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A Night at the Opera: Soulful, Vengeful, Comedic and More

BY Sarvary Koller ’15

PUBLISHED ON Mar 17 2015

After more than 30 years as Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Opera and guest conducting across the country, James Caraher now relies on his vast expertise to prepare the next generation of opera talent—students.

Caraher, who joined the Butler Opera Theatre as Music Director in January, has opera students preparing for the upcoming “A Night at the Opera” performances, March 27-29 at the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.
James Caraher

Show times are March 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and March 29 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and students. Tickets and more information are available at The program is below.

The performances join the opera theatre and Butler Symphony Orchestra for an unamplified, live musical journey through contemporary and historical opera.

Carissa Riedesel, a graduate student in her final year of the Master of Music in Voice Performance program, will perform an aria as Sesto, a revengeful and hot-headed young man from the Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt), and a comedic scene as Despina, a snarky maid who claims all men are the same—useless—from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

Riedesel said getting to perform in the Schrott Center with a live orchestra is a valuable experience for singers in the program. The opportunity to spend time developing her characters and then to bring them to life onstage with an orchestra has provided “a vivid glimpse into professional life.”

Thomas Studebaker, Director of the opera theatre, said he offers all seniors and graduate students the chance to perform an aria with the orchestra. The experience is advantageous for Butler students thanks to the small size of the program.

He hopes to grow the number of professional performance opportunities for Butler opera students in the coming years. The goal: to hold an opera performance each semester, including full operas and scene performances.

But the dream doesn’t end there. For opera students to gain realistic performance experience, there must be “butts in seats” to provide a live audience to engage with, Caraher said.

With soulful American tunes, vengeful Italian arias, and hilarious comedies about unrequited love, he encourages people from Butler and the surrounding community to give “A Night at the Opera” a chance and support the student singers armed with only their voice and expression, not even a microphone.

“It’s music theatre,” Caraher said. “Everybody thinks of oversized folks with horns on their heads screaming, but that’s not the case. It’s vocal music, orchestral music, drama, and theater. It’s many art forms in one big package—there is something for everybody.”


Overture from Guillaume Tell (Gioacchino Rossini)

Act I Trio from L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)

L’angue Offeso from Giulio Cesare (G.F. Handel)

The Trees on the Mountain from Susannah (Carlisle Floyd)

Act II Trio from Così fan tutte (W.A. Mozart)

Sous le dôme épais from Lakmé (Leo Delibes)

Donde lieta usci from La Bohème (Giacomo Puccini)

Evening Prayer duet from Hansel und Gretel (E. Humperdinck)

Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila (Camille Saint-Saëns)


Three Little Maids from School from Mikado (Sir Arthur Sullivan)

Quanto è bella from L’elisir d’amore (Gaetano Donizetti)

Finale from Mitridate, Re di Ponto (W.A. Mozart)

Vilia from Die Lustige Witwe (Franz Léhar)

Act III Quartet from La Bohème (Giacomo Puccini)

Ach, ich fühls from Die Zauberflöte (W.A. Mozart)

Act III Trio from La Rondine (Giacomo Puccini)

Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (Pietro Mascagni)

Va, pensiero from Nabucco (Giuseppe Verdi)


College of Education Is Named a 'Model of Excellence'


PUBLISHED ON Jan 27 2015

Butler University’s College of Education is the recipient of the 2015 National Model of Excellence awarded by the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.

The Models of Excellence Award identifies outstanding programs in professional education that serve as tangible models of quality in the areas of Moral and Ethical Dimensions of the Learning Community; Partnerships; Liberal Arts; and Global Awareness and Action.
Ena Shelley

“The College of Education believes we must prepare our students for schools as they should be, not simply perpetuating schools as they currently exist,” Dean Ena Shelley said. “We must be willing to explore with our students the difficult issues of inequities that exist in our schools and society and to help them to become agents of change. This, of course, means that as faculty we must examine our own beliefs, be willing to keep our hearts and minds open to the ideas of others, live our lives with integrity, and model how great teachers take risks, challenge the status quo, and advocate for the rights of all students.”

The College of Education was recognized for its numerous partnerships with school districts in Indianapolis, including:

-The Metropolitan School District of Pike Township. The partnership provides a current practicing teacher the opportunity to serve in a dual faculty role in both the district and University contexts. This role, known as the Pike/Butler Master Practitioner, has been an important part of the middle/secondary program in the College since 1998.

-Indianapolis Public Schools’ Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy. The Early College Program (ECP) provides students at Shortridge who are academically ready with access to college courses for credit at Butler while the students are completing their high school requirements. Early College Program students also have the opportunity to spend time on Butler’s campus participating in many educational programs such as Academic Day (during Welcome Week) and the Diversity Lecture Series. Butler has welcomed ECP students on campus since fall 2011.

-Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler Lab School. In August 2010, Indianapolis Public Schools and Butler University signed an agreement to create the IPS/Butler University Laboratory School, a public magnet elementary school. The College of Education helped design the Lab School concept, and has worked with IPS to oversee its curriculum and assessment development. The curriculum and learning environment is inspired by the practices of Reggio Emilia. Every teacher at the Lab School has completed his or her education preparation at Butler, and has participated in graduate coursework focused on Reggio Emiliaor in professional development through the Indianapolis Reggio Collaborative.

-Indiana Partnership for Young Writers. The Indiana Partnership for Young Writers, located at the IPS/Butler Lab School, provides professional development in the teaching of reading and writing. In 12 years, it has served more than 1,500 teachers, 150 undergraduates, and 113 schools.

“Butler’s College of Education certainly strives to build exceptional partnerships across the University, in our local schools, and across the Indianapolis community,” Shelley said. “In this challenging time of teacher education, it certainly takes all those who are passionate about this profession to lift it up and give it the recognition it so richly deserves. Butler serves as an exemplary beacon of how our next generation of teachers can be prepared.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler Study Abroad Program Ranked Among Nation's Best


PUBLISHED ON Jan 22 2015

Butler University’s Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts (GALA) program, in which professors accompany students on a semester-long trip, has been named one of the top study-abroad programs in the country by

“This program is perfect for the student who does not want to settle in one place, but wants to experience several cultures,” the website said. “While traveling, the faculty member teaches one course, and then students are joined at different locations by other faculty, who teach other courses related to the locale. In addition to GALA, Butler University offers over 100 other study abroad programs.”

GALA was ranked ninth among “The 50 Best Study Abroad Programs in America.”

More about GALA can be found here.

Monte Broaded, Butler’s Director of International Programs, said most of the courses offered during the GALA programs are designed to satisfy Butler core curriculum requirements that students would normally take in their second year.

“A course from Butler’s Global and Historical Studies program—such as Frontiers in Latin America, East Asian Interactions, Modernizing and Contemporary Europe, or Resistance and Reaction: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism in Africa—serves as an academic anchor for the GALA program,” he said.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Grant Will Help Butler Students Intern in Asia Next Summer


PUBLISHED ON Dec 11 2014

Butler University’s Center for Global Education has been awarded a grant of nearly $100,000 from the Freeman Foundation to enable students to complete internships in East and Southeast Asia in the summer of 2015.

The Center will organize a group experience—Butler Summer in Shanghai—in which 12–14 students will travel with a China-specialist member of the Butler faculty to Shanghai for a six-week program of individually designed internships combined with group excursions and cultural immersion activities.

Monte Broaded, Director of the Center for Global Education, said the Center will also be able to award 5-7 “at-large” grants to individual students who organize their own internships during summer 2015 or during the 2015-16 academic year.

In all, the grant will enable the Center to make 19 awards of $5,000 each, which will offset a significant portion, though not all, of the total participation cost.

