KOKOMO, Ind. – Indiana University Kokomo welcomed its faculty and staff back to being on campus full-time, in person, at the annual fall convocation Tuesday (August 17). The event also celebrated the successes of the last year, including faculty recognitions for outstanding teaching and scholarship.
“I’m so glad to see everybody here,” said Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. “I look forward to a year partnering and collaborating with all of you as we move this campus forward, and continue to move our students forward.”
It’s been a long road — the campus went to virtual instruction in April 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and completed the 2020-21 school year with a mix of in-person and online classes, and virtual or on-the-go student activities.
The fall 2021 semester begins August 23, returning to all in-person classes and resumption of regular student activities.
Sciame-Giesecke thanked faculty and staff for their work to continue educating students amidst the challenges.
“Every person here just kept working hard,” she said. “It means so much to be to be back with our community, where we can reunite with one another and start moving forward. We need to feel good about what we did.”
She highlighted the fact that the campus distributed more than $3 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, meant to ensure that learning continued for students during the pandemic.
“As the money came to us, we turned around and gave it back to our students,” Sciame-Giesecke said. “It eliminated a lot of student debt so students can come back to our campus and continue earning their degrees. We helped students through the pandemic as they lost their jobs, or families lost their jobs. We need to be proud of the fact we were able to help students in ways that were pretty remarkable.”
She noted that with 85 percent of the IU community vaccinated statewide, “we’re in one of the safest places we can be right now.”
The campus also recognized achievements of its faculty, honoring Christina Romero-Ivanova as recipient of the annual research award.
Mark Canada, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and deputy interim chancellor, noted that while many faculty used 2020 to slowdown, reorganize, and reconsider their research plans, “Dr. Romero-Ivanova took full advantage of this unprecedented year to charge ahead with high impact research projects, that focused on narrative inquiries, and provided unmatched opportunities for student collaborators to publish and present with her.”
In addition to publishing and presenting, she also served on executive boards for professional associations and international journals, was invited as a panelist for virtual conferences, and secured numerous funding sources to support her research and student collaborators.
Romero-Ivanova was “grateful and honored” by the award.
“It means recognition of all the hard work I did last year, even amidst COVID,” she said. “I could not do any of this work without the support of my dean and this university.”
Also congratulated were those receiving Trustees Teaching Awards, including Ghadah Alshuwaiyer, assistant professor of health sciences; Stephanie Medley-Rath, associate professor of sociology; Mark Meng, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management; Stephanie Pratt, clinical assistant professor of nursing; Natalie Schelling, assistant professor of educational psychology; and Joseph Waters, clinical assistant professor of psychology.
In addition, Canada received the William M. Plater Award from the AASCU American Democracy Project.