Toward World Healing
Tibetan monks came to IUP last fall to construct a mandala, to perform multiphonic singing, and, incidentally, to go bowling. Mandalas, emanating from the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, consist of millions of sand grains, painstakingly laid on a flat platform. They may take weeks to complete and are destroyed once completed, since it is the work’s creation that effects purification and healing, not the finished product.
The monks, representing the Drepung Loesling Monastery, also presented a program of “Sacred Music, Sacred Dance” and enjoyed a visit to Indiana’s Mohawk Lanes.
IUP has been included in the list of the top twenty-five most-connected campuses by the Princeton Review, a national educational resources company.
The list was designed to illustrate the depth and breadth of technology on today’s campus, Princeton Review officials said. To identify the colleges on the list, the company collated responses from more than 100,000 college students, as well as data from campus administrators.
Criteria included the student-computer ratio, wireless access on campus, the breadth of the computer science curriculum, and comments from campus students.
The full list of most connected campuses is available at www.forbes.com/campus.
“The faculty has really been a catalyst for the development and emphasis on the use of technology in the classroom,” said Mark Piwinsky, IUP vice provost for technology. “Throughout all of the planning and development of a computing vision for the university, we were guided by our belief that our faculty can be pioneers in delivering high-quality instruction with technology.”
Key to the success of a most-connected campus is fiberoptic campuswide connectivity using a local area network and a common set of software to enhance faculty collaboration and cooperation. There is also the added advantage of helping students to develop advanced competencies in software tools in multiple classes, Piwinsky said.
A Bold Approach to Campus Living
Life on the IUP campus could well be revitalized within the next decade or so, based on preliminary plans presented in December to the university’s Council of Trustees. The plans call for ten of fifteen residence halls to be torn down and replaced. The other five would be renovated.
What appears a revolution is really a reaction to twenty-first-century circumstances. According to IUP officials, many of today’s students are unaccustomed to sharing bedrooms or even bathrooms with family members, let alone with dozens of strangers. “Many apartments today have more than one bathroom” was one comment.
Making accommodations more attractive to students will mean that more will choose to live on campus in the freshman year and beyond. This will result, officials say, in a better overall experience. While a number of other colleges and universities are constructing housing facilities in fringe areas of their campuses, IUP will locate brand-new residence halls in the heart of its campus.
Tentative plans call for Wahr Hall to be demolished in 2005 and replaced by a larger structure the following year. The others to be replaced, one each year through 2016, are Langham, Elkin, McCarthy, Mack, Stewart, Turnbull, Scranton, Shafer, and Lawrence. About 2,400 students currently live in these facilities.
The remaining university-owned facilities—Whitmyre, Esch, and Wallace halls and Campus and University towers, which together house about 1,200 students—will be renovated.
Responding to Weapons of Mass Destruction
Since August 2001, IUP scientists have quietly provided training to military personnel related to homeland security and response to terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction. Military teams trained at IUP have been first responders to the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, to the Florida anthrax incidents, and to the 2003 Columbia shuttle explosion.
Starting in the fall, IUP will offer a special master’s degree program, Science of Disaster Response, to civilians. The program’s facilities will include a $600,000 specially designed, state-of-the-art laboratory facility.
A 5,300-square-foot area, complete with laboratories for microbiology, molecular biology, and chemistry, will be renovated on the second floor of IUP’s Walsh Hall for the program. Renovations will begin at the end of the Spring semester and will be completed for the Fall, when the first nonmilitary group of students is to begin.
The curriculum for the master’s degree program, originally designed for military personnel, has been developed through funding from grants from the Department of Defense’s National Guard Bureau.
More than a hundred people have taken coursework in weapons of mass destruction at IUP since the program began in 2001. IUP professors of biology, chemistry, and physics developed the original training in partnership with Concurrent Technologies Corporation of Johnstown.