November 2011 Archives

Honoring the Honor Society

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phikappaph_260pxi.jpgNot only does IUP have prestigious honor societies--its honor societies get honors.

IUP founded its chapter of Phi Kappa Phi in 1993. Designed to recognize excellence in all academic disciplines, Phi Kappa Phi is one of the oldest honor societies in the nation, with about three hundred chapters on college and university campuses throughout North America.

Earlier this fall, IUP was notified that its Phi Kappa Phi chapter was named a "Chapter of Excellence." This designation goes to the very best of the best. In fact, IUP is one of only eleven Chapters of Excellence in North America and the only one with this designation in Pennsylvania.

What does that mean?

It shows that the IUP chapter and the IUP chapter leadership--the current president is Dennis Giever in the Department of Criminology and the immediate past president is Marveta Ryan-Sams, Department of Foreign Languages--along with all the former chapter officers, have been active in meeting, organizing meaningful initiations, and seeking national fellowships for graduate study, study abroad scholarships, and the Love of Learning awards.

These awards offer significant and very selective scholarships to students for study abroad and graduate study.

Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only, and only the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and the top 7.5 percent of juniors will qualify for invitation for induction. Faculty and professional staff members and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify.

Congratulations, IUP Phi Kappa Phi!

Maureen McHugh.jpgAdolescent bullying, for good reason, is a hot topic, and one of IUP's professors is in the forefront of the discussion.

Maureen McHugh of the Psychology Department this week caught the attention of LiveScience. McHugh studies bullying, sexual harassment, and especially "slut-bashing," the practice of peers labeling other peers as dirty and promiscuous, oftentimes in the absence of any sexual activity at all on the part of the victim.

"Their peers know what kinds of words to use to hurt them," McHugh told LiveScience, adding that sexuality becomes an Achilles heel in the beginning of adolescence.

"It is serious, and not only in terms of something as devastating as suicide, but also people not doing their best in school to live up to their potential," McHugh said. "They don't apply themselves, or they skip school because they can't bear to be there. [Bullying] has a huge number of consequences for a lot of people."

See the full article.

McHugh serves as the associate editor of Sex Roles and teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

English Class Project Marks World AIDS Day

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Veronica Watson's Topics in English class has designed a public humanities project to coincide with World AIDS Day.

Human AIDS ribbon in Oak Grove in 2005"The students have done everything from conceptualize the project to arrange all the logistics to bring it to the world, to all of the publicity and media you might see around it," she told me.

And, not only has this involved posters, fliers, other publicity materials (including a Facebook page), students have worked to collect poetry, memoirs, and photography to do a "story trail" in the Oak Grove. They will be installing the pieces this afternoon in the Oak Grove, and the story trail will be up through December 1.

Tonight from 4:00 to 7:00 in Folger Hall, the group will stage an awareness game called "Who's on Fire." On November 29, it will show the award-winning film Philadelphia at 5:30 p.m. in the Crimson Event Center in Folger Hall. After the film, people will be invited to offer personal testimonies. Information about AIDS also will be available.

My colleagues and I agree that one of the best things about working at a university is seeing the passion and commitment that our students have for important causes. Watching them take what they've learned in the classroom--and seeing how well our faculty members encourage them to take classroom experiences into real-life projects--makes me even more proud to be part of this university community.

P.S. Other AIDS awareness events on campus include the World AIDS Day Awareness Event on December 1 in the Ohio Room of the Hadley Union Building, sponsored by the IUP Office of Health Awareness and the African American Cultural Center. The event opens with an open mic session at 7:00 p.m. and continues with a presentation at 8:00 p.m. with Dr. Linda Frank, associate professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh, who will provide an update on HIV. Dr. Frank also is the Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the Pennsylvania-MidAtlatnic AIDS Education and Training Center.

There also will be information tables in Stapleton Library November 29 and November 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. offering more information about AIDS.




