IPFW Hopes to Pass Banded Tuition Proposal

Back in August of 2014, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education released a resolution to aid college students to graduate in four years.

The campaign urged undergraduate students to take at least 15 credit hours per semester.

Universities pushed for this by introducing something called banded tuition.

Angela Williams, the director of online and credit programs at IPFW, said banded tuition, if passed, would begin during the fall semester of 2018.

“We are one of the only schools right now that does not have banded tuition,” Williams said. “And with the online courses being the same price, well, that is a huge benefit to students.”

Besides IPFW, only a few other public institutions in the state of Indiana have not switched over to the banded tuition model, Williams said.

Diana Jackson, director of administrative business services at Indiana – Purdue Fort Wayne, explained banded tuition as a flat rate students pay instead of per-credit-hour.

“The band we are proposing will begin at 12 to 18 credit hours, so if you take anything in that band you are going to pay the same amount no matter what you take,” Jackson said. “It is just a set amount of tuition and the mandatory fees that students are required to take.”

Students who wish to take less than 12 credit hours a semester will continue to pay per-credit-hour, while those who would take more than 18 would pay the banded tuition plus per-credit hour for however many credits they would additionally take.

In this proposal, banded tuition will be roughly around $4,120.50, Jackson said.

However, banded tuition will not apply to graduate students or summer courses. Both would be paid per-credit-hour.

Additionally, the proposal is also planning to eliminate the cost difference between traditional courses and online courses. As of spring semester 2017 that difference was $92.95 per-credit-hour.

Under the banded tuition model, the online differential fee will no longer exist. Instead Jackson said a student could take 15 credit hours of just online courses and pay the same as if they were traditional courses.

According to Jackson, the Higher Education Commission had been pushing the banded tuition idea to universities.

“They really want kids to understand that in order to graduate in four years, which is what they really want,” Jackson said, “students really have to take 15 credit hours a semester in order to do that.”

Even though the model is still in the proposal stage and most of the faculty has heard about it, most students were at a lost when it was mentioned to them.

Linnize Richner, freshman biology major, had no prior knowledge of this proposal or what banded tuition meant. Yet, after learning about the idea and what it entailed she said it would be a good thing.

“I know a lot of students, myself included, hate the price difference for online courses,” Richner said. “I feel this could really help with that and stop putting limitations on certain students from being able to take a desired course because of the cost difference.”

Currently banded tuition is still just a proposal at IPFW and will go before the board of trustees in the coming months to make a final decision.

Jackson has no worries that the plan will pass.

“I do think it will happen,” Jackson said. “It will help a lot of students out and they’ll know every semester how much their tuition will be not matter what form of class they are taking.”

Hybrid Courses Gain Interest at IPFW

IPFW will be offering over 50 hybrid courses in the fall of 2017 ranging from topics over engineering economy to romantic literature.

Hybrid courses are designed to have online interaction while combining face-to-face instruction at the same time.

With 28 percent of students enrolled in higher education taking a form of distance learning, according to Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Distance Education Enrollment Report of 2016, hybrid classes are becoming increasingly popular for their unusual structure than the typical online courses.

James Hess, a business professor at IPFW, is currently in his fifth year teaching hybrid courses and said he thinks there are both positive and negative attributes of the course.

One of the positives is hybrid courses meet half of the time in a classroom on campus and the other half online.

“Well, one plus is we only have to be here once a week, that itself can save people a lot of rear-end collisions,” Hess said with a chuckle. “The drawback is sometimes it can take more time to really focus on the foundational elements of a class then what we are allotted when we only meet 50 percent of the time.”

Students enrolled in Hess’ International Business Administration class meet once a week on Mondays, and during the class, he conducts a discussion with the students.

Following the meeting, the class is assigned a discussion board due on Wednesday nights that poses a question based off a topic discussed in class, as well as a current event each week.

Tanya Stier, a business marketing major enrolled in Hess’ course said hybrid courses are more beneficial for students than strictly online classes.

“Sometimes with just regular online courses it’s hard to convey a question or fully understand the material,” Stier said. “When you have the ability to see the professor you can ask your questions and have the professor explain it in person, which I think can be clearer than just asking over an email”.

Brittany Akins, another student in the course, said she has to give credit to Hess for how he organized the course and ties the lectures together with the assignments.

“He makes it relevant and worth my time rather than being a monotonous lecture two or three times a week, which can get overbearing,” Akins said. “We have assignments that are actually related to the lecture that we can do on our own time during the week.”

Akins continued to say the cost of a hybrid course did not bother her because she knows what she is getting out of it. However there was one aspect of the class that bothered her.

“I hate that in this class the book was included,” Akins said. “I could have bought the book for a lot less online. Instead they charge whatever the book price is into the cost of the class without giving us an option to buy it for less.”

Besides for the few unexpected costs, Hess recalled a time when hybrid courses first began and how he sees the future for them.

“At first I thought that by going hybrid, it gave universities a chance to experiment with classes that are traditionally meeting face-to-face all the time, a chance to cut back on some of that,” Hess said. “Yet, now I’m wondering if this is just something universities toy with right now and eventually everything will just go completely online.”


Burris Wins First Place for Best Undergraduate Poster in 2017 Symposium


Presenting his research changed Benjamin Burris’ whole outlook on academics.

ipfw copy“The first time I gave a poster presentation I thought that I knew my stuff pretty well,” said Burris, senior in chemistry and Spanish.

“But the faculty members at the school that I was at grilled me on every aspect of what I was doing. So it changed how I viewed my research, and also how I approach academics in general.”

Burris won first place for best undergraduate poster in the 20thAnnual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium, held March 29 in Walb Classic Ballroom.


The symposium divided contestants into two different categories: graduate and undergraduate. The judges selected three winners for each set.

Over 100 students presented their research via poster and were judged by faculty members. This year, 22 departments were represented.


Burris’ poster, “Effects of Portal Protein Primary Structure Mutations on Viral Genomic Packaging Capabilities,” has been an ongoing project since 2013.

“Biologists know how bacteria infect the cell, but they don’t know how it packages the DNA to infect the cell”, Burris said. “What we focused on was a portal protein which is a little conical protein. Its got a channel in the middle and DNA travels through the channel, but no one knows what it does and so we did research in what does the portal do. ”

Before participating in events such as the research symposium, Burris said that he did not actually apply what he was being taught in his classes.


“My first couple of years I studied and worked hard to maintain good grades, but I didn’t actually learn a whole lot,” Burris said. “Once I realized that I wanted to go into graduate school, I realized that I needed to be learning more than just being able to memorize stuff and then put it out. Those opportunities, poster presentations, showed me the kind of approach you have to take if you are serious about actually learning.”

Stephen Buttes, Assistant Professor of Spanish, believes all students can benefit.


To participate in the research symposium, students either have to apply and be selected; or a faculty member appoints them and the student has to accept the nomination.

In the past, Burris applied for the research symposium but had his proposals rejected for being too similar to another’s student research. This year, Burris was stunned his advisor selected him.

“I was actually pretty surprised just because in the past we had the experience of having me get rejected because it was similar to past presentations,” Burris said. “I just kind of assumed that that was going to be the trend, but he pushed me to do it and you can’t really say no.”


Students not only have the opportunity to present, but they can also decide to archive their posters for future use in a URL form.

Susan Anderson, director of Library Academic Services, further informs how this can be possible.


As a senior, Burris plans on attending Ohio State University. He will continue working on his project, and plans to go into analytical chemistry, to work in drug development.

“It really helps mature you as a student to prepare you for whatever you want to do,” Burris said. “It helps prepare you for graduate school, your job, life in general. You need to be able to have that confidence and that level of expertise in whatever you do.”



Symposium Switches to Poster Format to Help Increase Attendance

In 2013, the Annual IPFW Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium changed from research papers over to poster format, in part to increase attendance.

The 20th annual symposium was held at the Walb Classic Ballroom at 9 a.m. on March 29. There were a total of 125 undergraduate and graduate students presenting 92 research posters from multiple majors, including biology, chemistry, and visual communications.

Cheryl Truesdell, former dean of Helmke Library and a 2017 symposium judge, said there had been a decline of both participants and attendees for the symposium. The symposium planning committee decided to change the way the research was presented.

Truesdell said the committee went from papers and oral presentations to posters, in hopes of making the symposium more interesting for those in attendance. Truesdell said in the past the participants were separated and grouped by department, in which they presented amongst each other. But that changed too.


Susan Anderson, member of the Helmke Library symposium planning committee, said the move to a poster format was a great way to represent the research, and express it graphically.

John Nicklin, Studio M coordinator, said the research is ultimately the main focus of the student’s presentation, but how the poster itself should complement the research. He said the poster is a supporting element that reinforces the presentation done by the student.


Nicklin said the content and poster design and how it is presented to the viewer can be used strategically, to lure the attendants to the speaker. Using design elements that are not ordinary or frequently used can help draw people in. It creates interest and makes the attendant want to stay and listen to the presentation.


