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Professor Rao Has a Crazy-Busy Summer


PUBLISHED ON Aug 27 2015

Associate Professor of Art Gautam Rao’s work was all over Indiana this summer—and still is for a little while longer.
Gautam Rao's work is on display in South Bend through September 27.

His work is currently on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art as part of its Finders Keepers exhibit. Finders Keepers runs through September 17. More information is available at

Additionally, his work can be seen at the South Bend Art Museum as part of Biennial 28, which is open through September 27. This exhibit “presents a diverse look into contemporary artwork made by artists living in the Midwest.” Rao won the Juror’s Award for his interactive installation there. More information is at

Earlier this summer, Rao’s work was on display at the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute as part of the 71st Annual Wabash Valley Juried Exhibit, open to artists from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio.

Rao reports that he’s also busy at home: He and his wife, Sameena, welcomed twins Kabir and Kamal on May 16.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Board of Trustees Renews Contract of President James M. Danko


PUBLISHED ON Aug 21 2015

The Butler University Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to renew the contract of President James Danko for another five years, extending his leadership to the year 2020. Although Danko’s contract is not set to expire for another year, the Board determined that securing him now would ensure strategic continuity and maintain Butler's positive momentum.

President Jim Danko

In an announcement to the University community today, Keith Burks, Chair of the Board, said that Danko “has successfully advanced Butler University in a clear and positive direction—one that has provided our learning community with renewed vitality and confidence in the future.”

Since his inauguration in 2011, Danko has engaged the Butler community in the development and implementation of Butler 2020, a progressive strategic plan. He established the Butler Innovation Fund to support creative approaches to teaching, research, and service; partnered with the Christian Theological Seminary to open the Desmond Tutu Center; led Butler’s successful effort to join the BIG EAST Athletic Conference; signed the American Colleges and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment; and oversaw the renovation of buildings including Clowes Memorial Hall and Hinkle Fieldhouse, the beautification of Butler’s main thoroughfare, and the construction of new buildings—including a 600-bed student-housing facility slated to open in 2016.

In keeping with Butler’s commitment to inclusivity, Danko was the first university president in the Hoosier State to publicly denounce Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015.

“I feel incredibly privileged to serve as the leader of Butler University, and look forward to the exciting work ahead,” said Danko.

Danko, who earned his degree in religious studies from John Carroll University and an MBA from the University of Michigan, applied his entrepreneurial approach to academic leadership roles at institutions including Dartmouth College and Villanova University before his appointment as Butler’s president.

President Danko and his wife live on campus and frequently open their home to students and their families. He also regularly hosts office hours for students and attends campus events across academic disciplines, the arts, athletics, student life, and service.

“Our community is unique,” he stated. “We not only have world-class faculty, staff, and students who are doing extraordinary things from an academic perspective: we have those same people demonstrating sincere care and respect for those around them within a close-knit residential environment. I can’t imagine a place I’d rather be.”

Keith Burks noted that Danko “has demonstrated the courage to take decisive action, to set and pursue the highest expectations of himself and others, and to take calculated risks.” He added, “His daily approach to presidential service underscores not only his sense of humor and exceptional work ethic, but his care and respect for all members of Butler’s diverse community.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan


Elise Kushigian Honored for Her Service to Clowes Hall, Butler, Indiana


PUBLISHED ON Aug 07 2015

Elise Kushigian was honored on Friday for her more than 20 years of service as executive director of Clowes Memorial Hall, with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard proclaiming August 7, 2015, “Elise J. Kushigian Day,” and Gov. Mike Pence naming her a Sagamore of the Wabash.

Butler President James M. Danko also weighed in, praising Kushigian for building a strong and lasting legacy of innovative programming, groundbreaking education initiatives, and capital projects that have preserved and enhanced Clowes Memorial Hall for the next generation of Central Indiana audiences.
C. Diego Morales of Gov. Mike Pence's office presents Elise Kushigian with the Sagamore of the Wabash.

“Elise has made a remarkable impact here,” Danko said. “She has overseen more than 8,000 performances, which averages to nearly eight a week. That is extraordinary. The people of Indiana are richer for the work she has done.”

At a ceremony in—appropriately—the main lobby of Clowes Hall, Kushigian was presented with the Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor an Indiana governor can bestow. The award acknowledged Kushigian’s “humanity in living, her loyalty in friendship, her wisdom in council, and her inspiration in leadership.” Past recipients have included astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to Hoosier heritage.

