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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
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
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
DeJuan Winters

Worth the Wait

Monica Holb ’09

from Fall 2019

For DeJuan Winters, taking a two-year break between high school and college was not a dream deferred. Instead, it was a part of his dream realized. Since the death of his mother when he was just four years old, Winters has been wholeheartedly focused on two things: getting a good education and helping his family. Today, as he enters his sophomore year at Butler, he can say that he’s accomplished both.

In 2016, Winters applied to Butler University—the top and only college choice for the Indianapolis native. To his delight, he was accepted and even offered multiple scholarships. But his plan was to work, get a taste of the real world, and support his family. Instead of joining the class of 2021, Winters joined the dairy department at a local grocery store. “It was a lot of hard work,” he says of that time period.

Over time, the Butler bug returned, and Winters got the urge to refocus on his education. “I was fortunate to have the job that I did, but you need to move on and do more with your life if you’ve got the potential,” Winters says. “I was ready to take the next step.”

In 2018, Winters applied to Butler University again, and again, he was accepted—but this time with the offer of the Butler Tuition Guarantee scholarship, an award that guarantees gift assistance of full tuition each academic year when combined with all federal, state, and University scholarships and grants. Winters was recognized for this scholarship because of his need, his academic ability, and ultimately, because of his selfless dedication to his family.

The two years he spent working at the grocery may have seemed like a diversion, but they ended up being a critical piece of Winters’ path to success. Today, he is in his second year on campus, double-majoring in math and physics. On receiving the Tuition Guarantee scholarship, Winters says “I am appreciative of alumni and donors who want to pay it forward to us, and then we can carry that on to future generations.”

While Winters credits his scholarship for allowing him to attend Butler, he credits his mother for his ultimate success. “I felt like I could make her proud by coming to Butler. She knew that I would be able to bring something to the family. She called me her ‘little man,’ and now it is time to be my own man to set my goals and reach those goals.”



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 butler.edu/butlerbeyond.

DeJuan Winters
Butler Beyond

Worth the Wait

For DeJuan Winters, taking a two-year break between high school and college was was a part of his dream realized.

by Monica Holb ’09

from Fall 2019

Read more
State of the University
Butler Beyond

Danko sees Butler as ‘stronger than ever,’ but ready for change

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Oct 14 2019

The state of Butler University is stronger than ever—from the accomplishments of students and faculty, to important changes in the campus environment, to record enrollments—but the University is ready for the challenges ahead, President James M. Danko told members of the campus community on Friday.

“Overall, the state of our University is extremely strong,” Danko said during the State of the University Address. “Our student outcomes, such as placement rates and future career and life success, are excellent, and our community is making a positive impact in the world—both locally and globally. But the complex challenges ahead for private institutions like Butler—from shifting demographics to a nationwide focus on the cost of higher education—are greater than ever.”

On Friday, October 11, Butler faculty and staff gathered in the Schrott Center for the Arts to celebrate achievements from the past year while discussing ways to grow and overcome challenges moving forward.

Danko went on to explain that Butler is confronting those challenges with innovative goals through Butler Beyond, the University’s largest ever comprehensive fundraising campaign and new strategic direction. The strategy focuses on helping Butler embrace the inclusivity at its foundation while expanding educational opportunities for all kinds of learners, making a quality Butler education more accessible to everyone.

Also at the Friday afternoon event, Board of Trustees Chair Jay Sandhu announced that the contract of Danko has been extended through August 2024.

After highlighting several successes from students, faculty, and staff, Danko announced that this year’s University-wide budget surpluses will allow Butler to reinvest in the campus community, including changes such as the recently approved raise pool of 2 percent, the reduction of some health insurance premium rates, and the decision to waive Health & Recreation Complex membership fees for all full-time employees.

“Our progress is encouraging, but we can, and will, do even better as we make diversity, equity, and inclusion a deliberate and central aspect of our work across all areas of the University,” Danko said. “From the accomplishments of our students and faculty to the significant progress being made on our campus environment; from the strength of the Butler brand and enrollments to our sound fiscal management, I hope you can see the clear evidence—as I do—that the state of Butler University is stronger than ever.”

