January 2012 Archives

Punxsutawney: Even Bigger Than Phil

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Academy of Culinary Arts Ice Sculpture 32105D90PF_260px.jpgWill he or won't he? It's a question on everyone's mind on February 2.

We're talking, of course, about Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous groundhog, and whether he'll see his shadow at dawn on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney.

With all the fun around Groundhog Day, Phil has put Punxsutawney on the map.

But, there's a lot more to Punxsutawney than Phil.

IUP Punxsutawney, a residential first-year campus with 350 students, will celebrate its 50th birthday this summer. The new $19 million Living-Learning Center houses the academic programs, dining facilities, book store, and fitness facility.

Punxsutawney also is home to IUP's Academy of Culinary of Arts, where about 100 students learn all facets of the culinary arts, including a specialized baking and pastry program, from world-renowned chefs. Our grads go on to internships at five-star restaurants and resorts and are in demand from hospitality providers throughout the country. 

The Fairman Centre is also new, the result of a $1.9 million gift from the Fairman family of Jefferson County and more than $2.4 million in grants and contributions from federal, state, and local agencies. The center, located in the heart of downtown, has allowed for expansion of  culinary classes; residential space for students; and on the first floor, upscale retail facilities.

The campus is committed to service to the Punxsutawney community. Students and faculty regularly volunteer with Rotary International of Punxsutawney; Big Brothers and Sisters; and  the Salvation Army and Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. The commitment is mutual: The Punxsutawney Area College Trust is a longtime supporter of IUP, with gifts from members, including the Fairman family and Elaine Light, which have been critical to the continued success and recent new growth of IUP Punxsutawney.

But don't get us wrong -- we love Groundhog Day. Each year, hundreds of IUP students come out for the festivities, which include students in the academy's Ice Carving Club showcasing their skills in the square. On Wednesday, the academy hosted the annual Groundhog Day Chili and Hot Wing Cook-Off. 

Can't make it to Punxsutawney on Thursday? Celebrate at home by making a batch of groundhog cookies -- a special recipe from Light and her husband, Sam, former president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. Don't forget to use your groundhog cookie cutters,  available from the Punxsutawney Phil's Official Souvenir Shop.

Whether you see your shadow or not, come out and celebrate. You'll certainly see more to enjoy in this community than just its world-renowned weather forecaster.

Thumbnail image for kopchick_lab.widea.jpgJohn Kopchick '72, M'75 recently learned that Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine's newest endowed research chair would be named for him.

Kopchick, the Goll Eminent Scholar and Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology at OU, is widely admired as an inventor of Somavert, a drug that treats acromegaly. Somavert has saved the lives of millions of people with this disorder, which can cause excessive growth of organs and bones and lead to premature death. It has also brought millions of dollars to Ohio University.

The new chair was established in recognition of Kopchick's extraordinary contributions to the medical field and the university. 

"This position is such an honor," he said. "The John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundations Endowed Eminent Reseach Chair -- those words are very special. Thank you."

His stature notwithstanding, Kopchick's colleagues and students refer to him fondly as a down-to-earth friend and mentor who has a knack for building research teams, makes research fun, and is an inspiration. 

The new Kopchick Chair is funded by a $5 million endowment supported by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Ohio University. It will be held first by a researcher recruited into the college's Department of Biomedical Sciences in 2016.

"I would hope whoever is the recipient would do their research with the same philosophy that I had, which is to do something that's going to change the world," Kopchick said. 

A recipient of IUP's Distinguished Alumni Award several years ago, Kopchick returned to campus in 2008 to receive an honorary doctoral degree and give the Commencement address.

See a story from the Athens (Ohio) News that explains the how the sale of partial royalty income rights of Somavert will help Ohio University.

Photo credit: Ohio University 


Six O'Clock SeriesBuildings rise and fall, people come and go, but IUP's Six O'Clock Series goes on.

Even after 36 years, this icon of ideas continues to bring interesting and thought-provoking programs to the community.

Every semester, students have come to expect a presentation that is sometimes academic, sometimes purely entertaining, but always interesting and relevant, on Monday evenings at 6:00--at the Hadley Union Building Ohio Room in recent years.

According to our Student Affairs area, it's almost unprecedented to have a program continue for three decades and still be successful.

So, what's the key?

"For one thing, faculty truly believe in the programs and encourage students to attend," Rick Kutz, Center for Student Life staff member and current series coordinator, said. "We also try to respond to current events and mix outside experts with IUP presenters. The quality of the presenters are a draw for students and members of the community.

"It's a part of the institutional memory and culture here. We probably have students here whose parents remember going to the Six O'Clock Series programs."

Intriguing. So, we decided to go right to the source, Sherry Kuckuck, a 33-year member of the Student Affairs Division (now retired).

"I got the idea for the program at a conference in 1975," Dr. Kuckuck said. "I told Ron Thomas, then dean of men, 'Well, let's try it and see how it goes.' So, we started the program in February 1976."

Obviously, it went well. She directed the program for all but two of her years at IUP, and it was clearly a labor of love.

So, how did Dr. Kuckuck set the stage for its success?

"We chose topics that were relevant and important, and I got the best faculty speakers possible. The faculty knew that the presentations were going to be of high quality, because of of the presenters, and they recommended it to students and supported it. I never had a faculty member tell me no when I asked them to present.

"I also constantly invited people to submit program ideas. We'd get our suggested topics, put them on index cards, and match the topic cards to dates on the bulletin board with Scotch tape.

"My philosophy, in directing the program, was that we were responsible not only for helping students to learn to make a living, but to learn to make a life," she said.

Six O'Clock Series poster from 2000Harrison Wick, Special Collections librarian and university archivist, recently archived the Six O'Clock Series files and information. He shared several of the older posters with us.

"The first program for which we have documentation is from February 7, 1977, when Dr. John Merryman presented a values clarification workshop," Wick said. He also noted a program titled "All in the Family: People and Alcohol," presented by Robert Witchel, professor of counseling.

This semester, the series begins Monday, January 30, with Burrell Brown, a professor of management and labor management at California University of Pennsylvania, for the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program and Black History Month Kickoff.

His program will be followed each Monday by 10 presentations by a number of IUP faculty and staff members and external speakers:

  • "A Woman's History of IUP," Theresa McDevitt, IUP Libraries
  • "Navajo Nation," Melanie Hildebrandt, Sociology, and students
  • "You Are Living in Appalachia," Jim Dougherty, Sociology
  • "Financial Literacy," Patricia McCarthy, Financial Aid
  • "College Scams and Identity Theft," Eric Rayko, PNC Bank
  • "Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys," Victor Rios
  • "Bullying: Making a Difference for All," Kelly Champion, Peaceful Families
  • "Autism: A Multidisciplinary Perspective," College of Education faculty
  • "Healing in Native American Culture," Pat Star Dancer Selinger, Thunder Mountain LenapĂ© Nation
  • "Accidential Icon: The Real Gidget Story," Kathy Zuckerman

All of the programs are free and open to the community. If you've not taken the time to come over for a Six O'Clock Series program, clear some time on a Monday evening.

It's an IUP tradition. Be part of it.

Rigorous Research = Successful Students

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James Jozefowicz

James Jozefowicz and Stephanie Brewer Jozefowicz are committed to helping students be successful in the field of economics.

The pair, both faculty members in IUP's Department of Economics, created a specialized economics research project and required it of their students. And, like good economists, the Drs. Jozefowicz collected and analyzed data related to students who had completed the project.

In reviewing the work of students post-project, they found that they were correct--this project HAS made a difference.

The Jozefowiczes' findings were the subject of a presentation at the 2011 Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees fall conference. "Ten Years of Learning by Doing: The Benefits of Undergraduate Research for IUP Economics Students" documented that students who completed the project have won many awards for research and have secured competitive jobs at national companies and organizations.

Stephanie Brewer Jozefowicz

For example, their students have won "best paper" awards at competitive regional competitions, the "best undergraduate student paper" award at the Pennsylvania Economic Association Conference, and seven "best presentation" awards at IUP's Undergraduate Scholars Conference.