Ballard’s proclamation noted that Kushigian was named the first female executive director of Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University in 1995 and oversaw a $4.5 million annual budget. She also administered more than $15 million in restoration grants.

“Elise—self-proclaimed curator of the performing arts—administered the nationally recognized Clowes PreK–12 Education Program, the largest comprehensive arts education program in Indiana, in addition to commissioning new artistic works and collaborating with local arts organizations to stage events,” the proclamation stated. “The City of Indianapolis thanks Elise J. Kushigian for her dedication and leadership in making Clowes Memorial Hall one of the city’s leading venues for learning and entertainment, and wishes her all the best in her much-deserved retirement.”

Prior to coming to Butler, Kushigian served as the assistant director of the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington. She previously worked in New York City as an agent, tour coordinator, and assistant general manager of several productions, including the Broadway productions of Othello starring James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer, and Medea, starring Dame Judith Anderson and Zoe Caldwell.Elise Kushigian

In addition, she was responsible booking agent for such organizations as Radio City Music Hall, The Disney Organization, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Kushigian is a voting participant of the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards—the only Tony voter in Indiana—and is currently on the National Legislative Committee for The Broadway League (formally The League of American Theatres and Producers Inc.) as the Indiana representative.

The search for Kushigian's successor is underway. Karen Steele Cromer will be serving as interim Executive Director.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Dean Howard's New Book Has Them Talking (Or Soon Will)


PUBLISHED ON Jul 22 2015

Maybe you know how this is (or remember how it was): A professor asks the class a question and then waits … and waits … and waits for someone, anyone to speak up. But most of the time, what the professor hears is the hissing of fluorescent lights.

For the last 30 years, Jay Howard, dean of Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a professor of sociology, has been studying this phenomenon. And now he’s written a book to help professors get their students talking.

Dean Jay HowardIn Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online (published by Jossey-Bass), Howard writes that student participation is vital because “engaged students learn more.”

“One key strategy to engage students is through discussion,” which helps develop critical-thinking skills, challenges students, and stretches their abilities, he writes.

“That’s what college is supposed to do,” Howard said. “So professors have to change students’ understanding of the classroom.”

Howard said that, to change the dynamic in the classroom, a teacher needs to overcome certain behavioral norms. One, known as “civil attention,” is the appearance of paying attention. In most classes, he said, students don’t have to speak up unless they volunteer to speak, so many merely pay civil attention. Professors should require students to be in on the discussion, Howard said, which will compel them to pay actual attention.

Then, in many classrooms, there is what Howard calls “the consolidation of responsibility”—that is, a group of five-to-eight students who accept the responsibility for student verbal participation and discussion, letting others off the hook.

“We’ve got to expand past those five-to-eight dominant talkers and get a much higher percentage of students engaged in discussion,” he said.

How to do that? Howard recommends:

-Letting students reflect and collect their thoughts, rather than turning to them and asking what they think. “Shy people don’t figure out what they think as they’re talking. An extrovert does that. They’ll figure it out and process out loud. An introvert is not going to process out loud, so you’ve got to give them the opportunity to process before you ask them to engage.”

-Ask students a question and give them a couple of minutes to write out what they think. Then pair them with a classmate and have them share their ideas with each other. Then ask: Whose partner had a really good insight? “Then you get smart, quiet students to participate,” Howard said. “They’ve had a chance to collect their thoughts, they’ve rehearsed what they’re going to say, and they’re affirmed for their thinking.”

-Make it safe to be wrong. Some students don’t speak up because they worry about being wrong in public. “Professors have to model that it’s OK not to know, so it’s safer for students to not know. We professors have this compulsive need to always know, but it’s to our advantage and to our students’ advantage to say, ‘Wow, that’s really intriguing. I don’t know what the answer to that is.’”

Howard said he hadn’t planned to write this book. Not at this point, anyway. Being dean kept him busy enough. But Maryellen Weimer, who wrote the noted book Learner-Centered Teaching and works as an acquisitions editor for the publisher Jossey-Bass, read some of Howard’s research. When they met, she told him: “Someone needs to write a new book on student participation and discussion in the college classroom.”

