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Butler University MBA students learn about whiskey business (stock image)
Experiential Learning

“From Grain to Glass to COVID-19”: MBA Class to Publish Case Study on Whiskey Business

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 23 2020

During the spring 2020 semester, a class in Butler University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program partnered with a local distillery to learn about the downstream supply chain—the process by which a product makes its way from production to consumers. After studying for themselves how the distillery’s Indiana-sourced whiskey is typically sold through restaurants, tasting rooms, or grocery store shelves, the class would write a case study to teach what they had learned to future business students.

They had just finished the second draft when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Instead of teaching from a textbook about what the challenges are in distribution, I wanted students to have a grasp of what a real company actually goes through,” says Dr. Jane Siegler, Assistant Professor of Operations. “When the pandemic hit, we didn’t just ignore that and focus on what would happen in normal circumstances. No—this is a small business that is trying to find its way in the market, with all the normal challenges that a small company faces, but now there is this global pandemic. What do you do?”

Shutdowns affected restaurants and other distribution outlets across the hospitality industry, and the distillery’s on-site tasting room had to close its doors. So, while continuing to learn about the company (who asked to remain anonymous for the case study), the MBA students helped the distillery identify new opportunities for getting its products to customers.

Dr. Siegler says she often likes to partner with real companies for her classes, which not only provides an experiential learning opportunity for students, but also offers a range of fresh perspectives for the business.

“When we have all these smart minds working together in class,” she says, “chances are that we will see things that the company may have missed. We are offering high-quality consulting projects at low or no cost to the companies. It’s a way to benefit the companies, the regional economy, and the students.”

The students’ key recommendation for the distillery was to place more focus on direct-to-consumer sales. Without the need to pay distributors, these channels would be more profitable, as well as help the relatively young company continue building relationships and growing its brand. After the pandemic hit, the distillery opened a carryout bottle shop that replaced their tasting room as a way to engage directly with consumers.

The case study, which has now been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies (IJTCS), also identified opportunities for the distillery to attract customers by highlighting stories about how its whiskey is sourced and produced entirely in Indiana (a state not known for making bourbon). The company could produce videos profiling local corn farmers, or showing the whole production process from seed, to grain, to glass, the students suggested. That all-Indiana ingredient sourcing was the main thing that caught Dr. Siegler’s attention, and chances are it would appeal to customers, too.

“The entire supply chain from the farmers all the way to packaging is made up of Indiana companies,” Dr. Siegler says. “I thought that was pretty interesting from a supply chain perspective, especially when you think about how we are a very global society. But this company points to their supply chain strategy as one of the key components to their success.”

Angie Bidlack, one of the four MBA students involved with the case study, says the onset of COVID-19 didn’t derail what they had started working on. It just added a new dimension.

“There are always unknowns in a case study,” she says, “but then we had this challenge of thinking through the immediate future during COVID, as well as the future post-COVID. We could compare how things changed before and after the pandemic.”

For example, when the class first toured the distillery at the beginning of the semester, the company had plans to take their brand national by partnering with some of the largest grocery retail outlets in the United States. The pandemic brought those plans to a crawl, but the class helped think through other ways the distillery could keep growing.

“Even with the pandemic, the company was doing great things,” Bidlack says. “They found a way to make challenges into opportunities and didn’t continue going with their normal business plan. They were very agile, and they immediately pivoted to something that allowed them to thrive. And that is something I think everybody can take and apply to their career in some way.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403  

Butler University MBA students learn about whiskey business (stock image)
Experiential Learning

“From Grain to Glass to COVID-19”: MBA Class to Publish Case Study on Whiskey Business

The Butler MBA class led by Dr. Jane Siegler partnered with a local distillery to help find solutions to new challenges 

Nov 23 2020 Read more

Steps to Success with Josh Turner ’15

By Grace Gordon ’23

On the evening of October 19, 2019, Josh Turner ’15 was preparing to step onto the stage of Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London to perform a tribute show to Paul Simon’s album Graceland. He, along with a six-piece band and a full South African Cultural Choir, would join the guestbook of major artists who had performed on the stage before, from Charlie Chaplin to David Bowie.

Waiting to hear the show was a nearly packed house and the London theatre press. The pressure was high, and in Turner’s words, “it was so scary.” Despite the nerves, Turner now identifies the show as a highlight of his career because halfway through the second set, the audience stood up and started dancing. For the rest of the night, the concert was a party.

For the Butler University graduate, that moment was the culmination of years of dedication and exciting opportunities—from performing on Good Morning America to touring with a tribute show called the Simon and Garfunkel Story. Music was always important in Turner’s life, especially on the internet. Starting in middle school, Turner had a YouTube channel dedicated to his musical journey, with a focus on singing and guitar. Since then, his channel has significantly expanded. In addition to an ongoing solo career, he is now in the musical group The Other Favorites, which may be best known for their performances on YouTube. Along with millions of video views, The Other Favorites have successfully created a virtual touring experience, which gives fans the opportunity to tune in to monthly live-streamed performances.

However, Turners’ journey to finding his way through the professional musical world was not without uncertainty. He outlines his success with three pieces of advice.

 

“Following what you are passionate about is step one to being successful.”

Like many students at Butler, Turner’s educational journey was not a straight line. Though music was always his passion—he started singing when he was 9 years old—he wasn't ready to officially pursue music as a first-year student. He worried that if he decided to study music, he might lose some of his passion for the art, so he initially chose a major in Digital Media (now called Creative Media and Entertainment). Turner also wondered if he was good enough to make a career out of music. But through taking classes outside of his major, he was always able to keep music in his life and class schedule.

Eventually, taking classes such as Music History and Aural Skills proved that Turner’s relationship to music wouldn't change just because he was graded on it.

“The more classes I took,” he says, “the more I realized that wasn't the case. Everyone is best served if I am doing something that I am really engaged in and I am motivated to work hard toward.”

With that mindset, Turner fully dove into the world of music, declaring a major in Music during his sophomore year. He graduated in 2015 to pursue a professional career in performing, writing, and producing music in nearly every genre. His music ranges from folk, to jazz, to R&B, to bluegrass-infused renditions of popular Backstreet Boys songs.

Now, living in New York, creating music every day, and performing around the world (or, during the pandemic, via livestream), Turner says he still feels the moments of self-doubt he felt in school. He still wonders if he has “made it.” But he combats these feelings by reminding himself that “comparing yourself to other people is, at the end of the day, not helpful.” He stresses how important it has been for him to learn his worth and walk the line between being confident without getting arrogant, and feeling motivated without getting down on himself.

 

Be “constantly in the process of ‘making it.’”

While enjoying every exciting opportunity, Turner says he has kept the mindset that he is “constantly in the process of making it.” He has never relied on one big break to be successful. Turner has continued to invest in himself, stay flexible in the mediums he uses to provide content to his fans, and know that he is “as prepared as he can be” for every performance. Right now, being flexible as a performer looks like providing online content through live streams.

 

“Be a good person.”

For Turner, the final step to achieving success has been to just be a good person. He says that in a competitive job market, you can really be set apart from all the other talented people by “being the person who isn't judgmental, who returns calls, and who does the little things.”

Turner has found the most satisfaction in his music by trying to create joy. He recognizes that the internet can be a platform that creates division, but he says his favorite part of his job is the feeling that he is contributing to “the part of the internet that actually brings people together.”

Turner certainly follows his words with action, and the evidence lies in the example he sets for those around him. Most recently, he demonstrated his commitment to making the world a better place by speaking at Butler’s virtual School of Music Convocation in September 2020. During the Zoom call, he talked about investing in yourself as a musician and a professional, harnessing social media to build an audience, and expanding interests outside of your major. The more time you can spend away from music, he told the students, the more you’ll love it when you come back.

 

Grace Gordon is a sophomore at Butler University, where she majors in Strategic Communication and minors in Creative Writing and Creative Media and Entertainment.

Josh Turner
Alumni Success

Steps to Success with Josh Turner ’15

The Butler graduate shares what it took for him to become a professional musician

What is it Like to be an Honors Student at Butler?

By Cassandra Stec ’23

Cassandra Stec is a junior at Butler studying Computer Science and Art + Design.

When I was first applying for college, I noticed a section in the Common App that asked if I wanted to participate in the Butler University Honors Program.

Intrigued, I looked up more information and learned that the Honors Program at Butler allows you to graduate with University Honors, as well as finish college with a published thesis. In order to complete the Honors Program, you need to attend eight honors community events, complete four honors classes (including a First Year Seminar), write a thesis on a topic of your choosing, and maintain a 3.5 GPA.

After reading about the program, I immediately applied. I enjoy education, as well as being involved, so the Honors Program seemed right up my alley. A few months later, I received my Honors Program acceptance along with the news that I had been accepted to Butler.

During New Student Registration, I attended the honors luncheon, where my dad and I got to sit with current honors students and hear about classes and professors. Dr. Jason Lantzer, Assistant Director of the Honors Program, provided details about the Honors requirements, as well as the various study abroad opportunities offered through the program. Later on, right before moving into my dorm and starting my first year of college, I was also assigned an Honors mentor, whom I could go to for help or questions regarding the program, Butler, or college life in general.

Since then, I have completed almost all requirements of the Honors Program. My first year, I took an Honors First Year Seminar (FYS) called “Women Writing the World.” The class was taught by English Lecturer Dr. Natalie Carter and delved into the different experiences of women around the world through pieces of literature written by women. For me, that class instilled a sense of togetherness and community among my Honors peers. Thanks to the Honors Program, I met some of my closest friends through that class that I likely would not have met otherwise.

I also participated in a variety of Honors events, including lectures (I went to a really cool one about Abraham Lincoln.), the Nutcracker ballet, and game and pizza nights.

My second year, I took a 200-level Honors course in the fall, as well as a 300-level Honors course in the spring. The 200-level course was called “The Wonderful World of Disney,” taught by Dr. Lantzer. The course delved into who Walt Disney was, as well as the company that came from his creations. It has been one of my favorite classes so far at Butler.

The 300-level course was called “Paris: The City as Text,” taught by History Professor Dr. Paul Hanson. The course examined Paris from a variety of disciplines and approaches. As part of the course, I also did a study abroad program to Paris over spring break to see and experience what we had discussed in class. Traveling to Paris and exploring alongside my classmates really made me appreciate what I had learned in the course.

Also during my second year, I joined the Student Honors Council. This organization helps plan events (such as “We Love Honors Week”) and get-togethers for Honors students, as well as helps connect mentors and mentees for the mentorship program. I also became a mentor for several first-year Honors students, not only helping them with life at Butler and college in general, but also becoming close friends with several of them.

Now, I am beginning work on my thesis by planning the proposal and searching for a thesis advisor. While I have finished all my other Honors requirements, I plan to stay involved with the program by continuing to take more Honors courses and study abroad as my schedule allows—just because of how much I enjoy not only the content of the courses, but also the professors who teach them.

If you are a prospective student interested in the Honors Program, make sure to apply by November 1. If you are a current student, it’s not too late! You can still petition for admission to the program.

For more information about the Honors Program at Butler, visit our website.

Butler University
Admission

What is it Like to be an Honors Student at Butler?

Cassandra Stec ’23 shares her experience with the program

Butler University
Campus

Butler University Launches a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 15 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 15, 2020)—In keeping with its founding values and ongoing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Butler University is establishing a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement in partnership with Professor of Political Science Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director.

This is one of many DEI initiatives, and one in which the University is allocating notable financial resources, that are being implemented as part of Butler's broader commitment to create an intentionally diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning and working environment. Such actions, which include commencing the search to add two positions in the Efroymson Diversity Center and establishing a DEI Innovation Fund, will provide additional meaningful resources to our campus community.

Consisting of the components outlined below, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression, with its work beginning this academic year.

  • An Advisory Group will be established, consisting of faculty members, staff, students, and representatives of the Black Alumni Association and local community to help determine the priorities of the Hub and be responsive to the administration in efforts to address the experiences of Black Butler faculty, staff, and students. This group will also establish ongoing communication and collaboration with, advocacy for, and institutional support of our Black Student Union and other Black students who are not a part of this student organization.
  • Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups will be established to support Black faculty and staff to increase retention and professional development of Black faculty and staff. This includes mentorship across ranks and disciplines, resources to support professional development, and wellness support.
  • Black Student Support -  Ongoing communication and advocacy for support of the Black Student Union and other Black students who are not directly associated with the BSU will be provided. This will be coordinated through both the Black Faculty and Staff Affinity groups, as well as the Black Alumni Association.
  • Visiting Black Intellectuals will be invited to be in-residence to conduct workshops, trainings, and seminars. This will present a significant opportunity for Black students, and others, to learn from and interact with important role models.
  • Faculty Collaborative Fellows will be experts in the fields of diversity, social justice, and institutional racism. Collaborative Fellows will conduct presentations of their research in relation to social justice and diversity, as well as be available to connect with and mentor students.
  • As a longer-term goal, a Hub Location will be identified on campus as a designated space for ongoing activities such as workshops, discussions with Visiting Black Intellectuals, trainings, and wellness activities.

As Faculty Director, Dr. Jett will be focusing on the lives and experiences of the Black community at Butler and creating opportunities for engagement with the greater Black Indianapolis community. She will also serve as Senior Advisor to the President in this capacity.

Statement from Butler President James M. Danko
“Our renewed commitment to our founder's mission has taken on an even greater sense of urgency this year to ensure all students, faculty, and staff are welcome, respected, and flourishing. Butler University has a moral and historic imperative to be a leader in addressing issues of racism and social injustices in higher education.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Terri Jett agreed to lead our Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, which is an important step in our endeavors. Terri’s passion for Butler and wealth of experience involving diversity, equity, and inclusivity will serve as a great benefit to our institution. I look forward to her continued leadership and contributions as our University embarks on a momentous time in our history.”

Statement from Dr. Terri Jett
“In my new role as Faculty Director of the Butler University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement and Senior Advisor to the President, I will coordinate and address the belonging and connection of our Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni in a manner that moves us to bring Ovid Butler’s prophetic vision into present day. The Hub is anchored in the abolitionist roots of Butler University and will elevate and center the disparate Black intellectual voice and experience that has often been marginalized and yet is critical for the institution to be at the forefront of our heightened awareness and shifting responsibilities considering what we are experiencing and witnessing.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler University
Campus

Butler University Launches a Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement

With leadership from Dr. Terri Jett as Faculty Director, the Hub will serve as an institutional command center to address systemic racism and Black oppression

Oct 15 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

The Future of Drug Discovery: Pharmacy Students Learn to Code

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Oct 14 2020

The discovery and development of new drugs is usually a long, expensive process, but recent advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are starting to change that. By partnering with the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium to create a new training experience, Butler University is preparing Pharmacy students for the future of drug discovery.

This past summer, five students in Butler’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program participated in remote internships with ATOM—a global consortium with the goal of blending healthcare and computer science to create a faster drug discovery process. Starting with a coding boot camp led by Butler Assistant Professor Caleb Class, then working on individual research projects alongside ATOM mentors, students learned to integrate data science with their existing pharmacy expertise.

The interns worked to analyze, build, and curate data sets that can be used to advance ATOM’s open-source drug discovery platform. While most of them had little experience with machine learning prior to the program, they are excited to apply what they’ve learned to their pharmacy careers.

 

Paige Cowden (P2)
Project: “Data Curation for a Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Model”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
I wanted to work in a hospital, but I didn’t want to be a doctor or a nurse, so I thought pharmacy might be cool. Also, addiction to prescription medications has affected people close to me, so I wanted to learn about drugs and be able to counsel people properly to prevent this from affecting others

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
While learning to code was pretty difficult and frustrating at times, my knowledge of biology and science made it easier to compare the data I was working with. I could see how valuable my prior knowledge was to understanding the data, even though I was brand new to coding. It made me excited because I could see how machine learning could be used in my future career.

What have you learned from this internship opportunity?
Even if you’re bad at something, do it anyway. I wouldn’t say I became the most proficient at coding and analyzing data, but I definitely improved a lot. I think it’s frustrating trying something new for the first time, but keeping an open mind and not being so hard on yourself when you fail is key to becoming successful at something.

 

Chris Zeheralis (P3)
Project: “Open Cancer and Infectious Disease Datasets”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
Pharmacy never really came across my radar until late in high school. I became a huge chemistry lover and enjoyed the idea of applying chemical concepts in a usable, practical setting, and in a way that could have a direct impact on people's lives. I've always aimed to use my passions and skills to improve the world around me, and pharmacy just seemed like it could give me the platform to bring the change I've always desired.  

What appealed to you about the ATOM internship?
I have always been fascinated with the power of computing, and I understand the inevitability of skills like programming and machine learning being incorporated into the healthcare field. I had attempted to teach myself how to code to no real avail. The ATOM internship allowed me the opportunity to learn coding in a more structured manner, connecting me with experts and professionals in multiple fields. I could also immediately apply what I was learning to something that had the potential to carry real weight outside of mere practice.

What did you learn from this experience?
Machine learning truly is the future of drug discovery. The sheer speed of methods like the ATOM Modeling PipeLine (AMPL) in discovering potential leads for molecule design, compared to the traditional methods, is astounding. This whole experience made me wish I had learned programming and coding at an earlier age.

 

Laura Fischer (P2)
Project: “Open Data and Model Fitting with AMPL”

What appealed to you about the ATOM internship?
I applied to the ATOM internship because I wanted to gain a better understanding of machine learning and how it can be used to impact healthcare. I had learned a little bit about it in my Biotechnology class, but I thought the hands-on approach would help me get a deeper understanding. I thought this would be a cool way to improve my computer skills while experiencing a research-based, nontraditional career path for pharmacists. I also was interested in ATOM's goal of speeding up the timeline of drug development, and I wanted to see how they used Machine Learning technology to work toward that goal.

Tell us about the experience.
My internship primarily consisted of writing and modifying Python code to work with public datasets and build machine learning models through the ATOM Modeling PipeLine (AMPL). I was working with four gene targets, training models to predict PIC50 values for them. The most accurate models can now be used to predict activities of new, unresearched compounds.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and machine learning?
I was really fascinated to see the actual impact that machine learning can have on pharmacy, and healthcare in general. I never thought I'd have a hands-on experience working directly with data science, so it was really cool to see how this makes an impact on the drug development process.

 

Logan Van Ravenswaay (P2)
Project: “Visualize Data: A Python Function to Generate Interactive Plots and Accelerate Exploratory Data Analysis”

Why did you choose to pursue pharmacy?
I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, but I struggled with choosing a path. I loved my chemistry and biology courses in high school, so I thought pharmacy would be the perfect blend of the two.

Why did you decide to apply for the ATOM internship?
I applied for the ATOM internship because it would involve blending a computer science-based approach with drug discovery. I wanted to learn more about the drug discovery process and how we can improve it. However, both subjects were very much outside of my wheelhouse. I was excited by the challenge, as well as how I would be able to take what I learned with ATOM and use it to launch a potential career in drug discovery.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
I came into this internship with very little knowledge on computer science and how it might impact the future of drug discovery. However, I cannot be more excited about this relationship between machine learning and pharmacy. My time with ATOM has shown that data science is an integral piece of drug discovery. The sheer amount of potential therapeutic compounds far exceeds our ability to select drug candidates by hand. ATOM's modeling tool and others like it can accelerate this discovery process, as well as be adapted to choose the best drug for a particular patient.

 

Connor Miller (P3)
Project: “Working with Open Data Sources: PK-DB, Lombardo Dataset, and AstraZeneca”

Why did you pursue pharmacy?
I enjoy the blending of math and science that can be found in pharmacy. Pharmacy also offers an opportunity to provide health services and benefit patients without being as “hands-on” as other providers, such as physicians or physician assistants. I find it amazing that drugs are just these small molecules that can have substantial and even life-saving effects on the body and its chemistry.

Tell us about your experience with the ATOM internship.
The overarching goal for my project was to help advance ATOM’s work with open source data, which can be more widely shared with the public compared to proprietary datasets. Typically, a larger dataset will result in machine learning models with better accuracy or more predictive power, so finding open source datasets is important in the effort to build these models.

What fascinates you most about the relationship between pharmacy and data science?
I think the relationship between pharmacy and data science will become increasingly important in the future, particularly in the area of drug development. Through machine learning models, companies in the pharmaceutical industry will be able to much more quickly identify compounds that may be effective at a certain target, or screen out compounds that are likely to have toxic effects. What excites me the most about this is that new treatments may be found and developed at a faster rate, thanks to these advances in data science and machine learning.

What have you learned from this experience?
Starting from knowing very little about coding or research, I have been able to learn a lot through this experience in terms of technical skills. I was also able to gain experience working with a virtual team. Despite the fact that we were all working from home, we were able to still have good communication. I am so glad that I was able to take part in this opportunity, and I found it to be an incredibly enriching experience in my pharmacy education.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

istock
Experiential Learning

The Future of Drug Discovery: Pharmacy Students Learn to Code

Over the summer, five Butler PharmD students completed remote, data-focused internships with the ATOM consortium

Oct 14 2020 Read more
Butler University
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $2.5 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Fund New Butler Beyond Transformation Lab

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 08 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 8, 2020)—Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Butler University a $2.5 million grant to fund its Butler Beyond Transformation Lab. The creation of the Transformation Lab is a significant step in advancing the University’s new strategic direction, Butler Beyond, which was unveiled last October.

Lilly Endowment made the grant through Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities, an initiative designed to help higher education institutions across the state develop new strategies to address challenges to financial sustainability and help them better prepare students for successful, meaningful lives.

The Butler Beyond strategy builds upon Butler’s strengths in delivering an exceptional undergraduate residential education, while expanding to offer opportunities for lifelong learning and new educational pathways that are more accessible, affordable, and flexible. The Transformation Lab will serve as a hub of resources, expertise, and activity to accelerate the development of future-oriented models of education and related ventures that contribute to the long-term success of the University and the learners it serves.

“Butler University is extremely grateful to Lilly Endowment for its support of our efforts to expand access to higher education through creation of new educational models and ventures within the Butler Beyond Transformation Lab,” says Butler President James M. Danko. “In keeping with our founding values of diversity, inclusivity, and equality, we are driven by an aspiration to put higher learning within reach of all who desire to pursue it by creating new, high-quality educational pathways and options that will prepare students for long-term success.”

The Transformation Lab will work with internal and external constituents to advance opportunities to identify, design, and pilot future-oriented education initiatives that align with both the University’s strategy and the educational needs of the community. This will include exploring emerging concepts designed to create greater access to education, adapting the educational experience to those who want to continually upskill and reskill, and pivoting higher education to an increasingly digital experience. Co-creation of innovative solutions will be a primary tenet of the Transformation Lab’s work, achieved through collaboration with a robust network of education experts, corporate leaders, workforce and economic development organizations, non-traditional education providers, and other forward-looking universities.

“We look forward to partnering with other institutions and organizations that share our sense of urgency and optimism in searching for solutions to the challenges facing higher education,” Danko says. “Butler is committed to being a leader in the development of new forms of education, thereby generating solutions not only for ourselves, but for higher education, students, and society more broadly. This grant to fund the creation of the Butler Beyond Transformation Lab is a significant milestone in Butler’s history.”

Along with establishing a $500,000 seed fund allocated to supporting select projects and ventures, funding from Lilly Endowment will be used to enhance a physical space on campus for the Transformation Lab, convene local and national higher education experts and university faculty and staff for discussion and collaboration, and add additional personnel to support stakeholders in moving ideas to viable solutions.

The Transformation Lab is modeled after practices often used for navigating transformation and change in industries outside of higher education. Benefitting from Butler’s collaborations with several major technology companies, venture studios, and other leading universities, the Transformation Lab will bring together the resources, expertise, and network necessary to move quickly from idea to pilot, and, ideally, to a scalable solution for some of higher education’s most pressing challenges.

The $2.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment to establish the Transformation Lab is a meaningful step toward the University’s goal to raise a total of $25 million for initiatives that drive transformation throughout the University and within the broader landscape of higher education as part of its $250 million Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign.

This implementation grant was awarded as part of the second phase of Lilly Endowment’s three-phase Charting the Future initiative. In the first phase, Butler received a $250,000 planning grant in 2019 to prepare the implementation proposal. Grants under a third phase, which is competitive, will be awarded in 2021. Those grants will support collaborative efforts that seek to have a large-scale impact on the ability of higher education institutions in Indiana to fulfill their educational missions.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

 

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler University
Butler Beyond

Butler Receives $2.5 Million Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Fund New Butler Beyond Transformation Lab

The Transformation Lab will serve as a hub of resources, expertise, and activity to accelerate the development of future-oriented education models

Oct 08 2020 Read more
Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon
Butler Beyond

Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon to Support Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Oct 07 2020

Diane Meyer Simon ՚68 recently made a $500,000 estate commitment to Butler University, which will be used to create the Mikhail Gorbachev Fund for the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability (CUES) and to name the CUES office and teaching space in Gorbachev’s honor in the renovated and expanded sciences complex on Butler’s campus.

Meyer Simon and Gorbachev have worked together on environmental sustainability issues for more than 25 years and in 1994 co-founded Global Green, the United States affiliate of Green Cross International (GCI). The new endowed fund will provide ongoing support for the work of the CUES, whose vision is to be a national leader in the engagement of undergraduate students in the study, research, and practice of urban ecology and sustainability through established local leadership in urban ecology research, sustainability best practices, and community engagement in Indianapolis.

“Both Butler University and Mikhail Gorbachev are beloved influences in my life. I wanted to honor both in an appropriate way,” Meyer Simon says. “It is my hope that this gift will engage more students to study urban ecology as well as strengthen the study of sciences aided by the new Sciences Renovation and Expansion at Butler.”

The CUES was formally founded in 2008 and includes The Farm at Butler, a one-acre sustainable agriculture project on the west side of Butler’s campus. Led by Director Julia Angstmann, the CUES connects students, faculty, staff, and community partners for collaboration on interdisciplinary research and education through place-based projects and public discourse. One such current project is a partnership between the Department of Sociology and the CUES, along with a number of local nonprofit organizations, to understand how organizational structure influences approaches to solving food access and food justice challenges in Indianapolis.

“Adequately mitigating global challenges such as climate change and social injustice require the engagement and participation of a multitude of perspectives, expertise, and experiences,” Angstmann says. “The Center brings together students from every College on campus, as well as faculty, staff, and community stakeholders to research and devise innovative solutions to local challenges on our campus and in our city.”

Meyer Simon’s lifelong passion for public service and activism began during her years at Butler. While working toward an undergraduate degree in psychology, Meyer Simon was in attendance at Robert F. Kennedy’s famous Indianapolis speech on April 4, 1968, during which he announced the assissination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Meyer Simon calls that experience a turning point in her life, and she promptly joined Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign as an aide to Kennedy’s press secretary, Dick Drayne. Meyer Simon went on to serve on Indiana Senator Birch Bayh’s staff for more than 12 years, and later co-founded Eco Partners, an all-female ecological consulting firm.

In 1993, Meyer Simon learned that Mikhail Gorbachev, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former President of the USSR, was establishing GCI in response to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit’s call to create a “Red Cross for the environment.” Meyer Simon wrote Gorbachev a letter of support and congratulations and mentioned her work with Eco Partners. In response, Meyer Simon was invited to attend the second meeting of GCI in Moscow. At the conclusion of the meeting, Gorbachev asked Meyer Simon to found the American affiliate of GCI and to serve on the GCI Honorary Board. With help from her friends Pat Mitchell, Marianne Williamson, and Matt Petersen, Global Green USA was born.

Meyer Simon sees the work of the CUES at Butler as an important local expression of the work she and Gorbachev have sought to promote on a national and international scale. Angstmann says the gift will help to engage the next generation of leaders in the work of environmental sustainability.

“This gift will allow the CUES to increase opportunities for student leadership positions in our Sustainability Leadership Cohort program, which will also allow us to expand partnership projects with campus and community partners,” Angstmann says. “Both will impact student experiences and learning, as well as further progress sustainability and urban ecology in our city.”

Along with the endowed fund to provide ongoing programmatic support for the CUES, a portion of Meyer Simon’s gift will go toward the Sciences Expansion and Renovation project, which is currently under construction. Named in Gorbachev’s honor, a portion of the project will include new, expanded office space for the CUES in Gallahue Hall, as well as a multi-functional space that will serve as a teaching and gathering space for learning, partnership, collaboration, and project development. Butler recently surpassed $30 million raised toward its $42 million fundraising goal for the project, which will add nearly 44,000 square feet of new space for teaching, research, collaboration, and study, plus a 13,140-square-foot atrium connecting Gallahue Hall to the Holcomb building.

“On behalf of Butler University and my colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I am extremely grateful to Diane Meyer Simon for this meaningful gift to support the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability at Butler,” says Jay Howard, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Through the CUES, our students and faculty are engaged in valuable collaborations with community partners in searching for solutions to real-world challenges facing our city and broader global community. This support for the Sciences Expansion and Renovation project and interdisciplinary initiatives like those happening in the CUES will have a broad impact, enhancing the learning experiences available to every Butler student.”

 

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon
Butler Beyond

Major Gift from Diane Meyer Simon to Support Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

The $500,000 estate commitment will be used to create the Mikhail Gorbachev Fund

Oct 07 2020 Read more
Inside Butler
Campus

Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 25 2020

 

“Homecoming is a time to celebrate our Butler pride, and while it’s been a difficult year in so many ways, we certainly still have many reasons to celebrate,” said President James Danko during a virtual event for the Butler University community on Friday afternoon.

Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update kicked off a weekend of online festivities for AT HOMEcoming 2020. The event provided an inside look at life on campus this semester, including updates from President Danko and other University leaders on how Butler has adapted and continues to provide an excellent educational experience despite COVID-19 restrictions.

“I do want to commend our students, faculty, and staff for their remarkable resilience and the flexibility they have demonstrated this year,” President Danko said. “We can all be extremely proud of the way this community has come together and exhibited the true nature of The Butler Way through acts of caring, sacrifice, and generosity. I also want to extend my deep appreciation for our alumni, trustees, donors, and friends. Your loyalty, leadership, and concern for the well-being of our students has been a source of great stability and strength for Butler this year.”

The community also heard from Dr. Terri Jett, Professor of Political Science and Butler’s Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity, who was recently appointed Faculty Director of the Butler University Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement.

“My work will coordinate and address the belonging and connection of our Black faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” Dr. Jett said of the new role, “in a manner that moves us to bring Ovid Butler’s prophetic vision into the present day.”

Dr. Jett provided updates on Butler’s efforts to eliminate racism on campus and create a welcoming environment for all, including the recent addition of a Social Justice and Diversity requirement for students, as well as ongoing faculty and staff workshops focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Frank E. Ross III, Vice President for Student Affairs, shared how Butler has continued to engage students outside the classroom this semester. Many activities have adapted, moving either online or outdoors. Student support centers across campus, such as the Center for Faith and Vocation, the Diversity Center, and Health Services, have also worked hard to continue providing important resources.

“This semester is certainly unlike any other semester we have seen at Butler, and navigating the uncertainties of the pandemic has been quite a challenge,” Dr. Ross said. “I want to applaud our students, our faculty, and our staff for their resilience and agility in working together toward our goal of having a successful in-person fall semester.”

Butler Basketball fans who tuned in got to hear from Athletics Director Barry Collier ’76 that, as of now, the winter season is on. The men’s basketball season is scheduled to begin November 25.

Jonathan Purvis, Vice President of Advancement, thanked donors for their tremendous support over the last year, including $100,000 in emergency relief for Butler students hit hardest by the financial impact of COVID-19. He also announced that the University has exceeded $185 million in gifts toward Butler Beyond’s $250 million campaign goal.

“With your ongoing generosity,” Purvis said, “I’m confident that we’ll exceed this goal and continue to push Butler beyond the limits of today and into the future that our alumni, students, and faculty are creating.”

President Danko wrapped up the event by recognizing the recipients of Butler’s 2020 Alumni Awards, which honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary professional achievement and service to the University and their communities.

Inside Butler
Campus

Inside Butler: An On-Campus Update

The pandemic isn’t stopping Bulldogs from celebrating Butler during AT HOMEcoming 2020

Sep 25 2020 Read more
Lewellyn research
Innovation

Fruit Flies Could Help Scientists Understand Human Fertility

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Sep 22 2020

Even though about one in 10 individuals experience problems with fertility, the cause of infertility is often unknown. At Butler University, Lindsay Lewellyn is trying to change that.

The Associate Professor of Biological Sciences has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling $413,086 over the next three years. Her research aims to learn more about how reproductive cells are normally formed, which she hopes will lead to a better understanding of how defects in their development can cause infertility.

Lewellyn, with the help of several undergraduate student-researchers, is focusing on structures called intercellular bridges. These structures aid in the formation of egg and sperm cells by connecting developing germ cells with other germ cells, or with supporting “nurse” cells. Intercellular bridges allow nutrients, proteins, and other essential materials to be shared between neighboring cells, and defects in these structures can affect development in ways that negatively impact fertility.

Using the female fruit fly as a model organism, Lewellyn’s project examines a handful of proteins involved in the development of intercellular bridges to better understand how these structures are formed and how they are able to stably connect cells during periods of significant growth. Lewellyn has already characterized four proteins she believes play a role in this process. Now, by altering the levels and localization of these proteins, she’s trying to figure out how they could work together.

“If we are able to characterize the specific roles of these proteins in the fruit fly, it’s possible that those same proteins contribute to intercellular bridge formation and stability in humans,” Lewellyn says, explaining how this research could impact our understanding of human fertility. “What’s really nice about using the fruit fly as a model is that in the developing fruit fly egg, these intercellular bridges are relatively large and easy to see.”

But of course they’re still small—only about 10 micrometers wide at most—so Lewellyn says the research team spends a lot of time at microscopes. After extracting the fly ovaries, researchers add stains and use fluorescence microscopes to help them see the proteins they’re looking for.

In offering opportunities for students to join her research lab, Lewellyn hopes to provide valuable experience in these and other common lab techniques. But she says this kind of research also teaches transferable skills that can be applied outside the lab, including critical thinking and communication.

Lindsay Lewellyn, along with student-researchers Josephine Thestrup, Kara Stark, and Umy Shaikh, attended a research conference in Washington, DC last year. 

For Umy Shaikh, a senior who has been involved with Lewellyn’s research for more than two years, improving his ability to think critically has been a central part of the experience.

“In addition to all the technical skills—which is definitely huge—I’ve learned to think like a scientist and a researcher,” says Shaikh, who majors in Spanish and minors in Chemistry and Communication. “The mindset and mentality needed for this work has been just as, if not more, important than the actual technical skills. By constantly asking new questions, I’m able to grow in the way I conduct research, and to grow in the way I approach problems.”

Shaikh decided to pursue biological research to help prepare him for medical school, which has been his goal since arriving at Butler. He was drawn to Lewellyn’s lab because of the potential impacts of her research within the field of medicine.

“The big-picture goal of the lab is really to understand the mechanisms that lead to infertility, which is a very pervasive problem in the world,” Shaikh says. “Seeing that that was the cornerstone of her research really spoke to me because I want to effect meaningful change in any way I can.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Lewellyn research
Innovation

Fruit Flies Could Help Scientists Understand Human Fertility

Lindsay Lewellyn, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, has received more than $400,000 from the NIH to study the development of reproductive cells

Sep 22 2020 Read more
BBQ event
Experiential Learning

Chemistry Profs Connect With Alumni Through Food-Based Science Lessons

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Sep 16 2020

On a Saturday evening in July, Amy E. Hyduk-Cardillo ’04 and her husband heated up the ribs they’d smoked a few days earlier, booted up Zoom, and sat down to learn more about their meal.

The Science of BBQ virtual event was just the latest in an ongoing series of similar food-centric alumni gatherings. Butler University Chemistry Professors Mike Samide and Anne Wilson, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations and Engagement, have been teaching small groups of alumni about the science behind their favorite foods—think beer, cheese, wine, and chocolate—since 2018.

“These events allow alumni to feel like they are back in class engaging with faculty, learning something new, and talking with one another,” Wilson says.

Each lesson covers the basic history, science, and production process of the featured food item. Hyduk-Cardillo, who attended several of the Science of… events held in-person at local businesses before the start of COVID-19, says virtual events have provided some relief during the pandemic.

“What’s been the silver lining around COVID-19 is the ability to see how organizations and businesses create new events, environments for hosting events, and ways of doing business that have been unique and fun to participate in,” she says. “The virtual Science of BBQ alumni event was a perfect way to spend our otherwise very rainy Saturday evening making new Butler connections.”

Prior to the BBQ event, participants received a video covering basic methods for choosing, prepping, and cooking different kinds of meat. The event itself focused on themes like the difference between grilling and smoking, whether you should use sauce or rub, and tips for achieving the best results. Jeffrey Stroebel ’79 says he plans to use the trick of applying a dry rub beneath the skin when cooking poultry, which directly seasons the meat while taking advantage of flavorful fats that escape the skin as it cooks. Stroebel didn’t have time to buy or prepare a BBQ meal to enjoy during the event, but he’s glad he took part.

“We are more than 2,000 miles away in Bellevue, Washington,” he says, “so it’s nice to be able to stay connected.”

About 100 Butler community members from across the country attended The Science of BBQ. It was the first virtual event of the series, allowing for a bigger audience that extended beyond alumni and also included parents, faculty, staff, and trustees.

Now, Samide and Wilson are getting ready to kick off the AT HOMEcoming 2020 event schedule with a virtual Science of Beer presentation—complete with an at-home tasting experience.

“Food provides an easy way for anyone to connect with science,” Wilson says. “For some reason, food is non-threatening—probably because we handle it every day. And that offers a good entryway into being able to talk about science.”

Space is limited for the 7:00 PM EDT event on September 22, so make sure to register here if you want the inside scoop on at-home brewing.

 

How it all began

When the Butler Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry first introduced short-term study abroad courses in 2015, alumni got jealous. Why weren’t those trips offered back in their college years?

So, Wilson and Samide decided to make it happen. They planned an inaugural Alumni Travel Tour that was scheduled to take place in summer 2020, incorporating topics with mass appeal: beer, wine, cheese, and chocolate. With a variety of European destinations on the itinerary, the curriculum aimed to combine interdisciplinary science with societal and historical perspectives.

To help spread the word about the trip—but also just to engage with alumni in a new way—Wilson and Samide launched the Indianapolis-based Science of… event series. Each of the in-person gatherings involved local businesses: Science of Chocolate with alumnus-owned DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Science of Beer with Metazoa Brewing Co., Science of Cheese with Tulip Tree Creamery, and Science of Wine with Sugar Creek Winery.

Modeled after the Butler classroom experience, the sold-out events all started with about 30 minutes of teaching, followed by discussion and an experiential component (AKA, a food or beverage tasting). Samide says the educational portion is taught in layperson terms, skipping some of the complexities that would be part of a regular science class and focusing more on things like how various chemical compounds make up different flavor profiles, or how growing conditions and aging times affect the taste of wine.

The chemistry professors enjoy providing these opportunities for alumni to connect with faculty and one another, having meaningful conversations while learning something new. While COVID-19 forced the Alumni Travel Tour to be postponed until 2021, virtual versions of the Science of… events have opened doors (or web browser windows) for broader participation.

“Events like these show that the University is not just a degree mill,” Wilson says. “It really is a place where we value learning and conversation. We are living the ideals of a liberal education—that there’s always something you can learn.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

BBQ event
Experiential Learning

Chemistry Profs Connect With Alumni Through Food-Based Science Lessons

‘The Science of Beer’ on September 22 will be the second virtual offering in a class-like event series focused on meaningful alumni engagement

Sep 16 2020 Read more
Butler University U.S. News Rankings
Campus

Butler Ranked No.1 in Midwest for Third Straight Year by U.S. News & World Report

BY

PUBLISHED ON Sep 14 2020

For the third straight year, Butler University has been named the No. 1 Regional University in the Midwest, according to the 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, released today.

Butler also ranked as the No. 1 Most Innovative School for the sixth consecutive year, and No. 3 for Undergraduate Teaching.

“The 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings confirm Butler’s place as one of the region’s most outstanding, innovative institutions for teaching and learning,” says President James Danko. “These rankings reflect the ongoing excellence of our academic programs and exceptional student experience. As we continue to pursue our goal of expanding student access and success through the Butler Beyond strategic direction, we are committed to extending this valuable, quality education to a broader set of learners for the good of our community.”

In addition to its strong position in the Midwest, Butler ranked within the top 30 among nationally ranked schools (such as Elon, Princeton, and Yale Universities) in three key areas identified by U.S. News as critical in providing students with the best possible undergraduate experience: first-year experience (No. 19), senior capstone experience (No. 23), and study abroad opportunities (No. 28).

The U.S. News first-year experience category recognizes schools that have developed ways to help new students feel connected well beyond orientation week, such as Butler’s required First-Year Seminar, which introduces students to the practice of engaging with complex and unfamiliar ideas.

Senior capstone experiences give students nearing the end of their time at college the chance to create a culminating project drawing on what they’ve learned over several years. At Butler, for example, many students collaborate with faculty members on meaningful research, perform recitals, or complete other capstone projects within their academic programs.

The study abroad category highlights universities that allow students to complete a substantial amount of credit hours outside the United States, immersing themselves in new cultures. While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited travel opportunities throughout 2020, Butler normally offers more than 200 study abroad programs across 60 different countries, including several designed and led by Butler faculty.

“Our rankings are reflective of Butler’s commitment to our students," Provost Kate Morris says. "By emphasizing innovation within our curriculum, we provide students with educational experiences that prepare them to adapt to challenges and changes throughout their careers. I am tremendously proud of our faculty and staff for their dedication to student success, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler University U.S. News Rankings
Campus

Butler Ranked No.1 in Midwest for Third Straight Year by U.S. News & World Report

The University also ranked among top universities in three national categories

Sep 14 2020 Read more
COE sign
Butler Beyond

Honoring A Mother’s Legacy: Donor Gift Supports College of Education Faculty

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Sep 09 2020

As John Steele ’92 approached the 25th anniversary of his mother’s death earlier this summer, he discussed with his wife and father how the family might mark the occasion in a way that would honor her memory.

A lifelong learner and dedicated educator, Shirley Luhn Steele, MS ’82 died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 56. At the time of her death, she was working at The Orchard School as Head of Support Services and pursuing a PhD in neuropsychology at Indiana State University. This year, through a major gift to the College of Education (COE), John Steele established the Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund in honor of his mother’s continuous efforts to further her own education for the benefit of her students. The gift is the first of its kind at Butler to specifically support faculty in the COE.

The fund will support faculty research, leadership development, scholarly engagement opportunities, and other specialized continuing education with a particular focus on supporting faculty in the area of special education and learning disabilities. The $125,000 gift will be matched over the next several years at a 1:1 ratio by John Steele’s employer, Eli Lilly and Company, doubling the impact of the gift.

Shirley Luhn Steele taught for nearly 20 years at The Orchard School, beginning as a teacher’s aide and taking on roles with increasing responsibilities as her own training grew. She earned her master’s degree in Education at Butler in 1982 and later earned a certificate in Special Education in 1991. Steele was especially dedicated to helping students with learning disabilities succeed.

“This was a sad milestone, but a milestone nonetheless. We wanted to find a way to honor her and also meet a need for Butler, which has a special place in my heart as a graduate myself,” John Steele says. “This fund is a good reflection of what my mom did as an educator for students with learning disabilities, continuing her training so she could pass that knowledge on to her students. The stars kind of aligned, and this seemed like the right thing to do at the right time.”

Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco, COE Dean, says the fund will support faculty research in the area of Special Education, such as a project on which Dr. Suneeta Kercood and Dr. Kelli Esteves are currently collaborating with faculty who specialize in English as a Second Language. Within the project, Kercood and Esteves are investigating barriers and supports that dual-identified students and their families encounter in special education, English language development, and K-12 inclusive settings, and identifying practices that will promote equity and access in these settings. Kandel-Cisco says research studies such as this one allow faculty to collect pilot data, which enhances their ability to secure large federally funded grants to support research programs.

“Faculty support funds such as the Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Fund are so important because they enhance faculty excellence and innovation in teaching, research, and curriculum development, which in turn has a positive impact on students and practitioners,” Kandel-Cisco says.

Along with research support, other possible uses for the fund include support for Butler’s community partnership with Special Olympics of Indiana, which involves COE undergraduate and graduate students and aims to increase inclusion efforts on campus, international opportunities that allow faculty to learn about and conduct research on special education practices from around the world, and engagement and leadership development connected to faculty involvement with professional associations focusing on Special Education, such as the Council for Exceptional Children.

The fund will also provide support for COE faculty to offer professional development and instructional coaching for local K-12 educators working with students with special learning needs. Thanks to the Steele fund, this training can be provided at little or no cost for schools with limited resources.

John Steele is proud the fund will bear the name of a woman he says embodied all the qualities of a great educator. Even while battling multiple myeloma, Shirley Luhn Steele continued to show up for her students in spite of her pain.

“I can’t think of a better role model in terms of a person of strong faith, humility, and just hard work and perseverance,” Steele says. “She came from very poor beginnings, and was the first person in her family to go to college. Through her own educational efforts and determination to continue improving herself, she influenced many lives with her dedication to her students.”

Innovations in Teaching and Learning is one of the pillars of the Butler Beyond $250 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. The University aims to raise $20 million in new funding for faculty through endowed faculty positions and funds like the Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund, which will help Butler to attract and retain the nation’s top scholars.

“The Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund is a tremendous gift to the COE faculty, the Butler students they teach, and the thousands of children our COE graduates will educate in their classrooms throughout their careers,” says Kathryn Morris, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Investing in the excellence of our faculty will have ripple effects well beyond our imagination.”

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning
One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during the Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COE sign
Butler Beyond

Honoring A Mother’s Legacy: Donor Gift Supports College of Education Faculty

The Shirley Luhn Steele Faculty Support Endowed Fund is the first of its kind at Butler to specifically support faculty in the COE

Sep 09 2020 Read more
cancer research at Butler University
Innovation

Butler Pharmacy Prof Receives $1.39M NIH Grant to Support Cancer Research

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Sep 03 2020

Over the next five years, Dr. Chioniso Patience Masamha will be studying the ways cancer cells multiply. The Butler University Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who received a grant for $1,394,125 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hopes this project will lead to more effective strategies for detecting and treating the disease.

Cancer works by hijacking normal processes within the body, taking advantage of existing functions to cause the excessive multiplication of cells. Some of the same structures that allow our bodies to survive can be mutated in life-threatening ways. Normal, healthy genes that have the potential to become cancerous are called oncogenes.

Cyclin D1, the oncogene Dr. Masamha is focusing on for this research, normally plays an important role in driving cell progression and multiplication. In healthy cells, cyclin D1 only “turns on” when it is needed—such as when the body has been injured and needs to heal itself—then “turns off” when it is no longer needed.

When cancer hijacks this gene, it essentially removes the off switch. The cyclin D1 goes into overdrive, causing cells to continue dividing and growing uncontrollably. Abnormal cyclin D1  expression is common across several types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and endometrial cancer, among others.

“When cyclin D1 is normally expressed in cells,” Dr. Masamha explains, “it is usually degraded within 30 minutes. However, in cancer cells, cyclin D1 can survive for up to eight hours without being degraded.”

We know this happens, but we don’t know how. So Dr. Masamha’s research studies the specific sequences of cyclin D1 expressed in cancer cells, as well as the proteins involved in processing cyclin D1, to try to understand the mechanisms that lead to the oncogene’s abnormal overexpression.

Dr. Masamha will look specifically at cyclin D1’s relationship to a type of lethal blood cancer called Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL). Why MCL? This type of cancer originates in the B-cell, a white blood cell that creates antibodies. In healthy B-cells, cyclin D1 is never actually active at all. But in cancerous B-cells, not only is the cyclin D1 active, it’s overactive—leading to the aggressive growth of cancer cells. This is associated with reduced survival in MCL patients.

Dr. Masamha believes the mechanisms that cause cancerous B-cells to activate their otherwise-dormant cyclin D1 could be the same mechanisms that put cyclin D1 into overdrive.

“If we figure out why cyclin D1 is expressed in this particular type of cancer,” she says, “then maybe we can try to target that mechanism that results in cyclin D1 overexpression in this and other types of cancers.”

In addition to determining how cyclin D1 becomes expressed in cancerous B-cells in the first place, Dr. Masamha aims to discover the consequences of the resulting cyclin D1-driven hyperproliferation—or multiplication—of tumor cells.

Healthy B-cells generate antibodies through a process of breaking apart chromosomes and putting them back together. In cancerous B-cells, increased cell division due to abnormal cyclin D1 expression makes it more likely that the broken chromosome pieces will end up reattaching to the wrong chromosomes.

The result is the formation of something called fusion genes, which are made up of DNA sequences that don’t belong together.

We know fusion genes happen frequently in MCL, but we don’t yet know exactly what they look like, or how to systematically detect them. Dr. Masamha’s project will use third-generation sequencing technology, allowing her to look at the full DNA sequences of individual genes and identify which types of fusion genes are present. Her findings could provide crucial information for both the diagnosis and treatment of cancers involving the abnormal expression of cyclin D1.

“If you can detect fusion genes early enough—so if you sequence someone’s DNA before they even get cancer and find fusion genes—you can know that those fusion genes might end up resulting in cancer,” she says, explaining that this could help identify preventative therapies. “Or, if the person already has cancer and you can detect what kind of fusion genes they have, you can identify which drugs would provide the best treatment.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

cancer research at Butler University
Innovation

Butler Pharmacy Prof Receives $1.39M NIH Grant to Support Cancer Research

Dr. Chioniso Patience Masamha will study an oncogene commonly linked to Mantle Cell Lymphoma and other types of cancer

Sep 03 2020 Read more
Brooke Moreland
Alumni Success

Butler Alum Receives Indiana’s Achievement in Education Award

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Aug 26 2020

Brooke Moreland ’11 first came to Butler University from a low-income household in 2007. Now, she’s being celebrated for her years of supporting students in similar situations, as the 2020 recipient of Indiana’s Achievement in Education award.

“It’s really a full-circle experience,” she says.

The award, which recognizes educators who have used innovative strategies to increase achievement for their students, was announced August 26 as part of the Governor’s Celebration of Community Service Awards. During the virtual ceremony, the State of Indiana honored six Black Hoosiers for their exceptional efforts across a variety of fields. Moreland received six nominations for the education category.

“I feel very appreciative of this award,” says Moreland, who is currently Assistant Director for the  21st Century Scholars Success Program at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). “When you are a leader in higher education, and especially when you are a leader of color at a predominantly white institution, it can sometimes be really hard to gauge if your work is appreciated or if you are truly making a difference. I’m so appreciative that people took the time to acknowledge my work and my passion for helping students.”

During her time at Butler, Moreland spent three years serving as a Resident Assistant. She loved the role so much—from managing programs to building relationships—she wondered if she could do something similar full time.

Mentors at Butler—including former President Bobby Fong—introduced Moreland to the world of student affairs. She hasn’t looked back. After graduating from Butler’s Psychology program, she went on to earn her master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University (IU).

Moreland spent two years on IU’s student conduct team before starting as a Scholarship Coordinator at IUPUI, where she has worked mostly with high-risk and first-generation students participating in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program. After two years guiding students through the program requirements, providing individualized support, and helping families understand financial aid logistics, Moreland was promoted to her current role as the program’s Assistant Director.

