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Butler Magazine

Spring 2018

An Innovative Partnership

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Tim Valentine and Joshua Gaal started Train 918, their video-production company, at Butler. But after graduating in 2016, they needed a home base.

They found it at the Broad Ripple Speak Easy, which bills itself as "a place for entrepreneurs to create, collaborate, and learn."

The Broad Ripple Speak Easy only offers community space, though, and with their business growing, the Train 918 partners needed dedicated office space. So they moved to the downtown Indianapolis Speak Easy—of which Butler University is a founding partner—where they have an office and a secure place for their equipment. Not only that, but they work alongside lawyers, graphic designers, programmers, and others trying to build new businesses. The opportunities to collaborate are abundant.

"What's nice about the Speak Easy is the community," Valentine said. "If you ever have a question, there's tons of people that are here as resources. I can't tell you the amount of times I get up and walk across to the guy next door, who's a venture capitalist, and ask him a question about an email I'm going to send or a marketing strategy or anything like that. Everyone's here trying to help each other out to get to that next step."

Butler got involved with the Speak Easy in 2016 when the business was looking to expand beyond its Broad Ripple location. Andy Clark MBA '99, a founder of the Broad Ripple Speak Easy, approached the University with the idea of a partnership downtown.

Melissa Beckwith, Butler's Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, Chief Information Officer Pete Williams, and Lacy School of Business Dean Steve Standifird saw the potential.

"What an interesting opportunity from the standpoint of experiential education," said Beckwith, who's now a Speak Easy board member. "If you have this very entrepreneurial co-working space with all of these companies, it is another way to connect Lacy School of Business students into the working environment of these companies. There are all kinds of possibilities for internships and job placements. It's another way to connect our students with the business community."

The downtown Speak Easy, located at 47 South Meridian Street, is situated in a 12,000-square-foot space. With its exposed brick and pipes, rustic woodwork, and large common area where members can avail themselves of coffee and beer, it looks like something you'd expect to see in Seattle or Silicon Valley.

Travis Herring, Speak Easy Experience Manager, said the downtown venue has 17 offices with tenants. (Over all, the Speak Easy now has about 1,000 members and five locations in Central Indiana.)

Herring sees the space as a middle ground for fledgling businesses for whom working from a coffee shop might not be conducive to doing business but renting a large office might be too expensive. Membership costs $75 a month, or $750 a year (office space is additional), and gives members access to community space in the five Speak Easy locations.

Valentine said the office that Train 918 rents for about $1,200 a month has been "100 percent worth it. We as a company make that back monthly—easily—just by the connections that we make."

Beckwith said the Speak Easy partnership has been worth it for Butler too. Butler students have been able to get involved with companies housed at the Speak Easy. Representatives from some of the companies have come to campus to work with students in the Real Business Experience classes. The Small Business Development Center, which became part of Butler on January 1, is housed in the Speak Easy. And the Speak Easy and Butler's Executive Education program are working to develop a non-degree certificate program for Speak Easy members.

"There are so many benefits for us partnering with startups and creating synergies we can potentially offer beyond academic," she said. "This is giving us an opportunity to be in the middle of a lot of companies."

An Innovative Partnership

"Everyone's here trying to help each other out to get to that next step."

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

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It’s Spring—Batter Up! Tyler Houston ’18 Baseball Player

Hannah Hartzell ’18

Tyler Houston '18 was 7 years old when he first visited Butler University. A Finance major from Brownsburg (Indiana) Houston frequented Butler’s sports camps as a child.

So when the time came to choose a school for himself, Butler immediately came to mind. “I definitely wanted a small school,” he said. “When I came for a tour of the campus, it was everything I remembered. I could see myself here.”  

More specifically: He could see himself as a student athlete here.

“I had an opportunity to play baseball and accomplish my academic goals,” he said.

That’s exactly what Houston has done. After a standout, first-year season, Houston was named second team All-BIG EAST. In spring 2017, he was named first team All-BIG EAST and led the Bulldogs in home runs. However, Houston has developed more than just his athletic ability.

