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Academics

College of Education Named AACTE Global Award Recipient

BY Marc Allan

PUBLISHED ON Feb 15 2019

Two Reggio Emelia-inspired Lab Schools in the Indianapolis Public Schools system, a Lab School created within Shortridge International Baccalaureate World School, partnerships with schools in Sweden and Australia, to name a few, and study abroad and faculty development opportunities outside the United States.

Those are just a few of the reasons that the Butler University College of Education was awarded the national 2019 Best Practice Award in Support of Global and International Perspectives. The award, presented by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), recognizes exemplary practice in the intercultural, global, cross-cultural, and international arenas.

“We believe that our students have to be globally informed,” says Kelli Esteves, College of Education Associate Professor and Global Coordinator. “Our students need to bring knowledge of diverse perspectives from around the world into their teaching. Intercultural knowledge and an expanded worldview enable them to meet the needs of their future students.”

The award will be presented to Esteves at the AACTE 71st annual conference February 22-24 in Louisville, Kentucky. It is sponsored by AACTE’s Committee on Global Diversity as part of its mission to assure that a global and international perspective is brought to policy and programs associated with the preparation of education professionals.

The College of Education was lauded for its programs in international student teaching, international partnerships, and teacher-preparation programs.

"We do a great job of preparing globally ready educators who go out into the world to educate students," Esteves said. "Our teachers understand the global dimensions of their discipline and are prepared to go into any classroom in any setting and succeed."

Academics

College of Education Named AACTE Global Award Recipient

The COE was lauded for international student teaching, international partnerships, and teacher-preparation.

Feb 15 2019 Read more

Find Your Passion

by Jackson Borman ’20

If you walk inside of Butler University’’s Learning Resource Center, you will likely run into Heather Lee, one of the academic advisors for students in the Exploratory Studies Program. Inside her office hangs a bulletin board covered in photographs of students: students she has helped pick an area of study through the program in the past year alone.

For some, deciding what to study in college can be one of the hardest decisions to make. Typically, Lee will meet with students to plan a schedule that includes classes that cover a wide range of the student’s interests before they even arrive on campus.

“What’s the number one question that people ask when you are coming into college? ‘What’s your major?’” Lee says. “Exploratory studies is a great place to fall if you have a couple of ideas or if you have 20 or 30.”

Lee teaches an exploratory studies class that is geared toward first-year students. The class isn’t like a typical seminar; students complete self assessments, shadow and observe classes, and do research on the types of careers that are available with each degree that they might be interested in.

Through the class, exploratory students can also job shadow and attend faculty panels where professors come and discuss every major and minor that Butler offers.

“This leaves them with a foundation where they get to learn about their strengths, what their interests are, and gives them an opportunity to see what [a certain major] is really like,” says Lee.

Lee feels that the program is extremely valuable to students because it can empower them and give them reassurance that they will find a major that they are interested in.

“Some students look around campus and feel that their peers have it all figured out,” Lee says. “You don’t have to have it all figured out. When [students] do come in as exploratory, I like for them to convey it to other people and say that they are an exploratory studies student; that it is a major, and that they are doing the research to make an informed decision on what their major is going to be.”

In recent years, exploratory studies has been one of the largest majors on Butler’s campus. Since the 2015-2016 school year, the program has grown by over 60 students. Currently, there are almost 200 students in the program.

Jen Mann is another academic advisor in the Learning Resource Center who also works as a student development specialist. She says that the exploratory studies major is essential because of the countless options that are available to Butler students.

“In high school, students are likely only exposed to around 10 areas of study,” Mann says. “Here at Butler, we have over 65 majors. There is no way that a first year student has any concept of what some of those areas are that they could potentially go into.”

Mann sees the exploratory studies program as a unique opportunity for Butler students.

“I think what this program has done is make [exploratory studies] a very real major,” Mann says. “It is a program that is intentional, planned,  and thoughtful, and is a space where you can come in and have some normalcy with the goal of students feeling confident in saying that they are an exploratory studies major.”

Corrin Godlevske is a junior marketing major who started her first year at Butler in the exploratory studies major. She said that coming into college, she was torn between studying business or going into the pre-PA program.

“I’m thankful that I fell into exploratory,” Godlevske says. “The amount of help that I’ve received, even after [declaring my major], with questions about prerequisites and classes and all of that, they are always so willing to help me out.”

During her first semester as an exploratory studies major, Godlevske felt a little nervous about choosing an area of study, but listening to professors talk about their majors during classes and taking a Real Business Experience class helped to guide her toward the marketing major. Now she is confident in her major and thankful for the program.

“I’m not behind and I don’t feel like I missed anything that any other first-year would have done,” Godlevske says. “If anything, it has added to my experience and now I have such a great support system in the [Learning Resource Center] because they are always there to reassure me.”

Godlevske thinks that the exploratory studies major is something that separates Butler from other schools because it can be comforting to a new student who is unsure about deciding a major.

“I don’t think that a lot of other universities offer the same experience,” Godlevske says. “You come in and get this reassurance that you are in the right place.”

Nina Bertino is a junior strategic communications major who started as an exploratory student. She said that originally she was thinking about studying psychology in college, but joined the exploratory studies program to hone in on her interests.

