idea what the numbers would turn out to be.”

Threatened areas include American history icons like Jamestown, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina, along with sites that record the stories of people who lived in the Southeast before the arrival of Europeans, communities of escaped slaves and others. In addition to sites that would be inundated, others could be threatened as coastal residents move inland to escape rising seas.

The research demonstrates the importance of large, linked data sets such as DINAA, which make information accessible to researchers and policymakers, Wells said. It also can help raise awareness of what’s at stake with rising sea levels, sparking conversations about what can be done.

“We feel it’s vitally important to get this information out now when we have time to think about ways to save data and materials from these sites, and to do it strategically,” Wells said.

Since the study’s publication last week, Wells has been quoted in news stories in USA Today, Wired and National Geographic, and the research has also been covered by the Guardian, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard and other publications. More importantly to the authors, policymakers and researchers have already been in touch about using the results and the DINAA data.

“It’s really exciting to be all over the news,” Wells said, “but it’s even more exciting that the work is proving useful.”

From Inside Higher Ed: References and Citations for All

“Open citations now!” So concludes a new open letter to publishers from researchers who support making scholarly citations freely available, in the interest of better citation analysis. Advocates of such efforts say that references are a pillar of scholarly work and that being able to understand how articles cite each other shouldn’t require an expensive subscription to a database.

In short, just as open-access proponents argue for free access to scholarly articles, open-citation proponents want free access to publication citation data.

“References are a product of scholarly work and represent the backbone of science — demonstrating the origin and advancement of knowledge — and provide essential information for studying science and making decisions about the future of research,” the letter says. “We therefore issue a strong call to all publishers to make available to the academic community that which it created in the first place.”

The letter builds on the Initiative for Open Citations, or I4OC, which 60-some organizations and publishers launched in April. Goals of that initiative include the establishment of a global, public web of linked scholarly citation data to “enhance the discoverability of published content,” both subscription access and open access. Such a web would especially benefit those outside academic institutions – or outside wealthier universities – who lack subscriptions to commercial citation databases, according to I4OC.

Other benefits include the ability to build new services based on the data and create a public citation graph to explore connections between existing fields and the growth of new ones, advocates say.

Cassidy R. Sugimoto, an associate professor of informatics at Indiana University at Bloomington and president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics, is among the letter’s original signatories. She said Tuesday that open citations wouldn’t make a huge difference in her own work, since she has access to highly curated Web of Science data through her professional collaborations and affiliations. However, she said, “it would make a huge difference for students and scholars” worldwide who don’t have that “luxury.”

[Read More]

From Wired: It’s Gonna Get a Lot Easier to Break Science Journal Paywalls

Anurag Acharya’s problem was that the Google search bar is very smart, but also kind of dumb. As a Googler working on search 13 years ago, Acharya wanted to make search results encompass scholarly journal articles. A laudable goal, because unlike the open web, most of the raw output of scientific research was invisible—hidden behind paywalls. People might not even know it existed. “I grew up in India, and most of the time you didn’t even know if something existed. If you knew it existed, you could try to get it,” Acharya says. “‘How do I get access?’ is a second problem. If I don’t know about it, I won’t even try.”

Acharya and a colleague named Alex Verstak decided that their corner of search would break with Google tradition and look behind paywalls—showing citations and abstracts even if it couldn’t cough up an actual PDF. “It was useful even if you did not have university access. That was a deliberate decision we made,” Acharya says.

Then they hit that dumbness problem. The search bar doesn’t know what flavor of information you’re looking for. You type in “cancer;” do you want results that tell you your symptoms aren’t cancer (please), or do you want the Journal of the American Medical Association? The search bar doesn’t know.

Acharya and Verstak didn’t try to teach it. Instead, they built a spinoff, a search bar separate from Google-prime that would only look for journal articles, case law, patents—hardcore primary sources. And it worked. “We showed it to Larry [Page] and he said, ‘why is this not already out?’ That’s always a positive sign,” Acharya says.

[Read More]

From NUVO: Take a twinkle tour of Indy’s dazzling holiday installations

There have been few bright spots in 2017.

Toxic tweets; vicious partisan battles; rising tides; actual real-life Nazis. So, to fight all that darkness, NUVO went searching for something to illuminate the last month of this venomous year — literally.

Apparently, Indy’s event-planners are on our same wavelength, because Indy is chock-full of locales ablaze this month. Join us on a tour of six luminous installations, plus a handful of cracking holiday shows. Feeling similarly exhausted by the noxious milieu of this year? Grab a mug of something warm — and hopefully spiked — and flip through a gloriously non-political batch of shimmery stuff.

[Read More]

Virtual and augmented high-performance tech is reality at IUPUI

Mike Boyles uses an IQ-Wall in the AV Lab. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications

From News at IUPUI.

