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

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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

New book by Craig Seidelson explores shifts in U.S.-China trade 

Craig Seidelson published a book, "Operations Management in China."The coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching implications for American manufacturers who rely on China, but other factors are also in play. A timely new book authored by Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business, explores these and other U.S.-China business topics.

“Operations Management in China” published by Business Expert Press delves into the relationship between the United States and China, its largest goods trading partner.

“Roughly 12 cents of every dollar U.S. consumers spend is on Chinese-made products. Nearly 60% of all U.S. imports from China are made by U.S. manufacturers,” Seidelson explained.

“The reality is U.S. supply chain managers need Chinese-made products because prices are among the world’s lowest and the export-oriented, manufacturing infrastructure is the world’s largest. Yet, recent events are forcing companies to reexamine the sustainability of their sourcing models,” he added.

The book explores how labor costs and corporate debt in China are on the rise, while the Chinese RMB continues to fall. As inflationary pressures build, so do political factors.

Craig Seidelson, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis School of Business

Craig Seidelson

“The majority of U.S. investment into China is through Hong Kong. Under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, Hong Kong has been treated differently than mainland China,” Seidelson said, noting that Hong Kong has benefited from a special status in terms of investment and trade.

That status is now in doubt. Seidelson noted that a new national security law grants mainland institutions in Hong Kong responsibility for security. In response, the Trump administration has indicated that the ‘one country, two systems’ scenario is no longer valid and that Hong Kong’s special trade status should be dropped. As a result, Seidelson said tens of thousands of US companies may be forced to change how they do business in China.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic is also forcing a change in U.S.-China business relations, with American companies re-evaluating their reliance on Chinese-made products, Seidelson pointed out. In 2019, nearly 50% of every dollar spent on made in China products went to U.S. service providers. In April 2020, U.S. imports from China fell approximately 50 percent compared to a year earlier. 

“As Chinese companies shut down to control the spread of the virus, many U.S. companies were faced with the real possibility of shortages. This is particularly true in the pharmaceutical sector where China is the largest producer of the ingredients drugmakers use to make products,” Seidelson said.

Learn more here.   

Craig Seidelson has spent over 20 years in manufacturing. During this time he worked 16 years in China, building and managing factories. He is presently a reviewer for the International Journal of Operations Research and Information Systems. As professor of operations and supply chain management at the University of Indianapolis, he teaches logistics, quality management, and manufacturing at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also teaches a course on Manufacturing in China. Prof. Seidelson routinely consults on these topics and presents his research at conferences around the world. Through his work as vice president of the Board at the America China Society of Indiana, he brings together U.S. and Chinese businesses. His contributions in China were recognized with an honorary professorship at Changsha University of Science and Technology.

Residence Life launches fourth living-learning community

“I have gained some wonderful friends who share the same academic interests as me. I have also been able to academically challenge myself.” 

That’s the idea behind four Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) at the University of Indianapolis. 

Umoja LLCThe newest LLC, Umoja Scholars, was named after the Swahili word for “unity” and is designed for first-year students who identify as Black, African-American, or within the African diaspora.

Residence Director Rishawnda Archie co-created the Umoja LLC and will teach the new student experience during the 2020-21 academic year. She also advises the Project Regalia student organization. 

Rishawnda Archie, Residence Hall Director

Residence Director Rishawnda Archie

Archie was looking for ways to retain students of color and help students feel like they belong. She conducted focus groups with UIndy students to make sure the plans for the LLC were tailored to address specific needs. Launching in Fall 2020, the Umoja LLC is full with a waitlist for women, with spaces still available for men. 

“I’m excited to help Umoja Scholars learn more about their culture, have dialogues about their experiences, and connect to mentors and allies on and off-campus,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to seeing what the resident assistants’ program and what activities they’re coming up with for students.” 

Terrence Harewood working with students in classroom

Faculty Sponsor Terrence Harewood

As the faculty sponsor for Umoja, Terrence Harewood, associate professor of multicultural education, will lead activities in the Indianapolis community, such as visiting the Madam C. J. Walker Building, Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Park and Crispus Attucks High School. 

