Marc Milne discovers new species of spider in Indiana cave

Marc Milne, assistant professor of biology at the University of Indianapolis, outside the Stygeon River Cave in southern Indiana.

Marc Milne, assistant professor of biology at the University of Indianapolis, outside the Stygeon River Cave in southern Indiana.

Marc Milne, assistant professor of biology, has a knack for discovering new spider species. His latest publication, “A new species of spider (Araneae, Linyphiidae, Islandiana) from a southern Indiana cave” appeared in Subterranean Biology 26: 19-26. His work was covered by Fox News, MSN Australia and New Zealand, the CBC in Canada and highlighted in the Pensoft blog.

While it’s hard to put a number on the species Milne has discovered (some of these creatures belong to groups that haven’t been examined in 80 years), he said the most common group in which he finds new species is “Linyphiidae – sheet-web weaving spiders – the ones that build the webs that you can see early in the morning in your yard when the dew covers their webs,” Milne explained.

Milne’s work takes him from the sand dunes of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to the dark caves of southern Indiana, and many nature preserves in between. New species he’s focusing on now are Ceraticelus sp. from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – found in the sand in the leaves near the dunes of Porter County, Lophomma sp. from leaf litter at Glacier’s End Nature Preserve  in Johnson County and Agyneta sp. from leaf litter in Yellowwood State Forest in Brown County.

Although Milne’s spiders are just a few centimeters long, he said there’s much to learn from these tiny creatures, which tend to be understudied because they’re harder to identify.

“These small organisms often play critical roles in our environment such as decomposition and the consumption of dangerous vectors of disease – like how spiders consume tons of mosquitoes each year,” he said.

 Islandiana lewisi

Islandiana lewisi

Milne’s latest cave-dwelling discovery, Islandiana lewisi, occurred in a matter of hours exploring the Stygeon River Cave, thanks to his colleague, Dr. Julian Lewis, an independent isopod taxonomist who was familiar with the cave. The new species, named for Dr. Lewis, may be the only species of spider living inside the cave.

“Cave-dwelling spiders are poorly known because not many scientists are also cavers,” Milne said. “Also, many caves are rarely visited and therefore underexamined. Conducting research on cave organisms can oftentimes yield interesting findings.”

Milne’s work involves frequent collaboration with undergraduate students. One group is currently working on research to add more records of known spider species living in Indiana. (Officially, Indiana has 454 spider species. After the publication of the upcoming research, there will be over 550.)

“I enjoy working with engaged students, because they make the work fun for me. It’s also great that they learn new techniques, get the opportunity to present their research, and have a leg-up on competition when it comes to applying for grad school or professional school,” Milne said.

Lucas Frandsen ‘19 (human biology, physical therapy concentration) is one of the students collaborating on the spider records project.

“The hope is we can take this data and use it to conserve habitats,” Frandsen said, noting that the research is important to anyone working within environmentalism and conservation. He also said he’s gaining useful professional skills in the process.

“I’ve written manuscripts before, but the standard we’re pushing this manuscript to is much higher so we can get it published. Dr. Milne asked me to do a lot of the writing and he’s been providing feedback. It’s definitely been a new and exciting experience.”

Read more about Milne’s research projects with undergraduate students.

Written by Sara Galer, University of Indianapolis senior communications specialist. Send your story ideas to newsdesk@uindy.edu.

 

 

Sociology Chair Amanda Miller garners national attention with housework study

Amanda Miller

Amanda Miller

A new study by University of Indianapolis sociology faculty member Amanda Miller finds that not only are today’s couples sharing the housework more so than couples of the past, but how those tasks are divided could make all the difference in determining a happy relationship.

“Stalled for Whom? Change in the Division of Particular Housework Tasks and Their Consequences for Middle- to Low-Income Couples” by Daniel L. Carlson (University of Utah), Amanda Miller (University of Indianapolis) and Sharon Sassler (Cornell University) appeared in the April 2018 issue of Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World. The research, which focused on specific household tasks, followed up on the group’s 2016 publication that found couples who divide the housework tend to have better sex lives than those who don’t. Both studies received attention from national media, including Marie Claire and  The Chicago Tribune.

