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Hopkins is studying which aspects of music education curricula proved most helpful for preparing students to face the realities of the field.
UnleashedAcademics

Are Music Education Grads Ready for Reality?

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jul 15 2019

During her last two years at a small high school in Villa Grove, Illinois, Abigail Hopkins rarely went to class.

But that was okay. Her teachers knew where she was.

Hopkins had stepped in to help when the music program at her school faced budget cuts. The general music teacher there, who had to take over band, choir, and other music classes at all levels of the K-12 school, didn’t know how to play any band instruments. Hopkins was a star in the band room and had been playing violin for years, so the teacher asked her to help out as a Teaching Assistant during the hour she was scheduled for band class each day.

One hour snowballed into five. Hopkins got caught up sautering sousaphones and meeting with music shops, and she eventually became known as the school’s unpaid band director. She had an office and everything.

“If I didn’t have to be in the classroom, I was in the band room,” she says.

Beyond repairing instruments, Hopkins sometimes conducted rehearsals for the junior high ensembles or helped coordinate concerts. She loved helping, but she worried what might happen when she graduated. Through researching for a paper in her high school English class, she learned the situation wasn’t unique.

Now a rising sophomore at Butler University, Hopkins hasn’t let it go. The Violin Performance major would love to be a full-time performer, but she says she knows she’ll probably end up teaching. She wants to be ready.

That’s why she took on a project through this year’s Butler Summer Institute (BSI), a program allowing students to stay on campus for two months in pursuit of significant research questions. Through interviews with recent graduates of music education programs at several Indiana universities, Hopkins is studying which aspects of the curricula proved most helpful for preparing students to face the realities of the field, along with which areas might have been neglected.

“My overall goal is to prolong the life of music education,” she says. “Because, sadly, it’s the first thing to be cut when there’s some sort of budget crisis.”

The project’s interviewees all have between one and five years of professional teaching experience, and they all come from undergraduate music education programs at Butler, Indiana University, Ball State University, or Indiana State University.

Hopkins hopes her findings will inform recommendations for schools to incorporate a wider variety of classes into each music concentration, better preparing graduates to take on what might be expected of them when funding gets cut.

So far, Hopkins has confirmed conversations with 10 recent graduates. Beyond questions about their college programs, she’s asking if the things they’re doing in their jobs today align with what they expected when they pursued careers in music education. She hopes she can make their feedback available for incoming students, who still have time to adapt their studies accordingly.

After completing the interviews, Hopkins and faculty mentor Dr. Becky Marsh will code the answers to find common themes. When the nine-week program ends on July 19, Hopkins will present her findings as a poster. She says the results can apply beyond Indiana, however, and she hopes to share the conclusions at music education conferences across the country.

Hopkins is studying which aspects of music education curricula proved most helpful for preparing students to face the realities of the field.
UnleashedAcademics

Are Music Education Grads Ready for Reality?

Butler student interviews recent Indiana grads for Butler Summer Institute project.

Jul 15 2019 Read more
The new Lacy School of Business buiding.
CampusCommunity

Butler’s Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business Unveils New Business Partners

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jul 15 2019

Indianapolis — The Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business within Butler University’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business has announced 15 accredited partners to help member companies achieve their goals.

The Center, serving as a strategic advisory group for closely held businesses, designed the accredited partner program to provide Center Members access to a community of trusted resources. The lineup of partners brings a diverse set of skills, and expertise, for established companies of all sizes and industries.

Unlike general networking associations, the Center’s model is built to proactively identify a Member Company’s specific gaps between their current, and their targeted, performance. Once these specific gaps are identified, the Center assists Members by connecting them with Accredited Partners based on topic and expertise.

Below is the full lineup of the new accredited partner companies:

  • Accelerant Consultants
  • ADVISA USA
  • Barnes & Thornburg
  • Donovan CPAs
  • FirstPerson
  • Ice Miller
  • Indiana Business Advisors
  • Katz Sapper Miller
  • Krieg DeVault
  • The Mako Group
  • MCM CPAs & Advisors
  • MJ Insurance
  • Old National Bank
  • RiverBirch Executive Advisors
  • WestPoint Financial Group

 

“The Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business is excited to welcome our core group of accredited partners. Our focus has always been to help closely held businesses succeed, and by connecting our members with these high quality of partners, we’re well positioned to do that,” said Mark McFatridge, Director for The Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business. “We vet and onboard partners who understand closely held business dynamics and roadblocks. All bring areas of expertise that will help take our member companies to the next level.”

About Butler’s Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business

The Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business is focused on helping closely held businesses succeed. Housed within Butler's Lacy School of Business, the Center connects closely held businesses with the resources and advisors needed for them to achieve their goals. Center members gain a Butler-backed competitive edge for their business through research, business valuations, planning, educational opportunities, referral partners, and coaching. Learn more about how becoming a member can help move your organization forward.

The new Lacy School of Business buiding.
CampusCommunity

Butler’s Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business Unveils New Business Partners

The Center has announced 15 accredited partners to help member companies achieve their goals.

Jul 15 2019 Read more
The Tropical Field Biology Coral Reef program has changed since 1969, but its purpose stays the same.
UnleashedAcademics

Butler’s Oldest Study Abroad Trip Watches Climate Change Through Coral

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Jun 27 2019

Back in 1969, they met at Butler University, loaded up five cars with camping gear, and were off to the Florida Keys for the inaugural Tropical Field Biology Coral Reef study abroad trip. Nearly everyone took a turn at the wheel—including students and the chairs of the Chemistry and Zoology Departments at the time—and they made it to Cordele, Georgia, the first night. Then, on to the Keys.

Before hitting the road, the students learned how to snorkel in the old Hinkle Fieldhouse pool, where Professor Emeritus of Biology James Berry transformed from Biology Professor to underwater guru. The week-long trip cost students about $45 that first year. They cooked their own meals. They shared one shower. They pitched their own tents.

Berry says he was inspired to start the trip when a student revealed he had never been south of Bloomington, Indiana.

“We wanted to show these students what the rest of the world looked like,” says Berry.

Fifty years later, the Tropical Field Biology trip is Butler’s longest-running study abroad program. Though the backdrop has changed—the class has gone to the Florida Keys, then Pigeon Key, then Jamaica, now Belize—the original reason for packing up those cars has not. The trip gives students a chance to see everything they learn about in a classroom up close.

Oh, that fish we read about in the textbook back in Indianapolis, it is swimming right next to me, and now I have to identify it and explain that it is important to this ecosystem because...

The study abroad trip has also morphed into a 50-year study, of sorts, on the effects of climate change.

“Back in the 1970s, we weren’t thinking much about global warming,” says Dave Daniell, who was part of the original trip in 1969 and is now Professor Emeritus of Biology. “We certainly heard about the possibility back then, but it was a relatively new concept. We were starting to chart out areas of the world that it might effect. As the years went on, it became clear that you could really see the effects on corals, as they were sensitive to a few degrees in temperature change. This trip, then, became a way to observe how corals were changing over time, year after year.”

Students are no longer paying $45 to go to Belize. They are not driving themselves. They are not cooking their own meals, pitching their own tents, or sharing a single shower. But the impact of the trip has not changed a bit since 1969.

In fact, because the effects of climate change have become increasingly apparent and detrimental with each passing year, the impact of the trip has only become more immediate and intense, says senior Matt Warren, who went on the trip this spring.

“The fragility of the ecosystem becomes so clear when it is right in front of you,” Warren says. “Let’s say we are only seeing 20 percent of it, because the other 80 percent has been damaged. What will the next generation see 10, 15, 20 years down the line? Will we even have this ecosystem anymore? And if so, what will it look like? When you are in Belize learning about everything this ecosystem does and impacts, it becomes impossible to not start wondering about all the things we are doing to ruin it, but then start thinking, how can we make positive change?

 

Underwater tests

Since 1997, the class has been visiting Ambergris Caye, Belize, home to the world’s second-longest barrier reef. The Butler group stays at the Belize Marine Tropical Research and Education Center, where the staff serve as hosts, providing the boats and leading the group to different reefs.

A typical day starts around 9:00 AM with breakfast, then a boat ride to the day’s snorkeling location. The class usually snorkels for about two hours before a lunch break. Then, it’s on to the next snorkeling spot. The goal is to snorkel in as many different ecosystems as possible. After a few more hours under the water, it’s back to the house for dinner and lectures until around 8:30 PM.

Shelley Etnier, Associate Professor of Biology, has been leading the trip since 2003. A lot of the learning happens before, during, and after the trip, she explains.

“We ask our students to learn more than 200 organisms before we even arrive in Belize,” Etnier says. “We have exams at Butler before we leave, lectures on the boat once we are there, exams underwater on slates with a mask and snorkel on while swimming, an exam at the airport. We write up every organism we see when we get back from snorkeling. If you go and snorkel for five hours and don’t know anything, you just think you saw a bunch of cool fish. But we know all of the fish, the algae, the coral, and invertebrates, and as a result, we become much more invested.”

Beyond biology, the course discusses what has shaped Belize, the ecotourism industry, the challenges the country is facing, the government, and what life in Belize is like.

All of this helps the students understand the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that influence the health of marine ecosystems. And it helps paint a full picture of how what they are seeing in the water every day has an impact on the entire country.

 

Drastic changes over the years

Etnier used to send out the same packing list to her students year after year. Historically, the weather in Belize was very predictable: Always leave the raincoat at home. Now, Etnier says, she makes sure students are ready for the elements.

“We never used to see cool, rainy weather before,” Etnier says. “But now, things aren’t as predictable as they were before. That is all associated with climate change.”

The trip’s location hopping wasn’t without reason, either. The effects of climate change had left them with less to study while snorkeling. In some places, hurricanes damaged the reefs, but the most common occurrence has been coral bleaching.

When temperatures get too hot, corals get stressed, causing them to spit out algae inside of them, which makes them lose their color and turn white. Corals can recover from a temporary stressor. But if the stressor is consistent, corals become weak and will not recover.

“Belize definitely doesn’t look like what it did in 2003,” Etnier says. “It is not as pristine. The country has done a great job protecting their reefs, but we still see major differences.”

Since 2013, the group has also seen an increase in floating algae. With a very rough, almost sandpapery texture, floating algae used to pop up here and there—maybe a piece or two. Now, Etnier says, it is everywhere. Giant tennis-court-size pieces of it, about six inches deep. The people of Belize need bulldozers to scrape it off the beaches.

Sam Ross, a senior at Butler, has always loved animals. He grew up watching The Crocodile Hunter and knew he wanted to get involved in biology and study animals in college.

But after taking Tropical Field Biology and going to Belize this past spring, everything changed for him.

“It made me really sad to come face to face with the reality that we continue to do things every day, even with the knowledge that what we are doing is incredibly damaging,” says Ross, a Biology major. “One might think a couple-degree change in temperature isn’t a big deal. But when we see the impact on the life in the ocean, it is a huge deal. And when we learn about everything that impacts an entire country’s way of life, you start to look at things differently.”

Ross still wants to study animals, but he now wants his research to be more impactful. Instead of just looking at snakes, for example, he wants to go to graduate school, get his doctorate in ecology, and teach at the college level. He wants to look at entire ecosystems, not just one species, and study how humans affect their lives and their existence.

“This course and experience made me really take a step back and look at the broader picture,” he says. “I might have known I always loved animals, but I never thought about the bigger picture and how everything is connected. Everything impacts everything else, and we need to take ownership and make change because no one else will.”

The Tropical Field Biology Coral Reef program has changed since 1969, but its purpose stays the same.
UnleashedAcademics

Butler’s Oldest Study Abroad Trip Watches Climate Change Through Coral

The Tropical Field Biology Coral Reef program has changed since 1969, but its purpose stays the same.

Jun 27 2019 Read more
Grace Hart studied in Greenland and Iceland for the spring 2019 semester.
UnleashedAcademics

From the Top of a Glacier: Grace Hart Feels Climate Change Up Close

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jun 26 2019

Grace Hart stared out at the white ice. She couldn’t see where it ended, but she noticed a blue tinge marking the Icelandic glacier’s age. It had lived a long life.

According to the guide who’d just led Hart’s hike to the top of the slope, that would probably change within the next 200 years.

I want you all to spend a minute taking in your surroundings, the guide said before leading the group back down the trail. Think about where you are right now. Because this glacier changes every single day, and some day, it’s going to be gone.

Living in the Midwest, Hart had only ever heard news stories of the ice caps melting. Now, as part of her study abroad trip in spring 2019, she was seeing it happen live.

The guide broke the silence.

Remember this feeling, he said. When you’re trying to explain to someone why it’s important to slow down climate change, remember this.

Hart knows she will.

During the semester-long program through the School for International Training (SIT), the rising Butler University senior traveled around Greenland and Iceland to study topics related to climate change: what’s happening, how it affects people, and what we can do to help. She’d first read about the trip as a freshman Environmental Studies major. She had always wanted to go to Iceland, and the topic was right in line with her interests.

Hart says her choice to study climate change started with “a love of nature and a sadness that people were trying to destroy it.” Butler taught her about the real consequences climate change has already caused, even in Indianapolis.

“Seeing that in my own community cemented my goals of advocating for the environment and those who have been negatively affected by the irresponsible actions of people who are careless with the earth's resources,” Hart says.

Through almost-daily discussions about climate change in her environmental studies classes, Hart sometimes loses hope that things will get better. She believed visiting Iceland and Greenland would break that cycle and give her the skills to do something.

“I thought it would be really cool to learn about climate change from a place that is typically seen as very sustainable and environmentally friendly,” Hart says. “It’s a different conversation than happens in the U.S., where we have a long way to go.”

Calie Florek, Study Abroad Advisor at Butler, says SIT offers some of her favorite study abroad opportunities. Hart was the first Butler student to go to Iceland with SIT, but all the organization’s programs emphasize engaging with local communities. Through experiences such as internships, research projects, and home stays, SIT students really dive into a culture and learn about its people in ways not all study abroad programs offer.

When Hart first came to see Florek, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. She’d had a challenging fall semester during junior year, and she decided to apply to the Iceland program in hopes of shaking things up. Commiting to a three-and-a-half-month trip with a group of strangers scared her, but she looked forward to feeling independent. 

The trip began in February, just missing the time of year when the sun never rises. They started in Reykjavík, Iceland, studying climate modeling and glaciology before heading to Nuuk, Greenland. For two weeks, the group learned about the country’s culture. Hart studied how climate research often excludes native people, and she loved learning the value of including diverse voices in those conversations. She says you shouldn’t make decisions about the land without asking the people who’ve been working with it for centuries.

There was also time for some fun. During a brief stay in Akureyri, Iceland (where Hart would return for the final part of her program), she traveled far enough north to see the arctic circle. She loved Akureyri for its beautiful location, deep in a fjord with mountains all around. Actual trees grow there, too, which can be hard to find in Iceland.

But Hart’s favorite thing was the endless light. At sunset, the sky turned orange and pink, then it just stayed that way for hours.

“At a certain point, I think I kind of got used to the fact that it was so pretty,” Hart says. “I had to think about it again and realize how cool it was that I got to be there.”

In her free time, she swam in geothermal pools, visited art museums, tried out new restaurants, and learned how to knit a sweater. She saw waterfalls and volcanoes. She snowshoed up a mountain. She even tried her hand at some Greenlandic dishes.

For most of the semester, Hart followed a set program, but the last five weeks were up to her.

 

 

Comparing Iceland to Indy

Hart first learned about food security through her classes and internships at Butler, where she spent a semester working on the campus farm.

“I really became passionate about it because the faculty at Butler are passionate about it,” she says.

During the last five weeks of her study abroad trip, which were dedicated to independent study, she wanted to see how an issue so prominent in Indianapolis might play out in a different climate.

Mostly through secondary research, Hart found that food security in Iceland isn’t really an economic issue: It’s a land issue. People there have started demanding foods that just can’t grow in the frigid climate, forcing residents to import most of what they eat. Beyond harming the environment, Hart says, importing can make the country especially vulnerable whenever trade gets disrupted.

Her study offered some solutions. She focused mainly on changes that might shift tastes back to what the land can support, such as subsidizing and labeling local foods. She also suggests more Icelanders rent garden pots to grow their own produce. Ultimately, she says, the country should try to become self-sufficient.

For now, Hart’s research is more of a personal exploration. She wasn’t able to share it with anyone outside of the study abroad group, but she believes her study could inspire change.

Hart would like to return to Iceland and build a community outreach program, which she hopes would get Icelanders talking about their food in ways they might not have before.

 

 

Grace Hart studied in Greenland and Iceland for the spring 2019 semester.
UnleashedAcademics

From the Top of a Glacier: Grace Hart Feels Climate Change Up Close

Butler student travels to Iceland and Greenland for program with the School for International Training.

Jun 26 2019 Read more
A rendering of the new Sciences Complex.
GivingCampus

Former Board Chair Commits $5 Million to Butler

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Jun 25 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Craig Fenneman ’71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman have made a $5 million commitment to Butler University. The gift will provide support for the expansion and renovation of the University’s sciences complex, construction of the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business (LSB), the Craig Fenneman Endowed Scholarship, and future University priorities.

Fenneman earned his Butler undergraduate degree in Economics in 1971, and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees, including serving as Board Chair from 2011-2014.  

“Butler University is a school on the rise and we are proud to support the incredible work happening on campus,” Fenneman says. “My own life has been shaped by my Butler experience, and Mary and I are pleased to help ensure Butler remains a premier institution for future generations of students.”

The gift will help enhance the University’s sciences facilities, which has been a top priority under the Butler 2020 strategic plan. In recognition of their gift, the couple will be honored, along with other lead donors to the sciences expansion and renovation project, in the new atrium of the sciences complex.

Fenneman established the Craig Fenneman Endowed Scholarship in 2003 to benefit students pursuing an economics degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Endowed scholarship support is among Butler’s current chief funding priorities as the University seeks to ensure the long-term sustainability of its financial aid program. Butler annually invests more than $78 million in student scholarship support.

The couple’s support for the new building for the LSB places them with 11 other families in the Founders Circle, a group of lead donors who have committed $1 million or more to the project since 2016. The new building will open for classes in fall.

