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President McRobbie Details New Plans For Indiana University

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie unveiled a five year plan last week.

McRobbie’s State of the University address was devoted to what he labelled his Bicentennial Strategic Plan, which is to be implemented during the lead up to IU’s two hundredth year anniversary in 2020. The Bloomington campus should see more construction and renovation as well as the introduction of new schools and strategic changes to older schools. Most of the capital investment is to be focused on renovation of buildings around the Old Crescent, to the immediate east of Sample Gates. The plan also calls for renovating the old Wells Quad buildings to return them to their original residential function.

As for academics, McRobbie wants to put more emphasis on what he calls ‘Building and Making’, which means developing products that can be commercialized to the university and economy’s benefit. He wants to see the campus create engineering programs in art and design, and in information technology. Work on consolidating old programs into the new umbrella media school and fleshing out the new schools of public health, and global and international studies will continue.

A significant decline in enrollment at the school of education, coinciding with on-going changes in the state’s treatment of the teaching profession, and the imminent departure of the school’s long-serving Dean González, prompted the President to announce that he would establish a Blue Ribbon Panel of external experts, charged with not only making recommendations on a new dean, but undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of the school’s entire operation and making recommendations for its future.

The cultural life of people connected with the university as well as the larger community was the focus of the plan’s section on supporting creativity and cultural enrichment which noted the multi-million dollar investment over the last decade on teaching and presentation of music, theater, visual art, film, and other forms of art and entertainment.

Hollywood Producer To Teach At IU’s New Media School

Indiana University alumnus and Hollywood producer Michael Uslan is joining the new Indiana University Media School as a Professor of Practice in film.

Uslan has three decades of experience in motion picture, television, and internet work. His work includes executive producer of 1989’s “Batman” movie, later sequels including the academy award-winning “The Dark Knight,” and “National Treasure.” He is also the author of a fundamental textbook on comics and 25 other books on the history of comics and other topics.

Uslan earned a bachelors degree in history, a masters degree in education, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence, all from Indiana University.

While teaching at IU, Uslan will continue his off-campus work in motion pictures, television, and interactive and international media. In a press release, Uslan praised IU’s new Media School program calling it a premiere location between New York and Hollywood for students to prepare for careers in the film industry.

The newly appointed Uslan will speak about his transition from IU graduate to Hollywood producer at 7 p.m on Wednesday, October 22 at the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union.

IU To Dedicate New Media School And Ernie Pyle Sculpture

On Friday, October 17 Indiana University will inaugurate its newest school on the Bloomington campus, the Media School, with the dedication of a new sculpture of IU alumnus and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Ernie Pyle.

The sculptor is Harold Langland, professor emeritus, who taught at IU South Bend from 1971-2001.

According to IU officials, Langland will present the sculpture to IU President Michael McRobbie at a public ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. in Franklin Hall, the future home of the Media School.

Previously Langland created a sculpture of IU’s legendary President and Chancellor Herman B. Wells. That sculpture, seated on a bench near the student union, has become a popular spot for photographers as well as students and visitors.

The Media School is now envisioned as IU’s pre-eminent site for teaching, research and service about the understanding and production of media by combining over 70 faculty members specializing in journalism, cinema, communications and culture, and electronic telecommunication programs.

“The fluid technology environment of the 21st century offers our students and faculty and opportunity to boldly imagine the shape of media in the coming decades,” Larry D. Songell, executive Dean of Arts and Sciences says.

Meanwhile, this new academic unit within the College of Arts and Sciences is now in search of its first dean at the same time that renovation of Franklin Hall itself will soon begin.

