BTOWN Banter Just another IU News Blogs Sites site Fri, 03 Mar 2017 19:20:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bloomington Symphony Orchestra collaborates with IU’s Latin American Music Center Fri, 03 Mar 2017 15:02:02 +0000 Post by IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert, presented in collaboration with Indiana University’s Latin American Music Center, at 7:30 p.m. March 4 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

The entire Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra at a previous concert. Photo courtesy of Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

The concert, titled “Scene Change: Untold Musical Stories from Latin America,” will feature selections from the Latin American Music Center library. The performance will include the world premiere of a piece titled “Ash Wednesday” by Chilean composer Juan Orrego-Salas, the founder of the Latin American Music Center.

“Pizza – lovely, delicious pizza – played a role in the genesis of this collaboration,” said Donna Lafferty, executive director of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

The symphony committee responsible for selecting the music to perform during the year frequents Mother Bear’s Pizza for its meetings. Lafferty said the symphony’s most successful events often involve collaboration, so the idea proposed at one of these meetings by committee member Christine Wisch to collaborate with IU’s Latin American Music Center was well received.

Wisch – a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at the Jacobs School of Music, staff member at the Latin American Music Center and violinist in the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra – was well aware of the music the center offered when Lafferty suggested finding a collaboration partner for the next season.

“I thought this collaboration would offer the Latin American Music Center a chance to highlight some of its rare holdings, while also providing orchestra musicians and audience members the chance to discover some really great music and composers,” Wisch said. “I think it’s important to introduce this music to musicians and audiences alike to show how rich and diverse this literature really is.”

Javier León, director of the Latin American Music Center, has been looking for opportunities to broadly promote Latin American music repertoires.

“One of the main motivations for this partnership was to bring audiences a much broader and diverse sense of what Latin American music can be,” León said. “Our partnership has given us an opportunity to champion important and musically diverse voices from Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru – voices that have not been heard enough within the art music world.”

Broadening cultural perspectives through music is a particular goal of Bloomington Symphony Orchestra artistic director Alejandro Gomez Guillén, who has a personal connection to some of the music included in the concert.

Guillén grew up in Bogota, Colombia, surrounded by music, and he often listened to his grandfather’s family choir rehearse. In November, he called his mother to tell her that he had attended a concert in Bloomington and Juan Orrego-Salas was in the audience. Orrego-Salas composed one of their favorite pieces, “Romance Segundo.”

Alejandro Gómez Guillén conducts at a previous concert.

Alejandro Gómez Guillén, artistic director of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, conducts at a previous concert. Photo courtesy of Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

“Here I was, in the same room as this great man and brilliant composer, so of course I told my mother and she just started crying on the phone,” Guillén said.

The music planned for the concert spans the 20th century, from 1904 to 1999, and is geared toward South America. Two of the included composers are still living, including Orrego-Salas, who is scheduled to be in attendance.

“Orrego-Salas is a known figure in music. It’s quite an honor to have him attend,” Guillén said.

“I’ve fallen in love with all of these pieces while studying them,” he added. “I have a great sense of responsibility in doing it well. The audience deserves the best from any concert, but it would be hypocritical to shy away from a huge part of my identity.”

Additionally, Guillén wants to challenge the audience to look past stereotypes of Latin American music to the rich symphonic pieces that are also a part of Latin America’s music culture. He also believes that symphonic music should be inclusive of a wide audience.

“We need to think more like pop artists and recognize their accessibility,” Guillén said.

He added that a repertoire of Latin American music that deviates from the expected is a risk, since many titles and composers are not recognizable, but Bloomington’s mix of cultures translates into a community open to learning more about cultures with which they are unfamiliar.

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra makes many of its performances educationally rich and conversational to give context to the music performed. Guillén said that patrons should “come as they are,” adding that the Buskirk-Chumley Theater offers popcorn.

Tickets for the concert are available via the Buskirk-Chumley website and in person at the box office. More about the music included in the repertoire for “Scene Change,” including links to other recordings of some of the music, is available on the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s website. Details about other upcoming performances are also available online.

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IU honors those who capture the vision, spirit and leadership of MLK Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:56:45 +0000 Post by April Toler, who normally writes for the Student Experience and Health & Vitality blogs:

Hundreds of Indiana University administrators, faculty, staff and students, alongside members of the Bloomington community, gathered Monday to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the university’s annual MLK Leadership Breakfast.

building bridges

Honoree’s of the 2017 Building Bridges Award: Mary Ann Tellas, Stanley Njuguna, Larry Gonzalez, Amrita Chakrabarti Myers and Willy Palomo. Photo by IU Communications

During the ceremony, five special participants were honored with the Building Bridges Award, which recognizes people who capture King’s vision, spirit and leadership.

“The recipients of these awards are students, faculty, staff, and members of the community who have embodied the vision, spirit, and legacy of Dr. King through their selfless work and actions,” said James Wimbush, vice president of diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and dean of the University Graduate School. “Each of the recipients has demonstrated passion for change, dedication to empowering others and leadership in promoting the values of unity, equity and diversity at Indiana University and in the city of Bloomington.

“All five of our honorees have truly exemplified the theme of this year’s celebration: ‘The Power of One.’ Each of them has demonstrated that through courageous and compassionate work, we can improve the lives of others. Not only have they furthered the causes of diversity and inclusion on campus and in the community, but they have emulated the values that Dr. King lived by in doing so.”

This year’s Building Bridges Awards winners:

  • Stanley Njuguna, a sophomore majoring in law and public policy, is this year’s undergraduate recipient. Njuguna is heavily engaged in campus and community activism; is the founder and leading member of the IU Students for a Democratic Society; member of the IU Policy Debate team; conflict mediator for Students Against State Violence and a protective order assistant/legal advocate for Middle Way House. He describes himself as a lover of riveting documentaries, science, dogs, anything with melody and rhythm, dry humor and, of course, progress. 
  • Willy Palomo, a Masters of Fine Art student in poetry and Master of Arts student in Latin American and Caribbean studies, is this year’s graduate student recipient. The son of two undocumented immigrants from El Salvador, Palomo graduated with an English and honors degree from Westminster College in 2015, where he received the Trustees’ Character Award for his work teaching at local Title 1 schools. At IU, he teaches creative writing; helps lead the UndocuHoosier Alliance; runs the Bloomington Poetry Slam and writes books reviews for Muzzle Magazine. In 2016, he was named the runner-up Latin@ Scholar at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry. His poems are published or forthcoming in “HeArt Online: Human Equity Through Art,” “The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States,” and more.
  • Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, a Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor in the Departments of History and Gender Studies, is this year’s faculty recipient. Myers earned her doctorate in U.S. history from Rutgers University, specializing in African-American history and women’s history. A historian of the black female experience, she is interested in race, gender, sexuality, power, freedom and citizenship and the ways in which these constructs intersect with one another in the lives of black women. Myers is an author and recipient of several awards including the 2012 Phyllis Wheatley Book Prize from the North East Black Studies Association; the 2012 Julia Cherry Spruill Book Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians and the 2011 Anna Julia Cooper-C.L.R. James Book Prize from the National Council for Black Studies. She is heavily involved on and off campus, helping organize a symposium a 2014 sympoisum at IU titled “Rights and Retrospectives: The Civil Rights Act at 50,” and was lead organizer of “It’s Not So Black and White: Talking Race, From Ferguson to Bloomington,” a campus/community Black Lives Matter teach-in and justice fair that took place in 2015. Myers is a high-demand speaker and is regularly interviewed in the media.
  • Larry Gonzalez, interim senior associate director of diversity, recruitment and outreach at IU, is this year’s staff recipient. Gonzalez has been at IU since 1983 as part of IU Bloomington’s Office of Admissions. Gonzalez has conceived multiple strategies and collaborated with other departments to improve the recruitment and retention of underrepresented populations on the Bloomington campus, even before attaining his current role as the senior associate director for diversity recruitment and outreach. He has received recognition from several organizations, including the Indiana Association for College Admissions Counseling and IU’s own Groups Scholars Program.
  • Mary Ann Tellas, a high school biology teacher in Indianapolis, is this year’s community recipient. Tellas grew up in Bloomington and graduated from IU with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in science education. While at IU, she was mentored by the late James Holland, one of the namesakes of the IU Hudson & Holland Scholars Program. Tellas has carried on Holland’s legacy through the summer science research program he started, helping scores of underrepresented minority high school students from across the state become exposed to scientific research at an early age. Due to her guidance, many of them have gone on to advanced degrees and professional careers in the sciences.
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IU World’s Fare to celebrate international students’ cultures and traditions Fri, 28 Oct 2016 18:17:50 +0000 world's fare

Members of Indonesian Student Association perform during a previous IU World’s Fare. Photo by IU Communications.

Guest post by April Toler, who regularly writes for the Student Experience and Health & Vitality blogs:

Indiana University Bloomington will celebrate a night of cultural displays, international food and traditional performances at the 10th annual IU World’s Fare from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 11.

Hosted by the IU Office of International Services and IU Union Board, the free event is in celebration of International Education Week. Doors will open to the public at 6 p.m. at Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St.

“World’s Fare is the signature event for International Education Week,” said Mai-Lin Poon, associate director of student life. “It brings together the IU community to share in the rich and diverse culture that exists in our campus community and allows for students to share and celebrate their cultural heritage with others through performances, interactive activities and food.”

world's fare

Members of the African Student Association at a booth during the Fare. Photo by IU Communications

A total of 24 student organizations, representing cultures from throughout the world, will participate in a cultural booth/interactive activity. The night will also feature 12 performances from groups such as the Filipino Student Association, Central Asia Dance Group, International Latin Ibero American Student Association, HooSher Bhangra and the Malaysian Student Association.

Visitors will have an opportunity to sample and enjoy international food throughout the evening. All recipes are submitted by international students and prepared by IMU Dining Services staff. They are later shared online in the IU World’s Fare cookbook.

This year, organizers have also added an IU International Late Nite to the event. Taking place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., the event will feature international trivia, board games, a tea tasting, Bollywood fusion dance classes, karaoke and international short films.

“Each year the event gets bigger and better,” Poon said. “People love interacting with our students, watching exciting performances and tasting food from all over the world. There are some people that have never missed a World’s Fare.”

The event is all part of IU’s celebration of International Education Week, a worldwide celebration of the millions of people who improve global understanding through exchange programs and one of the largest multicultural events of the year at IU Bloomington.

world's fare

The Chinese Student and Scholar Association is one of the groups who will take part in this year’s Fare. Photo by IU Communications.

As part of the celebration, a number of activities, including live dance and music, lectures, art exhibits, film screenings and more will take place throughout the week at various locations on campus.

IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and the School of Global and International Studies are also hosting a study abroad resource fair as part of the week-long activities. Taking place from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 12, the fair will allow students to learn more about study abroad opportunities.

A full listing of events is available online.

“At Indiana University, the week affords a unique opportunity to highlight the rich array of countries and cultures represented among our international student and visiting scholar populations, while also focusing on efforts of the campus to prepare all IU graduates for their roles as citizens in our increasingly interconnected world,” said Christopher Viers, associate vice president for international services. “All members of the IU and Bloomington communities are encouraged to join us for this year’s 18th anniversary week of programs and events and see first-hand why IU is truly a global university.”

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‘Sing With Pride’ honors and celebrates LGBTQ people Fri, 07 Oct 2016 17:35:48 +0000

Post courtesy of IU newsroom intern Sheila Raghavendran:

Jacobs School of Music graduate student Synthia Steiman and second-year master’s student Chris Seefeldt organized Sing With Pride, a recital of graduate voice students celebrating the experiences of LGBTQ people and honoring the victims of the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Steiman, Seefeldt and Lauren McQuistin, one of the recital’s performers, talk about the inspiration and importance of the event.

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Farewell to a fan: Grafton Trout was a true connoisseur of art, cinema and the humanities Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:33:10 +0000 Grafton Trout 2014

Grafton Trout watches intently as Josephine Decker and Russell Sheaffer create an experimental film live in front of the audience Oct. 3, 2014 at IU Cinema. Photo by Eric Rudd.

Post courtesy of Karen Land, IU Communications arts specialist:

Even if you didn’t know Grafton Trout, you might know his face.

He was one of Indiana University’s greatest fans.

Instead of Assembly Hall or Memorial Stadium, you might have found him at a lecture hall, the Lilly Library, IU Cinema or what is now the Eskenazi Museum of Art. He was everywhere.

Grafton kept a particularly vigorous schedule attending arts and cultural events on the IU campus, together with his wife, Laura, and often alone.

IU Cinema director Jon Vickers described him as “the most intellectually curious man that I have ever met.”

Grafton Trout passed away July 30, 2016, at the age of 87.

A former sociology professor and later director of the IU Bloomington honors program in foreign languages, he earned master’s degrees in sociology then economics at IU in the 1960s before earning his sociology Ph.D. in 1971.

In recent years, Grafton was an art museum docent (“He was our patriarch”) and a staunch supporter of fine film. He had been scheduled to speak at the Eskenazi Museum earlier this month. Instead, Tom Rhea led his “Must Art Be Beautiful?” tour, dedicating it to his good friend.

At many cultural events this fall, one seat looks particularly empty. When I glance around IU Cinema, I still expect to see Grafton there, taking it all in.

* * *


Grafton was, without a doubt, IU Cinema’s most dedicated patron and the most intellectually curious man that I have ever met. He was a model for anyone who has an appetite for culture. He will be greatly missed by everyone at the cinema — staff, students, other guests and visiting filmmakers.

There are few people in Bloomington, if any, who have seen as many international films as Grafton. As a programmer, he kept you on your toes.

We were able to bring some of his cinematic idols to him, which he loved, and he almost always asked our guest filmmakers questions during the audience Q&As.

— Jon Vickers, Indiana University Cinema director

* * *

I spent more time talking to Grafton before and after the films, than I did my girlfriend. He was (IU Cinema’s) fifth Beatle.

— Matt Starr, IU Bloomington graduate, class of 2013

* * *

Grafton was such a loyal and committed museum and arts supporter. It was very rare indeed if he missed an event and he always asked such engaging questions. Over the years my admiration for his continual quest to learn just grew. He will be greatly missed.

— Heidi Gealt, Eskenazi Museum of Art director emerita

* * *

While I was the executive director of the Friends of Art, an organization that supports IU fine arts students, Grafton Trout was in my office every week, sometimes every day.

Grafton Trout 1980

Grafton Trout, 1980. Photo courtesy of IU Archives.

He loved to haunt the bookstore across the hall from my office. He knew my name from my years of writing art reviews for the Bloomington Independent. He was supportive of all our initiatives, with a near-perfect attendance record for lectures, auctions, openings, studio visits and trips.

Nearly every trip I organized had some counsel and input from Grafton. In addition, we roomed together on every trip he took since we were often the only men traveling alone. He “packed” light for these trips, (with) everything in one narrow briefcase. On the train from the airport to the hotel in Washington D. C., he pushed the case into my arms as we came to the stop for the (National) Mall and told me to stow it in our room. He jumped out at an earlier stop because he couldn’t bear to waste time on checking in that could be spent at the museum! On the return, his limited luggage required him to parcel out to other travelers the dozen or so art books he had purchased.

Even after he slowed down with the years, and gave the impression of being more frail, he could amaze you with his acuity. He lectured without notes in the gallery that featured some of the marvelous Japanese woodblock prints from his collection, with a precision for places, names and 50-year-old publications that was astonishing.

Grafton’s widow Laura told me that when he retired from teaching, he regarded his pursuit of art to be his new profession.

He was a great mind, a great man, and a great friend.

— Tom Rhea, artist, illustrator and Eskenazi Museum docent

* * *

Grafton impressed me as being such a knowledgeable person and graciously shared his expertise with all of us.

— Linda Heath, Eskenazi Museum of Art docent

* * *

Grafton Trout was a loyal supporter and an enthusiastic cheerleader for The Ryder Film Series from day one. In the early ’80s, he helped pave the way for us to host screenings on campus. I can say unequivocally that Grafton holds the record for “Most Ryder Films Attended.” And it’s a record, I’m certain, that will never be broken. Grafton was the Cal Ripken of moviegoers. I’m sure that other arts and campus organizations would say something similar, although they might avoid the baseball analogy.

He always had something of interest to say — a quip or an observation or a story to tell — not only to me but to our ticket takers and projectionists, some of whom were aspiring filmmakers. Grafton always took a sincere interest in their film projects and, more significantly, in their lives, and offered words of encouragement about the work they were doing.

Grafton usually attended Ryder films on campus but occasionally he came to Bear’s Place. I recall one such visit in the 1990s. At that time, we screened our movies on 16mm film, with two projectors side by side, each loaded with a film reel. Our projectionist that night had failed to lock the second reel into place, and so when we made the switch from Reel 1 to 2, it soon slipped off of the projector and landed on the head of one of our patrons — Grafton.

Grafton Trout with group at reception

Grafton Trout, right, speaks with IU Cinema’s Barbara Ann O’Leary at the “From Cinematic Past to Fast Forward Present” symposium in November 2015.

Those reels were heavy, and I was concerned that Grafton might be seriously hurt. Someone went to get a glass of water. Meanwhile, I could see a prominent bright red welt emerging through his scalp – his hair was thin, even then. I asked if he was OK and he didn’t answer – he just stared straight ahead and downward with a look of distress in his eyes. I followed his gaze and there, several feet away, on the floor, under a table, was the reel of film. After landing on Grafton’s head it had rolled between several chairs, under a table, and was now beginning to unravel at an alarming rate. We both just stared for several seconds as foot upon foot of film spun away the reel and formed a spaghetti-like pile on the floor. Suddenly Grafton leaped from his seat and was on his hands and knees, reaching under the table to rescue the reel of film – I hadn’t realized he could move that fast. And rescue it he did. We reassembled the reel and resumed the screening; one of the servers bought Grafton a drink on the house. (This was probably not proper concussion protocol.)

This is what made Grafton special: He had little concern for his own well-being that night; his only concern was in the value and integrity of the performance. The show must go on. He was much more than someone who bought a ticket and attended an event – he was an active participant, he was invested, emotionally and intellectually…. Grafton had all of the wit and enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity and optimism of a much younger man. He had a kind word for everyone. He will be missed.

— Peter LoPilato, The Ryder magazine and film series founder, publisher and curator

IU Communications has collected these remembrances and personal stories about Grafton Trout — and many others — in an unabridged tribute PDF

Grafton Trout at Beth B lecture 2015

Grafton Trout attended Beth B’s excellent anti-violence talk “Psychotic to Erotic,” which was presented as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series Feb. 6, 2015.

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IU’s Pi Lambda Phi fraternity hosting Elimination of Prejudice Week Mon, 12 Sep 2016 19:51:28 +0000 IU student Bennett Wheeler explains the Wall of Prejudice to a passing student.

IU sophomore Bennett Wheeler, left, explains the Wall of Prejudice to a passing student. Photo by IU Communications.

Guest post by April Toler, who regularly writes for the Student Experience and Health & Vitality blogs:

The words written on “The Wall of Prejudice” — a portable wall where Indiana University students can write words or phrases that are offensive to them — are harsh and sometimes shocking.

“Bossy.” “Fat.” “Retarded.” “Slut.” “Stupid.”

While seeing such words can be uncomfortable for some, the point of it is necessary, said Pi Lambda Phi member Thomas Mandel. The fraternity is hosting the wall as part of this week’s Elimination of Prejudice Week.

“The purpose of the wall is really to raise awareness to the injustice in our current society and to the sometimes off-handed things people can say that can be hurtful,” said Mandel, a senior at the Kelley School of Business. “Students can write something on the wall they want to see eliminated and can take a moment to reflect on some of their behavior they might not be aware of.”

Throughout Elimination of Prejudice Week, Pi Lambda Phi, in collaboration with on-campus organizations and departments, is hosting a number of panel discussions that will address issues such as mental health, gender identity, Islamophobia and environmental racism.

IU student Mary Patton write on the Wall of Prejudice

Mary Patton, a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, writes a prejudicial word on the Wall of Prejudice. Photo by IU Communications.

“These discussions are important because they are not just someone speaking to you; we want people to ask questions, give their opinions and really open up a dialogue around these issues,” said fraternity member Jack Arnold, a junior studying informatics.

The activities will wrap up Friday with a wall teardown event, featuring guest speaker Kand McQueen, a motivational speaker who focuses on transgenderism and intersexuality. The group will literally tear down the wall in a symbolic gesture of tearing down and eliminating prejudice.

Mandel said he hopes the series of events provides students and the IU community an opportunity to talk about these sometimes sensitive topics and feel empowered to do more.

“Our intention is to have a week of events that is intensive so we really get the dialogue going,” Mandel said. “We want to start the conversation and have students keep that conversation going throughout the year.”

Elimination of Prejudice Week events and activities:

  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 12 to 15: “The Wall” will be at various locations. Monday and Tuesday it will be at 10th Street and Fee Lane, across from the Kelley School of Business; Wednesday it will be near the Woodburn Clock Tower; and Thursday it will be at the Neal-Marshall Clock Tower.
  • 7 p.m. Sept. 12: A discussion on “Breaking the Gender Binary” at the Indiana Memorial Union State Room East.
  • 6 p.m. Sept. 13: A discussion on mental health stigma at Ballantine Hall Room 228.
  • 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14: A discussion on Islamophobia. Featured speaker is Zaineb Istrabadi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in IU Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences.
  • 6 p.m. Sept. 15: A discussion on environmental racism at the Global and International Studies Building, Room 1128.
  • 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16: “Wall Teardown,” from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Dunn Meadow. Kand McQueen  will be the guest speaker.
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Home is where your tribe is Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:19:46 +0000 IUisHomeNEWEDIT

Post courtesy of Janae Cummings, strategic communications specialist with the IU Office of the Provost: 

Think back to the moment you found your tribe. Your people. The ones who supported you, pushed you, laughed and cried with you, and made you feel like you belonged. We find our tribes in different places and different ways. But none are so important as the ones we find during periods of transition and change.

These experiences define life at Indiana University. They’re how we grow, evolve and become who we’re meant to be. But when you can’t find your footing — when you can’t find your tribe — the questions flood in. Am I on the right path? Are there really people out there I can relate to? Is this the place for me?

In those times, when the outlook seems dark and self-doubt creeps in, #IUisHome shines through with the answer: Yes. Keep going. You belong here.

#IUisHome launched in mid-August with profiles of Hoosiers from diverse backgrounds, cultures and experiences. From undergraduates to alumni, the tie that binds these individuals isn’t courage in the face of adversity or perseverance when the going gets rough; it’s the thoughtful words and actions that guide their peers in the right direction. For the unmoored, these acts often serve as a lighthouse in a sea of uncertainty, spelling the difference between merely surviving and succeeding.

Story after story, helping others find their place comes down to the little things: the simple words of encouragement or reassurance, the invitation to Starbucks for coffee, the proactive step to act as a mentor. They’re simple and small, but they’re the things we need to find our tribes — our community — and our sense of belonging. Isn’t that what home is all about?

For the following Hoosiers, #IUisHome:

And as the new academic year kicks off at IU Bloomington, we welcome home the new Class of 2020 to campus where #IUisHome.


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Remembering Dick Bishop Wed, 04 May 2016 13:31:59 +0000 Guest post by Steve Hinnefeld, who regularly blogs at Policy Briefings.  

Indiana University and the Bloomington community suffered a great loss Monday night with the death of Dick Bishop, a longtime IU Foundation official and WFIU jazz host.

Bishop shared his love for and encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and American popular song with WFIU listening audiences for over 50 years. He was also a valued employee and great friend of IU; he was a key member of the IU Foundation leadership team from 1988 to 2005.

Dick Bishop.

Dick Bishop.

He was many things: A lover of music, a baseball fan, a devoted husband, a regular at Nick’s English Hut. Most of all, friends and co-workers knew him as a thoughtful, dependable and gracious person who would see the people at the heart of every campaign, performance and event.

“There was not a single program developed for which he did not remind all of us that we were dealing with individual people, not statistics,” said Curt Simic, IU Foundation president emeritus and Bishop’s close friend. “The university and foundation could not have been served better and with more loyalty than they were served by Dick.”

Bishop presented jazz as a volunteer host at WFIU, the Bloomington public radio station, starting in the 1950s; he started as a student announcer and moved on to create and host “The Big Bands,” “Afterglow” and “Standards by Starlight,” the latter a celebration of American popular song.

When he returned to WFIU in 2012 after a seven-year absence, an article in the station’s newsletter said, regarding “Afterglow,” that he took the title from a composition by pianist Marian McPartland but “all of the rest — the elegance, the passion, the laid-back expertise, the congenial charm and the delivery with a ‘martini moon’ quality to it — came from Dick himself.”

“Dick set the tone for WFIU for over 50 years,” said Perry Metz, executive director of IU Radio and Television Services. “From his first 15-minute jazz program, Dick demonstrated that there would be strong audiences for high-quality local programming. His urbane and knowledgeable style drew people of all ages to big band and jazz standards. We were lucky to have his leadership and example.”

WFIU is planning programming in tribute to Bishop on Thursday afternoon during “Just You and Me” and Friday evening during its regular block of jazz shows.

An only child, Bishop spent his early years in Grosse Point, Mich., and later moved with his family to Fort Wayne, Ind., where he graduated from Concordia High School. He was an avid Detroit Tigers fan, served as senior student manager for the IU baseball team and made lifelong friends at IU as a member of Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. On his initial 15-minute program on newly established station WFIU, he played recordings by his favorite artists including Frank Sinatra, Hoagy Carmichael and the Four Freshmen.

He was also a jazz drummer who became friends with renowned faculty at the IU Jacobs School of Music and often interviewed famous musicians and band leaders for his radio programs.

At IU, he earned a B.S. degree in education in 1961, an M.S. in 1971 and an Ed.D. in 1977. His varied career included stints as the first university relations director at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and positions in the IU Bloomington alumni office, the dean’s office of the School of Education, Radio and Television Services, and the IU president’s office under Joseph Sutton and John Ryan.

For 29 years, he was a devoted and loving husband to Nancy Harvey Bishop, who died in March 2007. In her memory, he established the Nancy Harvey Bishop Student Support Fund at IU.

At the IU Foundation, he was liaison to the IU Student Foundation, serving as mentor to generations of students and providing invaluable support for the Little 500 bicycle races. He received the School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award, the Jazz from Bloomington Al Cobine Award, the State of Indiana Distinguished Hoosier Award and the IU Foundation Herman B Wells Legacy Award.

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The pride of Little 500 and keeping pace with the spring semester sprint Thu, 21 Apr 2016 19:52:11 +0000

It’s become an annual tradition: trying to somehow summarize the drive, dedication, drama, pride, pageantry, guts, glory and more that make Indiana University Bloomington’s Little 500 race so special. Thankfully, the video above, shot and produced by our talented videographers in IU Communications, allows viewers to experience the men’s and women’s races in beautiful, breathtaking fashion.

Not surprisingly, Little 500 leads the list of recent activities and events that have fueled the campus’ sprint through the last leg of spring semester. And what a sprint it’s been. So without further ado, here’s a chance to catch up on a number of other notable happenings that have had Btown buzzing these past few weeks.

Call it breaking away to breaking bad. In the days preceding Little 500, IU alumnus and actor extraordinaire Jonathan Banks graced the IU Bloomington campus once again. He met with students, including those in the Media School and Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance; spoke before a packed house at the IU Cinema; and delivered a moving and inspiring speech upon receiving an honorary doctorate at IU Bloomington’s annual Honors Convocation. Banks, best known for his portrayal of Mike Ehrmantraut on the award-winning drama “Breaking Bad,” also took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Media School Dean Jim Shanahan for an illuminating conversation about his ties to IU and his illustrious acting career. Their discussion was featured on the campus’s new weekly podcast, Through the Gates: IU This Week.

Everywhere he visited last week, Banks talked about the road he took to get to IU and the transformative impact the university had on his personal and professional growth. Despite vast changes in the composition of IU Bloomington’s student body over nearly 200 years of the campus’s existence, the IU impact — showcased in the IU Newsroom’s latest long-form story, “Tried and True” — continues to resonate in our students, no matter where they come from, be it Indiana or halfway across the world.

IU Bloomington is, indeed, enriching the lives of our students in many ways, providing them — from the time they set foot on campus — with valuable opportunities to work with first-rate faculty and to find, develop and refine their scholarly and research interests. The campus’ 2020 Sustainability Scholars program offers evidence of just how much IU is helping students get ahead of the curve, give back to their communities and reach their fullest potential.

The campus also continues to find creative ways to support our students’ growth potential, doing so through such initiatives as the annual BEST Competition for young entrepreneurs hosted by the School of Informatics and Computing and the Kelley School of Business. The BEST Competition recently marked a milestone with $1 million invested in student-led projects over the past five years, including $200,000 to two student teams this year. Among the winners was Ellie Symes, a student in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and one of the founders of the Bee Corp., which monitors the health of bees in the hive and grew out of the Beekeeping Club that Symes and several of her peers started on campus. Sykes and the Beekeeping Club were featured in the IU Newsroom’s long-form story Keeper of the Bees, published last year, on the growing network of IU students, faculty and Bloomington residents who have taken up the plight of the honey bee.

Sticking with the bee theme for just a bit longer, students from the School of Education have been working alongside faculty members from the school and Department of Biology on efforts that help young children learn about complex science topics. Through their BioSim project, they recently employed an activity where local school children used electronic honey bee puppets to highlight the many moving parts of how humans work together toward a common goal. The activity represents one of the many ways IU students are translating the campus’s growing “maker movement” — which promotes the use of new technologies to enable more people to design and build their own inventions and products — into opportunities for young people to engage in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Early in May, a talented group of undergraduate and graduate students at IU Bloomington will be given a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to brush up their Shakespeare — as the Bard would’ve heard his words spoken back to him when he was writing and directing. Murray McGibbon, an associate professor in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance, will present the first original pronunciation performance of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” since the 17th century. The groundbreaking “OP” performance, which McGibbon promises will deliver far more “punch” than “posh,” will feature a cast of 14 students and be staged May 5 to 8 at the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Finally, no summary of the past several days at IU Bloomington would be complete without a nod to the many members of the IU community here in Btown and all around the world who made the first-ever IU Day celebration on April 12 a smashing success. The all-day event promoting participation, university pride and giving reached a whopping 9.4 million people on social media with the hashtag #IUday and attracted nearly 17,000 unique visitors to the IU Day website in 24 hours. For a solid part of the day, the hashtag trended nationally on Twitter and was used more than 10,000 times, reflecting a massive sharing of what we all have come to love about IU, such as IU basketball and Assembly Hall, both proudly showcased in the No. 1 most popular video on IU Day.

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Generations of Little 500 Tue, 12 Apr 2016 02:33:37 +0000

Post by IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino. 

In the Krahulik household, Little 500 is a family affair. Andy and Joe Krahulik are the second generation of Little 500 riders in their home, racing for Sigma Alpha Epsilon this year. In the 1980s, their father Dave raced for Sigma Nu.

To many of the riders, Little 500 is more than just an intramural race requiring an amazing amount of preparation. It is an event that helps to shape their college careers, and in some ways, who they become.

Dave, an attorney from Indianapolis, raced from 1986 to 1989 and will tell you that his team didn’t win until the year he graduated. He said it doesn’t bother him, though. Little 500 was much more than winning and losing.

“The race is so mixed in with spring,” he said. “We had beautiful weather every time.”

Despite being associated with spring, Dave said the event was a year-long endeavor.

“When it’s over, no matter how you did, there’s relief and already a little bit of regret, already a little bit of planning for next year,” Dave said.

Dave still has a bright yellow racing jacket and a blue uniform shirt from two of his four years of cycling, and he said he thinks things like these are what inspired his sons to race.

Sophomore Joe Krahulik said he knew he wanted to be a part of Little 500 when he was junior in high school after seeing his brother race.

“I just remember it was a beautiful day,” said Joe, a physics major. “Spring time on the Bloomington campus, it just looked gorgeous.”

Joe said seeing his brother perform so well his first time at the race was incredible, but it was not the first time either of the brothers had raced.

Senior Andy Krahulik said he remembers having racing posters up in his bedroom when he was a child. By fourth grade, Little 500 was already so ingrained in his mind that he and his brother decided to find their own way to participate.

“My brother and a few kids on the street actually kind of copied the idea and tried to host a ‘Junior 500’ which was 50 laps around the neighborhood cul-de-sac,” said Andy, a biology major.

Despite copious amounts of advertisements, Andy said only three people showed up. Since then, he said, people have been much more supportive of his riding endeavors.

“I do love Little 500,” he said, “It’s been probably the defining choice in my undergraduate career.”

After briefly being part of the Cutters, Andy rushed Sigma Alpha Epsilon and became one of the founding members of a new, improved cycling team. Through a restructured, more personalized approach to training, he said the team was able to move from placing in the high 20s to finishing on the leader’s lap.

“It’s kind of sad that it has to come to an end, but I’ve really enjoyed my four years doing it, and I hope to still stay connected in one way or another,” he said.

For more of the Krahuliks’ story, see the video in the player above.

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Calling all Cinderellas: Breaking down the bracket of inaugural Hoosier Hysteria competition Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:56:12 +0000 Starting tomorrow, traditions will be on the line, madness and hysteria will ensue, and campus “Cinderellas” will be gearing up for the chance to dance.

The bracket is set.

The bracket is set.

It’s NCAA tournament time, of course, but we’re talking instead about what’s being dubbed the “ultimate IU bracket.”

Herman B Wells, Hoagy and Homecoming. Mark Cuban, Kinsey and candy-striped pants. They represent just a few of the Btown legends and traditions vying to win the inaugural “Hoosier Hysteria: The Bloomington Bracket” competition.

The field of 32 has been set and broken down into four regions — Landmarks, Traditions, Legends and Events — and beginning tomorrow morning, March 17, through April 6, Hoosier fanatics will be able to determine the person, place or thing they think most reflects our storied IU Bloomington campus.

Starting at 8 a.m. Thursday, Bloomington’s best bracketologists will be able to make their first-round selections. (The opening round will end at 2 p.m. on March 24, when second-round voting will commence.) Participants can vote once per day on each of their online or mobile devices, and as each round of the competition is completed they can view the results online, through IU’s main social media accounts or on a banner located at Starbucks in the Indiana Memorial Union. Ultimately, they’ll determine the last legend or tradition standing and the winner of a championship trophy created by the handy folks at the UITS 3-D Printing Lab at Wells Library.