Her work now focuses on developing strategies for enhancing the retention and success of more than 4,500 21st Century Scholarship recipients at IUPUI. She highlights the need to rely on concrete data in creating these programs, often basing her decisions on institutional research.

“I’m not just guessing—the success of the students is too important,” she says. “If I was that student, I would want someone to do their research and make sure the guidance they’re giving me is solid and accurate. And I think the students I work with recognize that I do put in that level of effort every day.”

In addition to overseeing a robust peer mentoring initiative, Moreland has implemented regular check-ins with the students she works with. Six times each academic year, she and her team hold one-on-one meetings with all of IUPUI’s 21st Century Scholars. This proactive approach establishes supportive relationships and allows staff members to identify and resolve issues before students reach the point of asking for help.

“This year, choosing the recipient for the Achievement in Education award was fairly easy,” said a Civil Rights Commission spokesperson during the Wednesday ceremony. “When an abundance of past and present students—including colleagues—nominate someone, it’s pretty clear to see that that person has put forth the initiative, the work, and the compassion. Brooke Moreland has not only counseled her students, but has supported, mentored, and inspired thousands of students throughout her career.”

The 2020 Governor’s Celebration of Community Service Awards were hosted by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission in partnership with Indiana Black Expo, the Indiana Division of Supplier Diversity, and the Family & Social Services Administration. The celebration acknowledges the outstanding achievement of Black leaders throughout the state of Indiana.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Brooke Moreland
Alumni Success

Butler Alum Receives Indiana’s Achievement in Education Award

Brooke Moreland ’11 has dedicated her career to helping college students succeed

Aug 26 2020 Read more
ethics series
Innovation

New Podcasts from Lacy School of Business Ethics Series Focus on Fighting Racism, Social Injustice

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 26 2020

The Lacy School of Business (LSB) Ethics Series podcast, presented by Old National Bank, is devoting its next episodes to local community leaders committed to combating issues of racial and social injustice in the Indianapolis community and beyond.

“These episodes will explore ways that businesses and educators can make a difference,” says Hilary Buttrick, Interim Dean for LSB and host of the podcast. “We believe that being an ethical leader means acknowledging injustices and actively working to correct them. We have an obligation to prepare students to be leaders in organizations that are inclusive and offer a place of belonging for all people, regardless of background.”

The series kicks off with a conversation featuring Brian Payne, President and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). The organization works to mobilize people, ideas, and investments to create a community where all individuals have an equitable opportunity to reach their full potential. Under Payne’s leadership, CICF has made dismantling systemic racism in Central Indiana a multi-generational commitment.

“We are really trying to dismantle racist systems and replace them with systems built on principles of equity… and understanding the DNA of a system is really important,” Payne says on the podcast. “The DNA of America is business, and capitalism tends to overwhelm democracy. Businesses are hugely powerful in America, and if we want to change systemic racism, we have to do that with business.”

The full conversation between Payne and Buttrick is available now. Future episodes in the social justice series will feature Jennifer Pope Baker, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, and other community leaders.

This is the second set of episodes within the LSB Ethics Series podcast, following one earlier this year that focused on the effects of COVID-19. The podcast’s episodes can be found on Spotify, BuzzSprout, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and TuneIn.

 

About Lacy School of Business Ethics Series, presented by Old National Bank:
This podcast is part of LSB’s continuing journey to become the Midwest’s leader in Business Ethics Education and Ethical Leadership by offering free educational events to students, alumni, and the business community. Our goal is to exemplify ethical practice and leadership development for our students, future leaders, and the community as a whole. 

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

ethics series
Innovation

New Podcasts from Lacy School of Business Ethics Series Focus on Fighting Racism, Social Injustice

The first episode, available now, features CICF President and CEO Brian Payne

Aug 26 2020 Read more
Butler Class of 2024
Campus

Butler Welcomes Third-Largest Class Ever Despite COVID-19 Challenges

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Aug 24 2020

 

INDIANAPOLIS—Despite a year of unexpected challenges in the college admissions world, Butler University is welcoming its third-largest class ever, with 1,128 first-year students planning to begin classes on August 24.

Butler has continued to experience a surge in interest and enrollment over the last five years. Last year’s Class of 2023 was previously the third-largest, topped by this new incoming group of students. The Class of 2022, now juniors, is the largest in the University’s history.

The Class of 2024 has been through a lot over the past six months. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many of them to finish high school online, cancel graduation celebrations, and navigate changes to AP and IB exams. These students are also starting their college experiences in a way that likely looks different from what they ever pictured, with the first two weeks of the semester occurring remotely. But even as they log on for their first day of classes, they are excited to be Bulldogs.

“I ultimately chose Butler because I got that ‘home’ feeling when thinking about the University,” says Marissa Flannery, an incoming student who had initially planned to attend college closer to her hometown of Fairport, New York. “I know there are people here who truly care about students and want success for all of us.”

Flannery says Butler’s relatively small size was a big factor in her decision, but not just for safety reasons during the course of the pandemic.

“You can’t walk into Butler and feel like a little fish in the ocean, or feel like there’s no one to notice if you need help with something,” she says. “The sense of community and family is undeniable, and that is my absolute favorite part of Butler.”

Flannery had the chance to visit campus multiple times before making her choice. While that wasn’t the case for some other prospective students, Vice President for Enrollment Management Lori Greene applauds the adaptability of Butler staff who adjusted quickly to a virtual environment.

“Butler already offered a virtual campus tour option,” Greene says, “so we were able to build upon that foundation by adding virtual counselor meetings and events for both individuals and groups. Our enrollment team, both the admission and financial aid staff members, worked diligently to meet the needs of prospective students by focusing on creative solutions for outreach and active follow up. Our biggest concern was working to provide support at a time of great uncertainty.”

Faculty members at Butler have also committed themselves to providing extra support for this group of new students. As the pandemic continued to surge in mid-May, the University announced it would offer a free online class to help incoming students learn about and reflect on the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The one-credit-hour summer course was taught by a team of 14 faculty members from across the University, with more than 250 incoming students enrolled.

“We wanted to show our incoming students how current Butler students, faculty, and staff have really rallied to make the best of a very difficult situation,” says Anne Wilson, Professor of Chemistry and faculty lead for the online class. “This course offered an opportunity for incoming students to learn more about the Butler community while reflecting on what they have learned about their own adaptability and resilience.”

Many traditionally on-campus enrollment activities moved to virtual delivery this year. All incoming students completed course registration virtually this spring, and more than 130 students attended a virtual admitted student visit.

Despite the pressure of adjusting to a global pandemic, this incoming class is as academically strong as ever. The Class of 2024 includes 41 high school valedictorians, 23 Lilly Scholars, and 40 21st Century Scholars. Nearly 18 percent of the students graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes. The average high school GPA of the class is 3.92, one of the strongest in recent admission cycles. In addition, Butler will also welcome 66 transfer students.

The most popular majors among the incoming class include Exploratory Studies, Pre-Pharmacy, Exploratory Business, Biology, and Health Sciences.

Butler’s upward trend in out-of-state growth continues with this class. Incoming students represent 37 states and 13 countries, including Australia, Mexico, and South Korea. Out-of-state students make up 57 percent of the class, with significant populations from Illinois and the Chicagoland area, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Enrollment also increased in California, Texas, and Maryland.

One incoming Maryland student, Anisa Cobb, says she chose Butler for its nationally renowned Dance program. The Morton-Finney Scholar is also looking forward to exploring a wide variety of academic options.

“The great thing about Butler is that there are so many options that it’s possible to be involved in so many different things,” Cobb says.

Another out-of-state first-year student, Ashton Franklin, says he was drawn to Butler’s welcoming atmosphere. The Michigan native plans to major in Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising, using what he learns to help others tell their stories.

“I really believe that the world can become a brighter place if we all try to understand one another,” Franklin says. “And by the time I graduate, I’m confident that I’ll be the very best version of myself because of the opportunities that Butler has given to me.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler Class of 2024
Campus

Butler Welcomes Third-Largest Class Ever Despite COVID-19 Challenges

More than 1,125 first-year students plan to log on for their first day of classes on August 24

Aug 24 2020 Read more
Butler University
Campus

Butler Named a Top College by Princeton Review For Third Straight Year

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 20 2020

Butler University is one of the nation's best undergraduate institutions, according to The Princeton Review. For the third year in a row, Butler has been included in The Princeton Review’s annual college guide, The Best 386 Colleges. The book provides school recommendations for undergraduate college applicants, with only about 14 percent of America’s four-year colleges and universities profiled in the guide’s 2021 edition.

The company chooses colleges for the book based on data it annually collects from administrators at hundreds of colleges about their institutions’ academic offerings. The Princeton Review also considers data gathered from surveys of college students who rate and report on various aspects of their campus experiences.  

"We salute Butler University for its outstanding academics, and we are truly pleased to recommend it to prospective applicants searching for their personal ‘best-fit’ college,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's Editor-in-Chief and lead author of The Best 386 Colleges. 

In Butler’s profile from the book, students highlighted the University’s student-to-faculty ratio and said instructors often collaborate with students on research and professional endeavors. Students also appreciated the ongoing introduction of new technology into the learning experience, as well as curriculum that challenges students to try new things.

Students valued Butler’s study abroad offerings, with more than 200 programs across 60 countries, along with other experiential learning opportunities.

The best 386 colleges are not ranked hierarchically. Published annually since 1992, the book features detailed descriptions of each college, including admission and graduation rates, as well as excerpts from surveys of students and graduates.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler University
Campus

Butler Named a Top College by Princeton Review For Third Straight Year

The University has been included in the 2021 edition of 'The Best 386 Colleges'

Aug 20 2020 Read more
Ibram X. Kendi
Campus

Ibram X. Kendi Visits Butler to Discuss Anti-Racism with Faculty, Staff, Students

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 18 2020

In his campus-wide message on Juneteenth, Butler President James Danko charged members of the Butler community with proposing immediate steps to address racism, discrimination, and social injustices that may be evident at the University. While that mission will continue throughout the academic year and beyond, Butler is excited to kick off the fall 2020 semester by inviting faculty, staff, and students to attend virtual Q&A sessions featuring bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi.

Professor Kendi is the Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is also a professor of history and international studies, an Ideas Columnist at The Atlantic, and a correspondent with CBS News. His four books have included Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America; How to Be an Antiracist; and STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You (co-authored with Jason Reynolds). His newest book, Antiracist Baby, was published on June 16, 2020.

On Wednesday, August 19, Professor Kendi will be the keynote guest during a live, virtual symposium on anti-racism for all Butler faculty and staff. Later in the week, he will speak with students.

“While we realize that meaningful change cannot result from just one or two conversations,” President Danko says, “we hope hearing from Professor Kendi will help strengthen the urgent desire that so many in our community already feel—a desire to truly live out our founding mission to be a University where all students, faculty, and staff are welcome and respected.”

 

Photo by Stephen Voss

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Ibram X. Kendi
Campus

Ibram X. Kendi Visits Butler to Discuss Anti-Racism with Faculty, Staff, Students

The bestselling author and Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research will lead virtual Q&A sessions with the Butler community

Aug 18 2020 Read more
Butler Beyond

Inaugural Butler Giving Circle Grant Supports Local Nonviolence Training

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 13 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—On July 16, the first annual Butler Giving Circle community grant was awarded to the Desmond Tutu Peace Lab at Butler University. The grant supports local nonviolence training workshops in partnership with the Martin Luther King Community Center (MLK Center), which is located one mile from Butler’s campus in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. The 32 inaugural shareholders of the Butler Giving Circle gathered virtually to hear presentations from three potential grant recipients before deliberating and ultimately recommending to award $10,596 to fund nonviolence training for all MLK Center staff and board members, the MLK Center’s teen/young adult group, Butler Peace Lab interns, and Butler faculty fellows.

Participants will be trained by professionals from the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago in the practical use of nonviolence principles established by Martin Luther King. With help from Butler Giving Circle funds, the workshops will be conducted using a “train the trainer” model, equipping all participants with the skills to train successive cohorts of young people in the nonviolence principles at both the MLK Center and Butler. Desmond Tutu Peace Lab Director Dr. Siobhan McEvoy-Levy says this model will establish a sustainable network of qualified trainers, institutionalizing nonviolent conflict transformation as a shared endeavor across both campuses.

“The nonviolence program will help build much-needed capacity for resolving conflict on our campus and in the community, and for resolving conflicts between our campus and community,” McEvoy-Levy says. “Through this program, we are both learning from and giving back to the community within which we are rooted, making connections with future Butler students from Butler-Tarkington and the surrounding areas. I am excited to help create a unique space of learning to promote peace, justice, and dignity for all, in partnership with Butler graduate Allison Luthe ’97, who is Executive Director of the MLK Center.”

The Butler Giving Circle is a new initiative spearheaded by Board of Visitors member Loren Snyder ’08 in conjunction with the Office of University Advancement. The Butler Giving Circle is designed to connect alumni to their philanthropic areas of passion, focused on two mission-critical elements of the University’s Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign: student scholarships and Indianapolis community partnerships.

With an annual gift of $500, Butler graduates can become shareholders in the Butler Giving Circle. After shareholder funds are pooled, 40 percent of the funds are directed to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship, and 60 percent are granted to an Indianapolis community partner with an existing affiliation to Butler. Current Butler students and faculty who are engaged with Indianapolis community partners were invited to apply for the partner funding earlier this year by submitting project ideas. After an initial review of applicant projects by Butler leadership and the Butler Giving Circle Executive Committee, three finalists were chosen to present their ideas for use of the funds at the July 16 shareholder meeting.

“Despite the challenging circumstances we are all facing today, I’m so pleased that, through the Butler Giving Circle, the Butler alumni community was able to partner with the Butler Peace Lab and the MLK Center while also supporting scholarship opportunities,” Snyder says. “I’m looking forward to watching the impact of this group grow as more people join the Butler Giving Circle.”

In keeping with the Butler Giving Circle’s funding priorities, the other $7,310 of this year’s shareholder funds were directed to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship, which directly supports the University’s annual commitment to students in the form of scholarships and financial aid. In 2019-2020, Butler committed more than $77 million to students in the form of financial aid. The University announced earlier this year a commitment of $10 million in additional financial aid to incoming and returning students in response to the unforeseen economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis, and the Butler Giving Circle’s gift will support this commitment.

“The Butler Giving Circle is a wonderful example of the generous and innovative spirit of the Butler alumni community,” says Jonathan Purvis, Vice President for University Advancement. “I am grateful for the way this group is not only inspiring our students and faculty to dream about new ways to broaden Butler’s partnerships with the community, but also offering direct scholarship support to our students in the process. Students, faculty, alumni, and our community partners will all benefit from the connections and philanthropy generated by the Butler Giving Circle.”

The Butler Giving Circle is currently led by an Executive Committee of seven Butler graduates: Ted Argus ’08, Chris Beaman ’12, Krissi Edgington ’05, Lindsey Hammond ’06, Tom Matera ’95, Loren Snyder ’08, and William Willoughby ’19. Networking opportunities are currently being developed for Giving Circle shareholders to connect with students, faculty, staff, and community partners during the year.

Shareholder Kim Kile ’89, MS ’98 says no matter where alumni live, the Butler Giving Circle provides a unique opportunity to be connected with current students and to extend Butler’s positive influence in the community.

“It’s about being engaged with students and connected with what they’re passionate about,” Kile says. “It doesn’t matter if you live in Central Indiana or not—it’s all about Butler and all about the students.”

New shareholders can join the Butler Giving Circle at any time by making a gift at butler.edu/givingcircle or by contacting Associate Director of Alumni & Engagement Programs Chelsea Smock at csmock@butler.edu.

 

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler Beyond

Inaugural Butler Giving Circle Grant Supports Local Nonviolence Training

The grant for more than $10,000 will fund nonviolence training workshops in partnership with the Martin Luther King Community Center

Aug 13 2020 Read more
Innovation

Butler, Old National Partner to Support Businesses Owned by Underrepresented Groups

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 12 2020

Evansville & Indianapolis, Ind. (August 12, 2020) – The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence—a partnership between Butler University and Old National Bank—is proud to announce an initiative geared toward strengthening and supporting businesses owned by underrepresented groups throughout Indiana. 

The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence at Butler University (ONB Center), which was established to connect privately held companies with the resources and support they need to succeed, will waive its annual membership fee of $1,000 for the first year for companies that meet the following criteria:

  • Privately held companies, headquartered in Indiana, with majority ownership (51% or more) by an underrepresented population. This includes the following business owner categories: all people of color; women; LGBTQ+ individuals; veterans; and individuals with disabilities
  • Annual revenues between $1 million and $50 million. Companies with revenues less than $1 million will be referred to the Small Business Development Center to better match needs and resources.

 

This initiative was born out of a conversation between Mark McFatridge, Executive Director for the ONB Center, and Butler student Victor Aguilar, an intern at the Center. Shortly after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Aguilar approached McFatridge to ask whether the ONB Center would be issuing a public statement related to the situation.

“It was simply a question to see if we were going to release anything official, and that sparked the development of this program,” explained Aguilar. “I never imagined this outcome.”

“It’s no surprise that this initiative was sparked by the social consciousness and passion of one of our Butler students,” said Butler President James Danko. “Furthermore, I applaud the ONB Center’s executive director, Mark McFatridge, for his efforts to foster such student leaders as well as an innovative and socially responsible initiative such as this. Victor, Mark, Old National Bank, and our partners are among many throughout the University who are working diligently to live Butler’s mission both on our campus and in the community.”  

Old National Chairman and CEO Jim Ryan said this initiative is a logical extension of the ongoing partnership between Old National and Butler.

“This is absolutely the right thing to do to support Indiana’s underrepresented business owners and the clients they serve,” said Ryan. “We are incredibly proud to partner with Butler on this program.”

 

Phased Program Roll-out

To ensure that the ONB Center can appropriately service the potential demand, the initiative will be rolled out in phases. However, demand from business owners may cause the Center to adjust these dates.

  • Phase One (August 12, 2020 – July 31, 2021): focus on Black-owned businesses in Marion County
  • Phase Two (January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021): focus on all businesses owned by people of color and headquartered in Indiana
  • Phase Three (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022): focus on women- and LGBTQ+-owned businesses headquartered in Indiana
  • Phase Four (January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022): focus on businesses headquartered in Indiana and owned by veterans or individuals with disabilities

 

Upon registering for the initiative here, ONB Center member companies will receive the following:

 

Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence - Official Statement Condemning Racism While Providing Assistance
The Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence is a partnership between Butler University and Old National Bank, two of Indiana’s longest-standing and most respected institutions. The partnership was established to assist privately held companies in achieving their goals. This assistance is based on connecting member companies to resources necessary to achieve those goals. 

While the ONB Center does not discriminate in who we serve, we have not placed the appropriate focus and attention on seeking out member companies owned or managed by the underrepresented populations that help make Indianapolis and the state of Indiana great.

Butler University and Old National Bank condemn racism and hold the fundamental belief that our respective services should be available to all—regardless of race, gender, religion, ability, or sexual orientation.

 

ABOUT BUTLER UNIVERSITY
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 800 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 30 countries. More than 75 percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, and Butler students have had significant success after graduation, as demonstrated by the University’s 98 percent placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

 

ABOUT OLD NATIONAL
Old National Bancorp (NASDAQ: ONB), the holding company of Old National Bank, is the largest bank holding company headquartered in Indiana. With $22.1 billion in assets, it ranks among the top 100 banking companies in the U.S. and has been recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute for nine consecutive years. Since its founding in Evansville in 1834, Old National Bank has focused on community banking by building long-term, highly valued partnerships and keeping our clients at the center of all we do. This is an approach to business that we call The ONB Way. Today, Old National’s footprint includes Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In addition to providing extensive services in retail and commercial banking, Old National offers comprehensive wealth management, investment, and capital market services. For more information and financial data, please visit Investor Relations at oldnational.com.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 


 

Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the overriding goal of the ONB Center’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative?
Our goal is to play a role in reducing the wealth gap of underrepresented groups.

 

How can the ONB Center accomplish that goal?
The ONB Center’s mission is to help privately held companies be successful.  With a more intentional focus on recruiting Member companies from underrepresented groups, we believe that those Members will continue to grow in size and profitability which will yield higher wages and more investment in underrepresented markets.  Higher wages lead to opportunities for investments in education, housing and stock ownership (either public or private firms), all are keys to reducing the wealth gap.

 

How does the ONB Center help privately held companies be successful?
The core of the ONB Center is the Member assessment.  The assessment is a survey that focuses on the following areas of each company:

  • Organization Structure
  • Accounting & Financial Reporting
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Human Capital
  • Talent
  • Legal
  • Capitalization & Financing
  • Risk & Insurance
  • Information Technology
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Competitors
  • Long Term Goals

 

By better understanding these elements of each Member company, we are able to offer observations to help them achieve their definition of success.  Additionally, we are able to make connections with Accredited Partners that can provide insight and assistance in achieving success. 

The ONB Center Members also benefit from peer interaction.  This interaction comes in a variety of ways from Executive Forums, Peer Happy Hours, our monthly eNewsletter – The Connection, our peer to peer platform – The Hub and other educational events and resources.

 

What are Accredited Partners?
Accredited Partners are experts in their field that have been vetted by the ONB Center to ensure that they provide excellent work and service for our Member companies.  Our Accredited Partners fall into one of twelve categories:

Accounting                      
Banking                                  
Risk & Insurance             
Benefits & Compensation             
Law                                           
Sales                                          
Capital Acquisition         
Information Technology
Investments                        
Human Capital                   
Marketing                             
Operational Consulting

 

Who are your Accredited Partners?
Old National Bank         
Katz, Sapper Miller        
Donovan CPAs                          
MCM CPAs
IceMiller                          
Krieg DeVault                  
Green Loop Marketing           
Bose McKinney & Evans
ADVISA                            
The Catalyst Effect         
First Person                               
Impact Financial Group
The Mako Group            
MJ Insurance                   
Spry Brands                               
Leaf Software                 
Media Fuel                      
Valve & Meter                 
Wilcox & Associates                
Ambassador Enterprises
Little Engine Ventures                                              
Edge Business Strategies             
Crossroads Business Solutions                              
Promethius Consulting
Indiana Business Advisors                               
WestPoint Financial Group             

 

How are your Accredited Partners involved in the ONB Center Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative?
Each of our Accredited Partners have identified ways in which they can provide additional benefits to our newest Members.  Some of these benefits can be reflected in reduced pricing, counseling or contributions that will have a lasting effect on closing the existing wealth gap for underrepresented groups.

 

Who else is partnering with the ONB Center on this initiative?
The Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has committed $150,000 in funding to assist our newest Members with accessing resources from our Accredited Partners.  Additionally, the SBDC will provide resources to companies with annual revenues less than $1 million or entrepreneurs who are interested in starting up a company.

Mid States Minority Supplier Development Council (Mid-States MSDC) certifies, develops, connects and advocates minority-owned companies.  MSMSDC will offer our newest Member companies free membership and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center. Recently, Old National announced a partnership with MSMSDC and Bankable that provides unique, flexible financing solutions and business development resources to MSMSDC-certified Minority Business Enterprises within Indiana. Old National is providing $50,000 in funding to launch the partnership with an emphasis on broadening economic development and financial empowerment initiatives among diverse businesses and geographies.

Indy Black Chamber of Commerce advocates for Black-owned businesses in central Indiana.  The Indy Black Chamber has offered our newest Member companies free membership and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center.

Bankable is a nonprofit lender that provides access to capital, financial education and economic resources to build healthy small businesses.

Conscious Capitalism Indianapolis (CCI) helps companies grow by producing positive results in performance, in their associates’ engagement, and in their communities.  CCI has offered our newest Member companies to join as Future Champions at no cost for their first year and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center. 

Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce empowers business to ensure all have the opportunity to succeed in the Indianapolis region.  The Indy Chamber provides access for our Members to capital, peer networking and other economic development initiatives and serves as a referral source to identify Members and Accredited Partners for the ONB Center.

Innovation

Butler, Old National Partner to Support Businesses Owned by Underrepresented Groups

ONB Center to waive membership fee for companies owned by people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans, and individuals with disabilities

Aug 12 2020 Read more
Muslim Studies
Butler Beyond

Donor Gift Expands Muslim Studies Programming

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Aug 06 2020

In the fall of 2018, Dilnaz and Qaiser Waraich were pleased with their son’s choice to attend Butler University. He was beginning his junior year and had already made lifelong friends and built strong relationships with his professors. Driven by their Muslim faith, the Waraichs began having conversations about where their family values of giving back and promoting a greater understanding of Islam might intersect on Butler’s campus. The Waraichs viewed the authentic, lasting relationships that happen within Butler’s close-knit community as an opportunity to foster meaningful dialogue between students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.

After conversations as a family and with faculty and leadership at Butler, the family established the Muslim Studies Endowed Fund in October 2018 with the goal of supporting programming that advances understanding, mutual esteem, and cooperation for education and awareness about the Muslim faith.

“We’re way past tolerance; I don’t think we should be using that word anymore,” Dilnaz Waraich says. “There is such a misconception about Muslims in America, and we’re at the point where we really need to develop relationships. The only way you can get to those relationships is by having conversations.”

In an effort to promote more conversation, the family’s first goal for the fund was to support programming that would raise awareness about Islam at Butler and allow members of the Butler community to have exposure to Muslims from diverse walks of life. Earlier this year, the family made an additional significant gift to expand the scope of the endowment’s impact in the Butler community through support for student internships with Muslim organizations and for faculty research on Islam.

 

Broadening perspectives

“The first thing this endowment really allowed was the regular presence of high-profile Muslim speakers on our campus, which is so important to broadening perspectives and allowing for diverse voices to be heard,” says Dr. Chad Bauman, Professor of Religion in the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, where the endowed fund is housed.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Muslim Studies Endowed Fund brought three Muslim-American speakers to campus for lectures and dialogue through partnerships with the Center for Faith and Vocation, the Global and Historical Studies program, and other departments across campus. The series kicked off in October with a performance by Omar Offendum, a Los Angeles-based rapper, poet, and activist, which filled Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall and required the use of an overflow room. Along with his performance, Offendum also visited a number of classes for more in-depth dialogue and was available for one-on-one conversations during a drop-in session that was open to the Butler community.

“Many of our students don’t have a lot of exposure to Muslims and to the Islamic tradition, and the knowledge that they do have about the religion or the people is really filtered to them through the media,” says Dr. Nermeen Mouftah, an Assistant Professor of Religion and the Religion program’s specialist on Islam. “We’re trying to add complexity with programming that’s going to deal with politics, art, culture. We really want the programming to be across the spectrum so you can see all those different facets of Muslim life.”

In November, Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans, Scholar-in-Residence at the American Learning Institute for Muslims, gave a well-attended lecture titled “Islam and our Current Cultural Moment.” In March, journalist Leila Fadel held a conversation about reporting on Muslims in the American media. Now a national correspondent for National Public Radio’s race, identity, and culture beat, Fadel previously served as an international correspondent based in Cairo during the wave of revolts in the Middle East.

“I have just been truly blown away by the impact of the programming,” Mouftah says. “I’ve asked students who have attended to write short reflections after the events, and their reflections have been so poignant. It seems pretty clear that, for most of the students who are attending, these viewpoints and experiences they are hearing from these speakers are revelatory. They are turning over ideas that the students had and giving them new ideas. We’re simply bringing in these speakers who are experts in their fields, and it is raising the level of dialogue about Muslims in America.”

 

A culture of understanding

This year, the additional commitment to the endowment expanded the use of the fund to include support for faculty conducting research on Islam. Butler faculty members in any department who are carrying out research projects centering on Islam, interfaith dialogue, or religious pluralism will be able to apply for course development and research grants supported by the fund.

“It’s really important for faculty to have the support they need to do the research they are doing,” Dilnaz Waraich says. “Academia is run on research, so if we as a family can support faculty to go to seminars and dig deep into a certain topic and then come back and share what they’ve learned with other faculty members, that is very important.  We want to make sure it is taught from a perspective of religious pluralism; it’s about learning about various faiths and how many commonalities they have about them instead of just highlighting the differences.”

Waraich says it was important to the family that the research and course development support be available to faculty from any department so that faculty will share what they are learning with one another across disciplines, ultimately promoting a culture of greater understanding of Islam throughout campus. Bauman says these faculty development funds also have the long-lasting effect of helping to inspire and retain Butler’s excellent faculty.

“The ability to support our faculty and encourage their work in research and teaching not only allows us to attract the top minds in our fields to Butler, but it encourages these faculty that Butler is a worthwhile place to stay, which has an enduring effect on the culture at Butler and on our students,” Bauman says.

 

Hands-on experience

Also new this academic year, the Waraichs’ latest gift will provide support for students pursuing internships with Muslim organizations such the Muslim Alliance of Indiana. Several funds currently exist within the Center for Faith and Vocation to support students pursuing internships with various faith-based organizations, but this is the first fund at Butler to provide support for internships specific to the Muslim faith.

“The Waraich family has a very coherent vision to promote greater understanding of Islam, which directs their energy and their philanthropic investment,” Bauman says. “We are very grateful that Butler is part of that vision.”

Though their son has now graduated from Butler, the Waraichs say they are grateful to have had the opportunity to get involved and contribute as parents while their child was on campus, and are inspired to think about the long-term impacts of their gift beyond their son’s experience.

“To be in the position to give is such a privilege, and it’s something we take very seriously,” Dilnaz Waraich says. “If other parents see where their family values meet what Butler is doing, I think higher ed is really an exciting place to be because you have young adults who are not only future leaders, but they are present-day leaders. The impact is both immediate and enduring.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Muslim Studies
Butler Beyond

Donor Gift Expands Muslim Studies Programming

Dilnaz and Qaiser Waraich established the Muslim Studies Endowed Fund in 2018. This year, the family made an additional gift to expand the scope of the endowment’s impact.

Aug 06 2020 Read more
Sorell Grow ’20
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Sorell Grow ’20, Butler’s First News21 Fellow

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Aug 04 2020

Sorell Grow’s professional journalism career was off to a busy start this summer as the May 2020 graduate completed a 10-week fellowship with News21. She is the first Butler University student ever to apply for and be accepted into the prestigious investigative reporting program, which recruits fellows from across the nation to produce in-depth, multimedia stories. Content created for the project is often published in major outlets such as The Washington Post, NBC News, and USA Today.

This year, the 35-member team has studied and reported on aspects of the United States juvenile justice system. One of Grow’s stories covers the system’s disparities, and another chronicles the experience of life after incarceration for those who were imprisoned as kids. Overall, the 2020 fellows produced about 20 longform investigative pieces that will be published in mid-August.

While the pandemic meant this year’s fellows had to work remotely instead of traveling to Arizona State University, Grow still loved the opportunity to work with other top journalism students while gaining hands-on experience in investigative reporting.

 

Why did you pursue this program? What aspects appealed to you most?

I found out about the fellowship through Dean Brooke Barnett and one of my journalism professors, who nominated me for the program. I was most intrigued by the idea of working with fellow journalism students who are around the same age and interested in the same field that I am.

Since Butler’s journalism program is fairly small, I was eager to work with students from other universities and backgrounds. Sadly, I never got to actually meet the other fellows I worked with every day, but we’re planning to meet up once it’s safer to travel!

The topic of our reporting—the juvenile justice system—was very interesting to me, too. It seemed like an often-neglected aspect of this country’s criminal justice and law and order systems. Especially given the national conversation this summer surrounding racial equality and police brutality, this topic felt even more important to cover.

I was also excited to be under the mentorship of veteran investigative reporters and editors, some of whom have won Pulitzer Prizes and produced many of this country’s most compelling investigative pieces in recent history.

 

What have been the main things you've learned from this experience?

When it comes to working from home, I’ve learned how to focus and manage my time well, by creating a healthy work-life balance.

When it comes to journalism, I’ve learned that it’s always possible to dig deeper and find out something new, even if it seems like every possible question has already been asked or every resource has been used. We were tasked with completing a national investigative project—including dozens of videos, longform stories, graphics, and illustrations—while working completely virtually. While this wasn’t an ideal experience for anyone in News21, we still completed the project successfully in these difficult and unfortunate circumstances.

 

Do you have plans for what you'll be doing next, now that you've wrapped up the fellowship?

I’ll be working for The Christian Science Monitor this fall. I interned there two summers ago and loved the experience of working for a global news organization, so I’m looking forward to working there again.

 

Read more about the 2020 News21 project here, and be on the lookout for Grow’s stories that will be published in the coming weeks.

Sorell Grow ’20
Experiential Learning

Q&A with Sorell Grow ’20, Butler’s First News21 Fellow

The recent Journalism & Spanish grad spent her summer reporting on the U.S. juvenile justice system

Aug 04 2020 Read more
Butler University Libraries, Center for Academic Technology, PALNI grant, Digital 3D objects from photogrammetry
Innovation

Butler Team Preserves, Improves Access to Artifacts through 3D Digital Replicas

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jul 24 2020

Butler University is home to more than 100 artifacts and fine art pieces, including several three-dimensional works such as sculptures, jewelry, and clothing. Scattered across campus, some of these items fill display cases while others are stowed away for safekeeping. Many of the artifacts have been studied for educational purposes, providing visual examples for courses in art history or anthropology.

But the need to preserve objects that are hundreds of years old means most physical artifacts need to stay put in one place. Even if a piece is out on display, studying it closely means trekking a class of students across campus and crowding together to peer through the glass. And that’s just if you’re already on campus—a luxury not available to all who want to see the art up close, especially in a socially distanced world.

Over the last year, Butler Libraries and the Center for Academic Technology have teamed up to find a way to simultaneously protect these artifacts while making them more accessible to the community. The work was part of a project funded by a grant of more than $5,000 from the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), which supports collaboration between member schools.

The project was led by Olivia MacIsaac, Digital Scholarship Library Associate, and Kristen Allen, Academic Technology Specialist, who started by researching options for digitizing the art collections. They learned about a process called photogrammetry.

 

 

By stitching together a series of high-quality photos taken from all sides of each object, photogrammetry creates detailed digital replicas. The end products—which can now be accessed online in Butler’s Digital Collections—are like three-dimensional panorama images that can be rotated and viewed from any angle.

It’s not a new process, but it’s one that often carries a big price tag, requiring expensive camera equipment and computer software. So, as part of its goal to minimize financial pressures for small universities, PALNI charged the Butler team with finding a lower-cost workflow that can be applied at libraries across Indiana.

Thanks in large part to hours of work from Tatum Turner, a rising senior majoring in History and Anthropology, Butler has now created 3D digital objects of nearly 20 art pieces from its collections (though only the first 10 were part of the PALNI-funded project). The team succeeded in developing a low-cost scanning process, swapping pricey gadgets for free apps like Focos, which allowed them to capture detailed images using an iPad camera. Even with some larger purchases, including a high-powered graphics card, the team found a way to replicate their process for just over $2,000.

“This project has shown me that digital humanities is insanely experimental right now,” says Turner, who was responsible for taking photos and trying out new technologies. “The marriage of humanities and technology is something that is incredibly necessary for archival purposes and future generations, as more things can’t withstand the test of time. It also makes things more accessible.”

Now, this low-cost, sustainable solution can be shared with other private universities throughout the state. After streamlining their own workflow, the Butler team created a Canvas training course that others can use to replicate the process.

“Creating 3D objects often seems daunting to librarians with physical collections,” MacIsaac says. “I’m hoping once they learn about the benefits of photogrammetry and the details you can capture with it, this will be a method they can use regularly instead of some of the other methods that cost a lot more money or require more expertise. I hope this empowers other schools to do this kind of work.”

 

 

The free online course, which anyone can request access to use, starts by walking students through the equipment and techniques they’ll need to create their own 3D digital objects. Users then learn how to edit the photos of their artifact, adjusting the lighting and removing the background before using 3D imaging software to build the digital replica. To wrap things up, the course shows users how to finalize their 3D models and record all necessary data, choosing the best online platform where the digitized artifacts can be stored and accessed.

“I’ve been really excited to already see the impact of the educational component we created, and that we will be able to partner with faculty and make this available to Butler students,” Allen says.

“This technology and this method has been used for years,” MacIsaac adds, “but it’s just now becoming a standard skill that’s needed in fields like archaeology. This is more important than ever as artifacts are destroyed or lost. We need to capture this information while we can, so developing these skills is really important.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler University Libraries, Center for Academic Technology, PALNI grant, Digital 3D objects from photogrammetry
Innovation

Butler Team Preserves, Improves Access to Artifacts through 3D Digital Replicas

The grant-funded project found low-cost ways to scan and share physical artworks through a method called photogrammetry

Jul 24 2020 Read more
Butler Beyond

Loyal Donors and New Strategic Direction Help Butler Thrive Through Unprecedented Year

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jul 20 2020

Butler University donors demonstrated unwavering support to Butler students this year, giving more than $16.6 million toward scholarships and other student support initiatives during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which concluded on May 31. In total, 15,385 Butler donors gave $28.5 million to Butler Beyond, the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, boosting the total raised to date to $184.9 million toward the $250 million campaign goal. Along with generous giving, Butler experienced a year of great momentum in a number of important ways, including the unveiling of its new strategic direction.

As the University neared the completion of its Butler 2020 strategic plan, President Jim Danko and other University leaders kicked off the academic year with a summer tour of alumni communities around the country, sharing a vision for Butler’s future centered on the need to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing landscape in higher education. More than 220 alumni and guests attended the small summer gatherings in 12 cities for a preview of the University’s new strategic direction.

On October 5, Butler welcomed more than 1,200 alumni and friends for an evening to remember at Clowes Memorial Hall as the University unveiled the new Butler Beyond strategic direction and $250 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. With an emphasis on innovation and collaborative partnerships, the new strategic direction builds upon Butler’s strengths in delivering an exceptional undergraduate residential education, while expanding to offer opportunities for lifelong learning and new educational pathways that are more affordable and flexible. The Butler Beyond campaign is organized around three pillars aimed to fuel this new strategic direction: student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

While the new strategic direction was developed in anticipation of disruption coming to the higher education landscape over the next decade, that disruption occurred more quickly than predicted when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the University to move all classes online for the remainder of the academic year in March. Though the disruption caused by the health crisis was unexpected, it revealed the wisdom of the University’s strategy to diversify its offerings and prepare for a changing student demographic. Donor support allowed Butler to respond quickly to the year’s disruptions and remain in a strong position moving forward.

Looking ahead, one of the major funding priorities of the campaign is the expansion and renovation of the University’s sciences facilities following the Board of Trustees’ approval of the $100 million project last June. Students, faculty, staff, and donors gathered on campus to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the project in October, and a $1.5 million gift from the Hershel B. & Ethel L. Whitney Fund this year pushed the University to more than $29 million raised to date toward the University’s $42 million fundraising goal for the project.

Mayor Joe Hogsett MA ’87 and other alumni and city leaders visited campus on October 25 for the official dedication of the new 110,000-square-foot building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, which opened for classes last summer and was funded in large part by more than $22 million in donor gifts. Autumn also brought the public reveal of the latest round of renovations to Hinkle Fieldhouse, which included the installation of air conditioning and a complete renovation of the Efroymson Family Gym. The $10.5 million project was entirely funded through donor gifts, including a major gift to name the practice court in honor of beloved Butler graduate Matt White.

This fiscal year donors also committed more than $114,000 to the Butler Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides one-time financial support to Butler students facing unforeseen hardships, including some related to the COVID-19 crisis. The influx of support for the fund is expected to be sufficient to fulfill student needs for the next several years.

Donors wishing to provide ongoing support to Butler students beyond the immediate crisis are now directing their gifts to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship after the University committed an additional $10 million in financial aid for incoming and current students in response to the unforeseen economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Donors gave more than $1.5 million to the Butler Fund for Student Scholarship during the fiscal year, which will help the University to fulfill its increased financial commitment to students. Thanks to generous donor support of scholarships during this fiscal year, the University has now raised more than $44 million toward its campaign goal of $55 million in scholarship support.

Continuing their extensive generosity throughout the Butler Beyond campaign, several of Butler’s Trustees also made significant gifts this year, including gifts to the Sciences project, new endowed scholarships, and a broad range of other initiatives across campus.

The University’s annual Day of Giving in February was the most successful in school history, setting a number of records including:

  • A University record of $482,725 raised, a 55 percent increase from the previous year
  • A University record of 1,569 gifts received, a 23 percent increase from the previous year

Other University milestones in the 2019-20 fiscal year included:

  • The October announcement by the Board of Trustees of the extension of President Danko’s contract through August 2024
  • 31 donors reached lifetime cumulative giving to Butler University of $100,000 or more, qualifying for the Carillon Society
  • 546 full-time faculty/staff members made a gift, representing more than 50 percent of full-time Butler employees
  • Fairview Heritage Society donors committed more than $15 million in estate/planned gifts this year
  • 1,846 new donors made a first-time gift to the University

 

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu 
260-307-3403

Butler Beyond

Loyal Donors and New Strategic Direction Help Butler Thrive Through Unprecedented Year

Total giving included $16.6 million toward scholarships and $28.5 million toward the Butler Beyond campaign

Jul 20 2020 Read more
ONB Center interns
Experiential Learning

With Summer Internships Canceled, Business School Finds New Opportunities for Students

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jul 07 2020

It’s clear that Butler University’s Lacy School of Business (LSB) cares about experiential learning. There’s the school’s new building, designed to encourage collaboration between students, faculty, and the broader business community. There’s the Real Business Experience, during which every LSB student launches an actual product or service. And with a requirement that all students complete two internships before graduation, LSB’s emphasis on valuable work experience is no exception.

So, what happens when a global pandemic leaves the building empty and many internships canceled?

As soon as Associate Dean Bill Templeton realized that possibility, he raised the alarm. He started by decreasing the number of required internship hours from 240 to 125, providing more flexibility for students. Then, he began looking for ways to create new opportunities for those who suddenly found themselves without summer plans.

Thanks to support from Butler’s Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence (ONB Center), Templeton and other LSB faculty were able to add about 20 last-minute summer internship positions.

The ONB Center is working with a total of nearly 30 interns this summer, split between two tracks. Some are participating in the Center’s regular internship program (which was expanded to include more students), and others have joined the academic portions of that experience while working on faculty-led consulting projects.

“A lot of businesses have stepped up to offer opportunities,” Templeton explains. “We weren’t able to find positions for every student who wanted one, but we’re actually about where we normally are, with more than 200 students completing internships this summer. We have fewer students getting paid, and we have a lot more students doing virtual work. There are some downsides to not experiencing as much workplace culture, but overall, we’re keeping students on track to continue building their professional skills.”

 

Internships at the ONB Center

The ONB Center works with privately owned companies throughout Indiana, providing personalized business guidance and access to resources from partner companies. As part of a membership or partnership through the Center, businesses can also submit projects to be completed by Butler students.

“What differentiates this project-based work from other internships is that the companies don’t need to hire and supervise the student,” says Ginger Lippert, ONB Center Manager. “We are the ones doing that heavy lift, and we bill companies hourly for the students’ work.”

For ONB Center interns, this means the chance to experience a variety of projects for a range of companies and industries, a bit like working for an agency. Any given student works on at least three projects at a time, Lippert says—sometimes closer to eight. The interns coordinate events, conduct market research, plan product launches, streamline finances, and more.

Bella Ruscheinski, a Butler senior with majors in Marketing and Finance, was scheduled to start an Indianapolis-based staffing internship this summer. When COVID-19 hit, the role was postponed to the fall. Then, Ruscheinski found out it was canceled completely.

But she had already been interning with the ONB Center since January, and in early May, she learned she could stay on for the summer.

“I was ecstatic,” Ruscheinski says. “I knew this would give me an even deeper learning experience. The skills I gained in the spring helped prepare me for the leadership role I’ve taken on now, providing support for the other interns. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

Throughout her time with the ONB Center, Ruscheinski has focused mostly on contributing to marketing efforts for the Center and its member businesses. She has written blogs, planned content calendars, compiled newsletters, and helped with some market research, among other tasks. Through all the projects, she has especially valued the opportunity to work directly with clients.

“At Butler, we are really taught in terms of real-world experience,” Ruscheinski says. “I’ve loved the chance to use the skills I’ve learned in class during this internship. I’ve also learned an incredible amount about time management: In a consulting role, you’re balancing more than just one project or even one team.”

Each week, the interns attend meetings that supplement hands-on work experience with other professional development activities. The students use this time to collaborate, learn from one another, or hear from guest speakers. Lippert says this academic side provides a broader, more holistic experience.

 

Faculty-led consulting projects

Now, the ONB Center is also offering its professional development sessions to other students who are participating in a variety of faculty-led consulting projects.

Working with teams of about five students each, several LSB faculty members have designed makeshift summer internships by connecting with companies to find real-world projects.

Daniel McQuiston, Associate Professor of Marketing and one of the project leaders, started by reaching out to Jordan Cohen, who has been working with Delta Faucet Company since graduating from Butler in 2016.

“I asked Jordan if Delta had any kind of marketing issue they would like to know more about,” McQuiston explains. “It turns out Delta is interested in looking at the feasibility of marketing an internet-only brand—officially known as a digitally native vertical brand—like Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, Casper Sleep, or Allbirds Shoes. A number of other companies have already launched internet-only faucet brands, and Delta is in the exploratory stage of trying to decide whether to follow suit.”

Through the summer experience, Butler students are helping answer this question by conducting secondary and consumer research about what has made other digitally native brands successful. After learning more about the faucet industry, the students led interviews and built a questionnaire to gather data that can help Delta make a more informed decision.

McQuiston says this kind of data collection tends to make up a huge part of marketing, and the project allows students to gain more experience while having the added accountability of serving a real company on a real issue.

“This is real-life stuff,” he says. “In class, a teacher wants you to write a paper, so you write it, turn it in, and just kind of forget about it. But that’s not what this is. Delta Faucet is expecting real information—insights they can take and use. The more we get students actually doing these things, the more they are going to understand.”

For Willie Moran, a rising senior with a major in Marketing, the Delta Faucet project has provided a deeper understanding of how valuable it can be to talk directly with consumers, as well as the importance of staying competitive in an online marketplace.

This summer, Moran was supposed to have a marketing internship with a manufacturing company in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had just been offered the position, but two days later, the company called back to say they’d had to implement a hiring freeze and cancel all their internships due to COVID-19.

“When Professor McQuiston heard about that, he reached out to tell me about the project he was planning,” Moran says. “I’d just finished up a sales class with him, and he thought I would be a good fit for the team. I had been stressing out trying to figure out how I was going to meet my internship requirements, but this worked out really well.”

Associate Dean Templeton says he knows requiring all LSB students to complete two internships can be an investment, and it can demand a lot of flexibility.

“But we think it’s so worthwhile,” he says. “Internships provide great opportunities for students to learn their disciplines a little more permanently, and a little more deeply, if they are simultaneously working and reflecting on what they have been learning in the curriculum.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

ONB Center interns
Experiential Learning

With Summer Internships Canceled, Business School Finds New Opportunities for Students

Butler's Lacy School of Business created about 20 last-minute internship positions built on remote, project-based work

Jul 07 2020 Read more
Butler University Sciences Renovation and Expansion rendering
Butler Beyond

Butler Surpasses $29 Million Raised for Sciences Expansion and Renovation with Recent $1.5 Million Gift

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 29 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—The Hershel B. & Ethel L. Whitney Fund of The Indianapolis Foundation recently gave $1.5 million to Butler University in support of its $100 million Sciences Expansion and Renovation project, among the largest gifts received to date for the effort. In recognition of the gift, the University will name the Hershel B. Whitney Gateway in Gallahue Hall in honor of the late Hershel B. Whitney, who was a longtime Indianapolis resident and chemist at Eli Lilly. The gift pushes Butler beyond $29 million raised thus far toward the University’s $42 million fundraising goal for the effort.

The Sciences Expansion and Renovation Project is the largest infrastructure investment in University history and is a key funding priority of the Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign. The initiative is an early step in Butler’s new strategic direction, centered on expanding the University’s impact beyond its current students and beyond the borders of campus by serving the needs of the broader Central Indiana community, particularly in the area of workforce development. With the help of state-of-the-art sciences facilities and nationally recognized faculty, Butler seeks to play a major role in attracting and developing new talent for the region’s booming life sciences industry.

Indiana is one of the top five states in the country for the number of companies, concentration of companies, and total number of life sciences industry jobs. Meanwhile, Butler has seen a 70 percent increase in enrollment in science disciplines over the past decade, graduating students who choose to stay in Indiana to begin their careers. About 60 percent of Butler undergraduate students come from outside the state, and among science graduates, 63 percent stay in state, contributing to a brain gain effect for the state of Indiana.

“We are proud to contribute to the development of our community by attracting and developing outstanding talent for the science and life science sectors of Central Indiana’s economy, and we are grateful for the donors who see the long-term value of this investment not only for our students but also for our region,” says Jay Howard, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The renovation and expansion of our sciences complex will ensure that Butler University continues to prepare the talent Indiana needs for a thriving workforce.”

The COVID-19 global health crisis has recently shed light on the importance of a workforce skilled in the areas of research, data analysis, and scientific inquiry. Current and former Butler students are working on the frontlines of the nation’s pandemic response working in hospitals, making hand sanitizer, creating images for the National Institutes of Health, analyzing health data at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more.

Previous lead philanthropic gifts already received for the Sciences Expansion and Renovation Project include $13 million from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, $5 million from Frank ’71 and Kristin Levinson, and other major contributions from Former Trustee Billie Lou ’51 and Richard D. Wood, Trustee Chair Emeritus Craig Fenneman ’71 and Mary Stover-Fenneman, Trustee Lynne Zydowsky ’81, Former Trustee Joshua Smiley, and the estate of Bud ’44 and Jackie ’44 Sellick.

Donors who have invested $500,000 or more in the project will be honored on a prominent wall in the stunning new atrium of the expansion building connecting Gallahue Hall to the Holcomb Building. The expansion will add nearly 44,000 square feet of new space for teaching, research, collaboration, and study, plus the 13,140 square-foot atrium.

The Hershel B. Whitney Gateway will include seven research labs, five teaching labs, and research/teaching preparation spaces on the second floor of Gallahue Hall, where chemistry and biochemistry students will engage in cross-disciplinary learning. The Hershel B. and Ethel L. Whitney Fund also previously established the Hershel B. Whitney Chair in Biochemistry, which is currently held by Associate Professor Jeremy Johnson. Johnson’s work conducting research alongside undergraduate students will now take place in the Whitney Gateway, linking the Fund’s previous faculty and programmatic support to the physical spaces where teaching and learning will occur.

In addition to the Whitney Fund’s investment in the new sciences complex, the Fund also made a $100,000 donation to the Jordan College of the Arts’ Performance Enhancement Fund to support the JCA Signature Series, a high-impact artist residency program. The series provides enriching community programming along with workshops and lectures for Butler students.

