Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Advisor. Mentor. Friend. Teacher. Leader.

IMG_7114Cathy Barnes (R) speaks with student, Ashlee Douglass (L).

Catherine Barnes earns all of those titles, in her career at Indiana University Kokomo. However, as she prepares to retire this December, she knows which word she wants to be used when people remember her.


"I am a servant leader," Barnes said. "When I came to this institution, it was to serve the population of this community, students, faculty, staff, and the people of Kokomo. I come from a long line of servants."

For 17 years, Barnes has been an integral part of the campus community, first leading diversity programs, and then becoming a trailblazer in academic advising. She believes in the power of higher education to change lives, and works tirelessly to make sure IU Kokomo students achieve their dreams.

She has been a devoted champion of students during her career, according to Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke.

"Whenever I am out in the community, parents and students stop me and thank me for Cathy Barnes," Sciame-Giesecke said. "They talk about how supportive she is of each and every student she serves. Her energy and enthusiasm for IU Kokomo and our students is contagious. We will miss her and wish her the best in her retirement."

A Kokomo native, Barnes married and moved to Los Angeles, where she and her husband owned and operated four pharmacies after graduating from Purdue. The family returned to Kokomo when her father passed away, "to be a blessing to the grandparents" by bringing their four young children to live closer.

Shortly after the move, Barnes struck up a conversation with Herbert Miller, an IU Kokomo faculty member, at the Carver Community Center's summer celebration. He urged her to apply for an open job on campus as director of campus climate.

"That was my point of entry at IU Kokomo," she said. She dealt with equity and diversity issues, and provided programming on diversity.

Later, Sciame-Giesecke, who was dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the time, asked her to be the academic advisor for the school. Barnes found her calling in that job.

"Advising is teaching," she said. "All my life I have taught. Behind the prescription counter, I taught patients how to use their medicines effectively, and how to eat to get the most from their medicines. As an advisor, I teach students how to change their behaviors and study skills, so they can be successful. Advisors help them understand their path, to understand IU Kokomo, and what is necessary for them to get a degree."

Her proudest accomplishment at IU Kokomo is developing the Office of Student Success and Advising.

"We have an organized advising team, whose sole purpose is to teach students how to navigate IU, and if they choose to complete a degree in four years, we can assist them in that process," she said. "We provide an advising scaffolding. They come to us as new students, and we have to support them a lot. As they get more experienced and comfortable, we can gradually let go of that support. Our team is committed to student success."

Barnes said the campus is a completely different place than it was when she started.

"This is a cool place to be," she said. "It's a good-looking campus. It's a fun campus. There are sports. There have always been student activities, but they've changed. We have all these new, wonderful degree programs. This campus has changed, and changed for the better."

She is especially excited about a private developer offering student housing across Washington Street, and looks forward to the day the campus will have its own residence halls.

"All of these things are making IU Kokomo a first choice college," she said. "When I started, we were a second or third choice. More students want to be here, not just for a semester or two to get a taste of college before going somewhere else, but because they want to get an IU degree in Kokomo."

Although she will not be on campus after January 1, Barnes will continue to help students through the creation of the Barnes Family Scholarship, to be given annually to an IU Kokomo student. She, her husband, and their four adult children will endow the scholarship.

"The Barnes family knows what a scholarship means to the ease of your completion, and how much more fun college can be when you don't have to worry about the debt and the expense," she said. "There's something special about doing something for an institution that has been so good to you. To be able to leave this campus with some money specifically for students, it's a plus for me."

She knows from personal experience how meaningful a scholarship is, having received one for winning a science fair when she was a junior at Kokomo High School. She used it to earn a degree in pharmacology and pharmacy science at Purdue University.

Later, each of her four children earned scholarships to pay for their college educations. Her youngest, Aaron, received a full scholarship to IU Bloomington.

"That changed our family life, and meant my husband could retire early, because we weren't paying to send another child to college," she said. "My scholarship helped me earn my degree, which gave me the opportunity to make money, and to live in Los Angeles, and own and run a business. I would never have had those opportunities without my degree."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — It is just a cup of coffee.

tornado-emilyEmily West hands out coffee. Photo provided by Emily West.

But for Emily West, that steaming paper cup is her way to help the city that has given her so much, after Sunday's tornado left devastation in its wake. She was compelled to do something, rather than stay in her own home, which was undamaged.

"I felt my time would be better put to use helping people who had no help," she said. "Here I was with my power on, and a roof over my head, and I wanted to help those who didn't have that. Kokomo has given me everything; a place to start my life, and it was time for me to give back."

West and fellow Indiana University Kokomo students Megan Riley and Dereck Pearson handed out cups of coffee to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed, and to the hundreds of volunteers working to clean up and rebuild.

"They were so grateful even for the smallest thing, like a cup of coffee," West said. "It was so comforting to them. This has definitely shown me the power of community. It is humbling and eye opening to see the place you call home, pull together in the face of disaster."

West was one of the many IU Kokomo students providing a helping hand after Sunday's tornadoes. With classes canceled Monday because of a campus power outage, student volunteers hauled debris to waiting dump trucks, swept away broken glass, read to children at the American Red Cross shelter, and comforted those whose homes lay in ruins.

Members of the Saudi Student Club quickly organized to help wherever they were needed.

"These are our neighbors whose homes were damaged, whose businesses were damaged," said Talal Al-Hammad, one of the Master of Business Administration students from Saudi Arabia. "We feel like this is our community, and we want to be of service in any way we can. We helped people salvage good items from their homes, and clear away what could not be saved."

