College of Education

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In the College of Education, students find themselves in classrooms and in the community, acquiring between 850–1,500 hours in the field. These hours, combined with high-level and rigorous coursework, give students the research, theory, and practice to lead in a way that’s both engaging and inspiring.

100% placement rate

91% Employed | 5% Grad School | 2% Fellowship | 2% Internship


This information is based on 76% of 2017 graduates. Data is collected up to six months post-graduation from sources including students, employers, faculty, staff, parents, and online.

Median Starting Salary


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Avon Community Schools
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University of Maastricht (Netherlands)

Ritsumeikan University (Japan)


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best college among midwest regional universities

U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges


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Total Bachelor's degrees awarded in 2017


Total graduate degrees awarded in 2017


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Our Alumni Stories

Our alumni stories

My Butler Story | Matthew Aspinwall


Matthew Aspinwall ’23
College of Education
Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Matthew Aspinwall knew that he wanted to explore colleges far from home. And, outside of geographic location, it was most important that the college he chose offered the major he wanted, Elementary Education, and that he would have opportunities to be in the classroom early on. 

"In order to be a teacher, you should learn by actually teaching," he says. "Compared to the other schools I was looking at, Butler offered the most classroom experiences." 

When he learned that College of Education (COE) students would be in the classroom starting with their first year, he was sold. The cherry on top was when he learned that he would have a full year of student teaching—as opposed to just one semester—during his senior year. "That didn't happen at any of the other schools I was looking at." 

Not only did Butler offer him the experiential opportunities he was looking for, but he also found that Butler's faculty truly care for their students—another quality that helped set Butler apart. 

"I remember a time last year when I was looking for crayons for an assignment and asked my professors if they might have any," he says. "Five teachers in the College of Ed were all looking with me to find these crayons. It wasn't a big deal, I was just asking to ask, I could've bought them, but I think that is just one example out of many that shows how much they care about me, which you just can't say for so many schools." 

Watch more My Butler Stories


My Butler Story | Matthew Aspinwall

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Matthew Aspinwall knew that he wanted to explore colleges far from home.

Keeping Teachers Teaching: Amanda Huffman ’12, METL ’16

By Marc Allan, MFA '18

Amanda Huffman ’12, METL ’16 wrote her master’s thesis on how to mentor math educators to keep them in the profession. Then she put her plan into action.

Working in collaboration with several Butler University professors and in partnership with Pike High School in Indianapolis, Huffman established a mentoring program at Pike, where she has taught Math since 2012. The program helps Butler’s future teachers bridge the gap between what they theoretically know about math and teaching and the reality of classroom life.

That program has proved to be so effective that it has expanded to other subjects at Pike, a 3,500-student school on the city’s northwest side. During the 2017–2018 school year, Jenny DiVincenzo ’16 mentored eight future English teachers and Ali Ranallo ’16 supported a group of eight would-be Social Studies teachers.

During the weekly sessions, which took place after school on Wednesdays, the mentors shared career advice, classroom tips, lesson-planning ideas—anything to help make the future teachers more comfortable and prepared.

“It’s a powerful thing to sit down with somebody," Meredith Varner ’18 said. “In college, it’s really easy to think of the most beautiful picture of a classroom, where every lesson runs really smoothly and times are perfect and you integrate those strategies and its incredible execution. We were able to get into the nitty-gritty of what it looks like to apply teaching concepts to the actual content and what it looks like to bring that into the classroom.”

Varner did her student-teaching at Pike in Indianapolis from January to March. By the time she had finished, she had verbally agreed to a full-time offer from Pike to teach math there beginning in 2018–2019. Varner then went to Westlane Middle School, which feeds into Pike High School, from March to May and, when she finished there, returned to Pike and ended the year by filling in for a teacher who went on maternity leave.

She said she benefited from what she learned in Butler’s College of Education, but also from what she learned from Huffman, her mentor.

New Pike High School teachers are assigned what’s called a “cooperating teacher” to help them through early growing pains in the classroom, but those are usually highly experienced teachers. 