“My goal is to support Umoja scholars in successfully navigating their transition to and through college through a focus on healthy racial identity development,” Harewood said. “I want to help the scholars recognize and utilize the assets they bring with them from their families and communities to foster productive social and academic outcomes.”

Resident Director Vanesha Blackburn will oversee the Umoja LLC housed in Crowe Hall

“The students’ experience in the residence hall will make a profound difference in their collegiate journey. I am excited to work with each resident to create an exciting, fun, comfortable, and familiar space for them,” she said.  “I want this to be their home away from home, a place where they can engage their peers, discover their racial identities, and explore unknown avenues to aid their college experience,” she said. 

Three additional LLCs at UIndy are tailored for students in the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College, the R.B. Annis School of Engineering, and the School of Nursing. Each community has a designated area in the residence halls and students share at least one common course per semester. 

Retention of first-year students is a primary focus for each LLC. Over 90 percent of LLC students from the 2019-20 academic year plan to return to campus in Fall 2020.

Kyle Johnson, Assistant Director of Residence Life

Kyle Johnson, Assistant Director of Residence Life

Assistant Director of Residence Life Kyle Johnson oversees the LLC programs at UIndy. While 2020 has presented unexpected challenges, Johnson says the entire Student Affairs team is “doing everything we can to provide the best experience possible for students.” That includes a summer engagement plan with virtual check-ins for incoming students, faculty sponsors, and August kick-off events that provide opportunities to engage while observing safety measures related to COVID-19. 

The benefits of being in an LLC include early move-in, off-campus activities, like a walking history tour of Garfield Park, a dedicated staff of students, customized wraparound services, like self-care courses for nursing majors, networking opportunities, and special events like Pizza with the Prez, a leadership workshop, a community service event, and an end-of-the-year celebration. 

There are no additional costs associated with being in an LLC—just additional benefits. Click to learn more about LLCs at UIndy

Here’s what some Greyhounds have to say about their LLC experience:

  • “I was in class with the people who lived on my floor, so I was able to ask them questions before I went to my professor and typically someone was able to help me! I also established connections with faculty.”
  • “I learned how to create new and meaningful relationships with my peers.”
  • “I gained a strong group of friends that I can work with throughout my college time. Also, I increased my ability to retain information by helping others in the LLC.”
  • “I found a brand new community and family that I’ll never forget!” 

LLCs in the United States have historically been built around privilege, but Johnson has other plans in mind. 

“As we move forward, we’re interested and committed to adding more communities for underrepresented populations.

Learn more about Living-Learning Communities at UIndy. 

*If you’re a UIndy faculty or staff member who is interested in proposing an LLC, please contact Kyle Johnson at kyjohnson@uindy.edu. While the formal process begins during the Fall semester, we are happy to begin the conversation now. 

Hound Heroes: Carolyn Scott ’14 (nursing)

Carolyn Scott '14 nursingCarolyn Scott ’14 (nursing) was working at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis when officials in New York, one of the hardest-hit locations in the U.S., issued an emergency order and a plea for additional medical staff. Scott, who is also licensed to practice in New York, answered the call, working directly with COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Brooklyn for eight weeks.

This is her story, in her own words: 

I had been working in California for the last five years and missed my home, so I came back to Indiana in October of 2019. I returned to my roots at the hospital that I started bedside nursing – Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. I bought a house, and was really happy with my job, learning and expanding my knowledge in the critical care department there. It felt really good to have settled back into my community in Indianapolis, and I had no plans to leave. I was working in Intermediate – ICU, where the management and my coworkers were really great at fostering my growth as a nurse. I enjoyed my travel contracts on the west coast, but no place felt quite like Eskenazi or matched the culture there. 

Then the pandemic happened, and I saw the growing need in New York. I had gotten my NY nursing license a couple of years ago, thinking I might travel there at some point, but never thought it would be for a virus infecting the city that would ultimately bring me there to work… 

I continued working at Eskenazi, and our cases of COVID were rising, but they were nowhere near the extreme rates happening in New York. I received emails from Andrew Cuomo asking for healthcare professionals to consider coming out to help, and hearing him speak on the news really did compel me to consider going more. I wrestled with the decision for three weeks. On one hand, I was just getting settled in my new home and was so happy with my current position at the hospital. 