“Butler students in each of our six colleges have directly benefitted from Craig and Mary’s generosity throughout the years,” says Provost Kate Morris. “Their gifts are improving the quality of our teaching facilities, increasing student access through scholarships, and strengthening our ability to partner with the local community in providing experiential learning opportunities for our students.”

Fenneman and Stover-Fenneman are honorees of Butler’s premier philanthropic giving community, the Carillon Society, and recognized on Cornerstone Plaza for their generous lifetime giving to Butler. Their previous philanthropic support has benefitted the Butler Fund, the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Butler Rising Campaign, and the Butler Business Consulting Group.

“We are deeply grateful to Craig and Mary for their significant investment in the lives of our students,” says Butler President James Danko. “Butler University is experiencing an exciting era of growth, and this transformational commitment will fuel our vision for the future.”


About Butler University

An influx of philanthropic support has aided Butler University’s dramatic growth in recent years. Pursuant to the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan, the University and donor partners have invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past five years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the Sunset Avenue parking garage including a streetscape beautification project and renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition, the University partnered with American Campus Communities to build the Fairview House and Irvington House residential communities. The Andre B. Lacy School of Business will open the doors to its new 110,000 square foot home in the fall of 2019, and fundraising is underway to complete a $93 million Science Complex expansion and renovation.

Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 541 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 39 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. Butler students have had significant success after graduation as demonstrated by the University’s 97% placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

A rendering of the new Sciences Complex.
GivingCampus

Former Board Chair Commits $5 Million to Butler

Craig Fenneman ’71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman have made a $5 million commitment to Butler University.

Jun 25 2019 Read more
Owners of Guggman Haus Brewing Co.
UnleashedCommunity

Built on More Than Beer: How New Brewery Embraces Community

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jun 17 2019

When Guggman Haus Brewing Co. first opened its doors to friends and family last month, Butler University graduates filled the cozy taproom. Crowding around handcrafted tables, which were built in-house by the founders, they celebrated something many of them had helped to create.

Some had tried the beers before, taste-testing new brews over the last five years. Others had helped with the marketing plan, and one had designed the Haus’s logo. Another even served as the trademark lawyer. Of the microbrewery’s four founders, three hold Butler degrees, so their Bulldog network runs deep.A few of the brews from Guggman Haus Brewing Co.

Twins Courtney (Logel) Guggenberger ‘10 and Abby (Logel) Gorman ‘10 launched the business with their husbands, Derek Guggenberger ‘11 and Ryan Gorman, in 2016. Now, they’ve finally found a home in the Riverside neighborhood just northwest of downtown Indianapolis, where they remodeled a 1916 house that was once occupied by a racing legend.

Since opening to the public on May 25, the microbrewery has focused on more than just beer. Butler gave the owners a passion for chasing their dreams and embracing community. They wanted to provide a welcoming space for people to gather, and making beer has let them do that.

“Beer can bring people together,” says Derek, who now serves as head brewer.

 

The Brewing Bug

Derek was first to catch the brewing bug. Toward the end of college, he started trying Mr. Beer kits. He knows his beer didn’t taste great, but he enjoyed the process and was proud of what he made. When Derek graduated and headed to Germany for an engineering job, Courtney came along, and they stayed for a year.

Courtney and Derek fell in love with Germany’s beer. They spent weekends exploring small towns, and almost everywhere they went, they found festivals based on Pilsners and Hefeweizens. It was less about the beer and more about the culture.

When they came back to Indiana, Derek started brewing for real. He filled their tiny kitchen with pots, and he used the pantry for fermenting. Brewing soon became more than a hobby: It let Derek merge art and science into one project.

Abby and Ryan found their own love for craft beer in Colorado. They had moved to Denver for a few years, where Abby says the beer scene was “pretty hoppin’.” Ryan started his own home brewing, and Derek pitched the idea of a family business.  

 

The Business is Born

It all started in a basement. When Abby and Ryan moved back to Indianapolis in 2014 (to a home just two streets away from Courtney and Derek in Broad Ripple), they installed a brewing system and built a cold room under the stairs. The couples started hosting beer-centered events in their houses, from casual birthday parties to taste-testing focus groups.

For the next year, they combined their skills to build a plan. Derek’s dual major in Economics and Engineering made him the go-to person for business and brewing. Playing football at Butler (as part of the 2009 team that went 11-1) also taught him time management and the grit to keep going.

Courtney, who studied Integrated Communications, hadn’t sent a news release since college. But by the time she was writing the first one for Guggman Haus, she remembered her campaigns class and even dug out one of her old textbooks.

“To get to do it for your own business—it’s extremely vulnerable,” Courtney says.

Beer glass with logoBut they weren’t going it alone. Among the several Butler friends the owners called on was Sheila (Tomasbi) Schwab, a 2014 graduate the twins knew through their younger sister Sara, who also attended Butler.

During Schwab’s time on campus, she majored in Strategic Communications and minored in Art + Design. She thanks Associate Professor Deborah Skinner for that. Schwab had started college as a Marketing major, but it didn’t feel right, and she says Skinner’s advice helped her find a better fit.

“If it weren't for her, I think I would be doing something I didn't actually love,” she says.

When the Guggman Haus owners gave Schwab a creative brief for the logo, she was in the process of becoming a full-time designer. It was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down.

“I wanted the logo to be perfect,” she says. “I probably sketched for hours and hours before I ever took things to the computer to start building out my ideas.”

The final logo includes some fun hidden meanings, Schwab says. The house’s door is a pint glass, and the water and path represent Indy’s downtown canal and cultural trail. The two pine trees in front were made identical, like the twins.

“I don't think people always realize how much work goes into making something like this come to life,” Schwab says about the brewery.

But the Butler community made it happen. Schwab says Bulldogs become family fast, “and once that happens, there is a lot of trust that exists and joy that comes out of working with people you know.”

While Derek and Courtney recently left their day jobs to run the brewery, the Gormans are splitting their time. Between brewing beer, handling Guggman’s finances, and running the taproom, Ryan works remotely as a business analyst. Abby, who majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders while at Butler, spends three days a week doing speech therapy at Riley Hospital. Her job description at Guggman Haus? “All other things.”

With a business plan made and beers in the works, the only thing holding Guggman back was the Haus.

Exterior of the house

 

A Partnership of Beer and Cars

The building now housing Guggman Haus Brewing Co. rests on the old site of the Boyle Racing Headquarters, which was once home to racing legend and three-time Indy 500-winner Wilbur Shaw. After Boyle Racing left the property more than six decades ago, other companies came and went throughout the 1900s until the buildings were left to fall apart.

Then in 2015, a group of vintage racing enthusiasts partnered with Indiana Landmarks to save the historic structures from demolition. They had a vision for restoring the property and driving revenue—a vision that would give Guggman Haus a home.

The two groups met up about three years ago, and it was a match. Now, Boyle Racing owns the land, and Guggman Haus brews the beer. An events center and racing memorabilia garage are slated for the larger building (which, at the moment, is just three walls and a dirt floor). Next door, the property’s two-story 1916 house was perfectly on-brand for the Guggman vision. It even resembles the house in the brewery’s logo, which was designed before the Boyle property was ever in the picture.

“It all came together beautifully,” says Courtney.Interior decor of the house

While restoring the building, the owners stayed as involved as possible. Rather than opting for the industrial vibe common in modern taprooms, they just wanted the space to feel like home.

They decorated with pieces from their own houses, hand-picked all the paint and stain colors, and brightened the room with fresh-cut flowers. Near the window, a giant Connect Four game tempts guests to stay a while.

When it comes to the beer, Guggman’s brewers are still debating their “signature” drink—or if they will even have one. Instead of featuring a few special options on a menu of milder beers, they want everything to stand out.

The Guggman Haus founders also aim to stay present in community conversations. They want people to know how much they care about the neighborhood. They don’t want to just come in and change it: They want to grow with it. They’ve joined the Riverside Investment Club and the Riverside Business Association, and they hosted a few community events before even celebrating their official grand opening June 15.

According to Schwab, who watched the family work toward that day for the last five years, the Guggenbergers and Gormans are definitely go-getters.

“Some people talk about cool ideas,” she says. “Some people actually go out and chase them.”

Owners of Guggman Haus Brewing Co.
UnleashedCommunity

Built on More Than Beer: How New Brewery Embraces Community

After years of calling on Butler connections, the owners of Guggman Haus Brewing Co. celebrate grand opening.

Jun 17 2019 Read more
Rendering of New Sciences Building
AcademicsCampus

Butler Board of Trustees Approves $100 Million Sciences Upgrade, Largest Investment in Butler’s Future

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Jun 13 2019

INDIANAPOLIS-- A new sciences complex is set to take shape on Butler University’s campus, as the Board of Trustees approved the project during their June meeting.

The $100 million renovation and expansion is the largest investment ever by the Trustees in Butler’s future. The project includes new high-tech classrooms designed to promote learning by doing, labs that mimic the set-up at top research companies, and work spaces meant to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. The facility will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of science, and eliminate labs designed for a single purpose. Classroom spaces will enable faculty to step away from the podium and move among students in a more hands-on approach to instruction.

“We have outstanding faculty, we have outstanding students, we have outstanding programs, and this project will allow us to take all of that to another level,” says Jay Howard, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who was also part of the project’s original planning committee in 2011. “Science is an ever-changing discipline, and now we will have the flexible facilities to lead the field into the future.”

Phases I and II of the project are expected to start very soon, with a predicted 18-month timeline. To date, $27.5 million has been raised for the project. The goal is to raise $42 million of the $100 million total cost through philanthropic support.

Thus far, major donations have come from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Frank Levinson ’75, Craig Fenneman ’71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman, Lynne Zydowsky ’81, Josh Smiley, Katie and Len Betley, Lou and Laura Glazer, Jane and Robert Wildman, and Dick and Billie Lou Wood.

The project will start with the creation of a connector building--linking Gallahue Hall and the Holcomb Building--that will house classrooms, study areas, and research labs dedicated to Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, and Psychology. The Phase I expansion will add nearly 44,000 square feet, as well as a nearly 13,200 square-foot atrium. This additional space will create a sciences corridor to house all of Butler’s undergraduate sciences programs in a central complex.

“This is a significant and historic step forward as Butler continues to transform education for the needs of students and employers in the 21st century,” President Jim Danko says.

“Our investment in the sciences, coupled with our new business school facility, provides our campus with the world-class infrastructure necessary to support critical skill development integrating business, science, innovation, and technology. These investments are also part of Butler’s commitment to the Central Indiana region as we strive to attract, retain, and develop the talent necessary for our community’s collective success.”

 

A net importer

The vast majority of Butler science graduates choose to stay in Indiana after graduation. In 2016, for example, 63 percent of science graduates remained in Indiana.

“Butler is a net importer of scientific talent,” Howard says. “Rather than be a part of the brain drain problem, we are actually importing talent to Indiana.”

Butler has also long been a leader in preparing women for STEM careers. For many years, the majority of Butler’s science majors have been women. Butler also has more Lilly Scholars than most institutions of a similar size, which speaks to the quality of its programs.

With new facilities, Butler’s ability to prepare homegrown talent for STEM careers in the region will only grow.

“We are honored to support the continued growth of the sciences program at Butler, which is a legacy grantee of our foundation and an institution that our founder, Richard M. Fairbanks, strongly supported,” says Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “Among our foundation’s focus areas is supporting Indianapolis’ thriving life sciences sector and the STEM workforce to support it. Fueling a robust pipeline of science students at Butler helps to advance those goals.”

To prepare students for careers in a discipline that is evolving all the time, the new sciences complex needed a design that could change with new discoveries and new educational approaches.

Lab spaces will be flexible, students and faculty will work side-by-side, and areas of research will be grouped together to maximize collaboration. In addition to visiting other universities’ facilities for ideas, the planning team visited Eli Lilly, Roche, and Corteva to get an idea of what labs at cutting-edge research companies look like.

“Scientific inquiry demands collaboration,” Provost Kate Morris says. “Exciting work is happening at the intersection of multiple disciplines.  The design of the new facility encourages this work by creating space that breaks down the traditional barriers between areas of study.”

 

Endless possibilities

Phase II of the project will include renovating and repurposing the Holcomb Building, which will be vacated by the Lacy School of Business as it moves into its new building opening this fall. Phase III will involve a complete renovation of Gallahue Hall, which currently houses several science departments and has not been renovated since its construction in 1973.

Over the last 10 years, enrollment in the sciences at Butler has flourished, growing more than 70 percent. In addition, every student at Butler takes a science course because of the core curriculum.

With new facilities will come a plethora of new opportunities. New programs are being explored, such as Neuroscience and Data Science. Butler is already home of the country’s largest Undergraduate Research Conference, and now, the cross-disciplinary lab spaces will inevitably lead to new research projects. 

“I think it is hard to overstate the importance of this project, as it will prepare Butler students for the future and position us as a premiere undergraduate institution for the sciences,” says Morris.

 

Media contact:

Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656 (cell)

  

Rendering of New Sciences Building
AcademicsCampus

Butler Board of Trustees Approves $100 Million Sciences Upgrade, Largest Investment in Butler’s Future

Phases I and II of the project are expected to start very soon, with a predicted 18-month timeline.

Jun 13 2019 Read more
Sarah Koenig, host of Serial
Arts & CultureCommunity

Serial Host Sarah Koenig Shares Joys and Drawbacks of Building New Story Form

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jun 11 2019

Before co-creating and hosting Serial, Sarah Koenig never really listened to podcasts. She’d especially never listened to a true story broken into twelve compelling episodes. Because before Serial, Koenig explained to a crowd at Butler University, that kind of thing just didn’t exist.

At the second event in WFYI’s 2019 Listen Up series, held at Clowes Memorial Hall on Monday night, Koenig discussed the challenges and thrills of designing a new storytelling form. Five years ago, Koenig and a team from This American Life produced the first season of Serial, which focused on the case of a Baltimore high school student charged with murdering his former girlfriend in 1999. The podcast’s debut season followed just one true story across several episodes, popularizing this narrative form.

Koenig, along with co-creators Julie Snyder and Ira Glass, didn’t see all that popularity coming. They started Serial as an experiment, recording in Koenig’s basement. There was no pressure, Koenig said: nobody listened to podcasts.

Or at least that’s what they thought.

They aimed to reach 300,000 listeners, and just five days after launching the show, they did. After six weeks, Serial had more than 5 million downloads on iTunes. Now, they’ve released three award-winning seasons.

“Before Serial,” Koenig said, “I was not used to anyone paying attention to me or the work I did.”

She had spent much of her career as a newspaper reporter, writing for both local and national outlets before joining This American Life as a producer in 2004. The radio show is driven by experimentation, she says, which gave her the freedom to explore nontraditional stories and formats.

With Serial, there was no formula. They just wanted to create something that felt alive.

“The goal was to make it sound effortless, like all of our storytelling choices were inevitable,” Koenig said. “Of course, none of it was inevitable.”

At the event, Koenig touched on several complications that journalists often face. How close should she get to a source? Could she earn trust while skirting friendship? Did there need to be a difference between journalism and entertainment?

When it came to her relationship with Adnan Syed, the season-one focus who was convicted of murder but maintains his innocence, Koenig said it would feel fake to pretend their conversations were all business. She wasn’t his friend, but she needed to understand his experience. She couldn’t just tell the story she thought was supposed to be told. She needed to tell the truth.

“We should not reduce people to caricatures,” she explained. “Instead, we should be looking for the details and the stories that reflect life as it really is.”

And as long as you stick to the facts, she believes, it’s okay for journalism to entertain. It’s okay for the truth to look like art, but it takes a responsible storyteller to make that work.

On the internet, not everyone is a professional reporter. Discussing some of the drawbacks to Serial’s popularity, Koening said some online communities started to do their own digging. They exposed damaging information and speculation about real people.

“It was really the first time for any of us that we felt like we were losing control over our story,” Koenig said.

After contacting Reddit to set some ground rules, the team managed to rein things in. They’ve gone on to release two more seasons of Serial, and they’re open to pitches for a fourth. Despite the tension of protecting sources while staying transparent, of entertaining listeners while sticking to the facts, Koenig keeps telling difficult stories.

“Reporters really don’t advocate for change. We’re not supposed to,” she said. “But of course what we really want is for someone to do something—to fix what’s broken.”

Sarah Koenig, host of Serial
Arts & CultureCommunity

Serial Host Sarah Koenig Shares Joys and Drawbacks of Building New Story Form

She didn't think anyone listened to podcasts. Then, Serial got 300,000 downloads in five days.

Jun 11 2019 Read more
Synovia presents BBCG with check.
CampusCommunity

Media Advisory: Butler Business Consulting Group, Synovia Partnership Pays Off

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 07 2019

The Butler Business Consulting Group (BBCG) does more than offer consulting services to companies. They also invest in certain companies, and that is exactly what they did in 2012 when they heard about Synovia Solutions.

Now, seven years later, that investment is paying off. The BBCG will receive a return on their investment in Synovia, a leading provider of fleet tracking solutions for commercial and government markets, as a result of the recent sale of Synovia.

The BBCG has worked with Synovia as a consultant for several years, but was also an early investment partner and shareholder of the company. In April, Synovia was acquired by CalAmp, a technology solutions company based in California. Butler will receive nearly $800,000 as a result of their investment.

Synovia delivers solutions for cities, counties, as well as public and private education transportation providers. The company won an Innovation Award in the Mobile Computing category at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show for their Here Comes The Bus mobile app.

Trent Ritzenthaler, the Executive Director of the BBCG, says Butler invested in Synovia because of the growth potential the company showed, as well as the innovative approach of the company. Students did in-depth research, and the BBCG worked closely with Synovia before making an investment, he says.

The BBCG, which operates inside the Lacy School of Business, is a full service, professionally led management consulting firm that was formed in 2005.

What: Synovia to present Butler Business Consulting Group with a check for nearly $800,000

When: Monday, June 10th at 3:00 PM

Where: Butler University, Robertson Hall, Johnson Room

Who: Synovia CEO Jon King and Indiana Business Advisors Senior Partner Larry Metzing will present Butler representatives with a large check

MEDIA CONTACT

Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

 

Synovia presents BBCG with check.
CampusCommunity

Media Advisory: Butler Business Consulting Group, Synovia Partnership Pays Off

The BBCG will receive a return on their investment in Synovia.

