Make ’em laugh: Workshop helps teachers see a lighter side of education

The Times-Mail

Make ’em laugh: Workshop helps teachers see a lighter side of education

By Heather Nichols

June 28, 2012

ORLEANS — Conferences and workshops can have a perception of being dull and boring ­— hours of lectures and a seemingly endless loop of technical information.

But an upcoming workshop in Orleans, designed for teachers, should sound more like a party.

Burton Kimble Farms, in conjunction with the Center for Lifelong Learning at Ivy Tech Community College, will offer a workshop on July 9 called “The Value of Humor in Teaching.”

The workshop, presented by Dr. Holly Burton Hoffman of Central Michigan University, will look at the role humor can play in the classroom to better engage students and enhance the learning experience.

The workshop will provide techniques a teacher can use to incorporate humor, basic modifications for existing lessons, how to become a more approachable person, and more importantly, to laugh. The event will serve as a “how-to” for teachers on engaging students in appropriate humor.

“I’m really looking forward to this class. There is lots of research on how humor in the classroom can help cognitively, socially and help with self-esteem,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman, who specializes in early childhood development and special education, has done extensive research in humor and made it the focus of her college dissertation. She went all over Michigan and sat in on countless classrooms focusing on humor.

“Everyone said that when you pick a topic for your dissertation, pick something that you really love cause you’ll be immersed in it. Don’t pick something that will drive you crazy,” Hoffman said. “People asked ‘You are studying this for your dissertation? Isn’t this a serious degree?,” Hoffman said.

She pointed out that many adults benefit from comedy, in books, sitcoms and movies but wondered why the same did not apply for children. She also believes if students look forward to something they may remember it more.

“We think about the benefits for adults but we don’t often think of taking something as serious as education and being light-hearted,” Hoffman said. “You don’t have to be funny to be humorous in the classroom, just be open-minded enough to sometimes allow your students to choose humorous reading materials.”

Hoffman believes while teachers who take a more light-hearted approach can often see benefits in their students, they also must have a strong sense of classroom management.

Classroom teachers are often faced with an overwhelming amount of data, assessments and stress. Hoffman believes adding humor to an everyday lesson may make the workload easier.

“To me I really think of (humor) as a coping mechanism, not only with the students in the class but also for the teacher,” she said.

Hoffman added, utilizing humor can engage the students, make them more responsive and improve their experience in school while costing little to the school’s budget.

“It doesn’t really cost any money … it’s about adjusting the attitudes of our students,” Hoffman said.

She believes educators who come to the workshop gain more than a laugh or two.

“I hope (teachers) walk away with a sense of being refreshed. They can take some time to reflect and give themselves credit for all the things they already do.”

Professional credit

The workshop will provide 5.5 contact hours, which can be used by teachers for license renewal.

Teachers in Indiana are required to renew their licenses by completing college courses or attending workshops such as these. Teachers must earn 90 Professional Growth Points to qualify for renewal. Every contact hour in professional development equals one point.

“This is a new avenue for teachers, and we wanted to be able to do it,” said farm owner Dr. Judith Burton. “If we can explain to the public what it is we are doing and reach the teachers we will continue doing things like this.”

Burton’s farm has been working with Ivy Tech Community College since the fall of 2009 offering personal and professional growth classes for adults. Burton hopes the farm serves as a gathering place for enrichment, relaxation, learning and fun.

“My hope is that people will come here and feel welcome and relaxed,” she said.

The cost of the workshop is $79, and will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for more information visit and choose “Short-term Training” or call (812) 330-6044.

Heather Nichols is the journalism teacher at Paoli High School and is serving an internship this summer with the Times-Mail.

ORLEANS — Burton Kimble Farms will serve as the host site for a teachers workshop on July 7. Dr. Holly Burton Hoffman of Central Michigan University will share “The Value of Humor in Teaching” through the Center for Lifelong Learning at Ivy Tech Community College. (Times-Mail / HEATHER NICHOLS)

If you go

What: Teacher workshop, “The Value of Humor in Teaching” — a “how-to” for teachers on engaging students in appropriate humor.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 9

Cost: $79

Info: Visit and choose “Short-term Training” or call (812) 330-6044.