“I didn’t even know that [strategic communication] was an option,” Bertino says. “It has been such a great major for me and the exploratory class helped me narrow down what exactly I was interested in.”

Some may doubt that the exploratory studies major would work or that it is worth the time to go through. But for Bertino, it was well worth it.

“I had a lot of people tell me, ‘Oh, you are going to school and you don’t even know what your major is?’” Bertino says. “I am actually on track to graduate a semester early because I went into exploratory.”

Bertino said the biggest thing is to figure out what you are passionate about and to go from there.

“There are a lot of people who declare, but you shouldn’t let that scare you,” Bertino says. “A lot of people change their majors or go into a major that they don’t really like. Take the time and figure out what exactly you want to study.”

Academics

Find Your Passion

Discover your major through the Exploratory Studies Program.

Find Your Passion

by Jackson Borman ’20
Giving

$1 million Gift from Butler Alumni to Name Andre B. Lacy School of Business Investment Room

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Feb 12 2019

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS -- Sean ’89 and Erin McGould ’93 have made a $1 million gift to Butler University to name the investment room of the new building for the Andre B. Lacy School of Business. The building will open in the fall 0f 2019.

The new McGould Investment Room will include state-of-the-art technology along with eight Bloomberg terminals. The space will serve as the home to the University’s Student-Managed Investment Fund, a real investment portfolio worth $3 million managed exclusively by students for the University.

“Regardless of your profession in life, you are going to have to save money and invest for the future.  Learning how to invest and allocate capital is important to everyone,” said Sean McGould. “We thought it would be great that students would have a dedicated space to explore investing.”

Sean, an Accounting major while at Butler, currently serves on the Lacy School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and is the CEO of Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.  As a student, he was a senior class officer and a member of the baseball team and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Erin is a graduate of the Jordan College of the Arts and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She is an avid volunteer for Butler University and the West Palm Beach community.

“Butler taught both of us how to think critically. In my opinion, the goal of an education is learning to think for yourself and being able to work through problems,” said Sean McGould.  “We will continue to contribute to Butler because we believe in the value of education and how Butler delivers the college experience in a unique format that prepares students for life after college.”

An influx of philanthropic support has aided Butler University’s dramatic growth in recent years. Pursuant to the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan, the University and donor partners have invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past six years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the Sunset Avenue parking garage including a streetscape beautification project and renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition, the University partnered with American Campus Communities to build the Fairview House and Irvington House residential communities. The Andre B. Lacy School of Business will open the doors to its new 110,000-square-foot home in the fall of 2019, and fundraising is underway to complete a $93 million Science Complex expansion and renovation.


About Butler University
Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 541 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 39 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. Butler students have had significant success after graduation as demonstrated by the University’s 97% placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook.

Giving

$1 million Gift from Butler Alumni to Name Andre B. Lacy School of Business Investment Room

The new McGould Investment Room will include state-of-the-art technology along with eight Bloomberg terminals.

Feb 12 2019 Read more

Dancing to the Beat of His Own Drum

In the eyes of Butler University Ballet Chair Larry Attaway, there likely won’t be another Jeremy Gruner in, well, forever.

“There’s never been another one like him before, at least in my time here,” says Attaway.

And that’s because Gruner, who is working on a Master of Music Composition, is also a sophomore-level non-degree student in Butler’s dance program. And Gruner is about to pull off a rare feat: He has written a 15-minute musical composition for this year’s Midwinter Dance Festival that he will also dance in.

The piece, titled Prophetstown, is about Tecumseh, the Native American Shawnee warrior and chief, and Tenskwatawa, his younger brother. Collaborating with Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Fernando Carrillo, who choreographed the piece, Gruner wrote a composition he describes as "rhythmically consistent and drum-heavy, with distinctive fast and slow sections."

To get the music right, Carrillo says, he talked to Gruner about the style of music he likes and sent samples of music that inspire him to dance or choreograph.

"We talked about tempo, dynamic, and the structure of the dance piece," Carrillo says. "Jeremy, being a dancer, understood what I wanted and has delivered a great piece of music that has made my choreography flow with ease."

Carillo says he's worked with composers who have a background in dance, which helps the choreographer during collaborations. But, Carillo says, it was a very rare experience to have a composer like Gruner who will actually dance in the performance.

Gruner, who is originally from Mahomet, Illinois, was more of a musician—he plays trumpet—than a dancer when he came to Butler. He danced briefly in high school musical theater, and as an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan University he collaborated with a faculty member to create music for a dance she choreographed.

But when he started looking at graduate schools, he wanted one that had strong music and dance programs, and also supported collaboration between departments.

"Butler was by far the most pro-collaboration," Gruner says. "That's why I came here."

He started at Butler by concentrating in both music composition and trumpet performance. He also enrolled in a 7:30 AM dance class with Liberty Harris, who is the rehearsal director of the Indianapolis company Dance Kaleidoscope and teaches dance for non-major Butler students. That was his first true ballet class.

On the first day, he was "completely clueless." The terminology and steps were new to him. But he wanted to keep going, and Harris encouraged him.

"I don't know if it's because it was so much of a struggle, but when I would accomplish something—when I would get even a little step further—I would feel such a sense of satisfaction that I never really got out of playing trumpet," Gruner says. "So I started to work more on dance and less on trumpet."

Gruner dropped the trumpet after his first semester and prepared to audition for the dance program. He's now doing the full technique course rotation of an undergraduate sophomore dance major while he finishes his master's with Professor of Music Composition Michael Schelle.

In place of the traditional graduate thesis recital expected of Music Composition students, Gruner will present an hour-long dance show comprised of music he has written in collaboration with Butler Ballet faculty, alumni, and current student choreographers. He will present that performance at Butler's Schrott Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 PM.

Gruner says studying music and dance simultaneously, along with teaching and holding two part-time jobs, is a lot of work. But he's up to the challenge.

"Dancing to music is completely different than writing it,” Gruner says, “so it's been interesting to separate myself from Composer Jeremy when I’m trying to be Dancer Jeremy. With just about everything, I either go full force at it or I don't even bother."


You can see Gruner piece in Program A of the Dance Department’s Midwinter Dance Festival, February 13-17 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.  Tickets for all shows are $15 for adults, $10 for 55-and-older, and $7 for children. For tickets and information, visit the Butler Art's Center site.

AthleticsGiving

Matt White Court Named Through Major Gift

BY Jennifer Gunnels

PUBLISHED ON Feb 12 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Friends and fraternity brothers of 1989 Butler University graduate Matt White have made a major gift to Butler University toward the second phase of renovations to Hinkle Fieldhouse, set to begin in May 2019. With the gift, the donors have chosen to honor White, who passed away after a 19-year battle with ALS on Friday, Feb. 8, by naming the practice court in the Efroymson Family Gym in his memory. The practice court will hereafter be known as the Matt White Court.

White was a standout member of the track and cross country teams during his years at Butler and a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Throughout White’s life, and particularly throughout his battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, he embodied The Butler Way, accepting the realities of a debilitating disease with grace while putting others above himself.

The donation to the Athletics Capital Improvement fund in White’s honor is a fitting tribute to a tenacious and loyal Bulldog who maintained a fierce devotion to Butler Athletics throughout his life, expressing in his final days a desire to watch one last Butler men’s basketball game. After White passed away Friday evening surrounded by friends and family, the Bulldogs posted a road win at Georgetown Saturday afternoon in his honor.

“Every Bulldog has a lot to learn about The Butler Way from Matt, his story and his toughness,” said Barry Collier, Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics. “Some have referred to Matt as Butler’s biggest fan. And while that might be true, Matt should also be known as one of Butler’s most inspiring Bulldogs for the way he lived his life.”

After earning his telecommunications degree from Butler in 1989, White went on to a successful career in advertising sales with Emmis Communications. White retired to Florida a few years after his ALS diagnosis in 2000, and despite being given a short and grim prognosis, White made the most of his remaining years with his wife Shartrina, his parents, and a large group of devoted friends.

Despite losing the ability to speak, eat and move, White found ways to continue enjoying many of the things he loved, including fishing in the Gulf waters off the west coast of Florida near his home with the help of his family and an innovative fishing pole he could control with his eye movements. He also remained devoted to following Butler Athletics. When Butler competed in the Final Four in Indianapolis in 2010, Coach Brad Stevens invited White to speak to the team before the semifinal matchup. White labored for days at his computer to type out a speech, which Shartrina read to the team.

“I try to live like you play,” he wrote. “You are my inspiration.”

White long outlived his original prognosis and inspired all who knew him, particularly his Butler family.

“I know I speak for a lot of former Bulldogs when I say we are thankful to have gotten a chance to know Matt,” said Stevens, Butler’s men’s basketball coach from 2007-13. “Despite all that he was battling, his spirits were always focused on helping others, and his words always were inspiring and encouraging.”

The Matt White Court will serve as a daily reminder of a beloved Bulldog’s grit, determination, and devotion to Butler Athletics. This legacy gift will continue to inspire future generations of Bulldogs in White’s memory and will support major enhancements to the Efroymson Family Gym. With new flooring, lighting, and air conditioning, the renovated gym will mirror the look of the main Hinkle Fieldhouse court. The renovations will also include installing air conditioning throughout Hinkle Fieldhouse and refurbishment of the Men’s Soccer locker room.

The Matt White Scholarship was previously established at Butler University in 2004 by White’s family and friends as a way to pay tribute to a great Bulldog. The scholarship supports Butler student-athletes with preference given to those who share Matt’s interest in the field of broadcast communications. On Saturday (Feb. 16), Butler’s men’s basketball team will host DePaul at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler is planning a “Matt White-out” and asks fans to wear white to celebrate his life.

“Matt White represented the very best of Butler University,” said Butler University President James Danko. “His courage, wisdom, and perseverance inspired us all. We are grateful that through this generous gift to name the Matt White Court, future generations of student-athletes can be inspired by Matt’s legacy as they train on the floor bearing his name.”

About Butler University
An influx of philanthropic support has aided Butler University’s dramatic growth in recent years. Pursuant to the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan, the University and donor partners have invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past five years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, the Sunset Avenue parking garage including a streetscape beautification project and renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition, the University partnered with American Campus Communities to build the Fairview House and Irvington House residential communities. The Andre B. Lacy School of Business will open the doors to its new 110,000 square foot home in the fall of 2019, and fundraising is underway to complete a $93 million Science Complex expansion and renovation.