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to rest, Danko said. The University must remain nimble and open to change, which is why Butler Beyond is not a strict outline of specific projects for the next few years. Instead, it’s a flexible plan with room to breathe, Danko says—“a clear vision that ensures we’re pointed in the right direction when it comes to educational quality, expectations, and outcomes.”

To conclude the event, six Butler staff members were honored with Difference Maker Awards. These annual awards celebrate the talent, dedication, and care for students that staff members bring to Butler every day.

 

2019 Difference Makers:

  • Bonnie Danison, Senior Gift and Records Specialist
  • Priscilla Cobb, Assistant to the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Mary Hinds, Senior Instructional Designer
  • Margie Zentz, Administrative Specialist
  • Courtney Rousseau, Career Advisor
  • Tracey Mills, Teaching Lab Coordinator

 

NEXT STEPS

What: Strategy Discussion

When: Monday, October 14, 1:30–3:30 PM

Where: Business Building, Room 234

Who: Join Provost Kate Morris, President Danko, VP of Strategy and Innovation Melissa Beckwith

If you missed the State of the University, be sure to check out the full video here

 

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

State of the University
Butler Beyond

Danko sees Butler as ‘stronger than ever,’ but ready for change

At the 2019 State of the University Address, faculty and staff celebrated achievements and discussed ways to grow.

Oct 14 2019 Read more
Butler Beyond
Butler Beyond

Butler Announces New Strategic Direction, Historic $250 Million Campaign

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 05 2019

 

INDIANAPOLIS—Butler University today unveiled its new strategic direction and largest ever comprehensive fundraising campaign. Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University seeks to raise $250 million by May 2022 to deliver transformative change to the University, region, and the world.

To date, the campaign has raised more than $171 million from more than 27,000 donors.

“Our strategy for Butler Beyond acknowledges the reality that the higher education landscape is changing, and we must change with it,” President James Danko says. “We intend to hold firmly to the traditions and values that have always defined a Butler education, while evolving to meet the changing needs and expectations of learners, employers, and society in the 21st century. Philanthropic support will be absolutely essential to achieving this vision.”

Combining tradition with innovation, the new strategic direction will build upon Butler’s strengths in delivering an exceptional undergraduate residential education, while expanding to offer opportunities for lifelong learning and new educational pathways that are more affordable and flexible.

These new opportunities include growth in customized corporate education programs, non-degree certificates and credentials, and community-focused talent development programs. Butler’s founding mission that everyone deserves access to a high-quality education regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status will be the guiding light for Butler Beyond as the University aims to reimagine a Butler education that is accessible to all learners.

The Butler Beyond campaign is organized around three pillars aimed to fuel this new strategic direction: student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.

“These Butler Beyond campaign pillars represent areas for philanthropic investment that will fuel our vision for the future,” Vice President for University Advancement Jonathan Purvis says. “These priorities were developed with input from donors, alumni, faculty, staff, and community partners who helped to identify the areas where Butler University is uniquely positioned to ignite positive change. Support for these strategic initiatives will propel our vision of transforming lives through education at Butler and beyond.”

Campaign funds will empower students by expanding donor funded scholarship support and other resources needed to ensure student success, elevate learning by further investing in high-impact practices and faculty development, and engage communities through innovative partnerships and collaborative programs.

 

Student Access and Success

As Butler works to solve the problem of higher education affordability, growing the University’s financial aid program through donor funded scholarships will be essential. And, welcoming students of all ages, life stages, and backgrounds will require robust student support services.

In 2018-2019, the University provided more than $78 million in scholarships to students. Of that total, only $3.2 million was funded through scholarship endowment or other philanthropic support. Closing this nearly $75 million gap in annual scholarship costs is essential to removing financial barriers for all students.

To address the challenge of affordability, growing the scholarship endowment and the annual Butler Fund for Student Scholarship will be key funding priorities during the campaign.

 

Innovations in Teaching and Learning

Recruiting, developing, and retaining the nation’s top educators and scholars is another chief goal of the campaign. State-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research, as well as funding to support ongoing training and development, are crucial for recruiting and keeping top talent.

Among the key funding priorities in the category of innovations in teaching and learning are the growth of Faculty Opportunity Funds, the Sciences Expansion and Renovation Project, and the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business.