Personally speaking, I’m ready to bust out my bracket. My final four: Assembly Hall, Little 500, Herman B Wells and my Cinderella pick, Squirrel watching. Regarding the choice of our ever-popular campus critters, my hope is that history will be on my side. (Though it’s often been disputed, some have suggested that in the original version of the fairy tale, Cinderella did not wear glass slippers, but instead wore slippers made out of fur. Squirrel fur.)

Call us nuts, but we think IU's famed squirrels could be this year's Cinderella.

Call us nuts, but we think IU’s famed squirrels could be this year’s Cinderella.

Not surprisingly, I’ve already started second guessing my planned selections. I had Little 500 as a lock to advance out of the Events region of the bracket, but can it really dance past IU Dance Marathon? And while it’s hard to deny Herman B a place in the final four, how many will have Hoagy Carmichael on their minds when tomorrow morning rolls around?

The clock is about to strike. (Come to think of it, maybe the Student Building Clock Tower is this year’s Cinderella?) Bring on the hysteria, and go Hoosiers!

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Spinning through the spirit and tradition of Hoosier hoops history Fri, 04 Mar 2016 21:45:31 +0000 On Sunday, March 6, around 17,000 IU basketball fans will enter Bloomington’s hallowed Assembly Hall for the final regular season game against Maryland. They will celebrate Senior Day and also the Hoosiers capturing, earlier this week, their 22nd Big Ten championship and their second outright title under head coach Tom Crean. In doing so, they’ll automatically become part of Assembly Hall history, joining the legions of IU fans over many decades who have been treated to championship performances.

IU student Julia Kilgore inspects one of the original turnstiles from Assembly Hall that recently found a new home at the IU Archives.

IU student Julia Kilgore inspects one of the original turnstiles from Assembly Hall that recently found a new home at the IU Archives.

As it’s been widely reported, those who want a more tangible piece of the tradition of Hoosier hoops can purchase one of the old turnstiles used in the arena, which are currently being auctioned off by IU’s Surplus Store. Bidding on 24 turnstiles that were used at Assembly Hall from 1971-2014 — during which time the Hoosiers won three NCAA championships — began in mid-February, and the final turnstile (turnstile No. 1) is set to be auctioned Monday, April 4, in time for the tipoff of this year’s NCAA Championship game.

Turns out there’s more, though, to what’s turned out to be a slam-dunk story for diehard Hoosier fans.

In the true cream and crimson spirit, the IU Surplus Store, with a timely assist from IU Athletics, recently offered up one of the turnstiles from the auction (No. 16) to the IU Archives, steward of the largest and most comprehensive gathering of information on the history and culture of IU.

The turnstile has been delivered, and fans and other interested parties can find it in the Archives’ reading room, located on the fourth floor of the East Tower of the Herman B Wells Library. The space is open to any visitor who wants to see the turnstile and, yes, even take a selfie with it from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Perey New York label adorns the Assembly Hall turnstiles. The company still is in business today.

The Perey New York label adorns the Assembly Hall turnstiles. The company still is in business today.

Of course, members of the Archives wouldn’t be the great caretakers of IU tradition and history as they are if they didn’t delve into a little history behind the turnstiles that have Hoosier Nation happily spinning through years of proud basketball memories. Their search revealed a number of interesting tidbits about the turnstiles, designed and manufactured by Perey New York (est. 1913), which, remarkably, is still in business. The company’s various styles of turnstiles have taken their place through the years in some of the most historic venues spanning the areas of sports and entertainment, government and public service, and business, including Ebbets Field, the Federal Reserve Banks, Disneyland, Lockheed Missiles and Space, Churchill Downs and the transit authorities of both Chicago and New York City.

Indeed, from the first moment the turnstiles were installed at Assembly Hall, in 1971, they served as the front gate to number of momentous occasions that what would quickly become par for an arena that sportscaster Gus Johnson once famously called “the Carnegie Hall of basketball.” Among the events that took place during that first year were:

  • The Homecoming Variety Show, featuring celebrity entertainers Bob Hope and Petula Clark, on Oct. 23, 1971.
  • The first men’s basketball game ever played at Assembly Hall on Dec. 1, 1971, an 84-77 win over Ball State and the first of coach Bobby Knight’s 659 victories at the helm of the Hoosiers.
  • The dedication of Branch McCracken Memorial Basketball Floor on Dec. 18, 1971, coinciding with a 94-29 win over Notre Dame.
Assembly Hall hosted its first IU men's basketball game on Dec. 1, 1971. The Hoosiers defeated Ball State 84-77, giving coach Bob Knight the first of his 659 wins as IU head coach.

Assembly Hall hosted its first IU men’s basketball game on Dec. 1, 1971. The Hoosiers defeated Ball State 84-77, giving coach Bob Knight the first of his 659 wins as IU head coach.

Of course, many more Hoosier hoops victories would follow in the four-plus decades to follow, along with national championships, Big Ten championships, an undefeated season, concerts by Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and other major headliners, visits from presidential candidates, graduation ceremonies and much more. These turnstiles have truly seen it all, and Hoosier fans can now take great pleasure and pride in knowing that it will only take a quick trip to the Archives to take a whirl through IU’s time-tested tradition and spirit.

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Freezing debt in its tracks Mon, 25 Jan 2016 21:36:14 +0000 IU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, which are coming off impressive weekend wins, may be the toast of Btown right now. But another team at IU Bloomington has been garnering major acclaim here and nationwide.

Since 2012, IU’s MoneySmarts team has been carrying the banner on campus for educating students in their money matters and helping them reduce their debt. And while no one would declare victory on overall student debt just yet, the MoneySmarts team can take considerable credit for helping dramatically reduce undergraduate student borrowing across the university. Over the past three years, the university has seen a remarkable 16 percent decrease in student loans — equaling nearly $83 million.

IU's student debt letter details a student’s level of college-related borrowing and provides an estimated payout upon graduation.

IU’s student debt letter details a student’s level of college-related borrowing and provides an estimated payout upon graduation.

Central to the MoneySmarts team’s playbook has been a student debt letter — which IU began sending to student borrowers in 2013 — that details a student’s level of college-related borrowing and provides an estimated payout upon graduation. This seemingly simple but highly effective tactic has been nothing but a slam dunk — so much so that starting July 1, 2015, all public universities in Indiana have been required to provide similar letters to their students under a new state law.

In May, Yahoo Finance called the student debt letter a “genius” idea for tackling the student debt crisis. That plaudit came just weeks after University Business magazine recognized the MoneySmarts initiative as a Model of Excellence, an honor reserved for just 1o other colleges and universities. More recently, USA Today featured the IU debt letter in a larger feature story on tips for how students can better handle borrowing, including several from IU Director of Financial Literacy Phil Schuman.


IU’s MoneySmarts team is hosting a WinterFest event for students seeking to “freeze debt in its tracks.”

Never a group to rest on its laurels, the MoneySmarts team, along with the Office of First Year Experience Programs, is hosting a WinterFest event from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight, Jan. 25, for students, student organizations and others on campus. Complete with free food, prizes and entertainment, the event in Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union promises to help students “freeze debt in its tracks” and give all of us who want to see our students graduate with as little debt as possible one more activity to cheer about.

For a student perspective on MoneySmarts, check out this Student Experience blog post, written by IU senior and MoneySmarts team member Dottie Vollmer. 

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The winter buzz in Btown Thu, 21 Jan 2016 21:06:05 +0000 The start of the spring semester has brought a flurry of activity here at IU Bloomington. From new discoveries, initiatives and student success stories to Hoosier basketball’s early-season dominance at Assembly Hall, here’s just a small sampling of the buzz being heard and felt all around campus.

IU Bloomington is set to debut a new podcast series on Jan. 24, hosted by James Shanahan, front, dean of The Media School.

IU Bloomington is set to debut a new podcast series on Jan. 24, hosted by James Shanahan, pictured in front, dean of The Media School.

All the buzz, on the airwaves. A new IU Bloomington podcast series kicks off Sunday, Jan. 24, with a conversation about IU’s new Grand Challenges Program, featuring IU Vice President for Research Fred Cate and IU Bloomington Vice Provost for Research Rick Van Kooten. The weekly series, titled “Through the Gates: IU This Week,” will be hosted by James Shanahan, dean of The Media School at IU Bloomington, and cover news, events and other activities of interest to the university’s many engaged audiences around the state, nation and world. IU students and staff will also be involved in the production of the podcast series, which is a collaboration of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, The Media School and the IU Newsroom.

Biofuel and half of a “holy grail.” A team of IU Bloomington scientists has created a highly efficient biomaterial that catalyzes the formation of hydrogen — one half of the “holy grail” of splitting H2O to make hydrogen and oxygen for fueling cheap and efficient cars that run on water. The news has been widely shared and reported, crisscrossing the globe and appearing in such major media outlets as Science Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, UPI, Tech Times and the Times of India. In addition, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Communication prominently featured the story on its website.

Bikes and a new master plan. Good news for Btown’s many cycling enthusiasts: IU Bloomington has finalized a campus bicycle master plan, presented to university trustees last month and designed to build upon IU’s rich bicycling tradition. The finalized plan strives for safe, efficient and convenient bicycle travel on and off campus, greater bicycle parking and increased ridership among students, faculty and staff.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie discussed IU's strong partnerships with the city of Bloomington at the annual meeting of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie discussed IU’s strong partnerships with the city of Bloomington at the annual meeting of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.

Btown economic development. Leaders of the IU Bloomington campus and surrounding community came together Wednesday to hear IU President Michael A. McRobbie deliver the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. In his address, McRobbie described the progress being made on the priorities of the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including strengthening the university’s commitment to student success and maximizing its capacity for research, scholarship and creative activity.

A breakfast for a King. On Monday, President McRobbie and other IU administrators attended IU Bloomington’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Leadership Breakfast. In his remarks, McRobbie sought to honor King’s life and legacy by underscoring and reaffirming the university’s commitment to diversity and free expression. “We must demand a tolerant Indiana University, but we must aspire to an engaged Indiana University,” McRobbie said. Nowhere was that engagement more evident than in the volunteer projects that involved scores of IU students and the dedicated students and staff who were honored at Monday’s breakfast for serving as “champions of change” around campus and in the community.

Business start-ups and the student experience. If you haven’t yet caught on to the new Student Experience blog from our IU Newsroom, there’s still plenty of time. The latest student success story to be showcased on the blog: IU Kelley School of Business freshman Mikaela Gilbert, who’s launched her own start-up business, with assistance and advice from Kelley faculty, that she hopes will grow into a company that helps children gain greater fluency in foreign languages.

Mikaela Gilbert is a student at IU’s Kelley School of Business and the creator of Chatter Eggs.

Mikaela Gilbert is a student at IU’s Kelley School of Business and the creator of Chatter Eggs.

Btown goes Tinseltown again. Our campus’s and city’s credentials when it comes to big silver screen movie productions is well known. (See: “Breaking Away,” “Kinsey,” Angelo Pizzo and “Hoosiers,” and Michael Uslan and “Batman.”) Now a team of IU alumni is set to begin production on a new feature-length romantic comedy featuring a couple of well-known actors. “The Good Catholic,” written and directed by IU MFA graduate Paul Shoulberg, will be filmed late this month in downtown Bloomington and near the surrounding campus.

Basketball and the hurryin’ Hoosiers! It’s still early, of course, but there may be something brewing at Assembly Hall, where both the Hoosiers men’s and women’s basketball teams have been heating up the hardwood. With an impressive win on Tuesday over Illinois, the men’s team moved to 6-0 in the Big Ten and a perfect 11-0 on their home court. Spearheading the men’s effort has been senior Yogi Ferrell, IU’s new all-time assist leader and subject of the latest edition of the popular #ImAHoosier spotlight. Not to be outdone, the Hoosier women have also amassed an undefeated record at home (8-0), with their latest victory a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Illini.

Again, it’s only the start of the semester, but if the early weeks of 2016 are any indication, the buzz may only get louder in Btown in the weeks and months to come. Stay tuned!

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Celebrating ‘champions for change’ on MLK Day Mon, 18 Jan 2016 17:15:08 +0000 Post courtesy of April Toler, who regularly blogs at Health & Vitality and Student Experience

Hundreds of Indiana University administrators, faculty, staff and students, alongside members of the Bloomington community, gathered Monday to honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the university’s annual MLK Leadership Breakfast.

Sitting in Alumni Hall, it was hard not to be inspired by the profound words spoken by the day’s guests, including IU President Michael McRobbie, Provost Lauren Robel and keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien, who encouraged the crowd to ask themselves “What can I do?”

A performance by IU’s African American Choral Ensemble amazed the crowd, and after we all held hands and sang the “Unity Anthem,” I think everyone left the event feeling inspired and a little more hopeful.

Dedric Dennist Sr., Julia Joshel and Brandon Washington

Building Bridges Award winners Dedric Dennist Sr., left, Julia Joshel and Brandon Washington pose for a photo after the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Leadership Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 18, in the Indiana Memorial Union Alumni Hall.

But speeches and performances aside, what I found truly inspirational was hearing about this year’s Building Bridges Award recipients, presented by James Wimbush, vice president for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

The awards recognize individuals, groups of people and organizations that capture King’s vision, spirit and leadership.

Whether a young student starting an on-campus food pantry or a residence manager helping to create diversity training for IU resident life staff, this year’s Building Bridges recipients shine a bright light on the everyday work being done by IU students, faculty, staff and community partners.

As Wimbush noted, “Like Dr. King, these five individuals – Mercedes, Brandon, Terri, Julia and Dedric – are champions. Champions for change, to show us even a single person can make a difference.”

This year’s Building Bridges Awards winners:

Mercedes Jones, a senior studying public management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is this year’s undergraduate recipient. Jones is a Hudson and Holland Scholar and creator of Crimson Cupboard, a food pantry for students on the IU Bloomington campus.

Brandon Washington, a graduate student in African American and African Diaspora Studies, is this year’s graduate or professional student recipient. Washington, who hopes to one day become a lawyer, has studied abroad in Ghana and London, traveling to Liverpool to study the Transatlantic Slave Trade. He has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow for the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation and has volunteered in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Terri Francis, associate professor in the Department of Communication and Culture, is this year’s faculty recipient. Francis is a former associate professor of Film Studies and African American Studies at Yale University and author of “Josephine Baker’s Race Burlesque: Blackness, Power and Visual Pleasure,” which will be published by IU Press.

Julia Joshel, residence manager for Residential Programs and Services, is this year’s staff recipient. After identifying a need for a more structured and discussion-based series to better equip staff for the changing university climate, Joshel helped create and pilot a diversity series training for residential life staff. Joshel received a master of science degree in higher education and student affairs from IU in 2009.

Dedric Dennist, Sr., an engineer at Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, is this year’s community member recipient. Dennist has served as a volunteer track and basketball coach and math tutor for local students. Dennist also volunteers for a local elementary school reading program and as a mentor to local 21st Century Scholars and is a long-time member of the Bloomington Black History Month Committee.

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Year in review: Top stories from 2015 Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:46:34 +0000 From Grand Challenges to global gateways, mythical first flowers to marathon dancing and bicentennial campaigns to a Big Apple bowl game for our gridiron Hoosiers, 2015 offered another set of amazing accomplishments, discoveries and milestones at Indiana University Bloomington.

As always, there were almost too many good happenings on our bustling and dynamic campus to report, spanning our top-ranked academic programs, arts and music scene, international culture and, of course, IU sports. Here in the IU Newsroom, we did our best to share as much as we could, giving you, we hope, a sense of what makes IU Bloomington such a special place and how much we all have to look forward to in the coming year.

So as we prepare to ring in 2016, here’s a quick look back at a busy and productive 2015:


Interested in exploring these stories further? Learn more below:

New complexes and centers

New programs and schools

Grand Challenges

New discoveries

Financial feats

Dedication of new Global and International Studies Building

IU men's basketball huddle before a game

IU Athletics will be the first institution in the nation to broadcast college basketball games in Mandarin.

International IU

Student successes

Bicentennial campaign

IU football goes to Pinstripe Bowl

Honorable mentions

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Yo-Yo Ma and musicians speak to IU students on link between culture, economics and the arts Wed, 11 Nov 2015 18:46:31 +0000 Yo-Yo Ma performs

Yo-Yo Ma performs with members of the Silk Road Ensemble at IU’s School of Global and International Studies auditorium.

Guest post courtesy of Chuck Carney, director of communication and marketing at IU’s School of Global and International Studies: 

Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a group of musicians gave a special presentation to students at the Indiana University School of Global and International Studies this morning about art and its connection to economics and culture. Ma gave the free talk and performance along with six other performers in a program titled “Musical Perspectives on Culture.”

Ma and his ensemble mixed live performance with a discussion of the music’s meaning for students and others who filled the auditorium of the new Global and International Studies Building. The musicians performed six musical selections from a variety of cultural influences, composers and time periods. Ma asked his audience to open themselves to hearing what is in the music, saying that the arts and humanities require a “childlike wonder.”

“Childlike wonder is essential for musicians,” Ma said. “They require the courage to be vulnerable and the capacity to wonder. That leads us to innovation and invention.”

Yo-Yo Ma speaks to IU SGIS students

Ma talks about world music at the SGIS auditorium. Photo by Eric Rudd, IU Communications.

Such wonder with the arts, he said, can bring solutions to bear on the world’s most difficult problems.

“We are tempted to consider solutions in very narrow political or economic terms,” Ma said. “It is openness that brings opportunity.”

The IU Auditorium is hosting the world-premiere performance of Ma’s newest collaborative concert series, “Musical Perspectives on the Cultures of BRIC: a Silkroad Collaboration,” at 8 p.m. today. The concert itself focuses on music of the “Big Four” countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. They are called the “BRIC” countries by economists and are considered to be in similar stages of new economic development. The BRIC concert series expands on how changing economic times can create unusual conflicts when aligning rich cultural history and tradition with modern aesthetics.

Ma and the members of his ensemble performed part of the program for IU School of Global and International Studies students and spoke about the roots of the music. Ma, Kathryn Stott, Sérgio and Odair Assad, Johnny Gandelsman, Wu Tong and Sandeep Das have been in Bloomington rehearsing for their debut show and the upcoming tour.

“Ma and the Silk Ensemble travel the world to celebrate both our differences and our commonalities as global citizens,” IU SGIS Dean Lee Feinstein told Ma in an introduction to the group. “We at SGIS and Indiana University are immensely honored to form a section of the glorious world orchestra you’ve devoted your life to assembling.”

Yo-Yo Ma and IUSGIS Dean Lee Feinstein

Ma chats with IU SGIS Dean Lee Feinstein. Photo by Eric Rudd, IU Communications.

Throughout the discussion, Ma dissected the music for his audience, discussing how slight accents on certain beats and notes comprise the sound of a particular cultural influence. He noted in the opening piece an accent common in Brazilian music. In a piece by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, he pointed out that moving a note by an eighth of a beat gave it a wistful, Russian sound. Other pieces, Ma explained, combined American tradition with North Indian music and African rhythms with jazz.

Such combinations illustrate the openness Ma said we should bring to listening, allowing the cultural influences to come through. He said he first discovered this when he was a child, something that calmed his fears as his family moved from France to the U.S. On a larger scale, he said such openness can have a positive effect as the world goes through change.

“Openness goes hand-in-hand with empathy,” Ma said, noting that a piece the ensemble performed was 1,800 years old but still felt contemporary. “That’s how culture helps us transcend distance both in space and time. Taken together, wonder, openness and empathy have an incredibly powerful effect on culture. They’re an antidote to fear and darkness.”

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Seeing the IU spirit in trying times Wed, 21 Oct 2015 19:43:48 +0000 As wonderful a time of year as it is here in Bloomington — as the leaves begin to change, reminding us just how stunningly beautiful a campus we have — it would be difficult to describe the start to this academic year as anything but trying.

Too many difficult and tragic events have befallen our bucolic campus these past several weeks, immersing us in collective grief, disappointment and sadness, and sometimes leaving us without words to comfort those individuals who’ve been affected the most by actions and activities that are almost incomprehensible. Indeed, there is simply nothing worse than losing a member of the IU community, especially someone who is so young, loved and full of potential.

A banner flying as part of a "banner up" campaign, started by the Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault group at IU Bloomington.

A banner flying as part of a “banner up” campaign, started by the Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault group at IU Bloomington.

The details of these occurrences have been widely reported, discussed and analyzed, and much of the chatter has taken place across social media, where the age-old journalistic debate over the right to know vs. the right to privacy is being played out in real time. It’s no secret that we live in a time when we are more aware of what’s happening around us than ever before, which — when terrible things happen and details aren’t always immediately available — can be confusing and scary.

When the worst happens, we often focus on the worst, which is understandable and often necessary in the healing process. By no means do I want to misrepresent the start of this semester, which has been really, really tough on all of us. But many of us who call IU home continue to be heartened by the good work being done all across campus, much of it by our student body, to make ours a safer, more respectful and more caring environment.

On Tuesday, our campus released the findings of our first-ever climate survey on sexual assault. The results, to borrow from IU President Michael A. McRobbie, were “sobering” and clearly illustrate the need to focus greater attention on a major problem affecting all college and university campuses, as well as larger society.

Within a serious issue, however, there is reason for optimism. As the survey indicated, nearly 95 percent of undergraduate students have participated in some sort of educational or training activity that deals with sexual assault or gender-related issues, and about half of all student respondents on campus think they can personally make a difference in addressing the issue of sexual misconduct.

Through student-led programs such as Culture of Care, members of the IU community are calling attention to areas such as sexual well-being, drug and alcohol awareness, mental health and respect, as well as stressing the importance of bystander intervention.

As I write this, in fact, IU fraternity Sigma Chi is hosting an event called “Hoosiers Fighting Sexual Assault.” Featured speakers from the campus organizations Culture of Care, Safe Sisters and Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault are talking about sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention. The MARS group, made up of more than 300 male students who are part of a number of different Interfraternity Council chapters, recently started a “banner up” campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault and violence on campus. As part of the campaign, large red banners are now being displayed at fraternity houses all across campus with messages supporting the campus’ sexual assault services.

And on Saturday, several IU students will participate in a statewide “It’s On Us: Student Leaders” conference at the IUPUI campus, where they will learn about different sexual violence prevention efforts and connect with other college students to help end campus sexual assault.

Increasingly, IU staff members are working to proactively address the challenges that our students are facing. To this end, the IU Health Center’s Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, continues to work with thousands of IU Bloomington students each year on problems they are facing. And over the past three years, CAPS has grown its Crimson CORPS, a group of specially trained students who are actively engaged in promoting awareness of mental health issues.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to a group of School of Global and International Studies students on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to a group of School of Global and International Studies students on Oct. 15, 2015.

Just last week, the Bloomington campus was buzzing with pride over the arrival of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to celebrate the opening of a new building for IU’s School of Global and International Studies. This event was historic for a number of reasons, not the least of which was how well it reflected upon our talented students and how actively engaged so many of them are in making the world a better place.

Highlighting these activities and efforts is not meant to dismiss the anger, hurt, uneasiness and sorrow we’ve all felt far too often this fall. Certainly it can’t reverse awful events that have already taken place, and it’s not meant to suggest we can’t take to cyberspace to complain — even if I wish sometimes that we all would take a second to think before tweeting and posting and remember that words, even 140 characters’ worth, have an impact, both on the victims of unfortunate incidents and those students, faculty, staff and other community members who are doing their best to help.

Admittedly, I sometimes worry that even the most constructive dialogue around difficult events will detract deserved attention from the abundance of good work being done across a campus of more than 40,000 students and, even worse, discourage people from continuing to fight the good fight. But I’ve also met enough of those people over my dozen-plus years working for IU Bloomington that I know that Hoosiers aren’t easily moved off the mission at hand. It’s cliché to say, I know, but trying times often bring out the best in people. Here in Bloomington, it’s when the IU spirit shines brightest.

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Btown bands together for the bees Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:37:28 +0000

That’s IU graduate student Ellie Symes, who’s part of a growing network of IU students, faculty, staff and Btown residents taking on the cause of the honeybee and its perilous existence. Ellie, in her first year at IU’s top-ranked School of Public and Environmental Health, is one of a dozen students who’ve joined the Beekeeping Club at IU to help establish hives on campus and raise awareness of the ongoing collapse of bee colonies.

U.S. beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies in 2014-15, and in Indiana, the total colony loss last year was 49 percent.

“The numbers are shocking,” Ellie says.

When members of the IU Newsroom began work on their latest in-depth, long-form story, “Keepers of the Bees,” even though the collapse of the bees had become a hot issue in the news and attracted the attention of the White House, I was still shocked to learn just how potentially disastrous of a problem this is — bees are the most important pollinators of flowering plants and, along with other insects, directly produce a third of every bite of food we eat and are responsible for more than $15 billion annually to the U.S. agricultural sector.

At the same time, I was also heartened by the scientific and grassroots work being done in the gardens, labs and nature centers here on campus and within the surrounding community to both better understand the various parts of the disappearing bee conundrum, including the bees’ possible vulnerabilities to pesticides, poor nutrition and disease.

Indeed, all of us who had the pleasure of being involved in telling this important story could feel tremendous pride in the ingenuity and resourcefulness of IU students, faculty and staff, and the time and energy they’ve dedicated to the cause of the bees. (Retired IU microbiology professor and longtime beekeeper George Hegeman, 77, started becoming interested in beekeeping as a boy on Long Island.)

We could also marvel at their persistence when presented with difficult challenges. (Ellie Symes’ first bee hive, installed in the spring of 2014 by way of a research grant from IU Bloomington’s Hutton Honors College, succumbed to the fate of many U.S. hives and failed to survive the winter. Disappointed, but undaunted, she helped establish two more hives this summer.)

Here in the Newsroom, we’ve thrown around the “b” word — as in “buzz” — a lot lately, but IU’s work on the bees is truly catching on fast, and we look forward, as we hope you will, to continuing to follow the effort to make IU a more bee-friendly campus and a leading center for new research and discovery into promoting the health of an insect that plays such an important role in all of our lives.

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A busy week (and summer!) in Btown Fri, 21 Aug 2015 20:44:25 +0000 What a week!

And for that matter, what a summer!

Beginning last Sunday, when new students began arriving on campus, we here at IU Bloomington have been busy officially welcoming the most academically accomplished and diverse incoming class in our history and helping our first-year students quickly get acclimated to their new surroundings and all the pride and joy that goes into being a Hoosier.

A quick by-the-numbers look our record-breaking freshman class, followed by some highlights of Move-in Day, a momentous day in the lives of our students, their families and their loved ones.










We’ve also worked with our colleagues across campus to spotlight a few bright and talented individuals who make up the Class of 2019, all of whom were formally inducted into IU’s vibrant community of scholars during Freshman Induction ceremonies led by IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel.

Finally, let it be noted that our welcoming work begins well before students officially become part of the IU family. Our precollege programs and summer camps bring hundreds of potential future Hoosiers to campus.

Students, ranging in age from elementary to high school, spend time here in, among other activities, world-class arts-related programs at the Jacobs School of Music, Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance and the African American Arts Institute, business- or tech-focused programs at the Kelley School of Business and School of Informatics and Computing, and the Media School’s 70-year-old IU High School Journalism Institute.

While on campus, they live in residence halls, take classes, work in groups and individually, and present their work at the end – all experiences that help make the college experience feel possible and exciting.

Several of these students took part in programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math, such as Project STEM (previously known as Project Seed).

Others participated in Camp S.O.U.L., a performing arts camp, led by three-time Emmy award nominee Tyron Cooper, an assistant professor in IU’s Department of African American & African Diaspora.

And nearly 130 rising high school seniors took part in the Balfour Scholars Program, which seeks to increase access to higher education for students from underrepresented groups and matches high school seniors with research projects that reflect their interest areas.

With all of this activity, it’s kind of amazing that classes haven’t even begun yet — the teaching and learning kicks off Monday. If this busy summer and the start of Welcome Week are any indication, we’re in for an exciting and productive new year.

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Welcome Week and the renewal of IU traditions Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:54:07 +0000 Dunn Meadow

Newly planted trees in spring 2011 at IU Bloomington’s Dunn Meadow.

Walking through Dunn Meadow this afternoon, I was reminded of how quickly time passes in a university community such as ours.

It had been more than two years since I stopped to notice the new trees that IU groundskeepers planted in one of the many parts of campus that were severely damaged by the violent storms that swept through Bloomington in May 2011.

The difference between my last trip to the trees and now was truly dramatic, but don’t take my word for it …

Dunn Meadow

View of Dunn Meadow trees today, Aug. 18, 2015.

Indeed, four years can go by before you know it, which makes tomorrow, the official start of “Welcome Week” at IU Bloomington, especially meaningful for those of us who’ve experienced past iterations of this time-honored tradition and appreciate just how special a day it is for our students, their families and their loved ones.

For IU’s newest class, Welcome Week, which officially begins with tomorrow afternoon’s Freshman Induction Ceremony, picks up where New Student Orientation leaves off and continues their transition to becoming true Hoosiers. What’s more, Welcome Week has – to continue the tree theme of this post – branched out over time: In the dozen-plus years I’ve been here, it’s always featured a packed array of activities, but more than ever before those activities serve to equip our entering students with the knowledge and cultural understanding they need to succeed at IU as soon as they set foot in their first classes.

“[Welcome Week] is not simply a string of social events but, rather, an integral part of the culture of IU and a factor in retention and student support efforts that make IU a special place,” says Melanie Payne, senior associate director of IU’s IU Office of First Year Experience Programs and director of New Student Orientation. “The student who attends Welcome Week events can’t help but feel more comfortable with the campus, more knowledgeable about the opportunities, expectations and services that are here for them and, as important, more confident about starting that important first year.”

This year’s event theme, “Proud Traditions: Welcome Week 2015,” reflects the continued effort by staff from First Year Experience Programs, IU Residential Programs and Services, and other IU departments to showcase the longstanding academic, athletic and cultural traditions of a campus closing in on its 200-year anniversary. Indeed, Welcome Week has become a tradition in itself, through a number of popular returning events, including, among others,

  • Traditions and Spirit 2014

    Events like the Traditions & Spirit of IU pep rally help turn IU’s newest students into true Hoosiers.

    Freshman Induction, where new students will be formally inducted into the Class of 2019;

  • Culture Fest, which celebrates the cultural diversity of IU through food, music and dancing;
  • Traditions and Spirit of IU, a cream-and-crimson-filled pep rally at Memorial Stadium;
  • RecFest, where students can sample the hundreds of activities and programs available to them through their automatic IU Rec Sports membership; and
  • New Student Service Day, where students learn more about their new surroundings through community service work.

Those events are complemented by new-for-2015 offerings, such as a “Jigsaw Challenge” that allows students to examine opportunities and benefits of engaging in undergraduate research and other creative activities during their time at IU and “Rachel’s First Week,” which introduces them to what it means to foster a IU Culture of Care on campus and make good decisions during their days as IU students.

“We have the very large, exciting, traditional events, and we have smaller, more personal events,” Payne says. “Some are academic, some are social, some are cultural and some are informational. But all are designed very intentionally to help students be a part of the IU family and start their year off right.”

On the eve of Welcome Week, here’s to the start of another great year, to the growth and success of our newest Hoosiers, and to the renewal of IU’s grandest traditions.

Download IU’s Welcome Week digital booklet for a view of all the events and activities that make up this year’s celebration. 

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The stories behind Commencement Thu, 07 May 2015 13:51:54 +0000

It’s my favorite time of the year here in Btown.

Commencement. A time for taking selfies and smiling snapshots at the Sample Gates. Caps, gowns and the turning of the tassles. Hugs, handshakes and, yes, the hashtag. (In case you’re wondering, this year you can follow the festivities at #iubgrad15.)

Now in its 186th year, Commencement at IU Bloomington continues to be an expression of joy and achievement, as well as a chance for IU’s newest graduates to reflect on a remarkable accomplishment and what they’ll take from their college experience moving forward.

In the days leading up to commencement ceremonies, several outstanding graduating seniors agreed to share a little about their time at IU Bloomington, including their top memories, favorite spots on campus, the people and events that inspired them, the opportunities they were afforded to grow intellectually, culturally and socially, and their plans post graduation.

These “senior spotlights” showcase students from diverse backgrounds who have embraced a wide range of experiences inside and outside of the classroom, all of which have prepared them for a lifetime of success.

Members of the Class of 2015 took time to share their memories of their time at IU Bloomington.

Members of the Class of 2015 took time to share their memories of their time at IU Bloomington.

Listening to their stories is a wonderful reminder of what a special time commencement is in the lives of those who’ve captured the promise of IU and, in doing so, added to the storied traditions that make this university so great.

Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2015!

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Her story Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:51:47 +0000 “She’s the pride of Indiana, Hail to old IU!”

For a university to make history, it has to have a powerful “her” story.

As Indiana University fast approaches its third century (in 2020), its Bloomington campus owes much of its achievement to the many remarkable women – from first ladies to first police chiefs to first business school deans – who have championed an environment of excellence and opportunity at IU.


“Her story” recognizes the exceptional impact women have had on shaping IU’s success.

In recognition of the exceptional impact women have had on shaping Indiana University’s success — and in conjunction with the annual Women’s History Month — the IU Newsroom is showcasing 15 women (for 2015) who reflect the trailblazing spirit, innovative thinking and Hoosier pride that have come to define what it means to be a woman at IU.

“Her story” offers glimpses into the individual stories of these 15 women who are working across a wide spectrum of disciplines and professions central to the continued growth of the Bloomington campus. Together, they represent the arts and culture, academia and administration, teaching, research and creative thinking, student support and security, technology and more.

“Her story” also highlights the past accomplishments of the Hoosier women who paved a path for the next generation of brilliant minds who are making their own mark at IU and beyond.

Of course, members of the IU Newsroom team knew going into this project that it would be nearly impossible to showcase every woman, past and present, whose work is woven into the fabric of excellence at IU. Nevertheless, it was clear that the overall story that continues to be written by IU women was simply too powerful, enlightening and inspiring not to share.

In true IU fashion, new chapters of that story continue to be written every day. For now, though, we hope you enjoy interacting with “Her story” and taking pride in the women who are making a major difference through their day-to-day work here in Bloomington.

