Executive Council

Claire Konopa Aigotti—General Counsel

Claire Aigotti photo

Claire Konopa Aigotti became Butler University’s first General Counsel in August, 2013. As the General Counsel, she oversees all University legal matters, including those related to human resources and employment, student policies and discipline, business negotiations and contracts, real estate, litigation, and risk management.

A 1993 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she previously served as Associate General Counsel at the University of Note Dame where she led the Litigation and Student Issues team for the Office of General Counsel. In that capacity, she represented the University in all aspects of state and federal court litigation including personal injury, discrimination, breach of contract, student issues, collections, tenure and employment, and worker’s compensation. Ms. Aigotti also represented the University in matters stemming from Office of Civil Rights inquiries or complaints. In addition to contract drafting and review, she provided legal advice to University departments in areas of potential liability and litigation, managing risk and preventative law, and areas specific to student academics, discipline, and behavioral standards.

From 1996 through 2007, she was a partner at the law firm Konopa, Reagan and Aigotti, P.C. where she devoted her time to a variety of civil litigation matters including personal injury, product liability, insurance bad faith, and divorce matters through mediations, trials, and appeals.

After graduating from Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, she received her juris doctor degree from St. Thomas University School of Law in 1996.

For the school year 2008-2009, she was a concurrent Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School teaching courses in Trial Advocacy and Deposition Skills.

She was on the Board of Governors for the St. Joseph County Bar Association from 2006-2012, is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, and was a Barrister in the Robert A. Grant Inn of Court.

Bruce E. Arick—Vice President for Finance and Administration

Bruce Arick photo

Bruce E. Arick has served the University in various capacities since 1990. Since 2012 he has served as Vice President for Finance and Administration and Assistant Treasurer with oversight of financial areas, facilities, information technology, and police department. He previously held positions at the University include Vice President for Finance, Controller, Assistant Controller, and Senior Accountant. He also served as Controller at Southern Bells Inc., as well as Staff Accountant and Senior Auditor with Ernst & Young LLP, both located in Indianapolis. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and became a Certified Public Accountant of Indiana in 1991. Arick is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers. He currently serves on the Church Development Fund Capital, Inc. Board.

Brooke Barnett—Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Brooke Barnett photo

Brooke Barnett joined Butler University in June 2019. Her career as a teacher and scholar spans more than 25 years. At Elon University Barnett chaired the faculty governing body and served on the President’s senior cabinet, most recently as Associate Provost for Academic and Inclusive Excellence. Barnett is a board member of AAC&U and serves as a faculty member for the HERS institutes for women leaders in higher education. Her monographs and co-edited books include Multidisciplinary Approaches to Communication Law Research (2006), Media Coverage of Crisis: The War on Terror and the Wars in Iraq (2005), The Press and Terrorism: An Uneasy Relationship (2009), An Introduction to Visual Theory and Practice in the Digital Age (2011), and Intersectionality in Action: A Guide for Faculty and Campus Leaders for Creating Inclusive Classrooms and Institutions (2016).

Melissa Beckwith—Vice President for Strategy and Innovation

Melissa Beckwith became the University’s first Vice President for Strategy and Innovation in 2017 after successfully serving as the Interim Vice President for Marketing, Communications, and Strategic Innovation. Beckwith came to the Marketing and Communications Department from the Butler Business Consulting Group (BBCG), where she started as Manager and Practice Lead. At the BBCG, she worked with a diverse group of industries, from manufacturing and distribution to higher education. She also has served as Senior Director of Strategy and Innovation in Information Technology at Butler. Before returning to her alma mater, she served as the Director of Business Development and Client Services at MarketVision Communications Inc., and Associate Director of Marketing Communications for Valparaiso University. Beckwith earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Butler and an MBA from Valparaiso in 2005.