Copyright: 2012

Ivy Tech biotechnology workshop gives high school students a head start in life sciences


June 27, 2012

Ivy Tech biotechnology workshop gives high school students a head start in life sciences

As part of Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s early college offerings, the biotechnology program is holding a free nine day workshop to area high school students July 9-19. The workshop will introduce high school students to the life sciences industry and career options in the field. Sixteen high school juniors and seniors will earn three college credits for Ivy Tech’s BIOT 100 course and gain experience in a high-demand industry in the greater Bloomington area.

Students will have the opportunity to learn about biotechnology careers, meet professionals in the field, tour a local biotechnology company, and gain hands-on, practical lab experience. Some topics they will learn about include: How to determine if food is genetically modified using the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technique, safety and regulatory guidelines in biotechnology, and how to make glowing bacterial cells using genetic modification.

“The workshop meets a direct need for increasing student awareness of the life sciences industry in the greater Bloomington area,” says Clint Merkel, Director of the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences. “According to the Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership, Bloomington’s employment in the life sciences industry is six times greater than the national average. Additionally, a 2010 BIO/Battelle study rated Bloomington as the highest among U.S. communities its size in per capita medical device employment, and third highest in pharmaceutical employment.”

For the past three years, the workshop has been funded by a congressionally directed grant from the U.S. Department of Education (Office of Postsecondary Education).

Workshop registration for this year is closed, but for information about additional biotechnology programs for high school students, please contact Sarah Cote at The workshop will be held at the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences (ICLS), a facility used by regional life science firms to meet their training goals for existing workers, and by Ivy Tech to prepare students for a career in the life sciences. Anyone interested in the ICLS facility can contact Clint Merkel at

For information about Ivy Tech degree program offerings, visit

About Ivy Tech Community College

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.



Ivy Tech announcing new Baking and Pastry concentration of Hospitality degree program


June 26, 2012

Ivy Tech announcing new Baking and Pastry concentration of Hospitality degree program

 Ivy Tech-Bloomington announced today the addition of a Baking and Pastry concentration to the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Hospitality Administration. The Hospitality degree also offers a concentration in Culinary Arts.

According to Chef Jeffrey Taber, Hospitality Program Chair, “As a baker, and former bakery owner, I am excited to offer this concentration. The job market for baking and pastry graduates goes beyond the small independent bakery.”

Restaurants, hotels, clubs, grocery stores, commercial, and independent shops are constantly seeking bakers and pastry chefs with the necessary skills and experience. This area of study is tailored to prepare a graduate to satisfy industry demands and American Culinary Federation Standards for Baker certification.

Graduates from the Hospitality Administration degree program can start careers as cooks, chefs, bakers, convention center managers, event planners, food service managers, lodging and restaurant managers.

Registration for fall classes is open, and classes begin on August 20. For more information about the Baking and Pastry concentration or the Hospitality Administration degree, contact Jeffrey Taber at (812) 330-6267 or

For information about Ivy Tech degree program offerings, visit

About Ivy Tech Community College

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.



Local startup culture is fertile ideas field where ‘next big thing’ may sprout

The Herald-Times

Local startup culture is fertile ideas field where ‘next big thing’ may sprout
Grow your own

By Rod Spaw 331-4338 |
June 23, 2012

Everybody has ideas; entrepreneurs act on them. These days, entrepreneurship is where the action is in Bloomington.

In informal meetings at coffee houses, at structured gatherings around catered food and drink or during intense weekends of brainstorming and collaboration, a community has developed around the nexus of ideas, talent and investment.

“There’s something in it for everybody,” said Junaid Kalmadi, one of the founders of monthly BloomTech meetings for prospective entrepreneurs. “They want to fix something; they have an idea; they are seeking people who want to be part of something.”

Pursuing dreams, solving problems, finding partners, chasing money — participants in Bloomington’s “startup culture” have a multitude of motivations.

Any one of them could plant the business seed that grows into the next ExactTarget, an Indianapolis-based interactive marketing company that was founded in 2000 with an investment of $200,000. Now with offices around the world, ExactTarget reported $64.1 million in revenue during the first quarter of 2012, and its stock market launch in March was the exact opposite of Facebook’s — ExactTarget’s stock rose 32 percent on the first day of public trading.