What if I got sick, and I had no one in the city that could help take care of me…? What if the conditions were really bad and I couldn’t handle it…? What if there wasn’t enough PPE? What if I had no job to return to after my contract there? What if I got it and was one of the rare young people who had serious complications and never came back…? 

I didn’t want to leave my family, friends, coworkers, and community here in Indy, but after seeking counsel, speaking with different people in my life, and praying/ meditating, I decided I needed to go. I always wanted to do as much as I could with the nursing degree I got from UIndy and put my skills to work and serve those in need. As much as I knew there was still need here in Indy…there was even more need in New York right then. 

Everyone has their role to play, and as a fairly healthy, single woman with no children or spouse that relies on me, I felt I was the exact person that should heed the call to go to help. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, and I felt an immense sadness to leave Eskenazi Hospital. My last shift, I tried to keep my composure but broke down as I turned in my badge knowing I might never get to work at my favorite hospital again. I hoped I might be able to get a small leave of absence to go and help in NY and then return to Eskenazi, but their requirements for notice changed once the pandemic came, and I was ineligible for rehire.

I questioned if I made the right decision and felt a lot of guilt. What if it got really bad here, and I had left them? Ultimately, I knew Eskenazi (with their great leadership and staff) would be okay, and I felt confident that I would be more useful in New York during this time. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I knew that if I didn’t go, I would always look back and think I could’ve helped, but I decided to stay where I felt more comfortable, and I would be disappointed in my decision. 

Carolyn Scott '14 nursing - University of IndianapolisAs difficult as the decision was, after the first couple shifts I knew I had 100% made the right decision in going to the frontlines. The hospital I was at in Brooklyn, New York was converting unit after unit to COVID ICU. I had seen this already at Eskenazi, as the need for my critical care beds were needed, but this was a whole new level. For intake reports, it was hardly even necessary to ask about the patient’s COVID status…everyone was positive. 

I was impressed with how the resident staff embraced us newcomers. They had been working so hard already. You could see the exhaustion and weariness on many of their faces; the effects of what they had already seen and been through. We had been starting to have more cases in Indianapolis, but they were under a major surge and had been picking up extra shifts to try to meet the staffing needs. They NEEDED more staff, they needed reinforcements, and it felt really good to be there, and hopefully take a little of the workload off of them. 

As difficult as it was, I would do it again. I am so proud of all the wonderful people I had the privilege to work alongside in Indiana and New York, and all those that stepped up everywhere during this pandemic. I’m also beyond grateful for all the people who encouraged me, supported me, prayed for me, and sent their love to me. It really was what got me through the dark times.

I worked my last shift of my 8-week “COVID-crisis” contract Thursday, June 4th at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Brooklyn Methodist. I thought I was going to go home to Indianapolis for a week and then return, but I am no longer extending at this time. As the hospitals try to plan for the future and determine their staffing needs for the coming weeks and months, I am trying to be patient and rebalance at home for whatever comes next. I have been talking with my recruiter about other contracts possibly in D.C. or back to NY. I’m glad to have this time to relax and catch up with my friends and family though.

Carolyn Scott '14 nursing - COVID responseUltimately, none of this would have been possible without my education at UIndy. I often think about how fortunate I was to be able to get my nursing degree. There are so many more talented and hardworking people out there that lack the opportunities I was afforded, and I want to never take my privilege to obtain my degree for granted. My parents believed in me, even when I had my doubts on if I would be able to make it through nursing school, and that was such an important part of my success, in school and now in my career. They were understandably hesitant in the beginning for me to go to New York, but once we discussed it more, they gave me their support in my decision. 

I don’t think I realized how lucky I was to get to go to UIndy until I first started working as a nurse, and it finally clicked. Wow, I get to be a nurse. I absolutely love my profession. I love being able to care for people, and trying to help them feel better. My education at UIndy prepared me for that. I actually think of many of my nursing professors while I’m working; different things that they said during lectures glued in my mind that I’ll recall as I’m caring for my patients. The textbooks taught me the knowledge I needed, but I don’t remember reading specific chapters; I remember the experiences and wisdom that my professors shared and the clinicals that made me understand what it really meant to be a good nurse. 

