EWIN names three new Education-Workforce Planning Grant recipients

The Education Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN) has announced three new Education-Workforce Planning Grant recipients for $7,000 each. They include groups led by Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart and Navistar, Student Career Partners for Northeast Indiana and River Forest Community Schools (RFCS) in Hobart. With the grant, each partnership will benefit from EWIN technical assistance through 2019 including support of collaboration within their communities, research of promising models, site visits to explore innovative approaches and development of plans customized to each area’s needs and resources.

“We are so excited to work with these dedicated groups that are leveraging community partners to invest in the meaningful development of career pathways systems. Our goal is to facilitate the pathway system planning process so those groups can replicate that process to create additional opportunities for students,” said EWIN Director Erin Foster. “The result will be implementation of innovative, data-driven, industry-led educational models that align with needs of the local economy. We have incredible experiences planned for these teams and can’t wait to get started!”

Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart and Navistar will partner with Elkhart Plastics, Inc., Better World Books, the South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees, Elkhart Area Career Center and the South Bend Regional Chamber. The group will collaborate to develop a K-14 Supply Chain Management and Logistics Pathway that educates, trains and develops a sustainable pipeline of supply chain management and logistics employees.

“The Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart Campus team is thrilled to be selected as one of this year’s grantees. The grant funds will enable our project to directly align with the college’s strategic plan for developing K-12 partnerships, accelerating educational opportunities for students and incumbent workers while meeting the needs of our communities and employers,” said Amber Ruszkowski, department chair and associate professor for Business Administration and Logistics, South Bend-Elkhart Campus.

The Student Career Partners for Northeast Indiana includes Region 8 Education Service Center, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Ivy Tech Northeast, Parkview Health, Junior Achievement and the Olin B. and Desta Schwab Foundation. This partnership will use grant funds to create a career-ready pathway program that motivates and guides students through a process to develop individualized career road maps based on their talents, interests, post-secondary choices, financial resources as well as high-wage, high-demand employment options in the area.

“Our team in Northeast Indiana is pleased to partner with EWIN on this effort. We look forward to leveraging the expertise at CELL (Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning) to build on our regional work to help students across the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana identify and access opportunities for future success,” said Ryan Twiss, vice president of regional initiatives in the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

River Forest Community Schools (RFCS) is spearheading a community partnership made up of 16 regional businesses, postsecondary institutions, organizations and agencies. Their goal is to collaboratively implement a full advanced manufacturing pathway with K-12 aligned curriculum and postsecondary certifications and degrees that lead to high-demand, high-wage employment.

In addition to RFCS, the partnership includes Praxair, Indiana Manufacturers Association, Calumet Area Industrial Commission, Northwest Indiana Forum, The City of Hobart Economic Development, Lake Shore Chamber of Commerce, Center of Workforce Innovations, Vincennes University, Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue University Northwest, Indiana University Northwest, U.S. Army, Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities, Via Marketing, World of Words and Innovations in Learning.

Rachelle Baker, graduation pathway coordinator, River Forest High School, said, “Preparing River Forest students and supporting their career goals are our top priorities. Developing an advanced manufacturing pathway with EWIN and partners is an invaluable resource for increasing student achievement, verifiable skills and future quality of life.”

This is EWIN’s fourth round of planning grants offered to education-workforce partnerships across the state to support development of implementation plans for regional or local sector-based career pathways. Pathways help make students college and career ready, inspire curricular programs grounded in the real world, engage businesses in K-16 learning experiences and provide the local workforce with highly skilled employees.

EWIN is an initiative of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), a non-profit at the University of Indianapolis, which unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement.

For more information, contact EWIN Director of Education Workforce Innovation Network Erin Foster at 317-791-5991.


MPH Major of the Year reflects on campus experience

Rebekah Mathew - Amy MaganWhen UIndy Master of Public Health (MPH) student Rebekah Mathew graduated earlier this month, she did so with more than just her master’s degree. Mathew was also named the MPH Major of the Year and earned UIndy’s American Kinesiology Association Scholar Award nomination.

Looking back on her graduate education at UIndy, Mathew counted off several experiences that gave her the opportunity to grow and learn as a student and prepared her for advancement in her career. 