Barry Collier—Vice President and Director of Athletics

Barry Collier Butler University photo

Since August 2006, Barry Collier has served as the athletic director at Butler University. Previously, he coached college basketball for 30 years, including the position of head coach at both Butler University and University of Nebraska, as well as assistant coach positions at Rose-Hulman, Seattle Central Community College, Idaho, Oregon and Stanford universities. Collier first came to Butler as a student-athlete in 1974, following two years at Miami-Dade Community College, and played basketball under Coach George Theofanis for two seasons. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Butler in 1976 and a master’s degree from Indiana State University in 1977. Collier serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Basketball Coaches and is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, NCAA Men’s Basketball Issues Committee, NCAA FCS Governance Committee, Horizon League Executive Council and Horizon League Finance Committee.

Lori Greene—Vice President for Enrollment Management

Lori Greene Butler University photo

Lori Greene brings more than 27 years of experience in enrollment management to Butler.  She began her career in higher education at her alma mater, Spring Hill College located in Mobile, Alabama. During this time she earned her MBA from the University of South Alabama.  In 2000, she transitioned to Loyola University New Orleans, where she spent eight years in the Office of Admission.  By 2008, Lori moved from the Dean of Admission role and joined the Loyola University Chicago Office of Admission as the Director of Undergraduate Admission.  Her tenure at Butler began in April of 2015 as the Vice President for Enrollment Management.

Over the years, Lori has been an active member, and Board Director nominee, for the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC).  She has served in numerous roles within the Southern ACAC, Illinois ACAC, and presently within the Indiana ACAC which includes serving as the Admission Practices Co-Chair.  Lori also serves as a member of the Common App Board in the role of the Finance Committee Chair and serves on the Development Committee as a Board Member for the International Center of Indiana.

Brenda Harrington—Vice President for Human Resources

Brenda Harrington Butler University photo

Brenda Harrington returned to her alma mater in 2022. With over 25 years of experience in HR, she has developed expertise in employee relations, strategic planning, change management, process improvement, and staff management and development. Brenda has worked for organizations such as Eli Lilly and Company, AT&T, and CNO Financial Services. While at these organizations, she worked to build and lead HR teams, elevate DEI initiatives, implement solutions for individuals with disabilities, and lead performance management processes.

She continues to follow her passion for education and use her expertise as she serves on the board of trustees for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Eastern Star Church.

She received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in Electrical Engineering and her MBA from Butler University.

Aaron Hurt—Vice President for Arts, Events, and Enterprise Management

Aaron Hurt Butler University photo

Aaron Hurt joined the University with the opening of the Schrott Center in 2013 and has since worked in various roles in the Butler Arts Center up to his current position of Executive Director, which he has held since August of 2018. Aaron oversaw the merger of the Butler Arts Center and University Events into one division, the Butler Arts and Events Center, which oversees 1,400 events annually across the University—everything from week-long Broadway runs in Clowes Memorial Hall to receptions and meetings across campus. Aaron was named to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class of 2020, and in 2016 he was named to the International Association of Venue Managers’ 30 Under 30 class. Aaron is an alum of Butler University’s Arts Administration program and is proud to work for the University that launched him into the career he loves.

Jonathan Purvis—Vice President for University Advancement

Jonathan Purvis Butler University photo

Jonathan Purvis was named Vice President for University Advancement in 2018. Before joining Butler, he served as Vice President for Development and Regional Campuses at Indiana University. Prior to that, Purvis served as Executive Director of Development and Alumni relations for the Indiana University School of Education and Senior Director for Capital Projects at Washington University in St. Louis. He has also held varied positions at the Indiana University Foundation ranging from Executive Director of Special Gifts and Annual Giving to Assistant to the President. Purvis has 20 years of higher education development experience, holds the Certified Fund Raising Executive credential and has taught a variety of fundraising courses at Indiana University. He is a frequent presenter with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and is a contributing author to the third edition of the acclaimed Achieving Excellence in Fundraising. Purvis holds a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in Public Affairs, both from Indiana University.

Frank E. Ross III—Vice President for Student Affairs

Frank E. Ross III Butler University photo

Frank joined Butler University in 2017, after serving as Vice President for Student Life at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.  Before that he was the Vice President for Student Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University.