“The work our faculty do with students on a daily basis—teaching, mentoring, and student-faculty collaborative research—makes up the very foundation of a Butler education,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Morris says. “One of the most effective ways to support Butler students is to invest in the ongoing development of our faculty.”

 

Community Partnerships

Strengthening community partnerships is a particular point of emphasis in the new strategic direction. Increasing Butler’s engagement with businesses, community organizations, educational providers, and government entities will lead to new academic programs, ventures, and experiences for Butler students. These mutually beneficial partnerships will enable faculty, students, and community partners to work together in tackling complex issues facing the region.

These collaborations will also provide experiential learning opportunities for Butler students, while responding to the educational needs of our communities and corporations through the co-creation of new education and talent solutions.

To this end, a key funding priority for community partnerships is the newly established Transformation Fund, which is aimed at fueling the development of new educational models and advancing projects that contribute to the long-term vision of the University. The Transformation Fund will also provide a means to invest in new ventures supporting Butler’s desire to think differently about the future of higher education.

“Great universities have great responsibility for positively impacting the communities in which they reside,” Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Melissa Beckwith says. “Butler is committed to developing talent that meets workforce needs, offering programs and experiences that contribute to the city’s vibrant culture, and encouraging creativity in solving some of our community’s most pressing challenges.”

 

Unprecedented Philanthropic Support

Butler has been the recipient of unprecedented levels of philanthropic support during the campaign’s quiet phase, which started June 1, 2015.

“Investing in Butler’s future at this pivotal moment will result in lives changed in our community and around the world through expanded access to a Butler education and through the meaningful work Butler graduates will go on to do with their lives,” says campaign co-chair Tina Burks.

“We are convinced that every gift to this campaign will have ripple effects beyond our imagination for years to come,” added Campaign Co-Chair Keith Burks MBA ’90. “We are thankful for the many generous donors who have already made a lasting impact through support of Butler Beyond.”

Many noteworthy gifts have been previously announced during the campaign quiet phase, including the following:

 

  • In 2016, Butler received its largest gift ever from an individual or family—the $25 million commitment from Andre B. Lacy and his wife, Julia, resulted in the College of Business becoming the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. The Lacy gift inspired 11 additional families to give $1 million or more toward construction of a new building for the School, which opened in August.

 

  • With lead gifts of $13 million from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, $5 million from alumnus Frank Levinson ’75, $2 million from emeritus trustee chair Craig Fenneman ’71, and $9.5 million collectively from other alumni and friends, the Butler Board of Trustees approved a $100 million investment in the renovation and expansion of the University’s sciences facilities. To date, more than $29.5 million has been raised toward a total philanthropic goal of $42 million for the project.

 

  • Restoration of Hinkle Fieldhouse was another key infrastructure project of the past decade at Butler, costing a total of $46.5 million over two phases. With help from the Efroymson family’s leadership contributions totaling $2 million, more than $32 million in philanthropic support has been raised to date for the effort, which has enhanced the student-athlete and fan experience.

 

  • The Hershel B. ’52 and Ethel L. Whitney Chair in Biochemistry was established through a $2 million gift from the estate of Hershel B. ’52 and Ethel L. Whitney, making it the first new endowed chair established during the Butler Beyond era. Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. R. Jeremy Johnson was selected as the first to hold the endowed position, which provides support for critical research he is conducting alongside undergraduate students into halting the spread of tuberculosis.

 

  • In 2017, Butler announced a $5 million commitment from Old National Bank to create the Old National Bank Center for Closely Held Business, which provides privately owned businesses throughout Indiana with training, education, mentoring, and networking opportunities to help them succeed. The Center, located in Butler’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business, places special emphasis on serving the unique needs of this core segment of the Indiana economy, which employs more than 2.5 million people.

 

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 May 31, 2022.

 

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

Butler Beyond
Butler Beyond

Butler Announces New Strategic Direction, Historic $250 Million Campaign

Butler Beyond seeks to raise $250 million by May 2022 to deliver transformative change.

Oct 05 2019 Read more
Sciences Groundbreaking
Butler Beyond

Butler Holds Official Groundbreaking for Historic $100 Million Sciences Renovation and Expansion

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Oct 05 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Butler University is set to hold the official groundbreaking for a new, state-of-the-art science complex.