Howard squeezed writing time into his schedule, finishing the first draft in summer 2013 and the revision in summer 2014.

Weimer wrote the forward, in which she said that Howard’s book has “the potential to rewrite the story of student interaction in face-to-face and online courses.”

Howard writes that changing the classroom will take time.

“Students may even be openly hostile to our efforts at first,” he writes. “But, as their experience with participation in purposeful discussion grows, they will also experience the exhilaration that comes with mastering new content and refinement of cognitive skills. And that makes learning and teaching more rewarding for everyone.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


NCAA Selects President Danko for Committee to Shape Future of College Sports


PUBLISHED ON Jul 08 2015

Butler University President James M. Danko will be among a group of college presidents, athletics administrators, faculty, students and conference commissioners to convene in Indianapolis August 4-5 to build the foundation for the future of college sports, the NCAA announced.
President Jim Danko

Participants were invited because of positions they hold in the Division I governance structure or affiliated organizations.

The Division I Strategic Summit participants include all members of the Board of Directors (including the student-athlete, athletics director, faculty athletics representative and senior woman administrator who serve on that group); Presidential Forum members from conferences that do not have representation on the board; the chair and vice chair of the Council; the chairs of the seven standing Council committees, the Committee on Academics and the Committee on Infractions; leaders from affiliated organizations who serve on the Council and the Board of Governors members from Divisions II and III.

The participants selected one of four strategic planning groups on which to serve that will study four different aspects of college sports. Each group will use outside experts as needed.

Each of the groups will focus on defining a specific area:

  • The Division I collegiate model of amateur athletics, including the key features of the Division I student-athlete experience and use of resources within athletics.How college sports should assist students while they are in college, including academic achievement and appropriate demands on time.
  • How college athletics should assist students to prepare for life after college, including those who wish to pursue athletics through professional pursuits and other high-level opportunities such as the Olympics.
  • The overarching principles for how the division should operate, including examining the current subdivision structure and the role of conferences.

Each strategic planning group will present background and analysis of its topic area to the summit participants in advance to help inform the discussion and ultimate creation of principles to guide the division’s decision-making in the future.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


The Center for Urban Ecology Gets a New Director


PUBLISHED ON Jun 05 2015

An interest and expertise in plant ecology has taken Julia Angstmann from Indiana to Manitoba, Canada, to Cape Town, South Africa, and back to Indiana—where she is now the new director of Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology.

“My career has definitely not been a straight line,” Angstmann said. “I have seized opportunities even if I didn’t see directly where they were leading me. Luckily, it has provided me with a wide range of experiences that I can apply to the director position.”

Julia Angstmann

In her new role, she will oversee a center that oversees the CUE Farm and the University’s sustainability efforts. CUE also focuses on the environmental needs and challenges facing the city of Indianapolis.

Angstmann grew up in Marion, Indiana, where she liked to fish, mushroom hunt and spend time outdoors with her father. Students in Marion schools took field trips to Asherwood Nature Preserve to do science projects, and “that definitely impacted me from an early age,” she said.

In her senior year of high school, she job shadowed the director of Asherwood and, once she was accepted to Indiana University-Bloomington, knew she wanted to go into the natural sciences.

Angstmann earned her bachelor’s in environmental science from IU in 2002. In 2005, she received a master’s in environmental science from Taylor University, where she did research on plant community ecology and assessing the community structure and presence/absence of certain plant species in a small nature preserve in northern Indiana.

Four years later, she earned her doctorate from the University of Wyoming, where she studied water use in trees in the Boreal Forest in northern Manitoba, Canada.

After that, Angstmann wanted to move to an urban environment and gain lab experience, so she did post-doctoral work in Cape Town looking at the deposition of nitrogen from air pollution into their natural environments. There, she became interested in human perceptions of nature.

“A lot of that stemmed from interactions in Manitoba, where people would say it’s negative-50 degrees, so there’s no global warming,” she said. “I realized you can publish as many papers as you want, but if you don’t get society on board, and help educate people on issues facing the natural world, then it’s all for naught.”

When she and her husband, Grant Fore, a social anthropologist, moved back to Indiana in 2012, she took a job at IUPUI as a grant proposal writer, assisting faculty from across the university in writing proposals for external funding.

She said her first order of business in the Center for Urban Ecology is to gauge what’s been done and what needs to be accomplished.