Jun 07 2019 Read more
Butler University Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and his wife Elaine ’94
GivingPeople

FirstPerson Interview Suite Enhances Butler Career Services

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Jun 05 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Butler University Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and his wife Elaine ’94 have donated $250,000 toward construction of the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, which will officially open in August. In recognition of the gift, the Career Development Interview Suite in the new building will be named the FirstPerson Interview Suite in honor of FirstPerson, Inc., the Indianapolis-based benefits and compensation consulting company founded and run by Brenner.  

FirstPerson, Inc. has a long history of hiring Butler students as interns, many of whom have gone on to full-time careers at FirstPerson after graduation. The company is committed to people development, including philanthropic work in the community through the PEEP Project—Personally Enriching and Embracing People. Recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana in 2019, FirstPerson’s passion for personal and professional development made the gift to name the career interview suite a perfect fit for Brenner.

“Elaine and I have a deep connection with Butler and consider our alma mater a foundational part of our larger life in Indianapolis,” Brenner says. “The University’s community focus and forward thinking has been a platform for growing FirstPerson and stepping into initiatives Elaine and I have launched to invest in the health and vitality of central Indiana.”

Annually, Brenner hosts a Dinner With 10 Bulldogs, a Butler program designed to give students a chance to meet successful graduates and explore opportunities that may be available to them after Butler.  Each year, Brenner and other Butler graduates from FirstPerson welcome 10 Butler students to the FirstPerson headquarters to socialize, network, and build relationships. Brenner has hired a number of students he has met through the dinner parties as FirstPerson interns.

“FirstPerson is genuinely committed to the personal and professional development of their employees and our students," says Steve Standifird, Dean of the Lacy School of Business. "Bryan and Elaine have been generous and thoughtful partners in seeking innovative ways to provide opportunities for our students to learn and grow, both through their own personal contributions and through FirstPerson.”

Among the many enhanced opportunities made possible by the new Lacy School of Business building is the ability to bring all of the University’s career development services into the same space on campus. Previously, career services for students studying in the Lacy School of Business was housed separately from the University’s central Internship and Career Services team.

The new comprehensive career development suite will provide a more streamlined experience both for companies looking to recruit Butler students and for Butler students seeking career opportunities to match their diverse skill sets. Located on the first floor of the new building near the entrance of Butler’s campus, the FirstPerson Interview Suite includes seven interview rooms, a recruiting lounge, and a conference room.

“The Brenners have been incredibly generous to Butler through their gifts of time and resources,” says Butler President James Danko. “We are pleased to recognize FirstPerson’s significant partnership in preparing our students for meaningful careers through the FirstPerson Interview Suite.”

In addition to Butler, the Brenners support Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indy Chamber, The Oaks Academy, University High School, and agencies of the United Way, in addition to establishing the MBA Board Fellow program for nonprofit management at Lacy School of Business.            


About Butler University

An influx of philanthropic support has aided Butler University’s dramatic growth in recent years. Pursuant to the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan, the University and donor partners have invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past five years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the Sunset Avenue parking garage including a streetscape beautification project and renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition, the University partnered with American Campus Communities to build the Fairview House and Irvington House residential communities. The Andre B. Lacy School of Business will open the doors to its new 110,000 square foot home in the fall of 2019, and fundraising is underway to complete a $93 million Science Complex expansion and renovation.

Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 541 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 39 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. Butler students have had significant success after graduation as demonstrated by the University’s 97% placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

Butler University Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and his wife Elaine ’94
GivingPeople

FirstPerson Interview Suite Enhances Butler Career Services

Trustee Bryan Brenner ’95 and wife Elaine ’94 give $250,000 for the Lacy School of Business building.

Jun 05 2019 Read more
Ena Shelley at Commencement
People

‘Meant to Be’: Ena Shelley’s 37-Year Career at Butler

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON May 30 2019

Ena Shelley doesn’t have to watch the news to know the weather. Headache, oh, that means a cold front is coming through.

So, on January 9, as she ate her usual toast with peanut butter and honey, showered, put on her earrings—like always—she noticed a headache, but thought nothing more than Indianapolis must be experiencing a temperature shift. It was just her body’s way of giving her a quick weather report before she headed to work.

Like most days, Shelley got in her car, drove 14 minutes to Butler University listening to the TODAY Show, parked in the South Campus lot, and walked into her office in Room 163. She quickly headed downstairs to room 001M for a meeting with her leadership team.

A few minutes into the meeting, she was mid-sentence, when she realized something was very wrong.

“I had this pain like I have never felt before in my entire life. It was shooting down the right side of my head and felt like someone put a knife right through my eye. I knew something was wrong,” Shelley says. “The last thing I remember was wondering why the EMT team was carrying the stretcher down the stairs, as opposed to using the elevator. I remember thinking it would have been much simpler for them to use the elevator.”

Three brain surgeries later, Ena Shelley, Dean of Butler’s College of Education, hasn’t missed a beat. About four months removed from the hospital, she is sitting in her office, surrounded by children’s art work, walls of books, a cardboard cutout of a colleague based in Sweden, and Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With. It’s a rainy May morning, and Shelley has already had two meetings. She has a full schedule of them ahead of her, and the energy to match.

Shelley will complete a 37-year career at Butler at the end of May, but much like the physical wounds she has amassed since January, it is tough to tell. Those who know her best aren’t surprised.

“Ena is a person with great determination,” says Ron Smith, who is now principal at the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School 60 and was a student of Shelley’s. “I am sure this isn’t the way she would have mapped out her final semester, but if anyone would be back in the office, it would be her. She doesn’t let anything slow her down. She is someone who can endure anything.”

She is still undergoing tests to find out why she had a spontaneous brain bleed that January morning. But, she says, there may never be a definitive answer. She lived in fear for awhile, wondering if headaches were the sign of a weather pattern, or, something that only 3 percent of patients survive, as her doctors warned her husband and children as she was rushed into her first emergency surgery. But now she focuses on living in the moment, not looking back. Instead of getting up each morning thinking about all the tasks she should accomplish, she thinks about how lucky she is to have another day.

With retirement around the corner, though, it turns out everyone else is looking back, and thinking about all the things Shelley has done over her decades of work not only at Butler, but in the Indiana education arena.

She oversaw the infusion of the Reggio Emilia philosophy throughout the COE and the city, and then created two Indianapolis Public School/Butler Lab Schools. She shifted the model of the COE to one centered around student teaching and site-based instruction, established partnerships with several area schools, has been involved in state and national legislation and policy around the education of young children, and established a new physical space for the College on South Campus.

But more than all of that, when Shelley arrived at the COE, there was no clear collective mission or vision, colleagues say. She is, largely, behind a major shift, hiring and looking for collaborative, forward-thinking colleagues who now engage in joint decision making and responsibility, and who now rattle off the College’s mission on demand, they say.

Not bad for someone who never wanted to be a dean.

 

Always a teacher

Born to a funeral home owner and a stenographer, Ena Shelley always knew she wanted to be a teacher.

She loved playing school. She would teach anything to anyone. But, to be specific, it all started with baton twirling. Shelley is a baton twirler, so she would gather anyone who was interested in learning the craft and give baton lessons.

Her older brother and older sister are teachers, too. Her mom was secretary of the school board. Her sister is now president of the same school board back in Shelley’s hometown of Cloverdale, Indiana.

When Shelley reached high school she signed up for a Cadet Teaching program and became hooked on elementary education.

“I was instantly drawn to how children think,” she says.

She looked at Butler when it was time for college. But, ultimately, chose Indiana State University. There was one main difference between the two schools, she says.

“They had a Lab School, Butler did not,” she says. “That was what I was looking for—that hands-on experience where we would watch teachers working with kids and learn directly in a classroom.”

Another draw was a professor she met during her first visit, Jan McCarthy. McCarthy would later become Shelley’s academic advisor, and during one of their first advising appointments, Shelley told McCarthy that she was interested in teaching young children, but was really fascinated by what professors do.

Dr Ena Shelley's name plateMcCarthy never dismissed that, Shelley says.

After graduating, Shelley started teaching kindergarten in Perry Township, while getting her master’s degree at Indiana State. Then, one day, a call came from McCarthy.

“She’s on the other line saying, ‘Do you still think you want to do what I do?’ and I couldn’t believe she even remembered because I mentioned that so many years ago,” Shelley says.

McCarthy offered Shelley a doctoral fellowship. It started in three weeks.

 

Ideals are formed

The house had caught on fire, and the family could not afford to rebuild it. The floors were now dirt. The back walls were made of stapled-up cardboard refrigerator boxes. Taped to the cardboard boxes were the children’s art work, spelling lists, and graded tests.

This, more or less, was the scene that played out every other Saturday when McCarthy, Shelley, and the rest of the doctoral students traversed the state of Indiana as part of the doctoral program. From downtown Indianapolis, to Gary, to Terre Haute, they hit all corners of the state as part of the Head Start Program—a federal program that promotes school readiness for low-income families.

“When you see that kind of poverty it has a huge impact,” Shelley says. “I learned from the teachers in those towns that that is why you never say a parent doesn’t care. You don’t know what is going on. In spite of all that is in that parent’s life, she cares, and she is doing the best she can do. People are so quick to group people. And I say you don’t know those people. By the grace of God you aren’t in their shoes. Don’t make assumptions about that. Every time, no matter where I was, it was parents wanting better for their children, and wanting to do right by their children. That lesson has stayed with me.”

Shelley says she was 26 when she first walked into an IPS classroom. All the teachers were African American, old enough to be her mother, and wise beyond her years. After her first day she called McCarthy.

On the phone, Shelley expressed doubt about what she could possibly bring to the table as a teacher. The other teachers had experiences Shelley didn’t.

“Jan stopped me mid-sentence and explained that was the entire point, I had already learned the lesson. I was there to learn from them,” Shelley says. “And boy, they taught me. Those women really, really shaped what I thought about what we have to do to help all children, and how to understand adversity in a deep, profound way when it comes through the school door. What what can we, as teachers, do, and how do we prepare teachers to be able to work with that? How do you lift a community up, especially when I saw what I saw?”

Shelley also traveled the country with McCarthy during her doctoral program, watching her mentor testify at the state level and national level.

At the time, Indiana had next to no regulations regarding people who work with young children, and McCarthy was the president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Essentially, anyone could teach young children.

So, McCarthy traveled the state, at first, talking to legislators about the importance of supporting improved quality of programs for young people. And Shelley would tag along. Then they took their gospel to Washington DC. Summer after summer after summer.

“A lot of people have the ability to teach,” says McCarthy, who is 90-years-old, has been in the education field for more than 30 years, and keeps in touch with Shelley via group text. “But often, they don’t have that extra dimension. That vision side. Ena has that. She sees needs in our field and wants to find ways to meet those needs. She is an idea person and a person who solves problems. She has that extra dimension that allows her to make real impact.”

When it was time to graduate from her doctoral program at ISU, Shelley wondered about applying for a job at Butler—the school she turned down as an undergraduate—because she heard good things about it from teachers at Perry Township.

She applied, and got a call back. But, the news wasn’t so positive. It was the outgoing dean. He called to tell her a new dean was coming in, there were no openings, and they haven’t hired anyone in seven years.

 

‘It was meant to be’

Ena Shelley teaching 2005.After a 37-year career at Butler that included two stints as Interim Dean, that then led to Shelley becoming Dean in 2005, she says it was all ‘really crazy and meant to be.’

That’s because, after applying and being told there were no openings and no new hires in seven years, Shelley crossed Butler off the list. She started looking at IUPUI and the University of Indianapolis.

Then, a month later, her phone rang. It was the new Dean of the College, and there was an opening. Shelley interviewed, and started at Butler as an Assistant Professor in June 1982.

But, things weren’t exactly as she thought they would be, or should be.

“When I first came to Butler, and I don’t mean to sound critical, but I was taken aback,” Shelley says. “Most of our students were placed in very white privileged schools when it came to student teaching. They came from white privilege, and they student taught in white privilege, then they went back to white privilege. I thought to myself, there is this whole other world out there that we need to be placing our students in. there are students who need our great teachers. It was eye opening for me. There simply wasn’t enough rigor in our program. It was very traditional of teacher education and it wasn’t what I had experienced and I wondered why.”

So, Shelley did what she was wired to do: worked to make change.

She felt like Butler students weren’t seeing the bigger picture. From her experiences, she knew partnerships with public schools, and a Lab School, were essential pieces of the bigger picture. But, Shelley was also the lone voice.

Until Arthur Hochman came to interview.

“I was really thinking, I don’t know if I see Butler as the place I see staying,” Shelley says. “I just didn’t know if I saw myself there for the long haul because philosophically, it wasn’t working. Thank heavens, six years after I started, Arthur interviewed, and everything changed.”

Hochman came to Butler from New York City. He had never been to Indianapolis before his interview. But, he vividly remembers interviewing in the basement of Jordan Hall. Shelley was there, and after his interview, he called his wife immediately.

“I told her I met someone who is really, really smart, really funny, and has a wonderful heart,” says Hochman, who has been at Butler now for 31 years. “I asked my wife how she would feel about moving from New York City to Indianapolis. There was dead air.”

Hochman eventually convinced his wife. They moved to Indianapolis because of Shelley, he says. Shelley calls Hochman her ‘kindred spirit,’ the reason her career flourished at Butler. Hochman’s daughter often asked him, ‘can we go see the laughing lady,’ referring to Shelley.

The two of them got to work. They added a couple other ‘kindred spirits’ to the elementary education team who were philosophically aligned.

One of the first things they did was establish a full year of student teaching. Butler became one of the first programs in the country to have that. They also built partnerships with IPS, Lawrence, Washington, and Pike Townships, placing Butler student teachers all over.

Then, there was the master practitioner program, which still exists today. A master teacher would come to Butler and be part of the College for a year, and the College would pay a first-year teacher salary as a replacement. The master teacher would look at the College’s curriculum, teach, and share relevant information with students.

Butler professors also started teaching their classes in schools.

“This was a game changer,” Shelley says. “The partnerships were key because I would be in a classroom with my students on the floor working with kids and students would be by my side, and I would say, see, did you catch what that child just did? That is Vygotsky Proximal Development right there. That is what we just read about. It brought everything to life.”

In the back of their minds, from the beginning, there was always the need for a Lab School.

 

Lab School comes to life

Shelley had read about Reggio Emilia for quite some time. And in 1998, she was ready to go see it in practice, first hand.

So, she took a sabbatical to Italy, and realized everything needed to change.

“It was unbelievable,” she says. “When I was there I knew we had to change our entire curriculum. We had no schools on this pathway, and because of that, it would be impossible to teach undergrads this type of teaching.”

Ena Shelley speaks to children at opening of IPS Lab School 55Reggio Emilia follows the interests of the child, and builds on what children know. It starts with the belief that children are all capable, confident, competent learners, and as teachers, it is your job to not just teach, but also learn. There is no thought that a child can’t do something.

When Shelley returned from Italy, she started implementing this method of teaching at the Lawrence Township Learning Community in the early childhood program. Then, with Shortridge, Warren Early Childhood Center, and St. Mary’s Childhood Center. Eventually, Butler students got involved, too, learning along with the teachers at these schools.

But, that elusive Lab School was always on Shelley’s mind. And she continued to make her pitch.

She eventually got a meeting with Gene White, IPS Superintendent at the time, and Bobby Fong, Butler’s President at the time. They told her to bring a list of everything she needed to make a Lab School happen.

She arrived at the meeting, sitting between the two men. She gave each a copy of her list. There was silence for a long time. Then, they both said the list looked good to them.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Shelley says. “Just like that, I thought, this was going to happen.”

Now, there are two Lab Schools. Ron Smith, who first met Shelley in 1984 when he showed up on Butler’s campus and Shelley was his advisor, is principal at the first Lab School. Shelley told Smith about Reggio Emilia after her sabbatical. She suggested he read a book about it, after he expressed some doubts about its effectiveness.

He finished the book on a plane ride. When he landed he called Shelley and told her he had to get involved in a school that taught this way.

But it is much more than just this philosophy that Smith owes to Shelley.

“I like to say that I am convinced I am Ena’s favorite student of all time, but I know that there are thousands of other Butler grads that also know they were Ena’s favorite student of all time,” he says. “Ena just has a way of making you feel as though you are the most important person in the world when you are interacting with her.”

When Smith walked into Shelley’s office as a freshman, he wasn’t into school all that much. It always came easy to him in high school. Grades weren’t important to him. He suspects he would have gone on to become a teacher regardless of the college he went to, but because of Shelley, and because of Butler, his career has become so much more.

“I often have reflected on what my path might have been and I just suspect that whatever success I have had in life is in large part due to the opportunity I got at Butler, and more importantly, is due to my opportunity to have interaction with, and to learn from, Ena,” Smith says. “The College of Education is a very personal college. It is a college where you feel that people know you and care about you. I just suspect that if I had gone to a larger university, I would have gotten my degree, would have become a teacher, but I don’t think my career would have been what it has been if I hadn’t had the chance to learn from Ena.”

 

‘Everything has worked out the way it was supposed to’

On New Year’s Eve 2018, Shelley wrote in her journal.

“Wow, what a year. Took students to France, took students to Italy, bought a house, decided to retire.”

Then, her journal went blank.

“Maybe next time, I shouldn’t write all that down, I should keep it in my head,” Shelley says. “Maybe I jinxed myself.”

On Jan. 9, everything changed. Doctors tell her now it was a spontaneous brain bleed. After ‘a gazillion’ MRIs, MRAs, and tests Shelley doesn’t even recall, the conclusions all point to just bad luck. A random occurrence that likely won’t happen again.

Her head is still tender. She cannot put headphones in, can only sleep on her back or her left side--she puts pillows up so she remembers not to roll over, and doctors say it will likely be another six months before she feels fully herself.

