Associate professor of English, Christine Brandel, wins campus instructional award

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus has named Christine Brandel, associate professor of English, the 2018 recipient of Ivy Tech’s President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. She was selected among 46 other full-time faculty nominees.

Brandel’s student nominations highlighted her commitment to student learning and community involvement.

In her English composition courses, Brandel’s teaching focus is critical thinking. “This skill will be important in their college classes as well as in their daily lives,” she said of her students. “I encourage them to question and analyze what they read, so they can build well-supported, logical arguments. We usually have a theme of higher education and my hope is that it encourages students to become more invested in their own educational experiences.”

Brandel also serves community. She was awarded Ivy Tech’s 2018 O’Bannon Institute for Community Service Excellence in Volunteerism award for her work with IU Health Bloomington Hospice as a patient and bereavement support volunteer.

In addition to her classroom duties and community service, Brandel is a second-year adviser of Root and Branch campus literary magazine, in which two of her students were recently nationally-recognized for their contributions to the publication. She also serves on the campus diversity committee, the English department affective unit committee, and as chair of English adjunct faculty support. She is also adviser to the student Campus Pride group.

Brandel is the author of “A Wife is a Hope Chest,” published by Brain Mill Press in Oct. 2017. The title poem from that collection was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize. She has participated in community writing events and was recently featured on “The Poets Weave” on WFIU local public radio.

“In all of my classes, it’s important for me to treat students as individuals,” said Brandel. “My students come into class with different motivations, skills, and levels of confidence, and I do my best to inspire and challenge all of them to become stronger writers.”

Some of Brandel’s English students have gone on to universities to work on their bachelor’s degrees and then continued on to graduate studies.

The President’s Award is given annually to one full-time faculty member from each Ivy Tech campus statewide. As recipient of this award, Brandel is also the nominee for the statewide Ivy Tech Founder’s Award for Excellence in Instruction, to be presented by the College in June. The Founder’s Award is presented to one full-time faculty member statewide who best typifies the teaching and learning mission of the College.

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Open house event touts new technology at StoneGate

BEDFORD – Ivy Tech Community College hosted a community open house at the new StoneGate Arts & Education Center located downtown Bedford on Thursday, Jan. 10 with nearly 35 visitors in attendance. While the community enjoyed refreshments, they learned that StoneGate offers new technologies to students, such as live online synchronous video capabilities. Live online classes enable students to take classes in Bedford that are held at Ivy Tech Bloomington’s main campus.

“Synchronous video gives students more class options in their home community of Lawrence County,” said Jessica Strunk, vice chancellor of enrollment services. “It allows them to virtually attend class via technology.”

Ivy Tech offers classes in Bedford that prepare students for jobs, and that lead to associate degrees and certificates in business, healthcare, industrial technology, and HVAC. Ivy Tech also offers general education classes in Bedford that transfer to public colleges and universities in Indiana.

There is still time to sign up for classes that start in March. Information and classes offered at Ivy Tech in Bedford can be found online at ivytech.edu/bedford.

Welcome Week included breakfast for students

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College welcomed students back for Spring Semester 2019 with flipped pancakes and coffee from Chris Cakes. Students were able to “catch” a free breakfast along with helpful information from employee volunteers who assisted students in becoming acquainted with the new semester. The campus hosted a number of events and services during the first week including a mental health support station where students made self-care kits, a community resource fair, a student involvement fair, family movie night, and give-and-take supply bins.

Taste of Italy meets $40,000 fundraising goal

BLOOMINGTON – Thanks to generous donations from supporters, Ivy Tech Community College was able to raise enough funds to send a group of 10 culinary students to Italy this May for a study-abroad experience. Fundraising for the $40,000 initiative began last fall and has included contributions from private individuals, employees, Circle of Ivy, and – most recently – through Giving Tuesday, the annual global day of giving, held Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.

The trip will take students to central Italy where they’ll immerse themselves in the culture and practices surrounding food in this varied and historic region. The 10-day tour will include visits to the Cuneo Region, Bra, Turin, Florence, Parma, San Miniato, Bologna and Milan.

Former carpenter starts career as massage therapist

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech alumnus Brett Volpp says his new career as a massage therapist is a welcomed change from his former career in carpentry. Volpp graduated with a certificate in therapeutic massage in December, 2018 and will work as an independent contractor at the Blue Lotus Massage & Spa in Ellettsville, Ind. with former instructor and spa owner, Kristen Lewis.

“Carpentry was really hard on me physically,” said Volpp. “The repetitive motions took a toll on me over the years and I’ve had therapeutic body work done to help heal some of that.”

Volpp said that he enrolled at Ivy Tech to find a career that was less physical. He also required a more flexible work schedule that would allow him time to work on his farm and to create art. Volpp earned a fine arts degree in painting at Indiana University and frequently exhibits work locally and regionally.