“I completed a study of my own by analyzing real data through statistical software and drawing conclusions based on the results of different statistical tests,” she said. “I reinforced my passion to work with global populations through my intensive examination of disease spread in nations around the world; I was catapulted out of my comfort zone and landed in a very rewarding place through the planning and implementation of an anti-bullying program for children at the Intercollegiate YMCA; and I submitted an op-ed to a local newspaper about my visit to a hazardous waste site that shares the grounds of nearby families and homes.”

Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch, director of the public health program at UIndy, acknowledged that Mathew’s experience in the MPH program is what the faculty hopes for every MPH student. 

“We challenge all of our students to not only learn the concepts and theories of public health, but to also put that education into action through research, advocacy, and involvement,” Rauch said.

Learn more about the public health program at the University of Indianapolis

Senior Week 2019 brings blend of new and familiar traditions

Senior Week 2019 begins Monday, April 29, with several inaugural celebrations, culminating with two Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. In addition to schools and colleges hosting events for graduating seniors throughout the week, the following University-wide events will also be observed:

At 7 p.m. Monday in UIndy Hall C, Schwitzer Student Center, the inaugural Lavender Graduation Celebration will be held for self-identified LGBTQ+ seniors. The event was organized by Jeffrey Barnes, director of University events, and Alex Kemery, assistant professor of nursing.

“Jeffrey and I are excited to celebrate the first Lavender Graduation at UIndy. This ceremony will allow us the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of our LGBTQ+ students as they finish their degrees, and hopefully will become a new tradition on campus,” Kemery said.

The annual midnight breakfast and pre-party will get started at 8 p.m. Monday in the Shreve Atrium in Schwitzer Student Center. Seniors will be busy decorating their graduation caps. This event also features a pancake artist, latte artist, make-and-take novelties and more.

On Tuesday, President Robert L. Manuel hosts Picnic with the President in Schwitzer Park from 5 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. is Senior Week Trivia Night on the fourth-floor lounge of the Health Pavilion. Win a UIndy graduation basket, a professional clothing shopping spree, or dinner for two at St. Elmo’s. Register here.

Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. in McCleary Chapel, the Black Student Association observes the Celebration of Success, a pre-commencement celebration to honor African and African-American students, who through unyielding determination have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from the University of Indianapolis.

Also on Thursday evening, the Student Organization of Latinos will host the inaugural SOL Latino Graduation event in the Health Pavilion atrium. SOL’s vice president of communications, Alondra Romero ’22 (business administration and management), explained, “We are very excited to start this new tradition of congratulating Latino seniors for their accomplishments! This will be the first time SOL has organized a graduation ceremony and SOL wanted to show that we are very proud of them and thank them for their time here at UIndy.”

On Friday, the Center for Global Engagement will host an inaugural brunch and awards ceremony for international students who are graduating.

For the first time, the University of Indianapolis will hold separate ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students. The Graduate Commencement Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Friday in Nicoson. The Class of 2019 Reception will be held at the Skyline Club in downtown Indianapolis from 8 to 10:30 p.m. The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday at Key Stadium.

See all Senior Week events.

Physical therapy professor Emily Slaven named Teacher of the Year

“It’s important to teach students how to think as much as learning the content,” said Emily Slaven, PT, PhD, who has been named the 2019 University of Indianapolis Teacher of the Year.

Slaven, an associate professor and director of the orthopedic residency program in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, has been a faculty member since 2010. Her students frequently cite her willingness to get to know them as people and not just students.

“Since my first class with her, Emily treated me both as a student and a future colleague,” said a former student.

Known as a professor who teaches beyond the textbook, Slaven said “seeing others give back to the profession as excellent clinicians, to impact lives for the better, is what teaching is all about.”

She not only talks about the importance of giving back, but she teaches by example. Slaven regularly volunteers as a supervising physical therapist at a student-run pro bono clinic that provides care to underserved clients and is the president of the Indiana chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.

In letters of support, former students pointed to Slaven’s clear passion for teaching and her dynamic classroom presence as key assets.

College of Health Sciences Dean Stephanie Kelly said: “Emily consistently demonstrates excellence in teaching through her commitment to preparing excellent physical therapy clinicians.” Kelly noted that Slaven often extends her teaching beyond the classroom, working with small groups of students outside regular class time, mentoring students in volunteer efforts, and providing continuing education and clinical in-services to practicing clinicians.

