Three faculty members in Butler University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) have been appointed to named professorships, LAS Dean Dr. Jay Howard announced last week. 

  • Dr. Ania Spyra, Associate Professor of English, was named the Demia Butler Chair of English Literature.
  • Dr. Tara Lineweaver ’91, Professor of Psychology, was named the Wesley A. Dunn Professor of Psychology.
  • Dr. Paul Hanson, Professor of History, was named the McGregor Chair in the Humanities.

“These outstanding faculty have all made tremendous contributions in their fields, and for all of the LAS and Butler University,” Howard says. “It is with great pleasure that we recognize their impactful work and dedicated service with these appointments to named professorships.”

Ania Spyra

Dr. Ania Spyra
Associate Professor of English
Demia Butler Chair of English Literature

Spyra grew up in a trilingual, politically divided home in Polish Upper Silesia, a borderland region of Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. She received her Master of Arts in English from the University of Silesia, and her PhD in English from the University of Iowa.

Since coming to Butler in 2008, Spyra has been an inspirational teacher of comparative literature and an innovative contributor. Along with several colleagues, she received an Enduring Questions Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her role in developing the Global and Historical Studies course Freedom and Movement in the Transatlantic World. She was named the Butler University Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2018.  

Spyra has published work on borderland identities and transnational women writers in such academic journals as Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Comparative Literature, Studies in the Novel, and Contemporary Literature. She has also published poetry in Indianapolis Review and Writers Resist, and creative nonfiction in 91st Meridian, World Literature Today, and Critical Read. She is currently on sabbatical and working on an emotional history of the post-communist restructuring of Poland in the 1980s and 1990s, building upon essays first published in Colorado Review and Guernica.

The Demia Butler Chair of English Literature was endowed in 1869 by University founder Ovid Butler in memory of his daughter, Demia, who graduated from Butler (then North Western Christian University) in 1862 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was the first Butler alumna to have completed a full four-year classical curriculum. She died at the age of 25. In establishing the chair, Ovid Butler requested it was “to be filled always and only by a good and competent female professor.” 

Tara Lineweaver

Dr. Tara Lineweaver ’91
Professor of Psychology
Wesley A. Dunn Professor of Psychology

Dr. Tara Lineweaver ’91 earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Arts Administration at Butler University. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Georgia Tech and a PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology from the San Diego State/UCSD joint doctoral program.  

Following a post-doc and staff position as a neuropsychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, Lineweaver came back to her alma mater as an Assistant Professor in 2003. 

She quickly worked her way up the academic ranks, earning tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2009, and promotion to full professor in 2015. In 2019, she earned Butler’s Distinguished Faculty Career Award. 

In her time at Butler, Lineweaver has taught 10 unique courses spanning topics from cognitive psychology to careers in psychology, and from advanced applied neuroscience to a team-taught course about mental illness, as well as other team-taught courses—including one about food and another about the neuroscience of music.  

Lineweaver has earned multiple teaching awards, recognized as one of Butler’s “most engaging” instructors. She was featured by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) as a Model Instructor.

In her career, Lineweaver has been a remarkably productive scholar with more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles or invited book chapters.  

Lineweaver has published in a variety of areas, including dementia, childhood grief, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has also received nearly $1 million in grant funding for her work. Of her published articles, 20 included Butler students as coauthors.

The Wesley A. Dunn Professor of Psychology was established in 1994, the result of a gift from Florence Dunn to honor her son, Wesley. Wesley received an undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1945. After serving as an aerial photographic officer during WWII, he went on to earn a PhD in Psychology from Purdue University. Dunn was a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology and consulted with the Marion County Juvenile Court. He also served as a part-time instructor in Psychology at Butler and at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis from 1955-1965.

Butler University professor Paul Hanson in his Jordan Hall October 16, 2008.

Dr. Paul Hanson
Professor of History
McGregor Chair in the Humanities

Dr. Paul Hanson earned a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. He served briefly as Visiting Assistant Professor at both Linfield College in Oregon and Arizona State University. He arrived at Butler as an Assistant Professor in 1984, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1988, and to Professor in 1996.

Paul has made substantial and important contributions to the understanding of the French Revolution and its aftermath. He is the author of several books, including Provincial Politics in the French Revolution (LSU Press, 1989)—which won the American Historical Association’s Phi Alpha Theta “Best First Book” Award—Revolutionary France (1996), The Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution (2007), Contesting the French Revolution (2009), and The Jacobin Republic Under Fire: The Federalist Revolt in the French Revolution (2012). He has also authored dozens of articles and book reviews, including the in-progress book, Reflections on Revolutionary Terror: Jacobins and Red Guards (2023).

The McGregor Professorship acknowledges Paul’s long-standing and robust service to Butler and to the historical profession. Paul has served as president of both the Indiana Association of Historians and the Western Society for French History. As a Butler faculty member, Paul’s service has been varied and outstanding, with three years as LAS Dean, two stints as director of Global and Historical Studies, and nearly a decade as department Chair. 

The McGregor endowed fund was established in 1975 with a gift from the McGregor Fund in Detroit, Michigan, and a match from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Tracy and Katherine McGregor, founders of the McGregor Fund, were leading philanthropists in Detroit and supporters of higher education. The McGregors’ lives were devoted to philanthropy. 

The McGregor Chair in the Humanities recognizes not simply scholarship, but a balance of good works that seeks to transform and uplift through higher education, scholarship, and service.