2023-2024 Brown Bag Series

The Brown Bag Series provides an opportunity for Butler faculty to present their original research, scholarship, and creative work, aimed to speak to both departmental colleagues and those in completely different disciplines.

Students, staff, and faculty are all welcome to attend. No RSVP required.

“Memoir: Translating the Unfamiliar”
Presented by Ania Spyra, English
12:30-1:30, Thursday, September 14, AU326
In writing memoirs, we often come across layered events which only make sense in their contexts. In this presentation, based on editorial experiences with Professor Spyra’s “Shock Therapy” memoir essay published in Guernica, she will take the audience through a series of dynamic writing exercises. Attendees will be invited to notice how our very personal stories arise at complex geopolitical moments, often unfamiliar to listeners or readers, and learn how to convey that complexity without losing the tempo of our narrative to lengthy explanation.

“John the Baptist: The Most Important Figure in the History of Religion?”
Presented by James McGrath, Philosophy and Religion
12:30-1:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 14, AU326
James McGrath spent last year researching John the Baptist, with travels that took him to Israel, Samaria, Oxford, and elsewhere. At this Brown Bag presentation, Professor McGrath will share photos from his travels and highlights from his research into a figure who has been overshadowed by the people and traditions that he influenced. All are invited to this session to learn about the person whom Jesus of Nazareth characterized as the greatest human being to ever live, the Gnostic religion that still holds John in high esteem, and how the wider ripples of John’s impact have influenced more moments in the history of religion than you probably realize.

“Our genes and our students”
Presented by Alex Erkine, Pharmaceutical Sciences
12:00-1:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 21, AU326
Our genes determine who we are, why and how we are different from each other, and from other apes. Despite all advances of molecular biology and medicine we understand little about how genes are turned on and off, and dimmed up and down. During this session Dr. Erkine will explain that unlike usual proteins, the key parts of gene activators are intrinsically disordered and interact with a multitude of uncertain targets while precisely activating our genes when needed. How this happens though is still a mystery. Our Butler students are able to solve this scientific problem using high throughput experiments performed using breakthrough synthetic biology technology and analyzing outcomes of tens of thousands – sometimes millions – of individual targeted mutations using bioinformatics and AI. During this presentation guests will participate in designing a set of gene activator sequences, and see that science is never about dogmas, and that even biology and biochemistry can be shaken to the foundation.

“Cannabis on our Campus: A Deeper Dive”
Presented by Amy Peak, Health Sciences
12:00-1:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 28, AU326
Societal views and federal and state laws related to cannabis are evolving, and use is increasing. Nationwide surveys from 2021 and 2022 indicate that ~ 35% of young adults aged 18 – 25 have used cannabis within the last year. Butler-specific data collected in 2023 indicates significantly higher usage rates, with almost 60% (142/240) of respondents admitting to consuming cannabis within the last year, and 73% with any prior use. 85% of respondents also self-reported anxiety or depression. Almost 1/3 of cannabis users at Butler indicted their primary reason for consumption was anxiety, depression or stress. This presentation will go into a deeper dive into users’ perceptions of cannabis on mental and behavioral health, and scientific literature focused on cannabis’ impact on mental health.

Faculty Development events flagged with the Inclusion Advocate (IA) logo are IA designated events which may be used for IA certification. For more information on the IA program, contact Su-Mei Ooi, Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Please contact facultydevelopment@butler.edu with questions about opportunities offered through the Faculty Development program.

To request disability-related accommodations or inquire about accessibility, please contact facultydevelopment@butler.edu. Please allow two weeks’ advance notice in order to allow adequate time to make arrangements. Although attempts will be made to honor accommodation requests with less notice, it cannot be guaranteed that without two weeks’ notice a reasonable accommodation can be provided.