• The American Council on Education (ACE) has asked IU Kokomo Chancellor Ruth Person to serve on its Commission on Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity. She will serve a three-year term on the commission, which advises ACE on improving minority participation in higher education. It is also charged with monitoring national policy issues related to campus diversity, and with identifying strategies for increasing minority faculty and administrative staff in colleges and universities.
“This is a real honor,” Person said. “Others on the commission include presidents and officials from such highly regarded institutions as Princeton University, Spelman College, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arizona.”
With members representing approximately 1,800 accredited, degree-granting colleges, universities and higher education-related associations, ACE provides a unifying voice on key higher education issues at the federal and state level. It also offers programs aimed at developing leadership in higher education, lifelong learning and institutional effectiveness.
• Jaime Howell, director of forensics
and lecturer in communication arts, is the coach of the IU
Kokomo Speech Team, which competed in the Dominata Tournament
at IUPUI Feb. 5 and qualified two students, Grace Keith of
Kokomo and Chad Andrews of Sharpsville, to compete in the
35th annual Forensic Association tournament at the University
of Akron on April 14–17. The team is slated for two more competitions
before nationals: the State of Indiana Championships at the
University of Indianapolis on Feb. 26 and a tournament at
Ohio State University March 5-6.
• Christian Chauret, biology, and
IU Kokomo student Marley Griffin are continuing research on
E. coli 0157-H7, a dangerous bacterial contaminant
that can be found in Indiana rivers and creeks. Working under
an IU Undergraduate Research Summer Institute grant in 2004,
Griffin and Chauret tested two different methods to detect
the E. coli in surface sources of drinking water.
“Once the different bacteria are isolated, we perform genetic
comparisons of them,” Chauret said. “Very far down the road,
this knowledge can lead to detecting the origin of a bacterium
and possible preventative or disinfection methods.” The work
continues Chauret’s many years of studying E. coli
and other microorganisms in surface water and advising communities
on how to detect and deal with contaminants in these sources
of drinking water. He also worked last year with three utilities
in Indiana checking the quality of their water distribution
systems. “We were looking at biofilms (colonies of bacteria,
algae, and fungi on water surfaces), effective concentrations
of disinfectants, patterns of water quality affected by seasonal
changes and other factors,” Chauret said. The systematic scientific
study of contaminants in sources of drinking water only started
in the early 1990s, he said. “We used to just treat whatever
water came into a municipal drinking water plant. But, once
you know a bacterium is in your watershed, then you can do
something about it.”
In April, Chauret will present some of his findings at the
Indiana conference of the American Society for Microbiology.
In November, he spoke at the American Water Works Association’s
Water Quality Technology conference in San Antonio, Texas,
attended by some 1,500 drinking water regulators and water
treatment plant managers. His presentation covered emerging
problems of E. coli O157-H7 and the disinfection
of the bacterium.
“A lot more is known about E. coli in foods than in water,” he said. He sees possible links of water contaminants to the “strange weather patterns” the U.S. has experienced in recent years. “A lot of rain creates more run-off of manures and chemicals from fields, and overflows of sewage systems. This can contaminate wells,” he said.
Overall, he said, water quality in the Midwest is good. “The United States’ main water concerns are shortages in the south and southwest, as well as along the eastern seaboard, in states such as New Jersey, where the population is dense,” he said. Professionals concerned with water quality are seeking solutions to the shortages, he added. “Southern communities are talking about using highly treated wastewater for non-consumption purposes, such as watering golf courses.”