The $100 million renovation and expansion is the largest capital project in the University’s history. Consistent with the University’s new strategic direction, which is set to be unveiled at a historic celebration at Clowes Memorial Hall Oct. 5, the new complex will promote learning by doing through new high-tech classrooms, will feature labs that mimic top research companies, and will encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration through work spaces. The facility will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of science, and eliminate labs designed for a single purpose. Classroom spaces will allow faculty to step away from a podium, and move among students in a more hands-on approach to instruction.

Phases I and II of the project are underway, with a predicted 18-month timeline. To date, $29.5 million has been raised for the project. The goal is to raise $42 million of the $100 million total cost through philanthropic support.

Butler Chair of the Board of Trustees Jay Sandhu will preside over an official groundbreaking ceremony on the Gallahue Hall Academic Quad. Here are the details:

Who: President James Danko; Chair of the Board of Trustees Jay Sandhu; Provost Kate Morris; President & CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation Claire Fiddian-Green; College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean Jay Howard; Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Sean Berthrong; Sophomore Biochemistry Major Madison Unger

What: Official groundbreaking for the $100 million sciences renovation and expansion project

When: Thursday, October 3 at 4:45 PM

Where: Butler University campus on the Gallahue Hall Academic Quad (please call Rachel Stern at 914-815-5656 if you have any trouble finding the location)

Why: Though work has already started on this project, Butler is holding an official groundbreaking to celebrate this historic renovation and expansion

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

Phase II of the project will include renovating and repurposing the Holcomb Building. Phase III will involve a complete renovation of Gallahue Hall, which currently houses several science departments and has not been renovated since its construction in 1973.

Sean Berthrong, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, says the new sciences complex will change the way he teaches. He will be able to do more innovative projects with his students in the classroom because there will no longer be physical barriers separating classrooms and lab spaces. That will enable him to literally bring his research into his classes.

“We will quite literally and metaphorically break down the walls between disciplines, between classwork and research, and between discovery and teaching,” Berthrong says. “It will be amazing to have a building that is as ambitious and as interdisciplinary as our students and faculty.”

Madison Unger, a sophomore Biochemistry major, says everyone at the University will benefit from this project, not just science majors like herself.

“This building will be a place where everyone will come to study, collaborate, hang out, and work together,” says Unger, who plans to go to medical school after graduation. “There is so much excitement around this project because everyone knows it will give students the best chance to flourish.”

 

Media Contact:
Rachel Stern
Director of Strategic Communications
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656 (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.

Sciences Groundbreaking
Butler Beyond

Butler Holds Official Groundbreaking for Historic $100 Million Sciences Renovation and Expansion

The new complex will be the largest capital project in Butler history.

Oct 05 2019 Read more
Students walking on campus

Butler Beyond2020

from Fall 2019

Last spring, Butler University President James Danko shared a personal story with a group of alumni and friends about a visit to Rochester, New York, he had made on a bitterly cold day in January 1993. He had just begun his very first higher education job, which entailed arranging 60 action learning projects per year for MBA students at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Two of the most successful companies in the world—Eastman Kodak and Xerox—were headquartered in Rochester (in 1993, Kodak was No. 19 on the Fortune 500 list, and Xerox No. 21). By the end of his visit, Danko had secured learning opportunities for students at both. While it was an exciting trip for that accomplishment, a much deeper impression was made on Danko by the preventable downfall of each company in the ensuing years.

Each company clung too tightly to tradition and ignored revolutionary inventions by their own people. Kodak failed to embrace the invention of the digital camera by one of its young engineers in 1975—insisting that print photos were the future. Thirty-seven years later, Kodak filed for bankruptcy.

Xerox, meanwhile, failed to embrace the potential of the personal computers developed by its own researchers in 1970. Nine years later, Steve Jobs struck a deal with Xerox to bring those innovators aboard his fledgling company—Apple. Today, Xerox is No. 318 on the Fortune 500 list, while Apple is No. 3.