Altogether, 80 students have done presentations at local and regional conferences, and 34 students have been published in national and international journals, including Applied Economics, Atlantic Economic Journal, International Advances in Economic Research, International Journal of Applied Economics, and New York Economic Review.

Students have found employment at places like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, Federal Reserach Bank of Philadelphia, Bank of New York Mellon, and many local and regional financial organizations.

Research papers are pretty routine for college students--what makes the Jozefowiczes' project different?

First, it's a 10- to 15-page paper, much more rigorous than most required writing. Students must select a topic of personal interest, build a data set, review economic literature, analyze and interpret the data using statistical methods, write a referred report for their peers, and then give an oral presentation. On top of it all, the paper has to be formatted like a professional journal article.

"The project is very student-focused," Stephanie Jozefowicz said. "We believed, and our research and the student evaluations confirmed this, that our 'let me show you how to do econometrics and send you out to do it' approach engages students and challenges them intellectually better than a more traditional instructor-focused 'let me tell you about econometrics' approach."

James Jozefowicz agreed.

"Not only did the students develop a positive attitude about learning because they could be creative in their choice of topic, but this type of project helps students to build a lifelong ability to 'do economics,'" he said.

Comics Are No Laughing Matter, IUP English Professor Finds

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Gian Pagnucci, English professorEnglish Professor Gian Pagnucci is a very well-rounded guy.

His scholarly interests include narrative theory and research, technical writing, and technology and literacy, and he's well published on this topic.

BUT he's also written and published a number of creative non-fiction pieces about his Italian-American upbringing and a chilldren's book of folk tales, Don't Count Your Chickens! Stories for Kids to Tell!

He has also been recognized for his outstanding record of teaching, research, and scholarly activity and service with the 2009-2010 University Professor Award. The University Professor designation is something that award recipients hold for a lifetime. So, I'm not surprised to see interesting and diverse research and presentations from Dr. Pagnucci.

Recently, he presented "The Death of America in Comic Books: A Socio-Cultural Analysis of Identity Crisis Narrative in Superman and Captain America Comic Books" at the 22nd annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association.

Dr. Pagnucci was joined on the panel by Alex Romagnoli, a doctoral student in IUP's Composition and TESOL program.

He describes this conference as an opportunity for scholars from a wide range of disciplines to explore how trends and events in popular culture shape the world in which we live.

In his presentation, he compares Superman and Captain America, and notes that these fictional characters have true cultural significance beyond comic book pages. He also asks how these events reflect the current notion of American identity and several other interesting questions, including "Are these superheroes merely fictional or do their evolving identities represent a moment of crisis for the nation?" He also concludes that what happens in the pages of comic books needs to be given significance in the academic world.

His work makes me think about another extremely innovative student research project and internship. Melissa Rogers, a graduate of IUP's Robert E. Cook Honors College and an IUP McNair Scholar, did an internship with Marvel Comics in New York City. She also explored autobiographical comic books by women and how they challenge the portrayal of women in mainstream comics and traditional literature.

This certainly makes me think very differently about comics as literature!

Welcome, Dr. Driscoll, IUP's Next President

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Michael Driscoll, IUP's next president

It's official.

Michael A. Driscoll, who currently serves as provost and executive vice chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), was selected January 19, 2012, by the Pennsylvania State System Board of Governors to serve as the next president of IUP.

Dr. Driscoll will begin his work at IUP on July 1.

We had a chance to meet Dr. Driscoll in November. If you're keeping track of candidates by the order in which they visited, he was the second (a.k.a. "the guy from Alaska").

He has an outstanding record of success in all areas, including the creation of the strategic plan at UAA and creation of the university's College of Health. He was part of a team that helped to secure UAA's largest corporate gift, $15 million from ConocoPhillips to name the university's new integrated science building and establish an arctic science and engineering endowment.

Before his work at UAA, he was at Portland State University for 18 years, last serving as vice provost for academic personnel and budget. He has had numerous works published in academic journals including the Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing and the International Journal on Computers and Electronics in Agriculture.

