OUR POINT THIS WEEK: Butler looks to the future with new majors, improved facilities and new administration. | VOTE: 33-0-1
One word defined Butler University during the 2011-12 academic year: transition.
From the inauguration of a completely new president to the installation of a new fireplace in the Market Place at Atherton Union, the changes kept rolling all year.
While all major changes are sure to bring about some less-than-desirable outcomes, the promising improvements on campus tend to get overlooked.
Looking back, new programs have blossomed, new facilities are being constructed and the strategic discussions on this campus have become extremely forward thinking—all during the course of one academic year.
Butler has much to be excited about and has many new opportunities to explore, but we can’t rest on our laurels. There is much room to expand on the achievements we have already made.
Dance, theater and music students will finally get a larger, necessary recital hall when the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Performing Arts opens. The budding art + design program recently received much needed studio and gallery space by expanding its program into the former Academy of Dance Annex.
Arts aren’t the only programs to gain ground this semester. Entirely new majors, such as the peace studies, risk management and communication organization programs will be available next semester.
All these new programs are ripe for inter-college collaboration, something that university administrators and deans should focus on as Butler moves forward.
While academics are thriving, Butler’s athletic programs continue to set a high example of professionalism, despite increased outside scrutiny in the national collegiate athletic arena.
President Jim Danko and his cabinet are doing the right thing by putting an increased focus on compliance with federal and local laws. Moving forward, Butler needs to make sure that any potential violation is investigated and resolved so that Butler maintains a clean slate.
Administratively, Danko came in ready to institute real change and listened to student concerns from his first day.
While his national tour to promote Butler kept him busy, he didn’t stop responding to student emails personally and holding student office hours. This needs to continue.
Another promising sign: When ideas have gone awry and problems have developed, Danko’s administration generally remained transparent, even though it sometimes meant answering difficult questions and admitting potential flaws.
Moving forward, Student Government Association should strive for better transparency and openness, as well as strive to hold its members more accountable to following the SGA constitution.
Butler is not perfect. We don’t live in a utopia. But we made considerable progress over this past year, especially during a transitional period.
Butler will only continue to improve as long as every member of the community continues to strive for positive, dynamic change.