They were shocked by the devastation, because their home country does not have tornadoes, and none of them had seen one before Sunday. He was glad they could do something, and noted that both the Bible and the Koran speak to the importance of helping one another.

"We are all human beings, with no difference between races, colors, or religions, when these disasters occur," he said. "There was a call, and we answered that call to help our neighbors."

One homeowner asked them where they were from, and when he heard they were from Saudi Arabia, asked why they were there. Club members told him they were IU Kokomo students, giving back to the community.

The man looked to the sky and said, "Thank you God," and told them he was glad they were there.

"We were pleased with the reaction," Al-Hammad said.

They also helped a fellow M.B.A. student, Brandon Driscoll, clean up storm damage at his Kokomo home.

LeeAnn Cook, Martinsville, was relieved when her apartment escaped damage in the tornado, and felt compelled to do something to help those in her adopted hometown who were not so lucky.

"Kokomo feels like home," she said. "I've never experienced this level of devastation, and I can't imagine what these people are going through. So many people have helped me while I've been here, and now it's my turn to reach out and give a hand."

She organized members of the Enactus business student organization and Phi Sigma Sigma sorority to help clean up around Hoffer Street and Home Avenue, loading debris into city dump trucks. She was touched by the response, with hundreds of volunteers working, and other people driving in to bring food and coffee.

Cook said volunteering was just the right thing to do, and she plans to offer her assistance again.

"Everyone is so appreciative of all the help," she said. "If that was my family's home destroyed, I would hope anyone who is willing and able would do what they could to help them."

Sorority members used proceeds from a recent auction to provide lunch for those staying in the Red Cross Shelter Monday, and purchased toiletries for people who lost their homes.

Chapter Archon Jessica Hatt, Kokomo, said helping with disaster relief is a way members can live their tenants of leadership and service to others.

"This is our community," she said. "This is where we live, and work, and play, this is where our families live. Everyone in our community is affected."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo encourages its students, faculty, and staff to help those impacted by Sunday's tornadoes, through the Cougar Tornado Relief program.

The campus community may donate cleaning products, toiletries, and other items needed by Kokomo residents displaced by the storm, starting Wednesday, November 20. Donation boxes will be available in Alumni Hall, and also at Saturday's Homecoming basketball game. All donations will be given to the United Way of Howard County, which will distribute them.

"We couldn't think of a better way to welcome back our alumni, who are returning to campus Saturday for homecoming, than to give back to those who have lost their homes and businesses," said Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. "We encourage everyone to be generous in helping our community."

Items needed include paper towels, cleaning products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, hairbrushes, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, diapers, wipes, and formula.

Food and clothing will not be accepted in this program, as other organizations are taking care of those needs.

United Way officials will be available at Saturday's basketball game, at noon in the Cougar Gym, to accept monetary donations. Checks can be made to Howard County United Way, with Howard County Tornado Relief on the memo line. Checks may also be mailed to the United Way at 210 W. Walnut St., Kokomo, IN 46902.

Members of the campus community who want to volunteer may call 2-1-1 to register and receive an assignment.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — An Indiana University Kokomo faculty member joins an illustrious group, including former presidents, Noble laureates, artists, and business leaders, as a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer.

Karl BeselKarl Besel

Karl Besel, director of the Master of Public Administration program, will talk about new urbanism and the impact of traditionally planned communities, the subject of his recent book, at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

He was honored to accept the invitation, and will speak in April 2014.

"The Clinton School has a really strong public speaker series," he said. "They have had some high-profile speakers in the past, and it is humbling to be chosen. They are focused on what they can do to revitalize communities."

In addition to former President Bill Clinton, the speaker series has included former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, journalists George Stephanopoulos and Bob Woodward, actor and philanthropist Michael J. Fox, and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.

Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said the campus is proud of its outstanding faculty scholars.

"Dr. Besel is an excellent example of the faculty who interact with our students every day in the classroom," she said. "The mission of the IU regional campuses is to enhance the regions they serve, by conducting research related to our communities. Karl's research on urban planning does just that, by expanding our knowledge on urban revitalization efforts."

Besel and co-author Viviana Andreescu, an associate professor at the University of Louisville, began writing Back to the Future: New Urbanism and the Rise of Neotraditionalism in Urban Planning, during his 2009 sabbatical. It reviews recent urban planning trends, and connects them to their roots in historical preservation communities.

"The timing was good for a book like this," he said. "There has been steady growth in the number of planned communities. People like these high density developments, where they can walk where they want to go, and don't need to own a car."

This trend is not just prevalent in suburbs, but in downtown neighborhoods, as part of revitalization efforts. That is what drew attention from the Clinton School, he said.

"They are interested in what they can do to be part of revitalization efforts," he said. "A lot of these are minority communities that have gone by the wayside."

The book includes a case study of one of the first communities to receive federal revitalization money, in Louisville. When it received that money, it prompted area banks to be involved, which led to clean up of these areas, he said.

"Within 10 years, the crime rate went down significantly," he said. "If you're going to address crime and make areas more livable, you have to provide decent housing and decent neighborhoods."

The Clinton School was created under the vision of former president Clinton, who wanted to create a global institution that legitimized the practice of public service within the academic system. Students combine classroom instruction with public service projects. It is located at the William J. Clinton Library, Little Rock, Ark.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.