“The center has a lot of accomplishments in community engagement and community outreach with the urban farm and the sustainability efforts on campus,” she said. “They’ve also done really well engaging students. It seems like the traditional scientific research could use an additional boost, so I’m hoping to come in and create some opportunities for the center to collaborate with Butler faculty, in particular, but also the community. The previous efforts of the center have been great. I see my role as focusing some of those efforts.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


2015 is the Year of the Quality Television Finale, Dean Edgerton Says


PUBLISHED ON Jun 02 2015

From Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire to David Letterman and Bob Schieffer, 2015 has already established itself as the year of quality TV finales—and the year that those finales became essential to the television business, the Dean of Butler University’s College of Communication, Gary Edgerton, says.
Gary Edgerton

“With few exceptions, like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and M*A*S*H, it wasn’t until the 1990s that anyone cared how a television series ended,” said Edgerton, a television scholar and author of 12 books about TV and film, including The Columbia History of American Television. “Shows stayed on as long as they possibly could and usually wore out their welcome. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon that the finale has become so important, and really, it’s because of the quality of television.”

Edgerton noted that television has already had six notable signoffs this year—Mad Men, Justified, Parks & Recreation, Boardwalk Empire, Letterman from The Late Show, and Schieffer as host of Face the Nation—with a seventh, Nurse Jackie, coming up June 28. (Two and a Half Men, Parenthood and Hot in Cleveland also ended their runs this year.)

The emphasis on finales is occurring, Edgerton said, because of the way many television shows are now written—with narrative arcs that build to a climax rather than solely as self-contained episodes.

For much of its history, television has been created as self-contained episodes tailored for syndicated reruns, where they could be shown at any time and in any order.

“Syndication was the honeypot of TV,” Edgerton said. “That was where you made most of your money. Now, there are probably a half-dozen to 10 ways that television is monetized, and syndication is less important than ever. And the whole nature of television storytelling has changed—for the better.”

If you look back at television history, Edgerton said, you’ll see that there was no I Love Lucy finale, and that even The Fugitive, which had a distinct ending, was created in individual installments rather than as a series that built week by week.

Edgerton said the evolution to narrative arcs was inevitable in a universe where there are 650 channels in the United States alone. “What you have to do is create shows that people have a real passion for – not just that they want to watch TV. They want to know what’s happening next.”

Long-running shows, therefore, don’t just end. They resolve their stories and give audiences some amount of closure.

“What a finale is indicative of is the quality leap of television storytelling – that there is a beginning, middle and end, and you’re working toward something instead of just eating up time,” he said. “That makes for much better stories and much better television.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Dedman Returns to Butler as Associate AD for Communication


PUBLISHED ON Jun 01 2015

John Dedman, a former Butler student who spent the past nine years on the executive team at Indiana Sports Corp, including the past five as Vice President of Communications, has been named Associate Athletic Director for Communication at Butler University.

John DedmanHe’ll begin his duties with the Bulldogs on June 29. He’ll be taking over for his former boss, Jim McGrath, who is retiring at the end of June.

“We are very excited to welcome John back to Butler,” said Butler Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier in making the announcement. “John’s skills and experience make him a great fit for our department, and we look forward to having him back on our team.”

A 2003 Butler graduate, Dedman is returning to the department where his career began. He served as assistant sports information director at Butler from 2003 to 2006, handling media relations/communications for nine NCAA Division I sports.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to return to a place that means so much to me,” said Dedman. “Butler has incredible momentum right now and I am honored to be part of the team that will continue this success.”

Dedman rejoins the Bulldogs after serving on the senior leadership group at Indiana Sports Corp, the nation’s first and leading sports commission. In his position as Vice President of Communications, Dedman led public relations and marketing efforts for the organization, served as a spokesperson and facilitated all media requests. He assisted in the creation of the Sports Corp’s Strategic Plan and managed the organization’s branding, external communication plans, creative collateral, advertising buys, social media, weekly e-marketing initiatives and

As a staff member at ISC, Dedman has had a lead role in some of the nation’s major sporting events, including Super Bowl XLVI. He was a member of the Bid Team that brought the event to Indianapolis, and he managed communication efforts for the Super Bowl Village, the outdoor fan festival that brought more than 1.1 million people to the downtown area of the city over the ten days leading up to the Super Bowl. He further assisted with the planning of on-site media operations for the event.