Senior spotlight: Adam Lutgring (criminal justice)

Adam Lutgring '19

Adam Lutgring ’19

Adam Lutgring ’19 will graduate this May with a strong University of Indianapolis family legacy.

Lutgring is a criminal justice major with a concentration in law enforcement and a minor in business administration. He has served as a resident assistant for three years during his UIndy career, starting off in Warren Hall as a freshman and then becoming an RA in Warren his sophomore year. As a junior he was an RA in Central Hall and during his senior year, he was an RA in Roberts Hall.

Duane Lutgring '85 (last row, second from right)

Duane Lutgring ’85 (last row, third from right)

It’s fair to say Lutgring is following a family tradition. His father Duane Lutgring ’85 was an RA in Dailey Hall (later known as Buxton Hall). And Warren Hall holds a special significance for the Lutgrings as the place where Adam’s parents, Duane ’85 and Kelly Adams Lutgring ’84, met for the first time! 

Adam Lutgring reflected on the strong social and professional network he built while at UIndy.

Kelly Adams Lutgring ’84 (top row, second from left)

Kelly Adams Lutgring ’84 (top row, second from left)

“I have cherished each and every moment of my time as a UIndy student,” he said. “I have met so many amazing people during these last four years and will continue those relationships throughout the rest of my life. I have made so many memories and am so grateful to have attended UIndy. I found my career path here with the help of my professors, and am excited to build off of the skills I have learned as a UIndy student.”

Student represents UIndy during 500 Festival Princess Program

McKayla Tucker ‘21 (human biology) is one of the 33 women selected to be a 2019 500 Festival Princess. These women represent 13 Indiana colleges and universities and 20 cities across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.65, this year’s 500 Festival Princesses were selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance and community involvement.  


A Valparaiso native, Tucker has a pre-physical therapy concentration and is working on earning her Healthy Diploma. After graduating, she plans to attend graduate school at UIndy and complete her physical therapy track with goals of working with OrthoIndy or the Indiana Pacers.  

Tucker said being selected for the 500 Princess Program is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to expand her professional network and grow her skill set.

“I’ve learned to communicate across the spectrum – with all ages and professional groups,” Tucker said about her involvement in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program. “My communication skills and leadership skills are two places where I’ve really seen a lot of growth.”  

Tucker also received a $1,000 scholarship, made possible by Marlyne Sexton and the 500 Festival Foundation.

I’m representing something so much bigger than myself. Not only am I representing my hometown of Valparaiso, I am representing UIndy and the entire state of Indiana and what we hold near and dear to our hearts,” Tucker said.

Tucker is currently working to get an official pace car on campus with hopes of getting people as excited about the 500 Festival Parade as she is. She pointed out that as one of the top three best parades in the nation, it’s not an event you’ll want to skip.

Related: Professional Edge Center hosts “Finish Strong” student appreciation event

Tucker said a few things have greatly impacted her journey to become a princess, including countless hours of volunteer work in her hometown and in Indianapolis. She also was involved with Delight ministries on campus.

Another factor that contributed to Tucker’s success is her former chemistry professor, Anne Cutler. Referring to Cutler as her “campus mom,” Tucker credits the UIndy faculty with helping to direct her area of focus and discover her place on campus.  

“Not only did she help me with some really big life situations, she also helped me to figure out how to make the most out of my time and experience at UIndy,” Tucker said.

“I just wish more young women knew about the program and applied…[being a part of the princess program] is so much more than a sash and tiara,” said Tucker.

Keep up with 500 Festival activities

About the 500 Festival Program
The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols Jewelers, celebrates Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven young women. Each year, 33 college-aged women are selected as 500 Festival Princesses and serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, their hometowns, and their colleges/universities. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and countless opportunities for leadership and professional development. Since the program’s founding in 1959, nearly 2,000 Indiana women have experienced the honor of being selected as a 500 Festival Princess.

Undergrad experiences set foundation for public health grad’s career

CNelsonOn a sunny day in May 2013, Corey Nelson walked across the stage in the middle of UIndy’s Key Stadium with a new degree in hand from the College of Health Sciences and a world of opportunity before him. A graduate from the Community Health Education program, now known as Public Health Education and Promotion, Nelson remembers how his four years at UIndy prepared him for a career in public health.

