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.

Interprofessional Education Week emphasizes benefits of multidisciplinary learning

SimulationExerciseCollaboration is key in today’s healthcare settings, and the inaugural Interprofessional Education Week at the University of Indianapolis will highlight the benefits of this approach for students, faculty, medical professionals and patients alike.

Taking place Oct. 1-5, 2018, with many events open to the public, Interprofessional Education (IPE) Week is the brainchild of organizers from the College of Health Sciences, the School of Nursing and the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences. Students will have the opportunity to participate in classroom and extracurricular activities to learn about trending topics in various healthcare fields.

While many interdisciplinary events are hosted each academic year, this marks the first time that organizers are bringing them together in a single week.

“Interprofessional practice and education are critical components of working in healthcare. It’s very rare that we as healthcare professionals work in a silo, where we don’t interact with anyone else,” said Alison Nichols, assistant professor of occupational therapy and IPE Week organizer.

IPE Week features a kick-off event Oct. 1, and panel discussions on topics including addiction, health disparities and ethics, which are all open to the public. Dr. Brenda Howard, an assistant professor of occupational therapy who serves on the Ethics Commission for the American Occupational Therapy Association, will speak about the importance of ethics and how that affects everyone, regardless of their profession.

Other events are aimed specifically at students in healthcare-related fields, including a home assessment, an emergency simulation and the Diabetes Escape Room.

Briyana Morrell, assistant professor of nursing and IPE Week organizer, said the goal is to encourage students to consider how they will address various patient needs alongside colleagues in other professions.

“We have found that some students do not even know what another profession is, what those professionals do, or settings in which they work,” Morrell explained. “These purposeful learning activities break down barriers and facilitate learning about quality healthcare while learning about each other.”

Nichols provided the example of an inpatient rehabilitation floor of a hospital, where a patient might come into contact with a physician, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, a social worker, pharmacists, speech language pathologists, and more. She said everyone on the patient’s team needs to work together – and IPE Week helps students recognize the benefits of collaboration.

“All of us engage in ethical behavior and decision-making; we all need to recognize the roles that each member of the team can play; we all need to be able to communicate effectively; and we all have to be able to collaborate in order to give the patient the best client-centered care possible,” Nichols explained.

The interprofessional perspective pays dividends for faculty as well as student success. Emergency simulations held in 2016 and 2017 have served as the basis for several scholarly pursuits for UIndy faculty, and dozens of faculty have presented posters or talks on IPE at regional, national and international conferences.

“Many of the faculty who are organizing this event also have an article in press, another under review, and a final one near submission. What’s more, these events have helped faculty learn about each others’ professions, programs, students, and work,” Morrell said.

Morrell encouraged the entire campus community to be part of the inaugural IPE Week.

“Even if you think you know a lot about healthcare, you may find you don’t know as much as you think and have room to learn and grow.  It will benefit you, your profession, other students, and your patients,” she said.

The Interprofessional Education Week planning committee would like to thank the following sponsors: Lambda Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community, the Central Indiana Oncology Nursing Society and Community Health Network. Additional thanks to Zoll for cardiac resuscitative equipment.

Schedule of events (contact Alison Nichols with questions.)

Monday, Sept. 17

Event Location Time Audience
Diane Healey Geriatrician Lecture R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 4 p.m. Public. L/P credit available.

Monday, Oct. 1

Event Location Time Audience
Panel discussion: Addictions R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 9-11 a.m. Public
Kickoff event: Conceptions and Misconceptions: What do you Know about the Many Healthcare Professions? R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion noon-1 p.m. All healthcare students
Mock trial R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 2-4 p.m. Public
Ask ProEdge: Resume and Career Coaching Health Pavilion atrium 9-11 a.m.
1-3 p.m.
All students

Tuesday, Oct. 2

Event Location Time Audience
Home assessment CLC apartment 8:30-11 a.m. Invitation only
Emergency simulation Health Pavilion and Nicoson Hall gym Noon-3 p.m. Invitation only for nursing and athletic training students
Virtual Dementia Tour CAC Apartment Round 1: 5-6:30pm

Round 2: 6:30-8pm

Public

RSVP to adriank@uindy.edu

Wednesday, Oct. 3

Event Location Time Audience
Home assessment CLC apartment 8:30-11 a.m. Invitation only
Panel discussion: Solving Ethical Problems Interprofessionally R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 10-11:30 a.m. Public
Panel discussion: Interprofessional Practice: A Case Study with Community Health Network R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 5:30-6:30 p.m. Public
Diabetes Escape Room Simulation Space, Health Pavilion 1-3 pm Invitation only
IPE Ask the Recruiter (with ProEdge) R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 3-4:30 p.m. All students

Thursday, Oct. 4

Event Location Time Audience
Home assessment CLC apartment 8:30-11 a.m. Invitation only
Emergency simulation Health Pavilion 8-11 a.m.
12-3 p.m.
Invitation only for nursing and athletic training students
Panel discussion: Addictions R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 6-8 p.m. Public
Women in Leadership: Strategies and Successes (LP credit) UIndy Hall B 6-8 p.m. Public