In addition to the Super Bowl, Dedman was actively involved in media operations/communications for the NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four in 2010 and 2015, the 2011 NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four, the NCAA Divison I Men’s Basketball Midwest Regional in 2009, 2013 and 2014, the Big Ten Football Championship Game (2011-14), Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments (2008-12, 2014), the U. S. Olympic Diving Trials (2008, 2016), the USA Track and Field Outdoor National Championships (2006, 2007), the USA Gymnastics National Championships (2015) and additional NCAA championship events in lacrosse, swimming and diving and rowing.

Dedman graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Public and Corporate Communication and began his career in the Butler athletic department in the summer of 2003. He handled sports information duties for women’s basketball, volleyball, women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s tennis, and he had primary oversight for the department’s website and webcasting initiative. As an undergraduate, Dedman was named one of Butler’s “Top Ten Outstanding Male Students,” and he received Butler’s “Garlick Award” for sports journalism.


Media contact:
Kit Stetzel


Bryan Brenner '95 Elected to Board of Trustees


PUBLISHED ON May 28 2015

Bryan Brenner ’95, founder and CEO of the Indianapolis-based strategic business advisory FirstPerson, has been elected to a three-year term on the Butler University Board of Trustees.

Bryan BrennerBrenner graduated cum laude from Butler University with degrees in public/corporate communications and journalism, with a concentration in public relations. While at Butler, he was in the band and was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi honorary band fraternity. He also served as a member of Butler University Student Foundation.

He is a member of the College of Business (COB) Board of Visitors and has served on the Young Alumni Board. His company has provided support to COB’s MBA Board Fellows Program and Butler Athletics.

Brenner founded FirstPerson, a privately held company, in 2010, merging two Indianapolis firms—his own Benefit Associates and Benefit Consultants, owned by Russ Stuart. FirstPerson now ranks as one of central Indiana’s largest employee benefits service firms and was honored as a 2010 Indiana Company to Watch by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

FirstPerson was also selected by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as an “Indiana Best Place to Work” in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015, and Brenner was named Health Plan Adviser of the Year (2012) by Employee Benefit Adviser. He was honored as one of Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” in 2012.

Brenner serves on numerous boards, including The Oaks Academy, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Aspire Indiana, Inc. Additionally, he serves on the National Advisory Board of Directors for NFP Benefits.

His wife, Elaine (Miller) Brenner ’94, earned a bachelor of music in music education from Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts. She has worked as a children’s photographer and previously served as a music teacher in Batesville Community Schools; an admission counselor at Butler; and Director of Small Groups at Eagle Alliance Church.

The Brenners have four children: Caroline, Grace, John Michael, and Lily.

In addition to Brenner’s election, the Board re-elected eight trustees to three-year terms at its May meeting:

Gary Aletto (Owner and Chief Operating Officer, Bright Sheet Metal Co. since 1986; Owner and President of GSA Investment Company Inc. since 1992)

Keith Burks MBA’ 90 (Partner, Bindley Capital Partners)

Gary Butkus ’88 (Director - Alliance Management, Eli Lilly and Company)

Keith Faller ’71 MBA ’78 (Executive Vice President, Wellpoint, retired January 2007; CEO & President, Wellpoint Central Region, retired January 2007)

Craig Fenneman ’71 (Owner & CEO, Fenneman & Associates)

Jim Lill ’70 (Chief Executive Officer, AxionRMS, Ltd., Westmont, Illinois)

Jamie Phillippe ’73 (Vice President of Development and Donor Services, Chicago Community Trust)

James P. White (Professor Emeritus, Robert McKinney School of Law, Indiana University, Indianapolis, and Consultant Emeritus on Legal Education to the American Bar Association)

The officers of the board also were re-elected. They are:

Keith Burks, Chairman

Jatinder-Bir (Jay) Singh Sandhu ’87, Vice Chairman (CEO, NYX Inc.)

