UIndy CAC helping train National Guard for COVID-19 response in nursing homes

Indiana National Guard training

Indiana National Guard training

When members of the Indiana National Guard take their places at the state’s more than 500 nursing homes this week and in the months to come, they will do so with training provided, in part, by the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community (CAC). Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced in late October that Indiana National Guard troops would be deployed to nursing homes to provide support to staff who have been on the front lines since the pandemic began last spring.

“Nearly 11,000 residents in Indiana nursing homes have contracted COVID-19 since March; more than 2,400 of those residents have died,” said Dr. Ellen W. Miller, executive director of CAC. “While only six percent of Indiana’s COVID cases have occurred in nursing homes, those cases account for more than 57% of the state’s COVID-related deaths.”

This disproportion contributed to the decision to call up the Indiana National Guard, Miller said. The National Guard is not being tasked with resident care responsibilities, but will help with additional administrative tasks that have emerged because of COVID-19.

“That will allow the nursing home staff to focus on caring for the residents,” Miller said. 

For the past eight years, CAC has worked with the Regenstrief Institute to embed nurses with specialized training in nursing homes to reduce avoidable hospitalizations. The effort, known as the OPTIMISTIC Project, was so successful that the leaders of the federally funded demonstration project teamed up with business development experts to found a medical startup company called Probari in order to bring similarly structured training to nursing homes around the country. 

Russell Evans from Probari, Inc. trains Indiana National Guard troops for their deployment to Indiana nursing homes.

Russell Evans from Probari, Inc. trains Indiana National Guard troops for their deployment to Indiana nursing homes.

So, when Holcomb called up the National Guard, Probari was tapped to provide training in long term care before the deployment. Miller, who was part of the leadership of OPTIMISTIC, worked with Probari’s Dr. Kathleen Unroe and Russell Evans, as well experts from the nursing home industry, Lori Davenport and Rebecca Bartle, to construct a half-day curriculum for the troops.

“In addition to training soldiers specifically how to perform their new roles, we designed the training to give them an appreciation of how tough things have been for nursing home residents and staff during pandemic-related lockdowns, an understanding of what to expect on a typical day in a nursing home, and how to protect residents and themselves from infection,” Miller said. 

According to Miller, the Guard will be helping with COVID screening at building entrances, data entry related to frequent testing, facilitating family visitations, and cleaning high touch surfaces in nursing home common areas. More than 1,400 National Guard personnel will be trained and deployed. The first of seven trainings took place on Friday, October 30 at Camp Atterbury in southern Indiana. The Guard is scheduled to be in place through December 31, 2020.

In addition to the OPTIMISTIC project, CAC has coordinated infection prevention training for nursing homes in Indiana for several years at the request of the Indiana Department of Health. CAC will also be a part of a new Indiana Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network as part of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). Led by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University, this ECHO program is geared specifically for nursing home leadership to build capacity related to COVID-19 and protect residents and staff.

Cohabitation study spans decades, despite COVID-19 challenges

For more than 15 years, Amanda Miller, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, has been studying what happens after people decide to move in together. 

From 2003 to 2006, Miller’s research team conducted in-depth interviews with 61 couples (122 individuals), including 30 couples who were working in the service sector and 31 college-educated, middle-class couples. The findings are published in “Cohabitation Nation: Gender, Class and the Remaking of Relationships,” a book co-authored by Miller, and have also been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, Psychology Today, and Journal of Family Issues.

Amanda Miller, Department of Sociology, conducts research via ZoomThis year, Miller and her research partner, Sharon Sassler from Cornell University, set out to conduct follow-up interviews with as many of the original participants as they could find. They wanted to learn about the most significant events in their lives since they had last connected. Some couples were still together; others were not. Each person had stories to tell. 

Although COVID-19 complicated their plans for this research project, Miller and Sassler have so far re-interviewed 66 of the 120 surviving members from the original sample. 

Find out more about Miller’s research experience: 

How far did you get into the interviews before COVID-19 hit? 

