February 2001


First Director of Center for Bioethics at School of Medicine Appointed

            The $105 million Lilly Endowment grant for the Indiana Genomics Initiative (mentioned in our last letter) has made it possible for the IU School of Medicine to recruit an internationally distinguished scholar to be the first director of its new Center for Bioethics. Eric Meslin, Ph.D., currently executive director of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, will be joining our faculty this summer, pending approval of his appointment by the Trustees of Indiana University.  Dr. Meslin’s career in bioethics has included administrative roles with the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. He also held academic appointments in philosophy, medicine, pharmacy, and health administration and was deputy director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics.


IU Faculty Member and Alum Named New State Commissioner of Health

            Congratulations are in order for Gregory Wilson, M.D., who will give up his practice at Riley Hospital for Children to become commissioner of the Indiana Department of Health. He was appointed by Governor Frank O’Bannon last month to head the agency of more than 1,100 employees.  The 1975 graduate of the IU School of Medicine was appointed clinical associate professor of pediatrics here in 1987 and treated children with developmental disabilities.


IUPUI Named to Greater Expectations Consortium on Quality Education

            IUPUI was among 16 campuses recognized recently by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) for visionary innovations in undergraduate education. A national panel of 26 experts in education, business, government, and community action helped identify institutions that have developed innovative, stimulating educational experiences for students and will continue to be guided by their experiences as the panel fulfills its charge to “formulate a statement of aims and purposes for 21st century college-level study and recommend ways to link higher education with school reform.”

            Dubbed "Leadership Institutions" for their role as models of best practices, the campuses will become part of the Greater Expectations Consortium on Quality Education.  The selected schools were characterized by extensive innovations in their curriculum, pedagogy, organizational structure; by supporting undergraduates both within and outside the classroom; by offering students the opportunity to "learn by doing" through off-campus work in community projects or internships; and by emphasizing critical thinking about complex problems, effective communication, and the ability to contribute to a diverse society as important outcomes of a powerfully lasting undergraduate education.

            The other Leadership Institutions are Central Connecticut State University, Colgate University, Duke University, Evergreen State College, Hampshire College, King's College (PA), Prince George's Community College, Richland College, State University of New York-Stony Brook, United States Air Force Academy, University of Hawaii-Kapiolani Community College, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska, University of Southern California, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

            The goals of Greater Expectations are to raise expectations for achievement by college students, to encourage innovations that support student success, and to help colleges and universities sustain learning-centered innovations.


IUPUI Techwizards Help Area Youth Organizations

            Every month secretary Sister Merrita Mary at Holy Trinity Community Daycare and Kindergarten painstakingly tallies up the number of children who attended, how many meals they ate, and what they ate each day as required by the Department of Education. Now, thanks to the help of an IUPUI student, a computer does it for her, freeing more time for the children.

            Through a program developed by the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI), IUPUI computer technology students are helping local nonprofits who work with youth to better use technology. IYI created the program, called Techwizards, after a study showed 60 percent of Indiana youth organizations did not have a technology plan in place, nearly half did not budget for technology maintenance and upgrades, and more than 40 percent did not have access to the Internet.

            IYI consults with IUPUI faculty to match students with appropriate knowledge according to the needs of the nonprofits. The organizations get the benefit of technical services that they otherwise couldn't afford, while the students get valuable experience before attaining their degree.  IUPUI students are currently working on projects that include everything from developing web sites to creating databases to upgrading computer systems.


High School Students Explore the World of DNA with IU Medical School Faculty

            A special group of 48 Hoosier high school students will soon get the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with leading genetic researchers and physicians at the IU School of Medicine as participants in the second annual Molecular Medicine in Action program, March 11-12. The students were nominated by their science teachers and selected from nearly 200 around the state.   

            Under the supervision of IU scientists, the students will visit laboratories and learn how DNA is isolated and analyzed, how modified genes are inserted into cells, and how gene therapy is used to treat diseases. Students also will hear from patients with genetic maladies and how they deal with them.

            The goals of the Molecular Medicine in Action program are to increase linkages between the medical school and secondary schools and to increase the number of young adults who choose careers in science.  For more information, visit the web site.


“Virtual” Patients Help Nursing Students Learn How to Do EKGs and Give Medications

            In Pam Jeffries' IU School of Nursing classes at IUPUI, students are learning basic nursing procedures more quickly and efficiently than before by working on computerized patients.

            Jeffries has developed virtual patient CD-ROMs that allow students to practice electrocardiograms (EKGs) and administering medications.  Students simulate the entire process – from informing the patient about the procedure, to placing EKG sensors on the patient's body, to reading the EKG.  Her CD-ROMs about giving medications are available across the country. Students learn at their own pace, spend less time learning a skill, and improve their performance.

            Jeffries, an assistant professor at the IU School of Nursing since 1997, has won numerous awards for outstanding teaching. She earned her undergraduate nursing degree from Ball State University and her master's and doctorate in nursing from IU.


Creating Community in a Diverse Urban Society

            The School of Liberal Arts in association with its Department of Philosophy and the Center on Philanthropy at IUPUI presents the 12th annual Joseph T. Taylor Symposium on Thursday, March 8, at the University Place Conference Center.  “Building Community: Civil Society in Urban America" is the theme of the daylong event.  Registration is at 8:30 a.m. Symposium sessions, which are free and open to the public, are from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

            The establishment of an office in the White House on fostering relationships between government and faith-based organizations makes this year’s theme especially timely. Symposium discussion topics include “Supporting Civil Society: What Business, Government and Philanthropy Can Do,” “The Environment for a Civil Society-Culture, Education and the Arts,” in addition to “The Role of Religion in Building Community and Civil Society.”

            First Lady Judy O'Bannon will be the morning keynote speaker. As part of the opening session, she and I will present the first Joseph T. Taylor Award for Excellence in Diversity.

            Lunch tickets are $22.50 each, if purchased by the early-bird deadline of Sunday, Feb. 25, or $25 if purchased after the deadline. Seating, first-come, first-served, is limited.  Patron tickets of $500 for a table of 10, and sponsor tickets for $50 are also available.  To register, or for more information, call 317-274-5053.


IUPUI Jaguars Hold Benefit Auction

            Our special thanks this month go to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson who was the honorary chair of the February 7 auction to benefit the IUPUI Jaguars intercollegiate athletics program.  More than 200 attended and more than $30,000 was raised.  We are especially grateful to Melina Kennedy and Greg Wright, who co-chaired the event.  Thanks to all those who supported the event and Go Jags!






                                                                                    Gerald L. Bepko