The Center will hold information sessions about the program in the first two weeks of the spring semester. Applications for the summer program will be due by Friday, February 6.

Broaded said that because of Butler’s emphasis on combining liberal arts education with pre-professional training, experiential learning opportunities—such as internships—play an important role in each of Butler’s six colleges. More than 600 Butler students participate in internships and related experiences each year.

Butler also has a strong commitment to global engagement. The University consistently ranks in the top 25 master’s institutions nationwide in the proportion of undergraduates who study abroad. In recent years, Butler has placed 4-6 students each year in academic-credit-bearing internships in East and Southeast Asia locations, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


New MBA Class Offers a 360-Degree View of Sports


PUBLISHED ON Nov 24 2014

Students in Butler University’s MBA program said they wanted to learn more about the economy of Indianapolis, and the College of Business listened: It created Business Practicum (MBA522), an experiential 2½-day, two-credit course designed to explore a specific local economic cluster.

This spring, the course will focus on the business of sport, including an in-depth look at the finance, marketing, entrepreneurial, and overall impact of sports in Central Indiana.

Butler University's College of Business building June 26, 2013.During the class, which will meet March 4­–6, students will visit multiple teams, venues, and related businesses around Indianapolis.

“In the Butler MBA program, ‘real life, real business’ is not just an advertising tag,” said Tim Bennett, the College of Business’ Director of Graduate Programs. “It’s a guiding force for how we deliver our curriculum. We’re telling the Central Indiana community that if you engage in this graduate education, it’ll be about real life, real business. Every opportunity we can take, we will expose you to that real life, real business.”

Bennett said that after students visit with people involved in the world of sports in Indianapolis, they will be split into groups and assigned to work on a research question. They’ll present their findings to a panel of judges that includes industry leaders in the sports field.

“This course was designed based on student feedback and a desire to look at an entire economic cluster, not just one organization, and to be exposed to a 360 view,” Bennett said.

In future sessions of Business Practicum, students might examine segments of the economy that include life sciences, heavy manufacturing, and energy.

“There are lots of ways we could go,” he said. “For this class, sports just bubbled to the top.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


To Hone Their Skills, Recording Industry Study Students Get a Backstage Pass


PUBLISHED ON Nov 07 2014

Recording Industry Studies juniors Dan Fuson and Jesse May had two of the best seats in the house when Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett from the band Little Feat played Indianapolis in late October. In fact, they had something better than seats: They were on the side of the stage, making a recording of the concert that may end up as a live album.

From left: Jesse May, Mark Harris, Fred Tackett, Paul Barrere, Cutler Armstrong, Dan Fuson
From left: Jesse May, Mark Harris, Fred Tackett, Paul Barrere, Cutler Armstrong, Dan Fuson


The two College of Communication students, working with Technical Services Coordinator Mark Harris and Communication Instructor Cutler Armstrong, spent about 10 hours in the theater that day, setting up equipment, recording the show, and packing up as part of their coursework in CME 220—Remote Recording Lab.

“It was a great experience,” May said. “That’s something you can’t get inside of any other class. In recording classes, we’re doing studio recordings and working with artists, but it’s still on campus. So to have an event where you’re going to work off campus in a real environment, that kind of experience is unmeasurable.”

“You can teach students all sorts of things in the classroom,” Harris agreed, “but here they got to go out and actually do something different than what they’d been doing. They also got to meet some legendary guys, hang out with them a little bit, work with them. It was really special.”

The opportunity to record the show came together after Harris conferred with his friend Mark Butterfield, an Indiana concert promoter who brought Barrere and Tackett to Indianapolis as part of his Indy Acoustic Café series.

Butterfield put Harris and Barrere in touch with each other, and they worked out a handshake agreement to allow the recording.

In the CME 220, students are required to make three remote recordings, mix the sound on one recording, and write an essay. Typically, the students record groups on campus, including the Butler Symphony Orchestra.