Twenty years ago, the top tech trends included high-speed internet, zip disks, and DVDs.

1997 was also the year the Advanced Visualization Lab made its debut. Spread across Indiana University and IUPUI, the lab didn’t concentrate on dial-up modems and boxy PCs, which were typical of the time. The labs looked at the future of visualizing research in ways that seemed lightyears ahead of the times. The star in IUPUI’s lab was the ImmersaDesk, a then-state-of-the-art augmented reality facility to enhance the user’s experience with programming. It was also established as part of the Research Technologies division of UITS and the Pervasive Technology Institute.

Today, the Advanced Visualization Lab at IUPUI has expanded to two spaces on the fourth floor of the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex. The rooms concentrate on virtual and augmented reality experiences, 3-D scanning and printing, and visualization through portable IQ-Walls and the futuristic IQ-Table, the 94-inch cousin to IQ-Walls that specializes in showcasing media collections from IUPUI.

Both spaces are open to students and faculty members to assist with research or class projects. While the amount of technology has expanded, Lab staff members like Mike Boyles say the expansion includes users. What was once designed for the few dozens of the techiest of technology students has grown to include thousands of users from almost every discipline at IUPUI.

“We are able to scale out services and help people more than ever,” said Boyles, the Lab manager. “We are doing things at a bigger scale than we ever have.” That scale involves serving all of the IU campuses around the state. The democratization of the technology means this is no longer the domain of the elite. [Read More]

IUPUI in pilot program to validate employability of graduates

Photo by Liz Kaye, IU Communications

From News at IUPUI.

In an ever-changing employment world, does a college degree fully prepare newcomers to the workforce?

IUPUI is among 14 higher education institutions across North America working to find out. As participants in the Essential Employability Qualities Pilot led by The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education, these institutions are co-designing ways to assess and affirm higher education programs that intentionally develop essential employability qualities within students; engage students and employers in quality assurance; assure that graduates are prepared for the employment world after they complete their program; and communicate openly and accurately with the public.

According to a 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index report, while 98 percent of chief academic officers rate their institutions as very or somewhat effective at preparing students for the employment world, only 11 percent of business leaders strongly agree that graduating students have the necessary skills and competencies.

“That gap is large enough to show there’s a serious issue about communication on what graduates should be able to do,” said Bill Plater, senior scholar at The QA Commons and executive vice chancellor and dean of the faculties emeritus at IUPUI. “We’ve been talking to many employers, and almost every one of them has a set of expectations of what employees need to do to be successful. Employers are great at looking at the specific skill a person needs in the field of work, but what they don’t really know how to do well is assess things like critical thinking, communication skills and problem-solving.”

Many employers and their respective professional associations often specify the so-called soft skills that most colleges and universities say they provide, frequently using the same words to describe the qualities employers seek, but there is little agreement on what the terms actually mean — and what evidence of attainment is acceptable. The QA Commons is developing standards and processes to certify that a program or department actually prepares all of its graduates with the qualities that employers really want. Employers can then rely on a certified program’s claim that its graduates have acquired the essential skills.

The nature of work in many fields has changed dramatically in the last few decades. For example, technology has changed manufacturing jobs from human assembly-line work to automated work, requiring employees to think differently about the manufacturing process. An aging workforce in some areas has also altered the employment landscape.

The essential employability qualities that EEQ Pilot participants seek to develop in graduates include people skills such as collaboration, teamwork, and cross-cultural experience; problem-solving abilities such as inquiry, critical thinking, and creativity; and professional strengths such as communication, work ethic, and technological agility.

At IUPUI, bachelor of arts programs in philanthropic studies in the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy as well as IU School of Liberal Arts programs in English and the paralegal studies program, including the law in liberal arts bachelor’s degree and paralegal studies certificate, are participating in the pilot.

“It’s a way to develop a common language. Our language in academia doesn’t necessarily match up with an employer’s language,” said Erin Engels, director of the paralegal studies program and an assistant clinical professor of political science in the School of Liberal Arts. “We need to communicate to students, too: You’re not just learning about the history of politics and how people interact in government; we’re helping you navigate the politics of the workplace.”

Pilot participants met in September to work on a yearlong plan. Participants represent a range of disciplines, learning formats and degree levels and include public, private, for-profit and faith-based institutions.

“We all benefit by participating because we’ll get ideas from other programs and resources to help our students,” said Steve Fox, director of writing and associate professor of English in the School of Liberal Arts. “What we want to do is ultimately help our students be employable when they graduate and be able to improve communication with employers so there’s good feedback among all of these parties.”

The QA Commons and the EEQ Pilot are funded through the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, under a grant from Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation.