July 2000


Experiential Learning Means Well-Rounded Graduates

            In the May 2000 issue of this letter, I mentioned the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce “Brain Gain” project, an initiative to promote internships as a way to connect well-prepared local graduates with area jobs. 

            “Experiential learning” is educator’s jargon for hands-on experience-oriented learning that complements classroom instruction. Business and industry leaders say that technical skill must be supplemented by broad learning experiences if graduates are to prosper in the workplace, and colleges are responding.

            The National Research Council Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy has made the point that “Skills like project management, leadership, planning and organizing, interpersonal skills, adaptability, negotiation, written and oral communication, and solid computer knowledge are critical. If you walk on water technically but can't explain or promote your ideas and your science, you won't get hired. If you do get hired, your career will stall."

            This month’s letter features examples of how IUPUI promotes experiential learning in various disciplines and in various ways.


Scientist’s Apprentice Camp 2000

A unique IUPUI summer day camp this month is keeping 15 8th through 12 graders from 12 central Indiana schools busy learning and discovering.

            Students at the Scientist’s Apprentice Camp 2000 are working in IUPUI labs under the direction of Purdue School of Science professors and local science teachers.  They are examining chick embryos to uncover the biological behaviors of cells, Sphinx moths to see how enzymes and hormones are synthesized, penicillin-related compounds to observe their chemical structure, and computer modeling techniques for morphing photos of missing children to show the effects of age and growth.  The latter is a real-life research project being conducted this summer at IUPUI as a case study for the National Science Foundation

This is the fifth year for the annual summer camp, an opportunity for students to apply scientific principles learned in the classroom to real research projects.  Students are also being encouraged to use their day camp experience to begin planning science fair projects for the coming school year -- with IUPUI professors serving as consultants. 

The apprentices attend St. Simon; Creston, Shortridge, and Stonybrook middle schools; Carmel Junior High School; Baptist Academy; and Arsenal Tech, Cathedral, North Central, Northwest, Park Tudor, and Plainfield high schools.


National Teaching Award in Science Goes to IUPUI Alumna

President Bill Clinton recently named an IUPUI alumna as a recipient of the nation’s highest honor for U.S. science teachers in grades K-12. 

Sandra Brown, a fifth grade teacher at Allisonville Elementary School and a 25-year veteran of the Washington Township Metropolitan School District, has received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education at IUPUI in 1972 and a master’s degree in elementary education in 1975. 

She was honored for her project “Riding the Wave of Technology”, a unit on the interaction of the earth's oceans and the atmosphere. One of the culminating group activities was a field trip to conduct water testing with the Marion County Health Department at Windridge Pond, near Emerson Way and Fall Creek Boulevard in Indianapolis.

            A panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators recommend four teachers from each state – one math and one science teacher at both the elementary and secondary levels – for the honor, which the National Science Foundation administers for the White House.


IUPUI Archaeological Dig Uncovers Cracker Jack Collectible

            IUPUI students digging up a vacant lot near campus unearthed a vintage coin that collectors say was a give-away in a popular Cracker Jack treasure hunt.

            The discovery at the 800 Camp Street site has put the anthropology class project into the spotlight among Cracker Jack prize collectors. The dig is under the supervision of IUPUI Assistant Professor of Anthropology Paul Mullins.  His students have excavated 9,000 to 10,000 artifacts from the Ransom Place Historic District site just north of the campus and will clean, catalogue, and research the items to learn more about the lives of those who once lived there.

            The Cracker Jack collectible was found where a small corner grocery store was located from 1920 to 1960.  Along with Madame Walker’s beauty supply plant, it was one of many thriving, predominantly African-American businesses in the area.


“Better Together” Pairs Future Nurses, Educators, and Social Workers with IPS Schools

            On Thursday, June 1, a reception at Crispus Attucks Middle School celebrated the “Better Together” program, which pairs the IU Schools of Nursing, Education, and Social Work at IUPUI with Crispus Attucks Middle School, Cold Springs Elementary, Elder W. Diggs Elementary, George Washington Carver Elementary, and Riverside Elementary in an unusual partnership that brings the community into the classroom and the classroom to the community.

            Through the “Community Health Nursing” course at IUPUI, senior nursing students may choose to perform their required community service in these schools. They spend 7 to 12 hours per week providing first aid and routine scoliosis and vision screenings. Due to budgetary restraints, most of these schools can only offer a hired nurse to students one hour each week.

            In the IU School of Education at IUPUI, student teachers complete 20 hours of required field experience in these schools by tutoring, mentoring, or student teaching.  The lower student-to-adult ratio in the classroom gives children more individual attention.

            Students seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work may also choose to complete their internships in these schools. Interns are guided by each school’s social worker.  They may either lead groups or work with children individually.


Key Dean Appointments at IU / IUPUI

            We are very much looking forward to working with some new administrative leaders who are serving in key academic appointments of particular  interest to our larger community:


            IU School of Medicine

            On June 23rd the Trustees of Indiana University named D. Craig Brater, M.D., the ninth dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Walter J. Daly Professor of Medicine, director of the Indiana Statewide Medical Educational System, and director of the IU Medical Center.  

     Craig Brater took the helm of the nation’s second largest medical school on July 1 and occupies an integral leadership position in the school's partnerships with Wishard Health Services, Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center, LaRue Carter Hospital, and Clarian Health Partners (manager of Riley Hospital for Children, University Hospital, and Methodist Hospitals).

            A 1971 graduate of the Duke University Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in the effects of drugs on the kidneys and cardiovascular system, Craig Brater has been on IU School of Medicine faculty since 1986 and chair of the Department of Medicine since 1990.


            IU School of Social Work

            At the same meeting, the trustees approved the appointment of Michael A. Patchner as dean of the IU School of Social Work at IUPUI.  Michael has a 28-year career in social work with more than 13 years in administration at the university level and comes to IUPUI after eight years as associate dean and professor for the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. 

            Michael Patchner brings administrative experience and high-level leadership in both the academic and professional dimensions of social work.  He is coauthor of Excellence in Nursing Homes: Care Planning, Quality Assurance, and Personnel Management has published many books and articles on social work issues primarily aimed at care for the elderly. His experience in such areas will reinforce links between the School of Social Work to other centers of excellence on the IUPUI campus, such as the IU Center for Aging Research.


            IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs

            Astrid E. Merget has been selected dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), pending approval by the Trustees of Indiana University.  She comes to IU with extensive experience in  academic administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (where she also earned her master’s and doctoral degrees).  She has also held high-level federal advisory posts in the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development.

            As dean of SPEA, Astrid Merget will be based at IU Bloomington but will be responsible for IUPUI-based programs as well.


            I hope you will soon have an opportunity to meet or to get to know these new deans of some of our professional schools and to offer them the benefit of your thoughts and suggestions.




Gerald L. Bepko