Happy Anniversary, Management Services Group

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ECOB 63011PF05_260px.jpgHappy anniversary wishes are in order for IUP's Management Services Group.

The MSG is an umbrella organization for outreach programs of IUP's Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. The goal of the MSG is to make a significant contribution to the economic vitality of the region by providing services to ongoing and startup businesses, both profit and nonprofit.

Without question, it has met that goal.

The MSG provides specialty business services through the Center for Family Business, Excellence in Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, Government Contracting Assistance Program, Small Business Development Center, Small Business Incubator, and Small Business Institute.

All of these programs not only serve the Indiana County region and regional businesses, but the Management Services Group also offers both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity for real-life experiences and to make connections with businesses and agencies that help lead to internships and employment.

For example, the Small Business Institute serves businesses by creating teams of students to answer the specific needs of the business. The SBI has worked with Cherry Hill Manufacturing, Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort and Conference Center, Four Footed Friends, Gorell Enterprises, Indiana Regional Medical Center, Lockheed Martin, Renda Broadcasting, and the United Way of Indiana County, to name just a few of the clients. The work it has done has resulted in six national awards for excellence.

All the programs involve students and faculty members, working closely together, in one way or another. It's just another example of how IUP takes learning outside the classroom, to benefit students AND our community. 

Here's to twenty more years of excellence...and more!

Accreditation Distinguishes IUP Programs

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NAYSC_Early_Childhood_Accreditation_11711D69_260px.jpgThe good news keeps coming in terms of continued accreditations for IUP's departments and programs, and for those affiliated with IUP.

Most recently, the Indiana County Child Day Care Program, which serves as the laboratory for students in IUP's Child Development and Family Relations Program, was re-accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Earlier this month, the dietetics track in the Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition program in the Department of Food and Nutrition was recognized with full, continued accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education.

In September, the IUP Counseling Center was notified of its reaccreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services Inc., an organization of American, Canadian, and Australian counseling agencies.

In August, the Computer Science Department's degree program in Computer Science/Languages and Systems Track was recognized with accreditation by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

In April, the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology was notified of its continued accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

And, IUP as an institution holds accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Truly, the list goes on and on, with some fifty programs on the list compiled by the Division of Academic Affairs.

So, what does this mean to the faculty, students, and parents? That IUP programs are not stagnant, for one thing. Departments must continue to be accountable for standards and outcomes, or they are at risk of losing their accreditation.

Second, that the university's programs are designed to meet standards to help students be competitive when they graduate, as programs with accreditation are expected to measure how well students are learning. 

And finally, accreditation means that a university has passed the test of independent reviewers. It's great to see that IUP and its programs are "A" students.

Accreditation. Don't go to a university without it!

IUP's John McCarthy: "Let's Talk about Suicide"

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In addition to teaching, researching, and mentoring students, IUP's faculty members are often part of local, regional, national, and international groups and nonprofit agencies offering expertise in a variety of fields.

John McCarthyJohn McCarthy, a professor in IUP's Department of Counseling and director of IUP's Center for Counselor Training and Services, is a member of the Westmoreland County Suicide and Awareness Prevention Task Force, among other organizations.

In observance of tomorrow's Annual International Survivors of Suicide Day, Dr. McCarthy authored a powerful editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 17.

Titled "Let's Talk about Suicide," the editorial points out that the topic of suicide is often a taboo topics for families, communities, and societies. However, Dr. McCarthy notes that while homicides are often in media headlines, suicides rarely make the news.

He then offers the startling figure that the act of suicide took the lives of more than 34,000 Americans in 2007 (according to the Centers for Disease Control). This compares to more than 18,000 homicides commited that same year.

He also shares data from the American Academy of Suicidology that indicate that more than 1,500 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to suicide in 2008. And, for every life lost, as many as 25 people attempt suicide.

He ends his editorial urging awareness and discussion.

