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Experiential Learning

LAS Professor Finds the Right Chemistry for Distance Learning

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 07 2020

About a month ago, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Mark Macbeth would look out to his General Chemistry lecture to see 57 first-year students in their seats inside a Gallahue Hall classroom, taking notes on chemical bonding.

Today, when he looks at his class, it’s like watching a more-crowded version of the intro to The Brady Bunch as the same 57 students pop up in little squares of video on Zoom. Since Butler University switched to online learning on March 19, the students and professor have used the popular video conferencing app three times a week for review sessions of the video lectures Macbeth posts on Canvas.

Mark Macbeth and his cat
Chemistry Professor Mark Macbeth, left, and his cat Pepito begin an online lecture.

“I thought it was going to be chaos, but you roll up your sleeves and work through it,” says Macbeth with a laugh. “The students can still ask questions, and we still work through the problems together.”

The General Chemistry course also includes a lab section. With the academic labs closed for the semester, Macbeth says it was more of a challenge to figure out how to give his students proper lab experience online. Before, the students would strap on gloves, goggles, and lab coats for hands-on work—setting up the experiment, writing out reaction equations, and pouring the chemicals.

Macbeth decided to create demonstration videos of the experiments. In these “virtual labs,” staff and faculty from the Clowes Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recorded experiments on concepts such as equilibrium and saturation. Ammonia added to silver chloride causes it to dissolve, and light pink cobalt solution mixed with chloride changes to dark blue, which makes for easier observation from a student’s laptop.

“It’s up to the students to interpret that data,” says Macbeth, whose current research focuses on the biochemical analysis of nucleic acid-protein interactions, as well as RNA and DNA editing. “At the end of the video, they do an online quiz about what their observations were and what concepts were used during the reaction.”

Macbeth's lecture notes
Macbeth uses a tablet to write notes in red during his distance learning lectures.

Students say the transition to online lectures has been smooth. For Healthcare and Business major Mason Runkel, not having the chance to be in a physical lab to refine his fine measurement skills has been the toughest aspect of learning from his home in Bloomington, Illinois. But he says Macbeth’s use of visuals and voiceovers on the digital lessons allows him to understand concepts just as well as he would in the classroom.

Chemistry major Audrey Wojtowicz says she was concerned about losing valuable lab experience, especially for complex techniques. An upcoming lab will focus on titration—the slow addition of one solution of a known concentration to a known volume of another solution of unknown concentration until the reaction reaches neutralization. However, Macbeth’s availability during the three weekly review sessions, as well as his office hours over Zoom, has eased some worries.

“Especially now, if you have concerns, go to your professor,” Wojtowicz says. “Everyone is in the same boat. Admittedly, I was stressed out, but I was assured it will be OK. Faculty members understand, and they are going to adapt to our needs for next semester.”

Macbeth has been impressed with his students’ performance the last few weeks, but he knows the online learning transition can sometimes be tough. He wants students to know he is there for them for the rest of the semester and beyond.

“It’s not an ideal situation at all for us,” Macbeth says, “but we’re trying to make it work the best we can. We’re trying to get the students to have some sort of learning process about chemistry, learn some chemical processes, and learn to interpret data.

“To the students who are really uncertain about this, I just want to let them know we are on their side. We want to help them get through this successfully and prepare them for their future courses.”

 

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

Zoom review session screen shot
Experiential Learning

LAS Professor Finds the Right Chemistry for Distance Learning

With hands-on experiments now impossible, Mark Macbeth created video-based virtual labs for his chemistry class

Apr 07 2020 Read more
Ariel Rudd
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Fights COVID-19 in New York City

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2020

Ariel Rudd ‘13 wants people to know they need to stay inside.

The Butler University graduate, now a nurse in a large hospital on the Upper East Side of New York City, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in a place where the virus appears to be reaching its peak. And, she says, it’s way worse than she ever thought it would be.

“I think it’s easy for people to not take it seriously before they’ve actually seen what can happen,” she says. “But I know Indianapolis is now becoming a hot spot for COVID-19, and that makes me nervous for my family and friends still living there. From someone who has lived this already, I can tell you this is serious. It’s really, really bad.”

The Kirklin, Indiana, native came to Butler in 2009 and graduated four years later with a degree in Health and Physical Education. She’d always thought she wanted to be a physical therapist, but job shadowing sessions later in college helped her realize nursing would be a better fit. She wanted to be part of the first layer of care, right on the front lines. So, after graduating from Butler, Rudd completed an accelerated nursing program at Marian University.

Rudd launched her career with a position in the neonatal ICU at St. Vincent Indianapolis, then she spent a few years as a traveling nurse and landed in New York City. She accepted a nursing management position at her current hospital, and she’s been working in the pediatric ICU there ever since.

Until a couple weeks ago, Rudd was caring exclusively for patients ages 24 or younger. But the surge in COVID-19 cases forced her hospital to transfer nearly all its patients to elsewhere in the city, quickly transforming its units into spaces dedicated to coronavirus patients.

“That’s almost 900 beds,” Rudd says. “Before my unit started receiving patients, I went down to some of the other units to see what we were about to get into. And honestly, it’s like something from a movie. It’s bed after bed of people with the same exact thing. It’s patients of a wide range of ages. I was especially surprised to see how many young people are getting very sick with this.”

With a worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment in medical facilities, Rudd says her team only has one N95 mask per day for each person. Still, she’s grateful for all her hospital is doing to keep the staff safe.

