Summer activities double on campus as UIndy expands outreach

The University of Indianapolis is buzzing with activity as summer camps, classes and conferences are in full swing this June. It’s part of the University’s broader goal to engage with the local community year-round by offering valuable campus resources for families, businesses and professional organizations.

Campers in the Radical Robotics Summer Camp made aerodynamic airplanes and rockets and heard from UIndy Director of Engineering Programs Jose Sanchez . The camp was offered in conjunction with the robotics team at Center Grove High School. (Photo: D. Todd Moore)

(Photo: D. Todd Moore)

Between June and August, the University will host dozens of events on campus. Conferences include Teach for America’s annual academy, Indiana Choral Directors Association Summer Conference, 4-H Leadership, National Association of Black Accountants Accounting Career Awareness Program (NABA ACAP), Melody Makers of Indiana and Nitro Circus. Summer camps focus on a variety of sports, including football, swimming, basketball and volleyball and subjects like math, writing workshops, robotics, art and multimedia game development. UIndy summer camps offer opportunities for second graders to grandparents.
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Lilly program opens eyes of nursing students to the pharma industry

From the first time she explored the vast grounds of the global pharmaceutical company, University of Indianapolis nursing student Danielle Sparling realized her career path is much wider than she originally envisioned.

She enrolled at UIndy with solid plans of earning her degree and going on to become a family nurse practitioner. That may still be the case, but today she understands it’s not her only option thanks to an intense learning experience piloted this summer at Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly). Nurses at Lilly play important roles as researchers, regulatory scientists, case managers, global health consultants and more—all critical to becoming one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world.

“From day one, I gained insight into how many avenues there are within the field of nursing. This was exciting, because I was able to learn about these non-traditional roles,” said Sparling, a sophomore.lillycropped

Sparling was one of four nursing students to participate in the pilot program this summer along with Serena Cornelius, Paige Hendershot and Samantha Hunter (all juniors). The Lilly/University of Indianapolis Nurse Education Program rotates the students through various aspects of Lilly’s operations—from drug discovery and development to bioethics and patient safety. The program is designed to educate students about the drug development process, the role of nurses in the industry and professional competencies for success in a healthcare business environment.

The students participated for four weeks in a structured mentorship involving real-world projects, industry-led professional development workshops and opportunities to network with Lilly nurses, experts and leaders. By exposing undergraduate students to the drug-development process, nursing students gained valuable knowledge of how patient-centered treatment options are developed and assessed.

“Nurses today have to be competent decisions makers,” said Jennifer Workman, co-leader of the Lilly program. “They need to have high-learning agility, be able to multi-task and communicate clearly and accurately information about treatment options.”

“Our students understand this was a very unique opportunity to learn about an industry they know very little about in these early stages of their education,” said Denise Ferrell, an assistant professor and program director in the School of Nursing. “This makes the nursing program at UIndy a more holistic experience by bridging the gap between nursing in an academic setting and what is available in our community.”

“Nurses are playing expanded roles as the health care system evolves to meet new needs. Nurses not only have enhanced responsibility and accountability in traditional settings, such as hospitals and clinics, but increasingly have roles that enable them to move across a variety of health care settings,” said Norma Hall, dean of the School of Nursing.

The education program also helps Lilly to educate future health care professionals about how pharmaceuticals are manufactured, tested and regulated, Workman said.

“The students have a unique vantage point and opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented health care professionals in the industry and understand their important roles in our organization,” Workman said. The students also reviewed the drug-approval process, investigated regulations, conducted literature reviews, assessed environmental trends and marketing strategies, researched treatment plans and created patient education materials.

The School of Nursing at UIndy is one of the leading pipelines for nurses across Indiana. The program is ranked among the top nursing programs in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report. The program prides itself on by meeting the rising need for nurses as the health care industry grows, regionally and nationally. By a global company like Lilly opening its doors and sharing its expertise, the School of Nursing can provide unique professional competencies and specialized knowledge to its students, Ferrell said.

“I have gained an appreciation for the drug development process and have found the nurses at Lilly all bring something special to the table because they actually know how a decision will affect the patient because of the connection they have,” Hunter said.

Hendershot added: “I never knew there were so many opportunities for nurses in the pharma industry. One of my biggest takeaways was how important pharma is to health care. Without it, new advancements in treatments would be rarely considered.”

“As a nurse in the future, I will be able to fall back on this key point and strive to be the best advocate possible for my patient,” Cornelius said.

