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

 

UIndy forensics crew returns to Texas for migrant identification initiative

For the past four years, a forensics team from the University of Indianapolis has traveled to Texas to exhume and conduct forensic analyses on the remains of migrants who died making the treacherous journey into the United States. forensicscrew

The group not only carefully digs and recovers the remains from unmarked gravesites, but it also works with Texas State University on identification of the bodies. The initiative highlights a humanitarian crisis as bodies continue to be found in small counties with no resources to identify them, said Krista Latham, an associate professor of biology who leads the group.

Latham traveled this month with four graduate students to Texas to analyze the dead and work to recover additional remains from unmarked gravesites. This is the sixth trip Latham has led to the area.

“Students are immersed in a humanitarian crisis where people are dying in mass disaster numbers due to the environment and exposure while crossing our southern border. It provides them with invaluable humanitarian and global citizenship experience. They learn about the complexities of border policies and the realities of thousands of people who are not as privileged as themselves in terms of the expectation of freedom from personal violence,” Latham said.

UIndy graduate student Leann Rizor

UIndy graduate student Leann Rizor

During the first week of the trip, the University team will work with Dr. Kate Spradley of Texas State University on the analysis of unidentified individuals exhumed from Sacred Heart Cemetery in Brooks County, Texas, during the 2013, 2014 and 2017 archeological field seasons. The following week, the forensic crew will then volunteer in Starr County, Texas, to locate and exhume the remains of undocumented migrants who died after crossing the border and were buried in pauper’s graves without identification.

Latham’s work has received local and national media coverage and most recently was the focus of an interactive New York Times report. The group will be documenting their activities in the Beyond Borders blog.

With the U.S. Border Patrol reporting more than 6,000 deaths during illegal border crossings between October 2000 and September 2016, Latham said her work serves a crucial need to identify those who perished on the journey.

“There is a need for forensic experts to identify these individuals and provide their families with information on their fate,” Latham explained. “The dead are mostly South Americans that are fleeing systematic violence that is unimaginable to most people living in the US. We are volunteering a very specialized skill set to counties that have been overwhelmed with deaths that are in mass disaster numbers.”

“In the process, we are also able to bring awareness to the crisis at the border and work to promote social responsibility and humanitarianism as a response to the migrant death crisis,” Latham added.

The project provides numerous opportunities for Latham’s students as they apply their classroom skills in a real-world setting, including scientific skills honed in the University’s human biology program such as skeletal analysis, photography and archeology. Even more importantly, Latham said, students develop an understanding of the complex social, cultural and political realities involved in the work.

Haley Rock, a graduate student in human biology and field expert, is one of the graduate students in the group. She appreciates the experiential learning aspect of the project that allows her to gain a better understanding of human osteology and forensic anthropology.

“This humanitarian work is important to me because it allows me to take part in reuniting family members with their lost loved ones, as well as bring to light the unjust treatment individuals may have faced in their lives,” she said.

“I hope to gain a broader cultural perspective and understanding of the migrant situation that is currently going on in South Texas. Being in the midst of the humanitarian crisis that is occurring in Texas will likely impact me in a way that I cannot even begin to predict,” graduate student Erica Cantor said.

Both Latham and her team acknowledge the challenges of the project, which include working in the South Texas heat, as well as processing their emotions as they work to ease families’ pain in the midst of an untold humanitarian crisis.

“These students are not only learning scientific skills they could never learn in a classroom, but they are being empowered by their actions to promote a sense of common humanity. They are applying their liberal arts and sciences training towards the social responsibility of humanitarianism as a crisis response,” Latham said.

Follow the team’s updates here.

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

UIndy May trips send students around the globe

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El Camino de Santiago, Spain

From Spain to Costa Rica, University of Indianapolis students are traveling the globe this month on experiential learning trips guided by faculty. Students will be visiting destinations in Europe, including France, England, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, and Austria, along with visits to less traveled corners of the world, including Ecuador, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ghana, Haiti and the Galapagos Islands. Another group is traveling to Japan. 

The trips serve to expand the education of University students by opening them up to new cultures and international experiences, which can have a profound impact on their future lives.

A group of students, including 13 members of the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College, is embarking on a walking pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago across northern Spain to the Tomb and Cathedral of St. James. The group is led by University Chaplain Jeremiah Gibbs, Jim Williams, associate professor of history and Honors College executive director, along with Frank Bates, assistant professor in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy and Kelly Miller, director of the Student Counseling Center.

The journey will take the group 21 days as they walk through 100 towns and villages in Spain, including Leon, Astorga, Ponferada, Compostela and Madrid. They will have the opportunity to interact with Spanish villagers and some of the 250,000 annual pilgrims from around the world.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our students, to take a Spring Term trip together with funding support from the Strain Honors College.  Some of them are setting out on this journey as a formation of their spirituality, like pilgrims have been doing since the Middle Ages; some are going for the deep culture, history and language exposure they’ll find in Northern Spain; others are looking forward to the adventure and the physical challenge,” said Williams.

UIndy students are following the footsteps of Christians who have been making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela for 1,200 years.  “My hope and dream is that all of them will be profoundly transformed by the time we arrive in Santiago de Compostela, some 165 miles after we take that first step together,” Williams added.

Julie Kiefer, the University’s study abroad director, notes that Spring Term trips continue to grow in popularity as students take advantage of experiential learning in a foreign country. worldmap_springterm

“Any major can study abroad, and there are so many programs to choose from. The May trips allow students to get a taste of life overseas, and some of them go on to participate in semester or year-abroad programs,” Kiefer said.

Jennifer Camden, associate professor of English, will lead a group of 18 students through Edinburgh, Scotland’s historic sites, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye and the Highlands, York and London.

Kyoko Amano, professor of English, will guide a group of students on a trip through Japan. That includes a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima Castle, the National Peace Memorial Hall and lectures.

Jodie Ferise, assistant professor of business administration, is taking students to Ghana for the sixth time since 2011. Past projects have included opening a kindergarten and junior high school, a computer lab and several libraries. This year’s project will fund the construction of a school in the village of Papaase, Ghana, thanks to a generous donor.

Becca Cartledge is continuing her tradition of leading nursing students on a trip to Haiti. Follow their progress here.

Other trips include:

  • Costa Rica, led by Julie Kiefer, the University’s study abroad director
  • Ecuador, led by Kathleen Hetzler and Shannon Moore, assistant professors of nursing
  • France and Spain, led by Peter Vakunta, assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies
  • England and Austria, led by Sharon Parr, associate professor of music
  • Germany, Czech Republic and Austria, led by Milind Thakar, associate professor of international relations, and Paul Levesque, assistant professor of German
  • Cuba, led by Terrence Harewood, associate professor of teacher education
  • Galapagos, led by Douglas Stemke, associate professor of biology, with Sandra Davis, associate professor of biology and Kevin Gribbins, assistant professor of biology

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

Faculty-student collaboration spotlights increased sex trafficking in Indiana

A study at the University of Indianapolis focuses on the growing problem of sex trafficking in Indiana.

The research project conducted by Lisa Elwood-Kirkpatrick, assistant professor in the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences, and doctoral student Samantha Goodin, received national recognition earlier this year when Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) highlighted their efforts in collaboration with the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) initiative. 

Lisa Elwood-Kirkpatrick, assistant professor in the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences

Lisa Elwood-Kirkpatrick

Elwood-Kirkpatrick is a clinical psychologist who has served on IPATH’s outreach and victim services committees, as well as on the board of Restored, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that works toward long-term services for human trafficking victims. She and Goodin worked with IPATH in 2014 to survey service providers, including therapists and caseworkers who work with high-risk youth. The goal was to estimate the rate of trafficking experiences in provider caseloads.

Preliminary findings from the study, presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Conference in the fall of 2015, revealed that 25 percent of the 76 survey completers had previously participated in training specific to human trafficking. Results indicated that while participants routinely assessed some common risk factors for human trafficking, such as sexual abuse, less than half reported routinely assessing experiences of sexual trafficking. After being provided with a definition of sex trafficking, approximately one-third of participants indicated they had worked with at least one youth in the past year who had experiences with sex trafficking. Data collection is complete and the manuscript is being prepared for publication.

The 2016 Indiana State Report on Human Trafficking, which is prepared by the Indiana Office of the Attorney General, includes data from the University of Indianapolis survey. The report documents the rising problem of human trafficking across the United States, including Indiana. One statewide IPATH partner reported 178 trafficked youth in 2016 alone, 94 percent of whom were girls under 21. The Indiana attorney general’s office reports four times as many tips of suspected human trafficking between 2014 and 2016.

“There’s been an increase in identification and awareness of the need here in Indiana over the past few years,” said Elwood-Kirkpatrick.

Sex trafficking occurs when someone forces an individual to engage in a sex act in exchange for something of value and takes the profit from that exchange. In the case of minors, force or coercion does not need to be used in order for the incident to be considered as sex trafficking. Victims do not need to be transported anywhere for sex trafficking to occur. In fact, someone can become a victim without leaving their own home, Elwood-Kirkpatrick said.