I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Indianapolis, but it gave me so much more than that. It helped me recognize that I have been given an enormous gift of an excellent education, and I am capable of so much because of that.

Learn more about the UIndy School of Nursing

UIndy alumni making waves with Silver Screen film podcast

Katie Gainey ’11 (English, theatre minor) and Jared Boomer ’15 (communication, electronic media concentration) are two University of Indianapolis alumni and friends of nearly seven years who have recently started collaborating on a podcast all about movies and the media. 

Realizing how much fun they had bantering about movies, they launched the Silver Screen Podcast in 2019. The weekly podcast focuses on movies and series ranging from upcoming releases to classic films. The pair dedicate each episode to a specific movie and discuss the synopsis, ratings, reviews and their own personal commentary alongside these professional opinions. You can also expect to hear them discuss relevant social issues, news about movies and actors and plenty of lighthearted laughs. Among other episodes, Gainey and Boomer have covered Netflix’s “Tiger King,” “Toy Story,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Contagion.” The “Contagion” episode discussed the Coronavirus weeks before social distancing started and remains their most popular with over 500 downloads. 

Recording Equipment (1)

We asked the Silver Screen Podcast hosts a few questions:

Q: Who are your favorite actors and directors? 

Gainey: “I could go on for days about this question but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum. It should be mentioned that we cannot seem to record an episode of the podcast where I fail to mention Tom Hanks. I adore him. He is a phenomenal actor and human being and the highlight of 2019 was when I got to attend some of the Indy 500 festivities and he came to Indianapolis to film a segment on the ‘Today Show.’ I got to be in the same room as him and hear his voice. I was elated!”

“As far as the classic actors that I can’t get enough of I would say Audrey Hepburn is my number 1 of all time, others include Vivien Leigh, (I was named after the actress and a character she played) Katharine Hepburn, Angela Lansbury, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire. Actors of today that I could watch forever would include Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Rachel McAdams, Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Eddie Redmayne, Leonardo DiCaprio, Timothee Chalamet. Favorite directors would be Stanley Donen, Vincente Minnelli, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Damien Chazelle, Greta Gerwig and Olivia Wilde.”

Boomer: “One of my favorite actors is Tom Hanks. I am also a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Stone. For favorite directors, Christopher Nolan is my favorite director, and I also really like the Coen Brothers, Damien Chazelle, Wes Anderson and Steven Spielberg.”

Q: Did you have any mentors at UIndy?

Gainey: “I loved the English Department staff and had a great experience with the Theatre Department as well. The professors that had the biggest impression on me were Dr. Jennifer Camden, Dr. Bill Dynes, Dr. Kyoko Amano, and Jim Ream [retired associate professor of theatre]. Jen Camden and I still get together a few times a year and I regularly communicate with Dr. Dynes through social media. Dr. Amano is now at another university but we keep in touch through social media. And one of the best memories this past summer was visiting Jim and his wife, Paula, with a few of my theatre friends for a birthday party. I had the most classes with Dr. Camden and she is fully the reason I was able to complete my portfolio and graduate. She set a strong example both personally and professionally.”

Boomer: “One of my biggest mentors was Professor Scott Uecker. Scott is in charge of the radio station on campus, 88.7 WICR, and also teaches a variety of communication classes. We are still close even five years after graduation and since I work for a radio station, he helps me out with career advice from time to time. Another mentor would be Dr. Robert Gobetz (or Doc. G. as he is affectionately called) who is no longer at the university but taught a variety of communication classes that I had a lot of interest in. One more would be Dr. Jonathan Evans in the Philosophy and Religion department. Although I only had one class with him, he was my instructor for a Spring Term trip to London and Paris that was one of my best experiences in college.”

Q: How do you stay connected with UIndy?

