Butler 2020Banner _SmallReflections on our Mission

Selected members of the Butler community took part in a June 12, 2013, workshop to define initial concepts for the University's vision. Alumna Julie Schrader, the manager of Employer Development for the Department of Internship and Career Services, reflects here on the gathering and its meaning for Butler's future.

By Julie Schrader '01 MBA '08

Julie -SchraderAs an alumna, former student-athlete, and current employee of the University, I have always had a passion for being involved in making Butler a great institution. I have enthusiastically sought opportunities to be engaged on various University committees so I could make a difference, and it makes me proud to be a part of the decision-making process as someone who has experienced Butler from different perspectives. 

I was honored to be invited to the workshop as a member of the Staff Assembly Executive Committee and through my work in Student Academic Affairs in the Office of Internship and Career Services. I expected a small group and was energized to see almost 70 attendees, and the mix of faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni.

Dean of Education Ena Shelley started the session with a video of Ken Robinson's TED talk, "Changing Education Paradigms." Robinson's ideas on the potential for teaching in alternative ways made us think differently about how Butler can innovate in academics and student service. Shelley's follow-up was also encouraging and inspiring, convincing us that we're all educators and role models and at Butler to make a difference. One Butler's strengths is the dedication and passion of its faculty and staff to see students succeed. Shelley is an excellent example.

Following remarks by President Danko, attendees participated in small discussion groups, each focused on a different area: academics, athletics, campus facilities, career advancement, community engagement, external relations, and-my group-the student experience. We were asked to consider how we'd word a realistic but stretching vision for Butler in five to seven years. A member of each group then presented the group's ideas to everyone. The highly structured agenda and consultant Jane Kirkland's facilitation kept us focused.

My group had a productive discussion about challenges within the student experience. We addressed the pressures of growing the student population. As more students enroll, will Butler be able to provide the same support, resources, and attention that we do now to meet students' needs? Ideas flowed on improving communication, customer service, soft study space, technology, and housing.

I felt extremely positive about Butler's future course at the workshop's conclusion. President Danko had thought out the next steps for follow-through, and I valued that our input would be used in further discussions. Our voices were heard and respected. My involvement in the workshop and other opportunities where I have been able shape the success of Butler make me incredibly proud to be a Bulldog.