Over the course of about a week, new walls went up to create more separation between patients and healthcare providers. The hospital also replaced several of its windows with HEPA filters, which can help eliminate pathogen-filled air particles in ways that better protect the staff.

“I’m very impressed and proud of the bravery and the strength of the nurses and the other employees I’m leading,” Rudd says. “You know, they’re scared. They have families they don’t want to take this virus home to. They have kids and grandparents they are trying to protect. But they’ve been so amazing—taking hits as they come. They are ready and willing to do anything to help these patients and save lives.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Ariel Rudd
Alumni Success

Butler Grad Fights COVID-19 in New York City

The hospital where Ariel Rudd ’13 works as a nurse is now mostly dedicated to coronavirus patients

Apr 06 2020 Read more
illustration of businessmen being protected
Innovation

Butler’s Risk Management and Insurance Program Authors Pandemic Act to Bolster Economy

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2020

A case study on PayPal, completed by Butler University undergraduates in 2017, could help save the U.S. economy in 2020.

Zach Finn, Clinical Professor and Director of the Davey Risk Management and Insurance program at Butler, and some of his former students have developed the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA). If passed, the legislation would provide a reinsurance backstop to cover losses in the insurance sector due to future pandemic outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. The act has already been adopted by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, which is calling for its passing in Washington, DC.

zach finn
Zach Finn

The policy combines the students’ 2017 case study work on mitigation and monetization of global cyber risk—essentially, steps to reduce the negative effects of threats and disasters on business continuity—with a framework similar to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The students studied the possibility of a black swan—a rare, unpredictable event with severe consequences that would lead to a cyber shutdown in America. Their solution was the development of a hypothetical Cyber Risk Insurance Act, which would protect the United States against the financial impacts of a widespread cyber-attack. The idea and research were meant to urge a federal backstop for uninsured losses resulting from the shutdown of large portions of the economy. 

Now, the PRIA draws on that concept. It would create a federal backstop—or last-resort financial support—for future, and possibly even current, losses that companies would face from a pandemic event. Finn sent the act to Indiana and federal governments in mid-March, and it has already landed on desks in the White House and Congress.

“We will never have a March Madness again unless the government backstops it,” Finn says. “The PRIA would allow businesses to have a fair shot of getting coverage in the case of a pandemic. No insurance companies would take this on now, so that kind of protection would require an act like this. Without a backstop, what happens if we have to shut down every 10 years like this? What if we have to shut down every three years like this?”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, explains her support of the PRIA, “By requiring higher capital and liquidity buffers, banks are well-positioned to continue lending and play an important countercyclical role. However, America’s consumers, small businesses, and vulnerable populations are suffering. It is time for a policy and fiscal response to address their needs.”

Finn says the act would protect venues from losing revenue due to the cancellation of large events like the NCAA basketball tournament. It would also lessen the ripple effect that major event losses can have on area businesses.

“If you’re running a major convention center or something like Lucas Oil Stadium,” Finn says, “it would be a completely common professional standard that they would offer pandemic insurance.”

The PRIA could also provide an alternative to federal government bailouts, Finn continues. Businesses do take advantage of business interruption insurance, but that only covers events like fire, lightning, or wind. Business loss due to pandemics are not in the mix, yet.

Real life application

2017 Risk Management team
Butler's 2017 Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge team could save 2020.

Nick Fox ’17 was part of the four-student team representing Butler at the spring 2017 Spencer Education Foundation’s Risk Management Challenge case competition, which explored options for insuring PayPal. His teammates included Erin Bundy ’17, Jessica Parada ’17, and Matt Pauszek ’17.

While placing third in the competition, the students’ analysis of what PayPal could do in the event of a cyber blackout turned heads. The PayPal risk manager congratulated the Butler students and took their Cyber Risk Insurance Act into serious consideration.

“She said our solution could truly be implemented in real life,” Fox recalls. “Three years removed, it could still be a focal point in the industry. It adds even more validity to the work we did.”

The students’ proposition was meant to protect businesses from a dire circumstance like the internet crashing or a global pandemic. It’s debatable which event would be more catastrophic, but Finn says the students' ideas from three years ago could help the U.S. today.

Climbing the insurance ranks

Today, Fox and his former teammates are all advancing within their respective insurance companies. Fox finished his studies at Butler a semester early and was quickly hired as a cyber risk analyst for middle market corporations and businesses at Marsh & McLennan Companies, based out of Chicago, Illinois. He is currently transitioning to a consultant position, working with risk managers and chief financial officers of Fortune 500 companies.

“The past few months, I’ve been focusing on emerging risks, one of which is COVID-19,” Fox says. “I’ve been consulting with different clients on things like violent threat modeling and cyber stress tests.”

Pauszek is a Risk Management Analyst for the University of Notre Dame. He has leaned on his Butler experience, especially since COVID-19 grew to pandemic levels in March.

“Faced with situations of uncertainty and crisis, the lessons I learned have equipped me with both the technical industry knowledge and the overall confidence to identify and execute creative business solutions,” Pauszek says. “I believe the Davey Program has built a culture that emphasizes and encourages students to approach their careers with an innovative outlook and careful consideration for others that makes them extremely valuable in their surrounding communities.”

Fox considers his training at Butler key to his early career success, too. The enactment of PRIA would be another boost to his career.

“It’ll put Butler University itself in its rightful place on the map in terms of Risk Management and Insurance,” Fox says. “This is going to create an opportunity for us to put our ideas in the forefront of the country.”

The PRIA is also fast-ascending. The piece of potential policy could be a boost to the U.S. economy in years to come.

