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From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

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

That was a comparatively minor transition in his life. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AcademicsAthletics

From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

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

by Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

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How Entrepreneurial Are You?

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AcademicsPeople

How Entrepreneurial Are You?

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

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Read more

Pathways for Success

Monica Holb ’09

from Spring 2018

 

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

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

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

Letting Passions Pave the Way

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weaving Old Threads into a New Company 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Runway from the Midwest to High Fashion 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making His Own Way

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AcademicsStudent Life

Pathways for Success

Stories of the way less traveled

by Monica Holb ’09

from Spring 2018

Read more

What's Out There

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

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

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

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

FIRST OF ITS KIND—STUDENT ENTREPRENEURSZach Finn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Academics

What's Out There

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

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

Read more
AcademicsStudent Life

Butler's Undergraduate Research Conference Turns 30

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 03 2018

After footing the bill to send two students to present papers at an undergraduate research conference in the south, Butler Biology Professor Jim Berry decided that the university needed to host its own event.

He founded the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) in 1989 "to encourage undergraduate students to become involved in research," he wrote in the program. "We believe that the best way to teach science is by actually doing science. Only through the actual process of asking questions and solving problems can one become experienced in the methods of science."

Today, Berry's creation is stronger than ever: On April 13, from 8:00 AM to 4:15 PM, Butler will welcome 896 participants from 23 states to present their work at the 30th annual URC.

Berry, now Professor Emeritus, will be recognized at the luncheon, and Major Matthew Riley '01 will deliver the keynote address. Riley is Department Chief at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the Department of Defense’s lead laboratory for medical biological defense research. 

In its first year, the URC that Berry created included 171 participants in five disciplines—Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and Social Science—all of whom were from Indiana. The next year, Music Professor Jim Briscoe ushered in Music and Arts.

This year's conference will feature presentations in 25 disciplines. Topics this year will be as varied as "Manufacturing: An Uncertain Future," "Beyond Godzilla: Reflections of National Identity in Japanese Horror Films," and "Can You Outsmart the ImPACT Test? A Study of Sandbagging on Baseline Concussion Assessments."

"Because of Jim Berry's hard work—and the hard work of other folks—we're now one of the largest undergraduate research conferences in the nation," said Dacia Charlesworth, Butler's Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships.

Under Charlesworth's guidance, the URC has added research roundtables that allow students just embarking on their research projects to share their plans with experienced professionals and receive feedback and a competitive-paper division. This year, 28 students submitted competitive papers.

The Butler Collegian interviewed Berry about the URC in 1995. He described the conference then as "a district version of the big national conferences you always hear about. We’ve just brought it closer to home so that more students can take part.”

Charlesworth said that with 79 colleges and universities participating, the conference has expanded beyond what anyone expected.

"I'm happy we're continuing Jim’s mission," she said. "At the heart of it, we're still fulfilling his original intention: Helping students understand research by conducting research."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

AcademicsStudent Life

Butler's Undergraduate Research Conference Turns 30

The URC has grown from 171 participants in 1989 to nearly 900 this year.

Apr 03 2018 Read more
AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

He Helped the Dance Department Achieve Its Potential

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2018

Stephan Laurent joined the Butler Dance Department in 1988, convinced it was going to be one of the top programs in the United States.

"And we proceeded to make it so," he said, crediting "aggressive recruitment and a fantastic faculty."

Thirty years later—the first 15 as chair, the second 15 as a faculty member—as he prepares to retire from Butler, Laurent looks back proudly at what he and the department have accomplished in developing a program that's consistently one of the top-rated in the country.

"It's been a wonderful experience because this is such a strong program," he said. "It's strong because of the curriculum, because of the faculty who deliver that curriculum, because of the students it attracts and because of the facilities in which it is delivered. It is a conservatory-level training program, but we all value the liberal arts and that's what makes the program unique."

Laurent grew up outside Lausanne, Switzerland, and moved to the United States to study at Southern Methodist University. After earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts, he danced professionally in Europe, then returned to SMU for his Master of Fine Arts.

He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and had spent six years as Artistic Director of Des Moines Ballet when he saw the opening at Butler. The Board of Directors was reducing the size of its company to cut costs, so he decided to apply.

He expected a short stay in Indianapolis, but "it clicked so well. It seems like I had found my place – and I think I did. I have really planted my roots in this community. It will be bittersweet to leave."

He leaves with great memories of "all the wonderful productions we have accomplished with the Butler Ballet" and comfortable in the knowledge that he helped advance both Butler and the Dance Department.

"I've seen a lot of progress being made in establishing the strong vision of a comprehensive university where the liberal arts are valued," he said. "The core curriculum is really excellent here. I teach an FYS seminar (Spellbound: the Quest for Magic in the Arts and in Fiction), so I know firsthand how good that core is and how valued it is by all the members of the faculty across all the colleges."

Sophomore Stefanee Montesantos said Laurent "has been a wonderful instructor to work with in the studio." Not only that, "but he has given me opportunities that most first-years and sophomores wish for."

In Butler Ballet’s 2018 Midwinter Dance Festival, Montesantos was cast as the lead female in Farewell to the Singing Earth, an original piece that Laurent-Faesi choreographed.

"It was one of my most challenging roles yet, but it was such a pleasure to work with him," she said. "His positivity, yet silent discipline to execute the steps, brought out a drive I didn’t know I had in me. I am sure I speak for all of Butler Ballet when I say that he will be deeply missed."

After the semester ends, Laurent plans to move to Texas, where his wife, Ellen Denham, is directing the opera program as a member of the music faculty at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. He describes the move as "going full circle," since Texas was where he started in the United States.

Professor Susan McGuire, his colleague in the Dance Department, said Laurent set an example for others to follow.

"He is outspoken and liberal-minded in the best sense, and a staunch defender of academic freedom, for one," she said. "He knows the university system inside and out, and holds the people within it to a high standard, and quite vocally, regardless of the consequences. I appreciate this wholeheartedly, and I will miss his loud and clear voice."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

AcademicsArts & Culture

Critics Called It One of the Best Books of 2017

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 29 2018

 

The news came in an email at 6:00 AM on December 22. The subject line: "New York Times!"

 

The recipient: Butler Poet-in-Residence Alessandra Lynch. The sender: Kaveh Akbar MFA '15, who now teaches poetry at Purdue.

Inside was this link, but no message. And Lynch thought, "Good ol' Kaveh. Yet again, someone has recognized his prodigious gifts."

She clicked on the link and saw the cover of her new book Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment under the headline "The Best Poetry of 2017." Along with it was this summation by David Orr, who writes the On Poetry column for The New York Times Book Review:

Alessandra Lynch, “Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment.” You can read 20 pages into Lynch’s book before you fully realize it’s about a sexual assault — and this is to her credit. She wants to show an act of violence in all its terrible particularity and also in the way it becomes a background against which identity trembles and sometimes fractures. It’s difficult to read this collection without thinking about how timely it is, but its force is in no sense dependent on that congruity.

"I gasped," Lynch said. "It felt, and still feels, so surreal. Unreal. I don't know how David Orr found the book. He must receive thousands of books to review. So what was it about this book? I have no idea."

That was just the beginning. About six weeks later, Lynch got a call from The Los Angeles Times informing her that her book was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in Poetry. She'll be flown to California to participate in the newspaper's April 21-22 Festival of Books.

"I don't have experience like this," Lynch said. "From the time I was 9, I was just in my room, writing my poems. Then eventually I had enough poems and it dawned on me that I really wanted to make a book from them. For me, writing has always been a solitary, private situation. The public nature of publication and awards, while often nice, is very, sometimes chillingly, distant from the making and the life, the vitality of the poems."

*

As Orr wrote in The New York Times, Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment is, in fact, about a sexual assault—Lynch's. The attack happened a couple of decades ago.

She didn't report the incident and for years told no one.

"I think I was in an extreme state of shock," she said. "I didn't even realize for years that I had some sort of PTSD. I wouldn't have ever said that I had that. That's what soldiers at war have. But clearly the disassociation and distance from what had happened are hallmarks of this. For years I moved around in a daze. And it's all over those poems."

In 2005, during a two-month stay at Yaddo, an artists' retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York, Lynch developed a routine—eat some blueberries and go for a run through the woods. As she ran, a line or two would come to her. When she got back to her studio, she would type "meditation," along with that line or two. There were meditations on the body, on absence, on abandonment, on desire. She wrote about a hundred, numbering each. She wasn't thinking about publishing or even sharing them.