“The best part of this experience in my eyes was learning how to setup equipment in a completely foreign environment,” Fuson said. “I learned how much time it takes to get the necessary equipment not only for recording but for live sound set up at a professional level. Patience is necessary.”

Neither Fuson nor May knew much about Barrere and Tackett before the concert. They came away impressed. So did Armstrong, who described the musicians as “very nice guys, very unassuming.”

“It was super cool for those students because they got to work with and interact with these guys, and we had a bird’s eye view from the side of the stage,” Armstrong said. “We were able to be that close, and just to see that genius and that level of performance and dedication and professionalism was great.”

Now everyone involved is hoping the recording will be released sometime next year.

“And if and when it does,” Harris said, “Paul Barrere’s already told us that the students will have recording credits.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Pharmacy Student Gives a Shot in the Arm to Vaccination Education

BY Sarvary Koller '15

PUBLISHED ON Nov 05 2014

Matthew Budi ’15 wants people to know the truth about vaccines, and he is conducting his senior thesis project through the Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to educate Indianapolis residents and contribute to research on vaccination.

Budi, a sixth-year Pharmacy student in the Butler Honors program, released an informational video and an accompanying survey on vaccines last weekend to begin collecting data on vaccination trends in the greater Indianapolis area. The survey will remain live through January 15, and any adult living within 50 miles of Indianapolis is eligible to take the survey.

Budi said he believes it is imperative that people understand and acknowledge the importance of vaccines to health. Whether dissuaded by common myths about vaccinations or the fear of being poked in the arm with a needle, he encourages all to partake in his study to learn the facts about vaccination.

“Forget Ebola for a second—that’s only a few cases in the country,” Budi said. “These diseases have hundreds to thousands of people who get it every year just because they don’t want to receive a vaccine. It’s so much worse than Ebola because it’s something we can easily fix.”

The YouTube video, featuring Budi in a white lab coat, provides participants with an introduction to vaccination before taking the survey. The vaccines included in the survey are flu, shingles, and pneumonia, as well as tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, and a measles, mumps, and rubella.

“I picked these vaccines in particular because they have a high health burden,” Budi said. “They cost the health care system money on an annual basis, and since they are preventable diseases through vaccination, we can do a lot to improve public health just through education.”

Chad Knoderer, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Director for Clinical and Health Outcomes Research, assisted Budi to fine-tune his survey. He said the survey Budi created is especially tough to conceptualize because it tests for trends in general while creating an educational tool that fits seamlessly into the survey.

Budi will analyze survey data in January when the study closes to prepare a presentation for the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference in April. All senior Pharmacy students must present a project at the conference, and Budi will present alone as a requirement of completing the Honors program.

Knoderer said he has high hopes for the study results and its impact on education and relationships with pharmacists in the greater Indianapolis community.

“It’s significant from a public health perspective—immunization and vaccination is an important topic for promoting health in terms of the individual and also the community,” he said. “This project gets at that. It gets at how a pharmacist can participate in the care of patients.”

Budi said he has several goals in this study: to educate; to earn recognition for the Butler Pharmacy program; and to give the study utility so other people can use it as a model.

“Pharmacists are very accessible,” Budi said. “We [Butler University] are the only Pharmacy school close to downtown Indianapolis, so I figured, let’s test what people think of vaccines here in our city. Not only that, but I’ve always loved education—teaching people and imparting knowledge.”


Professor Snyder Elected to Head Physician Assistant Education Association


PUBLISHED ON Oct 31 2014

Jennifer Snyder, a professor in the Physician Assistant Program, has been elected President-Elect of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the national education association representing 188 physician assistant programs.

159865Snyder is concluding her elected term as a Director at Large on the Board of Directors for the Association on December 31, 2014. She begins her three-year term with PAEA, first as President-Elect on January 1, 2015, followed by one year as President, and then one year as immediate Past President.

