March 28, 2015

Refuge for a Threatened Iraqi Scholar

By Holly Rittenhouse

Ball State University is currently providing a safe haven for an Iraqi scholar whose life was threatened by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Ball State’s Center for International Development and the Intensive English Institute are working in collaboration with the Institute of International Education's Scholar Rescue Fund® (IIE-SRF) to protect one of the many scholars who face great harm in their home countries.

 “Since 2002, IIE-SRF has assisted more than 575 scholars from 51 countries, placing them at over 300 host partner institutions in 40 countries around the world,” according to the IIE-SRF website. IIE-SRF was launched in 2007 “in response to the large scale emergency threatening the intellectual capital of Iraq”. ISIS has closed universities, threatened intellectuals who promote ideals oppositional to ISIS’ beliefs, and destroyed precious ancient artifacts and sites which ISIS considers as false idols. Many of the artifacts have even been sold on the black market.

IIE-SRF “formalizes an unwavering commitment that IIE has demonstrated for over 90 years to preserve the lives, voices, and ideas of scholars around the globe.” Thus far, the Iraq IIE-SRF has rescued more than 250 threatened scholars. Ball State’s involvement with programs such as IIE-SRF makes it “one of the ten most active U.S. universities in the field of higher education assistance in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.”

Ball State’s Center for International Development (CID) and the Intensive English Institute (IEI) were the main proponents in procuring this opportunity for the visiting scholar. CID’s mission is “to assist in the political, social, economic and educational development of the world's poorest countries.” The center “serves as a unifying resource for faculty members with shared interests in alleviating poverty and contributing to the economic and social development of the world's most fragile and conflict-affected countries.”

The Intensive English Institute’s mission is twofold: “to facilitate international students’ progress in English proficiency and the knowledge of US culture necessary for success in academic coursework in the United States” and “to encourage the development and research of best practices in the area of language teaching and learning.” The IEI has welcomed the visiting scholar as one of its own instructors and provided him with the opportunity to teach several English courses to international students. The scholar is also continuing his research during his time at Ball State.

The visiting scholar (who wishes to remain anonymous) would like to express his appreciation for those involved with this program. “What I would love to emphasize is the outstanding efforts exerted by the SRF team, represented by the head of the Iraqi SRF team Nada Alsoze who took the pain of contacting me on a daily basis to make sure that I'm safe and to ensure my safe exit outside…Iraq” says the scholar. He continues, “The arrangements made by the host University, Ball State and the CID, were very timely. The reception was very warm and generous.”

The scholar is grateful for the people he works with in the CID and IEI. “So far, my stay at Ball State has been greatly rewarding and satisfactory. I met wonderful people who have been generous enough to understand the hardships I went through. I'm surrounded by love, the CID staff are amazing and so is the IEI staff. It is definitely not easy to suddenly lose everything: a home, a job, a PhD study and many other things,” he says, “ I have those wonderful people who made it easier for me to overcome my loss and the threats that I faced.”

This scholar is safe in the United States, but he holds concern for his colleagues who are still in danger. “I’m glad to be rescued but I would be…happy to know that other scholars from my university are being rescued, too. I keep receiving information from those who left the city that they are suffering a lot because they are not welcomed anywhere. The country which they thought they belong to is now turning its back on them. They are simply perceived as ISIS or supportive of ISIS,” says the scholar.

The IIE-SRF unceasingly works to make a positive difference in the lives of scholars and their families around the globe. “At the heart of IIE-SRF is the idea that each scholar we help who continues his or her work in safety is a beacon of hope in our world.”

For more information on ISIS’ destruction in Iraq and elsewhere, visit

March 24, 2015

20th Annual Student Symposium at Ball State University in One Week! Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, 2nd Floor: Display Setup Times and Public Sessions Information

In one week, the 2nd Floor of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center will host the Sponsored Project Administration’s (SPA) 20th Annual Student Symposium at Ball State University.  The Student Symposium offers students an opportunity to display their research projects and creative endeavors in an exciting afternoon poster session and moderated paper presentations taking place throughout the afternoon. 

All Ball State University students are eligible: undergraduate, graduate, those from Burris Laboratory School, and the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities.  The Sponsored Projects Administration invites students and faculty from all disciplines to attend this one-day event.

Information regarding display setup times, public sessions, and moderated paper presentations are included below.  

Don’t miss out!  Slush Punch and Cookies will be provided.