“The first two years were pretty big adjustments,” Houston said. “Once I settled in though, I got better at managing my time.”

“The business program is amazing,” he said. “I’m in a Portfolio Management class right now and I’ve gotten really into investing stocks. Before, I didn’t really understand what that was.”

He has also grown as a leader.

During his first year at Butler, Houston said a senior baseball teammate took the time to mentor him.  “Having that mentor was great,” Houston said. “Now I’m in his shoes and I get the chance to do the same thing for younger athletes.”

In the process, Houston said he has found lifelong friends.

“My favorite part is being around the guys,” he said. “The fun atmosphere is incredible.”

As far as baseball, well he’s not quite done with that either. “Our goal this year is to compete, qualify, and win the BIG EAST tournament,” he said. “And if the opportunity [to play baseball post-collegiately] presents itself, I might pursue that.”

Wherefore Art Thou Juliet Blue?

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Chemists in Verona, Italy, found out recently what’s been happening in a Butler University Chemistry lab, and they’re very grateful. 

Butler University Junior Ben Dawson, working with Chemistry Professor Anne Wilson during the summer of 2017, has replicated a pigment that matched a color called Juliet blue that the Italian chemists had discovered on historical artifacts. 

“I think they’ll be excited that somebody’s actually making these,” Wilson said. “People have been talking about these pigments but not making them.” 

The Italian scientists’ discovery of Juliet blue goes back to 2010. They laid out the problem in a paper they published: Their museum had placed several ancient flints, used for making arrowheads, in storage. They had put the flints in a drawer, on rubber mats to keep them from breaking. When they opened the drawer, they found that a chemical reaction had occurred. The flints, which were gray, had turned blue—a color the chemists would later call Juliet blue. 

The chemists thought the color on the flints was derived from a volatile organic component that was coming from the rubber mats, and that the culprit was a stabilizer that’s added to keep the rubber from falling apart over time. 

Dr. Greg Smith, the Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, read the Italians’ paper and gave a copy to Wilson, asking if she thought someone at Butler might want to try to figure out a synthesis for Juliet blue. She thought that would be a great summer project for a student, so she had Dawson try to make the pigment. She paid him with an annual grant the Chemistry Department receives from Eli Lilly and Company to do synthetic chemistry work. 

“Initially, we were not having a lot of success” trying to re-create the chemical reaction that caused the discoloration, Wilson said. “Then Ben left out some things over the weekend, and some of his indicator plates had turned blue.” Anne Wilson

To be specific: Juliet blue. 

“It was a very happy accident,” Wilson said. 

Dawson confirmed that the way this blue pigment occurred on the surface of the flints was probably due to a combination of air oxidation, coupled with contamination from the compound in the rubber mats. And he was able to make additional quantities of the pigment. 

“It’s a beautiful blue,” Wilson said. “It looks very Disney. It’s beautiful. It’s a great blue. It’s a lot of fun to be doing this and to see these great colors.” 

Although reproducing Juliet blue is essentially an academic exercise, Wilson said, it could have practical applications. Butler Chemistry professors and students have done several projects with the Indianapolis Museum of Art on artworks that have faded over the centuries. Perhaps, Wilson said, this summer’s finding could be a step in figuring out how to treat, and possibly restore, artifacts that have been damaged. 

“It’s exciting when you get scientists from different areas together and they start talking and trading ideas,” she said. “I think we’re very fortunate to be this close to the lab at the IMA. I think we’re very fortunate to be able to try things.” 

Wherefore Art Thou Juliet Blue?

A “happy accident” leads to a scientific discovery.

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Read more

From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

Butler University tennis player Aviv Ben Shabat ’19 transferred from the University of North Carolina Wilmington to Butler after one semester. 

That was a comparatively minor transition in his life. 

Ben Shabat grew up in Israel, playing tennis all through his childhood, with plans to play at a higher level. When he was 18, he was required, under the Israeli Defense Service Law, to serve in the military. 

“I got special service because when I started mandatory service I was ranked No. 1 in Israel for the under-18 age group,” Ben Shabat said. “They say that you don’t have to go to the combat field because they don’t want to ruin you and the 15 years that you have already invested in tennis. They want you to still represent Israel.” 