Local News, Quick Reads – August 12, 2014

  • Indiana University has a new women’s basketball coach.  Teri Moren was announced as the Hoosiers’ new coach Saturday night. She replaces Curt Miller, who resigned on July 25.   Moren played for the Purdue Boilermakers  from 1987-1991 and has spent the past four seasons as the coach  at Indiana State University.
  • The Hoosier Hills Food Bank distributed more pounds of food in July than ever before in the organizations history. 413,835 pounds of food were distributed last month. HHFB distributes to nearly 100 non-profit agencies in Brown, Lawrence, Orange, Owen, Martin and Monroe counties with limited distribution in Crawford and Greene counties.
  • The Indianapolis Business Journal is reporting that local for-profit hospital Monroe Hospital filed for bankruptcy federal court in Indianapolis on Friday. Court documents show the hospital to be $125 million in debt. The hospital currently employees 315 people, and is in works with Prime Healthcare for a buyout.
  • MaryEllen Bishop stepped down as Chair of the Indiana University board of trustees during the trustee meeting in Bloomington on Friday. Randall Tobias,  the Retired Chair and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company and  a 2013 gubernatorial appointment to the IU board of trustees, was unanimously voted in a chairman of the board on Friday.

Local News, Quick Reads – August 5, 2014

Bloomington May Amend Chain Business Rules 

By Joe Crawford

Some companies may soon be exempt from Bloomington’s new regulations on chain businesses downtown. Last night the city Plan Commission passed an amendment that would exclude upper story corporate offices from the ordinance. The City Council must also approve that amendment for it to take effect. The new regulations officially took effect on Friday, August 2. The ordinance allows the city to regulate the design of new chain restaurants and stores downtown. The city’s Planning staff said upper-story offices should not have to follow the rules, stating they do not possess any potential to create the same aesthetic concerns presented by first floor standardized retail and office uses.

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Conservative Opposition to Pence Health Plan

By Joe Crawford

A study released today by a conservative think tank claims Governor Mike Pence’s Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 will damage the state’s economy. The group, Federalism in Action, says Pence’s plan could kill over 100,000 jobs by expanding Medicaid and “crowding out the private sector.” The think tank, which has financial ties to the billionaire Koch brothers, states HIP 2.0 could also reduce family incomes in Indiana by requiring new taxes. Pence proposed HIP 2.0 in May, describing it as a consumer-driven and market-based program. Pence opposes the Affordable Care Act and has refused to go along with the Obama administration’s requests to expand Medicaid in Indiana to cover low-income residents. Pence’s proposal is currently under review by the federal government.

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Women Underrepresented on University Boards

By Joe Crawford

A majority of students at Indiana’s public universities are women, but most of those who govern the schools are men. That’s according to a new analysis by the Indianapolis Star. The newspaper found women make up only about a fifth of the positions on public university governing boards across the state and that most trustees are white men. Across the country, just 28 percent of trustees are women, according to a survey conducted in 2010. In Indiana, the governor appoints a majority of the public university trustees. At IU, two of the nine trustees are women. At Ivy Tech, three of the thirteen trustees are women.

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 IU Misses Top 100 Forbes Ranking

By Alycin Bektesh

The annual Forbes list of College rankings was released last week, with Indiana University Bloomington nearly missing the top one hundred. Three Indiana schools made the top one hundred, Notre Dame was Indiana’s highest honored school, ranked 17th in the country. Depaw and Earlham are 91st and 92nd respectively.  IU Bloomington was ranked 107th overall, and 18th in both the Public Colleges and Midwest Schools categories. Purdue also landed on the top 25 Best Public Schools list coming in at number 25. Of the 650 schools analyzed for the report, Indiana State University was ranked 647th.

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Crowdfunding Effort Made For Homeless Shelter

By David Murphy

Bloomington’s Interfaith Winter Shelter has started a crowdfunding campaign through Indie Go-Go. The shelter runs every night from November 1 to March 31, with four local churches to provide emergency shelter to individuals without homes.They provide a meal, and sleeping place with clean blankets and pillows. The shelter also provides laundry services for the bedding, bus tickets, and one on-duty professional safety staff member from 9:00 PM until midnight. The interfaith winter shelter provides between 6000 and 7500 beds each winter.