"It just felt like such a sacred experience," she said. "I felt very in tune with those words."

In 2007, during a second stay at Yaddo, she followed a similar routine, but typed "agitation" at the top of each page. The “agitations” that surfaced became poems more directly about the assault.

After a few years, ready to share the poems and thinking she had two separate manuscripts, her husband, Butler Associate Professor of English and poet Chris Forhan, suggested that the agitations and meditations might belong together in a book.

Lynch devised a sequence for the poems, then showed the collection to another poet-friend who suggested that she move one of the more overt assault poems to the beginning. "I was thinking, 'I can't do that,'" she said. "That would be shocking. But he was right. And then I realized I was creating a narrative out of these highly lyrical poems. I was finally telling the story. I was finally facing the violence I had experienced through poetry."

Then, in 2015, during a two-week fellowship at The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire—and after Alice James Books had already accepted Daylily for publication—Lynch wrote a final poem, "P.S. Assault." That "made the book fuller and more substantial."

The poem begins:

The girl it happens to
crawls out

of my body

"There are some really excruciatingly dark, excruciatingly personal moments in the book, and yet I think because it's poetry, there's so much metaphor and imagery," Lynch said. "It's not a direct report of what happened, and there's a meandering in and out of consciousness—a disassociated state, but a really beautiful state, a really comforting state. And the wandering out helps me and anyone who reads this book understand that the shock of it, the stun of it, makes you feel almost as though it didn't really happen to you."

Lynch took the book title Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment from the first line of one of the poems. A daylily flower carries a lot of time symbolism and implication, Lynch said, and daylily, in this case, was witness to "the fact that at some point I realized I had experienced a dangerous moment in my life."

She chose the cover painting, Time, by Metka Krašovec, wife of Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun, for the traumatized look in the woman's eyes. "There's a wariness, there's a deep sorrow, an unsettledness and an unnerved quality to the eyes," she said. "But the figure itself is still. It's almost like paralysis. Plus there's a bird on her hand looking at her, but she's not paying attention to the bird. And there's a hand on her shoulder, which is ominous."

*

This is Lynch's third published book of poems, but she's been writing poetry and putting together books since she was a little girl in Pound Ridge, New York. She remembers her first-grade teacher announcing that the class would be working together on a journal and asking, "Who's going to write the poetry?" When no one spoke up, she volunteered.

She recalls her mother saying, "If you want to do anything well, you have to practice it." She took those words to heart and started to write every day. She still does.

In teaching poetry and memoir writing at Butler, she asks her students to reveal what is most important to them, what has hurt them most, what has made them feel most joyful—"those deeper feelings we don't often get the opportunity to share, but when we do share make us feel known."

"I think in some subconscious way, teachers teach what they want to learn," she said. "After all these years of having my terrific, brave students reveal all these things to me, I think that actually helped me."

Lynch said Daylily was cathartic to write. She hopes it will help others who've been through trauma. And she has no expectations about winning the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, for which she's competing against Shane McCrae, Evie Shockley, Patricia Smith, and David Wojahn.

She said she looks at their biographies and long lists of accomplishments, then looks at her own, which says she "lives with her husband and sons by a stony creek, two hackberry trees, and a magnolia trio."

"It's as though there are all these better-known poets up on the stage and I'm like a piece of pollen that drifts up," she said. "And there I am. I feel like pollen. But pollen's not a bad thing to feel like."

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsArts & Culture

Critics Called It One of the Best Books of 2017

'Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment,' Poet-in-Residence Alessandra Lynch's new book, is being praised from coast to coast.

Mar 29 2018 Read more
AcademicsStudent Life

Archaeology Mobile Lab Brings History to Life

BY Jackson Borman '20

PUBLISHED ON Mar 27 2018

When you walk into Dr. Lynne Kvapil’s office in Jordan Hall, you'll likely see a binder full of ancient Greek and Roman coins, a ceramic bowl or two, and stacks and stacks of other artifacts and replicas. And she will gladly show you any of them.

Kvapil is an Assistant Professor of Classics at Butler, as well as a practicing archaeologist. These items are all a part of the Ancient Mediterranean Cultures and Archaeology Mobile Lab, of which Kvapil is a director, along with Associate Professor of Classics, Chris Bungard.

“We have a bunch of stuff, and the goal is for students to get their hands on things,” Kvapil said. “Short term, we want to get these materials in more classes at Butler. I think the long term is to get them into the Indianapolis area, to really create a network of people in the Indianapolis area who want to see these resources coming in and out.”

The lab’s extensive collection is made up of materials that are relevant to the ancient world, specifically Greece and Rome, but there are some items that branch out around the Mediterranean as well, such as reproductions of Egyptian papyrus.

The lab operates as a collection, through which items can be loaned out to classrooms at Butler or kindergarten-through-high school classrooms in the Indianapolis area. Kvapil said that the primary purpose of the lab is to provide a way of learning that is different from a traditional classroom, but also to provide materials for possible research opportunities.

The lab started in fall 2015, financed by a Butler Innovation Fund grant, but they had only a year to spend the money. Most of the first year was shopping around to see what materials were out there for purchase.

Since the shopping has been completed, Kvapil said that the majority of the work to be done with the lab is regarding what to do about their loan policy.

“We are still trying to figure out things like what do we do if we loan out a cup and someone trashes it, how do we replace that and what is our legal policy there,” Kvapil said. “These are some nitty-gritty things that take some time to hash out.”

Because the lab has accumulated so many artifacts and other materials, there is always more work to be done. Kvapil employs two student-interns every year to help with the organization and curation of the lab.

“The interns really make this place run,” Kvapil said. “We want to always spotlight Butler students and what they are doing. I think it is really important to make sure that the people that work with us get some publicity.”

Wendy Vencel '20 has been an intern with the lab for the last two years. She is also the president of the Classics Club. Besides working to help keep the lab running smoothly, Vencel has been trying to use the lab to help plan events with the Classics Club as well.

“We are really trying to work with it to engage with the lab because it really is the perfect opportunity, at least in the Butler community,” Vencel said.

This year, the interns started a WordPress blog that contains an electronic flipbook of all of the materials that the lab has in stock, as well as an Instagram page with photos of items. Audrey Crippin, a P3 Pharmacy major, made the flipbook. They set up a pop-up museum in the on-campus Starbucks during Dawg Days, where Butler-bound students could experience a mock archaeological dig, in an attempt to showcase some of what the Classics Department has to offer.

Vencel said that experiences like the mock dig are important to her because similar experiences made her first years at Butler memorable.

“What got me into classics was when Dr. Kvapil came and talked to an Anthropology class that I was in, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh there is an archaeologist here,’” Vencel said. “It was super cool and I didn’t know Butler had that to offer. During my sophomore year, I took Kvapil’s Greek art and myth class and I’ve been here ever since.”

Kvapil said that the best way for students to get involved with the lab is by applying to be an intern for next year, or by joining the Classics Club. Another option is simply by taking classes that can make use of the lab.

“People are really shy about being interested in that kind of thing," Kvapil said, "but we also promote them to take classes, not just in the Classics Department, but there are a lot of classes in the History and Anthropology Department, as well as Philosophy and Religion, that are involved with this kind of idea that the past can be alive through things.”

 

 

 

AcademicsStudent Life

Archaeology Mobile Lab Brings History to Life

Faculty and students work together to curate a collection of artifacts and replicas.

Mar 27 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

He Wanted Every Class to Be An Event

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 26 2018

Professor of Religion Paul Valliere marvels at the similarities between the Butler University he joined in 1982 and the Butler University from which he's retiring in May.

"It's perfectly obvious that all kinds of things are happening at Butler now that weren’t happening in 1982," he said. "But there are real continuities in the Butler of yore and the Butler of today. Most of those continuities are very positive—face-to-face community, dedication to students, ability to attract really fine students. We get really fine students. So did we in 1982. Most of the changes at Butler have built on the positives that were already there."

And over 36 years at Butler, Valliere, 74, has had a hand in several of those positive changes. He collaborated on creating the Change and Tradition core curriculum (which has evolved into Global and Historical Studies), built up the Honors Program, co-wrote the application for a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant that created the Center for Faith and Vocation, and wrote the application that helped Butler get a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

Then there's teaching. Valliere approached his courses with the memory of something his former colleague John Beversluis told him: "I want every class to be an event."

"My favorite moments at Butler are walking out of a class that I know in my heart went really, really well," Valliere said. "For me, nothing compares to the sense of elation when I know at the end of a class that it really went well—I accomplished what I intended to in there, but much more, because the students grabbed hold of it and ran with it and it ended up being a great class."

Betsy Shirley '10, now Associate Editor at Sojourners magazine, remembers Valliere referring to students as his "young colleagues. And he really meant it. It wasn't a gimmick."

"He took more notes in class than any professor I had," she said. "He took notes on what students were saying—interesting points they made or something he wanted to follow up with them. Sometimes after class, he would say, 'I really appreciated that point you made. You might want to check out this extra essay, or this article that might help you develop your point.' He saw what students were saying as important and wanted to learn with them and from them."

*

Valliere grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. After earning his bachelor's degree from Williams College, he got a job as a community organizer in East Harlem. In 1971, he began his teaching career at Columbia University, from which he earned his master's and doctorate, and started his career-long scholarship in religion and theology in modern Russia.

He taught religion at Columbia for 11 years. But by this point, he and his wife, Marjorie, had three young children, and he wanted a tenured professorship.

Butler offered him that. He moved to Indianapolis to be Dean of Butler's University College, which advised all first-year students and sophomores and oversaw the core curriculum and the honors program, and an Associate Professor of Religion.

He said Marjorie had to get a driver's license when they settled in Indiana—she didn't need one in New York—but the adjustment to the Midwest was otherwise easy.

"You're still the same person with the same unfinished articles in the same drawer," he said. "People have a tendency to get too hung up on externals—what environment do I live in, that kind of thing. Those things are superficial compared to the continuities: same family, same profession, same responsibilities, same challenges."

One of those challenges was integrating his interest in and knowledge of Russian theology into the curriculum. He did that through a course he team-taught with History Professor Bruce Bigelow called Peoples and Faiths of the Soviet Union (later Peoples and Faiths of Russia and its Neighbors).

*

Valliere described himself as "the product of a 100 percent pure liberal arts tradition." In fact, he said, "There was concern among some of the people at Butler who hired me that I might be too liberal-artsy for the good of the institution."

He said Butler "broadened me" by exposing him to students in professional areas.

"In my years of working with students in the arts, pharmacy, education, and the other professional colleges, I've become a broader, better-informed academic," he said. "I feel very good about that part of my Butler experience, where I had to stretch. I hope I stretched Butler and my students. That's what we're supposed to do. Stretch. But I got stretched also. And to the good."

Judith Cebula, the Founding Director of the Center for Faith and Vocation, said one of Valliere's strengths is that he "believes in the possible."

"He hired me to help launch the Center for Faith and Vocation and I saw first-hand how he believed Butler could become a better university when he created the Center, when he created the Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, when created new courses, such as Faith Doubt and Reason in collaboration with Philosophy Professor Stuart Glennan, for example," she said.

"I saw it most clearly when he shared with me that he always strived to see the fullest potential in each student who walked into his classroom. Each student entered a new semester with an A in Paul’s grade book. That is how much he believes in the possible."

*

Valliere said he's enjoyed watching the city of Indianapolis grow, and Butler grow with it. That's one of the reasons he put off retirement.

"Why leave when the institution is doing so well and the city has gotten so interesting?" he said.

But now that the time is right for retirement, Paul and Marjorie plan to stay in Indianapolis and keep their Butler Basketball season tickets. He plans to continue his Russia scholarship, and will be working with the Emory University School of Law to co-edit a volume on the history of Christianity and law in Russia. It's part of a big study program being coordinated by the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory.

"I'm retiring from teaching," he said, "but there's no rule that says you have to retire from scholarship—and I don't have any plans to cut back on that front."

As for teaching, yes, he will miss the interactions with students and the dynamics of the classroom.

"But I taught for 47 years, which is a lot longer than a lot of people have a chance to do," he said. "I turn 75 this year, so I've had a long run, and I'm grateful."

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will hold a retirement reception for Paul Valliere and Philosophy Professor Harry van der Linden on Tuesday, April 3, from 4:30-6:30 PM in the Robertson Hall Johnson Room. All are welcome. No RSVP necessary.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsPeople

He Wanted Every Class to Be An Event

After 36 years at Butler, Religion Professor Paul Valliere retires.

