Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo hits the highest-ever student enrollment in its 68-year history, boasting a remarkable 12.3 percent increase over last year. Of the nearly 4,200 students registered, 74 percent of undergraduates are attending full time – another campus record.

IMG_1732Students on campus.Also at an all-time high is the incoming class of recent high school graduates, making IU Kokomo a destination of choice.

"IU Kokomo has had five consecutive years of enrollment growth, as we become an institution of choice based on new programs, outstanding faculty and staff, and enhanced collegiate experiences," said Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. "Our international travel programs, direct admit programs, athletics, new gymnasium, and fitness center definitely have had an impact on our growth."

Other impressive growth includes:

  • Minority population, up nearly 30 percent
  • Credit hours are at 38,600, up 10 percent

The campus is growing to meet the needs of its larger population, with new facilities and new degree programs in areas including hospitality and tourism, as well as health sciences. Students have embraced the newly opened Milt and Jean Cole Family Fitness and Wellness Center, a state-of-the-art facility complete with a walking track, cardio training and weight lifting equipment, and group fitness classes.

The new gymnasium, home to the men's basketball and women's volleyball team, offers another crucial facet in the student life experience. The athletic program, which also includes cross country, will expand to add women's basketball next year.

Campus leaders are planning an extensive project to repurpose the Main Building to accommodate its rapid growth, thanks to $14 million in funding from the state legislature. Plans include adding new classrooms, a math lab, and a Mac lab, among other projects. The Main Building was the first campus building erected in 1965.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo's police cadets graduated recently from the prestigious IU Police Academy, the first from the campus to attain that honor.

Eddy V. Chapa and Andrew J. Doran during graduation. | PHOTO BY RIC CRADICKEddy V. Chapa and Andrew J. Doran during graduation. | PHOTO BY RIC CRADICKAndrew Doran, 22, and Eddy Chapa, 37, earned Indiana Law Enforcement Certification during the 12-week program, and are now qualified for employment by any department statewide. They are currently serving as officers on the Kokomo campus.

They were among 38 graduates, from six IU campuses, who completed the program, which includes classroom activities, grueling physical training, and hands-on learning. They ran more than 100 miles during the course, and swam hours of laps during the training.

"I am really proud of this accomplishment," Doran, from Kokomo, said. "There was so much to learn in such a short time. It was overwhelming at first."

Both said the most interesting part of the program was an "active shooter" exercise, preparing the officers in case of an armed shooter on campus.

"It's a weird feeling when you run at someone who is shooting, to take him down," Doran said. "Your instinct is to run away, but as an officer, it is your job to run into that situation."

Chapa added, though, it is important to practice those skills.

"Everything you do goes back to your training," he said. "You practice until it is second nature, and you just do what you're supposed to do, without having to mentally run through it."

Nancy Greenwood, chairperson of the Department of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security, said faculty are pleased to have the partnership with the police department.

"It has been a successful experience for our students, and it demonstrates the high level of preparation that our criminal justice program provides for students seeking police academy training and jobs in law enforcement," she said.

Chapa, who moved to Kokomo from Texas to be closer to his daughter, said earning the certification puts him one step closer to his chosen career as a police officer.

He was impressed to meet former IU Police cadets who have gone on to careers in the FBI and other agencies, and have held high-level law enforcement jobs.

"It was interesting to think those people went through the same things we did, and look where they are now," he said. "It was encouraging."

Lt. Greg Butler, director of the training division for the IU Police Department, does not know of another university that offers a similar program.

"What makes it unique is that these college students can get a Police Officer Certification by a state-authorized academy, and then work as a police officer with full arrest powers, part time, while attending school full time," Butler said. "When they graduate from IU, they have a college degree, Indiana Law Enforcement Certification, and that valuable commodity called job experience."

Doran plans to complete his degree in criminal justice in December, and wants to find a law enforcement job in or near Hamilton County. Chapa plans to earn degrees in criminal justice and general studies in May 2014. He hopes his Spanish language skills, bachelor's degrees, law enforcement certification, and an associate degree he previously earned in business management will help him find a job in Indiana.

Jerry Williams, IU Kokomo interim police chief, said attending the graduation brought back memories of his own academy days.

"I have been there, and I know what a huge accomplishment this is," he said. "To simply say, 'They graduated the academy,' does not do them justice. It is a whole lot more, and I would not even know the words to describe it. I know the hard work, dedication, and loyalty it takes to realize this dream. I am very proud of them."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Kristen Snoddy knows both sides of the story.Wild Bison in Yellowstone National ParkWild Bison in Yellowstone National Park

After talking with Montana rancher Druska Kinkie, she learned how her family’s livelihood is impacted by the wildlife from the nearby Yellowstone National Park. She felt pulled to agree with Kinkie, and others, who want the park services to limit roaming animals to protect their cattle herds.

But then Snoddy witnessed the bison, elk, and wolves wandering free in the majestic setting of the park, and talked to the rangers and environmentalists who fight to protect those animals. She then was drawn to that side of the conflict.

This experience showed her how easy it can be to learn a little about an issue, and form an opinion. Snoddy, a senior lecturer in English at Indiana University Kokomo, plans to challenge her students to become more informed, engaged citizens, who can think critically, consider both sides of an issue, and research intensely before forming an opinion.

“I want to help students understand that you can’t just quickly jump to a conclusion,” Snoddy said. “You have to consider multiple points of view, not just those that agree with yours. Sometimes you learn more from thoughtful consideration of views you disagree with.”