 

IU, After Local Pressure, Alters Plan To Demolish 6 Historic Houses

Indiana University will be deciding this week on the fate of six historic Bloomington houses.

Last year, IU announced plans to build a new law school facility on land currently occupied by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, commonly known as FeeGee. IU agreed to build a new facility for the fraternity on the 800 block of E 8th St which is part of the University Courts historic district. The area has been placed on the state historic register since 1992 and on the national historic register since 2007.

Alarm over IU’s demolition plan of the homes prompted the City of Bloomington to place the district on its list of local historic districts this spring. This designation requires city approval for any development plan in the area, but there is dispute as to whether state owned property would be exempt from the city purview. A legal opinion solicited by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana found credible argument for the designation to apply to the demolition of the eight street homes even though they are owned by IU.

Beyond the legal rights, IU has come under considerable pressure from the local residents, the Historic Preservation Commission of the City, members of City Council and the Mayor, to preserve the houses slated for demolition, and according to an agenda released today, IU seems to have listened.

The IU Trustees Facilities Committee will be looking at a new proposal that would move four of the houses a block to the west, while still demolishing two properties. Philip Eskew, an IU trustee and chair of Facilities Committee, explains what prompted the alteration of the plan.

“We’ve worked with the mayor, the council and the historical group in Bloomington to listen to their concerns,” Eskew says. “We are recommending to the trustees that we change what we had initially said tearing down the houses and instead move the four worthy of being saved.”

Eskew affirmed that the university believes that it has the legal right to dispose of the houses any way it sees fit.

A bill introduced into the Indiana legislature earlier this year by local state representative Matt Pierce would have required public institutions seeking to demolish, move or change the exterior of a university building within a historic preservation district to obtain a certificate of appropriateness before commencing work.

In Bloomington, it would be the City’s Historic Preservation Commission that would control the certification process. However, the bill failed to make it to the floor of the House in time for passage during this year’s session.

Nevertheless, the local pressure seems to have had some impact on IU.

“There were several groups, even neighbors, that spoke about the tearing down of the houses,” Eskew says. “I think this is a reaction to that and we’re trying to be good neighbors with the community, as we always have been.”

The meeting of the trustees that will be addressing this item will be on the South Bend Campus of IU.

Eskew says the committee will make a recommendation and act on the action items.

The Facilities Committee of the Trustees meeting on Thursday will be from 3:15 to 5 p.m. The full Trustees meeting on Friday will be from 12:45 to 2 p.m. Both will be in combined rooms 221, 223 and 225 of the Student Activity Center of IU South Bend. Both meetings are open to the public.

IU’s Global Change Center receives prestigious language award

Indiana University’s Center for the Study of Global Change has received the 2014 Paul Simon Award for the Promotion of Language and International Studies. The award, created in 1982, is named for the late Illinois Senator Paul Simon who supported international education and foreign language learning.

It was given specifically to the project called “Bridges: Children, Languages, World,” which offers exploratory language and culture classes such as Arabic, Chinese, Mongolian, Russian, and Zulu. Deborah Hutton, assistant director at the Center for the Study of Global Change, says the award really belongs to their many partners across campus.

“It isn’t just for the global center to brag on it,” Hutton says, “It’s hard for people outside to differentiate the partners but we do run it and we put it on our grant.”

Bridges classes are taught by undergraduate students at IU. The project’s mission is to expose youth to less-commonly taught languages while also helping those who serve as instructors and volunteers gain professional experience.

“We added a language coordinator grad student who helps the volunteer instructors with their lessons,” Hutton says, “This is a good idea and we can even switch things around and she can help the students themselves.”

The project is run by the donation of classroom facilities and materials, and the granting of work-study money and course credit. Hutton says the project gives people in Bloomington a unique and important learning opportunity.

