Ivy Tech Students Among Ten National Science Foundation Finalists

SOUTH BEND, IN – A group of Ivy Tech Community College students are among ten finalists competing in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC)—a STEM-based contest designed for community colleges students. Their innovative proposal: a device that detects human waste contamination in water within hours instead of days.

Typically, officials responsible for closing public beaches or swimming areas wait several days for results to reveal whether or not harmful levels of bacteria exist, leaving their citizens at risk of exposure. But, students in George Twaddle’s biotechnology class believe targeting specific genes of the bacteria E. coli using a biosensor will shorten the lag time between testing and confirming results from days to hours.

“It’s the students in our introductory biotechnology class that came up with this potentially life-saving idea,” said George Twaddle, Ivy Tech’s Biotechnology program chair, “and that’s the important thing to note about this.”

Twaddle, a staunch advocate for bringing—and applying—creativity to science, teaches his students through research. He notes competitions like the CCIC capture the higher-level thinking skills educational professionals want students to attain.

“Our students are learning through research, collaborative learning and application. They are documenting, hypothesizing, testing and answers their questions,” said Twaddle.

It comes as no surprise for this group of students to make it to the final round. They recently won a silver medal for this proposed device at M.I.T.’s annual International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition last fall—standing alongside 225 international teams including Harvard, M.I.T., and Oxford.

In June, the Ivy Tech team will head to Washington, DC to participate in a three-day Innovation Boot Camp. This professional development workshop on innovation and entrepreneurship will hone skills applicable to commercializing their idea, using technology for social applications, communicating with stakeholders and creating business strategies.

For full details on the contest, visit the challenge website for the full eligibility criteria, entry guidelines, timeline and prize information. You may also watch the twenty semifinalist videos from which the 10 finalists were chosen at http://goo.gl/0vL3L8.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

NEH awards IUPUI-Ivy Tech partnership grant to create world religions curriculum

INDIANAPOLIS — With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will work in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College faculty to create 150 course modules on world religions for Ivy Tech humanities classes.

The NEH, in Washington, D.C., recently announced it has awarded IUPUI $119,009 to conduct “World Religions in Greater Indianapolis,” a two-year study program on contemporary religious traditions in greater Indianapolis for 15 faculty members at the Indianapolis campus of Ivy Tech Community College.

Led by IUPUI professors Edward Curtis and Arthur Farnsley and Ivy Tech humanities chair Jack Cooney, the program will help the Ivy Tech faculty develop course modules on five world religions for the existing Ivy Tech humanities core, including courses on history, literature and cultural anthropology.

“This NEH grant for ‘World Religions in Greater Indianapolis’ exemplifies all we reach for at Ivy Tech Community College as we provide our students with learning opportunities which lead them to flourishing lives as well-educated citizens and as resourcefully nimble employees,” Cooney said. “We are both honored and proud to partner with our teacher colleagues at IUPUI whose vision for this substantial NEH grant is not without regard to our possibilities.”

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, a unit of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will operate the program, which will connect Ivy Tech faculty to experts on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism at IUPUI, Indiana University Bloomington, Butler University and Marian University.

The program seeks not only to bolster humanities content at Ivy Tech but also to create more understanding of Central Indiana’s religious diversity, especially of recent immigrant communities.

“This project will aid faculty in helping students understand the breadth of religious traditions in America and in central Indiana,” IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. “At a time when there are far too many examples of misunderstandings about religions, this is a vital project. I am pleased that the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, one of our outstanding research and public outreach centers, is willing to lead this project.”

Ivy Tech faculty in the program will be introduced to world religious traditions and their sacred texts, and study their significance to U.S. history and culture. After their study of a particular tradition, the faculty will then arrange discussions with members of a recent immigrant community from that tradition. The faculty will create the Ivy Tech course modules as capstone projects based on their comprehensive studies.

Participating religious communities from Central Indiana include Jews from the former Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine; Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic Christians from Latin America; Muslims from West Africa; Hindus from India; and Buddhists from Vietnam.

“We are grateful to all of our community partners for making it possible to bring together Central Indiana’s academic experts and its rich immigrant cultures in a program for Ivy Tech faculty,” said Bill Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts.

NEH grants are among the most prestigious research awards in the humanities. The “World Religions in Greater Indianapolis” program received one of only four grants awarded in the NEH’s “Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges” category, for which there were 46 applications.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

Ivy Tech Community College to host national conference for American Technical Education Association

INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community College will be hosting the national American Technical Education Association’s (ATEA) 52nd annual conference April 15 to 17 at the Hilton Hotel and Suites in downtown Indianapolis.

This year’s conference entitled “Innovation through Continuous Improvement of Technical Education” promises to display the best in technical education through industry partnerships. There are a number of exciting and informative sessions, factory tours, vendors and even an opening reception at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) with internationally recognized IMS historian, Donald Davidson.  There will also be a session on the Tennessee Promise, and Congresswoman Susan Brooks will be presenting a keynote address on strengthening the middle class.

Features this year include three breakout sessions with five presentations in each session as well as industry tours.  Tours this year include Dallara Indy Car Factory, Dow Agriculture, The Glick Technology Center, and Ivy Tech Community College.  ATEA conferences are comprehensive and provide unparalleled professional development through the host college and contributions from their networks and expertise.

The official start of the conference will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will kick off with a reception and dinner sponsored by Amatrol.  After a welcome from Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder, ATEA Board President Rich Wagner, President of Dunwoody College of Technology, Minneapolis, will officially open the conference.  Donald Davidson, the Speedway Historian will be the keynote speaker.

Outstanding sessions include “The Tennessee Promise” – a model for a national American Promise with James King, Vice Chancellor for the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and “Securing the Middle Class” – Friday’s keynote presentation by Indiana Congresswoman Susan Brooks.  The hallmark industry panel this year is “Innovative Partnerships” moderated by Tom Snyder, President of Ivy Tech Community College and conference host, with panelists Walter Miller, Cummins and Dr. John Wolfe, FCA Fiat Chrysler.

Plenary Sessions will be focused on the growing impact of centers of excellence, both TAACCCT and state funded centers of innovation and connection, which link their practice for the benefit of faculty and students.  The sessions are designed to share experiences and are early in the conference to encourage networking on behalf of programs and institutions.  The presenters are from Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Kansas, Indiana, and Minnesota.

A session on the impact on technical education by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) will be presented and moderated by Roger Tadsjewski, Executive Director, National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Panelists include Fredrick Brookhouse, National Partnership Manager, Snap-On Tools, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Matt Janisin, Gateway Technical College Instructor/Coordinator of NC3, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

ATEA is proud of its tradition of recognizing excellence and will present national awards at the Thursday luncheon. Awards are given for outstanding technical student, teacher, and program.  Additionally, a joint award with the National Technical Honor Society will be presented to an exemplary business that supports technical education.

The ATEA Board of Trustees and Regional Councils will also meet during the conference.  Outgoing ATEA President Rich Wagner, Ph.D., will be recognized for his service from 2013 to 2015.  President Wagner leaves a strengthened organization that has continued the quality and focus of postsecondary technical education, professional development, and professional connection.  During the Annual Meeting, in-coming President Paul Young, President of Northern Wyoming Community College District, will take the Oath of Office.  He will begin as President on July 1, 2015 and serve till June 30, 2017.

Further information on the conference can be found at ivytech.edu/atea.