DiVincenzo, who in June finished her second year of teaching English at Pike, said there’s something reassuring about having a mentor who’s close to your own age sharing her experiences. That’s why she wanted to be a mentor.

“I am more of a neutral person they can go to,” she said, sitting in her classroom, one corner of which was decorated with Butler pennants and pictures. “And I’m closer in age to them, so they feel more comfortable.”

She said her mentees wanted to know about topics ranging from lesson-planning to how to navigate relationships with coworkers and maintain professionalism even if you have different philosophies. Each session would focus on something different.

DiVincenzo studied Education and English at Butler and is licensed to teach English as a New Language. She teaches three sections of that and three of regular English 10. She said her faculty coworkers at Pike have been incredibly helpful, “but I would have had less stress and less anxiety going into my first year if I’d had a mentor. It does feel nice to be supported and feel like I have a Butler community here.”

Ranallo, who finished her second year of teaching Social Studies at Pike in the spring, said she was delighted to be a mentor. “Butler was such a great part of my life, and I wanted to keep going with that and helping out as much as I can,” she said.

She spent her Wednesdays with her mentees discussing topics like: How to talk about current events and help students process the information; how to explain and use primary sources; how teachers figure out if their students learned what they were trying to teach them. Classroom management, observing state standards, and how to make sure you’re applying them—those subjects also came up frequently.

Ranallo said she advised the future teachers to keep trying new things. There are going to be lessons and strategies you’ve learned that are going to be fantastic and you’re going to want to do them again, and there are going to be some that need some major readjustments or tweaks, she said. But your students deserve new ideas, so keep trying them and don’t be afraid to go for it.

The mentoring program began to take shape in 2012, the summer after Huffman graduated, when she participated in a Pike/Butler Partnership for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math teachers. There, Butler professors Ryan Flessner (College of Education) and Mary Kron (Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Sciences) gave a presentation about combining math and new methods of teaching.

Huffman approached her advisor, Associate Professor of Education Shelly Furuness, and together they figured out how best to translate that idea into action.

“She believed us in the College of Education when we said we continue to support our students even after graduation,” said Furuness, Huffman’s thesis advisor.

Huffman, who’s now six years into her teaching career, said she’s proud to have established the mentoring program, particularly because it fits with the Butler College of Education’s mission: To make schools what they should be—not what they are.

Huffman teaches five sections of pre-calculus/trigonometry and one International Baccalaureate senior level section of calculus. One of the lessons she shared with her mentees was a classroom session where she broke up her class into groups and gave each group a calculus problem to solve at the board.

Once the group finished and had the correct answer, the members were dispersed to other groups until, finally, there was one group of 20.

“Some teachers would think that there’s nothing happening there,” she said. “It’s going to turn into chaos. I would say three-fourths of the students were still engaged in that last group, trying to figure out that last problem.”

Furuness said Huffman’s work—which earned national recognition from the federal Department of Education in 2016—demonstrates how Butler’s College of Education integrates theory and practice.

“So often, the narrative out in the world is that what you learn in teacher preparation isn’t real,” Furuness said. “We’re showing them people who are doing these things. Amanda, Jenny, and Ali help bridge that theory-to-practice gap. Our students tell us over and over again how thankful they are. They like seeing the graduates doing the work.”

Zach Hahn ’11

Zach Hahn ‘11 has always been a team player.

A four-year member of the Butler Men’s Basketball team, Hahn helped the Bulldogs reach the NCAA championship games in 2010 and 2011. He grew as a player (and a person) under the guidance and poise of Coach Brad Stevens.

A Physical and Health Education major in the College of Education at Butler, he formed close relationships with professors and classmates to reach his high academic goals—he made the Horizon League All-Academic team three times.

“In life, you are going to be on many teams,” Hahn said. “It’s not always going to be about you. It should be about the bigger picture. Whether it’s school or work or family, you have to work together to try and accomplish the goals you have.”

He recalls his professors setting up Skype in the classroom so he could keep up with lectures while on the road for basketball.