The new study asked couples about their attitudes towards the division of household chores like dishwashing, meal preparation, cleaning, shopping, laundry, home maintenance and bills. Researchers found that dishwashing mattered the most to women in determining relationship satisfaction, while men were more concerned about shared shopping. For couples who didn’t share the dishwashing, this chore was the biggest source of discontent among women.

Amanda Miller, associate professor and chair of sociology, said the study offers several important findings.

“Certainly over time, from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, conventional divisions of labor lead to less satisfaction and egalitarian divisions of labor lead to greater satisfaction,” Miller said.

For couples, it means that sharing chores does a lot more than just getting the task accomplished.

“What we think is happening is that it’s really fostering a sense of teamwork in the couple. Whenever you prepare meals together or do the dishes together, that’s time to reflect on the day and spend some time enjoying one another’s company. You feel like you’ve accomplished something together,” Miller said.

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis sociology program.

Another key idea is that shared shopping can stand-in for shared decision-making. Looking beyond day-to-day decision-making at the grocery store, Miller said there are implications for how financial power is divided within the relationship.

“Who gets to negotiate how much we’re spending, particularly on the larger purchases? When that’s mutually decided, perhaps that’s likely to lead to greater relationship satisfaction,” Miller explained.

The study included low- to moderate-income couples, a significant factor that demonstrates the division of household labor isn’t limited to college-educated, higher-income couples.

“This is really showing that gender egalitarianism is diffusing throughout the population,” Miller said.

As more couples divide household chores, Miller said there’s pressure to “keep up with the Joneses.” Women from previous generations who typically worked during the day would come home to face the chores without much help from their husbands, Miller said. At the time, the situation was the same for their friends. But today’s trend of sharing tasks creates a new set of expectations for couples.

Now when you look around and you see that many of your friends’ husbands are doing a big share of the housework and childcare, it feels particularly negative for you if you are the one who’s the outlier,” Miller explained.

She emphasized that there’s no “right way” of dividing household chores.

Quite frankly, the right way to do this is the way that both members of a couple want to do it. They need to make sure they’re on the same page of what they want this arrangement to look like,” she said.

Read more about the research here.

Written by Sara Galer, University of Indianapolis senior communications specialist. Send your story ideas to newsdesk@uindy.edu.

Institute for Postindustrial Leadership forges ties with local business

postindustrial750A new approach to leadership training is generating buzz at the University of Indianapolis. The Institute for Postindustrial Leadership presents a new paradigm for leadership in the 21st century, and local businesses are already reaping the benefits.

The Institute, led by School of Business faculty Terry Schindler, assistant professor of management, and Matthew Chodkowski, adjunct professor, conducts research, and offers training and consulting. On May 14th, the Institute will host the Leadership in the Twenty-First Century Breakfast Seminar designed for human resources professionals. Held at the Schwitzer Student Center on the University of Indianapolis campus, this event introduces HR professionals to basic concepts and research findings. (Contact Terry Schindler for more information.)

The seminar is just one example of how the Institute is engaging with the central Indiana business community. The Institute for Postindustrial Leadership supports a new paradigm of leadership principles – separating leadership from management by debunking traditional myths of leadership that have remained virtually unchallenged since the 1920s.

“Leadership is being redefined, reconceptualized, indeed revolutionized – and most people are not even aware of it,” said Chodkowski, who designed the Institute’s LEAD Program – The Journey of Discovery, a series of leader education and development workshops.

Today’s business world is complex, and in order to be effective, organizations need to look beyond the traditional model of management training. According to research conducted by the Institute for Postindustrial Leadership, it turns out that a leader’s style, which is highly regarded in the traditional leadership research approach, is not all that important. The leadership paradigm has a more direct effect on leader behavior, subordinates’ perceptions of leadership behavior and organizational culture.

“When you ask people about leadership, they’re really thinking about the leader’s traits and characteristics, not the process of leadership. This is a leader-centric view of leadership. We say the leader doesn’t equal leadership,” Schindler said.