Josh Smiley, Treasurer (Senior Vice President, Finance, Eli Lilly and Company, and Corporate Controller and Chief Financial Officer for Lilly Research Laboratories)

Jane Magnus-Stinson ’79, Secretary (U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana)

Bruce Arick (Staff), Assistant Treasurer

Susan Westermeyer (Staff), Assistant Treasurer

Benjamin Hunter (Staff), Assistant Secretary

Claire Aigotti (Staff), Assistant Secretary


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Wendi Thomas '93 Selected for a Nieman Fellowship


PUBLISHED ON May 15 2015

Wendi C. Thomas ’93, a columnist for the Memphis (Tennessee) Flyer, has been selected for the 2016 class of Nieman Fellows at Harvard University.

Wendi ThomasShe and the 23 other fellows will begin an academic year of study at Harvard in the fall. Her work will concentrate on how to deepen the public conversation on economic justice using a multimedia news website and civic engagement campaign.

Thomas, who majored in journalism at Butler, has been working for newspapers for more than 20 years. She started her career at the Butler Collegian and then as an obituary intern at The Indianapolis Star. She worked as a reporter at the Indianapolis Star, a reporter and an editor at The (Nashville) Tennessean, and an editor at The Charlotte Observer.

In 2003, she returned to her hometown of Memphis as a columnist and assistant managing editor at The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. In 2014, she joined the Memphis Flyer as a columnist. She’s also a distinguished writing fellow for the Center for Community Change, a Washington, D.C-based social and economic justice organization.

In 2008, Thomas founded the racial justice organization Common Ground: Conversations on Race, Communities in Action. The dialogue-to-action program has more than 1,500 alumni and is now a program of the YWCA of Greater Memphis.

The Nieman Foundation has educated more than 1,400 accomplished journalists from 93 countries since 1938. The fellowship has expanded in recent years to include a broad range of collaborative and experimental programs. In addition to taking classes during their time at Harvard, fellows attend Nieman seminars, workshops and master classes and work closely with Harvard scholars and other leading thinkers in the Cambridge area.

This year’s fellows include reporters, editors, columnists, a political cartoonist, a network producer, bureau chiefs, photographers, digital strategists, and news executives who work around the globe in all media.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Two 2015 Graduates Selected to Teach Overseas


PUBLISHED ON May 05 2015

Madison Chartier ’15 and Jill Gentry ’15 are the latest in a growing number of recent Butler alumni to receive awards to teach overseas.

Chartier will be heading to France as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France. Gentry has been selected to teach in Madrid, Spain, through the Council of International Educational Exchange.

Since 2011, 11 Butler graduates have gone on to teach in other countries after graduation.

“Students who teach overseas gain invaluable cultural sensitivity, leadership, communication, and foreign language skills that will benefit them in any future career path,” said Rusty Jones, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships. “Furthermore, there is an immeasurable impact that they will have upon a foreign community, as well as when they return home and share the values and understanding that they developed while living abroad for a year.”

Here’s more about Chartier and Gentry.

Madison Chartier

Madison ChartierAs a double major in creative writing and French, and a participant in the Honors Program, Madison Chartier ’15 never found the time to study abroad.

She’ll be making up for that in a big way starting in October: Chartier has won a TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) award. She will be teaching English to French primary-school children at l'Académie de Versailles from October through April.

Chartier, who’s had a longtime interest in French culture, said this will be “a very good way to go to the country and actually experience the culture that I’ve only been able to study in a classroom context so far.”

Each year, over 1,100 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and several overseas departments through TAPIF. They’re paid a monthly stipend while they hone their teaching and language skills.

The award will also give Chartier an opportunity to decide whether she’d like to teach for a career. Although she taught at Butler’s Creative Writing Camp two summers ago and spent a semester as a Teaching Fellow in the English Department, working alongside a professor in a Perspectives in the Creative Arts course, she’s only recently become interested in teaching.

Chartier grew up in LaPorte, Indiana, and came to Butler through recommendations of friends. Although she had initially been hesitant to stay in state for college, a campus visit won her over.

“I loved the atmosphere of Butler, the small class sizes, the intimate spaces, the intimate conversations and discussions to promote learning,” she said.

She started in pharmacy, switched briefly to International Studies, then found creative writing and French.

After graduation, she plans to stay in Indianapolis and take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language class to prepare her for France.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s definitely a situation where I’m leaping off into the blue, so to speak, in the sense that I’ve never done anything like this before. But I guess this is the part that comes after graduation and moving on to the next step as an unsheltered individual.”