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For the glory of cold IU! Fri, 20 Feb 2015 20:09:50 +0000 Let’s get it out of the way. It’s freaking cold out there.

How cold is it? It’s so cold I’m having flashbacks to traipsing through a foot of snow to get to class at my old college campus in Siberia … err …  Storrs, Connecticut. I also remember gliding across a field so frozen solid the old Hartford Whalers hockey team could’ve called it home.

You’ve got to admire the resiliency of Indiana University Bloomington students, faculty and staff, who are bracing Jack Frost’s latest chilling offering in good spirited fun. Never daunted, tried and true, and all for the #gloryofcoldIU — they’re refusing to let the cold win out as they carry on to class, work and other activities. Of course, a little hot chocolate, hot soup and the latest campus bus tracker always helps.

But don’t take my word for it. See and read how some members of the Hoosier community are choosing to find the beauty, inspiration and glory in their beloved, but icy cold, campus.

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Picking up good vibrations Mon, 16 Feb 2015 18:01:03 +0000 Some of my earliest music memories involve the Beach Boys — making the three-hour trip down from Connecticut to the Jersey Shore with my surfer dad, singing along to “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Surfin’ Safari” and “I Get Around”; watching, as a 7-year-old, the famed July 4, 1980, concert in which the group performed in front of a half-million fans at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; and experiencing my first-ever live concert that same year at the Hartford Civic Center. I can still hear the hush that came over the crowd as Dennis Wilson, who would die tragically just a few years later, began to sing his classic cover of “You Are So Beautiful.”

The Beach Boys at the IU Jacobs School of Music. From L-R: Jeff Foskett, Bruce Johnston, Mike Love and Scott Totten.

The Beach Boys at the IU Jacobs School of Music, from left, Jeff Foskett, Bruce Johnston, Mike Love and Scott Totten.

As I grew older, I read just about everything I could about how Mike Love’s lyrics about surf, sun and fun, fun, fun beautifully complemented Brian Wilson’s majestic five-part harmonies. I dug out my dad’s old vinyl, beginning with greatest hits albums like “Endless Summer” and eventually gravitating to the genius of “Pet Sounds.” Like hardcore fans, I delighted in the arrival of the long-awaited “Smile” box set in 2011, and the following year’s 50th anniversary reunion tour, which featured founding members Love, Wilson and Al Jardine, along with later additions David Marks and Bruce Johnston.

So you could imagine the good vibrations I was feeling Sunday afternoon as I headed over to IU’s Jacobs School of Music, where students in senior lecturer Andy Hollinden’s “The Music of the Beach Boys” class braved the brisk Bloomington cold for a special event: a Q&A with Love, Johnston and their longtime Beach Boys tour mates Jeff Foskett and Scott Totten.

Over the course of 90 minutes, the Boys covered all types of topics, including their favorite songs to perform in concert (“California Girls” and “Good Vibrations” for Mike; “Warmth of the Sun” for Bruce), the thoughtful way they craft their concert set lists and the venues they most like playing (Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House). They also discussed their friendly “competition” with the Beatles (Bruce: “There was no rivalry, just appreciation.”) and the changes in studio and touring technology that the teenage versions of themselves, who lugged their equipment to ballrooms across the Midwest, couldn’t have begun to imagine.

“The technology, the sound, the lights, all of it barely existed in the 1960s,” Love said.

Hollinden, known for his popular classes on rock ‘n’ roll legends Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix, began his Beach Boys course in 2012 while the group was celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Mike Love and Professor Andy Hollinden.

Mike Love and Andy Hollinden.

At the time he said, “To the casual listener of pop music, the Beach Boys conjures up images of surfing and cars and girls and California sunshine. And that’s all they know. They don’t realize that their music was incredibly sophisticated. Their musical maturity, artistic quality and production levels were, in America, unparalleled. The Beach Boys really were the chief rivals to the Beatles.”

Sunday night’s Beach Boys performance at IU Auditorium gave Hollinden’s students a special glimpse into what it’s like to be one of the most beloved bands in the world, to perform around 150 shows a year and to remain timeless, even as entirely new generations discover what made the Beach Boys so immensely popular when they burst onto the scene with their distinct vocal harmonies in 1961.

To illustrate the group’s ability to attract new fans and followers, Love told the story about a 10-year-old girl at a show in Kentucky whose favorite song was the classic car song and B-side “409.”

“It’s amazing how our songs can appeal, regardless of age,” he said.

Bruce Johnston and Mike Love of the Beach Boys.

Bruce Johnston and Mike Love of the Beach Boys.

For the college-age cohort, Love, Johnston, Foskett and Totten each extolled the virtues of becoming as knowledgeable as possible about the music business. “When I started, I didn’t know anything about publishing,” Love said, adding that both the Beach Boys and Beatles failed to retain publishing rights to their song catalog. “If you are serious about music, you should be knowledgeable about the music business.”

Though the class Q&A ended on a serious tone, it was clear that the music and making audiences happy mattered the most to the Beach Boys.

“It’s the audience response to our songs … the hobby became our profession, but it’s the appreciation of the people,” Love said. “[Our success] wouldn’t have happened unless there was an audience, a demand.”

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Groundhog Day and the genius of IU students Mon, 02 Feb 2015 22:39:46 +0000 This morning one of my much younger IU Newsroom colleagues asked me when I graduated from college, and when I answered “1994,” there was a brief moment when she looked like the groundhog who, earlier today, saw his shadow.

“Wow,” she said, “that’s over 20 years ago,” and suddenly I was the one who wanted to run back to his burrow.

Time has a way of passing quickly when you live and work in a college town like Bloomington. And yet looking on the sunny side on this dreary Groundhog Day, being part of such a vibrant, energetic, powerful place as IU Bloomington also keeps you feeling young.

I’ve written in this space before about how continually amazed I am by the people you stand next to in line for coffee every morning, many of whom, you come to find out, are world-renowned researchers and/or the best teachers around. Well, I can easily say the same thing about IU students, who, in their own right, are sometimes even more inspiring. Which brings me back to age and a question I repeatedly ask myself: How is it that so many 19- and 20- and 21-year-olds can be so intellectually curious, so actively engaged on campus and in their communities, so creative, so courageous and already so skillful with still so much time and learning ahead of them?

Being part of a university community also means that we often take for granted what goes on here day after day after day. So today, to celebrate Groundhog Day and the genius of IU students, I thought I’d shine a light on a few recent undergraduate-led projects, each of which reflects just how much IU students enrich the Btown campus and community and, in turn, how the experience they’re given here is preparing them for successes they’re certain to repeat over and over again.

IU Bloomington undergrad stories:

Two undergraduates from the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington have teamed up with Professor of Germanic Studies Fritz Breithaupt on research in the field of storytelling, including what we learn from stories, how we pass them along and why we preserve them.

IU Bloomington honors students in an “Intro to Psychological and Brain Sciences” class worked last year to build a palm sweat sensor device to measure the effects of various stimuli on the brain.

IU undergraduate Christina Moe is working in the Walczak Lab at IU Bloomington. Moe was recently featured in a LabTV segment in which she described her genetics research into how cells are supposed to properly divide and how she hopes her work will help identify treatments for cancer and other diseases where there are problems with cell division.

And, finally, students in IU Bloomington’s new Media School are taking a course in 3D cinematography, in which they’re learning how 3D film can significantly enhance the storytelling process and the impact it can have on building the professional portfolios of aspiring filmmakers.

Check out the new IU Bloomington YouTube channel for more videos about the Bloomington campus experience.

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Year in Review: Top stories from 2014 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 19:29:13 +0000 As 2014 draws to a close, the IU Newsroom invites you to look back with us at some of the top stories at Indiana University Bloomington: national and international guests; new beginnings and historic milestones; great achievements from faculty, students and athletes; and a focus on the future as IU approaches its bicentennial.

“Great universities, like Indiana University, are not narrowly focused,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said during his annual State of the University address.

McRobbie stressed IU’s commitment to research, scholarly excellence and offering a broad scope of instruction. He reaffirmed the commitment to keeping a high-quality education attainable and increasing international ties. “Great universities, like Indiana University, are expected to endure.”

Here are just a few highlights from 2014:



Interested in exploring the highlighted stories further? Read more below:

Bicentennial Strategic Plan

New IU research and discovery

Inaugurations and dedications

International IU


Star power

IU’s best and brightest

Inclusive IU

Athletic excellence

Forbes’ Best Public Colleges 2014


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Living B1G and what it means to be a Hoosier Tue, 09 Dec 2014 18:09:59 +0000

Beginning this month and throughout the winter and spring, viewers of Big Ten Network basketball and other sports programming will be given a special glimpse into the work being done by IU Bloomington students to establish a more caring culture on campus.

We’ve bantered about Culture of Care in this blog before, but its importance — and the time, energy and dedication this initiative entails —  make it well worth repeating. And as the students who spearhead the initiative can attest to, a significant part of creating a community in which mutual respect, compassion and support are part of the norm is growing greater awareness and understanding of what it means to be a student and, more specifically, a Hoosier student.

As Culture of Care co-chair Patrick Holbrook says in the new Big Ten Network “LiveB1G” vignette featured above, “Being a Hoosier needs to mean more than just being a student and wearing the IU logo on your chest. It should mean being a person who cares for others.”

The new vignette follows up on an earlier BTN story on Culture of Care, which will run throughout the year on the network’s LiveB1G website. The site showcases Big Ten students, faculty and alumni making a positive difference in their communities and throughout the world.

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Telling the inspiring story of a safe haven Mon, 17 Nov 2014 02:06:53 +0000

“For me the office has really served as a home away from home. It’s kind of this place where I can be sure that there will be acceptance no matter what. No matter what problem I have or what issue comes up I can always come here and people will be very supportive and willing to listen and willing to help.” — IU Bloomington student Xander Harty. 

This week, IU Bloomington’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services Office will celebrate 20 years of serving Xander Harty and other students for whom the office, at one time an unfathomable concept, has become a safe haven, a second home and a beacon in the fight for acceptance and understanding.

Some stories are so powerful and inspiring they deserve to be told in a way that goes beyond dates, soundbites and statistics, which is why my talented colleagues in the IU Bloomington Newsroom and with the Inside IU newsletter took the “long reads” approach to telling the tale of IU’s GLBT Student Support Services Office and the father figure who has so ably guided it since its inception, Doug Bauder.

Experience the full story package, which includes a number of anecdotes, photos and videos such as the one above, at the following link:

The story arrives just in time for the office’s 20th anniversary open house, which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 19, from noon to 5 p.m. The event will include guests sharing memories of the office, food, prizes, a collaborative art project and more.

I hope you’ll enjoy the story and learning about the impact that this cozy house on the edge of campus has made on the lives of hundreds of students.

Says Bauder, “I try not to take it for granted. I wake up almost every morning thinking this is such a wonderful place to be. For me, it’s a calling. It’s absolutely what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m more convinced of that than ever.”

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Reception to honor Herb Terry, Distinguished Service Award recipient Fri, 14 Nov 2014 21:30:09 +0000 Herb Terry

Herb Terry

Guest post courtesy of Steve Hinnefeld, who normally writes at the Policy Briefings blog.

If there were a dictionary entry for “faculty governance at Indiana University Bloomington,” it would probably include a picture of Herb Terry, who was recognized for his long and steady service by being awarded the campus’s 2014-15 Distinguished Service Award.

The professor emeritus of telecommunications will be celebrated at a reception at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Indiana Memorial Union Federal Room. Hosting the event are Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Tom Gieryn.

Friends who plan to attend may RSVP to

Terry retired in 2012 but has remained a key member of the Bloomington Faculty Council. He was president of the council in 2013-14 and serves this year as a member of its executive, budgetary affairs, faculty affairs and nomination committees.

“Herb Terry has been the face, the voice and the heart of faculty governance at IU Bloomington for decades,” Gieryn said in announcing the award in July. “I know well, from close personal experience, how deftly he negotiates the best interests of the university. He is a model for getting things done, and I cannot imagine a more deserving recipient of this award.”

Terry characteristically deflected credit. “While I am honored to receive this award, it is really an award for all of the people throughout IU that I’ve worked with for almost 40 years,” he said. He added, “Effective shared governance is crucial to the success of the university, and I’m pleased that it’s being recognized through this award.”

Terry joined the Department of Telecommunications faculty in 1974 and was first elected to the Bloomington Faculty Council in 1983. He previously served as its president 2008-09. He was co-secretary of the University Faculty Council, which represents all IU campuses, in 2008-09 and 2013-14.

A first-generation college graduate, Terry developed a passion for service when he joined the American Association of University Professors while a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota. An expert on electronic media law and policy, He has worked in the former Soviet Union and other nations in transition to help create environments favorable to independent media. His international experiences led to his appointment as founding director of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Global Village Living Learning Center, which marks its 10th anniversary this year.

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Investing in IU’s compelling research story Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:47:28 +0000 Guest post courtesy of Mark Land, IU associate vice president for public affairs and government relations. 

Education. Service. Research.

The work of all universities is embodied by the first two of those three words. At Indiana University and its peer universities across the country, however, faculty research rounds out the tripartite missions of these institutions.

Research is a large economic driver at institutions such as IU, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the state and supporting a significant number of jobs.

Research is a large economic driver at institutions such as IU, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the state and supporting a significant number of jobs.

This work – done across a spectrum of disciplines, encompassing the physical sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities – is pursued by talented and dedicated scholars and researchers, and provides many of the basic intellectual discoveries that serve as the foundation for life-saving medical treatments, life-changing technological advancements and life-enhancing knowledge. Indeed, well over half of all basic research in the United States that results in commercial products, technologies or therapies is performed at universities.

Research also is a large economic driver at institutions such as IU, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the state and supporting a significant number of jobs. For example, IU researchers spent $533 million on their work in fiscal year 2014, and that total has exceeded $500 million annually for the past four years.

The lion’s share of that funding comes from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, which are charged with supporting basic research that helps advance the nation’s vital interests. This infusion of financial support is an important driver of IU’s economic impact on the state – which exceeds $10 billion a year when taken together with our healthcare partner Indiana University Health.

As you might imagine, a research enterprise of this magnitude is complex. Competition for funding at a time of dwindling public funding is especially fierce, which makes effectively communicating the breadth and value of IU faculty research more important than ever.

At IU, that work traditionally has been done by skilled communicators embedded across the university in our various schools, as well as in our campus and university research organizations and the office of public affairs. That work routinely results in interesting stories about breakthrough research at IU, which often is shared through the media and regularly pushed out by the university through our social media channels.

I’m extremely proud of our efforts to share IU’s outstanding research story, but we know there is more to do, and we have taken an important first step in raising our game in this area by creating the university’s first-ever manager of research communication.

This position, a cooperative venture between the offices of Public Affairs and Government Relations and the Vice President for Research, will lead a coordinated university-wide effort to better communicate the scope and impact of IU’s research enterprise to key audiences. Steve Chaplin, a veteran science writer at IU, has moved into this new role and we will be adding another science writer in the office of public affairs to further bolster our efforts.

Veteran IU science writer Steve Chaplin is IU's first-ever manager of research communications.

Veteran IU science writer Steve Chaplin is IU’s first-ever manager of research communications.

Our intent is to do more than just tell individual success stories about research grants, but rather to leverage our communication resources to highlight broad themes and areas of expertise as they relate to IU’s research enterprise across all our campuses. We also intend to do more to show the real-world impact of IU research, which is vitally important at a time when funding sources are under considerable stress.

And we don’t intend to stop there.

Research communications will continue to be a top priority across the university, and we will be examining every aspect of how we do this work – from staffing to story selection to distribution to how we work with researchers to help them become better advocates for their work.

IU has a great research story to tell. And we intend to do a great job of telling it.

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IU student veterans and the ‘experience of war’ Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:32:11 +0000 This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war. 

— Epigraph to Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1929)

Si sta come
sugli alberi
le foglie

We are like
the leaves
on the trees
in autumn

— From “Soldati” or “Soldiers” (1916) by Italian modernist poet Giuseppe Ungaretti 

This afternoon, on Veterans Day and as part of IU Bloomington’s yearlong commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, three IU student veterans will gather in, fittingly, the Great Room of the Hutton Honors College to share their thoughts on what soldiers-turned-authors Remarque and Ungaretti so artfully expressed — the weight of war and, more specifically, how war affects and changes the perspectives of those who play a role in it.

The student veterans scheduled to offer their experiences and perspectives on war and life in today’s 3 p.m. roundtable discussion are:

Once thought to be the war that would “end all wars,” World War I instead triggered many other conflicts, and the concepts it introduced (modern-day warfare, ethnic nationalism, political extremism, terrorism and more) are now commonplace in today’s global vernacular. Not to be forgotten, though, is the physical and psychological impact of what the Great War and subsequent conflicts have had on those who, willingly or unwillingly, have participated in them.

“World War I was the first war that utilized modern technology and warfare,” says Andrea Ciccarelli, dean of the Hutton Honors College and coordinator of IU’s World War I commemoration. “Soldiers were exposed for the first time in history to constant artillery bombardment, and yet they also were facing a brutal man-to-man combat experience. These daily experiences caused more stress to the troops than in previous wars, and for the first time malaises such as shell shock — which later would evolve into post-traumatic stress disorder  — were diagnosed.

“Today’s warfare in certain areas of the world, despite sophisticated equipment and technology, lead to similar situations for our soldiers, who are forced to manhunt in difficult terrains and conditions.”

IU student veteran and former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Anthony Arnold will participate in a roundtable discussion at IU Bloomington about the "experience of war."

IU student veteran and former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Anthony Arnold will participate in a roundtable discussion at IU Bloomington about the “experience of war.”

As a personal aside, I’m proud to be part of a campus that has consistently been ranked as one of the top colleges in the nation for veterans,  offers a full suite of services, such as scholarships and other financial support, to assist our military students and their families, and regularly salutes the military service of Hoosiers here at IU and around our state.

All members of the campus community are invited to the student veteran roundtable discussion today at the Hutton Honors College, at 811 E. Seventh St. in Bloomington.

Visit IU’s World War I website for more information on all of the commemorative events and activities.

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All abuzz about Jonathan Banks Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:46:13 +0000 For a guy who’s built a career in film and on TV for playing sinister types and villains, including Mike Ehrmantraut on the award-winning TV drama “Breaking Bad,” Jonathan Banks seemed to have no trouble embracing the part of happy homecomer during a whirlwind visit to IU Bloomington last week.

Breaking Bad actor Jonathan Banks mugs in front of a video camera follwing the ceremony to formally dedicate IU's new Media School.

Actor Jonathan Banks mugs in front of a video camera following the ceremony to formally dedicate IU’s new Media School.

Best known for his memorable roles in “Breaking Bad,” “Community” and “Wiseguy,” Banks got his start in acting while a student in Btown in the 1960s. At the time, he appeared in a production of “Threepenny Opera” with fellow IU alumnus Kevin Kline, who was here just a few weeks ago.

If it seemed like Banks was everywhere during his return trip home, which happened to coincide with IU’s 2014 Homecoming celebration, that’s because he was. Speaking at the inauguration of the new Media School and dedication of a new sculpture of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernie Pyle. Meeting with IU President Michael A. McRobbie. Conducting a master class with IU theater students. Riding with his daughter in the annual homecoming parade. Cheering on the Hoosier football squad. Delivering an inspiring talk at IU Cinema. Recording a new public service announcement. Posing for pictures with IU students thrilled to be in the presence of such an accomplished actor, who was anything but the bad guy he frequently plays on screen.

Everywhere he went he was warm and gracious, but not unwilling to spread a little tough love here and there, like when he implored students to watch out for the dangers of alcohol and talked passionately and forcefully about the need to care for and respect one another.

“Jonathan’s main motivation to return this week is to connect with theater students, both at the graduate and undergraduate level,” Jon Vickers, director of the IU Cinema, said prior to Banks’ visit. “He has told me several times how important his time here at IU was to him. He feels that he may be able to offer the students some wisdom collected from his 40-plus years in the business.”

Banks didn’t disappoint. And his message, delivered in his unmistakable, serious, deep-throated voice, couldn’t have been lost on anyone: “Be kind, don’t lie.”

Here’s hoping Banks will be true to his own word and bring more of his own kindness back to Btown very soon.

In the meantime, here’s a sampling of various tweets chronicling Banks’ memorable and inspiring homecoming.

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King Kevin returns Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:47:24 +0000 Don’t call him stupid. Call him Dr. Kevin Kline.

The man who brought us the clueless criminal Otto from “A Fish Called Wanda” and has famously portrayed Shakespearean kings, pirate kings and presidents, among many other classic characters of the stage and screen, made a triumphant return to Indiana University Bloomington this afternoon, earning standing applause for a new honor to accompany his Oscar and two Tony Awards.

Kevin Kline displays his newest honor -- an honorary doctorate from Indiana University.

Kevin Kline displays his newest honor — an honorary doctorate from Indiana University.

“It all did start here,” Kline said upon receiving an honorary doctoral degree from his alma mater and the place where he launched a remarkable acting career still going strong in its fifth decade.

That was just one of several memorable lines the living legend shared during his post-degree conferral Q&A session with Jonathan Michaelsen, chair of the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance, who led the audience through a retrospective of Kline’s most well known (and a few lesser known) roles and allowed Kline to reminisce fondly about his days as an IU student. 

Of note, Kline said:

  • “The American Olivier,” as he was famously dubbed by New York Times theater critic Frank Rich, “hated” Shakespeare in high school. Then he took a Shakespeare class at IU, where he became fascinated by the Bard and learned to really focus on the true meaning behind Shakespeare’s lofty language.
  • He got his acting start in the “small” T300 classroom, located in the University Theatre Building.
  • As a student, he was inclined to mimic the masters, asking himself how actors like Marlon Brando or Jimmy Stewart would approach a particular role. While studying at IU, he quickly learned how to be the “author of your own work.”
  • Improv contributed to the success of “A Fish Called Wanda,” for which he won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. As an IU student, he honed his improvisational talent while performing sketches at the Owl, a one-time Btown coffee shop, and at the neighboring Brown County Playhouse. (Kline will appear at a special screening of “Wanda” this evening at IU Cinema.)

Kline will remain in his old stomping grounds tomorrow for a master class with IU theater students. He’ll also get to spend time with his friend and fellow actor, IU Professor Robby Benson, who was instrumental in bringing Kline back to Btown. Then it’s on to yet another challenge.

But he won’t be able to leave IU too far behind. In a few weeks, Kline will begin filming a new movie, starring opposite another recent IU honorary degree recipient: Dr. Meryl Streep.

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A best value Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:25:07 +0000 For the second straight year, Indiana University Bloomington has been recognized by Washington Monthly for being one of the nation’s top values in higher education.

In its 2014 “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings, which are based on the economic value students receive per dollar, the non-profit publication that covers Beltway politics and government, culture and media ranked IU Bloomington eighth among larger national universities and 20th among the 1,540 universities and colleges it reviewed. Among larger national universities, IU Bloomington was once again tops in the Big Ten, followed by Rutgers University (14) and Purdue University (19).

IU Bloomington has once again been named a best value by Washington Monthly magazine.

IU Bloomington has once again been named a best value by Washington Monthly magazine.

While rankings only reflect part of the overall college experience, it’s satisfying to see such recognition for IU’s commitment to keeping a quality education affordable, which includes recent efforts like the new “Finish in Four” program and several initiatives designed to help keep tuition costs low and control student debt levels.

The rankings appear in the magazine’s September/October issue. Go here to read more about the methodology behind and insights into the rankings.

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Making a caring culture the “norm” Wed, 03 Sep 2014 21:06:35 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Bloomington student Rachel Green, who is a senior advisor to Culture of Care

College is a time for learning, exploration and self-discovery, for forging new and lasting friendship, for developing strong mentoring relationships — and it’s often a time for partying and late-night adventures.

Rachel Green has been involved with IU's Culture of Care as a director, co-chief and now senior advisor.

Rachel Green has been involved with IU’s Culture of Care as a director, co-chief and now senior advisor.

Often, when students leave for college, they think “Freedom! Finally!” now that parents and guardians are no longer watching over them. Although college is a time for learning, navigating these new freedoms can be challenging.

During my experience at IU, I’ve seen a number of students struggle for different reasons. Some of my fellow students have abused alcohol to the point of getting so sick I’ve had to hold their hair back as they puked onto the concrete. Others have struggled with anxiety, depression, overwhelming sadness or alcohol abuse. I’ve also personally seen how sexual violence has taken a toll on someone’s emotional well-being and ability to be successful at school.

The student founders of the Culture of Care program felt that these experiences shouldn’t be considered normal. They created Culture of Care Week at IU in the spring of 2012 to raise awareness about issues related to mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault and discrimination, with the overarching message to students to help one another. To not be idle bystanders. To intervene on behalf of one another.

In short, the goal of Culture of Care is to engage students to create a safer IU Bloomington community.

Over the past year and a half, Culture of Care has grown into a campus-wide, student-led, staff-supported initiative housed under IU Student Association Special Projects. We have four focus areas: sexual well-being; drug and alcohol awareness; respect; and mental health awareness. Our goal is to connect students to the multitude of on-campus resources available and to spread awareness about our four focus areas through a speaker series, workshops, training through our Step Up IU Bystander Intervention Program and our annual Culture of Care Week. We also maintain visibility on campus by handing out information at highly populated areas on campus.

The Culture of Care vision is to create a campus where students have the courage to care about one another.

Transforming the culture through the “courage to care”

I have been involved with Culture of Care since the fall of 2012 as a director, co-chief and now senior advisor. Through my experience leading Culture of Care, I have learned that the hardest challenge facing this organization as well as IU Bloomington and college campuses as a whole is the slow nature of culture change and the simultaneous necessity of culture change if we want to live in a healthy, safe, caring and productive society.

We live in a world where, when a party guest has drunk so much that she becomes physically ill all over the sidewalk, other party guests excuse her behavior saying, “Everyone has those days.” What kind of culture is that, where drinking to the point of physical illness is a normal and acceptable way to socialize on a weekend?

To me, it is terrifying that it’s acceptable for “everyone” to have those days. Those days are dangerous! Those days can result in serious injury or death! Those days should not be normal.

This is a cultural issue that spans generations of Americans. It cannot and will not be fixed in a few years with a few thousand T-shirts handed out with information at tables across campus. The students who started Culture of Care, the leaders currently on campus, the freshmen who have just arrived — none of them will likely see a total transformation of IU’s culture.

It will be a gradual, slow process. We’re taking steps in the right direction by talking to students face-to-face about bystander intervention; explaining what mental health stigma is and how to reduce it; providing clear definitions of consent; and talking with students about real-life situations so they can treat their sexual partners with respect. Our goal is to educate students with information about the resources and help available to them on campus. If we can create a culture where the “norm” is for students to intervene when they see someone in need, we can work to address the root cultural problems that condone dangerous binge drinking, violent and aggressive sexual behavior, and discrimination against people because of their race, sexual orientation or religion.

Culture of Care is taking steps to engage students in creating a safer environment, one in which students have the courage to care. We want students to feel empowered to act when they see another in need.

These steps are new on such a large scale and with such widespread administrative support for a student-led organization, but they are not new for IU. The university has been committed to providing a safe, rewarding campus atmosphere for students for years. What makes Culture of Care unique now is the level of collaboration and coordination among different entities across campus. I am so incredibly proud and grateful to be a student at IU during this critical point in time and to be able to offer my time and passion to help make IU an even better place for students for years to come.

Learn more

Those interested in learning more about Culture of Care should check out our website at We also have a Facebook and Twitter. Please email if you have any questions or want to get involved:

Student groups, professors, student organization leaders can request a Culture of Care – Step UP! IU bystander intervention training to teach students who to step up and help intervene. Request a presentation here.

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Rolling out the Big Red carpet Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:51:19 +0000

We’re still basking in the glow of Move In Day here at IU Bloomington and the fun, energy and excitement that comes with welcoming all of our new and returning students, their families and their loved ones to campus. As this video, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood IU Newsroom attests to, there truly is nothing like a warm Hoosier welcome to IU’s best and brightest.

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A big Btown welcome! Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:02:31 +0000

It’s hard to believe it’s back-to-school time in Bloomington – that time of year when those of us who stick around during the quiet summer months start to gear up for the impending onslaught of students arriving on campus, busier streets and sidewalks, louder, more crowded restaurants and, yes, fewer parking spaces.

I admit, this is that time when I start pining for a few more weeks of summer to bask in that parking spot right behind my office building and the short line for my coffee and bagel at the Bloomington Bagel Company.

And then it happens: Smiling students and their families snapping selfies at the Sample Gates. Incoming freshmen happily meeting one another for the very first time. The looks on the faces of those students’ family members – a unique combination of pride, happiness and anxiousness. A parent stopping to comment on the stunning beauty of the Bloomington campus.

For us longtime IU Btown folks who’ve experienced more than a few back-to-school extravaganzas, it’s easy to forget what a special and momentous time this truly is for IU students and their families and loved ones.

Here in the IU Newsroom, we talk a good deal about what it means to our students to be joining (or rejoining) the IU community and the power of being part of its proud traditions. Many of us are alums who have fond memories of our days spent as students. Some of us have seen our own children follow in our footsteps or look forward to a time when they will.

Also not to be overlooked is the time and energy that dedicated IU Bloomington staff put into welcoming the campus’s new and returning students and the programs that have been carefully constructed to enable IU students to better connect with the people, places and services that can ensure a positive overall college experience. Indeed, the events and activities that make up IU Bloomington’s “Welcome Week” – including popular traditions like Freshman Induction, which, remarkably, began 80 years ago; CultureFest, a celebration of the many cultures represented at IU; and Traditions and Spirit of IU – have become vital components of a campus culture that emphasizes caring and community, engagement, personal responsibility, safety and Hoosier spirit.

Says Melanie Payne, senior associate director of IU’s First Year Experience Programs and director of New Student Orientation, “Welcome Week is more than a schedule of events. By going to events of Welcome Week – academic, social, large, small, required and optional – they are meeting people, learning the campus and exploring what is here to help them be successful as Hoosiers.”

While popular traditions like Freshman Induction, which will formally welcome the class of 2018, will continue this year, Welcome Week also will weave in messages and activities highlighting efforts related to IU Bloomington’s Culture of Care, a student- and staff-led initiative to foster greater care and awareness in the areas of sexual well-being, drug and alcohol usage, mental health and respect.

“Building upon messages from New Student Orientation of safety, community, personal responsibility and the Indiana Promise, we want our newest Hoosiers to understand they are part of a community that takes care of one another,” Payne says. “We hope to help them to be compassionate, engaged, aware members of the IU and Bloomington community by connecting with each other and their surroundings.”

As the Bloomington Herald-Times reported today, IU’s new international students are being made to feel at home through orientation and transition activities organized by the Office of International Services, First Year Experiences and Residential Programs and Services. They and other new students from Indiana and around the nation will have the opportunity to further acquaint themselves with IU through the popular RecFest, job fairs, open houses, Taste of the IMU (Indiana Memorial Union), academic advising opportunities, IU Guides support, IUBeginnings trips and numerous fun events, including late-night movies and shopping trips and the annual Welcome Week concert. A new social media contest even asks students to upload their favorite move-in images to win prizes.

IU’s newest students are already giving back, too. This year’s incoming class started its giving spirit at New Student Orientation by collectively donating 3,085 pounds of food to Hoosier Hills Food Bank to help feed the area’s hungry. What’s more, IU’s orientation staff expect that hundreds of new Hoosiers, who will participate in New Student Service Day, will donate their time to the Bloomington community, working with local agencies, to serve others in many different ways.

All in all, the events and activities of Welcome Week, which officially begins Wednesday, Aug. 20, are enough to excite even longtime Hoosiers like myself and infuse them with some serious IU pride.

A complete Welcome Week schedule is available online.

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Fond memories and excitement over a new era in journalism excellence at IU Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:42:03 +0000 Guest post courtesy of Mark Land, IU associate vice president of public affairs and government relations and adjunct lecturer of journalism.

A part of my educational history died today.

I’m a proud graduate of the IU School of Journalism (Class of ’85), which provided the foundation for most everything I have achieved in my career and more importantly is where I met the girl of my dreams.

Some of my fondest memories as an IU student are housed in Ernie Pyle Hall where I spent many an hour as a reporter and editor of the Indiana Daily Student, which was then – like today – one of the very best student newspapers in the country and where I learned from professors who left a lasting impression on my journalistic sensibilities.

But rather than mourn the passing of the IU School of Journalism, I’m choosing to look with excitement at seeing it reincarnated as a central piece of the new IU Media School.

IU journalism faculty celebrated past successes and the beginning of the new Media School on Monday, June 30. From L-R: Cleveland Wilhoit, David Nord, Trevor Brown, Tom French and David Weaver.

IU journalism faculty celebrated past successes and the beginning of the new Media School on Monday, June 30. From L-R: Cleveland Wilhoit, David Nord, Trevor Brown, Tom French and David Weaver.

Now, in my current position I don’t exactly get paid to take positions in opposition to university decisions. In this case, though, I honestly would be excited even if I was an arm’s length observer to IU’s transition from stand-alone journalism school to a more integrated communications school that is reflective of the way people create and consume content in today’s digital society.

This may still be a minority opinion among my fellow alums, and certainly a vocal contingent has shared its concerns for the feared loss of identity or independence for the school – and even a bit of nostalgia over moving out of Ernie Pyle Hall, which to call it a quaint home would be a compliment.

But consider this: For most of its storied century of history, the journalism program at IU existed not as an independent school, but rather as a department. In fact, the program had only been elevated to school status for less than a decade when I entered it in the early 1980s.

By that time, however, the program already produced a stable of journalistic legends from Nelson Poynter to James Polk to, of course, the legendary Pyle. Many more leaders in the field, including many still active today as working journalists, academics and public relations professionals, came through the program after it was elevated to school status.

Structure has never defined excellence when it comes to journalism education at IU, but change is a natural part of life, a fact that journalists have experienced first hand all too well over the past decade.

The legendary Ernie Pyle, reporting during World War II.

The legendary Ernie Pyle, reporting during World War II.

The sweeping changes in the delivery of news and the consumption preferences of audiences brought on by rapid technological change have turned the journalistic business model on its head by completely eliminating the traditional news cycle and greatly expanding the competition for consumers’ eyes and ears. They’ve also required journalists to be writers, videographers, web producers and more – often on a single story.

