Faculty, student, alumni Bicentennial projects celebrate IU
IU’s Department of Journalism was born in 1911, 91 years after IU and 105 before The Media School opened its doors in Franklin Hall. Students had already been hard at work reporting on community and campus goings-on for the Daily Student for several decades.
In 1945, IU established the Department of Radio, renamed the Department of Radio and Television in 1953 and the Department of Telecommunications in 1974. The Department of Communication and Culture was created in 1998.
In 2014, The Media School was established, bringing together IU’s journalism, telecommunications and communication and culture programs.
In 2019, its faculty, students and alumni worked tirelessly to create a wealth of projects to celebrate IU’s Bicentennial.
“The Media School has been proud to sponsor a variety of projects and activities that celebrate IU’s rich 200-year history. These have included wonderful activities that document the university photographically, travel courses that help our students interact with other cultures, oral history projects and more,” said James Shanahan, dean of The Media School. “Even as a newer school at IU, we also draw on a rich tradition, and carry that forward with us in all that we do.”
Work for some of the Bicentennial’s biggest projects began in 2008 with a short-term committee tasked with initiating long-term work. It was then that professor emeritus Don Gray took on the mantle of historian, spearheading an oral history initiative to interview retired faculty as part of the Bicentennial Oral History Project.
Media School professor emerita Bonnie Brownlee inherited the project from Gray in 2017. Together with Kelley School of Business professor emeritus Bruce Jaffee, Brownlee has worked to expand the project’s coverage.
In 2016, when the Office of the Bicentennial opened its doors in Franklin Hall room 200, it convened a steering committee of staff, faculty, alumni and students to plan a series of projects that accurately and adequately represented IU’s first 200 years. The result was a plan that laid out 26 signature projects, all organized by the Office of the Bicentennial and endorsed by the steering committee, Michael McRobbie and the university’s board of trustees.
The projects include lectures, reunions and conferences, a public art and campus beautification program, heritage and legacy programs, public outreach, academic and extracurricular offerings and recognition projects.
One of those signature projects is the Grand Expedition, a huge offering of transatlantic travel programs that offer students and alumni overseas experiences to commemorate IU’s historic summer tramps of the 1880s and 1890s. They represented some of the earliest examples of study abroad programs.
Among the Grand Expedition’s offerings, which include Alumni Association trips, overseas study courses and IU Outdoor Adventures expeditions, two have Media School ties.
Led by associate professor Mike Conway, IUAA will offer a version of The Media School’s popular From London to Paris: In the Footsteps of Ernie Pyle trip for alumni to learn about the legacy of the beloved columnist.
Media School professor of practice Elaine Monaghan and senior lecturer Craig Erpelding, along with Department of Spanish and Portuguese professor Deborah Cohn, will lead students through the United Kingdom to produce multimedia reporting. The course, Borders, Nation Formation and the Transnational in the U.K., will take students from London to Dublin.
Along with its planned signature projects, the office also diversified its Bicentennial celebration by offering grant money for project proposals. That significantly expanded the roster of projects, as well as opened the doors for ideas from university faculty.
Adapting an idea for a personal project into a course to document the IU community for its 200th birthday, Schwibs joined forces with DeBoer to create The People of IU: Moving Image Portraits and the Public Screen.
As Gould worked on a long-term documentary project on the life and significance of Media School alumnus and beloved columnist Ernie Pyle for the 75th anniversary of the reporter’s death, which also coincides with IU’s Bicentennial year, a Bicentennial grant enabled him to take the project one step further, traveling to Europe to shoot important battlegrounds and commission an original score.
A Bicentennial grant also provided funding for “Indiana Daily Student: 150 Years of Headlines, Deadlines and Bylines,” a commemorative, alumni-produced history book about IU’s long-running student paper.
And through it all, one of the Bicentennial Office’s goals has been to document everything for the future. A team of student interns, including Media School student Spencer Bowman, produced videos for the office on historical tidbits, signature projects and more.
Once the grand celebration wraps up in the summer of 2020, as statewide events conclude and students and alumni return home from their grand expeditions, the work will still continue, as the Bicentennial is documented and archived in the IU archives for historical record.
Then, all that’s left is to move forward.
“What are the challenges that Indiana University has to face going forward?” asks Jeremy Hackerd, projects manager for the Office of the Bicentennial. “How does it change as a university to remain relevant and an invaluable component of the state of Indiana?”