Gainey: “I’m extremely proud that I attended UIndy. I won Homecoming Queen in college so I always get excited to hear updates about Homecoming festivities and stop by if I’m in town. I was a member of the Student Alumni Association so any time I get a call from students I like to talk to them about their experience. My cousin is currently a professor there, (Dr. Kara Cecil. She is super involved with the COVID-19 crisis right now since her degree is in Public Health) and every fall I take the online Communiversity class with Dr. Camden.” 

Boomer: “I still come back to campus from time to time to help mentor Communication department students. I also usually try to make it back on campus for at least one football and basketball game a season and I rock a UIndy license plate!” 

The Silver Screen Podcast recording session

The Silver Screen Podcast is available on Spotify, Apple, Stitcher, and more. If you’re interested in the Silver Screen Podcast, want more information, or feel like voting what movie they should cover next, be sure to check out their social media:

Twitter – @PodcastSilver

Facebook – https://bit.ly/36XxIym

Instagram – podcastsilver

University of Indianapolis nurse practitioner program earns top ranking from Learn.org

Indianapolis—The University of Indianapolis was recently named to Learn.org’s list of the 50 best schools at which to pursue a nurse practitioner degree. The category includes programs offered in hybrid format (on-campus, online and clinical experiences). The University ranked #16 on the list and was the only program in Indiana to be ranked.

Learn.org, which began its rankings in 2003, considered hundreds of universities across the country and selected the University of Indianapolis based on academic and career resources, the quality of education, faculty, flexibility, cost, residency requirements, program length and more.

“We are very pleased to see our program earn this recognition, and be one of a handful of schools in the Midwest represented,” said Dr. Norma Hall, dean of the School of Nursing. “Our nurse practitioner graduates specialize in aiding those in vulnerable or underserved populations, the importance of which has been highlighted as our healthcare system has strained under the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The University of Indianapolis nurse practitioner program is offered in hybrid format, which includes an online component as well as clinical hour requirements in diverse settings that allow students to develop skills under a variety of circumstances. The program can be completed in three years. University of Indianapolis graduates have achieved a 100% pass rate on the AANP national FNP Certification Exam.

Earlier this spring the University of Indianapolis School of Nursing online programs made the U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 Schools in 2020, moving up 57 points in the Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs category from 118 to 61. The master’s program in nursing also was recognized in the rankings at 112.

About the School of Nursing

The UIndy School of Nursing is known for its leading-edge programs at all degree levels that consistently rank among the top in the state, with high passing rates on state licensing exams. UIndy also offers the only Neonatal Nurse Practitioner master’s degree program in the state.

Our faculty bring decades of clinical experience in a wide range of specialties. Many are doctorally prepared and have excellent reputations for their leadership roles in health care communities locally, nationally and internationally. UIndy’s “Education for Service” motto is deeply embedded in the nursing curriculum. Students will find service-learning components in many of our courses, along with a variety of volunteer and mission opportunities each year. Learn more: uindy.edu/nursing.

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more: uindy.edu.

We all have a role to play: Advancing inclusion and equity

Celebration of the Flags at the University of Indianapolis

Everyone has a role to play when it comes to advancing inclusion and equity. Each of our roles is different and should be tailored to what we bring to the table and how we can use our strengths to advance an effort as important as inclusion. 

That’s what Amber Smith, Vice President for Inclusion and Equity, wants the UIndy community to know right now. 

“Everyone is at a different level in their cultural fluency, and everyone is unique,” she said. “Sometimes people are paralyzed or struggle with inaction because they’re trying to be or do something that isn’t aligned with who they are. It’s important to be authentically who you are, and getting involved should still reflect who you are. Start where you are and grow to who you want to become.” 

There are numerous ways to get involved in this issue, says Smith, who moderated a virtual town hall titled, “Profiled: The Plight of Blacks in America” in June. 

Smith was joined by faculty, staff, and outside guests for an action-based discussion about how to be agents of change for the better. The conversation provided resources and direction for people who are wondering how they can help or what they can do to make a difference.

“This is about confronting structural racism. It starts with a conversation, but we can’t end there. We must have accountability built into these plans,” Smith said. 