"Suicide. It is a sensitive topic, to be sure, yet it too often is on the Taboo List of things to discuss. Let's remove it. Let's talk."

Dr. McCarthy is well-known in the field of counseling. In addition to his work at IUP and with this regional group, he serves on the board of directors of the Center for Credentialing and Education, a corporate affiliate of the National Board of Certified Counselors.

During spring 2011, he seved as an academic visitor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. He is widely published and, since 2009, has participated in the International Academic Fellowship Program in the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute. In this role, he works with the Department of Psychology at Yerevan State University in Armenia.

Students at International Conferences? You Bet!

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IUP students truly do have the best of all worlds.

Rockies2_260px.jpgFaculty are committed to teaching and being available to students, AND faculty are part of cutting-edge research. Because they understand the value of both worlds, faculty know how to push students "out of the nest" and give them opportunities they may not have thought possible.

Daniel O'Hara, a Geoscience and Computer Science major from Ebensburg, has been selected to present at the American Geophysical Union Annual International Conference in San Francisco in December.

I've been to Ebensburg. It's a lovely little town, population 3,091 as of the 2000 census, but my point is that it's a long way from there to presenting at an INTERNATIONAL conference with 20,000 geoscientists from all over the planet. That is not a typo--there will be 20,000 scientists at this event.

Graduate students, especially those at the Ph.D. level, often have research and presentation opportunities at other universities, but IUP excels at giving undergraduates the chance to do research worthy of international presentations and then helping them acquire the skills and confidence to be part of prestigious conferences and meetings.

IUP also commits its financial resources to making these kinds of opportunities possible--in Daniel's case, he received support from the Department of Geoscience, the School of Graduate Studies and Research, the dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the IUP McNair Scholars Program.

Daniel's presentation is just the tip of the iceberg in counting up research presentation opportunities for undergraduates. It happens in all disciplines, from Anthropology to Theater and Dance.

Meggie PaceFor example, Meghan Pace, an Anthropology/Archaeology Track major from Bucks County, presented her research at a national conference in Atlanta, and it resulted in her landing a summer job at a geophysical consulting firm. ... That's in addition to her doing archaeological research in China's Fujian Province--all as an undergraduate. She's now working on her master's degree at IUP.

For the past six years, IUP has offered undergraduates an opportunity to prepare and present research and creative works at the Undergraduate Scholars Forum. Last year, the School of Graduate Studies and Research coordinated a forum for graduate research.

Congratulations, Daniel, and all of our students selected for these types of presentations. You bring great pride to IUP!

IUP Honors Veteran Killed in Persian Gulf with Scholarship

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Service member saluting flagIUP works to honor and remember those who lost their lives in service to our country. The memorials on campus recognizing our veterans were the subject of a special IUP Magazine story titled "Honoring, Remembering Our Own" in 2010.

Recently, the IUP College of Education and Educational Technology remembered a very special young woman from our community who never got the opportunity to attend IUP.

Beverly Sue Clark, a native of Armagh, was one of thirteen Army reservists killed in a scud missle attack during the Persian Gulf War in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Clark, an employee of Season-All in Indiana, had planned to enter IUP's education program and become a teacher upon her return from the Persian Gulf. In her honor, friends and family members established the Beverly Sue Clark Scholarship for students preparing for a career in teaching, with special consideration given to military personnel and veterans of the war in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan and their family members.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of her death.

The Beverly Sue Clark scholarship is is just one of several scholarships established in honor of those who have lost their lives in service to our country or who are veterans of military service.

The memorials and these memorial scholarships remind us that these special individuals are remembered and appreciated--not just on Veterans Day, but throughout the year, especially by those who have received these scholarships.

In the case of Beverly Sue Clark, her dream of touching the future through teaching comes true through the generosity of her family and friends and by all who have received her scholarship. What a wonderful way to add to her already very special legacy.