“At its core, the JCA Signature Series is a student-centric residency program, with an embedded public-facing community component,” says Lisa Brooks, Dean of the Jordan College of the Arts. “The generous gift from the Whitney Fund will help to ensure that this critical artistic intersection will continue to inspire and educate students and audiences alike.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Butler University Sciences Renovation and Expansion rendering
Butler Beyond

Butler Surpasses $29 Million Raised for Sciences Expansion and Renovation with Recent $1.5 Million Gift

In recognition of the gift, the University will name the Hershel B. Whitney Gateway in Gallahue Hall in honor of the late Hershel B. Whitney

Jun 29 2020 Read more
Brittany Smith, Yelp Indy, Butler University Alumni, Internships
Alumni Success

At Yelp, Butler Alum Connects People With Their City

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jun 17 2020

At 23 years old, Brittany Smith ’11 received an offer to work remotely as a community manager for Yelp.

Well, I guess this means I’ll need to get a smartphone, she thought.

It was the spring of 2012, and Smith had just wrapped up the first year of her post-grad career on the communications team at Downtown Indy, Inc., where she helped promote Indianapolis as a leisure destination. It was a dream role she had worked toward even as a student at Butler University, where she completed an internship with the organization that opened doors for a full-time position.

And she loved it. But the chance to serve Indy in a new way, and to help pave the way for the emerging field of community management, was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down.

It was a role that, even today, a lot of people probably don’t know exists. Yelp does a lot more than provide a platform for restaurant reviews. Smith spent her days elevating the city she loved by providing free partnerships with local businesses, hosting and promoting events, and being an advocate for Indy. She was the one to spread the word if a bakery added a new kind of croissant, and she told the stories of local parks and other greenspaces. She loved connecting people with their city.

Eight years later, she’s now Yelp’s Regional Director of Marketing and Community for the Midwest. While her current responsibilities expand beyond the city—and even beyond the state—her heart is still in Indy.

It was that love for Indianapolis that first brought Smith to Butler, where she majored in English and Communications. She knew she wanted to pursue something related to tourism or community building, and she knew Butler would give her the chance to engage with the city and gain hands-on experience through internships. She followed through with that goal, completing internships not only with Downtown Indy, but also with Indiana Humanities and Indianapolis Monthly.

“The beauty of Butler is that it’s so well-connected to Indianapolis, which made it an ideal location for me,” she says. “I feel like half my education was in the classroom, but the other half was through boots-on-the-ground, first-hand experiences.”

As a student, Smith was also involved with the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability, helping launch The Farm at Butler. Through Yelp, she’s now built partnerships with some of the same local businesses that had purchased the farm-grown food she helped raise.

During her time with Yelp, Smith has discovered a passion for activating public spaces—turning Monument Circle into a pop-up dinner party for 1,000 guests, or organizing an inner tube float down the Central Canal.

“I like to help people see their city through a new perspective,” she says.

Of course, in the world of COVID-19, that sort of thing isn’t always possible. Her team has shifted to organizing a slew of virtual events, ranging from a Cinco de Mayo celebration with Sun King Brewery, to a lunchtime barre class with The Dailey Method, to an online chocolate tasting with Xchocol'Art. Over the last few weeks, they’ve also been using their platform to highlight the stories of Black-owned businesses. That adaptability has been one of her favorite parts about working at a place like Yelp. And, it’s a quality she attributes to her city as a whole.

“I love the way the Indianapolis community comes together when there’s an idea,” she says. “We find ways to cut down red tape and move quickly to action, working from a collaborative mindset.”

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Indy is full of Dawgs.

“It’s cool to think about how many Butler alumni really dig into the city and make a difference,” Smith says. “They are very present and active in the community. It’s not a huge school, but it’s not hard to find a Bulldog in Indy.”

 

A few of Brittany Smith’s favorite Indy spots:

  • Locally Grown Gardens (especially the sugar cream pie): “That’s where I met my husband, and where I held my first Yelp event. I have so many special memories there.”
  • Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company: “There’s so much heart there. Everyone feels very welcomed and invited. It’s just as much about the community as it is about the coffee.”
  • Eagle Creek Park: “I love to explore different parks. Our city has so many green spaces, and I love to take advantage of those.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

Brittany Smith, Yelp Indy, Butler University Alumni, Internships
Alumni Success

At Yelp, Butler Alum Connects People With Their City

Brittany Smith ’11 chose Butler University for its ties to Indianapolis, leading to a career of advocating for the city

Jun 17 2020 Read more

Making Butler your Student’s Home Away From Home

By Anne Denz - Admission Counselor

So–your student is ready to leave the nest, but is thinking about going to a school that isn’t close by. We know that can be a bit scary and overwhelming, so here are the top 10 things you need to know about making Butler’s campus your child’s home away from home.

1: Community

Your student will join a community that supports students in every aspect of their lives. From current students, to faculty members, to alumni, to members of the surrounding community, your student will join a group of people who are proud of being a Butler Bulldog. Students lift each other up, faculty members challenge their classes, and campus provides a safe place to explore various interests and passions. 

2: Housing

So much of creating a home revolves around having a comfortable space to work, sleep, and socialize. Students live on campus for the first three years, which helps establish a strong community and build connections. The Community Assistants organize programs and events so students are able to meet the new people and Residence Life is committed to helping support students during their transition to college.

3: Dining

Nothing feels more like home than a made-from-scratch meal. Butler’s Dining Services provides plenty of healthy and delicious options for students. Bon Appetit, our campus dining partner, is focused on wellness, sustainability, and catering to the needs of students. There’s a dietitian on staff to assist with any special dining accommodations like food allergies. There are also several dining options across campus, so students can choose between a sit down, all-you-can-eat meal in the Marketplace at Atherton Union or get a quick grab-and-go meal at Plum Market

4: Safety

All students, faculty, and staff are connected to our Dawg Alert system that keeps campus up-to-date on any important safety information such as fire alarms, power outages, suspicious activity reported on or near campus, and more. Emergency call boxes are also located throughout campus, and are actively monitored by the Butler University Police Department.  

5: Dedicated Faculty

Butler University has an 11:1 student to faculty ratio, and these dedicated faculty members care about your student’s well-being in and out of the classroom. With an average class size of 21, faculty members know their students by name and notice if they have missed a class or are struggling with the material. They all provide office hours throughout the semester, and are willing to make extra time for a student if they need help on a paper, project, or just want to discuss a lesson. Each student is paired with a faculty advisor from their specific major’s department, so they have an expert guiding them through their class selection and academic career.

6: Health Services

The first time getting sick away from home is the worst, and as family living far away, you can sometimes feel helpless. Butler University Health Services understands that and places an emphasis on treating the medical, emotional, and educational needs of students. Whether your student has a sore throat or would like to talk to one of our mental health professionals, they can head to the Health and Recreation Center to get the help they need.

7: BUBeWell

The overall well-being of all Butler students is top-priority. The BUBeWell Model is an eight dimension model that builds a foundation for a transformative and holistic student experience. The eight dimensions include: Mind and Body, Diversity and Inclusion, Intellectual, Social, Service and Community, Career and Life Skills, Meaning and Purpose, and Sustainability.

8: Involvement

While students are often eager to gain some independence, homesickness can sometimes still creep in. Luckily, we have plenty of ways to help keep that feeling at bay. With over 130 student organizations, there are plenty of ways for students to get involved. Butler has 20 Division 1 athletic teams, and our students thoroughly enjoy attending these athletic events. In fact, experiencing a Men’s Basketball game in Hinkle Fieldhouse is a must. Students also have the opportunity to attend various concerts, musicals, lecture series, and more in Clowes Hall and other performance spaces around campus.  

9: Family Events

Families are always welcomed and encouraged to visit campus. Homecoming is the perfect way to see our beautiful campus in the fall and reunite with your child. From tailgating at the football game to the Bulldog Beauty Contest, the weekend is packed with fun-filled activities. If you can’t make it to Homecoming, we also host a Family Weekend later in the semester.

10: Location

Even if you aren’t just down the road, visiting your student is quite easy, due to the University’s location. Butler’s campus is located only 20 minutes from the Indianapolis International Airport and hotels are easily accessible near campus. Downtown Indianapolis and Broad Ripple provide great entertainment. There are plenty of restaurants to try out, walking and biking paths to explore, shops to peruse, and more. 

 

It is important that each student feels like Butler is the right fit for them, but we also want to make sure that each family also feels comfortable and welcomed. We highly recommend visiting campus as a family before your student moves in. Whether you join us for an official visit during the college search process, (see Eight Things to Know Before your Official Visit to get the scoop on how best to prepare for your tour of campus) or make a special trip over the summer before classes start to walk around campus on your own, seeing campus for yourself can be extremely helpful.

 

Anne Denz is an Admission Counselor within Butler’s Office of Admission. Anne works with students living in Illinois’ South and Southwest suburbs; Kansas; Kansas City and St. Joseph, Missouri; Minnesota; and Wisconsin.

Making Butler your Student’s Home Away From Home

By Anne Denz - Admission Counselor

Five Ways We See "The Butler Way" in Your Application

By Erin Scott - Admission Counselor

  

The Butler Way demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality, yet seeks improvement every day while putting the team above self.

The Butler Way is a motto that Butler students live by. When reviewing your application for admission, we can see examples of how students already embody this motto before even arriving on campus. Below are a few of the many ways we see The Butler Way demonstrated in a student’s application.

1. Leadership

We are very interested in learning about your involvement and leadership opportunities. This could be clubs and organizations inside and outside of your school, athletics, jobs, volunteer work, or any extracurricular activities. And if you’re very involved in high school and want to continue that in college, Butler has over 130 student organizations on campus.

2. Commitment

We understand that high school can be challenging, but a great way to show your commitment to your education is through the grades you earn in your classes. You may have a rocky start getting adjusted to high school, or grades might slip at another time, but showing you bounced back and have an overall upward grade trend lets us know you worked hard to overcome the challenges.

3. Hard-Working

There are several ways throughout your application that you can show us you’ve worked hard to get to where you are now. One way is to see that you have challenged yourself through the classes you have selected each year. This can be shown by taking AP or IB classes, college credit courses, or even a fourth year of math or science.

4. Character

One of the best ways for us to learn more about you and your character is through letters of recommendation. The letters you submit with your application can come from anyone you choose, but we recommend hearing from a teacher, coach, mentor, or boss. Letters of recommendation give us the opportunity to learn about your strengths from a different perspective.

5. Perseverance

We understand that standardized testing (ACT/SAT) isn’t for everyone, which is why we have a test-optional policy for most of our programs. But, if you do choose to take the ACT or SAT, we recommend trying it more than once to see how you can improve and how it may benefit your future.

 

Erin Scott is an Admission Counselor within Butler’s Office of Admission. Erin works with students living in Northwest Indiana; Michigan: Ann Arbor, the Capital District, Detroit's Northern suburbs, and Wayne County; and Ohio: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake Counties, Northeast Ohio, and Southeast Ohio. 

 

 

 

Five Ways We See "The Butler Way" in Your Application

By Erin Scott - Admission Counselor
Hilary Buttrick
Campus

Hilary Buttrick Named Interim Dean of the Lacy School of Business

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jun 09 2020

Hilary Buttrick, who has served as an Associate Dean in Butler University’s Lacy School of Business (LSB) since January 2020, has been named the School’s Interim Dean, Provost Kate Morris announced today.

During her nearly eight years with Butler, Buttrick has demonstrated her commitment to students as Assistant, and then Associate Professor of Business Law. She also served as the Chair of the Department of Economics, Law, and Finance from June 2017 through June 2019, and as an Interim Associate Dean from July 2019 through December 2019. Buttrick teaches courses in Business Law and Business Ethics, drawing on her decade of experience as a practicing attorney to provide concrete examples for her students. She has also been responsible for leading and moderating the Lacy School of Business Ethics Series and podcast channel.

As Associate Dean in the LSB, Buttrick worked with faculty to develop a revised faculty governance structure, led college-wide faculty development programming, and contributed to LSB’s accreditation efforts. She also served on the LSB Strategic Planning Committee, President Danko’s Faculty Advisory Group, LSB’s Undergraduate Assurance of Learning Committee, and LSB’s Undergraduate Business Analytics Curricular Innovation Task Force. In the Indianapolis community, she is a member of the Board of Directors of Tindley Accelerated Schools.

“Hilary’s time as an Associate Dean has prepared her to lead LSB through an important transitional period,” Provost Morris says. “She has been an excellent advocate for our students and faculty, for LSB, and for Butler. I look forward to seeing all she is able to accomplish as she steps into the role of Interim Dean.”

Buttrick earned her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University in 1999 and completed her Juris Doctor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2002.

“I am honored to serve the LSB in this interim capacity,” Buttrick says. “ During my time at Butler, it has been a daily privilege to work with our students, faculty, and staff.  I look forward to continuing these relationships as we explore new ways to partner with the business community to deliver a world-class business education.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Hilary Buttrick
Campus

Hilary Buttrick Named Interim Dean of the Lacy School of Business

Buttrick had served as an Associate Dean in the Lacy School of Business (LSB) since January 2020

Jun 09 2020 Read more
Butler University
Campus

Butler University Announces the Appointment of Seven New Members to its Board of Trustees

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 08 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—Butler University today announced the appointment of seven new members to its Board of Trustees.

Tonya L. Combs, Joseph G. Eaton ’88, Michael K. Hole ’08, DuJuan McCoy ’89, Mark D. Minner ’12, Kathy Martin Harrison ’79, and Rob McConnell ’78 joined the 34-member Board, effective June 4.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome so many outstanding members to our Board,” Chairman Keith Faller says. “They bring an extremely valuable mix of talent, experience, and enthusiasm to help guide Butler forward as we continue to implement the University’s mission and strategic plan.”

In addition to welcoming new members, the board celebrated the service of four outgoing trustees: Jim Dickson ’95, Nick Musial ’02, Josh Smiley, and Alex Anglin ’10. They also remembered board member Kevin Morris ’95, who passed away in November 2019.

“We are grateful for the years of service and generosity these individuals dedicated to Butler University,” President James Danko said. “Their leadership has been tremendously valuable to our community in establishing Butler as an innovative leader in higher education.”

As of the June meeting, Keith Faller ’71 replaced Jatinder-Bir “Jay” Sandhu ’87 as Chair of the Board of Trustees (though Sandhu will continue to serve on the Board). Tracy Stevens became Vice Chair of the Board. Gary Aletto will continue serving as Treasurer, and Kathryn Betley will continue as Secretary.

The board bestowed the title of Trustee Emeritus upon two former board members, Dennis Bassett MBA ’79 and John Cooke ’62, in consideration of their exceptional service to the University.

 

More about the new Board members:

Tonya L. Combs serves as Vice President and Deputy General Patent Counsel at Eli Lilly and Company, where she advises senior leaders on intellectual property strategy. She also leads a group of experienced patent attorneys. Combs earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2001, and a juris doctor degree summa cum laude from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2006. She is an active member of the American Intellectual Property Association, who named her a Woman to Watch in January 2019. Combs is also an active member of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, where she currently serves as the co-chair of the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Issues Committee. She currently serves on the board of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and is a member of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Board of Trustees.

Joseph G. Eaton is a Partner in the Litigation Department at Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Co-Chair of the firm’s Toxic Tort Practice Group. He has represented clients throughout the U.S. in chemical exposure product liability and commercial litigation matters. Eaton earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Butler in 1988. He served as President of the Sigma Nu fraternity and was a member of the Butler football team. He earned a juris doctor degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1991. Eaton was named to the Butler “50 Under 50” list and previously served on the Butler Alumni Association Board of Directors. He and his wife, Florie Theofanis Eaton ’88, received the Mortar Award from the Butler Alumni Association in 2019. Eaton previously served on the boards of the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation and Advisory Council, the Fishers-HSE Youth Football Board, and TigerONE. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Youth Mentoring Initiative and Launch Fishers.

Michael Hole is a physician, professor, author, and entrepreneur at The University of Texas at Austin. He is a “street doctor” for children experiencing homelessness and founding director at Financial Health Studios, a university hub for health systems innovation. Hole has started four organizations: StreetCred, a national nonprofit helping low-income families file taxes at medical clinics; Early Bird, a scholarship fund for babies born into poverty; Good Apple, a grocery delivery company fighting child hunger; and Main Street Relief, a nationwide corps helping small businesses navigate economic crises. He has led campaigns that helped fund a new elementary school in Uganda, an orphanage in post-earthquake Haiti, and a new food product tackling malnutrition in developing countries. Hole was Butler’s top male student in 2008 before earning his M.D. and MBA from Stanford University and completing residency at Harvard University. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed and lay media publications. In 2016, Forbes placed him on America’s “30 under 30” list. In 2019, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush named Hole a Presidential Leadership Scholar.

DuJuan McCoy is Owner, President, and CEO of Circle City Broadcasting, LLC, a company he formed in May 2019 to purchase both the WISH-8 and WNDY-23 television stations from Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. Along with this acquisition, McCoy agreed to sell the television stations of his former company, Bayou City Broadcasting, to Allen Media Broadcasting. Founded in 2007, Bayou City Broadcasting was the only African-American-owned company to own and manage a Big-4 affiliate in the U.S. McCoy is now the only African American in the U.S. to own a major local news station (WISH TV) in a major market. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1989 from Butler, where he also ran track. McCoy completed the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcast Leadership Program in 2008. He is now a member of the NAB and is a Director of the NAB Television Board, the NAB Education Foundation, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, the Broadcasters Foundation of America, and the National Urban League. He was recognized at the Indy Black Expo as Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019.

Mark Minner serves as President & Chief Strategy Officer for the Indianapolis-based consulting firm FirstPerson. He is also a co-founder and partner of The Performance Lab, which works with leaders to build and develop high-performing organizations. Since 2013, Minner has served as the play-by-play “Voice of the Butler Bulldogs” for men’s basketball broadcasts on the PNC Butler Radio Network. He has called other sporting events for Fox Sports and the Big East Digital Network, as well as NCAA championships for Turner Sports. Minner is a 2012 graduate of Butler, with dual degrees in both Marketing and Electronic Journalism. In 2019, Minner was named to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list. In 2016, he was awarded Employee Benefit Advisors’ “Rising Star in Advising” honor. In the community, Minner is an active member of the Penrod Society, has served on the executive committee for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” event, serves on the board of Hillcrest Country Club, and is one of the founding board members of the non-profit organization Stay Positive.

Kathy Martin Harrison is the owner and CEO of the Ed Martin Automotive Group, founded by her father in 1955. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the company is the largest Indianapolis-area woman-owned business. Previously, Martin Harrison owned Martin Realty and KAH Designs. She attended Indiana University and Franklin College before transferring to Butler and earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1979. She is a member of Butler’s Board of Visitors and the LAS Dean’s Advisory Council. She is the Founder and past President of the Indy SurviveOars dragon boat racing team for breast cancer survivors. Martin Harrison was on the founding board of directors for the Ryan White Foundation in 1990. She was also on the founding committee who brought the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to Indianpaolis in 1991. She has served on many community boards, including for the Junior League of Indianapolis, Indiana Sports Corporation, YWCA, Lawrence Township School Foundation, and the John Stewart Foundation.

Rob McConnell is CEO of Indycoast Partners, an independent sponsor and consulting firm in Mergers & Acquisitions. Before Indycoast, he was CEO of Telecorps Holdings, Inc., parent of Wexler Video, Coffey Sound, and Telecorps Sales and Leasing. Prior to that, he was COO of Encoda Systems, following his time as President and CEO of Enterprise Systems Group, Inc., a predecessor to Encoda. He was involved in taking the company public, leading a going-private transaction, merging with an industry competitor, and completing several bank financings. He has also worked in the radio and TV broadcasting industry in various managerial, sales, and talent capacities. He has served as an expert witness in litigation in both state and federal courts in the areas of media, media technology, and misappropriation of trade secrets. McConnell is currently President of the Butler University Alumni Association.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

Center for Academic Technology
Alumni Success

This Team of Alumni Helped Butler Go Remote

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jun 04 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Butler University to move classes online in mid-March, the Center for Academic Technology (CAT) has been busy supporting faculty, staff, and students through the transition. While the demand for their services tripled, the CAT’s four Academic Technology Specialists put in the extra hours to make sure the heart of a Butler experience wasn’t lost in a virtual setting.

As a team made up of Butler grads, they know firsthand what makes the University special. Kristen Allen ’12 and Nick Wilson ’08 both completed undergraduate degrees at Butler, and Megan Grady, MA ’10 earned her master’s. Heather Hazelwood ’05, MS ’14 did both.

“Our whole team loves Butler,” Allen says. “We’re always excited to come alongside faculty to assist with classroom success.”

In recent months, that has meant working closely with instructors to mimic planned activities in an online setting. Faculty who felt most comfortable using overhead projectors switched to portable versions. Others used Zoom breakout rooms to provide spaces where students could continue collaborating in small groups to work on projects or practice foreign language skills. In some classes, interactive presentations were moved to online discussion boards, allowing students to still engage in meaningful conversations. 

“I’ve seen faculty get really creative with their solutions,” Allen says. “Many of them have come to us and explained what they value most in their classrooms, and it’s a lot of what you think about when it comes to Butler in general: deep relationships with students. They didn’t want to lose that in moving to this remote online learning environment.”

When the CAT team saw the virus begin the spread across the nation in mid-February, they knew they needed to come up with a plan. By the time the University quickly switched to remote learning a month later, they had developed a resource to help guide faculty through the transition: Keep Calm and Teach On. Grady, who oversees a team of student-employees in the Information Commons program, also led the creation of the student-focused companion site Keep Calm and Study On.

The CAT specialists say they’ve watched faculty from across the University grow more comfortable with a variety of technologies throughout the semester, discovering the power of these new tools while becoming more confident in their ability to continue using them even after students are back in the classroom.

 

Meet the Dawgs of the CAT:

 

Kristen Allen ’12
Major: Math Education

“I absolutely loved my time at Butler. My professors were awesome mentors, and they helped me figure out what I wanted to do. Now, working here, I have the chance to revisit so many of the great memories I have from being on campus as a student.

In my four years at Butler, I was one of the first student-employees to participate in the Information Commons partnership between Butler Libraries and the Center for Academic Technology. After graduating, I worked for a wealth management company and did some nonprofit work, but I always loved Butler. I always loved teaching and technology. When there was an opening with the CAT, I applied right away, and I was really happy to be part of the team.

We really do function as a team. A lot of our success comes from good communication. For as small as our staff is, I’ve been amazed by how much knowledge the members of our team have.”

 

Megan Grady, MA ’10
MA Program: Master of Arts in English

“My liberal arts education taught me to love learning, which has been really useful when it comes to technology. I love finding ways that technology can enhance education.

Before coming to Butler, I spent several years working in other roles where I was teaching teachers how to teach. But I think my heart was always very much into liberal arts, and I wanted to find a position that would challenge me to go beyond my current skill set and learn new things.

I love working with faculty, listening to what they want to accomplish in their classrooms, and thinking through which resources are available to help them do that. I love solving problems, and I love the challenge of helping people feel more comfortable with technology—to make them feel like it’s something that’s within their control—something that can actually help them be efficient.”

 

Nick Wilson ’08
Major: Electronic Media

“After graduating from Butler, I found a position as a technician for a local K-12 school district. That’s where I discovered a passion for teaching people how to use technology. But I always wanted to come back to Butler, and I jumped at the chance to work with the CAT.

I love the lightbulb effect—when people start to understand a technology and see its full potential. For example, during the COVID-19 crisis, many faculty members have tried new things and realized they might want to use those tools in all their classes moving forward.

The biggest way my Butler education prepared me was by teaching me The Butler Way. I really feel that Butler is different from the average university because our faculty are so connected with the students. You really create a relationship with the faculty, and I think that makes a big difference.”

 

Heather Hazelwood ’05, MS ’14
Major: Recording Industry Studies
MS Program: Effective Teaching and Leadership

“After working at Butler for almost 10 years now, I don’t feel like I work with co-workers—I feel like I work with family. That’s something I treasure. I have built deep relationships with faculty, which helps me support them in meaningful ways.

My parents both went to Butler, then my mom worked at the University when I was in high school, so Butler just always seemed like the natural choice for me. I graduated from the first class of the Recording Industry Studies program in 2005. After about five years of experience in the hotel and conference center audiovisual industry, I found myself looking for a change. It seemed only natural to return to my alma mater, which I thankfully did in January 2011.

I strive to be a solution finder, and to find joy in helping others improve their teaching for the benefit of students. I also do my best to put others' needs before my own. While these qualities seem innate, I can’t deny that my experience as a student at Butler helped mold me into the person and the Academic Technology Specialist I am today.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Center for Academic Technology
Alumni Success

This Team of Alumni Helped Butler Go Remote

Four grads in the Center for Academic Technology knew that strong relationships would be key to online learning

Jun 04 2020 Read more
COVID-19 CDC
Alumni Success

Keeping Up With the Data: Butler Grad Serves on CDC’s Global Pandemic Response

BY Kamy Mitchell ’21

PUBLISHED ON Jun 03 2020

“I have always known that I wanted to be active in a position where I could serve people,” says Kelsey Coy ’13.

Coy has dedicated her life to serving the public good. When starting her Butler University career as a Secondary Education major, she never dreamed of becoming a social epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—or of serving on an international task force during a global pandemic.

In her current role as an epidemiologist of Maternal Health with the CDC, Coy typically focuses on studying substance use and mental health before, during, and after pregnancy.  She recently published a paper on the prevalence of postpartum depression. She has also served on the emergency response for the lung injury epidemic associated with e-cigarette or vaping product use. That is, until she was deployed to the international task force for the CDC’s COVID-19 emergency response.

Now, Coy is studying the ways stay-at-home orders and other mitigation measures impact case counts. Using data from countries all over the world, she and her colleagues are able to provide insight into the unique ways this epidemic has impacted specific countries or general regions. Their work provides decision-makers with the information they need to fight the pandemic. Instead of working in the Emergency Operations Center at the CDC, Coy and her colleagues are working long hours at home, keeping up with the constantly changing data.

“The one thing I really want people to know is to check the CDC website and to trust that we are doing the best we can to keep the public safe,” she says. “There is no partisanship in the messaging. We work from the data, so the information we release is based on the data we have as we go. As data changes, and as our knowledge expands, our advice might change. But for now, it’s pretty simple: Wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay at home if you can. And be patient. Science points that this pandemic isn’t going to be the quickest thing.”

 

Drawn to The Butler Way

During her senior year of high school, Coy and her mother were driving home to Bloomington, Indiana, from a speech and debate competition. Even though she had applied to Butler, Coy had not yet visited the campus, so they decided to make a pit stop. It was the middle of winter break, and not many people were around as they roamed the sidewalks, but a student walked up and asked if Coy was thinking about coming to the University.

It turned out the student was a tour guide, and she offered to show Coy around. Coy remembers feeling a unique sense of kindness on Butler’s campus—what students refer to as The Butler Way—that was unlike any other campus she had visited. She also felt that Butler really cared about her and what she had to offer.

Coy discovered the field of epidemiology after reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, a biography about physician Paul Farmer’s work fighting tuberculosis, in her first-year seminar class.

“When I first learned what epidemiology was, it honestly felt like I had found my home,” Coy says. So, she changed her major to Biology and started finding opportunities to work on epidemiology research.

After graduating in 2013, Coy joined the Peace Corps and served for three years in Swaziland, now called the Kingdom of Eswatini. She didn’t want to attend graduate school right away, but she knew she wanted public health experience, as well as the opportunity to live abroad.

Upon returning to the United States, Coy attended the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in hopes of eventually working for the CDC. Lucky for Coy, during her second year of graduate school, she landed a global health internship with the organization.

Coy says her liberal arts education from Butler has been extremely valuable to her current position, as she thinks critically about the health data she approaches each day. For instance, the CDC has recently discovered that people of color are more likely to die from COVID-19. Coy is studying the social factors that drive this trend, thinking about the impacts of structural racism to better understand why this is happening.

“Butler set me up very, very well to start to question some of the things in our world,” Coy says.

 

Note: The statements made in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COVID-19 CDC
Alumni Success

Keeping Up With the Data: Butler Grad Serves on CDC’s Global Pandemic Response

Kelsey Coy’s role as an epidemiologist helps guide vital decision-making

Jun 03 2020 Read more

Navigating the College Search as a Student Athlete

By Andy White - Associate Director of Admission

Finding a college that is the perfect fit can be an overwhelming experience, but navigating this process as a prospective student athlete can easily add a layer of complexity that can leave students frustrated and confused. With the shared insights from our Butler University coaching staff, we are sharing several tips that may help as you zero in on the ideal academic and athletic experience.

 

Introduce Yourself

What is the best way to introduce yourself to a coach? In most instances, the first step is to complete a team-specific prospective student-athlete questionnaire. Once submitted, coaches recommend that you follow up with a bio containing academic and athletic information, links to highlights or skills videos, and upcoming competition schedules. Most coaches will agree that it is perfectly acceptable to reach out, but depending on the timing of your contact, NCAA recruiting rules might prohibit a coach from communicating with you.

Take Ownership in the Process

Without question, coaches want to hear directly from prospective student-athletes, so it is important to own your part of the conversation. Being your own advocate is the most effective way to show sincere interest in a program, especially if coaches don’t have you on their radars early in the recruitment process. On a related note, recruiting services can be beneficial, but they should never be a replacement for personal outreach.

Be Realistic

Coaches look everywhere as they work to build a roster. While it varies by sport, high school competitions, club events, national tournaments, identification camps, and unofficial campus visits are just a few ways to showcase your abilities. That being said, be patient and realistic about your talent level and expectations. Additionally, it’s a good idea to research a team’s roster needs and the likelihood that you will have an opportunity to compete right away.

Ask the Right Questions

Ask questions, even if they are difficult ones, simply because you owe it to yourself to find the right fit.

  • Academically: Be familiar with admission standards, as well as the teaching and learning environment of the campus.
  • Financially: Remember—most student-athletes are not on a full athletic scholarship, so openly communicate with the coaches about the possibility of athletic money and utilize the Net Price Calculator on each school’s financial aid website.
  • Athletically: make sure the coaching style, chemistry with potential teammates, facilities, and support services are all a good match.

After you have done your research, coaches recommend three to five schools as the ideal number to actively communicate with.

Have Fun

Above all else, this process should be fun. While some stress is inevitable, the search for the best academic and athletic fit will be one of the most exciting undertakings of your life, and we wish you all the best in your journey.

 

Andy White is an Associate Director of Admission within Butler’s Office of Admission. Andy works with students living in Colorado, Florida, and Hamilton County, Indiana.

Navigating the College Search as a Student Athlete

By Andy White - Associate Director of Admission

How to Spend 24-48 hours in Indianapolis for your Butler College Visit

Kelsey O’Shaughnessy ’14 - Admission Counselor

You’ve made the great choice to visit Butler University, and while you’re in town, we want you to check out some of our favorites places in the city. You will be able to explore our streets, eat like a local, and maybe spot some Butler students out and about.

 

Where to Stay

If you’re staying overnight, you’ll want to arrange your hotel accommodations. We don’t have hotel options within walking distance to campus, but you’ll find a handful in close driving distance. We partner with many national brand and boutique hotels to provide our visitors great recommendations and rates that can be viewed here. Hotels downtown will give you plenty of options for exploring within walking distance. The Northside (along 86th street) is where the major mall is located and is accessible by car.

Butler Campus Visit

When you’ve arrived in town, make your way to Butler for your visit. Enjoy your time on campus and make sure to check out our suggestions for things to notice during your tour. Once you’ve wrapped up your visit, it is time to tackle our highlights in Indianapolis.

Broad Ripple

Head to nearby Broad Ripple Village for lunch. This is where many Butler students spend time when they aren’t on campus. Some local favorites include 3 Sisters Cafe (once featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives), La Piedad, Bazbeaux Pizza, or Nicey Treat for a popsicle. The Monon Rail Trail allows you to explore different parts of Broad Ripple at a casual pace. Grab a cup of coffee at Monon Coffee Company and walk along the path to see a bit more of the Broad Ripple neighborhood.

Downtown Indianapolis

If you’re up for an afternoon adventure, make your way downtown and rent a bike from the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare, and ride on the Cultural Trail to see the Indianapolis Canal, NCAA Hall of Champions, and Victory Field. When you’re ready to eat again, stop along Massachusetts Avenue (or Mass Ave. as locals call it). The Eagle, Bakersfield, or Bru Burger are all great lunch or dinner options and will allow you to explore shops along the way.

Other Must-See Destinations

It may be time for you to head home, but if you’re staying in Indy a little longer, spend some time at Newfields, which houses the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This is located just west of Butler’s campus and is easily walkable from campus via the Canal Towpath trail. If it is a beautiful day outside, take a walk through the 100 acres of outdoor space that is free and open to the public.

Your last stop is a fan favorite: Cafe Patachou. Known for their great breakfast and lunch options, this is always a staple on an Indy tour. Located a few blocks east of campus, end your trip here with a side order of cinnamon sourdough toast. You will thank me later.

We think Indianapolis is a great backyard for Butler students to explore. Visiting the surrounding city during your college visits will allow you to determine if it could be a good fit for what you’re looking for in your college experience. We are so glad you included Butler and Indianapolis in your plans!

 

Kelsey O’Shaughnessy is an Admission Counselor within Butler’s Office of Admission. Kelsey works with students living in Iowa; New York state; “The Region” in Indiana; and the Quad Cities, Peoria, Decatur and Champaign, Illinois.

 

How to Spend 24-48 hours in Indianapolis for your Butler College Visit

Kelsey O’Shaughnessy ’14 - Admission Counselor

Three Ways to Improve your College Essay

By Tim See - Admission Counselor

Perspective
Too often, a student submits an essay that recounts an event, step by step, without providing enough of their own voice. Remember—what happened is not nearly as important as your perspective on what happened. How did it make you feel? What did you learn? Did you change? How did this impact you, not just immediately, but in a broader sense?

Not only does writing this way make for more effective and illuminating essays for an admission counselor (because we can learn more about you), it also opens up a world of potential topics. An interesting story does not make for an interesting essay if you have nothing to say about it.

 

Form
Before even reading a word, the form of your essay can set an expectation for the reader. As someone who reads a thousand essays a year, my heart drops when I scroll to the writing sample section of that Common App and see one long block of text. It is not a welcoming sight, and I become less excited to read its content.

By simply providing a title for your essay, and organizing your thoughts in paragraphs, your essay immediately becomes easier to digest and enjoy. This will also show that you meet a level of writing proficiency a college or university expects from its incoming students.

Beyond the basics, though, form can also be a way to grab a reader’s attention immediately. If you feel comfortable doing so, get creative with how your writing sample is formatted and presented. Lists, dialogue, lyrics, and poetry—if used effectively—can all pay off by differentiating an essay from the rest.

 

Play to Your Strengths
A college essay can have personality: Just make sure that it is yours. Do you love to make people laugh? Go ahead and add some humor. If not, steer clear of the knock-knock jokes because they will feel out of place. Does your extensive vocabulary allow you to beautifully wax-poetic about a given topic? Then wax on (a Karate Kid reference too old for anyone reading this, I know!). However, if you have relied heavily on the thesaurus to ensure that your essay sounds smart, those big words will probably stick out like a sore thumb, distract the reader, and lower the overall quality of your writing.

Basically, don’t write about what you think we want you to write about, and don’t write the way you think we want you to write (without ignoring basic rules of grammar). Play to your strengths, and let them work for you.

 

Tim See is an Admission Counselor within Butler’s Office of Admission. Tim works with students living in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and West Central Indiana.

 

Three Ways to Improve your College Essay

By Tim See - Admission Counselor

Eight Things to Know Before your Official College Visit to Butler University

By Katie Pfaff ’19 - Admission Counselor

The first time stepping on a college campus for an official visit can bring unexpected nerves and excitement as you imagine what the future could look like. Make the most of your upcoming campus visit to Butler by knowing these eight things.

1. Arrive Early

Give yourself plenty of time to make it to campus the day of your visit. Once you find a parking spot, you’ll want to make your way to Robertson Hall, where you will have a chance to mingle with current students and look over your schedule for the day.

2. Meet your Admission Counselor

Your first visit to campus provides a great opportunity to meet your admission counselor. Take the time to introduce yourself to and become familiar with this person, as they play an important role in visiting your hometown and reviewing your application.

3. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as finding the right college fit is important. Your questions and concerns are valid, and Butler students, staff, and faculty are eager to share their experience with you.

4. Visit Butler Blue IV

Perhaps one of the most memorable highlights of visiting is seeing the Official Mascot, Butler Blue IV. Keep your eyes open—you never know where you might see Blue exploring campus.

5. Take the Campus Tour

Dress for the weather, and put on your sneakers because you won’t want to miss the tour of campus! Butler Student Ambassadors are eager to give you the inside look of campus from Irvington House to Hinkle Fieldhouse.

6. Peek at your Surroundings

Notice the way people greet one another with a “Go Dawgs!” Or, get a glimpse of the action of someone who stops to hold the door for the person trailing behind them. Catch a conversation between students and professors between classes. This culture you witness is often referred to as The Butler Way, and it is what makes this campus community different from anything else you’ll see.

7. Snap a Picture

Capture your visit with a memorable picture with the stone Bulldog, the BU sign, or any other memorable spot on campus. Don’t forget to share it with us by tagging @butleru on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

8. Visit Again!

Know that your first visit to campus doesn’t have to be your last. Keep a look out for the many different visits and events available to dive deeper into campus and specific programs. You are always welcome at Butler!

 

Katie Pfaff is an Admission Counselor within Butler’s Office of Admission. Katie works with students living in Alabama; Texas; West and East Indiana; and North West, North Central, West Central, and Central Ohio. 

 

Butler Beyond

Butler Board Chair Makes Major Scholarship Gift in Honor of Father

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 18 2020

Chair of the Butler Board of Trustees Jatinder-Bir “Jay” Sandhu ‘87 and his wife Roop recently donated $250,000 to Butler University to establish the Chain S. Sandhu Scholarship for students studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. The endowed scholarship honors the legacy and leadership of Jay’s father Chain S. Sandhu, a successful entrepreneur and community leader who recently passed away after bravely battling cancer. Scholarships are a top funding priority of the Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign and have become even more critical due to the global COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted the financial circumstances of many current and incoming Butler students.

“Roop and I are so grateful to have the opportunity to honor my father’s legacy through a scholarship that will help deserving students to earn a Butler degree,” Sandhu says. “My father has had a profound impact on many lives as a boss, mentor, and friend, and he has always sought to open doors of opportunity for others. I can think of no better way to honor his extraordinary life than to offer the gift of a Butler education, which will surely open many doors of opportunity for future generations.”

Chain Sandhu emigrated from India in 1969 and purchased NYX, Inc., an automotive supplier in Livonia, Michigan, in 1989. Under Chain’s leadership, NYX grew from 30 employees and $2 million in sales to 4,200 employees in five countries and nearly $700 million in sales, becoming one of Michigan’s largest minority-owned companies. The Chain S. Sandhu Scholarship will be awarded to students with financial need with preference for recipients of the Dr. John Morton-Finney Leadership Award or the 21st Century Scholarship. In 2018, Jay and Roop Sandhu also donated $1 million to Butler University to support construction of the new building for the Lacy School of Business, naming the building’s stunning rooftop garden in honor of Chain.

“The Sandhu family exemplifies the highest values of Butler University. We are honored to celebrate Chain Sandhu’s legacy through the newly-established endowed scholarship, as well as the Chain S. Sandhu Rooftop Garden at Butler,” says Butler President James Danko.

Butler recently committed an additional $10 million in financial aid for incoming and current students in response to the COVID-19 crisis. One of the goals of the University’s new Butler Beyond strategic direction is to expand access to a more diverse set of learners in keeping with Butler’s founding mission. Philanthropic support of student scholarships is critical to achieving this vision for Butler’s future.

“At a time when many of our current and prospective students are facing financial challenges due to the unforeseen effects of this pandemic, providing access to education through a scholarship is an especially meaningful gift,” says Vice President for Enrollment Management Lori Greene. “Butler University is deeply grateful to the Sandhu family for their generosity to our students, and we look forward to celebrating Chain’s life and legacy every year by awarding this scholarship to a deserving student following in his footsteps.”

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, with a goal of $250 million. The campaign will conclude on May 31, 2022.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler Beyond

Butler Board Chair Makes Major Scholarship Gift in Honor of Father

The $250,000 gift establishes the Chain S. Sandhu Scholarship for students studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation

May 18 2020 Read more
COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 13 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—This summer, Butler University will offer a free online class to help incoming students learn about and reflect on the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Encouraging students to find learning opportunities despite the uncertainty of this situation, the one-credit-hour course will be taught by a team of 14 faculty members from across the University. It will address the impact that COVID-19 has had on how we perceive various disciplines, how students learn, how professionals teach, and how both individuals and organizations respond during challenging times.

“We want to show our incoming students how current Butler students, faculty, and staff have really rallied in this past semester to make the best of a very difficult situation,” says Anne Wilson, Professor of Chemistry and faculty lead for the online class. “We feel that this course will offer an opportunity for incoming students to learn more about the Butler community they are about to enter, explore the impacts of COVID-19 in an academic environment, and reflect on what they have learned about their own adaptability and resilience.”

Starting in late June and running through the rest of the summer, the course will cover topics such as basic facts about COVID-19, the process of developing a vaccine, the presentation of data related to the virus, and the use of technology in disaster management. Students will also reflect on what the switch to online learning has meant for education since the beginning of the pandemic—and how that might change schooling for years to come.

At the end of the term, each student will create a culminating project that shares their response to the course material and discussions.

“I am so grateful for our talented faculty who have taken the time to create this opportunity for incoming students to build a stronger connection with Butler,” says Kathryn Morris, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This demonstrates the wonderful initiative and innovation that is so central to our community.”

After paying the $500 enrollment deposit, incoming students can sign up for the course on their student status page. Students should enroll before June 15, 2020.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COVID-19 course
Student-Centered

Butler Offers Free Online Course About COVID-19 to Incoming Students

The class will help students connect with the Butler community while reflecting on effects of a global crisis

May 13 2020 Read more
istock
Student-Centered

Q&A: How Can You Find a Job During a Pandemic?

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON May 05 2020

Since mid-March, more than 30 million people across the United States have lost their jobs. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on the economy, many organizations are also eliminating vacant positions and placing a freeze on new hires.

That can be scary for students in the Class of 2020, who are graduating into a job market with the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. But according to Sierra Mathews, a Career Advisor in Butler University’s Office of Career and Professional Success (CaPS), there are a few ways job seekers can take more control of their careers.

 

How should students approach the job search during this time?

First, have compassion for yourself. Whatever you’re feeling, whether it be anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, or panic, allow yourself to feel those emotions fully. Don’t feel like you have to put on a face of “I’ve got this all together,” because nobody does right now.

My second piece of advice is to explore. Think about where your skill set might be valuable outside the career you’ve been planning for. For instance, our arts majors have learned so much when it comes to creativity, adaptability, and collaboration. Those skills are so useful, even outside the arts realm. The same goes for our liberal arts and sciences students. There are so many applications for those critical thinking and writing skills, even if the jobs you want aren’t hiring right this second.

To determine which companies are still hiring, and therefore provide clearer resources for students, CaPS has been working closely with our network of employers. This has helped us steer job seekers more toward industries such as healthcare, pharmacy, business analytics, software development, nonprofit work, and others that have been least affected by the pandemic. 

Students can also consider options they might have never thought of before. For some, that means pursuing fields outside their majors. For others, it might mean taking a gap year to do something like the AmeriCorps VISTA program, or accepting a paid internship instead of a full-time job.

Finally, I talk to students about exploring their networks. Who do you know, and who do they know? Use tools like LinkedIn and Bulldogs Connect to find people who work in the fields you’re interested in. Ask them about how they got to where they are, or what they love about that industry. Right now, everyone is craving human interaction. Reaching out and building those relationships will pay off later. Once applications open back up, they’ll know who you are.

 

When it comes to the actual application, how can students stand out?

Networking is the most important thing you can do to stand out, but there are a few other ways to make yourself a more appealing candidate. Most of us know we’re supposed to tailor cover letters for each job, but you should really be doing the same with your résumé—especially now. Look closely at job descriptions, and pay attention to how companies describe themselves. What keywords do they use? Implement those into both your résumé and cover letter. For applicants in creative fields like marketing, communications, arts, and so on, you might even think about incorporating some of the company’s fonts and colors.

 

How can the CaPS Office help?

If you are still figuring out what you want to do, we can help with discovering careers that best match your interests and skills. During the application process, we can assist with building stronger résumés, cover letters, and LinkedIn pages. We also provide interview training.

But our office does more than just individual coaching: We also host workshops and fairs designed to help all students and alumni advance in their careers. While these events are currently held virtually, they provide great opportunities to engage directly with employers who want to work with Butler students and alumni. To view upcoming events and available jobs, check out our online portal through Handshake.

All of our services are free for Bulldogs for life. If you’re a current student who doesn’t have a résumé, we’re here for you. If you’re an alumnus who has lost your job or been furloughed, we’re here for you, too. Our office is here to help, wherever you are, every step of the way.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

istock
Student-Centered

Q&A: How Can You Find a Job During a Pandemic?

Butler career advisor Sierra Mathews offers tips for approaching the job search in the midst of economic crisis

May 05 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

Pharmacy Students to Fill Indy’s Prescription for Hand Sanitizer

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 30 2020

A small group of Pharmacy graduate students will briefly step away from their long-term research projects to help fill a need for the Indianapolis community.

Utilizing their lab skills, Victor Anguiano, Mohammed Ramadan, and Zach Todd are mixing up gallons of hand sanitizer to donate to Circle City hospitals, as well as homeless shelters, nursing homes, and domestic abuse treatment centers. Funding for the project came from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS). Pharmacy faculty members Sudip and Nandita Das are supervising the project, which will distribute the sanitizer in 200-milliliter bottles.

The recipe contains 75 percent alcohol, making it more effective than some products once found on store shelves.

“We’re working from specifications set up by the World Health Organization, and we’re meeting their standards to make it efficient,” says Anguiano, who also works in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry. “Everything’s been verified.”

Anguiano says the entire process should take two days: Day one will consist of mixing the sanitizer and leaving it to settle overnight. Day two will be for bottling and distribution.

The process of making hand sanitizer is easy, especially for Pharmacy researchers. Combining the alcohol with glycerol only takes 10 minutes in lab mixers. The glycerol gives the sanitizer a gel-like consistency and a hydrating element. The students kept the recipe simple, excluding scents or other frills that would slow down the process.

“Being pharmacy students, this is one of the main ways we are able to contribute,” Anguiano says. ”We have a responsibility to make an impact in this fight.”

Professor of Pharmaceutics Sudip Das says many Butler students, staff, and faculty members are helping the community—and beyond—during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is proud of the students who are taking time out of their research to lend a hand.

“The No. 1 thing is that you do whatever you can during this humanitarian crisis,” Das says. “We are trying to make sure people know that COPHS is in the fight against this pandemic, and we want everyone to be safe and healthy.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

istock
Experiential Learning

Pharmacy Students to Fill Indy’s Prescription for Hand Sanitizer

A trio of graduate students will make 50 liters of sanitizer for donation to community programs and facilities

Apr 30 2020 Read more
ethics series
Campus

Lacy School of Business Launches New Podcast as Part of Ethics Series

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 28 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—The Lacy School of Business Ethics Series, presented by Old National Bank, is launching a new three-part podcast series featuring conversations with top business leaders as they explore how COVID-19 is affecting the way they work and the communities they serve.

The series kicks off with Old National Bank Chairman and CEO Jim Ryan in a conversation with Hilary Buttrick, an Associate Dean in the Lacy School of Business.

“When we launched this ethics series in February with whistleblower Tyler Schultz, we weren’t planning on the leap to podcasting” Buttrick says. “With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt like more than ever, the question is, ‘How do we lead ethically in times of crisis?’ With access to three companies in our backyard that are listed among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies, being able to share their insights and conversation over a broad, accessible platform seemed to be the best way to continue our series.”

The other two conversations will be with Andrew Penca, Executive Director of Supply Chain, Engine Business at Cummins, and Melissa Stapleton Barnes, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Eli Lilly and Company.

“It’s also times like these when creativity and partnerships take hold,” Buttrick says. “When we had the idea to record a podcast, the Butler Arts & Events Center team was available to help us record and produce the final products. It’s exciting to be part of a campus community that can pivot quickly to deliver timely content.”

This series is the first for the new Lacy School of Business Ethics Series Podcast. Episodes can be found on Spotify and BuzzSprout. The first episode, a conversation with Old National Bank Chairman and CEO Jim Ryan, is available now. More information about the series can be found at Lacy Business Ethics Series Podcast.

 

About Lacy School of Business Ethics Series, presented by Old National Bank: 
The series is part of our journey to become the Midwest's leader in Business Ethics Education and Ethical Leadership. Our goal is to continue to exemplify ethical practice and leadership development for our students, future leaders, and the community as a whole through a series of events and podcasts.

 

About Butler Arts & Events Center: 
The Butler Arts & Events Center (BAEC) is Central Indiana’s premiere home for diverse performing arts programming and education on the beautiful campus of Butler University. Its venues welcome more than 200,000 visitors annually, with 30,000 from the student matinee series.  The BAEC is comprised of five venues, including its flagship 2100-seat Clowes Memorial Hall; the Schrott Center for the Arts with 475 seats; Shelton Auditorium with nearly 400 seats; Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall with 135 seats, and Lilly Hall Studio Theatre. Programming includes the Butler Arts Presents series, BAEC’s Education Matinee Series, Jordan College of the Arts performances, Broadway In Indianapolis shows, various Butler lecture series, performances from local performing arts organizations, and a variety of national touring shows.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

ethics series
Campus

Lacy School of Business Launches New Podcast as Part of Ethics Series

The three-part podcast series features business leaders discussing effects of COVID-19 pandemic

Apr 28 2020 Read more
istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

BY Brian Weidner

PUBLISHED ON Apr 27 2020

Over the last two months, the coronavirus pandemic has forced universities around the world to shut down campuses and rethink how classes are held. As an Assistant Professor of Music Education here at Butler University, I and my fellow faculty have faced unique challenges in moving typically hands-on experiences to an online setting, but we are making the best of this and learning to adjust.

For instance, several of our courses involve a practicum component with local K-12 schools that have also switched to distance learning. But that doesn’t mean we are eliminating this important experience for our students. Instead, we have found other ways to engage with these schools, in some cases providing even richer opportunities. Our students have been teaching small-group lessons via Zoom, helping K-12 teachers design online modules, providing feedback on submitted videos, and recording instrument demonstrations.

My Brass Techniques course also posed a challenge. Back on campus, this group met in-person at 8:00 AM. But about half my students now live in other time zones. If we held the class synchronously over Zoom, they would have to be up and playing brass instruments before their families are even awake.

So, we adapted. I’m using many of the same tools our partner K-12 teachers have been using to provide flexibility for students. We’ve experimented with Flipgrid, Acapella, and various social media platforms, reflecting on how these tools enhance Butler students’ own learning as well as how they might use these resources for their own teaching in the future.

Perhaps the biggest challenge has been recognizing that music courses are simultaneously academic and social. Many of our students are hurting from the social disconnect of this experience, and the music education faculty—along with our student National Association for Music Education (NAfME) chapter—have been working to bridge that gap.

Every day, we now have an open Zoom call at lunch time. At least one faculty member is there to chat with any students who want to join. On Fridays, our NAfME chapter hosts activity lunches. These have included cooking classes led by my children, yoga with one of our flute professors, and trivia. We have also stayed connected through social media and started biweekly “living room concerts” where anyone can share a performance or listen to others perform.