“It’s not really a question of if another pandemic is going to happen,” Fox says, “it’s more so when and how serious.”

 

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

illustration of businessmen being protected
Innovation

Butler’s Risk Management and Insurance Program Authors Pandemic Act to Bolster Economy

Clinical Professor Zach Finn and his former students’ work is being lobbied by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee

Apr 02 2020 Read more
Chloe
Student-Centered

Butler Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2020

Chloe Makdad, a sophomore Mathematics major at Butler University, is among this year’s winners of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. One of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships for students in STEM fields, the honor is awarded to college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue research careers in science, math, and engineering.

While Makdad doesn’t know yet if she will stay in academia or move to an industry-based role, she knows she wants to conduct research in the field of functional analysis.

“In that realm of mathematics, you really get to delve into some problems that are like puzzles,” she says. “While the process can be difficult, it’s really rewarding.”

While Makdad applied to several schools, she ultimately attended Butler for its welcoming math department, which she felt really emphasized student success.

“At Butler,” she says, “I’ve also been given the opportunity to study a wide range of mathematical ideas, including statistics and computer science, which has really diversified my view of what mathematics can be used for.”

The Goldwater Foundation selected 396 scholarships for the 2020 competition, choosing from a pool of 1,343 undergraduates nominated by 461 different institutions.

Receiving the Goldwater Scholarship provided a sense of affirmation for Makdad.

“I have a lot of the capabilities and the background that it takes to succeed in mathematical research,” she says. “Butler is a smaller institution, so the fact that I was selected for a national award along with students from bigger STEM schools was something that definitely gave me a confidence boost moving forward with my career.”

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

Chloe
Student-Centered

Butler Sophomore Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Mathematics major Chloe Makdad is 12th Butler student to win the national award

Apr 02 2020 Read more
battery drained
Student-Centered

Caring for Mental Health During COVID-19

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Apr 01 2020

In the midst of a global crisis that is very tangibly affecting everything from physical health to job security, it’s easy to neglect the invisible consequences a situation like this can have on mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Even for those who have never experienced clinical anxiety, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic might be deeply disturbing. And that fear is multiplied among those who are prone to mental illness, especially now that several go-to coping strategies have become inaccessible.

But, according to these three Butler University experts, you can find comfort in not being alone: Everyone is experiencing this together. Plus, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy while staying inside.

 

Shana Markle
Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS)
Associate Director

How does the COVID-19 pandemic influence mental health?

I want to start by clarifying the difference between anxiety and worry. By definition, anxiety is an irrational fear. When there is a legitimate threat to our health, the feelings people experience might not be actual anxiety—you might be having a normal, legitimate response to a threat.

For some people, though, those concerns can be more irrational, leading to real anxiety. For individuals who are prone to anxiety or have other underlying mental health conditions, a situation like this would likely activate that.

Responses to crisis vary widely, but it’s not unusual for people to either maximize or minimize a situation like this. Some people are out living their lives like there’s nothing going on, while others are hunkering down and buying eight packs of toilet paper. Especially for those who are prone to anxiety, some people will try to do anything they can to fix things that are really out of their control.

There’s just a lot of ambiguity with this pandemic, and that’s something people don’t always tolerate very well. Not knowing something can be very unsettling, especially if you like to plan. With this particular situation, there’s also a lot of disappointment that things are being canceled and that you can’t do some of the things you want to do.

And then of course the social distancing, for some, is social isolating. It can lead to a sense of loneliness. But I think on the flip side, the fact that this is such a universal concern can draw people together. Almost every place you go—whether that’s going to the grocery store or walking outside—almost every person you see is going to be experiencing something similar. You can know you aren’t alone in this, which can help you feel protected.

What coping strategies do you recommend?

This might sound cliché, but I would really encourage people to get off of social media right now. There’s no benefit to exposing yourself to all those anxieties that other people have. Anxiety can be very contagious. And it’s important to stay informed, but because the news about COVID-19 is changing so rapidly, you might consider finding a reliable source and checking in with it just once a day or every couple days. I think we could all do ourselves a very big favor by limiting exposure to some of that anxiety that’s out there.

If you do find yourself in an anxiety spiral, there are a couple grounding techniques I like. For example, in the “5-4-3-2-1” technique, you look for five things you can see around you, and you say them out loud. And then you find four things that you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Going through your senses like that can bring you back to the present.

You can also look through this list of very common cognitive errors and recognize which ones you might be dealing with right now. This will help you challenge thoughts that aren’t helpful.

And you can just remember the basics of self-care. Go for a walk. Read a book. Set goals and accomplish some of those tasks you’ve been putting off. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. If you have a faith community, stay connected as much as possible. Make a playlist of songs you find encouraging.

For Butler students: The CCS phone and email lines are open. Teletherapy is now available for students currently residing in Indiana (as we are only legally able to practice in-state). However, we can provide over-the-phone consultations with both in-state and out-of-state students to help with talking through options and providing some support.

We also recommend these online resources that are available to anyone.

 

Marguerite Stanciu
Center for Faith and Vocation (CFV)
Assistant Director

How does this crisis affect spiritual and emotional well-being?

Obviously, the element of uncertainty is huge here. There is this vast unknown, and for many, that is combined with disappointment about all the things that need to be canceled or moved to a virtual space. People are also facing the need to quickly adjust in a variety of ways, including working or learning from home, which can be a strain.

How can people take care of themselves?

In general, it’s really important to start by building structure into your day. Get up at a regular time, get dressed, and observe your normal rituals. Adding that structure takes care of the three essential elements of mind, body, and spirit.