“My colleague, Sharon Sassler, of Cornell University and I were in Columbus, Ohio in late February/early March conducting numerous interviews per day and anxiously watching the news at night. The demographers at Ohio State, which included sociologists, economists, and public health professors, among others, were kind enough to let us conduct our interviews from their offices. We had been hearing from them between appointments that COVID-19 was likely to be a serious problem. We both headed back home on the 10th day of interviews (March 8, 2020), discussing before we parted that it may be “a couple of weeks or a month or two when this passes” before we’d get to come back and finish our work. Little did I know that trip would include my last times eating in a restaurant, browsing leisurely in a store, or grabbing a coffee at the cafe for now. In that short period of time, we had completed around 45 interviews.”

How did the pandemic affect your research project? 

“Thankfully, we had asked for permission from the Institutional Review Board to also do interviews via Zoom, anticipating that folks may be scattered across the globe. We ended up finishing the remaining interviews from our houses over the next few months, often in different time zones. I finished one interview on a Saturday morning just after midnight. I went from walking participants down a long university hallway with a sterile desk and chair to welcoming them (virtually) to my spare bedroom or screened-in porch. A few times, when my quarantine puppy couldn’t stop fussing in the background, I conducted the interview from the passenger’s seat of my car in the garage. It was definitely an adjustment!”

Was it easier or harder to follow up with people than you expected?

“It was both easier and harder than I expected. Far more people are on social media than ever before, which makes finding everyone so much easier than it would have been 15 years ago. But, people are also more geographically mobile than ever, and this is a stage of life where some women, especially, change their last names. That made things a bit more complicated. We spent days upon days combing through public access information to find as many original participants as possible. Thankfully, the people we relocated were so fantastic and most were happy to chat with us again! A few even spontaneously reached out to a long-ago ex-boyfriend or -girlfriend to encourage them to connect with us.”

What initially stands out to you about the recent interviews you conducted? 

“One thing I was struck by methodologically was that so many of the individuals we interviewed did not initially remember being a part of the first round of the study. We have been working with the transcripts of our original conversations for most of our careers, so we know them incredibly well. But, we also needed to remember that for most of the young adults we interviewed, this was just a snapshot in time for them.  Many were quite interested in what their “past selves” had said and wanted to dig into the research after our second interview. 

Data-wise, the preliminary results have reinforced for me how very much social class can positively or negatively impact a person’s life. What we really learned about were early mid-life crises. Participants trusted us enough to tell us about heartbreaks, job losses, having academic ambitions thwarted, mental health and substance use challenges, infertility, the stress of modern childrearing, and the death of beloved partners and parents. For some, the power of a completed college education or being in the right place with the right skills at the right time helped them successfully navigate the frequently choppy waters of this life stage, while for others, one life crisis precipitated another with few social supports available to put on the brakes.

I am incredibly grateful that participants are so willing to give up hours of their time and to share their life stories with us. And, I am disheartened to hear how much some of these individuals have struggled and how little it might have taken from their communities to get them back on track. We as a society can do better.” 

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis Department of Sociology.

Related: Research by Amanda Miller examines romantic relationships, career ambitions

COVID-19 crisis presents opportunity to serve community for UIndy student

Amy Rohr '20 (public health) '21 (master of public health)

Amy Rohr ’20 (public health) ’21 (master of public health)

Many University of Indianapolis faculty and students are contributing their time and expertise in the fight to stop coronavirus (COVID-19). Amy Rohr, who graduates in May 2020 with a degree in public health, is also working towards her master of public health, which she will receive in 2021. Rohr has gained hands-on experience during the program through various internships, including the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) COVID-19 Call Center, where she answers questions from the general public as well as healthcare providers.

“The general public is mostly calling in and requesting information or wondering if they can be tested. We also answer general public calls that are just needing assistance on resources, such as the Critical Industry Line, Unemployment, 2-1-1, and the OSHA Compliance Line. The healthcare providers call in for many different reasons such as guidance on protocols or authorization requests to give the COVID-19 test,” Rohr explained.