“While still in school, I was creating and designing health and wellness programs, reviewing current literature and corporate health guidelines, implementing programs rooted in behavior change theories, and evaluating the efficacy and impact on the engaged individuals and target populations,” Nelson said. “Without a doubt, what I did in the classroom is exactly what I did right out of school and still do to this day.”

A few years later, Nelson has progressed through the healthcare field. Following an internship with Community Health Network’s Employer Health division, Nelson gained experience at Community as a health coach, preventative care specialist and wellness coordinator before taking a job as a health promotion consultant/engagement consultant for Humana. Now he’s found a home as an account manager at Grand Rounds, a company focused on making healthcare more accessible and simpler for consumers, where he hopes to positively impact the healthcare system.

“Before committing to a future in healthcare, my only understanding of healthcare was at the most basic level, ‘If you are hurt or ill, go see a doctor,’” he said. “My time at UIndy introduced me to the impact individuals can have in healthcare when deciding to commit themselves to prevention and engagement and altering the course of how care is delivered, when care is delivered, and what makes and creates impact in healthcare.”

Nelson accredits his confidence and knowledge in the field to the in-depth education he received. “It goes without saying, that while in school, regardless of where, you receive the educational framework; the readings, lectures, papers, tests and quizzes. However, the differentiator at UIndy is the applied knowledge.”

Aside from the real-life experience in the program itself, Nelson said he will forever be grateful for the individual attention and mentorship he received on a personal level from the faculty at UIndy.

“My biggest role model at UIndy was and still is Dr. Rauch. Upon graduating from UIndy I would share the role she played with others not only as an educator and professor but often tossed out the title ‘Campus Mom.’ Dr. Rauch was there any time I needed her; whether it was academics, personal life, or anything in between, she was the one I went to first.”

“UIndy made a significant impact in my preparation for the health field by incorporating a vast array of hands-on experiences and projects and combining that with the opportunity to meet and hear from experts in the field. The networking I completed while still in school at UIndy helped launch my career, and still plays a vital role in my life today.”

But when asked what mattered most when Nelson looks back on his college days? Easy; human connection.

“What I value the most about my time at UIndy was the personal touch to my education and growth as a person. Class sizes were small, which led to hands-on experience and larger responsibility in the classroom. Professors know you as a person and not a number in the class.”

It’s this perspective he now brings into the healthcare field; lessons from campus now being played out in the community.

– Written by Olivia Horvath, OTD Class of 2020

University of Indianapolis student honored as Newman Civic Fellow

Natalie Benson speaks at the Strain Honors College and Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences Scholars Day Luncheon in 2018.

Natalie Benson speaks at the Strain Honors College and Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences Scholars Day Luncheon in 2018.

Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced the 262 students who will make up the organization’s 2019-2020 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, including University of Indianapolis student Natalie Benson ’19.

Benson, a double major in religion and psychology, plans to pursue a master’s degree in divinity at Yale Divinity School in fall 2019. As a student leader with the University’s Office of Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs, Benson worked with faculty and students to develop programming that promotes mutual understanding and respect between religious and non-religious groups on campus. She is the student recipient of the 2019 Jerry Israel Interfaith Service Award, which recognizes members of the University of Indianapolis community who display exceptional commitment to service in an interfaith context.

During her four years on campus, Benson co-founded a new student organization, Better Together Interfaith, a student-run group committed to strengthening interfaith service, dialogue and literacy. She serves as a swim coach with local YMCAs and has worked with the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago to train and mentor student leaders throughout the country.

“I am honored to have been nominated for this opportunity by my university, which has supported and encouraged me as I discovered a calling for civic engagement and public leadership,” Benson said.

The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth for students who have demonstrated a capacity for leadership and an investment in solving public problems. The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation. Learn more at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship.


Physical therapy alum retraces her path to success

CBNewgentMore than a decade after leaving campus, University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy alumna Christa Buell Newgent retraces her path to success and how her alma mater helped on that journey.

Newgent, who earned a bachelor’s in psychology from UIndy in 2000 and a master’s in physical therapy in 2002, is now the corporate director of rehabilitation at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in the Florida panhandle.

From clinic to management

After graduation from physical therapy school, Newgent moved to a small town, where her husband Matt ’99 (history), ’01 (MBA), was a college baseball coach. She worked in a rural hospital, caring for inpatients, outpatients and residents at a local nursing home.