Butler University is a nationally recognized comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 541 graduate students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 39 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will participate in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. Butler students have had significant success after graduation as demonstrated by the University’s 97% placement rate within six months of graduation. The University was recently listed as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, in addition to being included in The Princeton Review’s annual “best colleges” guidebook

AthleticsGiving

Matt White Court Named Through Major Gift

The practice court in the Efoymson Family Gym will hereafter be known as the Matt White Court.

Feb 12 2019 Read more
Academics

Butler Professor Uses Past to Predict Sports Attendance

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Feb 05 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Everybody knows when the Golden State Warriors are in town.

There’s a buzz around the arena earlier than usual, as fans make sure to arrive at least 90 minutes before tipoff to catch a glimpse of Stephen Curry’s famous pregame ritual, complete with two-ball dribbling drills and circus-like shots from the tunnel. All of a sudden, a random Wednesday night in name-that-NBA-city is not so mundane. And game No. 24 on the drawn-out NBA schedule is not so meaningless. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize when the winners of three of the last four NBA titles comes to town, attendance will be up.

But, what about all those other random games packed into an 82 game NBA season? When Curry isn’t there to get the crowd excited? When the weather is bad? Or when the average person cannot name a single player on the opposing team? Turns out there is a way to predict attendance on those nights, too.

King’s findings were certainly accurate. Published in the Journal of Computer Science & Information Technology, King was able to predict attendance at every regular season game from the 2015-2017 NBA seasons, on average, within five percent. Enter Butler University Associate Professor of Operations Management Barry King. And enter his algorithm-based, machine learning approach to NBA attendance predictions.

“We were able to predict attendance by looking at home team popularity, Twitter followers, day of the week, home team winning percentage, home city’s total personal income, and other variables,” says King, who specializes in predictive analytics. “By taking those predictor variables, along with historical data, we were able to come up with an accurate forecast that can have many applications beyond just the NBA.”

King’s findings were certainly accurate. Published in the Journal of Computer Science & Information Technology, King was able to predict attendance at every regular season game from the 2015-2017 NBA seasons, on average, within five percent.

To get an accurate prediction, King explains, he trained a type of algorithm (Random Forest) to predict an outcome using historical data. This, he says, is machine learning. Machine learning leverages historical data to inform future forecasts.

So, King trained the machine. He plugged in attendance data from the 2009-2013 NBA seasons into the algorithm, along with predictor variables like home team popularity, popularity of the opponent, day of the week the game occurred, home team winning percentage, home city’s total personal income, and capacity of home venue.

“We are among the first to use machine learning to predict attendance,” he says. “That is unique because it takes historical data into consideration. We believe that training the machine on historical data enabled us to get a much more accurate prediction of future attendance. Taking history into account, and teaching the machine that history, enables the machine to come up with future forecasts.”

King has applied this method of predictive analysis to the NHL and MLS. And the accuracy remained. While he now has the ability to accurately predict the attendance for these professional sport leagues, he believes the application goes beyond the wide world of sports.

“This has carry over to the business world and how companies can run their enterprises better,” he says. “As a manager of a basketball team, I would certainly like to know how many people are likely to show up for a random February game so that I can plan to have more staff on hand, if needed, or start to think about amping up the promotions, if attendance looks low. This could also help teams determine ticket price levels.”

Machine learning, King says, is an important area when it comes to forecasting. In the future, he says, he would like to build his prediction tool into an app that industry people can use to easily access this information, and then make decisions based off the results, on their own.

King says the information can also be applied to coming up with scheduling at a hospital, crews on airlines, and those are just some examples.

“Real world solutions often start with having a good idea of what the future might look like,” he says. “We now have a way to make accurate future predictions, based on historical data. I see this being useful in many industries.”

Academics

Butler Professor Uses Past to Predict Sports Attendance

King was able to predict attendance at every regular season game from the 2015-2017 NBA seasons within five percent.

Feb 05 2019 Read more
AcademicsResearch

Butler Researcher Shows Link Between Social Media and Happiness

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Feb 01 2019

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS—People flock to Facebook to see the latest wedding news, vacation photos, new baby arrival, or home purchase. Most people, research indicates, head to their newsfeeds to passively watch and compare, much more often than post their own news or updates.

But, it turns out, some of us prefer to look at and compare ourselves to certain types of individuals: those who make us feel better about ourselves. And that, in turn, can lead to an increase in happiness and life satisfaction.

That’s according to new research from Lee Farquhar, Butler University Associate Professor of Entertainment Media and Journalism in the College of Communication. Humans continually observe those around them to see how they fit in, a process called social comparison theory. This innate concept holds true in the world of social media, according to Farquhar’s research. It not only holds true, but the more individuals engage in that type of behavior on Facebook—comparing themselves to others in various ways—the happier and more satisfied they were with their life.

“There is no secret that Facebook intensity has been associated with negative social consequences, such as anxiety, narcissism, and loneliness,” says Farquhar, whose own previous research has revealed those very things. “But this looked at something new. When individuals positively compared themselves to other Facebook users, they had higher levels of reported happiness. These findings nuance previous scholarship that largely indicated heavy Facebook use has a detrimental effect on one’s psychological well-being. It is not the amount of Facebook use that matters, but rather, how one feels they measure up in comparison with those around them.”

