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Faculty Development

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. Light refreshments provided. No RSVP required.

Show 2019-20 Presentations:

​Vivian Deno (History), "Feminist Foundations? Demia Butler, Catherine Marshall, and Harriet Noble – and the Historicization of the Founding Generation of ‘Feminists’ at Butler University"
Wednesday, March 18, noon-1 p.m., AU326

In 1869 a grief-stricken Ovid Butler memorialized the passing of his daughter, Demia, by establishing the Demia Butler chair in English in her honor - the first in the nation to be designated to be held by only women. Catherine Merrill was the inaugural Demia Butler Professor in 1869. In 1900 when she passed, the local newspapers gave her a lengthy send-off—far longer and more detailed than Ovid Butler’s obituary had been. The Indianapolis News celebrated not only her teaching and commitment to the memory of the civil war dead but for her work as a clubwoman who while fearless had “never felt in harmony with the woman’s suffrage question.” Her successor Harriet Noble quickly ran afoul of Merrill’s memory and the expectations it demanded.  As an ardent suffragist and tireless worker on behalf of women’s rights, Noble was branded as something of a firebrand by friends and naysayers alike.

This Brown Bag lecture will put these three women into conversation to better understand the struggles that characterized feminist or womanist efforts on campus and in the region in the early 20th century. Vivian Deno will offer a critical analysis of the first generation of ‘feminist’ campus icons, Demia Butler, Catherine Merrill, and Harriet Noble.  Connected by tragedy and opportunity the three represented a founding generation of women on campus both in the classroom and in the memory of the campus and community. 


India Johnson (Psychology), "Allyship is an Action Word: Creating a More Inclusive Environment for Underrepresented Groups via Allyship"
Thursday, February 20, 12:30-1:30, AU326

Members of target groups, or groups associated with negative stereotypes (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, women) often report a lack of belonging in environments where they are underrepresented. Belonging is an important predictor of success in academic settings; thus, the development of effective strategies to encourage target group individuals to feel a sense of belonging in academic environments is imperative. Exposing students to an identity-safety cue, such as a successful role model, or an allyship cue, or an explicit cue that signals allyship, may be one tool to promote a sense of belonging among target group individuals in academic settings. Dr. Johnson's work adopts an intersectional approach and examines the benefits of role models and allies in academic settings for student members of target groups. Implications and suggestions for cultivating an inclusive classroom environment on Butler’s campus will be discussed.


James McGrath (Religion) and Frank Felice (Music), "Progressive Rock and Theology"
Wednesday, January 29, noon-1 p.m., AU326

In popular music since 1966, the subgenre that has combined rock with elements of jazz, folk, and especially classical music has been known as progressive rock. You know many of the songs, and some of the artists, and can undoubtedly sing along with at least a few. “Carry on my wayward son...” “Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends…” Bands like Genesis, Yes, Rush, and Jethro Tull. But what does this music have to do with theology? A great deal. Join Professors Frank Felice and James McGrath to find out why particular artists borrowed words and images from Revelation or included a classic hymn in their repertoire, and also how this genre of music engages in spiritual and theological exploration that runs far deeper than the lyrics.


Shelley Etnier (Biological Sciences), "B.E.A.K.: Butler Explores Avian Kollisions"
Thursday, November 14, noon-1 p.m., AU326

Many of us have seen stunned or dead birds on the sidewalk of campus, particularly during the fall and spring. For the past three years, Dr. Etnier and her team have been monitoring window strike bird fatalities on Butler’s campus. This presentation will include information on what birds are dying and where, what we can do to prevent fatalities, and additional research associated with this long-term project.


Stuart Glennan (Philosophy, Religion, and Classics), "Mechanisms and the Unity of Science"
Tuesday, October 8, 12:30-1:30 p.m., AU326

Scientific domains and practices are diverse, but despite this, scientists and philosophers of science have long sought to understand science as a unified enterprise.  A central episode in this history was the Unity of Science movement that began in the 1930s as an attempt to facilitate international scientific cooperation, to discredit pseudoscience, and to resist fascism.  In the first part of this talk, Stuart will share some of the history of this movement and explain how it foundered in the changing scientific landscape of the later 20th century.  In the second part, he will describe a new approach to this old problem, which suggests that science is unified in both methods and domains by the search for mechanisms.


Hala Fadda (Pharmaceutical Sciences), "Novel approaches for fecal microbiota transplantation"
Tuesday, September 17, 12:30-1:30, AU326

The American College of Gastroenterology recommends fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for the treatment of recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) in patients who have failed to respond to antibiotic treatment. In FMT, stool from a healthy donor is transferred to a patient to restore the gut microbial ecosystem. Hala Fadda will discuss how she contributed to the development of a colon-targeted, oral FMT delivery system to enhance FMT efficacy and safety. In a multi-center, open-label dosing finding study in patients with recurrent CDI, the multi-disciplinary team observed a clinical cure rate of 89% with this novel colonic release FMT delivery system.

Presentation Proposal Process and Application Instructions

Faculty interested in presenting a Brown Bag lecture in the next academic year should submit a proposal by April 1 of the current academic year.

Proposals should include the following: description of the session, objective of the session, ways of including the audience, and what attendees can expect to learn. To submit a proposal, please send your responses to the following items in an email to by April 1.

  1. What is your college/department affiliation?
  2. Please briefly describe your proposed Brown Bag session (150 words or fewer). A detailed abstract will be requested at a later date if your proposal is accepted.
  3. List at least two things you expect attendees to learn from your session.
  4. Please describe the ways in which you plan to make this session engaging, hands-on, and/or participant-focused.
  5. Have you presented as part of the Brown Bag series in the past? If so, when?
  6. If you are not selected to present a full-length session this year, would you be willing to give a short-format presentation during an end-of-year “Pearls of Wisdom” session in which multiple faculty members present a brief version of their lecture?

Proposals will be evaluated on the following characteristics:

  • Organization and clarity
  • Novelty and innovation/creativity
  • Likelihood of being interactive/engaging

In addition, selection will be based, in part, on the desire to offer a variety of topics so as to appeal to different faculty, staff, and students across disciplines. First-time presenters and faculty from underrepresented colleges/units/disciplines are especially encouraged to apply.

To request disability-related accommodations or inquire about accessibility, please contact Rebecca DeGrazia at or at 317-940-8558. 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.