These served as powerful cautionary tales for Danko as he advanced in his own academic leadership career. He believes that saying yes to smart new ideas and embracing innovation—even though it may present some risk—is fundamental to organizational success. Complacency is dangerous. And consistently defaulting to “what’s always worked before” is a recipe for disaster.

Continuing to study organizational leadership over the years, Danko has been equally inspired by stories of success. For instance, when National Geographic, long known for its iconic yellow-bound magazines featuring stunning color photographs, noticed a decline in subscriptions in the 1990s as cable television and the internet grew in popularity, the organization quickly reimagined itself for a new era. In 2001, it launched the National Geographic channel and found new online platforms for sharing the time-honored art of nature photography with a new generation.

Butler aims to forge a similar path—respecting the time-honored traditions and the particular strengths that have always defined a Butler education, while imagining new ways to deliver that education in a rapidly-changing landscape.

To help spur new ideas, Butler sought the guidance of experts, including Blair Sheppard, Dean Emeritus of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and current Global Strategy Lead with PwC, and Matthew Pellish, Managing Director of Strategic Research and Education for the Education Advisory Board.

Both were blunt about how college has grown too expensive, takes too long to finish, and hasn’t kept pace with cutting-edge workplace needs. These hard realities have forced several schools nationwide to close their doors.

“There will be winners and losers,” Pellish says. “No one is going to win by saying, ‘We’ve always done it this way so let’s continue.’”

Universities that survive will be inventive, flexible, responsive, and thoughtful, Pellish asserts, adding that Butler is all of those things. “Butler was founded on innovation,” he says. “Unleash these smart, dedicated, innovative people on these challenges, and they will find solutions.”

Butler is doing just that. The Butler Beyond strategic vision is comprised of multiple paths that, together, respect tradition yet embrace innovation. Butler aims to preserve and build upon the quality and strength of its long-time success in traditional, residential undergraduate programs, while innovating for the new realities of the world. At the core of each path is the question: What must Butler do to prepare the next generation of learners for what lies beyond today? The graphic below illustrates the paths of our strategic vision.

Pursuing these paths will not be easy, but Butler is up for the challenge. The University is engaging the brightest in the field, learning from others in the midst of transformation, and seeking those “radically different” ideas from its own creative faculty, staff, students, alumni, and partners—who will together move Butler beyond its current model.

We have no plans to abandon Butler’s character or the things we do best,” Danko says. “But future expectations of academic institutions will be very different. We have to incorporate new approaches to education that add value—not only for our students, but for our society.”

Students walking on campus
Butler Beyond

Butler Beyond2020

Butler will forge a new path—respecting traditions while innovating a new path.  

from Fall 2019

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Jim Danko, Brad Stevens, and Adam Grant

Three successful leaders who are well known to the Butler community recently gathered with Butler’s Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, Melissa Beckwith ’00, to discuss innovation, leadership, and staying nimble in a constantly changing world. They explored what it means to be innovative, how to foster a culture that fuels creativity, and why Butler is uniquely positioned to navigate the higher education challenges ahead. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity and length.

James Danko, Butler University President, 2011–Present

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics Head Coach, 2013–Present (Butler Men’s Basketball Head Coach, 2007–2013)

Adam Grant, Organizational Psychologist, Wharton Professor, New York Times Bestselling Author, “WorkLife” Podcaster, and fan of The Butler Way (Butler Guest Speaker in 2017)

 

Q: We live in a time when many industries, including higher education, and organizations are experiencing significant change. We often hear there is a need to innovate or transform in order to survive. What do the words innovation and transformation mean to you?

Brad Stevens: Innovation and transformation mean that you are always a bit uncomfortable, in a good way. You recognize that if things aren’t going well there are changes that need to be made to get moving in the right direction, and if things are going well, the dip is right around the corner. You have to stay not only at pace with your competitors, but stay ahead in a lot of ways and be malleable, adjust on the fly, and have a foundation that you can lean on.

Adam Grant: Innovation is implementing ideas that are new and improved from the status quo. Transformation is making innovation routine, making it the norm, making it widespread, and preventing it from just happening in one pocket of your organization.

James Danko: Innovation is a way to move beyond the complacency inherent in many organizations. In higher education—where tradition is so highly valued and respected—there’s an inclination to depend upon the way things have always been done. Innovation allows people to consider possibilities, beyond past and current practices, and adapt to a shifting landscape while positioning their school for future success. Transformation is the outcome of innovation.

