The University of Indianapolis will partner with Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana beginning in 2017. This new partnership will “facilitate community-based educational initiatives that can have a positive and direct impact on local K-12 students and teachers,” according to UIndy News. Affiliated Associate Professor at UIndy and Senior Director of Goodwill Education Initiatives Azure Angelov will lead the partnership and also oversee the work of the research fellow(s).
“Goodwill has an amazing presence in the community, and they’re on the ground doing really exquisite work,” Angelov said. “At UIndy, we have a really great infrastructure for supporting research, and to be able to leverage the research support at UIndy as a way to be able to support the work that’s going on at Goodwill, it’s all been a really nice match…. Depending on where the partnership may go, I think it has a ton of potential for lots of reasons. It’s exciting to see it get going.”
According to Angelov, Goodwill Education Initiatives is the “educational arm of the Indianapolis Goodwill Industry” and home of the Excel Centers. This initiative will cover central and southern Indiana as well as the jurisdiction in Indianapolis. GEI is home to the Excel Centers, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School in downtown Indianapolis and Indiana Network of Independent Schools.
The Excel Centers offer adult high school students “the opportunity and support to earn a high school diploma and post-secondary education while developing career paths that offer greater employment and career growth opportunities,” according to the Excel Centers website. Indianapolis Metropolitan High School is a charter school offering public high school education to students in grades 9-12. INISchools wants to “offer its partner or network schools a host of high-quality services that enable school administrators to improve cost efficiency and student achievement,” according to the INISchools website.
Through these public programs offered by GEI, Angelov plans to open a research and resource center.
“[The research and resource center] is solely focused on special education and supporting schools and delivering high-quality special education services for people,” Angelov said.
CEO of Goodwill Kent Kramer and UIndy President Robert Manuel, according to Angelov, are both advocates for the partnership.
“I think their vision really helped it come alive and laid the groundwork, by being really supportive of the work, even now in its infancy, by being able to bring that to life,” Angelov said. “It’s scary at times. I think, ‘Oh my gosh, this could be really amazing. I just hope I do it justice.’”
The fellowship will be responsible for supporting community-based research efforts aimed at decreasing poverty at GEI. Research efforts include discovering different methods of breaking the cycle of poverty in communities in Indianapolis as well as central and southern Indiana. Alongside those research efforts are nurse family practitioners who will have hands-on opportunities to aide single mothers in their path to success as moms and women in the workforce.
To provide research and information, a fellow will be hired for the next semester of the 2016-2017 academic year at UIndy.
“We’re recruiting for a research fellowship [position] that would start next semester,” Angelov said. “Whoever the fellow will be will need to be a UIndy graduate student who’s enrolled in a program, and they will work on-site at Goodwill…. Their research and work really needs to focus on how they see research of their vehicle for breaking the cycle of poverty.”
Angelov is looking forward to this partnership and finds great potential in its future.
“I love it. Every day I pinch myself and think, ‘How did I find myself here?’” Angelov said. “I think it’s all amazing. I’m at Cambridge in Harvard [right now] working in their business school’s executive education program as part of my preparation for running this program, and that’s just mind-blowing to me. I get goosebumps just talking about it.”