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Do you ever read a Wikipedia page and wonder, "Who writes this stuff?"

Tens of thousands of pages about people, places and history magically appear at our fingertips, though the content is solely at the mercy of anonymous writers and editors all over the planet. Some subjects worthy of a page don't have one, while others that do may have incomplete and/or inaccurate information.

That's the curse of Wikipedia. But the beauty is, anyone can fix its imperfections.

In October at the Indiana State Library, students from IUPUI, IU Bloomington and IU Kokomo took part in a "Hoosier Women in STEM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon." Part of the Indiana Humanities' Quantum Leap initiative, this was just as it sounds, with the goal of improving recognition of Hoosier women notable in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- fields.

At the end of the day, 42 people had contributed to make 870 edits to 99 articles, adding 35,000 total words to Wikipedia.

Julia Deros of IUPUI worked on the page of Elizabeth Smith Friedman, a Huntington native born in 1892 who was a pioneer in U.S. cryptography and is considered by many in the field to be the nation's first female cryptanalyst.

"I really liked learning about all of her work with the U.S. Navy, breaking smugglers' codes and her service in World War II," said Deros, a graduate student majoring in public history as well as library and information science.

"I was proud to be able to bring light to the contributions of women who came before me."

Research has shown that more than 80 percent of Wikipedia's contributors are men, which can explain some of the shortcomings in entries about women. Edit-a-Thons help close some of the gaps.

"Not that these men are sitting around thinking 'how we can exclude women,' but they tend to be interested in more male-dominated things," said Rebecca Shrum, an assistant professor of history and assistant director of the public history program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. "There's been a real push to get more women editing."

The how-to of Wikipedia editing is easy to learn quickly; most pages have an "edit" button, for starters. But figuring out where to go from there takes deeper thought. At this Edit-a-Thon, organizers created folders for dozens of women. The participants selected folders and dug in, with the entire Indiana State Library at their fingertips for additional help.

"The participants were very excited about the women they researched," Shrum said. "A few stayed late, asking to take more folders. It felt like you were making an impact, because you were -- the changes happen immediately on Wikipedia."

Among the completely new entries created were for Suzanne Knoebel, part of the IU School of Medicine faculty and the first female president of the American College of Cardiology, and Beulah Wright Porter, an educator, physician and active participant in the African-American women's club movement in Indianapolis.

The IU Office of the Bicentennial will host its own Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons at later dates.

Members of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI were among the faculty and students honored at the Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation, part of IUPUI’s annual recognition for achievements, held April 21 in the Hine Hall Auditorium. Chancellor Nasser Paydar hosts the event.

Each year those who best represent IUPUI in its core values (teaching and learning; research, scholarship and creative activity; civic engagement; and diversity, collaboration and best practices) are recognized for their efforts.

Liberal Arts honorees include:

Jennifer Guiliano (assistant professor of history) received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Multicultural Teaching.

Modupe Labode (associate professor of history and museum studies, public scholar of African American history and museums, public scholar of Africana Studies, adjunct professor of Africana Studies, director of undergraduate studies in history) received the Chancellor's Diversity Scholar Award.

Scott Pegg (professor and chair of Political Science) received the Chancellor's Faculty Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement.

Many liberal arts faculty members were recognized with Trustee Teaching Awards. These included Holly Cusack McVeigh (assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies), Elizabeth Goering (associate professor of communication studies), Karen Kovacik (professor of English), John McCormick (professor of political science), Honner Orlando (lecturer in English, EAP coordinator), Mike Polites (senior lecture in communication studies), Jennifer Thorington Springer (associate professor of English, Africana studies), Jing Wang (associate professor of Chinese language and culture), and Scott Weeden (senior lecturer in English).

Krista Hoffman-Longtin was recognized for external achievement as a 2016 member of the Indiana Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list.

Ayobami Egunyomi (Senior, French/global and international studies; minor, political science) was also named the Liberal Arts Chancellor’s Scholar.

“What an honor to be present at the Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation,” said Thomas J. Davis, IU School Liberal Arts dean. "To see our outstanding faculty and students honored reminded me how fortunate I am to work with such dedicated people and serve such wonderful students."

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Seminars to address Islam, environment, economic justice and more

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society at Indiana University has launched its inaugural round of Religion and Ethics Seminars, a yearlong series of faculty-led seminars taking place on a number of IU campuses.

The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society, founded in 2013, is an interdisciplinary group of scholars, academic programs and research centers from all eight Indiana University campuses.

The consortium's goal is to connect faculty, incubate research and creative activity, and promote awareness of IU scholarship in areas relating to religion, ethics and values.

The new seminar series is an important new step in realizing the consortium's goal, said Brian Steensland, director of the consortium and professor of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

"Within the Indiana University faculty, there is tremendous expertise on topics relating to religion, ethics and values," Steensland. said "We have world-renowned scholars, but they are spread across fields and campuses. The Religion and Ethics Seminars program is a big step bringing these minds together.

"We received interest from faculty on numerous campuses and representing a variety of disciplines and professional areas, including medicine, law and business in addition to fields across the humanities and sciences," Steensland added.

The Religion and Ethics Seminar topics and their leaders are:

  • Religion, Spirituality, Healthcare and Ethics: Led by Amber Comer, Department of Health Sciences at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at IUPUI; and Alexia Torke, Department of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine. The first event in this seminar will be a talk by Wendy Cadge, Brandeis University, at noon March 9, titled "Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine."
  • Islam in the American Public Sphere: Led by Asma Afsaruddin, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the School of Global and International Studies at IU Bloomington; and Abdulkader Sinno, Department of Political Science and Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the School of Global and International Studies at IU Bloomington.
  • Environmental Justice: Led by Gabriel Filippelli, Department of Earth Sciences at the School of Science at IUPUI; and Carlton M. Waterhouse, IU McKinney School of Law at IUPUI.
  • The Ethics, Values and Practices of Public Art in Urban Contexts: Led by Jason M. Kelly, Department of History at the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; and Pamela Napier, visual communication design program at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI.
  • Economic Justice and Inclusive Markets -- The Ethics of Doing Business With the Poor: Led by Kelly R. Eskew, Kelley School of Business at IU Bloomington; and Philip T. Powell, Kelley School of Business Indianapolis.
  • Moral Thinking in Artworks of Economic Success and Economic Failure: Led by Stephen Buttes, Department of International Language and Culture Studies at the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and Andrew Kopec, Department of English and Linguistics at the College of Arts and Sciences at IPFW.

Each pair of faculty members will lead a seminar that meets six times over two consecutive semesters. Seminar meetings may include faculty workshops, public speakers, community events and faculty-student activities. Each seminar will set its own schedule. Details will be available through the consortium's website.

"The seminars can have different purposes," Steensland said. "Some are oriented toward public engagement. Others are oriented toward scholarly development and academic research. Some involve students, and others involve community partners. The mix of goals and activities matches the diverse ways in which religion and ethics impact society."

The consortium solicits proposals for seminars twice a year. Proposals for the next round of seminars, to begin in Fall 2017, are being accepted between March 1 and April 1.