Jill Gentry

Jill GentryJill Gentry ’15 double-majored in Political Science and Spanish. After graduation, she’ll put Spanish to use first: She has been selected to teach English in Madrid, Spain, through the Council of International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

“I knew that I wanted to take what I learned at Butler abroad, and I knew I could best do that in a Spanish-speaking country,” she said. “I also wanted to be able to not only keep up with my Spanish but immerse myself in a different community. I really wanted to be able to engage with many different kinds of people and throw myself into a new experience, one that was mutually beneficial, where I could offer the great skills and qualities I acquired here at Butler. So I saw this as the perfect opportunity.”

CIEE offers paid teaching positions in nine countries for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and immerse themselves in a foreign community. The goal is to give students, teachers, and young professionals from across the world skills “that make them active and responsible global citizens.”

Gentry said her first four weeks in Spain will be spent in an immersion program where she will live with a host family while she learns her way around and finds a place to live. She will be in Spain from September through May. It will be her first time there.

Gentry grew up in Anderson, Indiana. She and her identical twin sister, Jojo, started thinking about colleges around the time the Butler men’s basketball team was in the midst of its Final Four runs. They toured the Butler campus and made up their minds immediately.

“We both could not have been more blessed to have the experience we’ve had here,” she said.

After graduation, Jojo goes off to Evansville, Indiana, to be a sports reporter for the CBS affiliate. When Jill returns from Spain, she is keeping her options open to a number of organizations, including the federal government and large law firms in Washington, D.C., where she spent the spring 2014 semester as part of the Washington Learning Program. In late March, she spent a week in D.C. interviewing for positions she’d like to have after Spain.

Eventually, she’d like to go to law school. But right now, “what I look forward to most,” she said, “is getting to know a lot of the locals, finding out what they love most about Spain, and learning about that.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


The Winners of the Distinguished Faculty Awards Are ...


PUBLISHED ON Apr 29 2015

Professors Arthur Hochman, Harry van der Linden, and Jeanne Van Tyle are the winners of Butler University’s 2014–2015 Distinguished Faculty Awards.

Education Professor Hochman is being recognized for teaching, Philosophy Professor van der Linden for scholarship and research, and Pharmacy Professor Van Tyle for service and leadership.

“The selection committee chose three exceptional candidates to receive these awards,” Provost Kate Morris said. “Each has made a lasting impact on Butler and our students.”

The winners will be recognized at the Board of Trustees luncheon in May and will officially receive their awards at the Fall Academic Workshop in August, when the full academic division comes together to kick off the year.

More about the recipients follows.

Arthur Hochman

Arthur HochmanTeaching is Arthur Hochman’s first love.

“I was never one of those teachers who said, ‘I have a good class this semester,’” he said. “I love all students, however they come to me. Whether they’re not interested in the topic or challenged by the experience, it’s my challenge to nurture a love of learning in them, to help them find their own greatness.”

Hochman joined the Butler faculty 26 years ago after almost a decade teaching elementary school in Scotland, Boston, and New York. He would have stayed at the elementary level, except for several mentors pushing him towards higher education.

In time, he saw an ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education for an open position at Butler. He didn’t know anything about Butler or Indianapolis, but “I wanted to come to a place where teaching is honored and respected, where I could still be a teacher.” After he met Education Dean Ena Shelley, he said, “I called my wife and I said, ‘I think I could have some fun here. I met somebody who’s dynamic and creative and joyful and the kind of person I resonate with.’”

Hochman said he’s enjoyed being part of a collaborative faculty that has changed from traditional teacher education—where student-teachers didn’t get into the classroom until their senior year—to an education based around experiential learning.

As Hochman likes to say, “You can’t learn to swim via PowerPoint.” And you can’t learn to teach without being in the classroom.

His approach to teaching is to get to know the students, because “if the first order of business isn’t one another, then we’re in the wrong business.”

“For every class I teach, I always try to find some way I can have an interaction with students one-on-one, outside of class,” he said. “Take them out for coffee, have lunch with them, something. So they’re more than just a figure sitting in class. Because it changes everything when you know a person. And, when you know them, you become invested in them.”

The evidence of how Hochman is regarded can be found in his office, both in a desk drawer full of letters and on bookshelves lined with books inscribed with notes from grateful students.

He said the greatest compliment he gets from students is “seeing them succeed, to be happy, to see the great work that they do, helping them to overcome when they struggle with something.”