That day is still fresh in her mind. Angela Lupton called 911. She kept squeezing Katie Russo’s hands as she waited for the ambulance to arrive. There were cold paper towels on her. But she doesn’t remember anything after getting in the ambulance.

They rushed her into surgery. Her brain had been pushed beyond the midline. Three percent of people survive what Shelley ended up surviving. Doctors told her husband, as they rushed her into surgery, that they didn’t expect her to make it out alive. Her son was speeding on the highway, en route to the hospital from Louisville, Kentucky.

Shelley was in intensive care for six days. She doesn’t remember any of it. Then, on Jan. 11, her brain started bleeding again. They went back in for a second surgery. Her husband signed the papers as they rushed her down the hallway and into surgery. Again.

After the second surgery, Shelley was improving. Six days later, she was starting to make progress. She stood up for the first time in about three weeks. A speech therapist arrived and asked Shelley to name as many words as possible that start with the letter F. That was easy. The speech therapist switched to A. Shelley opted with ‘anthropomorphism.’ The speech therapist moved on to another test. Her wires were clearly connecting.

Shelley was making such positive progress that she met her goal—she was able to attend the national American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Conference in Louisville on Feb. 24. But, after the conference, she had a seizure.

She was rushed to the hospital for another surgery. She had an infection. Her left arm didn’t work for awhile, she answered emails with one finger, and her short term memory is still not where she would like it to be.

“But, honestly, I feel so blessed,” she says. “I don’t have cancer, I have another day. I think of things differently now. Everything has worked out for me the way it was supposed to, and I am just lucky to have another day.”

With retirement right around the corner, Shelley says she is most proud of the 16 people she has hired into the College, as well as the partnerships she has developed, and the Lab Schools.

But more than that, it is the vision and mission of the College that will outlast all of that, she says. It is the work she set out to do when she got to Butler—change the vision of the College—but the groundwork for which was laid as a student long before stepping on campus.

“I believe if you are a teacher, you should be able to be a teacher of all children, not just some children,” she says. “Every child in our society deserves a great teacher, and you may not know where you will be as a teacher, but I feel like the way we shape our country is through education and if we want a better life for everyone, we have to do our part as teachers to make that happen.”

Now, she will retire to Savannah, Georgia, but has family in Indianapolis and Louisville, so will be in town often. She will be as involved, or not involved, in the College as the new Dean would like. But, no matter how physically involved she is, her impact will be felt on campus and in the community.

“It is impossible to be in the education field and not feel Ena’s influence around the city, and quite frankly, the state,” Smith says. “So yes, while she is retiring, her impact will always be felt because of all the work she has done that will, honestly, likely outlast the majority of us. That is true impact and that is Ena.”

Ena Shelley at Commencement
People

‘Meant to Be’: Ena Shelley’s 37-Year Career at Butler

After 37 years of service to Butler, Dean of the College of Education, Ena Shelley retires.

May 30 2019 Read more
Ed Carpenter driving the #20 car
UnleashedIndy 500

Ed Carpenter, The Man of May

BY Michael Kaltenmark ’02, MS ’16

PUBLISHED ON May 23 2019

The Month Man of May

May in Indianapolis. The month that Ed Carpenter ’03 lives for. The month that drives him.  

In Carpenter’s world, everything—his marriage, his family, his friendships, his livelihood—revolves around May.

And the arrival of May this year brings the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 and Carpenter’s 16th attempt at what he hopes will be the culmination of a lifetime of hard work, determination, and the realization of life-long reverie.  

Carpenter has made it his job to win the very race that has made everything possible for him. The very race that is, well, more than a race to him. A task derived from a single burning desire.

One man’s mission to master one month.

 

Bulldogs Aren’t Born, They’re Made

Carpenter wasn’t born a racer, nor was he born in a racing family. He was acquired by one.

Born just across the Indiana state line in Marshall, Illinois, Carpenter caught the racing bug in grade school. The year was 1989, and Carpenter’s exposure to the sport came when his family moved to Indianapolis and his mother, Laura George, married Tony George—a name also synonymous with May in Indianapolis.

George is the son of Elmer George, a late 1950s and early 1960s era Indy 500 driver, and Mari Hulman George, the late matriarch of the Hulman George family which has owned the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1945.

With the George’s racing connections, and Carpenter’s desire to try his hand at his new family’s business, young Carpenter quickly discovered he had a knack behind the wheel.

So, Carpenter spent his formative years on local dirt tracks and backwoods ovals, turning circles and honing his craft, all while attending school at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, 16th & Georgetown became Carpenter’s playground, spending the May months of his youth amidst Gasoline Alley, and occupying his summers by cleaning golf carts at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course.

“I was just having fun as a kid in Indy,” Carpenter says. “I wasn’t fully processing what it could be or what it takes to get somewhere like that. I always enjoyed being at the Speedway, but I don’t think I realized what it could be until I got a little further along in my career. As I moved through the ranks, then I really started to get it in my head that I could do that.”

Carpenter’s progression moved steadily. Racing quarter-midget cars led to midgets cars, then Silver Crown, and then sprint cars as Carpenter climbed the USAC ranks. And as the racing became more serious, so did Carpenter’s focus. From then on, his sights were set on the Indianapolis 500.

But, there was school, too. The parallel trajectories of racing and education would come to a head as Carpenter finished high school.

Carpenter was ready to continue racing. His mother had other ideas. They both got what they wanted.

 

Butler Bound for Indy Crown

“My choice in Butler was really just a matter of logistics,” Carpenter says. “It was the closest to my race shop. I wish there was a better reason as to why I chose Butler, but I’m still really happy with the decision.”

So in fall 1999, just a few miles from his childhood home and the historic speedway, Carpenter moved into his new home, Ross Hall.

The marketing major made quick work of his studies and homework so he could spend as much of his free time on racing as possible. Still, the classroom served its purpose for Carpenter, perhaps initially in the form of discipline and a worldly perspective, and later in the form of preparation for a career in racing beyond driving.

“Beyond just the learning that took place in the classroom, Butler really prepared me for the dual role situation that I’m in now,” he says.“I was a professional student and a professional racecar driver, so I had to learn how to manage both of those things stay on top of school work, the racing, and everything else I was doing. I don’t think I would’ve been able to sustain the type of career I’ve had without that experience.”

Carpenter raced all throughout his time at Butler and by May 2003, Carpenter’s mother got her wish as her son walked across the stage at Hinkle Fieldhouse to receive his diploma. A week later, Carpenter got his wish by driving to victory in the Freedom 100 at Indy. While it was a win in the Indy Lights Series, a step below Indy cars, it was still his first taste of winning at the Brickyard.

Later that fall, Carpenter made his first NTT Data IndyCar Series start at Chicagoland Speedway. The following season, Red Bull Cheever Racing signed Carpenter for his rookie season, and he’s been driving in IndyCar ever since. As Carpenter found success behind the wheel, he also set his sights on new opportunities outside the cockpit.

 

The Butler Way

In late 2011, Carpenter had the opportunity to partner with step-father Tony George, and local businessman Stuart Reed to start his own team, Ed Carpenter Racing. The multi-car operation, complete with full crew, equipment, and resources, has allowed Carpenter to secure his seat at Indianapolis for the foreseeable future.  

And with that, Carpenter not only became one of the few college graduates in the field, he also became the only driver/owner in IndyCar. Because of his dual role, Carpenter holds a unique position in the paddock. In one instance Carpenter may be head-to-head with his driving competitors, and the next he’s shoulder-to-shoulder with the sport’s other powerful team owners.

That can be heady stuff for a thirty-something in any profession, but Carpenter understands that racing is a people business, no matter his role. Whether as driver or owner, Carpenter is focused on how to be operate, manage, and motivate his own team. His Butler experience offered him insight into his approach.

“I think there’s a Butler influence, at least in a subconscious way,” Carpenter says. “The emphasis that Butler puts on culture, especially in athletics, is something I subscribe to and believe in. A lot of people talk about culture, but it's something that really requires follow through and trust. That’s my focus as a leader of my team.”

Carpenter’s ability to motivate and retain his crew at Ed Carpenter Racing is evident in the familiar faces that have been with the team since the beginning. That continuity has also attributed to the team’s recent success at Indianapolis which now boasts multiple front row starts and Top 10 finishes at the Brickyard.

In Ed Carpenter Racing, Carpenter has found strength in numbers. By sharing his vision for success at Indianapolis, he’s brought his team along for the ride. Each May they are serious contenders. This year more than ever.  

 

Unleashed

Carpenter’s Front Row starting position for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 will be his third consecutive at Indianapolis, and his fifth time in seven years. Moreover, teammates Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones will start just behind him in positions third and fourth, making Ed Carpenter Racing the collective best in the field.

Results like this are proof of Carpenter’s hard work, determination, and Bulldog mentality, which is fitting for a guy that will don a Bulldog logo and other Butler marks on his helmet for this year’s race. In 16 tries at Indianapolis, Carpenter has gone from Indy 500 back-marker, to underdog, to black horse, and now perennial favorite, in more than one sense of the word.

Certainly, his speed makes him a likely winner, but it’s Carpenter’s humble and relentless pursuit of success at Indy that has endeared him to those that fill the stands on race day; to those that revere this race just like he does.

“I dream about winning at Indy all the time. So, I just stay focused on that and do the work necessary to make that dream a reality.”

Anything can happen over the course of 500 miles, including victory. That’s the only outcome that will appease Carpenter this May. And it’s just the sort of outcome to expect when you unleash a Bulldog with a dream and a really fast car.

 

Photo Credit: IMS Photography

Ed Carpenter driving the #20 car
UnleashedIndy 500

Ed Carpenter, The Man of May

One man’s mission to master one month.

May 23 2019 Read more
Emily Nettesheim at the Capitol Building
UnleashedAcademics

Why We Dance: Butler Student Researcher Refutes Her Generation’s Reputation

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON May 10 2019

Emily Nettesheim '19 has heard her generation called lazy, entitled, and selfish. Her research—which she presented in Washington, DC, in late April to an audience that included both of Indiana's Senators—suggests that those labels are misguided.

Since sophomore year, Nettesheim has been examining why so many students participate in Dance Marathon, the annual fundraiser benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for more than 170 pediatric hospitals across North America. This year at Butler University alone, more than 500 participants raised over $365,000.

"Especially in light of how millennials have been portrayed negatively in the media, I knew the passion, drive, and sacrifice I was seeing in Dance Marathon was counter-cultural and special," says Nettesheim, a Health Sciences and Spanish double major from Lafayette, Indiana.

In a survey of Butler, Ball State, and IUPUI students, she found that an overwhelming majority participated in Dance Marathon because they were acting on their values—and because participants have the opportunity to meet families affected by the hospital, and visit the hospitals for tours to see first-hand where the money is going.

"Millennials tend to be motivated if they can see the impact of the cause," she says.

More than 85 percent also said they benefited from participating by developing maturity and specific skills, such as communication and empathy, that they can use later in life, according to Nettesheim’s research.

 

*

Nettesheim's story starts not with Dance Marathon—her high school didn't participate—but with her interest in Indianapolis-based Riley Hospital for Children, the beneficiary of Indiana Dance Marathon events. When her parents' friends asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, she said she wanted to be in the medical field and work with kids.

In 2015, when she arrived on campus, she heard about Dance Marathon almost immediately at an event about campus organizations.

"It sounded like a great opportunity to get my foot in the door somewhere I wanted to work," she says.

She joined the Riley Relations Committee as a first-year student—the committee works directly with Riley families—and fell in love with the people, and what Dance Marathon stood for. Sophomore and junior years, she served as the director of Riley Relations, and senior year became president.

In fall of her sophomore year, she started thinking about a subject for her honors thesis. She met with Pharmacy Professor Chad Knoderer.Knoderer had never taught Nettesheim, but after talking to her and hearing about her interest in Dance Marathon, he suggested that it could be her focus.

"As I researched more," Nettesheim says, "I realized that nonprofits across the country are experiencing issues trying to recruit donors and volunteers, and that the Dance Marathon movement is the No. 14 fastest growing peer-to-peer campaign in the nation. It became really evident that something different and unique is happening. So I wanted to see if I could figure out why—or at least quantify it a little bit."

She and Knoderer worked together on how to design the thesis, roll it out, and make it realistic to be completed. With help from Butler's Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement (CHASE), everything came into focus.

Normally, the final step in the work Nettesheim was doing would be to write and turn in her honors thesis. And she did that—a 35-page paper.

But she wanted to do more. So early this year, she submitted an abstract to present at Posters on the Hill, the Council on Undergraduate Research's annual undergraduate poster session on Capitol Hill.  Members of Congress and their staff gather at the presentations to learn about the importance of undergraduate research through talking directly with the student researchers themselves.

The selection process is extremely competitive, but Nettesheim beat the odds—becoming the first Butler student in memory to be invited to participate.

"I can’t say definitively that she’s the first," says Rusty Jones, the CHASE Faculty Director, "but she’s certainly the first that I know of. What’s especially great about the Posters on the Hill event is that they are highlighting the importance of undergraduate research to our lawmakers in DC."

 

*

Part of Nettesheim's goal was to detail her findings, but she was also in Washington to share the value of undergraduate research with members of the Senate and Congress, and their staffs.

Nettesheim's father worked at Purdue University, and being around research there got her interested in it from a young age. She chose Butler precisely because she wanted the opportunity to do her own projects.

"It's so cool that even at a small university, there have been so many opportunities for me to get involved in research," she says.

In addition to delving into students' motivations to participate in Dance Marathon, Nettesheim also has worked in the Neurobiology Lab at Butler with Associate Professor of Biology Jennifer Kowalski. She's studying microscopic roundworms known as C. elegans, which have nervous systems similar to humans.

"It’s exciting to share the impact of research in my life and be the face behind the cause of research," Nettesheim says. "I've had much more of an opportunity to get involved and have my research be my own here than I would have had the opportunity to do elsewhere."

And that, says Knoderer, is the takeaway: Butler encourages and supports undergraduate research.

"If you've got an idea, go for it," he says. "The sky's the limit. I knew what Dance Marathon was from working at Riley Hospital for a number of years, so I knew the organization and what it was, but I didn't necessarily know how to approach her question. But there are enough people to help support a student and see their project through."

Emily Nettesheim at the Capitol Building
UnleashedAcademics

Why We Dance: Butler Student Researcher Refutes Her Generation’s Reputation

Millennials tend to be motivated if they can see the impact of the cause.

May 10 2019 Read more
Haley Sumner and her dog Ezzie
CommencementPeople

Finding Alternative Ways to Succeed

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON May 10 2019

When Mary Gospel found out she was going to be teaching a student who is blind, she wondered how that was going to work in a major—Communication Sciences and Disorders—that requires so much visual learning.

Then Haley Sumner came to class, and she had her answer.

"I've had Haley in class four times," says Gospel, Butler University Senior Clinical Faculty in Communications. "The only time I really even was thinking about her being vision-impaired was the first class. After that, you just forget because she handles everything so well. Outside of having a dog in the classroom, which is unusual, you just forget. She is such an amazing, strong student, and knows how to advocate for the things she needs to make the material in the classroom work for her."

That's precisely how Sumner wanted it. She has spent her life finding alternative ways to succeed, and she continued that at Butler.

She finished school in four years with a double major in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) and Spanish. Along the way, she was involved in Student Government Association for three years, and  the Butler University Student Foundation.

"I've been able to develop work connections with graduates, and gotten an idea of what life will look like after college," she says. "If it wasn't for those organizations, it would have been harder for me to make connections, and feel comfortable with the next chapter of my life.”

In summer 2018, Sumner did an internship in the Human Resources department at Eskenazi Health. That spurred her interest in working for a large organization, like Eli Lilly and Co. or Salesforce when she graduates. She's now in the interviewing process.

*

Haley Sumner came to Butler from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. Sumner was born three months prematurely, weighing less than two pounds. She’s been blind since birth.

She started in Exploratory Studies, and chose CSD as a major because she had gone through speech therapy when she was young.

"I can't think of a day or even a moment in my life where I thought, 'I wish I could see this right now,'" she says. "I'm so grateful for the experiences I've had. I feel like we're all designed in a unique way."

She has navigated campus with help from her service dog, Ezzie. A text-to-speech machine turned her textbooks to audio. When she had classes that were heavily visual, she relied on tactile formats to feel what she couldn't see.

She says that in one class that dealt with topics such as anatomy and soundwaves, Butler's Student Disability Services office hired older students to draw diagrams she needed for exams and lectures. She has special paper that, when drawn on, makes raised lines, so she can feel what the picture is showing.

Sumner explains that for a drawing of a brain, for example, she can  feel where each lobe is located, and make a square or a circle in her mind, and then try  to put each part together to develop an understanding.

"Once I'm able to gauge where everything is mapped out on the page, then I'm able to make a mental image of it," she says.

*

Gospel says having Sumner in class made her a better teacher. She had to think more purposefully about how, and what, she taught. It forced her to prepare more thoroughly.

In one course, where students were expected to learn phonetic symbols instead of using alphabet letters, Gospel was flummoxed. She was unsure how to possibly make this accessible for Sumner.

Gospel teamed up with Kathleen Camire, Assistant Director of Student Disability Services, and Sumner. Not only were they able to come up with the necessary technology, but the three of them co-wrote a paper that Gospel presented at the American Speech and Hearing Association, about the technology and strategy needed to teach phonetics to a student with vision impairment.

Gospel says Sumner also made an enormous impact on the Butler Aphasia Community, a group of people who have had strokes who come to campus to work on their language skills with Butler students.

"They adored her," Gospel says. "She related to them so well, and they related to her. They saw how she was able to overcome obstacles with a positive attitude and sense of humor. They were inspired by her spirit.

Sumner says she comes at whatever she does with great empathy for others.

"Whenever I hear people complain or I hear them having a bad day, I try to get closer to them and help them find ways to make their situation positive or help them find a positive point in their day," she says.

Haley Sumner and her dog Ezzie
CommencementPeople

Finding Alternative Ways to Succeed

Sumner says she comes at whatever she does with great empathy for others.