Nicklin said he assisted students varying in experience with design software such as Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Peter Bella, assistant professor of visual communications and a 2017 symposium judge, said the poster should not be the voice of the presenter. The poster should be tailored to the audience and the experts who are going to be viewing it, because every discipline has their own set of expectations.

Bella said one thing he noticed in a majority of the posters was how they were missing visual guidance. If the speaker cannot convey the main message in under five seconds, the viewer will most likely move on.


Bella advised when the presenter states their topic, introduce it to the viewer in an easily comprehendible fashion, give the facts, and then a conclusion in an orderly manner. This enables anyone to understand the research without having to be an expert in the field.


Bella said the visual communications participant that placed this year did everything right when it came to design. Her presentation was executed in an orderly, guided fashion, and she knew how to present her research clearly.

Anderson said all students’ posters will be published and stored in the OPUS scholarly depository at IPFW with its very own link. The research along with the poster can be used to demonstrate students’ skills and abilities in their resumes later when applying for employment.

Contestants and Committees – An Inside Look of the 2017 Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium


The 20th Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium took place March 29 in the Walb Ballroom.

The symposium was open to all undergraduate and graduate students from different fields of study. Participants came from the social sciences, humanities, visual arts, business, nursing and more.

Cheryl Truesdell, who has judged the event for many years, said the top-three contestants were chosen based on points awarded by judges for their effort.

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Symposium Judging Rubric

“We’re trained to look at the discipline itself,” Cheryl said, “and to actually base it primarily on, not only the writing, but if they express the research so that anyone can understand it.”

Cheryl, also the retired dean of Helmke Library, said in 2013 the symposium committee changed the symposium format, to draw more interest from students and faculty.

Cheryl said a group of people involved with the symposium decided to make it poster-oriented, because they felt like it was more interactive and visually appealing.


Along with Cheryl, Stephen Buttes is a returning judge. He said IPFW is a comprehensive university and the symposium gives people the chance to see that. The Spanish professor feels the event gives students the opportunity to show what they are learning here at IPFW.

“It’s exciting to learn about the projects that they’ve produced,” Stephan said. “And it’s an opportunity to celebrate students’ success.”

But they don’t work alone.

Each participant was given the opportunity to research with an IPFW faculty member, and many others chose to work with peers as well. Gabriella Romo, a senior IPFW student majoring in biology,  did just that, collaborating with others on her project.

“We needed a big group because we had to collect 99 samples,” Gabriella said. “And that’s why on my poster I have them recognized, and I put all their names, because I couldn’t just say it was all me.”

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For Gabriella’s project she researched cyanobacteria. She became interested because other students were researching it as well. Gabriella said there’s so much research to do on this specific bacteria because it does a lot for humankind.

“Fun fact, they are the reason why we’re here,” Gabriella said. “And what I mean by that is that they’re the ones who allow the Earth to have oxygen. So if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here.”

Cyanobacteria was a popular at the symposium. To gather what they needed, Gabriella and five others traveled to the Indiana Dunes this past summer to collect everything for their research.

They spent countless hours digging up soil, covering over a quarter-mile of land, to make their projects possible.

Gabriella said even though they all used the same samples,  people did different studies, and found different outcomes.

Gabriella gives credit to everyone on her team. She said without them, she wouldn’t have been able to finish her research and compete in the symposium.

“Just imagine one person trying to do all of that. There’s no way!” Gabriella said. “I can’t imagine doing it all alone. You need people.”

Winners Courtesy of Jim Whitcraft
2017 Winners- Courtesy of Jim Whitcraft

Symposium Provides Unique Opportunities for its Participants

More than 90 students gained the skills necessary to present research in a professional atmosphere as they participated in the 20th Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium in the Walb Classic Ballroom on March 29.

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Stephen Buttes, assistant professor of Spanish and symposium judge, said there are three awarded winners in each division, and student has the opportunity to turn their projects into a professional platform.

IPFW Visual Communication major Paige Robertson is one such student. Robertson’s research focused on special education for deaf children and incorporated pieces of her original photography. Being deaf herself, Robertson has first-hand experience with her topic.

“I went through it myself. I’m a deaf student, and I have been a deaf student ever since I have been going to school,” Robertson said, “and so I really put my own knowledge into it.”

pic paige 2

Associate Professor of Sociology and Symposium Judge Donna Holland reached out to Robertson after seeing her presentation to ask if she would be willing to present it in class.

“She actually wants me to present my poster for her classroom,” Robertson said. “She has some experience talking about people with disabilities, and she was always looking for someone who could be an example. I did my poster and she was really excited about it.”