No online platform can replace being in the classroom with one another, or the opportunity for spontaneous chats in the hallway. Still, we are doing all we can to maintain the experience of being a Butler music student—even while miles from campus.

 

To stay connected during the switch to online learning, music students from Butler University's Jordan College of the Arts have been holding biweekly “living room concerts” through Zoom—providing a chance for anyone to share a performance or listen to others perform. Here's a look back at some moments from their concert on April 9, 2020.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 

istock
Student-Centered

What Does an Online Music Class Look Like?

JCA’s Brian Weidner explains how he’s meeting the challenge of holding remote music education courses

Apr 27 2020 Read more
istock
Experiential Learning

In Switch to eLearning, Butler Student-Teacher Finds What Matters Most

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 24 2020

Patrick Conway, a senior Secondary Education major at Butler University, spent three days student-teaching in a seventh-grade classroom before the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools across the nation to move online.

Now, as he continues his own Butler coursework remotely, he’s back home in Naperville, Illinois. But that isn’t stopping him from staying connected with his students at Zionsville West Middle School.

“The College of Education really emphasizes that you need to be flexible as a teacher,” Conway says. “Not every day is going to look the same. Not every lesson is going to look the same. That’s helped me adjust now. I am going with the flow and doing my best to help these students learn.”

For Conway, that has meant experimenting with new technologies and redesigning class content to fit the online space. Group work becomes individual projects. Interactive simulations become research papers. But Conway says the transition has given him a chance to focus on the most important parts of the curriculum, narrowing down ideas to spend more time on key points.

“Obviously, I would still prefer to be in the classroom,” he says. “But this situation has made all teachers reflect more on what we’re teaching. In the long-term, I think it might make classes and learning better.”

Conway says being physically separated from students has given him more appreciation for time spent in the classroom, and it reminds teachers how important it is to build relationships and provide support.

“For some of these students who maybe don’t have access to food at home, or whose parents are struggling with the effects of the pandemic, school might not be the most important thing right now,” Conway says. “So you still have to be there for them any way you can.”

Free online tools like FlipGrid, which Conway uses to create and share daily videos, have been key for staying connected with students and providing engaging lessons. Conway is using this time to explore new technologies, planning for how he might keep using them even after class is back in the classroom.

“You can be told over and over to always be ready for the unexpected,” he says, “but once you actually experience it, you are so much more prepared moving forward. We’re just all staying flexible and learning new things together. Teachers are a resilient group of people, and we are working hard to make this the best possible experience for our students.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

istock
Experiential Learning

In Switch to eLearning, Butler Student-Teacher Finds What Matters Most

Adapting to a pandemic, Patrick Conway develops new online content for seventh-graders at Zionsville West Middle School

Apr 24 2020 Read more
virus image
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Helps Americans See Coronavirus Up Close

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22 2020

You’ve probably seen the images flooding the news of floating spheres covered in spikes—an up-close view of the microscopic 2019-nCoV particles that cause COVID-19 and have changed our lives in so many ways over the past two months. The depictions provide a concrete visual for something otherwise so abstract to most people. There are many things we still don’t know about the novel coronavirus, but at least we know roughly what it looks like.

That’s all thanks to a team of artists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—where Austin Athman ’09 works as a Visual Information Specialist.

At Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, science and art collide. After high-power microscopes capture black-and-white images of disease samples, Athman and his colleagues in the Visual and Medical Arts Unit use digital tools to add colors and details that bring the photos to life.

The end result is a colorized image that helps scientists better understand the virus particles—which are about 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair—as well as put a face to a top enemy for the general public.

When COVID-19 arrived in the United States, Athman’s lab received a sample of the coronavirus from one of the first patients.

“As soon as we had the sample,” Athman says, “we started taking pictures, colorizing them in Photoshop, and putting them on the NIAID Flickr website. The next day, we already saw the images being used by major news outlets across the country.”

Now, Athman has completed more than 15 different colorizations of COVID-19 images, along with a 3D model that can be printed and studied. Beyond providing compelling visuals for news stories, adding color helps scientists communicate their research.

Athman starts by sitting down with scientists and microscopists to learn more about what he’s looking at in the black-and-white photo. His colorized images are usually meant to accompany research publications, highlighting the features scientists are referring to in the text.

“If I can get a scientist to sit down and explain what something looks like in common language,” Athman says, “it helps people outside the lab understand something about science in a way words can’t always do.”

Athman wants viewers to look at the most important part of the image, and that’s where art comes in. Using photo editing software, he starts by adding highlights and shadows that bring depth to the otherwise flat-looking photos. He also rotates and crops the images in a way that guides the eye to desired focal points.

Then comes the color. The scientists and artists don’t know what the particles’ true colors are, or if the diseases even have color. But they choose palettes that make the photos more engaging and understandable while still appearing realistic.

 

 

While Athman has always enjoyed science, he says he doesn’t actually have much formal experience in the field. At Butler University, his degrees were in Music and Multimedia Studies. But he grew up near his current lab and first got involved with the NIAID when, back in high school, he applied for an internship that would let him explore his interest in graphic design. He started the internship as a high school junior, then returned each summer to work full time. When he graduated from Butler in 2009, he accepted a permanent position and has been at the lab ever since.

“Recently, I’ve been focusing on the COVID-19 images,” he says about his day-to-day work. “But when we aren’t in pandemic mode, I do all kinds of visual things. I draw illustrations, design graphs, edit videos, and create scientific animations.”

With the COVID-19 colorizations, Athman says it has felt strange to see his work all over the news so suddenly. But it’s not the first time his art has been on a national stage. Until now, a colorization of HIV particles was his most popular image, appearing for years on almost any article related to HIV. Several of his colorizations are also featured in a Smithsonian exhibit called Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World, currently open at the National Museum of Natural History and available digitally here. One of his Bubonic Plague colorizations was published in a 2013 issue of National Geographic—fulfilling one of Athman’s childhood dreams.

“It’s a new thing almost every day,” he says. “You never get bored. And this merge of art and science—I think a lot of people aren’t really aware this kind of field exists.”

 

Photos courtesy of the NIAID

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

virus image
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Helps Americans See Coronavirus Up Close

At the NIH, Austin Athman ’09 is part of a team that captures images of microscopic diseases

Apr 22 2020 Read more
Wendy Meaden with SWAG gowns
Innovation

Butler Theatre Gives Health Professionals SWAG

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22 2020

Butler Theatre faculty and staff are utilizing their skills and passion to keep healthcare professionals safe worldwide.

The Indianapolis-born Safer With A Gown (SWAG) project is helping remedy isolation gown shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic by urging home-crafters to download their medical isolation gown patterns. Butler Costume Shop Manager Megan Wiegand, Theatre Professor Wendy Meaden, and Deborah Jo Barrett, Production and Stage Manager for the Jordan College of Arts, joined the collective in mid-March. Meaden drafted the gown pattern, which is to be printed out and pieced together as a blueprint similar to purchased patterns from a fabric store. When finished, the isolation gowns would be donated to a community healthcare facility.

Wendy Meaden at home
Theatre Professor Wendy Meaden prepares to creat another SWAG gown at home.

The SWAG website states “that these gowns are critical to the safety of doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and home health care workers to keep them safe when they are in close contact with patients.

So far, SWAG has received more than 2,500 downloads. The organizers received word that some expert-level sewers have crafted several gowns. So much stitching adds up.

"I have made only a handful of gowns for SWAG," Meaden says, "but if each of the 2,000 people who downloaded the pattern made only one gown, or two, it would make a huge difference."

Wiegand digitized the work, making it downloadable as a PDF. 

Meaden says the gown’s design would take a novice sewer about an hour to prepare the pattern and two hours to sew together. More experienced crafters can get it done in half that time. Of course, the more gowns you make, the quicker the process becomes.

“I’ve noticed as I’ve been sharing this pattern around,” Meaden says, “so many people really want to help in any way they can. I think we all feel good about creating something that is very satisfying. That’s one of the reasons I got into design.”

Most SWAG stitchers have used bolts of fabric or lightly used or new bed sheets as gown material. Meaden recommends tightly-woven cotton or a cotton polyester blend for best protection.

“Cotton is the most comfortable for the wearer,” Meaden says. “The poly blend will make a little better of a barrier.”

Butler Theatre joined SWAG in mid March thanks to Barrett, who is friends with the Indianapolis family that came up with the idea. As soon as she heard of the need to draft a gown pattern for the project, Barrett immediately thought of Wiegand and Meaden.

“There wasn’t a moment of hesitation from Wendy and Megan,” Barrett says. “Our first line medical professions need all the help they can get and I just think it’s wonderful that there’s this opportunity that the public can help.”

Dr. Deanna Willis, an Indianapolis family physician and primary care doctor, is the aunt and mother of some of the young SWAG starters. She says most factory-made gowns are going to large hospitals nationwide. The shortages are being felt most in smaller healthcare facilities like urgent care clinics and homecare programs.

“Microdroplets can stay suspended in the air quite a while,” Willis says. “These gowns provide a really important source of protection for those folks.”

Meaden consulted with Willis in the gown’s design, and Willis says she was impressed with their approach. They asked questions about medical professionals’ activities during shifts.

“It’s designed to be simple, not a lot of ties for taking on and off,” says Willis, also a Professor of Family Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "They really understand that the garments must be functional. The choice of materials, how they are constructed, and how they are worn are all part of that."

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Wendy Meaden with SWAG gowns
Innovation

Butler Theatre Gives Health Professionals SWAG

Members of the program lent their skills for Indianapolis’ Safer With A Gown project for healthcare workers during COVID-19

Apr 22 2020 Read more
Lori Desautels
Butler Experts

How to Care for Children’s Minds During COVID-19

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 17 2020

Emotions are contagious.

During a time of crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s natural to feel scared. It’s normal to feel stressed, anxious, or angry. But especially for teachers, parents, and other adults working closely with children, Lori Desautels says it’s important to understand how those feelings can affect those around you.

The Butler University College of Education Assistant Professor, whose work in educational neuroscience focuses on strategies to help students who have experienced adversity or trauma, is now developing new resources specific to this time of pervasive fear and uncertainty.

“When this started, we were all thrown,” Desautels says. “Even in that first week when we started seeing places close, schools began reaching out to me, concerned about how to support their students through the switch to e-learning.”

For many children, school is a safe place. It’s where their friends are, where they’ve built connections with teachers and other adults outside the home. For those who were already dealing with adversity, this global pandemic can add another layer to the trauma.

Families are already seeing the effects, Desautels says. Children are growing scared, restless, or angry about all they’ve lost this year. When it comes to schoolwork, some are just shutting down.

So over the last few weeks, school districts across Indiana and as far as Iowa and Colorado have asked Desautels to help with this transition. She is now creating weekly videos on topics related to COVID-19—like this one where she discusses the power of nonverbal communication, or this one with strategies to help calm the brain.

“I’m trying to keep up with emails from schools asking how they can help their families and their teachers,” she says. “We are seeing a collision of roles: Teachers need to also parent, and parents need to also teach. Some parents have lost their jobs or are feeling other pressures, putting them in a survival state of just trying to function. This is where emotional contagion is happening. The stress of all of this is felt by our children.”

According to Desautels, there are three conditions that the mind just can’t handle, and the COVID-19 pandemic hits all of them.

 

  1. Chronic unpredictability: To help ease the stress of this widespread uncertainty we’re experiencing, Desautels recommends building and following routines wherever possible. Even if kids can’t know when they’ll be able to go back to school, parents and teachers can create predictable schedules for things like meals and play time. Desautels also suggests setting up at-home “amygdala first aid stations”—designated areas where children can go to relax.

 

  1. Isolation: Desautels says building connections with students should always be a priority for teachers, but now more than ever, maintaining those relationships is key. When you can’t see kids in person each day, this means being extra intentional. “If you can,” she says, “reach out with a phone call or text. Remind students you are only a keyboard away if they need you. You could also use this time to write a letter of gratitude to each student, sharing a memory of them you will always cherish. Focus on connection: Academics should come second during this time.”

 

  1. Physical and emotional restraint: Look for opportunities to get moving and stay active. “I’m also encouraging teachers and parents to give kids a lot of choice, grace, and emotional wiggle room at this time,” Desautels says. “Give them some space. Let them feel safe with you.”

 

And just as parents and teachers try to ease their children’s anxiety, Desautels emphasizes the need to care for their own minds, as well.

“It takes a calm brain to calm another brain,” she says. “The good news is that our brains are built for resiliency. They are built to repair and to heal. They are constantly trying to find that balanced place where we can think clearly, pay attention, and focus.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Lori Desautels
Butler Experts

How to Care for Children’s Minds During COVID-19

COE's Lori Desautels offers guidance for educators and parents as pandemic causes uncertainty, isolation, and restraint

Apr 17 2020 Read more
test optional
Admission

Butler Adopts Test-Optional Admission Policy

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 15 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—In a commitment to provide support and improve access for prospective students during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, Butler University will no longer require applicants to submit standardized test scores. This applies to high school seniors in the Class of 2021, as well as to all incoming classes thereafter.

Beginning with first-year and transfer undergraduate applicants for the fall 2021 semester, the Butler Office of Admission will not require ACT and/or SAT scores for admission to the University. Some graduate programs will also waive requirements for GMAT and/or GRE scores. This change reflects Butler’s commitment to a holistic admission review process, offering flexibility as test-taking opportunities are canceled and future testing dates remain uncertain.

Applicants who still prefer to provide their test scores will be able to do so, and those scores will be considered alongside other application materials. Select undergraduate programs may still require or encourage the submission of test scores.

“As admission officers, we are very aware that the college application process may be stressful in any given year,” says Lori Greene, Butler’s Vice President for Enrollment Management. “Add the complexity of the COVID-19 crisis, and that process can be simply overwhelming. Our goal is to provide some clarity and reassurance to prospective students who are interested in the Butler experience, so they don’t need to worry about when and/or if standardized tests will be offered.”

More details about this change to the application process will be communicated to prospective students in the coming weeks through the Butler admission website. Students are encouraged to contact their admission counselors at any time to receive personalized support. Counselor information can be found here.

Butler’s test-optional admission policy will go into effect starting with the August 1, 2020, application opening for the 2021-2022 academic year and remain in effect for future admission cycles.

 

Learn more here.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

test optional
Admission

Butler Adopts Test-Optional Admission Policy

Beginning with the fall 2021 incoming class, Butler will no longer require standardized test scores on applications

Apr 15 2020 Read more
budis
Alumni Success

Pharmacy Alumni: We Are ‘Clinical Activists’ During COVID-19 Pandemic

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13 2020

Matt Budi ’15 and Erin Budi ’15 met in the Butler University Pharmacy program, worked hard through rigorous classes, and fell in love. They graduated together and later married after establishing themselves as well-trained pharmacists in Indianapolis.

Today, they are among the thousands of healthcare professionals serving Central Indiana during a global pandemic.

While the Budis work at different pharmacies, their experiences are similar. Both have seen their over-the-counter medication shelves wiped clean. They’ve had to ramp up efforts to ensure their customers and staff members stay safe—cleaning every hour, maintaining six feet of distance from one another, and frequently washing hands. Counters, labs, and offices are thoroughly disinfected, and staff members working registers must wash their hands after taking money or health insurance cards from customers.

The precautionary measures have been in place since early- to mid-March, when President Donald Trump enacted travel bans and when Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb first announced the shelter-in-place order.

“We’ve learned a lot since we graduated, but this has been a different experience the last couple months,” says Matt Budi, Manager at a Kroger pharmacy. “That first week, especially, was one of the busiest weeks that I and my wife had ever worked in pharmacy. There was a very high increase in demand. Since then, it has kind of leveled off, but we’re still at a high volume.”

Matt Budi keeps his team up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information. And with healthcare facilities loaded with patients suffering from the coronavirus, he welcomes questions from customers over the phone.

A Staff Pharmacist at a Walgreens, Erin Budi recommends customers—especially elderly patients—use the pharmacy’s drive-through, if possible. She says she’s used to busy shifts, but the nature of the virus has added some stress to the job.

“Not knowing what you may have been exposed to throughout the day and being in contact with many, many people at the pharmacy counter, we have to take extra precautions,” Erin Budi says. “When we come home, we wash our hands, sanitize the door, and wash our work clothes. Although we’re not actively taking care of sick people, customers may be carrying the coronavirus and not knowing it.”

Matt Budi’s pharmacy has a walk-up window, and Kroger has worked with FedEx to offer free prescription deliveries. During the pandemic, shipments have increased, and customers now receive free shipping.

Matt Budi recommends that anyone needing regular prescriptions take advantage of 90-day doses. Not only will it eliminate trips to the pharmacy, the option is less expensive in the long run through insurance plans and discount cards.

“We’re trying to limit customers’ exposure and save them money, especially with some people now out of work,” he says. “It’s like buying in bulk, as opposed to three 30-day fills, and it gives our staff more time to focus on clinically-oriented tasks.”

While a COVID-19 vaccine is still being developed, Matt Budi’s customers still require vaccines for hepatitis, whooping cough, pneumonia, shingles, and other common diseases. When administering the shots, staff must wear medical masks, as do the customers. He says while the coronavirus is rightfully dominating headlines, his customers still need care for their other maladies. He and his staff are making more calls to customers to check in on their health, especially with immunocompromised patients.

“Other conditions don’t go away,” Matt Budi says. “We’re trying to move away from just the dispensing role, instead moving more toward being clinical activists for our patients, looking out for their therapy management.”

Both Matt and Erin have utilized their Butler Pharmacy training in professional practice, from compounding medications and dosage forms to accurately taking blood pressure and applying methods to put patients at ease. Their overall experience at the University has especially come in handy this past month.

“We were taught to critically think and apply the knowledge outside of just what we learned in class, which has definitely been helpful,” Matt Budi says. “That’s just the culture at Butler: hard work, determination, and taking care of other people.”

 

Photo courtesy of Matt Budi

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

budis
Alumni Success

Pharmacy Alumni: We Are ‘Clinical Activists’ During COVID-19 Pandemic

Indianapolis pharmacists Matt and Erin Budi have maintained patient care through more deliveries, 90-day supplies 

Apr 13 2020 Read more
Ethan King in Africa
Student-Centered

Butler Soccer Player Kicks in Coronavirus Aid with United 19

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13 2020

Soccer is a passion for millions worldwide, and Butler University junior Ethan King has enhanced that global love—and the lives of thousands of children overseas—by supplying them with new soccer balls and clean drinking water.  

Through his nonprofit organization, Charity Ball, King has coordinated donations of hundreds of soccer balls to children in 50 countries. Most destinations are impoverished, including villages where children play the sport by kicking around makeshift balls of garbage wrapped in plastic and twine. Charity Ball recently expanded its reach, thanks to Level the Field, a program within the organization that supplies balls to girls’ soccer teams and clubs. Half of Charity Ball deliveries now go to girls.

Today, however, soccer fields from Indianapolis to India are mostly empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Beautiful Game” is on hold, but King is drawing on his Charity Ball contacts for his latest initiative, United 19. This program will educate African villages on the dangers of the coronavirus and how to slow its spread, especially in areas with high rates of immunocompromised individuals already suffering from HIV, dysentery, and other diseases.

Ethan King dribbles the ball.
Ethan King dribbles the ball for Butler in a 2018 match versus Marshall.

“These places don’t really have hospitals or healthcare systems to help them stay healthy,” says King, an Entrepreneurship and Innovation major and forward on the Butler Men’s Soccer team. “We’re trying to take preventative action. We’re trying to give people the resources and advocacy they need and deserve.”

In collaboration with his father Brian King’s clean water organization, Vox, King is setting up prevention programs for workers from Vox to implement in the villages. He is identifying communities he has worked with for Charity Ball as areas in need of clean water, which assists in proper handwashing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s essential for people to have clean water to wash their hands,” King says. “When the water wells are broken down, they’re having to get water from the rivers they bathe in or other sources of contaminated water. That’s not going to help them in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Stephanie Fernhaber, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, had a frontrow seat to King’s development of United 19. The program began as King’s project in Fernhaber’s Social Entrepreneurship course, which addresses social issues and problems in business development. Fernahber says United 19 can be an effective weapon against COVID-19’s spread.

“I think our students and younger people have great ideas, and we need to rely on their untapped potential,” she says. “What King has been trying to do has been a great example to incorporate into the class. I think everyone, especially nonprofits, needs to be responsive to the crisis. You have to respond and figure out how to incorporate it into your mission.”

As Head Coach for Butler Men’s Soccer, Paul Snape says King’s work on the field has improved each season. In 2019, King played 17 matches for the squad, registering an assist and 4 shots on goal. King’s work off the field impressed Snape, too. 

“Ethan seems to find that extra layer of motivation to grow,” Snape says. “He’s growing into a leader on the team. He’s becoming a leader, and Charity Ball has helped him achieve that.”

Snape grew up in soccer-crazed Liverpool, England. As a child, he only had one soccer ball, and he knew other neighborhood kids whose families couldn’t afford that luxury. Through Charity Ball, Level the Field, and now United 19, Snape is thrilled to see how King is using the sport of soccer as a channel to help children.

“He got me thinking about how soccer can be a vehicle that teaches more than kicking a ball,” the coach says. “It can educate communities and bring them together.”

 

Donate today

United 19 is accepting donations. Click here to give and to learn more about the international program.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Ethan King in Africa
Student-Centered

Butler Soccer Player Kicks in Coronavirus Aid with United 19

Ethan King, junior forward and LSB major, is raising funds to supply African villages with clean water, COVID-19 education

Apr 13 2020 Read more
Katelyn Penry will graduate in three years.
Innovation

Several Butler Programs to Launch Three-Year Frameworks This Fall

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 08 2020

Finishing college a year early usually requires a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck in scheduling classes, and—perhaps most of all—a drive to succeed.

Katelyn Penry, an Actuarial Science junior set to graduate in 2021 after three years of study, says all the work has been worth it.

Before ever starting her first year at Butler, Penry completed more than 30 college credits through high school dual credit classes and community college courses. Those incoming credits were key to Penry’s decision to graduate early, letting her build a three-year schedule that still includes a minor in Risk Management and Insurance, along with a summer internship at State Farm.

While Penry’s three-year plan was built specifically for her needs, several Butler programs will soon offer official, three-year alternatives with clearer routes to an early finish. Six majors in the College of Communication and 26 programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will offer three-year frameworks as an option from the start for incoming students. The structures should make the pathway feel more valid and achievable for students who hadn’t already planned to graduate early.

“By letting people know that this kind of approach exists,” says Provost Kathryn Morris, “it may be helpful to recruit on the front end but it also helps support students with options while they are here.”

Why finish early?

For Penry, graduating early means the opportunity to start her career as soon as possible.

“I’m excited to get out into the workplace,” she says. “It has given me something to look forward to.”

Saving a year’s worth of tuition expenses can also be a major appeal of official three-year pathways to commencement.

“We’re trying to respond to concerns about the cost of higher education in general, and of a Butler education in particular,” says Jay Howard, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We want to make a Butler education available to everybody. One way to make it more affordable is to help students get through in three years.”

Graduating early doesn’t take away from the Butler experience, Howard says. All plans allow for internships, and three-year plans will have room for study abroad options once travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

“Students who are enterprising, organized, and on top of it have been able to graduate in three years for a long time,” Howard says. “We felt it was important to support those students—provide greater guidance, a little more structure, and better advice along the way to help them achieve this goal.”

Melinda Peterson
English senior Melinda Peterson is set to graduate in the fall after three years.

When English senior Melinda Peterson graduates this fall after three years at Butler, she will have spent two weeks studying in Ireland and Scotland, and she will have completed three internships. Peterson has also found time to work for Tanglewood Publishing in downtown Indianapolis. 

“For the most part, my schedule has been fairly manageable,” says Peterson, who is the editor-in-chief of Butler’s undergraduate literary magazine, Manuscripts. “After just a little bit of planning, I could see where I wanted to go. After that, it was just ‘sit down, work hard, and keep sight of what you want to do.’”

Blueprints for success

Butler’s Spanish program was one of the first to put its three-year option into print. Alex Quintanilla, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, has developed similar options for the French and German majors, as well. These programs give incoming students the chance to skip introductory classes by passing placement exams.

“The more you already know about the language, the shorter your college program will be,” Quintanilla says. “We want students to know that if they want to graduate sooner, they can do it.”

Quintanilla’s plan allows plenty of time for study abroad opportunities, and it offers upper-level classes online during the summer.

In the College of Communication, programs for Journalism, Music Industry Studies, Web Design and Development, Critical Communication and Media Studies, Human Communication and Organizational Leadership, and Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising will all have official three-year plans by this fall. Dean Brooke Barnett expects the option of finishing in three years to be very appealing for incoming students.

“Some students are just ready to enter their careers sooner,” Barnett says.

Still a full experience

About halfway to her graduation goal, Penry says she is receiving a full Butler experience, despite her busy schedule. She was able to work in the Gamma Iota Sigma office, attend Bible study, and cheer on Butler’s basketball teams at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Plus, she doesn’t feel any less prepared to succeed in her career.

“Through my major and all of the experiences Butler provides, I’m taking classes that are really preparing me for the industry,” Penry says. “I still feel like I’m getting the best out of my college experience.”

 

Three-year programs for fall 2020

Starting in fall 2020, the colleges of Communication and Liberal Arts and Sciences will offer official three-year pathways as options for incoming students. Here are the programs that are participating in the three-year option:

  • Communication—Journalism, Music Industry Studies, Web Design and Development, Critical Communication and Media Studies, Human Communication and Organizational Leadership, and Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences—Actuarial Science, Anthropology, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Criminology, Classics, Computer Science, English (Literature track), Environmental Studies, French, German, History, International Studies, Mathematics, Peace and Conflict Studies, Physics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Sociology, Software Engineering, Spanish, Statistics, and Science, Technology, and Society

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Katelyn Penry will graduate in three years.
Innovation

Several Butler Programs to Launch Three-Year Frameworks This Fall

The options will provide clearer pathways to early graduation for incoming students

Apr 08 2020 Read more
Mark Macbeth teaches from home
Experiential Learning

LAS Professor Finds the Right Chemistry for Distance Learning

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 07 2020

About a month ago, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Mark Macbeth would look out to his General Chemistry lecture to see 57 first-year students in their seats inside a Gallahue Hall classroom, taking notes on chemical bonding.

Today, when he looks at his class, it’s like watching a more-crowded version of the intro to The Brady Bunch as the same 57 students pop up in little squares of video on Zoom. Since Butler University switched to online learning on March 19, the students and professor have used the popular video conferencing app three times a week for review sessions of the video lectures Macbeth posts on Canvas.

“I thought it was going to be chaos, but you roll up your sleeves and work through it,” says Macbeth with a laugh. “The students can still ask questions, and we still work through the problems together.”

The General Chemistry course also includes a lab section. With the academic labs closed for the semester, Macbeth says it was more of a challenge to figure out how to give his students proper lab experience online. Before, the students would strap on gloves, goggles, and lab coats for hands-on work—setting up the experiment, writing out reaction equations, and pouring the chemicals.

Macbeth decided to create demonstration videos of the experiments. In these “virtual labs,” staff and faculty from the Clowes Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recorded experiments on concepts such as equilibrium and saturation. Ammonia added to silver chloride causes it to dissolve, and light pink cobalt solution mixed with chloride changes to dark blue, which makes for easier observation from a student’s laptop.

“It’s up to the students to interpret that data,” says Macbeth, whose current research focuses on the biochemical analysis of nucleic acid-protein interactions, as well as RNA and DNA editing. “At the end of the video, they do an online quiz about what their observations were and what concepts were used during the reaction.”

Macbeth's lecture notes
Macbeth uses a tablet to write notes in red during his distance learning lectures.

Students say the transition to online lectures has been smooth. For Healthcare and Business major Mason Runkel, not having the chance to be in a physical lab to refine his fine measurement skills has been the toughest aspect of learning from his home in Bloomington, Illinois. But he says Macbeth’s use of visuals and voiceovers on the digital lessons allows him to understand concepts just as well as he would in the classroom.

Chemistry major Audrey Wojtowicz says she was concerned about losing valuable lab experience, especially for complex techniques. An upcoming lab will focus on titration—the slow addition of one solution of a known concentration to a known volume of another solution of unknown concentration until the reaction reaches neutralization. However, Macbeth’s availability during the three weekly review sessions, as well as his office hours over Zoom, has eased some worries.

“Especially now, if you have concerns, go to your professor,” Wojtowicz says. “Everyone is in the same boat. Admittedly, I was stressed out, but I was assured it will be OK. Faculty members understand, and they are going to adapt to our needs for next semester.”

Macbeth has been impressed with his students’ performance the last few weeks, but he knows the online learning transition can sometimes be tough. He wants students to know he is there for them for the rest of the semester and beyond.

“It’s not an ideal situation at all for us,” Macbeth says, “but we’re trying to make it work the best we can. We’re trying to get the students to have some sort of learning process about chemistry, learn some chemical processes, and learn to interpret data.

“To the students who are really uncertain about this, I just want to let them know we are on their side. We want to help them get through this successfully and prepare them for their future courses.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Mark Macbeth teaches from home
Experiential Learning

LAS Professor Finds the Right Chemistry for Distance Learning

With hands-on experiments now impossible, Mark Macbeth created video-based virtual labs for his chemistry class

Apr 07 2020 Read more
Ariel Rudd
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Fights COVID-19 in New York City

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2020

Ariel Rudd ‘13 wants people to know they need to stay inside.

The Butler University graduate, now a nurse in a large hospital on the Upper East Side of New York City, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in a place where the virus appears to be reaching its peak. And, she says, it’s way worse than she ever thought it would be.

“I think it’s easy for people to not take it seriously before they’ve actually seen what can happen,” she says. “But I know Indianapolis is now becoming a hot spot for COVID-19, and that makes me nervous for my family and friends still living there. From someone who has lived this already, I can tell you this is serious. It’s really, really bad.”

The Kirklin, Indiana, native came to Butler in 2009 and graduated four years later with a degree in Health and Physical Education. She’d always thought she wanted to be a physical therapist, but job shadowing sessions later in college helped her realize nursing would be a better fit. She wanted to be part of the first layer of care, right on the front lines. So, after graduating from Butler, Rudd completed an accelerated nursing program at Marian University.

Rudd launched her career with a position in the neonatal ICU at St. Vincent Indianapolis, then she spent a few years as a traveling nurse and landed in New York City. She accepted a nursing management position at her current hospital, and she’s been working in the pediatric ICU there ever since.

Until a couple weeks ago, Rudd was caring exclusively for patients ages 24 or younger. But the surge in COVID-19 cases forced her hospital to transfer nearly all its patients to elsewhere in the city, quickly transforming its units into spaces dedicated to coronavirus patients.

“That’s almost 900 beds,” Rudd says. “Before my unit started receiving patients, I went down to some of the other units to see what we were about to get into. And honestly, it’s like something from a movie. It’s bed after bed of people with the same exact thing. It’s patients of a wide range of ages. I was especially surprised to see how many young people are getting very sick with this.”

With a worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment in medical facilities, Rudd says her team only has one N95 mask per day for each person. Still, she’s grateful for all her hospital is doing to keep the staff safe.

Over the course of about a week, new walls went up to create more separation between patients and healthcare providers. The hospital also replaced several of its windows with HEPA filters, which can help eliminate pathogen-filled air particles in ways that better protect the staff.

“I’m very impressed and proud of the bravery and the strength of the nurses and the other employees I’m leading,” Rudd says. “You know, they’re scared. They have families they don’t want to take this virus home to. They have kids and grandparents they are trying to protect. But they’ve been so amazing—taking hits as they come. They are ready and willing to do anything to help these patients and save lives.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Ariel Rudd
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Fights COVID-19 in New York City

The hospital where Ariel Rudd ’13 works as a nurse is now mostly dedicated to coronavirus patients

Apr 06 2020 Read more
illustration of businessmen being protected
Innovation

Butler’s Risk Management and Insurance Program Authors Pandemic Act to Bolster Economy

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2020

A case study on PayPal, completed by Butler University undergraduates in 2017, could help save the U.S. economy in 2020.

Zach Finn, Clinical Professor and Director of the Davey Risk Management and Insurance program at Butler, and some of his former students have developed the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA). If passed, the legislation would provide a reinsurance backstop to cover losses in the insurance sector due to future pandemic outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. The act has already been adopted by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, which is calling for its passing in Washington, DC.

zach finn
Zach Finn

The policy combines the students’ 2017 case study work on mitigation and monetization of global cyber risk—essentially, steps to reduce the negative effects of threats and disasters on business continuity—with a framework similar to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The students studied the possibility of a black swan—a rare, unpredictable event with severe consequences that would lead to a cyber shutdown in America. Their solution was the development of a hypothetical Cyber Risk Insurance Act, which would protect the United States against the financial impacts of a widespread cyber-attack. The idea and research were meant to urge a federal backstop for uninsured losses resulting from the shutdown of large portions of the economy. 

Now, the PRIA draws on that concept. It would create a federal backstop—or last-resort financial support—for future, and possibly even current, losses that companies would face from a pandemic event. Finn sent the act to Indiana and federal governments in mid-March, and it has already landed on desks in the White House and Congress.

“We will never have a March Madness again unless the government backstops it,” Finn says. “The PRIA would allow businesses to have a fair shot of getting coverage in the case of a pandemic. No insurance companies would take this on now, so that kind of protection would require an act like this. Without a backstop, what happens if we have to shut down every 10 years like this? What if we have to shut down every three years like this?”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, explains her support of the PRIA, “By requiring higher capital and liquidity buffers, banks are well-positioned to continue lending and play an important countercyclical role. However, America’s consumers, small businesses, and vulnerable populations are suffering. It is time for a policy and fiscal response to address their needs.”

Finn says the act would protect venues from losing revenue due to the cancellation of large events like the NCAA basketball tournament. It would also lessen the ripple effect that major event losses can have on area businesses.

“If you’re running a major convention center or something like Lucas Oil Stadium,” Finn says, “it would be a completely common professional standard that they would offer pandemic insurance.”

The PRIA could also provide an alternative to federal government bailouts, Finn continues. Businesses do take advantage of business interruption insurance, but that only covers events like fire, lightning, or wind. Business loss due to pandemics are not in the mix, yet.

Real life application

2017 Risk Management team
Butler's 2017 Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge team could save 2020.

Nick Fox ’17 was part of the four-student team representing Butler at the spring 2017 Spencer Education Foundation’s Risk Management Challenge case competition, which explored options for insuring PayPal. His teammates included Erin Bundy ’17, Jessica Parada ’17, and Matt Pauszek ’17.

While placing third in the competition, the students’ analysis of what PayPal could do in the event of a cyber blackout turned heads. The PayPal risk manager congratulated the Butler students and took their Cyber Risk Insurance Act into serious consideration.

“She said our solution could truly be implemented in real life,” Fox recalls. “Three years removed, it could still be a focal point in the industry. It adds even more validity to the work we did.”

The students’ proposition was meant to protect businesses from a dire circumstance like the internet crashing or a global pandemic. It’s debatable which event would be more catastrophic, but Finn says the students' ideas from three years ago could help the U.S. today.

Climbing the insurance ranks

Today, Fox and his former teammates are all advancing within their respective insurance companies. Fox finished his studies at Butler a semester early and was quickly hired as a cyber risk analyst for middle market corporations and businesses at Marsh & McLennan Companies, based out of Chicago, Illinois. He is currently transitioning to a consultant position, working with risk managers and chief financial officers of Fortune 500 companies.

“The past few months, I’ve been focusing on emerging risks, one of which is COVID-19,” Fox says. “I’ve been consulting with different clients on things like violent threat modeling and cyber stress tests.”

Pauszek is a Risk Management Analyst for the University of Notre Dame. He has leaned on his Butler experience, especially since COVID-19 grew to pandemic levels in March.

“Faced with situations of uncertainty and crisis, the lessons I learned have equipped me with both the technical industry knowledge and the overall confidence to identify and execute creative business solutions,” Pauszek says. “I believe the Davey Program has built a culture that emphasizes and encourages students to approach their careers with an innovative outlook and careful consideration for others that makes them extremely valuable in their surrounding communities.”

Fox considers his training at Butler key to his early career success, too. The enactment of PRIA would be another boost to his career.

“It’ll put Butler University itself in its rightful place on the map in terms of Risk Management and Insurance,” Fox says. “This is going to create an opportunity for us to put our ideas in the forefront of the country.”

The PRIA is also fast-ascending. The piece of potential policy could be a boost to the U.S. economy in years to come.

“It’s not really a question of if another pandemic is going to happen,” Fox says, “it’s more so when and how serious.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

illustration of businessmen being protected
Innovation

Butler’s Risk Management and Insurance Program Authors Pandemic Act to Bolster Economy

Clinical Professor Zach Finn and his former students’ work is being lobbied by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee

Apr 02 2020 Read more
Chloe
Student-Centered

Butler Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2020

Chloe Makdad, a sophomore Mathematics major at Butler University, is among this year’s winners of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. One of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships for students in STEM fields, the honor is awarded to college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue research careers in science, math, and engineering.

While Makdad doesn’t know yet if she will stay in academia or move to an industry-based role, she knows she wants to conduct research in the field of functional analysis.

“In that realm of mathematics, you really get to delve into some problems that are like puzzles,” she says. “While the process can be difficult, it’s really rewarding.”

While Makdad applied to several schools, she ultimately attended Butler for its welcoming math department, which she felt really emphasized student success.

“At Butler,” she says, “I’ve also been given the opportunity to study a wide range of mathematical ideas, including statistics and computer science, which has really diversified my view of what mathematics can be used for.”

The Goldwater Foundation selected 396 scholarships for the 2020 competition, choosing from a pool of 1,343 undergraduates nominated by 461 different institutions.

Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship provided a sense of affirmation for Makdad.

“I have a lot of the capabilities and the background that it takes to succeed in mathematical research,” she says. “Butler is a smaller institution, so the fact that I was selected for a national award along with students from bigger STEM schools was something that definitely gave me a confidence boost moving forward with my career.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Chloe
Student-Centered

Butler Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Mathematics major Chloe Makdad is 12th Butler student to win the national award

Apr 02 2020 Read more
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Student-Centered

Caring for Mental Health During COVID-19

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 01 2020

In the midst of a global crisis that is very tangibly affecting everything from physical health to job security, it’s easy to neglect the invisible consequences a situation like this can have on mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Even for those who have never experienced clinical anxiety, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic might be deeply disturbing. And that fear is multiplied among those who are prone to mental illness, especially now that several go-to coping strategies have become inaccessible.

But, according to these three Butler University experts, you can find comfort in not being alone: Everyone is experiencing this together. Plus, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy while staying inside.

 

Shana Markle
Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS)
Associate Director

How does the COVID-19 pandemic influence mental health?

I want to start by clarifying the difference between anxiety and worry. By definition, anxiety is an irrational fear. When there is a legitimate threat to our health, the feelings people experience might not be actual anxiety—you might be having a normal, legitimate response to a threat.

For some people, though, those concerns can be more irrational, leading to real anxiety. For individuals who are prone to anxiety or have other underlying mental health conditions, a situation like this would likely activate that.

Responses to crisis vary widely, but it’s not unusual for people to either maximize or minimize a situation like this. Some people are out living their lives like there’s nothing going on, while others are hunkering down and buying eight packs of toilet paper. Especially for those who are prone to anxiety, some people will try to do anything they can to fix things that are really out of their control.

There’s just a lot of ambiguity with this pandemic, and that’s something people don’t always tolerate very well. Not knowing something can be very unsettling, especially if you like to plan. With this particular situation, there’s also a lot of disappointment that things are being canceled and that you can’t do some of the things you want to do.

And then of course the social distancing, for some, is social isolating. It can lead to a sense of loneliness. But I think on the flip side, the fact that this is such a universal concern can draw people together. Almost every place you go—whether that’s going to the grocery store or walking outside—almost every person you see is going to be experiencing something similar. You can know you aren’t alone in this, which can help you feel protected.

What coping strategies do you recommend?

This might sound cliché, but I would really encourage people to get off of social media right now. There’s no benefit to exposing yourself to all those anxieties that other people have. Anxiety can be very contagious. And it’s important to stay informed, but because the news about COVID-19 is changing so rapidly, you might consider finding a reliable source and checking in with it just once a day or every couple days. I think we could all do ourselves a very big favor by limiting exposure to some of that anxiety that’s out there.

If you do find yourself in an anxiety spiral, there are a couple grounding techniques I like. For example, in the “5-4-3-2-1” technique, you look for five things you can see around you, and you say them out loud. And then you find four things that you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Going through your senses like that can bring you back to the present.

You can also look through this list of very common cognitive errors and recognize which ones you might be dealing with right now. This will help you challenge thoughts that aren’t helpful.

And you can just remember the basics of self-care. Go for a walk. Read a book. Set goals and accomplish some of those tasks you’ve been putting off. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. If you have a faith community, stay connected as much as possible. Make a playlist of songs you find encouraging.

For Butler students: The CCS phone and email lines are open. Teletherapy is now available for students currently residing in Indiana (as we are only legally able to practice in-state). However, we can provide over-the-phone consultations with both in-state and out-of-state students to help with talking through options and providing some support.

We also recommend these online resources that are available to anyone.

 

Marguerite Stanciu
Center for Faith and Vocation (CFV)
Assistant Director

How does this crisis affect spiritual and emotional well-being?

Obviously, the element of uncertainty is huge here. There is this vast unknown, and for many, that is combined with disappointment about all the things that need to be canceled or moved to a virtual space. People are also facing the need to quickly adjust in a variety of ways, including working or learning from home, which can be a strain.

How can people take care of themselves?

In general, it’s really important to start by building structure into your day. Get up at a regular time, get dressed, and observe your normal rituals. Adding that structure takes care of the three essential elements of mind, body, and spirit.

I think we also need to remember that this is a temporary situation. Although we don’t know exactly what the future holds, I encourage people to be resourceful in staying spiritually healthy. Reach out to others as you need to, and know that the faculty and staff at Butler are working very hard and thoughtfully to provide continuous support.

The CFV recently started offering Spiritual Care Conversations, which are available to faculty, staff, and students. Through this resource (which we have now moved online), you can request confidential or private conversations with CFV staff, advisors, or affiliates who can help you work through challenges, feelings, or questions. These conversations are open to people of various faith traditions, as well as those who are nonreligious.

We at the CFV are also working to create new content that we hope will be supportive and informative for the Butler community. We are sending out writing prompts, meditation videos, and information on how to practice mindfulness in your everyday life. You can find these resources by following us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), or by signing up for our e-newsletter. Just reach out to us at cfv@butler.edu.

 

Brian Day
Assistant Professor of Psychology

What are the psychological impacts of this situation?

This crisis is consuming all the news we see. When people talk to their friends and families, they are all talking about the same thing. There’s this feeling of all-consumption, like COVID-19 is the only thing happening. It seems to be taking over everything and creating a new normal. It’s hard to think about anything else.

I’m not a clinical expert, but I know that for individuals who are prone to paranoia, this can really contribute to that. Maybe that means constant thoughts of “I need to wash my hands again” or, in states with lockdowns, “What will happen to me if I go outside?” At the grocery store, people might worry that every person they see is infected with the virus.

And even for those we would consider to be completely mentally healthy, a crisis like this can cause feelings of doubt or concern that might be unfamiliar for people who have never been scared to go to the grocery store. Fear isn’t something a lot of us deal with on a daily basis, so people are needing to learn to cope with it in new ways.

The biggest factor I’ve been hearing and reading about is the removal of social connections. Some psychologists have been advocating for a change in terminology from “social distancing” to “physical distancing.” They’re advocating for a focus on how we can still communicate, whether that’s through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or a phone call. I can get behind that relabeling: I want to remind people that we do still have opportunities to seek social contact with those who are important to us.

What other strategies can help people stay mentally healthy?

Make the best of every situation. I’ve been thinking about how I don’t want to be stuck in my basement all day long. I don’t want to be teaching online. There’s a lot of “I don’t want tos.” But this is what we’ve been presented with, so it’s time to buckle up and make do.

Another thing I’ve been focused on is that my schedule has changed drastically, which is the case for most people. But this actually provides an opportunity to change your behavior in a desired way. Now is a great time to build positive habits. With a little bit of mindfulness and determination, even in the face of changes you can’t control, you can introduce the change you want.

I usually take care of my mental health by going to the gym and hanging out with friends. Of course, now, neither of those are options. But you can look for other solutions. Maybe you can’t go to the gym, but you can stay home and do yoga, pilates, pushups, or situps. Staying active is so important to feeling good.

The other thing I’ve been advocating for is making some sort of routine. I’ve found that regimenting my time—scheduling when I’ll be working and when I’ll be taking breaks—has helped me get things done and enjoy my days at home.

You can also work on that list of all the things you’ve been meaning to do, whether that’s reading a book or calling a friend from high school. Make time to watch that 15-minute TED Talk you’ve had bookmarked for a while.

And remember that humans get used to things. After a few weeks, we will be used to this. It just takes a little bit of time, so hang in there.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

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Student-Centered

Caring for Mental Health During COVID-19

Three Butler experts explain the pandemic’s psychological impacts and offer advice for staying well

Apr 01 2020 Read more
COVID-19
Innovation

Butler Technology Joins Global Effort to Fight Coronavirus

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 30 2020

Butler University has donated remote use of some of its powerful technology to a global effort to combat COVID-19.

A supercomputer and Butler Esports computers are now part of Folding@home, a project focused on disease research that utilizes help from computer owners around the world. Based out of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, the work has shifted from researching numerous infectious diseases to investigating the structure of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Using molecular protein folding computer simulations, the Folding@home project aims to discover drug pathways that can cause a dysfunction in the folding of one or more proteins in the COVID-19 virus, therefore killing it. Extra computer power from around the world is needed for faster, more precise simulations. 

“It takes huge amounts of computing power to try them,” Butler Computer Science Professor Jonathon Sorenson says. “The more they try, the better the chances of finding one that works.”

Protein folding is the process that determines a protein’s structure, and therefore its functionality. The shapes protein subunits form fit together like LEGOs to create new cells. Sometimes, when you are trying to build something specific, only one particular shape of LEGO will work. If the body’s proteins aren’t folding into the necessary shapes, this can have detrimental health effects. For example, in the case of sickle-cell anemia, the protein inside red blood cells—hemoglobin—is not capable of transporting oxygen due to a single amino acid change in the hemoglobin protein structure. Now, Folding@home is seeking similar weaknesses within the coronavirus’ proteins—looking for structures that could be altered to inhibit the virus’s ability to infect the body.

Computer owners who want to help with the project can download software that allows Folding@home to use the computers to run simulations. The simulations are usually timed for when the user sleeps, but with universities relying on distance learning during the pandemic, on-campus machines are left on and idle all day. More than 700 universities worldwide have lent their computer power to help run simulations around the clock.

Sorenson learned of the ongoing research project’s new focus on the coronavirus from an Association for Computing Machinery article and alerted IT of the potential of joining the project. A day later, IT Senior Systems Analyst and Computer Science Adjunct Professor Nate Partenheimer got the University’s newest supercomputer online to run Folding@home simulations.

“By lending our computing power to this huge project,” Sorenson says, “it’s a small way of helping that overall effort.”

Supercomputer specs

While Butler’s first supercomputer, The Big Dawg, is being utilized for current Butler research projects, a new system was to be used for artificial intelligence courses and other research. Those projects have been postponed, which opened up use for Folding@home. 

Thanks to Partenheimer, Folding@home is now benefiting from:

  • Four NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics processing units, each of which is capable of about 13 Tera-FLOPS. FLOPS, or floating point operations per second, is a unit of computer performance measurement in scientific computations. Just one of these graphics processing units can execute 13 trillion operations per second.
  • One NVIDIA GP100, which is capable of more than 10 Tera-FLOPS.

Now online, Butler has helped boost the project to 1.5 quintillion operations per second worldwide.

Esports scores an assist

Butler Esports donated its own NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics processing unit and an Intel i7 central processing unit to the Folding@home cause. Machines meant for powering spirited games of League of Legends and Rocket League are now dedicated to saving lives.

Student Activities Coordinator Doug Benedict had known about Folding@home since before the COVID-19 pandemic, but after a meeting with Butler IT, he decided to download the software and link the Esports machines to the cause. Benedict says the Butler Esports and Gaming Center’s mission is to be a source for community engagement, outreach, and philanthropy between esports events.

“We want to show the benefits of having this kind of space and this kind of technology to society as a whole,” he adds. “Technology has changed our lives time and time again, and clearly it’s going to continue to do that.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

COVID-19
Innovation

Butler Technology Joins Global Effort to Fight Coronavirus

A supercomputer and Butler Esports machines are linked to a COVID-19 research initiative focusing on proteins in the virus

Mar 30 2020 Read more
taskforce
Student-Centered

Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 27 2020

On a college campus, students are the ones who know better than anyone else what’s going on in their world. Whether that means having heard the buzz about the latest hit TV show or holding a deep understanding of the everyday challenges young people face, students can often relate to other students better than most staff and faculty ever will.

So, when it comes to preventing sexual misconduct, it’s essential to listen to what those students have to say.

At Butler University, campus leaders are inviting students to join conversations about this issue at monthly meetings of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce. The group has been around for years, including a few student members who were directly invited based on previous involvement in prevention programming. But when leaders opened student membership up to a general application process last spring, the group gained a brand new life and momentum. The taskforce received 62 applications from students across the University, accepting about 10 student members plus representatives from key organizations such as the Student Government Association (SGA) and PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment). Now, applications are open for the 2020–2021 academic year.

“The meetings this semester have had so many students present,” says Jules Arthur-Grable, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Specialist. “I think that really indicates how important these issues are to them, how much they care, and how much they want to make a difference.”

Co-chaired by Arthur-Grable and Title IX Coordinator Maria Kanger, the taskforce works to unite prevention efforts already happening across the University, as well as to develop and promote new education programs that meet the needs of Butler students. Welcoming more student members who represent a broader range of the campus community has helped Arthur-Grable and Kanger learn more about what those needs are, which kinds of events might resonate best with students, and how to effectively spread the word about those events and other programming.

“Our students really care about this, even if they aren’t directly involved in student organizations or other groups that are focused on this all the time,” Kanger says. “They really do want to make a difference, and they feel like they can.”

This academic year, that student voice has led to the creation of a lot more programming based on pop culture and the things students see every day across all kinds of media. During welcome week, peer-facilitated workshops under the name “Sexy, Can I?” covered the basics of consent. In October, the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) Office recognized National Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a discussion about the role social media can play in promoting unhealthy relationship behaviors. Another program analyzed the Netflix show You to talk about how students can recognize stalking, and a “bad date dinner” right before Valentine’s Day invited guests to think through specific situations and how they would respond.

“I’ve seen students on the taskforce take ownership of these programs and really get excited about them,” Kanger says. “They feel connected to this. The work of prevention is the work of the entire campus community.”

One recent TV-inspired event used episodes of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, pointing out examples of the contestants’ unhealthy behaviors—things like gaslighting, manipulation, isolation, or sabotage.

“We talked about the role this popular show has in how people perceive relationships in real life, and how it normalizes unhealthy behavior,” Arthur-Grable explains. “Afterward, some of the attendees asked for a list of healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors to take with them, so they could use it to continue the conversation while watching the show with their friends.”