I don't know about you, but I still hesitate just a little bit when I enter my credit card number and click "Enter," even if I'm completely sure of my shopping choices.

Whether you like it or not and whether or not you are a computer user, information on almost everyone is stored in some kind of computer system, be it your health records, bank records or even your grocery shopping choices (Use your Advantage Card at Giant Eagle?).

So, the point is, everyone needs to be concerned about cybersecurity.

Rose Shumba, computer science professor, and studentsFor almost a decade, IUP has been one of the leading universities in the nation focusing on the issue of cybersecurity, or information assurance. Information assurance addresses all of those issues surrounding security of computers and data. IUP is one of fewer than one hundred universities in the nation recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a national Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance. One of the things that sets IUP's program apart is that it combines the disciplines of criminology and computer science, offering a unique perspective on this fascinating field of study.

IUP is also very proud to have an Institute of Information Assurance, directed by Rose Shumba, professor of computer science. One of the projects of the institute is an annual Information Assurance Day. Top-level speakers come to IUP to talk with students, faculty members, and the community about issues in the field. This year, the event is Thursday, November 10.

For this fourth annual event, speakers from nationally known firms and from the FBI will discuss topics as diverse as "Four Essential Requirements for Securing Your Enterprise" to "What Keeps Me Up At Night," a discussion about botnets, malware, cybercrime, and the criminal underground. This second program is copresented by two FBI agents, both special investigators of national security and criminal cybercrime. The final program of the day will be given by IUP graduate Douglas Brown, senior vice president and IT audit senior manager for First Commonwealth Financial Corporation, who will present "Information Assurance, an IT Audit Perspective."

All of these programs are free and open to the community.

When I know that IUP students are learning how to keep my information safe, it makes me feel a lot better about the state of our nation's computer information.

Subscribe to Around the Oak Grove by E-Mail

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Our Communications Office experiment has been running for little over two months now, and we've been pleased with the response we've received thus far.

To make it easier to keep up with Around the Oak Grove, we are now offering e-mail subscriptions. Just follow the "Subscribe to Around the Oak Grove by E-mail" link at the bottom of the rightmost column on this page, and you'll get a signup form.

Of course, you can still subscribe to Around the Oak Grove using Google Reader or any other RSS reader. We'll also be including regular links to our posts in IUP Daily.

Good Reasons to Prepare for Zombies

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So you're just trying to live your normal little life, when out of the blue vampires and zombies start their own battle for global domination. What's a poor human to do?

Vampires vs. ZombiesIt's fun to mentally compare the strengths and weaknesses of both monsters, as was done at the recent Six O'Clock Series event, "Vampires vs. Zombies: The Debate." Two authors of books that discussed how to survive their respective favorite creature outbreak squared off to support their choice of the winner. Scott Bowen (The Vampire Survival Guide) and Matt Mogk (Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about Zombies) have appeared on Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior, which featured an episode that attempted to demonstrate who would win. Claws were compared to bites, and intelligent yet emotional killing machines were compared to a horde of unstoppable and mindless abattoirs on feet.

The winner on Deadliest Warrior was vampires, but by an extremely narrow margin (the Six O'Clock Series audience's vote was decidedly in favor of zombies). The comparisons were fun, and the examples, though gruesome, were light-hearted because, after all, we're talking about fictional creatures and an impossible scenario. But there was one point, almost idly mentioned in passing, that carries serious relevance: The Centers for Disease Control has created printed publications and a website on how to survive a zombie apocalypse.

The tongue-in-cheek campaign has become an effective way to help people think about disaster preparedness. As the website notes, "If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack."

When hordes of the undead start menacing society, people may start thinking more about protecting their families than going to work. Roads may become impassable, and, as services begin to break down, there would be shortages of food and water. Deliveries of critical supplies, such as gasoline, oil, and medicine, would slow down or stop. Power outages would become an issue, as would lack of sanitation. The results of a disaster would be similar no matter the cause: zombie horde or terrorist attack, natural disaster (volcano or earthquake) or manmade (nuclear accident or biological contamination).