Frank is a national leader in the student affairs profession with involvement in NASPA, the preeminent international association dedicated to the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. He served as a member of the NASPA Board of Directors, was the national director of Knowledge Communities, and served as chair for the 2016 NASPA Annual Conference. He also was a member of the James E. Scott Academy Board for senior student affairs officers. Currently, Frank is a steering committee member for NASPA Advisory Services.

Frank earned his PhD in higher education from Indiana University, and then completed the higher education management development program at Harvard University.

The majority of his scholarship has focused on student development and success in the first college year, with a special emphasis on creating conditions for success for students from underrepresented backgrounds and identities. Frank previously served as the Editor of the Journal of Learning Communities Research. His latest publication is a book focusing on professional competencies in student affairs.

Frank has received awards and recognition from NASPA, the National Resource Center on the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, the National Academic Advising Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the American College Personnel Association for his work and research. In addition, he received the 2016 Robert H. Shaffer Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University.

Khalilah Shabazz—Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)

Khalilah Shabazz Butler University photo

Khalilah Shabazz joined Butler University on September 12, 2022. As Butler’s CDO, Dr. Shabazz serves as an important collaborative partner with internal and external stakeholders to proactively develop and implement plans, programs, and activities that educate and motivate members of the Butler community to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values to be collectively upheld in support of student learning and success. Previously she served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). She served in a variety of other leadership roles since joining IUPUI in 2001, including a seven-year stint as the Founding Director of the Diversity Enrichment & Achievement Program. She also served as Director of IUPUI’s Multicultural Center. She earned a BS in Psychology from IUPUI and an MS and PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University. She has served as a diversity panelist for the NCAA, a diversity trainer for the Indianapolis–Marion County Police Department, and as a diversity guest speaker and workshop presenter for several companies and organizations across the United States. She is an active member in leadership with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and the President & Founder of SAAS National Organization, Inc.

Sherry Wallace—Vice President for Marketing and Brand Management

Sherry Wallace Butler University photo

Sherry Wallace joined Butler University on September 1, 2022. She leads the Marketing and Brand Management team, ensuring productive, creative, and customer-focused results across Brand Strategy, Enrollment Marketing, and Creative Services. Previously she served as Executive Director of Engagement and Inclusion at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Spanish, as well as a Master of Business Administration, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She served her alma mater in a variety of leadership roles since 1998, including Director of MBA Admissions, Executive Director of Alumni Community, and Executive Director of Engagement and Inclusion at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. Prior to her career in higher education, Wallace spent more than a decade in corporate brand management and advertising. As a marketing and strategic business unit director at Fleer/SkyBox International, she oversaw a portfolio of licensed professional sports and entertainment trading card brands with sales revenue of more than $100 million. She also worked for Chicago’s Leo Burnett Company, developing new product concepts for Kraft Foods, and at Planters LifeSavers Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she served as an associate brand manager for Bubble Yum gum. Wallace is an active board member for the Compass Center for Women and Families and is a founding member of the 100 Women organization created by UNC Kenan-Flagler alumnae to accelerate female business leaders.

Mark Apple—Director of Strategic Communications

Mark Apple Butler University photo

Mark Apple joined Butler University in November 2020 and currently serves as the Director of Strategic Communications. His responsibilities include corporate communications, crisis communications and media relations. Over his career, Mark has held similar positions with Marian University, Harrison College, and Comcast among others. He is a lifelong Hoosier who earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-Bloomington, with a double major in Journalism and Speech Communication. Away from work, Mark enjoys spending time with his three children, traveling, live music, and attending sporting events.

Lisa Brooks—Dean, Jordan College of the Arts

Lisa Brooks Butler University photo

Lisa Brooks came to Butler in 1994 as a member of the violin faculty. Prior to her appointment as Dean of JCA, she served as Chair of the School of Music and Director of the Graduate Music Program. She held previous faculty appointments at Baylor University, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Messiah College, and Dickinson College. Brooks received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in violin performance from West Virginia University. Her doctorate in violin performance is from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

As an orchestral musician, Dr. Brooks is currently principal second violinist of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and a frequent substitute musician with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on both violin and viola. She presents the pre-concert lectures for the Ensemble Music Society, and is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans.