Snoddy and Todd Bradley, associate professor of political science, spent part of their summer learning about politics and conflict resolution in the awe-inspiring setting of the Yellowstone National Park, as part of the “Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem,” conference sponsored by the American Democracy Project and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

Yellowstone, the first national park, is home to hundreds of species of animals, including the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States, and is a tourist destination for outdoor sportsmen. The livestock and land use have been a source of conflict through the years, with controversy about ownership and use of the land by timber, mining, oil, and gas producers, developers, farmers, ranchers, hunters, business owners, recreational users, and environmentalists. Those attending the conference saw the animals in person at Hayden Valley, the best place to view wildlife in Yellowstone Park, and toured ranches impacted by the area wildlife.

Bradley, who researches and teaches conflict resolution, was interested in how the issues affect both sides of the park conflicts, and how those with different views have worked together to create solutions. For example, national park service leaders have worked to release more wolves back into the park, which has driven more elk onto local ranchers’ lands. The elk can carry diseases to the cattle, impacting their ability to sell their animals and meat.

In many cases, it is not possible to find a solution that both sides agree with 100 percent, so these case studies provide good examples of compromise he can share with his students.

“We had in-depth discussions about how to resolve conflict, especially in the long term,” he said. “It’s impossible to have all sides completely happy, but you can give a little and take a little, and work out an agreement everybody can accept.”

He plans to use what he saw and learned as examples of how the democratic process works, in his Model United Nations and government classes.

“Democracies are messy, and must be as inclusive as possible,” Bradley said. “My students will benefit by knowing that issues that appear to be simple are often more complex when we peel back the layers, especially in a democracy. My being in the park provided an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts, as opposed to what I may have learned in books, on television, or on the internet, which makes the experience all that more interesting and alive.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — It might be too early to talk about NAIA national championships or KIAC league titles, but after the IU Kokomo women's volleyball team swept Rochester College in a doubleheader to christen the new Cougar Gym, expectations for the team took a step up. Playing in front of a packed house, the Cougars played the maximum 10 games over the course of two matches to start the season 2-0.

IU Kokomo Gymnasium Opening, Tailgate, and GameMegan Riley watches the Warriors closely. See more pictures on Flickr.

"This was a whole team effort," said first-year IUK head coach Heather Hayes. "It was pretty fantastic. We called on people tonight who didn't have a lot of playing time to come in and serve in crunch time – and they did their job."

The Cougars took game one 21-25, 25-13, 25-19, 16-25, 15-9 and game two 25-20, 22-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-12.

"It was truly a collective effort and I couldn't be more proud of how deep they had to dig to earn that first victory," said Hayes. "That shows a ton of maturity and heart for such a young team."

Moments after IUK Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight and Kokomo Schools Superintendent Jeff Hauswald cut the red ribbon to officially open Cougar Gymnasium, IUK freshman Teylor Rains (Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville) launched the first serve through the air and scored the first point on a Rochester error. Unfortunately, that would be the only lead the Cougars would have and the first set in the new gym went to the Warriors.

Set two was a different story. Tied at three, sophomore Megan Riley (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) delivered a kill, Kokomo libero Lael Burrus (Denver, Ind./North Miami) fired an ace, freshman Kaley Harness (LaFontaine, Ind./Southwood) followed with a powerful kill and junior Shelby Spall (Kokomo, Ind./Western) blocked a shot. And just like that, the Cougars owned a 7-3 lead and never looked back.

"They all did their job," said Hayes. "The whole team surprised me on how fast they were able to move. Tonight was just a team effort; it took every one of them to pull this out."

The third set started much like the second. Kokomo trailed 5-3 until Rachel Allen (Lizton, Ind./Tri-West) and Harness delivered back-to-back kills to tie the game. With Allen serving, Kokomo scored eight consecutive points to take an 11-5 lead. The Warriors cut the lead to two (14-12), but four straight Rochester faults ended any chance of a comeback and Kokomo led the match 2-1.

"The name of the game tonight was serving," said Hayes. "We played very disciplined tonight; it was great to watch. Serving is the name of our game, and when we lost the games we lost, it was because serving wasn't very good. But we had a talk (during a break) about weak serving, and you see what happened. (The Warriors) fast offense wasn't able to be as conductive against our serve."

Rochester (0-2) won the fourth set with ease to set up a decisive fifth set – much to the delight of the nearly 500 spectators in Cougar Gym. The Warriors scored the first two points and led 7-5 before Allen scored on a kill down the sideline. Rochester faulted to tie the set and Harness provided another kill to give Kokomo the lead. Allen then provided her second long serving string of the night, scoring on six plays in-a-row to give the Cougars a 12-7 lead. Harness and Spall fired a pair of kills for the 13th and 14th points and Micayla Speidel (Columbus, Ind./Columbus East) provided the match winning shot to give Indiana University Kokomo its historic first win in Cougar Gym.

"With what we had coming back and what we recruited, we thought we had a chance to be good this year," said Hayes. "I think we will have our ups and downs – but this was a heck of a way to start."

The Cougars travel to Berea College on Aug. 24 to play matches against the host squad and Tennessee Wesleyan. They return home to Cougar Gym on Aug. 29 for a 4 p.m. match against Point Park University.

Story by Dean Hockney, publisher, Sports Journal of Central Indiana, for Indiana University Kokomo.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.