What hasn’t changed, however, is the need to produce graduates that understand what makes for a good story, that possess a keen eye for detail and an ear for language, that are steadfastly commitment to accuracy and that respect the enormous responsibility that comes with being a journalist.

Nothing about the School of Journalism’s move to the Media School affects the core principles that have guided the university’s teaching of journalism for more than a century. Instead, students will now be grounded in journalistic fundamentals as part of a school that offers significantly greater flexibility and choice when it comes to a communications curriculum.

And just as journalism students will benefit from access to the best of our current telecommunications and communication and culture curriculum – not to mention entirely new course offerings – they eventually will pursue their education in state of the art facilities in Franklin Hall.

J. Irwin Miller, business visionary and the longtime legendary chairman of another great Hoosier institution, Cummins Inc., once famously said “reorganization is organization.” In evolutionary terms, I believe the concept is “adapt or die.”

Rather than cry over the end of an era, I’d rather raise a glass and toast the IU School of Journalism for a good run and offer a hearty welcome to the Media School, which – if history is a guide – will make all of us at IU very proud.

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Growing global partnerships Wed, 18 Jun 2014 19:08:19 +0000 Guest post courtesy of Jennifer Piurek, director of communications and special projects, IU Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

During Lauren Robel’s trip to Taiwan in May — her third official Indiana University international visit in a six-month period — IU Bloomington’s Provost and Executive Vice President caught a glimpse into a fresh world of possibilities for IU students, particularly through partnerships with National Taiwan University and National Chiao Tung University.

Lauren Robel

Lauren Robel

Robel was invited to Taiwan as a guest of the Ministry of Education. There, she met with ministry officials, alumni and university partners, and presented a talk on IU’s new academic directions.

“Everywhere I went, I saw more opportunities to help IU students to become globally engaged citizens,” Robel said. One of the most exciting parts of the trip: discussions with the Ministry of Education about additional opportunities for bidirectional student exchange programs. “Through these programs, both sets of students will be able to make incredibly valuable connections with professors and peers from another culture while experiencing immersion in that culture.”

At the request of the Ministry of Education, Robel gave a talk on Indiana University’s New Academic Directions initiative at the Chinese Culture University in Taipei. She attended a dinner hosted by CCU Professor of Political Science Spencer Yang, who is the chair of the Taiwan Alumni Club.

The Taiwan visit followed Robel’s trips to Seoul and Shanghai in March and to Korea in December 2013. All of these trips support her campus vision for even greater international connections that increase opportunities for IU students to both study abroad and take part in overseas service projects.

Indiana University already has strong connections to Taiwan; during the past academic year, over 200 Taiwanese students were enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at IU, most on the Bloomington campus.

IU’s Maurer School of Law has active partnerships with National Taiwan University and National Chiao Tung University. Mark Janis, the Robert A. Lucas Chair of Law and director of the Center for Intellectual Property Research, recently visited NTU and is currently teaching an advanced IP course at NCTU via videoconferencing. Robel met with officials from both universities and discussed the possibility of expanding existing partnerships to include other areas and schools.

Provost Robel with members of the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.

Provost Robel with members of the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.

Robel also had a special opportunity to visit National Taipei University of the Arts, the institution with the longest history of any art institution in Taiwan. She toured the university’s facilities with President Chyi-Wen Yang, a graduate of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance in the College of Arts and Sciences. A number of accomplished directors have graduated from NTUA, including Oscar Award-winning director Ang Lee.

President Yang and Dean of Music Hwei-Jin Liu visited the Bloomington campus several years ago, and a number of NTUA students have studied in the Jacobs School of Music in recent years.

Provost Robel’s official visit to Taiwan coincided with Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie’s trip to Japan, China, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Following her time in Taiwan, Robel traveled to Singapore, where she attended a ceremony in which McRobbie presented the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to Maurer School of Law alumnus and former U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, David Carden. While in Beijing, McRobbie dedicated IU’s second international gateway facility.

During her trip, Robel also met with IU Bloomington alumnus Yu-Chi Wang, Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council. Minister Wang is a graduate of the Maurer School of Law and serves as the political point person for cross-strait affairs with mainland China. He previously served as spokesman for President Ma Ying-jeou and as senior advisor on Taiwan’s National Security Council.

President McRobbie and Provost Robel have both made multiple official visits in recent years to Southeast Asia, a region of great strategic importance to Indiana University.

“It’s an honor to represent IU abroad,” Robel said. “These trips serve as a powerful reminder of this university’s ability to support the overseas engagement that leads our graduates to greater understanding of the world, richer visions of the possibilities for their lives and careers, and closer ties to IU.”

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Mini University provides a learning vacation for students of all ages Wed, 28 May 2014 16:29:21 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom colleague Jaclyn Lansbery:

As a recent graduate, I am not ready to jump back into the classroom anytime soon. But give me a few years, and I’ll start to miss the newness that comes with the first week of the semester – finding your “spot” in the classroom, feeling out your professor’s approach to grading and starting fresh with a new group of people.

For those who want to experience that first-week rush, the IU Alumni Association and IU Lifelong Learning are sponsoring the 43rd Mini University, giving people of all ages and backgrounds a chance to take five days of classes taught by IU faculty, right here on the beautiful Bloomington campus.

Participants from the 2013 Mini University on the IU Bloomington campus.

Participants from the 2013 Mini University on the IU Bloomington campus.

From June 9 to 13, registered participants can take courses in a variety of topics: arts; business and technology; education, health and human development; humanities; international affairs; and science.

Participants will also be able to mingle with fellow classmates while attending a picnic, a faculty reception at the university president’s house on campus, a film at the IU Cinema, a play at the Wells-Metz Theatre and an informal graduation ceremony at the end of the week.

“Mini University is a summer-learning oasis,” said Jeanne Madison, IU Lifelong Learning director of Mini University. “Hundreds of adults will immerse themselves in the intellectually stimulating teachings of the finest faculty at IU, gaining emerging knowledge on topics of domestic and international importance, the arts, and social and natural sciences. Participants form lasting friendships at Mini University as they foster their joy for learning with their peers and the IU Bloomington community.”

A conference check-in and brief orientation will take place in the late afternoon on Sunday, June 8. On Sunday evening, a welcome dinner at the Indiana Memorial Union Tudor Room will kick off the week. Courses convene in the Indiana Memorial Union and at special locations, such as the Lilly Library and the IU Cinema.

Mini U started in 1972 with about 75 “students” experiencing a unique educational vacation program for adults. Participants brought their families, lived for the week in a college dormitory, and attended a variety of lectures and courses while their kids attended a children’s program at the former Shawnee Bluffs camp on Lake Monroe.

Today, Mini U draws educators, retirees and other lifelong learners to the heart of the IU Bloomington campus for what has been ranked by Frommer’s Budget Travel as one of the best learning vacations in the country.

Interested in attending? Schedule and registration details, as well as complete list of classes, are available online.

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One-on-one with Robby Benson Mon, 19 May 2014 23:26:18 +0000

This is a pretty amazing time in Btown — the IU baseball team made it back-to-back Big Ten regular season titles, underwater science researchers at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington are investigating the recent potential discovery of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria, the Kelley School of Business made it to the big Nasdaq screen in New York City’s Times Square and three IU Bloomington faculty members made it to the silver screen at the Festival de Cannes with their short film about the ways humans have spread information throughout history, Humanexus.

All of this is incredibly exciting. But if you really want to get people going, just mention that Robby Benson is here. More and more, it’s becoming less and less of a secret that the veteran film and TV actor, director, producer and educator is on campus, working with aspiring IU filmmaking students and rapidly raising the visibility of film production and study on the Bloomington campus.

I recently had a chance to meet Benson, a professor of practice in the Department of Telecommunications, soon to be part of the new IU Media School, and it’s clear he has big plans for IU Bloomington, including making the campus one of the nation’s premier destinations for students who want to get into film. In the meantime, his students just finished more than nine months of film production work, which led to an eventful night on yet another big screen — that of the IU Cinema.

Check out the video above, shot and produced by Inside IU and IU Newsroom intern Matt Bloom.

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Where the arts heat up in summer Sat, 17 May 2014 13:41:31 +0000

Think summer slows down in Btown? Think again. I can’t get enough of this cool, colorful video that neatly captures the cultural vibrancy that is IU Bloomington’s annual Summer Festival of the Arts. The festival, now in its fourth year, started last week and continues through Aug. 24.

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Teddy talks (and the modern-day commencement address at IU Bloomington) Thu, 08 May 2014 15:34:02 +0000 Herman B and Booker T.

Mellencamp and Sylvia McNair.

Birch and Evan Bayh.

Q, Quincy Jones.

Pauley, Smiley and Enberg, oh my.

The statesmen, Richard Lugar and Lee Hamilton.

The Nobel winner, Eleanor Ostrom.

The Batman crusader, Michael Uslan, and the Puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.

Oh, and did we mention Teddy Roosevelt?

All of these names, from music, media and the movies, as well as education, politics and policymaking, are associated with the modern-day commencement address at Indiana University Bloomington, first introduced in 1892.

Teddy Roosevelt (seated at left) at IU Bloomington's 1918 commencement ceremony. IU President William Lowe Bryan is speaking. Photo from IU Archives Photograph Collection.

Teddy Roosevelt (seated at left) at IU Bloomington’s 1918 commencement ceremony. IU President William Lowe Bryan is speaking. Photo from IU Archives Photograph Collection.

Last spring, the IU Archives presented a great look back at commencement ceremonies of yesteryear, complete with some stunning black-and-white photography. And for those who want to delve deeper into the history of who’s spoken at commencement, the Office of University Archives and Records Management also has a complete listing of speakers and speech titles.

There you’ll find the notables I’ve listed above, including IU’s legendary 11th president, Herman B Wells; the late IU distinguished professor Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences; celebrated musicians Booker T Jones, Quincy Jones, John Mellencamp and Sylvia McNair; renowned TV broadcasters Dick Enberg, Jane Pauley and Tavis Smiley; longtime Indiana political leaders, Birch Bayh, Evan Bayh, Lee Hamilton and Richard Lugar; Batman producer Michael Uslan; and New York Times crossword puzzle guru Will Shortz.

And that’s only going back a mere 26 years.

Keep scrolling down the list and you’ll find Supreme Court justices, U.S. senators, governors, lieutenant governors, ambassadors, and, yes, former U.S. presidents.

Indeed, that’s the Teddy Roosevelt on the list. Nine years after completing his second term as U.S. president and one year before his passing, Roosevelt delivered the 1918 spring commencement address in Bloomington. While we can’t be certain that Roosevelt ‘spoke softly’ during his address, titled “Straightforward Americanism,” we do know that he was greatly impressed by Bloomington and its graduation proceedings.

He said:

“I want to say at the outset that I don’t think that I have ever been at a more beautiful university commencement than this.”

See IU’s press release about this year’s commencement speakers in Bloomington, Michael D. Higgins, president of Ireland, and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. Visit the official IU Commencement website for additional details on this year’s ceremonies.

The crowd at the 1942 spring commencement in Bloomington. From IU Archives Photograph Collection.

The crowd at the 1942 spring commencement in Bloomington. From IU Archives Photograph Collection.

IU's graduating class of 1912. From IU Archives Photograph Collection.

IU’s graduating class of 1912. From IU Archives Photograph Collection.

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IU students step up to create a Culture of Care Fri, 02 May 2014 20:07:28 +0000 Guest post courtesy of Leslie Fasone, assistant dean for women’s and gender affairs in the Dean of Students Office at IU Bloomington.

Culture of Care. What is a culture of care and how do we create a community at IU where students, staff and faculty demonstrate care and concern for one another? Creating a Culture of Care is a tall order. It involves everyone. To show that you care isn’t always easy, especially when our calendars are full with classes, assignments, projects, leadership responsibilities, and activities with friends.

Earlier this week the White House’s first report for protecting students from sexual assault was released at I spent Tuesday morning in my office combing through the document to see if we are on track here at IU. I am happy to say that we most certainly are. There are four main points identified in the report, three of which are recommendations for colleges and universities. First, identify the problem by conducting a campus climate survey. Second, develop and implement sexual assault prevention programs and work to engage men as allies. Last, effectively respond to sexual assault complaints.

We have students, staff and faculty throughout campus who work in each of these areas and have been working hard over the past several years to increase our efforts to decrease the number of sexual assault incidents that occur on campus. Approximately 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted during their collegiate experience (Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000). Although there are fewer men who are sexual assault survivors, it is still a problem among men as well. One sexual assault is too many. Often times, with issues related to public health, so much of our time gets caught up in response. It takes a great deal of time, energy and strategy to get ahead of an issue to prevent it from occurring. This is exactly what Culture of Care aims to do: prevent these incidents from occurring before they become problematic.

IU Bloomington students are working together to build a Culture of Care that aims to prevent incidents of sexual assault from occurring.

IU Bloomington students are working together to build a Culture of Care that aims to prevent incidents of sexual assault from occurring.

What does this look like for sexual assault prevention? Through Culture of Care and programs such as the Step UP! IU bystander intervention training program, we encourage students to take action. Culture of Care is a student-led and staff supported initiative that is aimed at making compassionate action the norm. We know from a survey that we conducted when we were developing our program in the fall of 2011 that nearly 89 percent of students were very bothered when they witnessed inappropriate sexual behavior. That is a powerful number. Our role now is to help students identify the risks of a situation and to give them the skills and resources to help someone out before a sexual assault occurs.

Having the Courage to Care can take a variety of forms. Here are some actions that students are doing during trainings and activities to better prepare them to step up in different situations.

Before going out:

  • Make a plan with your friends before you go out. Talk about how you are going to get home in advance and keep an eye out for each other. Don’t let your friend go home with someone when they are really intoxicated. Get the other person’s number and have your friend text him or her the next day.
  • Set a limit on how much alcohol you and your friends will consume and keep track. Watching out for each other and how much your friends are drinking can help avoid a predicament.
  • Designate one of your friends to be the “social monitor” each time you go out and rotate this position. That person should be responsible for watching out for everyone and helping to get them home safely.
  • Download the Circle of 6 app which is available for free. This app allows you to put six people into your “circle” to whom you can easily contact for help. Visit to learn more.

While you are out:

  • If you see two people who are about to go somewhere to hook up, there are several things that you can do to break up the situation. Note: Someone who is not sober is not able to give consent to sexual activity. So, if your friend has been drinking, stop the situation before it gets bad for any of the people involved.
  • Here are some things that you can do “in the moment”:
    • Ask friends of both people to help you stop a potential risky situation
    • Distract your friends – Encourage them to get up and dance or order some food. Pizza and breadsticks seem to be a good trick!
    • Put your arm around a person and lead them away
    • Pretend that you have a crisis and need to talk to your friend. You can “pretend” that you are going to bring your friend back, but distract them instead.
    • Get the person’s number and tell them that your friend will text him/her the next day. Waiting, especially if someone has been drinking or using drugs, is always a good idea.

If you think a friend has been sexually assaulted or is in an unhealthy relationship:

  • Check in with your friend.
  • Ask if your friend is okay. Use “I” statements such as “I’ve noticed” or “I’m concerned about you.” This will help your friend feel less defensive.
  • Support and believe your friend. It is never the fault of the sexual assault survivor.
  • Encourage your friend to talk to someone. Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS) has a 24-hour line (812) 855-8900 that someone can call for assistance. Counseling at SACS is available at no cost. To schedule an appointment with a SACS counselor, call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 812-855-5711 and ask specifically to meet with a Sexual Assault Crisis counselor.
  • If your friend is interested in reporting the incident, they can meet with someone at Student Advocates Office to learn about their options. To schedule an appointment call (812) 855-0761 or email

What is unfortunate about sexual assault is that it will be incredibly challenging to prevent every incident from occurring. That is the reality. Just like with illnesses such as cancer, we can work together to lower risks, but unfortunately, problems do arise. But the bottom line is that we can all work together to prevent incidents from occurring and to take care of each other if they have occurred. Creating a culture of care means that we are creating a supportive and safe environment. It takes everyone. Have the Courage to Care.

To learn more about Culture of Care and to see Hoosiers stepping up to show they care, check out Culture of Care’s video, “The Bystanders” and visit us online at Resources available at IU and in the community are available here.

*Note: These suggestions and tips have been developed with the help of students and several staff members on campus from Sexual Assault Crisis Services, OASIS, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of Student Ethics.


Fisher, B.S., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

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Buon giorno, Btown! Celebrating 35 years of ‘Breaking Away’ Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:32:23 +0000 As a non-native Bloomingtonian who grew up about 900 miles away in Connecticut, my initiation to the city and the beautiful Indiana University Bloomington campus was through Hoosier basketball, of course, and also the Academy Award winning movie “Breaking Away.” (True confession: my 8-year-old self frequently and proudly wore one of those Campagnolo cycling caps made popular in the film. Thankfully, no pictures exist of which I’m aware.)

Thirty-five years after its release, and on the eve of IU Bloomington’s annual Little 500 races that served as the basis for the movie, “Breaking Away” continues to captivate audiences as one of the most popular sports movies of all time. The movie, which introduced me and so many others to the “Cutters,” quarry diving and the nation’s premier intramural collegiate cycling event, has also been the subject of several fun stories in recent days, like this one on the IU alumnus who served as the inspiration for the movie’s main character, written by our friends at the Bloomington Herald-Times.

In 2004, when “Breaking Away” turned 25, the IU Newsroom encouraged fans of the movie to tour Btown through the lens of the movie, pointing out places, both on and off campus, where the movie was filmed. Feeling a little nostalgic, we at Btown Banter thought we’d share those places again for those who might’ve missed them 10 years ago or simply want to take another couple of laps around a movie that continues to maintain a special spot in campus and community lore.

Breaking Away tour of Bloomington

— Dave’s father, played by Paul Dooley, is a used car dealer who doesn’t appreciate his son’s aspirations. Today, his Campus Cars is home to the Perry Township government office. It is located at 1010 S. Walnut Ave.

— The Rose Well House, an open-air pavilion in the heart of campus, covers the original well for IU and was a gift from Theodore F. Rose in 1908. IU tradition holds that a female student is not officially a coed until she has been kissed beneath its dome at midnight. It also is the place where Dave confesses to his coed love, Katherine, played by Robyn Douglass, that he is not an Italian student but in fact a “cutter,” someone from the community, where limestone remains an important industry.

breaking away— The abandoned quarry where the four young local men talk about dreams and their futures today is off-limits to everyone because it is located on private property. Called either “The Long Hole” or “Sanders” quarry, it is owned by the Indiana Limestone Co. and is located on Empire Mill Road.

— The Commons of the Indiana Memorial Union, located at 900 E. Seventh St. on campus, is where Dave and his friends get into a fight with college students. It remains a gathering place today for many students and visitors to IU.

— The name of Delta Delta Delta sorority was temporarily changed for the making of the movie, but it is the place where Katherine is serenaded by Dave and Cyril. The sorority is located at 818 E. Third St. An online house tour is available online.

— The IU president’s office, where then IU President John Ryan announced that there would be a town team in Little 500, remains in Bryan Hall, located at the corner of Kirkwood and Indiana avenues near the Sample Gates. Those who knew Ryan, IU’s 14th president who passed away in 2011, will realize as they watch the movie that his voice was dubbed over.

— The restaurant where Dave and Katherine talk about their families and about Italy was known in 1979 as the Magic Horn restaurant and was located at 430 Fourth St. Today it is home to a Thai restaurant, Siam House.

— The Stohler home was located at 756 S. Lincoln St. and today is another family’s home.

— Little 500 race scenes were filmed in 10th Street or Memorial Stadium, where the IU Arboretum is now located. The last Little 500 race was held there in 1980, and the stadium was torn down in 1982. Today, the Arboretum is an ideal place for relaxation and study, with hundreds of trees and other greenery. It is located between the Main Library, the Radio-Television Building and the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The LIttle 500 races are now held at Bill Armstrong Stadium on North Fee Lane.

The legendary "Cutters" from "Breaking Away," then and now.

The legendary “Cutters” from “Breaking Away,” then and now.

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The TEDx factor Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:00:08 +0000 By now, I suspect you’re familiar with TED — the now 20-year-old event series that has spread knowledge and ideas to tens of millions of curious souls around the world. Perhaps you even have your favorite TED talk. (I’m partial to Susan Cain’s “The power of introverts” and Jill Bolte Taylor’s “My stroke of insight.”) Or maybe you have a friend or colleague who’s shared with you a TED talk he or she found particularly inspiring.

This year's TEDxBloomington event once again features a strong IU Bloomington connection.

This year’s TEDxBloomington event once again features a strong IU Bloomington connection.

If you’re like me, you’ve watched these videos in the privacy of your own home or workplace – not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there’s an X-factor to TED that even its most devout followers might not always recognize, one that organizers of this year’s TEDxBloomington event on April 26 — the third such event to be held in Btown in the past four years — are focusing on more than ever before: community building.

“We see the entirety of TEDxBloomington as an experience so far beyond watching individual videos on screen,” says event curator Luci McKean. “It’s about speakers interacting with attendees. It’s about attendees interacting with each other. It’s about connecting with one another.”

Naturally, McKean says, it’s also about IU. Nearly all of this year’s speakers have some sort of IU connection – they are faculty, students and alumni. The list of speakers includes, among others, Distinguished Professor of Sociology Bernice Pescosolido; T. Kelly Wilson, director of the IU Center for Art and Design in Columbus; Shahzeen Attari, assistant professor at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs; and Professor of Photography at the IU School of Fine Arts Jeffrey Wolin.

Despite the strong cream and crimson flair, though, McKean says TEDxBloomington isn’t your typical academic symposium, where there’s a theme and the academics sit together, maybe on a panel or in a VIP section of the audience, apart from attendees. Indeed, the intermingling of speakers and attendees differentiates TEDxBloomington from other TEDx events around the country and creates what McKean calls a “magical experience.”

“TEDxBloomington is designed to generate opportunities for all of our attendees to interact with our speakers, who sit in the audience during breaks, interact with attendees before and after their talks,” McKean says. “Everyone is encouraged to come back after breaks and sit in a different seat, view the event from a different perspective and with different people. It sets us apart, very dramatically, from other conferences.”

“The first year we did this event (2011), we had Gever Tulley, who’s spoken on the big stage at TED,” McKean continues. “He was so impressed with how we dealt with our speakers and how we put the show together.”

McKean says that this year, event organizers purposely only invited a couple of speakers from outside the state. “We were always showcasing talent,” she says, “but this year we’ve found so many people right here who had ideas worth spreading and that fit our theme.”

This year’s theme is: “What Goes ‘Round,” and presenters will talk about topics that are metaphorically or literally round, spherical, global or cyclical.

Fortunately, McKean and co. didn’t have to go far to find folks who could talk knowledgeably and spark discussion on these subjects. Perhaps the biggest X factor at all in TEDxBloomington’s favor? Being based in one of the nation’s premier college towns.

“Certainly people do TEDx events all over world, not just in university towns, but I wouldn’t want to try,” McKean says. “There’s such rich diversity of intelligent thought at IU and in Bloomington that our biggest problem isn’t having enough ideas, it’s having too many to choose from.”

Check out this Inside IU Bloomington story for more on TEDxBloomington and the IU connection.

TEDxBloomington will be held on April 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Tickets are available here or at the BCT Box Office. 

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Btown welcomes the king of the B movie Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:49:47 +0000 Just yesterday, I was talking to my dad about one of his favorite films: the 1979 cult classic “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” featuring the legendary punk rock band the Ramones. Dad was telling me about the day he and one of his middle-school teaching buddies decided it would be fun to show a particularly loud scene from the film to their fellow teachers, many of whom had grown up with Johnny Mathis, not Johnny Ramone, under the guise of a “teacher training” video.

Roger Corman will discuss his six decades in film IU Cinema on Friday, April 18.

Roger Corman will discuss his six decades in film at the IU Cinema on Friday, April 18.

Dad will be happy (and perhaps a little bit jealous) to hear that the guy who made possible that little act of teacher rebellion, the legendary filmmaker Roger Corman, will be here at the Indiana University Cinema this week. Corman, who has built a legacy that is unparalleled and helped launch the careers of a countercultural generation of filmmakers, will address his art and legacy during the latest Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture at 3 p.m. Friday, April 18.

Martin Scorsese. Frances Ford Coppola. Joe Dante. James Cameron. Ron Howard. Jonathan Demme. Peter Bogdanovich. All of these incredible directors graduated from the “Corman School” of filmmaking and learned the finer points of their craft from a Hollywood rebel who somehow managed to be among the most influential and prolific producer/directors in American cinematic history.

Like many others, I’m guessing, I associated Corman with low-budget B movies. It was only after hearing the two-time Academy Award-nominee Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show”) talk about Corman’s immense influence on his own work that I began to connect Corman with the masterful and path-breaking moviemaking for which he is renowned.

Bogdanovich’s talk also occurred at IU Cinema. Back in 2011, Bogdanovich helped dedicate a facility that’s quickly become a haven for the greatest living actors and filmmakers from around the world to share their insights and showcase their best works.

And sure enough, the king of the B movie gets an A-list warm-up act. Meryl Streep is here in Btown on Wednesday.

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Consider the possibilities Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:45:47 +0000 How do you become the most trusted man in news?

If you’re Tom Brokaw, you “consider the possibilities.”

In the March/April 2014 issue of Public Administration Review, a leading scholarly publication based at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and edited by SPEA faculty, the former anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News reflects on his favorite university professor and the wise counsel he was given by a teacher known simply to his students, colleagues and friends as “Doc.”

Tom Brokaw

Tom Brokaw

To say much more might take away from the enjoyment of this short, breezy piece that anyone familiar with Brokaw’s Midwestern sensibility and dry wit will surely appreciate.

Brokaw is also known for chronicling the achievements of “the greatest generation,” the term he coined to describe those Americans who grew up during the Great Depression and led our country’s efforts at home and abroad during World War II. Indeed, Doc Farber, who urged a young Brokaw to “consider the possibilities” when Brokaw was trying to find his way as a student at the University of South Dakota, made it through the Depression before dedicating his life to USD students.

But it’s no stretch to think that today’s generation of college students, including IU’s soon-to-be-graduates who will go through commencement ceremonies next month, will relate to the advice America’s most trusted newsman was given by his favorite professor many years ago.

Blogger’s note: Launched in 1940, Public Administration Review is the premier journal of public administration research, theory and practice. It is published for the American Society of Public Administration, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. IU SPEA Distinguished Professor Emeritus James Perry serves as editor-in-chief of the journal and Professor Richard Feiock from Florida State University is managing editor. SPEA staff and graduate students work on the journal as logistical editors and editorial assistants.

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Mathers brings research work to life Wed, 02 Apr 2014 15:22:31 +0000

Within the modest exterior of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures — one of my favorite places to visit on the IU Bloomington campus — something pretty illuminating is going on.

The Mathers, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is shining a light on how museums can change, yet still preserve and promote knowledge of the past and the age-old traditions upon which the present is built.

Mathers director and associate professor of folklore Jason Jackson, the subject of the latest Brilliant Minds video from IU Bloomington’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research, describes the museum’s mission this way:

“We have a special capacity to bridge the work of scholars on campus and the needs and interests of wider communities,” he says. “We really hope that we’re a place where the research work of IU faculty can be brought to life in a way that’s accessible to all kinds of audiences, not just scholarly ones.”

Sounds simple, but it’s kind of, well, brilliant. And it reflects how museums like the Mathers can successfully shape themselves in ways that support and strengthen the research culture on today’s college campuses.

“A residential campus in the classic mold like Indiana University Bloomington has an obligation to constantly think, ‘well what is it that we’re offering students that you can only take advantage of if you do come to Bloomington and study here,” Jackson says. “From my point of view, the Mathers Museum and other museums on this campus are one of the answers to that question.”

More videos in the Brilliant Minds series are available online.

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Provost focuses on strategic plan in State of the Campus address Thu, 27 Mar 2014 14:18:45 +0000 A visual depiction of IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel's State of the Campus address.

A visual depiction of IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel’s 2014 State of the Campus address. Click to enlarge.

NOTE: This guest post was written by IU Newsroom colleague Steve Hinnefeld, who normally blogs at Policy Briefings. Word cloud courtesy of IU Newsroom’s social media strategist Thom Atkinson.

The strategic plan for the Indiana University Bloomington campus is nearing completion some eight months after the planning process kicked off, Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel said this week in her 2014 State of the Campus address.

Robel said the plan, which she intends to submit to IU President Michael A. McRobbie by April 15, demonstrates that members of the campus community have come together to create a vision of academic excellence as the university approaches its 2020 bicentennial celebration.

“What will our campus look like in five years if we adopt this plan? I will leave that to your imaginations,” she said. “But at the very least, we will surely be a community that understands and values the benefits of working together towards common campus goals.

“This process has brought out the best in a great many faculty, staff and students, who have through their work made doing so appear both desirable and achievable. I will be honored to devote myself to making their vision real for our campus.”

Speaking to nearly 100 people in Presidents Hall, Robel touched on her recent visits to East Asia and spoke of the remarkable loyalty toward the university expressed by alumni such as renowned South Korean pianist Ick-choo Moon and the distinguished Chinese jurist Tongkui Ju.

“When it opened its doors in 1820, the tiny seminary that would become this great public university might not have envisioned Ick-choo Moon or Tongkui Ju,” she said. “Indeed, it might not have envisioned a president from Australia! But in the world our graduates will face in 2020, and the one in which our state competes and participates today, these global connections are essential.”

Robel said members of a university community consider it “self-evident” that faculty drive great programs, that they work from deep knowledge of their disciplines and that they take profound satisfaction from the success of their students. But they also recognize, she said, that the campus can do more for students and the world by working collectively and interdependently.

And showing how is the role of the strategic plan, developed by 167 faculty members, students and staff serving on 11 committees and generating reports and recommendations that have been polished and improved through comments offered at town-hall meetings with various stake-holder groups.

“With the utmost respect for the work that we do in our most immediate neighborhoods,” Robel said, “these 167 colleagues have invited us to raise our gaze to who we are collectively and where we can be better together. Their imagination and dedication to a common vision for our future is inspiring.”

The plan includes goals and objectives addressing major areas including the experiences of undergraduates; the quality of graduate programs and faculty; university research efforts; global experiences and connections; and new interdisciplinary collaborations.

The focus provided by the planning process has already led to actions, Robel said. For example, an examination of undergraduate services produced investments in advising. The campus launched “a terrific initiative,” the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology, which supports women pursing technology careers. And new faculty members now have access to leadership and career management assistance through IU’s membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

The research segment of the plan includes a focus on “grand challenges,” big, important initiatives that attack challenging questions, often with an interdisciplinary approach. “I would like to suggest that we also consider how we might use our resources to have a large and measurable impact on our immediate neighborhood,” Robel said, “by identifying ways we can have a measurable impact on the health, educational achievement and economies of the counties surrounding our own.”

An archived webcast of the provost’s address is available at the university’s site. The text of the address will be posted to the Office of the Provost website.

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Things I love Fri, 14 Feb 2014 17:04:06 +0000 I admit, I’m a bit of a romantic, especially when it comes to IU and Btown, where I’ve lived for the last 15 years. I received a master’s degree here. Met my lovely wife my first day of school. Have two kids who are growing up great here. My 11-year-old got to rush the Assembly Hall court for the first time recently. I have more pictures of my son and daughter traipsing through Dunn Meadow and around the Herman B Wells statue than I know what to do with.

Today being Valentine’s Day, a holiday that seems to go hand-in-hand with Hoosier cream-and-crimson, here are a few recent things that have added to my ongoing love affair with IU:

IU love stories: Did I mention I was a romantic? These stories, which first appeared in the Indiana Alumni Magazine and were reprinted in Inside IU Bloomington, show just how passionate IU alumni are about each other and their beloved university.

Making peace …: For the first time since 2011-12, IU Bloomington has earned a spot on the Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. More than 1,600 IU graduates have served since the agency was created in 1961.


IU and students from Bloomington's Harmony School will partner on a woodland gardening initiative.

IU and students from Bloomington’s Harmony School will partner on a woodland gardening initiative.

… and harmony: A perfect match. IU and students from Btown’s Harmony School will partner on a woodland gardening initiative intended to give students a better understanding of nature’s gifts and the benefits of green infrastructure.

Marathon film fest: Why do I love the IU Cinema? Let me count the ways. Rather, how about I just mention that the nation’s premier university cinema will be showcasing 12 films starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in a 24-hour marathon festival. The festival begins Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 18.

Play ball!: The best cure for the winter blues? Big Red baseball. First pitch for the Hoosiers, who are on the heels of the greatest season in IU baseball history, comes at you this afternoon at 3 p.m. EST at Texas Tech.

Meet the Beatles experts: Fifty years after they grabbed Americans’ hearts, the Beatles were back in the national conversation. And so were IU’s Beatles experts, including IU Jacobs School of Music professor Glenn Gass, who teaches what is believed to be the longest-running course on the Fab Four in existence.

IU talks Sochi: When they weren’t talking the Beatles, IU’s best and brightest minds were weighing in on the 2014 Winter Olympics. Their insights on the games blanketed many of the issues swirling around Sochi, Russia, including altitude and athletics, the role of social media, media and public opinion, the threat of terrorism and other controversies.

Big News: Shameless plug, but I think this site, featuring the headline-generating exploits and expertise of IU faculty and staff and brought to you by my colleagues in the IU Bloomington Newsroom, is pretty sweet.

Hoosier Valentine. You can’t spell IU without U and I. I bid you adieu with a few of my favorite #HoosierValentine cards that are being lovingly shared across the social media sphere.


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The inner workings of the artist and scientist Fri, 31 Jan 2014 22:53:19 +0000

Seismophotography and Shakespeare sonnets. Deadly pathogens and paintings.

Combine them and you get just another day in the inner workings of the brilliantly talented minds at IU Bloomington.

Art and science converge in the latest from IU Bloomington’s “Brilliant Minds” video series, which showcases how numerous campus researchers (from biology, geology, informatics and psychology) and artists (including painters, photographers and videographers, and textile artists) are collaborating to create amazing art based on scientific imaging. This unique creative process has enhanced the effort of both the scientist and artist alike to explore, better understand and offer commentary on the human condition and the world around them.

Jeff Wolin, Ruth N. Halls Professor of fine arts and co-leader of the Imag(in)ing Science at the Grunwald Gallery project, which my colleague Bethany Nolan blogged about last fall, sums it up best: “I’d like to think that good art could be good science and good science could be good art … it’s an idea that was very much part of the culture of the 19th century … we’re trying to be a leader in the rediscovery of art and science.”