“It has been interesting to watch how the calls change each week. I have been working at the call center since the beginning of March and each day there is something new. We get updates nearly every day on protocols, testing, results and recommendations. It seems like a turbulent situation, but I knew what I was stepping into. The field of public health is always changing and that is what I love most about it,” she said.

One of the key components of the public health program at the University of Indianapolis is applied and experiential learning. Rohr’s work at the call center has sharpened her focus on the value of sharing accurate medical information with the public.

“My view on the importance of proper health communication has definitely heightened from this situation. I find it very interesting to see where the callers are getting their information. To me, the information has been pushed by the media, but unfortunately, that is not always appropriate or accurate. In order to be an effective health educator/communicator in the call center, I ensure that I am staying calm, giving evidence-based information, and listening to the individual’s concerns and questions,” she said.

For Rohr, it’s an opportunity to give back to the community and put the University motto, “Education for Service,” into action.

“I have genuinely loved helping the public during this time of crisis,” Rohr said. “Of course, I love all things public health, but helping others is very important to me. I always try to remember that these individuals are scared and worried during this time and some just need someone to talk to. If I can be that person for them, even for five minutes, I feel that I am doing my job.”

Rohr is grateful for the mentorship of faculty including Heidi Hancher-Rauch, director of the Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis.

“Dr. Rauch has gone above and beyond as a mentor. She is a professional that I look up to as a role model. She has helped me develop my love for policy and advocacy, which is what I want to work in in the future,” Rohr said.

Rauch commended Rohr, who serves as president of the honorary society, Eta Sigma Gamma.

“Amy provides amazing leadership within the Public Health Program and for the ESG members, in particular. She consistently brings great ideas forward to share with others,” Rauch said.

Rohr has completed a number of volunteer internship experiences, including the Southside Quality of Life Initiative where she examined the eight SoIndy neighborhoods using GI mapping, using the information to create and analyze maps of recreational areas and how they relate to public health. She also interned with the Indiana Youth Services Association of Indiana in their Trafficked Victims Assistance Program where she created an onboarding tool for new volunteers, helped with advocacy and awareness events, and created documents used for administrative purposes.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Rohr was interning with the ISDH’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation department, where she compiled and analyzed data, helped with policy and advocacy efforts, organized datasheets, and created fact sheets. Rohr also serves as a Health and Wellness Educator for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and a Community Health Advocate for Community East Hospital.

After completing her MPH degree, Rohr plans to work in public health policy and advocacy, and hopes to pursue a law degree in the long-term.

I have nothing but great things to say about the Public Health program. Not only are we getting practical experience and quality instruction, but this program is also like another family to me,” Rohr said. “The hands-on experiences and courses are definitely prepared for the next steps in my career.”

Learn more about the Public Health Program at the University of Indianapolis.


School of Nursing adjusts to aid in COVID-19 support


The University of Indianapolis is finding innovative ways to ensure continuity for students as well as to support the local community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Since hospitals began admitting COVID-19 patients, School of Nursing students have been prevented from completing their required clinical hours in person. To remain in compliance with the accreditation requirements for the SON, students have been allowed to substitute clinical hours with virtual experiences. Normally, those hours would be a maximum of 25% of the total hours for each course in the undergraduate program as prescribed by the Indiana State Board of Nursing (ISBN). With the current COVID-19 crisis in effect, the ISBN is allowing schools to fall back on national guidelines which allow up to 50% of hours in simulation. With that change, the SON has contracted with Kaplan to provide virtual simulation for the remainder of the semester. These virtual experiences will be used in conjunction with guided case studies to meet the required hours.

“Changes in how we deliver clinical education will allow students in the undergraduate nursing programs to satisfy more of their required clinical hours virtually rather than in person,” said Dr. Norma Hall, dean of the University of Indianapolis School of Nursing. “This is especially important for senior students who are set to graduate this May.”

Hall also noted that keeping students on schedule using virtual experiences will allow students to continue their training and enter the workforce this summer as registered nurses. As the cases of coronavirus continue to rise, there will likely be workforce shortages. 

“Our graduates will be entering the workforce at a critical time to alleviate staffing shortages that COVID-19 will cause within area hospitals,” said Hall. “The knowledge and skills our nursing graduates gained at UIndy will be taken into the workforce to care for the sickest of the sick at a time of great need. I couldn’t be more proud of our faculty and students for remaining flexible and resilient during these trying times.”

The School of Nursing has also been proactive in trying to aid local health organizations in their fight against COVID-19. The School of Nursing organized the donation of some materials on-hand to local hospital networks, including Community Health Network and Franciscan St. Francis. The donations included 8,500 pairs of gloves, 30 surgical gowns, 450 surgical masks, 150 thermometer probe covers, and 10 stethoscopes.

The School also made the decision to forgo their shipment of gloves for the month of April (and potentially beyond) so that they might be given to those who need them more.

Art & Design faculty adapt amidst COVID-19 challenges

Art and Design mini supply kit - COVID 19

You can do a lot with a little. That was the perspective Katherine Fries had as she migrated printmaking classes to an online format during the COVID-19 pandemic. The circumstances were less than ideal, but, she decided, it was a perfect opportunity to instill in her students adaptability, improvisation, problem-solving, and creativity – valuable skills that will translate beyond their education at the University of Indianapolis. Afterall, Fries pointed out, what student leaves their undergraduate career able to afford a fully stocked art studio? 

“Printmaking at its core is paper, pressure, and some kind of ink. We can create stencils and stamps from pretty much anything,” said Fries. 

Fries collaborated with colleagues from around the country to identify ways students could continue engaging the creative process using affordable supplies they’d likely have at home. The content of each class remains the same, but the projects were adapted for functionality. Plans for a complicated carving now involve scissors and foam material, for example. And instead of touring the National Library Bindery Company of Indiana, she’s created online tutorials for a bookbinding project using a needle and thread. 

Because many students left their personal supplies on campus during spring break, she also shipped about 25 miniature art kits to students for projects during the last four weeks of the semester. 

“This is not the ideal situation, but we’re doing our best to make these classes meaningful for students even though we can’t be together,” Fries said.

Related: School of Occupational Therapy employs creativity in time of pandemic

Department of Theatre’s Drowning Ophelia Wins Seven National Awards

The University of Indianapolis Department of Theatre’s production of Drowning Ophelia has won seven national awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Drowning Ophelia was also selected as one of the Region III featured productions.

Drowning Ophelia, which ran in April 2021, was a dark comedy performed in one act about the long-term consequences of childhood abuse, and a love letter to those who have suffered.

“This was such a wonderful production to be a part of,” said Dr. Grant Williams, associate adjunct professor of theatre and director of Drowning Ophelia. “The challenges of COVID forced us into some pretty creative spaces and I think we really came together to make theatre that was both innovative in its delivery and impactful in its story. I was very proud to be a part of this production and all the creativity and ingenuity that went into its execution. I’m honored that it got the recognition that it did.”

The production won the following awards:

The Citizen Artist Award, which recognizes programs in higher education using theatrical production to promote long-term societal impact through an artistic lens, to encourage empathetic exploration of the complex cultural and physical world, and to advocate for justice on campus and throughout the world.

Special Achievement in the Production of a Play

Special Achievement in Scenic Design, for Kenton Jones’s work on Drowning Ophelia

Special Achievement in Lighting Design, for Christian McKinney’s work on Drowning Ophelia

Special Achievement in Projection Design, for James Leagre’s work with Kyle Jeanor on Drowning Ophelia

Special Achievement in Production and Performance Ensemble Unity

Special Achievement in Movement Direction, for Grant Williams’s work on Drowning Ophelia

UIndy Dance Team Wins First National Championship in Program History

After two long years of being unable to compete in-person due to the pandemic, the UIndy Dance Team returned to take on other Division II teams from across the country at the Dance Team Union College Classic Invitational. 