May 10 2019 Read more
Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks at Clowes Memorial Hall
Arts & Culture

Renowned Author Ta-Nehisi Coates Speaks at Clowes on Race and Writing

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON May 09 2019

Ta-Nehisi Coates describes himself as “a black writer, and I write a lot about race,” and on May 8, at Butler University, he talked a lot about both race and writing.

He reiterated the case for reparations that he made in a much-discussed 2014 article in The Atlantic, and he said his goal when he writes is, “I want to feel good. I want to be at peace. I need to internally feel good about my writing.”

He told a 10-year-old white girl who asked what she can do to act against racism to listen and read. “I would be trying to understand more than I would be trying to act.” And he cited E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime as a book that particularly inspired him.

“It’s beautiful and literate, but there’s a lot of history in it,” he said.

Coates, who won the National Book Award for Between the World and Me and has found another level of fame writing The Black Panther and Captain Marvel comics, was at Clowes Memorial Hall to deliver the Indianapolis Public Library’s 42nd annual Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture. Rather than a lecture, it turned out to be a loose, freewheeling conversation between Coates and author Tamara Winfrey Harris.

Among the topics Coates discussed:

  • The importance of libraries. Coates said that as a young man in a rough area of Baltimore, he found safety in libraries. He urged the audience “to support your library system.”
  • What he’s learned about race over the years. “I didn’t understand how fundamental the black experience was to the American experience … If you don’t understand this, you really don’t understand your country.”
  • He’s in favor of taking down Confederate soldier monuments. “I think we are moving in the right direction.”
  • He doesn’t view himself any differently after receiving a MacArthur “genius” grant, the National Book Award, and other accolades, and he doesn’t think of himself as a genius. He compared praise for his work to hearing nice things about your children. “And then you remember every single thing your kid did wrong ... As long as I don’t think of myself as a genius, I think I’m OK.”
  • He said Between the World and Me went through three significant revisions. After one, he received a 2,000-word letter from his editor that he boiled down to this: “Brah, this is not it.”
  • His next book, The Water Dancer, is a novel he’s been working on since 2009. He declined to talk about it other than to say “I hope you read it. I hope you enjoy it.”
  • As a young man, he was influenced by comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, and hip-hop, citing Rakim, Nas, and the Wu-Tang Clan as particularly important to him.
  • “Even now when I’m writing, I listen to hip-hop because … when you write, what you try to do is pack the most emotion and feeling and information into the smallest amount of space. Rappers are really good at that.”
  • He thinks he’s a better person for having quit Twitter. With 1.2 million followers, “you lose the freedom to be yourself.”
  • How his fans should talk to Trump supporters. “I think a lot of times our dialogue assumes that there are people who are decent and good people and if we just gave them the right information and said it the right way, they would see it as you see it. But lost in that is the possibility that there are people—not to generalize—who don’t want to see it that way, and indeed have a vested interest in not seeing it that way…. All I can do is write and speak in a respectful but clear and candid manner.”
  • Asked about reparations, he cited the 20-to-1 wealth gap between whites and blacks, and the need for “radical action” to repair it.

“It’s not just that black people have an infinitesimal amount of wealth compared to white people. It’s that because of segregation, black people only live around other people who have an infinitesimal amount of wealth. Their entire network is other people who have been stolen from, so you have been individually plundered, everybody who lives around you has been plundered—your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother was plundered, and their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were plundered too. So in every direction, it’s theft. And on the other side, what you see are whole communities of people who live around each other who have benefited from that theft.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks at Clowes Memorial Hall
Arts & Culture

Renowned Author Ta-Nehisi Coates Speaks at Clowes on Race and Writing

Ta-Nehisi Coates describes himself as “a black writer, and I write a lot about race.”

May 09 2019 Read more
Maddy Smith and her daughter Arabelle
Commencement

A Mother’s Promise: Against All Odds, Butler Senior is Ready to Graduate

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON May 09 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Madeline Smith was in third grade when she attended her first college class. It was math. Finite, to be exact. And she loved it.

Her mom, Sarah Taylor, didn’t really have a choice but to bring her young daughter with her. She was a 30-year-old college student at Indiana University. She had returned to college years after giving birth to Smith and realizing, if she wanted to stop working 16-hour shifts and provide a better life for her daughter, a college degree would help. So, Taylor packed up her whole house, put everything in storage except for two tents, and headed to Yellowstone Woods in Bloomington, Indiana with Smith. They camped out for two months—Taylor and her 10-year-old. Taylor bused tables, saving up for an apartment. She had a friend watch Smith during most classes, but when she had to, Taylor brought an extra set of hands with her to class. Turns out those hands shot up in the air on more than one occasion when questions were asked. Especially during Finite.

“I knew I had to make a change to make Madeline’s life better in the long-run, and I am very thankful she was a resilient individual, because she powered through some tough times,” says Taylor, who has worked in Human Resources since graduating from IU. “She was my study buddy who would hold up flashcards for me during dinner, while I was doing laundry, everything. She took notes in her own notebook during Economics. She always loved learning and saw firsthand from those days that knowledge is power, and education can transform your life.”

That love of learning was always on display. In elementary school, Smith preferred reading to riding bikes with her friends. And when she brought home her first B at Southport High School in Perry Township, Smith cried hysterically, studying all night, determined to bring her grade back up to an A.

When it came time to make a decision about college, Taylor was biased. She took her daughter back to Bloomington where the two had many fond memories. Smith earned a 21st Century Scholarship—up to four years of undergraduate tuition at participating universities in Indiana—so Taylor knew her daughter had options. They also visited Butler University.

“After being on campus, Butler became a no-brainer,” Smith says. “I loved the atmosphere here. I loved the fact that just six buildings make up the academic section. There was such a community feel right away. With larger institutions, it felt like you had to walk across an entire city to get to class. I didn’t want to be in a department where there are 25 professors and you never meet half of them, and they don’t know your name, and you are just another face. I wanted to be Maddy, and at Butler, it became instantly obvious to me the I would have that type of experience.”

Then, one day during Smith’s senior year of high school, she sat her mom down. She needed to talk to her. Smith was pregnant. They had a long talk—both cried and were scared—but, Smith made one thing clear: her goals would not shift, and she would go to Butler as planned. Taylor explained that she would understand if Smith needed to take a slightly different route, or adjust her timeline. But Smith was adamant. Nothing would change.

Four years later, Smith is on the cusp of graduation. She will join nearly 1,050 other students on Saturday for Butler’s 163rd Spring Commencement. She will fulfill the promise she not only made to her mom, but to herself, and to her daughter, Arabelle.

The Anthropology major and History minor will walk across the stage right on time, just as she planned four years ago. She is a bit more tired, but also incredibly grateful—for the scholarships, support from faculty and family—and proud—for trusting herself and sticking to her plan.

 

‘I’m exhausted’

The timing, actually, could not have been better for Smith. She was determined to not miss any significant class time, and her daughter was due in December, when Butler was closed for Winter Break.

So, Christmas 2015 arrived, she went to the hospital, and Arabelle arrived on December 27, 2015. Two weeks later, school started, and Smith was in class.

“It was really hard. To be honest, second semester of my first year is a blur,” Smith says, “It is recommended that you have six weeks of bonding time with your baby, and I had like two. But, I would have had to take medical leave if I missed school, and I wanted to graduate on time. It was really difficult, and exhausting, and things you don’t think about, like nursing, were messed up, but I knew I had to get through it.”

On top of having a newborn, Smith had to move to Kokomo during her second semester—about an hour from Butler’s campus—because her mom was relocated from Indianapolis to Tennessee for work. She moved in with her aunt and uncle, and then made the hour-each-way commute every day for classes.

Maddy's daughter, ArabelleShe learned traffic patterns very quickly, she says. She also learned time management.

Each day she woke up at about 5:00 AM, got ready for school, got her daughter ready for daycare, drove to campus for classes, and would return home to pick up her daughter from day care at around 5:00 PM. Then it was dinner time, bath time, bedtime for Arabelle, homework time for Smith, and, hopefully at a reasonable hour, bedtime for Smith.

“The way she has juggled everything has amazed me. But that is Madeline,” Taylor says. “I have seen her up until 2:00 AM working on a paper, or sometimes asleep in a book, trying to finish assignments. Her determination is what has gotten her to this point, and her love of learning.”

It wasn’t always clear to Smith that she made the right choice, though. There were times, she says, she missed out on things like parent-teacher conferences, or making snacks for her daughter’s daycare. Or other things, like homecoming, Greek Life, and just a typical social life on campus. Between classes and taking care of her daughter, Smith has juggled several jobs throughout her four years, such as working at a gas station, working at a fast food restaurant, the Butler IT Help Desk, pizza delivery driver, to name a few.

 

Tight-knit community

Elise Edwards has an adult son, and, after a day of teaching Anthropology as an Associate Professor at Butler, she is drained, she says. So, to see Smith, a first-year student who can juggle being a mom and keep up with her studies, amazed Edwards.

“Maddy is an incredibly smart student. She writes well, thinks well, and despite all of the outside pressures she faces, has remained incredibly focused,” Edwards says. “She is very intellectually curious and, miraculously, hasn’t allowed any additional challenges to get in her way.”

Edwards worked with Smith on an independent study project looking at the Anthropology of Africa. The two handpicked ethnographies on Africa and met weekly to discuss the readings. After graduation, Edwards says, she will really miss these conversations.

But it wasn’t just that Smith was able to keep up, Edwards says. She was often ahead of the class. On more than one occasion, Smith would raise her hand and remind the class that rough drafts were due in a week.

Instructor of German Michelle Stigter was the first person on campus Smith told about her pregnancy. Stigter was her First Year Seminar professor, and the two instantly connected.

“I am the child of teenage parents, and I know the odds are stacked against young women who get pregnant in terms of college completion,” Stigter says. “Being a mom and something else is hard enough, but being a mom and a college student is really difficult. Maddy has a tenacity to move forward and make life happen for her and her daughter that has been incredible to witness.”

Most who know Smith, Stigter says, aren’t even aware she has a daughter. She has been determined to be like every other student and not let her family situation influence her college experience.

It was Stigter who nominated Smith for the Betty Murnan-Smith Scholarship—given to single parents enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who have at least a 3.0 GPA.

Stigter nominated Smith in 2017, and since then, Smith has received the scholarship for the last three years.

“Without scholarships I never would have been able to come to Butler and receive the education I have received,” Smith says. “To have people that don’t even know you set up scholarships that you’ll eventually benefit from is something I am so grateful for. But, to then have professors looking out for you, and really advocating for you—it is all just so amazing.”

 

An education for everyone

Betty Murnan-Smith ’44 always loved to learn, too.

Born in Indianapolis in 1921, her father died of leukemia when she was 12. Suddenly left to raise Murnan-Smith alone, her mother moved them into the back room of a dried goods store to save money. The two shared a bed, her mother sewed their clothes, and a curtain enclosed their room.

Murnan-Smith rode her bike to school, always eager to get there, says her son, Timothy Smith. A high school English teacher of hers saw her talent as a writer and asked her if she planned to go to college. She said she couldn’t afford college, but her high school teacher told her she still could go, and introduced her to Butler.

“My mom worked her way through school. She had every kind of job you could imagine. She grinded magnesium for airplane parts, she was a soda jerk, an artist model, a Rosie the Riveter,” says Smith, who now lives in Los Angeles. “She was an uncommon woman of her time, one who was fiercely interested in women not following the well-traveled path but taking another option, and daring to do something great with their lives. She got that from her mother.”

Her favorite job, though, was on campus at Butler helping Professor of English Allegra Stewart grade papers. Stewart told Murnan-Smith that she had so much potential, and inspired her to become a professor, too. Murnan-Smith would go on to name her daughter Allegra, after Stewart.

“At a time when most women were becoming domesticated and looking for husbands, my mom went to Butler and had professors who showed her all the potential she had and all the options available to her—that she really could do anything,” Smith says.

Murnan-Smith would go on to teach at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. Later in her life she established the Betty Murnan-Smith Scholarship for single parents at Butler.

Her children didn’t even know about the scholarship until the end of their mother’s life, but it certainly doesn’t surprise them.

“It resonates with everything we understood about her. She would save pennies and dimes to help those who are trying to fulfill their dreams, despite challenges,” Smith says. “She taught us from a young age the importance of education. We were 12 and she was telling us the unexamined life is not worth living. She wanted to make sure she did her part to provide that for everyone. She actually sounds a lot like Maddy from the bit I have learned about her.”

 

‘A really special day’

Taylor will be at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, watching her daughter graduate. Arabelle will not. She would be bouncing off the walls during a long ceremony like that, Smith says.

But, the day will be an emotional one.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my daughter,” Taylor says. “I have seen first hand all she has juggled with school, but also raising my granddaughter and being a wonderful mother, and sticking to her original goals and not wavering. She has always been so driven, but to see everything come to the final stages, it will be such a special day.”

After graduation, Smith is hoping to go into event planning, but she is still exploring her options. Whatever she ends up doing, though, she hopes to one day help others like her—sort of like Murnan-Smith.

Maddy Smith and her daughter Arabelle
Commencement

A Mother’s Promise: Against All Odds, Butler Senior is Ready to Graduate

Arabelle arrived on December 27, 2015. Two weeks later, school started, and Maddy Smith was in class.

May 09 2019 Read more
Mother with children
UnleashedAcademics

The Precarious Position of Muslim Orphans to Be Focus of Butler Professor's Research

BY Marc Allan MFA `18

PUBLISHED ON May 01 2019

Nermeen Mouftah, Butler University Assistant Professor of Religion, was in Egypt for her first project. She was studying the ways Islamic reformers have turned to literacy to improve conditions in their countries.

But, while doing that research, she noticed that nearly every nonprofit organization not only had some kind of literacy project, but they also did work with orphans. That got her thinking about Muslim orphans, their care, and their place in Islamic society. She wondered: How does Islam shape the legal, biological, and affective negotiations involved in the care and abandonment of vulnerable children?

This year, thanks to a $12,000 grant from the University of Notre Dame’s Global Religions Research Initiative, Mouftah will do four months of fieldwork to investigate what she calls the Muslim orphan paradox: the precarious condition faced by millions of Muslim orphans that makes them at once major recipients of charity, yet ostracized for their rootlessness.

The world has approximately 140 million orphans today, but military conflicts in countries from Burma to Yemen to Syria have left Muslim children disproportionately affected, Mouftah says. As a result, many Muslim-majority countries face high numbers of child abandonment. The level of care these orphans receive is largely contingent on how people view family, childhood, and community.

Giving to orphans is seen, by in large, as a laudable form of giving in these societies, she says. However, what the care of orphans should look like is highly contested, as a consensus among Islamic legal schools is that adoption is prohibited, Mouftah explains. As a result, there is much debate about whether, and how, to raise a non-biological child in Muslim society.

So, as part of her research, Mouftah will be going to Morocco and Lebanon over the summer, and Pakistan in December. Morocco and Pakistan because they’re Muslim-majority countries that have some of the largest numbers of orphans and strong ties to the inter-country adoption market. Lebanon, on the other hand, takes in a large number of Syrian refugees.

“One of the things I'm interested in is trying to question some kind of universal idea of what the ideal way to care for orphans is,” says Mouftah, who’s finishing her first year at Butler. “I’ll be doing that by looking at multiple forms of care across different countries and institutions who have distinct views on, and methods of, orphan care.”

Mouftah will be listening in on the debate and discussions people are having first hand about the best way to do things when it comes to caring for orphans, she says. She will be observing different practices, watching who people are influenced by when it comes to orphan care, and what they are aspiring toward, as well as what the problems people run into when trying to care for orphans.

One of the major issues she’ll be looking at is the Islamic taboo against fictive kinship—taking in a child and raising that child as if he or she were one’s biological child. Some of her research is looking at how some Muslim families are using the approach of non-fictive kinship, meaning the child knows that he or she is not the biological child of the parents.

That, Mouftah says, is parallel with trends of adoption in the United States, where people have moved toward open adoptions that let the child know who their biological parent is/was.

“Many times in the Koran, it says to help the widows, and the orphans, and the vulnerable,” she says. “So they're elevated figures to care for. But because of various laws, and the stigmatization of orphans, and especially abandoned children, adoption is widely looked at with skepticism.”

Rather than adoption, one of the ways some Muslim organizations care for orphans is through sponsorships similar to the child sponsorship commercials seen on American television.

“We clearly don't have this worked out,” she says. “When you look at the historical story, we're clearly feeling our way through the dark. We don't know what to do. It's not until the Victorian age that there is the institution of the orphanage. But institutions are not the best places for children to flourish. I won't be shy to lay out some practical plans based on the research.”  

Mother with children
UnleashedAcademics

The Precarious Position of Muslim Orphans to Be Focus of Butler Professor's Research

Nermeen Mouftah, Professor of Religion, will do fieldwork to investigate the Muslim orphan paradox.

May 01 2019 Read more
A student speaks at Be Me BU: Unscripted
Campus

‘Every time I tell my story, I get a little bit of myself back’: Butler Community Shares Stories of Triumph

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 30 2019

Butler University senior Marketing major Abby Smith has a tattoo on her shoulder that says “destroy what destroys you.” On Friday, April 26, in front of a room full of classmates and strangers, she shared the harrowing story behind the ink.

“For a whole year,” she said, “I let a boy control me. He wouldn’t let me cut my hair, wear certain clothes, hang out with certain friends, talk to other boys. And I couldn’t even go to my junior homecoming.”

About eight months into the relationship, the abuse turned physical. She came home with bruises on her arms that she had to hide from her parents. At 17, she broke up with him and suffered bouts of depression. By 18, she felt she was worthless – “a true waste of human space.”

But then she came to Butler, and decided to tell her story—to allow herself to be vulnerable.

“I was tired of letting a stupid boy from high school control the way I thought about myself,” she said. “I no longer felt the burden of hiding the biggest and most impactful part of my life. Not only did I grow in that moment, but those who chose to listen grew as well.”

Smith was telling the story again in the Shelton Auditorium as part of Be Me BU: Unscripted, a TED Talk-like program put on by College of Education Professor Catherine Pangan’s Perspectives in Leadership class.

The goal of the class is to teach leadership theories, styles, and skills, and to learn how leadership styles are applied and then practiced.