I think we also need to remember that this is a temporary situation. Although we don’t know exactly what the future holds, I encourage people to be resourceful in staying spiritually healthy. Reach out to others as you need to, and know that the faculty and staff at Butler are working very hard and thoughtfully to provide continuous support.

The CFV recently started offering Spiritual Care Conversations, which are available to faculty, staff, and students. Through this resource (which we have now moved online), you can request confidential or private conversations with CFV staff, advisors, or affiliates who can help you work through challenges, feelings, or questions. These conversations are open to people of various faith traditions, as well as those who are nonreligious.

We at the CFV are also working to create new content that we hope will be supportive and informative for the Butler community. We are sending out writing prompts, meditation videos, and information on how to practice mindfulness in your everyday life. You can find these resources by following us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), or by signing up for our e-newsletter. Just reach out to us at cfv@butler.edu.

 

Brian Day
Assistant Professor of Psychology

What are the psychological impacts of this situation?

This crisis is consuming all the news we see. When people talk to their friends and families, they are all talking about the same thing. There’s this feeling of all-consumption, like COVID-19 is the only thing happening. It seems to be taking over everything and creating a new normal. It’s hard to think about anything else.

I’m not a clinical expert, but I know that for individuals who are prone to paranoia, this can really contribute to that. Maybe that means constant thoughts of “I need to wash my hands again” or, in states with lockdowns, “What will happen to me if I go outside?” At the grocery store, people might worry that every person they see is infected with the virus.

And even for those we would consider to be completely mentally healthy, a crisis like this can cause feelings of doubt or concern that might be unfamiliar for people who have never been scared to go to the grocery store. Fear isn’t something a lot of us deal with on a daily basis, so people are needing to learn to cope with it in new ways.

The biggest factor I’ve been hearing and reading about is the removal of social connections. Some psychologists have been advocating for a change in terminology from “social distancing” to “physical distancing.” They’re advocating for a focus on how we can still communicate, whether that’s through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or a phone call. I can get behind that relabeling: I want to remind people that we do still have opportunities to seek social contact with those who are important to us.

What other strategies can help people stay mentally healthy?

Make the best of every situation. I’ve been thinking about how I don’t want to be stuck in my basement all day long. I don’t want to be teaching online. There’s a lot of “I don’t want tos.” But this is what we’ve been presented with, so it’s time to buckle up and make do.

Another thing I’ve been focused on is that my schedule has changed drastically, which is the case for most people. But this actually provides an opportunity to change your behavior in a desired way. Now is a great time to build positive habits. With a little bit of mindfulness and determination, even in the face of changes you can’t control, you can introduce the change you want.

I usually take care of my mental health by going to the gym and hanging out with friends. Of course, now, neither of those are options. But you can look for other solutions. Maybe you can’t go to the gym, but you can stay home and do yoga, pilates, pushups, or situps. Staying active is so important to feeling good.

The other thing I’ve been advocating for is making some sort of routine. I’ve found that regimenting my time—scheduling when I’ll be working and when I’ll be taking breaks—has helped me get things done and enjoy my days at home.

You can also work on that list of all the things you’ve been meaning to do, whether that’s reading a book or calling a friend from high school. Make time to watch that 15-minute TED Talk you’ve had bookmarked for a while.

And remember that humans get used to things. After a few weeks, we will be used to this. It just takes a little bit of time, so hang in there.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

battery drained
Student-Centered

Caring for Mental Health During COVID-19

Three Butler experts explain the pandemic’s psychological impacts and offer advice for staying well

Apr 01 2020 Read more
COVID-19
Innovation

Butler Technology Joins Global Effort to Fight Coronavirus

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 30 2020

Butler University has donated remote use of some of its powerful technology to a global effort to combat COVID-19.

A supercomputer and Butler Esports computers are now part of Folding@home, a project focused on disease research that utilizes help from computer owners around the world. Based out of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, the work has shifted from researching numerous infectious diseases to investigating the structure of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Using molecular protein folding computer simulations, the Folding@home project aims to discover drug pathways that can cause a dysfunction in the folding of one or more proteins in the COVID-19 virus, therefore killing it. Extra computer power from around the world is needed for faster, more precise simulations. 

“It takes huge amounts of computing power to try them,” Butler Computer Science Professor Jonathon Sorenson says. “The more they try, the better the chances of finding one that works.”

Protein folding is the process that determines a protein’s structure, and therefore its functionality. The shapes protein subunits form fit together like LEGOs to create new cells. Sometimes, when you are trying to build something specific, only one particular shape of LEGO will work. If the body’s proteins aren’t folding into the necessary shapes, this can have detrimental health effects. For example, in the case of sickle-cell anemia, the protein inside red blood cells—hemoglobin—is not capable of transporting oxygen due to a single amino acid change in the hemoglobin protein structure. Now, Folding@home is seeking similar weaknesses within the coronavirus’ proteins—looking for structures that could be altered to inhibit the virus’s ability to infect the body.

Computer owners who want to help with the project can download software that allows Folding@home to use the computers to run simulations. The simulations are usually timed for when the user sleeps, but with universities relying on distance learning during the pandemic, on-campus machines are left on and idle all day. More than 700 universities worldwide have lent their computer power to help run simulations around the clock.

Sorenson learned of the ongoing research project’s new focus on the coronavirus from an Association for Computing Machinery article and alerted IT of the potential of joining the project. A day later, IT Senior Systems Analyst and Computer Science Adjunct Professor Nate Partenheimer got the University’s newest supercomputer online to run Folding@home simulations.

