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Project welcomes Risk

By Tara McElmurry | News Editor

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The Butler University Risk Project is calling on Butler community members to take risks and will begin accepting proposals today.

The goal of the project is to bring the Butler community together in the multidisciplinary project, which has the central theme of risk, said Jessica Moore, assistant communication professor and co-chair of the project.

Moore said in the past, the project has been dominated by proposals submitted by faculty, but this year, the goal is to involve more students and staff.

“My hope as co-chair of the Risk Project is that students, faculty and staff will consider how their individual or collective interest may in some way be framed by the construct of risk,” she said. “Risk is all around us, and taking risks is a certain part of the human condition.”

Moore said some examples of projects the community can engage in are faculty members trying out a new teaching style or dance students exploring a new type of dance not offered at Butler.

Debra Lecklider, associate education professor and co-chair of the project, said she volunteered to be on the committee when she found out the theme was centered on risk.

“I got involved because it ties in perfectly with what the president is trying to do with the changes and innovation he wants to bring to the university,” Lecklider said.

As someone from the College of Education, she said she was especially interested.

“It all goes back to teaching and learning,” Lecklider said.

Lecklider said each individual or group that has a proposal approved will receive a small amount of funding to support the project.

Total funding for the project is $15,000 from the provost’s fund, said Kathryn Morris, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

This project is the fourth sponsored by the provost’s office, Morris said.

Past project themes included earth, water and sunset.

The project committee is composed of volunteers from all over campus, Morris said.

She said she sent out an announcement last spring asking for topic suggestions. She then brought together a group of people who submitted ideas, and the conversation led them to this year’s theme of risk.

“We could conceptualize multiple interpretations of the notion of risk,” Morris said in an email. “This gives members of the campus community a lot of leeway in interpreting risk in a way that is interesting to them.”

Morris said the intellectual aspect of the project blends with the university’s mission.

“The goal of the project is to foster a sense of collaboration and intellectual inquiry,” Morris said. “I like the way in which the notion of risk interfaces with President Danko’s emphasis on innovation. Innovation requires risk.”

Proposals will be granted on a rolling basis until funding runs out, Lecklider said. The committee is working on planning an event at the end of the year to recognize people who participated in the project.

“Go forward,” she said. “Try something new. If it fails, it’s not negative. It’s an opportunity to try more new things.”

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