“That initial setting really exposed me to all aspects of patient care,” Newgent said. “We were only one of two therapy providers within a two-hour drive, so I had to problem solve and maximize the resources around me to ensure patient outcomes.”

From there, the Newgents moved to Oklahoma City, where Christa worked at Integris Health’s Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation treating outpatients with orthopedic and neurologic conditions, as well as pediatric patients. During her 13 years in Oklahoma, she had the opportunity to move from a lead PT position to management at Jim Thorpe, a role that she says gave her greater insights into clinic operations.

Eventually, she transitioned into managing multiple clinics within Integris Health’s Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation and was involved with the construction and opening of an outpatient cancer clinic. Her role included building a cancer rehab program and helping clinicians earn their STAR Program® Certifications, a designation of superior oncology rehabilitation specialists.

In 2015, the Newgents relocated to Florida, where Christa moved into a management role at the Andrews Institute. After a few years of successfully managing one of Andrews’ outpatient clinics, she took on her current role as corporate director of rehabilitation in the summer of 2018.

Newgent manages the operations of four acute care settings, eight outpatient clinics, three disciplines (including physical therapy) and over 20 specialties.

“I’m grateful every day to have the opportunity to work with some of the greatest orthopedic surgeons, nurses, physician assistants and therapists in the country,” Newgent said. “While I’m not providing direct patient care, I enjoy having an impact on the successful operations of our system to positively improve the lives of the patients around us.”

Thoughts on UIndy and PT

“UIndy did a wonderful job of selecting professors at the topic of their chosen specialty who were passionate about the profession,” said Newgent, who was also a UIndy soccer player.

“What I recall very clearly is that all the professors were still practicing therapists, so they would inject a real-life approach into how they taught patient care. I feel confident that this made me ready to step into the workforce and be successful.”

As for what she would tell someone interested in studying physical therapy, Newgent encourages an open mind.

“Don’t settle on one specialty during your training,” she said. “I thought I only wanted to work in outpatient orthopedics, but along the way, I found passion in pediatrics, geriatrics, neuro, and oncology as well. I came back to orthopedics, but my career was enriched by those other experiences.”

Learn more about the Krannert School of Physical Therapy

University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community awarded $500,000 in Tennessee Civil Monetary Penalty funds

The University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community has been awarded nearly $500,000 in Civil Monetary Penalty funding by the Tennessee Department of Health and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement a statewide system of Regional Healthcare Quality Improvement Collaboratives to improve the quality of long-term care in nursing facilities statewide.

As CAC’s first contract in Tennessee, five Regional Collaboratives will be developed across Tennessee to implement process improvement projects statewide. The Collaboratives will recruit long-term care facilities and support expansion of Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) plans for individual buildings, and facilitate two group process improvement projects.

An Advisory Group will be formed to develop and enhance state-level partnerships that will support the work of the Collaboratives. CAC will provide the overall support, structure, and technical assistance needed to create and sustain these Collaboratives.

The Tennessee Regional Collaboratives project will begin in March 2019 and will continue for two years.

CAC’s efforts in Tennessee are modeled after a similar approach the Center has implemented in partnership with the Indiana State Department of Health since 2015.  The Indiana Regional Collaboratives project has reported the following quality improvement outcomes:

  • Reduction of antipsychotic medications by 43 percent.
  • Reduction of rates of falls by 30 percent.
  • Reduction of hospitalizations by 38 percent.
  • Reduction of rates of UTIs by an average of 43 percent across five Collaborative (24-57 percent reductions).
  • Reduction in CNA turnover by 16 percent.
  • More than $3 million in calculated savings.

“Qsource is pleased to be a partner in this initiative. It directly aligns with our efforts to make healthcare better in long-term care settings across Tennessee,” said Beth Hercher, Quality Improvement Advisor for Qsource.

The Tennessee Department of Health facilitates the redistribution of collected nursing home civil monetary penalties through a Request for Application process to improve the quality of life and quality of care of nursing home residents. Learn more.

“We are excited to bring our proven expertise in leading wide-scale quality improvement in long-term care projects to Tennessee,” said Ellen Burton, senior project director. “We have every expectation that the Tennessee Regional Collaborative project will mean significant benefit and improved care to nursing home residents in the Volunteer state.”

Any nursing home interested in participating in the Tennessee Regional Collaborative project should contact Ellen Burton at burtones@uindy.edu.

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