IU East departments merge for mariachi with fun, educational trip to Chicago

May 14th, 2015

What do you get when you put on a trip to Chicago that’s highlighted by a mariachi opera? You obviously get a lot of interest from departments at IU East.

IU East students attend the mariachi opera in Chicago. Photo by Jessica Raposo.

IU East students attend the mariachi opera in Chicago. Photo by Jessica Raposo.

Eighty students and 20 faculty were bused there for a weekend trip that took wings by good fortune when Jessica Raposo, lecturer of music, heard about the unusual and brand-new opera.

It all started with a simple brochure that Raposo received in the mail. She thought there would be interest from her music program, especially since the opera was so unique.

But she also thought it “had potential to appeal to a lot of different groups: history, fine arts, foreign language, philosophy.”

She was right. “I approached colleagues and asked: ‘What do you think of this idea?’”

The Spanish program has an immersion event each year, so “they said, count us in.”

Honors Program and history students had already wanted to go on the trip that included a stay in Chicago.

“It just grew,” Raposo said. “Then music and arts wanted to be part of it, too.”

In all, six departments joined in for a trip. Students and instructors from the various departments visited a special site for several hours, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Oriental Institute and the Field Museum of Natural History.

“I took music students to the Auditorium Theatre for a tour,” Raposo said.

Everyone had free time in the afternoon to enjoy the city. They ate dinner and then attended the opera.

“They saw an amazingly old beautiful theater,” Raposo said. “It was nice to get a good reaction to opera. A lot of people were very surprised.”

The opera certainly wasn’t what most expected. It featured a mariachi group on stage at all times in a storyline that took place before the Mexican Revolution. The singing had no amplification, she says.

“It was a blast,” Raposo says. “I randomly run into students who say: ‘thank you so much.’”

Jenilee Braun is certainly thankful that she went. “The Chicago trip opened my eyes culturally in many ways, from the opera, to the city, and to the many people there,” she said.

Braun admitted though that there were reservations and questions that could only be answered by going along to see her first opera. “How was I to enjoy something in a language I couldn’t understand?,” she remembers asking herself. “Luckily there were subtitles, but the actors did such a great job portraying the story through tone and emotion that I caught myself looking away from the screen and just enjoying the show.”

A major reason students had to be thankful was the cost of the trip, $25 per person. That included travel, dinner and admission to the sites and the opera.

“Ross Alexander and Larry Richards basically sponsored the trip out of their offices,” Raposo said. “Our administration is good at offering scholarships.”

Alexander is dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Richards is executive vice chancellor of Academic Affairs.

“We really enjoyed the fact that we were able to show what more there is in the world,” Raposo said. “It wasn’t simply visiting another part of the United States. This was something new with so many different things to do.”

Braun is thankful that IU East supported the event.

“The School of Humanities and Social Sciences and all of the organizations involved did a great job organizing the trip and making it as enjoyable as possible,” she said.

Departments participating in the events and their leaders included:
Fine Arts: Ann Kim and Carrie Longley, assistant professors.
History: Eugene Cruz-Uribe, professor.
Honors Club: Daron Olson, assistant professor of history.
Humanities Club:  Rosalie Aldrich, assistant professor of Communication Studies.
Arts and Culture Department: Cathy Foos, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Arts and Culture Department.
Music: Jessica Raposo, lecturer.
World Languages and Cultures: Dianne Moneypenny, assistant professor; Julien Simon, associate professor; and Christine Nemcik, lecturer.

First National Juried Art Exhibition Opens April 9

April 3rd, 2015

The Indiana University East Fine Arts program is hosting an inaugural national themed juried art exhibition, and the theme for this year is “Gender.” The exhibit will be open from April 9-June 19 in the Whitewater Hall Art Gallery.

The juried art exhibit is supported by the IU East School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Diversity Commission. The exhibit coincides with the 27th Annual Indiana University Women’s and Gender Studies Undergraduate Conference being held at IU East April 9-10.

The show was juried by a panel of four judges: Ann Kim, assistant professor of fine arts; Carrie Longley, assistant professor of fine arts; Ed Thornburg, lecturer of fine arts; and Kate Cunningham, adjunct lecturer of fine arts at IU East and Purdue University College of Technology.

Monetary awards will be given to the top three artists.

Kim said the exhibition is set to become an annual juried exhibition each spring with a rotating theme. She added there were nearly 160 works of art submitted from which 40 were chosen for inclusion, representing 30 artists from 15 states.

The exhibit includes 2-D, 3-D and video. The artwork selected for the exhibit specifically deals with the fluidity of gender and sexuality; commentary on and/or challenging the conventional gendered language in visual art; reworking the conventions of representing gender and gendered bodies; investigating the shifting gender roles in today’s society; questioning the stereotypes of femininity and masculinity; the state of today’s parenthood; and promoting greater understanding of the LGBTQ community.

