Greta Pennell pursues study of toy design in opportunities around the globe

Greta Pennell and her husband Jim Pennell, professor of sociology, presented a paper at the International Toy Research Association (ITRA) World Congress in Paris, France in 2018.

Greta Pennell at the International Toy Research Association (ITRA) World Congress in Paris, France in 2018.

Greta Pennell, professor of teacher education at the University of Indianapolis, has devoted her life’s work to the service of children. That focus, combined with a passionate commitment to service-learning, drives her research and teaching, and has inspired her to pursue professional development opportunities around the world.

Pennell was selected to participate in the 18th International Symposium, Workshop and Exhibition on Toy Design and Inclusive Play in Berlin, Germany, in January 2019.

Pennell also was recently honored with a research fellowship at The Strong National Museum of Play and was elected vice president of the International Toy Research Association at the World Congress in Paris, France, during the summer of 2018, where she presented a paper with her husband Jim Pennell, professor of sociology. In August 2018, she was honored with the Teaching in the Core Award at the Faculty-Staff Institute for her first-year seminar, “Doing Gender in Toyland,” where she uses her expertise on gender identity, toy advertising and conceptual change processes to model the research process for students.

Pennell will be attending the Berlin symposium for the first time, and is one of just 20 participants selected to join a worldwide network of scholars, designers and educators dedicated to toy design and inclusive play.  

“The opportunity to work closely with such a diverse, imaginative and interdisciplinary team and to be part of a UNESCO-sponsored project is truly exciting,” said Pennell, who expressed gratitude to the the Sabbatical and Grants Committee for awarding her a sabbatical for the 2018-19 academic year.  

Through her work at the Berlin symposium, Pennell will focus on expanding her understanding of inclusive education, play and toys from intergenerational, intercultural and global perspectives. With her newly-gained insights, Pennell plans to develop new strategies to use playful learning in her teaching with pre- and in-service educators, including a new course planned for fall 2019 entitled “Developing Human Potential” as well as her “Doing Gender in Toyland” seminar.  

“I expect that I will be better able to support and foster my UIndy students’ ability to incorporate this kind of approach in their own classrooms and empower them to become creators and designers dedicated to expanding inclusive play and learning opportunities for all students and families, regardless of their ability status,” Pennell explained.

Students are already noting the benefits of Pennell’s approach to the first-year seminar. Kaitlyn Betz ’19 (exercise science) said the class made a huge impact on her outlook of freshman year.

“Many of my other courses were very cut-and-dry textbook definition courses. This FYS class allowed me to think outside of the box and gave me multiple opportunities to incorporate my knowledge learned outside of the classroom,” Betz said. She explained an assignment to visit a toy store to examine how girls’ and boys’ toys were marketed differently.

Pennell explained that as cultural artifacts, toys are imbued with symbolic content and meaning. “If play is the business of childhood, then toys, as one of the most ubiquitous aspects of children’s lives, serve as tools of the trade, helping socialize children into future roles,” she said.

Even small details can send powerful messages about what is and isn’t possible or appropriate depending on a child’s gender, age, nationality, race or ability status, Pennell noted. “This is why toy design that expands opportunities and possibilities, opens doors to new worlds and allows children to direct their own play is critically important.

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

Virtual Dementia Tour puts students in the shoes of those with dementia

dementiatour290You never truly know the plight of another person until you are walking in their shoes. The University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community gave students the opportunity to do just that during through the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT), which was part of UIndy’s recent Interprofessional Education (IPE) Week. With the country’s number of baby boomers set to become the largest living adult generation, all students will likely interact with a person with dementia, whether as patient or a family member.

The VDT simulates the sensory disturbances experienced by people struggling with debilitating effects of dementia. The VDT takes place in a home-like environment, and participants are given a simple task to complete within a 3-minute time frame. Before entering the mock apartment on the 4th floor of the Health Pavilion, participants were given headphones, visual obstruction goggles, and oven mitts to simulate poor hand control.

Janette Hensleigh, a Master of Occupational Therapy student, remarked, “The headset with the background noise and the occasional fire siren paired with the obfuscating glasses did a great job of muddling both the instructions I was given and my awareness of things around me.”

These multi-sensory disturbances are a normal daily occurrence to the millions of people living with dementia worldwide.

“This immersion into the world of a person with dementia has the ability to change perspectives of healthcare professionals across all fields,” said Kayleigh Adrian, CAC project coordinator. “The virtual dementia tour allows the student to switch their perspective from knowledge about a disease to true compassion for another person.”

dementiaglovesThe students who participated found that the short experience in the apartment will change their mindset for the long term. Samantha Wallenberg, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy student, said the experience has allowed her to “be more mindful of those who have dementia and understand how to communicate with them better, as well as how to communicate with their family.” Her classmate, Nicole Scholl, agreed.

“If I ever work with a client who has dementia or even memory loss, I am going to be patient and understanding with them,” Scholl said. “I will also be advocating for people with dementia when interacting with their caregivers and other people because what people with dementia are going through is very difficult and challenging.”

Each participant’s reflection had a common theme: frustration. Scholl was frustrated when “I forgot what I was doing and I could not find anything. By the time I found what I was looking for I forgot why I needed the object in the first place.”

This emotional experience led Hensleigh to rethink how she interacts with not only patients, but family members. “I will definitely keep this experience in mind when I interact with people with dementia,” she said. “I have a family member in the early stage of dementia, and I will remember to keep questions or statements very simple so he can better understand.  I will keep that in mind when I work with people with cognitive deficits, too.”

Last month’s VDT received interest from students pursuing health careers, but the experience is open to all students, faculty, and staff. The VDT will be offered again in the Health Pavilion on Tuesday, November 13 from 5:00-6:30pm and again from 6:30-8:00pm. Space is limited and reservations can be made online here.

Written by Olivia Horvath ’20 (OTD)

Faculty-student collaboration sheds light on DNA forensic techniques

Krista Latham

Krista Latham

Krista Latham, associate professor of biology and anthropology, and Jessica Miller ’19 (M.S., human biology), recently published a paper on advances in the forensic sciences. Latham is director of the University of Indianapolis Human Identification Center, which assists coroners throughout the country in identifying human remains. Latham’s work in identifying migrants who died while crossing the southern U.S. border has been recognized nationally.

“DNA recovery and analysis from skeletal material in modern forensic contexts” was published in Forensic Sciences Research in October 2018. Latham explained that the article “discusses developments in forensic genetics and focuses specifically on obtaining and analyzing DNA from human skeletal remains, as well as improvements in utilizing DNA for identification purposes.”

Jessica Miller ’19

Jessica Miller ’19

“Advances in DNA research have allowed for smaller quantities of  DNA to be analyzed,” Miller said. “This will ultimately lead to more identifications.  The article also discusses different databases that are available for comparisons of DNA from unidentified individuals to families of the missing.”

The faculty-student collaboration involved research on the newest forensic DNA technologies and collecting literature on the topic.

“Dr. Latham and I met weekly to discuss the material and work on the article. This included revising multiple drafts, creating a strong collaboration between the both of us that generated some great discussions, and inspiration that lead to my thesis research project on DNA transfer,” Miller said.

“It was a great experience working with Jessica on this publication,” Latham added. “A true benefit of the small program sizes at UIndy is the ability to work closely with students on research projects, presentations and publications that can have big impacts on the field of forensic science.”

Following graduation, Miller plans to develop her forensic and scientific skills by working in the local medicolegal community on death investigations, and hopes to pursue a doctorate in anthropology. She is grateful for the support of biology faculty.

“Dr. Latham and other human biology faculty have been very generous with their time and have always been present and active in my studies. They provide and supervise many extracurricular activities that make this program unique, like the ability to conduct research that I can present at conferences, the opportunities to publish in scientific journals and the ability to participate in forensic work through the Human Identification Center.”

Public health students present at national conference

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Public health students and faculty from the University of Indianapolis presented advocacy strategies to reduce gun violence at the Society for Public Health Advocacy (SOPHE) Advocacy Summit in October. The national event, hosted in Washington, D.C., brought students and professionals together to advance the discussion of firearm-related violence as it relates to public health.

The UIndy delegation included Master of Public Health (MPH) students Yordanos Gebru and Shawn Schweitzer, undergraduate Megan Davish, and MPH Program Director Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch. Their presentation, “Strategies for the Novice Advocate: Creating Advocacy Plans to Fight Gun Violence,” provided a toolkit for professionals to make a difference in their community.

Dr. Hancher-Rauch, who serves as co-chair for SOPHE’s Advocacy Committee, says the access to professional opportunities that the public health program offers is central to her students’ success.