Farquhar’s research, published in the Journal of New Media & Culture, surveyed 406 college students and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Workers. The average age was 32, and 46 percent were male.

The participants went through a series of questions about their social media use, such as time spent on Facebook, how they would feel if the social media outlet was taken away from them, and how often they look at others on Facebook, for example. They also measured life satisfaction and happiness.

The average life satisfaction and happiness scores were about a five out of seven. And, the more frequently one engaged in Facebook activities, the happier one was, Farquhar says. This, he says, can most likely be explained by downward social comparisons.

When individuals positively compared themselves to other Facebook users, they had higher levels of reported happiness and life satisfaction. So, he says, it is likely that individuals were seeking out others who made them feel better about themselves.

“For example, if the user wanted to feel better about his or her career, they might compare to an individual who is unemployed, or had a less appealing job. That same type of comparison could be done for virtually every other aspect of one’s life, like intelligence, family life, the list goes on,” he says. “It is not simply the amount of social comparing one does that matters, but the type of comparison that predicts happiness and life satisfaction.”

This targeted, downward social comparison, was the predictor of happiness and overall life satisfaction, Farquhar says. Facebook is the ideal medium for this, he says, because it allows users to select particular people or elements to hone in on for comparison, while blocking out those elements, or people, that are unwanted.

What this study didn’t account for, Farquhar explains, is the long-term impact of this behavior.

“I wouldn’t encourage people to spend more time on Facebook looking for people to look down on,” he says. “Looking for peers to look down on to make oneself feel better is not the prescription here. We believe the more time spent on there, the less satisfied with life one will eventually be, as one is bound to run into unfavorable social comparisons.”

But, he says, the findings are important for adding a more nuanced understanding to the social media behemoth. For so long the conversation has focused on doom and gloom when it comes to Facebook. While that may still be true, it is important to understand the medium in a more detailed way.

Facebook lends itself to downward social comparison, and therefore, makes the user feel better. So, he explains, for some, social media can have a positive impact, even if it is fleeting. This study also helps us understand how users interact with the medium on a more intimate level.

“We assumed the results would fall in line with the body of literature that says social media interactions make you feel worse and were surprised to see any sort of uptick,” Farquhar says. “We assumed, you go online, look at others, and feel worse. We believe downward comparison is going on and this adds another dimension to the complex conversation about Facebook.”

 

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

AcademicsResearch

Butler Researcher Shows Link Between Social Media and Happiness

  Turns out social media can make you happy.

Feb 01 2019 Read more

Stephanie Fernhaber: A Butler Professor Taking Learning Beyond the Classroom

by Sarah Bahr

While visiting a friend 4,300 miles away in Morocco last fall, Butler University Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship Stephanie Fernhaber came face-to-face with her first-world privilege.

She encountered a woman her age—43—who’d never attended a day of school in her life. The woman could neither read nor write.

“I’d read about the percent of women who are illiterate, but she wasn’t a number,” Fernhaber says. “She was an actual person.”

Fernhaber was inspired by the Moroccan mother’s determination to send her daughters to school, to break the cycle of illiteracy.

Back in Indianapolis, Fernhaber had a similar experience in 2017 when she discovered that the city she lives and works in was ranked last in the nation for food deserts, or areas where residents must travel a mile or more to reach a grocery store.

“I was shocked,” she says.

But, in both cases, she was also inspired. And she turned her shock into action.

All in the Family

Fernhaber grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin—Gresham, population 586 as of the 2010 census—as the daughter of community-minded parents.

“I was familiar with social justice before I ever learned the word,” she says.

She credits her father, who owned a construction company, for instilling her passion for community-conscious activism.

“I was always conscious of the balance between business, community, and social impact,” she says.

Fernhaber has now lived in Indiana for nine years—she moved after she took a teaching position at Butler in 2010—but her passion for social entrepreneurship, or using start-up companies to develop and implement solutions to community issues, transcends location.

A longtime dream came to fruition when she developed a social entrepreneurship course at Butler, which she inaugurated in spring 2014.

Nonprofits in Indianapolis were scrambling to address big-picture issues like food insecurity and refugee resettlement with limited resources.

She had a captive audience of 24 students for 16 weeks (and could have had even more, but she caps the class, which she says always fills, to ensure it remains meaningful for students).

What can we do to help?, she thought.

A Class of Dreams

Fernhaber calls the Social Entrepreneurship course her “dream class”—in more ways than one. Yes, it allows her to share her passion for utilizing entrepreneurship to create social justice solutions, but it also inspires students to exercise their creativity.

“I wanted them to have a chance to see what’s happening in the community and have the chance to dream, and this class allows me to do both,” she says.

This spring, her fifth semester teaching the course, her students will split into teams of three and partner with eight community organizations. Past partners have included the Indianapolis Canine Assistance Network, Exodus Refugee Immigration, and Indy Reads Books, but Fernhaber adds new ones each year.

Each team will assess their assigned organization’s business model based on the social enterprise concepts they’re learning in class, as well as provide recommendations for how the organization can better serve their target population.