For Sparling, Lilly reinforced her love for the profession and excitement about the next opportunity. On her last day in the Lilly internship, she learned she officially had been accepted in the UIndy nursing program.

“One of the Lilly doctors told us, ‘You’re best at what you love, and if you do just that, success will follow.’ I’ve never been happier for my chosen career path and can’t wait to see what the future holds,” Sparling said.

 

UIndy Educational Leadership grads lead innovative program to turn around struggling IPS school

When the Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School launches in July, University of Indianapolis Educational Leadership graduates will be at the helm of transformational change.

From left: Principal Ross Pippin, Assistant Principal Anuja Petrinuw and Director of Academics Dana Stockton

From left: Executive Director Ross Pippin, Director of Operations Anuja Petruniw and Director of Academics Dana Stockton

The near east side school – also known as IPS School 15 – will become an Innovation Network School, a model that puts the school administrators in direct control of the school’s structure, staffing and performance, with input from parents.

Innovation Network Schools are permitted to make choices about all aspects of their school and are held accountable by IPS for agreed-upon student outcomes. US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos singled out Indiana’s Innovation Network Schools initiative in a speech earlier this year to the Council of the Great City Schools. 

“This type of proposal gives everyone in the community a greater say—and greater responsibility—in the education of their children. It’s this kind of local control that we want to empower, because when parents are in charge, students benefit,” DeVos said.

Thomas D. Gregg Elementary (IPS School 15). Photo courtesy IPS

Thomas D. Gregg Elementary (IPS School 15). Photo courtesy IPS

Three of the key players behind Thomas Gregg’s story honed their leadership skills at the University of Indianapolis. Executive Director Ross Pippin ’13 and Director of Operations Anuja Petruniw ’14 are graduates of the University of Indianapolis’ iLEAD program, which prepares future school leaders with crucial field experience, decision-making skills and mentorship from leaders in education. Director of Academics Dana Stockton is a graduate of the MBA in Education Leadership program, an interdisciplinary program which combines best practices in business and education leadership.

The decision to adopt the Innovation Network School model follows years of low test scores and an “F” rating from the state in 2016.  Pippin said School 15’s transformation has been in the works for nearly two years, with IPS and Near East Side neighborhood organizations playing important roles.

“We truly believe the implementation of our community-led efforts here at Thomas Gregg will provide students and families with a truly personalized experience. Seeing that Ms. DeVos believes this model is as innovative as we do is exciting,” Pippin said.

Innovation Network Schools: A short history

The Indiana legislature passed a bill in 2014 allowing the creation of Innovation Network Schools, which are fully autonomous and operate within school districts across the state. The goal is to turn around chronically low-performing schools before they require a takeover by the State of Indiana (required by law after four years of an “F” grade). IPS now features ten Innovation Network Schools, which offer different types of learning opportunities and models to students, Pippin said.

We are just extremely thrilled,” Petruniw said. “The idea of being able to impact kids in an innovative, different way is amazing to me.”

While Innovation Network Schools are managed by an outside source, such as charter schools or non-profit organizations, they are considered part of their designated school district. Pippin said that structure allows for increased educational experimentation and creativity to solve fundamental issues currently facing school systems, including low test scores.

Petruniw said what sets School 15 apart is the focus on personalized learning, as well as resources and support for the social and emotional well-being of students and their families. “We really are borne out of the neighborhood,” she said, adding that more than 400 community members got involved in the discussion.

UIndy’s Educational Leadership programs in action

As they prepare for the July launch, Pippin, Petruniw and Stockton credit their field experience as students in the University of Indianapolis’ Educational Leadership programs in providing them a valuable growth opportunity.

“Any skills that you can imagine we developed at UIndy have been put to the test in recent months: budgeting, curriculum planning, hiring, marketing. Our time at UIndy also provided the three of us with long lists of colleagues and mentors who have been more than willing to help us out along the way as we navigate this project,” Pippin said.

“Being able to think outside the box about different educational models – we’re putting that into practice now,”Petruniw added. “We researched and developed a whole new school model with the collaboration of our neighborhood.”

John Somers, associate professor of teacher education, said it’s no surprise to see these Educational Leadership graduates effecting change in local schools, “given their standout scholarship in the principal preparation program and their successful execution of numerous field experiences. We are thrilled to see these experiences translate into real benefit for children and families within IPS.”  

Learn more about UIndy’s Educational leadership programs here.

Written by Sara Galer, Senior Communications Specialist, University of Indianapolis. Contact newsdesk@UIndy.edu with your campus news.