“By lending our computing power to this huge project,” Sorenson says, “it’s a small way of helping that overall effort.”

Supercomputer specs

While Butler’s first supercomputer, The Big Dawg, is being utilized for current Butler research projects, a new system was to be used for artificial intelligence courses and other research. Those projects have been postponed, which opened up use for Folding@home. 

Thanks to Partenheimer, Folding@home is now benefiting from:

  • Four NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics processing units, each of which is capable of about 13 Tera-FLOPS. FLOPS, or floating point operations per second, is a unit of computer performance measurement in scientific computations. Just one of these graphics processing units can execute 13 trillion operations per second.
  • One NVIDIA GP100, which is capable of more than 10 Tera-FLOPS.

Now online, Butler has helped boost the project to 1.5 quintillion operations per second worldwide.

Esports scores an assist

Butler Esports donated its own NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics processing unit and an Intel i7 central processing unit to the Folding@home cause. Machines meant for powering spirited games of League of Legends and Rocket League are now dedicated to saving lives.

Student Activities Coordinator Doug Benedict had known about Folding@home since before the COVID-19 pandemic, but after a meeting with Butler IT, he decided to download the software and link the Esports machines to the cause. Benedict says the Butler Esports and Gaming Center’s mission is to be a source for community engagement, outreach, and philanthropy between esports events.

“We want to show the benefits of having this kind of space and this kind of technology to society as a whole,” he adds. “Technology has changed our lives time and time again, and clearly it’s going to continue to do that.”

 

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

COVID-19
Innovation

Butler Technology Joins Global Effort to Fight Coronavirus

A supercomputer and Butler Esports machines are linked to a COVID-19 research initiative focusing on proteins in the virus

Mar 30 2020 Read more
taskforce
Student-Centered

Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

BY Katie Grieze

PUBLISHED ON Mar 27 2020

On a college campus, students are the ones who know better than anyone else what’s going on in their world. Whether that means having heard the buzz about the latest hit TV show or holding a deep understanding of the everyday challenges young people face, students can often relate to other students better than most staff and faculty ever will.

So, when it comes to preventing sexual misconduct, it’s essential to listen to what those students have to say.

At Butler University, campus leaders are inviting students to join conversations about this issue at monthly meetings of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce. The group has been around for years, including a few student members who were directly invited based on previous involvement in prevention programming. But when leaders opened student membership up to a general application process last spring, the group gained a brand new life and momentum. The taskforce received 62 applications from students across the University, accepting about 10 student members plus representatives from key organizations such as the Student Government Association (SGA) and PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment). Now, applications are open for the 2020–2021 academic year.

“The meetings this semester have had so many students present,” says Jules Arthur-Grable, Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Specialist. “I think that really indicates how important these issues are to them, how much they care, and how much they want to make a difference.”

Co-chaired by Arthur-Grable and Title IX Coordinator Maria Kanger, the taskforce works to unite prevention efforts already happening across the University, as well as to develop and promote new education programs that meet the needs of Butler students. Welcoming more student members who represent a broader range of the campus community has helped Arthur-Grable and Kanger learn more about what those needs are, which kinds of events might resonate best with students, and how to effectively spread the word about those events and other programming.

“Our students really care about this, even if they aren’t directly involved in student organizations or other groups that are focused on this all the time,” Kanger says. “They really do want to make a difference, and they feel like they can.”

This academic year, that student voice has led to the creation of a lot more programming based on pop culture and the things students see every day across all kinds of media. During welcome week, peer-facilitated workshops under the name “Sexy, Can I?” covered the basics of consent. In October, the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention (SARP) Office recognized National Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a discussion about the role social media can play in promoting unhealthy relationship behaviors. Another program analyzed the Netflix show You to talk about how students can recognize stalking, and a “bad date dinner” right before Valentine’s Day invited guests to think through specific situations and how they would respond.

“I’ve seen students on the taskforce take ownership of these programs and really get excited about them,” Kanger says. “They feel connected to this. The work of prevention is the work of the entire campus community.”

One recent TV-inspired event used episodes of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, pointing out examples of the contestants’ unhealthy behaviors—things like gaslighting, manipulation, isolation, or sabotage.

“We talked about the role this popular show has in how people perceive relationships in real life, and how it normalizes unhealthy behavior,” Arthur-Grable explains. “Afterward, some of the attendees asked for a list of healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors to take with them, so they could use it to continue the conversation while watching the show with their friends.”

As a student member of the taskforce, junior Ben Traverso feels like his input has been truly valued during program planning over the last few semesters. He says student involvement on the taskforce helps other students feel more comfortable asking for the help they need.

“We are there to say, ‘this is how students feel, this is why, and here’s what we can do to try to change that,’” says the Political Science and History major. “We are there to help build a bridge between the SARP Office, the Title IX Coordinator, and the student body.”

Junior Health Science major Lauren Lippert agrees, saying the taskforce is meant to be a central place for the Butler community to gather together, share ideas, and stay informed about the resources available on campus.

“I think it’s really important for students to be a part of that,” she says, “especially for the other students who feel more comfortable seeking help from someone their age—someone who could maybe relate a little more on their level.”

Kanger says that, while changing culture in ways that prevent sexual misconduct is a years-long project, providing a safe space where people can seek help is a vital first step.

“At the end of the day,” she says, “the goal for all our prevention efforts is to create a culture where consent is sought and received for every sexual activity, healthy relationships are the norm, and where everyone steps up and says something if they see something isn’t right.”

