The Center for Aging and Community is one of the University of Indianapolis’ centers of excellence. According to its web page, the CAC “collaborates, educates and conducts research to enhance the quality of life for all people as they age.”
Communications Manager Amy Magan said the CAC also aims to create a meaningful impact on the lives of older adults and expand the reach of UIndy beyond the campus, which is why it is located in the Southeast Community Services building.
The CAC offers four academic programs: the Undergraduate Certificate in Aging Studies requires a total of 12 credit hours in specific gerontology courses, the Master of Science in Gerontology requires 36 credit hours, the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology requires 18 credit hours. The CAC also offers a Graduate Certificate in Project Management for human services professionals.
Master of gerontology student Gabrielle Hamilton, who also earned her undergraduate certificate at the CAC, has found the academic programs beneficial, including the general core courses.
“It’s been very helpful to learn the basic information about the aging population,” Hamilton said.
In addition to academic programs, the CAC works with multiple organizations to help improve the lives of older adults. According to Admissions Coordinator Stephanie Fritz, the CAC provides project management, development skills and grant-writing for other organizations.
Fritz said that the undergraduate program has been growing recently. The program has no requirements beyond enrollment at UIndy. On the other hand, the graduate program requires a bachelor’s degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, an online application, three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.
Hamilton feels that the CAC welcomes students into the program with a simple application procedure.
“I felt like the admissions process was very smooth,” she said. “It seemed like they were very accepting and very eager for me to join the program.”
Recently, the undergraduate program has seen more incoming students. Fritz attributes some of the growth to the CAC’s outreach events. For example, the CAC will host events on campus for Careers in Aging Week, April 7-12. All students are invited to stop by the information tables and participate in the free raffles, documentary screening and other events.
According to Magan, these events are intended to “broaden understanding and raise awareness of what people can do in the area of aging.”
As a student who did not hear about the program until her advisor mentioned it, Hamilton sees these events as a chance to engage students.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to get information out there and to let students know [about the program],” Hamilton said.
According to Magan, the CAC also is hosting Arts in Aging, a contest open to all UIndy students. Students are asked to create any type of artwork that shows a positive image in aging. The deadline is March 28, and one winner will be selected for a $100 prize. The entry form is on the CAC’s web page on the UIndy website.
Magan views this contest as a chance for students to consider what aging really entails.
“By asking students to express, in some artistic fashion, a positive image of aging, we hope it will make students stop and think what the positive things about aging are,” Magan said.
She also reminds students that while careers in aging are especially prominent in the health care field, there are other opportunities in aging. For example, Hamilton believes she may look into careers in fitness facilities, in-home care, activity planning for senior facilities and community senior centers.
No matter what field Hamilton chooses, she feels that her degree will be useful.
“Employers are going to look very highly upon people who take the time to work with or study [the aging of] older adults,” Hamilton said.
Overall, Hamilton is very pleased with her experience at the CAC thus far.
“It has provided me with a great space and a great starting point to branch out and learn not only about myself but about all of the possibilities that I am going to have in the future,” Hamilton said. “I am very grateful for our Center for Aging and Community.”