Telling the story is still “very raw,” Smith said afterward, “but for every time I tell my story, I feel like I get a little bit of myself back. So anytime I can tell my story, I look forward to the opportunity.”

Junior Entrepreneurship major Emily Fleming, who served as emcee, said students in the class suggested potential speakers for the event, and the class selected the participants. Speakers were selected because they have overcome adversity and inspired the Butler community.

“We wanted people in the Butler community to be able to share their stories unscripted,” Fleming says. “We’re very proud of what we put together.”

Seven students—some from the class, some not—a faculty member, and a staff member, shared stories of life-changing moments and challenges they overcame.

The topics ranged from dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder, to racial discrimination, to living with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status in an uncertain time. Assistant Communications Sciences and Disorders Professor Tonya Bergeson-Dana talked about finding out that she was pregnant one day, then losing her husband, IndyCar driver Paul Dana, the next. Beloved C-Club employee “Miss” Denise Kimbrough talked about finding her home at Butler and providing a supportive environment for others.

Haley Sumner, a senior Communication Sciences and Disorders and Spanish double major, shared her story about being born three months prematurely, and how her grandparents took her in when her parents were unable to care for her. Grace Bowling, a senior Strategic Communications major, told of losing her mother to brain cancer, and how important it is to “embrace the changes that life throws at you.”

Then there was Lindsey Schuler.

A sophomore Health Sciences major from Fishers, she explained that  life can change in the blink of an eye. Schuler was severely injured in a tumbling accident in which she fell 5 feet, face first, to the ground. She couldn’t move.

Schuler went through two surgeries and three weeks in the intensive care unit before heading to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. After months of therapy, she was able to rejoin her high school class and walk at graduation.

But there was more rehab to do, and she went back to Chicago to gain strength, endurance, and independent skills. She had to relearn how to climb stairs, use a pencil, tie a shoe, and drive. After five months there, and two more months in another neurological rehabilitation facility in Atlanta, she was able to come to Butler.

“I was terrified to enter a whole new community of people who had not known me prior to my injury,” she said. “I was so nervous that I’d be judged by my differences. But instead, this community has embraced me and welcomed me with open arms. If it had not been for my injury, I never would have come to Butler, I never would have found my passion for helping others, and most importantly, I never would have truly appreciated all I have been given.”

A student speaks at Be Me BU: Unscripted
Campus

‘Every time I tell my story, I get a little bit of myself back’: Butler Community Shares Stories of Triumph

Be Me BU: Unscripted is a TED Talk-like program put on by a Perspectives in Leadership class.

Apr 30 2019 Read more
Brooke Kandel-Cisco
UnleashedPeople

Brooke Kandel-Cisco, Determined to Make An Impact, Will Now Lead the COE

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Brooke Kandel-Cisco was first drawn to the field of education as a 22-year-old immigration advocate, working on behalf of undocumented women who were abused by their husbands, but threatened by those same men with their status if they took action against the abuse.

Working alongside an immigration attorney, she didn’t get a lot of cases approved by the courts. She saw firsthand the complexities of the system and how things were far from fair. She wanted to help illuminate the glaring systemic issues, and then somehow work toward creating more just and equitable systems.

All of that sounded familiar to Kandel-Cisco—it sounded like the work of an educator. The Illinois native comes from a long line of teachers—both her grandmothers, aunts, uncles—but her 18-year-old self wanted to go against the family grain. So, she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish at Goshen College. After she graduated, Kandel-Cisco joined AmeriCorps and headed to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, where she battled the courts to try and help women who came to the United States and were abused by their husbands, but struggled to get justice.

“Advocating for women and seeing these huge systemic issues every day really piqued my interest in education and in working with immigrant and refugee students,” Kandel-Cisco says. “I was always told I should be a teacher, and I think my work after college showed me how important it is to try and work to address systemic issues. I saw education as one way of doing just that.”

Kandel-Cisco has been doing that ever since. She will start as the Interim Dean of Butler University’s College of Education on May 1 replacing Ena Shelley, who will retire after 15 years as Dean of the College, and 37 years at the University.

Kandel-Cisco started at Butler in 2009 as a faculty member, and throughout her decade on campus has served as Director of the Master of Science in Effective Teaching and Learning Program, Chair of the COE Graduate Programs, and Program Coordinator for COE Graduate Programs.

She teaches courses in English as a second language (ESL) within the COE, works closely with teachers in Washington Township schools’ ESL and Newcomer Programs, which works with students who have recently arrived in the country and are learning English, and is the President of the Indiana Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

When Shelley announced her retirement, Kandel-Cisco’s name was put forward by colleagues in the COE as a potential Interim Dean.

Her first reaction upon hearing that Shelley was retiring?

“Oh I pity the person who follows Ena,” Kandel-Cisco says. “But now that it’s me, I will do my best.”

Shelley, on the other hand, says this was a long time coming.

For years, Shelley says, she has been presenting Kandel-Cisco with “opportunities.” There was the time she called Kandel-Cisco in to tell her she had an “opportunity” for her to work on an International Baccalaureate certification process.

“Brooke’s reaction was ‘OK, my child goes to an IB school, but I don’t really know much about IB’,” Shelley says, laughing. “But, in typical Brooke fashion, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work like crazy to get this in place. She always gives it her best shot, and her best shot is always wonderful.”

Shelley would continue over the years to use that phrase on Kandel-Cisco. Finally, she explained that early on in her career she was offered “opportunities” constantly by her Dean at the time. It was clear these “opportunities” were just challenging projects. Her Dean explained she was giving them to Shelley to prepare her to be a Dean one day.

It turns out, that is exactly what Shelley was doing with Kandel-Cisco.

“I know a lot of people use these words a lot, but Brooke is really a visionary, and extremely wise,” Shelley says. “She is very inclusive of people and ideas, a keen listener, which is key as an educator and leader. Someone asked me if this is bittersweet, and I can honestly say no. My heart is happy knowing I am leaving the College in great shape with a strong leader and strong staff.”

It is that great staff that Kandel-Cisco says she will rely on to help move the College forward as Interim Dean. She is looking forward to thinking through how the College fits into Butler’s strategic plan, as well as focusing on a number of new initiatives: a new major, global opportunities for students and faculty, partnerships in the community.

“This is all about making yourself vulnerable and trying new things, which might not be comfortable,” she says. “It is much easier to do because I have amazing colleagues who are supportive and will help move our College forward.”

When Kandel-Cisco was back in Texas working as an immigrant advocate, she realized she wanted to be a teacher. After obtaining her ESL and bilingual education teaching license, she went on to teach ESL students in Houston. After several years of teaching, she applied to doctoral programs.

She transitioned to a full-time doctoral student at Texas A&M, and later became a senior research associate, studying state education data on things like teacher attrition and achievement scores. All of this highlighted more systemic issues in education. And, it became clear again, she wanted to be in a classroom.

On another whim, she applied to several faculty positions, including one at Butler. On campus, she interviewed with Ena Shelley.

“For me, it was about the people,” she says. “Ena, just the way she looks in your eyes, it just felt authentic, and the College was doing educator preparation in a high-quality way. That’s not to say there is one right way to do it, because I don’t believe there is, but the COE approach was in line with my values. And that’s what brought me to Butler.”

Brooke Kandel-Cisco
UnleashedPeople

Brooke Kandel-Cisco, Determined to Make An Impact, Will Now Lead the COE

Kandel-Cisco will start as the Interim Dean of the College of Education on May 1.

Apr 26 2019 Read more
Peter Grossman
People

From Playwright, to Journalist, to Professor, Peter Grossman closes Butler Chapter After 25 Years

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2019

Butler University Business Professor Peter Z. Grossman thinks of his life as "an unstructured research project."

Grossman, who is retiring from Butler after 25 years as the Clarence Efroymson Chair/Professor of Economics, has been, at various times, an actor/playwright, a journalist, and, of course, a professor. He has taught courses as varied as music appreciation, philosophy, and economics,  and written books about topics that include energy policy, the history of the American Express company, law and economics principles, and a history of the major blackouts of the Northeast.

A student once asked him, "How do I get into the kinds of things you have done?" To which Grossman responded: "I have no idea, because almost all of it was serendipitous."

"Peter is a lifelong learner," says Butler Professor of Economics Bill Rieber, his friend and colleague. "As an example, Peter has offered many different courses in Economics since being at Butler, including Mathematical Economics. When Peter first offered the course, he was already a full professor and a well-established scholar, teacher, and commentator in the media. It had been a while, though, since Peter had gone through the mathematics necessary to offer the course, yet he spent the time and effort to do so."

David Phillips '07 took that very course with Grossman as an independent study, and also studied International Economics and Comparative Economics with him. For the independent study, Grossman would give Phillips a set of problems to work out, then they'd get together to work through them on a whiteboard in the Holcomb Building.

"I'm a professor now, so I probably appreciate better than I did then how generous it was of him to offer to do an independent study with me," Phillips, who's a Research Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame, wrote in an email. "It's a lot of a work, and I'm sure he didn't get any credit or recognition for it!"

Phillips added that when he went to graduate school, he needed to know how to combine economic intuition and heavy duty mathematics. Having the one-on-one opportunity with Grossman helped greatly.

The independent study also allowed them to get to know each other personally, and that’s where Phillips got a taste of Grossman's understated, self-deprecating humor.

One story Grossman told was how during his dissertation defense at Washington University in St. Louis, one of his professors asked a relatively easy question. Grossman froze, couldn't come up with an answer, but his main advisor, future Nobel Prize winner Douglass North, chimed in.

"Peter, I don’t understand your problem.  I asked you that same question last week in my office and you gave me a good answer,” North said.

Grossman's response: "Really? What did I say?”

When his answer was recited back to him, he said, “Oh yes, that’s a good answer.”

"His sharing those experiences with me was incredibly valuable," Phillips says. "A Ph.D. in economics is very different from undergraduate economics, and American students from small schools often struggle to wade through the technical material of the first couple years. Picking an advisor is an intimidating thing. Both the time I spent with him working out problems on the whiteboard and the time hearing about his own experience in graduate school helped me a lot as I became an economist."

 

*

Grossman grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut, the child of a textile worker dad from Hungary (who gave him the middle name Zigmund) and a piano-teacher mom, both of whom insisted that their sons get an education. They wanted their children to become doctors or lawyers, but in high school, Peter gravitated toward theater.

There was no drama club at any of the high schools in town, so he started a citywide drama group. He performed at the Waterbury Civic Theatre, did summer stock in Cape Cod, and generally thought of himself as an actor.

When he got to Columbia University, he transitioned to playwriting. He wrote plays that were performed in New York, including at the Public Theater, and studied philosophy, then earned a Shubert Fellowship to study playwriting at Columbia's School of the Arts.

After earning his Master of Fine Arts in 1972, Grossman was working a nominal job at Columbia, hoping to become a writer,when he bumped into a former classmate who told him about a trade magazine looking for writers. Grossman pursued the lead and ended up writing about fast food and kitchen design.

"Writing about food always made me hungry," he says. "But I was getting experience. I was learning how to write. I never took a journalism course, but I knew I had to be self-critical in order to be able to write something I would want to read. Essentially, I was teaching myself journalism."

A few years later—around the same time he met his future wife, Polly Spiegel—one of his brothers invited him to a party where he was introduced to someone who called the publisher of Financial World on his behalf. The editor gave him a tryout, assigning him a story about the commodities market.

"I had no idea what I was talking about, but I wrote it pretty well," he says.

It earned him $500 and the chance to write more. It also led him, a year later, to his first teaching job—as an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Polytechnic Institute of New York (Brooklyn Polytechnic)—and his first salaried position, primarily to teach journalism.

 

*

His first class, an Intro to Literature and Writing course, was a disaster.

"I came into the classroom the first day and was going to talk about Beowulf and the origins of the English language but I quickly saw that nearly everybody in the class was a non-native speaker," he says. “And whatever I had planned to say only confused them.”

At the same time, he was getting more assignments from Financial World, and from Money magazine. At Financial World, he became the commodities expert, and he also wrote about that topic for Money.

One day, he got a call from an analyst at a brokerage house who wanted an independent view of where interest rates were going. Grossman had no idea. He'd never taken an economics course. He needed to learn, so he signed up to take a second-level macroeconomics course at Pace University. At the same time, he got his first major book contract—to write a history of the American Express company.

He had unrestricted access to the company's archives and found that he loved doing the research. American Express: The People Who Built the Great Financial Empire came out in 1987.

By this point, he was married, and he and Polly had the first of their two sons. He also found out that he wasn't getting tenure at Brooklyn Polytechnic because they were thinking of eliminating the journalism program.

But the school got a grant to create a Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program, and Grossman was teamed with an electrical engineer, Ned Cassedy, whom he'd known since the late 1970s.Together, Grossman and Cassedy wrote Introduction to Energy: Resources, Technology and Society, which became the textbook for the STS curriculum.

While he was teaching, Grossman also started taking classes in City University of New York's Ph.D. program in Economics. He decided to go back to school full time in 1988, and ended up at Washington University in St. Louis, where his mentor would be Douglass North.

"That was the best decision I ever made, and I made it very stupidly," Grossman says. "I knew about his work, but some of these senior professors are horrible to work under. Doug North took the attitude that (as I was already 40) I needed to get in, get out, and get into the world and use my new-found skills in economics along with my writing and research skills as quickly as possible."

 

*

Grossman finished in three and a half years, but had trouble finding a job. It took him three years. Then, at once, he had two opportunities—one at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the other at Butler.

"I was a visiting assistant professor at Washington University, two years past my Ph.D., and I kept looking at this ad for an endowed chair at Butler," he says. "It said someone with an affinity for the liberal arts, the fields they listed were my fields, and I had my three books and I'd just published a couple of scholarly papers. I said, 'What do I have to lose?'"

He sent a package—"and it did help that I had a Nobel Laureate as one of my recommenders"—thinking that nothing would happen. Shortly after, Bill Rieber called. Grossman started talking about himself and mentioned his theater background, and Rieber said, "Why didn't you put that on your CV?" Grossman responded, "My CV was confusing enough to people."

But Butler was interested and brought him in for an interview.

"It was a beautiful spring day in 1994, I loved the campus—which has only gotten better since I've been here—and I gave a presentation," he says.

Before that presentation, he came face to face with a senior professor who knew and revered Clarence Efroymson—the professor for whom the Chair in Economics is named—and he didn't want the position going to someone who was "a moron." His definition of "moron" was people who weren't reading things other than books in their disciplines.

The most recent book Grossman had read was On the Origins of Species by Charles Darwin, which established that he wasn't a moron.

Then the professor asked: What are your fields?

“Economic history and law and economics,” Grossman said.

The professor asked: Isn't law and economics kind of a b.s. area?

"At that point, I thought, 'Maybe you should just drive me back to the airport,'" Grossman says. "Actually, what he wanted was for me to defend myself, which I did."

Butler offered him the position. Then Illinois also called, offering a tenure-track position.

"As I've thought about it over the years," Grossman says, "I made absolutely the right decision. I was much better placed here just because of who I am and the work I do. I follow that unstructured research plan. I start writing and studying things that interest me. At Illinois I would have been put in a box and all my teaching and research would have had to fit that box. Here I’ve been free."

 

*

At Butler, he wrote four more books, and made use of his journalism background by publishing 140-plus op-ed columns, which gave additional visibility to the University.

Over the years, he taught 14 different courses—several he created, some he revived, all for undergraduates.

"It's been great—the kind of thing I like to do, which is exploring new ideas in different areas," he says. "I never would have been able to do that in Illinois—even if I'd gotten tenure."

And now, going into retirement after 25 years at Butler, Grossman says he's unsure what's next. He's likely to continue writing, he says, but in a life that's been an "unstructured research project," you never know.

"The research will go on," he says, "even though I will no longer be at Butler."

Peter Grossman
People

From Playwright, to Journalist, to Professor, Peter Grossman closes Butler Chapter After 25 Years

Butler University Business Professor Peter Z. Grossman thinks of his life as "an unstructured research project."

Apr 26 2019 Read more
Graduates in Hinkle Fieldhouse at Commencement
AcademicsCommencement

Butler to Hold Historic 163rd Spring Commencement

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—History will be made when Butler University celebrates its 163rd Spring Commencement.

Nearly 1,050 graduates are expected to receive their diplomas—the largest graduating class in Butler’s history—on Saturday, May 11, at 10:00 AM at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The keynote Commencement speaker, selected by graduating students, will be Penny Dimmick, Professor of Music. An Honorary Doctor of Education will be given to Ena Shelley, longtime Dean of the College of Education, and an Honorary Doctor of Music will be given to the jazz musician Benny Golson.

Dimmick is the Associate Director of the School of Music, and Coordinator of Butler’s Music Education program. She joined the Butler community in 1991 and has served the University in several different capacities, including Head of the School of Music and Faculty in Residence. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students at Butler, Dimmick works with children in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir’s Preparatory Choirs, at summer camps at Sunnyside Road Baptist Church, and on mission trips to South America and Asia.

Shelley joined the Butler faculty as an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in 1982. After serving as Interim Dean twice, she was appointed Dean in June 2005. She introduced the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, created two IPS/Butler Lab Schools, and established a new home for the COE on South Campus.

Golson started his jazz career about 65 years ago and has traveled the world, playing with renowned performers including Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, and Johnny Hodges. He has written well over 300 compositions and recorded more than 30 albums. He has composed and arranged music for legends such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross, and Itzhak Perlman. Golson served as a guest artist on campus last spring and immediately connected with Butler students.  

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
317-940-9257 (mobile: 914-815-5656)

Graduates in Hinkle Fieldhouse at Commencement
AcademicsCommencement

Butler to Hold Historic 163rd Spring Commencement

History will be made when Butler University celebrates its 163rd Spring Commencement.

Apr 26 2019 Read more
The Thomas Taggart Memorial
Arts & Culture

$9.24 Million Grant Brings Indianapolis Park Back to Life through Shakespeare

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 24 2019

The Thomas Taggart Memorial in Indianapolis' Riverside Park must have been magnificent when it was dedicated in 1931: majestic columns and arches, a curved fountain in front, balustrades lining the monument to the Indianapolis mayor who had created the city’s park system 34 years earlier.