The opening reception for the exhibition is from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, at the Art Gallery, located in Whitewater Hall. Award winners will be announced at 6 p.m.

Visitors are welcome to view the exhibit during gallery hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call Ed Thornburg, gallery curator, at (765) 973-8605 or visit iue.edu/gallery.

Participating artists include:

  • Harry Ally, Troy, Ohio
  • Mary Ellen Bertram, Farmland, Indiana
  • Sarah Bielski, Satesboro, Georgia
  • Walt Bistline, Richmond, Indiana
  • Jeremy Brooks, Carbondale, Illinois
  • JT Bruns, Los Angeles, California
  • Amy Cannestra, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Evelyn Davis-Walker, Lewis-Center, Ohio
  • Pamela Dodds, Cleveland, Ohio
  • J. Casey Doyle, Moscow, Idaho
  • Chloë Feldman Emison, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Olga Evanusa-Rowland, Corte Madera, California
  • Jes Fan, New York, New York
  • Dan Farnum, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Liliana Guzman, Richmond, Indiana
  • Susan Hensel, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tracy Kerdman, New York, New York
  • Elizabeth Leger, Berkeley, California
  • Debra Levie, Chicago, Illinois
  • Rachel Livedalen, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Manda McKay, Athens, Georgia
  • Desiree Moore, Tampa, Florida
  • Jessica Pleyel, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Kaly Reichter, Richmond, Indiana
  • Daniela Rosario, Brentwood, New York
  • Michael Smith, Ogden Dunes, Indiana
  • Brett Suemnicht, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Runcie Tatnall, Nacogdoches, Texas
  • Rhonda Thomas, Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Katy Traughber, New Albany, Indiana
  • Joni Wildman, Madison, Wisconsin

IU East criminal justice majors network with area professionals

March 9th, 2015

Indiana University East criminal justice majors recently had a networking breakfast with community and law enforcement leaders to practice the skills they have learned throughout this semester.

The course, Job Search Strategies for Liberal Arts Students, is instructed by Katie Chaney, School of Humanities and Social Sciences academic and career advising coordinator.

Chaney said the seven-week, one credit course is designed to help juniors and seniors in liberal arts programs create effective strategies for post-graduation success. Students go over topics including resume and cover letter writing, interviewing and impressing, networking and financial literacy.

“The culminating experience is a networking brunch with area professionals. The goal of this brunch is to bring students together with individuals who are currently working in their field of interest and to allow the opportunity for them to practice the skills gained during the course,” Chaney said. “This is the third time I have hosted a networking brunch for the course, but it was the first time I had exclusively criminal justice majors in the course.”

IU East criminal justice majors talk with Chief Probation Officer for Wayne County Kory George during a networking brunch held in the Whitewater Hall Community Room.

Eight students attended the breakfast and were divided among tables to talk with Wayne County Sheriff Jeff Cappa, Chief Probation Officer for Wayne County Kory George, Assistant Chief Probation Officer for Wayne County Adam McQueen, and Richmond Police Department Officer Chad Porfidio. Cappa and McQueen are both IU East alumni.

“I enjoyed speaking with the students and answering their questions. I feel it is beneficial for a student to have an opportunity to talk with someone who has experience in the profession they are considering. I found all their questions to be extremely insightful and their eagerness to learn very satisfying,” Cappa said.

George said it was a pleasure to sit and visit with IU East students as they prepare for their next phase of life.

“The desire and ability to apply their IU East education was evident as was their genuine interest in doing good work in our communities. I’m hopeful they will continue to pursue their passion and put their education to good use for those in the community we serve,” George said.

McQueen completed the Master of Science in Management in 2013 at IU East. He is a member of the program’s first graduating cohort.

“We, as a community, should want to do anything that we can to keep our IU East students in Wayne County and the surrounding areas. Events, such as today’s network brunch, aid that effort,” McQueen said.

Students also had the opportunity to talk with IU East’s Career and Experiential Learning Coordinator Liz Ferris and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Stephanie Whitehead to gain more experience.

Tim Gard is a senior criminal justice major. He plans to graduate in May 2016. He said the brunch was a great idea and the event went well.

“It was definitely eye opening to see how different each job within the criminal justice field really is,” Gard said. “Overall, I’d say that this whole class was a success. I never really knew how to write a resume or cover letter, and I was never sure how to answer some of the more popular interview questions, but this class has definitely made me better prepared for those situations.”

Christina Perkins is also a member of the Class of 2016 and a criminal justice major. She said the combination of the course lessons and the networking brunch provided valuable information.

“I learned some of the common misconceptions in applying for jobs and simple steps that can be taken to stand out. The networking brunch is essential and offers so many opportunities that would otherwise not be available,” Perkins said.

IU East faculty lead program on Perspectives of Beauty at Girls Inc.

