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Brooke Kandel-Cisco
Campus

Brooke Kandel-Cisco, Determined to Make An Impact, Will Now Lead the COE

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Brooke Kandel-Cisco was first drawn to the field of education as a 22-year-old immigration advocate, working on behalf of undocumented women who were abused by their husbands, but threatened by those same men with their status if they took action against the abuse.

Working alongside an immigration attorney, she didn’t get a lot of cases approved by the courts. She saw firsthand the complexities of the system and how things were far from fair. She wanted to help illuminate the glaring systemic issues, and then somehow work toward creating more just and equitable systems.

All of that sounded familiar to Kandel-Cisco—it sounded like the work of an educator. The Illinois native comes from a long line of teachers—both her grandmothers, aunts, uncles—but her 18-year-old self wanted to go against the family grain. So, she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish at Goshen College. After she graduated, Kandel-Cisco joined AmeriCorps and headed to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, where she battled the courts to try and help women who came to the United States and were abused by their husbands, but struggled to get justice.

“Advocating for women and seeing these huge systemic issues every day really piqued my interest in education and in working with immigrant and refugee students,” Kandel-Cisco says. “I was always told I should be a teacher, and I think my work after college showed me how important it is to try and work to address systemic issues. I saw education as one way of doing just that.”

Kandel-Cisco has been doing that ever since. She will start as the Interim Dean of Butler University’s College of Education on May 1 replacing Ena Shelley, who will retire after 15 years as Dean of the College, and 37 years at the University.

Kandel-Cisco started at Butler in 2009 as a faculty member, and throughout her decade on campus has served as Director of the Master of Science in Effective Teaching and Learning Program, Chair of the COE Graduate Programs, and Program Coordinator for COE Graduate Programs.

She teaches courses in English as a second language (ESL) within the COE, works closely with teachers in Washington Township schools’ ESL and Newcomer Programs, which works with students who have recently arrived in the country and are learning English, and is the President of the Indiana Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

When Shelley announced her retirement, Kandel-Cisco’s name was put forward by colleagues in the COE as a potential Interim Dean.

Her first reaction upon hearing that Shelley was retiring?

“Oh I pity the person who follows Ena,” Kandel-Cisco says. “But now that it’s me, I will do my best.”

Shelley, on the other hand, says this was a long time coming.

For years, Shelley says, she has been presenting Kandel-Cisco with “opportunities.” There was the time she called Kandel-Cisco in to tell her she had an “opportunity” for her to work on an International Baccalaureate certification process.

“Brooke’s reaction was ‘OK, my child goes to an IB school, but I don’t really know much about IB’,” Shelley says, laughing. “But, in typical Brooke fashion, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work like crazy to get this in place. She always gives it her best shot, and her best shot is always wonderful.”

Shelley would continue over the years to use that phrase on Kandel-Cisco. Finally, she explained that early on in her career she was offered “opportunities” constantly by her Dean at the time. It was clear these “opportunities” were just challenging projects. Her Dean explained she was giving them to Shelley to prepare her to be a Dean one day.

It turns out, that is exactly what Shelley was doing with Kandel-Cisco.

“I know a lot of people use these words a lot, but Brooke is really a visionary, and extremely wise,” Shelley says. “She is very inclusive of people and ideas, a keen listener, which is key as an educator and leader. Someone asked me if this is bittersweet, and I can honestly say no. My heart is happy knowing I am leaving the College in great shape with a strong leader and strong staff.”

It is that great staff that Kandel-Cisco says she will rely on to help move the College forward as Interim Dean. She is looking forward to thinking through how the College fits into Butler’s strategic plan, as well as focusing on a number of new initiatives: a new major, global opportunities for students and faculty, partnerships in the community.

“This is all about making yourself vulnerable and trying new things, which might not be comfortable,” she says. “It is much easier to do because I have amazing colleagues who are supportive and will help move our College forward.”

When Kandel-Cisco was back in Texas working as an immigrant advocate, she realized she wanted to be a teacher. After obtaining her ESL and bilingual education teaching license, she went on to teach ESL students in Houston. After several years of teaching, she applied to doctoral programs.

She transitioned to a full-time doctoral student at Texas A&M, and later became a senior research associate, studying state education data on things like teacher attrition and achievement scores. All of this highlighted more systemic issues in education. And, it became clear again, she wanted to be in a classroom.

On another whim, she applied to several faculty positions, including one at Butler. On campus, she interviewed with Ena Shelley.

“For me, it was about the people,” she says. “Ena, just the way she looks in your eyes, it just felt authentic, and the College was doing educator preparation in a high-quality way. That’s not to say there is one right way to do it, because I don’t believe there is, but the COE approach was in line with my values. And that’s what brought me to Butler.”

Brooke Kandel-Cisco
Campus

Brooke Kandel-Cisco, Determined to Make An Impact, Will Now Lead the COE

Kandel-Cisco will start as the Interim Dean of the College of Education on May 1.

Apr 26 2019 Read more
Peter Grossman
Campus

From Playwright, to Journalist, to Professor, Peter Grossman closes Butler Chapter After 25 Years

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2019

Butler University Business Professor Peter Z. Grossman thinks of his life as "an unstructured research project."