Poverty Simulation provides eye-opening perspective for students

Students from a variety of health disciplines learned firsthand recently the challenges faced by low-income families in a Poverty Simulation held on the University of Indianapolis campus.

Public Health students, in conjunction with the physical therapy program, participate in a Poverty Simulation on May 23, 2017. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis

The Poverty Simulation, organized by Anne Mejia-Downs, associate professor, and Julie Gahimer, professor, Krannert School of Physical Therapy, serves as an introductory activity to the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) Service Learning Course. DPT students were joined by PT assistant, nursing and public health graduate and undergraduate students for the event. 

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UIndy master’s program builds community leadership through public art

It’s early on a Friday evening in May – before the crowds arrive at the Tube Factory in the Garfield Park neighborhood – and Big Car CEO and co-founder Jim Walker is talking about the powerful role the arts have in transforming and building communities.

Art is not just something you see in a gallery or museum, said Walker, whose expertise lies in social practice and placemaking, a type of art that leverages community assets to create public spaces that promote health, happiness and well-being.

“Instead of making a piece of art that’s an object, we’re making things happen,” explained Walker, who brings that vision to a new, one-year intensive program at the University of Indianapolis. The new master’s program in Social Practice Art, which is unique for Indiana, prepares students to become community leaders by leveraging the power of the arts. 

Jim Walker, co-founder of Big Car, will teach courses in Social Practice Art at UIndy starting in the fall of 2017.

Jim Walker, co-founder of Big Car, will teach courses in Social Practice Art at UIndy starting in the fall of 2017.

Developed by Jim Walker and Kevin McKelvey, associate professor of English, the program connects students with degrees in art & design, theatre, dance, music or creative writing with community stakeholders to engage in social practice and creative placemaking. The result is a participatory art form that empowers and transforms communities, and one which has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Walker and McKelvey will oversee the program, which is still accepting applications for the fall of 2017.

The vibrant atmosphere of the Tube Factory provides the perfect backdrop to talk about the University’s MA in Social Practice Art program, as it represents an example of social practice art in action. The formerly vacant 12,000-square-foot building on Cruft St. has been renovated into a welcoming space where the Big Car arts collective, founded by Walker in 2004, hosts cultural events and partnership-based community meetings.

Related: Big Car launches affordable home ownership program for artists

Walker pointed out the value of bringing art to underserved neighborhoods and giving residents an outlet to voice their opinions. The program will also focus on grant writing, social entrepreneurship and community sociology.

The Tube Factory on Cruft St. Photo courtesy Big Car.

The Tube Factory. Photo courtesy Big Car.

“Art and culture are important elements of everybody’s lives, so the kind of art that we’re working on here actually seeks out input from community members. When they’re invited to participate, it’s a way to show people that art isn’t some kind of exclusive thing. In that way it can help make a difference for the community,” Walker said.

In many ways, Walker’s new role at the University is a logical extension of Big Car’s south side success story. Walker, who lives in the Garfield Park neighborhood, is a well-known community builder on the Indianapolis arts scene. He has taught art history at the University of Indianapolis and art and writing at other area universities. Big Car held its ten-year anniversary exhibition at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center in 2014.

The Social Practice Arts program builds on several of the University’s community-partnership initiatives, including the Quality of Life plan for the Indianapolis south side, and the Gene and Mary Ann Zink Poverty Institute, a University initiative to end poverty driven by an evidence-based and outcome-oriented strategy.

Making a difference in local neighborhoods will be a key focus of the program. Students will have the opportunity to work at Big Car’s Tube Factory, where they can learn to manage arts-related events and encourage community involvement. “This is a really good laboratory for students to learn in, get off campus and get involved. The connection between UIndy and our space is a pretty important one,” Walker added.

McKelvey explained that the multidisciplinary approach of the program combines with the University’s service-learning focus to attract artists who want to give back to the community. The program will embrace community involvement and prepare students to effectively lead and engage community leaders in projects that have a broad impact on the quality of life.

“From cities to smaller communities, these ideas around placemaking and social practice are really starting to take hold,” McKelvey said.

Learn more about UIndy’s Social Practice Arts Program here.

Written by Sara Galer, Senior Communications Specialist, University of Indianapolis. Contact newsdesk@UIndy.edu with your campus news.

Research events highlight UIndy-Community Health Network partnership

The University of Indianapolis held the first annual Health Pavilion Scholarship Day in May to showcase research conducted by students and faculty in the health sciences disciplines. Held in tandem with the Community Health Network Research Symposium on campus, the events highlighted the growing partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Community Health Network.