“As a farmer and an artist I wanted a flexible, part-time schedule. I also wanted to do something that I could do long-term and past retirement age,” said Volpp. “I realize that therapeutic massage would be something that would allow me to help other people, because I had been helped in that way. I really enjoy connecting with people, so I find that it helps me too.”

Ivy Tech’s therapeutic massage program gives students opportunities to earn more than the 500 training hours required for state certification through the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). Students and faculty operate The Oasis Massage Therapy Center at Ivy Tech, and appointments are available year-round.

“Participating in The Oasis was a class requirement,” said Volpp. “We also did special events throughout the years including chair massages and massages in the community. We did one massage session at a local nursing home.”

Volpp said the atmosphere at Ivy Tech was supportive and felt like a smaller community than Indiana University.

“Everyone at Ivy Tech is trying to help you,” said Volpp. “There’s a lot of one-on-one support, including technology support and librarians. If I have questions, I prefer to speak to somebody in person and I was able to do that here.”

Volpp said that many of his classmates had also found local massage therapy employment after graduation.

“There are a lot of openings still in massage in Bloomington,” said Volpp. “It’s a good career to get into. I have three appointments next week already and I will soon start working with clients from The Center for Wholism. I feel like I’m flooded with opportunity.”

More information about Ivy Tech’s therapeutic massage center can be found online at ivytech.edu/therapeutic-massage. The certificate can be completed in 26 credit hours, or two full-time semesters. Students who complete the Therapeutic Massage certificate will be eligible to continue their education in the Healthcare Specialist Associate of Applied Science degree program, for increased employment opportunities.

Ivy Tech Bloomington offers many associate degrees and short-term certificates in the healthcare field. Other associate degrees offered include Healthcare Specialist, Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Medical Assisting, Nursing and Practical Nursing, Optometric Technology, Paramedic Science, Respiratory Therapy, and Radiation Therapy. For a full list of degrees offered in Bloomington, visit ivytech.edu/bloomington/academics.

Grant provides ‘Food for Thought’ for Ivy Tech students

BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus has launched a new student success initiative, “Food for Thought.” The new initiative provides healthier snack options to students who find themselves hungry between classes or while studying on campus. There is no fee associated with obtaining snacks from the pantry, just a valid Ivy Tech student email address. “Food for Thought” is funded by a grant through Circle of Ivy, an Ivy Tech women’s philanthropy group.

Kristy LeVert, director of student life, put forth the proposal last year when she was serving as the director of student success at Ivy Tech Bloomington. “Studies show that when a student is struggling to meet basic needs such as hunger, it is difficult to become successful,” she said. “Healthier snack foods can also be expensive for students in general.”

Some examples of snacks students have access to include granola bars, fruit, trail mix, veggie straws and other assorted on-the-go foods.

Students in need of a snack while on campus can visit the pantry in the Student Success Center, D117. The Student Success Center provides opportunities for supplemental instruction, tutoring and mentoring, plus other resources for Ivy Tech students.

Grant funds provided by Circle of Ivy will cover the cost of pantry snacks during Spring Semester 2019.

Kinesiology students educate clients on nutrition

Kinesiology student Tomasz Golas instructs project volunteer Dr. Pierre Atchade on how to compare product labels and choose the most nutrient dense healthy option.

BLOOMINGTON – Kinesiology and Exercise Science students took a hands on approach to educating others on how to choose healthier food options. Students met with local volunteers over the course of Fall Semester 2018, who acted as case study clients, so that students could obtain practical experience counseling and educating people on the nutritional concepts covered in class. The goal of the project was to improve dietary choices and ultimately health. 

“Diet is just a four letter word,” said Cassey Connelly, program chair and assistant professor of Kinesiology and Exercise Science. “Many people think of going on a diet as something temporary, but it is really reflective of what you eat on a daily basis. The key is incremental change and a good, better, best approach slowly replacing foods one at a time.”

The assignment began by assessing the client’s alimentary challenges and teaching them how to analyze the labels of the food they regularly buy at the grocery store. Students and their clients take into account budget, food processing, nutrient density, added sugars, healthy fat content, and whole food options to suggest more nourishing alternatives.

“I enjoyed going to the grocery with my student nutrition coach and looking at the products I buy for me and my family,” said Debra Vance, nutritional client and volunteer. “Although we spent nearly two hours comparing labels, I wish we could have had more time together. I learned the names of hidden sugars in products, and that if sugar is one of the first five ingredients then it may not be the best product choice for me.”

Ivy Tech Bloomington is now offering an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. The AAS degree is career-focused and enables students to earn multiple certifications before graduation, including Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, and Certified Health Coach. Enter the fitness job market with a leg up on other candidates. For more information, visit ivytech.edu/kinesiology or email Connelly at cconnelly8@ivytech.edu.