March 4th, 2015

Indiana University East School of Humanities and Social Sciences Lecturer of Psychology Eevett Loshek and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Katherine Miller worked with a group at Girls Inc. of Wayne County through teaching a class on cross-cultural, historical, and psychological concepts of beauty and female development.

Katherine Miller, assistant professor of anthropology, helps a Girls Inc. member with an East African dress as part of “Perspectives of Beauty: What is normal is what you are.”

The course, “Perspectives of Beauty: What is normal is what you are,” brought girls ages 10-13 together for lectures on different aspects of beauty and hands-on activities during three sessions on February 6, February 13 and February 27.

Loshek and Miller are both in their second semester of teaching at IU East; they joined the university in fall 2014. They said the program began after attending the Girls Inc. fundraising gala in October 2014. They were at a table discussing their background and research interests with other guests, including Yates, who later contacted them about organizing a program to work with the girls.

“Katie and I had cohesive ideas on what we wanted to do with the girls. We talked to Laura Retherford and explained our areas of research and what our options might be to provide a program for the girls,” Loshek said. Retherford is co-executive director of Girls Inc.

They developed the course on three different perspectives of women and beauty: historical, cross-cultural and psychological. Historical demonstrates that beauty is relative, and that over time has changed how society regards women. Cross-Cultural relates to different world-wide cultures and what they consider beautiful. Miller and Loshek presented on the cultures of Japan, Padaung/Kayan, Kazakhstan, Maya, Maasai (East Africa), and India.

Katherine Miller, assistant professor of anthropology, helps a Girls Inc. member with an East African dress as part of "Perspectives of Beauty: What is normal is what you are."

Katherine Miller, assistant professor of anthropology, helps a Girls Inc. member with an East African dress as part of “Perspectives of Beauty: What is normal is what you are.”

Campus Library Director Frances Yates, KT Lowe, coordinator of library instruction and service-learning, and IU East students Alexandra Estes and Madelynn Murphy assisted with the program for the class.

Yates, who also serves as the faculty liaison for service-learning, noted the value of collaborations between IU East faculty and community partners.

“We have an abundance and variety of talent and expertise among our faculty and staff. Drs. Miller and Loshek shared their knowledge in a fun, interactive way that really engaged the Girls Inc. participants. They are positive role models that help the girls recognize the many careers that are possible with higher education,” Yates said.

Hands-on activities included applying make-up, to help the girls understand what women went through in the past, and cultural dress to demonstrate how women in different parts of the world dress. The girls were able to try on an outfit including a traditional special-occasion dress from Kazakhstan, a sari in India’s Maharashtra style, or a kimono from Japan. The girls put on an impromptu fashion show for the younger participants at Girls Inc., bringing a lot of fun and laughter as well as education to the afternoon as they modeled the cultural dress.

“I like how we talked about how beauty can be in anyone,” said Girls Inc. member and 8th grade student Olivia.

“They are basically teaching us that beauty is not what’s on the outside, it is what is on the inside,” said Payton, a 6th grader and member of Girls Inc.

Loshek said the girls are attentive and interested in the material, and have brought up several questions throughout the lectures and activities.

Miller said many of the dress and jewelry items were provided by the Library as well as faculty, staff and community members. She said the girls have been excited to learn throughout the program.

“They interact a lot. They’re really funny girls, they are smart and have a good sense of humor,” Miller said. “The biggest thing that I want them to take away from this program is that they are beautiful how they are and to see beauty in other women in a positive way.”

New Dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences Announced

December 22nd, 2014

Ross Alexander is the new dean of the Indiana University East School of Humanities and Social Sciences, beginning January 1, 2015.

“Ross brings with him a wealth of knowledge, leadership and a solution oriented approach to the position of dean. As interim dean and associate vice chancellor, Ross has established a familiarity with the campus, faculty, students, and the community and he is a strong advocate for the school. I am delighted to welcome him in his new role,” said Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe.

Alexander has been the interim dean since July 2014. He joined IU East in January 2012 as the associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. He also served as the dean of Graduate and Extended Education.

The dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for all aspects of the school, including faculty recruitment, development and evaluation; program development, assessment and improvement; student recruitment, retention and success; budget management and fundraising; and other matters related to the continuing well-being of the school and its faculty, staff and students.

Alexander received his Ph.D. in Political Science with majors in Public Administration and American Politics and a minor in Political Theory from Northern Illinois University. He received his Master of Public Administration from Arizona State University and his B.A. from Beloit College where he majored in Political Science and History.

Before joining IU East, Alexander was the department head of Political Science and Criminal Justice from 2010-2011 and the assistant department head from 2009-2010 for the North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Ga.

Alexander formerly held positions at the university as an associate professor of political science and the co-director of the Quality Enhancement Plan. Previously, he was a visiting assistant professor of political science at the Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., and an instructor of political science at Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, Ill., where he began as a teaching assistant with the department.