Q: Innovation is easy to talk about but can be difficult to achieve. How do you innovate?

Brad: I am more of a thief than an innovator. I try to keep up with best practices in the game around me. I work and study not only what is going on in the NBA and college game, but also internationally, and then try to fit those best practices to the strengths of the individuals on our team. There may be bits and pieces that I take from across the globe. To me that is not necessarily innovation as much as just studying and piecing a puzzle together, but I think that is the way I would view what I try to do. I don’t see it as rewriting a chapter or changing the narrative of things; itis applying small tweaks to what I’ve seen as best practices and putting it to best use for my team.

Adam: Brad is the most honest thief out there.

Jim: When we think of innovation, we often think there is a “eureka” moment that occurs and a new idea results. But innovation is often underpinned by hard work—research, assessment, perhaps benchmarking against different types of entities. While some people may get concerned that they are not creative or innovative enough, from my experience, I don’t see creativity as necessarily inherent. I believe you can nurture and encourage innovation through focused effort and perseverance.

Adam: My favorite way of capturing what it means to be creative is how Karl Weick describes it. Karl always said creativity is putting old things in new combinations, and new things in old combinations. In a way, that is what Brad just described. You go and borrow ideas from lots of different worlds, but it is all about the tailoring of those ideas. I think those re-combinations are fundamentally innovative acts. It is very much like being a chef. It takes ingenuity to use all the same ingredients that other people have access to, but maybe you apply them in a different way to create a different dish, and that sequencing, or repackaging, to me is what the innovation process might look like.

Q: An innovation process is important but having the right culture is crucial. What type of environment nurtures innovation?

Jim: The leadership team at Butler is very deliberate about fostering an environment that encourages innovation. From the Board of Trustees down, there is an atmosphere of open-mindedness and creativity about the way Butler moves ahead. We recognize that changes to higher education are occurring rapidly and will continue to do so—from student demographics, to learning styles, to wellness needs. Across all areas of campus, we have to embrace innovation if we’re going to make Butler stronger for future generations.

Brad: You are only going to be innovative if you are encouraged to be innovative. If you are working in a place that is stuck doing things the way things have always been done, it’s going to be hard to feel comfortable thinking outside of the box. It is important to be able to appropriately challenge the status quo on occasion, and say “How can we make this a lot better?”

Adam: I like to look at the exceptions. If you are not in an environment or culture that makes that easy, what can you do? There is a paper that I really love in my field on creative deviance, or looking at how sometimes people directly violate norms in order to get their ideas advanced. For example, the Pontiac Fiero was designed after a designer violated three separate orders from management to stop working on a prototype. Even The Godfather involved a filmmaker who basically violated every directive from Paramount Pictures about what the plot was supposed to be, who should be cast in it, what the budget should be, and where it should be filmed. So I think there is something to be learned from those examples. If you don’t create the psychological safety for people to take risks on new ideas, and if you don’t give them the freedom and resources to actually test them out and learn from them, you’re usually not going to get very far.

Q: Innovation requires change. Each of you have played a role in leading teams through change. What are the keys to successfully doing so?

Adam: A lot of the keys to success are about avoiding the systematic mistakes that a lot of us have made. The first mistake that I see too many leaders make is that they fail to create a sense of urgency for change. That happens because when you are leading a transformation or when you have an innovative idea, it is abundantly clear to you why that makes sense, and it is hard for you to imagine somebody not getting it. You tend to forget that most people are excited about the status quo, or at least they are attached to the status quo, because it is familiar and comfortable. To be effective, you can’t just convey all the good things that will happen with change; you have to make clear all the bad things that will happen without change. Then the status quo becomes a bit destabilized and people are more open to trying something new and different. The other big mistake that drives me crazy is when people run in with solutions before they have really carefully diagnosed the problem.

Brad: You are never as good as you think you are, you are never as bad as you think you are, and you are never far from either. At the end of the day, it is about knowing foundationally what works, the things that are critical to your team’s performance and to your organizational health, and prioritizing those things. The magic is in the work. Put your head down and work.