The next big thing

Perhaps the next big thing will come from Henry Graves, whose idea for a social media website for fishing enthusiasts won a Startup Bloomington Weekend competition in May.

Graves said he spent every available moment fishing or thinking about fishing while growing up in South Holland, Ill. He was so passionate about the sport that he memorized all of the Illinois state fishing records and had considered becoming a professional fisherman after high school.

However, he said, his father had a different vision for his son, and Graves ended up at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he obtained a degree in finance. That’s where he met Winston Kotzan, of East Chicago, a fellow member of IU’s Undergraduate Finance Club, and his future partner in

Graves said the concept for a Facebook-like website for anglers came to him in 2007. His idea was to create a site on the Internet where fishermen and fisherwomen could post photos and information about their catches, organized by lake and region, so that other anglers could research fishing hot spots online and network with one another. Revenue would come from advertising purchased by fishing guide services, equipment manufacturers and fishing shops.

Now living and working in Indianapolis, Graves’ Startup Bloomington presentation in May included a prototype mobile application, market data and feedback from potential advertisers.

Graves said he and Kotzan plan to launch the website at the end of July after pitching their idea at Verge, an Indianapolis group that functions much like BloomTech as a place to meet other entrepreneurs and to share experiences.

Start up your engines

Start-up events around the country are an outgrowth of Startup America, a nonprofit organization launched in early 2011 to direct resources and expertise to new companies as a way to stimulate job creation. The organization now claims to have more than 7,500 member startup companies that provide more than 44,000 full-time jobs and 19,000 part-time jobs.

There is a Startup event somewhere every weekend that brings together people with ideas and people with skills to help those ideas become businesses. At the most recent Bloomington Startup Weekend, presenters hailed from Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Terre Haute, as well as the immediate Bloomington area. No one seems too concerned about somebody stealing their inspiration.

“If you don’t share your idea, it will die because it will be stuck in your head,” said Grant Carlile, another BloomTech founder. “If you thought of it, you are probably in the best position to pursue it. If you want to get your idea moving, share it, get feedback and start the business.”

Here’s how a Startup Weekend works: Participants “pitch” their ideas to those assembled on Friday evening, who then vote on which one should move forward during the weekend. Teams form around the selected ideas to provide development support. A panel of judges hears final presentations from the teams on Sunday and announce winners.

Matt Burris attended his first Startup event last November; he was one of the organizers of the May event.

“Everybody’s willing to help because they’ve all needed help,” said Burris, a principal in RT6 Engineering, a start-up whose business is product design and development. “Everybody in that community loves talking about the next new idea.”

Talking and networking

BloomTech is a place where those conversations take place on a monthly basis. The evening meetings are mostly networking affairs with food and drink, but the program usually includes a pitch of a new idea and advice from at least one entrepreneur who has tread the path of small business creation.

At the May meeting, for example, Graves presented his concept for the ultimate fishing website. Then, Logan Rush of 1 point interactive, a company specializing in website design and email services, explained how he went from being an intern at Angie’s List to executive vice president of his own business.

Finally, Bill West talked about his own experiences as an online innovator and entrepreneur. West was founder and president of Option Six, a successful e-learning company based in Bloomington. West told the Bloomtech audience how he took out two mortgages on his home to start Option Six for $100,000 and then sold it eight years later for $6 million. Now, West has started Silicon Quarry, a product and business development company, also based in Bloomington. He told the Bloomtech crowd that his new company was seeking other entrepreneurs who are “looking for a place to grow their ideas.”

An environment for entrepreneurs to connect with creative people was precisely what Carlile, Kalmadi and other BloomTech organizers had in mind when they formed the group, whose first meeting was in February of 2011. Attendance soared this spring when the group moved from a coffeehouse on Kirkwood Avenue to a larger venue, KRC Catering on College Avenue; the turnout went from 35 people in March to 120 people in April and 65 people in May.

“My motivation was to bring together a community,” said Carlile. “It’s always been about empowering people to do what they’re passionate about.”


Perhaps the next big thing will walk in the door of the Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Bloomington.

The center was established in 2010 to build a curriculum for entrepreneurship at the community college, but it also serves as a resource for people wishing to start their own business.