Responsibility for all Association activities lies with the PAEA Board of Directors. The board administers the association's financial affairs, appoints and conducts association business. As president, Snyder will represent PAEA on all issues affecting the association and assure the board fulfills its responsibilities for governance of the association, PA education and the profession.

“Being elected to this position is a great honor,” Snyder said. “The number of PA programs and the number of students in those programs have grown dramatically; healthcare and higher education are in a time of great transition. There is much work to be done.”

PAEA is a not-for-profit association representing accredited physician assistant educational programs in the United States. PAEA provides services for faculty at its member programs, as well as to applicants, students, and other stakeholders.

In September, Snyder completed her doctorate at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, becoming the first graduate of the program offered by the school’s College of Health Care Sciences. She wrote her dissertation on the “Investigation of Physician Assistants’ Choice of Rural or Underserved Practice and Framing Methods of Recruitment and Retention.”

Snyder has taught at Butler since 1999. In 2009, the Physician Assistant graduating class voted her Faculty of the Year. In 2010, the American Academy of Physician Assistants recognized her as a Distinguished Fellow for her outstanding dedication to the PA profession. In2011 the Student Academy of American Academy of Physician Assistants awarded her the President’s Award for her service and promotion of leadership, educational and professional development of PA students.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler's Office of Institutional Research Earns Recognition


PUBLISHED ON Oct 28 2014

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) has chosen Butler University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment website to be featured on the NILOA website,, in recognition of its practices in innovative and transparent online communication of student learning outcomes assessment.

“This website is a centralized location for the University’s assessment efforts,” NILOA said.

NILOA praised the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment website for offering a host of resources regarding Butler’s student learning outcome assessment efforts. The website includes information regarding academic assessment, administrative assessment—which includes administrative assessment reports—and information on the University Assessment Committee.

Included in the Academic Assessment section, website visitors can view academic assessment reports regarding the University’s colleges and programs assessment efforts, in addition to the Academic Assessment Committee’s Academic Program Review purpose statement. There is also information on the University’s mini-grants for assessment-related activities.

“Being featured by NILOA is a great honor,” said Provost Kathryn Morris. “NILOA is run by true leaders in the field of student learning and assessment. Congratulations to Director of Institutional Research and Assessment Nandini Ramaswamy and her team for their excellent work.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler University Listed Among the Best in the Nation for Undergraduate Education


PUBLISHED ON Sep 09 2014

Butler University is among the top schools in the country when it comes to enriched undergraduate offerings that lead to student success, according to U.S.News & World Report.

In its “Best Colleges” edition, released today, U.S. News highlighted Butler as one of the nation’s finest in five categories: the first-year student experience, internships, study abroad, service learning, and undergraduate research/creative projects. Such areas of enriched offerings, said U.S. News, demonstrate that “some colleges and universities are much more determined than others to provide freshmen and all undergrads with the best possible educational experience.”

Butler was one of only three universities in the United States recognized in five or more categories, and was recognized in more categories than all other Indiana schools combined.

Butler President James M. Danko said this recognition of Butler’s focus on student success reflects its core academic mission. “This year’s edition of ‘Best Colleges’ highlights our commitment to the provision of outstanding undergraduate learning experiences—firmly rooted in the liberal arts—within a residential campus environment.”

Butler’s student activity rates underscore the power of the school’s educational approach: nearly all students participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning. And within 6 months of graduation, 96 percent of new alumni are employed, attending graduate school, or involved in a gap-year experience. “These rates are the result of our students’ hard work, the dedication of our faculty and staff to high standards of academic excellence and support for our students, and the unique experiential learning opportunities that both Butler and Indianapolis provide.”

For the sixth consecutive year, Butler was ranked No. 2 overall among Midwest schools, behind only Creighton University. Butler was also listed among the Midwest’s “best value schools,” and led the top-10 Midwest universities in several categories, including percent of freshmen in the top quarter of their high-school class (81 percent), percent of alumni who support the university through giving (23 percent), freshman retention rate (90 percent), and percent of applicants accepted to the university (66 percent).