In 2013, Brooks received the inaugural Faculty Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership from Butler University, and in 2001, she received a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Craig Caldwell—Dean, Andre B. Lacy School of Business

Craig Caldwell Butler University photo

Since joining Butler in 1999, Craig Caldwell has demonstrated his commitment to students in a variety of roles, including Adjunct Faculty, Lecturer, Visiting Professor, Assistant Professor, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, and currently Associate Professor of Marketing and Management. Caldwell also served as Chair of the Marketing & Management Department for three years. In the Indianapolis community, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana and the International School of Indiana.

Caldwell teaches in the MBA and Master of Science in Risk & Insurance programs, delivering classes on Leadership, Strategy, and Organizational Change. Caldwell has won seven teaching awards, four advising awards, and was elected by the student body as the faculty speaker for the 2015 commencement ceremony.

As Associate Dean of the LSB, Caldwell was the Chair of the Space Planning Committee, working closely with faculty and staff to determine needs and requirements for the new building. Later, he worked closely with Butler Facilities and CSO Architects during the building of the new structure. He also leads Assurance of Learning efforts for the LSB’s four graduate degrees, served on the LSB’s Strategic Planning Committee, served on the University’s Graduate Council, and managed the LSB Summer Faculty Research Program. In the LSB, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the graduate programs and for new graduate program development, including coordinating the design and launch of the Master of Science in Risk & Insurance degree, Butler’s first online degree, and the Master of Arts in Management. He is currently working with Noodle Partners, Butler’s online program manager, on the development of an online MBA, as well as a three-college initiative to create the Master of Science in Analytics.

Caldwell is a coauthor of a book on leadership titled The Catalyst Effect. His academic work has appeared in the Journal of Corporate CitizenshipBusiness and SocietyJournal of Leadership & Organizational StudiesThe MonitorBusiness and Society Review, and Management Accounting Quarterly. Caldwell holds a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Virginia Tech, and a BA from Anderson University.

Chief John Conley—Chief of Public Safety

John Conley Butler University photo

Chief John Conley served 39 years with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) before joining the University Police in 2015. He held many leadership positions with IMPD to include Deputy Chief of Operations, Commander of Southeast District, and Lieutenant in their Human Resource office. Chief Conley is a 2002 graduate of the FBI National Academy and was instrumental in co-planning police operations for Super Bowl XLVI which was held in Indianapolis. He has been the recipient of the American Legion Spartan Award for Valor and Police Officer of the Year.

Dean A. Esteves—Executive Director, Office of Strategic Engagement

Dean A. Esteves Butler University photo

Dean Esteves serves as Executive Director, Office of Strategic Engagement at Butler University. Positioned within the Office of the President, Dean leads a team of higher education innovators in the development of collaborative education, community, and workforce-related partnerships with government, corporate, foundation, education, and community focused organizations. Dean has worked in higher education since 2012, serving in leadership roles across multiple business units. He currently serves as a member of Butler’s Executive Council and is also a member of the University Strategy and Innovation leadership team. Before moving into higher education, Dean had a successful career in business and market development in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. He has been active in the community, focusing his board and volunteer service in support of youth sports and K-12 education. Dean has a bachelor’s degree from Hope College in Holland, MI and has completed the EAB Rising Higher Education Leaders Fellowship program.

Amia K. Foston—Director of Institutional Research and Assessment

Amia Foston Butler University photo

Amia K. Foston, an experienced higher education professional, rejoined Butler in late 2019 to lead the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), after previously serving as assistant director for three years. OIRA’s responsibilities range from administering end-of-course surveys and reporting institutional data externally to coordinating campus-wide assessment and providing timely analyses and insights internally to help inform decision-making.

Before returning to Butler, Foston worked in higher education philanthropy as the strategic impact and research officer at Lumina Foundation. He has also conducted state-wide education and workforce research at the Indiana Business Research Center affiliated with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Earlier in his career, Amia also served as a senior-level administrator for a small private university in the Midwest.

Foston is a double-graduate of Howard University with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and an MBA in finance. He also holds a master’s degree in urban planning from New York University and later earned his PhD in sociology from Indiana University – Bloomington.