Jim: It’s important to both make a case for change, which often requires presenting the harsh reality of a situation, while also presenting the opportunities inherent within a challenging situation. In the case of higher education, there are clear signs of a difficult future, whether it’s seeing universities close at an accelerated pace or the national student debt exceeding 1.5 trillion dollars—situations that should worry everyone. But those challenges also present an opportunity to adapt and take the lead on new educational approaches. I am confident that at Butler, if we’re innovative and open ourselves to new opportunities, we will continue to benefit our students well into the future.

Q: Adam mentioned the need to carefully diagnose the problem before developing ideas. President Danko shared the staggering amount of national student debt and the recent closure of several universities. In light of this, what is the problem higher education needs to solve?

Adam: Higher education is the most important force for learning and teaching in the world. No one gets better at anything without being a dedicated learner and also without having and being a great teacher. The first threat is that there are more vehicles for both teaching and learning that now exist outside of higher education that didn’t exist in the past. It’s easier to learn online now, it’s easier to take non-degree courses, and in many ways, it’s like we have gone back half a millennium and it’s easier to apprentice yourself in your craft and to learn things on YouTube.

I think there is also a growing case to be made that the kinds of jobs that previously needed a college degree are no longer going to require an advanced education. So I think it is possible that a small subset of schools will gain more of a monopoly on higher education, and all the other schools will be struggling to recruit students. The last threat is the feasibility of distance learning. I think so much of the value added by a university is getting people together so they can have experiential learning, they can have extended debate, they can really challenge each other’s thinking. As it gets easier and easier for people to learn from a distance, it gets harder to draw them into a campus, and that makes the unique value of an institution of higher education harder to convey and harder to deliver.

Jim: In the past, many of our students had to physically go to a library to find information. Now information that was well beyond the capacity of a library is immediately available to students on their phones. A key role of universities is to transfer knowledge. In our technologically advancing world, it’s imperative that we make the case for the Butler approach to education, and the value inherent when people gather in person and learn from faculty and one another. I expect that approach to continue to be core.

But to be successful moving forward, we’ll need to be multidimensional in the way we transfer knowledge.

Of course, the challenges extend beyond the approach to education. Over the past 20 years, the average net tuition, room, and fees at private universities have risen by 23 percent while median household incomes have grown by only 3 percent. Between 2017 and 2029, experts predict there will be an 11 percent decline in demand for a regional private education due, in part, to the significant contraction in the number of 18-year-olds in the United States. Universities must face the reality that there will be fewer students attending college, and even fewer still that can afford the traditional, residential undergraduate model.

Q: What makes you feel confident Butler will successfully navigate the challenges ahead?

Brad: The same thing that has allowed Butler to navigate the challenges of the past and continue to progress and move forward and keep adding, is the people—leadership, faculty, staff, and students. My 13 years at Butler were some of the most influential years to help me learn, grow, and get better at what I ultimately wanted to pursue. It was such an empowering environment. I feel very confident that if a challenge presents itself, the people at Butler will figure it out.

Adam: It is hard to top that. But for my part, you have a couple of things going for you. You have a president who is an entrepreneur at heart and a doer. A lot of universities have great thinkers at the top who don’t get anything done. I also think that there is an advantage to your small size. You are a lot more nimble; it’s easier to make changes, as opposed to being stuck in a giant bureaucracy. Then there is the culture. When I think of The Butler Way, I think of the humility. There is a norm at Butler that gets set on the basketball court, but pervades the University. Everyone is excited to figure out what they don’t know and keep learning. I think that is kind of the wellspring of innovation. And then also, the generosity. Butler is a school of givers. You have a group of people who are drawn to the school because they are excited to try and figure out how they can help others and contribute to a meaningful mission. I have some data suggesting that when people are focused on solving problems, not just for themselves, but for others, they end up generating more innovative ideas because they do a lot more perspective-taking, they think about what different kinds of solutions might look like for different kinds of people, and that is all good for generating ideas that turn out to be novel and useful.

Jim Danko, Brad Stevens, and Adam Grant
Butler Beyond

A Conversation—Innovation and Leadership in Changing Times

James M. Danko, Brad Stevens, and Adam Grant discuss innovation.

from Fall 2019

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