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April 2008

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 Vol. 2007-2008 No. 8

Food, music, merriment in May

A winning combination awaits members at the musical program and pitch-in dinner that complete the academic year. Bring a tasty treat and gather at the Peterson Room of the Showalter House at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 14. The association will provide ham and wine. Special guests are soon-to-be-retiring Curt Simic, president of the IU Foundation since 1987 and the association’s longtime host, and his wife, Judy.

To honor the Simics, we will have the musical talents of renowned soprano Sylvia McNair, two-time Grammy winner and a teacher at the Jacobs School of Music. Accompanying her on the piano will be Adam Burnette, a master’s conducting student chosen by Leonard Slatkin as one of four national winners to conduct the National Symphony Orchestra.

So that adequate meat, tables, and chairs will be available, please let Sandra Churchill know you’ll be coming. Her e-mail is, and her telephone number is (812) 336-2469.

April features Provost Karen Hanson

Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson reflected on her first year as provost and executive vice president when she spoke to the IU Annuitants Association on April 9. “Higher education in general and IU in particular are at an especially challenging juncture,” she said.

For the Bloomington campus the challenges are to preserve its traditional strengths while responding to future needs. Life sciences are forging better linkages with IU’s Indianapolis-based health schools, Purdue, and other Research I universities. Provost Hanson pointed out the tremendous strength of Midwestern universities in the life sciences. Wisconsin, for example, gets more grants in this field than does Harvard. The Bloomington campus is celebrating the Lilly Foundation’s $44 million grant to the Jacobs School of Music and its $25 million grant to the School of Law. These grants recognize the international standing of IU’s acclaimed music school and the law school’s place in the upper echelon of public universities.

Another challenge Provost Hanson mentioned is a perceived loss of collegiality among faculty, who may consider themselves free agents. The tenure process emphasizes individual research rather than service on interdepartmental committees, she said, and it’s hard to change this ethos once people have tenure.

A task force is looking at space, aesthetic, and conservation needs to advise IU’s master planner, who understands the importance of the beauty and character of the campus. The goal is to better integrate the academic and social lives of students. The provost is encouraging policies to recapture Friday as part of the academic week.

Students are meeting as part of the VOICE Project, which stands for Visions of the Ideal College Environment. Students are saying they want less IT in the classroom. If lectures and chat boards are online, they ask, why should we go to class? What they want is personal contact, a mentor, they say.
The provost also explained that students are text messaging instead of e-mailing, which they regard as too slow.

The new strategic plan for the Bloomington campus will emphasize the further internationalization directed by President McRobbie, without sacrificing traditional strengths in arts and sciences. Students pay the bulk of operating expenses, Provost Hanson observed, and more students are applying to IU Bloomington. Applications are up 30 percent from last year.

In answer to a question, she acknowledged huge disparities in faculty salaries from school to school. These are market driven, she said, and she compared start-up costs for young scientists with those of young philosophers, who have nowhere to go other than the academy.

General education requirements will go into effect in 2011, as a way to ensure that students have a common core of competencies. These requirements will “look a lot like distribution requirements,” she said. They will emphasize fundamental skills, and, “on a campus with 14 schools and 386 degree programs,” their main home will be in the College of Arts and Sciences, with other schools participating.

Program chair Nancy White introduced the speaker.

Bylaws revisions bestow a new name

At its April 9 annual meeting the IU Annuitants Association approved revisions to its bylaws that changed its name to the Indiana University Association of Retired Faculty and Staff. President Bob Ensman acknowledged the members of the Review Committee: Don Weaver, chair; Sandra Churchill, Bob Dodd, and Ted Jones.

The old bylaws defined members as “annuitants of TIAA-CREF of Indiana University” and their spouses and “residents of the Indiana University Retirement Community.” With changes in retirement options offered by Indiana University, people choose plans other than TIAA-CREF, and there is no longer an official “Indiana University Retirement Community.” The new name offers membership to “retired faculty and staff,” reflecting the more inclusive norm among most Big Ten retiree associations. Penn State has the “Retired Faculty/Staff Club.” Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Purdue call their organizations the “Retirees Association,” and Wisconsin calls its group the “Retirement Association.”

To receive an electronic copy of the new bylaws, please e-mail the editor at

Wain Martin gave what he modestly termed a “marvelous, stupendous, amazing, surprising report.” In the United Way campaign, the IU Annuitants not only met the 2008 goal of $95,198.87 but surpassed it. With 158 members participating, the annuitants pledged $97,908.57, 102.8 percent of the goal. Well done!

Doris Burton, Helen Gibbons, Lora Johnson, and Mary McClellan provided refreshments.

Welcome, new board members!

Doris Burton, John Harrell, and Eileen Schellhammer have been elected to three-year terms on the board of the IU Association of Retired Faculty and Staff. Doris is retired from the political science department, John from telecommunications, and Eileen from both the School of Education and the Kelley School of Business. Retiring from the retiree board are Lou Moir, Bob Priest, and Nancy White. Past president Ted Jones also is leaving the board.

Attention! Help! SOS!

The IU Association of Retired Faculty and Staff urgently needs a volunteer Web master. If you would be able to fill this position, please notify President Bob Ensman,, 339-1357. Or nominate your computer-savvy retired friends so that plaintive supplications and/or strong-arm tactics can be applied.

In memoriam

During the past academic year the IU Association of Retired Faculty and Staff lost six of its members. We honor their memory. Listings are limited to people who belonged to the association at the time of their deaths. Inform the editor ( of any omissions, please, and let her know if you value this new feature. Your response will determine its future.

Robert E. Burton died at his Bloomington residence Dec. 15, 2007. He was 89. Born April 28, 1918, in Kearney, Neb., Bob moved to Bloomington in 1941 and, as assistant to the treasurer of Indiana University, served four successive chief business officers before his retirement in 1988. Named assistant secretary to the board of trustees in 1952, he was secretary to the board of trustees from 1981 until his retirement. He served as president of the IU Annuitants Association and of the IU Retirement Community, the predecessor of Meadowood. Bob and his late wife, Joan, were active volunteers in the Bloomington community. He received the Mary Alice Gray Award of the United Way in 1995, Outstanding Volunteer of the Year of the City of Bloomington in 1985, and Citizen of the Year Award of the Bloomington Board of Realtors (jointly with Joan) in 1982. He was a 57-year member of the Bloomington Kiwanis Club and a member of First United Methodist Church of Bloomington since 1942.

Henry A. Fischel died in Bloomington on March 18, 2008. He was 94. Born in Bonn, Germany, on Nov. 20, 1913, he studied philosophy at the University of Berlin, and Judaica at a liberal rabbinical seminary in Berlin. He was ordained as rabbi in 1939. He continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1945. In 1941, he came to Canada, where he initially served as rabbi in a holding camp for other refugees. For the next half century, he held distinguished rabbinical and academic positions in Canada and in the United States, including professorships at Brandeis University and at Indiana University. He joined the IU faculty in 1961 as professor of Near Eastern languages and cultures. Henry published numerous books and articles exploring the relationship between Jewish literature and the Hellenistic world. An accomplished musician, he delighted fellow residents of Meadowood Retirement Community with piano recital-talks. His wife, Sylvia, preceded him in death; two daughters survive.

Betty Rome Morris died in Bloomington on Feb. 13, 2008. She was 84. Born July 19, 1923, in Hartford, Conn., she graduated from Ithaca College, where she studied piano and cello. She became a children’s music educator in the Washington, D.C., area. She moved to Bloomington in 1963 when her husband, Bernard, joined IU’s political science faculty. She was a first-grade teacher at Clear Creek and Rogers elementary schools and an avid supporter of the Bloomington music and arts community. Betty was active in bridge and recorder groups, both in Bloomington and during her summers on Martha’s Vineyard. She enjoyed traveling. Her husband and sons survive.

Lowell C. Rose died at Bloomington Hospital on Dec. 2, 2007. He was 77. Born Jan. 22, 1930, in Rushville, Ind., he earned his master’s and Ph.D. at Purdue University. In 1967 he accepted the position of executive secretary of the Indiana School Boards Association. He was an associate professor in IU’s School of Education from 1967 until 1971 and an adjunct professor from 1971 until his death. He was the executive director of Phi Delta Kappa International from 1971 to 1995. He served two years as the acting executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association, where he was a consultant from 1999 until his death. Lowell was a frequent participant in discussions at the Indiana Legislature and at Congressional hearings in Washington, D.C. He was the 2001 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award given by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents. Besides his children, he is survived by his wife, Mary.

Merle E. Simmons died at Bloomington Hospital on April 4, 2008. He was 89. Born in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 27, 1918, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Kansas and his doctorate at the University of Michigan in 1952. He came to Indiana University in 1951, and in 1962 he became professor of Spanish and professor of folklore. He retired in 1983. While he was chairman of the foreign study committee at IU, the university established overseas study programs in Hamburg, Strasbourg, Bologna, Madrid, and Mexico City. For several years Merle was resident director of the programs in Mexico and in Spain. In addition to countless articles and translations, he was the sole author or co-author of three major books. Two of these concerned his discovery of manuscript pages written in French by Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzman, an important figure in the history of Spanish American independence. Besides his daughters, he is survived by his wife, Concha.

Henry Wahl died March 29, 2008, in Bloomington. He was 93. Born in Bloomington on Nov. 30, 1914, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at IU. Following Navy service during World War II, he served in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands for seven years, as an economics officer for the rehabilitation of the islands previously held by Japan. His wife, Cecilia (Hendricks), wrote a memoir of their time in Palau and, after her death in 1998, Henry added some pictures to her manuscript and published “Number One Pacific Island” in her memory. In 1953 he joined the staff of Indiana University as an assistant to the director of the Halls of Residence. After early retirement from IU, he volunteered in a number of Bloomington organizations, including the Sassafras Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy, and pursued his hobby of bird watching locally and internationally.

Rebuilding New Orleans homes

This is a call for volunteers to help rebuild New Orleans homes damaged by Katrina. I spent the first week of March doing that, and I found the experience so rewarding that I’m compelled to go back and to take others with me. To that end, I’ve reserved space for 20 Bloomingtonians at the Little Farms UCC church in New Orleans, this coming autumn from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. Little Farms has a well-developed program to make efficient use of volunteers, whether skilled or not, rebuilding houses in many parts of the city. Retired people are the most likely to be available at the time I have this project scheduled. If interested, please contact me, or 333-2945. Thank you.

David is a professor emeritus of public and environmental affairs. – Ed.