“We worked together on the whole process, from start to finish,” she said. “Attending the conference is important, but often students don’t have the opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of a professional experience. This takes their learning to the next level … These are the opportunities I would have liked to have as a graduate student.”

Learn more about the Master of Public Health program and the undergraduate Public Health Education & Promotion program

Presenting on such a hot-button issue at the national level was at first an intimidating prospect for Schweitzer. But he knew there was no turning back once their abstract was accepted.

“Not a lot of people want to talk about things like this, but it needs to be discussed,” he said. “This was a perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.”

This conference was one opportunity among many for Schweitzer to engage with his field outside of the classroom.  For example, he is developing an after-school program to help area high-school students utilize coping skills in the face of stress.

“It’s amazing how much hands-on work we get to do. It has given me a lot to think about—what kinds of projects do I want to continue working on after I graduate?”

Hailing from Ethiopia, Gebru plans to attend medical school after earning her graduate degree.

“The MPH program has shown me the different factors that affect the overall health of a population—policies, programs, health education,” Gebru said. “Problems are more expansive than simple explanations like a lack of doctors or health facilities.”

Dr. Heidi Hancher-Rauch can be contacted at rauchh@uindy.edu.

Written by Logan McGrady, Communications Specialist for Graduate & Adult Learning Enrollment.

Colleen Wynn publishes research on residential segregation

ColleenWynnprofileColleen Wynn, who joined the University of Indianapolis Department of Sociology as assistant professor in fall 2018, published research in a special issue of the journal Social Sciences on Social Inequality and Residential Segregation in Urban Neighborhoods and Communities. Samantha Friedman, University of Albany-SUNY, was co-author.

Assessing the Role of Family Structure in Racial/Ethnic Residential Isolation” found that that white married-couple families are the most likely to live in neighborhoods with people who are similar to them. The study included American families in 85 cities living in all types of housing, and used census data from 1990, 2000, 2010 and data from the American Community Survey from 2006-2010.

The research examined the residential situation of white married-couple families, white female-headed families, black married-couple families, black female-headed families, Hispanic married-couple families, and Hispanic female-headed families. The study found that in 2010, the average white married-couple family in the US lived in a neighborhood where 68 percent of families were white married-couple families. All other family groups lived in neighborhoods with less than 20 percent of families of the same structure and race/ethnicity.

“While these findings may seem like they could be explained by socioeconomic status differences or differences in other sociodemographic factors, we think a better explanation is discrimination,” Wynn said. “Even when we account for a variety of factors that have been shown to impact where you live – including income, we find that families are still more likely to live in neighborhoods with families similar to their own.”

Wynn said the research confirms that family structure can play a role in residential segregation. The findings create an inroad for communities to address inequality and encourage further research into the field.

“Now that we know it does matter, we can look at how policies can include family structure to better address residential segregation,” Wynn said. “A lot of policies are based on families or individuals on the lower end, but this study shows that at least part of the persistence of segregation we see in cities is actually white married-couple families choosing to isolate themselves from other families and that they are likely moving to in the ‘best’ areas.”

Wynn’s research includes housing issues such as residential segregation, housing turnover (e.g. who moves in after a family moves out of a residence), and neighborhood and housing quality factors.

“Seeing the redevelopment of public housing into mixed income housing when I was in high school first got me thinking about housing issues and eventually led me to sociology, but rather than specifically focusing on public housing – of which there is less and less in existence – I study housing issues more broadly,” Wynn said.

Artist-in-Residence Drew Petersen creates unique learning opportunities for piano students

Drew Petersen master piano class - February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Drew Petersen master piano class – February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

INDIANAPOLIS – Music students at the University of Indianapolis are reaping the benefits of an artist-in-residence program that connects them with unique learning experiences and a global professional network.

Drew Petersen, 2017 American Pianists Awards winner, Christel DeHaan fellow and University of Indianapolis artist-in-residence, has held masterclasses, private coachings, lectures and performances as part of the partnership between the American Pianists Association and the University.

Petersen returns in October for a performance at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Oct. 29, followed by master classes throughout the week that serve as a catalyst for students in the University’s music program.

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis Department of Music programs.

Drew Petersen master piano class with UIndy students at CDFAC on the Ruth Lilly Perfomance Hall stage on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

A cum laude graduate of Harvard University in social sciences, Petersen pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in music at the Juilliard School. He also has been a prizewinner in major international competitions and has been profiled in the New York Times, New York Magazine and the documentary Just Normal.