 

If you are a Butler student interested in joining the Sexual Misconduct Prevention Taskforce, you can apply here by April 13. Contact Jules Arthur-Grable (jearthur@butler.edu) or Maria Kanger (mkanger@butler.edu) with any questions.

 

Media Contact:
Katie Grieze
News Content Manager
kgrieze@butler.edu
260-307-3403

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Student-Centered

Student Voice Shapes Sexual Misconduct Prevention at Butler

Student members of this taskforce have transformed how University leaders approach prevention programming

Mar 27 2020 Read more
Guy holding rolls of toilet paper
Innovation

COVID-19 to Affect Global Supply Chains for Years to Come

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 26 2020

The image of shoppers desperately filling their carts with toilet paper has become a go-to representation of the COVID-19 outbreak. In grocery stores across the nation, panic buying has also emptied shelves of other necessities and staples, such as bread, eggs, dairy products, and meat.

But the supply chains that put food and home products in your grocery aisles are still strong—for now.

Matt Caito
Operations Instructor Matthew Caito

Matthew Caito, Butler University Operations Management Instructor and expert in the field of global supply chains, does recommend stocking up for your family in order to limit trips to the store. Still, he says you shouldn’t buy more than you actually need, as hoarding can have a negative impact not only on your community, but on the efficiency of industries worldwide. Hoarding leads to inefficient distribution of scarce products, making scarcity more of a problem, like with toilet paper being a rare sight in stores. If we want to avoid long-term consequences, consumers must be rational in the months ahead.

“I’m confident that we will have enough toilet paper,” Caito says. “We’ll have enough toothpaste. We’ll have enough food.”

Consumers should still be vigilant, Caito adds, as the COVID-19 pandemic is making new headlines every day. The strength of supply chains can be altered at any time with policy changes or civil unrest.

Before his tenure at Butler, Caito helped manage food production and distribution for businesses and was used to dealing with “snow scares” in the Midwest and “hurricane scares” in Florida—temporary spikes in buying to ensure consumers’ families had plenty of food to weather out storms. But the COVID-19 pandemic is “uncharted territory.”

Caito says aisles will refill, but the crisis will affect global supply chains for years to come.

Question: What has been the biggest operational challenge during the pandemic so far?

Matthew Caito: If you look at the problem from an operational perspective, what we’re really fighting for is capacity. Do we have enough capacity in our healthcare system? If we don’t have enough capacity in our healthcare system, what can we do about it? We can increase our national capacity, which is going to be really hard to do as soon as we would like.

This is what we hear the politicians talking about now—that we don’t have enough respirators, don’t have enough masks, don’t have enough hospital beds. Alternatively, we can work to decrease the demand, which is exactly what we can do if we come together as a country and practice social distancing by working remotely and sheltering in place.

I’m a little bit surprised the government hasn't pulled the trigger faster on trying to increase the production of essential medical devices, but I think it’s just a matter of time before that comes along, and industries will find ways to meet the challenge.

Q: What are some best practices for Indiana consumers right now?

MC: At some point, people will have bought enough toilet paper. That demand will stop. What I watch as a consumer, and because I have a large family, is what’s happening in places like New York and Washington state. If there’s a shortage of products in those areas, Indiana is just a couple days behind it. So we need to really pay attention to what's going on around the world to help us anticipate what our needs are.

Q: Just how well are grocery stores doing?

MC: The grocery markets are doing an outstanding job. The food supply chain is doing an outstanding job. But what you need to keep in mind with food is that roughly 45-55 percent of all meals are typically eaten outside the home—at restaurants, schools, offices, convenience stores, and on the road. When you shut down all of the restaurant channels, where are people going to get their food?

There’s going to be an instant and dramatic increase in consumer demand at retail grocery stores for months to come. People have got to eat. I think the grocery chains have been understandably caught a little by surprise, but to their credit, nobody could have predicted this.

As retailers try to get back on balance with their inventories in the midst of higher demand over the next several months, we’re going to have to ask the question, “Where’s that food going to come from?” The capacity of the retail grocery industry is going to be strained. But frankly, this is going to make grocery stores a lot of profit because they’re going to see nearly twice the amount of sales for almost the same fixed cost. Fortunately, I don’t believe retailers are gouging consumers, and I don’t think they will.

Q: Are there concerns over the movement of goods in the supply chain?

MC: From a transportation perspective, we’re going to run into problems because, even though companies want to move things, even though trucks don’t know if there’s a pandemic, drivers at some point are just not going to take the risk. They don’t want to be away from their families, and there’s just no guarantee that they can remain healthy on the road. At some point, the distribution chain is going to get really strained. When that happens, you’ll see freight rates skyrocket.

Q: How long will it take for operations to get back to full-strength after this pandemic dies down?

MC: If I were a betting person, I’d say years. You’re going to have a lot of companies that just don’t have the cash on-hand to sustain business. There’s going to be massive unemployment, unfortunately. There’s going to be a massive realignment of the economy. There isn’t going to be enough cash to save every business.

But once the dust settles after months of rational hindsight, I think you’ll see a much more robust supply chain. There’s going to be a strategic rethinking about how much medicine we want to import. Strategically, how many vital electronics do we want to import? Strategically, how many auto parts do we want to import? It’s going to make a significant difference for large companies as they work to protect their supply chains from future disruptions. 