Ultimately, it’s a supply and demand problem, Elwood-Kirkpatrick said. “As long as there are people interested in the service and willing to pay for the service, the problem is going to continue,” she explained. “As a society, we have to start being aware of the demand side of it and increasing awareness for those potential purchasers of sex.”

Elwood-Kirkpatrick and Goodin see potential to apply their research findings to alleviate the problem of sex trafficking. Identifying potential victims is the first step toward rescue and treatment. Service providers can achieve that goal by carefully assessing trauma history, while recognizing that victims of sex trafficking tend to enter the mental health or juvenile justice system for other reasons.

“There is increasing interest in the issue of sex trafficking but not very much research yet, and so we hope that our study helps to better define the problem and potentially inform efforts to address it,” Goodin said.

Goodin, in the fourth year of her doctoral program in clinical psychology, appreciates the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on original research. She will spend her final year of the program working as a full-time intern at a college counseling center. “In applying for my internship, it was very helpful to be able to talk about this work as part of my experiences at UIndy,” Goodin said.

The IPATH survey is just one example of the statewide impact of University of Indianapolis research. Elwood-Kirkpatrick also is contributing to a study that examines treatment outcomes for post-traumatic stress disorder. That study involves nearly 50 community members, some of whom will receive therapy on campus as they work through interpersonal violence issues.

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

University of Indianapolis honors retirees, career milestones

Celebration Dinner Photo

Nearly 650 years of experience and service were recognized last week when the University of Indianapolis hosted the 2017 Celebration Dinner, honoring faculty, staff and administrators who have reached career milestones or are retiring this year.

The honorees and their guests and admirers enjoyed a meal, conversation and award presentations Friday in UIndy Hall. Read more

Curtain call: Theatre professor retires after 45 years

Jim Ream, associate professor of theatre at the University of Indianapolis, never imagined he’d work at one place for 45 years, or that he would have become a theatre professor in the first place.

(Doctor of Humane Letters: Jim Ream) Commencement, May 6, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

(Doctor of Humane Letters: Jim Ream) Commencement, May 6, 2017. (Photo by D. Todd Moore)

Before joining the University, Ream earned his master’s degree in religion and was considering the ministry or working for a church headquarters in their media department. He even thought about creating a traveling religious drama troupe. Teaching at a college seemed like an interesting idea to him, but he figured that it was “just a pipe dream.”

That changed in 1972 when he was asked by Dick Williams–the University’s sole theatre faculty member at the time– to stage-manage a show at what was then Indiana Central College (University of Indianapolis). When Williams went on sabbatical, Ream was asked to step in, launching the next four and a half decades of his career.

As a nod to the many positive ways Ream has influenced the people and campus, the University honored his service and commitment at this year’s Commencement ceremony by awarding him an honorary degree, allowing the entire campus community to celebrate his contributions.

“I am still stunned at receiving the honor of the degree,” he said of the surprise robing ceremony. “I have so many great colleagues, and I feel very self-conscious and honored to be recognized in this way. This is one of the few times in my life that I couldn’t have dreamed would ever happen. I am very thankful.”

It was a proud moment in the spotlight for a faculty member whose focus has been largely behind the scenes. A theatre generalist who specializes in scenic design, Ream has been active in other areas, including acting, directing and sound. He has taught scenic design classes as well as radio and television, public speaking, audio technology and introduction to theatre.

“From the beginning, I have designed scenery for our productions and attempted to teach our students how to do the same while balancing safety, functionality and artistry,” he said. Ream has quietly served the University in many ways during his tenure, and his influence is felt by many who have had the good fortune to work with him.

Jeffrey Barnes, director of University Events, has worked with Ream since 1994, first as a student and then as a colleague. “I use lessons and skills that I learned from him every day both in my professional and personal life. I have never met a more genuine person,” he said.

Christie Beckmann, also a former theatre student and colleague for more than 20 years, added: “Jim taught me to always see the good in people, and that you never lose anything by giving,” she said. “He was one of the people who inspired me in my current vocation of becoming a pastor.”

In addition to working with University of Indianapolis theatre, Ream has worked with numerous Indianapolis theatres to design sets including the City Center Children’s Theatre, Beckmann Theatre, Civic Theatre (Indianapolis), Edyvean Repertory Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre. His set designs earned three Corbin Patrick Award nominations and the Best Set Design award for the Phoenix Theatre’s production of Fences. Ream has also designed sets around the country, including One Voice at Ten Ten Theatre in New York, Noises Off in Brainerd, Minn., and Young Black Beauty at Stage One in Louisville.

“While I have enjoyed my many roles on stage, the applause during a curtain call and the accolades from friends and family afterward, I truly appreciate the behind-the-scenes work as a designer,” said Ream. “In fact, on the two rare occasions when my scenic designs received applause as the curtain and lights came up, I was torn between feelings a pride and embarrassment. A good design should support the production and not call attention to itself. This represents the person that I strive to be.”

Ream also lives his commitment to education for service in his personal life serving as a leader for the past 25 years at the summer camp hosted by his church Southport Christian Church. He volunteers with the United Way and even creates the design of the commencement stage at the University each year.

As Ream looks forward to retirement, he knows he will miss UIndy students and his colleagues.

“We had an incredible group of freshmen this year, which made it a really enjoyable year. I view my work at UIndy as a service and always have. I attempt to serve our students with good teaching,” Ream said.

Fast facts

Ream’s first play he performed in: King Lear in 1968 at Culver Stockton College. Four decades later, Ream performed as King Lear at UIndy’s production in 2015.

First show he designed: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Hardest show to design: Hello, Dolly! “The expectation of spectacle is high.”

One play everyone should see: Les Liasions Dangereuses. “It’s one of those plays that hooked me. I love plays that get you laughing and then slap you in the face.”

Favorite UIndy memory: Doing Godspell with the students and taking it on a tour across the country in the mid 1970s. “We went all over the state, and we also went to the west coast for a spring term trip and performed in many churches.”

Favorite theatre: The Stratford theatres in Canada and England and also the theatre at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.

Retirement plans: Visit New Zealand. “I’m also looking forward to spending time being a grandparent.”

Random UIndy story: In the early days of WICR (the campus radio station), the station’s antenna was on the roof of Ransburg Auditorium. A winter storm hit and coated the antenna with ice, not allowing the 10-watt signal to be broadcast. Ream climbed up to the roof of Ransburg, then climbed up the 50-foot tower, carrying a hammer and wearing a hard hat and goggles in order to knock the ice off.

 

UIndy students present award-winning vision for Circle Centre Mall

A group of University of Indianapolis students earned a regional award for its innovative redevelopment plan for the circle Centre Mall.

The group represents the first cohort of the University’s new Master’s in Professional Studies in Real Estate Development Program. Their presentation, which outlined a plan for the future use of the downtown mall, won first place in the 6th Annual NAIOP/ULI University Challenge Award.

Left to right: Scott Nally, Logan Brougher, Ken Martin, Justin Williams, Anne McKinley

Left to right: Scott Nally, Logan Brougher, Ken Martin, Justin Williams, Anne McKinley

The students competed against teams from Butler, IUPUI, ISU and Ball State. UIndy’s redevelopment concept won out over IUPUI in a head-to-head final round to take home $5,000 in scholarship money from the OPUS Foundation, one of the competition’s sponsors, along with Holladay Properties.

The group noted the challenges of traditional “bricks and mortar” retail competing against the rise of online shopping. They proposed a revitalization plan for the mall, which serves as an anchor for downtown Indianapolis, including targeting the space to a high-end tech company, an urban Target store as well as other updates.
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UIndy professor’s artwork welcomes race fans to Indianapolis

As downtown Indianapolis welcomes thousands of race fans leading up to the Indianapolis 500, the talent of Katherine Fries, art faculty at the University of Indianapolis, will be showcased on the Indianapolis ArtsGarden.

"Welcome Race Fans" by Katherine Fries, University of Indianapolis assistant professor of art and design

“Welcome Race Fans” by Katherine Fries

Fries, assistant professor of art and design at the University, is one of five local artists commissioned to create signs welcoming fans to Indianapolis at locations across the city. The project connects Indianapolis’ thriving arts culture with the historic Indianapolis 500 and celebrates the history, culture and excitement of the month of May.
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Etchings Press at University of Indianapolis announces 2017 publications

Etchings Press, a student-run press at the University of Indianapolis, has announced its annual publications for 2017.

This year’s winners were Christopher Mohar’s novella The Denialist’s Almanac of American Plague and Pestilence, Danny Caine’s poetry chapbook Uncle Harold’s Maxwell House Haggadah, and Sarah Cheshire’s prose chapbook Unravelings

screenshot-of-etchings-coverEach year, students publish two issues of their university-based literary magazines, a novella, a poetry chapbook, and a prose chapbook. The press aims to publish excellent, purposeful literature and to allow a variety of voices the opportunity to share their stories.
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