But in 2019, after decades of neglect, it's a mess: cracking concrete, weeds and trees bursting through the mortar, balustrades collapsing on both sides.

That’s about to change.

In December, the Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded $9.24 million to a coalition of the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, Indiana Landmarks, the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company, and Indy Parks to restore the memorial. In summer 2020, the memorial will become the permanent home of the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company—also known as Indy Shakes—run by Butler University Theatre Department Chair Diane Timmerman.

“This is a really great moment in history for the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company,” she says, “because we are deepening and expanding our mission in ways that I don’t believe we fully understood when we wrote our mission statement—which is to share the joy of live theater in ways that appeal to diverse audiences.”

Diane Timmerman at the Taggart Memorial Timmerman says it's also great for Butler Theatre and its students, who will have access to internships and performance opportunities with a professional, growing theater company. Butler Theatre has always had its sights set on transforming the landscape of theater, she says, and its students will be the artists who make the theater of tomorrow.

"When I was first asked to be Artistic Director of Indy Shakes, my first thought was that I would take the job because it would be great for my Butler Theatre students," Timmerman says. "It's been vital for me and other members of the theatre faculty and staff to be professionally connected in Indianapolis so that we can work in our own way to support and improve the arts landscape of Indy. Contributing to theater in Indy is never just about our own professional development, but is always tied to our students and their development as artists."

 

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Indy Shakes needed a new home. The company had been performing for several years at White River State Park, but between increasing competition from concerts at The Lawn next door, and the sun blinding patrons as it set, the time was right to move.

For a couple of years, Timmerman visited “nearly every green space or big concrete space or any space that would remotely work,” including many of the more than 200 locations in the Indy Parks system. She was looking for an amphitheater setup with sightlines that would work and space to build.

Then in January 2018, the Lilly Endowment announced Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Initiatives, a program that offered $25 million to organizations working together to better Indianapolis.

At the time, Indy Parks had just completed a master plan for Riverside Park on the city’s near-westside that called for bringing arts programming to the park. Timmerman reached out to  Butler graduate Marsh Davis '80, the head of Indiana Landmarks, the organization that preserves historic places in Indiana, about converting the Taggart Memorial to an amphitheater.

Davis was behind the idea immediately.

"Indiana Landmarks has worked for over a decade to find a sustainable use for the Taggart Memorial, something that would make it relevant to the community," he says. "We were working on a proposal to the Lilly Endowment to repurpose the memorial when Diane contacted me with her idea. It was brilliant, and thanks to the Lilly Endowment, it will be realized. The Taggart Memorial will be restored and serve a meaningful purpose in the Riverside neighborhood."

Timmerman says what she saw from Davis is what she sees in other Butler people: a desire to give back to the community.

 

*

Representatives from Indy Shakes, Indiana Landmarks, Indy Parks, and Indianapolis Parks Foundation are now meeting every other week with Ratio Architects, and others, to discuss construction, repairs, design, sound, lighting, and other considerations.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” Timmerman says. “With its majestic backdrop, it’s so Shakespearean. It couldn’t be a better location. It’s perfect for Shakespeare.”

Last summer, Indy Shakes launched a traveling troupe, and did a one-hour version of Macbeth in a number of city parks, community centers, and libraries. This spring and summer, Indy Shakes will have two traveling troupes that will perform a 30-minute version of Much Ado About Nothing for elementary school-aged audiences, as well as a one-hour As You Like It for middle schools and high schools.

In addition, the company will perform Hamlet July 25-27 and August 1-3 on a temporary stage in Riverside Park.

 

*

The inscription on the Taggart Memorial reads:

 

To Thomas Taggart
Lover of mankind
whose foresight made
possible this park

 

Timmerman says the revitalization of his memorial will serve, “a very established, vibrant neighborhood that has a lot of other things going on,” for decades to come.

“And now it’s up to us,” she says, “to figure out how we fit into the fabric of the Riverside neighborhood and how we can connect with people in ways that support what is already there arts-wise and add to it.”

The Thomas Taggart Memorial
Arts & Culture

$9.24 Million Grant Brings Indianapolis Park Back to Life through Shakespeare

In summer 2020, the memorial will become the permanent home of the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company.

Apr 24 2019 Read more
Community

The CUE Gets a Makeover; Adds an ‘S’ to Promote Sustainability, Put Work Into Action

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 18 2019

INDIANAPOLIS--The Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University started 15 years ago. It was the brainchild of three biology faculty members who were all engaged in urban ecology research. They wanted to get undergrads involved in research, too, so decided to start a center as a way to get students more engaged.

But, as time marched on, the center grew. A farm was established. Last year, 10,000 pounds of produce were grown. And the center is now involved in six research projects across campus.

A major question remained, though—how could the center make even more of an impact?

CUES statsTo address exactly that, the CUE has added a letter—S. Now, 15 years later, the center will be called the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability, or CUES. The goals are twofold: use the work the center is already doing—studying urban ecosystems—to solve sustainability challenges, while also serving as the central hub to bring all the sustainability-centered projects happening around campus together.

“There is so much important work already taking place around Butler, from rain gardens, to infrastructure improvements, to LEED gold buildings. We want to leverage all of that work to educate students,” says Julia Angstmann, Director of CUES. “At the same time, we want to use our research findings to inform how to solve sustainability challenges the entire world is facing.”

For example, Angstmann explains, the center is involved in the Indy Wildlife Watch research project. The project monitors wildlife around the city in an effort to study how increased populations in cities impact these organisms.

Instead of just doing the research for science’s sake, Angstmann explains, the goal now is to use the findings to solve existing sustainability challenges.

“We plan on engaging in conversations with city planners, for example, and explaining to them that our research from the Indy Wildlife Watch project showed we should manage green spaces in a certain way, so both humans and wildlife can benefit,” Angstmann says. “We now want to use our research to solve sustainability challenges.”

In addition to research projects, the center will continue to focus on the farm and sustainability projects. The main shift, though, will be incorporating sustainability into all three areas. To help with that effort, CUES has hired a new Assistant Director of Sustainability, Jamie Valentine.

Valentine says she plans on continuing with existing sustainability projects, such as recycle-mania, permeable pavement on campus, and growing native plants. She wants to bring action steps to Butler’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050.

She is also excited to get the wider campus community more involved with sustainability.

“When we talk about sustainability, we are talking about the interaction of people, the planet, and profit,” Valentine says. “We are looking at the system in which we all live, and the way real world problems are all interconnected. We cannot just look at one side of a problem or issue, fix one thing, put it back into the system in which we all live, and expect it to be solved. To have a truly sustainable system that will work for everyone for the long term, we need to look at all connections and relationships, and work on fixing them all.”

To do that, Valentine hopes to get the wider campus more involved. One idea she plans on implementing is a Sustainability Green Office Program for staff and faculty to help incorporate new sustainability initiatives into offices and classrooms around Butler’s campus.

Sustainability will also be incorporated into more internships and research projects—staying true to the original reason the center was started 15 years ago.

Jake Gerard ‘20 is one of those students. The biology major has been involved in CUES for two years. After an internship over the summer at a wildlife center in Ohio, Gerard became increasingly fascinated by that type of work. He returned to Butler wanting to get more involved in wildlife research.

“I knew I wanted to do research, but I didn’t want to be in a lab all day,” he says. “I wanted to be outside, in the field.”

So, Gerard got involved in the Butler Wildlife Watch project. He sets up cameras around campus, then goes through the footage to determine what types of wildlife are here, and what effects those species will have on campus.

At first, Gerard wanted to get involved in research to boost his resume in hopes of getting into vet school. But now, especially with the sustainability focus, he sees how important the work is to making actual change. The results of the research he is doing, he says, could lead to conversations with administrators about green space on campus.

“Working with the center changed my entire point of view on vet care,” he says. “I realized it is not just private practice with dogs and cats, but there are research aspects to it. Yes, what we do in a clinic is important, but a lot of that is reactionary. Research is so important in a preventative way to make the job easier in the long run because it can lead to actual change beforehand, so you won’t have to deal with those real time issues in the end.”

Community

The CUE Gets a Makeover; Adds an ‘S’ to Promote Sustainability, Put Work Into Action

The center will be called the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability, or CUES.

Apr 18 2019 Read more
Academics

Combating Counterfeit Meds: Butler Prof Navigates the dotcom World of Prescriptions

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 17 2019

Before you buy medication from an online pharmacy, you may want to think twice.

And after listening to Butler University Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice John Hertig, who studies the impact of counterfeit online drug distribution worldwide, rattle off the numbers, you may want to avoid medication sold on the world wide web all together.

62% of medicines purchased online are fake or substandard."At any one time, there are between 35,000 and 45,000 illegal online pharmacies operating worldwide," he says. "The issue with those illegal online pharmacies, in addition to not operating under the laws and regulations of the United States, is that about 50 percent of them sell counterfeit medications. So in addition to just being the criminals who now have your credit card data and home address, about half the time they're going to ship you counterfeit product."

Hertig is a board member of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), whose mission is to protect patient safety. His research looks at why patients are going online ("No surprise, it's because of cost, but it's also because it's an ecommerce world, and people are not aware of the risks"), and whether pharmacists, nurses, and physicians adequately educate their patients about the risks.

The dangers, Hertig says, are the possibility of getting either a substandard or falsified drug. Substandard could be counterfeit, meaning it might not have any of the active ingredient in it—it could be sugar pills—or there might not be enough, or too much, of the active ingredient. Sometimes, counterfeiters might cut 100 real pills into 1,000 pills by diluting them with sugar, brick dust, antifreeze, or chalk.

Falsified drugs are real, but they haven't been labelled, stored, or handled appropriately.

Hertig says there are ways to tell if an online pharmacy is legitimate. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) owns the ".pharmacy" top-level domain, and there's no way to obtain a dot-pharmacy web address without going through the association.

"If you go to cvs.pharmacy, you're good," he says. "If you go to walgreens.pharmacy, you're good. If you go to bestdrugsever.com, even though the website might look legitimate, you need to second-guess that."

The ASOP and NABP are both heavily involved in consumer education (more information is available at BuySafeRx.pharmacy), as is Hertig in conjunction with the Indiana Coalition for Patient Safety, and a network of hospitals. They've developed toolkits and are working to determine how much doctors, nurses, and pharmacists know about online pharmacies.

This summer, Hertig will be working on a Butler Summer Institute project with Kyla Maloney '22, a Pharmacy student whose research will summarize the possible link between illegal online pharmacies and patient harm worldwide. She plans to do a comprehensive review of the available literature regarding this kind of patient harm and unearth data that can be used for patients and providers to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

Maloney says that during an introductory pharmacy class, she was exposed to the world of online pharmacies and the massive issue surrounding adulterated drugs from these sites.

"The impact these pharmacies have on the economy, health system, and patient well-being were quite intriguing to me," she says. "Pharmacists have a professional responsibility to deliver exceptional care for our patients; in many cases, the ease and convenience of online pharmaceuticals may aid in that mission ... I am hoping this literature review will allow me to help make the world of pharmacy just a bit safer for my future patients."

Academics

Combating Counterfeit Meds: Butler Prof Navigates the dotcom World of Prescriptions

Before you buy medication from an online pharmacy, you may want to think twice.  

Apr 17 2019 Read more
Arts & Culture

Amid Streamers—and a Bang—Clowes Marks Millionth Matinee Visitor

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 16 2019

 

The second- and third-graders from Walnut Elementary School in New Ross, Indiana, had no idea when they got on the bus this morning that April 16 was their lucky day.

As they filed into Clowes Memorial Hall on Butler University’s campus and assembled for a photo in the lobby, they heard a loud bang. Blue and white streamers rained down, and they got the news: They were the millionth visitors to the Clowes Education Matinee series.

"This is amazing for our students," says Karen Monts, the school's librarian, who coordinated the 40-mile trip. "We are from a very small school in a low socioeconomic community, and for many of these kids, it’s a big treat to go to Crawfordsville, Indiana. So coming to Indianapolis is something they almost never do as a family, and coming here, and being honored like this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them."

Over 27 years and 858 performances, the Clowes Education Matinee Series has provided students in kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to see live theater—many for the first time. That could mean anything from daytime performances by Butler groups such as the Butler Ballet, the Percussion Ensemble, and the Jazz Ensemble, to national touring productions featuring favorite children's stories like the Junie B. Jones books, The Magic School Bus, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, coming to life onstage.

The students from Walnut Elementary School—who won prizes including a free visit to a Clowes matinee next year—were among the approximately 3,800 students from 31 schools who attended the two Tuesday morning performances of Junie B. Jones.

“Being able to bring them to Junie B. and  seeing something they read come to life like this is a great way to help their reading come along,” Monts says. “Maybe they'll move on to the next reading adventure seeing that it really does impact their lives."

The Clowes Education Matinee series started in 1991, when Tom McTamney was Executive Director of Clowes Hall. McTamney, who was one of three former Clowes directors on hand when the millionth visitors walked through the door (Elise Kushigian and Ty Sutton were the others), remembers receiving from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, an invitation to create a matinee program for schoolchildren modeled after the successful program at the Kennedy Center.

"We were looking for something to set us apart in the region," McTamney says. "We didn't have any kind of an education program here, and we sat on a college campus. It made no sense to me."

He teamed up with Indianapolis Public Schools, they wrote a grant, and Clowes was selected as one of the original 12 arts centers to participate in the program.

Seeing the millionth student walk through the door was incredibly gratifying, McTamney says.

Donna Rund, who has been Clowes Hall's Education Manager for nearly 20 years, is equally delighted with the success of the long-running program.

"Little did I know 20 years ago when I left teaching to become a program director that we would get to this amazing pinnacle," she says. "And we get to keep going. We get to keep doing this. I've already planned next year's season. We going to have a few more shows than we had this season, and I'm glad to have the support of Aaron Hurt, our executive director. He feels so strongly about giving students opportunities to see live theater—especially those who have not had this experience before."

Arts & Culture

Amid Streamers—and a Bang—Clowes Marks Millionth Matinee Visitor

The Clowes Education Matinee Series has provided students, K–12th grade, the opportunity to see live theater.

Apr 16 2019 Read more
Academics

Young Researchers Flock to Butler for Undergraduate Research Conference

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 12 2019

Women enroll at Utah Valley University (UVU) at higher rates than the national average. They also drop out at higher rates than the national average.

Since January, UVU undergraduate students Alyssa Jensen, Elizabeht Hansen, Alexis Stallings, and Wendy Covington have been exploring why. They want to know what women are experiencing on campus, and figure out what the school can do to reverse the trend.

On Friday, April 12, they came to Indianapolis from Orem, Utah, to present their preliminary findings at Butler University's 31st Undergraduate Research Conference (URC). The UVU contingent—four students and two faculty sponsors—were among the more than 100 people who came from out of state to present at the conference.

"We wanted to gain some experience as undergrad researchers to present, and Butler seemed like an ideal situation to portray our research, and express our ideas in a setting where people may not be familiar with the research that we're doing," UVU student Alyssa Jensen says.

URC participants came from as far as California and Florida, New York and Colorado. Though the majority of the presenters were from Indiana—and 356 of the 824 were Butler students—23 states were represented.

The UVU project came about when Dr. Stevie Munz, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, and Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Jessica Pauly received a grant from the university to study women's experiences on campus. Once they assembled the research team, they started looking for undergraduate research conferences where the students could present.

"This conference is one that's really well respected, so we said, 'Let's go. Let's present this,'" Munz says. "So that's what brought us all the way from Utah to Indiana. Actually, there aren't that many undergraduate research conferences that service all the disciplines, so it was a nice fit for us because our project does cross quite a few intersections of education, identity, religion, family life, home life. So we thought we'd be a really good fit for this conference."

Colorado College student Naomi Tsai came to the URC from Colorado Springs. Her research came from a much greater distance—the Red Sea. She studied coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba to determine why they are better able than coral reefs elsewhere to withstand rising temperatures.

She decided to undertake a thesis as part of her degree, and that requires presenting at a conference. She researched conferences, and found the URC.

"I feel like it's a very supportive group of people," she said after her 15-minute presentation in Gallahue Hall. "I don't think I've ever presented in a format like this, and it's really nice to be surrounded mostly by your peers and people who are interested in your research."

Dr. J.C. Blewitt, an Assistant Professor of Management in the School of Business at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was in the audience when one of his students, Rebecca Kinzinger, presented her research showing that millennials going to work at accounting firms want their employers to be active in promoting social entrepreneurship. That is, part of the companies' mission should be to use their professional skills to make a large-scale difference in the world.

Blewitt says it's vital for students planning to go to graduate school to get experience presenting their research at conferences.

"I think a lot of times research conferences can be terrifying," he says. "This conference is a wonderful stepping stone for students to get some exposure, and feel confident, and get some constructive but overall pretty positive feedback from other students and faculty."

Blewitt brought one student to the URC in 2018 and found it "so well run" that he brought two students this year.

"And next year," he says, "maybe three."

Academics

Young Researchers Flock to Butler for Undergraduate Research Conference

URC participants came from as far as California and Florida, New York and Colorado.

Apr 12 2019 Read more
Academics

Advancing the Field: Highlights of the 2019 Undergraduate Research Conference

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 11 2019

Lillian Southern ‘19 was 12 when her brother, Jack, was born with mitochondrial disease. He couldn’t walk, talk, sit up, and later, lost the ability to eat on his own.

Southern quickly became interested in helping him. She was intrigued by the therapy he received. When Jack died in 2012 at the age of 4, Southern decided she wanted to spend her life helping children just like him.

And now, her first research paper might do just that. Inspired by Jack, Southern spent the last year-and-a-half exploring how hearing impairment, as well as disability, in babies impacts interactions between parents and children. The paper, Parent Interaction Between an Infant with a Cochlear Implant and Additional Disabilities: How Interaction is Affected Due to Stress and Difficulty of Communication, was one of four winners in the Competitive Paper division of the Undergraduate Research Conference.