He spent the second semester of his senior year student teaching at Shortridge High School and Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, which allowed him to observe the day-to-day lives of the teaching professionals he aspired to follow.

He soaked up the advice of COE professors Mindy Welch and Lisa Farley, who Hahn said “served as a role model and an example of what all of us as educators hope to become someday.”

But more than anything, he said Butler taught him the importance of community and building relationships.

Hahn is now the Men’s Head Basketball Coach and Health and Physical Education Teacher at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana. He credits Butler with giving him the experiences that helped him reach his goals.

“As an educator, I’m a firm believer that people don’t care what you know until they first know that you care about them,” he said. “My professors did that for me.”

Zach Hahn
Alumni Success

Zach Hahn ’11

Values gained on the team play out in the classroom.

Katrina Rodriguez ’15

Katrina Rodriguez is part of the 100 percent—the job placement rate for the College of Education. Since graduating in 2015, she has been working at the Brownsburg (Indiana) Early Childhood Center, first as a Teacher in the developmental preschool and now in an administrative role as a Transition Teacher who helps parents get special-education services for their children.

She said Butler prepared her well—in small classes taught by professors who have vast experience teaching in elementary school classrooms as well as college classrooms.

“We got to student-teach for a whole year, which I found was not really common in most other colleges,” she said. “And getting you in the classroom in your freshman year to observe was awesome.”

Rodriguez’s mother was a kindergarten teacher, and she wanted to follow in her footsteps. She chose Butler based largely on its placement rate for education, which has been at 100 percent for more than a decade. “The 100 percent placement rate on the poster they have in front of the College was really eye-opening.”

While at Butler, Rodriguez did her student-teaching at the Butler Lab School, a St. Mary’s preschool classroom, and in a fourth-grade classroom in Wayne Township. She also was part of the team of Education, Pharmacy, and Business students who wrote and published the book Max Greene and the Vaccine Team, which was designed to help children get over their fear of shots. In addition, she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and participated in a trip to Italy to visit schools that use the Reggio Emelia teaching method, which is the foundation of Butler’s College of Education teaching.

Rodriguez’s pride in her education is on full display on her office wall, where she has hung her diploma (Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, cum laude), Honors Program-High Honors Certificate, and Alternative Special Education Licensure Certificate (2016).

And there will be more: Rodriguez is now back at Butler, working on her Master's in Effective Teaching and Leadership.

Katrina Rodriguez
Alumni Success

Katrina Rodriguez ’15

  We got to student-teach for a year, which was not really common in most other colleges.

Warren Morgan ’06

Before classes had even started, Butler University had already changed Warren Morgan’s life. He’d volunteered for Ambassadors of Change, a pre-orientation program that focuses on leadership development.

“Those types of experiences, you just learned so much about yourself and so much about the world,” Morgan said.

For the next four years, Butler brought out his ability to lead. While he studied Psychology and Pre-med, he also ran an after-school program at what then was Shortridge Middle School. There, he came to realize that, “we need to invest in our children and begin to turn their lives around.”

As a senior, he served as President of the Student Government Association. He also had the opportunity to meet and introduce two speakers on campus that year, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. He told them he might go to medical school after he graduated from Butler. They suggested he consider government policy.

“To hear this from two United States presidents,” he said, “it really changed my trajectory.”

After graduation, the Chicago native earned a fellowship working on education policy for the Illinois Senate. He felt that if he wanted to make change, he had to get into the schools to know what was going on. He was accepted in Teach for America and spent the next two years teaching science in St. Louis and earning his master’s in leadership.

That led him to Chicago, where he rose through the ranks from teacher to department head to principal. But he wanted to affect change on a broader scale, so in 2014 he became an academic superintendent in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Since then, he also has:

  • Earned his doctorate in Urban Education Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Was competitively selected and participated in the prestigious White House Fellows program under the Obama and Trump administrations. He was part of the 2016–2017 fellowship class.
  • Been hired as the Executive Director for Teach For America in St. Louis.

Morgan said Butler changed his life. When he gets together with friends, “We always talk about how Butler formulated our thoughts. Butler shaped our beliefs in some ways and influenced us to be the leader that we were destined to be.”