Grossman, who is retiring from Butler after 25 years as the Clarence Efroymson Chair/Professor of Economics, has been, at various times, an actor/playwright, a journalist, and, of course, a professor. He has taught courses as varied as music appreciation, philosophy, and economics,  and written books about topics that include energy policy, the history of the American Express company, law and economics principles, and a history of the major blackouts of the Northeast.

A student once asked him, "How do I get into the kinds of things you have done?" To which Grossman responded: "I have no idea, because almost all of it was serendipitous."

"Peter is a lifelong learner," says Butler Professor of Economics Bill Rieber, his friend and colleague. "As an example, Peter has offered many different courses in Economics since being at Butler, including Mathematical Economics. When Peter first offered the course, he was already a full professor and a well-established scholar, teacher, and commentator in the media. It had been a while, though, since Peter had gone through the mathematics necessary to offer the course, yet he spent the time and effort to do so."

David Phillips '07 took that very course with Grossman as an independent study, and also studied International Economics and Comparative Economics with him. For the independent study, Grossman would give Phillips a set of problems to work out, then they'd get together to work through them on a whiteboard in the Holcomb Building.

"I'm a professor now, so I probably appreciate better than I did then how generous it was of him to offer to do an independent study with me," Phillips, who's a Research Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame, wrote in an email. "It's a lot of a work, and I'm sure he didn't get any credit or recognition for it!"

Phillips added that when he went to graduate school, he needed to know how to combine economic intuition and heavy duty mathematics. Having the one-on-one opportunity with Grossman helped greatly.

The independent study also allowed them to get to know each other personally, and that’s where Phillips got a taste of Grossman's understated, self-deprecating humor.

One story Grossman told was how during his dissertation defense at Washington University in St. Louis, one of his professors asked a relatively easy question. Grossman froze, couldn't come up with an answer, but his main advisor, future Nobel Prize winner Douglass North, chimed in.

"Peter, I don’t understand your problem.  I asked you that same question last week in my office and you gave me a good answer,” North said.

Grossman's response: "Really? What did I say?”

When his answer was recited back to him, he said, “Oh yes, that’s a good answer.”

"His sharing those experiences with me was incredibly valuable," Phillips says. "A Ph.D. in economics is very different from undergraduate economics, and American students from small schools often struggle to wade through the technical material of the first couple years. Picking an advisor is an intimidating thing. Both the time I spent with him working out problems on the whiteboard and the time hearing about his own experience in graduate school helped me a lot as I became an economist."

 

*

Grossman grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut, the child of a textile worker dad from Hungary (who gave him the middle name Zigmund) and a piano-teacher mom, both of whom insisted that their sons get an education. They wanted their children to become doctors or lawyers, but in high school, Peter gravitated toward theater.

There was no drama club at any of the high schools in town, so he started a citywide drama group. He performed at the Waterbury Civic Theatre, did summer stock in Cape Cod, and generally thought of himself as an actor.

When he got to Columbia University, he transitioned to playwriting. He wrote plays that were performed in New York, including at the Public Theater, and studied philosophy, then earned a Shubert Fellowship to study playwriting at Columbia's School of the Arts.

After earning his Master of Fine Arts in 1972, Grossman was working a nominal job at Columbia, hoping to become a writer,when he bumped into a former classmate who told him about a trade magazine looking for writers. Grossman pursued the lead and ended up writing about fast food and kitchen design.

"Writing about food always made me hungry," he says. "But I was getting experience. I was learning how to write. I never took a journalism course, but I knew I had to be self-critical in order to be able to write something I would want to read. Essentially, I was teaching myself journalism."

A few years later—around the same time he met his future wife, Polly Spiegel—one of his brothers invited him to a party where he was introduced to someone who called the publisher of Financial World on his behalf. The editor gave him a tryout, assigning him a story about the commodities market.

"I had no idea what I was talking about, but I wrote it pretty well," he says.

It earned him $500 and the chance to write more. It also led him, a year later, to his first teaching job—as an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Polytechnic Institute of New York (Brooklyn Polytechnic)—and his first salaried position, primarily to teach journalism.

 

*

His first class, an Intro to Literature and Writing course, was a disaster.

"I came into the classroom the first day and was going to talk about Beowulf and the origins of the English language but I quickly saw that nearly everybody in the class was a non-native speaker," he says. “And whatever I had planned to say only confused them.”

At the same time, he was getting more assignments from Financial World, and from Money magazine. At Financial World, he became the commodities expert, and he also wrote about that topic for Money.

One day, he got a call from an analyst at a brokerage house who wanted an independent view of where interest rates were going. Grossman had no idea. He'd never taken an economics course. He needed to learn, so he signed up to take a second-level macroeconomics course at Pace University. At the same time, he got his first major book contract—to write a history of the American Express company.

He had unrestricted access to the company's archives and found that he loved doing the research. American Express: The People Who Built the Great Financial Empire came out in 1987.

By this point, he was married, and he and Polly had the first of their two sons. He also found out that he wasn't getting tenure at Brooklyn Polytechnic because they were thinking of eliminating the journalism program.

But the school got a grant to create a Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program, and Grossman was teamed with an electrical engineer, Ned Cassedy, whom he'd known since the late 1970s.Together, Grossman and Cassedy wrote Introduction to Energy: Resources, Technology and Society, which became the textbook for the STS curriculum.