Not only will Robertson be presenting her research in the classroom, but she was also invited to share some of her photos in a showcase in Indianapolis this June.

Another resource that symposium participants have is IPFW’s online scholarly repository, Opus.

Susan Anderson, director of Library Academic Resources, said the students have the option to archive their poster and abstract onto Opus for future use.


“What that means for the students is it becomes a permanent url, and they can list that on a cv or on a grad school application and say this an example of the work I did,” Anderson said. “So it’s a real polished way to present that kind of work.”

Former Dean of Helmke Library and Symposium Judge Cheryl Truesdell said the event also provides the opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct their research with Ph.D. professors.

“You cannot replace that with any kind of money,” Truesdell said.

Truesdell also said working directly with Ph.D. faculty is rare in other universities.

“I’ve been to R1 institutions, IU and Purdue, and you don’t get in the lab,” Truesdell said. “You don’t get to work with Ph.D.s until you’re a graduate student.”

In addition to help from faculty, another resource these students have is Studio M. John Nicklin, Studio M Coordinator, conducted workshops to teach students how to present their research in a visually appealing way.

“It was designed for students who weren’t familiar with graphics programs to give them a framework and ideas on how to create a poster that is more visually captivating,” Nicklin said.


Nicklin said he thinks it is valuable for a participant to have a well structured poster, but what is most important is the quality of a student’s research and presentation.


While the Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium has been showcasing student projects for 20 years, Nicklin said this is the third year that Studio M has been involved and he looks forward to the years to come.


Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium Continues to Evolve


On a Wednesday, March 29, 125 IPFW students prepared for a presentation they had one chance at.

The mixture of undergraduate and graduate scholars lined the Walb Classic Ballroom, standing next to various poster boards.

Judges assessed the work of each student’s presentation and their poster’s content and appeal, as the 2017 Student Research and Creative Endeavor symposium got underway.

This year, student and faculty participants have noticed how the educational conference continues to change.

Biology student Patrick Selig entered the competition for his third year in a row. He said he noticed an increasing number of the undergraduate students had entered, especially seniors.

According to IPFW symposium participation data, 71 students participated in 2014 which increased to 127 in 2016.

Before participation could thrive, former Dean of the Helmke Library said the format needed adjustment.


Cheryl Truesdell said the event’s structure evolved because it drew less interest.

In 2013, she said the Symposium Planning Committee decided to go from paper to poster presentation, in order to regain attendance and spark curiosity.

Truesdell said the committee focused their attention on drawing more majors beyond the usual suspects of psychology, biology and physics.


According to IPFW statistics, students from those departments participate most often, compared to other majors.

Data shows that biology has increased in number of student presenters each year, while consistently placing in both the graduate and undergraduate levels since 2013.

This time around, the reports show that more arts and humanities departments joined the symposium than in past years.

BreAnne Briskey also participated, her third year in a row, and represented the history department.

She said during her first year, she could tell they were pushing for arts and humanities to get more involved in the symposium. Now, she is glad they did.

“It’s important to acknowledge the creative aspect of human nature, and to just embrace the humanities,” Briskey said.

Now that posters are required, Truesdell said the score given to the students is also based on their visual display, not just their research and presenting it.

John Nicklin, head of the Studio M computer lab, said he assisted with posters helping those familiar with the process of crafting one, and those who are not.

He said majors outside of the arts are less likely to be experienced with the graphic design programs needed to create appealing posters.  But students in visual arts tend to know those applications.

Nicklin said he thinks the students’ presentations are the most important part of their research projects today.

Briskey said since posters are visual and condensed, people unfamiliar with the research can understand it easily.

Now she said she can’t see the symposium being held any other way, and plans on attending next year.

“At the end of the day it’s great,” Briskey said. “You get to meet people, you get to talk about something you’re passionate about, you get a great experience.”

Dustin Faurote – Defying Disaster

He was only 18 when his life changed forever.

South Padre, Texas, was Dustin Faurote’s destination of choice for his first spring break. However, one life-altering accident and 11 years later, Dustin describes the beach as overrated.

Dustin said he was having fun diving in the ocean with friends when disaster struck. One of the waves pulled him down, causing him to hit his head on the sandbar and break his neck.

“But luckily there was a lifeguard on duty. Me,” Faurote said with a smirk. “There wasn’t any lifeguard, but I was a swimmer and a lifeguard, and I just think it was funny that I was the one that got hurt.”

Following his accident, Dustin was pulled out of the water by his friends and airlifted to a hospital. Dustin said that the odds of him even being able to breath on his own were pretty bleak.