Amia lives in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood with his wife and daughter.

Jay Howard—Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Jay Howard Butler University photo

Since 2010, Jay Howard has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of sociology at Butler University. Previously, he held various leadership positions at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC), including interim vice chancellor and dean and head of the Division of Liberal Arts. Howard earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Indiana University South Bend in 1988, and both his master’s degree (1990) and doctorate (1992) in sociology from the University of Notre Dame. Howard’s research interests range from the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to religion and popular culture. His work has been in numerous publications, and he has co-authored several books, including Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music (University Press of Kentucky, 1999), which was named a 2000 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title. Howard is a Fellow of the P.A. Mack Center at Indiana University for Inquiry on Teaching and Learning, and has served in various capacities for other community and professional organizations.

Brooke Kandel-Cisco—Dean, College of Education

Brooke Kandel-Cisco Butler University photo

Brooke Kandel-Cisco started at Butler in 2009 as a faculty member and has served as Director of the Master of Science in Effective Teaching and Learning Program, Chair of COE Graduate Programs, and Interim Dean for the College of Education. She has taught courses in English as a second language (ESL) within the COE, worked closely with teachers in Washington Township schools’ ESL and Newcomer Programs, and is the Past President of the Indiana Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (INTESOL). She also served as a senior research associate at the Texas A&M University Education Research Center studying state education data, a bilingual and ESL teacher in Houston, TX, and as an Immigrant Advocate for AmeriCorps. Her areas of specialization are culturally- and linguistically-sustaining practices, school-family-community engagement, ESL teacher professional development, and teacher leadership.

Dean Kandel-Cisco earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Goshen College, a master’s degree in Bilingual and ESL Education from the University of Houston, and a doctorate in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University.

Jill McKinney—Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

Jill McKeinney Butler University photo

Jill McKinney has served at the University since 2009, most recently assuming the role of Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs to emphasize co-curricular, high-impact areas. In collaboration with colleagues, over her nearly 13 years at Butler, McKinney has steadily increased our rankings in study abroad to currently be in the Top 5 nationally, secured over $1 million in grant funding, worked with faculty across campus to create innovative courses abroad, and has advocated for immigration access for international students and staff. She represents Butler as a board member for the International Center where she holds the elected office as board treasurer. With an undergraduate degree in Public Relations and German, it was her study abroad experience which clarified her vocational goal of helping college students go overseas. She holds a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Ball State University and another master’s degree in Effective Teaching and Leadership from Butler’s College of Education. In her spare time, she cheers on her two teenage children who are competitive swimmers, and even officiates meets as a certified USA Swimming Official.

Todd Buerger—Associate Vice President for Facility Operations/Chief Facilities Officer

Todd Buerger Butler University photo

Todd Buerger has been with Butler University since 2015 serving as Senior Project Manager before transitioning to Associate Vice President for Facility Operations/Chief Facilities Officer in 2023. During that time, he has overseen the largest capital expansion in the university’s history. Prior to Butler, Todd had an architectural consulting business since 2011 after 21 years as Principal and Owner at BSA LifeStructures in Indianapolis. Todd holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Miami University. He is a licensed architect in the state of Indiana and is a member of the American Institute of Architects. He has served on several advisory boards within the design and construction industry as well as publishing and speaking engagements.

Josh Petrusa, Dean of Libraries

Josh Petrusa Butler University photo

Josh Petrusa started at Butler Libraries as Associate Dean for Technical Services in 2010, and was named Dean of Libraries in December 2022. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at DePaul University, majoring in Media Studies, and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He worked as Collection Development Assistant at DePaul University, and Head of Digital Initiatives at Norwich University before joining Butler. Josh has served on numerous campus committees and has chaired statewide committees for the Academic Libraries of Indiana, the Indiana State Library, and Private Academic Library Network of Indiana. Nationally, he has served on committees for the Association of College & Research Libraries, published in Library Leadership & Management, and presented at ALA, LITA Forum, and ER&L among other conferences.