While he was teaching, Grossman also started taking classes in City University of New York's Ph.D. program in Economics. He decided to go back to school full time in 1988, and ended up at Washington University in St. Louis, where his mentor would be Douglass North.

"That was the best decision I ever made, and I made it very stupidly," Grossman says. "I knew about his work, but some of these senior professors are horrible to work under. Doug North took the attitude that (as I was already 40) I needed to get in, get out, and get into the world and use my new-found skills in economics along with my writing and research skills as quickly as possible."

 

*

Grossman finished in three and a half years, but had trouble finding a job. It took him three years. Then, at once, he had two opportunities—one at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the other at Butler.

"I was a visiting assistant professor at Washington University, two years past my Ph.D., and I kept looking at this ad for an endowed chair at Butler," he says. "It said someone with an affinity for the liberal arts, the fields they listed were my fields, and I had my three books and I'd just published a couple of scholarly papers. I said, 'What do I have to lose?'"

He sent a package—"and it did help that I had a Nobel Laureate as one of my recommenders"—thinking that nothing would happen. Shortly after, Bill Rieber called. Grossman started talking about himself and mentioned his theater background, and Rieber said, "Why didn't you put that on your CV?" Grossman responded, "My CV was confusing enough to people."

But Butler was interested and brought him in for an interview.

"It was a beautiful spring day in 1994, I loved the campus—which has only gotten better since I've been here—and I gave a presentation," he says.

Before that presentation, he came face to face with a senior professor who knew and revered Clarence Efroymson—the professor for whom the Chair in Economics is named—and he didn't want the position going to someone who was "a moron." His definition of "moron" was people who weren't reading things other than books in their disciplines.

The most recent book Grossman had read was On the Origins of Species by Charles Darwin, which established that he wasn't a moron.

Then the professor asked: What are your fields?

“Economic history and law and economics,” Grossman said.

The professor asked: Isn't law and economics kind of a b.s. area?

"At that point, I thought, 'Maybe you should just drive me back to the airport,'" Grossman says. "Actually, what he wanted was for me to defend myself, which I did."

Butler offered him the position. Then Illinois also called, offering a tenure-track position.

"As I've thought about it over the years," Grossman says, "I made absolutely the right decision. I was much better placed here just because of who I am and the work I do. I follow that unstructured research plan. I start writing and studying things that interest me. At Illinois I would have been put in a box and all my teaching and research would have had to fit that box. Here I’ve been free."

 

*

At Butler, he wrote four more books, and made use of his journalism background by publishing 140-plus op-ed columns, which gave additional visibility to the University.

Over the years, he taught 14 different courses—several he created, some he revived, all for undergraduates.

"It's been great—the kind of thing I like to do, which is exploring new ideas in different areas," he says. "I never would have been able to do that in Illinois—even if I'd gotten tenure."

And now, going into retirement after 25 years at Butler, Grossman says he's unsure what's next. He's likely to continue writing, he says, but in a life that's been an "unstructured research project," you never know.

"The research will go on," he says, "even though I will no longer be at Butler."

Peter Grossman
Campus

From Playwright, to Journalist, to Professor, Peter Grossman closes Butler Chapter After 25 Years

Butler University Business Professor Peter Z. Grossman thinks of his life as "an unstructured research project."

Apr 26 2019 Read more
Graduates in Hinkle Fieldhouse at Commencement
Campus

Butler to Hold Historic 163rd Spring Commencement

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 26 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—History will be made when Butler University celebrates its 163rd Spring Commencement.

Nearly 1,050 graduates are expected to receive their diplomas—the largest graduating class in Butler’s history—on Saturday, May 11, at 10:00 AM at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The keynote Commencement speaker, selected by graduating students, will be Penny Dimmick, Professor of Music. An Honorary Doctor of Education will be given to Ena Shelley, longtime Dean of the College of Education, and an Honorary Doctor of Music will be given to the jazz musician Benny Golson.

Dimmick is the Associate Director of the School of Music, and Coordinator of Butler’s Music Education program. She joined the Butler community in 1991 and has served the University in several different capacities, including Head of the School of Music and Faculty in Residence. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students at Butler, Dimmick works with children in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir’s Preparatory Choirs, at summer camps at Sunnyside Road Baptist Church, and on mission trips to South America and Asia.

Shelley joined the Butler faculty as an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in 1982. After serving as Interim Dean twice, she was appointed Dean in June 2005. She introduced the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, created two IPS/Butler Lab Schools, and established a new home for the COE on South Campus.

Golson started his jazz career about 65 years ago and has traveled the world, playing with renowned performers including Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, and Johnny Hodges. He has written well over 300 compositions and recorded more than 30 albums. He has composed and arranged music for legends such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross, and Itzhak Perlman. Golson served as a guest artist on campus last spring and immediately connected with Butler students.  

 

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

Graduates in Hinkle Fieldhouse at Commencement
Campus

Butler to Hold Historic 163rd Spring Commencement

History will be made when Butler University celebrates its 163rd Spring Commencement.

