IU East’s celebrates campus connections recognized by Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce for service to community

Indiana University East is here to serve the residents of the region. The service to community is a long-standing tradition held by the university, its faculty, staff, students and alumni.

This past Friday two IU East employees, alumni members and one of the university’s board of advisors were recognized by the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce for their contributions in the community. Award recipients were announced during the chamber’s annual dinner held August 6.

Jerry Wilde, dean of the IU East School of Education, and Paul Witte, past board chair for the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jerry Wilde, dean of the IU East School of Education, and Paul Witte, past board chair for the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jerry Wilde, dean of the IU East School of Education, received the Educator of the Year for Higher Education award given to an individual serving the higher education population in Wayne County with exceptional leadership, innovative techniques, and community involvement. This leadership provides the community with a strong future workforce to lead Wayne County to a brighter future.

Kara Bellew, career services specialist for the Office of Career Services, received the Outstanding Business and Education Member Award, presented to those who go above and beyond in service in one of the chamber’s six action committees.

IU East Chancellor Kathy Girten serves on the board for the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I am very proud of our faculty and staff at IU East, many of whom contribute their time, talents and energy to give back to the community in very different ways,” Girten said. “I applaud Jerry and Kara for the work they do not only for IU East, but within the county as well. Congratulations, Jerry and Kara.”

Wilde received the Educator of the Year for Higher Education award in recognition of his efforts to help educators, alumni, colleagues, students and parents during the pandemic. In addition to serving as dean for the School of Education, Wilde is also a professor of educational psychology. In the past year he has provided his expertise to help families and educators. He has received recognition for his teaching including the Chancellor’s Faculty Award and the Excellence in Research award. Additionally, he is the author of Hot Stuff to Help Kids: A Guide for Angry, Anxious or Stressed Students.

During the award presentation, it was noted that Wilde’s expertise led to his immediate outreach during the onset of the pandemic. When K-12 teachers transitioned to teaching online in the spring of 2020, the IU East School of Education faculty developed workshops for teachers and Q&A sessions for parents. The sessions led to students getting the quality education they deserved while remaining in a safe environment.

Paul Witte with Kara Bellew, career services specialist at IU East.

Paul Witte with Kara Bellew, career services specialist at IU East.

Wilde and Jamie Buffington-Adams, associate dean and associate professor of education, and the East Central Education Service Center secured a $304,000 Governor’s Emergency Education Relief grant in fall 2020. The grant provides certification and training for virtual instruction to 62 teachers in 42 districts positively impacting over 60,000 students.

In addition, a 2020 report by the Indiana Department of Education found 100 percent of the IU East School of Education graduates from the past three years were considered “effective” or “highly effective” by their principals in the 2018-19 school year. And on top of this, the School of Education inducted 42 students into the Teacher Education Program in fall 2020.

Bellew is a member of the chamber’s Business and Education working committee which serves as the chamber’s think tank for all issues surrounding workforce development. In this role, Bellew helped to organize a successful 2020 career fair.

During the award presentation, the chamber noted, “Kara has demonstrated her commitment to education by providing expertise and leadership, particularly with the high school hiring fair.”

IU East alumni recognized for their efforts in the community include Julie Frame, A.S.N. in 1985 and B.S.N. in 1995, and her husband, Tim Frame, received the Outstanding Service in Agriculture Award. They own The Barn at the Helm. Amy Dillon, Associates in General Studies in 1985,  for Outstanding Buy Local Member Award. Dr. David Jetmore serves on the IU East Board of Advisors. Jetmore and Dr. Thomas Huth received the 2020 Emergency Professionals of the Year award.