Travis Ryan, Associate Provost

Travis Ryan Butler University photo

Travis Ryan was appointed Associate Provost in July 2021. He completed BS and MS degrees in biology at Western Carolina University and a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Missouri. Following a post-doctoral appointment at the Savanah River Ecology Lab and a visiting professorship at Furman University, Ryan joined the faculty of Butler University in 2001 in the Department of Biological Sciences, and was promoted to Professor in 2014. While at Butler, he has served as the Interim Director of the Science, Technology, and Society program, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, Vice Chair of Faculty Senate, and Faculty Director of the Core Curriculum. The author or co-author of more than 40 journal articles and book chapters, Ryan’s research is in the areas of urban ecology and biological conservation. He has served on the editorial board of the journal Urban Naturalist since its inception, as well as the editorial boards of Herpetological Review and The Journal of Herpetology in the past.

Bob Soltis—Dean, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Bob Soltis Butler University photo

Robert Soltis ’87 joined Butler University in 2016. Prior to his appointment as Dean, he was a faculty member at Drake University serving as Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical, and Administrative Sciences, and held the title Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. His most recent work is in the scholarship of teaching and learning. He is the co-author of the textbook Introduction to the Pharmaceutical Sciences: An Integrated Approach and was elected to the Academy of Pharmacology Educators of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Soltis earned his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (cum laude) from Butler, his doctorate in Pharmacology/Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1991 and was a Pharmacology Research Associate (PRAT Fellow) at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Jon Sorenson—Chair, Faculty Senate, and Professor of Computer Science

Jon Sorenson Butler University photo

Jon Sorenson is a professor of computer science, with primary research expertise in the design and analysis of algorithms for problems in number theory, such as factoring large integers and testing for prime numbers.  His research often makes use of Big Dawg, Butler’s first cluster supercomputer, which was donated to Butler by Frank Levinson.  Recently, Jon has published papers with Butler colleagues Ankur Gupta (computer science), Jonathan Webster (mathematics), and his daughter Brianna Sorenson, a May 2020 Butler graduate.  In the summer of 2020, Jon finished a 15-year term as department chair, overseeing a growth from roughly 35 students in 2005 to over 130 in 2019.  In addition to teaching a wide variety of courses in computer science, he taught mathematics courses in the past, and he occasionally teaches an honors course on Alan Turing.

Julie Straub—Senior Executive Director of Division of Professional Studies

Julie Straub Butler University photo

Julie Straub has grounded her career in entrepreneurial education initiatives, launching new, innovative approaches to online, professional, corporate, and adult lifelong learning programs. Most recently, she is serving as the inaugural leader to launch the new Division of Professional Studies at Butler University, which will expand online, graduate, lifelong learning, and professional education focused on growth and extending access to the university. Previously, Julie served as the founding Director of the Miami University (Ohio) E-Campus to build a virtual enterprise to expand access and affordability to higher education. She led the creation of a full-service virtual campus that offers online programs, degrees, and digital credentials with exponential growth and success in the persistence of online and adult learners to increase high-quality access and equity in education and career opportunities through partnerships in the public and private sectors.
Julie is a licensed Ohio Master Teacher and Principal (K-12) and pursued her doctorate in Educational Leadership with a focus on Online Learning from Miami University (Ohio).  She also earned graduate degrees from Xavier University in Educational Administration and Regus University in Business Management. As an active academic practitioner and scholar nationally in the field of online and continuing education, she regularly presents at conferences and consults on innovative and strategic practices in higher education. Julie recently served on the National Working Group for establishing a Quality and Equity framework for WCET, a leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of digital learning in higher education. She is a passionate advocate for the digital transformation of higher education, leveraging modern pedagogies and digitally-enhanced learning models. She continues to be drawn to the future of learning and work, unbuilt areas where no footprints yet exist, to identify entrepreneurial pathways and operationalize ideas that advance social and educational mobility for the next generation of learners.