Apr 26 2019 Read more
Aaron Hurt

A Legacy Fulfilled

Rachel Stern

from Spring 2019

  

To know Aaron Hurt is to understand the way he proposed handling his office décor. After moving into his new space tucked away in a corner on the third floor of Clowes Hall, he was stuck on figuring out ways to dismantle the big screen television fixed to his wall and mount it on a rolling device that the entire Butler Arts Center staff could benefit from. He hypothesized different ways to turn the space into a conference room, saying it was much too large for just himself. And he was concerned that the colors weren’t welcoming enough. In the end, none of these changes were made.

But Hurt did insist on one request.

Donald Hurt's paycheck from 1963
Donald Hurt' on payroll from 1963.

He came across a 1963 art deco painting of opening night at Clowes Memorial Hall. He loves art deco work, but it was about much more than just the style. Hurt’s grandfather was there that night in 1963. Donald Hurt was a member of the projectionist union, and when Clowes was ready to open, he was called to help get the stage ready. He hung the original main curtain and worked the first few shows.

“It’s really bonkers,” Hurt says, as he looks up at the painting on his office wall. “To think that my grandfather was hanging the curtain that night, and now I am sitting in this office working here. It’s really not something I take for granted, and we are going to be hands on and inclusive in how we put our stamp on Butler and the greater community.”

Hurt was officially named Executive Director of the Butler Arts Center on January 1, 2019 after serving as interim executive director since August 2018. But this is a role that, in many ways Hurt has been working toward since he was a little boy, and a role that means so much to so many in his extended family.

“This was in his blood and you can just tell by his enthusiasm that he was born to do this,” President James Danko says. “With Aaron, you can hear his passion when he speaks, and when you hear about his family, it is obvious where that comes from.”

Three years after Hurt’s grandfather hung the first curtain at Clowes Hall, his father, Daniel, hopped on his moped at age 16 and headed from the Eastside of Indianapolis to Clowes for his first ever job, sweeping the floors and holding ladders. Daniel would go on to work at Clowes Hall many times over the years. He also worked the beloved summer theater series on the football field.

Aaron was born into a family of projectionists. He was exposed to film, the arts, and theater from a young age, and often went with his father to work. But he first remembers Clowes Hall when he saw his sister, an opera singer, perform there.

“Butler has been a part of our lives for years and for Aaron, this is a scene he has been around since he was in diapers,” Daniel says. “Aaron would come with us to his sister’s performances and practices. It is pretty amazing when you think about it because the connection goes all the way back to my father hanging that curtain. Aaron grew up on this. We are all tied to Butler and Clowes.”

Hurt wanted to run a venue for as long as he can remember, he says. As an arts administration major at Butler, he learned that he could make a career out of running the programming and operations of a place. After graduating in 2008, Hurt worked for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the Chicago Children’s Choir, and then made his way back to Butler in 2013, as part-time manager of the Schrott Center. He became full-time later that year, serving as the operations manager. In 2016, after the Butler Arts Center was established, Hurt was promoted to Director of Operations.

He took over as interim Executive Director of the Butler Arts Center in August 2018. When Danko was evaluating what to do about the permanent executive director position, the positive feedback about Hurt was overwhelming.

“Aaron’s passion and enthusiasm for this type of role, coupled with the extraordinary esteem he is held in made him far and away the optimal choice for this position,” Danko says. “I am very excited about him and his potential. It is like an NFL team looking for that young coach who will be a star in 20 years.”

So now, Hurt will work to put his stamp on the place that has been a major part of his and his family’s lives for so long. Something that he called both terrifying and incredible. The goals are numerous.

Donald Hurt backstage at Clowes Memorial Hall
Donald Hurt backstage at Clowes Memorial Hall

Hurt has four major focuses—find new ways to make money, form better partnerships, engage more with the Indianapolis market, and create improved University programming. But, he says, it really does come down to one thing.

The goal is to make the Butler Arts Center an authentic hub for arts programming for all different communities in town. For example, next season, ticket prices will start at $19. This adjustment, he says, is a way to make shows more accessible for a much wider group.

“I want us to be known as open and inviting. I want people to leave happy and to have experienced something they couldn’t have experienced anywhere else in the city,” Hurt says. “That is what Clowes originally was when it started.”

And Hurt would know. He grew up learning about Clowes and hearing about Clowes from a grandfather and father who were there from the beginning. Now, Hurt is ready to take Clowes back to that original model—collaborative and inviting. Just the way he likes his office décor.

Aaron Hurt
Campus

A Legacy Fulfilled

    A job more than his lifetime in the making.

by Rachel Stern

from Spring 2019

Read more
Students at Graduation

Graduation Day can be a whirlwind of activity and emotion as you bid farewell to your years as a Butler student. Perhaps you recall the nervous feeling as you processed into the crowded room, hoping you were in the right spot. Maybe it’s the pride you felt as you switched the tassel on your cap from right to left that’s stayed with you. Or the anticipation as the reading of the graduates’ names inched closer to yours.

What you may not recall, however, is the name of that prominent person who delivered your Commencement Address. Here are the last 50 years’ Spring Commencement speakers to help refresh your memory.

 

2018, David Brooks, political and cultural commentator

2017, Dr. John C. Lechleiter, Chairman of the United Way Board Worldwide

2016, Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, CEO, My Stroke of Insight, Inc.

2015, Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor, founder of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center

2014, Brad Stevens, Head Coach, Boston Celtics

2013, John Green, author, vlogger, producer, and educator

2012, Richard Stengel, Managing Editor, Time Magazine

2011, Dr. Bobby Fong, President, Butler University

2010, Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General minister and president of the Christian Church

2009, Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana

2008, Dr. Susan Solomon, Atmospheric chemist

2007, Dr. Eugene White, Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools

2006, James McBride, author and composer

2005, Dr. Robert Funk ’47, MA ’51, Director of the Westar Institute

2004, Mari Evans, poet, writer, and dramatist

2003, Evan Bayh, U.S. Senator, Indiana

2002, The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa

2001, Dr. Bertice Berry, sociologist, author, lecturer, and educator.

2000, Dr. Geoffrey Bannister, President, Butler University

1999, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, first woman ordained a rabbi in Reconstructionist Judaism

1998, Randall L. Tobias, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Eli Lilly and Company

1997, Frank O’Bannon, Governor of Indiana

1996, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., American author

1995, Dr. James A. Thom ’60, historical author

1994, Raymond Leppard, Music Director and Conductor, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

1993, Evan Bayh, Governor of Indiana

1992, William Warfield, renowned baritone and actor

1991, Stephen A. Briganti ’64, President and COO, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

1990, Arpad Goncz, playwright; member, Hungarian Parliament

1989, Dr. Geoffrey Bannister, President, Butler University

1988, Ulric Haynes, Jr., Former U.S. Ambassador to Algeria

1987, Sarah Evans Barker, Judge, United States District Court

1986, John Beversluis, Professor of Philosophy, Butler University

1985, Richard G. Lugar, U.S. Senator from Indiana

1984, James T. Watt, Associate Professor of English

1983, John G. Johnson, President, Butler University

1982, John G. Johnson, President, Butler University

1981, John G. Johnson, President, Butler University

1980, Hugh S. Sidey, Washington Contributing Editor, TIME Magazine

1979, Dr. Russell W. Peterson, President and CEO, National Audubon Society

1978, Norman Cousins, American journalist

1977, Philip Handler, President, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC

1976, Kenneth E. Boulding, Professor of Economics, University of Colorado

1975, The Honorable Barry M. Goldwater, U.S. Senator

1974, Lt. Gen. Felix M. Rogers, Commander, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base

1973, Dr. Loren C. Eiseley, Professor of Anthropology and History of Science

1972, Neil A. Armstrong, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Cincinnati

1971, William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

1970, Victor Borge, musician

1969, The Honorable John A. Volpe, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation

Students in Clowes Memorial Hall

Inspiring a New Generation Through the Arts

Marc D. Allan, MFA ’18

from Spring 2019

This spring, the Butler Arts Center—Clowes Memorial Hall, the Schrott Center for the Arts, the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, and Lilly Hall Studio Theatre—welcomed the millionth visitor to its series devoted to school children.

Over 27 years and 858 performances, the Clowes Education Matinee Series has provided students in kindergarten through 12th grade with the opportunity to see live theater—many for the first time. That could mean anything from daytime performances by Butler groups such as Butler Ballet, the Percussion Ensemble, and the Jazz Ensemble to national touring productions featuring favorite children’s stories like the Junie B. Jones books, The Magic School Bus, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar coming to life onstage.

Clowes Hall Education Manager Donna Rund has been part of the matinee series for nearly 20 years and has seen more than 800,000 of the 1 million visitors come through the doors. She was thrilled when she realized the millionth visitor was going to happen in this school year’s season.

Students at Clowes Memorial Hall“As a former teacher, I knew opportunities to learn outside the classroom were educational and memorable for my students, and to know that other teachers feel that way as well is why the matinee series has sustained its significance in the community,” she says. “The kids in Central Indiana can come to Clowes Hall to experience live theatre, and it can be life-giving and lifechanging. The arts have the power to do that.”

Rund has witnessed exponential growth in education programming, which began in earnest in 1991 when the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, selected six sites across the nation to begin an arts education program called Partners in Education.

That program connects arts organizations, school districts, and the Kennedy Center. The Kennedy Center provides resources such as professional-development workshops, demonstration teaching and coaching sessions, and study group opportunities that enable arts organizations and school districts to work together to strengthen the curriculum and, ultimately, the students’ engagement level when learning.

“Teaching doesn’t just happen in the classroom; it happens outside the classroom too,” Rund says. “We can shape and mold and help build new perspectives through the performance arts of theater, music, and dance to help people see in new ways and discover new things.”

In 2018, Claire Zingraf brought her kindergarteners and first-graders from the James Russell Lowell School 51 in Indianapolis to Clowes Hall to see a show based on the Skippyjon Jones books about a cat who thinks he’s a Chihuahua. The students loved the stories, and Zingraf thought they would enjoy a live presentation.

She was right.

“Sitting in the audience with my kids, every time I looked at them, they just had giant smiles on their faces, especially during the songs and dances,” she says. Watching them smile through the entire performance was a really great moment as a teacher.”

“The students thought the show was fun and funny, and it definitely got them interested in reading more,” Zingraf says. She recommends the experience to other teachers—especially teachers who work in lower-income schools.

“Our students don’t have these opportunities other than going on field trips,” she says, “and I think this is something my kids are going to remember for the rest of their lives—being able to go with their whole class to a big auditorium to see actors and actresses onstage acting out one of their favorite stories.”

Students in Clowes Memorial Hall
Campus

Inspiring a New Generation Through the Arts

  

by Marc D. Allan, MFA ’18

from Spring 2019

Read more
Jonathan Purvis

Beyond Year One

Jeff Stanich ’16

from Spring 2019

In April 2018, Jonathan Purvis joined Butler University as Vice President for University Advancement. A respected leader in higher education advancement with 20 years of experience, Purvis came to Butler from Indiana University where he served as Vice President for Development and Regional Campuses. In a recent interview, he reflects on his first year with Butler and the challenges ahead.

Beyond the new academic buildings rising on campus, past the hallways filled with hammering sounds of renovations in Jordan Hall’s basement, Butler University’s future is unfolding in a single-window office with high ceilings.

There, Jonathan Purvis finishes up an email before the University breaks for the end of 2018, which has been the first year of what Purvis intends to be a long career as the Vice President for University Advancement.

“The minute this opportunity came up, there really wasn’t any discussion on it,”he says. “I wasn’t exactly looking for a new position, but it’s all upside here no matter what’s happening in higher education. Here, there’s tremendous loyalty with the alumni base, great engagement with the community, and an exceptional faculty. I feel very fortunate to be at Butler at this particular time.”

Despite the years of experience that qualified him for this position, Purvis knew his role would entail challenges. As a whole, higher education in America faces the reality of rising costs and dwindling applicant pools, with a Midwestern, private university such as Butler facing even more of an uphill battle.

But Purvis is all smiles. He’s thinking five, 10 years down the road. He is making sure people get to know him while aligning his office’s goals with President Jim Danko’s vision for the University’s growth in the 21st century. And that all started by realizing just how significant Butler can become in the lives of those it touches—not just for the individuals he has met, but also for Purvis himself.

“The very first college campus I set foot on was Butler’s,” the Noblesville, Indiana, native says. “I was a little kid seeing my oldest brother on stage in a production of Godspell thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is what college does for you.’ It was transcendent. So that’s what higher education has always meant to me—transformation.”

That’s why Purvis has made it his mission to make that same transcendent experience possible for every person who comes to Butler. So, when he speaks about the University to members of the community, he doesn’t just sell the importance of giving back in terms of dollars and cents. Giving of one’s time through mentorships can make even more of an impact.

“I see philanthropy as any way that people can express their appreciation and commitment to the Butler Way, to make sure that unique and critical experience continues to happen for our young people,” he says. “That is why the main focus of the Office moving forward will be to enhance what we at Butler already do so well.”

Only time will tell exactly how Butler fuels its future. But if his smile before the winter break was any indication, plans are coming sooner, not later. If you were thinking big, Purvis suggests you think bigger.

Jonathan Purvis
Campus

Beyond Year One

  

by Jeff Stanich ’16

from Spring 2019

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Marc Allan

The Marc I Know

Nancy Whitmore

Butler Professor of Journalism

from Spring 2019

A writer whose byline graced the pages of this magazine for 15 years is retiring. While I have enjoyed his lively features and marveled at his ultra-concise emails, I am most grateful for the time this writer spends reading.

Most Bulldogs know Marc Allan as a writer, but he can have a profound impact on the career of a student—just by reading. Ask Dana Lee. She had never met Marc. But he knew who she was and more importantly the quality of her writing and reporting when he recommended her for the Indianapolis Star’s Our Children fellowship. As an avid reader of the Butler Collegian, Marc had taken note of Dana’s work since she began writing for the paper. So, when a reporter for the Star called him looking for a student intern who could research, investigate, and write stories on local children’s issues, Marc knew who to recommend, and Lee landed the fellowship.

Marc has played a role in the careers of Butler students and graduates that few realize. For years, I’ve been sending students his way as he will literally read any student’s work. Alumni who are now themselves professional journalists and writers continue to reach out to him for advice. You see, they know the behind-the-scenes Marc. The Marc who serves as the go-to counselor for anyone interested in a career in journalism.

In this role, Marc draws from a deep well of experience. He worked as a reporter for 24 years, spending the last 16 years of his newsroom career at the Indianapolis Star where he covered the arts beat in Central Indiana. As an arts critic, he has reviewed thousands of concerts and performances from Bob Hope (at age 90) to Elvis Costello. In his columns, Marc was not one to hold back criticism—even if it meant he would likely receive it as well. His two-star review of Fleetwood Mac’s 1997 performance prompted one angry reader to write that Marc “must be blind and deaf.” Marc once told me that he keeps a file of these “fan” letters. I guess for Marc, it just comes with the territory. But what I appreciate the most is what his thick-skinned attitude teaches aspiring journalists and Collegian reporters, who unfortunately face much harsher criticism in these current times.

Marc joined the Marketing and Communications team at Butler in 2004, but has continued to write and report, maintaining a connection to journalism as a freelancer whose work has been published in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Delta Sky Magazine and countless other publications. Locally, he is a frequent contributor to the Indianapolis Business Journal and Indianapolis Monthly, where he continues to cover arts and culture. According to the Indianapolis Monthly, Marc has “actually had a more successful journalism career” since he left the Star.

Given all his experience, it only made sense that the head of Butler’s Journalism program wanted Marc in the classroom. In 2005, Marc brought his expertise in writing and reporting to Butler students, and except for a brief two-year sabbatical to complete an MFA in Creative Writing, he has been an Adjunct Instructor of Journalism ever since.

Marc loves working with students, especially those who have a passion for journalism but don’t necessarily know how to channel that passion into publishable work. And this is why he reads and why he sends complimentary notes to students when they produce an exceptionally well reported and written story for the Collegian—even if the story results in negative publicity for the University.

In a public editor’s column for The Collegian, Marc explained this relationship. “Occasionally, I read The Collegian and wince,” he wrote, “because in my job, negative stories and commentary sometimes leave my department—and, often, me—answering for the University.

“But I say that with a smile, because I also teach journalism here as an adjunct, so I want to see young journalists doing their best work—even if that means more work for me.”

Marc ended this column by reminding us that student journalists are here to learn and we are here to teach. Even though he is retiring in May, I know that Marc will never stop teaching, advising, recommending, and most importantly … reading the work of those he so generously helped to educate. And for that and for all he has meant to Butler Journalism, I am so very grateful.

Marc Allan
Campus

The Marc I Know

  

by Nancy Whitmore

from Spring 2019

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President James Danko

From the President

James Danko

President

from Spring 2019

As Butler University finishes its 164th year, progress is visible everywhere. I walk around campus and see advancements and innovations in how we teach, mentor, and conduct research; how we learn, both in the classroom and out in the “real world;” how we innovate to solve problems, and how we engage and contribute to our community.

You will find inspiring stories about all of those areas and more in this edition of Butler Magazine.

What we are seeing is our Butler 2020 strategy coming to fruition.

Our roadmap for Butler in the next year and beyond is both bold and practical. It calls for us to keep pace as a leader among regional universities while advancing our national reputation with best-in-class academics, top-tier faculty and staff, a thriving community, and state-of-the-art campus amenities that serve growing numbers of students. (Our Spring Commencement in May will be the largest to date, with more than 1,000 graduates).

As we move forward, we will hold tight to our proud, inclusive heritage while exploring progressive ideas for reaching new generations of students, both near and far.

And always, we will stand out and apart in our offerings for students. For instance, you’ll read in these pages how 14 of our undergraduate students are helping to solve a worldwide health crisis while gaining invaluable research experience. The students, led by Assistant Professor Christopher Stobart in a small laboratory at Gallahue Hall, are aiding the vaccine development efforts for a leading cause of infant deaths.

Unlike larger institutions where research is reserved for graduate students, our talented undergrads—first-year through seniors—are milling in and out of the laboratory as they work with viral pathogens and answer questions no one else is investigating.

Now, it’s up to all of us who lead at Butler to continue to enhance not only the facilities for learning but also the opportunities, partnerships, and programs for students to grow, to explore, and to be challenged far beyond their expectations.

Alumnus Matt White ’89 did all of that, with a fierce devotion to Butler and the Bulldogs. He died in February after a courageous 19-year battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Soon—thanks to a generous gift in his memory—we will have a daily reminder of his grit and devotion. The practice court at Efroymson Family Gym will become the Matt White Court, preserving his legacy.

This is, quite simply, the Butler Way. We hope you will be inspired by the many examples shared in our spring magazine. And be sure to stay tuned for more signs of progress.

President James Danko
Campus

From the President

  

by James Danko

from Spring 2019

Read more
Campus

The CUE Gets a Makeover; Adds an ‘S’ to Promote Sustainability, Put Work Into Action

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Apr 18 2019

INDIANAPOLIS--The Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University started 15 years ago. It was the brainchild of three biology faculty members who were all engaged in urban ecology research. They wanted to get undergrads involved in research, too, so decided to start a center as a way to get students more engaged.

But, as time marched on, the center grew. A farm was established. Last year, 10,000 pounds of produce were grown. And the center is now involved in six research projects across campus.

A major question remained, though—how could the center make even more of an impact?

CUES statsTo address exactly that, the CUE has added a letter—S. Now, 15 years later, the center will be called the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability, or CUES. The goals are twofold: use the work the center is already doing—studying urban ecosystems—to solve sustainability challenges, while also serving as the central hub to bring all the sustainability-centered projects happening around campus together.

“There is so much important work already taking place around Butler, from rain gardens, to infrastructure improvements, to LEED gold buildings. We want to leverage all of that work to educate students,” says Julia Angstmann, Director of CUES. “At the same time, we want to use our research findings to inform how to solve sustainability challenges the entire world is facing.”

For example, Angstmann explains, the center is involved in the Indy Wildlife Watch research project. The project monitors wildlife around the city in an effort to study how increased populations in cities impact these organisms.

Instead of just doing the research for science’s sake, Angstmann explains, the goal now is to use the findings to solve existing sustainability challenges.

“We plan on engaging in conversations with city planners, for example, and explaining to them that our research from the Indy Wildlife Watch project showed we should manage green spaces in a certain way, so both humans and wildlife can benefit,” Angstmann says. “We now want to use our research to solve sustainability challenges.”

In addition to research projects, the center will continue to focus on the farm and sustainability projects. The main shift, though, will be incorporating sustainability into all three areas. To help with that effort, CUES has hired a new Assistant Director of Sustainability, Jamie Valentine.

Valentine says she plans on continuing with existing sustainability projects, such as recycle-mania, permeable pavement on campus, and growing native plants. She wants to bring action steps to Butler’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050.

She is also excited to get the wider campus community more involved with sustainability.

“When we talk about sustainability, we are talking about the interaction of people, the planet, and profit,” Valentine says. “We are looking at the system in which we all live, and the way real world problems are all interconnected. We cannot just look at one side of a problem or issue, fix one thing, put it back into the system in which we all live, and expect it to be solved. To have a truly sustainable system that will work for everyone for the long term, we need to look at all connections and relationships, and work on fixing them all.”

To do that, Valentine hopes to get the wider campus more involved. One idea she plans on implementing is a Sustainability Green Office Program for staff and faculty to help incorporate new sustainability initiatives into offices and classrooms around Butler’s campus.

Sustainability will also be incorporated into more internships and research projects—staying true to the original reason the center was started 15 years ago.

Jake Gerard ‘20 is one of those students. The biology major has been involved in CUES for two years. After an internship over the summer at a wildlife center in Ohio, Gerard became increasingly fascinated by that type of work. He returned to Butler wanting to get more involved in wildlife research.

“I knew I wanted to do research, but I didn’t want to be in a lab all day,” he says. “I wanted to be outside, in the field.”

So, Gerard got involved in the Butler Wildlife Watch project. He sets up cameras around campus, then goes through the footage to determine what types of wildlife are here, and what effects those species will have on campus.

At first, Gerard wanted to get involved in research to boost his resume in hopes of getting into vet school. But now, especially with the sustainability focus, he sees how important the work is to making actual change. The results of the research he is doing, he says, could lead to conversations with administrators about green space on campus.

“Working with the center changed my entire point of view on vet care,” he says. “I realized it is not just private practice with dogs and cats, but there are research aspects to it. Yes, what we do in a clinic is important, but a lot of that is reactionary. Research is so important in a preventative way to make the job easier in the long run because it can lead to actual change beforehand, so you won’t have to deal with those real time issues in the end.”

Campus

The CUE Gets a Makeover; Adds an ‘S’ to Promote Sustainability, Put Work Into Action

The center will be called the Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability, or CUES.

Apr 18 2019 Read more
Campus

Amid Streamers—and a Bang—Clowes Marks Millionth Matinee Visitor

BY Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

PUBLISHED ON Apr 16 2019

 

The second- and third-graders from Walnut Elementary School in New Ross, Indiana, had no idea when they got on the bus this morning that April 16 was their lucky day.

As they filed into Clowes Memorial Hall on Butler University’s campus and assembled for a photo in the lobby, they heard a loud bang. Blue and white streamers rained down, and they got the news: They were the millionth visitors to the Clowes Education Matinee series.

"This is amazing for our students," says Karen Monts, the school's librarian, who coordinated the 40-mile trip. "We are from a very small school in a low socioeconomic community, and for many of these kids, it’s a big treat to go to Crawfordsville, Indiana. So coming to Indianapolis is something they almost never do as a family, and coming here, and being honored like this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them."

Over 27 years and 858 performances, the Clowes Education Matinee Series has provided students in kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to see live theater—many for the first time. That could mean anything from daytime performances by Butler groups such as the Butler Ballet, the Percussion Ensemble, and the Jazz Ensemble, to national touring productions featuring favorite children's stories like the Junie B. Jones books, The Magic School Bus, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, coming to life onstage.

The students from Walnut Elementary School—who won prizes including a free visit to a Clowes matinee next year—were among the approximately 3,800 students from 31 schools who attended the two Tuesday morning performances of Junie B. Jones.

“Being able to bring them to Junie B. and  seeing something they read come to life like this is a great way to help their reading come along,” Monts says. “Maybe they'll move on to the next reading adventure seeing that it really does impact their lives."

The Clowes Education Matinee series started in 1991, when Tom McTamney was Executive Director of Clowes Hall. McTamney, who was one of three former Clowes directors on hand when the millionth visitors walked through the door (Elise Kushigian and Ty Sutton were the others), remembers receiving from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, an invitation to create a matinee program for schoolchildren modeled after the successful program at the Kennedy Center.

"We were looking for something to set us apart in the region," McTamney says. "We didn't have any kind of an education program here, and we sat on a college campus. It made no sense to me."

He teamed up with Indianapolis Public Schools, they wrote a grant, and Clowes was selected as one of the original 12 arts centers to participate in the program.

Seeing the millionth student walk through the door was incredibly gratifying, McTamney says.

Donna Rund, who has been Clowes Hall's Education Manager for nearly 20 years, is equally delighted with the success of the long-running program.

"Little did I know 20 years ago when I left teaching to become a program director that we would get to this amazing pinnacle," she says. "And we get to keep going. We get to keep doing this. I've already planned next year's season. We going to have a few more shows than we had this season, and I'm glad to have the support of Aaron Hurt, our executive director. He feels so strongly about giving students opportunities to see live theater—especially those who have not had this experience before."

Campus

Amid Streamers—and a Bang—Clowes Marks Millionth Matinee Visitor

The Clowes Education Matinee Series has provided students, K–12th grade, the opportunity to see live theater.

Apr 16 2019 Read more

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