“Our approach doesn’t focus on trying to change the leader’s behavior. It focuses on cognition and mental models and neuroscience. We want to change underlying assumptions about the way people think,” Chodkowski explained.

The Institute sets out to challenge those assumptions through its research and training programs. Their first research project was conducted at Caterpillar Remanufacturing Division in Franklin. Other clients include the Japanese firm Nidec in Shelbyville and Endress & Hauser in Greenwood.

At Caterpillar, the Institute worked with facility manager Don Kinsey and human resource manager Kevin Poad, who saw the partnership as an opportunity to engage their organization in an exciting research project and involve their managers in a unique personal growth and professional development experience. What followed was a nine-month project which included survey feedback, leader education, one-on-one leader coaching, and a master class customized specifically for Caterpillar to address the application of postindustrial principles, the integration of functions and departments, and the alignment of business strategy with organizational culture.

“The LEAD Program was certainly a journey of discovery for me and my team in Franklin,” Kinsey said. “This workshop introduced our organization to contemporary principles and practices that we have internalized as a daily practice.”

Related: New UIndy institute promoting a radically different approach to leadership (Indy Star)

The Institute, which was formed in 2017, is seeking to grow its partnership opportunities.

“We’re looking for more research partners and organizations who might want to investigate exposing their leaders to the postindustrial paradigm through a workshop methodology,” Schindler said.

In addition to building relationships with new community business partners, the Institute also welcomes nonprofits as well as University faculty and students who are interested in learning about the paradigm.

“We’re looking at all sectors for potential research partnerships. We’d love to form learning alliances in the service, finance, and health sectors, for example,” Chodkowski said.

Learn more here.

Enhanced summer class offerings accelerate student growth

canalsummer500The University of Indianapolis has a variety of summer classes on offer for 2018, and it’s not just UIndy students who can benefit. Students can choose from more than 200 classes in a variety of subjects, including general education courses eligible for transferable credit.

Summer term runs from May 15 to August 18, with options for face-to-face, online or hybrid classes. Most classes run for seven weeks over the Summer I and II sessions and cover a wide variety of disciplines, including English, history, biology, mathematical sciences and many more. The cost is $325 per credit hour.

Browse summer course offerings here.

Summer classes are an excellent opportunity for University of Indianapolis students who are looking to balance out their schedule or get caught up, or for visiting students home for the summer, said Mary Beth Bagg, Associate Provost for Academic Systems.

Bagg pointed out the advantages for student-athletes with tight in-season schedules or students who are anticipating a particularly challenging semester. Students participating in crossover programs, which combine the first year of graduate coursework with the student’s final year as an undergraduate, can accelerate their time frame by enrolling in summer classes.

“Students can budget time and credit hours in a way that considers the ebb and flow of their studies,” Bagg said.

Ellen Miller, Associate Provost for Research & Graduate Programs, explained that more students are taking advantage of summer classes to create the opportunity for double majors or an extra minor. She said academic departments examine summer enrollment data to make informed decisions about which classes to offer, including upper level as well as introductory courses.

“We’ve been looking at our constellation of offerings to identify key courses we should add. If a department knows there’s always a course with a waitlist, we might offer a section of that in the summer,” Miller said.

Miller noted that an increasing number of external students are enrolling in University of Indianapolis summer classes, providing UIndy students with the chance to gain perspective from new classmates. With a streamlined process for external students to apply for admission, those students should also check with their university’s registrar to determine which credits are transferable. (See details here.) Current UIndy students do not need to apply for admission and may register for classes via MyUIndy.

With more course sections available in an online format, there is even more flexibility. Whether a student is from Indiana or out of state, online classes are an option that can be accessed from any location. Miller observed that students from all over the country are participating in UIndy’s online programs during the summer.

“For UIndy students who are going home for the summer, wherever home may be, they can live at home and work, and still take an online class,” Miller said. She noted that online classes tend to fill up quickly, as do on-the-ground science labs.

Miller urged students to start thinking about their summer coursework and apply now before classes fill up.