Andrew Lindenberg, a senior from Fort Wayne majoring in medical imaging at IPFW, was among Dustin’s many friends at home who were surprised to hear the news.

“I was shocked because him being the person that he was, so active and outgoing, to have something as tragic as that happen to him, it was kinda crazy,” Lindenberg said. “When we first found out, they weren’t 100 percent sure what was gonna really happen to him, because of the fact that the injury was so severe.”

Dustin said he only had a few months of high school left before he was going to attend college to become a physical therapist. However, his plans changed after his accident, when the best-case scenario became breathing on his own and possibly moving his arms.

Now, after eight months of physical therapy in Atlanta, and another couple of years once he returned home to Fort Wayne, he has regained some arm and torso movement as well as control of random muscle groups in his legs.

Dustin said he has walked six very difficult steps since his accident, but relies heavily on his wheelchair. He said with a lot of time and money he could become more mobile in the future.

While Dustin recovered well from his accident, he said the change from his previously active lifestyle was a difficult adjustment.

“It was hard going from benching 285 and running an 18:07 5K, to not being able to feed myself or breath without a ventilator. I missed the ache of a good workout,” Dustin said, “but it was weird being told I’m lucky, and thinking I’m lucky, when I started wiggling toes, lifting my arms, feeling drops of water on my legs, and turning my head.”

Dustin described physical therapy as uncomfortable. He said relearning everything was difficult, but the hardest part was admitting that he needed help.

“I have always been really independent because my mom has always been a single mom working two jobs. I would come home, do my homework, make something to eat, clean up the house, and then do whatever for my mom when she got home,” Dustin said. “Not needing my mom kind of accidentally instilled that you need to rely on yourself. You can count on people, but don’t always depend on others.”

Despite his physical limitations, Dustin has maintained the same independent attitude he’s always had, thanks to the help of Granite Ridge Builders, who he said volunteered to build a new, accessible house for him.

Dustin is currently a senior at IPFW, pursuing a degree in secondary education. He said he hopes to find a job teaching in the area, and to maybe one day feel like an adult.

“One of my biggest hope-to-do things is get back to physical therapy, because I have been able to walk before,” Dustin said, “and I know it’s not that big of a deal, but it’s one of those things that I want to be able to do. To say that as long as you work for it.”

Student Organization Active Minds Hosts Movie Night

Active Minds will be hosting a movie night on campus April 20 from 6- 8 p.m. in Walb 114, to introduce the group to students, as well as give students time to relax.

Active Minds is a student organization, in conjunction with the Student Assistance Program, are about promoting awareness for mental health. They also provide awareness to suicide prevention as well.

The student organization puts on one movie night per semester. They will be showing “Big Hero 6”.

President Manal Saeed said it is a recruiting tool, but is more of a night to discuss mental health themes within the film and just have fun.

“We usually take the movie apart,” Saeed said. “We will talk about the common themes. If anything, it’s like a fun night out.”

Saeed said there will also be a counselor present just in case anyone is triggered during the movie.

Past movies they have shown with mental health themes include “Inside Out” and “Good Will Hunting.”

Courtney Seymour, vice president, agrees with Saeed, stating that the fun from the movie will lead to having facilitated discussion about mental health issues.

“I’m glad we choose the certain movies we do. We chose it because we obviously want to relate it to mental health, but do want to make it fun,” Seymour said. “It is like our way to opening up the floor about mental health.”

Active Minds Secretary Damini Handa said her favorite part of the movie night is how people have different perspectives on the themes in the film. It allows a person to be vulnerable.

“It’s really interesting to see. You hear 20 other students, faculty or whoever is attending from a different angle,” Handa said. “That’s exposure to a lot of different things.”

Saeed said she agrees with Handa, saying that people’s reactions will differ from one another. However, Active Minds puts emphasis into having fun in all their events. Saeed said they are never boring.

“There is always laughs. We always want to have fun,” Saeed said. “We just want to spread that. If anything, they are having a fun night out.”

Although Active Minds is creating awareness for mental illness and educating students, the night can also be used as a chance to just simply relax and enjoy.

“It just an open-ended discussion, but it is also an hour and a half just to chill and relax and be able to take your mind away from things,” Seymour said. “It’s a way to watch something educational yet fun.”

Seymour said their movie nights’ average about 20-30 people. She said having a large attendance is not a priority, but would like to see it increase.

“We just want as many people to come willingly,” Seymour said. “Whoever comes we would love to talk to them about Active Minds and talk about the movie.”