UAA seems to have many similaries to IUP. It's a bit bigger, with about 16,000 students on its main campus and 5,000 more at community campuses in several other areas. Like IUP, it is part of a university system.

His background is in electrical engineering. He earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in that field from Michigan State University, but he's also kind of a renaissance man.

In his biography, he admits to an interest in naval history and "an addiction to crossword puzzles." He also says he enjoys music and theater (he is REALLY in the right place, with IUP's outstanding music and theater productions) and nice dinners in quiet restaurants (again, many from which to choose in Indiana County).

Congratulations to Dr. Driscoll. We truly look forward to having him join us as our new president. Thanks and congratulations are also in order for the IUP Presidential Search Committee and its chair, trustee Susan Delaney. There have been many hours spent in this process, and it wasn't an easy task.

We will continue to have more on the presidential transition on the IUP website and in IUP Daily, the employee e-mail newsletter, as more information becomes available. Keep watching. He's also been in the news already--check out the following coverage:

And, keep watching local eateries come July. Chances are you might see IUP's new president and his wife, Becky, enjoying one of Indiana County's great restaurants.

Scholarship Recognizes Professor Emeritus's Inspiration

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Faculty members inspire many things--success, fortitude, vision, and, sometimes, the desire to give back in return for those things. That's Bob Stouse's story.

Stilwell-Strouse.JPG A member of the Class of 1970, Strouse recently pledged his support to establish a scholarship fund in honor of Merle Stilwell, a retired professor. Strouse, of DuBois, has pledged a portion of the amount needed to establish the Merle Stilwell Scholarship for Mathematics fund. The charitable foundation associated with his employer, Illinois Tool Works, will match the balance.

The scholarship will be awarded to Mathematics or Mathematics Education majors. Preference will be given to those who demonstrate involvement in community service and who exhibit attributes of a well-rounded person.

If you would like to give to the Stilwell or another scholarship fund,
visit our Give a Gift page today.

Stilwell, a longtime faculty member, was granted emeritus status in 1991. He lives in Indiana.

"Merle went out of his way to help me," Strouse said. "No matter who you were, he took care of all the students. He really was the professor in the Math Department students could go to for help.

"I went from a very immature kid entering IUP to a very focused adult who launched a successful career," said Strouse, a member of the football squad that played in the 1968 Boardwalk Bowl.

Strouse dreamed up the idea of a scholarship after being contacted by IUP's Development staff.

"You know, alumni are contacted to donate to the Foundation for IUP to help the university. I thought about it, and my employer would match three dollars for every one dollar. I thought if I'm going to help IUP, why not do it this way. We can fund a scholarship to honor Merle. Merle helped students, and a scholarship is a great way to help students," he said.

Strouse invites fellow alumni who were inspired by Merle Stilwell to also contribute to the Stilwell Scholarship Fund.

Upon his graduation, Strouse became a mathematics teacher and then entered private industry. After retiring from Illinois Tool Works and settling in DuBois, he now is helping students at DuBois Business College. He also is among a group of Boardwalk Bowl alumni leading the charge to develop a scholarship that supports IUP's football team members.

It could be that Stilwell also inspired Strouse to lend his time as well as his treasure to worthy causes.

In the photo are Eleanor and Merle Stilwell and Bob and Susan Strouse. The photo was taken during the last football season at a pregame party.

College Technology DayFacebook, Twitter, PowerPoint, Google, the "Cloud," Prezi, D2L, podcasting, Photoshop, webinars, Moodle, tablets...

It's all part of teaching and learning today.

Confused? Don't worry. The College of Education and Educational Technology has your back.

January 18, 2012, is the second annual Technology Day, sponsored by the College of Education and Educational Technology. This event, held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Stouffer Hall's Beard Auditorium, is open to the entire IUP community and features faculty and staff members across the university sharing expertise on technology topics related to teaching and learning. It's free, and no registration is required--and you can come and go as your schedule permits.

Worried about best use of PowerPoint? Come to the 9:00 a.m. session with Cheryl Kohler.

Okay with PowerPoint but twitterpated about Twitter? Listen to John Lowery's program "Twitter Backchannels: Extending the Classroom Discussion," or Crystal Machado and Ying Jiang's "Don't Get Bitter... Just Twitter."

