Butler Cultural Requirement FAQ
What does the process look like from both a student perspective and from a committee perspective to endorse an event as a BCR?
Prior to submission, a student or organization that is considering applying to have an event count as BCR should familiarize itself with the Student Learning Objectives for this part of the core curriculum. These can be found on the Butler website but are included here for your convenience:
- To discover that some of the most valuable and exciting learning opportunities at Butler take place outside the classroom.
- To develop habits of participation in artistic and cultural events that will lead to lifelong engagement with in the creative arts and public intellectual life.
- To develop cognitive and affective appreciation for the process and products of artistic creation.
- To participate actively in the creation of an artistic product.
- To reflect on the nature and sources of aesthetic value.
The student considering applying to have an event count as BCR should likewise look closely at the standard BCR events to see what the BCR requirement aims to accomplish in practice and what kinds of events are felt to represent the typical ways those outcomes are achieved. The reason for the BCR requirement is to ensure that students recognize and experience the ways that learning happens on the Butler campus outside the classroom and in events that may not be required as part of a class. These are typically characterized by the bringing in of outside speakers with a very high level of expertise in a given area, or professional-level performers in the arts. These are the characteristics that the BCR committee looks for in other events. In addition, they must be events at which it is possible to meaningfully track attendance through the process of having students scan in and out at the beginning and end of the event (and so come-and-go events or events spread across multiple locations will not work for this purpose). The student should work closely with the faculty sponsor of the event to ensure that the form is completed thoroughly and provides all the evidence and arguments necessary to make a persuasive case for why the event is an appropriate one to fulfill this curricular requirement. The most common reason for events not being approved is incomplete paperwork, with details left out completely, or insufficient information being provided about the nature of the event and the expertise of the guest speaker(s).
Once submitted to the core office, the application is sent to the BCR committee, who deliberate about it and vote. The decision is then communicated to the submitter through the core office. As you presumably already know, these are the guidelines the committee works with:
BCR Approval Criteria
Consistent with the BCR’s purpose, the BCR Advisory Committee considers the following criteria when determining whether to approve an event for BCR credit:
- Whether the event connects the audience to an artistic experience presented by people fully invested in, and approaching mastery of, their art.
- Whether the event is one of significant intellectual depth and complexity, connecting the audience to a broader conversation that goes beyond a particular discipline or college to support the development of a liberally-educated person.
- Whether the event promotes an intercultural or international perspective of significant depth and complexity.
If an event is not approved, usually this is due to one of the issues mentioned above. If the application has been submitted far enough in advance to allow for the possibility of it being considered again, the committee will often return it with feedback or request additional information. Students are always welcome to improve their application and try again, but should understand that BCR events as a rule are organized by the faculty and university programs, and the onus is completely on them to make a case as to why a student-organized event should be included among those that meet this university curricular requirement.
Information about how far in advance an application needs to be submitted can be found on the Butler University website, in the section focused on the core curriculum, and on the form found there. The information is also included here for your convenience:
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: 3 Weeks prior to the date of the event. No exceptions.
As indicated above, characteristic BCR events are performances, lectures, and other such experiences that are organized by the university to share high levels of expertise and/or skill with the Butler community and the city of Indianapolis. On rare occasions, student-organized events may also be considered to offer something comparable and approved for inclusion on the list of events. As you have hopefully read when informing yourself about the core curriculum, “Butler University has a rich set of cultural activities in the form of artistic performances, seminars and public lectures that collectively comprise one of our most remarkable educational resources. The aim of the Butler Cultural Requirement is to engage students in these most valuable and exciting learning opportunities, and to encourage students to develop habits of participation in artistic and cultural events that will lead to lifelong engagement with the creative arts and public intellectual life.”
What commitment is currently in place to ensure that BCR’s cover a spectrum of topics, specifically Diversity and Inclusion initiatives?
The university has a diversity lecture series that is one of the signature annual BCR events. Lecture and speaker series (such as the Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, the Visiting Writers Series, and the Woods Lectures) are likewise charged with engaging with matters of diversity in all its forms, and the faculty who lead these programs embrace these commitments with seriousness and enthusiasm. The same is true of the faculty in the arts who plan and organize performances of music, dance, theater, and so on.