Fall 2017University Updates

Fall 2017: Shaheen College of Arts and Sciences Update


Professors present new book at symposium

Two faculty and six graduate students presented research at the 37th Annual Mountain, Desert & Coastal Forensic Anthropologists Meeting. Krista Latham, associate professor of biology & anthropology, and Alyson O’Daniel, assistant professor of anthropology, organized a symposium based on the “Sociopolitics of Migrant Death,” a book they co-edited and published in August. Two UIndy students each won $200 student awards.

Latham publishes book on human identification

new-prespectives-volumeKrista Latham’s new book, “New Perspectives in Forensic Human Skeletal Identification,” reveals important advances in human identification methods in forensic anthropology. Latham co-authored five chapters, with contributions from Stephen P. Nawrocki, professor of biology, and Justin Maiers ’17 (human biology). Latham received national media recognition for her work with a student forensic team at the Texas-Mexico border to exhume and analyze the remains of individuals who died immigrating into the United States.

Exploring early pioneer life in Carroll County

Chris Moore, chair of anthropology, led students on an archaeological field study at the Baum’s Landing site in Carroll County, Indiana. The site holds a 19th Century structure associated with the Baum family homestead. Moore, who is from the area, has led students to the historic Delphi Trails since 2013, where they have uncovered artifacts that reveal details about early pioneer life
in Indiana.

“Middle of the Road Grave” project receives state recognition

Chris Schmidt, professor of anthropology and director of the Indiana Prehistory Laboratory, was honored with the 2017 Indiana Archaeology Award, along with Johnson County Commissioner Brian Baird and Johnson County attorney Kathleen Hash, for leading the Middle of the Road Grave project. The goal of the project was to record, recover and reinter the seven individuals who were buried in the median of County Road 400 South. The median was redesigned to reinter the graves in a concrete vault at a lower depth to protect the graves and heritage but still allow traffic to flow around the median.


Indy 500 connection

katherinefriesartworkAs downtown Indianapolis welcomed thousands of race fans for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, the talent of Katherine Fries, assistant professor of art and design, was showcased in the heart of Downtown in the Indianapolis ArtsGarden. Fries was one of five local artists commissioned to create signs welcoming fans to Indianapolis at locations across the city.

Social Practice Art master’s program launches

A one-year, intensive master’s program in Social Practice Art, unique to Indiana, prepares students to become community leaders by leveraging the power of the arts and the impact on communities.

Developed by Associate Professor of English Kevin McKelvey and Big Car CEO and Co-founder Jim Walker, the program connects students with degrees in art and design, theatre, dance, music or creative writing with community stakeholders to engage in creative placemaking, community building and social practice (an art medium that focuses on human interaction and social discourse). The result is a participatory art form that empowers and transforms communities and continues to rise in popularity in cities across the country.


Faculty-student collaboration

A new manuscript by Daniel Scholes, assistant professor in biology, Erika Rasnick ’17 (biology) and Ken Paige, professor at the University of Illinois, published in the journal Oecologia details their analysis of factors that contribute to plant damage tolerance. The new study, “Characterization of Arabidopsis thaliana regrowth patterns suggests a trade-off between undamaged fitness and damage tolerance,” sought to determine the traits and developmental strategies that plants use to tolerate stem damage typically caused by mammals such as rabbits and deer. Rasnick presented this study at the 2017 Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference in Urbana, Ill., in March and Scholes presented the research at the 2017 Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Ore., in August. Daniel Scholes has authored two other published manuscripts this year on related studies in the journals Ecology and Plant Ecology.


Kenneth “Doc” Borden receives honorary degree

Dr. Kenneth “Doc” Borden was one of three honorary degree recipients during May Commencement, along with Dr. Katherine Welch ’93 and Marc Adams ’81. Borden joined the faculty in 1968 and was instrumental in the growth and expansion of the University over the next 30 years. He taught a variety of introductory science courses, including mathematics, chemistry, computer science and physics, impacting thousands of students pursuing all areas of study. He also served as the University’s sports information director from 1976 to 1978 and for many years as the faculty representative to the Athletics Committee, including as chair in 1980.


