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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. Light refreshments will be available. No RSVP required.

Show 2018-19 Presentations:

“Six Sigma, Agile, Lean, Kaizen: The Lingo and Application of CI (that’s ‘Continuous Improvement’)”
Presented by ​Melissa DeFrench, Business Ethics
Thursday, April 11, 12:30-1:30, AU326

Melissa DeFrench will discuss the language of “Continuous Improvement” and explain why, although she is earning her Black Belt in Six Sigma, it has nothing to do with her athletic ability. Continuous Improvement is the umbrella term for such methodologies as Agile and Six Sigma—in-vogue practices employed by organizations that seek efficiency and innovation. Although many Continuous Improvement initiatives began in manufacturing environments, the methodology has been well-received in other settings as well. Using Continuous Improvement tools and data-driven decision-making, CI practitioners can evaluate nearly any problem for improvement opportunities. Melissa will explain how Continuous Improvement can thrive at Butler, too—in or out of the classroom. Six Sigma’s DMAIC approach (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control), for example, is useful to find root causes of problems and to craft solutions. In this Brown Bag session, Melissa will show how the Continuous Improvement can be easily implemented, without cost, to solve even the smallest of problems.


"'The wound which does not heal' Trauma and Writing in Robert Neumann"
Presented by Sarah Painitz, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Friday, March 22, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Atherton 326

Professor Painitz will discuss the unpublished diary of Robert Neumann, a Jewish Austrian writer who fled to London prior to the Second World War. The diary not only chronicles the unexpected death of Neumann’s son in February 1944 and how Neumann attempts to come to terms with it, but also illustrates the therapeutic impetus of the writing process. By exploring the relationship between trauma and writing as it evolves in Neumann’s autobiographical works, her analysis reveals how this personal trauma is repeatedly folded into the historical trauma of war and exile.


"Creating an Effective Self-Study Video that People Will Actually Watch"
Presented by Kim Beck (COPHS) and Heather Hazelwood (Center for Academic Technology) 
Friday, February 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Atherton 326

Prerequisite courses may be taken one or more years before the material is applied in advanced courses and it is unlikely that students will have a working knowledge of material they learned one or more years prior.  Kim and Heather chose an out of class video format for review/background material to prevent students from being cognitively overloaded during the in-class lecture and discussion. In Cognitive Load Theory, one method to decrease extraneous load to optimize germane load for in-class lecture time is by providing information via a multimodal format. In an effort to find the preferred multimodal video format for students, they compared TED-Ed Lesson, Lightboard, and Voiceover Slideshow video recordings. In addition, they assessed the effect of assigning points for completing the embedded formative feedback quiz on participation rate. The presenters will chronicle their quest to find a self-study video format that people like to watch and share tips for creating self-study videos. Be sure to bring a laptop and earbuds to experience one of their videos!   


"Urban Wildlife in Indianapolis and Beyond"
Presented by Travis Ryan and Carmen Salsbury, Biology, and Julia Angstmann, Center for Urban Ecology
Friday, January 25, noon-1:00 p.m., AU326

In order to be a good neighbor, it is necessary to know who your neighbors are, where to find them, and to understand their needs. Human residents of Indianapolis – and other urban areas throughout the world – share their landscape with a variety of non-human animals. Until relatively recently, non-human animals in urban areas have often been regarded as either nuisances or novelties. The rise of urban ecology as a field of study over the last 30 years teaches us to recognize the presence (or absence) of urban wildlife as indicators of overall environmental quality. This presentation will provide an overview of efforts made over the last several years to document the diversity, density, and distribution of wildlife across Indianapolis and some initial insights from a multi-city comparison of urban wildlife. Only by developing this understanding can we hope to become better neighbors in Indianapolis and around the world.


"Adaptive Sports Clinics for Special Needs Children: A Unique Three-Part Collaboration"
Presented by Anne Wilson, Chemistry
Tuesday, November 13, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Atherton Union Reilly Room

Since 2013, Butler University Athletics has hosted adaptive sports clinics. These adaptive clinics have seen children with a wide array of physical and developmental disabilities engage in basketball, football, baseball, and softball. In conjunction with physical therapy students from the Indiana University School of Medicine, these clinics have been designed to fully engage individuals in sports-related activities with individual adaptations made on-the-fly by the PT students. The positive outcomes for participants, student athletes, physical therapy students, and the Butler community at large will be discussed. Special guests from these constituencies will be sharing their perspectives. 

"Luther Goes Viral: Social Media and Mass Communication in the Lutheran Reformation"
Presented by Brent Hege, Religion
Wednesday, September 26, 12:30-1:30 p.m., AU326

There are many reasons for the success of the Lutheran Reformation, as political, social, economic, theological, and historical factors all coincided in a way they never had before. But one crucial aspect of the Lutheran Reformation that was missing in earlier attempts at reform was the cheap, efficient production and dissemination of texts and images. Without the social media of the 16th century, we very likely would know of Luther only through footnotes in histories of medieval Europe. Instead, churches, scholars, and media outlets around the world took stock last year of an event that began 500 years ago in a small university town far removed from the center of power, an event that blossomed into a fundamental reorganization of society, thanks in no small part to new forms of social media and mass communication.

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. Will you provide a PowerPoint, a handout, or a website for attendees to refer to for more information?
  6. Have you presented as part of the Brown Bag series in the past? If so, when?
  7. 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.