Ben Shabat worked in a kitchen cooking and serving meals to soldiers for six hours a day in Tel Aviv. The base was close to where he trained, so after work he could stay focused on tennis. 

“It wasn’t the best time of my life, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and every other Israeli has to do it too, no exceptions, so that’s the reality,” he said. 

When Ben Shabat finished his military service, he moved to North Carolina but struggled in Wilmington. He decided to transfer to Butler because of the tennis program and the small classes. 

“I came here and everyone was super nice and very welcoming and everybody wants to help,” he said. “For me especially, small classes are super important because in bigger classes you are just getting lost, and the professor doesn’t even know what your name is.” 

Ben Shabat is studying Management Information Systems and has been excelling, contributing to the men’s tennis team’s 3.376 cumulative GPA, which ranked second among Butler’s men’s sports teams. He decided on MIS because it would be useful in Indianapolis as well as in Tel Aviv. 

“Israel is a big startup nation, so I want to keep the option open to get a job in the tech field if I go back to Israel,” he said. “I had to pick a major that could combine the two worlds of Israel and the United States.” 

He’s also excelling at tennis. Ben Shabat said his best memory came on the court last year when the Butler men’s tennis team took home the BIG EAST Championship after finishing last the previous year. 

“It’s kind of a Cinderella story because we were in the bottom of the conference and no one expected Butler to win the title and then we ended up winning every match,” he said. “It was a great experience because I was the last point in the final, so everyone came to watch my match. It was a great moment, maybe one of the best moments of my life.” 

From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

Ben Shabat worked in a kitchen cooking and serving meals to soldiers for six hours a day in Tel Aviv.

by Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

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How Entrepreneurial Are You?

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

 

Stephanie Fernhaber remembers a student asking Butler University President Jim Danko, who owned a medical-supply company for many years, about the transition from being an entrepreneur to academia. And she recalls his answer vividly: “I really do believe that in whatever you are doing, even in running this University, I really like to think like an entrepreneur.” 

That’s the mindset she tries to instill in her students. 

Fernhaber, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Lacy School of Business, thinks we can all be entrepreneurial, our job titles notwithstanding. 

“We tend to think of entrepreneurs as high-tech startups or someone who owns their own business,” she said. “But being an entrepreneur means being innovative, actively pursuing new opportunities, and taking managed risk. So it’s really a spectrum. It’s not ‘Are you an entrepreneur?’ It’s ‘How entrepreneurial are you?’” 

Take her, for example. Yes, she’s a professor, but she applies an entrepreneurial approach to her work with both undergraduates and MBA students. 

“In my research, I need to be entrepreneurial because I have to come up with brand new ideas and theories and ways of testing them,” she said. “But even in our teaching, I think we all strive to be innovative. We want to try new things that will create value for our students. In doing that, there are some calculated risks.” 

Fernhaber grew up in an entrepreneurial home—her father ran his own construction company in northern Wisconsin— and her first job after earning her undergraduate degree in Business and Spanish from Ripon College was writing business plans, doing market feasibility studies, and helping startups and business owners get Small Business Administration loans. 

She earned her MBA at Marquette University and her doctorate in Entrepreneurship from Indiana University. In 2010, she joined the Butler faculty after four years as an Assistant Professor/Affiliate Status at Iowa State University. 

In her teaching and research, she looks at entrepreneurship and innovation in a variety of ways. One course she teaches is Social Entrepreneurship—how entrepreneurship can be applied to social issues. Her current research is focused on bridging international and social entrepreneurship, and considers how grassroots innovations in India move from the local level to the world stage. 

In addition to publishing nearly 20 journal articles, Fernhaber has co-authored two books, Teaching the Entrepreneurial Mindset to Engineers and The Routledge Companion to International Entrepreneurship. She’s also been part of the collaboration between several of Butler’s Colleges to write, illustrate, produce, and sell children’s books on subjects related to health. In that project, students and faculty from the participating Colleges bring their different expertise. 

And that, Fernhaber point outs, is an example of an entrepreneurial, innovative way to teach. 