“We’re so proud of what an unusual, large partnership this is to make it work,” Hutton says, “And our students are studying Chinese so well and they are excited and not intimidated by these languages and cultures.”

The Center for the Study of Global Change is one of eleven federally funded Title VI area studies centers in the School of Global and International Studies at IU Bloomington.

IU Students Form ‘March Madness’ Volunteer Group to Spread Information on Obamacare

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The Indiana University and Ivy Tech students of the Affordable Care Act Volunteers of Monroe County are starting a new campus organization.

The group is launching a March healthcare campaign called “Madness” that will help students learn more about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

David Meyer, president of the ACA Volunteers of Monroe County, says this campaign will have campus-wide events, but want to focus on social media.

“We have a couple of students who are co-leads on the campaign,” Meyer says, “They divide up the responsibilities between social media and public events and direct outreach. Since so many students are deeply involved in social media, that’s a major way to provide them with information.  It’s still in the early stages, but we’re focused on getting this going right now because the deadline for signing up for coverage is March 31.”

Meyer says the cost of health insurance may be less expensive than the penalty students will have to pay if they do not get health insurance by March 31.

Students who are claimed as a dependent on their parents taxes will not have to pay the penalty, but their parents will.

Meyer says he hopes the campaign will help answer questions about the ACA that differ from questions that older adults may have about healthcare.

“We have a couple of students who are co-leads on the campaign,” Meyers says, “They divide up the responsibilities between social media and public events and direct outreach. Since so many students are deeply involved in social media, that’s a major way to provide them with information.  It’s still in the early stages, but we’re focused on getting this going right now because the deadline for signing up for coverage is March 31.”

The next event for the ACA Volunteers of Monroe County is the Health Insurance Community Fair. The fair is next Thursday, March 6 at the Monroe County Library from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Meyer says the event will give students and community members a chance to pair with trained volunteers that will help them answer questions they have concerning the ACA.

Parking Stays Un-Privatized at Indiana University

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Indiana University Treasurer Mary Frances McCourt has estimated that parking operations on campus could generate a $43 million profit over the next twenty years. She presented her findings to the IU Board of Trustees on Friday.

McCourt recommended in October that the university should control its own revenue stream, and the board accepted. McCourt said parking prices will be determined by market peer-rate settings and suggests the funds go to building and repairing facilities on campus.

Parking revenue and expenses currently balance out, but McCourt said sometimes expenses can exceed revenue when facility upgrades are required. The university is considering putting automated parking equipment in garages on some campuses, which would be a one-point-nine million dollar investment.

IU Trustee Patrick Shoulders approved of the board’s decision to control revenue, but disagreed about where the funds should go.

“First of all, I’m glad that the decision has been made NOT to privatize parking operations and that parking will remain a function of the university,” Shoulders says, “We retain the flexibility and ability to maintain those lots to the standards we demand. To the extent that parking rates are increased, I hope nay excess revenue is invested in our people. I think that some of our employees start at hourly wages that simply don’t pay a living wage.”

Details about the reformed parking rate structure will be released by IU officials in the spring.

Dean of IU’s SPEA Testified In Support of EPA ‘Secret Science’ Bill

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John D. Graham, dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and former senior official in President George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, testified on Tuesday in support of a bill that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, from using what backers of the legislation call ‘secret science.’

The bill, introduced by U.S. House Republicans, would prohibit the EPA from proposing new regulations based on science that is not transparent or reproducible.

“Most of the EPA-related studies that may not satisfy the reproducibility standard are in the air quality area,” Graham said, “The environmental epidemiology field does not yet have a strong position in favor of public access to data, which is necessary for reproducibility. The transparency standard is more widely accepted.”

The measure is sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert, a Republican from Arizona. In discussing the bill’s future, Graham said, “There is a mid-March meeting at the National Academy of Sciences where the reproducibility issue will be discussed in more detail by multiple stakeholders. Once that meeting occurs, it will become apparent whether the scientific community will support or oppose the bill.”

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