The Brilliant Minds video series was created by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and IU Bloomington campus. More videos are available online.

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Power and strength: IU lives B1G tonight Fri, 31 Jan 2014 00:21:12 +0000 While the Hoosiers get ready for tonight’s on-the-road hoops contest at Nebraska, fans might also take note of another Big Ten Network happening this evening, one that features two truly amazing and powerful IU stories.

Tonight, after the game, the network’s LiveB1G program will focus on the remarkable road to recovery of IU Athletics head strength and conditioning coach Tom Morris, who lost the use of his legs after a terrifying biking accident, and IU’s Proton Therapy Center, where tumor patients are receiving a groundbreaking alternative to radiation treatment.

The episode will air at approximately 10:45 p.m. EST, following the Big Ten Basketball Report. It will be repeated at 1:30 p.m. EST on Friday.

For those who might not be able to stay up and/or set a DVR, the good news is that both episode segments just came available online.

You’ll be hard-pressed not to be awed and inspired by the innovation and success of a center that, through a unique, noninvasive treatment, has saved many lives, including that of young Ben Edwards, whose dramatic and touching story is featured in the opening.

And as the segment on Morris shows, the beloved coach hasn’t stopped pushing himself since his accident, and he continues to hold himself to the same work standards that he sets for the athletes he trains. The segment also features men’s basketball coach Tom Crean, sharing his thoughts about why Morris is so special and what his story means for anyone going through difficult times.

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#IUsaidYes! Wed, 04 Dec 2013 21:08:20 +0000 Call it the Big Red version of Charlie Brown opening his mailbox one day and—YES!!!—finding an actual Valentine’s Day card from the “Little Red-Haired Girl.”

Indiana University is putting a social spin on the traditional acceptance letter.

Indiana University is putting a social spin on the traditional college acceptance letter.

Putting a 21st-century, social media spin on the time-honored tradition of the college acceptance letter, staff at Indiana University have injected even more fun, energy and excitement into an already momentous life-event.

The university’s new #IUsaidYes campaign—which comes complete with a crimson envelope, rousing new YouTube video and a catchy new hashtag—has got IU’s newest students talking (which, in this day and age, means tweeting and posting) and telling the world from the very first day they’re accepted how excited they are to be Hoosiers. (Scroll down for some sample tweets.)

The social media statistics reflect the excitement the new campaign has generated thus far. Since the campaign’s inception in August, there have been 3,400 tweets, nearly 5,000 re-tweets and more than 3.7 million timelines reached with those tweets. Additionally, there have been a total of 894 Instagram posts with the #IUsaidYes hashtag. What’s more, of those students admitted within the last month, more than one in 10 have tweeted about their admission using the #IUsaidYes hashtag.

With its First Year Experience programs, including new student orientation, IUBeginnings trips and Welcome Week events, IU has long prided itself on helping future Hoosier alums get off to a strong start and helping them connect early with the people, places and traditions of IU. Now the connection starts sooner and the connections begin as soon as the newly admitted students get the good news.

That IU’s newest students bleed red from the beginning is testament to the continued ingenuity of admissions officials and IU Communications creative staff, who worked together to come up with a campaign that has managed to stay true to IU’s brand and tradition in today’s Twitterversed world.

“The crimson envelope came about because I knew our admit packet needed a facelift,” says Krista Timney, senior associate director of marketing/communications in IU Bloomington’s Office of Enrollment Management and campaign co-creator, along with IU Admissions Senior Assistant Director Chase McCoy. “We needed something that would really stand out when it came in the mail and something that would let students know immediately that it was from IU and that it was good news. It’s also very important to let students know that it is a big deal to get admitted to IU! So, what stands out more and says ‘IU’ more than a crimson envelope?”

Even before they receive their official acceptance packet in the mail, Timney says, students receive an #IUsaidYes email with artwork on the top that reads “Your crimson envelope is in the mail.” (Sorry, Charlie. Nowadays, it’s email before snail mail.) Another email arrives a few weeks later asking them to share their good news with the world.

“We all follow the posts and tweets on,” Timney says. “It’s often the highlight of the day to see what students have done. It’s fantastic and so much fun for us.”

In and around higher education circles, there has been a great deal of talk in recent years about the value of a college education, whether the four-year degree offers the best avenue to real-world success and the future of online learning, among other topics. These discussions are clearly worth having, and, indeed, they have helped drive many recent academic and administrative activities here at IU.

Not to be forgotten, though, is the anxiety many of us have experienced when that packet finally arrived in the mailbox (unfortunately, no email in my day!), the squint of the eyes as you slowly opened it and the thrill and excitement you felt when finding out that the school you selected actually said ‘Yes.’

Simple, straightforward and social, #IUsaidYes offers a welcome reminder that—kind of like Charlie Brown himself—getting into college will never go out of style.

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Giving thanks Tue, 26 Nov 2013 04:47:23 +0000 It’s Thanksgiving break week and I, for one, am grateful. This semester has felt like it’s gone by at breakneck speed, providing me with little opportunity to give thanks for some recent big happenings in Btown.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Indiana premier of what will almost certainly become the next smash-hit sports documentary, “Medora,” at the IU Cinema. Directed by two Midwesterners, “Medora” showcases the stirring story of the state’s worst high school basketball team over the course of a single season, capturing the lives of the players on and off the court and life in a small southern Indiana town struggling to hang on to its cherished past.

The statewide debut featured Angelo Pizzo, the writer and producer of “Hoosiers” fame, interviewing the filmmakers, as well as a special appearance by members of the Medora Hornets, whose lives surely won’t be the same once this riveting documentary, which delivered a slam-dunk performance at IU Cinema, continues to make its way around the country.

So thanks to the IU Cinema, one of the country’s finest, if not the finest, collegiate cinema houses, and its tireless director, Jon Vickers, for giving Btown audiences the opportunity to see this little documentary before it goes big time.

And there’s much more to be thankful for, including:

IU’s scruffy students. After junior Brian Levitas was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his friends rallied around him Red Sox-style, growing out their facial hair for “No Shave November.” The bearded boys from Btown have raised $60,000 for cancer research so far, and, just last week, showed their love and support for Brian on NBC’s “Today” show.

Marathon dancers. More than 3,000 IU Bloomington students danced the night away – and then some – raising a record $2.6 million for Riley Hospital for Children.

Solidarity and support for the Philippines. After a devastating typhoon killed thousands of Filipinos and resulted in massive destruction, members of Bloomington’s Filipino community and IU’s Asian Culture Center came together to help in the relief efforts.

Veterans Support Services. U.S. News and World Report delivers a ranking in which we can all take immense pride: IU Bloomington is one of the top colleges for veterans.

Math whizzes. The numbers don’t lie. One university. Four faculty. Fifty mathematical scientists were named fellows of the American Mathematical Society for 2014 and only IU Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences placed four faculty members on the list.

Soulful Hoosiers. It’s a little-known secret about Hoosiers: We’ve got some serious soul. On Nov. 15, legendary soul musician Booker T Jones was among three IU graduates to receive the university’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award, IU’s highest award given only to an alumna or alumnus. Booker T celebrated his award by dropping by Dance Marathon that evening along with IU President Michael A. McRobbie.

The previous week, the renowned IU Soul Revue participated in the 20th-anniversary performance of the African American Arts Institute’s “Potpourri of the Arts” concert.

Finally, I give you former IU basketball star Victor Oladipo, who’s known to deliver a little bit of soulful magic behind the mike. See the video of Victor singing with fellow Hoosier athlete Shelby Gogreve that went viral this month.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Words on waffles Wed, 06 Nov 2013 22:29:59 +0000 If you haven’t yet read Jessica Contrera’s story about “The end of the Waffle House,” which recently ran in the Indiana Daily Student, do yourself a favor, sit down, grab a cup of coffee and—why not?—a delicious syrupy waffle. Then prepare to indulge in an article that’s drawn some well-deserved national media attention for its wonderfully rich storytelling.

As a proud Indiana University School of Journalism alumnus, it gives me great pleasure to report that a current student is earning raves for her exceptional reporting, writing and use of multimedia, which she directed toward telling a powerful tale about the final days of a Bloomington, Ind., institution.

IU journalism student Jessica Contrera is earning praise across the mediasphere for her feature story on the closing of a landmark Bloomington restaurant.

IU journalism student Jessica Contrera is earning praise across the mediasphere for her feature story on the closing of a landmark Bloomington restaurant.

A senior from Akron, Ohio, Contrera worked with fellow students Anna Teeter (photography) and Emma Grdina (multimedia reporting) to produce a piece for IU Bloomington’s student newspaper and as part of her J460 Words and Pictures class that has been touted by, among other major media outlets, Poynter, Editor and Publisher and Longreads, as an example of why, to use Contrera’s own words, “good storytelling still matters.” Sports Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch wrote in his “Media Circus” online column that Contrera’s story “is as good a feature as I’ve ever read from a college student.”

“The reaction to our story on the end of Bloomington’s Waffle House has been incredible,” Contrera told me over email. “It’s pretty ironic that a place so technology-averse could be so loved by the Internet. But when you work incredibly hard on something, it’s definitely rewarding to know that even total strangers connected with it.”

Contrera’s story, which required 15 drafts and many hours sitting at the Waffle House, pulls you in from the start and, like a dependable diner waitress, keeps serving up warmth and goodness until you’re finally finished.

A sample:

Tap, tap, tap. Bud Powell’s aluminum cane led the way as he circled the floor of Bloomington’s Waffle House. His Waffle House.

That Wednesday in September, the owner didn’t know what to do with himself. The smell of frying oil, the same greasy perfume that had greeted customers for 46 years, wafted into his nose as he wandered past the vinyl booths. He sat down, then stood up again.

Bud – everyone called him Bud – checked the dwindling supply of breakfast sausage, peered into the empty freezers, tried to explain to his regulars why it had to be this way.

“It’s time,” he said over and over.

From the first time she visited with the Waffle House staff and patrons, Contrera knew she had a powerful story on her hands. “We talked to probably 15 or 20 customers and staff members that day, and every single one had a story about what the piece meant to them,” she emailed.

As if her description of those individuals weren’t enough, photography and multimedia only served to enhance the project, which was further supported by journalism professors Tom French (a former Pulitzer Prize winner), Jim Kelly and Bonnie Layton.

“It’s what made the story come to life,” Contrera said. “Through Anna Teeter’s photos, you could see for yourself the pain in Bud’s eyes, the door not locking and the building crashing down. In Emma Grdina’s multimedia, you could hear the last eggs sizzling and the customers crying.”

Those who haven’t yet read Contrera’s story should be prepared to shed a few tears when they do, but to also smile at the thought that the future of journalism is in good hands.

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Homework assignment: Hoosier Hysteria Wed, 02 Oct 2013 22:29:12 +0000 First off, an apology. If you’ve noticed a little less banter here, it’s because I’ve been off bantering elsewhere – Africa, to be more specific – and, like many others I know, trying my best to keep up with all the start-of-the-school-year happenings in Btown.

My colleagues and I have also been hard at work on launching a new and improved IU Bloomington Newsroom site, which we were excited to debut last month, and coming up with new and engaging ways to tell some of our most exciting stories, like this multimedia presentation that details the voyage home of the USS Indiana.

It’s been a busy semester for sure, but still, as I tell my 11-year-old son who conveniently forgets about his writing homework each night, there are no excuses. And I thought I might not get ANY forgiveness if I don’t start blogging before the unofficial beginning to fall in Btown, otherwise known as “Hoosier Hysteria.”

It's that time of year again for IU basketball.

It’s that time of year again for IU basketball.

Yes, it’s the beginning of basketball season at IU and the continuation of what has fast become one of the campus’ most anticipated traditions. This year’s Hoosier Hysteria event will take place on Friday, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.) and include introductions of the 2013-14 Hoosiers men’s and women’s squads, skills contests and a men’s team scrimmage. It will conclude with the men’s team signing autographs on the concourse level of Assembly Hall for an hour after the program. More information for those interested in attending is available on the IU Hoosiers website.

Other schools have their own start-of-the-season traditions, but here in the heartland of hoops, we’ve got arguably the best one of all, a sentiment expressed quite well recently, I thought, by the trusty staff at the Indiana Daily Student.

Personally speaking, I’m excited for my son, who’s never experienced the event and is excited to attend – in his new candy-striped pants, no less. But first he needs to know: No homework, no hysteria.

Come to think of it, it’s a lesson for dad and son alike.

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Homeward Bound: The story of the USS Indiana Thu, 12 Sep 2013 18:09:37 +0000 The following guest post is courtesy of Bethany Nolan, who typically blogs at Art at IU. Below, Bethany describes the creation of a special multimedia presentation on the history of the USS Indiana and its memorable voyage home to Indiana University Bloomington. 

With three uncles, a grandpa and cousin who’ve served or are serving in the U.S. Navy, the sight of sailors in their dress whites always makes me a little misty.

The USS Indiana

The USS Indiana

Maybe that’s why I got so excited when my boss, Ryan Piurek, mentioned the news that Indiana University was in the process of procuring the prow of the USS Indiana, which served in the Pacific during World War II.

I loved the idea that the university I work for would be honoring veterans, particularly those who served during World War II, a period of time I personally find fascinating and one where the sacrifices of the men and women serving their country clearly changed the world we live in today.

All of that is why I got even more excited when I started chatting with Jaclyn Lansbery, a part-time employee with IU Communications, about a multimedia project involving the ship’s arrival at IU. She’d checked out a couple of projects done in Creatavist, a cool program that creates multimedia projects online, or through an application or an ebook.

We dived in, quickly finding a wealth of historical images related to the USS Indiana in the National Archives, U.S. Navy records and the IU Archives. Incredibly, the Indiana Daily Student sent a reporter to cover the ship’s launch. A train full of Hoosiers traveled to Newport News for the launch as well, all interested in witnessing history in the making.

Jaclyn even discovered historical video footage of the ship’s WWII service, which includes some fascinating glimpses of the ship underway, its sailors in action — and even a little downtime, with sailors boxing on deck.

All of those items provided rich detail for our project, which you can view here.

The USS Indiana prow was dedicated at last weekend’s football game against Navy, and is now on display outside Memorial Stadium’s west entrance. If you haven’t seen it for yourself, make time to visit a piece of our nation’s history right here in Bloomington.

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We’re social and you know it Thu, 15 Aug 2013 21:42:00 +0000 Rankings are often subjective, we know. Still, it was nice to see IU Bloomington ranked as the No. 2 large school (and No. 6 overall) on a list of “The Top 100 Best and Most Collaborative U.S. Colleges,” recently published in the Huffington Post.

IU Bloomington was ranked the No. 2 large school in a recently published list of the "Top 100 Best and Most Collaborative U.S. Colleges."

IU Bloomington was ranked the No. 2 large school in a recently published list of the “Top 100 Best and Most Collaborative U.S. Colleges.”

Noting that many of today’s students are choosing colleges with “social media clout,” HuffPo columnist Vala Afshar set out to both identify the nation’s top schools (using U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 rankings) and then re-rank those schools based on how engaged they are on social media platforms. His conclusion: the best schools are the most social schools.

I might take it a step further and add that the best schools are the most social schools that are not just using the various social media technologies at their disposal but are using them to tell compelling stories while also building active, informed and engaged communities.

Using that criteria, IU is doing quite well. Whether it’s starting a dialogue with incoming and potential students through Twitter, sharing university news on Facebook or posting photos of our beautiful Btown campus on Pinterest and Instagram, IU continues to use its social media channels (which you can now find in one handy location) to deepen its connections with its many different audiences, including students and their families, faculty and staff, and, of course, alumni.

A nice example of how the university is using social media to build strong communities is happening right now as part of the lead-up to IU Bloomington’s annual Move-in Day, Aug. 21, which marks the official beginning of Welcome Week activities. At the request of IU Residential Programs and Services (@IURPS), new students are live tweeting their experiences moving into their residence halls and tagging their thoughts, tips and pictures with the hashtag #IUmovein. They’re also sharing stories and receiving updates through IU First Year Experience Programs’ Facebook and Twitter channels.

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Hoosier athletes go global Tue, 09 Jul 2013 13:50:14 +0000 Continuing one of the most accomplished years in Hoosier sports history — one that included national and Big Ten championships, several athletic and academic all-Americans, and IU baseball’s first-ever berth in the College World Series — 13 Hoosiers are competing this summer in the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, where they are representing four different countries in five different sports.

Senior Will Sheehey is hoping to help lead Team USA to its first gold medal since 2005 in the World University Games.

Senior Will Sheehey is hoping to help lead Team USA to its first gold medal since 2005 in the World University Games.

The World University Games, which officially kicked off this past weekend, pit the world’s top collegiate athletes against one other in competition to earn medals for their native countries.

From an IU perspective, the games are off to a rousing start. Two Hoosier hoops stars — senior and 2013 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year Will Sheehey and sophomore Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, the youngest member of Team USA’s World University Games squad — have led Team USA to a 2-0 start in the 10-day, 24-team tournament, as the squad attempts to win its first gold medal since 2005. Sheehey and Ferrell are the only college teammates on the U.S. roster and the first IU players to make the team since Brian Evans in 1995.

In addition to basketball, IU also has athletes competing in swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and water polo. They are representing the United States, Canada, France and Israel.

Hoosier fans can track the performances of all of this year’s World University Games competitors through IU Athletics social media channels.

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Debate, diplomacy and exercising the mind Thu, 04 Jul 2013 04:21:08 +0000 Drive down Fee Lane on the Indiana University Bloomington campus this time of year and you’ll see signs for the camps that attract thousands of teenagers: basketball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, debate. Yes, debate. IU, renowned for its summer athletics camps, also hosts lesser known camps that intensely exercise the mind.

The first Model United Nations Camp sponsored by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs is underway at IU Bloomington this July 4th holiday week.

The first Model United Nations Camp sponsored by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs is underway at IU Bloomington this July 4 holiday week.

For example, the first Model United Nations Camp sponsored by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs is underway this July 4 holiday week in a meeting room at Briscoe Residence Hall. The room is decorated with posters for the IU basketball team, but the campers — all teenagers from around the Midwest — are learning how to find success on the court of diplomacy.

Led by SPEA faculty member Susan Siena and members of IU’s Model United Nations team, the campers take on the role of ambassadors. Sitting behind signs for Paraguay, France, the United States and many other nations, they try to reach accords over issues threatening world peace. At one session, they discuss, sometimes emotionally, how world peacemakers would respond to a Chinese attack on the U.S. Navy in 2015.

In another meeting space at Briscoe, the second annual High School Debate Camp, which attracts about 50 high school debaters for one- and two-week sessions, is underway with IU debate coach and SPEA faculty member Brian DeLong leading a team of instructors. The campers spend hours mastering public policy issues, honing their arguments, polishing their deliveries and finally competing in face-to-face debates as fierce as any tug-of-war.

Participants in the second annual High School Debate Camp at SPEA.

Participants in the second annual High School Debate Camp at SPEA.

From a larger university perspective, there is no debating the value of bringing smart, civic-minded young people to the university in the summer. The hope is that many of these future ambassadors and policymakers will one day call IU home.

To this end, when they’re not engaged in serious debate or discussion, the SPEA campers are taking advantage of Bloomington’s many summer attractions, including swimming at the IU Pool and bowling at the Indiana Memorial Union. In that respect, they’re just like the basketball, tennis, soccer and volleyball campers.

And there is one other similarity: All the campers are hoping to sharpen the skills that result in championship banners.

Note: SPEA Director of Marketing and Communications Jim Hanchett contributed to this blog post. 

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An edible campus Sat, 29 Jun 2013 18:16:16 +0000 It’s not your standard garden-variety garden.

IU Bloomington’s Campus Garden Initiative, part of an overall Edible Campus Initiative, is proving to be both a harvesting ground for vegetables (which might end up in your next meal on campus!) and for valuable lessons on food, health and sustainability.

See how the Campus Garden Initiative is connecting students to their food in this short video, newly produced by IU Communications for the Inside IU Bloomington newsletter.

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Throwback Thursday: IU baseball goes to Japan Thu, 27 Jun 2013 21:33:57 +0000 It’s been just over a week since the curtain closed on IU’s historic baseball season, which culminated in the Hoosiers first-ever appearance in the College World Series, but the thrills that took place on the diamond continue to be the talk the Btown campus. Indeed, anticipation for next year started almost immediately after the Hoosiers’ last out on June 19 against Oregon State, and the level of interest in IU baseball would seem to be at an all-time high.

The fun folks at IU Archives recently acquired a case of baseball fever, resulting in a fascinating story about the university’s 1922 baseball trip to Japan. The story, which you can find in two parts on the Archives’ always entertaining Blogging Hoosier History site, includes some great black and white photos (like the one below) of the IU squad, which brought American baseball to the Far East while also experiencing some unique Japanese traditions.

Consider this a nice Thursday throwback as we look forward to new Hoosier baseball highlights next year!

On March 28, 1922, the IU baseball team began its journey to the Far East, departing the Bloomington train station via the Monon.

On March 28, 1922, the IU baseball team began its journey to the Far East, departing the Bloomington train station via the Monon.

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Time-lapse great organ Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:43:24 +0000 If you’ve got some time (3:06) this afternoon, enjoy classical music and are fascinated, like I am, by time-lapse photography, you might want to check out this fun video showcasing the installation of IU Bloomington’s third great organ, the newly named Webb-Ehrlich Great Organ of Alumni Hall. The three-manual, 44-stop, 2,838-pipe instrument — known to acclaimed Massachusetts-based organ building company C.B. Fisk as Opus 91 — was formally unveiled earlier this month at the rededication of the renovated Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union.

You can also read more about how the new organ made its way to Btown and the IMU in this recent Inside IU Bloomington feature story.

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The voyage home Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:02:03 +0000 Long since stricken from the Naval Register, her parts scattered across Indiana and the nation, the USS Indiana, recipient of nine battle stars for her service during World War II, is finally coming home.

The prow of the USS Indiana, above, will be reunited with its mainmast and two of its gun mounts at Indiana University's Memorial Stadium.

The prow of the USS Indiana, above, will be reunited with its mainmast and two of its gun mounts at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium.

As reported June 25, Indiana University has secured the original prow from the 35,000-ton South Dakota class battleship, which served in the Pacific during World War II and was the last ship to be named for the Hoosier state. The prow will be reunited with its mainmast and two of its gun mounts at IU’s Memorial Stadium; the university will formally welcome it home with a rededication ceremony Sept. 7, when IU hosts, appropriately, Navy in a home football game.

It’s been a long voyage home for a ship with a storied history that spans her launching from Newport News, Va., in November 1941 (an impressive ceremony featuring Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and a special delegation of more than 500 Hoosiers, including Gov. Henry F. Schricker and famed novelist Booth Tarkington); her participation in numerous crucial military campaigns in the Pacific, including the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa; and her eventual decommissioning in 1947.

Incredibly, the ship’s front portion had been residing for several decades in the parking lot of a seafood restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., saved from the scrap heap by the Frank Spenger Family, whose patriarch collected Navy memorabilia. Eventually, the prow was brought to the attention of IU officials by IU alumnus Scott Clarke, who wrote a letter to the local newspaper urging the university to bring the prow home and display it at Memorial Stadium.

The USS Indiana in January 1944, en route to the Marshall Islands. (National Archives.)

The USS Indiana in January 1944, en route to the Marshall Islands. (National Archives.)

The USS Indiana prow is expected to arrive at Memorial Stadium in July, where it will be mounted on a platform near its guns and mast. Refurbishment, which will be overseen by the IU Physical Plant, is expected to take several weeks. IU officials also expect to welcome a number of special guests from Washington, D.C., and elsewhere when the Hoosiers football squad plays host to the Navy Midshipmen on Sept. 7.

When the prow of the USS Indiana makes its way next month to the 18-wheeler that will transport it back home to Indiana, it will signal yet another chapter in this remarkable story of — to borrow from IU President Michael A. McRobbie — a “treasured vestige of naval history and tradition from the last warship named in honor of our great state.”

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‘Junior Jordans’ shoot for success Thu, 09 May 2013 13:27:39 +0000

Last week we brought you the story of the Indianapolis third-graders who — following their fun take on the viral sensation known as “This Is Indiana” — got a first-hand glimpse of what college is all about during a tour of the IU Bloomington campus. Along the way, they got to meet some of their Hoosier hoops heroes, including star guard Jordan Hulls.

Now comes the inspiring tale of a class of fifth-graders from North Grove Elementary School in Greenwood, Ind., who, motivated by Hulls’ strong work ethic and practice habits, dramatically improved their reading test scores. Some of these “Junior Jordans,” as they have become known, even improved their scores by 400 percent!

After hearing how many hours IU basketball standout Jordan Hulls practiced, a group of Indiana fifth-graders agreed to practice hard, too. The result: a dramatic improvement in their reading test scores.

After hearing how many hours IU basketball standout Jordan Hulls practiced, a group of Indiana fifth-graders agreed to practice hard, too. The result: a dramatic improvement in their reading test scores.

What’s more, Friday morning, they’ll get to meet the player who motivated them, show off their improved tests and quiz him about what it was like to star for the Hoosiers.

Below is the full story about the Junior Jordans from North Grove Elementary, reprinted with permission from The Daily Journal in Franklin, Ind. The story, authored by staff writer Steve Garbacz, appeared in the May 7, 2013, edition of the newspaper.

He shoots, they score

By STEVE GARBACZ, Daily Journal Staff Writer

The fifth-grade teacher was seeking a way to improve her students’ reading scores.

The North Grove Elementary School students’ test scores were below average again after a test in December, just as they had been every time since second grade. Joyce Rogers was trying to come up with ideas to turn the grades around. These kids had to become better readers.

During winter break, her husband read an article about Indiana University basketball player Jordan Hulls and the hours he put in practicing and improving his shooting so that he could play for his hometown Hoosiers. Her husband suggested reading it to her class to motivate them.

That fit in with an activity Rogers does every January. During the basketball season, she asks her students to write goals for the rest of the school year on a basketball. Plus, the Indiana University team was getting national attention as one of the nation’s top teams.

After hearing Hulls’ story, the students said they could practice hard, too. They agreed to read more in class and at home. They set personal goals to do better on tests.

Then, they did it.

They started paying attention more in class and encouraging and helping each other to do better.

Five months later, the fifth-graders are reading more, scoring above average on tests and applying Hulls’ examples of hard work and perseverance every school day as part of Rogers’ ongoing program.

They became a team of Junior Jordans.

And Friday, her class of Junior Jordans will meet Hulls and tell him how they worked hard and got better.

Riley Williams felt like she was behind her classmates in reading. She never read at home. She didn’t like reading, either, because she would get tripped up by tough words.

Then she heard about Hulls and how hard he practiced and prepared for games. As the class got updates about IU’s wins, the students began seeing the connection between preparation and success, Rogers said.

“He just inspired me because he never gave up. I always gave up on reading because I could never figure out the hard words. Now I just keep on trying. Sometimes I have to ask a teacher if I can’t get it, but I don’t give up,” Riley said.

Words like preparation, improvement and hard work were tattooed in marker on the class basketball. Each student set a goal of reading so many minutes or pages each week or improving a certain number of points on the next practice test. The class set a collective goal of improving two points on each test.

Rogers gave the class a practice assessment in February, one month after starting the Junior Jordans program. The students went in with their goal of improving two points.

Their scores came back 10 points higher.

“Junior Jordans was used as a motivational tool, and it worked. We have a lot of athletes. This spoke to them and helped them to transfer that motivation to academic achievement. Those tests don’t lie,” Rogers said.

Every time a student hit a personal goal, they received a Junior Jordan award, a paper printout of Hulls’ jersey, and posted it on the class bulletin board. As the class hit team goals, Rogers added a new letter to spell “success,” leading to perks such as more recess time.

The students have pushed not only themselves but each other. Even in physical education class, the kids chant “Jordan! Jordan!” to motivate each other, Rogers said. They’ve managed to improve above the average reading score for their grade level, a level the youngsters haven’t been at since they were in second grade.

Rogers’ class was five points below the benchmark score of 22 for fifth-graders before winter break. The Junior Jordan program has helped them surpass the spring benchmark of 27, with the class average now at 33 points.

Once the students saw the test scores begin to go up, they bought into the connection between preparation and results even more, Rogers said. The students became more focused on their reading, and Rogers saw students begin to retain more from lessons. The program put positive peer pressure on the students, which made them encourage each other to meet their reading goals and not goof off during class time.

“You’re a Junior Jordan. We don’t act like that,” Rogers would tell the students.

Rogers’ husband’s company donated an Indiana jersey with Hulls’ No. 1 to every student. The students will wear them on test day to psych themselves up for their pencil-and-paper game days.

Some of the students have shown major growth, improving more than four times the average for their grade, she said.

Average yearly improvement for one reading test score is 100 points. One student in the class improved more than 400 points, two improved more than 300 points, and others have grown by more than 200 points this year, Rogers said.

Fifth-grader Trent Fischer took pride in the day the class broke above the fifth-grade average on its reading assessment test.

“Our bar graphs have been in the red, and now they’re green. It makes me extremely happy because I know some of these kids are not the best readers and hate to read and don’t like picking up books,” Trent said.

Gracie Mitchell didn’t like spending her time reading books. But if Hulls could practice basketball for hours, she could practice reading for a little bit each day too, she said. Now she reads 40 to 50 pages per day, especially mysteries.

Rogers and the class wrote a thank-you note to Hulls and sent it to IU but weren’t sure that he would ever see it. She opened her email inbox last week to see not only a response but a request to visit the class. He’ll visit North Grove and meet the students Friday morning.

The class will share some of its lower scores with Hulls and then show off their improved tests as well as get the chance to ask him questions about playing for the Hoosiers.

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Celebrating the Class of 2013 Mon, 06 May 2013 21:11:25 +0000 They came from 85 different countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and from 90 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Their class–IU Bloomington’s Class of 2013–included 17 sets of twins, two sets of triplets and one set of quadruplets. Its oldest graduate was 64; its youngest, 17. As IU President Michael A. McRobbie noted in his commencement remarks, this remarkably accomplished class also featured a Churchill Scholar, a Truman Scholar, two Goldwater Scholars, an Olympic bronze medalist and the senior members of IU’s men’s basketball team, who led IU to its first Big Ten championship in two decades.

All told, more than 8,500 students received their degrees during undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies at IU Bloomington this past weekend, and when they weren’t sharing their own personal thoughts, feelings and remembrances on Twitter and Facebook, they were receiving some thoughtful advice from this year’s distinguished commencement speakers, New York Times columnist David Brooks and Alecia DeCoudreaux, IU alumna and the first black female president of Mills College in Oakland, Calif.

“The new digital age”

Together, the members of this year’s graduating class comprised the first generation of students born into and raised in what McRobbie described in his commencement address as “the new digital age.”

“You have grown up with the presence of the Internet and have never known life without it,” McRobbie told the Class of 2013. “This is a world vastly different from the one in which your parents grew up and one that your great grand parents likely would not even recognize. This is a world in which instant access to information is literally at your fingertips. This is a world in which you can blog, tweet and text from nearly anywhere.

“In fact, some of you are probably texting right now.”

Remembering Lauren

Prior to delivering his remarks, President McRobbie took a moment at the start of Saturday’s ceremonies to remember Lauren Spierer, who, sadly, went missing in June 2011 and would have graduated with this year’s class.

“On this day when we celebrate both the past accomplishments of our students and the promising future upon which they are about to embark, I ask that all of us keep Lauren and members of her family in our thoughts,” McRobbie said.

An emotional day 

Commencement 2013 made for an emotional couple of days, as evidenced by the tears and smiles and goosebumps and glee that filled Assembly Hall on Friday and Saturday.

Here’s a look back at a very special commencement as we congratulate the Class of 2013 and wish its members well as they prepare to embark on an exciting new chapter in their lives. Thanks for making all of us proud.


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A new view of Commencement at IU Fri, 03 May 2013 21:25:22 +0000 When you’ve worked at the university as long as I have (10 years) and your own graduation from college (almost 20 years ago) is becoming a more and more distant memory, it would be easy to dismiss this time of year as, well, simply not your own. You might even seek shelter from all of the hustle and bustle that comes with annual spring commencement ceremonies at IU Bloomington.


IU graduates pose for a picture in front of Bloomington’s iconic Sample Gates.

Fortunately, that’s not me–and from conversations I’ve had in the days leading up to graduation, that’s not a lot of you, either.

Once again, I’ve been swept up in the commencement tradition as I’ve surveyed the smiling faces of our graduates, their families and their loved ones and felt a surge of energy and excitement that never ceases to amaze me this time of year.

But even traditions sometimes need a little tweaking, which is why this year IU has given its newest graduates one more assignment before they head out into the real world. It’s a fun one that, frankly, also let’s those of us who aren’t graduating into the fun. This weekend, IU students, their families and their friends have been encouraged to tweet their thoughts, feelings, memories and, yes, pictures, and tagging them with a hashtag (#IUgrad13) created just for the occasion.

Simply search for the hashtag on Twitter or, if you just want some select highlights, visit IU’s special Commencement 2013 Storify site, which will be continually updated through the weekend. I guarantee you’ll feel a new sense of pride and inspiration. And, who knows, maybe you’ll even want to get in to the tweeting act yourself!

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Talking about the ‘Hoo-Hoo-siers’ of 2022 Thu, 02 May 2013 21:03:27 +0000 Just as IU Bloomington was preparing to send off the class of 2013, the potential class of 2022 stepped in and stole the show.

The third-graders from Cold Environmental Spring Magnet School sporting their candy-striped sunglasses at IU Bloomington's Sample Gates.

The third-graders from Cold Spring Environmental Magnet School sporting their candy-striped sunglasses at IU Bloomington’s Sample Gates.

April 25 was a special day for the talented third-graders from Indianapolis’ Cold Spring Environmental Magnet School who captivated Hoosier Nation this year with their acted-out version of “This Is Indiana,” the song written by former IU students Brice Fox and Daniel Weber that became a viral sensation last year. Along with their teacher, Kathryn Sullivan (IU class of 2012), the more than 30 youngsters got a first-hand glimpse (courtesy of the IU Visitor Information Center and through candy-striped shades provided by IU President Michael A. McRobbie’s office) of what college is all about. What’s more, they got to meet a few notable folks from IU, including a few of their basketball heroes, and reprise their now famous act on the famed floor of Assembly Hall.