The team performed two routines: one team performance and one jazz performance. The team’s jazz routine placed 6th and the team performance routine, which included a combination of jazz, hiphop, and pom choreography, placed 1st, taking home the first national championship in the team’s history. 

“I am very proud of the progress our team has made over the course of my coaching career,” said UIndy Dance Team Coach Carlee Bachek. “In the past couple years especially, the team has had to overcome a lot of change with COVID restrictions on campus that limited our practice time and in-person meetings. This year the team showed up ready to work hard and make up for lost time. This group of athletes worked well together from the start of our season in July and have continued to lift each other up and push themselves for the better of our program. This was an incredible win that was very much deserved by these dancers and by our program that doesn’t always get as much recognition as other athletic programs on campus!”

The team was presented with an impressive trophy and each member of the team will receive a ring to commemorate their championship. 

“Being the captain, I really paid attention to how much these girls have worked and how much they have changed as dancers in the last ten months. I am so proud of every single one of them,” said Team Captain Taylor Rice ‘23 (Biology Pre-Med). “I had a mixture of shock, happiness, and also happy crying when we won. It was the best feeling I have had in a long time, and I am so glad I got to experience it with this team.”

The victory was especially impactful for graduating seniors on the team. 

“I have danced my whole life, and I knew this was the end of an incredible dance journey for myself and the team,” said Megan Rice ‘22 (Biology, Chemistry). “I felt very connected to my team, and it was exciting to show off all of our hard work. Winning the competition for team performance meant the world to me and I’m pretty sure all of us sobbed when they announced our win. I never would have thought we would be national champions before this year, and I am so proud of this team. It was a great end to my time on this team, and I will forever cherish the memories made this weekend.”

“I heard the host call our name and it was hard to hold in the excitement,” said Maggie Rohlfing ‘22 (Nursing). “I was up there standing with my teammates and looking at our coach because we were the only ones who knew what went into that title. There were tears rolling down my face when they brought over the banner and trophy and took us to center stage. I felt like everything I had worked for these last four years and everything this program has fought for was worth it. We have proved ourselves.”

The UIndy Dance Team has worked long and hard to make a name for themselves and this national championship is the culmination of the dedication of the students, coaches and their supporters. 

“When it comes to the dance team, we practice for an entire year for the chance to have two minutes to prove ourselves,” added Maggie. “We don’t have any second chances and we don’t get the opportunity to do it again next week. I hope that this helps our community and athletics understand that we do more than dance at halftime and support our teams from the sidelines. We spend the majority of our dance season celebrating and supporting our UIndy athletics teams and would love for UIndy athletics to celebrate and support us in this exciting time as well.”

“I am super grateful that our coach, Carlee Bachek, has been such an advocate of our program and works everyday to build the team,” added Megan. “Her dedication as a coach has allowed us to get to where we are today, and hopefully this win will help our team receive further recognition.”

“Our coach, the alumni, and the current dancers have put so much work into the dance team in order for us to get to this moment, and I hope the UIndy community sees that,” said Taylor. “A lot of dance teams around the country continue to not receive as much recognition as other athletics, and I hope that our school can change that and start a trend of recognizing dancers.”

Greyhounds Embark on the India Experience During Spring Break 2022 

Students and faculty from UIndy ventured to India over Spring Break and spent ten days experiencing the diverse cultures within Delhi, the capital of India, and Kochi (also known in English as Cochin), a city in Kerala, a southern state of India. 

The UIndy-led trip was originally planned for 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was canceled. Thankfully, the trip was able to move forward this year and UIndy invited students who had planned to participate in the 2020 trip back for this adventure. 

Dr. Milind Thakar, Professor of International Relations, organized the trip as a companion to his course, “Politics in South Asia.” Most of the students traveling have taken or are currently taking this course as part of their international relations studies.

“I started this class as an experiential component to another class that I’m teaching called, ‘Politics in South Asia,’ which is about the politics of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other neighboring countries. I thought that if we could travel there, students would have a better idea of concepts and terms that we talked about in class, which are theoretical or un-experienced,” said Dr. Thakar. 

From the moment they stepped off the plane, students were immersed in India’s culture and they quickly realized that everything was different. 

“I was asked by a professor to sum up the trip and I said it was everything that I expected yet not at all,” said Alexandra Feldhusen ‘22 (International Relations, Political Science). “Dr. Thakar prepared us so I knew going in generally what the smells and sights and sounds would be like, but then when I got there, and I experienced it, it was so much more to take in.”

“As soon as you get there, especially as an American who’s lived in the United States my entire life, it’s very much like an overload of the senses on all fronts, which is really great,” said Daniel Farrell ‘24 (International Relations). 

Ten days is plenty of time to make memories. While the group visited local landmarks, such as the Taj Mahal, and observed everyday life in India by visiting street markets and meeting with local families, they also had the opportunity to meet the leadership of the India sourcing office for John Lewis (a prominent department store in Britain) and experience a variety of religious spaces. Looking back, the students cited these unique experiences as the most memorable. 

“I’d have to say my favorite moment was when we were walking down in the state of Kerala, in Kochi,” reflected Alexandria. “We got to go to not only the oldest synagogue in India, but of the entire British commonwealth. We went to a lot of religious places and most of them were very peaceful and quiet compared to all the sounds around you.” 

“On one of the first days we were there, we went to a Hindu temple and a Sikh temple and visited some other places,” said Daniel. “I really liked those experiences because the Hindu temple itself was very calm and quiet, whereas the Sikh temple was active. A ton of people were there worshiping. There was a lot going on. So the difference between those two experiences was really cool. And we went to a Catholic church; we went to a synagogue; and then of course we went to a mosque. So this vast amount of different, diverse spiritual life is present in the country. That was something I thought was really great.”

There are many ways to immerse yourself in a new culture. One very popular way is through food. Culture influences not only the dishes and their flavors, but also the way a dish is served. 

“One moment that I think brought home to the students the notion of how cultures can differ was when I took them out for a meal where they ate off a banana leaf with their hands, with their fingers,” recounted Dr. Thakar. “I think it was an educational moment and it did not make students feel horrified or something, which might have been what people expect. They took to it and recognized that certain kinds of foods can be finger foods and should be eaten with the hands. There’s nothing wrong with it. (And of course they had a choice if they wanted to eat with a spoon.) That was one moment which I thought was a great teaching moment from my point of view.”

Even familiar restaurants like McDonald’s, which the group did visit, become unfamiliar in new countries. 

“I did take the students to the McDonald’s in India because it is different,” said Dr. Thakar. “You’ve got a paneer burger, paneer being a cheese. It’s a cottage cheese. That’s for vegetarians who want to sample something other than a potato patty, which is also really popular.”

From the cuisine to the landmarks to the people, India made quite the impact on these Greyhounds. Traveling abroad comes with many challenges, including financial ability, language and culture barriers, and other uncertainties, but take it from students who know, it’s worth it.

“I would do it [travel]. All across the board,” said Daniel. “I would always recommend learning about the place you’re going to and also learning how to be respectful about different customs and being a respectful individual in places that are not your own.”

“Yes, do it while you can,” advised Dr. Thakar. “Once you gather the little stuff, later in life, such as a family and other stuff, you then have to put off these trips until the kids are grown or until you and your partner can figure out whether you really want to do something like this, or you can go on your own. This is the perfect time. College is the perfect time to travel.”

UIndy-led travel opportunities have many advantages, including faculty leaders with great expertise and knowledge of the destination, preparation sessions to learn more about the culture of the destination, and financial aid to increase access for students.