Executive director Steve Bryant said the staff has talked with probably 150 individuals in the past year and half about their business ideas.

“We have a pretty good entrepreneurial culture,” he said. “We have a lot of people with good ideas who are running around looking for people with like minds.”

Bryant said the center can offer advice to people who want to start a business and direct them to other places for assistance, such as the Indiana Small Business Development Center, the chamber of commerce or the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. The center hosted a Startup Weekend event last November and intends to do so again this fall.

“People are following an idea and seeing what happens; that’s what these meetups and Startup Weekends are all about,” he said. “Before dumping a bunch of money into something, get an idea out there, get some quick feedback and find some resources.”

Startup America: A national initiative to create jobs by enabling new businesses (

Startup Indiana: Information about new startup companies and events in Indiana (

BloomTech: Monthly networking meeting for local entrepreneurs

Verge: A community of tech entrepreneurs, software developers and business investors in Indianapolis. Find out what’s happening at

Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship: Resources and consulting services for entrepreneurs (

Copyright: 2012

Ivy Tech’s Swafford wins award for teaching

The Herald-Times

Ivy Tech’s Swafford wins award for teaching

By April Toler 331-4353 |
June 25, 2012

Larry Swafford, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Ivy Tech Community College, was awarded this year’s annual Glenn W. Sample Award for Excellence in Instruction.

Swafford received the award, which is the highest honor for a faculty member granted by Ivy Tech, during the college’s annual President’s Awards event.

“Through his ability to create innovative collaborations with industry partners, Dr. Swafford has afforded his students unique educational opportunities by providing access to state-of-the-art equipment and expert industry training at both Indiana University Health Proton Therapy Center and at the ProCure Training and Development Center in Bloomington,” John Whikehart, chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus, said in a prepared statement.

Swafford began teaching at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus in 2006 as the professor and program chairman of the Radiation Therapy Degree Program, the only two-year radiation therapy program in the state.

Swafford developed not only the state’s only Associate of Science degree in radiation therapy, but also the nation’s first and only Proton Therapy Specialist Certificate.

During his time at Ivy Tech, Swafford has graduated 36 registered radiation therapists and 53 proton-certified students.

In January, Swafford’s Proton Therapy Specialist Certificate program was also nominated as one of 10 national semi-finalists for the Community College Futures Assembly Bellwether Award for Innovation in Workforce Development.

Following Thursday’s ceremony, Swafford said he was shocked to receive the honor but excited for the field of radiation therapy to be recognized.

“It’s nice to be recognized for this accomplishment, even more so that my profession is a little known profession, radiation therapy, and we treat cancer patients and we do wonderful things,” Swafford said. “It’s nice to have the recognition, but it’s also nice to let people know about my profession and how respected it is.”

Having served as a staff radiation therapist for many years, Swafford said he tries to use his own real world experiences to help teach his students.

Being a part of Ivy Tech’s radiation therapy program, he said, allows him the best of both worlds.

“It’s not very often people get to practice their two favorite professions,” he said. “I love radiation therapy and I love teaching and I get to teach radiation therapy.”

Although Swafford said he is proud of the program he has developed and the accomplishments it has seen so far, he is most proud of his students’ accomplishments.

“I’m most proud of the students that I graduate,” he said. “They are why I do this. When they graduate and get a good job and I see them have families, buy a house and start their lives, that’s what makes it very fulfilling.”

Copyright: 2012

Arts Watch: Ivy Tech to offer fine arts degree

The Herald-Times

Arts Watch

Compiled by Nicole Brooks
June 24, 2012


Ivy Tech to offer fine arts degree

BLOOMINGTON — Students at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus can now work toward and earn an Associate of Fine Arts degree.

The degree was recently approved by the Commission for Higher Education. It is being offered to meet the demand for regional employment in the arts, to support regional arts activity, and to allow students to transfer to four-year universities to earn a bachelor’s degree in art, according to a news release from the community college.

The degree “transfers seamlessly to the Herron School of Art, the School of Informatics at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indiana State University and Saint Mary of the Woods College in Terre Haute,” noted the news release. Currently, only the general education courses of the degree transfer to IU Bloomington.