Be Prepared warning from the CDCWhen vampires and zombies wage war, or when any catastrophe occurs, humanity will feel the results. In the end, it doesn't matter which of the monsters win. It's all about how we handle the situation and what we do to save ourselves.

So learn how to survive a zombie attack. Be ready for when the battle rolls onto your lawn. Let's hope catastrophe will never strike home in your lifetime. But knowing that you are prepared, in at least some small measure, will help you fall back to sleep easier when you hear that mysterious bump in the night.

wisnicki1.jpgUpdate, November 11: The BBC also featured this discovery, and the report can be seen on the BBC website. The Associated Press also filed a report, as did the New York Times.

The Google Alert I received in my in box yesterday morning made me say out loud, "Oh!" It was an article in the Washington Post about one of our own professors' hunt for special treasure.

Adrian Wisnicki, who joined IUP's faculty this fall, teaches British Literature in the English Department. His discovery and analysis of one of David Livingstone's journals led to the story, which appeared in the November 1 edition. See the story.

Wisnicki, who is the codirector of the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture at IUP, initially went in search of Livingstone's field diary for the insight it would provide on Central Africa's culture in 1871, and he found it with the help of an archivist at the David Livingstone Center in Scotland. Wisnicki worked with Library of Congress spectral imaging experts to decipher the makeshift journal fashioned out of old newspaper and ink made from berries, which Livingstone, who was low on supplies, was forced to use. Wisnicki found discrepancies between Livingstone's working journal--the tattered find from Scotland--and his ultimate published work.

The conclusion is that Livingstone may have chosen to bend the truth to hide a few details that, in hindsight, would have reflected badly on his pristine image, according to the article. The famous explorer, missionary, and physician published an account of a massacre that eventually led to the abolition of a certain slave market, but his diary tells a different account.

Not even after a hundred forty years can someone hide from a persistent person and spectral imaging. Facts are stubborn things, although Wisnicki is still analyzing the journal's contents.

Wisnicki and the colleagues who worked on the project have ensured the full text of the journal is available online, hosted at UCLA's library. See the David Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project.

Hair, Hair...All for Men's Health Awareness

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iStock_000017022660XSmall_260px.jpgIt's going to get a little hairy around campus this month.

For the second year in a row, IUP's fraternities are taking over November and creating "Movember," much to the dismay of those who like a clean-shaven man.

During Movember, men are encouraged to "grow their mos" (mustaches) as part of the national Movember men's health awareness program, which focuses mainly on two men's cancers, testicular and prostate.

Think of it as the manly version of the famous pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.

Tonight, the Hadley Union Building atrium will take on a very different feel, as some thirty fraternity members take part in the "shave off" to begin the Movember project.

Later this month, there will be another men's health awareness project, in which the fraternities will "pack the house" for the men's basketball game against Thiel College on November 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. Messages about men's health and these cancers will be prominently displayed and presented during the game.

Then, on November 28, the furry-faced fraternity brothers will stage a bowling tournament (open to the community) at Mohawk Lanes. This is one of several fund-raising events for Movember. Last year's event--the first at IUP--raised almost $2,000, which was donated to the national project fighting testicular and prostate cancer.

Early in December, men will go mustache-to-mustache for an event to judge the most iconic mos. According to Betsy Sarneso, director of Student Leadership and Greek Life, last year's Movember mustaches (say THAT three times fast) were grown in the style of Mario (of video game fame) and samurai warriors.

While the growing of mustaches is all in fun, these cancers are very serious. They are hard to talk about, but awareness and education are a great start.

So, the next time you see a young man with a mustache, think about what kind of important message that furry upper lip is sending. And here's another bonus: Many of these fraternity men will have an easy and very inexpensive gift for mom for the holidays: a clean-cut son!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

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