The URC, which takes place for the 31st time April 12 at Butler University, added a Competitive Paper division two years ago to give students experience submitting papers to outside faculty reviewers—the same process, essentially, that happens when professors, for example, submit a paper to a journal in hopes of publishing their research. That panel of reviewers then picked four winning papers from 36 entries. Southern was one of the winners.

In the fall, the Communication Sciences and Disorders major and Special Education minor, will attend graduate school at Indiana University to study Speech Pathology. But in the meantime, she hopes her first research project will help advance the field.

“Research is like an exciting mystery, where you go from having these questions, to actually having an answer,” she says. “But the most powerful thing is, especially in my field, all therapy practices that help kids are based on research people have done. Without having access to questions and answers, you cannot move forward and discover new ways to help people.”

As Southern’s research progressed, the answers did not line up with what she originally thought. She hypothesized that the addition of a disability to a child with hearing impairment would have a major impact on parent-child interactions. She assumed there would be cascading effects of stress, for example. However, the results showed that the addition of a disability didn’t affect interactions as much as other environmental factors, such as education and financial resources.

Tonya Bergeson-Dana, Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Butler, worked with Southern on the project. Bergeson-Dana, who has published on this topic before, says Southern’s findings can help get these families the appropriate resources they need to develop child language.

This relevancy was what struck Tracey Quigley Holden, Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Delaware. Quigley Holden was one of 13 faculty reviewers who looked at the 36 papers that were submitted to the URC’s competitive paper division. Four were selected as winners by the reviewers.

If she’s honest, Quigley Holden wasn’t all that excited to be asked at first. She loves research, but the process of reviewing papers is extremely time consuming. Then she jumped in and was elated.

“These students were really doing work that was innovative and pushing the envelope,” she says. “They were taking on topics that we wouldn’t have touched when I was an undergrad. There was such a range of topics, from race, to class, to politics, there was such a wide range. Students were looking at some of the topics that we are most challenged by in public discourse and society today, not just the confines of academia.”

Quigley Holden, who studies military dissent, has served as a reviewer for fellow colleagues in the world of academia. At times, she says, the process can be monotonous. But not this time.

“Our students are thinking about what they are interested in, what they want to find out about, and they are challenging things,” she says. “Their papers reflect how inquisitive and engaged they are in thinking about the world that they live in and how it works and what they need to know to help them identify larger issues and gain more knowledge. The papers I reviewed looked at questions that are of interest to the public.”

______

If you go to the URC, there’s an endless number of presentations to take in. You may want to start with the winners. Here’s a look at the top four competitive papers:

Lillian Southern, Butler University, Parent Interaction Between an Infant with a Cochlear Implant and Additional Disabilities: How Interaction is Affected Due to Stress and Difficulty of Communication, Faculty Sponsor: Tonya Bergeson-Dana

How does the stress from having a child with hearing loss, or another disability, impact the relationship between parent and child? Southern examined exactly that. She looked at pediatric hearing loss, and how that can contribute to maternal and paternal stress. Because of that stress, she wondered, what other cascading effects on parent-child interactions occur?

Stephanie Mithika, Taylor University, The Curse of Nakedness: African Women’s Use of the Naked Body in Resistance Movements, Faculty Sponsor: Nicholas Kerton-Johnson

The female body typically has had many gendered, cultural, and political inscriptions ascribed to it. As a result, society, more often than not, perceives women as lacking in agency, unfit for public affairs, as well as political roles. Mithika though, explored how African women used their bodies to resist patriarchal, classist, capitalist, and oppressive systems through the act of disrobing. Why, she examined, was the sight of a naked African women’s body protesting serve as a powerful tool for social and political change? Mithika explores how women rewrite the script of vulnerability, and in this case, embody resistance, while reclaiming their bodies as political sites of agency and power.

Maggie Kieffer, Butler University, The Avengers: Hegemonic Depictions of Heroism Present in the Working World, Faculty Sponsor: Kristin Swenson

Kieffer digs into the superhero characters in the 2012 film The Avengers to evaluate how American ideals of heroism and patriotism are reflected through the superhero genre. Kieffer looks at Iron Man and Captain America, and analyzes how the film reaffirms hegemonic American heroism fulfilled by individual heroes coming together under a patriotic leader to combat threats to traditional American values.

Jillian Fox, Denison University, Broken Bodies, Evolving Systems: An Evaluation of International Prosecution of Sexual Violence After Genocide, Faculty Sponsor: Taku Suzuki

Using the Nuremburg Trials, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as case studies, Fox explores the influence of social movements on international humanitarian laws. Essentially, why did prosecutors start to indict individuals for crimes of gender-based violence when they did? Through Fox’s research, it seems that as the world begins to understand the reality of wartime gender-based and sexual violence, coupled with efforts by feminist organizations to raise global consciousness, then humanitarian law adapts to ensure justice prevails regardless of historical precedent.

Academics

Advancing the Field: Highlights of the 2019 Undergraduate Research Conference

Familiarize yourself with the winners of the Undergraduate Research Conference.

Apr 11 2019 Read more
Academics

Undergraduate Research Conference Goes Beyond Butler

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 10 2019

Dacia Charlesworth remembers her first research presentation well. And the memories aren’t great.

She was peppered with aggressive questions, and it was more competitive than cordial. So when Charlesworth, Butler University’s Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships, took the reins of the Undergraduate Research Conference four years ago, she was determined to make it as welcoming as possible—both for savvy researchers and those just starting out.

“We want to ensure the URC is a stepping stone for students when it comes to introducing them to the academic world of research, but we also want to make sure it is credible,” she says. “Both of these goals are integral to our mission as a University when it comes to research in addition to this conference. We want to make sure we provide a place for all students with varying levels of interest in research, while also producing legitimate work.”

The URC will kick off for the 31st time on April 12 at Butler. There will be 473 total presentations representing 27 academic disciplines. For the first time, the conference had two international submissions—one from Saudi Arabia and one from Canada—and representatives from 23 states will flock to Indianapolis to present their research.

But more than the numbers, Charlesworth says, it all goes back to the mission. When she took over the URC she was surprised to learn that it was open submission, meaning everything that is submitted is accepted. She wanted to enhance the conference’s credibility.

So, the competitive paper division was added two years ago in an effort to mimic the process of sending a journal article out for review. Students submit their papers, and a panel of faculty members review the work, then select the top four papers.

“But I also remembered my first research experience, and how terrifying it was,” she says. “I wanted to make sure we were simultaneously creating a place at the URC for support for an inexperienced researcher who is in the beginning stages of the research process, but has yet to fully develop that project.”

To compliment the poster presentations, oral presentations, and competitive paper division, research roundtables were also added. The roundtables serve as an opportunity for students to present ideas they have for research projects, and then a panel will give them feedback.

This year, Assistant Professor of Political Science Greg Shufeldt will have 13 students present at the URC. Four of them will be at the research roundtable presenting proposals for potential projects.

“This gives them a unique opportunity to test some of their ideas and thoughts prior to jumping into the research,” he says. “They are early in their research careers, so to get some direction and helpful feedback is crucial.”

Shufeldt, who says the URC is one of his favorite days of the year, right up there with graduation, gives extra credit to students who are not presenting but who go to URC presentations to watch. He, like many professors, cancels classes, too.

Attending the URC as a spectator, Shufeldt says, can spark a student’s interest in research. Presenting in front of others also reinforces the importance of being able to explain one’s work. Discovering something critical is important, he says, but if no one knows about it, or if it’s importance is hard to convey, what is the point?

“If no one reads the research I do, what was the purpose of it all?” Shufeldt says. “This event is so critical because it is not just students doing work to get a good grade. It is all about that next step—building knowledge, contributing to the understanding of the world, presenting new problems and new ways to think about the world, and developing professionally.”

Academics

Undergraduate Research Conference Goes Beyond Butler

473 total presentations will represent 27 academic disciplines.

Apr 10 2019 Read more

Success and Support

by Jackson Borman ’20

When Ethan Cunningham started his first year at Butler, he felt confident in the classroom. He was going into engineering, had already taken classes like chemistry before and was confident that his high school had prepared him for the next level.

But Cunningham says that first semester served as a wakeup call for his academics.

“First semester didn’t go as planned,” Cunningham says. “You don’t realize the workload that college comes with—for me, that was a rude awakening.”

During his second semester at Butler, he decided to visit the Learning Resource Center (LRC) for an individualized meeting with their student development specialists. He was unsure about the meeting at first, but by the end of his time in the office, Cunningham says he felt calm and reassured.

“I was so nervous because I did so bad my first semester, but we ended up talking about rap music,” Cunningham says. “It was helpful, knowing that you could talk to them as like a friend instead of someone who is just yelling at you to get better.”

Over the course of a couple of meetings, Cunningham worked with the student development specialists on bettering his time management skills, building new study methods, and coming up with strategies for homework assignments and projects.

While these concrete skills helped him succeed academically during his second semester at Butler, one of the biggest benefits about his time in the LRC was connecting with the people in the office.

“It’s a really positive atmosphere. You can go in and rant about whatever and they will listen,” Cunningham says. “In the office, it is usually upbeat. You can go in when you’re having a bad day, but usually come out with a smile, or at least a slightly less annoyed attitude. They always try to make it better.”

Now, more than halfway through his junior year, Cunningham feels confident about his grades, as well as his adjustment to college.

“It’s been a great experience, just having a positive atmosphere,” Cunningham says. “Ever since then, my grades have gotten better. It has worked out tremendously.”

Janice Ruston is an academic advisor and student development specialist at the LRC. She works with students like Cunningham to help them with school work as well life changes, such as the transition from high school to college.

“It could just be tweaking something that you are already pretty good at and maybe looking at it a different way or attacking it with a different study strategy to help you get where you want to be,” Ruston says.  “Whatever it is, we will figure it out.”

Ruston says that like in Cunningham’s case, one of the most frequent problems that students come to the LRC needing help with is time management.

“Butler students in general are go-getters and want to be involved in all these great things and that also contributes to the time management struggle,” Ruston says. “I think we [help with] that in a very comfortable way.”

But student development specialists at the LRC don’t limit their help to new students.

Katelyn Castiglia is a senior at Butler, but didn’t start coming to meet in the office until just recently. She has gotten help from the LRC with her post college plans, such as studying for the MCAT and advice on her personal life.

“Coming into senior year, there was a lot on my plate and I just wanted someone on campus to talk through everything with,” Castiglia says. “I didn’t go there because I needed a tutor, I went there because I wanted an extra opinion.”

She sees the office as a support system that is helping her achieve her goals for post-graduation.

“Everyone in that office is willing to help. They are very open to meeting you wherever you are in your academic or personal journey,” Castiglia says. “It’s definitely a safe zone where I know I can bring anything to them and talk through it with them and they will listen from an outside perspective.”

Another service offered by the LRC  is workshops on topics that students frequently need help with. The workshops are open to any student who is interested, and cover a range of subjects from decision making to how to prep for finals. The workshops also include sessions where tutors from the Butler Writer’s Studio and Speaker’s Lab come to help students with class papers or presentations.

Jen Mann is another academic advisor and student development specialist at the LRC. She thinks that the workshops can be great for students who might be apprehensive about asking for help.

“[The workshops] are good for students who maybe aren’t brave enough to come through our door to ask for that help themselves,” Mann says. “We like to present it in a different format because it also presents the safety of being in a group and some anonymity.”

Another way that the LRC helps Butler students is through their class called LC100 “Strategies for Success.” The course is one credit hour and is graded as a pass/fail class, but teaches students about different skills that they might need in college or beyond such as goal-setting, study skills, persistence, and emotional intelligence.

“[The class] allows students to get some practice every week with sharpening the skills that they need to be successful as a student at Butler,” Mann says. “Twice a week, these students are getting the full attention of someone who wants them to be successful.”

Emma Hawn is a first year student who was in Mann’s LC100 class last semester and is recommending that her friends take it as well.

Even though she is no longer in the class, Hawn said that she still values lessons learned and the connections that she has made in the LRC. She even visits Mann from time to time just to say hello.

While they offer many services and serve as a resource for students that can guide them in the right direction, the LRC’s main focus is supporting students in whatever ways they can.

“We are willing to meet students wherever they are to help them reach whatever level of success they want,” Mann says. “Our job is to support. I think students take a lot of comfort in knowing that there is a space where they can come and be imperfect, yet supported.”

Academics

Success and Support

Butler’s Academic Success Coaching makes a difference on grades and relationships

Success and Support

by Jackson Borman ’20
Pharmacy
AcademicsCommunity

Butler Provides Critical Clinical Expertise to Insurance Industry

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 04 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Eric Farmer ’07 remembers being frustrated.

It was around 2014, and Farmer, an HIV Clinical Pharmacist at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, was working at one of the largest providers of HIV care in Indiana, yet he was spending most of his time filling out paperwork.

The Affordable Care Act was in the midst of being implemented, and many of Farmer’s patients were having issues with their health insurance marketplace plans covering the HIV medications he prescribed. So, Farmer was looking for an “in” at the Indiana Department of Insurance in hopes of influencing the process on a larger scale.

Then, an email from a former Butler University professor popped into his inbox.

Carriann Smith, professor of pharmacy practice, was working on a project —with the Department of Insurance—on marketplace health insurance plans. Would Farmer be interested in helping?

“It was unbelievable timing,” says Farmer, who graduated from Butler with a degree in Pharmacy in 2007. “I was desperately looking for a way to improve the process when it comes to deciding what drugs insurance companies cover on marketplace plans. We were having issues with plans covering some of the HIV medications and not others, and I wanted to influence the process on a much bigger scale than just my institution.”

Now, about four years later, the partnership between Butler and the Department of Insurance, which has involved about 25 Butler undergrads, five Butler alumni, and 11 Butler faculty, is doing just that—influencing the process. The tool they created, which insurance companies in Indiana fully implemented last year, specifies what medications insurance companies should cover for 17 diseases that are health priorities in the state.

One purpose of health insurance plans available on the marketplace, Smith says, was to provide a level playing field, and to make sure individuals with certain diseases were not discriminated against by insurance companies in terms of the level of coverage provided.

However, prior to this tool, insurance companies were deciding which medications to cover for each disease. There was limited external clinical perspective or dialogue with experts about why certain medications would or would not be covered, Smith says.

“Our tool takes into account all of the latest research, the published literature, and uses the clinical experience and expertise of our faculty, as well as external experts,” Smith says. “The goal is to bridge the gap between the regulators, the insurance companies, and the clinicians, and get everybody on the same page. We look at the evidence and, based on that evidence, say 'Is that side effect of that medication really true, or is a prior authorization really needed, or, from a clinical perspective, this really should be covered.' Medicine is not always black and white, and this now allows for more of a dialogue.”

The Department of Insurance now shares the tool with insurance companies in Indiana, who in turn use it while finalizing their marketplace insurance plans for the year. Plans are then submitted to the Department of Insurance for approval. The tool is used by the insurance companies when deciding which medications to cover for the 17 diseases it looks at.

By providing this expertise, and in turn, this tool, to insurance companies, Butler is adding a clinical perspective to the medication decision-making process when it comes to designing insurance plans. Most insurance companies have limited clinical expertise on staff when thinking through which drugs should be covered. As a result, the clinical perspective is not always taken into consideration or discussed. This process adds that clinical expertise, which in turn could result in a more thorough development of  insurance plans.

“Our goal is not necessarily to make more drugs covered, but to make sure the key products are covered,” Smith says. “We need to weigh the benefits and potential side effects for patients. So our job as clinicians is to carefully consider the literature and evaluate whether or not a treatment is best.”

Keeping up with the latest literature and research has been the main focus of Drew Johnson, a P3 Pharmacy major, who has been involved in the project since 2018. Johnson reviews all of the generic products that come to market and makes sure the tools for bipolar, depression, and MS reflect the most current medications.

To do that, Johnson collaborates with clinical pharmacy specialists, reads up on drug industry newsletters, sifts through literature in the latest databases, and, occasionally, whips out his notes from the clinical experts who recently taught his classes at Butler to see if there is a particular drug in the pipeline that he should be aware of.

“Without having an external clinician looking at these plans, it is possible for the insurance company to look past the clinical perspective,” Johnson says. “Our involvement helps to ensure that quality insurance programs are sold throughout the state of Indiana to all individuals.”

That was essentially why the Department of Insurance reached out to Butler in the first place.

Jenifer Groth, spokesperson for the Department of Insurance, says the Department reached out to Butler in an effort to leverage the pharmacy program’s expertise, as the Department worked to determine if insurance carriers were covering an adequate amount of prescription drugs.

Which all leads back to Eric Farmer and all that paperwork.

As the Affordable Care Act was being implemented, Farmer was noticing that many of his patients with marketplace plans were having trouble getting coverage for the HIV medications he was prescribing.

“Keep in mind, when it comes to HIV, these pills are expensive,” he says. “To control HIV, the first line regimen is usually $2,500 to $3,000, and it only gets more expensive from there.”

The problem was, Farmer was seeing that most of his patients with marketplace plans were getting denied those first line regimens. The insurance companies were asking for prior authorizations for those drugs. Sometimes, insurance companies would not only ask for a prior authorization, but they would instead recommend trying a different drug—usually one from the 1990s, or one that was no longer on the market in the U.S.

“HIV is a field that moves super fast and many insurance companies weren’t keeping up,” Farmer says. “I would spend the majority of my day filling out paperwork, and I am lucky that I was able to. Imagine a small primary care doctor in rural Indiana—if he or she gets a prior authorization back from an insurance company, they likely won’t have the time or person power to fill out that paperwork. Instead, they will just ask the insurance company what will they cover, and just prescribe whatever the insurance company says they will cover. As a result, that patient is not getting the best care.”

Now, Farmer is working on the HIV tool to help guide insurance companies. One aspect of Farmer’s work is determining what medications should be covered, and which should require prior authorizations and which shouldn’t—all from a clinical perspective.

 

MEDIA CONTACT
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
317-940-9257 (mobile: 914-815-5656)

Pharmacy
AcademicsCommunity

Butler Provides Critical Clinical Expertise to Insurance Industry

Butler has developed a tool that could aid in a more thorough development of insurance plans.

Apr 04 2019 Read more