(note related to sport industry)

Friday, Oct. 5

Event Location Time Audience
Panel discussion: Health Disparities R.B. Annis Theatre, Health Pavilion 9-10 a.m. Public
Diabetes Escape Room Simulation Space, Health Pavilion 1-3 pm Invitation only
Breaking Down Stereotypes with OT and PT Across Campus; HEAL 208 12-1pm Current OT and PT students only

 

University of Indianapolis hosts Inaugural Chief Diversity Officers Symposium

The University of Indianapolis will host the Inaugural Chief Diversity Officers Symposium Sept. 11-13, 2018. The event is organized by CoopLew, a collaboration of national diversity researchers, experts and former chief diversity officers focused on developing transformative diversity leadership.

University of Indianapolis Officer of Inclusion and Equity Sean Huddleston explained that the decision to host the symposium aligns with the goal of positioning the University as a recognized diversity, equity and inclusion leader.

“We believe that by serving as a convener and major contributor for these types of conversations and events, UIndy can help organizations and institutions connect to research theory and practices centered on advancing innovative strategies for leveraging their diversity,” Huddleston said.

Around 20 chief diversity officers from higher education institutions across the country will be immersed in strategic approaches to finance, budgeting and strategic diversity fundraising.

“More and more, this is becoming an area of responsibility and focus for higher education chief diversity officers to help bolster their efforts while mitigating budget and funding limitations,” explained Huddleston. “However, there hasn’t been a great deal of training emphasis offered on fundraising for CDOs to match the increasing demand for these skills. This symposium will offer a particular focus on developing fundraising skills and strategies.”

CoopLew approached Huddleston earlier this year at the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education conference about the possibility of hosting their 2nd annual CDO Bootcamp for new higher education chief diversity officers in February 2019.

“We agreed to host the bootcamp, but recognized an additional opportunity to host their inaugural CDO symposium as well. We discovered lots of mutual benefit and decided to move forward with hosting both events,” Huddleston said.

Huddleston expects the number of symposium participants to grow in future years, and is looking into the University hosting the event annually.

Marc Milne discovers new species of spider in Indiana cave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Islandiana lewisi

Islandiana lewisi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

University of Indianapolis Beyond Borders Team installing water stations in Texas borderlands

waterstation600BROOKS COUNTY, Texas – The University of Indianapolis Beyond Borders Team continues its humanitarian and scientific mission this month with the installation of water stations in South Texas. Led by Krista Latham, director of the University of Indianapolis Human Identification Center and associate professor of biology and anthropology, the team continued its collaboration with the South Texas Human Rights Center with the goal of preventing migrant deaths by installing the water stations.

Latham’s research and field work has brought national attention to the humanitarian crisis happening at the border. Since 2013, Latham and her graduate students on the Beyond Borders Team have been working with other organizations and universities to uncover remains from unmarked grave sites and identify the bodies of those who have died while making the journey to the United States.

Latham explained that the water stations are an important extension of the project’s ongoing work in South Texas.

Follow the Beyond Borders blog.

“Our work would not be necessary if there were not so many deaths in the desert due to overheating and dehydration.  This could partly be prevented by providing life-saving water. I believe our humanitarian aid contributions to this crisis are expressed in many different ways,” she said.

The group’s current trip to Brooks County involved the team successfully raising $750 to cover the cost of supplies for ten water stations. The students will prepare and set up the water stations at various locations throughout the county, which covers 944 square miles of brush land and desert.

“It is our hope that the donation and our work in setting up the new water stations will save countless lives,” Latham said.

The Beyond Borders Team will also participate in searches for the remains of those who died while crossing the border. If remains are located, Latham’s group will assist in recovering the remains so they can be identified and repatriated home.

As forensic specialists we volunteer a very specific skill set that contributes to the identification and repatriation of the unidentified migrants in the Texas Borderlands, but on a broader scale we are working to promote basic human rights. We are treating these individuals with dignity in death as we work towards giving them a name and a memory,” Latham said.

waterstation2For the students on the Beyond Borders Team, the trip is an opportunity to participate in a real world application of scholarly knowledge, skills and humanitarianism.  

“This opportunity represents hands-on training in the practice of global citizenship by empowering the students to utilize their education in a way that operates to promote a sense of common humanity and social responsibility. Promoting human rights and working for social justice in this unique situation will provide UIndy students the opportunity to grow professionally and personally,” Latham said.

Angela Zimmer, who is pursuing a master’s degree in human biology, is a team rookie on the trip.

“We are so proud of all we were able to achieve, but the reason for our work here has not been lost on us. The water stations we built today may save lives. The searches we conduct may help bring loved ones back to their families. Did we put in a lot of work today? Absolutely, but our work here is not finished. We’ve reached one goal but we’re only just getting started,” she said.

Follow the Beyond Borders blog.

 

Sociology Chair Amanda Miller garners national attention with housework study

Amanda Miller

Amanda Miller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis sociology program.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about the research here.

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

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