Event Date & Location
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
L.A. Pittenger Student Center, 2nd floor

Schedule of Events
Display Setup:
Monday, March 30          2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 31         6:00 – 8:00 a.m.
             Judging:                         8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.   
Only judges may be present at this time.
 Public Sessions:               1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
  Presentation of Awards:   4:30 – 5:00 p.m. 
Prizewinners will be announced at 4:30pm in Cardinal Hall.  Participants must be present to win.

2015 Student Symposium Paper Presentation Overview
Studies in Speech and Language
  • Time: 1:30-2:45
  • Location: Music Lounge
  • Number of Papers: Two
  • Moderator: Mellisa Holtzman
Physical and Health Sciences
  • Time: 1:30-2:45
  • Location: Cardinal Hall B
  • Number of Papers: Three
  • Moderator: Anthony Cancio and Mahamud Subir
Spaces and Environment
  • Time: 1:30-2:45
  • Location: Cardinal Hall C
  • Number of Papers: Three
  • Moderator: Sanglim Yoo
Issues in Higher Education
  • Time: 3-4:15
  • Location: Music Lounge
  • Number of Papers: Four
  • Moderator: Jerrell Cassady
Issues in Business
  • Time: 3-4:15
  • Location: Cardinal Hall B
  • Number of Papers: Three
  • Moderator: Qiannong (Chan) Gu and Tamara Montag-Smit
Peace, Ethics, and Social Issues
  • Time: 3-4:30
  • Location: Cardinal Hall C
  • Number of Papers: Five
  • Moderator: Michael O’Hara
Visit the Student Symposium webpage for links to the 2015 guidelines and schedule.  Contact Jessie Roark if you have any questions. We hope to see you there!

March 20, 2015

Ball State’s ASPiRE Internal Grant Program is pleased to announce the Hollis Fund opportunities available for summer and fall projects 2015.

Ball State’s ASPiRE Internal Grant Program is pleased to announce the Hollis Fund opportunities available for summer and fall projects 2015.

Sponsored Project Administration (SPA) is pleased to oversee the Joseph W. and Marcella S.
Hollis Fund for research in fields of psychology. Professor Joseph W. Hollis served Ball State from 1954‐
1984 with his service culminating as Chairperson of the Department of Counseling Psychology and
Guidance Services. This opportunity is supported by the income arising from the endowment.

Hollis funds can be provided to assist in psychological research project costs such as travel or supplies.
Dr. and Mrs. Hollis also recognized that research in psychology might occur in a number of departments
and programs across the campus. Thus, proposals from any department are eligible, as long as the
project is psychology based.

·         Applicants must be Graduate students or Junior Faculty Members (first 3 years of appointment).

·         Ball State students are limited to one Hollis award. Additionally, Jr. Faculty members are limited
to one Hollis award during their term as a Jr. Faculty member.

Types of Funding Available
Research related travel, supplies, payments to subjects (excluding gift cards), and presentations of work
at professional meetings (proof of presentation acceptance must be submitted at the time of

Questions pertaining to the ASPiRE Program can be directed to or by calling the Sponsored Projects Administration at 765-285-1600

March 11, 2015

RSVP for the NSF Grant Writing Workshop

The College of Applied Sciences and Technology, in partnership with the Sponsored Projects Administration, will be hosting a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant-writing workshop from 2-5 pm on March 19 in AJ 175. This event is open to the campus community. Even if you are in a discipline that does not rely on the NSF grant mechanism there may be valuable grant proposal writing tips and strategies that are applicable to all grant proposals. Please register in advance for this event by visiting:

Program participants include Jackie Davis and Dr. Justin Miller from the Sponsored Projects Administration, Dr. Tom Holtgraves from the Department of Psychological Sciences and Dr. Derron Bishop from the Center for Medical Education. The full workshop schedule is not finalized at this time. If you RSVP now you will be updated as information becomes available.  This Event is for the Ball State University campus community only.

February 16, 2015

Start-Up Grants at Ball State University

Start-Up Grants at Ball State University
By: Holly Rittenhouse

From the revival of antiquated art forms to the intersection of theatre with social justice, Ball State University’s Start-Up Program is jump-starting an array of scholarly initiatives for first-year faculty members.

Ball State’s internal grant Start-Up Program enables new faculty members to launch their research, scholarly studies, and creative endeavors. Each award consists of a competitive one-time grant, up to $3,000, which may be used to purchase supplies, research-related items, and/or travel to conferences or workshops. Only tenure-track faculty members in their first year of employment with Ball State are eligible to apply.