The Office of Inclusion and Equity will also host experiential education opportunities for faculty, staff, and students in the upcoming academic year. These workshops will be tailored to specific groups and will help individuals define the roles they can play in this important work. Check back for updates about these initiatives. 

Smith says the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the work being done through the Office of Inclusion and Equity. Workshops and development opportunities have been transitioned to virtual meeting spaces so the UIndy community can continue to engage in regular discussions about inclusion in a non-threatening way. 

“We’ve got work to do, and I’m looking for partners,” Smith said. “This is a crisis for humanity. We are all equals in this work.” 

Read more: Amber Smith looks to turn small wins into big gains in Inclusion & Equity

Related: Anti-racism resources for white people

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At the University of Indianapolis, we strive to create an environment where everyone can feel safe to share their thoughts, experiences, and aspirations. 

The Office of Inclusion and Equity hosts events for all students throughout the academic year, including #BelongSpace, a vodcast that engages UIndy around current issues affecting underrepresented populations. The office also works along with Registered Student Organizations such as Black Male Initiative, International Student Organization, Black Student Association, Pride, Student Organization of Latinos, etc. to create events for their organizations. 

Contact the Office of Inclusion & Equity at oie@uindy.edu with questions or concerns. 

Music class forges generational connections

Jo with Tabitha Chambers '23 (music therapy)

Jo with Tabitha Chambers ’23 (music therapy)

Students participating in a Department of Music class not only learned to adapt to the demands of distance learning this semester. They also got the chance to develop newfound relationships.

Rebecca Sorley, director of student support and professor of music at the University of Indianapolis, taught a spring term class entitled, “Connecting Generations Through Music.” The Center for Service-Learning was involved in the creation of the course a few years ago. Sorley formed the syllabus when she was in a cohort of faculty who were learning how to teach a service-learning course.

It was Sorley’s fourth time teaching the class, with one notable difference. Students typically traveled as a group to an assisted living facility near the University and conducted music activities with residents, along with speaking with them. Due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, each student was assigned an older adult to partner with. Students took on the responsibility of setting up virtual interviews with someone they’d never met.

This would not have been easy for any age group, but the students really stepped up and made this service a priority in their lives,” Sorley said.

Lou with Hannah Hunziker '22 (music therapy)

Lou with Hannah Hunziker ’22 (music therapy)

Sorley paired her students with 13 older adults from Woodland Terrace of Carmel, where her daughter, Allegra Hein, works as a music therapist. She also connected students with older adults from her church connections and from the University’s Adult Music Program.

The requirement called for a fifteen-minute Facetime or Zoom call with the adult six times in the three-week term. As well as talking about music, students and their interviewees talked about past experiences, technological challenges, COVID-19 restrictions/challenges, and life in general.

“The students have really stepped up to make this a special thing for their partners and, in doing so, it has been meaningful for the students as well. The requirement was a 15-minute call, but I have heard stories of calls going over an hour because they had so much to talk about,” Sorley said.

Both students and their partners proclaimed the class a huge success.

“Nothing is as important as education! I saw how my student partner came alive because of the way the class was structured. I also enjoyed learning at my age. Education can be fun, interesting and informative. I just wish all young people and adults would take advantage of it,” said Jane Williams, resident at Woodland Terrace of Carmel.

The students fostered relationships that will last a lifetime.

Sally and Alie Rico '22 (music education)

Sally and Alie Rico ’22 (music education)

“I looked forward to every meeting because it was just so nice to have someone new in my life who looked forward to meeting and chatting with me,” said Alejandra Rico, ’22, (music education). “I loved listening to all of her stories and hearing all of the amazing things she has done over the years. She opened up to me so much, and she was never shy! She told me so many things about herself, her family, her experiences. It was amazing to absorb all of the information and learn more and more about my new friend every week.” 

In their reflections, students revealed feeling nervous about calling someone they didn’t know. But gradually their interviewees became friends by the end of the course. Several students plan to continue their new relationships and meet in person when possible.

“The course was meant to provide a service to the older adults, but it worked both ways. The students really enjoyed having one-on-one conversations with someone who had more life experiences than they had,” Sorley said. “This was probably my most fulfilling teaching experience of my life!”

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