As a student member of the taskforce, junior Ben Traverso feels like his input has been truly valued during program planning over the last few semesters. He says student involvement on the taskforce helps other students feel more comfortable asking for the help they need.

“We are there to say, ‘this is how students feel, this is why, and here’s what we can do to try to change that,’” says the Political Science and History major. “We are there to help build a bridge between the SARP Office, the Title IX Coordinator, and the student body.”

Junior Health Science major Lauren Lippert agrees, saying the taskforce is meant to be a central place for the Butler community to gather together, share ideas, and stay informed about the resources available on campus.

“I think it’s really important for students to be a part of that,” she says, “especially for the other students who feel more comfortable seeking help from someone their age—someone who could maybe relate a little more on their level.”

Kanger says that, while changing culture in ways that prevent sexual misconduct is a years-long project, providing a safe space where people can seek help is a vital first step.

“At the end of the day,” she says, “the goal for all our prevention efforts is to create a culture where consent is sought and received for every sexual activity, healthy relationships are the norm, and where everyone steps up and says something if they see something isn’t right.”

 

If you are a Butler student interested in joining the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce, you can apply here by April 13. Contact Jules Arthur-Grable (jearthur@butler.edu) or Maria Kanger (mkanger@butler.edu) with any questions.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

taskforce
Student-Centered

Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

Student members of this taskforce have transformed how University leaders approach prevention programming

Mar 27 2020 Read more
Guy holding rolls of toilet paper
Butler Experts

COVID-19 to Affect Global Supply Chains for Years to Come

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 26 2020

The image of shoppers desperately filling their carts with toilet paper has become a go-to representation of the COVID-19 outbreak. In grocery stores across the nation, panic buying has also emptied shelves of other necessities and staples, such as bread, eggs, dairy products, and meat.

But the supply chains that put food and home products in your grocery aisles are still strong—for now.

Matt Caito
Operations Instructor Matthew Caito

Matthew Caito, Butler University Operations Management Instructor and expert in the field of global supply chains, does recommend stocking up for your family in order to limit trips to the store. Still, he says you shouldn’t buy more than you actually need, as hoarding can have a negative impact not only on your community, but on the efficiency of industries worldwide. Hoarding leads to inefficient distribution of scarce products, making scarcity more of a problem, like with toilet paper being a rare sight in stores. If we want to avoid long-term consequences, consumers must be rational in the months ahead.

“I’m confident that we will have enough toilet paper,” Caito says. “We’ll have enough toothpaste. We’ll have enough food.”

Consumers should still be vigilant, Caito adds, as the COVID-19 pandemic is making new headlines every day. The strength of supply chains can be altered at any time with policy changes or civil unrest.

Before his tenure at Butler, Caito helped manage food production and distribution for businesses and was used to dealing with “snow scares” in the Midwest and “hurricane scares” in Florida—temporary spikes in buying to ensure consumers’ families had plenty of food to weather out storms. But the COVID-19 pandemic is “uncharted territory.”

Caito says aisles will refill, but the crisis will affect global supply chains for years to come.

Question: What has been the biggest operational challenge during the pandemic so far?

Matthew Caito: If you look at the problem from an operational perspective, what we’re really fighting for is capacity. Do we have enough capacity in our healthcare system? If we don’t have enough capacity in our healthcare system, what can we do about it? We can increase our national capacity, which is going to be really hard to do as soon as we would like.

This is what we hear the politicians talking about now—that we don’t have enough respirators, don’t have enough masks, don’t have enough hospital beds. Alternatively, we can work to decrease the demand, which is exactly what we can do if we come together as a country and practice social distancing by working remotely and sheltering in place.

I’m a little bit surprised the government hasn't pulled the trigger faster on trying to increase the production of essential medical devices, but I think it’s just a matter of time before that comes along, and industries will find ways to meet the challenge.

Q: What are some best practices for Indiana consumers right now?

MC: At some point, people will have bought enough toilet paper. That demand will stop. What I watch as a consumer, and because I have a large family, is what’s happening in places like New York and Washington state. If there’s a shortage of products in those areas, Indiana is just a couple days behind it. So we need to really pay attention to what's going on around the world to help us anticipate what our needs are.

Q: Just how well are grocery stores doing?

MC: The grocery markets are doing an outstanding job. The food supply chain is doing an outstanding job. But what you need to keep in mind with food is that roughly 45-55 percent of all meals are typically eaten outside the home—at restaurants, schools, offices, convenience stores, and on the road. When you shut down all of the restaurant channels, where are people going to get their food?

There’s going to be an instant and dramatic increase in consumer demand at retail grocery stores for months to come. People have got to eat. I think the grocery chains have been understandably caught a little by surprise, but to their credit, nobody could have predicted this.

As retailers try to get back on balance with their inventories in the midst of higher demand over the next several months, we’re going to have to ask the question, “Where’s that food going to come from?” The capacity of the retail grocery industry is going to be strained. But frankly, this is going to make grocery stores a lot of profit because they’re going to see nearly twice the amount of sales for almost the same fixed cost. Fortunately, I don’t believe retailers are gouging consumers, and I don’t think they will.

Q: Are there concerns over the movement of goods in the supply chain?

MC: From a transportation perspective, we’re going to run into problems because, even though companies want to move things, even though trucks don’t know if there’s a pandemic, drivers at some point are just not going to take the risk. They don’t want to be away from their families, and there’s just no guarantee that they can remain healthy on the road. At some point, the distribution chain is going to get really strained. When that happens, you’ll see freight rates skyrocket.

Q: How long will it take for operations to get back to full-strength after this pandemic dies down?

MC: If I were a betting person, I’d say years. You’re going to have a lot of companies that just don’t have the cash on-hand to sustain business. There’s going to be massive unemployment, unfortunately. There’s going to be a massive realignment of the economy. There isn’t going to be enough cash to save every business.

But once the dust settles after months of rational hindsight, I think you’ll see a much more robust supply chain. There’s going to be a strategic rethinking about how much medicine we want to import. Strategically, how many vital electronics do we want to import? Strategically, how many auto parts do we want to import? It’s going to make a significant difference for large companies as they work to protect their supply chains from future disruptions. 

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Guy holding rolls of toilet paper
Butler Experts

COVID-19 to Affect Global Supply Chains for Years to Come

Toilet paper will return to aisles, but the pandemic will cause industries to rethink operations, says LSB’s Matthew Caito

Mar 26 2020 Read more
$100 with medical mask
Butler Experts

Butler Professor: U.S. Economy Shifting to Help Businesses, Citizens

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 25 2020

As COVID-19 presents a public health crisis, the U.S. economy has reacted in kind.

Economics Professor Bill Rieber says the nation’s economy is enduring hardships it last experienced during the 2008–2009 recession. But instead of the recession starting in the economy and real estate sector, this downturn is the side effect of a global health pandemic.

“This is so different,” he says. “In 2009, we wanted people to go out and spend, spurred by government fiscal and monetary measures. Here, we don’t want people to go out. We want them to stay at home and be safe.” 

In times when there is no health crisis or recession, Rieber says the nation relies on a market economy that combines cooperation—industries producing products—and competition—consideration of price, product, place, and promotion—along with some aspects of a sharing economy, such as welfare, Medicaid, and social programs.

Now, borders are closing, businesses are on hold, and some workers are laid off. The longer the COVID-19 crisis extends, the longer it will take for the economy to return to normal. Until then, Rieber says, the United States will strive to ensure its citizens are taken care of.

Question: What steps are being made to keep the economy afloat?

Bill Rieber: Banks will be sensitive to businesses, allowing them to miss some payments. There are also many people and organizations sharing their wealth with those hurt most by the pandemic. We can do that, in my view, because of the mix of a free enterprise economy, democracy, and cooperation and competition that has led to some Americans having high incomes that they can now share.

Q: What about smaller businesses? What will happen to them during the COVID-19 crisis?

BR: The central bank—the Federal Reserve—can inject reserves within the commercial banking system. Most of our businesses were quite healthy. The economy was strong, but businesses don’t have the funds in a liquid sense—the revenues and the cash to keep going in some cases. That’s where the central bank could put more reserves with local commercial banks, who then will have more reserves and funds to help local business. 

Q: How is the federal government helping?

BR: At the federal level, we can deficit spend, which means spending in excess of revenue. That is fine. There’s nothing wrong with deficit spending during emergencies. That’s always been the case during economic downturns. But how do we do that here, and how do we get the funds to the people who need them the most?

Since the Great Depression, Americans have agreed that deficit spending during recessions is warranted, but exactly what that looks like is more open for debate. That’s always difficult. That’s what Congress and the president are negotiating now. 

Q: When will we rise out of this sharing economy status?

BR: Fundamentally, it’s our health that’s most important. That’s what we have to be concerned about first. So, if it’s not healthy to go out and spend, we should stay at home and stay healthy. When the public’s health improves, things like the economy will improve, too. That’s the real connection here.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

$100 with medical mask
Butler Experts

Butler Professor: U.S. Economy Shifting to Help Businesses, Citizens

COVID-19 pandemic has government making steps it hasn’t made since the 2008 recession, Economics Professor Bill Rieber says

Mar 25 2020 Read more
working from home
Butler Experts

Butler Management Researcher Offers Advice for Productive Telecommuting

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 20 2020

As millions transition from the office to working from home, certain practices can boost productivity, reduce distractions, and establish a separation of work and home life under the same roof.

Craig Caldwell, Associate Professor of Management and Associate Dean of Graduate and Professional Programs for the Lacy School of Business, says working from home effectively takes dedication to not only the physical space, but also to the worker’s mental space—especially during a time of uncertainty as the world shifts to telecommuting and social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Craig Caldwell
Associate Professor Craig Caldwell

As people scramble to keep up with the pace of new information about COVID-19, practicing mindfulness in the home is a good first step. Practitioners of mindfulness concentrate on the present moment while acknowledging their feelings, thoughts, and surroundings.

“Mindfulness can help you self-identify the main issues you are struggling with,” Caldwell says. “This entire field of mindfulness is something I find increasingly helpful for working at home. For example, folks inclined to procrastinate will tend to procrastinate even more without a boss or peer pressure. Mindfulness can help you explore why you procrastinate and offer solutions to overcome it.”

Many industries have been disrupted, but limiting the disruption from affecting job performance at home can be achieved with thoughtful efforts to understand the nature of the work, the emotions of the employee, and the work space requirements.

‘Latitude’ adjustment

Caldwell says current circumstances require patience from supervisors and workers alike. Deadlines may be more difficult to meet. Suppliers may be unavailable. Productivity could wane, at least at first. Supervisors must give latitude to their workers, and the workers must give themselves the same as they get used to a new work routine.

Workers may not have the same administrative, IT, or peer support that they had at the office, but the work will get done if people utilize more patience and commitment on projects. Now is not the time to eliminate workers who are struggling with productivity. Developing existing employees is cheaper and faster than hiring new ones, Caldwell says.

Save the home environment

For many, working from home isn’t foreign. Caldwell says Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups have effectively worked outside of the traditional office for years. Small companies with fewer than 10 full-time employees often utilize coworking spaces for their rare, face-to-face meetings, but working from home is most common.

But even these workers must make adjustments as family members that used to go to an office or school are now working from home. The house is getting crowded with telecommuters and online students. Caldwell says setting parameters early on is key.

“You may need to have substantive conversations with your family,” he adds. “‘Here is what is happening: When I’m at this particular desk, when my headphones are on, when the pink Post-it Note is on the door, it means I’m not available.’ What was once a person working from home, now it’s four people all working at home on their projects and school work.”

And working from home doesn’t mean sweatpants 24/7. Grooming and dressing as if you were heading into a professional setting helps with home productivity and mood, Caldwell says.

Extended hours

The 9-to-5 concept didn’t apply to many workers before COVID-19, but working from home now should come with the mindset of being available and online for a wider range of times, according to Caldwell. Factoring in breaks to prepare kids’ lunches, walking the dog, or being online late to handle that teleconference with Japan will spread out the work day more.

Caldwell recommends relying heavily on keeping that Outlook calendar full with work-related tasks and projects. Don’t just log your meetings: Log the independent tasks, too. A busy calendar will maximize productivity and reduce distraction.

“Any device, tool, and app that keeps track of what you're doing as opposed to allowing a black hole of a day is good,” Caldwell says. “Literally schedule your day so you have a full day of work at the office. The mentality of being productive in that particular space is really important. Set hours for when you are going to to be ‘in the office.’”

New tools, new skills

Working from home should still include the development of new skills, as well as the exploration of new programs and applications.

“Maximize downtime,” Caldwell says. “Self-development can be highly motivating. Skill up with a new certification of some kind. Pursue continuing education online for that skill you always wanted to acquire. Why not dig into it now?”

Caldwell recommends working in Trello, an online management tool, to keep track of projects with your remote team. Slack is an app that allows for smoother communication between colleagues, particularly for more casual interactions.

The norm, for now

Already, “crisis management” should be added to resumes worldwide. Work has continued for many industries, and workers being nimble in this transition are keeping businesses afloat. The dramatic shift to work life at home will continue for months.

“If there’s a silver lining at all, it’s this: You’re developing a new skill in how to effectively work remotely with a high level of productivity,” Caldwell says. “Since we can’t control it, get comfortable. Be in tune to how you are feeling and how others may be reading you. There’s still a lot of connecting taking place, and that should continue.

“We need to be extraordinarily charitable right now, and I think we’re going to get through this and be a stronger society for it. This will be one of those things that pulls us together and unifies us.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

working from home
Butler Experts

Butler Management Researcher Offers Advice for Productive Telecommuting

Efficient work from home starts with the right mindset and physical space, Associate Professor Craig Caldwell says

Mar 20 2020 Read more
Brooke Kandel-Cisco
Campus

Kandel-Cisco Named New College of Education Dean

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 19 2020

Professor Brooke Kandel-Cisco has been appointed as Butler University’s new Dean of the College of Education. She had served as Interim Dean for the College since May 1.

While developing scholarship focusing on adult learning and professional development, Kandel-Cisco has excelled in leadership opportunities since joining the Butler Education program in 2009. Her roles have included Director of the Master of Science in Effective Teaching and Learning program, Chair of the College of Education graduate programs, and Program Coordinator for COE graduate programs. 

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to build on the COE’s legacy of high-quality educator preparation,” says Kandel-Cisco, whose research also explores educator collaboration with immigrant and refugee families. “We will continue to refine and enhance our existing preparation programs while also developing new pathways, pipelines, and partnerships to prepare equity-minded educators who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to serve schools and communities.”

Kandel-Cisco has taught courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) and works closely with teachers in Washington Township Schools’ ESL and Newcomer Programs. She recently completed a term as President of the Indiana Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

“I see my experiences as a teacher and as a university educator as key preparation for my role as Dean,” Kandel-Cisco says. “Academic leadership requires an ethic of care, a collaborative approach, and the ability to make decisions in the short term while creating conditions and building systems that help us move toward long-term goals—all things that strong teachers do every day.”

Provost Kathryn Morris says keeping Kandel-Cisco in the Dean’s office was a natural choice.

“Brooke has done a phenomenal job of leading the College during the interim period. I am confident she will continue to do so into the future,” Morris says. “Indeed, the current public health crisis demands effective leadership at all levels of the University. Brooke has been an integral part of our efforts to protect members of our community while also supporting our institutional mission.”

Butler President James M. Danko says Kandel-Cisco’s tenure at Butler has earned her the trust and support of her colleagues and students inside and outside of the classroom. 

“We know she will continue to provide outstanding service to the College of Education and the Butler community in the future,” he states.  

Kandel-Cisco earned her PhD in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. She was a fellow of the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice.

“I am incredibly proud of my colleagues in higher education and in schools,” Kandel-Cisco says, “who continue to find creative and meaningful ways to support the growth of their students—even with the significant challenges and uncertainty of our current circumstances. Our current Butler student teachers and interns continue to support teaching and learning in local schools and community agencies as they work virtually alongside practicing educators.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Brooke Kandel-Cisco
Campus

Kandel-Cisco Named New College of Education Dean

Brooke Kandel-Cisco was Interim Dean since May 1, has held leadership roles in numerous Butler Education programs

Mar 19 2020 Read more
Levenshus home office
Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 19 2020

While the suspension of on-campus classes in response to COVID-19 has been a letdown for students and educators across the nation, Butler University faculty are working hard to create new learning opportunities in the midst of crisis.

“It is deeply disappointing for many, if not all, members of our campus community that we will not learn and work together in person in the coming weeks,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathryn Morris in a recent message to students, leading up to today’s launch of online learning. “Yet, by and large, people in our community are coming together virtually to make the best out of a truly challenging situation—with YOU, our students, at the heart of our efforts. Faculty have just spent three intensive days preparing for this transition. They are working harder than ever to provide you with the same high-quality educational experience you are accustomed to at Butler.”

For Abbey Levenshus, an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication, that means drawing on the current crisis to provide an up-close and personal case study for her students who are studying issues management.

Even before COVID-19 began to affect all of us in some way, Levenshus was using the outbreak as an example for how issues evolve over time. At first, the class looked at this as an early or “emergent” situation. Over the last several weeks, students watched as the issue progressed to “current,” and then “dominant,” and, now, “crisis.”

Even in emails to students regarding the logistics of switching to online learning, Levenshus has offered mini-lessons on how the pandemic is a living model of the concepts they have been learning all semester.

“But then I also remind them that this issue, too, will pass,” Levenshus says. “Eventually, this will be dormant. Right now, it’s very real, it’s very present, and it’s having a serious disruptive impact on our lives. But we’re going to be okay—we will figure this out.”

 

 

Levenshus records her first video message for students in the transition to online learning. She explains how she's adapting to this new normal, and she shares a tour of her new "office" in the basement of her home.

 

To move class content online over the last week, Levenshus started by inviting students to join the process. An email survey gathered data about the students’ living and learning situations: What technology can they access? Do they have textbooks? Have they ever taken an online class? She used the answers to those questions while deciding how to move forward with the semester.

“That really helped me because I felt like we were doing it as a team, even though we’re separated right now,” she says.

And Levenshus says it’s that separation—not the workload of moving online—that’s the hardest part.

“You know, you love these students,” she says. “I think one of the strengths of Butler is that you have these smaller classes where you really get to know one another. There is a deep sense of loss in terms of that classroom community. But part of my job is helping students gain perspective: If we can grieve our own losses while also looking for opportunities to be thankful, I think we will get through this even stronger together.”

Shelly Furuness, an Associate Professor of Education, is also grieving the loss of face-to-face interaction. Still, especially for the Butler seniors currently serving as student-teachers in K-12 schools, Furuness says students are gaining valuable experience in adapting through disruption.

“This is not about perfection,” she explains. “It’s about modeling how to teach in the face of the unexpected.”

For example, Butler students will continue supporting teachers at a Zionsville middle school with the design and creation of e-learning content. Furuness says the digital space can actually give educators more time to experiment with presenting the same material in a variety of ways, making the experience more accessible to students of all learning styles—something teachers don’t normally have the opportunity to do with face-to-face lessons.

“It is absolutely a challenge, because this is a personal disruption, too,” Furuness says. “But I think this gives us a good opportunity to show that the platform is less important than having a high-quality, flexible instructor. Even as we are modeling how to handle a crisis, we have the resources we need to help Butler students meet the same learning objectives we set back in January.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Levenshus home office
Student-Centered

Butler Faculty Put Students First in Switch to Online Learning

Coronavirus pandemic forces cancellation of in-person classes, but professors make the best of a difficult situation

Mar 19 2020 Read more
Terri Jett
Innovation

Butler Professor Lends Expertise to Indy PBS ‘Simple Civics’ Series

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 16 2020

Terri Jett’s pledge to PBS is lending her expertise on politics and American history to WFYI’s video series Simple Civics.

An Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity, Jett hosts the videos that have tackled topics such as Freedom of Speech During Times of War, How Does the Draft Work?, and Can You Run for President from Prison?. Usually about three or four minutes in length, Simple Civics debuted in October on WFYI’s YouTube and Facebook channels.

With 2020 being a presidential election year, WFYI producers developed the series for viewers to better understand U.S. policy and history. Looking for a host with a political science background, producer Kyle Travers discovered Jett through Butler University's College of Communication produced videos as well as Jett’s work for Founder’s Week. The collaboration has been successful as Simple Civics season two tapings are underway.

On an afternoon in early March, Jett took her place in front of a gigantic green screen, under the bright studio lights, to record about a dozen new episodes. With Travers and fellow WFYI producers Scott McAlister nearby, she completed upcoming videos including Women as President, How Primaries Work, and 19th Amendment.

Jett has the commanding voice of an educator, the confidence to speak in front of large groups, and decades of research and writing experience. Still, she says hosting a web video series is a new challenge she wholly welcomes.

“I have a new, profound admiration for people who do this on a daily basis—speaking in front of a camera. It’s exhausting. But I really do enjoy that it’s actually difficult for me to do,” says Jett during a short break between episodes. “It’s like something you're struggling with, and you finally achieve it. You have a sense of pride about it. I’m really honored to be a part of it.”

The full-length Simple Civics videos will be posted online, but one-minute versions—and 30-second versions produced for children—are expected to air on WFYI this summer.

The scripts are first written by McAlister and Travers, but Jett contributes her thoughts and edits. The collaboration makes for a mix of content based on history and political issues that hit home today. Recorded before Senator Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, the Women for President episode discussed female candidates who have pursued the nomination throughout history, from Victoria Woodhull in 1872, to Shirley Chisholm in 1968, to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“It shows how things we are talking about today have been talked about historically—how they evolve and change,” Jett says.

Originally from Oakland, California, Jett arrived at Butler from Auburn University in 1999. She adopted Indianapolis as her own, quickly establishing a presence on campus and in the city. Jett serves on the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Indiana Humanities, Indianapolis Public Library, and Indianapolis-Marion County Land Improvement Bond Bank. Now, she is building even stronger bonds to the city through Simple Civics.

Simple Civics goes to school

After releasing the first three Simple Civics episodes in the fall, Jett and WFYI received the feedback they needed to know the series was heading in the right direction.

Jett gets ready for another take
Political Science Professor Terri Jett, right, prepares for another Simple Civics take.

“We received some notes from teachers, saying they could see themselves using this series in the classroom as a supplement to what they’re talking about in their civics lessons,” McAlister says. “That’s really encouraging. One of the goals of this series was for it to be a resource for teachers.”

The WFYI producer and social media manager says the timing of Simple Civics is important.

“With it being an election year,” he says, “people have so many questions about how primaries work, how the election works, how the electoral college works, why we even still have the electoral college—all of which we are hoping to address in this season of episodes.”

And Jett is happy to help. She wants Simple Civics to educate and create discussion.

“I think it’s important to do this kind of work,” Jett says. “I’m really hopeful for children of all different backgrounds to see me talking about politics and history in this way. It’s accessible, and hopefully they will see it as kind of fun, and they will develop some curiosity.

“For me, if there is one child out there who says ‘Wow, I want to pick up a book and read about that. That’s interesting,’ I’m good. That’s it for me.”

 

Photos by Tim Brouk; videos by WFYI and Tim Brouk

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Terri Jett
Innovation

Butler Professor Lends Expertise to Indy PBS ‘Simple Civics’ Series

Terri Jett’s political science background makes her an ideal host for the WFYI videos, with new episodes to drop this summer

Mar 16 2020 Read more
Neil deGrasse Tyson on-stage
Campus

Famed Astrophysicist to Talk Science and Hollywood at Butler

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 05 2020

*This event has been postponed from March 17 to October 6 due to the rapidly evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.*

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an expert in explaining mysteries of the universe to a general audience. Host of the rebooted Cosmos series, he is the 21st century’s Carl Sagan. Tyson’s passion for promoting celestial wonderment is only rivaled by his love for film.

Tyson will present An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies at 7:30 PM October 6, at Clowes Memorial Hall. The event will center on science in movies, from science fiction to Disney classics. Tyson will screen short clips of more than 30 movies from the past 80 years before dissecting what is going on in each scene. It’s the melding of two passions on one stage.

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson

When watching a movie about outer space, Tyson puts down the popcorn and starts taking notes. His Twitter account is full of criticisms for movies that include silly portrayals of space travel, exploration, or phenomena. But, if a film accurately captures these marvels, he gives credit where credit is due.

And sometimes, Tyson’s reviews have an impact on new stories in the works. One of his favorite compliments came from The Martian author, Andy Weir.

“While he was writing that novel, he said he imagined I was looking over his shoulder the whole time,” says Tyson with a laugh. “He didn't want to mess up a calculation and have me tweet about it. People think I’m nit-picking. ‘Well, I don’t want to take you to a movie,’ they say. Well, I assure you, I’m very silent during movies.”

Tyson knows his tweets carry weight. But he says he’s just pointing out the portrayal of science in movies, for better or for worse. It’s like a costume designer pointing out that the style of gown worn by a character in a Jane Austen movie didn’t come from that era, or a car enthusiast spotting a Ford from the 1960s in a movie that’s set in the ‘50s, Tyson says.

In recent years, some studios have hired on-set scientists to help make sure things are correct. Movies like Gravity have impressed Tyson in terms of their effort and execution.

“People assumed I didn’t like the movie because I pointed out some things it got wrong in about a dozen tweets,” Tyson says about the 2013 film starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, “but I only gave it that much attention because of how much science they got right. I loved the movie, so I had to go back and tweet that I did love the movie overall.”

The Martian fared even better in Tyson’s eyes—mostly.

“The one flaw was the windstorm scene,” he says. “The air pressure on Mars is 1/100th of that on Earth, so high-speed wind on Mars is like someone gently blowing on your cheek. But they needed some premise to create the drama of the storm.”

Stage and screen

Along with his many media appearances, Tyson’s résumé includes roles as an academic, a researcher, a planetarium director, a podcast host, and a member of the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. Yet, appearing on-stage to talk about the universe’s wonders will always be something he fits into his schedule. He calls it “a founding pillar” of his current career.

Tyson says An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies is an example of how he reaches out to the public, which he finds has an “underserved appetite of science and science literacy. There’s an enlightenment that comes to you thinking critically about the world.”

Butler’s astrophysicists go to the movies, too

Prof. Gonzalo Ordonez holds a book.
Physics and Astronomy Chair Gonzalo Ordonez holds a book about Interstellar.

Tyson isn’t the only scientist who watches movies with a critical eye. Gonzalo Ordonez, Butler Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, says Interstellar is his favorite film.

“They do a good job respecting the physics,” Ordonez says of the 2014 movie starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. “The plot and visual effects are interesting. Their use of the theory of relativity, as well as the physics of how time slows down near a black hole, are well done.”

Physics Professor Xianming Han cited Star Trek as his favorite sci-fi series, but on the silver screen, he was most impressed with Contact starring Jodie Foster.

“Scientifically, it’s probably the most rigorous,” says Han, adding that he especially enjoyed the 1997 film’s take on space and time travel.

Han and Ordonez both look forward to Tyson’s visit to Butler.

“I think students will have a blast,” Ordonez says. “Tyson has made astrophysics more popular and more accessible to nonspecialists.”

Tyson’s take on cinema has proved popular—so much that An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies: The Sequel is in the works. Yes, Tyson is reaching franchise status. Move over Marvel.

“My goal is to enhance people’s appreciation of what a movie is—or what it could have been if the science had been accurately reckoned,” he says.

 

Photos by Tim Brouk and provided by Delvinhair Productions and Roderick Mickens

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Neil deGrasse Tyson on-stage
Campus

Famed Astrophysicist to Talk Science and Hollywood at Butler

Neil deGrasse Tyson explores science in movies at ‘An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies,’ October 6 at Clowes

Mar 05 2020 Read more
C. Patience Masamha
Experiential Learning

Butler Researcher Explores New Approach to Ovarian Cancer Treatment

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 02 2020

C. Patience Masamha has dedicated her research to fighting cancer by discovering new drug deliveries at the molecular level. The Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ new project will tackle ovarian cancer and its tendency to return after initial, successful chemotherapy.

The project is based on preliminary ovarian cell research done by Masamha and two graduate students, Zach Todd and Bettine Gibbs ’19.

“Patients who usually respond to chemotherapy drugs will, at some point, develop resistance to those drugs,” says Masamha, who chose to study cancer after her grandfather passed away from mantle cell lymphoma. “Once the patient is diagnosed, they usually go through surgeries and aggressive chemotherapy. Patients usually respond well to treatment, but the cancer often comes back. And when it comes back, it’s resistant to the original chemotherapy.”

Todd and Masamha
Graduate student Zach Todd, right, and Professor C. Patience Masamha work in the lab.

In January, Masamha received a $10,000 New Investigator grant from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to fund the work. The project will explore why ovarian cancer is so drug-resistant, especially compared to other cancers. The goal is to develop a new drug that will make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy, lowering the chance of relapse.

Masamha is looking at drug transporter proteins, which are the body’s natural way of removing toxins from healthy cells. But cancer hijacks this system, repurposing those toxin-removing proteins to pump chemotherapeutic drugs back out of cancerous tumor cells—reducing the treatment’s effectiveness and resulting in a drug-resistant disease. Masamha wants to know how these drug transporters are produced in order to later develop drugs that target these transporters to stop refluxing drug molecules in the cells of ovarian cancer patients.

Masamha says there is conflicting information in her field about these proteins. Some papers state the drug transporter concentrations are high in ovarian cancer patients, while other researchers say the same proteins are too low in the patients. Masamha’s research aims to provide more understanding of how these proteins behave under the influence of cancer.

Masamha’s research focuses on messenger RNA (mRNA), which reads DNA codes from the drug transporter genes to help the body create proteins. Different forms of mRNA can be made from the same DNA sequence. When cancer is present, the cells overproduce shortened mRNAs, which behave in a way that leads to the spread of cancer. Masamha is trying to figure out how short and long mRNAs can be made from the same DNA sequence, with the goal of creating a drug that would help prevent production of short mRNA.

The shorter mRNAs in cancer cells—which would need to be destroyed to prevent chemotherapeutic drugs from being kicked out of the cell—aren’t always detected by current treatment methods. Masamha’s group is working on ways to better detect those affected molecules, and to figure out how cancer cells generate these shorter mRNAs in the first place.

“If we are able to detect those short mRNA messages, that would clear up conflicting information in the field about these proteins,” she says. “We want to develop drugs that prevent the shorter mRNA from being produced in cancer cells. This will reduce the amount of drug transporter proteins that are made by tumor cells, allowing anti-cancer drugs to work.”

Zach Todd has been working in Masamha’s lab since fall 2016. He says focusing on the mRNA activity within cancer-affected cells could lead to a new way to treat cancer—helping healthcare providers stay a step ahead of the disease.

“Sometimes cancer has the annoying habit of figuring things out faster than we can,” Todd says. “We have to work around it, and this project is very promising.”

 

Photos by Brent Smith

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

C. Patience Masamha
Experiential Learning

Butler Researcher Explores New Approach to Ovarian Cancer Treatment

The disease’s drug resistance could be explained by its effect on cell proteins, Prof. C. Patience Masamha says

Mar 02 2020 Read more
Confession
Innovation

Butler Researcher Battles Coerced Confessions During Interrogations

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Feb 26 2020

Fans of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit remember the scenes well: Detective Elliot Stabler (played by Chris Meloni) grows frustrated with a despicable suspect in a dimly lit interrogation room. The brawny lawman grabs the suspect by the shirt, throws him against the wall, doing anything he can to get a confession.

While it makes for great TV, Assistant Professor of Psychology Fabiana Alceste says such scenes are rare during real interrogations. But some police officers use quieter tactics that might still cross the line.

Alceste’s current research project, It’s Not Your Fault You’re a Criminal: Casual Attributions in Interrogation Tactics, looks at the use of minimization during interrogations—when police officers empathize with suspects in a way that seems to justify the alleged crimes. Alceste’s previous research has found that this can cause suspects—often young—to agree to confess even if they are innocent.

Fabiana Alceste
Fabiana Alceste

“Minimization tends to morally excuse the suspect for having committed the crime,” she says. “It just toes the line legally.”

Alceste received a $5,000 grant from the American Psychology-Law Society to help fund the project, which is in collaboration with colleagues at Duke University and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The work will extend through the year before submitting for publication before Dec. 31.

After reading mock cases and listening to examples of interrogations, participants in the study will be asked how severe they think the suspect’s punishment will be, how blameworthy the suspect is, how much pressure the police used to get the suspect to confess—among other questions. The project will identify the minimization tactics that would have the most potential to coerce false confessions, with the goal of eliminating them from the interrogation playbook. The work will also identify the difference between how minimization techniques are viewed by lay people and law enforcement. Alceste hopes the findings will be ready to publish by the end of the year.

Question: What is an example of a minimization theme in your study?

Alceste: Some interrogators might call the alleged crime “an accident.” This could lead study participants to believe that it’s not this person's fault, so even if they confess, they would get a lower sentence because they didn’t mean for this to happen.

There are a lot of people sitting in prison right now for crimes they didn’t commit, based on confessions that they themselves gave.

Q: How are you collecting data for this project?

A: We will be showing participants different types of minimization “themes” and having them rate whether they believe that the crime the suspect is accused of was in control or not. Was it internal, like under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or external like peer pressure or financial struggles?

Q: What is your take on interrogations in TV and film?

A: I really appreciate what documentaries are doing for the field—shows like Making a Murderer, When They See Us. As long as they are accurately portraying what interrogations really look like and what really happened in those cases, as well as providing at least some background of what research has to say about these topics, I think it’s great to inform people about what is allowed in the interrogation room and what isn’t.

Q: What do directors and writers get wrong most often during interrogation scenes?

A: A lot of times, interrogations are portrayed as really hostile and almost violent—police officers flashing their guns, throwing chairs across the room, or cursing and slamming their fists on the table. Real interrogations are a lot more insidious than that. They are almost conversational, and I think that's why minimization themes are potentially so dangerous. Those more subtle techniques can make you think, “The interrogator isn’t coercing the suspect: They’re empathizing with them.” The interrogators are basically saying, “I would have done the same thing if I was in your shoes.”

The sneaky part is that this kind of real-life coercion doesn’t feel coercive to the suspect. Instead, it implies a sense of leniency that can make people feel more comfortable confessing to crimes they never committed. 

 

Photos by Tim Brouk and provided by iStock

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Confession
Innovation

Butler Researcher Battles Coerced Confessions During Interrogations

Some tactics can lead to false confessions and innocent people in prison, says Psychology Professor Fabiana Alceste

Feb 26 2020 Read more
Kelsey Burton with Bella the Newfoundland dog
Alumni Success

Butler Alumnae Dominate United Way ELEVATE Nominations

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Feb 24 2020

Each year, United Way’s ELEVATE Awards recognize the next generation of philanthropists, volunteers, and activists in the Central Indiana community. After receiving nearly 100 nominations, the organization has selected 15 finalists for the 2020 awards.

A third of them are Butler graduates. Five alumnae are among the nominees, and winners will be announced at ELEVATE on Saturday, February 29, at Crane Bay Event Center in downtown Indianapolis.

Kelsey Burton ‘06 is one of three nominees for the Nonprofit Professional of the Year. As executive director of Paws and Think,  she is always promoting the benefits of dogs. Since joining the local nonprofit in 2016, the Chemistry and Biology graduate has developed numerous programs for her organization’s 130 therapy dogs all over Indianapolis.

 

“Paws and Think focuses on improving lives through the power of the human/dog connection,” says Burton.

One day a week, she stops by a small office at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital to catch up with some of her star canines. A recent visit saw one of Paws and Think’s top dogs, the 100-pound Bella. The shaggy, 10-year-old Newfoundland specializes in encouraging children to read. For children who are shy or don’t like reading out loud during school, reading to Bella can help calm the nerves. The pages turn as Bella takes in every line.

Burton says she is honored to be among the 15 ELEVATE finalists because the recognition shows her work has been meaningful to the community.

“We want to bring love, happiness, and comfort to those who need it most,” Burton says, “We know dogs are amazing. They’re non-judgemental and offer unconditional love. So, what better tool than dogs to be able to do those things.”

Sarah Myer ‘06, also among the award nominees, says she’s grateful she decided to stay in Indianapolis after graduating from Butler.

Sarah Myer
Sarah Myer '06 helped attract the 2021 Final Four to Indianapolis.

“Indy is a city where you can get connected quickly and make an impact if you are willing to hustle,” says the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Indiana Sports Corp. “Not many cities have that kind of opportunity for young people starting their careers.”

In her role, Myer works to make sure those career opportunities stay in the Circle City. Since 1979, Indiana Sports Corp has helped attract major sporting events to Indianapolis in the form of NCAA basketball tournament games, U.S. Olympic team trials, and, of course, Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. Events co-produced by the nonprofit sports commission have led to more than $4 billion in direct spending in the city.

“Our team helps execute events from start to finish,” Myer says. “And while these events are here, they not only elevate civic pride and have a huge economic impact on our city, but we always find ways to include our youth.”

Emily Shrock ‘09 is nominated for Board Member of the Year for her work with Coburn Place, a local nonprofit that works to empower and house victims of abuse. A Marketing major when she was at Butler, Shrock credits her time at the University for helping her realize “the power of community."

“While I was on campus, I had the opportunity to take a number of leadership roles through organizations that not only taught me how to lead but instilled in me an even stronger sense of compassion and desire to serve those around me,” she says. “My heart has forever been in serving others, and Butler truly enhanced that longing that has led me to a career in public service.”

As Director of Public Engagement and Programs at the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, Shrock wanted to maintain that balance of servitude with her professional life. She started at Coburn Place as a student volunteer, and a decade later, she is helping lead the nonprofit into a strong 2020. 

Shrock says Coburn Place houses 70 people daily in its Midtown building, but its programming and services reach all over Indianapolis.

Also nominated are Lisa Glavan ‘19 and Molly McDonnell ‘17, who will represent the Roche Diagnostics Young Professionals group for the Employee Resource Group of the Year award.

Burton wasn’t surprised to see so many fellow Butler Bulldogs on the ELEVATE program.

“We all got really good groundwork in college to learn how to make things possible in our community,” she says. “All the time, I find myself very honored to be part of that group—to say I’m a Butler alum.”

 

Photos and video by Tim Brouk

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Kelsey Burton with Bella the Newfoundland dog
Alumni Success

Butler Alumnae Dominate United Way ELEVATE Nominations

Five alumnae are among finalists at the February 29 award ceremony honoring philanthropy, volunteerism, and activism

Feb 24 2020 Read more
strat comm
Student-Centered

Butler’s College of Communication Launches First Master’s Degree

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Feb 20 2020

As new media platforms rise and fall nearly every month, offering fresh avenues for organizations to communicate with audiences and one another, it can become more and more complicated to make sure every message stays true to key values and goals. It can be daunting, in an age that emphasizes traffic and engagements, to cut through the noise and find the feedback that matters most. And it can be tricky, especially in times of crisis, to make sure information is shared responsibly and in a cohesive voice.

That’s why Butler University’s new Master’s in Strategic Communication builds on the idea that lifelong learning is a must. Now open for applications, the online-only degree invites both up-and-coming communicators and seasoned professionals—creating a group of students who can learn from one another.

“In collaboration, our faculty and students will be exploring new practices, new vantage points, and new ideas,” says Strategic Communication Department Chair Mark Rademacher. “We really want to empower them to co-construct that learning experience. They’re the ones out there working in the field and bringing in real-world challenges to help us understand how these concepts work, not just in theory but in practice.”

The 30-credit-hour program prepares students for careers in a range of fields, from public relations, to advertising, to nonprofit work, and more. After five core classes covering the foundations of ethical, strategy-based communication—and how to use research and data to inform decisions—students can customize the program through five elective courses. These electives offer a deep dive into areas such as Crisis Communication, Branding, Media Relations, Social Media, and other timely topics.

Rademacher says strategic communication is about using research-based insights to understand the needs of key stakeholders, to communicate with them in an authentic way across a variety of channels, and to build trust and mutually beneficial relationships. Professionals in this field must be able to understand the process of how ideas are developed and received. It’s not just about advertising, or just about public relations—as professional organizations see increased crossover between these roles, Butler’s program reflects that shift.

The curriculum was developed based on market research that Rademacher and other Strategic Communication faculty began pursuing several years ago with the support of Butler’s Office of Academic Program Development and Innovation. They discovered a great deal of demand and excitement for this kind of program across the communication industry, among both employers and potential students. According to EAB, a company that collects data about trends and challenges facing the education industry, regional demand for degreed strategic communication professionals increased by 80 percent from September 2016 through February 2019. This growth is expected to continue over the next several years.

With the rise of new technologies and media platforms, some professionals without academic backgrounds in communication are finding themselves in communication-heavy roles. Others who have been in the field for years—or even decades—have watched those technologies change around them, and they are seeking opportunities to grow their skills while learning the most up-to-date strategies. And in a time when we have the ability to collect and analyze more information than ever before, communicators want to know how they can sort through all that data and use it in ways that will help them better serve their audiences.

“Increasingly in our communication environment,” Rademacher says, “we have access to so much data. We have so much insight into how people are using websites and how they are engaging via social media. That old adage of ‘I know what worked before, so let’s do that again’—that’s out the window. Using data and research isn’t just a crutch for communicating to executives that what you’re doing is a smart move: It really pervades everything we’re doing.”

Each class module lasts for seven weeks, allowing students to focus on one topic at a time, with week-long breaks between courses. If continuously enrolled, this means the program can be completed in as little as 20 months.

“We don’t want students to think this is a program that drags on, or that it will be a challenge to your ability to work full-time and balance family obligations,” Rademacher says. “We want you to come in, focus, and really invest in this experience. We believe that when you can do that in intensive, short bursts, that’s the most engaging way to do it.”

This is a degree for working professionals, with the goal of helping them do what they do better. Rademacher wants students to apply what they are learning each day, having an immediate impact in their workplaces or other spaces they are passionate about.

Even though the classes are entirely online—a feature meant to provide more flexibility—the program emphasizes learning through connections with peers, faculty, and industry professionals. Rademacher calls this the Butler online experience.

“For us, that means tapping into this idea that you can be online but not alone,” he says. “We’re working on elements of the program that help build a cohort mentality. We want students forming relationships with one another through group work and conversation.”

The Master’s in Strategic Communication will be truly hands-on. Classes will be project-based, focusing on the application of theory to the practice of strategic communication, which will allow students to pursue topics related to the challenges that are most relevant to their personal or professional goals.

“Butler’s Strategic Communication faculty provide that ideal balance of theory and practice,” says CCOM Dean Brooke Barnett. “They have created a graduate program that plays to their strengths. Students will benefit from the dynamic, relevant, and engaged learning techniques that are a hallmark of a Butler education.”

Classes for the program’s first cohort begin August 26, 2020. There are three application deadlines: April 1, June 1, and August 1. You can learn more or submit an application here.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

strat comm
Student-Centered

Butler’s College of Communication Launches First Master’s Degree

The Master’s in Strategic Communication offers flexibility, professional networking, and project-based learning

Feb 20 2020 Read more
Midwinter Dances
Campus

Butler Commissions New Music From Composer Behind 'Get Out' and 'Us'

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Feb 18 2020

When Michael Colburn first saw the movie Get Out, a 2017 film directed by Jordan Peele that captures themes of racism through lenses of horror and comedy, he thought it was all-around fantastic. But what stood out most to the Butler University Director of Bands was the music behind the dialogue.

“I knew nothing about Michael Abels as a composer until I saw that movie,” he says. “The freshness of the score caught my attention. It was very unusual, and it got me wondering if Michael had ever written anything for band.”

So Colburn tracked down the critically acclaimed composer on Facebook, asking if he would be interested in writing a piece for Butler’s Wind Ensemble.

Abels replied almost instantly. The composer has become known for his work in orchestral music and film score (especially for the Jordan Peele movies Get Out and Us), but he had never written for concert band. He was intrigued.

As the conversation went on, Colburn mentioned Butler’s nationally known ballet program. Abels had already considered trying his hand at writing for dance, and a collaboration with Butler’s annual Midwinter Dances event meant he could create music that would be performed by student-musicians, alongside choreography by student-dancers. The piece, Falling Sky, made its world debut during the performances in Clowes Hall earlier this month.

Leaders from Butler’s Dance department recommended world-renowned Patrick de Bana to lead the choreography, and the two men joined on campus last year to start talking about what they wanted to create.

Colburn asked that the piece focus on some kind of social issue because “one of the more intriguing places we approach these topics is through the arts.” Together, Abels and de Bana realized they both cared deeply about the current humanitarian crisis at the United States’ southern border.

“What really impressed me was how open-minded they were,” Colburn says. “They were making very strong points—and making them adamantly—but they were both receptive to what the other person had to offer. It was truly collaborative.”

The artists also discussed how dance differs from film: Movies have strong narratives—with music that supports certain scenes and actions—while dance is more representational.

“Patrick encouraged Abels to not think about a specific plot or narrative,” Colburn says, “but to think more in terms of representational images that convey emotions, or that capture the general experiences of people who are caught up in this crisis.”

 

 

Working together, the artists created a 20-minute performance packed with themes of innocence, terror, diversity, and hope.

Falling Sky is really a unique score,” Colburn says about the work. “I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say there’s nothing like it in the band world. Some parts are very traditional, but the second movement is based entirely on hip hop. One of Abels’ overall goals is finding ways to fuse classical music with more popular, contemporary reference points.”

A few basic themes pop up throughout the piece, Colburn says. A youthful exuberance toward the beginning reflects the spirit of the children involved in the border situation. Darker, more sinister elements come in during the second movement, representing the forces working against families.

“Then the third movement is the most angst-ridden,” Colburn says. “It seeks to capture what these families are going through when they are incarcerated and the kids are separated from their parents—and the incredible difficulties that presents.”

The piece concludes in a final movement, hinting at the optimism that comes with moving toward a better place.

 

Butler's Wind Ensemble will perform music from Falling Sky in concert on March 1 as part of the Music at Butler Series. This event is free and open to the public. 

 

Photos by Brent Smith

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
(260) 307-3403

 

Student Access and Success
At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Midwinter Dances
Campus

Butler Commissions New Music From Composer Behind 'Get Out' and 'Us'

Butler Ballet and Wind Ensemble teamed up to perform the world premiere of Michael Abels' 'Falling Sky'

Feb 18 2020 Read more
Sam Varie in Iowa
Student-Centered

Butler Student Embraces Campaign Trail

BY Meredith Sauter and Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Feb 17 2020

Getting stuck in a snowbank in rural Iowa didn’t freeze Sam Varie’s passion for politics in this presidential election year.

In January, the Butler University senior and former Student Government Association (SGA) President put his final semester on hold to volunteer for Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg. With only 12 credits left to graduate, Varie arrived in the Hawkeye State on January 20 to help canvas and phone bank for the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor.

Thanks to some kitty litter under his dad's car tires, Varie was able to escape the snow to continue his first foray into politics, a passion he developed during his years at Butler.

“In one of my classes, we studied marketing tactics in a political campaign. That was one of my first inside exposures to how a campaign operates,” says Varie, who will return to Butler next year to finish his senior year and receive his degree in Strategic Communication. “Mayor Pete’s entire marketing strategy is relational. He connects with people through empathy. That immediately grabbed my attention and was something I wanted to be a part of.”

Buttigieg team’s long hours and dedication were fruitful as Buttigieg narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders to win the Iowa Caucus. The results were delayed, but the outcome was savored. The momentum had Varie in good spirits while en route to the New Hampshire primary, which featured another strong showing from Buttigieg.

Varie’s role has now changed from a volunteer in field organizing to a staff member on the Advance Team. As an advance team member, he assists in event execution and management of town halls and rallies for Buttigieg’s campaign appearances. He is currently travelling across the United States.

Buttigieg talks to Iowa voters
Sam Varie is helping with Pete Buttigieg's campaign events. 

As expected, the first few weeks of campaign work felt like “drinking out of a firehose,” Varie says. He went door-to-door talking with potential voters, and he attended events to drum up support for Buttigieg. His main mission was to connect with voters. 

“Iowan voters take the job as an early state very seriously,” Varie says. “We would knock on a door and be welcomed into the voter’s home for 30 or 40 minutes. Although some voters had one too many volunteers knock on their door, they really listened to everyone.”

A crashed smartphone app and the delayed results overshadowed the Iowa Caucus, but in the end, Varie was a part of the winning movement.

“More than anything, having a gay mayor from Indiana on the leader board was the victory,” he says. “The major takeaway from the beginning has been that we can envision love and support for Pete beyond Indiana, and we hope to build momentum going forward.”

Strategic preparation

Varie, an Indianapolis native, says his three-plus years at Butler have served him well so far during his first month on the campaign trail—especially his courses in Strategic Communication.

“Strategic Communication is all about developing relationships and communicating in a meaningful way,” Varie says. “I have to do that every day on the campaign.”

Varie is also leaning on his nearly two terms as SGA president to help him during the long campaign hours.

“My time at Butler was all about connecting with students and understanding what they love about Butler or what the challenges they face. I worked with them to ensure that they are having a positive experience,” Varie says of his service as SGA President. “That's essentially what I'm doing on the campaign trail—connecting with community members, understanding their experiences, and talking with them about Pete's vision for the America that we need. That relational aspect has been crucial to my success here.”

Experience right now

Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Ross got to know Varie through the student’s work with SGA. Ross believes that experience is serving Varie well.

“Sam is incredibly passionate about making positive change in the world,” Ross says, “and he worked tirelessly as SGA president to help students learn about issues and become civically engaged. He has taken this passion and what he learned at Butler to the national level in joining this campaign.”

Abbey Levenshus, an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication, only taught Varie in her introductory Promotional Writing course, but she has been the student’s advisor since Varie declared his major. Having previously worked as a staff assistant for Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington on Capitol Hill, Levenshus supported Varie’s decision to work on a political campaign and offered her advice.

“You get this one life, and you have to decide how you’re going to spend it,” she says. “You can come back to campus. This place will be here if that’s the way you want to do it. That is the Butler Way. Go and get experience right now.”

Varie is unsure if politics will be a part of his career after graduation, but he plans on soaking up this campaign experience as much as possible.

“Right now, I'm really enjoying it—the fast-paced lifestyle, the people I'm meeting, and supporting a presidential candidate I believe in,” Varie says. “But I also really enjoy the higher ed experience. I’m not sure where my future will take me, but I’m enjoying all of the experiences right now.”

 

Photography provided by Sam Varie

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Sam Varie in Iowa
Student-Centered

Butler Student Embraces Campaign Trail

Senior, former SGA President Sam Varie took the semester off to gain experience on Pete Buttigieg’s staff

Feb 17 2020 Read more
Butler Beyond
Butler Beyond

Board of Trustees Commit More Than $43 Million to Butler Beyond Campaign

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 17 2020

INDIANAPOLIS–Current and former members of Butler University’s Board of Trustees have so far collectively committed more than $43 million to the University’s $250 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University.

The Board’s generous gifts represent nearly 24 percent of the more than $181 million that has been raised to date for the campaign, which is focused on three campaign pillars: Student Access and Success, Innovations in Teaching and Learning, and Community Partnerships. Philanthropic support from the Butler Beyond campaign will fuel the University’s new strategic direction of the same name, which was unveiled to the public in an event in Clowes Memorial Hall on October 5.