The Sponsored Programs Office would like to congratulate the 2014-2015 recipients of the Start-Up Program awards, including Roza Aceska, Mathematical Sciences, Colleen Balukas, Modern Languages and Classics, Brad Condie, Art, Molly Ferguson, English, Benjamin R. Gibbs, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Shireen Kanakri, Family and Consumer Sciences, Elizabeth Lawrence, History, Kimberly Martell, Special Education, Rebecca Pappas, Dance, Dan Rutherford, Mathematical Sciences, Monte D. Staton, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Jonel Thaller, Social Work, Jon Truitt, Music, and Lu Wang, Educational Psychology. Below are two examples of the first-year faculty initiatives.

Paper Animation: Reviving a Tradition

Bradley Condie, Assistant Professor of Art, is using his Start-Up Grant Award to revive a declining medium – 2D hand drawn animation. While working at Walt Disney Feature Animation, Condie used this medium to animate scenes in popular Disney films such as Brother Bear, Lilo and Stitch, Atlantis, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Pocahontas
Figure 1

Condie chooses to revitalize this antiquated medium because it is distinctive from other methods. “It offers a unique and specific experience that computer animation mediums do not recreate. It forces you to be thoughtful when drawing, think spatially, and be more creative as an animator,” says Condie. Other former Disney artists share Condie’s mission to save this dying art and are working on a new paper animation film called Hullabaloo.

Condie currently teaches 2D animation classes at Ball State and recognized the need for proper supplies. “Ball State has wonderful digital tools for me and the students to use but, I [did] not have access to many of the antiquated tools and materials that one generally uses in creating traditional hand drawn animation.” Using the supplies purchased with the Start-Up Grant, Condie’s students are helping to revive 2D hand drawn animation and carry on the tradition of this inimitable art form.  

Commemorating Trauma and Human Rights Speech through Contemporary Irish Drama

Molly Ferguson
Dr. Molly Ferguson, Assistant Professor of English, is using her Start-Up Grant Award to research contemporary theatre performances in Ireland. Ferguson will travel to cities such as Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Belfast to study Irish plays as expressions of shared traumas. “Today, emerging playwrights in Ireland are processing collective traumas through initiating public dialogue about issues such as racism, child abuse in the Church, and terrorism,” says Ferguson. “This type of work is at the forefront of postcolonial studies today,” she says, “intersecting national and cultural identity formation with social justice work.”

Ferguson has attended Irish plays in the U.S. and England, but she knows that such art forms lose their authenticity when removed from their home country. “Once they leave Ireland their reception is culturally packaged and delivered for the consumption of a ‘tourist’ audience” says Ferguson. “Viewing these plays at the time of production and assessing their reception by audiences and reviewers will add an important element to my research, for which I have thus far had to rely on secondhand reports,” she says.

“I plan to explore my interest in human rights and conflict resolution in Ireland today, to add research to my claim that Ireland is at the forefront of objection to global imperialism and violence, through the voices of its artists,” says Ferguson. Upon her return, Ferguson plans to publish a journal article on her research and teach an immersive learning course about conflict resolution in Ireland and South Africa.

For further information on Ball State’s Start-Up Program, click here or email Find information on additional funding opportunities at

Figure 1: 

New Learning Innovation Hub for Teacher Training

New Learning Innovation Hub for Teacher Training
By Holly Rittenhouse

Thanks to the Office of Educational Excellence and Steelcase Education Solutions, the Robert Bell Building at Ball State University is about to get a modern makeover. The wall between rooms 108 and 109 will be knocked down, and the new space will be redesigned into a Learning Innovation Hub (LIH) with new furniture and technology from Steelcase Education Solutions. This project is part of the Interactive Learning Space (ILS) Initiative in which TC 414 and TC 412 have already been refurbished with Steelcase products, and BB 109 is in the works to open fall 2015 with new equipment.
Figure 1
The LIH in Robert Bell will include Verb tables with Node chairs, individual whiteboards, Huddle boards, wall whiteboards with short throw projection, an Apple TV, and a Verb instructor’s desk. Gary Pavlechko, Director of Teaching Technology in the Office of Educational Excellence, says that this space “will accommodate our teacher education course enrollments. Inclusive to the room will be furniture and technology that promote active, engaged learning.” 

Gary Pavlechko
The Office of Educational Excellence recognizes the need for an updated teacher-training environment which better aligns with the pedagogy Ball State expects graduates to implement in K-12 classrooms. “Ball State University currently does not have a classroom primarily created for pre-service teachers to develop critical thinking around effective pedagogy for K-12 learners” says Pavlechko. “All too often, our pre-service teachers begin to learn about the practice of teaching while being lectured to – the typical teaching practice found in higher education. This is not the pedagogy we want to see these graduates implementing in the K-12 school environment,” he says. “It would be most important for our pre-service teachers to learn how to teach in an active learning space before they enter their practicum work in the K-12 classroom, as part of the teacher education curriculum.”

