Borst Fellow and MPA student Thomas Bray immersed in Indiana legislative process

Thomas BrayAs a senior at Fishers High School, Thomas Bray learned first-hand how to argue on behalf of the U.S. Constitution in front of a panel of legislators. His learning process was part of We the People, a national program that challenges elementary and high school students to participate in simulated congressional hearings.

“The We the People program made me realize that I was really passionate about public service and public affairs,” said Bray. “Even though this was not something I wanted to do specifically, the build-up was something that I found I was pretty good at – the research, the writing, the crafting, the paper that was as good to read as it is to speak. That was something that I really found both challenging and enjoyable.” (more…)

Indiana faces up to $8.5 billion funding gap for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure

Drinking water The 20-year statewide funding gap for Indiana wastewater and drinking water infrastructure is estimated to be between $6.5 billion and $8.5 billion, according to a new study by the Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Between 2005 and 2014, local governments invested approximately $4.5 billion in combined wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. If spending levels remain at the same level, state and local governments will face an annual shortfall between $326 million and $423 million to meet the infrastructure capital needs identified in the report.

“This represents a significant challenge for both local and state government,” said state Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo, who chairs the commission. “There has been a lot of focus on roads infrastructure funding in the state, but it’s incredibly important that we are aware of the needs for wastewater and drinking water and take appropriate steps to close this funding gap.” (more…)

Leaders should be aware of ‘sensemaking’ in post-election


“Sensemaking occurs in organizations when members confront events, issues, and actions that are somehow surprising or confusing.” (The Social Processes of Organizational Sensemaking, Sally Maitlis, 2005).  During this past week, post-election, I believe I have observed our “organization,” the United States of America (as well as other countries around the world), exhibiting this social construction called sensemaking.

What I have observed this week is a look of shock in the eyes of many I pass in the halls. Looks conveying what words cannot. On the street and in public places I see looks of disbelief, confusion, stupefaction, surprise, befuddlement, and in some, fear of the unknown of what lies ahead. (more…)

SPEA’s Justice and Pre-Law Community gives first-year students resources to succeed

When Edward Hansen arrived at IUPUI in the fall of 2013, he knew he wanted to get the most out of his first year of college. For him, signing up to live in SPEA’s Justice and Pre-Law Wing was a no-brainer.

“It was a lot easier to meet friends when you not only have them as your neighbors but they’re in your class and so I developed relationships a lot faster than just living in a random living community,” said Hansen, who will graduate with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Management in May 2018 as part of SPEA’s accelerated master’s program.

eddie-hansen“You will develop relationships, but if you’re in the SPEA wing, you’re going to develop friendships much faster with other students who share your common interests.”

SPEA’s Justice and Pre-Law (JPL) Wing is a co-ed learning community located in University Tower and offers double and triple rooms for first-year students interested in social justice and pre-law topics such as the legal system, law enforcement, homeland security, and socioeconomics. The JPL wing is one of 12 residential-based learning communities on campus. (more…)

Project Grow: SPEA students develop leadership skills through mentoring program

For students who are underrepresented minorities, mentorship is critical to future success.  Tamra Wright, who serves as SPEA’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, said mentoring opportunities allow women – especially African American women – to develop their own leadership skills and see that others who look like them can rise to the top.

Wright, who currently teaches a SPEA course on career development and diversity, invited her students to apply for Project Grow, a one-year mentoring program aimed at helping young women achieve academic success and develop leadership skills. SPEA undergraduate students Micah Benson and Scherrie Blackwell were accepted to the program and will receive 12 one-hour sessions with professional mentors throughout the country.

“You’ll often find that those who achieve success and end up in leadership positions have had a great mentor by their side,” Wright said. “Unfortunately, when we look at people in leadership, there are very few women and even fewer women of color. Mentorship opportunities are critical in moving the needle toward greater diversity.” (more…)