“The leadership of our Board of Trustees has been tremendous,” says Butler President James Danko. “Their guidance and direction have elevated Butler to an unprecedented position of strength, and their generosity has impacted every part of the Butler student experience. As we work together in achieving our bold vision—one that emphasizes tradition combined with innovation—I am extremely grateful for our board’s demonstrated service and leadership.”

The $43 million total represents gifts to 119 different funds, signifying the group’s widespread philanthropic support across the University’s various academic, athletic, student-life, and infrastructure initiatives. Along with nearly $14 million in unrestricted estate commitments to be made available for future University priorities, the group also committed nearly $8 million toward construction of the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business, which opened last summer. Along with providing space for all business classes to take place under one roof, the new building also houses the University’s Career and Professional Success office, which is utilized by students of every major in pursuing internship and career opportunities.

“The Lacy School of Business allows students, faculty, staff, and businesses to come together to collaborate,” says Maria Scarpitti ’20. “I love seeing the different groups of people interact. I am so thankful for the Board of Trustees and for their extremely generous donations to make this happen. Their continued commitment to Butler is truly inspiring.”

Trustees also provided significant lead gifts to the Sciences Expansion and Renovation Project and the Hinkle Renovation Project, which inspired others to join in investing in these two critical infrastructure projects. The second phase of renovations to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse was completed last year. An official groundbreaking ceremony for the sciences project took place last fall as Butler embarked on a $100 million investment aimed at attracting and developing new talent for Indiana’s growing life sciences industry.

“In so many ways, our Trustees embody The Butler Way,” says Vice President for Advancement Jonathan Purvis. “We are extremely fortunate to be led by a group of individuals that is completely committed to our students and to the responsibility we have at this moment to usher Butler into its next great chapter. The financial commitment demonstrated by our Board of Trustees to the bold vision for Butler Beyond speaks volumes about their confidence in the future of Butler University and in the value of a Butler education.”

Scholarships have been another noteworthy area of investment, with more than $4 million of the $43 million total going to student aid. Trustees have supported 33 different endowed scholarship funds, many of which they established personally. These gifts are in keeping with the University’s strategic efforts to increase student access by enhancing the scholarship endowment and thinking creatively about how to put a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it, regardless of financial circumstances.

“Butler is an extremely special place to me and to my family,” says Board Chair Jatinder-Bir “Jay” Sandhu ’87. “Every time I step foot on this campus it feels like coming home, and I remember the feeling of acceptance I found here as an 18-year-old student. My wife Roop and I are passionate about making sure that future students have access to that same experience. That’s why we’re committed to supporting Butler Beyond.”

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign with a goal of $250 million. The campaign will conclude on May 31, 2022.

“We believe so strongly in the value of a Butler education and in the impact Butler graduates go on to make in their communities and workplaces,” says Trustee Keith Burks MBA ’90, who is serving as Butler Beyond Campaign Co-Chair along with his wife, Tina. “Our hope is that Butler’s many alumni and friends will be inspired to join us in investing in the lives of future generations of students through their own gifts to Butler Beyond.”


Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
317-940-9742

Butler Beyond
Butler Beyond

Board of Trustees Commit More Than $43 Million to Butler Beyond Campaign

The Board’s gifts represent nearly 24 percent of the more than $181 million that has been raised so far

Feb 17 2020 Read more
Experiential Learning

Triple Threat: Dancer, DJ, Chemistry Instructor

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Feb 11 2020

It’s almost showtime for Carl DeAmicis.

The Chemistry Lecturer has the music cued, the camera about to roll, and some dance moves at the ready. But this isn’t his demo reel for the next season of America’s Got Talent. It’s another online lecture filled with a lot of organic chemistry and showmanship.

When DeAmicis hits record on the desktop computer inside Irwin Library’s Lightboard Studio, he gets down on all fours—out of camera shot. He crawls under the lightboard, where a complicated chemistry problem is scrawled in bright green pen. Then DeAmicis dramatically rises into view as Ed Sheeran’s Beautiful People echoes around him.

DeAmicis doesn’t think his dance moves are particularly good or special, but the music-filled introductions get his students to log on and watch the online lessons.

“I think the idea of an Organic Chemistry instructor in his 60s who is willing to get up there and dance is what makes it special,” he says. 

For the class that also includes lab sessions and in-person lectures, the videos are more like focused tutoring sessions. DeAmicis saves his main lectures for in-class, but both formats are high-energy. 

DeAmicis realized early on that his students’ musical tastes are different from his, so he takes recommendations from his kids—who are in their 20s—and finds other songs on pop playlists. But the dancing comes naturally, and the moves are as organic as the chemistry he teaches. 

Beyond the dancing, DeAmicis’ class is notoriously difficult. About 80 percent of the students are majors in the College of Pharmacy and Health Science, and Organic Chemistry is often the last hurdle before they move on to graduate work.

“My goal is to kind of make it light-hearted so that it’s a little bit fun—not just torture,” DeAmicis says. “Unfortunately, it’s still really difficult. It’s a little more fun, but no one says it's any easier.”

Story Fridays

Among DeAmicis’ class traditions, Story Fridays have become a hit. The lecturer pulls from his 30-year career at Eli Lilly and Company and Dow AgroSciences, as well as his time as a Ph.D. student at Stanford University. His stories lend insights into the kinds of careers or advanced studies that await his class of undergrads, often relating to what the class is learning that week.

“I find the students like to hear about real-world applications of the stuff we’re doing,” DeAmicis says. “My first Story Friday was about a 15-year project on a molecule discovery and development called Spinetoram. The entire class applauded after my story, and I was floored. Ever since then, I start every Friday class with a story, unless we have an exam.”

Carl DeAmicis
Carl DeAmicis gets animated during a recent Organic Chemistry class.

A recent class began with DeAmicis’ take on studying under and researching for Eugene Earle van Tamelen, a pioneering bioorganic chemist and an imposing figure by the time DeAmicis enrolled in his lab in 1983. He spoke about being thrown into teaching van Tamelen’s chemistry course in front of 250 students. He did well enough to earn two crisp $50 bills from the intimidating professor’s wallet. 

“My opinion of van Tamelen prior to that day was down here,” quips DeAmicis, stooping down to the classroom floor before rising to his tiptoes. “After that day, it was up here. He turned out to be one of the nicest people I ever met. He even let me use his office to write my dissertation.”

Turning to his students, DeAmicis drives home the moral of his Friday story.

“During your career, you will hear horror stories about certain people,” he says. “And then when you meet them, you’ll develop a relationship, and it just might be the best ever. It happens, and I want you to remember this story.”

The chance to make a difference for even just one student a semester is why DeAmicis continues to teach after retirement.

“For me, it’s the pinnacle of fulfillment,” DeAmicis says. “That’s what makes it worthwhile.”

Twitter sensation

Dustin Soe, a junior studying Biochemistry, says the Organic Chemistry class would be more difficult if it wasn’t for DeAmicis’ passion and creativity toward the challenging material.

“He’s quite different from everyone else, but that works for me. I like it,” he says. “It can be hard to come to class on Friday, but he loves pop music and dancing around. He makes it more entertaining.”

Pharmacy sophomore Reilly Livingston is one of many students who appreciate the instructor's energy in a difficult class. She has tweeted dozens of videos of DeAmcis’ dance moves, along with one clip of DeAmicis dressed as a wizard for Halloween. (He used “magic” to pull down a projection screen for that day’s lecture.)

“The dancing is something really fun,” Livingston says. “He puts in a lot of effort because I think he realizes it is a difficult class. I wasn’t looking forward to the class going in, but now it has become one of my favorites.”

 

Carl DeAmicis’ greatest hits

The Organic Chemistry instructor has entertained his students all year, but some of his top moments include:

  • Getting hit by a giant rubber ball to Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball,
  • Donning a blue wig and strumming along on a guitar to Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, 
  • And dressing up in the style of Jimmy Buffett for a lecture.

 

Photography by Brent Smith and Tim Brouk; video by Joel Stein

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Experiential Learning

Triple Threat: Dancer, DJ, Chemistry Instructor

Carl DeAmicis’ Organic Chemistry course is notoriously tough, but he finds ways to keep students interested

Feb 11 2020 Read more
Fulbright
Alumni Success

Butler Named a Top Producer of Student Fulbright Recipients

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Feb 10 2020

INDIANAPOLIS—Butler University has been named a Top Producing Institution of participants in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2019-2020 academic year. An international educational exchange experience through the U.S. Department of State, this program aims to increase understanding between the United States and other countries.

Four Butler graduates received Fulbright sponsorships over the last year:

  • Meredith Gallagher ’19 (Biology/Spanish) is conducting an independent research project in Bolivia and Peru. She is evaluating the effectiveness of a device used to patch holes in hearts. Read more about the device here.
  • Miren Mohrenweiser ’17 (History/English Literature/French) is the recipient of the inaugural Global Peace, Security, and Justice award. She is earning her Ph.D. at Queen’s University Belfast. Read more about the award here.
  • Matt Del Busto ‘19 (English/Spanish) was one of only five English Teaching Assistants selected to teach at the Universidad de Málaga in Málaga, Spain.
  • Tommy Roers ‘19 (Middle and Secondary Education/Spanish) was one of only six English Teaching Assistants selected to teach in Uruguay for eight months.

“By conducting research, earning degrees, or teaching English in local communities abroad, our students are the embodiment of Fulbright’s mission to foster mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchange,” says Dacia Charlesworth, Butler’s Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships. “I am delighted that our students and alumni are able to participate in such a noble program as they truly represent the best of our University.”

Butler last received this honor during the 2015-2016 academic year, when three students received English Teaching Assistantships. Since 2004, the University has had a total of 19 student Fulbright recipients.

“The Fulbright experience is valuable primarily because it funds participants’ education and professional development,” Charlesworth says. “Moving beyond the financial rewards, though, the cultural engagement recipients experience is invaluable. Fulbright recipients are true ambassadors for our nation.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Fulbright
Alumni Success

Butler Named a Top Producer of Student Fulbright Recipients

The University had four program participants over the last academic year

Feb 10 2020 Read more
Iowa caucus action
Butler Experts

Iowa Caucus Debacle Could Affect Voter Turnout Come November, Says Butler Political Scientist

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Feb 06 2020

In a presidential election year, the Iowa Caucus is usually the first momentum push for a candidate, but what if there is no clear winner until days after the event?

The confusion and technology glitches following the February 3 Iowa Caucus will likely result in a lot more than just delayed final results, Dr. Gregory Shufeldt, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Butler University says. The failure to announce a winner during the caucus could impact the November 3 presidential election.

Greg Shufeldt
Dr. Gregory Shufeldt

“People need to have confidence in the election to participate. If you don't trust the process, you might not participate,” says Shufeldt, who has published research on voter confidence and electoral integrity. “The things that happened in Iowa aren’t good. Even if it was from honest mistakes, it could affect the efficacy and enthusiasm in voting, and when a winner is announced, some might question the legitimacy of the results.”

After about five days of delay, Pete Buttigieg was announced as the Iowa Caucus winner on February 9, narrowly defeating Bernie Sanders. The candidates were in a virtual tie for the week as the final votes were tallied.

Following the 2016 Iowa caucus, which saw Hillary Clinton narrowly win over Bernie Sanders, candidates wanted more transparency in the process. The Iowa Democratic Party decided it would now announce three sets of results: initial head count, final viability headcount, and delegates allocated. What was supposed to be the clearest route to a winner slowed the process down as the data did not line up, says Shufeldt, who is teaching a U.S. Presidential Nominations course this semester.

In each of the precincts, caucus leaders collect “preference cards” from attendees, showing which candidate each participant favored. These exist in case a recount is requested, but they also provide a backstop for any technical reporting issues.

“Every four years, everyone updates their process on what they learned last time,” Shufeldt says. “In 2016 and before, they normally only released the final delegate results, which is all that matters for winning the nomination.”

Shufeldt says the media attention could be squandered for the winner as the focus will be on the flawed process, President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address February 4, and pending impeachment vote on February 5. It could also bring the end to the early caucuses and change how we nominate presidential candidates in the future.

“Iowa’s role as first in nation for caucuses will be revisited,” Shufeldt says. “That’s bad news for Iowa and then New Hampshire might lose some of their privileged status. There’s a whole host of concerns—how representative and inclusive they are—and that will affect the process of future elections.” 

An issue after the muddied process in the 2020 Iowa caucus is that it will cause voters to stay home on November 3. The combination of a flawed process and the lack of the voter’s preferred candidate could affect voter turnout. Shufeldt says a streamlined, accurate voting process is crucial, especially with political pundits debating the accuracy of the Electoral College versus the popular vote.

“The concern is if you feel your side lost the primary due to mistakes, will you support another candidate or stay home?” Shufeldt asks. “The Democratic candidate needs every vote, especially in states that have history of going back and forth between Republican and Democrat, like Iowa.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Iowa caucus action
Butler Experts

Iowa Caucus Debacle Could Affect Voter Turnout Come November, Says Butler Political Scientist

Delayed results will make some voters distrust the election process, says Assistant Professor Gregory Shufeldt 

Feb 06 2020 Read more
scholarships
Butler Beyond

Recent Gifts Push Butler to $32M for Scholarship Support in Butler Beyond Campaign

BY

PUBLISHED ON Feb 03 2020

Fueled by a surge of recent significant gifts, Butler University has surpassed $32 million raised for student scholarships as part of its Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign. Of its $250 million overall campaign goal, the University aims to raise $55 million for student scholarships before the conclusion of the campaign on May 31, 2022.

Seventeen new endowed scholarships have been established since the start of the University’s fiscal year on June 1; among them are two commitments of $1 million or more. Bolstering the University’s scholarship endowment is a central funding priority for the Butler Beyond campaign as the University seeks to increase student access and success.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of those who share our vision of making a Butler education accessible to all who desire to pursue it, and who have chosen to invest in the lives of current and future Butler students through scholarship gifts,” says Butler President James Danko.

Among the donations was a $1.5 million gift from an anonymous donor to establish a new endowed scholarship that will help to underwrite the University’s Butler Tuition Guarantee scholarship program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to high-achieving graduates with financial need from Marion County high schools. The gift is a significant step toward the University’s goal to fully fund the Butler Tuition Guarantee scholarship program through philanthropic gifts, which would require $8.9 million.

The family is funding their scholarship commitment through a combination of cash, planned giving, and a corporate gift, allowing them to immediately begin witnessing the impact of the endowed scholarship, which will exist in perpetuity at Butler.

In December, the University also announced the creation of the Gregory & Appel Endowed Scholarship for Risk Management and Insurance Education at Butler. At $500,000, it was the largest corporate-sponsored endowed scholarship gift in University history.

Also among the recent scholarship gifts was a $1 million estate commitment from Randy and Libby Brown to establish the Randy and Libby Brown Endowed Scholarship. In his role as a Lacy School of Business Executive Career Mentor, Randy has witnessed the impact of loan debt on students as they complete their degrees and begin their careers. He was also the recipient of unexpected financial support while in college. The couple’s new endowed scholarship will extend the impact of their existing annual scholarship, which is currently awarded to high-achieving rising seniors who have financed their education largely with student loans. The scholarship aims to launch students into their post-graduation lives with less debt.

Scholarship gifts like these are central to the University’s efforts to examine new ways to make a Butler education more affordable. Focusing on Butler’s founding mission that everyone, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, deserves a high-quality education, the University is exploring various pathways to address inequity in higher education. Funding the creation of new educational models while maintaining the University’s robust financial aid program will require significant philanthropic support.

Butler awarded more than $77 million in scholarships in 2019-2020. However, only $3.3 million of that total amount was funded by the endowment or other philanthropic support, resulting in nearly $74 million in student scholarship support being funded from Butler’s operating budget. Closing this nearly $74 million gap is a strategic imperative for Butler’s future. Last year, the University made a commitment that all gifts to its annual fund would be directed to student scholarships. All gifts to the new Butler Fund for Student Scholarship directly underwrite current student scholarships, making a direct and immediate impact on student success.

Along with endowed scholarships that exist in perpetuity, donors can also name an annual scholarship through yearly gifts of $2,500 or more for four years. Since the start of the Butler Beyond campaign, 48 donor families have signed on as annual scholarship donors, collectively pledging $576,000 in student scholarship support.

“Access to education changes the trajectory of an individual’s life, and I can’t think of a more meaningful gift to offer than the opportunity to pursue higher learning through a scholarship,” says Vice President for Advancement Jonathan Purvis. “We look forward to reaching our goal of $55 million for student scholarships through the Butler Beyond campaign and seeing many more lives changed through the gift of access to a Butler education.”

 

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

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

scholarships
Butler Beyond

Recent Gifts Push Butler to $32M for Scholarship Support in Butler Beyond Campaign

The University aims to raise a total of $55M for student scholarships by the end of May 2022

Feb 03 2020 Read more
Butler men's basketball action
Campus

Butler University Announces New Sports Wagering Policy

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 31 2020

Butler University announced the adoption of a new Sports Wagering Policy, effective immediately, in response to the legalization of betting on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I sports in Indiana.

The policy prohibits all Butler trustees, faculty, staff, students, and independent contractors from placing wagers on Butler sporting events since they may be afforded greater access to information that could impact the outcome of competitions. The goal of the policy is to foster a culture of honesty, integrity, and fair play in keeping with The Butler Way and to help protect Butler teams, student-athletes, and coaches from undue influence and improper conduct. Butler’s student-athletes and those providing support to the athletic program are already prohibited from engaging in sports wagering by NCAA rules.   

“We pride ourselves on providing our student-athletes an exceptional educational and athletic experience,” says Butler President James Danko. “Our Sports Wagering Policy, which is supported by our Board of Trustees, is a proactive measure rooted in our commitment to and support of our student-athletes and our athletic programs.”

Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier commented, “I am pleased that our University’s leadership has taken this important step to live our shared values and protect the integrity of our campus community.”

For more information, please visit http://www.butler.edu/sportswagering to access Butler’s Sports Wagering policy.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Butler men's basketball action
Campus

Butler University Announces New Sports Wagering Policy

The policy prohibits all Butler faculty, staff, and students from placing wagers on Butler sporting events

Jan 31 2020 Read more
Prof. Chris Stobart and senior Benjamin Nick
Experiential Learning

Butler Researchers Work Toward Possible Coronavirus Treatment

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Jan 31 2020

As the coronavirus spreads globally and the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency, a team of Butler University researchers are working toward a potential virus vaccine and drug development.

The research team, led by Assistant Professor of Biology Chris Stobart, is focused on a protease named nonstructural protein 5 (nsp5) —an enzyme that cuts larger viral proteins into smaller proteins. Backed by a team of five undergraduate researchers, Stobart has found an important region in the structure of the protease in the mouse hepatitis virus, a coronavirus of its own that affects mice and is safe to study in a lab. It’s structure mimics coronaviruses that affect humans. They hypothesize that inhibiting the enzyme’s effects on the protein could stop the virus’ replication.

 

“Without the protein, the virus is dead,” Stobart says. “It’s a vital target that a lot of groups in the past have looked at to develop therapeutic options. What we’re doing is trying to mutate parts of this enzyme to figure out what regions are potential targets for the drug.”

As a microbiologist and virologist, Stobart finds new behaviors in viruses with the goal of biochemists or pharmacologists to then create medicines to fight the virus. Stobart says the research on nsp5 should be finished this spring and ready to publish in the summer.

By understanding the important parts of the protease, a drug can be developed to throw a hammer into the coronavirus’ machinations. Those regions of the enzyme that can’t be mutated without killing the virus are important to map on the protein’s structure. They are “hotspots” for biochemists to attack with therapeutics. The important area they identified is called the interdomain loop within the protease. The project began in 2018 but in 2020, the research has real-world applications.

The December emergence of the coronavirus, which has infected thousands worldwide and killed more than 80 in China, is serendipitous but the work can affect related coronaviruses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and those that cause the common cold.

“This virus’ mortality rate is much less than SARS and MERS, closer to about 3 or 4 percent, but it’s spreading much more quickly,” says Stobart, whose last decade of research projects have included coronaviruses that affect humans.

Mansi Pandya in the lab
Senior Mansi Pandya is an undergrad researching coronaviruses in Chris Stobart's lab.

Benjamin Nick, a Biology and Chemistry major, has worked in Stobart’s lab since his first year at Butler. Well-versed in lab techniques, Nick’s work started out like the proverbial “needle in a haystack” but zeroing in on nsp5 has revealed exciting results. Using a serial dilution technique to work with manageable levels of virus, Nick helped identify key residues in the mouse virus samples that could translate to therapeutic targets against human coronavirus strains.

“We put progressively less virus into our racks, from 10 times as strong to 1/100,000th of dilution,” Nick says. “We grow the virus at different temperatures—37 degrees Celsius for normal homeostatic body temperature to 40 degrees Celsius to mimic a human spiking a fever.”

Nick found that mutating parts of the interdomain loop of the protease made the virus more unstable than usual at higher temperatures. These parts of the protease that would weaken under mutations are targets for the Stobart lab’s molecular research.

Nick says working on the coronavirus project has been fulfilling and he is looking forward to seeing his name on published research that could have major ramifications in coronavirus treatment.

“Over the last couple years, I’ve had the dream of developing a thesis and seeing it come to completion,” he adds. “Now that I've put in the work, done the things I need to do to prepare myself and gather the data, I can do that. It’s exciting to see how much of an impact my research time here at Butler can have. 

“The work I've been doing is relevant now. It matters. It’s literally impacting lives.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu

Prof. Chris Stobart and senior Benjamin Nick
Experiential Learning

Butler Researchers Work Toward Possible Coronavirus Treatment

Biology Professor Chris Stobart’s lab has focused on a protease in the deadly virus that could inhibit replication

Jan 31 2020 Read more
Founder's Week
Campus

Butler’s 2020 Founder’s Week Recognizes Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jan 30 2020

In efforts to focus on diversity and inclusion on campus, Butler University can look back to its roots. From February 2–8, the University will celebrate those ideals during Founder’s Week.

Every year, Butler observes the birthday of its founder, abolitionist Ovid Butler, with a slate of events that remind the campus community of his spirit and founding vision. Since opening in 1855, Butler has invited women and people of color to attend the University—an innovative position for the time.

“When people find out that Butler was founded by an abolitionist in 1855, open from the very beginning for African-Americans and women—and that we have the first endowed chair named after a woman in this country—they are kind of surprised,” says Terri Jett, Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity. “People don’t look to Indiana as being on the forefront of progressive ideas. But it actually was—at least at Butler.”

This year, in honor of the centennial of women winning the right to vote, the week will embrace the theme of “BU | Be Demia”—as in Demia Butler, Ovid’s daughter and the first woman to graduate from Butler’s four-year program. The University also established the first endowed chair in the country for a female professor in Demia’s name. After the Demia Butler Chair of English Literature was created in 1869, Catharine Merrill—the second full-time female professor in the nation at any university—became its first recipient.

Through the image of Demia, this year’s event will honor women through a series of events including a suffragist exhibit in Irwin Library, screenings of the movies On the Basis of Sex and Hidden Figures, a panel discussion about reproductive rights, and a Visiting Writers Series event with award-winning author Carmen Maria Machado. On Thursday, the week’s keynote presentation will feature Butler Speaker’s Lab Director Sally Perkins in a performance of her one-woman play about the suffragist movement, Digging in Their Heels. To wrap up the celebration on Friday, all staff, faculty, and students can receive two free tickets to the February 7 Women’s Basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

“We need to keep recognizing our own history and tradition,” Jett says. “But the values that history was founded on are still in line with the things we focus on today: diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

To help emphasize those ideals throughout the year, the Founder’s Week Committee awards several $1,000 grants to help faculty develop course projects, assignments, or independent studies in ways that incorporate the themes of Founder’s Day. More than 40 faculty members have received these grants, and this year’s celebration showcases three recipients: Ryan Rogers, Peter Wang, and Erin Garriott.

 

  • Rogers, Assistant Professor of Creative Media and Entertainment, and Academic Coordinator of Esports Programs, used the grant to develop a class focusing on themes of diversity and inclusion in esports. Students learned about the relationship between harassment and competition, and that the mediated environment inherent to esports—not seeing your competitor face-to-face—can lead to more dismissal of the other person’s feelings. The class found that female participants were common targets of this harassment. Students then conducted original studies to search for solutions for making the esports industry more welcoming for everyone.

 

  • Wang, Lecturer of Art History, has added a section related to Founder’s Day to his class about American art and visual culture. The assignment asks students to research a female or African-American artist from the Colonial period through the 19th century. “The idea is to re-contextualize the barriers and challenges for these artists around the time when Butler University was established,” Wang says. “If students were in the second half of 19th-century America and were to collect a piece of art made by a woman or an African-American, what would they be looking at?”

 

  • Garriott, a Lecturer in the College of Education, used her Founder’s Day grant to support disability inclusion efforts around campus. She started with the café on Butler’s South Campus, working with staff there to help transform the space into “a place to celebrate people of all abilities.” Now, the café is decorated with artwork from Kelley Schreiner, an artist who has Down Syndrome, and it will soon host a larger exhibition. Garriott also led efforts to raise awareness for the Special Olympics members who take classes in Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex. “Kelley Schreiner now has a poster of her strong self getting ready to lift some weights, which is hanging outside The Kennel,” Garriott explains. “We will have another poster made this semester with Katherine Custer, who is taking the Wagging, Walking, and Wellness Physical Well Being class. Plus, we have created a documentation panel that will hang at South Campus to celebrate our collaboration with Special Olympics Indiana.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
(260) 307-3403

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Founder's Week
Campus

Butler’s 2020 Founder’s Week Recognizes Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

The annual event celebrates the University’s founding values of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Jan 30 2020 Read more
Ashley Altman in United Arab Emirates
Experiential Learning

Butler’s first Gilman Scholars embark for international study

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Jan 24 2020

Two Butler University students traveled a combined 15,000-plus miles to conduct research abroad, thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships. 

International Studies major Ashley Altman and Biology junior Dakotah Harris are the first Butler recipients of the nationally competitive scholarship, which enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad while gaining skills related to national security and economic prosperity. The program was established in 2000.

Dakotah Harris
Dakotah Harris

Altman left for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on January 16. She is studying political science at the American University of Sharjah.

Harris is stationed in the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, where he’ll gain experience in public health. He will learn outside the classroom via one-on-one mentorships through April 4. Harris will also work with a volunteer group from the Human Sciences Research Council. Their mission will be to educate nearby populations about HIV while diagnosing and treating those with the disease.

“There’s a lot of very dangerous myths around HIV,” Harris says. “I’ll be working on getting information to the townships that don’t necessarily have all the resources they may need.”

Receiving $4,500 from the Gilman Scholarship, Altman’s trip is part of the International Student Exchange Programs. His time in South Africa will help pave a career path in epidemiology and the prevention of infectious diseases.

Harris says the opportunity will get him in on the “ground level” for his future work in public health.

“I’m excited for this life-changing experience. I’m ready to serve the people,” says Harris, who will leverage two years of research experience in Assistant Professor of Psychology Jennifer Berry’s lab for his work abroad.

“Dakotah's drive and dedication to research will help him further investigate vaccines. Specifically from my lab, Dakotah has learned several skills and techniques—like animal handling—that will be useful for him in his future research endeavors,” says Berry, adding that Harris has become a student leader in her lab. “I think this trip will give Dakotah a chance to help a lot of people, and that's what he's all about.”

About 40 percent of Butler students take advantage of study abroad opportunities. For Harris and Atlman, The Gilman Scholarship has made that easier.

“To me, receiving a Gilman means that the students are motivated personally and academically to jump any hurdle in order to study abroad,” says Jill McKinney, Director of Global Engagement at Butler. “Not only are the students likely going abroad for the first time, but they’re also going to locations that have significant cultural and linguistic differences.”

McKinney expects Altman and Harris to benefit from their experience by improving language and communication skills, gaining intercultural agility, and making contacts from around the world.

“Study abroad is a great talking point in job interviews,” McKinney says. “In fact, we’ve anecdotally heard from our former students that they are asked more about their study abroad experiences than anything else they list on their resumes.

“For many Gilman Scholarship recipients, this scholarship is the reason they can make study abroad happen.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu

Ashley Altman in United Arab Emirates
Experiential Learning

Butler’s first Gilman Scholars embark for international study

The awards will allow the students to complete research in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates

Jan 24 2020 Read more

Hi, I’m Blue!

Well, I guess I am Butler Blue IV, but you can call me Blue. I am Butler’s new mascot-in-training!

I was born the lone male in a litter of three on October 30, 2019, at Fall Creek Place Animal Clinic. My vet, Dr. Kurt Phillips ’92, delivered my two sisters and me. Then I went home with my breeders, Jodi and Cameron Madaj, and I have been living with them for the last 12 weeks while growing into this bundle of brown and white rolls you see today.

Oh, and don’t worry, I already bleed Butler Blue. I stuck my head out of the incubator at two weeks old to watch the Men’s Basketball team play on television. I even started barking when the announcer said the rival team’s name.

I was born for this.

I’d love to meet you! My on-campus debut for students, faculty, and staff will be on Friday, January 24. And later that evening, I’ll make my public debut at Hinkle Fieldhouse just before the Butler Men’s Basketball game against Marquette. Be sure you get to your seats early.

For the next few months, I’ll be training, interning, and following around Uncle Trip (Butler Blue III) to learn what it takes to represent Butler. Then, I’ll take over full-time mascot duties after Trip retires at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Other than all of that, I’m looking forward to getting settled at my new home, too. I moved in with my parents, Evan ’16 and Kennedy Krauss, about a week ago, but it feels like I’ve known them forever. They even got to be there when I was born, and they have visited me every week over the last couple of months.

I hope to see you all on Friday. I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you! I’m so honored to be your next Butler Bulldog.

 

Go Dawgs!

 

 

 

 

 

Butler Blue IV
Butler University’s Mascot-in-Training

P.S.: Please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @TheButlerBlue. Two words: Puppy Pics.

P.P.S.: I love you.

Blue IV
Campus

Hi, I’m Blue!

I am your new mascot-in-training. I can’t wait to meet you. 

blue
Campus

Butler Blue IV, next live mascot for Butler, revealed, ready to report to work

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Jan 22 2020

It’s a cold December morning in downtown Indianapolis, and the Fountain Square Animal Clinic is about to open.

A red jeep pulls into the parking lot, and out hops a 14-week-old french bulldog. He trots with his owner into the Clinic. A few more cars pull in. Two cats head inside, followed by a lab mix.

Then, a white Toyota RAV4 pulls right up to the Clinic’s front door, bypassing the whole parking thing. A man and a woman emerge from the car, grab a plastic Bella Storage Solution 67-liter bin, and hurry inside. It’s impossible to see through the bin, as layers of blankets cover the sides.

No one knows it at the time, but about an hour later, it becomes official: The bin is holding the next Butler University live mascot, Butler Blue IV.

That day in December, Butler Blue IV was a six-week-old, five pound, American Kennel Club-Registered English Bulldog puppy in a bin with his two sisters. After full-body x-rays, shots, and a close examination by clinic owner Kurt Phillips ‘92, it was determined that the next live mascot would be this dog. Phillips, who delivered the three siblings on October 30, 2019, was in the room with breeders Jodi and Cameron Madaj, as well as current mascot handler Michael Kaltenmark (who owns Butler Blue III “aka Trip”), and the next live mascot handler, Evan Krauss.

The decision marked the end of a process much longer than a one-hour vet appointment. It was a journey that technically started in December 2018, when Kaltenmark, Krauss, and Phillips determined it would be best for Trip to retire at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year due to his older age and long tenure on the job.

But it also marked the beginning of the next phase of preparations for introducing a new live mascot. Now, about a month later, the puppy who snuck into the clinic in a plastic bin has grown into a 12-week-old, 20 pound dog. He has experienced more of the mascot lifestyle—posing for photo shoots, growing out of two Butler jerseys, and listening to a cranked-up Butler fight song on repeat to simulate a raucous Hinkle Fieldhouse. He’s also been exposed to many different people, taken trips to Home Depot, and grown used to the sound of banging pots and pans.

But Blue has also been adjusting to, well, life. He moved away from his two sisters and mother into his new home at 10 weeks old. He’s learning to go to the bathroom outside, and how to walk on a leash.

Butler Blue IV has lived in near anonymity since he was born in October. But as the new mascot-in-training until he takes over full-time when Trip retires in May, the days of being toted around in secret bins are about to be long gone.

 

How it all began

It was December 2018, and Butler Blue III “aka Trip” had recently turned seven. Kaltenmark and Krauss took him to the vet’s office to see Phillips. Trip was in good health, but Phillips said it would be best if they didn’t push him past his eighth season.

“Trip has been great, and he had no chronic or recurring health issues, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t push him too far,” Phillips says.

In May, Kaltenmark and Krauss sat down and solidified a succession plan. But it didn’t exactly start with talking about Trip and the next dog. Instead, the plan focused on Kaltenmark—the man who has overseen Butler’s live mascot program for 16 years.

 

 

At first, Kaltenmark was excited to start again with Butler Blue IV. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized it might be best for him to take a step back.

“I have been married for 16 years, and I’ve been the mascot handler for 16 years,” he says. “My boys are getting older, and they have schedules that compete with the mascot’s schedule.”

Then there was the kidney diagnosis. Kaltenmark was first told in December 2018 that his kidneys were failing. He needed a transplant. He received one from his brother in early January 2020.

“It just made sense to get out of my own way and hand this on to someone who is extremely prepared and ready for this, and that is Evan,” says Kaltenmark, who still plans to stay very involved in the live mascot program after the 2019-2020 academic year.

Once the team settled on a handler, it was time to start looking for the next dog.

Kaltenmark and Krauss relied on Phillips to identify potential litters of bulldog puppies. Phillips interviewed several breeders. He also conducted pre-breeding exams that took health, temperament, and timing into consideration.

They went through about four or five litters, but none of the puppies quite fit what they needed in terms of health and timing. Then, the Madajs entered the picture.

 

How to find a dog

Jodi Madaj has always been a dog person.

Growing up in Danville, Illinois, she would find stray dogs and bring them to her grandparents’ house. At times there would be eight, nine, even 10 dogs there, all courtesy of Madaj.

That love of dogs has not waned. Madaj, her husband, and their two kids have had basset hounds, boxers, and german boxers, but her son always wanted a bulldog. So, in 2003, Madaj and her husband bought a bulldog puppy, put it in a box with a bow on top, and gave it to their son as a Christmas present. In 2011, they got another: Phoebe, also known as Trip’s sister. Phoebe had puppies in 2013, and the Madajs, of course, kept two of the puppies.

“I am more of a collector than a breeder,” Madaj says.

One of those puppies, Trixie, had a litter of seven in 2016. One of those puppies, Violet, would end up becoming the mother of Butler Blue IV.

Madaj also has a love for Butler. Her kids grew up going to camps at the University, and her son played soccer there. Sixteen years ago, her love of Butler and bulldogs led her to strike up a conversation with Kaltenmark, and she has been bringing pre-game treats for Butler’s live mascots ever since.

When Madaj heard that Trip was retiring, she thought about donating a puppy from Violet’s litter.

“I wanted to donate a dog if I had a healthy dog,” Madaj says. “I wanted to do it because I thought it was the right thing to do.”

Violet gave birth to three healthy puppies on October 30, 2019. But, it was not immediately clear if one would be the next Butler mascot.

The puppies were fed every two hours around the clock for the first three weeks. Madaj slept right next to Violet on the couch every single night. For the first six weeks, Madaj never left the puppies alone.

Then, there was the secret part of it all. Madaj told her kids, but not her mother, hiding Violet in the bedroom when her mother came over.

“She has a big mouth,” Madaj says.

All three of Violet’s puppies ended up being healthy. But during the six-week-old visit with Phillips is December, he decided that one of them stuck out. One of the puppies had a respiratory problem, and the other was a bit aggressive. The third was just right.

“There’s a lot to consider with bulldogs, and we looked at everything,” says Phillips, who has been involved with caring for the Butler mascot since he volunteered to give back to his alma mater in the form of vet care for the first bulldog. “He will be awesome. He is a super cool puppy. He is super easy going and not aggressive at all. Everything fell in line with this dog.”

Madaj agrees.

“He is special,” Madaj says. “When you spend basically 24 hours a day with a dog for three months, you get to know him really well. It will be really hard to leave him, but I know he is going to a great cause—to represent a wonderful institution.”

Madaj, who ended up keeping one of the three puppies, texts Krauss all the time, reminding him not to pick up Blue by the back legs. When Krauss came to pick up Blue in mid-January, she gave him a laminated binder full of instructions, and she cried. About 20 minutes after Krauss left, Madaj texted to see how everything was going.

 

Everything is new

Butler Blue IV isn’t the only one adjusting to a new life. Krauss, the new mascot handler, is adjusting, too.

Krauss has never owned a dog in his life. When he was growing up, the Krausses were—you guessed it—cat people. Krauss is allergic to dogs, which sometimes even causes him to throw up.

But that didn’t stop him. He would ask his parents for a dog for his birthday, Christmas, New Year’s—every single holiday. Then, when his older sister became a Butler  cheerleader and Krauss started going to every basketball game, the team he fell in love with had a dog as their mascot.

“It was the coolest thing ever,” Krauss says. “My Verizon flip phone background was Blue II.”

In his sophomore year at Butler, Krauss applied to join the Butler Blue Crew. The student group helped Kaltenmark with the mascot program, filming video of Trip or assisting at events. Krauss had to lie during his interview when asked if he was allergic to dogs.

After graduation, Krauss joined Kaltenmark’s team permanently to manage the day-to-day operations of the Butler Blue live mascot program.

Now, he is taking over handler duties. The spare bedroom of his apartment is stocked with dog toys, a crate, and food. He checked all his house plants to make sure they weren’t poisonous for animals.

And then there’s the whole new parent thing. Krauss called Kaltenmark when he thought Blue’s stool was a little soft. Kaltenmark assured him it was normal for a puppy, but he brought it to the vet to be sure. Then there was the time Blue’s face turned a bit red after some shots. So, Krauss called the vet, who assured him it was normal, and Kaltenmark brought benadryl over.

“This is my dream come true,” he says. “It is certainly an adjustment, but I couldn’t be more grateful and honored to have this opportunity.”

Butler Blue IV will officially be introduced to the community at his first basketball game on Friday, January 24. Until taking over as full-time mascot at the end of the academic year, he’ll be meeting students, adjusting to his home, and learning how to be the Butler Bulldog.

But behind the scenes, he will focus on going to the bathroom outside, socializing with other dogs, and the adjustment to life without his siblings. It’s an adjustment for everyone.

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

blue
Campus

Butler Blue IV, next live mascot for Butler, revealed, ready to report to work

12-week-old English Bulldog set to take the reins as Butler’s fourth live mascot

Jan 22 2020 Read more
lab school classroom
Experiential Learning

How Neuroscience Helps Kids Heal From Trauma

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jan 17 2020

On a mid-December morning at Butler University Laboratory School 55, a fifth-grade classroom falls silent. The shouting and chatter fades, little by little, replaced by the chime of calming music.

Around the room, students lie flat on the floor, blinking up through the cucumber slices pressed to their eyes. Some sprawl out, arms spread wide, as others fold their hands together or reach up to feel the fruit’s coolness.

Cucumbers do more than signal a spa day in the movies, the students are learning. Rather, the slices can act as an anti-inflammatory for a stressed-out brain in the same way that ice treats injuries. They can calm the mind and prepare it for learning—a perfect addition to the collection of relaxation strategies Lori Desautels has brought to classrooms in Indianapolis and across the nation.

Throughout fall 2019, the College of Education Assistant Professor visited those fifth-graders every week to teach them about the brain, how it works, why we experience stress, and how to regulate emotions. Students learned that the prefrontal cortex is the brain’s center of learning, decision making, and problem solving. They learned that the amygdala, formed by a small set of deep-brain neurons, causes powerful emotions such as anger and fear that can make it difficult to concentrate. And they learned that, through a range of activities that incorporate breathing, movement, or sound, they can control those emotions and relax their minds.

It’s all part of Desautels’ work in a field known as educational neuroscience, which focuses on finding the most effective strategies for working with students who have experienced adversity or trauma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 60 percent of American children will experience at least one adverse childhood experience—or a potentially traumatic event—by the time they turn 18. About one in every six children will have four or more of these experiences, which can include circumstances such as violence, abuse, neglect, poverty, mental illness, food insecurity, or drug use, to name a few.

Beyond causing long-term consequences for overall health, trauma can affect a child’s ability to succeed in school as stress inhibits the brain from making decisions and building relationships. Some students respond to pain with aggression, while others exhibit high rates of absenteeism or keep their heads down during class.

“As the research points,” Desautels says, “anxiety has kind of become our nation’s new learning disability.”

Desautels tackles this problem from multiple fronts. Based on her research, she develops new strategies to help kids heal from trauma. She visits schools across Indiana, talking about the importance of caring for mental and emotional health in the classroom. Desautels works directly with children to help them succeed, and through leading workshops and teaching classes, she shows current and future educators how they can better support their students.

 

How to stay sensitive to trauma in the classroom

Desautels teaches a variety of strategies for responding to trauma in schools, but she says rethinking the discipline is the first step. When educators react with punishments based on frustration and arbitrary consequences, this usually reactivates a student’s stress response, leading to new trauma instead of new healing.

Change starts with teachers modeling the behavior they want to see from their students.

When a child’s actions require discipline, Desautels says the adult should always take some time to cool off. After reflecting on how the incident made them feel, they should explain to the student how they plan to calm down before addressing the situation.

I’m really frustrated, so we aren’t going to talk about this right now. I’ll count to four, and then I’ll take my two deep breaths, and then I’ll wait. And if my amygdala is still feeling angry, I’ll count to four again, until my cortex feels calm.

Teachers should also consider the power of non-verbal communication. Desautels says tone of voice is critical in calming a child’s nervous system, along with facial expressions, posture, and gestures.

“Emotions are contagious,” she says. “When a teacher is able to model a calm presence, students are less likely to react defensively.”

Once everyone feels relaxed, the teacher and student can discuss what happened, why it happened, and how they can repair the damage together. Consequences should follow naturally from the action in a meaningful way, Desautels says. For example, if the student was mean to a classmate, they could create something that shows kindness.

Desautels also stresses the need for listening to and validating the student throughout the process. If a child says, ‘This isn’t fair’ or ‘You are always picking on me,’ a validating comment might be, ‘That must feel so frustrating.’

“In the moment of rising tension,” she says, “when you feel someone hears you, that’s calming.”

But these strategies aren’t only for when there’s a problem. Building strong connections with students can help with easing their anxiety and preventing negative behavior from arising in the first place.

At Butler, Desautels has created a graduate certificate in Applied Educational Neuroscience to teach these strategies to educators, medical professionals, and others who work closely with children who have experienced trauma. The nine-credit-hour program launched in 2016 and has grown from just six students in the first cohort to more than 70 today. The classes explore the most recent research in neuroscience and attachment, then shift to how that research can be used to help students.

“And these strategies aren’t just useful for working with children,” Desautels says. “We are all dealing with more and more adversity and stress. Everyone taking this certificate is trying to improve on their professional practices, but I often hear feedback about how helpful it has been personally.”

 

 

A new way of teaching

Until a couple years ago, Emily Wilkerson didn’t know anything about neuroscience. She didn’t think she needed to.

Then, as an Elementary Education major at Butler, she met Lori Desautels.

“It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I realized teaching isn’t just about math, reading, writing, science, and social studies,” Wilkerson says. “Kids need so much more than academic content.”

So shortly after graduating in 2018 and taking a position with the then-new Butler Lab School 55, Wilkerson enrolled in Butler’s Applied Educational Neuroscience certificate. Right away, she started practicing the techniques in her fifth-grade classroom—the same classroom Desautels worked with last semester.

Together, Desautels and Wilkerson taught the students about three key regions of the brain and what it looks like to “be” in each one. In the prefrontal cortex, located near the forehead, the mind feels calm and creative. In the limbic system, closer to the center of the brain, you might start to be distracted by emotions such as fear, irritation, or embarrassment.

On the back of the neck, near the hairline, is the brain stem. Once here, you’re basically frozen. You might feel hopeless or disconnected. You might lash out, or you might run away.

“When a student has experienced trauma, we know that their brain is most likely not in the prefrontal cortex throughout the day,” Wilkerson says. “There could be triggers in the classroom, or they could just think about something traumatic that happened to them, and that could completely spiral their day. If they are locked into that anxiety or fear, they are inclined to stay in that brain state—unless they know that they can regulate their brain.”

So, the students learned how to do just that.

Every time Desautels visited Wilkerson’s class, she brought a new focused attention practice. These activities quiet the mind by having kids focus on a specific stimulus, whether that is a sound, a sight, a taste, or a breath—similar to meditation. This helps soothe the nervous system in a way that makes it easier to cope with challenges.

For example, the class could spend a few minutes with a breathing exercise that matches movement to the rhythm of the breath, lifting their arms high on the inhale and dropping them on the exhale. They could place their non-dominant hands flat on pieces of paper, tracing the outlines repeatedly until their minds feel calm. Or, the students could put ice cubes in their mouths, imagining their stress fading as they feel the ice slowly melt away.

Desautels also uses “brain breaks.” These exercises introduce new challenges or novel sensations to help break up the routine of a school day, training the mind to see things through new perspectives.

Desautels always carries a bag of assorted household objects—markers, paper, shoelaces, and so on. After picking an item, students imagine two ways it could be used for something other than its intended purpose. Another brain break involves asking the kids to peel a tangerine with their eyes closed, then to eat the fruit while focusing on its smell and taste. The more senses these activities draw on, the more effective they will be for regulating the brain.

The students learned to be more aware of how they feel throughout the day. Desautels introduced brain reflection sheets, which help both students and teachers evaluate their current brain states and figure out what they might need to feel better in that moment.

“If I’m feeling frustrated,” Wilkerson says, “I’m going to go sit in the reset corner and take 10 deep breaths, or roll playdough in my hands, because that might be something that feels good to me. But you can regulate a brain in a thousand different ways.”

Most of the fifth-grade students now use the language of neuroscience throughout the school day. And since Desautels first visited, Wilkerson has noticed an overall shift in classroom culture.

“We as elementary school teachers have the opportunity, if we are using the language of neuroscience in our classrooms, to really set students up for a greater level of success throughout their whole lives,” Wilkerson says. “I can’t imagine, if I could go back in time and learn about all this neuroscience during fifth grade, how that would have impacted me in middle school, high school, college, and adulthood.”

Beyond her work at Butler and in Indianapolis classrooms, Desautels visits schools across the state to speak about the trauma-responsive strategies she has developed. She’s also published three books about the human side of education, with a fourth expected to release in 2021.

Nationally, Desautels’ work has inspired hundreds of schools to build what she calls amygdala first aid stations. Typically set up at a designated table or corner of the classroom, these spaces give students a place to go to calm down or recharge. They might offer stationary bikes, yoga mats, art materials, or headphones. Others have bean bag chairs where students can relax with weighted blankets while smelling lavender-scented cotton balls.

Since she first started co-teaching six years ago, Desautels has worked with 13 classes ranging from preschool to 12th grade. It has become more common for schools to address mental and emotional wellbeing, but Desautels says her work is unique for its focus on actually teaching kids the science behind how their brains work.

“Teaching students about their amygdala and their fear response is so empowering,” she says. “When we understand that this biology is thousands of years in the making, hardwired to protect us, our minds begin to relax through knowing that our reactions to negative experiences are natural and common. Many of our children report a sense of relief to know there’s nothing wrong with them.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu

lab school classroom
Experiential Learning

How Neuroscience Helps Kids Heal From Trauma

Lori Desautels, an Assistant Professor in Butler's COE, visits classrooms to teach students about their brains.

Jan 17 2020 Read more
Wallabies in burned landscape
Butler Experts

Butler Biologist: Australia’s Ecology to Suffer for Years

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Jan 17 2020

“Catastrophic” was the first word Butler University Biological Sciences Professor Carmen Salsbury could attach to the ongoing Australian bushfire devastation.

More than 1 billion animals have perished, along with 29 humans in the estimated 100 blazes that have ignited since September, burning 46 million acres as of mid-January. The ecology of Australia will never be the same, at least not for a very long time, says Salsbury, who has researched forest mammals and urban wildlife for decades.

Professor Carmen Salsbury talks in her office.
Professor Carmen Salsbury says the Australian landscape will be forever changed.

“The unfortunate thing is that the catastrophe has just started. Once the fires are out, it’s not over,” Salsbury says. “There is some evidence that we may lose some species altogether to extinction because of this tragedy.”

The researcher says climate change is the biggest culprit behind the historic loss of environment. The combination of extreme heat, wind, and drought has been ramping up for years in Australia, and the conditions have allowed for continent-wide blazes.

While the plants will grow back and animals will return in time, the ecology in some areas will take many years to fully recover. Animals like the endangered glossy black cockatoo and the dunnart, a mouse-sized marsupial, are now thought to be extinct, according to Salsbury. New predators, such as feral cats, may move in to rattle the food chain as shelter and food becomes scarce for surviving prey animals. The “connectivity” of the ecology has been severed.

“Species rely on one-another in lots of different ways—for food, shelter, etc.,” Salsbury says. “You pull one of those things out, and it ripples through the ecosystem and has major impacts on other species.”

The lack of vegetation will enhance erosion and the chance of mudslides. The sediment could invade watersheds, affecting drinking water as well as aquatic life.

“Even after things start to green up,” Salsbury says, “we’re still going to see some serious impact on many of the plants and animals, all of those things at the base of a functioning ecosystem.”

The different roles of wildfires

Western parts of the United States have experienced similar wildfires. In October, 10 wildfires engulfed 113,931 acres of California forest in flames, killing three, and destroying 517 homes and other buildings.

The 2019 events and Australia are tragic byproducts of climate change, but smaller wildfires have their place in ecology, Salsbury says.

“There are a lot of plant communities that have actually evolved to be fire tolerant. In fact, there are some plants that require fire for their seeds to germinate,” she adds. “A lot of plants are meant to burn and some of them have terpene compounds in their wood to promote fire.”

The fires happen naturally from lightning strikes and manmade controlled fires, and serve to replenish small ecosystems. Controlled burns eliminate fuel that would cause larger, widespread burns.

“The point is that intermediate levels of disturbance are actually good things for biodiversity in ecosystems,” Salsbury says. “The problem is when you get really wide-scale, broad, and frequent types of disturbances. And that's what we're seeing now in our part of the world (California) but especially in Australia.”

Biology Associate Professor Andrew Stoehr and Biological Science Professor Travis Ryan will lead a March controlled burn of the Butler Prairie near campus. It will be the first burn of the three-acre natural prairie space in seven years. Weather conditions will play a factor when the burn takes place but Stoehr concurs that control burns are advantageous in rejuvenating some ecosystems.

“Ideally, it would be every spring,” Stoehr says. “One of the main effects is that it cuts down on the gradual invasion of trees. Gradually, prairies convert from grassy species and wildflowers over to wooded area. Burns also kill other kinds of invasive or undesirable species. By gleaning off all of that vegetation, it exposes the soil to more sunlight in springtime. The soil will warm up earlier, which tends to benefit the desired prairie plants more than the undesirable species. The seeds are already in the soil and will start to germinate after the clearing.”

But not every ecosystem benefits from controlled burns and many of those have been affected in Australia, like tropical forest. The fires are too widespread to cause anything but negative impact on the continent.

