By: Tyler Clements, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2017, Biological Sciences, South Bend
Hello, my name is Tyler Clements and I am a spring 2017 intern for the IU Bicentennial Oral History Project for Indiana University South Bend. I’ve learned a lot about the history of IUSB through the eyes and perspectives of faculty, staff, and alumni.
It would be remiss of me however to not address those that have provided guidance and assistance throughout my internship.
Firstly, Alison Stankrauff who is the IUSB Archivist and doubles as my on-campus supervisor and is someone who provides thoughtful guidance and support. She has been an invaluable resource throughout my internship.
The previous bicentennial intern, Kevin Schascheck also has given me support and helped smooth my transition into the position this spring. During the fall semester, Kevin along with Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, Mallory Jagodzinski compiled an IUSB alumni survey using Qualtrics.
It took some time before I was granted access to the survey, but I gained access in mid-February. Since my access to the survey, I’ve completed 16 interviews with just alumni and hope to complete more.
Initially getting into the swing of the internship, I was slightly confused on how to go about contacting potential interviewees. I spent my first week reading A Campus Becoming: Lester M. Wolfson and Indiana University South Bend 1964-1987 by Patrick J. Furlong and Tom R. Vander Ven. which proved to be an excellent resource to understanding the many strides that IUSB has made throughout the years. This book is also a comprehensive history of IUSB.
My research also taught me how instrumental Chancellor Wolfson truly was in shaping the campus into what it is today. I’ve encountered several alumni who had truly great things to say about him and those comments will now be included in our archives.
Chancellor Wolfson passed away in February 2017 at the age of 93, and my predecessor Kevin Schascheck along with Alison Stankrauff were able to obtain an interview with him in December 2016.
At the time of writing this blog, I completed my 30th interview for the semester, and I am actively seeking out more participants. One of the issues that I faced initially was scheduling a time for an interview. Alumni are out in the workforce, some with professional obligations that are hard to pull away from. For example, an alum I interviewed is now the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University.
Also, I haven’t only focused on completing interviews with alumni. I’ve targeted faculty and staff as well. To date, I’ve completed 11 faculty interviews, 3 staff interviews, and 16 interview with alumni. I have a few more interviews that I particularly want to schedule with retiring faculty with an end goal of 40 completed interviews. The majority of my interviews have been conducted in the Schurz Library, in the One Button Studio. This area allowed me to have a quiet space to conduct my interviews.
A number of alumni interviews have been conducted over the phone due to living out of state or travel issues. I prefer the interviews to be face-to-face because it provides a more personal aspect to the interview and I get to actually meet the wonderful people who agreed to be interviewed!
Each interview has provided me with a wealth of information about the campus and student life throughout the history of IU South Bend. It truly has been an amazing experience getting to meet so many people that have had their lives changed by attending IUSB, working at IUSB or both.
One of the most recurring themes that appears in my interviews with alumni is their drive, dedication, and passion that aided them in obtaining their degrees. Many of them worked full-time, a whopping 40 hours a week and were also full-time students. That in itself is very impressive. I’ve encountered alumni who worked full-time and raised a family. I think that shows the strength of IUSB students.
In my research, the regional campuses once deemed “extension centers” started out as feeder campuses to Bloomington for a number of years, but then something amazing occurred. Under strong leadership demonstrated by people such as Chancellor Wolfson, regional campuses began to take on an identity of their own and have since grown into wonderful institutions of higher learning while maintaining their connections to Bloomington.
Indiana is a great place to be for higher education. There are regional campuses all across the state that provide students everywhere a chance to pursue their education at a prestigious university. I’m proud to have played a part in the IU Bicentennial Oral History Project.
To read part one of this blog, please visit: https://blogs.iu.edu/bicentennialblogs/2016/11/14/165/