“I think that’s the compliment,” he said, “more than something they would say.”

Harry van der Linden

Harry van der LindenPhilosophy Professor Harry van der Linden has spent his career combining teaching, research, and political involvement—not always in that order.

“Generally speaking, Butler has been quite conducive to me being able to do my research,” he said, whether through academic grants, giving him time for research and writing, or providing a stipend for editing a journal. “We are, of course, primarily a teaching school, but nonetheless, I always have felt that Butler supported faculty doing serious research and scholarship.”

Van der Linden grew up in the Netherlands and moved to the United States to earn his doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis. He served as a visiting professor at Colgate University and the University of North Carolina before joining the Butler faculty in 1990.

Early in his career, van der Linden focused his work on social and economic justice. He wrote a book called Kantian Ethics and Socialism, which was an attempt to use the ethics of philosopher Immanuel Kant to argue for a model of economic and social democracy.

His more recent research and publications are focused on the morality of warfare, covering such topics as preventive war, asymmetric warfare, combatant’s privilege, humanitarian intervention, and the ethics of drone warfare. The Rwandan genocide motivated him to examine his own beliefs about war and start asking questions about when war can be justified and executed justly.

“In the Rwandan situation, western military forces could have intervened and saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” he said. “We didn’t do that. We got the western people out and left and let the genocide unfold.”

In receiving the Distinguished Faculty Award for scholarship and research, van der Linden is being honored for a large body of work that includes books, articles, and reviews, as well as his efforts over the last five years editing the Radical Philosophy Review, the journal of the Radical Philosophy Association. The journal publishes material of interest to those “who share the view that society should be built on cooperation rather than competition, and that social decision-making should be governed by democratic procedures.”

He also has served as president of the Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center and as chair of Butler’s Department of Philosophy and Religion from 2007 to 2013.

“I’ve invested a lot of time in scholarly activity over the last 30 years,” he said, “so it’s certainly a very nice thing if your peers recognize you for doing good work and consistent work over the last 30 years.”

Jeanne VanTyle

Jeanne VanTyleWhen it comes to serving the community—both Butler and Indianapolis—Professor of Pharmacy Practice Jeanne Van Tyle walks the walk.

Since beginning her teaching career at Butler in 1976, a short list of the many ways she’s served the University include chairing the Faculty Senate and, before that, serving 20 years on the executive committee of Faculty Assembly, the precursor to Faculty Senate; co-chair of the Gender Equity Commission; faculty adviser to Lambda Kappa Sigma, an organization of women in pharmacy that does community outreach; adviser to Butler University Equestrian Team, and adviser to the BU Community Outreach Pharmacy, a student-run free clinic on the Eastside of Indianapolis. She also served from 1996-1999 as the Director of the Learning Resource Center as it transitioned from the University College to the current LRC.

Her Indianapolis activities include 20 years as a volunteer pharmacist for the Gennesaret Free Clinics, which provides healthcare services for the homeless.

“I came to pharmacy school thinking I wanted to help people,” she said. “So this brings me back to my base roots of service. And I come from a social justice background as well. I truly believe that to those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Van Tyle grew up in Indianapolis and intended to go to college at Indiana University. But her presentation at a high school science fair—doing a tissue culture to measure the effects of drugs on chick embryos—earned her a half-tuition scholarship to Butler to study pharmacy.

She lived at home while at Butler (as a faculty member, she served on a a commission to look at the issues commuter students face) and finished her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1974. Two years later, after earning her Doctor of Pharmacy from Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia, Butler’s College of Pharmacy recruited her to join the faculty.

Over the next several years, she changed the Butler culture in at least two ways. When she was hired, she was in a 50-50 position—that is, half her salary was paid by Butler and half by St. Vincent Hospital. That’s common now among Pharmacy faculty, she said, but she was first.

In addition, she married another Pharmacy professor, Kent Van Tyle, in 1982. It was rare at the time for faculty members to marry and have both stay at Butler, but the dean allowed them to do so.

Van Tyle said she’s had many blessings in her life, and she’s honored by the Distinguished Faculty Award.

“It’s a nice recognition from my peers, and I recognize that it is a peer-initiated award,” she said. “So to that extent, I’m very humbled by it. But award or not, I would still be doing what I’m doing. I love working with students. I love the volunteer work with the community.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan