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Professor David Bivin, professor of economics, has been named the first director of the newly established Liberal Arts Management Program (LAMP) in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The LAMP will prepare students to take a step beyond being employees, putting them on the fast track to a future as leaders and managers. The program's certificate will bring together students from different majors to bridge the liberal arts and business. Through courses from both the Liberal Arts and the Kelley School of Business, students will challenge the status quo, explore many perspectives, boost their credentials, and prepare to become great leaders.

“Liberal Arts majors are very popular with a number of business people,” says Bivin. “The program is designed to give students specific knowledge that will make them more valuable employees coming out of the gate.” As program director, Bivin will oversee the day-to-day operation of the program. He also plans to seek opportunities—such as internships—for students to more fully immerse themselves into the business environment.

“Professor Bivin’s commitment to students and the liberal arts, along with his deep understanding of the foundational nature of the liberal arts for career success, make him the perfect choice as the founding director of LAMP,” says Professor Kristy Horn Sheeler, Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the School of Liberal Arts and professor of communication studies.

The business world is increasingly seeking Liberal Arts degrees as a result of the growing demand for communication skills, problem solving, and the ability to analyze data. The LAMP program gives students a background in business and a step up in the hiring process.

“I am looking forward to watching students discover new opportunities that are there waiting for them,” Bivin says. “I hope that the program will grow very much on its own for the first couple of years! Ultimately its success depends on providing an experience that the students find rewarding both while they are here at IUPUI and then once they start pursuing their careers.” For more info about LAMP, please email

Five new students have been selected for the Masarachia Scholars Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, bringing a wealth of experience to the program.

The Masarachia Scholars Program is named for Sam Masarachia, a World War II veteran honored with four bronze stars and an advocate for unions and senior citizens. In 1999 he endowed the Sam Masarachia Scholars Program, which provides full tuition to students with career interests in labor, senior citizen, and community advocacy.

New Masarchia Scholars are:

Patricia Alonso brings a wealth of organizing experience to the program. She is a co-founder of the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance and worked for two years with the Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (INDYCAN). Patricia is studying nonprofit management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Aniqua Chatman comes from Gary, Indiana, where she was valedictorian of her high school class. Aniqua is currently an intern with Indiana Legal Services. She is interested in education issues and immigration reform. Aniqua is also an actor. Her major is political science.

Umaymah Mohammad is a Social Justice Scholar, and she participated in the recent “Tunnel of Oppression” at IUPUI. Umaymah has been active with several campus groups, including the LGBTQSA and the Muslim Student Association, and she has encouraged these groups to recognize the complex identities of their members. Umaymah is a dual major in political science and neuroscience.

Rasul Palmer is a graduate of the Kheprw Institute, where he had the opportunity to facilitate community discussions of current events, including the Trevon Martin incident. He uses his computer and media skills to help older workers prepare for the workplace of today. He plans to major in economics and computer science.

Lo Ray is a former member of the LGBTQSA executive board and believes in the power of direct action to change society. Lo is studying social work and wants to organize marginalized communities. 

“Sam Masarachia would have been very proud of this new cohort of scholars,” said Professor Thomas Marvin, director of the Masarachia Scholars Program and associate professor of English. “Like Sam, they have the courage to stand up and fight for vulnerable members of our society. Because of Sam’s generosity they will earn college degrees and graduate with the skills they need to make a difference in the world.”

Masarachia Scholars learn about the history of people’s movements and theories of how social change happens. A central question is “what can the social-action organizations of the past and present teach us about the possibilities for progressive social change in our world today?” To answer this, students examine the social movements of the past and meet the activists working for social justice today. Students are encouraged to attend a wide range of events, and coursework utilizes reports on those events attended, papers that address social issues, and service learning projects with local organizations.

Learn more about the program.

Economics department Office Coordinator Dana Ward won the Don Schultheis Award for Outstanding Staff Member in the School of Liberal Arts for 2015. The award was presented at the annual Liberal Arts staff appreciation luncheon on Dec. 10.

Ward joined the IUPUI staff in 2000 and has been with economics since 2010. In their nominating letters, colleagues cited her hard work, friendly and inviting attitude, and ability to answer any question for students and faculty.

Ward is the lone regular staff member in one of the largest Liberal Arts departments. As such, she works with approximately two dozen faculty members and students at the BA, MA, and PhD levels.

“I am a relatively new department chair with very little experience as an administrator,” said Professor and Department Chair Steven Russell. “As a result, Dana often finds herself involved in departmental issues that go beyond the usual job description of an office coordinator. She is unfailingly well-informed, industrious and effective, and I can say quite honestly that I can’t imagine doing this job without her help.”

Ward also helps students adjust to the program.

“She should be credited with inspiring undergraduate and graduate students, and for being a leader in creating one of the most-modeled advising programs within the school,” said Professor Charmayne Champion-Shaw, who is the director of the Native American & Indigenous Studies program and wrote a letter of support for the nomination. “As a new program director, I am constantly directed by advisors, administrative assistants, and faculty chairs to Dana for her creative and productive advising practices, for technical assistance on everything from new course creation to how to navigate the puzzling procurement practices on our campus.”

Time and time again, said her colleagues, Ward has proven her dedication not just to her assigned departments, but also to the School of Liberal Arts as a whole. For six weeks last spring, for example, she stepped in to help history department leaders when they found themselves in a crisis.

The annual outstanding staff award is named in honor of Don Schultheis, the School of Liberal Arts’ first and long-standing fiscal officer.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Today, the Federal Reserve increased the interest rate it pays on bank reserves by one-quarter of one percent, from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent. While this increase is slight and is not likely to have a major impact on the economy, its significance lies in two facts, according to Steven Russell, professor and chair of the Department of Economics in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

  • "It is the first time the Fed has moved to increase market interest rates since the financial crisis, and it likely begins a period of gradual rate increases."
  • "It is the first time the Fed has used a new method for trying to increase market interest rates, which is increasing the interest rate it pays on bank reserves. In the past, the Fed has used changes in reserve supply to try to increase the rate banks pay when they borrow reserves from other banks."

Russell also commented on the potential for the rate increase to be seen as controversial:

"The Fed's rate increase is potentially controversial because steps to increase market interest rates are usually justified by the argument that there is a need to slow the pace of economic activity in order to restrain inflation. But the pace of economic activity is still modest, and the inflation rate is well below the Fed's target rate -- 2 percent -- and shows few signs of increasing.

"Nonetheless, the Fed has been under pressure to start moving to increase market rates in order to demonstrate its continued commitment to maintaining low inflation," Russell said. "And it has finally concluded that the economy is strong enough to justify bowing to that pressure."

Russell holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota. His research interests are in macroeconomics -- the study of how the levels of important economic indicators such as the inflation rate, the real GDP growth rate, the prime interest rate, and the unemployment rate get determined -- and monetary economics, the study of the role of money in the economy and how government policy about money and credit can affect those economic indicators. Russell can be reached for interviews at 317-278-7214 or