My colleague Bethany Nolan joined the Cold Spring Environmental kids for the ride and returned with this Inside IU Bloomington story recapping the third-graders’ memorable day, which you can also experience through the short video below, produced by IU Communications.

Here’s to the Hoo-Hoo-siers of 2022!

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A race to the finish Wed, 01 May 2013 15:08:50 +0000 Btown’s racing to the finish of a most busy spring semester, and IU students are gearing up for Friday’s and Saturday’s commencement ceremonies. But that doesn’t mean we can’t break away and relive the fun and excitement of that little thing the locals call Little 5, which once again lived up to its billing as “The World’s Greatest College Weekend.”

Check out video highlights from this year’s men’s and women’s races, and read more about how activities surrounding this year’s Little 500 played a key role in supporting scholarships for deserving IU students.


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Btown students making the mark Tue, 30 Apr 2013 20:59:24 +0000 Churchill. Truman. Goldwater. Fulbright. Luce. The names read like a who’s who of some of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

They’ve also come to reflect the considerable academic prowess of IU Bloomington students and newly minted alums, who, in recent weeks, have earned several of the nation’s and world’s most prestigious and sought-after student scholarships.

Those students include:

  • Senior Kent Griffith, one of only 14 U.S. students to receive a Churchill Scholarship this year and one of only three recipients from public universities, which will enable him to pursue one year of graduate study in chemistry at the University of Cambridge in the U.K.
  • Junior Rahaf Safi, named a 2013 Truman Scholar, one of only 62 undergraduates from 54 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the award. She’ll receive $30,000 for graduate study along with priority admission and additional aid at premier graduate schools.
  • Juniors Benjamin Seitzman and Jordan Venderley, who, along with IUPUI junior Jason Walsman, were awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, presented to the country’s most promising undergraduate students in math, science and engineering.
  • Andrew Morris, a 2012 graduate in Germanic studies and history, who received a Fulbright Award. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for overseas study and research projects and English teaching assistantships.
  • 2012 graduate Tarlise Townsend, named a Luce Scholar, one of 18 recipients of a nationally competitive award designed to enhance understanding of Asia for future leaders. She is the first person to be named a Luce Scholar after receiving an undergraduate degree from IU.
IU Bloomington senior Kent Griffith is one of only 14 U.S. students to receive a prestigious Churchill Scholarship this year.

IU Bloomington senior Kent Griffith is one of only 14 U.S. students to receive a prestigious Churchill Scholarship this year.

Several of these students were recognized during IU Bloomington’s annual Founders Day Honors Convocation, held earlier this month, which also honored approximately 3,300 Founders Scholars, the campus’ most academically distinguished undergraduates, who have earned a cumulative grade-point average of 3.8 or higher. Serving as student speaker at this year’s celebration was Kasey Greer, a senior history major from Plymouth, Ind., and a 2012 Beinecke Scholar, one of only 20 students nationwide to receive the honor last year.

Just last week, it was announced that IU junior Nathaniel Sims, a Hutton Honors College student majoring in linguistics and East Asian languages and cultures, became the ninth IU student to be named a Beinecke Scholar. An intern at the international Summer Institute of Linguistics, Sims will receive $4,000 immediately before entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.

Finally this month, IU named its fourth-ever presidential intern, Catherine Krege, a sophomore majoring in international studies and Spanish and minoring in political science. Krege has been focusing her energies this spring on providing a student-driven perspective on recruitment and engagement in IU’s new School of Global and International Studies.

All told, it’s been a terrific time for those of us who take great pride in the remarkable academic achievements of our students, who continue to dazzle us with their intellectual curiosity, drive and determination to—like the Churchills, Trumans and Goldwaters before them, make a real difference in the world.

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Serving IU’s veterans Thu, 25 Apr 2013 19:56:37 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU News Room colleague Bethany Nolan, who typically blogs at Art at IU

Staffers from the Indianapolis VA Regional Office’s Outreach Team were on the IU Bloomington campus earlier this week, helping nearly 20 student, staff and faculty veterans navigate an online portal for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Known as eBenefits, the digital portal provides information about a veteran’s official military records, access to compensation and pension claims information, VA home loan eligibility and Board of Veterans’ Appeals status. It can also provide access to TRICARE medical, dental and pharmacy information, coverage under Service Members Group Life Insurance and GI Bill education benefits, as well as many other veterans programs and benefits.

A recent partnership effort between IU and a regional veterans affairs office provided benefits assistance to student, staff and faculty veterans.

A recent partnership effort between IU and a regional veterans affairs office provided benefits assistance to student, staff and faculty veterans.

“We are always pleased to partner with the VA to make services and benefits more accessible for our veterans,” said Margaret Baechtold, director of IU’s Veterans Support Services office. “This made the process much simpler for many veterans who might otherwise have to drive to Indianapolis to present their ID in person to validate their account, and we’re glad many student veterans took advantage of this opportunity to get set up to manage their own benefits.”

She said 19 veterans — including students, staff and faculty members — completed the eBenefits account enrollment process. VA officials left paperwork with several others, and also discussed the disability claim process.

Navy veteran Rich Nourie, who is now a doctoral candidate in higher education, said he was glad of the assistance.

“The people from the VA were great. They explained what eBenefits were all about, as well as answer loads of other questions about VA benefits,” he said via email. “It’s great the Veterans Support Services office was able to set this up. They’re a resource for the whole IU community, assisting student veterans such as myself, as well as reservists, National Guard and active duty military students at IU. An office such as this did not exist when I returned from the Gulf War, so I’m thrilled such a resource exists for this new generation of veterans.”

Baechtold said her office hopes to host similar visits on a regular basis to assist the more than 400 student veterans and more than 200 faculty and staff veterans on the Bloomington campus.

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Btown’s Brilliant Minds Mon, 01 Apr 2013 18:49:49 +0000 IU Bloomington chemist Erin Carlson is featured in the new Brilliant Minds video series showcasing faculty research and creative activity.

IU Bloomington chemist Erin Carlson is featured in the new Brilliant Minds video series showcasing faculty research and creative activity.

Yesterday, my six-year-old daughter, Veronica, came rushing into the kitchen to excitedly tell me a story she’d heard from one of her teachers at school. The story was about Archimedes, the ancient Greek mathematician, and the golden crown. Some readers of this blog might know the high points: a crown made for a king; a dishonest goldsmith accused of swapping some silver for gold in making the crown; Archimedes taking a bath, noticing how the water level in the tub rose when he got in and figuring he could use this effect to determine the volume of the crown and whether silver had indeed been used (it had!); and, finally, the mathematician running through the streets naked (my daughter’s favorite part!), so excited by his discovery he had forgotten to put on his clothes, calling “Eureka!”

Listening to my daughter happily tell the story of “Archimedes’ principle,” I was reminded of the pure joy that learning can bring a child and, yes, even a 40-year-old adult.

Truth be told, I didn’t know the Archimedes story. (As a student, I wasn’t much for math, though I did love Greek history.) My daughter’s telling of this anecdote sparked in me a desire to learn more about Archimedes, the veracity of the gold-crown story and his other discoveries and inventions.

Here at IU Bloomington and in the surrounding community, we are surrounded by fascinating people who are deeply engaged, on a daily basis, in learning and discovery. During the almost 15 years that I’ve lived in Btown, I’ve met countless individuals, as part of my job in the IU News Room, but just as much standing in line at the Bloomington Bagel Company, who devote hours of their lives to academic and creative pursuits that satisfy their thirst for knowledge and, in turn, make this such a vibrant academic and cultural community.

More often than not, their discoveries have an impact beyond Btown’s borders. Take Erin Carlson, for example. An assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, Carlson is researching how natural sources might be used to treat life-threatening diseases.

Carlson is showcased in a new video series, produced by IU Communications for the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, that highlights some of the fascinating research and creative activities taking place on the IU Bloomington campus. The Brilliant Minds series reflects the eclectic nature of faculty research in Btown. To this end, the first three videos focus on an anthropologist who studies stand-up comics in Middle America, an artist who uses natural materials and historical processes to create textile-based installations and, in the most recent episode, Carlson, a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty. (Carlson was also recently profiled in an NBC News “Science Behind the News” feature on drug-resistant bacteria.)

In the Brilliant Minds video, Carlson discusses her interest in expanding science education for young women and girls. “It’s really great to see excitement in young students,” she says. “For me, that’s why I chose to be a professor where I get to mentor graduate students. Because I really get to see the light come on, albeit at a different stage in their career, and I find that very exciting.”

As a father of a first-grade girl who’s as excited about Archimedes as she is about Pokemon, all I can say to that is, Eureka!

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Good Luck, Hoosiers! Thu, 28 Mar 2013 17:27:47 +0000 On “Show Your Stripes Day” was there really any question what we’d be bantering about down in Btown?

So, without further adieu, here you go. Hoosier Nation is out today in full force wishing the IU men’s basketball team “good luck” in today’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen matchup against Syracuse.

And rumor has it that more video is on the way. So stay tuned and, until then, show your stripes, Hoosiers!


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Remembering Keith Cash Tue, 26 Mar 2013 13:14:23 +0000 Yesterday, members of IU Bloomington and the surrounding community, including around 250 law enforcement personnel, gathered at IU Auditorium to celebrate the life of IU Police Chief Keith Cash, who passed away unexpectedly last week at age 50.

Law enforcement personnel join the IU Bloomington community in celebrating the life of IU Police Chief Keith Cash.

Law enforcement personnel join the IU Bloomington community in celebrating the life of IU Police Chief Keith Cash.

Friends, family and officers who served with Chief Cash, a 29-year veteran of the IU Police Department, took the time to remember a man who was lauded for his professionalism, unwavering commitment to serving and protecting the IU community and, perhaps most of all, his irreverent sense of humor, which he used regularly to diffuse tense situations and to build a deep sense of camaraderie among those with whom he served.

Fellow officer Stephen Winenger spoke movingly about Cash’s hearty laugh, friendship and mentorship during sometimes trying times. Others, including University Director of Public Safety Jerry Minger, expressed their admiration for how easily Cash moved among the many constituents he served, including university administrators, faculty, staff and students, and members of the local community. Family members thanked all in attendance for helping to remember a man who will be greatly missed.

The celebration of life ceremony was followed by a law enforcement procession, which traveled from the IU Auditorium to IU Police Department headquarters, where Cash’s family was presented a flag and there was a gun salute.

A law enforcement procession followed the celebration of life ceremony to IU Police Department headquarters.

A law enforcement procession followed the celebration of life ceremony to IU Police Department headquarters.

For more on the life of Keith Cash, visit the Protect IU blog, which includes a fond remembrance from Mark Bruhn, IU associate vice president for public safety and institutional assurance.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Keith C. Cash Memorial Fund, c/o of the IU Foundation, PO Box 500, Bloomington, IN 47402. Contributions received will be used to benefit the IU Police Department, the IU Police Academy and the IU Police Service Animal fund. Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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Obama picks IU! Wed, 20 Mar 2013 16:15:07 +0000 Who says the president doesn’t sometimes see red?

President Obama filled out his NCAA tournament bracket today and, to the delight of Hoosier Nation, picked IU as his national champion.

“I think it’s Indiana’s year,” the president told ESPN this morning.

Joining IU in Obama’s final four were Florida, Louisville and Ohio State. Obama predicted that the No. 1 seeded Hoosiers would defeat Louisville in the championship game.

This is the fifth year that Obama has filled out a bracket for the NCAA tournament. Though he’s had mixed results in past tournament selection efforts, Hoosier fans can only hope that the president returns to his 2009 performance, when he correctly picked North Carolina to win the title.

Obama’s full bracket can be found here.

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TED time in Btown Thu, 14 Mar 2013 22:29:20 +0000 It’s the TED Talk people are still talking about.

Just over five years ago, at the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Monterey, Calif., IU Bloomington neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor delivered an 18-minute presentation about her personal experience with a massive stroke, which she suffered in 1996 at age 37. In breathtaking detail, Taylor described how she felt her brain functions slip away the morning of her stroke and how this experience led to fascinating insights into the workings of the brain, its capacity for recovery and how it connects us to the world and to one another.

Taylor’s presentation is the second-most watched TED Talk on the Web, with more than 10.6 million views, and Taylor, named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2008, continues to share her remarkable story with such high-profile interviewers as Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey.

The massive popularity of talks like Taylor’s has transformed TED into one of the year’s most highly anticipated happenings and spawned thousands of TED-like, independently organized events across the world, known as TEDx events. By the end of 2012, more than 16,000 talks had been given at more than 5,000 TEDx events in 1,200 cities and 133 countries. More than 20,000 TEDx talks are available for viewing online, and those videos have been viewed more than 78.5 million times.

Not surprisingly, one of those TEDx events takes place right here in Btown and with the support of IU Bloomington, a flagship sponsor. This year’s second-annual TEDxBloomington event, March 22 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, features a particularly strong IU connection, with a significant number of scheduled speakers hailing from the university community.

You can view the entire line-up online, but some of the speakers include:

  • Katy Bӧrner, Victor H. Yngve Professor of Information Science at the School of Library and Information Science and founding director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at IU
  • Cameray Boyden, nonprofit management student at IU Bloomington and founder of the West Indianapolis Peace Park, a community garden honoring loved ones who lost their lives to drugs or violence
  • Robert Einterz, director of IU’s Center for Global Health and co-founder of the IU-Moi University, Kenya, partnership
  • Debby Herbenick, research scientist at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion
  • Laurie Burns McRobbie, IU first lady, faculty member in the IU School of Informatics and Computing, founder and chair of the advisory committee for ServeIT
  • Darryl Neher, senior lecturer of business communication at the IU Kelley School of Business
  • Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington
  • Sarah Smith-Robbins, host of TEDxBloomington, director of emerging technologies at Kelley Executive Partners and faculty member at the IU Kelley School of Business
  • Emily Ward, assistant director at IU Campus Recreational Sports
  • Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and CIO

The IU contingent will join a variety of other speakers from the local community as well as presenters from Chicago, Tampa, New York City and Silicon Valley, including Hoosier native Ryan Germick, leader of the team of artists behind Google’s ever-changing homepage logos, and Drew Ramsey, doctor and co-author of “The Happiness Diet.” Together, they’ll deliver their own twist on this year’s TEDxBloomington theme, “Jump In,” and how they’ve developed ideas to affect the world around them.

“For Bloomington, it’s a really big deal to be able to host a TEDx event, and we are extremely pleased to have so many speakers from IU, which is the heart of our community and the reason why so many of us are here,” says Luci Englert McKean, curator of TEDxBloomington and longtime Btown resident. “We have also consciously created a program that includes inspiring people from the far reaches of the country, all of whom were chosen with the concept in mind of taking action, moving things forward and changing the world for the better.”

This year’s event will once again be live-streamed online, McKean adds, giving those around the nation and world who tune in a glimpse of the breadth and depth of creative ideas that define IU and the surrounding community.

Katy Borner

Katy Borner

In a new twist to this year’s TEDxBloomington, and thanks to a data-mapping project led by IU Bloomington information visualization expert Katy Bӧrner, those who attend the event in person will be able to easily identify other attendees with whom they might choose to interact based on common interests.

What remains to be seen is whether one of this year’s talks will take off like Jill Bolte-Taylor’s did several years ago. With more than 20,000 TEDx talks and counting, the odds aren’t good, McKean says, but they also aren’t insurmountable. In fact, two of the talks from the inaugural TEDxBloomington event (by Charlie Todd and Shawn Achor) were promoted from TEDxBloomington to Together, the two talks have reached nearly 5.25 million people.

Ready to “jump in” with the millions of others who have embraced the TED experience? Go here for more information on TEDxBloomington or check out the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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The spot Fri, 08 Mar 2013 17:30:30 +0000

Call it the spot heard around Hoosier nation.

IU unveiled a new TV commercial during Tuesday night’s men’s basketball contest between the Hoosiers and Ohio State, and it’s got many a Hoosier fired up heading into tournament season.

Produced by the talented creative team within IU Communications, the new spot offers a nice reminder of what makes IU special, why the university matters to so many Hoosiers, and, yes, how some schools simply don’t need mascots because they’ve got such outstanding support behind them.

But don’t take my word for it.



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Renewal, restoration and the campus canopy Fri, 01 Mar 2013 20:59:24 +0000 It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two years since IU Bloomington sustained some of the worst tree damage in its history, the result of violent storms that swept through our campus and the surrounding community.

More than 300 trees, including several large, old-growth trees, were lost during the May 2011 storms that cut a destructive path through such heavily wooded areas of campus as Dunn’s Woods, Dunn Meadow and the Arboretum, which experienced particularly heavy damage. The fallen trees all across campus were a truly sad sight, and there were concerns that—after three severe storms in the course of 11 months and a summer of significant drought—it might be many years before we could replace all of the trees we’d lost.

New trees planted in the Dunn Meadow Grove.

New trees planted in the Dunn Meadow Grove.

In true Btown fashion, though, it took little time for members of the campus and surrounding community to band together and dedicate their energies toward what can only be described as a massively successful rebuilding effort. Within days of the devastation, many stepped up to help, including former IU Trustee Steve Ferguson and his wife, Connie, who donated 150 trees to help kick-start the process of restoring what legendary IU President Herman B Wells famously called our “precious islands of green and serenity.” IU President Michael McRobbie and his wife, Laurie Burns McRobbie, personally contributed funding to purchase and plant some 30 trees in a grove near Bryan House, and the IU Foundation quickly launched a formal campaign to find donors for other targeted groves across campus.

Since June 2011, nearly 1,200 trees have been planted throughout campus, with another 1,200 scheduled to be planted this year. More than 400 donors have given around $350,000 to restore 13 named groves, all of which now feature plaques identifying the sponsors who helped rebuild them. Among those donors were members of IU’s Women’s Philanthropy Council, a particularly motivated group that raised more than $17,000 in just two weeks.

“The effort in response to the storm has been incredible,” said Mia Williams, the university’s landscape architect. “I think it was within the first 24 or 48 hours afterward that Steve Ferguson came forward with his donation of trees to start the rebuilding process. Even though it was quickly becoming summer and a difficult time to think about planting, we did get his trees installed, and, looking back, it was an incredibly important thing to have done. Trees take a long time to establish and grow, and time spent planning and designing can quickly put the eventual recovery off by another year. By starting to plant immediately, the recovery started immediately.”

The success of the recovery effort, Williams says, means that IU Bloomington is on its way to reaching its goal of doubling the number of trees on campus and continuing to be recognized for its commitment to preserving and protecting its natural beauty.

A plaque recognizing the Dunn Meadow Grove, supported through the generosity of former IU Trustee Steve Ferguson and his wife, Connie.

A plaque recognizing the Dunn Meadow Grove, supported through the generosity of former IU Trustee Steve Ferguson and his wife, Connie.

And this is where a story that started with storms and sadness takes an even happier turn.

For the fifth year in a row, IU Bloomington has been named a Tree Campus USA by the national Arbor Day Foundation, which recognizes colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals. IU Bloomington has been a Tree Campus USA since the inaugural year of the program in 2008, which, as Williams puts it, “just seems natural for our woodland campus.”

As in previous years, IU Bloomington students will plant trees on campus to celebrate Arbor Day and the Tree Campus USA designation, adding to the remarkable renewal and restoration of this campus’ beautiful canopy.

View a photo gallery of a past Arbor Day tree planting. Go here for a related story about work done to repair the Adam and Eve statue in Dunn’s Woods.

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“Shadows of Innocence” Wed, 27 Feb 2013 22:29:56 +0000 The figures are sad and staggering. Indiana has the second-highest rate of rape among high-school-aged girls — more than 17 percent of Indiana’s high school girls reported forced sexual intercourse as compared to the national average of 10.5 percent.

15150Tomorrow night, our colleagues in the WFIU/WTIU newsroom, also known as Indiana Public Media, will air a documentary addressing Indiana’s high rate of sexual assault among teens. “Shadows of Innocence: Sexual Assault Among Indiana’s Youth” features the stories of sexual assault survivors, as well as commentary from statewide violence prevention experts, psychologists and educators, including researchers from IU Bloomington’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP) and the Kinsey Institute.

The documentary will be followed by a roundtable discussion featuring questions from an audience of Indiana high school students, and a Twitter hashtag (#INshadows) has been created for online discussion.

The documentary is also accompanied by a special website that includes a number of related resources, including links to sexual assault prevention organizations as well as to academic studies, such as a CEEP-Kinsey Institute study from 2012 that explored the scope of sexual violence nationally and in Indiana and examined recent changes in how the problem is being addressed.

Here is a trailer for tomorrow’s program.

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Shake it up, Hoosier style Fri, 15 Feb 2013 21:51:09 +0000 At this point, it’s, well, pointless to resist the phenomenon that’s sweeping—or should I say shaking—the nation. I’m talking, of course, about the “Harlem Shake,” the latest viral video sensation to infect the Internet. I won’t begin to explain the Shake, but let’s just say it’s taken over the bodies of everyone from TV funnymen Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon to soldiers, firefighters, news anchors and office workers all across the country.

So is it any surprise that Hoosiers across IU Bloomington are embracing their inner Harlem? Earlier this week, the IU men’s lacrosse team took on the dance, resulting in a video that, at the time of this posting, is up to 35,700 YouTube views and counting. IU’s student section at Assembly Hall, the Crimson Guard, got into the shimmying spirit at Wednesday night’s basketball game against Nebraska. IU’s track team has just taken a run at it, too, and even our friends in the student media are proudly headlining the dance.

So, without further adieu, and before you can utter the words “Gangnam Style” or “Call Me Maybe,” Btown Banter presents just a few of the Hoosier Harlem Shakes for your 30-second viewing. Happy shaking!


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Big happenings in Btown Fri, 15 Feb 2013 17:59:45 +0000 This is the time of year when, despite the weather, activities really start heating up at IU Bloomington. Next week is no exception, with several major happenings taking place, starting with a lecture on Monday by former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, the longest-serving senator in Indiana’s history and new faculty member in the new School of Global and International Studies.

Richard Lugar

Richard Lugar

Lugar, who last month was given the faculty title of distinguished scholar and professor of practice, will present the Patrick O’Meara International Lecture, named for IU’s first vice president for international affairs who oversaw IU’s global efforts for two decades. The lecture is free and open to the public, who will have the opportunity to hear from, to borrow from IU President Michael McRobbie, “one of Indiana’s giants of international diplomacy.”

Continuing with the international theme, on Tuesday IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel will discuss academic initiatives at IU Bloomington in the global context of higher education during her inaugural State of the Campus address. Robel, who is well known in the campus and community having served as dean of the IU Maurer School of Law from 2003 to 2012, will use the occasion to formally introduce herself in her new role as the campus’ chief academic officer. She’ll also talk about the initiatives she is leading to ensure that IU students are acquiring the type of knowledge and critical thinking capabilities they’ll need to succeed and thrive in an increasingly global society. These include the launch of the new School of Global and International Studies and newly established IU Gateway-India, announced earlier this week, which will serve as a home base for IU teaching, research, international study and distance learning activities in the country. Nearly 1,000 Indian students currently study at IU.

IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel will deliver her inaugural State of the Campus address on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel will deliver her inaugural State of the Campus address on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Robel’s address will be open to the public and available via live stream video. Additionally, IU Communications will offer live tweets from the event.

For a preview of the types of topics Robel is likely to discuss, listen to this podcast from last spring featuring the then-interim provost chatting with President McRobbie about her new roles and responsibilities and her vision for the IU Bloomington campus.

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A new basketball bond Wed, 30 Jan 2013 17:35:03 +0000 This has been a winter of content for those of us who bleed IU cream and crimson. Our Hoosier men’s basketball team, currently 18-2 and ranked No. 3 in the nation, will take on archrival Purdue this evening before gearing up for a big ESPN College GameDay showdown here in Btown with No. 1 Michigan Saturday night at what promises to be a packed, loud and lively Assembly Hall.

A couple of Sundays ago, I found myself in a far less raucous—but no less spirited—Assembly Hall for a game between IU’s women’s team and the Spartans of Michigan State. I was accompanied by my son and daughter (ages 10 and 5, respectively), who chose seats just a few feet from famed Branch McCracken Court in the foldout bleachers across from the team benches. As many times as I’ve been to Assembly Hall, I’d never sat that close and had such a fantastic vantage point of the court, the pep band and cheerleaders, the crowd and, of course, the championship banners.

My son and daughter enjoy a sweet refreshment while watching the IU women's basketball team at Assembly Hall.

My son and daughter enjoy a sweet treat while watching the IU women’s basketball team at Assembly Hall.

Our closeness to the action also gave me a live glimpse of first-year IU head coach Curt Miller, who hopes to bring to Bloomington the type of success he had while serving as head coach at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he amassed an impressive 258-92 (.737) record. If he fails, I’m pretty sure it won’t be for a lack of passion and enthusiasm. Throughout the game, Miller stomped the sidelines, shouted instruction and encouragement, and attempted to will his team to compete with one of the top teams in the Big 10. His Hoosiers responded, in turn, with a strong overall effort. Despite losing 56-46, IU outscored Michigan State in the second half, 31-27, and shot over 57 percent (12-of-21) from the field in the game’s final 20 minutes.

When the game was over, Coach Miller and his players remained on the court, first to sing IU’s official alma mater song, “Hail to Old IU,” and then to meet and greet fans, who were allowed onto the court to get pictures and autographs. And while they might’ve preferred, after a hard-fought game, to retreat to the solace of the locker room, the coach and his squad patiently accommodated everyone’s requests, smiling for photos and graciously signing balls, posters, ticket stubs, T-shirts, jerseys and more.

As my daughter waited in line to meet Coach Miller, who happily chatted with kids and their parents while wielding his Sharpie pen, my mind traveled back to another time in my life—when I was a college student and aspiring sports writer at the University of Connecticut. Back in the early 1990s, I had the pleasure of covering the UConn women’s basketball team and its enthusiastic young coach Geno Auriemma, who was happy to share with anyone who would listen his vision to make UConn one of the nation’s top women’s basketball programs. Back then, when I could just stroll into Auriemma’s office for a quick interview, that vision seemed somewhat of a long shot. And yet, Auriemma pursued it doggedly, seeking players who shared his determination and building a strong bond with the local community, which supported the team through its early development, including a few lean years, and eventually was rewarded with a remarkable seven NCAA championships.

While I’m not suggesting that level of success, I can safely report that Coach Miller and his players are building a truly special bond with the Btown community. And they appear to be eagerly embracing their role-model status for the many children who attend their games. Indeed, several days prior to the Michigan State game, Miller’s team lead an open clinic for about 750 area youth, who received instruction from the players, tickets to that day’s game, opportunities for autographs and other goodies.

Coach Miller has also taken to growing this local bond through social media, including Twitter, where he has displayed a quick wit and humorous take on his team’s growing pains. (Sample tweet: “Authorities just informed me of a missing peoples report filed today…ON OUR OFFENSE…I told them I will try and find it at Cook Hall today.”)

For those of us who love Hoosier hoops, it will be fun to see the bond between Coach Miller and his squad and the Btown community continue to grow. Personally speaking, I know I plan to be there for more ‘gamedays,’ with or without ESPN, in the future.

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Double ‘value’ talk Tue, 08 Jan 2013 17:21:03 +0000 As the post-holiday haze begins to clear, we at Btown Banter thought it worth noting a couple of special honors received by IU in the final days of December, capping a busy and bountiful 2012 at the university. (Check out “Year in review: Top stories from IU in 2012.”)

On Dec. 27, IU’s Bloomington campus was named one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. The announcement marked the sixth consecutive year that IU Bloomington, which rose one spot from last year’s list to 39th overall, placed among the top 40 public schools in the Kiplinger’s rankings, which recognize public colleges and universities that combine outstanding education with economic value.

The following day, Public University Press, a relatively new organization that evaluates honors education at the nation’s colleges and universities, listed IU Bloomington’s Hutton Honors College among 11 honors programs that have the most “value-added impact” on their universities and are also located within institutions featured in the latest Kiplinger’s “Best Values” report. What’s more, IU was one of only five institutions singled out for raising their average Kiplinger rankings in 2013 and having value-added honors programs.

The Hutton Honors College was recently listed among honors programs that have he most "value-added impact" on their universities.

IU Bloomington’s Hutton Honors College was recently listed among honors programs that have the most “value-added impact” on their universities.

As Hutton Dean Matt Auer puts it, IU Bloomington was recognized for offering what amounts to “double” value added by being a first-rate academic institution at a reasonable cost to students and featuring an exceptional honors college.

“I take away two key points from Public University Honors’ announcement,” Auer adds. “One: The Hutton Honors College adds considerable value to IUB. Two: IUB is on an upward trajectory in ‘best value’ rankings because it offers a first-rate academic experience at a fair price. It’s gratifying to see external recognition of these trends.”

External recognition isn’t exactly new to Hutton. In August, Public University Press ranked Hutton among the nation’s top 10 large honors programs (1,800 or more students) at a public university. That review also ranked IU’s honors program as 18th in overall excellence among the 50 programs surveyed.


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A day of reflection, remembrance and revelry Sun, 16 Dec 2012 02:05:19 +0000 Indiana University Bloomington held its annual Winter Commencement this morning at Assembly Hall, giving the university’s newest graduates an opportunity to look toward a future of promise and also to reflect on the many historic events that have marked their years at IU — events, said IU President Michael A. McRobbie, that have “touched the lives of people around the world.”

Sadly, it was impossible not to feel the shockwaves and sorrow from one of those events: yesterday’s tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels addresses IU's Winter Commencement graduates as Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie looks on.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels addresses IU Bloomington’s Winter Commencement graduates as IU President Michael A. McRobbie looks on.

“Commencement is traditionally a joyous time when we celebrate all that our students have achieved in their studies at Indiana University as they commence the rest of their lives,” President McRobbie said at the start of the morning’s proceedings. “But the innocent children, wantonly and savagely massacred yesterday in an act of pure evil, will never know their own commencements. And the parents and teachers slaughtered with them will never celebrate the commencements of their own and other children.

“As an educator and as a parent, I echo President Obama’s words from yesterday: Something must be done,” McRobbie continued. “This has happened too often. In the face of such unimaginable horror, words are simply inadequate.”

After a moment of silence for the murdered children, parents and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School, McRobbie introduced Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, soon-to-be president of Purdue University. Daniels told members of the IU Bloomington Class of 2012 that this would not be their last commencement, but instead the first of many new beginnings.

“Every commencement means leaving behind the familiar and entering — it will often feel like plunging — into the unknown,” Daniels said. “A new job, a new city, maybe a new continent, parenthood for sure — each will take you from a comfort zone to a zone of distinct discomfort. I’m here to argue that’s a good thing, something not to dread but to look forward to.”

Daniels also urged the new class, whose members, he said, comprise the nation’s “knowledge elite,” to resist the temptation to insulate themselves from those individuals who come from a different socio-economic class or who might not agree with them.

Members of IU Bloomington's Class of 2012.

Members of IU Bloomington’s Class of 2012.

In his remarks, President McRobbie talked about just how engaged IU graduates have been with the world around them during their years studying at IU. Members of this year’s graduating class, McRobbie said, have worked to improve the lives of members of their local communities as well as of citizens around the world, from mentoring at-risk school children in Monroe County and helping build homes for county families to working to build schools in Uganda and providing disaster relief both here in the U.S. and abroad.

“It is to you, and thousands like you graduating all over the country,” McRobbie told the Class of 2012, “that the world now looks for your commitment as citizens, for your energy and seriousness of purpose as you grapple with the most formidable problems that confront us, for your commitment to human dignity and freedom, and for all you can do to renew the global economy, to innovate, to invent, to build, to heal and to teach.”

On a day filled with reflection, remembrance and revelry, McRobbie’s concluding words were a fitting send-off to IU graduates as they prepared to embark on the next phase of their lives.

View a photo gallery capturing the pageantry and celebration of this year’s Winter Commencement.

Read the president’s full commencement address.

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McRobbie helps Hoosiers ‘Celebrate Eight’ Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:00:30 +0000 If you couldn’t make it to last night’s “Celebrate Eight” pep rally at Assembly Hall in honor of IU’s national champion men’s soccer team, here’s a recap, which includes two photo galleries capturing the festivities, courtesy of IU Athletics.

As evidenced by last night’s event, the Btown community continues to take pride in the Hoosiers, who wrapped up, in the words of IU President Michael A. McRobbie, an “inspiring and successful” quest for eight College Cup titles with an exciting 1-0 victory over Georgetown on Sunday, Oct. 9.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie accepted the national championship trophy from IU’s men’s soccer team at a “Celebrate Eight” pep rally in Assembly Hall.

During the pep rally, senior captains Caleb Konstanski and Luis Soffner presented the NCAA Championship trophy to IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who was on hand to greet the team prior to the event and said a few words about the team to the crowd.

IU (16-5-3) became the first No. 16 seed to win an NCAA title. The Hoosiers were making their NCAA-best 18th appearance in the College Cup and 14th appearance in the title game.


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Quest completed! Sun, 09 Dec 2012 23:10:37 +0000 UPDATE 12/10/12, 1 p.m.: A Celebrate Eight Pep Rally will be held this evening to honor the men’s soccer team. Doors open at Assembly Hall at 6:30 p.m. with the program to follow at 7 p.m. Last night’s planned welcome back celebration, referenced in the post below, was postponed due to weather conditions that delayed the team’s return to Bloomington.

UPDATE 12/10/12, 9:30 a.m.: IU President Michael A. McRobbie congratulates the men’s soccer team on its eighth national championship.


#Q48=Quest for Eight=Quest complete!

Congrats to the IU men’s soccer team on its record eighth NCAA championship!

Indiana University’s men’s soccer team celebrates its record eighth NCAA championship following a 1-0 win against Georgetown in the championship game today, Dec. 9, at Hoover, Ala.

A welcome back celebration for the team will be held at 8:30 tonight at Assembly Hall. Enter the Hall through the south entrance.