UIndy students show research posters in the atrium of the Health Pavilion as part of the first annual Health Pavilion Scholarship Day hosted by the Health Science Colleges on Friday, May 19, 2017. The event was followed by the Second Annual Multidisciplinary Scholarly Activity Symposium held by Community Health Network with UIndy partnership support. Chad Priest, RN, JD, Chief Executive Officer of he American Red Cross of Indiana Region, is the speaker delivering a keynote on "The Healthcare Professionals of the Future" in Schwitzer following the luncheon. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

More than 20 faculty and students showcased their research experiences  at the Scholarship Day event held in the morning, which was hosted by all of the disciplines within the Health Pavilion. In the afternoon, keynote speakers Chad Priest and Ileana Ponce-Gonzalez of Community Health Network addressed issues surrounding the health care professions at the Community Health Network Research Symposium.

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Gerburg Garmann, Paul Levesque elected to HERA Board

Gerburg Garmann, assistant dean of Interdisciplinary Studies & Service Learning, and Paul Levesque, assistant professor of Global Languages & Cross-Cultural Studies, were elected to the Humanities Education and Research Association (HERA) Board in March 2017. 

Paul Levesque

Paul Levesque

Gerburg Garmann

Gerburg Garmann

HERA, which holds an annual conference in the United States and publishes a refereed scholarly journal three times per year, promotes the worldwide study, teaching and understanding of the humanities across a range of disciplines. Its mission includes supporting the application of the humanities to the human environment in a way that reflects the country’s diverse heritage, traditions, history and current conditions.
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University of Indianapolis Real Estate Development program sees early success

A new program that is the first of its kind in Indiana is already making its mark.

The University of Indianapolis launched a Masters of Professional Studies in Real Estate Development in the fall of 2016, becoming the first university in the region and state to offer the program.

MPS in Real Estate Development program director, Eric Harvey

MPS in Real Estate Development program director, Eric Harvey

Program Director Eric A. Harvey, who was recently appointed to the position, said students who enroll are seeking to become entrepreneurs in real estate as they advance their careers. Courses include ethics and problem solving, finance, capital markets, real estate development law, development and construction systems, project management and sustainability, with a capstone course that allows the student to frame their professional goals. The program was recently highlighted by the Indianapolis Business Journal.

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Study finds living in a state with weak gun laws could increase risk of being shot by police

A new study from the University of Indianapolis published in the American Journal of Public Health finds that citizens living in states with the weakest gun laws are more than twice as likely to be fatally shot by law enforcement. 

Aaron Kivisto

Aaron Kivisto

Aaron Kivisto, assistant professor in the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences at the University of Indianapolis, conducted the research along with doctoral student Peter Phalen, in collaboration with Brad Ray, assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI. The American Journal of Public Health published the study, “Firearm legislation and fatal police shootings in the United States,” on May 18, 2017.

Kivisto, lead author of the study, said the research utilized data on fatal police shootings in the United States from “The Counted,” a database developed by U.K.-based newspaper The Guardian. That data, compared with the state gun law rankings from the The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, showed citizens from states with weaker gun laws are significantly more likely to be killed by law enforcement, according to the study.

Researchers examined more than 2,000 fatal police shootings that occurred between January 2015 and October 2016. The study considered differences across states in rates of gun ownership, violent crime and other socio-demographic characteristics.

The study found that, while laws strengthening background checks appeared to support this effect by reducing the overall number of guns in the community, laws aimed at promoting safe storage and reducing gun trafficking helped to prevent guns already in the community from falling into the wrong hands.

“What’s really striking is that the laws that seem to be driving this effect – closing background check loopholes, requiring that parents protect their kids from finding their guns in the home – are the types of laws that large majorities of Americans support. These aren’t particularly controversial laws, and this study, along with many before it, suggests that they can save a lot of lives,” Kivisto said. “These findings also seem to highlight the challenges created for law enforcement by states that have neglected to enact common-sense gun laws supported by most citizens.”

The research group emphasized the need for a comprehensive system to track fatal police shootings nationwide.

“Currently, the only serious monitoring system for police violence in our country is the media itself, rather than the government or police,” Phalen said.

While policy efforts targeting police practices represent one strategy, these findings show strengthening state-level gun laws as a potential tool for reducing rates of fatal police shootings in the United States, Kivisto said.

*Kivisto, A.J., Ray, B., & Phalen, P. (2017). Firearm legislation and fatal police shootings in the United States. American Journal of Public Health. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303770

 

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