Petersen said interacting with the talented music students on campus has been one of the biggest rewards of his new connection to the University.

“Whenever I interact with the students and faculty, I am reminded that each day at UIndy is an opportunity to explore great music together and examine and innovate the best ways we can share it with the community. I’ve been having a great time, and I look forward to all that lies ahead,” Petersen said.

Drew Petersen master piano class with UIndy students at CDFAC on the Ruth Lilly Perfomance Hall stage on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. (Photo: D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Students also have enjoyed Petersen’s mentorship. During her masterclass with Petersen, Carrie Atkinson ’18 (music – piano) was inspired by his remarkable playing technique and personable approach.

“Drew brought an excitement to the music that was inspiring to see as well as some wonderful insights to the music that reinforced what my teachers had already been instructing me in,” Atkinson said.

Richard Ratliff, professor of music, said Petersen’s fall 2017 performance on campus demonstrated the kind of grace under pressure that he encourages in his students.

“After our week with Drew, students approached the remainder of the semester with energy and enthusiasm. Students now realize that such mastery is a step-by-step process,” Ratliff explained.

Cole Snapp ’18 (music – piano, composition concentration) had a private lesson and a masterclass with Petersen and found both experiences to be motivational.

“Having an amazingly proficient pianist like Drew coach me was extremely valuable. He was able to bring things to my attention that I would not have otherwise thought. In a Zoltan Kodàly piece I was working on, he asked me to play the climactic section louder and louder until I was literally throwing my whole weight into the keys,” Snapp said.

“Since Drew is not much older than our students, his command in public presentation really made an impact. His expertise in a wide variety of repertoire — from the 18th century to the present — was apparent to everyone as he worked with students and spoke insightfully about the music he performs and is planning to record,” Ratliff said.

Atkinson said she’s grateful for the partnership between the APA and the University.

“I think that it is so enriching to get to work with musicians of his calibre. Drew is one of the top pianists on the scene right now, and getting to work with him was a very valuable and fresh experience. The best part, for me, was seeing how excited he got about the music,” she said.

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

CAC’s Expressive Arts effort earns “Promising Practice” award

Painting ladyA program developed by the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community (CAC) is receiving recognition from the State of Indiana as an industry standard-setter.

CAC works to improve the quality of life for all people as they age. Many of those people live in nursing or long-term care facilities. In 2016 and 2017, CAC worked with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to use the expressive arts – drama, writing/memoir, dance, music, and visual art – to improve the quality of life for Hoosiers living in nursing facilities. That effort, called Expressive Arts for Long Term Care Professionals, has been recognized as the 2017 Promising Practice for Education and Communication by the Association of Health Facility Survey Agencies (AHFSA).

The program was funded by ISDH and coordinated by CAC. The CAC project team included Ellen Burton, MPH, senior projects director; Lidia Dubicki, MS, project director; and Kayleigh Adrian, MS and Kennedy Doyle, project coordinators. UIndy faculty Rebecca Sorley, Department of Music, and Sara Tirey, Department of Art & Design, served as faculty for the training workshops.  

Training workshops were conducted throughout the state of Indiana to teach nursing home personnel how to incorporate the use of the expressive arts into the daily lives of residents in a systematic and meaningful way. Participants were taught how to introduce and modify expressive arts activities based on the functional capabilities of the residents.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“This stuff works!,” wrote one participant.

Another said “A nonverbal resident…spent most of every day sleeping or quiet in a chair. When the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ was played, he perked up, began to mouth the words, and then began to sing.”

Expressive arts programming in the nursing facilities benefits not only the residents, but also the staff. One workshop participant said, “I’ve been working in long-term care for 25 years and was burned out. Now I feel refreshed!”

In a letter to CAC regarding the AHFSA Promising Practice Award, Terry Whitson, ISDH assistant commissioner, said, “This is an outstanding and well-deserved recognition of your efforts and contributions to healthcare quality.”

CAC Senior Projects Director Ellen Burton presented “The Power of Expressive Arts in Indiana” at the LeadingAge Indiana Fall Conference in late September.

CAC also received an AHFSA 2016 “Promising Practice” award for another ISDH project, “Regional Quality Improvement Collaboratives.”

Written by Amy Magan, communications manager for the Center for Aging & Community and the College of Health Sciences.

Master of Science in Sport Management off to a record start

UIndy MSSM students benefit from the faculty's positive relationships with the NCAA. Sometimes that even means having class at NCAA headquarters.

