Butler Awards $300,000 in First Innovation Fund Grants

On February 14, 2013


Ten proposed Butler programs—ranging from an arts festival and online learning to a project to convert waste cooking oil into fuel for University vehicles—received $300,000 in seed money today from the University’s Innovation Fund.

Campus Ariel ViewA business student, two staff members, and faculty representing all six Butler colleges received grants ranging from $9,000 to $55,000. Their ideas were chosen from more than 70 proposals submitted from across campus last fall in the first round of Innovation Fund grant applications.

University President James M. Danko conceived the Innovation Fund in 2011, as a $5 million “venture capital” source to foster campus creativity and academic excellence.

 “We think great ideas can come from any member of the Butler community,” Danko said, “ideas that will enable Butler to become a leader in innovative change and the delivery of higher education. 

Funded projects include:

Pilot project to convert campus waste vegetable oil into biodiesel for use in campus vehicles and equipment, $30,000. Proposed by Jordan Burt (student), College of Business (COB), and Timothy Carter, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS).

Butler ArtsFest 2013, $45,000. Proposed by Ronald Caltabiano, Jordan College of the Arts.           

Student-led/faculty-supported Media Group to enhance students’ experience with mediated communication, $45,000. Proposed by Kenneth Creech, College of Communication.           

Web-based Indiana Plant Atlas using botanical resources from Butler’s Friesner Herbarium, $20,000. Proposed by Rebecca Dolan, LAS. 

Education Provocation app, a professional development tool for P-12 and higher education, $18,000. Proposed by Kelli Esteves and Arthur Hochman, College of Education. 

Expansion of the Butler Healthy Horizons employee wellness program, including new technology in student education, clinical testing, and laboratory monitoring, $45,000. Proposed by Carrie Maffeo, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Summer program for high school students to study religion in a non-sectarian fashion to encourage post-secondary study of religion, $18,000. Proposed by James McGrath, LAS.

Initiatives within the Center for Academic Technology, including faculty stipends for developing online courses, $55,000. Proposed by Julianne Miranda, Center for Academic Technology. 

 Research-intensive introductory program for undergraduates to increase student interest and retention in sciences, $9,000. Proposed by Stacy O’Reilly, LAS.

 Advanced entrepreneurship and innovation training for women business owners, $15,000. Proposed by Denise Williams, COB.

Innovation Fund Executive Director Jason Range said some of the funded projects could begin as early as March.

A seven-member committee drawn from faculty, staff, and external Butler supporters evaluated and ranked the 70-plus grant applications.

“Each proposal,” Range said, “was reviewed for impact—especially with regard to teaching and learning; practicality—how the idea fit with Butler’s present programs and overall mission; and measurability—the extent to which the idea created new value and benefit for Butler students and enhanced Butler’s reputation.”

The evaluation committee will seek additional information on some higher ranked proposals that did not receive initial grants, Range said, and may award more grants before the end of the academic year.

Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson
(317) 940-6944