A few minutes with … Phillip Tennant furniture artisan lecturer Sarah Marriage

By John Schwarb, IU Communications specialist

Sarah Marriage, a Baltimore, Maryland-based maker of fine furniture and other wooden objects, is visiting the Herron School of Art and Design on Monday, Feb. 27, as part of the Phillip Tennant Furniture Artisan Lecture Series. She’s a few weeks from opening “A Workshop of Our Own” in her hometown, a space where female furniture-makers can come together in a supportive environment. She talked with IU Communications about the new shop, baby rattles, how students can get started in the field, and today’s “disposable” furniture.

Q: What inspired you to found “A Workshop of Our Own”?

SM: When I worked in structural engineering, I was in a predominantly female firm, which was a cocoon — I didn’t realize how lucky I was. Then I went to wood school. With four women and 19 men, I didn’t feel a sense of being an “other,” but then I went out into the real world of fabricating furniture, where it’s so majority male.

Sarah Marriage

Sarah Marriage

Culturally, we have this sense that people who work with wood are the working-man type, and there’s a stereotype and romance around this masculine thing, even in shops and cities. It’s uncommon to find a shop with more than one woman, if that. For students like those at Herron, it might be more than 50 percent women in these design programs, but in the real world, going to the lumberyard and bidding on jobs, you’re in a very small minority. Even for those who want women in the field, it’s the default; they just don’t expect you to be a woodworker, and they maybe don’t think you’re as legit. I founded “A Workshop of Our Own” to increase numbers and provide a place for women in the workforce who are discouraged and consider dropping out — to have a place they can go to say “it doesn’t have to be that way” — and for women who never would have gotten into it because they’re too intimidated by the sawmill environment.

Working in an all-women and gender-nonconforming environment actually removes the stigma of gender stereotype. So from the outside, we appear focused on gender, but inside the shop, we’re just woodworkers who aren’t having to deal with constantly being confronted by any gender stereotypes.

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IUPUI class prepares next generation of civic leaders

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI has launched a new course that will help prepare the next generation of civic leaders in Indianapolis.

Called the Indy Community Development Network, the course is the first of its kind at IUPUI, giving students an introduction to many of the tools utilized in community development, said Marshawn Wolley, director of the school’s community engagement and strategic initiatives.

Marshawn Wolley

Marshawn Wolley

Students are learning  about:

  • “People” and “place” community-development strategies and social policy issues including socioeconomic disparities, gentrification, and the role of social justice in thinking about communities
  • How nonprofit and business leaders develop residential or commercial properties for areas of a city or neighborhood to improve affordability and make areas more attractive for further investment
  • How local social entrepreneurs are collaborating with communities to wrestle with their most pressing challenges by designing programs or community initiatives to enhance the quality of life for residents

“The course is for students interested in social justice who are trying to figure out how to make that their career,” Wolley said. The course, which meets weekly in February, is open to SPEA students who have completed at least 60 hours of coursework.

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Seven new academic programs coming to campus this fall

Post by John Schwarb and Rich Schneider, IU Communications media specialists:

If you’re on this page, you might already know that Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis offers more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Come this fall, there will be a few more.

Here’s a look at seven new academic programs from a variety of IUPUI schools:

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IUPUI researcher looks to texts to increase empathy among physicians

“Do no harm” are words often associated with the oath taken by physicians when they become practitioners. Amber Comer’s research may add another phrase: Be nice.

As an assistant professor with the Department of Health Sciences in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at IUPUI, Comer is conducting research into a new way  for increasing empathy among physicians.

The need to do so has been identified by the IU School of Medicine and others within the health care profession.

Amber Comer

Amber Comer

“You can be extremely bright, an excellent learner and an outstanding physician but absolutely lack empathy, which has implications for patient care, Comer says: “At the end of the day, a patient doesn’t really know if you are a great doctor. They just know if you were empathetic, if you were nice to them.”

Comer is collecting data for a study that has several components, including one in which she is evaluating how empathetic neurologists are when they speak with family members of patients who have experienced a traumatic stroke.