“What I enjoy most in the classroom,” she said, “is when students get excited and get engaged about a project or a topic and when you can find a way to reach them.” 

How Entrepreneurial Are You?

Fernhaber, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Lacy School of Business, thinks we can all be entrepreneurial, our job titles notwithstanding. 

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

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Pathways for Success

Monica Holb ’09

from Spring 2018

 

When Courtney (Campbell) Rousseau ’03, Butler University Internship and Career Services Career Advisor, meets with students in her office she is intent on providing tools to help them travel down paths that they may never have dreamed of. 

“I have to find what they are passionate about. I know it when I see it. When their faces light up … I know we are talking about something important to them,” Rousseau said.

The next four pages share incredible stories of students with vision and passion who are fulfilling their own dreams and doing it their own way. Rousseau knows exactly what it is like to follow your dreams—hers brought her right back to Butler.

Letting Passions Pave the Way

 

Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau ’03 is accustomed to students who are following a formula about what they should do with their careers. But those formulas can impede their innovation and dampen their passions. She and her Internship and Career Services (ICS) colleagues provide students traditional career services and the resources necessary to search for and secure internships, but they increasingly support students wandering beyond standard plans. 

More students are venturing out by obtaining unique internships or starting their own organizations. Rousseau pointed to trends such as social media connections, the popularity of “side hustles,” and professionals changing jobs more often as reasons why students are drawn to make their own way. 

She provides support to step away from a comfortable plan and helps validate students’ choices. “Butler students are very driven, very ambitious,” Rousseau said, which means many are looking to do something bold. Rousseau references the impressive but intimidating 97 percent placement rate after graduation and acknowledges the pressure: “Who doesn’t get freaked out? They wonder, ‘What if I am the three percent?’” Courtney Rousseau ’03 with student

Rousseau strategically supports students to take risks in their career planning by ensuring a favorable environment. “When you are planting flowers, to make them grow you have to plant them in space where they work. Sometimes we create a greenhouse to trick the plants to grow,” Rousseau said. The greenhouse she builds is made of students’ own strengths—strategic thinking, relationships, planning. From there, Rousseau guides students toward the best risks for them to take. “I never see anything as impossible. I think I probably prepare them, see the competition, and know the value of making connections and experiences,” Rousseau said. 

When students take the risk and it turns into a learning experience instead of the opportunity envisioned, Rousseau is quick to tell her own story. 

From graduating from Butler with a degree in French to teaching English in France, Rousseau found herself waiting tables and returning to Butler for career advice of her own. After a graduate program and a move to Oregon for a job that turned out to be a less than a perfect fit, Rousseau came back to Butler for her current role. She recognizes the non-linear path and ultimate success of her own risk tasking, as well as how students connect to the story. 

Rousseau hopes all students find their own way with their own passions. “I want students to know we are here. I don’t want people to be perfect. I prefer you come in with questions and fears. I want to take impossible situations and make it work, and make it something beautiful.” 

Weaving Old Threads into a New Company 

 

While in high school at Culver Military Academy, Aaron Marshall ’18 embraced self-expression beyond his uniform. He recorded hip-hop music in his dorm room with friends and wore thrifted clothing. His love for the music scene culture influenced his vintage style and would eventually influence his career path. 

Marshall came to Butler University for Recording Industry Studies. No other college offered the opportunity to turn his dorm room hobby into a major. Yet, Marshall’s studies were not contained to a library and the classroom. His interests spilled over into his life. His friends noticed, too. They came over to record music with Marshall, but after asking “Where’d you get that?” they might leave with a borrowed, one-of-a-kind, vintage sweater straight from Marshall’s closet. Aaron Marshall ’18

As he collected unique pieces in his thrifting trips with his family, he saw the market for selling finds to others and realized that maybe thrifting, not music, would be the passion to turn into a career. His business, Naptown Thrift, was born and grew by word of mouth. Marshall started an Instagram account that drew worldwide attention. With more stock and buyers, he moved the business to a large storage unit. But “storage unit” is an inaccurate description of what is ostensibly a store—racks of clothing for customers to browse on an appointment basis. 