Mar 26 2018 Read more
AcademicsStudent Life

'The Mall' Lets First-Year Students Publish

BY Peyton Thompson '20

PUBLISHED ON Mar 22 2018

First-year class president Elizabeth Bishop is a Marketing and Strategic Communications double-major who has always had a passion for writing.

So when Jim Keating, the instructor in her First-Year Seminar (FYS) course Utopian Experience, and some of her friends encouraged her to submit her writing to The Mall, she said she would.

The Mall is a journal dedicated to showcasing exemplary FYS work. First-year students can submit a piece of literary analysis and criticism, a creative writing piece, or a personal essay. Bishop said she will be submitting an analysis of alienation in literature and why it is so common among characters.

"I'm so excited to have the opportunity to have my work published in The Mall," Bishop said. "I've really enjoyed my FYS and I feel as though it has definitely helped me develop as a writer. I think it's wonderful that Butler is giving us this opportunity and I'm highly anticipating reading everyone's entries!”

The Mall, now in its fifth year, was created by Adjunct Professor Nicholas Reading, with a push from English Professor Susan Neville.

"She sparked the idea of publishing student’s work, and just needed someone to take initiative and do it,” Reading said.

He said students are not required to have a certain grade on their work to submit. It is also possible to submit multiple papers, and in some cases, be published twice.

The most recent edition of The Mall was 201 pages, with all different kinds of pieces submitted by students. In all, 34 papers were published.

Reading said The Mall serves three primary goals:

-To present to the Butler community the FYS program and increase awareness about the program and the work that is produced in FYS courses.

-To build an FYS learning resource for instructors so that they will have the opportunity to use published essays as learning tools in the classrooms and to provide models of exemplary FYS writing to new students.

-To empower first-year students and give their voices and opinions a forum to be heard.

The Mall is edited by FYS students. Throughout the process, students exercise the peer-review and collaborative learning skills practiced in their FYS courses. Similarly, the journal provides a forum for students to be published and have an opportunity to showcase their work.

“Our purpose is to empower students in their writing," Reading said. "That is the end goal. To understand that the written word will always be an integral and indispensable facet of our existence. To understand that as writers, we have the opportunity to participate in larger discussions that work to elevate us all. To own that voice, and use it passionately and responsibly, can be an exhilarating feeling. And we try to showcase the results of that journey.”

Goals of FYS

  • To reflect on significant questions about yourself, your community, and your world.
  • To develop the capacity to read and think critically.
  • To develop the capacity to write clear and persuasive expository and argumentative essays with an emphasis on thesis formation and development.
  • To gain an understanding of basic principles of oral communication as they apply to classroom discussion.
  • To understand the liberal arts as a vital and evolving tradition and to see yourself as agents within that tradition.
  • To develop capacities for careful and open reflection on questions of values and norms.
  • To develop the ability to carry out research for the purpose of inquiry and to support claims.

                                                         

 

 

 

AcademicsStudent Life

'The Mall' Lets First-Year Students Publish

The journal is dedicated to showcasing exemplary FYS work.

Mar 22 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

Butler Librarian Wins National Award for Innovation

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 21 2018

Butler Business Librarian Teresa Williams, who teaches information-literacy sessions for many Lacy School of Business courses, wanted to find a way to provide more in-depth instruction on the business resources students should be using for their information needs.

"I was aware of workshops taught at other universities, but those focused mainly on teaching students how to use subscription research databases," she said. "The library subscribes to those types of databases for business research, but they are expensive and can be accessed only by current Butler students, faculty, and staff."

So Williams developed a workshop to teach Butler students how to find and use alternative business information resources that are reliable, free, and publicly accessible—information resources students can use while at Butler and later as they move into their professional careers.

On March 16, the Association of College and Research Libraries—the primary professional association for most U.S. librarians working in higher education—recognized her with the Innovation in College Librarianship Award. The prize is given annually to members who have demonstrated a capacity for innovation in their work with undergraduates, instructors, and/or the library community.

In recognizing Williams' work, Award Chair Eric A. Kidwell, who is Director of the Library, Professor, and Title IX Coordinator at Huntington College, said librarians working on information-literacy programs are most often focused on teaching students about resources for their academic work while they're in school. But the vast majority of those resources are subscription resources that will no longer be accessible once the students cease being students.