Steelcase Education Solutions works with educators and designers to improve the way classrooms function. They design flexible furniture and tools that support active learning. For example, the Verb tables and Node chairs support fast, easy transitions between various teaching modes, such as lecture, discussion, and project work so that class time is best utilized and students can stay engaged without interruption.
Figure 2
The Office of Educational Excellence expects this Learning Hub to accomplish three main objectives. Students of teacher education courses, taught in the Learning Innovation Hub, will…
  • participate in active learning methodologies, and in turn, be able to design active learning curricula, including long-term and short-term activities for K-12 students. 
  • use learning hub technology assets, during active learning experiences, and will be able to design similar activities for K-12 students.
  • participate in active learning curricula that are enhanced by space considerations.
Priority for utilizing the space will be given to “classes that directly affect teacher education and learning how to effectively teach in an active learning space,” says Pavlechko. To teach in the Learning Hub, faculty members must go through the ILS Initiative faculty development program. For further information on teaching in the Learning Innovation Hub or other ILS spaces on campus, click here.

The Office of Educational Excellence anticipates to finish the project and for courses to begin in the Learning Innovation Hub by fall semester 2015.

Figure 1
Figure 2

January 30, 2015

Registration for the 2015 Student Symposium at Ball State University has been extended through Friday, February 6th!

Don't miss this opportunity to present your work in either a poster/media display or paper format in a FREE academic conference right here on campus.

Reasons why you should register for the Student Symposium at Ball State University:

  • Registration is free! The costs of registering for academic conferences can often range into the hundreds of dollars. Here you have an opportunity to present and attend a well respected and established conference free of charge. (Did you know this was the 20th annual Student Symposium?)
  • No travel time or expenses! Another large expense for those wishing to attend and present at academic conferences is the expense of travel. Since the Student Symposium is right here on campus you don't incur any of those expenses.
  • It looks good on your resume/CV! Building your credentials while still in school is a great way to advance your career. 
  • Your work doesn't have to be completed! We're in the middle of the semester and your work on a project may not be finished yet, we get that. All that we ask is that you have enough work done to explain your ideas, methods, and expected outcomes.
  • If you've never presented before this is a great first conference! At the Student Symposium you can learn what goes into preparing your work for public presentation, see what others have prepared for their presentations, and get feedback from your peers and University faculty and administrators.
  • If you have presented before, this is still a great conference! You can never have too much experience. The Student Symposium is a great place to refine your presentation skills.
  • You get to attend the conference, too! While you are presenting at the Student Symposium you can also take a look at what other participants have brought to present. Maybe you'll find inspiration for your next big idea, or a future collaborator. There is no bigger gathering on campus of student researchers ready to talk about their work, and you get to be right in the middle of the action! 
  • We have slushy punch and cookies! Do we really need to explain why this is a good thing?
Visit the Student Symposium webpage for links to the 2015 guidelines and registration. We hope to see you there!

January 29, 2015

Upcoming Aspire Student Deadlines

SPRING SEMESTER DEADLINES! Are you in need of Research or Creative Arts funding for your projects? Are you traveling to present at a conference or professional meeting? Look no further than the Aspire Internal Grant Program:

BSU's ASPiRE Internal Grant Program supports student-initiated research, creative arts projects, and scholarly studies. Students may submit proposals for up to $300, for Research or Creative Arts project costs such as travel or supplies. All students presenting papers, posters, etc., at conferences or professional meetings can request $100 to defray travel costs.

AY 14-15 Aspire Student Program Spring deadlines:

Undergraduate Student Competitions:
. Research applications due: February 5, 2015
. Creative Arts applications due: February 12, 2015

Student Travel Grants: Applications due 15th of each month prior to travel date (for presentations of papers and/or posters, etc., at meetings or conferences)

For Program Guidelines, see: Questions pertaining to the ASPiRE Program can be directed to or by calling the Sponsored Programs Office at 765-285-1600

January 27, 2015

Final Week of Student Symposium Registration!

Registration for the 20th Annual Student Symposium at Ball State University ends one week from today. Don't miss this opportunity to present your work in either a poster, media, or moderated paper presentation format in a professional conference setting right here on campus! The Student Symposium will take place Tuesday, March 31, 2015 in the Student Center.

Visit the Student Symposium webpage for more information and to register.
Also, check us out on Facebook:

Registration ends Monday, February 2nd, 2015.