The Associate of Fine Arts degree requires 64 credits. Courses include Life/Object Drawing, Color & Design, Intermediate Drawing, Exploration/Women in Art, 3-D Design and Painting. Studio elective courses will vary, but may include sculpture, printmaking, papermaking, ceramics, computer graphics and “The Art of the Book.”

Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus is the Indiana Arts Commission Regional Arts Partner for Region 8, which includes Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties.

For more information about degree options, visit or call 888-IVY-LINE.

Ivy Tech summer camp helps teens learn business side of music

The Herald-Times

Ivy Tech summer camp helps teens learn business side of music
Entrepalooza class teaches students how to market, record their own albums

By April Toler 331-4353 |
June 23, 2012

At 15 years old, guitarist A.J. Flynn is serious about his desire to be a successful musician. The Bloomington native has been writing and playing music for the past few years.

“I’m in the middle of recording my own album, and I’ve been recording with bands for the past couple years,” he said.

While being in a recording studio is nothing new to A.J., marketing and selling his music is a different subject.

That’s why he decided to take part in a recent Ivy Tech summer camp program that provided teenagers like him a chance to learn about the business side of making music.

“It’s something as musicians when you’re first starting out, it’s there and you’re working on it, but you don’t really think about it in details,” A.J. said. “Something that is important is who your key audience is. That’s something I hadn’t thought about before.”

A.J.’s musical education was all part of the first Ivy Biz for Kids, Entrepalooza class, held through Ivy Tech’s Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship.

High school students participating in the camp each brought individual musical experiences.

Recordings ranged from original music with a heavy-metal feel; a version of Chopin’s “Prelude in E Minor”; and a song from the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid.”

Throughout the week, the teenagers learned the ins and outs of laying down a track, including recording techniques from Phillip Traicoff, owner of Renegade Studio, who guided the sessions and mixed the music.

In addition to being able to record their own CD, the teens also learned the business side of making music that involved writing a business plan outlining how they are going to sell their music, who their targeted audience is, how they will promote their music and the financial costs of cutting and promoting a record.

“I think it’s important for them to be able to come in and record, but then separate the business and do that, too, because you have to have both in order to be a successful musician,” said Noel Niehaus, coordinator for the entrepreneurship center. “You can be the greatest guitarist in the world, but if you don’t know how to run your business, you’re not going to be able to get anywhere with it. It’s important to know both.”

The marketing side of the business was definitely a new lesson for 13-year-old pianist Jack Clarke.

“One of the things I learned was how much marketing went into being in a band,” Jack said. “I always thought it was, ‘play your music, and maybe you can get a record deal.’ Turns out, it was a lot more than that. There’s quite a lot of business to it.”

Coming from a musical family, Jack has been playing the piano/keyboard for the past five years and also plays the saxophone.

While he has performed live, Jack, who recorded “Prelude in E Minor,” had never been in the studio, an idea that he admits had him rattled in the beginning.

“It was a little nerve-wracking at first because I’ve never been in a studio before, but after a day, I’m not really nervous anymore,” he said. “It’s a pretty comfortable place, laid back.”

Although the teenagers’ musical tastes were quite different, their love of music brought them together, allowing them to celebrate each other’s accomplishments throughout the week.

In fact, in addition to recording their own music, the two vocalists, guitarist and a piano player collaborated on a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

For Ali Bryant, who traveled from Zionsville to be a part of the camp, Entrepalooza was a fun way to learn about how to turn her passion for singing into a possible career.

Being among her peers, she said, made the experience that much more fun.

“It makes it more relatable because you get to see other people like you who are doing it, too,” she said.

Watch the video online at:

A.J. Flynn records a bass track to a song at Renegade Studio outside of Bloomington. A.J., who has been writing and playing music for years, was among high school students recently given the chance to record songs through Ivy Tech’s Ivy Biz for Kids, Entrepalooza class. Bobby Ellis | Herald-Times

Noel Niehaus helps Ali Bryant design a cover for the CD that she recorded at Renegade Studio as part of the Ivy Tech summer business camp.

Phillip Traicoff mixes A.J. Flynn’s bass track while Amy Beasley watches.

Copyright: 2012