“What impressed the committee about Williams’ submission was the focus on teaching students about research resources available to them post-graduation as they transition into their careers and into their communities,” he said.

Williams developed her Business Research Workshop in 2014, then conducted a pilot program for the Butler Business Consulting Group interns and staff. It grew from there. Since then, she has taught the workshop for over 100 participants, including undergrads, MBA students, faculty and staff.

The workshop is free, and anyone from Butler can attend. Resources discussed in the workshop include government search portals, trade sites, advanced Google tools, and public library offerings for the business community.

Participants who complete the workshop receive a Certificate of Completion, and she said many students include the accomplishment on their resumes and apply the information learned during their business internships.

Williams has been at Butler for 11 years as Business Librarian and liaison to the Lacy School of Business.  Prior to that, she worked for the Carmel Clay Public Library, the IU School of Medicine, and PriceWaterhouse. She earned her Bachelor's in Business and a Master of Library Science from Indiana University, and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from The Ohio State University.

"Teresa's Business Research Workshop is distinctive because it focuses on helping students make the transition from using the expensive subscription databases they use in their coursework to freely available resources they can use as they enter the workforce," said Julie Miller, Butler's Dean of Libraries. "I am delighted the selection committee recognized this project as a model for other academic libraries."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

AcademicsPeople

Butler Librarian Wins National Award for Innovation

Teresa Williams created the Business Research Workshop.

Mar 21 2018 Read more
AcademicsPeople

School of Music Announces Three New Faculty Members

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 20 2018

The Butler University School of Music will add three new faculty members beginning in the 2018–2019 academic year, Doug Spaniol, Interim Chair, announced today.

Becky Marsh, a choral music educator who's finishing her doctorate at Michigan State University, is the new Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education.

Brian Weidner, currently a lecturer at Lake Forest (Illinois) College, is the new Assistant Professor of Instrumental Music Education.

Dana Zenobi, a soprano who has taught for the past 10 years at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, is the new full-time Instructor of Voice.

Marsh was a choral music educator in North Carolina for several years as well as the Musical Director of a K-12 youth theatre. She holds a Master of Music in Music Education and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Music Theory from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she taught beginning guitar, supervised student teachers, and assisted in introductory music education, vocal pedagogy, and choral methods courses.

She is currently finishing her dissertation, which examines the intersections of preservice music teachers' identities and their initial field-observation experiences.

Weidner will receive his Ph.D. in Music Education at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. He holds bachelor's degrees in Music Education and English from Illinois State University and master's degrees in Music Education from Northern Illinois University and school leadership from Olivet Nazarene University.

Prior to his studies at Northwestern, he taught for 12 years at McHenry (Illinois) High School, serving as its Fine Arts Coordinator, Director of Bands, and Music Theory Instructor. He is a National Board-certified teacher. His academic interests include investigating the relationship between music and literacy and the development of independent musicianship through large ensemble instruction.

Zenobi has taught Vocal Diction, Vocal Pedagogy, Song Literature and first-year Theory and Ear Training, as well as an interdisciplinary course in Music and Gender Studies. Her studio teaching was nationally recognized in 2014, when The American Prize competition issued her an "Inspiration in Teaching" award.

An active recitalist and concert performer, her work as an interpreter of art song by women composers has garnered both regional and national attention. On the opera stage, she has earned critical acclaim for roles ranging from Mozart heroines Donna Elvira and Konstanze to Verdi's Violetta Valéry. She appeared in the American Premiere of Philip Glass’s Waiting for the Barbarians with Austin Opera, and performed with Lyric Opera Cleveland in the first production of Mark Adamo’s Little Women directed by the composer.

Zenobi created Southwestern University's Sarofim Vocal Competition for high school singers. She also founded BELTA.org, a nonprofit that provides free crowdfunding services and entrepreneurial support to artists and musicians. She holds a dual degree in Music and Women's Studies from Duke University, as well as both an MM and a DMA from The University of Texas at Austin.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

 

AcademicsPeople

School of Music Announces Three New Faculty Members

Becky Marsh, Brian Weidner, and Dana Zenobi will join Butler for 2018-2019 school year.

Mar 20 2018 Read more

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