Media contact:
Marc Allan



COE Introduces Two New Directors


PUBLISHED ON Sep 05 2014

Butler University’s College of Education has introduced Jill Jay as the new Director of the Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP) and Katie Russo as Director of Student Personnel Services and External Relations.

Jill Jay
Jill Jay


Jay comes to Butler from Mill Creek Community School Corporation in Clayton, Indiana, where she was Superintendent (2013-2014), Assistant Superintendent (2011-2013), Director of Student and Professional Learning (2010-2011) and Principal of Mill Creek East Elementary (2004-2010).

Since 2011, she has been an Adjunct Professor in EPPSP, an innovative and experience-based master's program that prepares its graduates for the many challenges facing school administrators. EPPSP provides hands-on opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency and to practice leadership skills in their schools.

Jay earned her doctorate in Education Leadership and Administration from Indiana State University, a Master of Science in Education Administration, EPPSP Group 22, from Butler, a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Ball State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Purdue University.

Russo was Assistant Director of Licensing with the Indiana Department of Education from August 2008-August 2014. From 1983 to 1988, she taught third grade at St. Luke Catholic School in Indianapolis. In 1988 to 2008, she was Assistant Principal at St. Luke Catholic School in Indianapolis.

Katie Russo

Russo earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Master of Science in Elementary Education and completed the Educational Administration program from Butler.

As Director of Student Personnel Services and External Relations, Russo will oversee the clinical experiences in the college, including internships and student teaching, cultivate community and school partnerships and guide students through the testing, licensure and job placement process.



Media contact:
Marc Allan



Irwin Library Introduces Several Changes This Fall


PUBLISHED ON Aug 19 2014

The Irwin Library faculty and staff will hold an open house on Tuesday, August 26, from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. to show off several changes in the facility this fall, including added study space, collaborative workstations, and a new catalog that allows a worldwide search for materials.


Associate Dean of the Libraries Sally Neal shows Butler student Michael Boyd the new Information Commons desk.
Associate Dean of the Libraries Sally Neal shows Butler sophomore Michael Boyd the new Information Commons desk.


Dean of the Libraries Julie Miller said the updates are part of the changing role of the academic library. Where libraries used to be largely about the circulation of books and periodicals, they are increasingly becoming a place for collaboration. 

“A big part of what librarians are doing now is helping faculty and students to navigate the changing information landscape,” she said. “Especially in the area of how to evaluate the information that’s out there to see whether it’s the information you need. Does it meet the criteria for being useful information? And, if you’re not finding the useful information, how to be better at searching for it. And also how to contribute to the information landscape in an ethical way.”

Among the changes in Irwin Library:

-The former circulation desk area is being turned into study space. The circulation desk will be merged with the information commons desk, where students can get research assistance. The desk has moved to the northeast side of the first floor.

-Several additions will be made to the computer area on the first floor, including two media workstations that have video and audio editing capability and two collaborative workstations. The latter have large, flat-panel monitors that let users attach different devices and work together on files projected on the monitor. “It’s wonderful for people who like to co-author because it gives you a nice way to look at what you’re working on together,” Miller said.

-The library has switched to a new management system called WorldCat Discovery that gives anyone searching the Butler catalog access to WorldCat’s worldwide library holdings. (For additional information, consult the WorldCat Discovery LibGuide.)

-The music reference collection, previously on the first floor, has moved to the second floor, and Music Librarian Sheri Stormes has moved to Irwin Library, room 130, in the southeast quadrant of the first floor.

-Laura Menard has joined the library faculty as Health Sciences Librarian serving the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She will provide health sciences information literacy instruction and deliver health sciences information through the latest technologies. She will also work with the Science, Technology, and Society program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Communication Sciences and Disorders majors in the College of Communication.


Media contact:
Marc Allan