“I know a lot of people are afraid of the price for studying abroad like these trips,” said Alexandra. “Look into grants and scholarships. There are grants through school like the Greyhound Adventure Grant. That’s the grant I applied to and I got it and so a lot of the worry about financial issues was taken off. A lot of people don’t know about it so those who apply are able to get a good amount of money. I was able to get a significant chunk taken care of for this trip because of it. I felt really comfortable about that. So financially there is always a way.”

As the world recovers from the pandemic, UIndy is back in travel-planning mode, with faculty leaders submitting plans for new trips for next year. Dr. Thakar has a specific destination in mind for his next trip, so mark your calendars, Greyhounds.

“I intend, next year, a spring term trip to Japan.”

More information about UIndy-led study abroad programs and financial aid is available through the Center for Global Engagement

CELL launches Indiana Special Education Assisted Licensure (I-SEAL) to list of education initiatives

A new licensing assistance program will meet the significant need for special education teachers in Indiana. In partnership with the Indiana Department of Education, CELL is managing a funded licensing assistance program for post-baccalaureate programs of study that enables teachers to become fully licensed to teach special education in Indiana. I-SEAL utilizes streamlined programming eliminating excess requirements to ensure rapid completion of licensing requirements for teachers.

In a statement shared by Carey Dahncke, Executive Director of CELL, he describes the background of the creation of I-SEAL. “As Indiana works to recover from the academic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of our most vulnerable students in K-12 special education programs find themselves without a qualified teacher. In response to this rapidly growing shortage of special education teachers in schools, we’ve created a program that offers direct assistance to teachers, schools and principals. This program helps to train and license teachers who work with our state’s students with special needs. And, what makes this program unique, is that there is no cost to the schools or the teachers. We’ve streamlined the processes, so prospective special education teachers can accelerate their entry into the workplace, while working directly with the students who are most in need.”

I-SEAL will offer three programming tracks.  

  1. Currently licensed teachers who wish to add special education to their existing license will have an opportunity to participate in a fully-funded 18 credit hour graduate program.  Upon completion, they will be eligible for a special education license, pending a passing score on the state licensing exam.  
  2. A limited number of unlicensed teachers who wish to earn a special education teacher license and currently hold a bachelor’s degree will be eligible to enroll in a fully-funded Transition to Teaching program (T2T).  
  3. Individuals who have completed a special education preparation program but have been unable to pass the state licensing exam will have the opportunity to participate in special test-prep workshops to assist in obtaining the licensure cut score on the exam.    

The programs will pay for the coursework as well as the textbooks associated with each course.  Continued enrollment will be based upon continuous successful course completion. 

Visit IndianaSEAL.org for more details and how to apply for each higher education partner.

I-SEAL will also provide a scholarship assistance program for teachers currently enrolled in a special education licensure program other than that offered by I-SEAL. Awarded scholarships will subsidize the cost of completion. Prospective special education teachers who have completed necessary coursework for licensure but have failed to pass the licensing test once can apply for workshops designed to aid in understanding test-taking.

This program is funded in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education, which is using federal Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund II dollars and Part B of Indiana’s Individuals with Disabilities Act funding to help special education teachers earn full licensure.

In a statement from Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education, “Indiana’s educators are difference-makers for our students, and we need more of these difference-makers in our classrooms. That’s especially the case in high-need areas like special education,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Through this initiative, statewide partners are coming together to provide Indiana’s current and future special education educators with access to convenient, accelerated options and key financial support, so that they, in turn, can continue supporting our Hoosier students daily.”

CELL’s multi-pronged approach to changing the education landscape of Indiana is producing results. The University of Indianapolis through CELL and its partners continually work to be a resource for awareness, exploration, and in-depth, innovative school transformation by remaining focused on educational excellence and achievement for all students.

CELL has significant experience facilitating successful education initiatives within areas of need across Indiana.  Based upon prior experiences providing teachers with programs to accelerate and support teacher credentialing, CELL has a reputable reputation.  CELL is recognized with dual credit credentialing strides with STEM teach and Teach Dual Credit Indiana. The organization’s newest initiative, I-SEAL will mirror many of the successful elements that have been developed across the thriving dual credit credentialing programs. 