Award-winning year for The Reflector

The Reflector, UIndy’s student run newspaper, celebrated 94 years of continuous publishing. Student journalists also had an extremely successful year with a total of 21 state- and regional-level awards. Eight students won Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Reflector editor-in-chief Kylee Crane ’17 was named the Brook Baker Collegiate Journalist of the Year for the State of Indiana by the Indiana Collegiate Press Association at the annual ICPA Annual Convention
in April.


ericawhite_wideshotStudent receives Fulbright teaching assistantship

Erica White ’17 (English literary studies/creative writing with a concentration in TESOL) earned the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Latvia. She will spend the 2017-18 school year working in a Latvian educational institution. White joins more than 100,000 alumni of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program who have worked abroad since 1948.


Students lead strategic planning for Indiana’s energy future

energy__1082-1A group of 11 students from UIndy and IUPUI, led by former Indianapolis Mayor and UIndy Visiting Fellow Greg Ballard, drafted a strategic plan for the future of energy in Indiana. The Indiana Advanced Energy Plan creates an energy policy for Indiana that strives for a safe, sustainable and economically secure future. The students were hired as interns on the project and brought a diverse mix of backgrounds to the discussion, with majors ranging from accounting to biology to art education. The Plan was shared with Indiana lawmakers to raise awareness of how the state can continue its tradition of self-sufficiency by moving toward a more economically and environmentally sustainable energy model.


Gerburg Garmann, assistant dean of Interdisciplinary Studies & Service Learning, and Paul Levesque, assistant professor of Global Languages & Cross-Cultural Studies, were elected to the Humanities Education and Research Association (HERA) Board in March 2017. HERA, which holds an annual conference in the United States and publishes a refereed scholarly journal three times per year, promotes the worldwide study, teaching and understanding of the humanities across a range of disciplines.


Guitar Festival

Two University of Indianapolis guitar students embarked on a life-changing trip in March to the XVIII Guitar Art Festival in Belgrade, Serbia. Their instructor, Nemanja Ostojic, University of Indianapolis professor of guitar and world-renowned classical guitarist, was a featured artist at the festival. A grant from the U.S. Embassy funded travel and accommodations for sophomores Jamie Johnson (music and psychology) and Evan Hawk (jazz studies), who also received lessons with some of the world’s leading guitarists. To learn more, visit uindy.edu/cas/music.

Music program recognized at national level

The University of Indianapolis chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) was named the Outstanding Collegiate Chapter of the Year for Indiana. The honor is the fourth time the local chapter has received the award. The NAfME award recognizes the University’s community outreach efforts to bring future music educators into classrooms, along with the program’s achievements throughout the year.

Acclaimed pianist named inaugural University of Indianapolis Artist in Residence

drewpetersenrobmanuelDrew Petersen was announced as the winner of the 2017 American Pianists Awards and the Christel DeHaan Classical Fellow and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Indianapolis. The 23-year-old, internationally acclaimed pianist will perform as Artist-in-Residence at the University for the next two years. He was among five finalists who performed in the American Pianists Awards New Music Recital in April at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Petersen will visit campus for one week for each of the next four semesters beginning in Fall 2017 to teach, perform and work with students in master classes.

New Music Therapy program offers growing career options for music students

The Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy program is founded in the latest neurological research that focuses on restoring mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. The program provides students a comprehensive way to develop their strong interests in music and communications and helping others by combining these passions into a meaningful career.


Faculty book explores relationships of modern couples

45amanda-millerAmanda Miller, associate professor and chair of sociology, co-authored the book Cohabitation Nation: Gender, Class and the Remaking of Relationships, examining the dynamics of couples who live together. Miller tackled myths about intimacy, including the benefits of increased sexual activity and creating more equal partnerships through fulfillment and collaboration.  Her research also was featured on NPR and in a CNN Opinion article headlined, “Are you having enough sex? Wrong Question.”

Professor authors book on local winery industry

vino-198x300Jim Pennell, professor of sociology and co-director of the Community Research Center, authored Local Vino: The Winery Boom in the Heartland. Pennell, a specialist in social and institutional change, interviewed more than 40 winery owners and industry specialists who shared their insights on the challenges and rewards of growing grapes, wine-making, distribution and building a business.