UIndy MSSM students benefit from the faculty’s positive relationships with the NCAA. Sometimes that even means having class at NCAA headquarters.

The new school year is off to a blockbuster start for the Master of Science in Sport Management (MSSM) program. The program, which is housed in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Sciences, welcomed nearly two dozen new students this year – more than twice the size of any previous MSSM cohort.

Jennifer VanSickle, program director for both the undergraduate and graduate sport management programs, has some ideas for why the program is enjoying such a boost in enrollment.

“We made the master’s program more accessible,” she said, noting that applicants who posted at least a 3.0 GPA in their undergrad degree are no longer required to take the GRE. “The change in the admissions procedures puts us more in line with other sport management programs in the state.”

UIndy’s geography is also a draw for many students. The proximity to the NCAA headquarters and professional sports teams including the Pacers, Colts, and Indy Eleven –and the university’s working relationships with these organizations – is a plus for students seeking careers in the sports industry.

“We require two internships with a sports organization,” VanSickle said. “So our students gain valuable experience and have plenty of opportunities to network.”

Jessie Benner is in her second and final year of the sport management master’s program. Her internship experiences include a community relations internship with the WNBA franchise team, the Indiana Fever, and a championships and alliances ticketing experience at the NCAA.

“Both of my internship experiences have given me the opportunity to foster positive
relationships with those around me while expanding my network,” Benner said. “I am able to interact with and learn from leaders within the sports industry, at both the collegiate and professional levels. The hands-on experience of internships also allows me to strengthen my skills as look to enter the workforce in the near future.”

The internships, as well as class assignments, help MSSM students understand the rigorous nature of the world of sport management.

“A lot of people want to work in sports because it’s glamorous and they want to work in an
industry that matches their passions,” VanSickle said. “But the hours are long and most of the work is behind the scenes, so much that you might not actually get to see the ‘scenes.’ You have to work your way up before you can sit in the club suite and hobknob.”

Students don’t just have to take VanSickle’s word for it. Each MSSM student is paired with a sports industry mentor. Benner’s mentor is Kellie Leeman, senior director of ticket sales and service at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

“Kellie has experience in several areas of sport, including the NCAA and IMS,” Benner said.

“Since I’m still unsure about what career path I want to take, Kellie’s knowledge of different areas is very helpful. We meet once a month to discuss developments on my end; she has offered me great insights. I really value her opinion.”

Prior to working as a mentor, Leeman collaborated with VanSickle to collaborated to develop the NCAA externship program several years ago.

“I really enjoyed working with the UIndy students through that program,” said Leeman, who joined the staff at IMS in 2016. “The sport management mentor program was another great opportunity for me to work with UIndy students.”

Leeman offered this advice to sport management students, “Network and seek as many different types of experiences as you can so you can learn what you like and don’t like about the industry.”

VanSickle also emphasized that the responsibility for networking and taking advantage of all the MSSM program offers lies with the student.

“We set the table for them; they have to close the deal.”

Written by Amy Magan, communications manager for the Center for Aging & Community and the College of Health Sciences.

Roche Academy: Forging new career paths for chemistry and biology majors

Roche_Mobile500Getting the chance to meet the company CEO, or learning to take apart complicated instruments and putting them back together again, are experiences that go beyond the average summer internship. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for students participating in the Roche Academy, a new program for chemistry and biology majors at the University of Indianapolis.

The Roche Academy is a new partnership between Roche Diagnostics and the University of Indianapolis. Co-developed with Ascend Indiana, a Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) initiative, the Roche Academy will create a custom talent pipeline for biomedical equipment technicians.

With nearly 93,000 employees worldwide, Roche is the world’s leading biotech company with 17 biopharmaceuticals on the market, and was one of the first companies to bring targeted treatments to patients. Roche Diagnostics U.S. headquarters in Indianapolis is home to more than 4,500 employees.

Students accepted into the Roche Academy will complete a Roche-customized curriculum path and summer internship experience focused on the hands-on, life science and engineering skills necessary for employment at Roche. Students successfully completing the program will receive financial and educational incentives, including a job offer from Roche upon graduation.

William Durchholz ’20 (chemistry) is among the first students to participate in the Roche Academy. As an intern with Roche Support Network, he took part in professional development workshops and received valuable new science and computer skills. He called it “a fantastic experience.”