Facebook hater? Don't be. Come to Jennifer Forrest's "Using Facebook to Encourage and Monitor Students Working on Group Projects."

The programs all focus on how technology can advance teaching or the use of IUP's unique technology products, including IUP's new test-scoring system (presented by Joanne Kuta) and its new calendar system (co-presented by Todd Cunningham and Ben Dadson). In addition to the individual and group presentations, there will be a panel discussion about use of simulation in teaching and learning and one about "Teaching Online Courses--A Panel of Experienced Faculty."

These are just some of the presentations scheduled throughout the day. For a more detailed schedule, visit the College of Education website or contact Lloyd Onyett, assistant dean for technology.

IUP in Spotlight as Host for Kennedy Center Theater Festival

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Lindsey's Oyster, produced by IUPAll is NOT quiet here during the winter break--and IUP could not be more happy and proud.

IUP is hosting the Region II Kennedy Center Theater Festival through Monday, January 16. This means that 1,000 faculty members and students from colleges and universities from the eight-state region are here on campus for workshops, lectures, and performances. This is the second time that IUP has been selected to host the event; we also were the site for the 2010 festival, which featured keynote speaker Bill Pullman.

The keynote presenter for this year's festival is John Cariani. He's been in many television series and popular movies, including Kissing Jessica Stein, and was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical) for his performance in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. He also has an interesting IUP tie: He was one of the stars of Elephant Sighs, the movie written by former IUP theater professor and playwright Ed Simpson.

There are a number of plays open to the community throughout the festival in the Performing Arts Center's Fisher Auditorium, along with four special productions for festival audiences. These plays, offered in the Waller Hall Mainstage Theater, are open to community members as seating permits (available seats will be distributed starting about 10 minutes before the performances).

Productions have to be selected for festival performances, and the competition is fierce; 80 colleges and universities are eligible to enter a production for selection.

So, IUP is very proud that festival officials selected an IUP production, Lindsey's Oyster, for showcase at the festival. The show will be presented in the Waller Hall Mainstage Theater on Friday, January 13, at 5:00 p.m. This is among the performances for which festival attendees have first priority for seating. Tickets are $10 per person.

This show, in addition to presenting outstanding student talent and excellent direction by IUP's Jason Chimonides, represents IUP's inaugural commitment to the National Theatre Conference's Initiative to Celebrate American Women Playwrights. (Note: This production may contain language and situations to which some audience members may object.) 

Make sure to check out the festival website to find about more about the peformances. An amazing opportunity for outstanding theater, right in our own backyard.

Looking to Buy a Catholic Indulgence?

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Eberly Connects monksOne of our favorite holiday shopping stops in December? The Stephenson Hall living-learning space.

Here we browsed some truly unique gift options: Catholic indulgences, stocks from the 1920s, even a 1950s bomb shelter.

Or, at least, we were treated to expert sales pitches on these items by first-year students who developed business plans for companies in various eras of modern world history. They presented these plans as their final projects for the linked courses Introduction to Business, taught by William McPherson, and History of the Modern Era, taught by Werner Lippert, in the new Eberly Connections program.

About 90 students, working in 20 teams, created business plans in an amazing range of historic periods spanning the 16th to 20th centuries.They were judged by a panel of faculty and staff members, and the award for best presentation went to the Tea Kettle Tea Company, set in England in 1850.

Their projects "gave students a chance to really know their product and the history embedded in it," said Dot Gracey, assistant dean for Student and Alumni Services in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. Gracey created Eberly Connections with help from Michele Norwood, associate dean for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Students gained awareness of the social, political, and business settings during which their product was developed, as well as research skills they might not normally have acquired in their first semester. By dressing for success circa 1550 or 1850, they became more personally connected to the information they learned during the semester.

"This is the type of deep, extended learning we hope for with the living-learning and linked courses concepts," said Gracey. "In this way, students gain knowledge that will stick with them for years to come."

We're sold on that!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2011 is the previous archive.

February 2012 is the next archive.

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