How to help

As of mid-January, more than $200 million has been raised to help fight the fires and to aid injured wildlife. Salsbury says donating to the causes are a positive step, but so is reducing your carbon footprint.

“These fires,” Salsbury says, “are a textbook example of what happens when you have a lot of factors that come together and make the perfect storm and the No. 1 factor, of course, that’s really compounding the problem is climate change.”

Minimizing carbon emissions and other greenhouse gasses and other practices in fighting climate change can reduce the risk of such widespread fires occurring again, Salsbury says.

“If there is anything good that can come from this, it is that it could motivate people into action,” Salsbury adds. “Unfortunately these type of events may help us direct our focus a little bit. Maybe it will highlight the desperate need. It’s past due.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Community Partnerships

Through collaboration and strong partnerships, Butler Beyond will unleash the potential of our brilliant faculty and students on the complex issues facing our community. Support for this pillar will expand Butler’s reach and roots in the Indianapolis community and beyond by cultivating deeper integration with local organizations and businesses, increasing experiential learning opportunities for students, nurturing new ventures, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Wallabies in burned landscape
Butler Experts

Butler Biologist: Australia’s Ecology to Suffer for Years

Professor Carmen Salsbury says the loss of ‘connectivity’ will devastate ecosystems after bushfires are extinguished

Jan 17 2020 Read more
Tyler Shultz
Campus

New LSB Speaker Series to Promote Business Ethics

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Jan 15 2020

All Andre B. Lacy School of Business students must take the 200-level Business Ethics course. A new speaker series will enhance that experience.

This semester, the Lacy School of Business Ethics Series will feature two events and the series will return for the 2020-2021 academic year. Each semester will feature a keynote speaker as well as smaller, fireside chat-style events. The Ethics Series will bring in alumni, Indianapolis business leaders, and entrepreneurs from across the nation to share their experiences and training for all Butler students, staff, faculty, and the community to consider.

Tyler Shultz will be the first keynote speaker at 8:00 PM February 11 at the Schrott Center for the Arts. The event kicks off the series, which will continue in April with a student-focused talk in the Business Building. All Ethics Series events are free. No tickets are required.

Shultz was a 23-year-old employee for Theranos, the infamous $9 billion start-up that claimed to have technology that could detect diseases from one drop of blood. However, the technology never worked despite years of smoke and mirrors from founder Elizabeth Holmes. Shultz came forward to the Wall Street Journal. The article by John Carreyrou revealed research too good to be true and revenue that never was. The fiasco led to the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley and Carreyrou’s subsequent book, Bad Blood.

Associate Professor of Business Law Hilary Buttrick will moderate Shultz’s talk as well as a question-and-answer segment at the end of the event. She says students will get to experience how important being ethical in business practices can be from an entrepreneur only a handful of years older than them.

“Theranos was his first job out of college,” Buttrick says. “He was really going up against Goliath.

“I think that type of ethical fortitude, that type of ability to trust yourself to say ‘This isn’t right,’ that’s a really important lesson for students to learn. Even though you’re young and new, you  have the power, the right, and the obligation to stand up when things are wrong, even if you’re at the bottom of the corporate ladder. We think (Shultz) has a really important story to tell our students.”

Shultz landed well after the Theranos dust settled. He is the CEO and co-founder of Flux Biosciences, Inc., a Bay-Area start-up specializing in bringing medical-grade diagnostics into the homes of consumers by using technology to measure biomarkers related to stress, exercise, and fertility. His efforts were recognized by Forbes when he was named to their “30 under 30” Health Care 2017 list.

Buttrick says the speaker series will be integrated into class curriculum, in turn enhancing the learning experience.

“I can’t think of a better case study,” says Buttrick, adding that the February 11 event will count as a Butler Cultural Requirement. “Think about the things you’re learning in Business Ethics class; this guy had to do it.”

Lacy School of Business Dean Stephen Standiford says the Ethics Series will be a major part of the program’s push to be a Midwestern leader in business ethics education.

“Our goal,” he adds, “is to continue to infuse ethical practice and leadership development with our students, future leaders, and community as a whole.”

The Lacy School of Business Ethics speaker series is sponsored by Old National Bank.

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Tyler Shultz
Campus

New LSB Speaker Series to Promote Business Ethics

Series will focus on ethical business practices with the help of alumni, Indy business leaders, and keynote speakers

Jan 15 2020 Read more
neville and wakefield
Innovation

New Butler-Produced Podcast to Capture Best-Selling Stories, Memories

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Jan 15 2020

For the past several months, Butler University English Professor Susan Neville has become a fixture in the Irwin Library for her latest literary project.

Neville is not poring over books, however. She is not researching her next novel. The Creative Writing professor is adjusting microphone volume levels in a cozy soundproof booth in the library’s lower level. To her right is best-selling author Dan Wakefield, who penned Going All the Way and Starting Over, covered historic events like the first foreign press interview with former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, wrote about the Emmett Till trial for magazines like The Atlantic and The Nation, and is considered Kurt Vonnegut’s oldest living friend.

Neville and Wakefield
Professor Susan Neville, left, prepares to interview best-selling author Dan Wakefield.

Neville and Wakefield are about halfway through recording Naptown Season One: A Memoir of the 20th Century. The podcast will consist of 20 episodes featuring different chapters of Wakefield’s life, which started in Broad Ripple, Indiana, continued to New York City as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter, then to academia in Florida, and now back to Indianapolis. All 20 episodes will be released at once on iTunes, Wakefield’s website, Irwin Library’s website, and Butler’s Digital Commons in May for maximum binge listening, and to celebrate Wakefield’s 88th birthday.

“He’s a great storyteller and I wanted to capture those stories,” says Neville, who received a $2,000 grant from the Indiana Humanities Council to assist with the production. “These episodes will be kind of his memoir, only done through interviews.”

The soundbooth only fits two people, but the results are as high-level as anything on Podcast One. Neville and Wakefield mapped out every episode, about an hour in length each. So far, they’ve completed episodes focusing on Vonnegut, novelist James Baldwin, and a trio of Wakefield’s mentors from his undergraduate days at Columbia College: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Van Doren, literary critic Lionel Trilling, and famed sociologist C. Wright Mills, who Wakefield served as a research assistant.

Neville enlisted the help of Academic Technology Specialist Megan Grady-Rutledge to help edit each episode, which starts with music and short introductions and outros from Neville. The rest is all Wakefield answering Neville’s questions, recalling major career milestones, and reading from his published works.

“Once he gets on a roll, he gets on a roll,” says Neville with a laugh. “I was a journalism major as an undergrad and have written a lot of freelance feature articles, so I’m used to doing interviews. Recording a podcast is a combination of radio and the print journalism I’m used to.”

Neville reveals that Season Two will consist of Vonnegut interviews she conducted in 1989 and 1990. Those conversations currently live on microcassettes, but will be transferred to a digital format after Season One launches.

“Talking with Susan, I’m remembering a lot of things,” Wakefield says. “I feel like there’s a big hole in our history and in Indianapolis, like the great jazz scene we had here. A lot of if isn’t mentioned in a lot of places so I’m glad to be able to talk about that.” 

Part of the author’s comfort in the recording booth stems from Wakefield’s connection with Neville. They first met when Wakefield was still a graduate writing professor at Florida International University and Neville was a guest speaker at the Seaside Writers Conference. Wakefield has paid close attention to Neville’s career, which includes creative nonfiction works Sailing the Inland Sea, Iconography, and Indiana Winter.

“Susan Neville is the best author today in this city and state,” says Wakefield, noting her 2019 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction award for her collection of short stories The Town of Whispering Dolls. “I feel very lucky to be doing this with her. I feel very comfortable. We have sort of the same literary outlook and framework. We share the same prejudices about writers we like and admire. I know whatever I talk about, she will understand what I’m talking about.”

Naptown is recorded with Audacity and just a few clicks. The writers test their speaking levels for a few minutes, listen to the playback, and then start to record the episode.

For a December 10 session, Wakefield was prepared to speak on his former influential professors. Among his notes, Wakefield brought the March 1968 copy of The Atlantic, which consisted solely of Wakefield’s long-form article on the Vietnam War. The piece, Supernation at Peace and War, mentions some of his former Columbia University professors.

Before the session, Wakefield was a guest at Neville’s first-year seminar on Vonnegut. The students had been reading Slaughterhouse-Five, Mother Night, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, and they poured over Wakefield’s essay on his old friend titled Kurt Vonnegut, Christ-Loving Atheist.

“They were in awe of him,” Neville says. “He told stories about Kurt and his family, and he brought fresh insights to the books they’d been reading all semester. They were amazed.”

And the students will get to know much more about Wakefield, Vonnegut, and 20th century American literature in a fresh format thanks to Neville and Naptown.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

neville and wakefield
Innovation

New Butler-Produced Podcast to Capture Best-Selling Stories, Memories

Creative Writing Professor Susan Neville hosts Naptown series featuring author and Indianapolis native Dan Wakefield

Jan 15 2020 Read more
MiM
Experiential Learning

New Master’s in Management Boosts Careers of Non-Business Grads

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Jan 14 2020

For some students who completed undergraduate degrees unrelated to business, a little bit of accounting, marketing, or finance know-how could go a long way in building a career.

Butler University’s new Master’s in Management (MiM) program is designed for students interested in the edge that a business education could bring to today’s competitive job market. The full-time, on-campus degree lasts one year, and it is intended for recent or soon-to-be graduates with little to no business knowledge.

A potential MiM student might have realized that, while still passionate about their undergraduate area of study, they’d like to approach the field from a new perspective. For others, the program might lead to a completely new career. Either way, the curriculum aims to help students understand how the language of business applies to a variety of professions.

“The inspiration really comes from the fact that here in the Midwest, there is a need to better support our non-business graduates who are unemployed or underemployed—to give them a well-rounded skill set,” says Marietta Stalcup, Director of Graduate Programs for Butler’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business. “We hear from employers today that ideal candidates can bring right-brained, creative skills to the business side of things.”

Stalcup uses her own career path as an example for how someone could benefit from the MiM program. After graduating with a degree in biochemistry, she realized she didn’t want to work in a lab. So Stalcup pursued biochemistry from a different angle, accepting a pharmaceutical sales position with Eli Lilly and Company. She worked for several years before obtaining formal business education through a Master of Business Administration (MBA), but she knows her early-career self would have been a great fit for the MiM.

Unlike an MBA, which typically targets students with at least five years of professional experience, the MiM appeals to fresh graduates who want to boost their skills before launching their careers. The MBA is meant to help seasoned professionals either switch fields or advance into senior-level executive positions in their current careers, while the MiM kickstarts a career early on by teaching students business skills to boost their value in the workplace.

“It’s not an ‘MBA Lite,’” Stalcup says. “It fulfills a different need.”

In addition to a curriculum of foundational business classes in areas such as finance, accounting, marketing, leadership, and economics, the MiM provides every student with a career mentor to help with setting and meeting goals. Students also complete a 300-credit-hour internship.

The program’s first cohort will begin in June 2020. Applications are open now, with deadlines on the first of each month until June 1. Admission decisions will be released within two weeks of each application deadline.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

MiM
Experiential Learning

New Master’s in Management Boosts Careers of Non-Business Grads

The latest graduate program from Butler’s Lacy School of Business aims to create well-rounded candidates.

Jan 14 2020 Read more
RMI students prepare a case study.
Experiential Learning

Butler’s Risk Management Programs Earn Top-10 Recognition from Business Insurance Magazine

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Jan 06 2020

Butler University’s programs for risk management and insurance professionals have been recognized by Business Insurance magazine as one of the top-10 in the nation for the most graduates in 2019.

The magazine tabbed Butler No. 9 for most Actuarial Science and Risk Management and Insurance graduates. The ranking combines the two related programs–Butler’s Davey Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) and Actuarial Science majors–that assess risk for insurance purposes from qualitative and quantitative sides of the risk management coin.

“These rankings recognize the collaborative efforts of the Davey Risk and Insurance Program and the Actuarial Science program at Butler University to recruit the future leaders of the RMI industry,” says Dr. Victor Puleo, Associate Professor and Davey Chair of Risk Management and Insurance. “I am very pleased to see Butler University listed alongside the other universities and colleges that share in this mission.”

The national ranking released in December 2019 is the first top-10 national honor for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business.

The Davey Risk Management and Insurance program was established in the Lacy School of Business in 2012. It graduated 34 students in the 2018-19 school year, which was combined with Actuarial Science’s 20 graduates for that top-10 ranking. Business Insurance also listed Butler at No. 13 for the largest “risk management program” overall based on student enrollment.

“We’re probably the smallest university on the list,” says Zach Finn, Clinical Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, “but the Lacy School of Business has an efficacy for recruiting. We’re retaining students all the way to graduation while maintaining a high rate of growth.”

According to Risk Management magazine, job growth in the risk management and insurance industry is up 60 percent since 2013. These positions include risk management analysts, underwriters, and brokers for companies like Aon, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Northwestern Mutual, and State Farm Insurance. A 16 percent job rate increase is still expected by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the industry grows, a wave of insurance underwriters and brokers are nearing retirement age, which will open thousands more positions for young, expertly trained professionals like Butler graduates, Finn says.

The Lacy School of Business recently launched a Master of Science in Risk and Insurance (MSRI) online degree program, which is further evidence of the University’s commitment to be a national leader in risk management and insurance. Part of the buzz around the industry includes the insurance of new business concepts. From electric scooter rental services to pizza-delivering drones, there is an insurance side to every game-changing business venture. Professionals trained in risk management are needed now more than ever to establish what kind and how much insurance policies should be, Finn says.

Senior Kyle Niemiec just wrapped up his third internship. A Finance major, his experience at Encova Insurance in Naperville, Illinois, made him change his focus to risk management.  

“No business can run without insurance,” Niemiec says. “It’s also helping people. I’ve fully invested myself into insurance as a whole. I was in financial planning, but getting to see behind the scenes aspects, I knew I wanted to do insurance.” 

Businesses have noticed Butler’s strength in risk management. MJ Insurance helped fund the first student-run captive insurance company at Butler. Students benefit from experiential learning by taking on real risks and real underwriting, while also gaining insight into starting and running a business.

“MJ Insurance had the confidence that our students were up to the task in deploying those funds,” says Finn, “and that gift helped put us on the map.”

As chair of the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Actuarial Science, Associate Professor Chris Wilson has led a student experience for Actuarial Science students. Undergrads are given opportunities to take four Society of Actuaries credentialing exams before graduation. The more exams completed, the more actuarial job opportunities become available to the students in the risk management field.

“We’ve had examples where a student has gotten a job, passed an exam, and gotten a raise before they even started work,” says Wilson, who has seen the number of Actuarial Science graduates quadruple since he joined Butler in 2007. “It’s people who are aware they are high-achieving students and they’re ready for a challenging major. They want to do something to develop their quantitative skills and enjoy problem solving.”

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

RMI students prepare a case study.
Experiential Learning

Butler’s Risk Management Programs Earn Top-10 Recognition from Business Insurance Magazine

Publication recognizes Risk Management and Insurance and Actuarial Science programs for number of graduates

Jan 06 2020 Read more
Butler 2019
Campus

The Year That Was: Top Stories from Butler in 2019

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Dec 18 2019

We opened a brand new building and announced plans for our largest investment ever in another one. We faced some of society’s greatest challenges head on by announcing a new strategic direction and largest ever comprehensive fundraising campaign. Our favorite bulldog announced his retirement, and plans for an esports and gaming space were unveiled.

In 2019, the Butler University community brought excitement and innovation to campus and the world around them. They conducted groundbreaking research on the effects of vaping, social media, how hearing loss affects overall development, and more—all in an effort to make a difference in society. Here’s a look back at some of the top stories of the year.

 

Social media, it turns out, makes us feel better about ourselves

Butler Associate Professor of Entertainment Media and Journalism Lee Farquhar found that most of us prefer to use social media to look at and compare ourselves to certain types of individuals: those who make us feel better about ourselves. That, Farquhar found, can lead to an increase in happiness and life satisfaction.

Read more here.

 

Hearing loss is linked to cognitive ability in babies

According to new research from Butler Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Tonya Bergeson-Dana, hearing loss is connected to the larger cognitive system and can have a cascading effect on cognitive development.

Read more here.

 

Providing clinical expertise to the insurance industry

A team of about 25 Butler community members created a tool for the Department of Insurance in an effort to specify, from a medical perspective, what medications insurance companies should cover for 17 diseases that are health priorities in Indiana.

Read more here.

 

History made during Commencement

During Butler’s 163rd Spring Commencement, nearly 1,050 graduates received their diplomas—the largest graduating class in Butler’s history.

Read more here.

 

Board approves sciences upgrade

The Butler Board of Trustees approved a $100 million renovation and expansion—the largest investment ever by the Trustees in Butler’s future—for a new sciences complex. The project includes new high-tech classrooms designed to promote learning by doing, labs that mimic those at top research companies, and work spaces meant to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Read more here.

 

New building for the Lacy School of Business opens

After nearly two years of construction, the new 110,000-square-foot building for Butler’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business (LSB) officially opened in August.

Read more here.

 

Butler ranked No. 1 again

For the second consecutive year, Butler was named the No. 1 Regional University in the Midwest, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings. Butler also ranked as the No. 1 Most Innovative School for the fifth straight year.

Read more here.

 

New strategic direction

Butler unveiled a new strategic direction and its largest ever comprehensive fundraising campaign. Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University seeks to raise $250 million by May 2022 to deliver transformative change to the University, the region, and the world.

Read more here.

 

Esports and Gaming Lounge set to open on campus

A new space dedicated to esports and gaming will open on Butler’s campus in Atherton Union. But that space is just the beginning. A 7,500-square-foot, multi-use space in the Butler Parking Garage is slated to open fall 2020, and it will feature 50 gaming PCs, an area of gaming consoles, and room for technology-infused corporate trainings and events or youth STEM and esports camps.

Read more here.

 

Butler Blue III set to retire

After eight years, Butler Blue III will retire at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. The American Kennel Club-registered English bulldog is hanging up his mascot duties because of his older age (for bulldogs), long tenure on the job, and desire to start the next chapter of his life.

Read more here.

 

Study shows JUUL not being used as intended

A survey of nearly 1,000 college students from a Butler professor and undergrad reveals that, while vaping was originally promoted as a safer alternative for existing smokers, most young vape users are actually brand new to nicotine.

Read more here.

Butler 2019
Campus

The Year That Was: Top Stories from Butler in 2019

In 2019, the Butler community brought excitement and innovation to campus and the world around them.

Dec 18 2019 Read more
Sorensons
Student-Centered

Algorithmic Number Theory Research Runs in the Family at Butler

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Dec 13 2019

It’s daughter-like-father when it comes to algorithmic number theory at Butler University.

Long before algorithms organized that cat video content you crave on your social media feeds, mathematicians and computer scientists created and utilized algorithms for faster and more precise calculations. The Department of Computer Science studies these algorithms to improve on existing methodology or to create new ways to compute.

Butler Computer Science Professor Jonathan Sorenson and his daughter, senior Brianna Sorenson, decided to take on Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos and American mathematician John Selfridge’s 1974 algorithmic function for calculating prime factors of binomial coefficients. The research explored the possibilities of the 45-year-old problem. Father and daughter sought to expand the possible solutions and the speed in solving the problem, which hadn’t been challenged since 1999. With decades of computing breakthroughs at their disposal, the Sorensons got to work in the summer of 2018. 

“Algorithmic means you have problems in the area of number theory and you want to solve them using computer algorithms. The object of study is those computer algorithms,” Jonathan Sorenson says.

The Sorensons’ paper, An Algorithm and Estimates for the Erdos-Selfridge Function, will be submitted this winter to the 2020 Algorithmic Number Theory Symposium (ANTS), which is set for June 30 to July 4 in Auckland, New Zealand. 

Established by Cornell University as an intersection of mathematics and computer science fields, ANTS is the place where researchers explore the possibilities of challenging number theoretic problems like the Erdos and Selfridge problem the Sorensons studied, which identifies g (k) as the least integer bigger than k + 1 such that the binomial coefficient C(g(k), k) has no prime divisors larger than k.

Previous researchers computed the first 200 values of the Erdos-Selfridge function. In collaboration with Mathematics and Actuarial Science Professor Jonathan Webster, the Sorensons coded an original algorithm for faster computation for the problem. The work was successful as 157 more known binomial coefficients were discovered. That was almost twice as many numbers that mathematicians and computer scientists previously found.

“The 356th is 31 digits long,” Jon Sorenson says, “and it is the smallest such example larger than 357.”

The work was moved to the Big Dawg cluster supercomputer, which did the heavy lifting with the code written by the Butler team. The supercomputer took 12 days to find integer No. 355 but No. 356 was discovered four days later. Big Dawg had been working since Nov. 11 to find integer No. 357 and it finally discovered g(357)=2808033466727432757706599807359 almost a month later.

Binomial coefficients can break calculators when they reach as high as the Butler team took them to explore Erdos and Selfridge’s function. Jon Sorenson explains the process:

“If you have 10 different hats in your closet, then the binomial coefficient C(10,3) is the number of ways of selecting 3 hats from your closet. This is 120. There are 10 choices for the first hat, then 9 for the second, then 8 for the third, so 10*9*8.  But order doesn't matter, so we have to divide by the number of ways of rearranging 3 things, which is 3!=6. We get 10*9*8/6=120.”

A Computer Science and Mathematics major, Brianna Sorenson’s talent at solving problems with binomial coefficients led to the Erdos-Selfridge function research idea before the 2018 ANTS, which her father co-chaired. Only 19 years old at the time, she noted the function had been untouched since 1999. Why not explore it after 20 years of technological advancement and mathematical discovery?

The younger Sorenson spoke on the Erdos-Selfridge Function work at The Ohio State University Young Mathematicians Conference in August. The event was competitive to get into but Sorenson impressed with her algorithmic number theory work. The experience has been key as the senior prepares her graduate school applications, and being “alphabetically superior,” the younger Sorenson will be listed first.

“I can say ‘Look at this paper I’m in,’” Brianna Sorenson says with a laugh. “I think it’s really helpful to get this kind of experience. I’m wanting to get a PhD in computer science and that involves doing research and writing a thesis. This research was sort of a preview to it.”

Webster also collaborated with senior David Purdum, a Computer Science, Mathematics, and Statistics major, on a research paper, which will be submitted for ANTS 2020. Algorithms for the Multiplication Table Problem explores new ways to solve classic multiplication tables. By helping produce these papers, Purdum and Brianna Sorenson received experience that no coursework could provide. The process of publishing in the field of algorithmic number theory takes years, from selecting the problem to the final peer review of the paper. 

“This is intense and original thinking,” Webster says. “Each of these projects from start to finish take more than two years. With these multi-year projects, it’s difficult to see them through.”

By identifying the problems early in their Butler careers, Purdum and Brianna Sorrenson can count on submitting their high-level research as highlights to their final year as undergrads two years later. 

And for Jon Sorenson, he can count working with his daughter on high-level algorithmic number theory as a career highlight.

“You don’t often get to publish a paper with your kid,” the professor says. “It’s a dream come true.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Sorensons
Student-Centered

Algorithmic Number Theory Research Runs in the Family at Butler

Professor Jon Sorenson and daughter, senior Brianna Sorenson, tackle high math for international conference

Dec 13 2019 Read more
Hala Fadda in her lab
Innovation

COPHS Researcher Leads New Treatment of Recurring C. Diff

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Dec 12 2019

Close to half-a-million people a year suffer from Clostridioides difficile, or C. diff, and more than 29,000 of them died from the bacteria, according to the Center for Disease Control. C. diff results from disruption of healthy, normal bacteria in the colon, often from antibiotics, and causes diarrhea, stomach pain, and fever. In the most severe cases, C. diff can damage the colon and be fatal.

Most cases can be treated with antibiotics. But for patients who suffer recurring cases of C. diff, the path to recovery is a bit more complex. New guidelines for this group, introduced in 2011, recommend fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), or a procedure in which fecal matter is collected from a healthy donor and placed into the gastrointestinal tract of a patient. These transplants can help replenish the bacterial balance in the gut through colonoscopy or capsules.

Most C. diff patients are elderly and had spent time in healthcare settings under the treatment of antibiotics. While the antibiotics wipe out bad bacteria in the patient, good bacteria resilient to C. diff are also destroyed during the process. Results have been favorable in treating recurrent C. diff with FMT, but Butler University Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Hala Fadda is part of a team that has improved cure rates with oral FMT products, while significantly reducing the amount of capsules a C. diff patient must take.

hala fadda
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Hala Fadda.

Published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Fadda and collaborators designed a capsule coating that dissolves in the colon instead of the stomach. This allows for site-specific delivery to the colon and was found to better restore the gut microbial diversity. These new capsules had faster and more successful cure rates compared to standard capsules that dissolve in the stomach in five minutes.

Published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Fadda and collaborators designed a capsule coating that dissolves in the colon instead of the stomach. This allows for site-specific delivery to the colon, which has been found to better restore the gut microbial diversity. These new capsules had faster and more successful cure rates compared to standard capsules that dissolve in the stomach in five minutes.

“The coating is essentially a high fiber starch polymer,” says Fadda, who’s gained expertise through researching how patients consume medicine. “The enzymes produced by colonic bacteria start to chomp away and digest that starch, even with C. diff patients’ lowered bacteria diversity. These enzymes, which break up the starch, are abundant in the colon.”

FMT has been adopted by many hospitals, but Fadda says access to the treatment can be improved. Her new capsules are less invasive and more affordable than a colonoscopy, and they can be shipped from specialist centers around the world.

Healthy donors only

Fadda says there is only a 2.5 percent acceptance rate for fecal donors because the criteria is so strict for FMT. Stool banks like OpenBiome in Boston, Massachusetts, don’t accept potential donors who have traveled to places with communicable diseases in the past six months. They also don’t accept donors who have suffered from digestive diseases, metabolic syndromes, and other conditions.

“You can’t have taken antibiotics in the past three months, and body mass index must be less than 30,” Fadda says. “Evidence suggests a correlation between weight and gut microbial communities.” 

As of 2018, 43,000 FMT treatments were issued by OpenBiome, Fada says. However, this number is not representative of total FMT treatments, as some hospitals prepare their own FMT products.

How C. diff spreads

The spores that cause C. diff are abundant in hospitals. They can be spread by visitors, or by healthcare professionals. After the resistant spores are transmitted to patients, they can germinate into vegetative bacterial cells in the colons of vulnerable individuals, and the bacteria produces toxins.

Fadda and her team’s breakthrough will help shorten return hospital stays for many patients suffering from recurrent C. diff. The capsule approach provides an alternative to a colonoscopy—an expensive and invasive procedure some patients might want to avoid—and it looks to be a quick and effective treatment to C. diff while restoring microbiome diversity in the gut.

“Fecal microbiota transplant has been adopted by lots of hospitals,” Fada says. “It’s common in the U.S. and Europe, but accessibility is still an issue. That’s why this capsule offers a significant advantage because it makes FMT more accessible.”

how the FMT works

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Hala Fadda in her lab
Innovation

COPHS Researcher Leads New Treatment of Recurring C. Diff

Professor Hala Fadda has developed capsules that dissolve in the colon to better fight Clostridioides difficile

Dec 12 2019 Read more
Wendy Meaden holds masks.
Innovation

Theatre Professor Writing the Textbook on ‘Masks Inside Out’

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Dec 11 2019

Butler Theatre Professor Wendy Meaden was one of the almost 10 million viewers for the premier of reality competition show The Masked Singer. The program, which is now in its second season and was renewed for a third in 2020, pits disguised celebrities in elaborate costumes singing in front of a panel of judges and a live audience.

Being a costume designer and professor whose work has included mask design, creation, and research for more than 20 years, Meaden felt like she had to watch The Masked Singer. But she didn’t make it past the second episode. She enjoyed the show’s mask designs, which are created by artist  Marina Toybina, but Meaden was hoping for more emphasis on the masks themselves.

“I can understand the spectacle, and her designs are really good,” says Meaden, who has designed masks for Butler Theatre plays and leads the Masks class in the Department of Theatre, “but it seems to be design for design’s sake. When masks are designed, there is usually some reason or connection for the aesthetic choice.”

Meaden says creating theatrical masks banks on the audience meeting the performers halfway. It takes a lot of practice to be able to design masks that draw audiences to use their imagination and let themselves be transported into the story.

To help future mask makers understand that dynamic, Meaden is in the process of writing a textbook, Masks Inside Out. She knows there are lots of books about masks already, but she says they concentrate on individual aspects: history, cultural significance, design, and how to perform while wearing one. Meaden aims to create one book that combines it all.

Meaden wears a mask.
Theatre Professor Wendy Meaden wears one of her masks.

“There is so much to learn about masks, but there is no textbook on the market to address masks the way I want to,” Meaden says.

In collaboration with Michael Brown, a former Indianapolis artist now teaching at Columbia College Chicago, Meaden will submit the final manuscript next summer, and she expects to publish it by late 2020.

Masks in the Core Curriculum

Growing up, Meaden never wore masks for Halloween. She remembers noticing masks for the first time when she saw Adam West and Burt Ward’s wearing them in the old Batman TV show.

“I remember thinking ‘They’re not disguised at all. It’s clear who they are,’” Meaden says, laughing.

Meaden created her first masks while she worked as a costume designer for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which needed billy goat masks for a performance called Three’s Please. She’d never made a mask before, but it seemed like a natural next step to the costume design she’d been doing since 1986.

“As a costume designer,” Meaden says, “I’ve always been interested in presenting characters and transforming actors, and I love the process of creating costumes. Sculpting masks is an extension of that passion.”

Meaden’s masks made their Butler debut during the 2001 production of Hamlet. Made of plaster and cardboard, they portrayed the characters of the Duke of Vienna Gonzago, his wife Baptista, and their murderous nephew, Lucianus. They were then given a worn, weathered appearance of being buried in the dirt, just like poor old Yorick’s skull.

Theatre students that worked on plays with Meaden were enthusiastic to learn more about mask-making and the Masks class at Butler was established in 2003. It’s now part of the Perspectives in the Creative Arts Core Curriculum. Some Theatre majors still take the class as an elective, but many students outside of the Jordan College of Arts enroll, too.

On just the second day of class, students start by creating masks of their own. After protecting their hair with bandanas or plastic bags, they start gluing cardboard and paper over their faces.

“They sit and look in the mirror,” Meaden says. “The class is usually chatty to start, and then there’s a quiet. Everyone stops talking as they are totally focused on the mirror and putting things over their face. What’s fascinating is their sense of transformation—to understand that you can put something on that is your face, but it’s not your face. I am me but I am not me.”

How the brain reacts to masks

In the first chapter of Masks Inside Out, Meaden  explains why people are often either intrigued or repelled by someone wearing a mask. 

“How does your amygdala react?” Meaden asks. “Your brain’s initial reaction is usually fight or flight, but then your neocortex kicks in and tells you it’s a thing on a person. You’re going to be safe, you laugh, and you enjoy.”

Meaden’s research has found that masks are an extension of humans’ fascination for seeing faces—from selfies to picturing faces in inanimate objects. Faces are why we connect to other people, she says, and a mask on a human face usually brings about feelings of mystery, intrigue, or creepiness.

“Faces are how we judge our safety, how we pick potential partners, and identify family. Our aesthetics are wrapped up in how we perceive faces. And masks are a way we tell stories. They are potent ways to communicate. They are a way of connecting with nature, the spirits, ancestors, the gods, disguise, and protection. We use them in so many ways. They are universal.”

While The Masked Singer relies on glitz, glamour, and reality TV brassiness, millions of brains are reacting to the masks, no matter which celebrities are behind them.

Meaden with many masks
Meaden stands with masks she has made and collected.

 

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Wendy Meaden holds masks.
Innovation

Theatre Professor Writing the Textbook on ‘Masks Inside Out’

From early man to ‘Masked Singers,’ Wendy Meaden analyzes masks’ history, cultural significance, and theater roles.

Dec 11 2019 Read more
signing event
Student-Centered

Gregory & Appel Establishes Largest Corporate Endowed Scholarship Ever at Butler

BY

PUBLISHED ON Dec 10 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Gregory & Appel Insurance has given $500,000 to create the Gregory & Appel Endowed Scholarship for Risk Management and Insurance Education at Butler University, making it the largest corporate-sponsored endowed scholarship gift in University history.

The scholarship will benefit students studying risk management and insurance. Initiated by Gregory & Appel CEO Dan Appel and his wife, Kate, the scholarship is intended to help attract and develop new talent for the insurance industry in Indiana. Gregory & Appel announced yesterday that Dan Appel will be retiring as the company’s CEO at the end of 2019, but will serve as Non-Executive Board Chair. Andrew Appel will assume the role of CEO beginning January 1.

“We are extremely grateful to Gregory & Appel Insurance and Dan and Kate Appel for their investment in the lives of Butler students through this endowed scholarship gift,” President James Danko says. “Dan and Kate Appel are great friends to Butler University, and this scholarship is just the latest example of the many ways their influential leadership is making a difference in the Indianapolis community.”

The scholarship gift builds on Gregory & Appel’s long history of partnership with Butler. John J. Appel and his son, Fred G. Appel, were two of the 41 prominent local businessmen who financed the construction of Hinkle Fieldhouse on Butler’s campus in 1928. Now a National Historic Landmark, Hinkle has been a beloved community gathering place for more than 90 years.

In addition, Gregory & Appel has provided financial support to the Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program in the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. As one of only 58 risk management and insurance programs in the country, the Davey program is playing a crucial role in preparing a new generation of talent for an industry challenged by an aging workforce. Gregory & Appel regularly employs Butler students as interns, and a number of Butler graduates have found their professional home at the firm. In January 2019, Butler launched an online Master of Science in Risk and Insurance program to help address the industry’s talent gap.

“Gregory & Appel Insurance has been an incredible partner in the work of preparing our students for successful careers in the insurance industry,” says Lacy School of Business Dean Steve Standifird. “Their investment in the Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program as well as this new scholarship gift demonstrates their significant commitment to developing a talent pipeline of qualified future professionals. We are proud to collaborate in this effort with a company that shares our Butler values.”

Along with supporting the development of new talent for the insurance industry, the gift also enhances Butler’s scholarship endowment, a key priority of the University’s Butler Beyond strategic direction and comprehensive fundraising campaign. In an effort to broaden student access and success, the University is aiming to address the issue of affordability. Central to this goal is ensuring the long-term sustainability of the University’s robust financial aid program. Gregory & Appel’s scholarship gift is a significant step toward the University’s goal of putting a Butler education within reach of all students, regardless of financial circumstances.

For more than a decade, Gregory & Appel Insurance has been named a “Company that Cares” by the United Way of Central Indiana for their extensive involvement and investment in the local community. In recognition of exceptional volunteer and financial support, the United Way of Central Indiana awarded Gregory & Appel in 2017 with the Spirit United Award, its most prestigious recognition.

“It is my hope that this scholarship will support the development of our next generation of young leaders in insurance,” says Gregory & Appel CEO & Chairman Dan Appel. “The Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program is among the top in the nation and will deliver the best and brightest talent to our industry.  We are honored and humbled to be part of a legacy that will innovate the future of insurance.”

 

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

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu

signing event
Student-Centered

Gregory & Appel Establishes Largest Corporate Endowed Scholarship Ever at Butler

The scholarship will benefit students studying risk management and insurance.

Dec 10 2019 Read more
Experiential Learning

Butler EPICS Students Develop Video Game to Help Children with Autism

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Dec 04 2019

A trio of Butler Software Engineering and Computer Science students are developing a fantasy adventure computer game with the goal of helping Indianapolis children with autism.

As part of Butler University's Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, Matthew O’Hern, Maya Sanchez, and Parker Winters will deliver the game, which mixes in communication cues along with classic battle play similar to the classic Nintendo Entertainment System games The Legend of Zelda, to Sycamore Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization that offers services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Matthew O'Hern and Parker Winters
EPICS student developers Matthew O'Hern, left, and Parker Winters went old-school for their project.

With Winters creating the maps and environment design, Sanchez and O’Hern developed the main character as well as the artificial intelligence code that drives the baddies—skeletons, zombies, goblins, and evil knights. Along the way, the hero interacts with shopkeepers, travelers, and allies that change facial expressions during these digital conversations. The students and Sycamore Services believe that video gaming can reach a child with autism in augmenting behaviors for face to face interactions away from screens.

Children will play the yet-to-be-named game on Sycamore Services' computers. The game contains battle modes, more than 40 world maps, and 600 portraits of characters within a dialogue system where characters in the video game converse—the driving force behind the game’s creation.

“When the opportunity was presented, I couldn’t say ‘no’ to it,” says O’Hern, a Software Engineering sophomore. “We’re developing it as an instructional source to help children grow their social skills.”

Established almost 20 years ago, EPICS classes provide free information technology services to nonprofit organizations and Butler programs. The class started with just four students as an elective, but it has since quintupled in enrollment, growing into a required class for Computer Science and Software Engineering students. Students get early experience working with clients on developing a website, app, or videogame. The fall 2019 class features five student teams working on projects on and off campus. The students selected their preferred project after organizations presented their needs in the beginning of the semester.

O’Hern has already taken the EPICS class twice. His first experience was leading the development of an interface that helps doctors share and gather data for the InVascular project at IUPUI. And this fall’s project has been even more fulfilling, leading to potential internship opportunities.

Most EPICS projects will allow future students to update them. O’Hern said his video game will be left open for future developers to add levels, characters, and more facial expressions for the children to learn from.

Using the cross-platform game engine Unity, O’Hern and his team created a fantasy world with swords that light up to vanquish skeletons and zombies. While helping children is the ultimate goal, adding the retro spin has been fulfilling for the students. The simple, old-school Nintendo vibe of the game also ensures that gameplay will work on almost any computer.

The battles, the interactions and dialogues with the characters, and the movement of the main character, which the player will be able to name, were all created to be easy yet engaging. O’Hern says the gameplay “disguises” its educational aspects.

Digital costuming

The Department of Theatre’s costume shop is brimming with thousands of hats, dresses, suits, and shoes to clothe actors and actresses. A paper-based system has successfully organized the garments for decades, but an EPICS team led by senior Maya Grandstaff is making strides in digitizing the process. 

The Marketing and Management Information Systems major and her classmates are developing a website where users can search for specific garments by size, color, and style while finding the garments’ locations in the tall hanging racks. Directors, show designers, and outside clients looking to rent costumes can access the massive inventory from the comfort of their couch.

Team members Eromo Algibe and Kameron Leisure spent weeks creating the framework of a database to be filled by Theatre staff and faculty members. By the end of the semester, the frontend user application will feature forms to filter searches. The team is testing basic queries from the front end, which will reach back to the huge database.

“They can just click submit and see what they have,” Grandstaff says. “It’s really cool now to go to a show and see all the costumes, components, and changes that go into it. It really helps you understand how diverse the program is.”

Eromo Algibe works on a project.
EPICS student developer Eromo Algibe works in the Butler Theatre costume shop.

Sam Royal didn’t think sifting through old Renaissance-replica gowns and 1930s-style men’s suits would help his career at first, but a recent job interview proved otherwise. The senior says the job recruiter was particularly interested in his EPICS work.

“It’s all about getting that experience but helping someone out at the same time,” says Royal, a senior studying Management Information Systems.

Panos Linos, Professor of Software Engineering and Computer Science, is pleased to see the program that he is coordinating continue to grow.

“Students need to have a platform to use the skills they learn in their classes, and to apply them in a real setting,” Linos says. “The value of a Software Engineering education comes from applying it to real life. And EPICS is a great platform for that.”

Other EPICS projects in the works this fall:

  • Working with Indy Hunger Network, a team is developing an online calculator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Users will be able to track their available credits for the most efficient and nutritious ways to feed their families.
  • Participants in Butler’s Healthy Horizons program will receive a new digital process to keep track of activities, points, and incentives. The online component will be more interactive than its print and PDF predecessors.
  • A team of EPICS developers are creating an online memorial for Holocaust survivor Eva Kor, who died July 4 at 85. An active public speaker until just months before her death, Kor gave the Butler Spring 2015 Commencement address, promoting messages of forgiveness, strength, and survival. The website will allow users to “plant” digital flowers in a garden. Each purple flower will contain the name of the person being remembered, the date, and a message. 

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Community Partnerships

Through collaboration and strong partnerships, Butler Beyond will unleash the potential of our brilliant faculty and students on the complex issues facing our community. Support for this pillar will expand Butler’s reach and roots in the Indianapolis community and beyond by cultivating deeper integration with local organizations and businesses, increasing experiential learning opportunities for students, nurturing new ventures, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Experiential Learning

Butler EPICS Students Develop Video Game to Help Children with Autism

As part of the Engineering Projects in Community Service program, students provide free IT work to the community

Dec 04 2019 Read more
Lloyd Wright
Campus

Lloyd Wright, WFYI CEO and President, to Receive Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Butler University

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Nov 26 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Lloyd Wright, CEO and President of WFYI, will be the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and will deliver Commencement remarks at Butler University’s 2019 Winter Commencement.

Winter Commencement will take place Friday, December 20, at 6:30 PM in Clowes Memorial Hall. About 150 students are expected to receive their diplomas.

“In choosing honorary degree recipients and speakers, Butler selects individuals whose lives reflect our University’s core values and whose message can positively impact our students,” President James M. Danko says. “Lloyd Wright embodies not only the calculated risk-taking we encourage in our students, but our values of innovation and visionary leadership.”

Wright, who retired from WFYI in July after 30 years as President and CEO, led the station through incredible transformation and growth. He anticipated the impact that technological advances would have on the broadcast industry and embraced change, guiding the station into the era of high-definition.

He was responsible for Indiana’s flagship PBS and NPR stations, which include six 24/7 broadcast services, WFYI Productions—a full-service media production facility, WFYI Learning Services and Community Engagement, Indiana Public Broadcasting News Service, and Indiana Reading and Information Services—a free service for Indiana’s print impaired.

Under Wright’s leadership, membership at WFYI increased to 25,000, and annual revenue reached a record high of $12 million. In addition to its primary content, WFYI runs PBS kids’ content on digital channel 20.2, how-to programs on 20.3, mobile content, and two digital radio stations.

Wright’s career includes more than 120 regional Emmy Awards, WFYI's physical move in 2008 to its modern facility at 1630 N. Meridian St., and three capital campaigns that raised a total of more than $34 million. Wright also served as founder and President of the WFYI Foundation.

“I’ve been a Butler University fan nearly my entire life, and WFYI has enjoyed numerous collaborations over the years,” Wright says. “I am humbled and honored to be recognized by Butler and to be associated with The Butler Way.”

A Beech Grove, Indiana native, Wright graduated from Indiana University in 1976. He started his career as Director of Instructional Broadcasting with the Indiana Department of Education. Wright then served for six years as Broadcast Operations Manager at WTTW in Chicago before returning to Indiana.

Butler’s selection of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients is a result of a nomination process, and subsequent review and vetting process.

 

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

Lloyd Wright
Campus

Lloyd Wright, WFYI CEO and President, to Receive Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Butler University

Lloyd Wright will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during Butler's Commencement on December 20.

Nov 26 2019 Read more
The Farm at Butler
Campus

Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 25 2019

This story is part of a mini-series exploring The Farm at Butler, its methods, and its mission. Part one of six.

 

On the west side of Butler University’s campus, nestled between a leafy stretch of the Central Canal Towpath to the southeast and Butler’s athletic fields to the northwest, a one-acre farm sits in stillness. If you walk along the narrow plant beds, the sun on your neck and the songs of house finches fluttering in your ears, you’ll probably forget you’re still in the heart of Indiana’s capital city.

Today, The Farm at Butler (previously called the CUE Farm) is an ongoing sustainable agriculture project that serves a wide range of roles on campus and in the Indianapolis area. The Farm teaches people about growing produce in a way that’s healthy for both humans and the Earth. It promotes research and place-based learning for faculty, staff, students, and members of the community, and it connects food to a variety of careers through recruiting student interns to help keep things running.

But back in 2010, it started as just a place to grow food. A student-run group called Earth Charter Butler broke ground on the space with help from the young Center for Urban Ecology & Sustainability (CUES), an academic center at Butler that celebrated its 10-year anniversary last year. But the effort was mostly student-driven.

Julie Elmore, a 2010 graduate from Butler’s Biology program who helped launch The Farm, first learned about an ethical framework called the Earth Charter in an honors class. The global sustainability movement, which formed in the late 1990s with a mission of uniting Earth’s cultures to work toward protecting the planet and bringing peace to the world, inspired Elmore and a few of her classmates to grow more connected with nature.

“One of the things that kept popping up regarding how you can relate the planet to people was food and where our food comes from,” she says. “We wanted to see more local food, and how much more local can our food get as students than being produced on campus?”

When the students graduated, the CUES took over. The Farm became one part of the Center’s mission to educate and empower Butler and Indianapolis in following best practices of urban ecology.

After funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust helped the CUES hire Tim Dorsey as full-time Farm Manager in 2011, Dorsey worked to expand the project from one-third of an acre to its current one-acre plot. The Farm now grows more than 70 different kinds of plants—closer to 200 if you include the different species of each crop. In just one acre, the space fits onions, garlic, bell peppers, cabbage, hot peppers, tomatoes, peach trees, apple trees, berries, and way more.

“The mission of The Farm, at first,” says CUES Director Julia Angstmann, “was to be a model for other agriculture projects in the city—to show what can be done on an acre, and to show how to do it in an ecologically sound way.”

And while The Farm still stays involved across Indianapolis, recent years have seen a return to its roots of focusing on Butler.

“We still have that original motive of being an educator in the city,” Angstmann says. “But we have renewed our commitment to the Butler community.”

 

READ MORE:

Part 1: Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

Part 2: Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

Part 3: A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

Part 4: Sustainability on the Syllabus

Part 5: A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

Part 6: So, Where Does All The Food Go?

 

Explore the full Farm at Butler mini-series here

 

Media Contact:

Katie Grieze

News Content Manager

kgrieze@butler.edu

260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

The Farm at Butler
Campus

Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

Since 2010, The Farm at Butler has been a place for people to connect with the world and one another.

Nov 25 2019 Read more
Farm Manager Tim Dorsey
Campus

Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 25 2019

This story is part of a mini-series exploring The Farm at Butler, its methods, and its mission. Part two of six.

 

Tim Dorsey first started gardening because he wanted to become more self-sufficient—to give something back to the world around him. He wanted to become more connected with the Earth and its people, and he wanted to learn something. So he got his hands in the soil and taught himself to create something from it.

Dorsey never had much exposure to farming growing up in suburban New Jersey, and he says he didn’t really start paying attention to anything seriously until after college. But that’s when he realized most of his newfound interests—from environmental issues, to rural communities, to local economics, to health and nutrition—all converged in the concept of agriculture.

“My mind started slowly reeling, and I had some ideas for the future,” he says.

He’d recently graduated from Taylor University, where he studied philosophy.

“So, like all good philosophy students—unless you’re in the 0.1 percent of those who go on to become a professor or something—I ended up doing other random things afterwards,” Dorsey says. “But I don’t think that’s wasted. I think it kind of shapes you.”

Between shifts at a local health food store, Dorsey spent his post-college years practicing sustainable farming in his backyard and a few other spots in his Indianapolis neighborhood. As gardening grew into a little more than a hobby, he started meeting more urban farmers and reading every book he could find on sustainable food. He started a small community-supported agriculture (CSA) program—a sort of produce subscription service—and sold a few vegetables to local chefs. He dreamt of eventually finding a few acres where he could scale up.

Then, he found out Butler University was looking for someone to take over the farm that a group of students had planted.

Dorsey started as Butler’s Farm Manager in 2011. For the first three years, he worked as long as the sun was up, teaching himself the job. Now he’s making due with fairly regulated hours, but he always wishes he had a little more time. It’s rare for him to leave The Farm with a completed checklist.

Still, he says The Farm is “an ongoing attempt and demonstration at what can be done on this small parcel of land. And I think in that regard, we surprise a lot of people with what can come out of an acre that’s not even fully utilized.”

For Dorsey, the need to experiment with sustainable, organic farming methods is a no-brainer.

“We have to do something different,” he says. “We can’t think we just know all the answers. And we’re getting an even clearer sense of how locally-based, small-scale agriculture can actually meet the challenge of production.”

 

The Life of a Farm Manager

Every day on the farm brings something new, but here’s a glimpse into some of the tasks you might find Dorsey working on.

  • Watering and harvesting crops
  • Filling produce orders for local restaurants and Butler Dining
  • Prepping for the weekly Farm Stand (Thursdays, 4:00-6:00 PM)
  • Planning and establishing new growing areas
  • Hand-weeding crop beds
  • Cleaning harvest crates
  • Mowing grass
  • Installing electric fences, flash tape, and other pest-control methods
  • Teaching Butler classes
  • Leading community tours
  • Supervising farm interns
  • Facilitating student research projects

 

READ MORE:

Part 1: Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

Part 2: Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

Part 3: A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

Part 4: Sustainability on the Syllabus

Part 5: A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

Part 6: So, Where Does All The Food Go?

 

Explore the full Farm at Butler mini-series here

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

Farm Manager Tim Dorsey
Campus

Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

Butler’s self-taught Farm Manager brings a fresh perspective to growing food.

Nov 25 2019 Read more
Campus

A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 25 2019

This story is part of a mini-series exploring The Farm at Butler, its methods, and its mission. Part three of six.

 

The Farm at Butler probably looks different from any you’ve seen before. It’s not a wall of corn or wheat, the same crop filling miles of fields along the highway. Instead, the one-acre space—nestled on a floodplain between the White River and the Central Canal—looks more like a backyard garden. Plenty of space separates each of the long, narrow plant beds growing more than 70 kinds of plants, and woody shrubs crawl up the sides of a wood-plank fence. You won’t see a tractor here, or even a plough—all the work is done by hand. And with just one full-time farmer and a handful of student interns, there aren’t that many hands to do the work.

Still, The Farm produces about 10,000 pounds of food each year.

That’s because Farm Manager Tim Dorsey and other leaders in Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability (CUES) have decided to let nature do the heavy lifting. Below, learn more about how nearly every aspect of The Farm at Butler draws from other ecosystems for guidance on how to make the most of organic growing.

 

Agroecology:

The Farm is built on the idea of agroecology, a way of farming that looks to natural ecosystems for inspiration. Dorsey uses the forests and prairies surrounding The Farm as a guide, mimicking what he sees to create a diverse environment. For example, he tries to plant in a variety of layers, and he grows a mix of perennial and annual plants.

Dorsey has recently focused on adding more perennial permaculture elements, such as sturdy trees and shrubs, which live for years instead of requiring replanting each season. In addition to layering the canopy and providing shade as they grow, these more stable, low-maintenance plants minimize soil disturbance. Dorsey says this sort of farming is even healthier for the ecosystem than basic organic growing.

 

Caring for the soil:

A key element of sustainable, organic farming is protecting soil health. The more stable the soil, the less erosion and run-off will occur, the less pollution will take place, and the healthier the plants will be. At The Farm, Dorsey protects the soil in a variety of ways. For example, The Farm is on a nine-year crop rotation plan, which means a plot of soil grows a different plant each year for nine years. This gives the soil time to replenish itself with specific nutrients that were drained by previous plants. Some deep-rooted plants also serve the purpose of capturing the nutrients that have sunk to the lowest layers of the soil, then redistributing them to the upper layers, which helps make sure every nutrient gets used. And between plantings of different crops, they don’t use chemicals to kill remaining plants—they just lay down straw to smother out sunlight and conserve moisture.