They’ll also produce a short video that will highlight the impact the organization is having in the community. At the end of the semester, the videos will be shared on the Central Indiana Social Enterprise Alliance website.

Beyond the Classroom

Butler sophomore Jordan Stewart-Curet, 20, helped Boys & Girls Club Teen Council members develop youth empowerment initiatives as part of the communityINNOVATE project, an initiative Fernhaber developed in 2016 to inspire the community to co-create solutions for social issues.

“The best memories I have are from the group discussions that would take place with the teen groups,” Stewart-Curet says. “To see them transform from shy, reserved individuals to powerful, confident community leaders are experiences I will forever take with me.”

Stewart-Curet calls Fernhaber someone who “truly, truly cares” and “is full of passion and drive to better the community.”

“She is a phenomenal woman,” Stewart-Curet says. “She has a heart for not only the students she works with, but issues of justice and equality for the community around her.”

Case in point: Teaching a class on social entrepreneurship and empowering her students to better their community wasn’t enough.

Fernhaber does so in her free time as well.

She’s developed a myriad of social entrepreneurship initiatives in Indianapolis through her communityINNOVATE project, among them the 2018 Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge and the 2017 Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could bring some of these processes from the class into the community?’” says Fernhaber.

Through communityINNOVATE, Fernhaber brings together a group of change-makers from Indianapolis businesses, nonprofits, and citizens to devise solutions to one social issue per year.

In spring 2017, she launched the Indy Healthy Food Access Challenge to facilitate discussions among businesses, church groups, and neighborhood residents to answer the question: “How might Indianapolis residents better access healthy and affordable food?”

She followed up the effort with the Indy Youth Empowerment Challenge in spring 2018, a four-month process designed to pinpoint the obstacles preventing youth empowerment in Indy — and implode them.

She worked with the Kheprw Institute, an Indianapolis nonprofit that works to empower young people through mentorship, to host workshops to teach young people about social capital—for instance, putting participants in groups and asking them to plan a trip to Florida in 10 minutes, including how they’d get there, where they’d stay, and what they’d eat.

The catch? They couldn’t use money.

Attendees instead had to think about how to leverage their existing relationships to make the trip happen, relying on social rather than financial capital.

As for 2019? She’s taking a hiatus from hosting a challenge to map out the initiative’s future, but with plenty of social problems left to solve—Indy’s increasing gap among the haves and have-nots, the race divide, and economic problems among them—she’s sure to be busy for the foreseeable future.

No Day But Today

Fernhaber’s Social Entrepreneurship students will soon dive into this spring’s projects with partner organizations ranging from Nine Lives Cat Café in Fountain Square to RecycleForce, a recycling company that employs formerly incarcerated individuals.

And some students, such as Stewart-Curet, might even come away from the class with changed career goals.

“I want to become a creative director for a nonprofit or minority-owned business that focuses on intercommunity efforts and youth empowerment,” she says. “This project definitely influenced that.”

Fernhaber is clever like that: Students think their work is impacting the Indianapolis community, but the greater impact may actually be on them.

AcademicsPeople

Stephanie Fernhaber: A Butler Professor Taking Learning Beyond the Classroom

Fernhaber brings together a group of change-makers to devise solutions to  social issues.  

8 Ways for Students to BeWell at BU

by Katie Pfaff ’19

Katie Pfaff ’19 is a senior studying Strategic Communication and Communication & Organizational Leadership. This semester she is an intern for Butler’s BU | BeWell program.


 

BUBeWell provides a platform for students to explore wellness within their collegiate experience. Each student is able to take a personal journey to discovering what areas they need support in to grow, learn, and be the best versions of themselves. The eight dimensions below take a holistic and transformative approach to obtaining overall wellness. This highlights a few of the many pieces that help foster the BUBeWell experience.

 

Mind & Body

Looking for an exciting way to enhance your physical health at Butler? Why not stop by the Health and Recreation Complex and attend one of the many fitness classes offered? Group fitness has a wide variety of activities ranging from cardio to meditation that can accommodate any student’s schedule. This is the ideal opportunity for a seasoned workout junkie or first-timer to explore and improve their personal health.

 

Career & Life Skills

College is a place for students to dive deep into the many different career paths available to them. Internship and Career Services develops students into young professionals by offering creative and innovative ways to help prepare them for the future. Students can get connected with the different Career Communities to learn more about certain industries and network with other peers/professionals who share similar interests. Conversations about future careers don’t have to happen alone; let Internship and Career Services guide students to many different resources available.

 

Intellectual Wellness

Learning isn’t something that is limited to just inside the classroom. Intellectual growth can be fostered through interactive experiences and the engagement of new ideas. Faculty and staff provide a valuable amount of insight and knowledge to students through academic advising. Students can take advantage of one-on-one mentorship that can provide clarity on ways to obtain academic success.

 

Diversity & Inclusion

Exposure to a variety of different backgrounds and experiences provides students with the ability to build appreciation and understanding for culture. Butler strives to cultivate resources to support one’s journey to discovering their own identity and how they differ from others. The Efroymson Diversity center is an open space and community for students to come together as they to share and discover. It houses a multitude of organizations and programming for individuals of all kinds. Stop by and see how you can get involved!

