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Confession
Butler Beyond

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:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

Confession
Butler Beyond

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:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

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:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (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.

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:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (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.

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
Innovation

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:

Tim Brouk

Senior News Content Manager

tbrouk@butler.edu

765-977-3931 (cell)

Iowa caucus action
Innovation

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:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

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:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (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

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

Butler Media Relations

Whether you’re looking to promote a new initiative, your research, an event, or preparing for an interview with national media, Butler Media Relations is here to help. We’ll work with you to focus your message, and get the word out.

 

Media inquiries and questions about Butler Today should be directed to Katie Grieze at kgrieze@butler.edu or 317-940-9742.

 

Experts

EXPERTS

Jennifer Snyder

Professor, Physician Assistant Program

Dr. Snyder graduated from the Butler University physician assistant program in 1997 and earned a PhD in Health Sciences from Nova Southeastern University in 2014.  She has worked in both Family and Emergency Medicine as a physician assistant.  She is a tenured professor and serves as chair of the department /PA Program Director.  She  has served within the program as both the Academic Coordinator and a Clinical Coordinator.  She has served as a University Faculty Senator and on the College and University Professional Standards Committees while at Butler University.

Dr. Snyder has been active in the national professional organizations of the PA profession. She currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).  She has served as a site visitor for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant.  Dr. Snyder has served as chair of the Public Relations Committee of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).  She has served on several Reference Committees and the Standing Rules Committee within the House of Delegates, AAPA.  In addition, she has served on numerous other committees and workgroups in both the PAEA and AAPA.

She has remained active as a member with her state physician assistant organization. In the past, Dr. Snyder was elected to positions within the Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) as President, Secretary and on numerous occasions as a Delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates.  Dr. Snyder was awarded the President’s Award in 2011 by the Student Academy of American Academy of Physician Assistants. She is a Distinguished Fellow Member of the AAPA. 

She has presented and published several articles on clinical, professional and research topics associated with the PA profession and education.

Jennifer Snyder

Jennifer Snyder

Professor, Physician Assistant Program

Terri Jett

Associate Professor, Political Science

Dr. Terri Jett is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity. Dr. Jett is also an affiliate faculty member of the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Program. She teaches courses on U.S. politics with a focus on the experiences of AfricanAmericans and other ethnic minorities such as Black Political Thought and The Politics of Alice Walker. Her research focus is on the post-Civil Rights Movement experiences of African Americans in rural communities in the southern U.S. and she is currently writing on the recent settlements of Black, Native American, Women and Latino farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture for discrimination. Dr. Jett has a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Hayward (now East Bay) and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from Auburn University. She is President of the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and serves on the Indiana Debate Commission.

Terri Jett

Terri Jett

Dr. Terri Jett is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity.

Terri Jett

Terri Jett

Associate Professor, Political Science

Fait Muedini

Associate Professor, International Studies

Fait Muedini is the Frances Shera Fessler Associate Professor of International Studies. He is also a Fellow at the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice .

He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University at Buffalo, SUNY, a M.A. in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service, and a B.A. in Political Science from Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan.

His teaching and research interests are centered primarily on issues of human rights, Islam and politics, and the politics of the Middle East and North Africa.

Fait Muedini

Fait Muedini

Associate Professor, International Studies

Craig Caldwell

Associate Professor, Lacy School of Business

Dr. Caldwell works with organizations to develop strategic direction, link implementation steps to strategy, identify organizational culture, and develop processes to bring about organizational change. Since 2007, Craig has served as an Associate Professor of Management in the Lacy School of Business at ButlerUniversity.   He is currently the Associate Dean of Graduate & Professional Programs.  He teaches MBA and undergraduate courses in Strategy, Leadership, and Organizational Change. Craig has won six teaching awards and two advising awards.  He is the Chair of Graduate Council and his past roles include the Faculty Annual Evaluation Committee and Department Chair for Marketing & Management.

Dr. Caldwell’s consulting and executive education activities focus on strategy development, leadership, and organizational change. He has worked with client firms in logistics, manufacturing, food service, life-sciences and architecture. In addition to strategy development, Craig's leadership works includes human capital strategy, employee engagement, and building high-performance teams.

Craig has a leadership book being released in February of 2018 titled, "The Catalyst Effect" that talks about how you can lead from anywhere in an organization.  Craig’s other research includes academic articles in Business and Society, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, The Monitor, Business and Society Review, Management Accounting Quarterly, and Journal of Corporate Citizenship. 

Craig holds a Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Virginia Tech,and a BA from Anderson University. 

Craig Caldwell

Craig Caldwell

Associate Professor, Lacy School of Business