During the winter, or when there is any gap in the regular rotation, Dorsey plants cover crops to keep the soil in shape. For example, as soon as they finished harvesting the onions this summer, they put in oats. Oats will grow a lot before winter, and they also have an extensive root system. Onions get the most fertilizer (from compost), and oat roots scavenge what’s left so that nothing is wasted. Then when the oats die in the winter, they easily become automatic mulch, making it easy to handle in the spring.

 

Making the most of bugs:

Most people understand the importance of pollinators such as bees and butterflies when it comes to growing a garden, and The Farm is always looking for ways to put nature’s workers to the task. Two bee hives on The Farm are home to many of its buzzing friends, and a plot of flowers—which are later sold at the market—attract several graceful butterflies at a time. When deciding which new crops to try, Dorsey often focuses on choosing ones that serve a secondary purpose of bringing in more good bugs. “If we can get things to perform more than one function,” he says, “that’s ideal.”

But some critters making their way onto the acre aren’t so friendly—some pests gnaw at the leaves and plant their eggs on the stems. So Dorsey also makes sure to use “companion planting,” incorporating flowering plants that attract the right predatory insects to kill the pests. You might think of a wasp as a nuisance—or just plain evil—but on the farm, it serves a useful purpose.

 

 

What grows on the farm?

Apples Cilantro Lemongrass Raspberries
Arugula Collard Lettuce Rhubarb
Asparagus Corn Melons Rosemary
Basil Cucumbers Mint Rutabaga
Beans Dill Mustard Sage
Beets Dwarf Korean pines Onions Scallions
Bok Choy Eggplant Oregano Spinach
Broccoli Fennel Parsley Squash
Brussels Sprouts Flowers Peas Strawberries
Cabbage Garlic Peaches Sunchokes
Carrots Gooseberries Peppers Sweet corn
Cauliflower Hazelnuts Peppermint Thyme
Celery Honeyberries Potatoes Tomatoes
Chard Kale Pumpkins Turnips
Chives Leeks Radishes Watermelon

 

READ MORE:

Part 1: Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

Part 2: Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

Part 3: A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

Part 4: Sustainability on the Syllabus

Part 5: A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

Part 6: So, Where Does All The Food Go?

 

Explore the full Farm at Butler mini-series here

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Campus

A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

The Farm goes beyond just sticking to organic methods, taking cues from nature to create a diverse space.

Nov 25 2019 Read more
The Farm at Butler classes
Experiential Learning

Sustainability on the Syllabus

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 25 2019

This story is part of a mini-series exploring The Farm at Butler, its methods, and its mission. Part four of six.

 

Some of the classes held at The Farm might seem obvious—a biology course about soil health, an environmental studies course looking at urban food systems, or a chemistry class studying contaminants. And yes, all of those happen at The Farm. But especially since the CUES received a major grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) last June—totaling almost $600,000—its curriculum has placed a new emphasis on weaving The Farm into a wider range of classes across campus.

Led by CUES Director Julia Angstmann, the NSF-funded project aims to promote scientific literacy by integrating STEM-related topics into non-STEM courses at Butler. Based on the idea that all people would benefit from a basic understanding of science before working together to solve societal challenges, these courses use the power of place-based experiential learning to connect students with science. Down on The Farm, where you can watch things grow and help make it happen, the class content comes alive.

As the project unfolds over the next three years, Angstmann will evaluate how campus farms and other green spaces can become centers of learning for all students. The NSF often tries to develop ways for non-STEM majors to continue engaging with science in their careers and personal lives, and by bringing religious studies, communications, health, and other disciplines down to The Farm, Butler is doing just that.

 

Having Faith in Nature - RL 384

Brent Hege says Christians usually interact with nature in one of two ways: as a resource for humans, or as an equal being.

“There’s a lot of ambiguity in the Christian tradition about the relationship between Christianity and the environment,” explains the Lecturer of Religion. “Some Christians think the environment is ours to use as we see fit—that we can exploit it because it’s not really as important as human beings. Other Christians think that’s totally misguided—that stewardship means respect, care, and love for the environment.”

In the ecotheology class he teaches at Butler, Hege focuses on that second part—how can humans use religion to see nature through a “loving eye,” caring for the earth and treating all things equally?

For the next time the class meets, Hege has added more place-based learning to the syllabus. In a new unit at The Farm, students will study how farmers think about their relationships with nature. Through interviews with workers at The Farm and with people who buy food from it, they’ll see how urban agriculture highlights a range of perspectives about the environment.

Hege’s research on the relationship between environmentalism and Christianity hasn’t touched directly on sustainable farming. But growing up in Pennsylvania, he spent a lot of time working on family farms and eating local produce. It wasn’t always as easy to find small-scale, sustainably-grown food when he first moved to Indianapolis, so he’s excited for the chance to work with the CUES.

“I think one of the things about farming—or even about gardening—that I find so compelling is that it keeps us connected to rhythms, cycles, and patterns,” he says. “It reminds us that, as hard as we try, we’re not really in control of everything.”

Hege wants to show students how Christianity can be a resource for addressing environmental problems. He hopes they learn to be present in their surroundings, noticing more of what they walk past every day and considering the role they play among it all.

“All of us are part of this natural world,” he says. “So no matter where we’re coming from, we have an obligation to think about how we live impacts all these other things.”

 

From Farm to Twitter - ORG 358

Lindsay Ems knows social media can be destructive. She knows it can be used to tear people down and target minority groups. But in her service learning class that has partnered with Indianapolis organizations every semester for more than four years, Ems focuses on how social media can empower communities. 

In the course, the Assistant Professor of Communication pairs student groups with local organizations to help solve digital-media-based problems. Whether through live-Tweeting an event or developing a new campaign strategy, students help tell stories about the organizations.

The class has worked with a variety of Indy-based groups, including Cancer Support Community Central Indiana, Heartland Film, and Damien Center. They’ve partnered with The Farm at Butler about four times, and other food-related partners such as Indy Urban Acres, Keystone-Monon Community Garden, and Garcia’s Gardens.

As part of the NSF grant, the course will soon start working exclusively with farming-based groups. Ems says empowerment often comes down to food access, so it’s important for agricultural organizations to tell people what they do. She says there are so many places in Indianapolis trying to provide fresh, organic produce, but it won’t make a huge difference unless they can get the word out.

Social media can make the whole food experience more efficient. But posting on Instagram isn’t always a priority for farmers who just love being outside, so Ems says college students make a perfect match.

“When you get these organizations who are resource-strapped to begin with,” she says, “they see [social media] as something they don’t have time for. And we have students who are so good at it—so fluent and literate in the technologies.”

Erin Underwood, a senior majoring in Human Communication & Organizational Leadership, worked on The Farm team when she took ORG 358 last fall. Before the class, she knew The Farm existed, but she says she didn’t know much about it. That was exactly the issue her team worked to solve.

The group spent the semester building a social media plan for The Farm’s channels, dedicating each month to promoting a different value. They created content highlighting topics from how The Farm benefits individual and community health to how the methods used there help care for the earth. For each theme, they explained the importance of the value and told the story of how The Farm is living it out.

Erin says the chance to work with a real organization taught her to collaborate, instead of just building a plan without understanding what it needs to accomplish.

“You need to be there to learn about them, listen to them, and hear what they need,” she says. “You need to spend time understanding them so you can effectively make a social media plan in their voice. We could post the best content in the world, but if it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from The Farm, then I think it loses some of that spirit of what they really want to do with social media.”

Erin says there’s some value in classes that stick to hypothetical projects, building mock content and strategies for the sake of practice.

“But the fact that we were trusted as students to get experience with something like this made all the difference,” she says of ORG 358. “It felt like the work we did was valued and really appreciated by our community partner, which was a cool thing to see.”

Ems hopes the course helps students think more critically about their own social media use. She wants them to see that the same tools they use for posting memes, sharing animal videos, or chatting with friends can provide valuable ways to reach people in need.

 

Cultivating Well Being - PWB115-BI

Growing a garden does more for your health than convincing you to actually eat all the fruits and vegetables you spent weeks watering and weeding. Working in the sun and digging in the soil can improve overall well being in a variety of ways, and Butler students can earn class credit learning how.

In Cultivating Well Being, Farm Manager Tim Dorsey challenges students to think about where food comes from, how to grow healthy foods, and the role gardening can play in a lifetime of well being. After a few days of readings and discussions, students get their hands in the dirt right down on The Farm.

“We’re always looking for ways to be more a part of Butler’s academic life, so this was a good step into that for us,” Dorsey says about the class, now in its fifth year. “We’re able to engage students in a course that fills a requirement while exposing them to our space. They can see right where the food is coming from.”

Zach Madere, a senior Pharmacy major taking the class this fall, makes the most of that experience by visiting the Farm Stand each week to buy some of the produce he helped grow. Back in his kitchen, he cooks his own meals using cilantro, arugula, onions, and spinach that couldn’t be much more local.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he says. “I think it’s so cool that The Farm is literally in our backyard. I think it’s awesome to be a part of that—to grow something—then to actually use what we grow.”

But the class content goes beyond just a how-to on home-grown vegetables. Students also learn about broader societal issues in agriculture and food production, considering ways they can help face global challenges.

“I’d like to see them consider how the ways we answer questions in society—specifically relating to food systems, consumer choices, and government policies—not only affect society,” Dorsey says, “but have an impact on communities, families, and individuals.”

 

READ MORE:

Part 1: Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

Part 2: Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

Part 3: A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

Part 4: Sustainability on the Syllabus

Part 5: A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

Part 6: So, Where Does All The Food Go?

 

Explore the full Farm at Butler mini-series here

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

The Farm at Butler classes
Experiential Learning

Sustainability on the Syllabus

As The Farm shifts to a primary focus on education, classes across the Butler curriculum find ways to use the space.

Nov 25 2019 Read more
The Farm at Butler FFA tour
Innovation

A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 25 2019

This story is part of a mini-series exploring The Farm at Butler, its methods, and its mission. Part five of six. 

 

On a frosty morning in early November, about 50 high school students from across the nation visited Butler University to learn about a different kind of farming—a kind that can meet the needs of humans and nature alike.

The students traveled from as far away as Maryland and California to spend the day in Indianapolis for the 2019 National FFA Convention & Expo, an annual celebration of student accomplishments within the organization for young people who are interested in agriculture and leadership. Throughout two hours of exploring The Farm at Butler and hearing from staff at the Center for Urban Ecology & Sustainability (CUES), they learned how the chemical-free, planet-friendly growing methods used on Butler's one-acre space could be applied at a larger scale.

These annual tours first started several years ago, when FFA was on the hunt for powerful examples of urban agriculture. As part of the yearly FFA convention in Indianapolis, the organization’s leaders wanted to help teach members about the variety of ways they could approach food production. With a focus on agroecology and sustainability, and a mission based on education, The Farm at Butler became a lasting match.

But the FFA tour is just one of about 30 educational sessions the CUES staff lead each year. Even as The Farm’s main focus shifts to serving Butler students through internships and classes, the urban agriculture project still holds down its role as a community model of all that can be grown on just one diversified acre.

Roughly half of The Farm’s tours each year are for elementary school students, teaching young people how farmers grow the ingredients for pizza and other favorite foods. Another 10 or so tours are for groups on Butler’s campus, who usually learn about the role of local agriculture in the food system or how everyday food choices can influence the environment. The CUES also leads a handful of farm tours with other Indianapolis organizations.

 

 

For a more in-depth experience, The Farm hosts workshops through a science education network called Purdue Extension, helping train the next generation of gardeners and farmers to grow food in ecologically sound ways. Butler is also working alongside three other local farms—Mother Love’s Garden, Fitness Farm, and Growing Places Indy—to explore urban mushroom production. The project, which was funded by a USDA-SARE partnership grant in 2017, has helped these groups understand and share their findings on the most effective ways to grow mushrooms in Indianapolis.

“Overall, we want to educate the public about healthy eating, how food is grown, and the implications of different food production methods,” says CUES Director Julia Angstmann. “We want to help people understand how they, as individuals, can make food choices that benefit themselves, the environment, and society.”

 

READ MORE:

Part 1: Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

Part 2: Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

Part 3: A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

Part 4: Sustainability on the Syllabus

Part 5: A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

Part 6: So, Where Does All The Food Go?

 

Explore the full Farm at Butler mini-series here

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Community Partnerships

Through collaboration and strong partnerships, Butler Beyond will unleash the potential of our brilliant faculty and students on the complex issues facing our community. Support for this pillar will expand Butler’s reach and roots in the Indianapolis community and beyond by cultivating deeper integration with local organizations and businesses, increasing experiential learning opportunities for students, nurturing new ventures, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

The Farm at Butler FFA tour
Innovation

A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

The Farm at Butler leads educational tours for local organizations, up-and-coming farmers, and students of all ages.

Nov 25 2019 Read more
Farm Stand Butler
Campus

So, Where Does All The Food Go?

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 25 2019

This story is part of a mini-series exploring The Farm at Butler, its methods, and its mission. Part six of six. 

 

The Farm at Butler grows nearly 10,000 pounds of food each year, all by hand. There’s watermelon, always-popular strawberries, bok choy, electric fence-protected squash, peppermint, hazelnuts, and, after The Farm’s staff finally won an ongoing battle with the nearby finches, swiss chard. Just to name a few.

Some of the food goes to weekly grab-and-go boxes for subscribers to The Farm’s Community-Supported Agriculture program (if you stick out the two-year waiting list). Some goes directly to the Thursday-afternoon Farm Stand. Another portion, sold to Butler Dining, ends up on plates around campus.

But explore Indianapolis enough, and you will find The Farm on a table near you. That’s because local restaurants, such as Public Greens, Cafe Patachou, Napolese, and Good Earth Natural Foods, rely on The Farm to keep their meals as fresh as possible.

 

Sourcing Indy’s Food Scene

Tyler Herald doesn’t cook tomatoes in the winter.

In July, the Patachou, Inc. Executive Chef won’t put butternut squash on the menu. Instead, Herald reads the seasons—or, the texts he gets from local farmers—to build meals from the freshest ingredients he can find.

When it comes to the original Napolese, Patachou’s artisanal pizza joint at 49th and Pennsylvania, it’s tough to get more local than a few blocks away from Butler. Herald still remembers the day about 10 years ago, shortly after the restaurant’s launch, when two Butler students walked in and asked if he wanted to buy some vegetables. Ever since, he’s bought as much produce as The Farm at Butler is ready to sell.

Just last week, Herald bought nine pounds of parsnips to roast up for a seasonal side dish. He’s simmered soups with The Farm’s sunchokes, topped off cakes with sliced strawberries, and sprinkled basil on his pizzas. He buys local foods in pursuit of the quality that comes with using produce at its peak, so he’s able to let the fruits and veggies speak for themselves.

“There’s not a ton of manipulation,” he says. “I think you want to let the ingredients be the star.”

Except for during the few deep-winter months when Indiana can only grow pine trees and nearby farmers have emptied their storage, Herald shops local for nearly all the food he cooks. The closer the farm, the less time it takes vegetables to get from vine to kitchen, and the longer they can spend ripening out in the sun. Avoiding cross-country trips also means steering clear of preservatives or other chemicals that often reduce the food’s overall quality.

But Herald understands why buying local might not appeal to everyone. It takes time, planning, and usually a little extra cash.

“It’s really easy to pick up the phone at 11:00 PM, call a produce company, and magically have all your stuff the next morning,” he says. “Instead, a farmer texts me on Sunday and I have to tell them what I will need on Wednesday. That’s harder: You have to plan because the farmer still needs to harvest the food, wash it, package it, and drive it to you. But for me, it’s worth it to have the best stuff.”

Herald was attending culinary school in Portland, Oregon, when he first noticed restaurants highlighting local farms on their menus. He thought it was the coolest thing to know exactly where his carrots came from. And after interning with a farm-to-table place in Chicago, he knew he wanted to join the rising movement of supporting local growers.

Sometimes, that calls for a bit of extra creativity—like when customers want a hot bowl of chili on a cold winter day. Ingredients for the standard tomato-based dish only grow here in the summer, so Herald’s cold-weather version counts on rutabaga and squash.

Luckily for Indianapolis chili lovers, he can find both at a farm that’s right down the road.

 

 

Subscribe to Local Produce

For Courtney Rousseau, opening a box of fruits and vegetables from The Farm’s Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program is like opening up a season of hard work.

“You’re opening a box of love,” says the Butler Career Advisor.

Rousseau first joined the CSA wait list in 2013 after she noticed during her after-work Farm Stand visits that some guests were picking up pre-assembled boxes instead of buying individual items. About two years later—after moving to Oregon for a few months and ultimately coming back home to Butler—she received an email saying it was her turn to join the program.

That’s the typical wait time for The Farm’s CSA, which is capped at about 20 members each year. The program, a bit like a food subscription service, allows members to pay up-front for a weekly share of produce from July through October.

Farm Manager Tim Dorsey creates the boxes each week based on what’s available. He always includes some familiar items like cucumbers and tomatoes, but a big appeal for most members is trying out things they don’t typically eat.

“I hadn’t eaten beets in 30 years until this summer," Rousseau says. “Now that’s my new favorite thing.”

Inside each box, Dorsey includes a note with updates on what’s been going on around The Farm that week. Maybe he finished planting the garlic, or maybe the rain made it hard to keep up with the mowing. The note also lists everything inside the box, with descriptions for the more obscure items (like those turnips that are best eaten sliced into salads), and tidbits about how they were grown (like how that rain kept your cabbage healthy without the need for irrigation). And in case you aren’t sure what to do with your new box of veggies, a weekly recipe provides one tasty option—perhaps in a swiss chard galette or a batch of kale jalapeño hummus.

Rousseau sometimes follows the recipes, but she often prefers to create something of her own. She likes making nontraditional summer salads, for example, like one filled with green beans, rainbow beets, and cherry tomatoes. She might sauté some eggplant to eat over oven-dried tomatoes, chop radishes and carrots into a coleslaw, or pickle up some cucumbers with help from her son.

“Cooking, for me, is a way to spend time with my husband and my son instead of on a screen,” she says. “It lets you know where all of your energy is going to come from. What can I create this week that is going to sustain me?”

Cooking is just one part of the farm experience for Rousseau. It’s not even all about the food. She visits The Farm every chance she gets, taking time to cherish the walk and take in what’s happening around her. Over the summer, she even schedules walk-and-talk meetings at The Farm so she can help introduce people to the space.

“It just goes back to following the seasons and following nature, and being in tune with where you are,” she says. “It’s very grounding to go down to that space, to watch the seasons change, to see the leaves turn colors throughout The Farm Stand season, and to see everything bloom and flourish in the middle of the summer.”

If you are interested in joining The Farm at Butler’s CSA program, sign up for the wait list here. The program lasts 21 weeks, and boxes typically feed two people. Cost: $420, with half due by April 15 and the other half due at pickup on the first Thursday of June.

 

 

Discover Something New

“Will you be open again next week?” the woman asks, handing her vegetable haul to the intern who’s running today’s Farm Stand.

Yes, she’s glad to learn: The Farm is open every Thursday afternoon from June through October. As she pays and walks back toward the Central Canal—where a sign along the path had pointed her down to The Farm Stand—a regular customer bikes up the road to take her place. He glances over the tables covered with bell peppers, beets, jalapeños, and kale before filling his slim backpack with deep green cucumbers and the last of the tomatoes.

The Farm Stand features a different selection of produce each week, depending on what’s most in-season. Whether you want to add a Thursday farm visit to your weekly routine or just pick up a few veggies for a new recipe, you can follow The Farm on Instagram or Twitter for the latest updates on what’s available.

 

 

Butler’s Backyard Garden

For Butler Dining’s chefs, produce from The Farm makes food taste more alive.

While Bon Appétit can rarely buy enough Farm at Butler produce to build a meal that feeds a campus, Executive Chef Brandon Canfield takes all he can get to sprinkle into menus across the café. He might not be able to buy the 100 pounds of carrots he needs to prepare one side dish for a station in the Marketplace at Atherton Union, but purchasing five pounds of a dozen different vegetables lets him add finishing touches to spice up his dishes.

“When you get things from a quarter-mile away, there’s this inherent quality—there’s this life that you get when you eat vegetables straight from the garden,” Canfield says.

The Farm was a natural partner for Bon Appétit, the national food management company that took over Butler Dining last spring. Bon Appétit cooks all its food from scratch, and at least 20 percent of ingredients come from within 150 miles of campus.

At Butler, chefs source food from about 10 different local farmers and artisans. In addition to The Farm, these partners include Fischer Farms, Local Farms Harvest, Dandy Breeze Creamery, and Julian Coffee Roasters. Whenever meals feature local ingredients, daily menus highlight where the products came from.

Beans and tomatoes from The Farm often serve as accents, and Canfield sometimes crafts meals around what’s available right on campus. Mid-sized, light green peppers from Butler’s backyard? Ideal for stuffing with whole grains and campus-grown greens. Just add a scoop of beans from The Farm, and you’ve got a whole lunch that traveled less than 10 minutes to your plate.

 

READ MORE:

Part 1: Getting To The Root of It: How Butler’s One-Acre Farm Has Evolved In a Decade

Part 2: Farming Full-Time: How Tim Dorsey Discovered the World Through Agriculture

Part 3: A Crash Course on Nature-Focused, Hands-In-The-Dirt Growing

Part 4: Sustainability on the Syllabus

Part 5: A Model for Urban Farming in Indianapolis

Part 6: So, Where Does All The Food Go?

 

Explore the full Farm at Butler mini-series here

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Community Partnerships

Through collaboration and strong partnerships, Butler Beyond will unleash the potential of our brilliant faculty and students on the complex issues facing our community. Support for this pillar will expand Butler’s reach and roots in the Indianapolis community and beyond by cultivating deeper integration with local organizations and businesses, increasing experiential learning opportunities for students, nurturing new ventures, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Farm Stand Butler
Campus

So, Where Does All The Food Go?

Selling produce across campus and the nearby community, The Farm promotes healthy eating and top-notch flavor.

Nov 25 2019 Read more
Plum Market Butler University
Campus

After Facelift, Plum Market at C-Club Opens With Endless Options

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Nov 18 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—In a hurry, but hungry? Just in the mood for a quick snack? Looking for coffee from a local roaster? Want to order a freshly made sandwich and stay awhile?

The new Plum Market at C-Club meets all of those needs in one bright, newly renovated space. The latest dining option at Butler University officially opened on Monday, located at Atherton Union in the former C-Club location, and it aims to be all things to everyone.

“We conducted a campus dining study a year ago that was heavily influenced by student feedback,” says Vice President for Student Affairs Frank E. Ross III. “We learned a lot, but one thing became clear: We needed a place on campus that was versatile. Our campus community is busy, and everyone has different schedules and needs. We wanted a space that allowed for more flexibility.”

Plum Market at C-Club is definitely flexible. Open weekdays from 7:00 AM–midnight, and weekends from 11:00 AM–midnight, the location accepts flex dollars, Dawg Bucks, cash, and credit cards.

In addition to the longest hours on campus, Ross says the variety of food options sets Plum Market apart.

“We have worked closely with Bon Appétit to make sure we are being really responsive to the needs and wishes of the Butler community,” Ross says. “Between the chef-driven menus, the new comfortable and inviting physical space, and the array of options, we have taken dining up a notch.”

There’s coffee and tea served by local roaster Hubbard & Cravens. Freshly made donuts are sold from local craft donut company General American Donut. There are fresh fruit smoothies with various protein mix-ins available. An extensive salad bar features various vegetables, as well as a section for prepared signature salads. Then there’s the sandwich and wrap menu. Options include grilled cheese, Impossible burger, grilled chicken sandwich, Nashville hot chicken tender sandwich, and a beef burger. There are cage-free egg sandwiches, all-natural chipotle chicken burritos, chicken tenders, and crinkle-cut fries.

And that’s just one area.

To serve the needs of all community members, there’s a variety of options from Bon Appétit’s go-program. Think prepackaged snacks or sandwiches. Go-program items are prepared each morning and delivered across Butler’s campus to each dining location, says Butler Dining General Manager Joe Graves. The difference is, Plum Market has nearly triple the to-go items than other locations around campus.

“The vision is always about fresh and on-trend foods,” Graves says, “and this allows us to do that but in a way that also accounts for people’s schedules.”

There’s watermelon, hummus and chips, a turkey and bacon greek wrap, and a yogurt parfait, to name a few.

Plum Market also features various chips, energy bars, Chobani yogurt, local eggs, Dandy Breeze milk, local apple cider, and frozen foods, such as Amy’s bowls and Caulipower pizza.

Deciding which items to feature took a combination of researching the most popular items, looking at other universities, and realizing adjustments will be needed as time goes on.

“We always rely heavily on student feedback,” Graves says. “As time goes on, we will see what sells. We also look forward to hearing what our students and community members like and maybe want to see that they aren’t seeing. We will adjust as we go.”

After construction started in June 2019, the former C-Club space was completed gutted. At one point, the space was just dirt. But now, Plum Market has really come to life, Graves says, fulfilling the vision of providing a variety of food options for a population on the go, as well as space to sit down and study or hang out.

“We wanted this space to do many things, and I think we achieved that,” he says. “It was well worth the wait.”

 

 

Plum Market is hardly the only new or updated option when it comes to dining on campus this year. Here’s a look at some of the other options available:

 

  • Chatham Tap offers craft and import beers, along with a menu focused on a wide range of sandwiches and starters. Offerings include soup, salad, wings, pizza, burgers, and fish and chips.
  • The Butler Brew is located in the new building for the Lacy School of Business and features local Julian Roasters coffee, Illinois Street Emporium pastries, and breakfast sandwiches.
  • ResCo Dining Hall has four stations featuring locally sourced burgers and chicken.
  • Trip’s Corner Market at Apartment Village has products you can cook back at your apartment, dorm, or house.
  • Nutrition Cafe at the Health and Recreation Center features a grab-and-go setup with an emphasis on protein-heavy items.
  • Marketplace at Atherton Union is an all-you-care-to-eat cafe that offers menus inspired from cuisine found around the world.

 

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

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Plum Market Butler University
Campus

After Facelift, Plum Market at C-Club Opens With Endless Options

The grab-and-go dining space in Atherton Union offers flexibility in hours and variety.

Nov 18 2019 Read more
GuideDawg 2.0 icon on a phone
Innovation

New App to Help Blind, Visually-Impaired Butler Students, Visitors

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2019

Haley Sumner’s first few weeks at Butler University were spent navigating campus—learning routes between buildings, figuring out where to go for coffee, and learning how to use her student ID card. Most new students could always use a head start, but Sumner, who graduated in May 2019, is blind. She needed three weeks before the start of classes to feel comfortable with her new academic environment.

Sumner admits there were challenges as construction changed her routes every year. The young graduate had to be mindful of twisting sidewalks, changes in ground surfaces, and certain doors being made unavailable, again due to construction.

“Having a guide dog was an asset,” Sumner says. “It was incredible to work with a guide dog. I thought campus was very accessible.”

Haley Sumner on campus
Haley Sumner '19 was instrumental in GuideDawg 2.0's development.

But not all blind or visually impaired people have access to a guide dog, and those who do use guide dogs may not have weeks to learn Butler’s campus. What if a visually impaired prospective student wants to find their way around? What if a blind person wants to attend a concert at Clowes Memorial Hall?

A team of undergraduate software developers are working on an answer. Led by Computer Science and Software Engineering Professor Panos Linos, the team is creating a digital guide for the blind and visually impaired. Inspired by its four-legged predecessors, GuideDawg 2.0 will be a mobile prototype application available in time for fall 2020 classes. The app will work on any smartphone.

Initial coding started in fall 2018, and Linos says the students will have enough of GuideDawg 2.0 complete to present at conferences next semester. The app will vocally tell users the best route to take from class to class or the cafeteria to Starbucks in Atherton Union. Custom digital mapping installed in the software combined with GPS location will serve as guidance but with features that stretch beyond Google Maps.

“They are eager to push the envelope,” he says. “Throughout this project, it wasn’t just about finding the answers but also finding the questions. We are really figuring out what it means to have people differently abled than us. These students are all here because of their willingness to learn, to explore, and to communicate.”

Serving the community

GuideDawg 1.0 was developed by Linos and other students for the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in 2015. Blind students at the school were assisted by navigation instructors to get around, but they weren’t getting detailed directions once outside the classroom and on their own. GuideDawg helped them get from classroom to classroom as it gave directions step by step.

Linos and his students had to develop a completely different user experience than typical apps they developed in class. They also had to factor the cadence of the app’s vocalizations with voice-to-text and text-to-voice development, while eliminating as many touches as possible.

“They can hear—and prefer—much faster speech for their apps,” Linos says. “We had to speed up the voice for the app.”

For GuideDawg 1.0, Linos had his students wear blindfolds in early meetings.

“Everybody was wearing them while holding their phones,” Linos says. “That experience reminds us of who the actual user will be. We had ideas that would work for you and me, but not for someone who is differently-abled. Would a blind student be able to use this?”

Tech details

A major key to GuideDawg 2.0 will be data collection by Linos’ students. They are in the process of gathering the latitude and longitude of every door on Butler’s campus—every classroom, every entrance to Atherton Union, every bathroom. The data will be entered into a database that GuideDawg 2.0 will pull from via Microsoft Azure cloud. A pre-existing database of every room at Butler that contains technology was also utilized courtesy of Butler Information Technology.

Bluetooth-activated, weatherproof sensors were purchased and will be placed at construction sites and other “hazardous” areas on campus. The sensors work as beacons to trigger GuideDawg 2.0 and are designed to blend in with walls and doorways.

“It’s an interesting challenge,” says Ryan Graham, a senior studying Computer Science on the GuideDawg 2.0 team, “to try to make it so users can understand where buttons are very efficiently and effectively without seeing them. It can’t be clunky with a billion buttons on the front. It has to be very minimal but extremely functional."

Prof. Linos and student
Professor Panos Linos, left, shows Bluetooth-activated beacons to student Gabbi Forsythe.

GuideDawg 2.0 must be nimble and able to change with a growing campus. In just the last year, the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business and the expansion and renovation of the sciences buildings were added to maps.

“I think Butler is really big on inclusivity, and this is just another step in becoming more inclusive,” says Gabbi Forsythe, a Software Engineering senior developing the web interface of the app, “so everyone can get around campus.”

Michele Atterson, Director of the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS), agrees that GuideDawg 2.0 will only improve a campus that has received favorable accessibility feedback, even at active construction sites. She says, “I had many conversations with the project managers for the (sciences complex construction) to ensure the color contrast, font, and size of the detour signage was also accessible to people with vision impairments—as well as those with mobility impairments.

“Raising disability awareness is a mission of SDS. Overall, we have a community that is committed to welcoming people with disabilities.”

The students presented their progress on GuideDawg 2.0 at the October 25 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Committee meeting and were met with enthusiastic, positive feedback. The project was given a $500 donation from committee chair Michael Swarzman ’74 and his wife, Barbara Grier, on the spot.

“You can’t help but respect the innovation a project like that demands,” Swarzman says. “It is an obvious commitment for the professor and the students. Expanding on need of inclusivity and diversity is applaudable and the broader application to it is exactly what my family wants to support.”

‘Very beneficial’

During her senior year at Butler, Sumner served as a consultant for GuideDawg 2.0’s early development. She took the developers on her campus routes and pointed out landmarks like a loud air conditioner near Jordan Hall. Sumner noted doors that were difficult for her to open. The GuideDawg team implemented these details into the app to alert users when they approach potential problem areas.

“I think this will be very beneficial for step-by-step routes between buildings,” Sumner says. “Hopefully it will have a very smooth transition.”

Sumner adds that apps like Google Maps don’t have enough spatial awareness for blind users. Like the young students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Sumner couldn’t rely on Apple Maps for which doors to use and what hallways to take to reach her Communications Sciences and Disorders classes on time.

But accessible technology has come a long way and is improving rapidly. Sumner has noticed a marked improvement in the quality of apps and screen-reading software. GuideDawg 2.0 will be part of the further advancement in technological accessibility. Sumner still lives around Butler and she is excited to download the app next year.

“Technology has come a long way,” says Sumner, who is pursuing certification as a life coach. “It needs to continue to be equal and inclusive for everyone. It will cultivate empowerment and diminish stigma.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

GuideDawg 2.0 icon on a phone
Innovation

New App to Help Blind, Visually-Impaired Butler Students, Visitors

Launching in fall 2020, the GuideDawg app measures steps between classrooms and warns of construction sites

Nov 14 2019 Read more
Students get a tour on the Detroit Trek
Experiential Learning

LSB Treks Allow Students to Get Inside Peek in New York, Detroit

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Nov 11 2019

Detroit, Michigan, has gone by many names: the Motor City, Hockeytown, and The D, just to name a few. Comeback City is its latest, and that moniker was witnessed by Butler University students.

With the help of alumni like Steve Hamp ‘70, Detroit caught the eye of the Andre B. Lacy School of Business’ Trek program. During Fall Break, nine Business students took part in the second annual Detroit Trek. Hosted by Butler grads, the students met professionals and toured national companies and venues like Quicken Loans, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Ford Field, NYX Inc., and the Detroit Empowerment Plan, where homeless women craft specialized coats to combat global homelessness.

“Trips like this are exciting and fun and advertise Detroit as a destination for graduates to participate and be a part of its renaissance,” says Hamp, who coordinated the Ford Field and Ford Motor Company visits.

The Detroit Trek is the second such trip of its kind within the LSB. A New York Trek has enjoyed a successful five-year run. It concentrates on Wall Street and the world of finance. The 2020 New York Trek will take 10 more Business students to the Big Apple in March.

Both Treks were funded by alumni donations before Michigan native Amy Wierenga ‘01 and her husband, Luis Felipe Perez-Costa, established a $100,000 endowment to ensure the Treks’ continuation.

“It’s so valuable for students to be able to experience the culture of several different firms first hand—to directly interact with people in different kinds of roles in a low-pressure setting,” says Wierenga, who is a Butler Trustee. “Many students don’t realize how diverse the potential opportunities are within and across firms, how many different ways there are to apply their talents and plug into a career. Thanks to the Treks, students get exposed to, and can explore seeing themselves in different seats. They can say ‘I could see that being me in five or 10 years.’”

From trains to electric autonomous vehicles

Hamp, who earned an American History degree from Butler before spending the last four decades in Detroit, introduced Pamela Lewis, director of the New Economy Initiative, to talk about entrepreneurialism with the students over lunch before a behind-the-scenes look at Ford’s development of the old Michigan Central Station. The 105-year-old landmark will be the new home of the car manufacturer’s electric autonomous vehicle research and development.

At Ford Field, the students experienced a rare glimpse of the inner-workings of an NFL franchise in midseason. They met Detroit Lions President Rod Wood, and took a tour of the stadium, which included the opportunity to walk on the turf and stand in the end zones where Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown 141 touchdown passes and counting.

Whether picking professionals’ brains or conversing with alumni over dinner, almost every interaction had a common thread for the students.

Bradley Herzog in Detroit
Senior Bradley Herzog stands inside Michigan Central Station, a future home to Ford vehicle research.

“Everyone we talked to was very passionate about the city and the direction it’s going,” says Bradley Herzog, a senior studying International Business and Spanish. “It was great to see people moving back into the city and finding jobs there. There’s a lot of positive things to say about Detroit.”

Herzog and sophomore Emma Ryan cited the visit to the Empowerment Plan as especially impactful. CEO Veronika Scott was studying fashion design in college when she came up with the idea to create coats that convert to sleeping bags. More than a decade later, the Plan has grown into much more than coats. Ryan was impressed with the tremendous social impact a young entrepreneur has made in a major city.

“Many of the people making the coats were domestic violence victims,” says Ryan, a Finance and Marketing major. “It was a safe place for them with a full kitchen and supportive environment. They were paying them to make coats, but also to unwind and recharge. There was yoga and classes to earn their GED. They could stay for two years and get back on their feet.”

Ryan was also impressed at the number of young women represented at major companies at every level. Two recent college graduates at GM spoke to her about finance and what their job paths have consisted of. In the two young businesswomen, Ryan found inspiration and confidence in her own career path, which now might include Detroit.

“After graduation, I was planning on moving to Chicago or New York,” says the Evansville, Indiana, native, “but after this trip, I saw a different side of Detroit: I saw the booming business side.”

Next Treks: Windy City? Bay Area?

Graham Honaker, Executive Director of Principal Gifts for Butler Advancement, revealed the Trek program could extend to Chicago and the Bay Area. Applications for the New York Trek number in the dozens and Detroit is not far behind. Not bad for a program that started with a cup of Starbucks coffee. Honaker met up with Michael Bennett ‘09, then an analyst with JP Morgan Chase & Co., in Manhattan. The young alumnus spoke about bringing Butler Business students to New York to get an early taste of what working on Wall Street is like.

“It’s so competitive to get into the financial sector in New York,” Honaker says. “From that Starbucks, we outlined the program and launched it a couple years later.”

Bennett is thrilled to see the Treks grow. Only 10 years removed from his own Butler graduation, he is happy to help bring Butler students to the Big Apple for the Trek and, later, as professionals.

“It’s how to get your foot in the door; you have to be there to make that happen,” says Bennett, now director of investment counseling for Citibank. “During these Treks, they have proximity to companies and alumni. It’s engaging and fun, and there’s some elements of excitement around it. It’s a major recruitment tool.”

Whether it’s Detroit Rock City, the City That Never Sleeps, or any other market brimming with Butler alumni, LSB Treks are worth every mile.

“I would highly recommend attending as many as you can,” Herzog says. “There’s no downside. You get the opportunity to see so many companies inside the city. We were really privileged to see and talk to so many successful professionals. It’s an opportunity you don't get at a lot of colleges.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Students get a tour on the Detroit Trek
Experiential Learning

LSB Treks Allow Students to Get Inside Peek in New York, Detroit

Business students tour companies and network with alumni

Nov 11 2019 Read more
Butler in Asia (Singapore)
Experiential Learning

Renewed Grant to Butler in Asia Sets Total Funding at More Than $1 Million

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Nov 07 2019

When Su-Mei Ooi first started teaching at Butler University, she never imagined she’d have the chance to travel with students back to where she grew up in the city-state of Singapore.

“Indianapolis just seems so far away from there,” says the Associate Professor of Political Science.

But in 2017, Ooi joined the Butler in Asia study abroad experience as a Faculty Director. The program, which places students at six-week internships in Asian cities, had just developed a Singapore option to add to the China trips it first launched in 2015.

Now, the program is growing again. The Freeman Foundation has renewed its grant to Butler in Asia, awarding $400,000 that will fund the internship experience for the next two years and support new trips to Tokyo starting next summer.

About 40 percent of Butler students travel abroad by the time they graduate—making the University ninth in the nation for undergraduate participation. More than 700 students studied abroad from summer 2018 through spring 2019, an increase of 34 percent from the year before. And with continued support from organizations like the Freeman Foundation, those numbers are only continuing to grow.

The Freeman Foundation is dedicated to strengthening relationships between the United States and nations in East Asia. It has provided grants to Butler in Asia since 2014, with the most recent award setting Butler’s total funding from the foundation at more than $1 million.

“Finances continue to be the largest deterrent for students to be able to go abroad,” says Butler Director of Global Engagement Jill McKinney. “The Freeman Foundation has helped remove this barrier to make this culturally complex region of the world more accessible to more students.”

Since the start of the relationship, 146 Butler students have participated. A total of 72 more students are expected to travel with the program over the next two years.

The Freeman Foundation aims to provide U.S. college students with experiences in East and Southeast Asia, locations that aren’t typical study abroad destinations.

“These countries have rich histories and are also important contemporary influences in the world,” McKinney says. “With their ongoing financial support, the Freeman Foundation has literally opened this part of the world up to our students.”

But just going to these places isn’t enough: Freeman Foundation members want students to really engage in the cultures and interact with the people. That cultural engagement is a core part of the program at Butler, one of just 23 U.S. universities that receive funding from the Freeman Foundation.

Through Butler in Asia, students are placed in workplace experiences relevant to their majors. But that’s not the only selling point. The program also pairs students with faculty members who travel with them, teach them about the complexities of local culture, and mentor them through the first few weeks of their trip.

“This structure has allowed more students to envision themselves taking on a study abroad location they might not have otherwise considered,” McKinney says.

As a Faculty Director, Ooi takes groups of 10 to 15 students back to her home country every summer. She leads a week of regional travel before the internships begin, teaches students about the social issues affecting Singapore, and provides moral support as students acclimate to the culture and workplace.

Kelly Stone, a sophomore who traveled to Singapore with Butler in Asia last summer, says she learned a lot from Ooi that she wouldn’t have otherwise understood.

“She was able to tell us about the behind-the-scenes context on things,” Stone says. “She had so much to teach us, and she was also really helpful in preparing us for the trip.”

Stone, who studies Marketing and Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Butler, spent her internship with a local Singaporean marketing firm called ENCE Marketing Group. She’d been itching to travel again since first going abroad during a gap year after high school. She says actually having the chance to work in another country rounded out her other international experiences, which she had mostly spent volunteering or just exploring. Plus, it gave her a taste of what it might be like to move abroad later in her career.

At her internship, Stone worked mostly with the public relations team. Beyond providing her first-ever internship experience, the time in Singapore helped Stone grow more confident in working through cultural barriers or differences. With the goal of starting her own business one day, she also valued the chance to be part of a small company, where she worked closely with the person who had launched the firm.

Like Stone, roughly half of the students who travel with Butler in Asia each year are from the Lacy School of Business (LSB). Bill Templeton, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in LSB, says he works to promote the program among business students as a way to complete one of their two required internships in cities that are central to the business world.

“Most of our graduates will likely encounter doing business with Asian counterparts,” he says. “The opportunity to actually go to Asia, and to get a sense of the economic and business climate there, is a huge advantage for our students.”

Applications for the Summer 2020 Butler in Asia trips are due December 4, 2019. Students can apply here for Shanghai, here for Singapore, or here for Tokyo. Feel free to contact Jill McKinney (jsmckinn@butler.edu) with any questions.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403 (cell)

 

Student Access and Success

At the heart of Butler Beyond is a desire to increase student access and success, putting a Butler education within reach of all who desire to pursue it. With a focus on enhancing the overall student experience that is foundational to a Butler education, gifts to this pillar will grow student scholarships, elevate student support services, expand experiential learning opportunities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Butler in Asia (Singapore)
Experiential Learning

Renewed Grant to Butler in Asia Sets Total Funding at More Than $1 Million

Support from the Freeman Foundation helps Butler place students at internships in East Asia.

Nov 07 2019 Read more
Tom Mould
Innovation

Butler Professor’s Research Dispels Myths of the ‘Welfare Queen’

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Nov 04 2019

Recipients of welfare and other government aid are unfairly scrutinized and even demonized as “welfare queens,” according to Professor of Anthropology and History Tom Mould and his several years of research on public assistance.

Mould dispels numerous myths while humanizing people that rely on welfare. He and his students recorded more than 150 interviews with not only welfare recipients but politicians, grocery store clerks, aid providers, and members of the general public in North Carolina. Mould says his findings go against the grain of what most Americans think of the welfare system.

“Official government documents are clear that the food stamp fraud rate has been between half a percent and one and a half percent over the past decade, way lower than most federal programs,” Mould says. “What we have with stories of so-called ‘welfare queens’ is an incredibly unfair narrative and an incredibly negative light that is unfair. This work is trying to rectify that.”

Mould’s book Overthrowing the Queen: Telling Stories of Welfare in America focuses on the broad picture of welfare in America while weaving in riveting narratives of aid recipients and the overwhelming lengths people go through to provide for their children and to keep a roof over their heads. The title will hit shelves this summer from Indiana University Press.

Mould says the stereotype of the “welfare queen,” someone who is believed to work the welfare system to gain wealth, was mostly fabricated in the 1970s and 1980s.

“It infuriated people, but, of course, the stories, by and large, were not true,” Mould says. “There doesn’t appear to be any more fraud in the welfare system than any government system. Why are we singling out the poor to demonize?”

While all of his research was in the Tarheel State, Overthrow the Queen appeals to readers nationwide, Mould says. The book documents how recipients came to need public assistance and the current challenges they are facing.

“The stories show people putting in a lot of hard work, a lot of ingenuity, a lot of commitment to their children,” he adds. “Parents were unwilling to give up on trying to make a better life for their kids.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu.

Tom Mould
Innovation

Butler Professor’s Research Dispels Myths of the ‘Welfare Queen’

Professor of Anthropology Tom Mould’s research shows food stamp fraud rate is lower than most federal programs

Nov 04 2019 Read more
A woman casts her ballot
Innovation

Republican Delegates More Likely to Disagree, New Butler Research Shows

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Nov 04 2019

Within any political party, there’s a multitude of views and approaches to campaigning. Some members want to advance specific policies, others just want to do whatever it takes to win.

Recent research co-authored by Greg Shufeldt, Butler University Assistant Professor of Political Science, found that at the 2012 conventions, Republican delegates were not only much more polarized within their party than Democratic delegates, but they were much more divided than in previous years.

While published results are from 2012, they shed important light on internal party processes that shaped the conflicts evident in the 2016 presidential primary contests.

Greg Shufeldt
Greg Shufeldt

“This was before President Trump,” Shufeldt says, “but this might inform some of the things that allowed President Trump to rise to power.” 

Shufeldt culled his data from surveys sent to every delegate that attended the Republican and Democratic conventions. The Butler researcher helped draft the questionnaires in 2012 and 2016, which the delegates filled out online.

“We’re looking at fault lines within the parties,” Shufeldt says. “Congress is more polarized than it's ever been. The parties are farther apart ideologically but also more homogenous. Delegates or party activists are what connects these polarized elites with the general public.” 

Shufeldt writes that delegates are classified as more pragmatist, or wanting the party to win elections at the expense of advancing specific policies, or classified as more purist, believing that advancing specific policies is the way for the party to win elections.

The research found not much variation between 2012 Democratic delegates, which offered more balanced pragmatic and purist tendencies. Shufeldt says the Democratic party is more used to navigating inner faction conflict because that is the nature of the Democratic party. Through group identities, they become Democrats. While Democrats internally balance these competing pragmatic and purist tendencies, Republican delegates are more divided into a clearer pragmatic wing and purist wings.

In fact, his research found that the 2012 Republican delegates were more internally divided than the infamous 1972 McGovern Democrats. Based on how delegates responded to questions about group membership, key policy areas, and attitudes toward key party groups, the study organized delegates into factions. On the Republican side, three factions were developed from the Republican delegate data—“contemporary conservatives,” “establishment Republicans,” and “Libertarians.” Among Democrats, the study identified factions of “cultural liberals,” “all-purpose liberals,” and “centrists.” 

Looking back on 2012, the rise of the Tea Party and support for Rep. Ron Paul, who campaigned for the Republican candidacy, were influencers to Republican delegates within the “Libertarian” faction. Shufeldt reveals that those factors were less crucial in 2016, but new groups formed four years later within both Republican and Democratic parties. 

“These studies inform our politics,” Shufeldt says. “We’re so evenly divided into red and blue states. It’s a really unique time to be talking to people that are at these conventions.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

One of the distinguishing features of a Butler education has always been the meaningful and enduring relationships between our faculty and students. Gifts to this pillar during Butler Beyond will accelerate our commitment to investing in faculty excellence by adding endowed positions, supporting faculty scholarship and research, renovating and expanding state-of-the-art teaching facilities, and more. Learn more, make a gift, and read other stories like this one at beyond.butler.edu

A woman casts her ballot
Innovation

Republican Delegates More Likely to Disagree, New Butler Research Shows

Research sheds light on what led to internal conflicts during 2016 presidential primary contests

Nov 04 2019 Read more
A Sparki robot used in the Analytical Reasoning course
Experiential Learning

Robots Enhance Coding Prowess, Passion in the Core Curriculum

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Nov 01 2019

Getting Butler University Dance majors to learn computer coding was as easy as a plié in first position, thanks to robots.

In Computer Science Professor Panos Linos’ pilot Analytical Reasoning course in 2010, part of the Butler Core Curriculum, the goal was to give students not majoring in Computer Science or Software Engineering some experience in coding. So, Linos employed robots, something he thought would get non-majors excited about using things foreign to almost everyone in the class, such as the Python language. The class, now in its ninth year, teaches students to program robots to do small tasks like drawing shapes, making a sequence of noises, and flashing lights in a pattern.

A recent final project saw a group of Dance majors choreograph their robots to “dance” a routine, something they could all relate to. The students had a classical music score to back up the bots.

“All five robots performed a ballet together,” says Linos, with a laugh. “It’s very challenging to synchronize all of these robots to do the same routine.”

Adjunct Professor in Computer Science Jeremy Eglen now leads the course with a new robot—Sparki. Each student gets their own small robot, which is equipped with motorized wheels, an LCD screen, and little arms for gripping small objects. They also have sensors to help them see light, identify objects, and follow the lines of a maze or edge of a table.

Most of the work is done in groups. The students help one another on assignments with colorful names like Back-Up Bot, Episode 1: The Phantom Obstacle—one that involves writing a program that makes the robot move backward for two seconds without crashing into an obstacle.

The robots have been effective in getting students hooked on coding. Linos says the students treat their bots like their pets, carrying them around and celebrating new tricks that took hours to compute. While some students might have taken a coding class in high school, Analytical Reasoning is more hands-on. They can see their hours of meticulous coding create action for Sparki.

“You can sense the excitement of the students,” Linos says. “The motivation and passion I saw in the students was a great measure of this class’ success.”

Coding encoded in most careers

Whether future teachers or rising anthropologists, students in Eglen’s class realize the importance of basic coding

Jeremy Eglen instructs his students.
Computer Science faculty member Jeremy Eglen, second from left, helps his students code.

Journalism sophomore David Brown already knows the need for coding experience in a competitive job market. He found Analytical Reasoning as an ideal fit.

“Coding seemed so inaccessible to me,” he says. “But it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. If you put your time into it, it’s doable.”

Despite taking a coding class in high school, first-year Journalism major Brook Tracy admitted feeling intimidated by early coding assignments. But after early success in getting Sparki to move around in response to her coding, that changed.

“I thought learning how to code was way out of reach. There was no way I could do that,” Tracy says. “But it is something that’s attainable. You don’t need to be a crazy genius to learn how to do it, but my family and friends are still amazed at what I can do now. You just have to be detail-oriented and listen to instructions, and you can figure it out.

“And If you’re the person at the office who can code, your human capital goes up. Whatever field you go into, this experience will boost your resume even higher.”

Eglen agrees. He says there aren’t many jobs that don’t require computers and the ability to work them.

“Knowledge of programming is going to help you, no matter what your career is,” Eglen says. “And some of the students find out they actually like it.”

‘Still Alive’

Students program their robot.
Students program their Sparki robot in the Analytical Reasoning course.

First-year student Hannah Goergens, a Creative Writing and Computer Science major, enjoys the creative atmosphere in the Analytical Reasoning class, which serves as an appetizer before her Computer Science main courses.

In her spare time, Goergens programmed her robot to “sing” a tune called Still Alive from the video game