We congratulate Mayor Bart Peterson and his team for recognition earned earlier this month. The Center for Digital Government honored Indianapolis at the annual National League of Cities conference by naming the city government's website, www.indygov.org, one of the best among large cities in putting information and services online for public use.
This and related happenings prompt us to take stock in this month's letter of several recent technology‑related inroads in an effort to show that Indiana, once dubbed the "Crossroads of America" because of its geographical location, is well on its way to reclaiming the nickname for the digital century.
Several examples of how a three‑way partnership between business, government, and higher education will make Indiana a top player in high‑tech economic infrastructure development follow.
I‑LIGHT Connects IU, Purdue, and IUPUI to Internet2
On December 11, Governor Frank O'Bannon activated I‑Light, a high performance, fiber optic network that links Indiana University, Purdue University, and IUPUI to Internet2. The ceremony marking completion of the two‑year, $5.3 million project took place at IUPUI with IU President Myles Brand and Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke also in attendance.
“Today we are not only lighting a fiber‑optic cable, we are illuminating the future of Indiana," Brand said. "Working hand‑in‑hand with its partners around the state, Indiana University is helping to create the information technology that will be so important to our state's economic future.”
Jischke said the Indiana data highway could not have come at a better time: “I‑Light will provide Purdue and IU with the necessary connectivity and capability to qualify for more federal research funding and contribute to making the state more attractive to high‑tech companies looking to relocate or expand.”
Among other capabilities, this new high‑speed, high‑capacity Internet connection will promote advances in telemedicine, including real‑time three‑dimensional sharing of information to enable physicians to confer long distance on diagnoses and treatment.
It is also a cornerstone of the Indiana Genomics Initiative's need to manage huge databases of DNA information. This will allow genetic and protein sequences to be analyzed and manipulated more quickly to produce new therapies.
Indiana may be the first state in the nation to deploy a network that connects three research campuses with such highly advanced speed and capacity for information storage and transfer.
IUPUI Engages Business, Industry with Variety of Collaborations
With the opening of our “wired for the 21st century” University Library in 1994, IUPUI began consistently to be counted among the nation's leaders in the design, management, and uses of technology in education. This leadership has asserted itself on many fronts – from the way new buildings and classrooms are designed to faculty use of technology to enhance student learning.
We have often cited a concept originally expressed in the Atlanta Business Journal about how various components of a successful city or region come together like metal filings on a magnet. Eventually, they form a critical mass. This creates an even more highly charged environment and makes an area even more attractive for economic growth and development. As a “next-door neighbor” to Indiana industry and many business headquarters, IUPUI is well positioned to facilitate partnerships that will charge the magnet for central Indiana.
As a new way to enhance collaboration, IUPUI recently sponsored ConnectTech 2001, a forum that brought business and technology leaders, public sector administrators, and elected officials together with IUPUI faculty and researchers to learn about innovations in technology and research under way at IUPUI. Representatives from more than 40 companies from across the state attended and were treated to demonstrations and discussions about campus technology resources and opportunities for cooperation.
During the conference, a crew from the new show “Jobs in Tech,” which highlights local careers in technology, showcased a new arena of collaboration involving IUPUI’s CyberLab and Virtual Financial Services (VIFI). CyberLab recently took up residence with VIFI in the new complex at Intech Park. As noted briefly in the September letter, CyberLab colleagues have researched, developed, and brought to market several high‑tech products associated with the learning enterprise, including Oncourse, the online course management software used at IU, and ANGEL, a product recently adopted by Penn State and other universities.
In the unique partnership between CyberLab and VIFI, we see this concept of “charging the magnet” at work, in microcosm. Thanks to the partnership, IUPUI student interns get experience at one of the nation's top technology firms before they graduate. VIFI, founded just five years ago, has been listed among the fastest growing Indianapolis‑area companies for the past two years in the Indianapolis Business Journal, and recently was ranked 100 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest‑growing private companies, published yearly in the November issue of Inc.
In turn, technology‑based businesses in central Indiana can hire IUPUI graduates who will be fully prepared to work in the "real" world of research and development, marketing and client‑support, and other aspects of managing a high‑tech business or industry.
In upcoming issues of this letter, we expect to describe more such examples of IUPUI’s partnerships with business / industry.
IU School of Nursing Responds to Nurse Shortages with New Educational Offerings
The IU School of Nursing at IUPUI hopes to address the increasing shortage of registered nurses in Indiana with a new 18‑month, accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree for college graduates who already hold baccalaureate degrees in non‑nursing fields but want to change careers. The first students will be admitted in May 2002.
Their plan of study emphasizes promoting, maintaining, and regaining health for individuals and families. Their clinical experience will focus on hospital and community‑based nursing under the supervision of faculty and preceptors in health care facilities across Indiana.
In the current nursing shortage, critical care is the area most in need of nurses. Vacancies are expected to exceed 400,000 this year, and many hospitals are closing due to an insufficient number of nurses. To help curtail this shortage, the IU School of Nursing (IUSON), Clarian Health Partners, and the American Association of Critical‑Care Nurses (AACN) have teamed up to develop a series of unique online classes to increase the number of nurses caring for the growing population of acutely ill patients in critical care.
The classes combine the convenience of distance learning with real‑life, hands‑on clinical experience. The learning experience will include online interactions with experts from across the U.S.; a reference area for the latest research, standards of professional conduct and practice; and nurse mentors from Clarian’s hospitals to provide support and monitor clinical experiences.
The project is funded by a nearly $1 million Learning Anywhere Anytime Partnerships grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, part of the U.S. Department of Education.
Children's Health Book Free to Hoosier Families, Author Earns National Award
Caring for Kids, a new book published by Riley Hospital for Children, with partial funding by the Lilly Endowment, offers a wealth of information and tips not found in traditional parenting books. The book covers child health care, growth and development, nutrition, and child safety. It includes references to helpful books, publications, web sites, and organizations. And best of all, it is available free by visiting www.rileykids.org or by calling 800‑505‑1996.
Incidentally, the book's author, Patricia A. Keener, M.D., clinical professor of pediatrics and director of general pediatrics at Wishard Memorial Hospital, has just won the prestigious 2002 Ernest Lynton Award for Faculty Professional Service and Academic Outreach. The award will be presented to her at the American Association for Higher Education's annual forum in Phoenix in January.
Pat Keener, an IU School of Medicine graduate, has been responsible for originating or spearheading numerous programs – including the Indianapolis Campaign for Healthy Babies, the Wishard Memorial Hospital Community Health Centers, the Hispanic/Latino Health Access Initiative and the Hispanic Pediatric Clinic and Immunization Outreach. In 1980, she started Safe Sitter, Inc., in Indianapolis as a resource for childcare/parenting education,. The program now operates at more than 800 sites in the United States, Israel, and England with 4,000 trained instructors. An estimated 300,000 adolescents have learned first aid and airway rescue skills, in addition to child‑care techniques and safety precautions through Safe Sitter, Inc.
With the state’s budget crisis, gifts to Indiana's public and private colleges are a more important investment than ever for the future of Indiana, and Indiana recognizes these investments with state income tax credits. We have enclosed a CC‑40 form listing the eligible institutions, any of which would be grateful for your support, in these difficult times.
Wishing you all the best for the holidays.
Gerald L. Bepko