“It doesn’t feel like work, so it is definitely something I can see myself doing in the long run. It’s become a passion of mine I didn’t know existed before coming to Butler,” Marshall said. With his family’s support, Marshall is looking ahead to opening a brick and mortar store after graduation. 

“My professors have been extremely supportive of me taking on my own endeavors,” Marshall said. His Recording Industry Studies Advisor Cutler Armstrong encourages him, even though he knows he won’t be going into music. 

The support comes from students as well. “People have genuinely wanted to see me succeed,” Marshall said. For example, in his Audio Capstone course, the class is helping record a commercial for Naptown Thrift, recognizing how they could complete their assignment and help Marshall at the same time. 

While ICS didn’t need to help Marshall figure out what to do with his life, Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau has assisted him in finding his way through the Career Planning Strategies course. “A lot of students are looking for jobs and internships. I love what I do already. The valuable thing in that course is Courtney helping me be more goal oriented. You have to have some sort of plan of what the next steps will be.” 

As Marshall graduates, he might be more likely to apply for building permits than jobs, but following his passion will be a solid step toward reaching his goals. 

A Runway from the Midwest to High Fashion 

 

Growing up in Tipp City, Ohio, the closest Meredith Coughlin ’18 got to the fashion world was glossy magazines. Reading the periodicals helped her learn about fashion, the editors, and what it would take to make it in the industry. 

Meredith Coughlin ’18But while Coughlin didn’t end up in fashion school, the Butler Human Communication and Organizational Leadership major used Internship and Career Services (ICS) to go after exactly what she wanted: A career in fashion. 

After a summer spent managing a boutique in Northern Michigan, Coughlin had experience with creating visual displays, directing photo shoots, executing a fashion show, buying products, and running social media. When she returned to campus in the fall, she was determined to reach her goal of working in fashion in New York City. 

She worked with ICS to improve her cover letter, but Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau, and Internship Advisor Scott Bridge, both knew Coughlin was venturing into uncharted territory for most Butler students. Coughlin was set on finding her internship on her own. “I knew what I desired was different,” she said. And sure enough, Coughlin, with ICS’s support and a great cover letter, earned an internship with Oprah Magazine in New York City. 

After that experience, Coughlin doubled down. In the fall semester of her junior year, she spent time studying fashion merchandising at The Westminster School of Fashion in London, a prestigious fashion program, through the Institute for Study Abroad-Butler. Then she completed another fashion internship on the East Coast with Vineyard Vines the next summer, all before her senior year. 

“I’ve always wanted real-life experiences,” Coughlin said. “Whenever I’m interning, I feel like I can see this is helping the store, this is helping the magazine, this is helping the company. I love to see the end result and accomplish my goals.” Coughlin’s story shows students they don’t have to wait until senior year to have hands-on learning experiences. 

The risks she took—moving to a place where she knew no one, building a career without a network in a new city—were tempered by the passion for the work. “I don’t follow the path. I seek out what I know I am passionate about. You don’t want to invest your time into something you aren’t passionate about,” Coughlin said. As she looks forward to graduation, Coughlin will certainly be able to design her own career to fit her passions. 

Making His Own Way

 

If you saw a resume for Anthony Murdock II ’17, it would show evidence of how he met with Career Advisor Courtney Rousseau at ICS about opportunities before he was even enrolled in classes. It would list internships with the Sagamore Institute and the City of Indianapolis. After graduation, the Political Science and Religion major is looking ahead to law school. A very traditional career path. 

And yet, Murdock is using creativity and innovation to create movements that didn’t exist before he stepped foot on campus, which has changed the way he sees his future. 

Anthony Murdock II ’17As an African American man and as a commuter, Murdock sometimes found himself in uncomfortable, outsider situations. He credits the challenge with giving him the opportunity to help advocate for other students. Butler ended up to be the perfect place for him to hone his leadership skills. 

“It put me in a place to say, ‘Are you going to let people you don’t know define who you are by the color of your skin and where you come from, or are you going to use this platform and opportunity of being marginalized to help yourself help other people?’ And that is what I decided I was going to do,” Murdock said. 

Murdock took that experience to heart and made a power move. With his fraternity brothers from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., they developed a new brand on campus. #PowerMovesOnly is a wave, a movement, and a shift in culture. The brand, fueled by hashtags and positive interactions with others, promotes success-oriented lifestyles and actions. “We were men who understood that it is one thing to do something for a moment and it is another to create sustainable change,” Murdock said of the beginning of the brand. “It was purely something we loved to do—see people benefit with great social meaning,” Murdock said. 

Murdock also founded Bust The B.U.B.B.L.E., a student movement that promotes the perspectives of students of color at predominantly white institutions through diversity education, cultural awareness, and action-oriented activism. 

Before his experience at Butler, Murdock thought he would take the traditional path: Practice law, run for office, become a political analyst. Yet his untraditional experience on campus, and skills in starting brands and organizations creating change, has brought him to another path. It still includes law school, but will veer in a different direction: Murdock will pursue sustainable social justice change in Indianapolis. 

His empowering messages and actions toward change isn’t only shaping students’ experiences at Butler, but allowing Murdock to define his own career path as well. 

Pathways for Success

Stories of the way less traveled

by Monica Holb ’09

from Spring 2018

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Beyond the Classroom

Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

While words like “innovation” and “entrepreneurship” are most often associated with the business world, they have also found their place nestled in Suite 200 of Atherton Union. 

That is the office occupied by the Office of Student Affairs and its newly appointed Vice President Frank Ross III. 

Since joining Butler less than a year ago, Ross has diligently researched the University’s culture, digging deep into student life at Butler in what he calls “a listening tour” of students, faculty, and staff. 

“I’ve been a Vice President at two previous institutions, but I’d be naïve to think because I’ve done this job before, I have all the answers,” he said. “This is a great area of opportunity to expand on my background of integrative learning. Student Affairs exists to support a university’s core mission of academics. I believe we can achieve that in innovative, collaborative partnerships throughout campus.” 

Indeed, Butler’s Office of Student Affairs is defined on the Butler website as, “Striving to integrate educational experiences into a campus setting with opportunities, challenges, and services that promote a student’s development as a total person. Whether it’s helping you find your place, get involved, or feel your best, our staff is happy to enrich your Butler experience beyond the classroom.” 

To Ross, those collaborations are all about approaching the whole student and every student. 

“We talk about a transformative experience, and I want to make sure we are including all students in that experience,” he said, pointing to conversations as diverse as “Tell me about the day of a typical first-year dance major?” to “How are commuter students making connections on campus?” “It’s all about understanding the culture as a whole at Butler,” Ross said. 

While Ross may be a long way from rural Southern Indiana where he was raised, those lessons of “scrappiness” — as he calls it — are evident. He’s not afraid to walk a different path, literally, admitting his comfortable office isn’t his favorite place to get things done. 

“I don’t feel particularly productive holed up in here,” he said motioning to the tree-lined sidewalk outside his window. “I have office hours in other buildings so 

“If we aren’t willing to articulate our own failures and how we can do better next time, how can we expect students to do the same? You can’t take students somewhere you can’t take yourself.” 

I can get to better know students and faculty. I find having walking meetings is a great way to break down barriers and allow people to think openly.” 

If Ross has an entrepreneurial calling card per se, it’s his dedication to encouraging a free flow of ideas. He identifies with the importance of failure in innovation and believes its integral to the mission of his office to embrace it as well. He recounts a “get to know you” exercise he conducted with Student Affairs leaders early in his days at Butler that sounds like a page out of the Fast Company playbook. 

“I asked them to answer three questions: 1) What did you do well last year? 2) Tell me something from your personal life you’re proud of, and 3) What was something you didn’t do well last year that you would call a failure? Failure is an important part of learning, as it is an important part of entrepreneurship,” he said. “If we aren’t willing to articulate our own failures and how we can do better next time, how can we expect students to do the same? You can’t take students somewhere you can’t take yourself.” 