About the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning

Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis is focused on all children graduating from high school fully prepared for success in postsecondary education and the 21st-century workforce. The Center has generated $57 million in funding to support its work as the leader for innovative education change in Indiana. CELL provides leadership that is both cutting-edge and action-oriented. Via partnerships with international, national, and local education leaders and organizations, CELL unites districts, schools, communities, universities, and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement.

UIndy welcomes hounds back to campus for Homecoming 2021

Alumni and friends are invited back to campus for the best week of the year! Relive your favorite UIndy memories and create some new ones at Homecoming 2021.

Homecoming is always a special time of year for the entire University community with traditions like the parade and football game. This year, Homecoming week will also mark the dedication of several new student engagement spaces in a culmination of years of hard work and the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis.

Beginning with the dedication of the new Art & Design Annex on the evening of October 7, UIndy will celebrate the boundless opportunities made possible by the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis. Highlights include the Friday, October 8, unveiling of several new spaces in the Schwitzer Student Center designed to enhance student engagement. On Saturday, October 9, the University celebrates the success of the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis and honors those who helped make it possible, including an announcement of a major campaign milestone. 

“This is a celebratory time, and after a limited 2020 Homecoming schedule we’re so excited to welcome back our alumni to campus,” said Interim Vice President for Advancement Andy Kocher. “This year’s slate of events showcases the changing landscape of our campus as we both honor the past and also adapt to serve the needs of our current students.”

See a complete listing of events here. Please be aware of the University’s COVID-19 safety policies before visiting campus. Masking is required at indoor events.

Thursday, October 7:

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. • Art & Design Annex

Celebrate the growth and expansion of the Department of Art & Design! This additional space, funded in part by alumni and friends, provides new opportunities for open studio time, exhibit and gallery experiences, and new technology for a growing program. Register here.

Friday, October 8:

2:00 – 3:30 p.m. • R.B. Annis Hall, 3250 S. Shelby St.

Explore the new home of the R.B. Annis School of Engineering—made possible through a transformational gift by the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation. The open house will include interactive activities and a dedication of the bust created in memory of Robert B. Annis. Register here.


5:00 – 7:00 p.m. • Schwitzer Student Center

Help us celebrate the success of the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis and dedicate several new student engagement spaces in the Schwitzer Student Center. Guests will have the opportunity to experience the many new ways students will engage with each other and our community as they interact with several new locations on the second floor.


7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. • Schwitzer Park

Join the Student Leadership & Activities Board (SLAB) for a fun-filled night at the UIndy Midway! Enjoy your favorite carnival-style treats, games, and even rides as we celebrate UIndy Homecoming!

Saturday, October 9:


8:00 a.m. Registration, 9:00 a.m. Start • Schwitzer Student Center

Start your Homecoming day with a fun run/walk through campus and the local neighborhood. Proceeds benefit UIndy scholarships. Register here.


12:00 – 1:30 p.m. • Good Hall Lawn

The University celebrates the success of the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis and acknowledges those who helped make it possible. We’ll announce a major campaign milestone and share the impact UIndy supporters have made on students and the community. Register here.


3:00 p.m. • Hanna Avenue

Join fellow Greyhounds and their families for our annual golf cart parade down Hanna Avenue featuring student organizations, UIndy faculty and staff, athletic teams, and more.


4:00 p.m. • In front of the South Residence Halls (Warren, Roberts, Cravens)

Don’t miss the fun at the annual Homecoming Block Party! Come hungry for a variety of food trucks, entertainment and so much more.


6:00 p.m. • Key Stadium

Don your favorite crimson and grey gear and help cheer the Greyhounds to victory over the McKendree Bearcats. For football tickets please visit athletics.uindy.edu. To provide a safer environment for the public, and to expedite fan entry into Key Stadium for Greyhound football, UIndy is also implementing a clear bag policy to limit the style and size of bags that may be brought into the stadium. 

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