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New glory. Old IU. Wed, 05 Dec 2012 21:42:15 +0000 For several weeks now, I’ve been wondering what more I could write (that hasn’t already been written) about the hot topic of the moment in Btown. I’m talking, of course, about Hoosier basketball, currently ranked No. 1 in the nation and the subject of more “They’re back” stories than Jason from “Friday the 13th,” stories like this terrific piece from

Just as I started to fear that I might toss up the blogger’s version of the basketball player’s airball, a copy of the newest Indiana University Alumni Magazine landed on my desk, like a Christian Watford miracle shot from the sky. The winter 2012 issue contains a cover story (“Pride and Joy”) authored entirely by Hoosier fans, who were asked by the magazine’s editors to contribute their thoughts, reflections and memories related to IU basketball. The result: a personal, poignant and passionate tale that reflects the glorious tradition of IU basketball and why it matters so much to all of us.

Cover of the winter 2012 issue of the Indiana University Alumni Magazine

The scores of reader submissions — and the striking photographs that surround them — are sure to elicit fond recollections of great moments in Hoosier history and, yes, great expectations for what fans might look forward to in the coming weeks and months. They also serve as a welcome reminder that behind all of the traditions we have come to cherish at IU are actual voices. These voices serve to strengthen and further those traditions, whether they take place on the court, in the classroom or around our beautiful campus grounds, even as we look toward the future.

It’s also worth noting that these submissions didn’t happen by accident. Rather, they were solicited as part of a new approach by the editorial team that brings you the Alumni Magazine to engage IU alumni in a conversation about the university through communications channels for both the traditional (letters to the editor) and tech-savvy (Facebook, Twitter) reader. To this end, the fall 2012 debut of the reinvented magazine included timely thoughts on this year’s elections from such veteran Hoosier politicians as Richard Lugar, Dan Quayle, Evan Bayh and Lee Hamilton, alongside IU alumni who shared through Facebook and Twitter what they thought the most important issues were facing the nation.

The “What’s At Stake” election article was voted down by a few folks, for reasons you can read about in the newest issue of the magazine (see Exchange section), but a free exchange of ideas, passionate debate and sometimes agreeing to disagree is part of the university tradition, too.

Of course, getting back to IU basketball, there’s little disagreement over the spirit and excitement that’s captivated the Btown campus and surrounding community and led many to dream of new glory for old IU. In many ways, the conversation feels like it’s just getting started.

Photo from IU’s game vs. Illinois, Feb. 9, 2012

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Thanksgiving and ‘Giving Thanks’ Wed, 21 Nov 2012 17:26:18 +0000 Count me among the many Americans who know the basics of Thanksgiving (or at least enough to keep from looking like a turkey to my 10-year-old son): the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Mass. Squanto and the local Wampanoag tribe. Native Americans and European settlers coming together for a happy harvest celebration that would forever be known as the nation’s first Thanksgiving.

That said, when you live in a town like B-town and work at a university filled with so many knowledgeable, insightful people, you get to know a whole lot more about occurrences you take for granted — like the annual Thanksgiving tradition, the topic of a fascinating conversation that aired Nov. 20 on WFHB radio.

Jason Jackson

As part of WFHB’s “Interchange” program, three IU Bloomington professors — Brian Gilley, associate professor of anthropology; Jason Jackson, associate professor of folklore and American studies; and Christina Snyder, assistant professor of American studies and history — took to the airwaves to talk about Thanksgiving’s connection with Native American cultures, which the nation is celebrating this month as part of Native American Heritage Month. Drawing upon their research on native peoples in the U.S., the three faculty members placed tomorrow’s national holiday in its proper historical, cultural and global context. They described how several of Thanksgiving’s themes, including the idea of the holiday as harvest festival, are widespread across the Indian country they’ve canvassed and researched.

“The idea of ‘giving thanks’ (as opposed to the ‘holiday of Thanksgiving’) is a hugely important theme in every native community that I know, and it takes many forms,” Jackson explained to WFHB host Louis Malone.

In native communities, Jackson said, the holiday is often tied to “another set of activities which relate to, in essence, ‘asking.’ In many native communities, part of the year is spent doing the right things that are expected of people and conveying a kind of petition to … the creator, seeking things like health for one’s family and food for one’s community. Then, when those things which are needed in life and that are important to people’s lives are bestowed, the flip side of that comes around and it’s time to give thanks.”

Listen online to more of Jackson’s and his colleagues’ perspectives on Thanksgiving, and a hearty appreciation to all who’ve visited this blog over the last several months. Thanks for reading!

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Supporting our veterans Mon, 12 Nov 2012 19:04:20 +0000 Today is when we officially celebrate Veterans Day, and as we honor our armed services veterans, we also salute the efforts of those at IU Bloomington who are working to make sure the campus is fully supporting our student veterans, current servicemen and women, and their families.

Spearheading those efforts is Margaret Baechtold, who, earlier this month, assumed the newly created position of university military and veterans service coordinator. Margaret will also continue in her current role as director of Veterans Support Services on the Bloomington campus. A retired Air Force officer and nationally recognized expert on GI Bill issues who has been called to testify before the Veterans Affairs Committee in Congress, she is now in her fifth year as director of the office, which provides direct support services to IU veteran students and advice and guidance to IU administrators on student military matters.

Margaret Baechtold has assumed the new role of university military and veterans service coordinator at IU.

Currently, Veterans Support Services processes VA education benefits for approximately 420 students each semester, two-thirds of whom are veterans. The office also offers support services such as free math tutoring, library research assistance and a first-year veterans experience course to ease students’ transition from military to college life.

At the time of this writing, Baechtold and her staff are participating in National Remembrance Day Roll Call, in which students read the names of 148 service members from the state of Indiana who lost their lives in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two of the names were of students at IU. And in a matter of minutes, her office will be observing a national moment of silence for those servicemen and servicewomen lost.

In her new role, Baechtold will continue to oversee IU’s veterans support services and resources, while also working to strengthen and increase the collaboration among IU offices that play a part in serving these students.

“We have a great opportunity to learn from each other’s programs and services, creating more supportive and helpful environments for our students across all campuses,” Baechtold says. “We also can increase the visibility of these programs and services for current and prospective students.”

A significant part of her mission will be to help ensure that IU’s military and veteran students achieve maximum success while in school and after graduation. Sadly, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 era veterans is significantly higher (currently, it stands at 10 percent) than that of the total workforce.

“For most (veterans), the solution is study and graduation from a respected, military-friendly university,” says Kirk White, IU assistant vice president for strategic partnerships and a lieutenant colonel in the Indiana Army National Guard.

“This new office will build on IU’s established strengths in veteran student services and coordinate our programs to assure student success on all eight campuses,” adds White, who also acts as military liaison for the IU Office of the President and served two tours in Afghanistan, most recently as a commander of a provisional task force responsible for base operations and force protection in Kabul.

In her new role, Baechtold will work to share support and services best practices both in Bloomington and across IU’s other campuses, and ensure that campuses are adequately developing their academic, developmental, emotional, financial and social advising and counseling programs.

She’ll also work closely with groups such as the newly reformed Student Veterans of America chapter, which is dedicated to providing assistance to military students and raising awareness of veterans issues in the community. Nationwide, the group recently urged communities and institutions to help address a post-9/11 GI Bill backlog that is hindering the ability of some student veterans to pay for their college education and support their families.

Overall, for Baechtold, the mission is simple.

“I want everyone to learn what great things Indiana University is doing for student veterans, military and their families so that IU is recognized as an institution that understands and supports them,” she says.

In this video, Baechtold provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the digital Golden Book exhibit at the Indiana Memorial Union. The exhibit documents the names of military veterans connected to IU who served the nation from the War of 1812 through World War II. 

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Meet the parents Fri, 02 Nov 2012 17:39:22 +0000 It’s Parents Weekend at IU Bloomington, which, for this blogger, always brings back special memories. Parents Weekend 1995 was my introduction to IU and the Btown community—that’s when mom, dad and I ventured away from the shores of Connecticut to visit my younger sister, then a freshman. Expecting to see a few big academic structures in the middle of a flat cornfield, and equating IU to basketball and not much more, I was simply blown away by the beauty of the tree-lined campus, the landscaping and the limestone buildings dating back to the late 19th century.

An IU parent greets the iconic statue of legendary former IU president Herman B Wells.

I was also able to experience, for the first time, Kirkwood Avenue, as lively then as it is today, Assembly Hall and all of its glorious basketball tradition, and a wondrous Fine Arts Plaza which, as I’ve since told folks back east, gives Lincoln Center in New York City a run for its money. (My fondest memories—Back Alley bowling at the Indiana Memorial Union and attending an early Saturday morning Broadway revue performance by students of IU musical theatre professor George Pinney, whom, I later learned, was a Tony Award nominee.)

Three years later, when it came time to choose among potential graduate schools, I opted for IU. Without question, my experience at Parents Weekend played a major factor in what turned out to be a life-changing decision, as I’ve been here ever since.

Starting today, this year’s Parents Weekend is filled with fun and inviting activities sure to captivate parents and, yes, even their IU children, who might just learn a thing or two about their campus and its history. Maybe they’ll discover the 7.5 million manuscripts and 400,000 rare books housed at the Lilly Library, the wired-up, always buzzing Information Commons at the Wells Library, the more than 200,000-square-foot Student Recreation Sports Center, the HPER pool where Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz trained or the IU Art Museum, one of the foremost art museums in the nation and home to works by Monet, Picasso and Pollock, to name just a few attractions.

And who knows? Maybe there’s another sibling or young relative walking around IU and Btown today, taking in all that the campus and community have to offer and, perhaps, thinking about how great it would be to be a student here.

Go here for a schedule of events for this year’s Parents Weekend at IU Bloomington.


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The magic of Btown Wed, 24 Oct 2012 19:16:03 +0000 If you noticed a little less banter here these last several days, you can blame Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the wonderful world of Disney, which is where I recently spent my kids’ fall break and, sadly, a good chunk of their college savings. Not that I should be complaining about a week in sunny Florida, but, admittedly, it was quite nice to return to the magic that is Btown and IU in autumn, when the leaves change colors, classes are in full swing, students are debating presidential politics (and their Halloween costumes) and the basketball-minded among us are basking in No. 1 rankings and championship dreams.

Yes, this is a spectacular time at IU Bloomington. So I hope you won’t mind if I share just a few of the sights, sounds and special activities that have me glad to be back home in Indiana.

Homecoming highlights: While we’re on the subject of coming home, was there any question that this year’s Homecoming at IU Bloomington was one of the most fun and spirited yet?

Fall foliage: Simply brilliant. And almost impossible to describe with just one image. Nevertheless, IU Communications leader Mark Land gives it a shot on his “Indiana, Our Indiana” Pinterest board.

IU Bloomington’s brilliant fall colors are now on display. Photo by Mark Land, IU Communications.

Embracing nature: For a wider span of Indiana’s rolling and forested hills, check out “Barry Gealt: Embracing Nature” at the IU Art Museum. The exhibit, captured nicely on IU Bloomington’s research blog, represents nearly three decades of work by Gealt, professor emeritus of fine arts at IU Bloomington.

Halloween, IU style: As the father of two small children, I can tell you that few events are more anticipated by parents and kids, alike, than IU Bloomington’s annual Safe Halloween, involving all of IU’s Greek organizations, and the Haunted Hall of Hoops, when legendary Assembly Hall, home of the Hoosiers, haunts more than just opposing teams.

Big science weekend: Another great series of activities for kids? The ever-popular science open houses, hosted by IU Bloomington’s chemistry, physics and astronomy departments, featuring magic shows, glassblowing, optical illusions and other crowd-pleasing scientific demonstrations and experiments.

Sylvia Plath and the October poems: “I am a genius of a writer; I have it in me. I am writing the best poems of my life … they will make my name.” Sylvia Plath wrote those words to her mother in October 1962, just months before her death. Fifty years later, and beginning today, Oct. 24, scholars, poets and artists are gathering at IU Bloomington to celebrate Plath’s “Ariel” collection and its landmark October poems, now considered some of the most important poems of the 20th century.

Bill Maher, in real time: Whether you love or hate him, bleed Republican red or Democrat blue, or consider yourself PC or un-PC, there’s no denying Bill Maher’s place as one of America’s most comical and controversial political commentators. And he’s here, in Bloomington, in real time this Sunday, Oct. 28.

Town hall meeting: Before Maher gets here, though, Bloomington residents will have the opportunity to share their own political perspectives when WTHR Channel 13 Eyewitness News comes to campus as part of its Decision 2012 On the Road project. The community conversation starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in Ernie Pyle Hall Auditorium, following live news broadcasts from the Indiana Memorial Union from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

World’s Fare: If there were ever any doubt that IU Bloomington is truly an international campus, this year’s IU World’s Fare should put that to rest. The sixth annual event will feature more than 20 international student groups proudly showcasing their countries with an array of cultural displays, great international food and fun artistic performances.

Hoosier Hysteria: Just watch and get ready for the hysteria to begin.

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‘Breaking Away’ Fri, 05 Oct 2012 20:56:21 +0000 Homecoming at IU Bloomington is all about reunions, reliving college memories and remembering what makes IU the special place it is.

So it was nice to see Entertainment Weekly embrace the homecoming spirit this week in unveiling its annual “Reunions” issue. The new issue is sure to bring back some good memories for Hoosier alums, who might just remember these guys below.

(Take another spin around the Academy Award-winning film “Breaking Away” with this IU News Room roundup of places, on and off campus, where the movie was filmed. This news release was published in 2004, when the film turned 25 years old.)

Reunited Breaking Away cast

The reunited cast of “Breaking Away.” Credit:

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The great outdoors — IU Bloomington style Wed, 03 Oct 2012 15:19:54 +0000 Yes, that was Al Roker on Tuesday morning talking on NBC’s “Today” show about “what’s happening in our neck of the woods.”

A student reads at the IU Bloomington Arboretum.

As part of its regular “Today’s Classroom” segment, “Today” featured IU Bloomington as one of the best colleges for students who love the outdoors. The report praised our bicycle-friendly 2,000-acre campus and the annual Little 500 race; IU Outdoors Adventures trips and skills courses for college credit offered in conjunction with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in the new School of Public Health; and our award-winning IU Campus Recreational Sports programs, which Sports Illustrated on Campus called “perhaps the nation’s top recreational-sports program.”

Link to the video below and fast-forward to the 2:45 mark.

“Today” show video: “How to find the best college for your kid”


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Lights, Camera, Action! It’s Homecoming! Mon, 01 Oct 2012 18:19:20 +0000 Being that it’s both Homecoming at IU and a presidential debate week, it only seemed fitting to prep this blog banter with a primer on “the great homecoming debate.”

For those who haven’t heard, there’s a historical battle raging about who started this quintessential college and university tradition. True to its Fighting Illini spirit, the University of Illinois boasts being one of the first universities to celebrate homecoming (in 1910). Just last year, the top-rated TV show “NCIS” gave the University of Missouri an on-air shout-out for starting the tradition. (Missouri’s homecoming dates back to its 1911 football game versus border rival Kansas.) And then there’s Baylor University, which has a homecoming history dating back to 1909.

Want to know Hoo, Hoo, Hoo else can stake rightful ownership of the first homecoming? The Hoosiers, that’s who. Indeed, IU celebrated its first “Gala Week” in June 1908, “a time of general homecoming and reunions,” according to an Indiana Daily Student article published a little over a week before the inaugural activities. A year later, a “Gala Day” event was moved to November to coincide with the IU-Purdue football game, and, in 1910, it was officially renamed “Homecoming.”

Sorry, NCIS, case closed.

Like a good political strategist, I’m choosing to spin the great debate IU’s way, of course, but there’s simply no denying that, here in Bloomington, we have one of the most fun, active and spirited homecoming traditions. And this year’s IU Homecoming might just be one of the busiest IU celebrations yet. The festivities kick off this evening with the Nearly Naked Mile run around campus to benefit the United Way of Monroe County and culminate Saturday at Memorial Stadium with a gridiron contest against nationally ranked Michigan State. In between, there’s the “IU’s Got Talent” student competition at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater; a special IU Alumni Panel featuring several young Hoosier alums who went from Btown to the bright showbiz lights of the big city; a free concert in Dunn Meadow; and the Hoosier Village Homecoming Tailgate Party at Memorial Stadium prior to Saturday’s big game.

Additionally, this year, in keeping with the “Lights, Camera, Action!” theme of Homecoming, there are also several big screenings to take in at the IU Cinema, including the box-office smashes “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010), produced by IU alums Michael Uslan and Dave Neustadter, respectively.

Neustadter, who will participate in the IU Alumni Panel activity on Thursday, has previously reminisced fondly about his years as a student at IU, his favorite classes (among them, Glenn Gass’ history of rock ‘n’ roll course) and working as a student manager at IU Auditorium, an orientation leader and director of morale for IU Dance Marathon.

For Neustadter and other IU alums, there’s simply no debate: Homecoming at IU remains one of the best times to return to campus, relive their favorite college memories and celebrate all that is special about this great university.

Twitter users: Find the latest Homecoming news by searching #IUHomecoming. Follow @IUAA for reminders and live updates.

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Good vs. Bad Thu, 13 Sep 2012 16:23:42 +0000 As the father of two young children, I often think I have a decent handle on the whole good and bad behavior thing. And yet, as any parent can tell you, defining what constitutes such behaviors can often be a difficult and dizzying proposition. Just the other day, I had a conversation with my 10-year-old son about when it’s OK to lie – or, as I attempted to gently put it, “leave out information.” In this instance, my son didn’t want to hurt another friend’s feelings when he found himself having to choose between play-dates. Unfortunately, when we concluded our talk, my son seemed more perplexed than when we started.

Watching the Republican and Democratic conventions these last couple of weeks made me even more mindful of the good/bad behavior notion, and though my son’s still a little too young to understand the art of political spinning, I anticipate some interesting discussions in the years to come about how candidates for office can simultaneously inspire and lie. How our favorite athletes can transcend the competition, but also cheat. How journalists can expose moral wrongdoings, yet act wrongly themselves by plagiarizing or making up sources.

This year’s “Themester” at IU Bloomington invites staff and students to take part in a conversation about what constitutes good and bad behaviors.

Anyone who’s ever grappled with these concerns will almost certainly appreciate this year’s “Themester” at IU Bloomington, an initiative organized by the College of Arts and Sciences. Themester 2012, “Good Behavior, Bad Behavior: Molecules to Morality,” will explore the delicate meanings of good and bad behavior, how we attempt to judge the two and the limits of distinguishing between them.

This year’s event encompasses a series of more than 40 courses and more than 100 events, including exhibitions, films, lectures and plays, most of which are free and open to the public. In addition to applying the collective wisdom of IU faculty, staff and students toward analyzing good and bad behavior, it will also feature a number of notable activists, artists, public officials and scholars from around the country. Guests include Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and now senior adviser to the Obama reelection campaign, and Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to former President George W. Bush, who will be on campus to discuss political behavior just a few weeks before the 2012 presidential election. They also include Chaz Bono, author, LGBT rights advocate and child of entertainers Sonny and Cher, as well as internationally acclaimed film director Werner Herzog. Remarkably, Herzog’s here on campus all this week to reflect upon his artistic vision and philosophies and help screen part of his extensive filmography, which has been lauded for its unique examination of irrational, eccentric behavior. (See the award-winning 2005 documentary “Grizzly Man,” showing at IU Cinema Friday evening.)

As excited as I am to explore good and bad behavior through the filmmakers’ lens, I’m equally intrigued by what promise to be fascinating discussions that encompass everything from medicine to mathematical functions (which, as the Themester website points out, can be described as well- or badly-behaved) molecules (who knew water molecules could behave badly?) and even those moral machines better known as robots.

Speaking of which, if only there was a robot sitter who could watch the kids while I attended a few of these discussions. Would that be considered bad behavior?

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Back to school Wed, 05 Sep 2012 19:50:40 +0000 One of my favorite films of the 1980s is the one where Thornton Melon (aka Rodney Dangerfield) decides to go “Back to School,” and enroll at his discouraged son’s college. The movie featured many memorably funny scenes, including this exchange between father and son:

Thornton Melon: Boy, what a great-looking place. When I used to dream about going to college, this is the way I always pictured it.

Jason Melon: Wait a minute. When did you dream about going to college?

Thornton Melon: When I used to fall asleep in high school.

IU Bloomington has its fair share of dreamers, who, thankfully, are much more serious about their studies than Mr. Melon. They include approximately 1,000 nontraditional undergraduate students (age 25 and older) who make up an important cohort of the campus’ population: adult learners seeking to better their lives through higher education.

These students recently received some good news when it was announced that the Bernard Osher Foundation had awarded IU Bloomington a $1 million endowment and a $50,000 grant to support a scholarship program for adult learners who are completing baccalaureate degrees. The endowment will provide a more permanent funding source for the Osher Reentry Scholarship program, which, since 2009, has awarded funding to more than 66 students, many of whom are striving to balance work, family and community service obligations while pursuing their degrees.

“As a single parent, having the opportunity to go to college so late in life has truly been a blessing,” said Osher Scholar Lisa Carter, a sociology major, in an IU news release. “And it is with much gratitude that I will finally achieve my dream of being a college graduate in May 2013.”

Recipients of the 2010-11 Osher Reentry Scholarships

The Osher endowment, which will be managed by the IU Foundation, will fund a minimum of 20 scholarships each year for adults who’ve experienced an interruption of at least five years in their formal education and intend to be a part of the workforce once they’ve completed their degrees. The program provides $1,500 to 3,000 scholarships to assist students with tuition costs and help offset their other financial obligations.

This type of support is especially significant here in Indiana, which is seeking to increase the number of adults with baccalaureate degrees and ensure that students graduate on time, with less debt and ready to make major contributions in their communities.

It’s also the type of support that makes individual dreams possible, a fact that IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel, who expressed the university’s gratitude to the Oshers for their generosity, knows extremely well. Her father enlisted in the military at a young age and served until he was in his 50s. After retiring from the service, he enrolled at Auburn University at the same time Lauren and her sister were studying there. He and his daughters were in classes together, and they often shared books. To this day, Lauren keeps his diploma in her office to remind her of the extraordinary possibilities that going “back to school” can afford.


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A special place Mon, 27 Aug 2012 19:49:32 +0000

Today, along with some much-needed rain, came some new confirmation of Bloomington’s status as one of the nation’s premier college towns. Bloomington has just been named one of the “Top 10 College Towns for 2012” by, a national website that highlights more than 500 of the best places to live and visit in the U.S.

Bloomington has just been named one of the top college towns by the national website. Here’s a picture, from a new Pinterest board started by IU Communications’ leader Mark Land, of the Student Building in the historic Old Crescent part of campus. As Land says, “some buildings just say ‘college.'”

In the third edition of Livability’s listing of America’s best college towns, Bloomington ranked seventh, one spot ahead of Athens, Ga. According to Livability, Bloomington made the list because of the quality of life amenities offered at IU Bloomington, including arts and cultural activities and economic development assets, such as research and development.

The Livability editors write, “True college towns are places where the identity of the city is both shaped by and complementary to the presence of its university, creating an environment enjoyable to all residents, whether they are enrolled in classes or not. They’re true melting pots where young minds meet old traditions, and political, social and cultural ideas of all kinds are welcomed.”

It’s always nice to see our campus and community recognized for how special they are, whether that recognition comes in the form of a national ranking or first-year students excitedly experiencing the sights and sounds of their new surroundings. It’s also nice to stop every once in a while and remember how quintessentially college this place really is – a fact that’s nicely documented on a new Pinterest board started by IU Communications’ leader and IU Matters blogger Mark Land, who recently committed himself to posting “one photo a day, every day” of campus for the entire school year at IU Bloomington, Check out Mark’s “Indiana, Our Indiana” to see more of why folks like Livability call our campus community “ground zero for Hoosier fans.”




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Getting greener (and cooler) Tue, 21 Aug 2012 20:51:46 +0000 Here’s some very “cool” news about IU Bloomington’s effort to go green.

IU Bloomington is among the top 50 “coolest schools” in America, according to the Sierra Club’s sixth annual rankings of the nation’s green universities. No other Indiana college or university made the list and, among Big Ten schools, only Penn State ranks higher.

IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel, right, presents trophies and plaques to winners of the 2012 IU Spring Energy Challenge, a three-week effort to reduce electricity and water consumption on campus.

The campus placed 43rd in the Sierra rankings, which recognize schools that are both committed to environmental improvements and meticulous about quantifying the results of their efforts. Schools are evaluated in a number of categories, including energy, transportation, waste, water, purchasing and food, and earn high marks for such eco-friendly efforts as recycling, reducing campus carbon dioxide emissions and serving sustainable foods.

Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organizations with hundreds of thousands of chapters across the U.S. Its annual coolest school rankings appear in Sierra magazine, which reaches more than a million people across North America.

The Sierra ranking reflects the success of IU Bloomington’s recent green initiatives, as well as the campus’s rapid movement toward a vision of becoming an international leader in university sustainability by the year 2020, says IU Director of Sustainability Bill Brown.

Brown, who coordinates sustainability initiatives in academic programs and campus operations across IU Bloomington, credits strong administrative support, a campus master plan “infused with sustainability principles,” hundreds of faculty and student volunteer leaders, and a nationally recognized sustainability internship program with contributing to IU Bloomington’s progress toward becoming a greener institution.

He also points out that IU Bloomington was just the seventh school nationwide to report on its environmental advancements using a comprehensive sustainability tracking, assessment and rating system — STARS — that enables accurate, detailed comparisons with peer institutions. (In compiling this year’s coolest school rankings, Sierra used a subset of STARS data for the first time, Brown says.)

All of this adds up to IU Bloomington gaining serious green cred at a time when more and more prospective college students are considering sustainability initiatives in deciding on a school* and when the campus, itself, is making major investments in new environmental sciences programs and collaborations that will make it more cutting-edge, competitive and — dare we say it? — even cooler than it already is.

 * According to a 2006 Aramark study, 26 percent of college students rated campus sustainability initiatives as “very important” in deciding which college or university to attend. 



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We’ve only just begun. Really. Tue, 21 Aug 2012 16:11:35 +0000 We’re only a little more than 24 hours into a new academic year, but the Btown campus has been thoroughly buzzing for nearly a week.

The fun and excitement began with last Wednesday’s Move-In Day and Freshman Induction ceremonies, and continued on through the next several days at CultureFest (until the rains came), the cream-and-crimson-filled Traditions and Spirit of IU pep rally at Assembly Hall and New Student Service Day, which connects first-year students with their new community through volunteer service projects. New students also began taking place in a neat SCVNGR game, in which they explored campus and earned points toward free prizes.

IU Bloomington’s newest students get acquainted with Hoosier pride at the annual Traditions and Spirit of IU pep rally at Assembly Hall.

In between those events, the university announced the Board of Trustees’ approval of a new School of Global and International Studies, which IU President Michael A. McRobbie calls “one of the most important developments in the nearly 200 years of IU’s history,” and a near-record $533 million in grants and awards for research and other sponsored programs in the last fiscal year.

And all of that news and activity took place prior to yesterday, when a record 7,600 first-year students, who represent one of the most academically talented and diverse freshman classes in campus’ history, and their returning peers began classes.

As someone who’s been in Btown for 14 years and counting, I find it hard to remember such a busy beginning to a year, which only promises to get more exciting and eventful in the coming days and months, with the kickoff of a new football season, major school happenings such as the naming of the new School of Public Health (formerly HPER) and an amazing array of arts events.

Indeed, as this special Welcome Back photo gallery suggests, this might just be the start of a special year at IU Bloomington.

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Move-In Day! Thu, 16 Aug 2012 15:11:15 +0000 Nothing quite signals the energy and excitement of a new academic year at IU Bloomington than Move-In Day, when new students — with the help of their families, friends and loved ones — unpack and enter their new residences for the first time.

True to this annual campus tradition, the official start to Welcome Week, yesterday morning’s Move-In Day festivities included smiling freshmen, anxious-yet-prideful parents and friendly student and staff volunteers, all of whom made the event a truly, pardon the pun, moving experience.

A student shows IU President Michael A. McRobbie and Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel around her newly refurnished room inside Briscoe Quad.

IU senior officials, including President Michael A. McRobbie, new IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel and Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith, also took part in the fun and excitement this year, extending a warm welcome to IU Bloomington’s incoming class, projected to be the largest ever at 7,590 students and one of the most academically talented and diverse in campus history. For Robel, it was her first Move-In Day since becoming provost, and she was thoroughly enjoying every interaction she had with students and parents. “This is really fun!” the new campus chief could be overheard saying on numerous occasions throughout the morning.

And what a morning it was — a beautiful, sunny Btown morning that, thankfully to the many movers on hand, arrived without the oppressive heat and humidity that’s dominated the past several months.

Simply put, Move-In Day was the perfect start to a new year and new beginnings, a well-timed welcome to IU’s newest class and a wonderful welcome back to those of us, like myself, energized by their arrival.

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Summer’s gone … almost Fri, 10 Aug 2012 16:47:39 +0000 “Summer’s gone. 
It’s finally sinking in.”

That’s a lyric from a new Beach Boys tune, and one that keeps playing in my head at the end of the true last week of summer at IU Bloomington, which, on Wednesday, will begin officially welcoming new students to campus.

Other than their ties to Great Britain, what do the War of 1812 and the 2012 Olympics have in common? They’re both among happenings at IU Bloomington as the end of summer approaches.

Though the end of summer is, indeed, finally sinking in, I’m not quite ready to give it back. Fortunately, there are still a number of happenings that are keeping me in a summer mindset, even as I look forward to the start of another fun and exciting fall semester. Here are just a few of them, in no particular order:

  • The Olympics. I’ve already blogged about the excitement surrounding our very own Hoosiers who’ve been competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which, sadly, finish up on Sunday, Aug. 12. What an Olympics it’s been, though, and what better time to look back at the amazing accomplishments of IU’s participants? Just getting to the Games is astounding enough. But who will soon forget the bronze-medal-winning performance of Derek Drouin in the men’s high jump? Drouin, who will return to Bloomington this fall, earned IU’s 14th Olympic medal in track and field and the 88th medal in all sports. Or diver Christina Loukas making it to the final round of the 3-meter springboard competition? Relive it all at IU Athletics’ special London Olympics website.
  • War of 1812. The USA has quite a history with Great Britain going all the way back to the nation’s founding, but not as much is known perhaps about the War of 1812, sometimes called the “second war” for American independence and the subject of a fascinating digital collection at IU’s renowned Lilly Library. Read my colleague Bethany Nolan’s account of this online resource sure to delight any history buff or, as Bethany calls herself, “library geek.”
  • Mission to Mars. Personally, I’m still in awe of the IU Bloomington geologists who are contributing in a major way to the highly ambitious, highly publicized NASA Mars Science Laboratory Mission and making us think of “Big Red” in an entirely new fashion.
  • Hoosier to Hoosier Sale. A big, all-day sale on Saturday, Aug. 11, that promises great finds, diverts reusable items from the landfill and benefits great local causes. I’m sold. 
  • Be True to Your School. A blog about summer just had to come back to the Beach Boys. Once again, Bethany Nolan’s beat me to it. Read her fun, fun, fun blog post about a new Jacobs School of Music course devoted to how Brian Wilson and his fellow bandmates redefined the sounds of summer and introduced rock ‘n’ roll to sophisticated production techniques and ahead-of-its-time artistry. 
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Big Red, white and blue Tue, 31 Jul 2012 03:31:59 +0000 At this very moment, Big Red is representing in the UK, and, interestingly enough, we’re not talking about IU hooping it up with its rival Kentucky.

Hoosier diving alumna and eight-time NCAA All-American Christina Loukas will be competing in her second Olympic Games.

Instead, we’re referring to the Hoosiers who are competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which began last week and will continue through Aug. 12. This year’s games will feature seven IU Bloomington-affiliated athletes, representing six countries, who will take to the pitch, pool and track in hope of earning a medal for their respective countries and adding to IU’s rich tradition of Olympic success. Since 1904, IU athletes, coaches and staff have accumulated 85 medals, including 48 gold medals, nine of which were captured by IU’s most decorated Olympian, swimmer Mark Spitz.

Two Hoosiers will represent the U.S. for the second straight Olympic Games: Kayla Bashore-Smedley (field hockey) and eight-time All-American Christina Loukas (diving). They will be joined at the Games by other Hoosiers representing Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, France and Hungary.

IU also has numerous connections to the Games who aren’t among the competitors, including coaches and athletics staff who’ve worked with past and present Olympians, as well as faculty who have written and researched about various aspects of the games. Those faculty include Joel Stager, professor of kinesiology and director of the Counsilman Center at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. Stager and his colleagues have created a neat statistical model based on finalists’ times for each Olympics swimming event since 1972, and they’re able to analyze the impact of the now-banned “flotation suits” that many swimmers wore at the 2008 Olympic Games.

An avid swimmer who worked alongside legendary IU and Olympic swim coach James ‘Doc’ Counsilman, Stager is featured along with IU swim coach Ray Looze, field hockey coach Amy Robertson and others in a series of “Ask the Experts” videos, currently available at a special website devoted to all things IU in London. The site also includes a Hoosier athlete tracker, schedule of events and links to official Olympics news and information.

What’s more, those inclined toward social media can stay connected with the Games by following any number of Twitter accounts accessible via the site, and they can even join in on the conversation by tagging their tweets #IULondon12. (And, yes, we’ll even forgive you if you want to profess your love for the UK … at least until basketball season rolls around.)

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Stardust at the Statehouse Fri, 13 Jul 2012 18:42:29 +0000 Before he moves on to his new gig up north, Indiana governor and Purdue University President-elect Mitch Daniels is getting an office makeover, courtesy of IU.

IU Campus Art took the opportunity yesterday to jazz up the governor’s office with a portrait of American music legend, IU alumnus and Bloomington native Hoagy Carmichael, composer of such pop standards as “Stardust,” “Heart and Soul” and “Georgia On My Mind.”

Now showing at the Indiana governor’s office: Legendary music composer and IU alumnus Hoagy Carmichael (in portrait on left).

The Hoagy portrait, which was transported from the Hoagy Carmichael Room in IU Bloomington’s Morrison Hall, will hang for the next few months in the governor’s office alongside a portrait of another famous IU Hoosier, Ernie Pyle, perhaps America’s most renowned war correspondent and namesake of the building housing the university’s School of Journalism.

Bloomington campus and community members might remember that it was just a few years ago when a sculpture of Hoagy sitting at his Steinway piano took its permanent place in IU’s Fine Arts Plaza. The 2008 dedication of the Hoagy Carmichael Landmark Sculpture took place after the sculpture had traveled the state for about a year as part of an educational tour.