Ross believes it’s the responsibility of a Student Affairs professional to nurture the willingness to try resilience in the face of failure within a safe and encouraging environment. “Our profession is grounded in theory—we know when to push and when to pull. We want students to learn from their experiences,” he said. 

While he harkens to the roots of his profession being traced all the way to 1636 at the founding of Harvard, he points to the incredible possibilities in the future, Frank Ross with studentsparticularly as it pertains to the digital space. “Social media has provided a great way to enhance access to students and a way for them to reach out to us,” he said. “Parents are able to engage with us via Twitter or Facebook Messenger. There’s no longer that 8-to- 5 limitation of office hours. Our students’ schedules are different. Responsiveness to students means reaching them where they are … and a great use of technology.” 

As Ross learns more about the inner workings of Butler’s culture, he will be instituting new programs and practices based on his findings as well as past experiences. He has been active in numerous leadership roles with NASPA, the leading association for the Student Affairs profession, including serving on its Board of Directors. That involvement has given him a front seat to innovative practices at institutions of higher education throughout the country. 

“What’s important to me as a professional is a commitment to emerging best practices. It’s not always about reinventing the wheel,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be universities just like Butler—there are both large research institutions and community colleges that are doing some great things in Student Affairs.” 

What’s the entrepreneurial bottom line on innovation for Ross? “Innovation and creativity should be at the heart of what we do in Student Affairs. It isn’t just trying new things. You have to stop saying “no” and instead, give your team the space and encouragement to share their good ideas.” 

Beyond the Classroom

Entrepreneurial Innovation Takes its Place in Student Affairs 

by Patricia Pickett ’82 APR

from Spring 2018

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What's Out There

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

While the beams go up on the new Lacy School of Business, faculty and students in the old building are busily constructing new curriculum to go with it.

They’ve built two student-run businesses—an insurance company and a marketing/communications firm—designed to work with clients and eventually become profitable. What they’re doing, Dean Steve Standifird said, “is the kind of thing you can’t teach in a classroom.”

“The term we use is ‘intense experiential education,’” he said. “One of our goals in the School of Business is to be the premier experiential-oriented business program in the country. This is a key component of that.”

FIRST OF ITS KIND—STUDENT ENTREPRENEURSZach Finn

The MJ Student-Run Insurance Company, known in industry parlance as a “captive,” is the first of its kind for a university. The company insures Butler programs and items including the live mascot Butler Blue III, rare books, artwork, and the telescope at the Holcomb Observatory. Students learn how to write the insurance policy and what the coverage terms will be, and they’re figuring out how to finance the company. In doing so, they will be able to apply their risk-management expertise in accounting, investments, and numerous other areas.

Zach Finn, the Clinical Professor and Director of the Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program, said the idea behind the internal insurance company is to give students hands-on experience and prepare them for an industry that anticipates needing 400,000 new employees by 2022.

The captive opened August 1, 2017. Finn said they spent the first semester “building the bridge between implementation and operation.” In spring 2018, the captive team worked on a variety of tasks, including putting together the insurance package it’s selling to Butler to cover the Butler University Police Department’s bomb-sniffing dog Marcus, Trip’s bejeweled collar, and more.

In addition, the captive team has been asked to inventory the University’s $3.9 million worth of pianos. That means they’ll photograph each instrument, identify their location on the campus map, determine their condition, and evaluate whether where they’re situated makes them more susceptible to damage.

“We’re going to be learning a lot about pianos over the course of the semester,” Finn said. 

They also will work to substantiate the value of Butler’s dogs, confirm the transition plan for Blue IV, and develop a policy in the event that Marcus were to be killed in the line of duty.

Derek DeKoning ’18Derek DeKoning ’18, the captive’s CEO and Co-Founder, said he’s learned an incredible amount about the industry in which he plans to work—nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes kinds of things such as conforming with regulatory requirements, and the importance of regular and ongoing communication. 

“It has taught me how to conduct myself in a professional manner and maintain regular communications with all the parties involved,” said DeKoning, who came to Butler from Atlanta, Georgia. “It has helped my project and time management skills. I believe that these soft skills will assist me in the early days of my career.” 