“It’s a great way to catch up or get ahead,” she said.

Schedule and deadlines (for most classes):

Summer I start date:  Monday, 5/14
Summer I end date:  Friday, 6/29
Deadline to add a 7-week Summer I course:  Friday, 5/18
Deadline to withdraw from a 7-week Summer I with a grade of W: Friday, 6/8

Summer II start date:  Monday, 7/2
Summer II end date:  Friday, 8/17
Deadline to add a 7-week Summer II course:  Friday, 7/6
Deadline to withdraw from a 7-week Summer II with a grade of W:  Friday, 7/27

Browse summer course offerings here.

Nurse practitioner programs earn 100-percent pass rate from AANP Certification Board

For the third consecutive year, the School of Nursing achieved a 100-percent pass rate from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board for the Family Nurse Practitioner & Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner programs.

Students must pass the certification exam after completing their coursework in order to work as a nurse practitioner. Norma Hall, School of Nursing dean, noted that University of Indianapolis nurse practitioner students far exceeded the 2017 national pass rate of 81.6 percent. She credited several unique aspects of the University of Indianapolis School of Nursing programs that contribute to outstanding student performance.

“It’s very much a hands-on program. Very little of the didactic content is done online, unlike many of our competitive programs. Students get a lot of interaction with faculty and there’s plenty of opportunity to learn and grow from faculty, who are all currently practicing nurse practitioners,” Hall said.

Karen Iseminger, professor of nursing, explained that students routinely observe faculty during their clinical rounds.

“It’s a nice balance between the scholarship of practice as well as pragmatic experiences,” Iseminger said.

Karalyn Jacobs ’14 (MSN) is currently enrolled in the nurse practitioner doctoral program, and has recommended it to several co-workers. She specializes in treating high-risk ob-gyn patients. She praised the benefits of the in-class setting.

“The ability to learn and grow with other students, bounce ideas off of other students, and build relationships with students and instructors is a more ideal learning method than online courses. Instructors are always accessible to help at any time during the program, which is why I chose to go back to UIndy for my DNP,” Jacobs said.

Nearly 160 students were enrolled in University of Indianapolis nurse practitioner programs for the 2017-18 academic year. Hall said the popularity of the profession is reflected in job rankings like the 2018 U.S. News and World Report, which placed nurse practitioner fourth in its list of 100 best jobs.

Nurse practitioner students participate in simulation experiences involving actors who play the role of patients. Students can assess, diagnose and prescribe treatment for a real person, the same way they would in clinical practice, Hall said.

“The program is not only steeped in clinical practice with real people, but we also have an educational strategy to provide simulation experiences for our students,” said Iseminger, who noted that School of Nursing programs follow an interdisciplinary approach featuring collaboration with students in the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences.

Current students in the nurse practitioner programs graduate with a master’s degree. Hall said by 2020, all nurse practitioner students at the University of Indianapolis will graduate with a doctorate as the School of Nursing aligns its programs with national guidelines for practice.

Educational psychologist makes global impact with “Just World” research

Kendra Thomas during her PSY 245 lecture class.

Kendra Thomas during her PSY 245 lecture class.

INDIANAPOLIS – When a child gets into trouble at school, a number of factors could be at play. For educational psychologist Kendra Thomas, a student’s perception of fairness is a factor that could be the key to understanding some adolescent behavior.

Thomas, assistant professor of psychology, focuses on social psychology theories such as Just World belief and systems justification theory. Her research, conducted in Brazil, Kenya and the United States, involves adolescents and how their beliefs about fairness can shape their worldview and school experience.

The data from her research can have several applications, from school discipline policies and cultural differences to understanding how different communities perceive the role of law enforcement.

“If I anticipate a level of fairness, I might be more motivated to work hard, but I also might be more motivated to blame the victim because I assume they must’ve received what they deserved,” Thomas explained.

Systems justification theory supports the idea that people tend to justify the systems they’re living in, and the more people are encompassed in the system, the more they might feel the need to justify it.