 

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

Guy holding rolls of toilet paper
Innovation

COVID-19 to Affect Global Supply Chains for Years to Come

Toilet paper will return to aisles, but the pandemic will cause industries to rethink operations, says LSB’s Matthew Caito

Mar 26 2020 Read more
$100 with medical mask
Innovation

Butler Professor: U.S. Economy Shifting to Help Businesses, Citizens

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 25 2020

As COVID-19 presents a public health crisis, the U.S. economy has reacted in kind.

Economics Professor Bill Rieber says the nation’s economy is enduring hardships it last experienced during the 2008–2009 recession. But instead of the recession starting in the economy and real estate sector, this downturn is the side effect of a global health pandemic.

“This is so different,” he says. “In 2009, we wanted people to go out and spend, spurred by government fiscal and monetary measures. Here, we don’t want people to go out. We want them to stay at home and be safe.” 

In times when there is no health crisis or recession, Rieber says the nation relies on a market economy that combines cooperation—industries producing products—and competition—consideration of price, product, place, and promotion—along with some aspects of a sharing economy, such as welfare, Medicaid, and social programs.

Now, borders are closing, businesses are on hold, and some workers are laid off. The longer the COVID-19 crisis extends, the longer it will take for the economy to return to normal. Until then, Rieber says, the United States will strive to ensure its citizens are taken care of.

Question: What steps are being made to keep the economy afloat?

Bill Rieber: Banks will be sensitive to businesses, allowing them to miss some payments. There are also many people and organizations sharing their wealth with those hurt most by the pandemic. We can do that, in my view, because of the mix of a free enterprise economy, democracy, and cooperation and competition that has led to some Americans having high incomes that they can now share.

Q: What about smaller businesses? What will happen to them during the COVID-19 crisis?

BR: The central bank—the Federal Reserve—can inject reserves within the commercial banking system. Most of our businesses were quite healthy. The economy was strong, but businesses don’t have the funds in a liquid sense—the revenues and the cash to keep going in some cases. That’s where the central bank could put more reserves with local commercial banks, who then will have more reserves and funds to help local business. 

Q: How is the federal government helping?

BR: At the federal level, we can deficit spend, which means spending in excess of revenue. That is fine. There’s nothing wrong with deficit spending during emergencies. That’s always been the case during economic downturns. But how do we do that here, and how do we get the funds to the people who need them the most?

Since the Great Depression, Americans have agreed that deficit spending during recessions is warranted, but exactly what that looks like is more open for debate. That’s always difficult. That’s what Congress and the president are negotiating now. 

Q: When will we rise out of this sharing economy status?

BR: Fundamentally, it’s our health that’s most important. That’s what we have to be concerned about first. So, if it’s not healthy to go out and spend, we should stay at home and stay healthy. When the public’s health improves, things like the economy will improve, too. That’s the real connection here.

 

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

$100 with medical mask
Innovation

Butler Professor: U.S. Economy Shifting to Help Businesses, Citizens

COVID-19 pandemic has government making steps it hasn’t made since the 2008 recession, Economics Professor Bill Rieber says

Mar 25 2020 Read more
working from home
Innovation

Butler Management Researcher Offers Advice for Productive Telecommuting

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 20 2020

As millions transition from the office to working from home, certain practices can boost productivity, reduce distractions, and establish a separation of work and home life under the same roof.

Craig Caldwell, Associate Professor of Management and Associate Dean of Graduate and Professional Programs for the Lacy School of Business, says working from home effectively takes dedication to not only the physical space, but also to the worker’s mental space—especially during a time of uncertainty as the world shifts to telecommuting and social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Craig Caldwell
Associate Professor Craig Caldwell

As people scramble to keep up with the pace of new information about COVID-19, practicing mindfulness in the home is a good first step. Practitioners of mindfulness concentrate on the present moment while acknowledging their feelings, thoughts, and surroundings.

“Mindfulness can help you self-identify the main issues you are struggling with,” Caldwell says. “This entire field of mindfulness is something I find increasingly helpful for working at home. For example, folks inclined to procrastinate will tend to procrastinate even more without a boss or peer pressure. Mindfulness can help you explore why you procrastinate and offer solutions to overcome it.”

Many industries have been disrupted, but limiting the disruption from affecting job performance at home can be achieved with thoughtful efforts to understand the nature of the work, the emotions of the employee, and the work space requirements.

‘Latitude’ adjustment

Caldwell says current circumstances require patience from supervisors and workers alike. Deadlines may be more difficult to meet. Suppliers may be unavailable. Productivity could wane, at least at first. Supervisors must give latitude to their workers, and the workers must give themselves the same as they get used to a new work routine.

Workers may not have the same administrative, IT, or peer support that they had at the office, but the work will get done if people utilize more patience and commitment on projects. Now is not the time to eliminate workers who are struggling with productivity. Developing existing employees is cheaper and faster than hiring new ones, Caldwell says.

Save the home environment

For many, working from home isn’t foreign. Caldwell says Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups have effectively worked outside of the traditional office for years. Small companies with fewer than 10 full-time employees often utilize coworking spaces for their rare, face-to-face meetings, but working from home is most common.

But even these workers must make adjustments as family members that used to go to an office or school are now working from home. The house is getting crowded with telecommuters and online students. Caldwell says setting parameters early on is key.

“You may need to have substantive conversations with your family,” he adds. “‘Here is what is happening: When I’m at this particular desk, when my headphones are on, when the pink Post-it Note is on the door, it means I’m not available.’ What was once a person working from home, now it’s four people all working at home on their projects and school work.”

And working from home doesn’t mean sweatpants 24/7. Grooming and dressing as if you were heading into a professional setting helps with home productivity and mood, Caldwell says.

