Center for Scholarly Engagement

Butler Summer Institute

The Butler Summer Institute is designed to allow a student to pursue a significant research question, or to contribute to a scholarly conversation, or to produce creative work, while being mentored by a faculty member, and supported by a community of equally enthusiastic student researchers, scholars, and artists.

Those accepted into the Butler Summer Institute:

  • Work closely with a faculty mentor to create original research, scholarship, or a creative endeavor.
  • Work and live with other Butler students who are equally engaged in research, scholarship, or creative work.
  • Produce work worthy of acceptance at a professional conference or in a professional publication.
  • Join the ranks of BSI participants who experience transformational learning.
  • Receive a $2500 stipend, a housing allowance for campus accommodations, and free admission to the cultural events scheduled throughout the summer.

Should I apply for BSI?

BSI is a program you should consider if you have a research question to pursue, a contribution to make to a scholarly conversation, or a creative work you are ready to produce. You are ready for this challenge if you are a sophomore or junior, if you've had multiple courses related to the project topic, if you've conducted research in one or more courses, or if you intend to or are required to write a thesis.

If you feel confident that there is a project you want to pursue, then it's time to ask: who among the faculty is the best person to serve as my mentor on this project? For some of you, a faculty member may already have encouraged you to pursue BSI and so your question's been answered. For others, it may be the case that you've taken two or three courses that are relevant to the project you want to pursue-perhaps a research methods course, a course that's provided the historical background of your topic, or a course that's provided the latest thinking on your topic. Some combination of such courses is essential in order for you to complete a solo project. Also, those courses connect you to faculty who have the expertise you need from a mentor, and just as important, who share your interest in a particular area of inquiry. Those are the faculty you should meet with and talk to about the project you are considering. Ask them for feedback, let them steer you in the direction of a solid question, the right background material, and ultimately a feasible project plan. Ask them about their interest in and availability to serve as your BSI mentor.

Finally, consider BSI if you have the time to commit not only to your own research but to a community of scholars. The program begins in mid-May and ends in mid-July. During those weeks, you will live in campus housing, share many meals with BSI students and mentors, participate in a service project, attend events around Indianapolis, work like crazy on your research, present your research, and feel an amazing sense of accomplishment when it's all over. A key component, one you should not overlook, is that we expect you to show interest in the work of your colleagues, listen attentively when they talk about the trials and tribulations of their research, and speak as clearly and simply as possible about your own research that fascinates you but may be quite unfamiliar to others. In other words, be present, be engaged, and be open to all that BSI has to offer.

Important BSI Dates and Deadlines for 2014-15

Monday 11/3 from 5:00-5:50 pm (PB 103): Informational Meeting for Prospective Scholars. All students interested in BSI are strongly encouraged to attend. An announcement will be coming in the Connection.

Monday 12/1 at noon: Statement of Intent deadline. Must be submitted to the CHASE office (JH 153).

Friday 12/12 at noon: Prospective Mentor luncheon. Invitations will be e-mailed.

Friday 1/30: Completed proposals are due in the CHASE office (JH 153).

There will be a required meeting in March for the selected scholars. Details forthcoming.

BSI 2015 dates: May 18 through July 16

BSI Proposals

Students: please refer to the 2015 BSI Proposal Guidelines   (due 1/30 in the CHASE office) for detailed information on completing your BSI Proposal.

Mentors: here is the information form (this is a downloadable Word file, not a web page) on your mentor letter of support (required for all BSI proposals). Your letter can either be sent in separately to the CHASE by the deadline or attached to the proposal, as you prefer.

To assist you, past BSI participants offer their proposals for you to view.  We've tried to cover as many subject areas as possible.


Astronomy/Physics by Adam Hibshman

Biology by Julie Kolnik

Chemistry by Daniel Kroupa

Communication Studies by Kate Siegfried

Creative Writing by Andrew Erlandson

Dance by Morgan Sicklick

History by Katie Hammit

History by Abby Neuman

Music Theory by Marcella Columbus 

Pharmacy by AJ Teare

Psychology by Karina Hamamouche

Sociology by Brad Vogelsmeier

BSI Highlights

View a slideshow of the 2013 BSI participants!