BRIGHT BLUE MARKETING AND PR FIRM: REAL WORLD AND STUDENT RUN 

Another of the captive’s missions was to help increase the social media presence for Marcus. For that, it turned to Bright Blue, the Lacy School of Business’ student-run marketing/PR firm. Bright Blue, which started operations in spring 2017, is a partnership between the business school and the College of Communication. 

Standifird brought in Joe Ellsworth, who was a Principal in a marketing/communications agency for 30 years in the Evansville area, to serve as Program Director. Ellsworth said Bright Blue has been set up to be as much like a real-world agency as possible. 

Student-employees—they are paid—are contributing members of the team. They’re expected to do high-level work that makes the clients happy and, ultimately, turn a profit, EllswLeanna Kerbs ’19orth said. 

Allyson Marks ’18, a Marketing major with minors in Spanish, Strategic Communication, and Art + Design, joined Bright Blue in fall 2017 and moved up from Writer to Communication Specialist. She said one of their most noteworthy clients was an adoption agency that wanted to find more birth mothers looking to put their child up for adoption. (Bright Blue signs a non-disclosure agreement with its clients.) 

The Bright Blue team did a brand audit, determining what the adoption agency was, what it stood for, and how it could differentiate itself from other agencies. They created some key messages based on what this adoption agency offered that others didn’t (personal service) as well as a strategic communications plan that targeted birth mothers with brochures, social media, and a website. 

In other words, Marks said, Bright Blue did what a professional agency would, but at a fraction of the cost. Bright Blue has also worked with a manufacturing company, a tech company, a bio-healthcare company, and two independent consultants, she said. It’s given the participating students the opportunity to work as a professional team, develop strategies, and find solutions. 

“It’s a lot more than students usually get to do in an internship because you’re usually helping on someone else’s project,” said Marks, who’s from the Peoria, Illinois, area. “But on this, we were creating our own projects. That was fun—and as close to real-world experience as I could have gotten.” 

That’s exactly the point, Finn said. “It’s a class that feels more like a working environment than a traditional classroom,” he said of the captive insurance class. “It’s them doing things instead of learning about it. I could be teaching about creating an endorsement versus using one an insurance company’s provided or we can actually create one and get the insurance industry to implement it and make the world a better place a little bit and get some notice for the students. They’re doing the things they’re learning about.” 

What's Out There

While the beams go up on the new Lacy School of Business, faculty and students in the old building are busily constructing new curriculum to go with it.

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

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VISIONARIES: The Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

President James Danko

from Spring 2018

As I sat down to write this message, my wife Bethanie told me that she’d just purchased tickets for the Butler Theatre performance of The Little Prince. Although Bethanie normally prefers to read mysteries and I enjoy biographies, this classic book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a shared childhood favorite of ours. We still treasure the story for many reasons, including its celebration of creativity. Saint-Exupéry’s concept of vision as a sense that goes beyond that which is obvious to the eye—one that requires humanity, imagination, and courage—is something that we both deeply value. Not surprisingly, it is also a The Little Princeconcept that is woven through Butler’s history and present-day campus culture.

Fifty years before American women had the right to vote, Ovid Butler endowed the first chair in the nation specifically for a female professor in honor of his daughter Demia. And nearly a century ago, in the midst of a KKK resurgence in the state, seven young African American visionaries founded Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. at Butler. It is now a nationwide Greek organization with more than 500 chapters. Whether through the groundbreaking social-justice initiatives of our founders, the actions of those in the generations that preceded us, the introduction of the “blue book” and the orange basketball, or housing the largest telescope in Indiana, Bulldogs have always pioneered new ideas.

In this edition of Butler Magazine, you’ll find that today’s visionary spirit at Butler is stronger than ever. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni are rolling up their sleeves and immersing themselves in entrepreneurial, technological, research, and service projects. And they are doing so within a Liberal Arts model that encourages humanity, imagination, courage, and a lifelong love of learning.

I think the Little Prince would be pleased.

VISIONARIES: The Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Today’s visionary spirit at Butler is stronger than ever.

by President James Danko

from Spring 2018

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