Warren Morgan ’06

  A leader then, and a leader now.

Trae Heeter ’14

The opportunities to get a great education and play Division I football were what brought Trae Heeter ’14 to Butler, and he made the most of both.

As an Elementary Education major, he spent four years in local classrooms—in field experiences and as a student-teacher—preparing to teach fifth grade, which he’s now doing at the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler Lab School.

As a running back for the Bulldogs, he led the Pioneer Football League in rushing his junior and senior years, rolling up 2,478 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns.

“Education is huge in my family,” Heeter said. “I saw that Butler would be a place where I could really blossom as a football player and find a career and passion in the classroom.”

Heeter grew up in Indianapolis. Several state universities offered him scholarships or preferred walk-on status, but football Coach Jeff Voris convinced him to visit Butler. “As soon as you walk on campus, you see how special a place it is,” Heeter said.

Voris told him, “You might not get the athletic scholarship, but there’s ways to make sure you have the resources you need, as well as graduate with a great degree and be ready to start a career.”

Heeter said he was prepared, beginning the day he started in the College of Education. Like all Butler Education majors, in his first-year courses, he began going to area schools to observe veteran teachers and learn to work with students. By senior year, he was student-teaching full-time at the Lab School.

After graduating in December 2014, Heeter took a job as a fifth-grade teacher in the Washington Township school district in Indianapolis. When Lab School Principal Ron Smith ’88 MS ’96 called and said he had a similar position open beginning in August 2015, Heeter jumped at the chance to return.

In addition to teaching, Heeter’s now back at Butler, working on his master’s degree in the EPPSP (Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals) program. His goal is to become either a principal or an athletic director.

In either case, he said he will share the Butler Way principles with his students.

“Know your role, do the right thing when nobody’s looking, and put in the time and effort,” he said. “The results really do show.”

Trae Heeter

Trae Heeter ’14

Football star turned educator

Ron Smith ’88, MS ’96

Ron Smith ’88, MS ’96 likes to tell a story about his Butler experiences. It starts when he was a first-year student in an education course where he was expected to spend time in a classroom. At that time, he thought he was going to be a high school teacher and a coach, but the professor placed him in a kindergarten class.

Smith recalled: “After 10 minutes of arguing with him about my placement, he said, ‘Ron you’ll learn a lot about child development. I’m not changing the placement. I think you should do this.’”

Smith was assigned to a male kindergarten teacher who was “magic” in front of young children, and he ended up changing his major that semester to elementary education.

Two years later, Smith was taking an early childhood class focused on preschool. The professor put him in a preschool setting for field experience. Again, he stayed after class and argued with the professor, saying he would probably teach kindergarten or older and didn’t want to work in a preschool because “there’s no money in preschool.”

“And he said, “Ron, you’ll learn a lot about child development. I’m not changing the placement. I think you should do this.”

“I did,” Smith said. “And I loved the preschool experience. It was magic working with those children.”

A few years later, Smith became the director of Warren Township’s Early Childhood Center, one of the largest preschools in the Midwest.

“And I made a good living doing it,” Smith said with a smile. “I share that story often with students from the College of Education to let them know that sometimes professors see things in you that you might not see in yourself yet. It’s good to pay attention to what they have to say.”

Smith, who grew up in Portage, Indiana, came to Butler on a cross country and track scholarship. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he taught elementary school for seven years while earning his master’s in school administration at Butler. He took a job in Wayne Township as an assistant principal, then spent 10 years running Warren Township’s Early Childhood Center.

He’s now in his sixth year as principal of the IPS/Butler Laboratory School, a partnership between Butler and Indianapolis Public Schools.

Smith said he owes his success to Butler.

“Butler is a unique place,” he said. “And it’s a really special place. I never felt like a cog in the wheel or a number here. My experience was very personal, and the connections that I made with my professors here at Butler continue to this day.”

Ron Smith
Alumni Success

Ron Smith ’88, MS ’96

  The Lab School principal has learned to adapt.