After observing the conversation, she interviews the doctor and the family members, asking the doctor if he or she believes they were using empathetic statements and the family members if they think the physician had been empathetic.

Comer has found that sometimes physicians think they are being extremely empathetic, but family members don’t feel the same way.

“We’re collecting information on what empathy looks like from the physician’s perspective and what it looks like from the patient’s perspective,” Comer said.

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IUPUI School of Liberal Arts museum studies partnership comes to life in new exhibit

By John Schwarb, IU Communications specialist:

In the annals of Indiana crime, Nancy Clem has a singular place in history: first woman convicted of murder. She was believed to have been a loan shark and a Ponzi schemer (long before the term was invented), and her role in a double murder — and subsequent multiple trials — made her a celebrity criminal.

One hundred and fifty years later, she’s one of three inviting subjects for a museum exhibit.

“New Women of the Harrison Era,” a new exhibit running through Oct. 31 at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, features Clem and two other women with connections to the former president. The exhibit was conceptualized by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis students in the School of Liberal Arts museum studies program, with the collection, compiling and displaying of artifacts by Katelyn Coyne, 2016 curatorial fellow and museum studies MA candidate.

It’s the first Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site “New Century Curator” exhibit, the result of a partnership with IUPUI.

Visitors can take a selfie with Frances Benjamin Johnston in a studio resembling what hers might have looked like.

Visitors can take a selfie with Frances Benjamin Johnston in a studio resembling what hers might have looked like.

“When the Presidential Site came to us with the idea to partner, it was an easy decision to get on board,” said Elee Wood, director of museum studies at the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts. “Our objective is to help grow a new generation of museum professionals through collaborative training and hands-on experience with innovative exhibit planning, curatorial research, education and collections, so this was a great opportunity to do just that.”

In addition to Clem (whose trials were handled by Harrison’s law firm), also spotlighted are Frances Benjamin Johnston, who pioneered the role of official White House photographer beginning with Harrison’s term; and Belva Lockwood, who ran against Harrison for the presidency in 1888 and became the first woman to receive votes for the nation’s highest office.

“This timely exhibit gives an important glimpse into that era,” said Charles Hyde, president and CEO of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. “It defies expectations for what women were doing at that time to assert their own rights. It’s surprising to see the common thread and how each story intertwines with Harrison’s at the dawn of the modern era.”

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IUPUI professor helps PBS series ‘Mercy Street’ accurately portray Civil War hospital drama

Like millions of other viewers, English professor Jane Schultz couldn’t wait to watch the second season of “Mercy Street,” the PBS Civil War-era hospital drama, beginning Jan. 22.

Inspired by real events in Alexandria, Virginia, and based on diaries and letters of hospital staff, the series has the ring of authority. As one of four full-time advisors to “Mercy Street,” Schultz, a literary scholar and cultural historian who has spent nearly 30 years revealing the world of Civil War hospitals and medicine, contributes her extensive knowledge of that period to make it so.

“Mercy Street” is PBS’s first original drama in more than a decade. Nearly 6 million viewers watched the first season’s premiere a year ago.

The series’ producers invited Schultz to come to Richmond, Virginia, where “Mercy Street” hospital scenes are shot. She spent a week and a half last June watching scenes for the second season being filmed in an old girls school that serves as the show’s Mansion House Hospital.

She not only watched, but joined the cast as an extra for one scene.

Jane Schultz in period costume

Jane Schultz in period costume

If the scene isn’t cut, viewers will see Schultz for about 15 seconds in the background, talking to a patient in a wheelchair and then walking away from him.

While the scene is only seconds long, it took three hours for her to be dressed in a corset and hoop skirt and have her hair and makeup done.

Schultz plans to write about the insights that experience gave her into the position of women in the 19th century for the series’ blog. “It gave me a new insight by walking in their shoes, quite literally,” she said. Read more…

A welcoming campus in historic Melaka, Malaysia

UTeM rolled out the red carpet for the IUPUI delegation’s visit

UTeM rolled out the red carpet for the IUPUI delegation’s visit.

By Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

UTeM students outside of the Chancellery Building greet the IUPUI delegation with a traditional Malaysian greeting.

UTeM students outside of the Chancellery Building greet the IUPUI delegation with a traditional Malaysian greeting.

Although business in the United States took David Russomanno, dean of the School of Engineering and Techology, back to the United States, the last day for the rest of the IUPUI delegation was truly remarkable. We traveled to the University Technical Malaysia Melaka, known as UTeM, and Chancellor Nasser Paydar was surprised and pleased to be greeted with his likeness at the campus gateway.

Following that first surprise, the delegation enjoyed a traditional greeting called silat and gamelan — martial arts and musical performances, respectively — presented by UTeM students with the support of staff.

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IUPUI delegation begins day with Ministry of Education meeting and ends day with a work of art on a plate

The IUPUI delegation with the Ministry of Education Community College Division

With arms across their chests, the IUPUI delegation joins colleagues at the Ministry of Education Community College Division in signaling the ministry’s “soaring upward” goal.

By Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Chancellor Paydar with Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail, and Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly.

Chancellor Paydar with Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail, and Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly.

Did a little rain in the afternoon dampen the spirits of the IUPUI delegation in Malaysia? Not one bit. From the morning at the Ministry of Education Community College Division to the afternoon with Datuk Professor Asma Ismail, vice chancellor at Universiti Sains Malaysia, to the evening with the Yong family, the IUPUI delegation took the rain in stride.

The first meeting took place at the Ministry of Education in Putrajaya. If you are trying to envision the city, imagine if Washington, D.C., had been built about 20 years ago, so you have buildings that reflect the dignity and solidity of those in D.C. but with modern twists. The meeting was a productive exchange of ideas about the future of IUPUI partnerships in Malaysia, with a specific focus on engineering and technology graduates and online education.

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IUPUI delegation to Malaysia meets with IUPUI, IU Bloomington alumni

Post by Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

Monday evening found the IUPUI delegation to Malaysia at the beautiful Royale Chulan Hotel. A curving, wide marble staircase took us to the second floor where 25-30 alumni from IUPUI and IU Bloomington welcomed us to an incredible evening of memories, laughter and conversation. It was a little bit of the Hoosier state right here in Kuala Lumpur, and we were grateful to be embraced so warmly by the Malaysia Chapter of the IU Alumni Association.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended, but special thanks go to Roslan Shafei, president of the Malaysian Chapter of the IUAA, and to Mien Dee Yong, who did so much to make this evening a warm and inviting reminder of our alma mater.

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IUPUI delegation visits UNITEN, a long-time educational partner

Post by Becky Wood, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications:

Monday, Jan. 16, 2016

Picture this: traffic at a standstill in one direction, and barely tapping the brakes going the other. This was the road to Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) this morning, and the IUPUI delegation was traveling the right direction, barely needing the brakes on the way to UNITEN. When Chancellor Paydar first visited the campus in the mid 1990s, it had only one building. It appeared little changed on this visit. But the rest of the campus has unfolded like a beautiful flower. In fact, one colleague there mentioned that they had modeled the architecture on buildings at IUPUI

Dr. Kumaran Palanisamy laughs with IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Payday and delegation.

Dr. Kumaran Palanisamy, a former student of Chancellor Paydar, shares a laugh with the IUPUI delegation during the visit to UNITEN.

A surprise to some, this statement finds its roots in the partnership between UNITEN and IUPUI that dates back to UNITEN’s earliest days as a campus. IUPUI helped shape curriculum there, has hosted hundreds of UNITEN students over the years, and has advised on information technology infrastructure. In fact, Dr. Ali Jafari, who helped build the UNITEN’s first network infrastructure, said he knows where everything is hidden on their campus.

One of the highlights of the visit was an impromptu reunion between Chancellor Paydar and his former student Kumaran Palanisamy, who is now an associate professor and Director of the Institute of Sustainable Energy at UNITEN, similar to the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at IUPUI. The chancellor joked that he had brought some of Kumaran’s old tests to share and discuss.

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