“I gained skills in working with computers, hardware, and software that I did not have before. I also got to put soft skills into practice in a real world setting. I learned a little bit about the business world that I had never been exposed to as a chemistry major,” Durchholz said.

David Styers-Barnett, chemistry chair, said Roche approached the University of Indianapolis with the opportunity. Faculty from chemistry, biology, engineering and physics worked with Roche to develop a curriculum.

“They really liked how we all got in the room together and worked on this as a group. They felt our infrastructure would work for their needs,” Styers-Barnett explained.

The program will be in full swing by 2019, and an August event on campus attracted dozens of students who toured Roche’s Navigator mobile lab, which features a virtual reality interactive display and examples of the instrumentation that Roche Academy students will learn to maintain.

“As Roche’s customer base continues to grow, the demand for quality and properly trained biomedical equipment technicians continues to increase. These technicians are critical to Roche’s operations, as they maintain critical lab equipment and provide customer service across Roche’s 32 geographic service regions,” said Jim Floberg, vice president of Roche Support Network, Roche Diagnostics Corporation.

The 2019 cohort will include ten students, growing to 25 by the third year of the program.

“It’s a clear career path. It definitely offers students a unique opportunity with a major biomedical corporation that not a lot of undergraduate science students would otherwise have,” Styers-Barnett added.

For Durchholz, the Roche Academy provided him access to industry mentors.

They helped me with the etiquette and find my way around. They became good friends who helped me succeed while at Roche. I know if I needed it, I could contact them and they would be more that happy to help me,” he explained.

That experience also reflected the one-on-one mentorship he received at the University of Indianapolis – something he says is integral to student success in the chemistry program.

“These relationships are why I have been successful and also why I was able to get this internship with Roche. UIndy has connections!” Durchholz said.

Learn more about the Roche Academy.

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

School of Business Martin Family Finance Lab brings Wall Street tech to students’ fingertips

Finance_Lab_Dedication500The new School of Business Martin Family Finance Lab will bring students access to state-of-the-art technology to develop their skills as they learn about the world of finance. A dedication ceremony, which marked the start of 2018 Homecoming festivities, highlighted the lab’s twelve Bloomberg terminals and stock ticker – tools designed to give students hands-on experience and a competitive edge as they enter the workforce.

Students will be trained using Bloomberg Market Concepts software on Bloomberg terminals, the most widely used tool of its kind in the world. Those who complete the training program will receive certification in the software, which offers a wide array of data on businesses, analytics, financial variables, corporate governance and more. With twelve terminals, the Martin Family Finance Lab provides the largest degree of higher education access to Bloomberg tools in central Indiana.

Dr. Larry Belcher, dean of the School of Business, describes the $300,000 lab facility as an experiential learning device to serve as a framework for curriculum-building. The focus on applied learning ties in closely with the school’s ethos.

“This is a major development for the School of Business. For students who want to go into finance and other disciplines, having exposure to professional-grade tools and the opportunity to be certified in their use is huge,” Belcher said.

The lab acts as a contemporary “front door” to the new home of the School of Business on the first floor of Esch Hall. In addition to the Bloomberg terminals, which provide access to the software, an electronic ticker displays financial data, including the stocks in a student-managed portfolio and major market indices and news.

The UIndy Student Fund is one example of the School of Business’ approach to hands-on learning. Students in the one-semester class manage about $100,000 in a brokerage account. Belcher explained that they learn to research companies and make investment recommendations based on their research. If approved by their instructor, the Schwab custodian will execute the trades. While the students don’t actually trade, Belcher said they do have a fiduciary responsibility.

“You are now legally in charge of somebody else’s money. There are professional and ethical responsibilities that go along with that. They will be held accountable for the decisions they make,” Belcher explained.

The facility and capacity offered by the Martin Family Finance Lab will filter into a variety of areas in the School of Business curriculum, including a new graduate program in data analytics slated to begin in fall 2019. Belcher said there is also potential for interdisciplinary collaboration.

“Data management is a huge thing in health care. We’re looking at opportunities to utilize the capacity in cooperative ventures with other programs, primarily in the health professions,” Belcher said.

Through the Campaign for the University of Indianapolis, the generosity of more than 150 donors supported the creation of the Finance Lab. Major supporters included Stephen Fry, chair of the University Board of Trustees, who was instrumental in the project, along with Tom Martin; Joe and Kim Cathcart; John and Melissa Duffy; Jeff and Stacy Mitchell; Larry and Jane Keyler; and JP Morgan.

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