Joseph Valenzano—Dean, College of Communication

Joseph Valenzano Butler University photo

Joe Valenzano joined Butler in January 2023 as Professor and Dean of the College of Communication. Prior to his appointment at Butler, he served as Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Dayton for seven and a half years. During that time he also served as President of the University of Dayton’s Academic Senate for two years. Before becoming Chair at Dayton, Valenzano served as their Basic Course Director for four years. Joe moved to Dayton after five years as Basic Course Director at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has served as Chair of the Basic Course Division of the National Communication Association, and Editor of the Basic Communication Course Annual.

Valenzano’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of religion, politics, and media as well as communication pedagogy. He has authored over 20 peer-reviewed articles in journals like Communication Monographs, Communication Education, Communication Quarterly, and the Southern Journal of Communication. He has also published two books and edited two volumes, while writing three national textbooks for the introductory communication course.

Dean Valenzano is the only person to have led basic communication course programs at two different institutions to receive the National Communication Association Basic Course Division’s Program of Excellence. In fall 2022 he was honored by the same division with the Donald Yoder Distinguished Faculty Award.

Valenzano earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Political Science from Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, his master’s degree in Communication from the University of Maine–Orono, and his doctorate in Public Communication from Georgia State University.

Betsy Weatherly—Associate Vice President for University Advancement

Betsy Weatherly Butler University photo

Betsy Weatherly has served at the University since 2011, most recently assuming the role of Associate Vice President for University Advancement. She is responsible for driving the fundraising strategy for major gift pipeline development and ensuring all critical functions of Advancement are optimally aligned to execute that strategy.

At Butler, she has served in annual giving, donor relations, and campaigns. Most recently, she oversaw the University’s comprehensive campaign, Butler Beyond, which exceeded the goal of $250 million, raising $263 million. Weatherly also led the $19 million Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2011, which exceeded that campaign’s initial $16 million goal. Weatherly served on the Higher Learning Commission Work Group for Butler’s most recent accreditation.

Weatherly earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Communications from Indiana State  University and a master’s in Executive Development for Public Service from Ball State University.

Peter Williams—Associate Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer

Peter Williams Butler University photo

Peter Williams joined Butler University in June 2015 with responsibility for strategy and vision of the University’s technology initiatives. Williams came to Butler from Marian University, where he was Assistant Vice President, Chief Information Officer. In 2011, Marian built the state of Indiana’s first new medical school in over 100 years. In its second year of operation, it was called “the most technologically advanced college of osteopathic medicine in the country.” Williams also has held technology-related positions with several Central Indiana companies in consulting, healthcare, finance, and e-commerce. Williams also volunteers as a technology advisor for local K-12 schools. He earned both his Bachelor of Science in General Studies and his Master of Science in Information and Communication Sciences from Ball State University where, as an undergraduate, he was a member of the 1996 MAC championship football team.

Nick Wilson—Chair, Staff Assembly, and Academic Technology Specialist

Nick Wilson Butler University photo

Nick Wilson primarily serves as the learning management system (Canvas) specialist with secondary responsibilities of supporting Faculty180 and other academic technologies. Nick formerly served as the Computing Services Coordinator in Washington Township Schools where he was one of the Canvas administrators as well as the Google Domain Administrator. He holds a BA in Electronic Media from Butler and a MS in Curriculum and Educational Technology from Ball State.

Grant Leiendecker, Associate Vice President, Athletics

Grant Leiendecker ’11 serves as a senior leader in the athletics department with responsibility for leading the comprehensive advancement program for athletics. Additionally, he plays a pivotal role in elevating the focus on delivering exceptional fan experiences while leveraging his experience at other top programs to foster an environment that supports optimal performance for our student-athletes and teams. Leiendecker returns to Butler after spending the previous four years as Assistant Vice President, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development at Marquette University. In addition to leading the athletics development team at Marquette, Leiendecker served as a member of the athletics and university advancement leadership teams. Under his leadership, Marquette Athletics achieved consistent annual growth in total fundraising and donor participation over the previous four years, culminating with a total of more than $15.7 million in commitments in the most recent fiscal year. Leiendecker previously served as Director of Major Gifts for The Rams Club at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. As a member of the UNC athletics fundraising team, he played an integral role in achieving record-setting fundraising years of more than $60 million for three consecutive years.