 

Environmental Wellness

The first steps in building a more sustainable world can start right here on campus. Whether you choose to be an advocate, educator, or protector of the environment, resources are available to assist you in that journey. The Center for Urban Ecology Farm provides students with a sustainable agriculture project located on campus. Get hands-on experience within the farm or take advantage of the many ways to support by visiting the on-site farm stand!

 

Service & Community

What better way to bring students and community members together than through acts of service? The Volunteer Center located on campus provides a starting point to conversations regarding service. However, students can take part in an even more unique experience through the alternative fall/spring break trips. Consider skipping a week of vacation and instead donating time to others. The most valuable part of all is the sense of community formed amongst those involved!

 

Meaning & Purpose

Butler provides students with a wide variety of resources in support of the ability to reflect on one’s values and beliefs. This exploration can be done through interaction with student-led organizations supported by the Center for Faith and Vocation. However, Butler has now recently established designated “Reflection, Meditation, and Prayer spaces” across campus. This serves as an open and quiet environment for all students in the heart of campus.

 

Social Wellness

Building connections and relationships with others is an important part of the student experience. Some students may find these interactions through traditional environments like classroom settings, residence halls, or athletic teams. Reaching outside traditional boundaries, the student government association provides dynamic programming to engage students in new ways. Each semester, late night programming is designed to provide a healthy environment for students to cultivate meaningful relationships together in a social atmosphere.

 

These are just eight examples of the many ways students can tap into discovering and fostering their inner wellness. BUBeWell is designed to be the bridge that closes the gaps in a student’s journey preventing them from living a balanced life. Butler provides students many robust opportunities to develop, both inside and outside of the classroom, through each of the eight dimensions of the BUBeWell model.

PeopleCommunity

In National Survey, Butler Alumni Outshine Most Others

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jan 29 2019

For Jarod Wilson, work is much more than just a job. The 2008 Butler University graduate was a first-generation college student. He was able to attend Butler only after being named a 21st Century Scholar.

Now he works at the place that awards those scholarships.

Gallup Poll Results“It’s exciting to me to be able to work for an agency that helped me want to go to college and go to Butler, which was my dream school,” he says. “And the work that we do is so important and close to my heart, coming from a first-generation background. I have a close, personal connection to the work.”

Wilson is the Director of Post-Secondary Outreach and Career Transitions with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. He works with colleges to make sure they are providing support to students who receive financial aid. To him, his job and his mission is personal.

Through Wilson, it is easy to see why 78 percent of Butler grads say they are deeply interested in the work they do. That compares with 73 percent of college graduates nationwide, according to the Gallop-Purdue Index. The GPI is an annual survey of a representative sample of more than 70,000 U.S. college graduates who have obtained a bachelor’s degree. It measures overall well-being, workplace engagement, college experiences, and affinity and attachment to one’s alma mater.

Butler outperformed its peers by most GPI measures. For example, nearly nine in 10 Butler alumni are satisfied with the education they received, and 80 percent say Butler was the perfect place for them.

Mollie Thomas, a 2015 graduate, completely agrees.

Thomas majored in Arts Administration and minored in Art + Design. She now works as the Manager of Member and Donor Experience for Newfields, the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s campus. For her, Butler provided the perfect combination of being challenged, yet also providing a place to figure out exactly what path to take after school.

“I was able to pursue my passion in an environment where people helped me grow,” she says. “It was ideal. I feel way more equipped to navigate our world and our culture because of the education I got.

It is not surprising, then, that 42 percent of grads said they had a job waiting for them when they graduated, according to the GPI. That compares with 31 percent of college graduates nationally. And 53 percent say that Butler’s Internship and Career Services office was helpful in their preparation to land that job. Nationally, 43 percent say that about their alma mater’s career services office.

Aaron Smith doesn’t know where he would be without Butler’s Career Services Office. The 2017 grad knew he was passionate about clothing design, but Butler didn’t teach that. He sought out Courtney Rousseau, a Career Services Advisor who teaches a course called Career Planning Strategies. Her course covers topics like resume writing, networking, and interviews. After talking to Smith, Rousseau connected him with a professional in the clothing design field who was able to share her experiences.

Now, Smith works as a personal stylist for Dia & Co., a plus-size women’s clothing subscription company. He selects outfits for customers and helps them style the clothing he picks.

“Courtney making that happen—that was just the best for me,” he says. “I’m now doing something that I love, which is working in the realm of fashion.”

Butler President James Danko says he is pleased that grads appreciate what they learned and the attention they received while on campus.

“I’m so happy to see that Butler graduates have found their education worthwhile, and that they’ve been able to have meaningful, fulfilling careers,” Danko says. “This is what we strive for every day.”

PeopleCommunity

In National Survey, Butler Alumni Outshine Most Others

Butler Grads excel in well-being, work place engagement, and college experience.

Jan 29 2019 Read more

Building Balanced Bulldogs

by Jeff Stanich ’16

At Butler, fostering a student’s health and wellbeing goes way beyond the treadmill or a yoga mat.

Perhaps you’ve seen the BU | BeWell logo, which appears as a rainbow of principal pillars, across campus and online. Each of the eight components—Mind & Body, Career & Life Skills, Meaning & Purpose, Social, Environmental, Service & Community, Intellectual, and Diversity & Inclusion—are what the team behind BU | BeWell believe contribute to the complete and transformative experience that Butler University offers its students.