So to everyone here in Btown, I say it’s nice to see Hoagy back on the road. And to our good friends up north, if your new president has IU on his mind these next few months, at least now you’ll know why.



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Paging Aaron Sorkin … Thu, 12 Jul 2012 19:25:26 +0000 The socially conscious, sometimes cynical screenwriter behind such creations as “The West Wing,” “The Social Network,” and, most recently, the new HBO drama “The Newsroom,” might be heartened to hear that — at a time when most teens’ lives are seemingly dominated by social media — the iconic high school newspaper is alive and well. This is especially true at William Mason High School in Mason, Ohio, which recently sent 19 students to the Indiana University High School Journalism Institute (HSJI).

Samantha Weaver, a high school senior from Mason, Ohio, is participating in the IU High School Journalism Institute.

For 66 years, high school students have come to HSJI, which is sponsored by the School of Journalism, to participate in workshops and learn the tools of the journalist’s trade, as well as to get a glimpse of what life is like on a Big Ten university campus.

Samantha Weaver, a William Mason High School senior, is enrolled in her third year at HSJI. “When I started coming, I liked the basic reporting class, but now I am taking feature writing classes and learning more about different ways to write,” she says with a level of energy and enthusiasm that makes you momentarily forget about the commercial and other challenges facing today’s newsrooms.

While at HSJI, located in historic Ernie Pyle Hall in Bloomington, Weaver and her fellow aspiring reporters take part in intensive, five-day workshops, taught by a host of veteran journalists and journalism advisors from Indiana and around the nation. Within those workshops, they examine the role of the media, analyze their own and other student publications, and develop the skills needed to enhance those publications.

They also write, report and blog about events and issues as part of their very own online newsroom gallery. Recent HSJI stories have featured a discussion about everything from memes, healthy food options, vinyl records and vintage clothing to high school students’ fears about facing newfound freedoms once they go to college.

Seeing these young, wide-eyed, want-to-be Woodwards and Bernsteins, with their pens, notebooks and cameras at the ready, are an inspiring sight, even for those of us skeptics who share a somewhat Sorkian view of today’s news.

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Play it safe, party animal! Tue, 10 Jul 2012 21:08:11 +0000 Thought I’d check in with IU’s ever-chatty, sometimes smart-alecky Street Smart party animals to see what they’ve been up to (or should I say, getting into!) this summer.

The Street Smart party animals visit Showalter Fountain in IU Bloomington’s Fine Arts Plaza.

Here’s @HankatIU, a giraffe with a hank-ering for house plants that are edible and the TV show “Jersey Shore,” tweeting some heady safety reminders during the recent heat wave that washed over Bloomington: “Just because we’re young doesn’t mean we’re indestructible. Get plenty of water & sunscreen. Stay cool, party animals!”

@MinnieatIU, a panda who likes traveling and “Twilight,” Ben Stiller and beach volleyball, recently tweeted her appreciation for Indiana’s new smoking ban and IU’s efforts to help students stop the habit. “Glad to hear about smoking ban enforcement. Also glad to hear #IU has resources for students to quit:”

And all seems to be going swimmingly for @GraceatIU, the newest addition to the party-animal scene. She’s just finished going through new student orientation at IU Bloomington, but not before sharing a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to be a new member of a large college campus. Just found out 20-25% of students enter IU undecided on their major. That’s such a relief!”

For those who haven’t yet made their acquaintance, Hank, Minnie and Grace aren’t real (they’re miniature plastic animal figurines) but the issues they’re discussing are. Designed and developed by the creative and interactive teams at IU Communications along with a few clever student interns, they and their fellow four-legged friends are the centerpieces of IU’s recently launched effort to encourage its campus’ communities to look after one another and make safety a priority.

The Street Smart party animals have launched a light, yet simultaneously serious, conversation about issues concerning campus safety, personal and mental health, and making smart social-life decisions, such as calling 9-1-1 in an emergency, deciding on a designated driver before going out, not letting friends walk home alone and what to do if a friend is experiencing symptoms of alcohol poisoning. They’re also directing IU students to helpful campus resources, such as the IU Health Center, IU Police Department, Campus Safety Escort service, Counseling and Psychological Services and continually updated Protect IU website.

These partiers are far from perfect, however. In fact, they’re prone to making some bad decisions and, occasionally, they end up in a potentially perilous situation, as evidenced by these student-produced YouTube videos.

My IU Communications colleagues who do the creative thing for a living would tell you how much time and thought went into this campaign and how determined they were to make sure the Street Smart party animals talked to students about safety in a fun and accessible way that encourages them to listen.

They would also tell you that, as hard as it is to quantify the impact of a campaign centered around prevention, students are increasingly aware of and receptive to the campaign. The Street Smart campaign and its party animals attracted more than 1,000 followers on Twitter in the first two months. During this same period, Street Smart videos were viewed nearly 8,000 times on IU’s YouTube channel.

As for the animals themselves, well, they’re proving to be ubiquitous, spotted (with apologies to Sam, the cheetah not always able to properly pace himself) at freshman orientation, Little 500 and at IU sporting events, among other big IU happenings, and frequently weighing in on today’s most-talked about safety stories (@HankatIU: “Seriously, texting while driving is not cool.”). Word on the street is that we can expect a whole lot of animal chatter when classes start again this fall.

Follow Hank, Minnie, Grace and their fellow Street Smart party animals at


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Take me out to the ball game Mon, 09 Jul 2012 20:39:14 +0000

On the eve of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, we at Btown Banter thought it might be fitting to take our own break to acknowledge IU Bloomington’s proud baseball tradition and, more specifically, the Hoosiers who’ve appeared in the annual mid-season classic.

Any conversation about Hoosier all-stars has to begin with Ted Kluszewski, who batted .500 with a home run during four consecutive appearances (1953-56) in the mid-season classic. “Big Klu” had his best single season in 1954, when he bashed 49 home runs (without steroids!), drove in a league-leading 141 runs for the Cincinnati Reds and finished second (to Hall of Famer Willie Mays) in the National League’s most valuable player voting.

Ted Kluszewski, one of IU Bloomington’s greatest two-sport athletes, batted .500 over four consecutive Major League Baseball All-Star Game appearances.

Kluszewski’s 1945 season for IU ranks among the best for a two-sport athlete in the school’s history. As a member of the baseball team, he hit .443, a school record that stood for 50 years. (As the story goes, a groundkeeper for the Reds, who trained at IU from 1943 to 1945 because of wartime travel restrictions, saw the muscular slugger launching balls over an embankment near the baseball diamond that none of the Reds hitters could reach.) That same year, along with future NFL players Pete Pihos and George Taliaferro, the standout tight end helped lead IU to its first Big Ten football championship. The football squad, still IU’s only unbeaten team, finished 9-0-1.

In 1940, Merrill “Pinky” May was the first Hoosier to appear in baseball’s All-Star Game, going 0-for-1 and getting hit by a pitch. The third baseman and Laconia, Ind., native batted .293 for the Philadelphia Phillies that season. He would play three more seasons before going on to serve in the U.S. Navy during the war. Following his playing career, he managed more than 3,200 games as a minor league skipper from 1947 to 1972.

Mickey Morandini, who concluded his Hoosier career with a .392 batting average over four seasons (1985-88), earned all-star honors with the Phillies in 1995. A second-team All-American and gold-medal U.S. Olympian in 1988, he graduated as IU’s record-holder in runs (277), doubles (61), triples (29) and steals (127). Drafted in 1988 by Philadelphia, he helped the Phillies reach the World Series in 1993. Two years later, he became the first Hoosier to play in the All-Star game since Kluszewski nearly 40 years before.

If recent diamond-related happenings are any indication, Hoosier fans might not have to wait as long for another of their favorites to make it to the mid-season classic. Major league teams have drafted an impressive 15 IU players, including 2011 first-round draftee Alex Dickerson, in the last four years. Here’s hoping one of them follows in the footsteps of “Big Klu,” “Pinky” and “Mickey” and gets to shine on one of professional sport’s biggest stages.

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“An essential college experience” Fri, 06 Jul 2012 20:21:19 +0000 Full confession here. I didn’t study abroad while in college, and I never really considered it, aside from an occasional fleeting notion. In fact, about the closest I got to an international experience was when the occasional new acquaintance would mistake my school (UConn) for that part of Canada bordering Alaska.

Eventually, I made it overseas, but not until I was almost 30, when my wife and I honeymooned in Florence, Italy, immersing ourselves in the wondrous art, culture and history of the birthplace of the Renaissance.

Edward L. Hutton

Today, more than a decade since my first (and still only) trip abroad, I’m continually amazed by the international experiences of IU Bloomington students and the ever-increasing study-abroad opportunities they are afforded.

Just a few weeks ago, the Edward L. Hutton Foundation generously gave $500,000 to IU to endow a new family scholarship that will provide needed funding for high-achieving students who want to study abroad, but don’t have the financial means to do so. The gift — the largest to date to benefit from a new IU matching program for international studies — was made in honor of the late Edward L. Hutton, a longtime benefactor of IU and the Hutton Honors College.

The Hutton Family Study Abroad Scholarship comes under the mantle of the Hutton International Experiences Program (HIEP), first piloted in 2000 and endowed, three years later, with a $9 million gift from Ed Hutton. Hutton credited his time living and working in Germany during and after World War II with his success in both life and business. The HIEP has benefitted more than 4,000 students since its inception and, with the new funding and IU match, will now enable 600 students to study abroad each year.

Through this and other programs, IU Bloomington has become more international than at any other time in its nearly 200-year-old history. Among more than 1,200 U.S. universities, IU Bloomington now ranks in the top 10 (eighth) in overall number of students studying abroad, according to the most recent Open Doors report released last fall. According to Open Doors 2011 data, a record 2,190 students enrolled in study abroad programs during the 2009-10 academic years. Between 1996 and 2005-06, study abroad by students on all IU campuses increased by more than 307 percent. Currently, one in four undergraduate students on the Bloomington campus has had a study abroad experience before graduation.

These are remarkable statistics, and they speak volumes about just how dramatically study abroad has evolved over in the years since I was an undergraduate, from — in the words of IU President Michael A. McRobbie — “a luxury to virtually an essential college experience.”

If you’re like me and are fascinated by and want to learn more about the international travels of IU Bloomington students, check out these past and present blogs from HIEP awardees.



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Hot town, summer in the city Fri, 29 Jun 2012 19:12:04 +0000 Just over a week into summer at IU Bloomington, and the dog days are already upon us.

But don’t let the current sultry, muggy, 100-degree heat fool you — this campus and the surrounding community are anything but sleepy.

New student orientation activities at IU help make Bloomington the city that doesn’t sleep in summer.

The significant foot traffic around Kirkwood Avenue, busy eateries, coffee shops and hotels, and a steady stream of shoppers buying university souvenirs give off little indication that we’re in the midst of IU Bloomington’s off-season.

More and more each summer with increasing enrollment, Bloomington’s batteries are being charged by new student orientation, that time on the IU calendar when bright-eyed, soon-to-be-first-year students and their families get acquainted with everything that IU and the surrounding area have to offer.

Last fall, IU welcomed its second-largest freshman class in the university’s history, with more than 7,400 students. This was the sixth consecutive year that first-year enrollment in Bloomington surpassed the 7,000-student mark.

With these record numbers, it stands to reason that IU’s first-year students and their families will continue to have a major impact on the economic and cultural vitality of our community during the summer months.

“There is definitely a major impact on summer tourism in Bloomington during these weeks (of new student orientation),” confirms Julie Warren, director of tourism at Visit Bloomington. “It’s a huge boost to our hotels and our tourism efforts, and on revenue coming into the community. This is especially true during weekday times, which are typically slower than on weekends.”

Warren says that while her office hasn’t specifically tracked the economic impact of new student orientation, a wealth of anecdotal evidence exists suggesting this annual event is having an overwhelmingly positive effect on the local community.

“We only know what people tell us,” Warren says. “How impressed they are with how beautiful the university is and by how orientation is run. How friendly and helpful everyone is in getting them the information they need. And they’re genuinely surprised by how much there is to do here. This is especially true of people from larger cities, who are amazed by how many great restaurants we have, the shopping, the arts and culture, and the overall urban energy you find here.”

It’s an energy that’s hard not to feel — even for those of us Bloomingtonians for whom new student orientation is but a hazy summer memory.

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A no-brainer for the brain campus Fri, 22 Jun 2012 22:00:33 +0000 Sometimes the best idea is the one that makes the most sense or — to borrow from the principle of Occam’s razor — the one that’s the simplest.

Yet it doesn’t take a beautiful mind (or a brain as big as one of the many fiberglass brain sculptures on display throughout campus and the surrounding community) to understand the logic behind today’s announcement that Lauren Robel has been appointed executive vice president and provost of the IU Bloomington campus.

Lauren Robel has been named new IU executive vice president and provost of the IU Bloomington campus.

In addition to being, in the words of IU President Michael McRobbie, “the enthusiastic and unanimous choice” of a search committee, Lauren has been an active member of the scholarly community at IU Bloomington since her law student days in the early 1980s, a transformative leader of one of the nation’s most highly regarded law schools and, most recently, interim provost, a position she enthusiastically embraced.

During her tenure as dean of the IU Maurer School of Law, from which she received her law degree and where she’s been a faculty member since 1985, Lauren raised more than $90 million in funds for the school and significantly enhanced the school’s academic reputation. According to U.S. News, the Maurer School is now one of the top 10 public law schools in the nation.

As interim provost, she’s worked to strengthen programs supporting women on campus, begun an examination of retention programs for minority students and pursued the goals of the recent New Academic Directions report, which is designed to ensure the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of IU’s academic structures.

If you’re a fan of IU Bloomington and want to see the campus continue to grow in academic stature and continue to attract the best students and faculty from around the world, Lauren’s appointment — while a no-brainer for the brain campus — is significant reason for excitement.

Listen to Lauren discuss her transition from dean of the Maurer School of Law into the provost position — and her plans to improve the quality of education at IU Bloomington — in President McRobbie’s inaugural presidential podcast

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It’s a long way (with a few detours) to the top Fri, 15 Jun 2012 14:45:51 +0000 Traditionally, there’s little that disrupts the serenity of summer at IU Bloomington. A few not-quite-ready-for-prime-time kids from one of the nearby high schools, perhaps. A little loud music now that the car windows have been rolled down. In terms of the overall vibe on campus and around town, though, the hottest months of the year are often the coolest.

So why is Bloomington suddenly feeling a little less AC this summer and a little more, well, AC/DC?

An architect’s rendering of the new IU Jacobs School of Music Studio Building.

The answer to anyone who’s walked or driven around campus the last few weeks is as easy to identify as an Angus Young guitar riff. Construction, and lots of it. From Third Street to Seventeenth Street, Briscoe to the Bypass and all of the spaces in between, the sights and sounds of bulldozers, cranes, jackhammers and other heavy machinery have shaken up this summer’s soundtrack at IU Bloomington.

This detour from the summer norm has not been without challenges to the eyes, ears and, yes, GPS systems of all of us who look forward to summer silence, less traffic congestion and more parking availability. And sure enough, as the official start of summer approaches, many whispers of frustration have turned to full-on wails, as faculty, staff and students navigate the extra noise and nuisance.

I must admit, I’ve struggled a bit myself. (Lately, it’s felt as if someone hijacked my iPod and switched it out for Jack Black’s.) At the same time, there’s something inherently exciting about all the activity taking place around us. I’m looking forward to the sweet sounds that will soon emanate from the new IU Jacobs School of Music Studio Building, expected to be completed in July 2013. Located on the corner of Third Street and Jordan Avenue, this $44 million facility, supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, will provide IU’s world-renowned music faculty with technologically and acoustically superior studio space rivaling any music school or conservatory in the world. It will also serve as a new gateway to IU’s fine arts, music and performing arts district that some of us like to think of as IU’s own “Lincoln Center.”

Count me in — to borrow a phrase from the Kelley School of Business — among the many people at IU anxiously awaiting the expansion and renovation of Kelley’s undergraduate building. Once completed, this extreme makeover of the newly named Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center, which will result in more classrooms, collaborative workspaces and the latest in new technologies, will elevate the already-important role Kelley plays in strengthening Indiana’s economy. What’s more, this three-phase, $60 million project, supported by a $33 million grant from Lilly Endowment and a $15 million gift by Kelley alumnus James R. Hodge, will further Kelley’s standing among the world’s elite business schools. In the words of IU Bloomington Interim Provost Lauren Robel, this beautiful building will be “rocket fuel” for Kelley faculty and students seeking to collaborate in real time with scholars and corporations overseas.

The noise we’re currently hearing also signals the continuation of a renaissance in student living across campus. Renovations are currently ongoing at Briscoe, McNutt and Teter quads and Tulip Tree Apartments, and work has begun on the new Rose Avenue Residence Hall, a 155,000-square-foot, 450-bed student housing complex to be located on the north side of Third Street between Union Street and Rose Avenue. These projects come hot on the heels of other recent student housing developments, including last summer’s re-opening of sparkling Shoemaker Tower, part of the first phase of a $42 million renovation project at Briscoe Residence Center, and the fall 2010 debut of the Union Street Center, the first new residential complex to open on the IU Bloomington campus in more than 40 years. All of these projects are significantly enhancing the living and learning environment for students seeking to get the most out of their college experience.

An architectural rendering of IU’s new baseball facility, which will be named Bart Kaufman Field in honor of a former IU student-athlete.

Finally, the Hoosier fan in me would be remiss in not mentioning another sound we’ll welcome next year—the crack of the bat at IU Bloomington’s new baseball and softball complex. This new state-of-the-art facility, which is expected to be ready in time for the 2013 season, represents a new era in Hoosier baseball and softball, a major step forward for both programs and the start of a whole new fan experience at the ballpark.

All of this is not to say we can’t lament the loss of summer’s standard silence. But as AC/DC sings, it’s a long way to the top (if you want to rock n’ roll). I, for one, vow to spend those extra minutes I’m forced to walk or drive envisioning IU Bloomington’s changing skyline, the positive impact it will have on faculty, staff and students, and the great promise it reflects.


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‘An irreplaceable and magnificent treasure’ Tue, 12 Jun 2012 22:15:26 +0000 With the passing of Elinor Ostrom this morning, Indiana University Bloomington and the entire campus community have lost an extraordinary scholar, researcher, teacher, colleague, friend and, in the words of IU President Michael McRobbie, “an irreplaceable and magnificent treasure.”

Elinor Ostrom

Those of us who were here in Bloomington in October 2009 — when it was announced that “Lin” had become the first (and still only) woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economic Science — remember the overwhelming sense of community pride we all felt in Lin’s remarkable achievement. We felt additional joy and gratification – the kind usually reserved for a big basketball victory – when, in December 2009, she accepted her award from the king and queen of Sweden. And we took great delight in Lin’s fashion choice for the Stockholm award ceremony — a West African print dress given to her by a colleague and saved for a special occasion. (Lin reportedly was quite amused when the Stockholm daily, “Svenska Dagbladet,” rated her dress No. 3 for fashion success, two spots behind a sleeveless plum dress worn by Crown Princess Victoria.)

I feel fortunate to be one of the many IU employees who have had occasion to be in Lin’s company and wowed by her warmth, intelligence and passion for her scholarly work. One afternoon in 2004, Lin welcomed me to her Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis (now to be forever known as the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop), a small, unassuming office in a building tucked behind the tall trees dotting North Park Avenue. Though busy and preparing for a major presentation, she spent several hours with me enthusiastically discussing a new report she had co-authored on the crux of her internationally renowned research – mankind’s ability to govern such critical “commons” as oceans and the climate. I left her office that day in awe of the breadth and depth of her research, her level of energy and, perhaps most of all, her spirit.

Today’s local and national news stories, tributes and outpouring of remembrances that have been shared through Twitter, Facebook and a special website honoring her reflect Lin’s spirit and the tremendous impact Lin had on the university she called home for nearly a half century.

In April, Lin received what would turn out to be among the last of her major honors – being named to Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. And once again, we were allowed to take pride in our friend and colleague, her visionary research and the transformative difference she made at IU and all across the globe.

In saying goodbye to this treasured and irreplaceable talent, all of IU can continue to take pride in Lin, the way she represented her university and her community, and her lasting legacy of accomplishment.

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Happy birthday, Herman! Thu, 07 Jun 2012 15:03:14 +0000 Wells built an institution, and, in the process, became one himself. 
– Biographer James Capshew

If he were still alive, Indiana University’s legendary 11th president, Herman B Wells, would’ve turned 110 years old today.

A true IU icon, Wells was a remarkable man whose impact on IU and the Bloomington community continues to be felt to this day. His ongoing influence and stature at the university are almost mind-boggling when you consider that he retired from IU’s presidency 50 years ago, just a few days shy of his 60th birthday, an age when many university presidents are just beginning their tenures.

IU historian James Capshew has written a new biography on Herman B Wells and his impact, still felt today, on Indiana University.

In his newly published biography, “Herman B Wells: The Promise of the American University,” IU historian James H. Capshew writes eloquently about Wells’ retirement as well as the emotions surrounding his final commencement address as IU president in 1962. In an excerpt from the book, featured in the summer 2012 issue of the Indiana Alumni Magazine, Capshew describes the thoughtful deliberation leading up to Wells’ decision to step down from the presidency and the celebratory commencement scene at old Memorial Stadium on Tenth Street. The excerpt concludes with a touching moment: Wells turning speechless when surprised with an honorary degree.

Capshew’s book is available through IU Press, one of the many institutions Wells founded (in 1950) during his time as president. Audio types can choose to listen to Professor Capshew talking about his experience writing the book and Wells’ legacy to IU and higher education on a special IU Press podcast.

What’s more, you don’t need to be a biographer to visit IU’s extensive Digital Wells archive, which contains videos, photographs, drawings, stories and text relating to Wells’ extraordinary life, career and accomplishments.

You might even stop by to shake Herman’s hand, as many soon-to-be-freshmen and their families will do during orientation as they stroll by the lifelike statue of Wells, which sits on a bench near The Rose Well House pavilion.

IU tradition dictates that new students and their families shake Herman Wells' hand for luck.

Those are just a few of the many ways to celebrate the birthday of a man who, in so many respects, put the B (no period) in Bloomington and IU on the map as one of the world’s foremost institutions of higher education.

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Remembering Lauren Fri, 01 Jun 2012 00:39:33 +0000 This Sunday, June 3, marks the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of IU Bloomington student Lauren Spierer.

Though it’s been a year since this sad and unfortunate event, Lauren remains in the hearts and minds of everyone at IU Bloomington, including the thousands of volunteers who have committed themselves to helping find her and the many individuals, including Lauren’s fellow students, who are working tirelessly to ensure a friendly, safe and welcoming campus environment.

Lauren Spierer

Beginning this month, most students who will enter IU Bloomington in the fall will take part in new student orientation. During this annual introduction to campus life and learning, they’ll receive an overview of how to register for classes, what will be expected of them in the classroom, how to pick up their student ID and the many extracurricular opportunities available to them.

They’ll also engage in meaningful conversations about issues concerning student safety, support services and health and wellness. Leading these discussions will be current IU students who have gone through a rigorous training program to become part of the university’s orientation staff. Members of the “OTEAM” will answer questions from students and their parents, provide directions and help incoming freshmen ease their transition to IU.

Many first-year students and their families will, undoubtedly, have questions and concerns about campus safety. OTEAM members are armed with the knowledge, insights and experience to help new students and their families feel as comfortable as possible on such a large Big Ten campus as IU Bloomington, knowing that members of the campus community look after each other and make safety a key priority.

IU’s newly launched “Street Smart” campaign, which will be part of new student orientation, builds on this notion of sharing responsibility for maintaining campus safety. Developed for students by students, this lighthearted approach to serious subject matter encourages students to engage in a conversation – and to listen to one another – about the importance of making smart choices and where to turn when faced with a potentially dangerous situation.

IU's new "Street Smart" campaign builds on the notion of shared responsibility for maintaining campus safety.

In just a few short months, the plastic animal figurines who star in the Street Smart campaign (including Hank the giraffe, who likes pro wrestling, and Ed the dog, who wants to be a motivational speaker) have become the talk of town, Twitter and Facebook, while exposing students to important information about personal and mental health, social life and campus safety. They are also directing people to other online resources like Protect IU, the IU Health Center and Safety Escort.

In remembering Lauren and hoping for answers to her disappearance, we can take pride in the care and compassion demonstrated by so many members of IU and the surrounding community and in the continuing efforts of her fellow students, who are doing all they can to make the university a safe and secure setting for all.

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Under the Big Red Sky Thu, 24 May 2012 19:34:38 +0000 Come gather ‘round people … today is Bob Dylan’s 71st birthday. Which has me thinking about the many hours I’ve spent listening to and trying to decipher Dylan’s remarkable songs and the occasions I’ve seen him perform in Bloomington. It also has me wishing for an extended version of the continuing education class I took earlier this year on the man and his music — taught by IU Bloomington’s resident rock historian and author of the first for-credit college course on rock history, Provost Professor of Music Glenn Gass of the IU Jacobs School of Music.

A newspaper photograph from the IU Archives depicting protesters struggling to enter a business school office during a 1967 protest against Dow Chemical.

In addition to the Dylan fest I listened to on my iPod this morning, Bob’s birthday sent me back to the IU Archives and a fascinating project on student demonstrations at IU during the decade when Dylan burst on to the scene as a singer-songwriter whose works (“Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’”) would quickly become anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements.

Like a number of Midwestern schools in the 1960s, IU Bloomington would become embroiled in a number of protests over civil rights, student rights, the Vietnam War and women’s liberation. The IU Archives’ “Student Demonstrations at IU in the 1960s” exhibit, which is part of a larger project on IU student life throughout the years, captures this turbulent time with striking photography, news clippings, letters, records and enlightening stories about several memorable moments that have been woven into the fabric of IU Bloomington’s long and storied history of student activism.

The exhibit — created in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences’ fall 2011 themed semester, “Making War, Making Peace” — includes materials related to such major demonstrations on campus as the 1967 Dow Chemical Sit-in, a protest of Dow Chemical’s production of napalm for use by the U.S. military in Vietnam; a 1967 protest of a visit to campus by U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, a major shaper of the nation’s policy on Vietnam; and the 1968 Little 500 Sit-in, a dramatic, yet nonviolent, sit-in protesting fraternity discrimination against black students.

Surveying this impressive exhibit, it’s easy to hear a Dylan soundtrack playing in the background — perhaps something like “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” Dylan wrote this epic, nearly 7-minute song warning about a coming apocalypse in 1962. That same year, a group of students led a march through campus and down Kirkwood Avenue to protest President Kennedy’s naval blockade of Cuba. Though short-lived (thwarted by thousands of hecklers, the march ended within a few hours), the incident signaled the arrival of a new type of student, one in line with a much younger Bob Dylan than the one we celebrate today, determined to have a voice and make a difference throughout this exciting decade on the IU Bloomington campus.

Pro- and anti-Cuban blockade protesters converge during a 1962 student march through the IU Bloomington campus and down Kirkwood Avenue. Photo from the IU News Bureau photograph collection.

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A cool IU tradition Fri, 18 May 2012 19:09:51 +0000 It’s Friday and a gorgeous, sunny, spring afternoon in Bloomington. So naturally some minds — those susceptible to sugary sweets like mine — drift to ice cream. Not surprisingly, one of my favorite IU Bloomington blogs, aided by an 11-year-old scholar from a local elementary school, has already gotten the scoop on the university’s ice-cream history, which goes back at least 80 years.

One of the many cool blog postings from IU Archives details the university's ice-cream tradition.

As this fun IU Archives blog post indicates, the campus produced its last batch of ice cream in 1998 (my first year in Bloomington, sadly), but the frosty tradition is reflected by the remarkable amounts produced over the years (often reaching over 200 gallons per day in IU’s most ice-cream crazy decades).

The blog also suggests IU might be part of a larger Big Ten tradition in the category of university-produced ice cream, pointing out that the University of Wisconsin-Madison has produced its own ice cream since the 1920s. I would submit that Penn State University has its own sizeable creamery, and, in full disclosure, last spring, I enjoyed a delicious cup of IU candy-striped (vanilla and strawberry) ice cream specially produced by Michigan State University’s Dairy Store for a gathering of Big Ten communicators.

On a summer-like day like today, though, it’s just refreshing to know that IU is part of this fun tradition, and that the IU Archives continues to dole out such cool stories.

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School’s IN for summer! Tue, 15 May 2012 18:46:29 +0000 If wandering around the IU Bloomington campus this week you’ve noticed a few more student faces than you’re accustomed to seeing during what’s officially summer at the university, you are not suffering from seasonal delusions.

Alice Cooper may have famously declared that “school’s out for summer,” but many IU students are singing a different tune now that the spring semester and commencement ceremonies have concluded. For these students, the bell hasn’t yet rung as they take advantage of IU’s new summer tuition discount, which is enabling them to save money and accelerate their progress toward earning a college degree.

IU's new summer tuition discount is aimed at helping students save money and graduate on time.

Starting this year, Indiana resident undergraduates enrolled at IU campuses statewide receive a 25 percent discount for courses taken in the summer. Nonresident undergrads receive an equivalent dollar reduction in their tuition. At IU Bloomington, that’s a possible $1,050 savings for some students who take a full academic course load in the summer, and there’s potential for even greater savings if students are able to reduce the time it takes to earn a degree.

Summer classes began a week ago, May 8, at IU Bloomington, where there’s been a considerable increase in undergraduate enrollment. Official first-day figures indicate a 7.5 percent increase from last year in the number of undergrads (more than 8,000) taking summer classes this year. Additionally, there’s been a 6.5 percent increase in the number of undergraduate credit hours (more than 50,000) being taken in Bloomington.

And other IU campuses across the state are seeing even larger undergraduate enrollment increases, topped by IU East in Richmond, Ind., at more than 14 percent, IU Kokomo at more than 11 percent, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at 4.5 percent.

These figures — and the many new faces on campus this summer — reflect IU’s efforts to provide students and their families with much-needed financial relief, help students graduate on time — or even early — and allow for greater use of IU’s world-class facilities during the summer months.

Indeed, they might just signal the start of a new summer soundtrack at IU — one in which more students, sorry Alice, choose not to fly the coop and continue making noise toward that hotly anticipated IU degree.

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Happy 40th, Collins! Thu, 10 May 2012 19:14:51 +0000 Here’s some guest banter about a milestone anniversary at IU Bloomington — courtesy of my newsroom colleague and Collins Living-Learning Center alumnus George Vlahakis:

This is a big weekend at IU Bloomington’s oldest and most intimate residence hall, Collins Living Learning Center (originally known as the Men’s Residence Center). Alumni residents are returning from all over the country for its 40th anniversary.

The original Smith Hall at Collins was built in 1924 as the Men’s Dormitory, but the Living-Learning Center was established at 10th and Woodlawn streets in 1972.

During the school year, the nearly 500 Collins residents will be glad to tell you that it is a place that empowers people by supplementing regular university work with its own accredited courses, arts events, social service activities and enrichment programs.

It’s also the only IU residence hall with gnomes. Three stained glass windows in the lobby of Edmondson Hall depict a gnome at different activities. No one knows why they’re there, but the mythical creatures turn up on Collins’ t-shirts, parade floats and even its slogan (“We put the ‘know’ in gnome”).

In 1980, it was named for the late Ralph L. Collins, an IU English and theater professor who served as headmaster of the Men’s Residence Center in the early 1940s.

Everyone who lives at Collins is required to take a one-credit hour course, Q199, which helps them get integrated into Collins and the university and explores its core principles. Fellow students help to teach the course.

What older alumni still remember as the “MRC-LLC” was the first living-learning center on campus. Today, there are eight others, which focus on themes such as global living, fitness, journalism and business.

Those unable to make it to this weekend’s reunion can reminisce by going to alumna Kristen Murphy’s Collins site or to a blog of the same name.

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‘An awesome energy’ Mon, 07 May 2012 20:46:57 +0000 For those of us who don’t skip town for the summer, the first week after graduation ceremonies at IU Bloomington is typically greeted with a strong sense of relief (“Eureka! A parking spot!”) and fond recollections of the past year.

First, the relief. True to this time of year, this morning I easily found a nice, convenient place to park, and made a quick (emphasis on quick) stop at a coffee shop on Indiana Avenue, which was quiet, subdued and mostly bereft of students. Amazing how a lack of long lines and students cramming for final exams can make the coffee taste sweeter!

As I headed on to work (No Frogger-like attempts to avoid pedestrians and bicyclers today!), I glanced over at the iconic Sample Gates, the entryway to the historic academic corridor of campus, where, late last week, throngs of overjoyed graduating students and proud family members convened for the time-honored tradition of cap and gown picture-taking.

IU Bloomington awarded 8,829 degrees at its 183rd commencement, May 4 and 5.

And that’s when, for me, the recollection started. Every academic year at IU Bloomington brings with it a new set of challenges, whether you’re a student as I once was in Bloomington, faculty member, or staff member like I am now. Every year has its ups and downs, and this year was no different. And yet one thing never changes — the energizing quality that all of us can derive from our students’ smiles, joy and celebratory laughter as they prepare to take the next step on the path to achieving their hopes and aspirations. All of us can take pride in their accomplishments as we simultaneously anticipate the rewards they promise to reap with their IU education.

Leave it to soul music icon and IU Jacobs School of Music alumnus Booker T Jones to capture the infectious and inspiring vibe of our students. As he told the 2012 graduating class at commencement, “Your potential is enormous. Your resources are vast. Each one of you is unique, unlike any other that has ever walked this earth. Your energy is awesome and I know you will accomplish the unbelievable.” (Read Booker T’s full remarksListen here to the commencement remarks of Booker T, IU President Michael McRobbie and other dignitaries.)

Before we all know it, the coffee shops will once again be overflowing with amped-up students, the leaves will start to change around the Sample Gates and new students will start to acquire their first taste of Bloomington’s beautiful tree-lined campus. And though parking spaces will once again come at a premium, we summer stragglers can gear up for another new year, recharged by the activity and excitement around us.

In the coming months, I hope this blog manages to capture and convey a little bit of the excitement and ‘awesome’ energy that Booker T described at spring commencement, while also taking time for recollection of those moments that make IU such a special place for all who work and study here.

To that end, here’s a chance to experience the excitement of spring commencement via this special Storify site.

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