Indiana State course partners with antique automobile club

February 29, 2012

When Indiana State University student Peter Timpe perused the course options to fulfill an academic requirement, a class about the evolution of the automobile industry snagged his eye.

The final project he created in the course also nabbed the fascination of antique automobile enthusiasts.

Timpe's paper was published in February's edition of "Speedster," the monthly online newsletter of the Antique Automobile Club of America, based in Hershey, Pa. The club published papers written by Timpe and another ISU student as part of a partnership forged between the AACA and the course professor. The club reviews the papers submitted and determines which report to publish; the AACA decided to publish multiple papers from this past semester's submissions.

"I thought it was pretty cool," Timpe said of receiving the honor. "It was nice to be recognized for writing a paper. I was actually really surprised."

The course is taught by lecturer Charles Henry, a classic car enthusiast and instructor in automotive engineering technology. He also is an AACA member, and when he approached the club about publishing a student's final paper several years ago, he found them to be more than receptive. The partnership has lived on since.

"I wanted something that would inspire the students to write the paper," Henry said.

The club decided to publish the reports of Timpe, who wrote about the engineers who started Chrysler, and Patrick Myer, who wrote a report about businessman and automobile industry pioneer John North Willys. Myer's paper was published in the January edition of "Speedster."

"They each have their own different writing style," Henry said of the Timpe and Myer. "They came up with different ways of researching their projects. They found good resources for their quotes, and obviously they came up with excellent papers."

The Antique Automobile Club of America, which seeks to educate people about the history of automobiles, has benefited from the collaboration, said Steve Moskowitz, executive director of the AACA. The club has received letters that have been supportive of the partnership with ISU, which last year included members meeting students to teach them more about antique vehicles.

"It's good when colleges and universities seek out a link with the community," Moskowitz said. "I think everybody benefits, and so we're thrilled and hope to continue this partnership. Once you lose your history it's gone forever, so this is a great way to get young people involved."

Henry, who lives near Detroit, teaches the class via distance education; students taking his course have lived around the world, including Japan, India and Korea. At the beginning of the semester, Henry provides his pupils with a list of options for the final paper, so that students can select who or what they want to learn more about while also not duplicating the same project as another student.

"I went through all the different names and these three guys dealt with engineering, and I thought that was interesting," said Timpe, a senior who is originally from Portage, Ind. "Since I work with a lot of engineers and work with a lot of elements of engineering, I thought it'd be cool to learn about them."

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/i-gxd5cwr/0/L/i-gxd5cwr-L.jpg (Submitted Photo)
Charles Henry, a lecturer at Indiana State University, in his 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Henry taught a course that has teamed with the Antique Automobile Club of America. The organization published two reports in its monthly online newsletter from students in Henry's distance education course about the history of the automobile industry.

Contact: Charles Henry, lecturer, College of Technology, Indiana State University, charlie.henry@indstate.edu

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu