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Monday, August 15, 2011

Day on the Bus provides insight to inner workings of local industries

Contact for more information:
Brandi Schwartz
Marketing Coordinator
Outreach & Engagement
Forty-two faculty and staff members from USI, Ivy Tech Community College, University of Evansville, and Vincennes University boarded a motor coach on August 10 to visit regional businesses for tours and presentations for the sixth annual Day on the Bus event.

Sponsored by Old National Bank, this years event gave participants a glimpse at the inner workings of local industries, and opportunity to identify potential research projects, network with peers, and learn how to prepare students for the workforce.

The faculty met at Vectren Headquarters where they were welcomed by USI President Dr. Linda L. M. Bennett.

"Day on the Bus is an exciting program that allows participants to practice experiential learning," Bennett said. "Let this day be a great beginning of synergy between four institutions."

Carl Chapman, president and chief executive officer of Vectren, spoke about the business community involvement while stressing the importance of critical thinking.

"As a business, we recognize that if the community is successful, then Vectren is successful," said Chapman. "I encourage professors to engage students in activities that develop curiosity, along with integrity and passion, so that students will be able to critically think in the workforce."

Participants traveled to Vectren Culley Power Plant in Newburgh where representatives gave tours while speaking about efficient electricity usage and available collegiate training programs for students who are interested in working in the plants environment.

Evansville ARC Industries, the next stop on the tour, allowed the visitors to explore the manufacturing and distribution facility. Tour guides spoke about how the nonprofit organization offers employment and vocational training to individuals with disabilities.

Deidra Conner, president and chief executive officer of Evansville ARC Industries, and a team of staff members from various departments, challenged Day on the Bus participants to become involved in the organization through investigative, collaborative, and academic opportunities.

Evansville ARC has so many different opportunities for engagement from engineering to social services to special education, said Conner. We are looking forward to yet another opportunity to work together in a meaningful way that will benefit the universities as well as Evansville ARC Industries and the individuals we serve.

Vickie Warren, vice president of Human Resources and Children's Services at Evansville ARC Industries, provided participants with a list of skills students will need to obtain a position with the company. Along with working independently and solving problems, critical thinking ranked high on the list.

The event concluded at Old National Bank with a presentation by Kathy Schoettlin, vice president and director of Marketing and Communications, which focused on assessing Old Nationals footprint in the community and evaluating students communication and interview skills.

"Day on the Bus offered a great chance for those of us in the proverbial ivory tower to interact with community leaders outside of higher education," said Kristen Lund, director of News Services at the University of Evansville. "We were able to discuss our shared goals and challenges and seek opportunities for collaboration. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet a diverse group of faculty and administrators from other universities."

To learn more about Day on the Bus, contact the USI Center for Applied Research at 812/461-5442.

Prepared by Sara Bealor, communications intern in the Center for Applied Research

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