BU BeWell logoWhat happens outside of the classroom on a college campus is as critical as what happens inside to the future success of a student. Learning to navigate the challenges of adult life in a healthy way is fundamental to a fulfilled life after graduation. The tools and experiences critical to this essential process of “growing up” have always been available on Butler’s campus, but they have been scattered and, at times, perhaps disjointed. This year, with the launch of BU | BeWell, for the first time in the school’s history, all of the student resources available across campus have come together to make it more straightforward for students to make their time outside of the classroom as meaningful as it always has been inside of it.

“It’s a big deal,” says Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Frank E. Ross. “Leading higher education associations NASPA and NIRSA have articulated the importance of wellbeing to student success, and a proactive, campus-wide approach to supporting the whole student. That is what we are doing at Butler with BU | BeWell.”

Ross is saying that not only as a fellow bulldog, but as a national leader in student affairs with more than two decades of experience. According to him, what Butler is doing outside of the classroom will be a leading example in higher education across the country.

Take it from Katie Pfaff, a senior who has been working closely with BU | BeWell’s collaborators. Since she’s only a few months away from graduation, she recognizes how much she could have benefitted had this framework been in place since her first year.

“While I got all the pieces I needed to have a well-rounded experience, I took a much curvier path to get there than what BU | BeWell will help Butler’s students pursue,” Pfaff says. “I know I’m only a short time away from a major transitional period after graduation. BUBeWell’s model is something I can look to while trying to make sure my life stays as balanced as it’s been on campus.”

That’s the key. BU | BeWell will not only help students make their time at Butler more fulfilling, but it will also guide those individuals toward healthy and meaningful lives beyond campus.

BU | BeWell has been a campus-wide, collective effort to organize. Two of its champions—Josh Downing, Director of Recreation & Wellness, and Beth Lohman, Associate Director of Fitness & Wellness—have spent the last few years applying national best practices in order to bring BU | BeWell to life. Now in its first year of rollout, their primary objective is raising awareness of its existence so that students know where many, if not all, of their questions will be answered.

Need help putting a résumé together? BU | BeWell will tell you where to go.

Need a tutor for that major exam coming up? BU | BeWell will help you find one on campus.

In need of a faith-based circle? Wondering when the next keynote speaker is coming? Want to get more involved in student government? BU | BeWell, BU | BeWell, BU | BeWell.

And this is only the beginning. While the framework is in place and the web portal has launched, in year two, software will be rolled out so that students can create a BU | BeWell profile to track their involvement and/or progress with the eight components of the BUBeWell umbrella. Even more, annual surveys will continue to be conducted to see how exactly BU | BeWell is meeting the needs of Butler’s students while also looking for ways to improve.

“That’s why we’re all so excited about this moving forward,” Downing says. “By enhancing what Butler already does so well, the potential for how exactly BU | BeWell will help our students is limitless.”

Student LifeCampus

Building Balanced Bulldogs

BU | BeWell is a campus-wide, collective effort to enhance the student experience outside the classroom.

Building Balanced Bulldogs

by Jeff Stanich ’16
Campus

Butler Earns Bronze for Sustainability

BY Marc Allan MFA `18

PUBLISHED ON Jan 23 2019

Butler University's first campus-wide sustainability assessment has earned a bronze-level ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which measures efforts in areas such as operations, curriculum, campus, and public engagement to make the University more environmentally friendly.

The University earned strong marks for offering courses and immersive experiences related to sustainability, and for using campus as a living laboratory. Butler also was noted for outreach campaigns, intercampus collaborations, and community partnerships.

The full report is available here.

"Our bronze ranking confirms Butler’s commitment to campus sustainability," says Julia Angstmann, Director of Butler's Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability. "And now that we have compiled this report, we have a baseline to know where we stand, which is important for the institution as we work to improve our sustainability efforts."

The AASHE rankings—which range from no ranking to platinum—are determined by information that colleges and universities self-report. In October, the University submitted a more than 200-page report delineating all of its sustainability efforts. AASHE took that information from Butler and other participating schools and gave scores in each category.

Butler was noted for offering majors and minors that incorporate sustainability concepts and courses that are sustainability-related or sustainability-focused. It also received high marks for study-abroad programs related to sustainability that are offered in Australia (Sustainability and Environmental Action), Ecuador (Comparative Ecology and Conservation), Iceland and Greenland (Climate Change in the Arctic), and Germany (Environmental Studies and Sustainability).

Under the heading of "using campus as a living laboratory," AASHE noted the number of courses that use the Campus Farm as a resource, the inventory taken of trees on campus, and the efforts made to prevent birds from crashing into windows in campus buildings.

AASHE scores also noted operations efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, reduce energy consumption and food waste, and add green buildings to campus.

In addition, Butler received innovation points for its collaboration with Ball State to create a mobile greenhouse, a composting project with IUPUI, and the completion of the Sunset Avenue Gateway project, a green infrastructure project that introduced bike lanes and enhances walkability through the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.

Angstmann said the AASHE rankings reveal that Butler is on the right track.

"There's been a lot of interest from the campus community now that we know where we stand," she says. "So this is an exciting time for sustainability at Butler."

 

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