Extended hours

The 9-to-5 concept didn’t apply to many workers before COVID-19, but working from home now should come with the mindset of being available and online for a wider range of times, according to Caldwell. Factoring in breaks to prepare kids’ lunches, walking the dog, or being online late to handle that teleconference with Japan will spread out the work day more.

Caldwell recommends relying heavily on keeping that Outlook calendar full with work-related tasks and projects. Don’t just log your meetings: Log the independent tasks, too. A busy calendar will maximize productivity and reduce distraction.

“Any device, tool, and app that keeps track of what you're doing as opposed to allowing a black hole of a day is good,” Caldwell says. “Literally schedule your day so you have a full day of work at the office. The mentality of being productive in that particular space is really important. Set hours for when you are going to to be ‘in the office.’”

New tools, new skills

Working from home should still include the development of new skills, as well as the exploration of new programs and applications.

“Maximize downtime,” Caldwell says. “Self-development can be highly motivating. Skill up with a new certification of some kind. Pursue continuing education online for that skill you always wanted to acquire. Why not dig into it now?”

Caldwell recommends working in Trello, an online management tool, to keep track of projects with your remote team. Slack is an app that allows for smoother communication between colleagues, particularly for more casual interactions.

The norm, for now

Already, “crisis management” should be added to resumes worldwide. Work has continued for many industries, and workers being nimble in this transition are keeping businesses afloat. The dramatic shift to work life at home will continue for months.

“If there’s a silver lining at all, it’s this: You’re developing a new skill in how to effectively work remotely with a high level of productivity,” Caldwell says. “Since we can’t control it, get comfortable. Be in tune to how you are feeling and how others may be reading you. There’s still a lot of connecting taking place, and that should continue.

“We need to be extraordinarily charitable right now, and I think we’re going to get through this and be a stronger society for it. This will be one of those things that pulls us together and unifies us.”

 

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

working from home
Innovation

Butler Management Researcher Offers Advice for Productive Telecommuting

Efficient work from home starts with the right mindset and physical space, Associate Professor Craig Caldwell says

Mar 20 2020 Read more
Coronavirus
Campus

Coronavirus Information for the Butler Community

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 20 2020

The University’s incident response team is meeting regularly to assess conditions and develop response plans for a variety of possible scenarios. New or increasing outbreaks of COVID-19 are being reported on a daily basis and strict travel restrictions have been put in place for those countries with the most severe outbreaks (including China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea). Fortunately, most individuals who have contracted the virus have recovered without requiring significant medical treatment. We are reminded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no reason to panic—the key is to be prepared.

Butler Communications on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus
Campus

Coronavirus Information for the Butler Community

Butler remains in communication with local and state health departments and has been taking guidance from the CDC

Mar 20 2020 Read more
Brooke Kandel-Cisco
Campus

Kandel-Cisco Named New College of Education Dean

BY Tim Brouk

PUBLISHED ON Mar 19 2020

Professor Brooke Kandel-Cisco has been appointed as Butler University’s new Dean of the College of Education. She had served as Interim Dean for the College since May 1.

While developing scholarship focusing on adult learning and professional development, Kandel-Cisco has excelled in leadership opportunities since joining the Butler Education program in 2009. Her roles have included Director of the Master of Science in Effective Teaching and Learning program, Chair of the College of Education graduate programs, and Program Coordinator for COE graduate programs. 

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to build on the COE’s legacy of high-quality educator preparation,” says Kandel-Cisco, whose research also explores educator collaboration with immigrant and refugee families. “We will continue to refine and enhance our existing preparation programs while also developing new pathways, pipelines, and partnerships to prepare equity-minded educators who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to serve schools and communities.”

Kandel-Cisco has taught courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) and works closely with teachers in Washington Township Schools’ ESL and Newcomer Programs. She recently completed a term as President of the Indiana Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

“I see my experiences as a teacher and as a university educator as key preparation for my role as Dean,” Kandel-Cisco says. “Academic leadership requires an ethic of care, a collaborative approach, and the ability to make decisions in the short term while creating conditions and building systems that help us move toward long-term goals—all things that strong teachers do every day.”

Provost Kathryn Morris says keeping Kandel-Cisco in the Dean’s office was a natural choice.

“Brooke has done a phenomenal job of leading the College during the interim period. I am confident she will continue to do so into the future,” Morris says. “Indeed, the current public health crisis demands effective leadership at all levels of the University. Brooke has been an integral part of our efforts to protect members of our community while also supporting our institutional mission.”

Butler President James M. Danko says Kandel-Cisco’s tenure at Butler has earned her the trust and support of her colleagues and students inside and outside of the classroom. 

“We know she will continue to provide outstanding service to the College of Education and the Butler community in the future,” he states.  

Kandel-Cisco earned her PhD in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. She was a fellow of the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice.

“I am incredibly proud of my colleagues in higher education and in schools,” Kandel-Cisco says, “who continue to find creative and meaningful ways to support the growth of their students—even with the significant challenges and uncertainty of our current circumstances. Our current Butler student teachers and interns continue to support teaching and learning in local schools and community agencies as they work virtually alongside practicing educators.”

 

Media Contact:
Tim Brouk
Senior News Content Manager
tbrouk@butler.edu
765-977-3931 (cell)

Brooke Kandel-Cisco
Campus

Kandel-Cisco Named New College of Education Dean

Brooke Kandel-Cisco was Interim Dean since May 1, has held leadership roles in numerous Butler Education programs

Mar 19 2020 Read more

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