“I’m really interested with people’s interpretation of fairness and how that interpretation could drive their behavior,” said Thomas, who recently published research in Social Justice Research and Psychological Reports.

Psychology professor Kendra Thomas during her PSY (psychology) 245 lecture class in HEAL 407 on Monday, February 12, 2018. Pix taken for a story on her. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Thomas’ current research involves middle school students, their assumptions about fairness and their well-being. Her goal is not about determining if those rules are fair, but rather how students’ perceptions of fairness affects their behavior and well-being.

“The student who says that the rules aren’t fair is also more likely to report disrespecting the teacher, or to report being bullied or to say they don’t do their homework. Those are the kinds of relationships I look for in the data,” Thomas explained.

Her findings can help educators and parents address behavioral problems and provide a window into how students’ worldviews are being shaped through the context they grow up in.

“We could sit down with a group of teachers and parents and say, ‘I know that you think the rules are fair, but the student does not. So how do we communicate it so that not only is it fair but the student feels heard? That perception is going to influence their lived experience and what rules they choose to buy into and what rules they reject out of rebellion,” Thomas said.

Learn more about UIndy’s psychology programs here.

During research conducted in Brazil and Kenya, Thomas found that students who perceive their school and community as fair also were more likely to buy into the school rules.

The University’s psychology program offers undergraduate students a research practicum featuring one-on-one sessions with faculty throughout the semester. Thomas has worked with several students on this basis, including Karli LaGrotte ’18, who presented her research, “Belief in a Just World Among Brazilian Adolescents: Differences Across Age, Race and Religion,” during Scholar’s Day in April 2017.

Courtney Shepherd ’18 also worked with Thomas on undergraduate research. Shepherd plans to pursue a master’s degree in gerontology and to work with the elderly population.

“Dr. Thomas taught me each step of the research process and allowed me to be actively involved in data processing. She provided me with constructive criticism so I could be better in the research process,” said Shepherd.

Thomas has also advised graduate and doctoral students, including Erin Hoolihan ’20 (PsyD, clinical psychology). Hoolihan’s dissertation investigates the potential socioeconomic and racial differences that exist in the connection between perceptions of justice, social capital and well-being.     

“Dr. Thomas has always made my research a priority, and it is a wonderful experience to have an advisor who cares as much about my research as I do,” Hoolihan said.

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

University of Indianapolis students to present ADHD research at HERA Conference

Two University of Indianapolis students will present research at the 2018 Humanities Education and Research Association (HERA) Conference in Chicago in March. Rachael Walter ’21 (exploratory) and David Kurz ’18 (sport management) will deliver the first interdisciplinary student presentation by University undergraduates at the conference.

Rachael Walter

Rachael Walter

“Multilingualism and ADHD – A Humanistic Approach of Investigation” explores the question of whether or not bilingualism or multilingualism offers any benefit for people diagnosed with ADHD.

Gerburg Garmann, dean of the University’s interdisciplinary studies program, noted the significance of the achievement as the University cultivates undergraduate research opportunities.  

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David Kurz

“After having UIndy faculty at the HERA conference in the past, it’s a great step forward to have UIndy undergraduates present there for the first time,” said Garmann, who also will attend the conference.

“It was obviously a great honor for Rachael, Dr. Garmann and me to represent UIndy. In addition, it puts us into a pressure position to perform at our best,” Kurz said. 

Walter said she is excited for the opportunity to participate in the conference and to study research that can potentially change people’s lives. She also credits Garmann with encouraging her and providing opportunities to explore research interests.

“Interdisciplinary studies are really important because you learn to make connections and everything that you do in life can be done more efficiently,” Walter said.

Both Walter and Kurz are enrolled in Garmann’s multilingual class, where they became interested in the cognitive benefits of multilingualism.

It not only works against symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but also improves memory performance and attentional control. Individuals who grow up speaking or learn two or more languages have a longer attention span, better focus and different ways on approaching problems,” Kurz said.

Both Kurz and Walter appreciate the perspective that interdisciplinary studies offers.

“It is important to see things in a holistic way and to be able to combine subjects. It not only gives more information but also different perspectives about a topic. This can be used in everyday life situations and in the workplace, because it makes it easier to determine decisions and helps with judgment,” Kurz said.

Learn more about interdisciplinary studies at the University of Indianapolis here.

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

Undergrad research experience prepares Honors College students for IU School of Medicine

Two seniors from the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College will pursue medical degrees at the Indiana University School of Medicine in fall 2018. Lauren Bryant ’18 (biology and psychology) plans to focus on child and adolescent psychiatry, and Casey Wendorff ’18 (biology major, chemistry minor, pre-med concentration) will concentrate on sports medicine, specializing in the knee, foot and ankle.

Bryant and Wendorff recently presented research posters at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Both students point to unique research opportunities gained by participating in Honors College that set the stage for their success.

“Honors College challenges you and sets you apart from other students because it shows that you are not afraid to push yourself to the next level,” Wendorff said.

“The competition is fierce for those coveted post-graduate positions at medical, vet, and graduate schools,” said Kevin Gribbins, assistant professor of biology and Honors project advisor to both students. Gribbins said UIndy’s emphasis on pre-professional training and research launched Bryant and Wendorff to the top of the list at the institutions they applied to.

Bryant appreciated Gribbins’ focus on showing students how to use their academic research as leverage during the medical school application process.

“He talked to me about how I can market that wherever I choose to go,” she said.

Lauren Bryant and Casey Wendorff took part in a study abroad trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Lauren Bryant and Casey Wendorff took part in a study abroad trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Profs. Gribbins and Stemke.

As the number of student applications rise for medical and graduate schools, Gribbins said institutions look for experiences that set applicants apart. UIndy’s Department of Biology, in tandem with Honors College, provides a way for students like Bryant and Wendorff to distinguish themselves through a graduate school-caliber research program for undergraduates.

“Lauren and Casey are great examples of that work. They not only have the grades and the MCAT scores but they have research credentials and peer-reviewed publications that make them stand out among other applicants for medical school,” Gribbins said.

Both students highlighted the opportunities they had at UIndy to develop and highlight the skills they will apply during their medical careers.

“My undergrad work provided me with the critical foundation of the principles, techniques and trends that I will learn and apply in medical school,” Wendorff said. “Also, the knowledge and applications that I learned through classes in chemistry, physics, psychology and biology set me up to perform exceptionally well on the MCAT, which was key in being admitted to medical school.”

Bryant appreciates the atmosphere of healthy competition that offers students the chance to excel. “All of the professors are very much into showcasing all of our researchers,” Bryant said.

Personalized mentorship formed a key aspect of the UIndy experience for Bryant and Wendorff. In addition to research opportunities and academic support throughout their undergraduate studies, those relationships led to letters of recommendation crucial to the application process.

Dr. Gribbins was very instrumental in helping me achieve my goals as he worked with me during research,” said Wendorff, who received an athletic scholarship during his senior year for cross country and track.

“My coaches, Kathy Casey and Brad Robinson, both instilled a hard work ethic in me,” he added.

“When I hit a snag, I always had a professor or advisor, someone reaching out their hand. I didn’t even have to go find them. Someone was already saying if you need me, here’s how to find me,” Bryant said.

Doug Stemke, associate professor of biology and Bryant’s pre-med advisor, was another mentor.

Lauren is the type of person you want your physician to be. She is bright, always well-prepared, friendly, communicates well and leaves no stone unturned. She’s always improving herself,” Stemke said.

Just as students benefit from UIndy’s teacher-student ratio, faculty take pride in student accomplishments.

“The greatest part for me is the opportunity to work with such amazing students in an atmosphere where we get to know our students as more than students, and we can advise them more closely to make sure they reach their very best as an undergraduate and that they have every opportunity to succeed once they leave UIndy. I think that is what we do very well in the biology department at UIndy!” Gribbins said.

New book by University of Indianapolis professor explores legacy of Oliver P. Morton

mortonJames Fuller, professor of history at the University of Indianapolis, offers a bold reinterpretation of Indiana’s Civil War governor, Oliver P. Morton, in a new book.

“Oliver P. Morton and the Politics of the Civil War and Reconstruction,” the first full biography of Morton to be published in over a century, provides new insight into Indiana’s most important political leader of the 19th century.

About a dozen people gathered at the Morton Monument on the east steps of the Indiana Statehouse in mid-November to launch the book. Stephen E. Towne of IUPUI introduced Fuller, who spoke briefly, then read a section from the book. Fuller then presented a copy of the biography to the office of current Indiana governor, Eric Holcomb. Daniel Miller, a University of Indianapolis student who worked on Governor’s campaign in 2016, accepted the book on behalf of the governor.

On Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, 1:30-3:00 p.m., Fuller will be at the Morton House in Centerville, Indiana, for a reading and book signing

“At a time when the Civil War is once again a political issue amid calls to remove Confederate monuments across the country, this book serves as a reminder of Indiana’s role in that pivotal era in the nation’s history and explains why Oliver P. Morton still stands as a fitting symbol of the part that the Hoosier state played in saving the nation from rebellion,” Fuller said.

Most readers know Morton as the state’s Civil War governor and for his efforts to recruit and supply the soldiers and help the Union win the war. “But not all of them are familiar with the high drama that his leadership involved,” Fuller said.

some-of-those-who-came-for-book-launchFuller explained that Morton virtually ran the state as a dictator for 22 months in the middle of the war after the Democrats tried to thwart the Union war effort in Indiana. Morton was the target of assassins and helped the military investigate traitors on the home front.

Following the Civil War, Morton became the U.S. senator from Indiana and a national leader of the Radical Republicans during Reconstruction. Fuller notes Morton came close to winning the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1876, then helped settle that disputed election in favor of his friend Rutherford B. Hayes.

Readers will find parallels and connections to modern politics in Fuller’s book, ranging from issues including the use of government power, economic policy, terrorism, the surveillance state and the violation of civil liberties.

Morton also called for abolishing or reforming the Electoral College.

“He was a political leader in a time of extreme polarization, when Americans were deeply divided and feared that the other side in politics was out to destroy the country. This led to fierce partisanship and dirty politics,” Fuller said.

Learn more.

“The Materiality of Ghosts” explores fascination with haunted places

A new interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Indianapolis explores popular fascination with spirits and ghosts and why certain places develop a reputation for being “haunted.”

The project is called “The Materiality of Ghosts” and represents the fusion of archaeology and experience design to engage in a variety of projects, including a survey of the former location of the legendary House of Blue Lights at Skiles Test Park in Indianapolis. Christopher Moore, associate professor and chair of anthropology, and Samantha Meigs, associate professor of history and director of the University’s Experience Design program, are leading the project, which was made possible through an InQuery Grant from the University of Indianapolis.

Our goal is to better understand the ways in which objects and places get incorporated into or provide the basis for legends and stories of the paranormal. The Skiles Test investigations are just one part of this broader investigation,” said Moore.

Students will study stories and data for recurring patterns, origins and future evolution, as well as surveys of real-life locations to discover, collect and archive artifacts, Meigs said.

The project aims to show students from various disciplines how their areas of study can help connect the past to the present – and in the process, become more relevant to the public. The popularity of history-themed topics on television – ranging from family heirlooms to haunted house history – speaks to the fascination with personal history and local folklore. Investigators hope to overcome the stereotype of history as boring or irrelevant and demonstrate how academics can capitalize on existing interests.

In September, University of Indianapolis students completed an archaeological survey of a portion of Skiles Test Park. They found artifacts and evidence, including the pet cemetery and the ruins of several buildings. The ultimate goal is to create a database of haunted objects and tools used to engage ghosts and spirits.

That’s just the beginning. The group also will visit with spiritualists, survey popular ghost-hunting television shows, participate in a ghost hunt and engage the public in conversations about so-called haunted sites to better understand how the past comes alive in the present.

The final results of the research will be published as part of the University of Indianapolis Material Culture Lab’s Technical Reports series and will be submitted to the Indiana DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology for review.

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