College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts Matters

Kristi Schultz Broughton Liberal Arts Essay Contest


The Kristi Schultz Broughton Liberal Arts Essay Contest is an annual competition which encourages Butler undergraduates from all colleges to write a short essay in response to a prompt about the value of the liberal arts education they are experiencing at Butler. The author of the winning essay receives a $1000 prize.

The essay contest is named in honor of Kristi Schultz Broughton.  Although not a Butler grad, Kristi was an avid supporter of Butler.  Kristi was an elementary school teacher and a Butler Mom whose life exemplified the values of liberal education and a commitment to teaching and learning.  The contest is made possible through the generous gift of Kristi's sister Karen Schultz Alter '85 and brother Steven R. Schultz '88.

2015 topic - Vision for the Future

In describing Butler 2020 ( the university makes use of six different verbs to articulate the university's vision for its future, a vision deeply informed by and invested in the liberal arts. Select one of the verbs that are part of the vision for Butler 2020 and write an essay describing how your liberal arts education has made that verb part of your own vision for the future. In other words, think about and illustrate how you will be better able to enact that verb as a result of your liberal arts education.

Contest Requirements

Topics and Essays from previous years:

2014 topic - Somewhere Between Right and Wrong
The distinction between what is right to do and what is callous or offensive marks many of our decisions and can shape our lives and the lives of those affected by our actions and attitudes for better or worse. Moral choices are pervasive; we encounter them in the occupations on which we may embark, the research we may perform, and the lives that we lead. There is no universal agreement on the principles that should guide our moral choices (e.g. many tend to equate what is right with personal advantage or with some religious or political ideology). Articulate and analyze the ways by which your Butler Experience (Core and Major Classes, Community and Cultural Requirements, Study Abroad, Service Activities, and so on) has helped you to gain personal insight into the distinction(s) between what is right and what is wrong.
Winning essay, "The Moral Code of Liberal Arts," by Bryant Dawson.

2013 topic - Primed to Serve, a Benefit of a Liberal Arts Education
In Professor Marshall Gregory's forthcoming book, Good Teaching and Educational Vision: Not the Same Thing as Disciplinary Expertise, he writes of the importance of "[making] some kind of positive contribution to the world: to do something to make the world more sensible or more peaceful or more civil or more intelligent, and more congenial to human flourishing." Write an essay that analyzes how your liberal arts experiences (in your core and major classes, your community requirements, your service work, or other experiences) have inspired or prepared you to make similar sorts of positive contributions to rationality, peace, civility, intelligence, or human growth.
Winning essay, "Bologna and Blogs: A Student's Journey Towards Actualizing The Purpose of His Higher Education," by Andrew Erlandson.

2012 topic - Mediating the Disconnect: Liberal Arts as Inspiration for Activism
Virtually all news and media outlets frequently and urgently remind us that we are at a historic crossroads and that local and global societies and economies are facing extraordinary if not totally unprecedented challenges. Yet many of us tend to feel disconnected from these challenges, watching them as if they were a show that we are free to observe or ignore or as a set of problems others are responsible for solving, preferably without our involvement.

In what ways has your experience at Butler moved you to and prepared you for a higher level of engagement with or response to these challenges? How has your liberal arts education encouraged or supported this change?
Winning essay, "Mediating Disconnected Communities with a Liberal Arts Education," by Jennifer Redmond.

2011 topic - Education as Commodity: Liberal Arts Education in the Consumer Age
Contemporary higher education is increasingly dominated by the realities and metaphors of the market economy.  Education is an investment or a product.  Students are consumers.  Admissions counselors are salespeople and professors deliver their customers goods and services.  Write an essay about this mindset and how it has affected your education.  Have your attitudes towards the commoditization of education changed during your time at Butler?  Fundamentally, how can or should liberal arts education fit within this worldview?
Winning essay, "Metaphors of the Market Economy and The Learning Community," by Ben Sippola.

2010 topic - "The Importance of the Liberal Arts in a Digital Age"
... .  The immediacy and ease of publication is fraught with pitfalls and potential issues that provide new challenges for the next generation of readers, writers, and thinkers. Consider the place of your liberal arts education in this mix and write an essay in which you analyze how that education has better prepared you as a consumer of, contributor to, and critic of the texts that flow from new media outlets.
Winning essay, "Mastering the Digital Age: How the Liberal Arts Can Turn Technology into Progress," by Caleb Hamman.

2009 topic - Imagine that you had an hour to spend with President-elect Obama and your task was to make sure he understood the nature and value of a liberal arts education. What would you say to him?
Two Winning essays!, "Learning the Art of Creation," by Farhad Anwarzai, and "Dear President Obama: The Importance of the Liberal Arts in Our Changeable World," by Michelle Skinner.

2008 topic - The Reach for Coherence: The Value of Complementarity Among the Sciences and Humanities in Your Liberal Education
Winning essay, "The Liberal Arts as a Way of Being Humane," by Mike Meginnis.

2007 topic - What is the value of a liberal arts education in the 21st century?
Winning essay, "The Glory of County Roads," by Betsy Shirley